How Violence Is Justified But Homosexuality Is Wrong, When You’re A Biblical Literalist

How Violence Is Justified But Homosexuality Is Wrong, When You’re A Biblical Literalist October 7, 2014

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I spend a lot of my time discussing Christian discipleship and educating people on the Christian doctrine of nonviolent enemy love. It’s not an easy game, but one that I like playing. One of my joys on the blog has been to watch people transform on the issue of enemy love– there have been so many out there who have reached out and told me of your journey to embrace Christ’s teaching to love enemies– stories that give me hope when I deal with folks from the opposite side of the spectrum.

In the hundreds of internet discussions I’ve had on the issue, I’ve noticed a trend. While not a scientific poll, it’s been my experience that most of the folks who reject the nonviolent teachings of Christ are also people who are in the non-affirming camp, arguing that the Bible’s position on homosexuality is clear in that it is unequivocally a sin. I’ve sat back and dissected a host of arguments and various reasons they’ve given to me on both issues, and compiled a list of comments and quotes from my dialogues with people. When I began to take a closer look at the thought process, I noticed an interesting approach to biblical interpretation that as your chief explainerologist, I’ll be happy to explain to you.

When presented with the issue of homosexuality the responses are immediate, and most can be summed up with the statement, “the Bible is clear on this.” Here’s a quick chart on some of the things I’ve heard said:

Screenshot 2014-10-07 15.18.56Now, when I ask those same people about Jesus’ call to love our enemies, no longer practice “an eye for an eye”, and his teaching to “not respond with violence in-kind to an evildoer that you may be children of God,” I get a very different response, as seen here:

Screenshot 2014-10-07 15.46.19

And this is how violence is justified and homosexuality is wrong when you’re a biblical literalist: you just change the rules by which you interpret scripture when you get to the issue of violence.

The question is, why? Why insist the Bible be interpreted plainly in one scenario and then pull out an arsenal of excuses the next?

The simple answer is this: we’re more interested in changing them (whoever that is on any given issue) than we are changing ourselves. We expect the message of Jesus to be costly for someone else, but when it comes to sacrificing ourselves, not so much.

For a conservative literalist, condemning homosexuality (assuming they’re not gay) doesn’t come at a price– it’s someone else who would then be forced to enter into a life of celibacy. When it comes to enemy love however, that’s a sacrifice of following Jesus that might cost us something.

And so, it’s much easier to abandon the same hermeneutical principles used ten minutes prior so that we can keep “following Jesus” without having to change or make a radical sacrifice.

Bottom line: if you think that “love your enemies” is fair game for a thousand loopholes and can’t be taken at face value, then you probably shouldn’t be drawing hard lines on any other issue in scripture.

Because, if “love your enemies” isn’t straightforward, we should probably just throw up our arms and admit that nothing else in the Bible could be, either.

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  • Jeremy Olson

    Not sure how I feel.
    Romans 1:26-27 to me seems pretty clear that the ACTION of homosexuality is sin. Though not the feelings.

    Though it doesn’t matter to me too much. The sexual life of others isn’t really my concern and shouldn’t be.

  • Matt

    Whether you agree with the interpretation or not, the point of this is that we can’t pick and choose how we read the Word depending on the topic. I find it astounding that you actually used the words ‘seems pretty clear’ in your response to this article. LOL

  • Kerry Thomas

    I am tired of the Christian Right going after certain areas they feel are wrong, but other areas they are okay with. Lust for money, greed, are okay in the ‘ fundy ‘ churches. You rarely if ever will hear anything about ‘ screwing’ over fellow humans when a profit is to be made, maybe because so many of these churches ‘lust’ for that 10% tithe they preach on regularly……but homosexuality? It’s open season.
    I am sick and tired of picking and choosing sins….

  • AJ

    “You remind me of Satan when he questioned ‘Hath God really said that?'”
    “Are you sure that’s what God actually said?”

    cripes

  • John A. C. Kelley

    I would like to point out that diligent study in the original languages of the Bible rather than the English translation will reveal that the word translated as homosexuality actually is closer to male on male pedophodilia or male on male prostitution.

  • Jeremy Olson

    I used “SEEMS pretty clear” because I am not sure either way. Would you prefer I speak only in absolutes?

  • Jeremy Olson

    What does “Consumed with passion for one another” when talking of two males mean? No really…I am curious.

  • Matt

    You used the same wording from the article. See the first line of the first chart. I found it a bit ironic.

  • Alana

    I don’t think Jesus ever said anything on homosexuality, but I think he did have something to say about downplaying your own sins while pointing out those of others…

  • upload

    When liberalism destroys God’s Word.

  • You truly aren’t able to distinguish between lust and love? Wow. Don’t be too surprised if gay people don’t take your opinions seriously.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Nice tux!

  • “chief explainerologist”
    Love it!

    But yeah, you’ve definitely hit on something. We want our religion to be “challenging,” just not for us. The Bible verses that are difficult for other people to deal with, we take at face value. But the verses that might mean a major change in our own lives, those are the ones that require nuance. And then we accuse others of twisting Scripture, in order to prevent them from rightfully accusing us of the same thing.

  • WilmRoget

    “you just change the rules by which you interpret scripture when you get to the issue of violence.”

    They change the rules by which they interpret Scripture when they get to any issue that would inhibit their lives.

    A standard example is women who use a literalistic approach to argue ‘homosexuality is sin’, and dismiss context, translation, principle in order to maintain their sin against GLBTQ people.

    But when reminded of passages that literally forbid women to teach or instruct men, or to even speak up in public, suddenly, context matters.

  • WilmRoget

    You could stand to work on substantiating your accusations with more than just your pride and ego.

  • WilmRoget

    ‘Romans 1:26-27 to me seems pretty clear that the ACTION of homosexuality is sin.”

    And it cannot be about homosexuals, because homosexuals cannot abandon ‘physikos chresis’ the innate feeling of sexual attraction to the opposite sex.

    But your argument is irrational – people are allowed to feel sexual desire, but never, ever, ever act on it?

    Let’s address the fraud you committed as well, taking those two verses out of context. Verses 18-25 clearly describe idolatry, and verse 26 begins with the concept ‘because of what was just described’. Yet you left out.

    Paul is describing people in known fertility religions in Rome, who abandon their innate nature, their inborn, instinctive nature (physikos) to be sexually attracted to (chresis) the opposite sex. This can only be heterosexuals, for bisexuals don’t have to abandon either sexual orientation, and homosexuals have no innate sexual attraction to the opposite sex to abandon.

    So you fixate on bits and pieces, and ignore the concepts that disprove your premise. Never mind that the theme of abandoning is repeated throughout, since Paul first describes people abandoning an instinctive, natural knowledge of God.

    I heartily recommend that you do what so few of your peers ever do – read Paul’s actual point, it comes in Chapter 2.

  • Firstly, I feel it’s important to remember that Romans 1 should never be taken without Romans 2. And the sum of Romans 2 is “you’re so busy judging others that you don’t realize how deserving you yourselves are of God’s judgment!” There are arguments that have been put forward about what Paul might mean about various parts of these passages, and though I am no scholar of Greek (I studied Hebrew in seminary instead) the arguments are compelling enough to make one question certain English translations and interpretations. But even so, context is vital. Paul did not write just Romans 1:26-27. He wrote an entire letter. And the thoughts presented in that letter rely one upon the other. Romans 1 is the set-up for Romans 2, not a simple condemnation that exists in a vacuum.

  • WilmRoget

    What does ‘abandon’ or ‘exchange’ mean?

  • John Mury

    Actually, it seems that Paul is referring to the Levitical code, especially when he (elsewhere) refers to arsenokoites (contraction of arsenos koiten – straight from the LXX). In a Hellenistic context, you might be able to argue that Philo is more the context than the LXX, but hermeneutically, that’s a stretch.

  • WilmRoget

    Actually, Paul did not use any of the greek words of his day that referred to any form of homosexual sexual behavior or desire:

    http://www.gaychristian101.com/what-words-could-paul-have-used-if-he-intended-to-condemn-homosexuality.html

  • WilmRoget

    Since you are unsure, and since anti-gay theology produces murder and rape, wouldn’t the ethical and Christian thing to do be to keep your speculation to yourself, or at least frame it as a question?

    As it is, you slandered hundreds of millions of people.

  • John Mury

    Would it be fair to flip the argument around? In other words, a literalist position on “loving your enemies” would require you to take a literalist position on homosexuality as well? If so, then fair enough. But if you’re not willing to make that step, is it fair to hold the opposition to that standard?

  • You know, I hear about how arsenokoites is supposed to be a contraction straight from the Septuagint all the time, but apart from the fact that the Septuagint contains the words arsenos and koiten side by side, I’ve never seen any support for it. Is there any scholarly evidence to support the theory?

  • WilmRoget

    Jesus had far more in common with modern liberals that conservatives.

  • Ron McPherson

    I don’t believe it’s a double standard at all. Ben doesn’t claim to be a literalist. The point is that others do, but yet their claim is actually rendered invalid because they contextualize the Scriptures like the rest of us.

  • Vincent Zetta

    Can we separate belief in a supreme being with belief in an inherent untouchable and perfect book ? Is that okay? To cling to the idea that the bible is perfect when there are many contradictions, scientific errors and also unspeakable violence commanded by “God” requires more mental gymnastics than any person should have to endure. For instance it says in Jude and Genesis both that angels had sex with humans; sorry but it really says that .. now if you were around 2,000 – 6,000 years ago, such a notion would not have seemed far fetched. But now ? I believe in God, but I also believe that God is manifested in the progress of humanity.

  • Ron McPherson

    Don’t you think it might be prudent to explain how so?

  • Vincent Zetta

    People NEWS FLASH – the bible isn’t perfect. Please read something other than commentary from people who have went to seminary. Here’s a clue – they wont tell you how imperfect the bible is in seminary. And NO God wont send you to hell while worms eat your face forever and ever if you REALLY look at the facts.

  • Excellent question; I’m also interested in that answer. Some of those who’ve made the claim seem fairly well-read, but are also significantly vested in the anti-homosexual camp. It sounds like it might have been what was in Paul’s mind… but then we simply don’t know. And identifying a the meaning of a world from it’s construction is hardly an exact science.

  • I under-stand what you mean :-P

  • sharon peters

    ‘Because, if “love your enemies” isn’t straightforward, we should probably just throw up our arms and admit that nothing else in the Bible could be, either.’
    it seems to me that a change as radical as ‘dying to self’ is like giving up addictions. as someone who works a 12 step program everyday in order to stay sober (so that i don’t have to die a horrible alcoholic death) i realize now that my choice of addictions go along w/ behaviors. the first hurdle is denial that there is anything wrong. when, as a practicing ‘religious addict’ my behaviors and attitudes were still ‘working’ for me i never thought loving my enimies a practice i could or should adopt. furthermore i only hung around other religious addicts and we encouraged and influenced each other in our denial. there are lots of things in the bible that addicts love to interpret in ways that ‘protect their supply’.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    Last time I checked it meant lust, but I’m sure you have a much more informed idea of what it means considering you replied to me so pompously. I’ll wait for your answer eagerly.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    I agree, but I was merely explaining the words that Paul used based on their other uses after him.

  • Watcher In The Wild

    Only if you go to a REALLY CRAPPY seminary will you not be told of the difficulties with the Bible.

  • scott

    I’m curious. Do you feel that the Bible is clear on non-violence? And do you also feel that we can’t take the verses on homosexuality at face value? If so, how are you not just as guilty of what you’re calling the Bible literalists out for? I’m not necessarily disagreeing with your conclusions, but your logic that got you there is what is not clear to me. Thanks!!!

  • I hear you. The OP did not make an argument on that issue- this was about our double standards when interpreting, was not giving a specific opinion on it. I’ve given mine at length in other pieces.

  • WilmRoget

    So – why do we park on a driveway and drive on a parkway?

    And what about sexually active heterosexual women – are they not ‘male bedders’ – people who lie with men?

    Also, why would Paul, who makes such a case against being bound under the Law, and against works based theology (justified by obedience) invoke the Levitical code?

  • Agreed. That’s where the good debate is.

  • Bill: if loving you is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.

  • It might “seem pretty clear” to you, but there are lots of gay men and women who would disagree with you… and they (we) are the ones who are being oppressed and downgraded. As an example of the difficulties: verse 27 says, “the men abandoned the natural function of the woman”. Most gay men reading this do not agree; I know, for instance, that I did not “abandon” anything in developing my preference for men. (For me, the “natural” attraction is same-sex… which results in a discussion about what Paul meant by “natural function”… and it goes on…) My point is that there is nothing “pretty clear” about this passage: not without making a lot of assumptions that are not necessarily justified. And those assumptions are what result in significant discrimination.

  • It is completely fair. Since I hold to a high-view of scripture, whatever the text means, is ultimately true.

  • I believe the bible is clear on nonviolence. As I’ve written elsewhere on same sex marriage, I think there is valid debate on precisely what Paul was referring to in his culture based on the historical realities of the time and his word usage in Greek. However, if we could call Paul direct and ask him precisely what he meant, I would argue the consistent hermeneutic would be to both embrace the nonviolent teachings of Christ along with whatever it was that Paul was ultimately referring to. Hope that makes sense.

  • Small clarification: the term literalist is a convoluted term. In reality, it comes from the word literature and means to interpret according to the literary genre. In that technical definition, I would be okay with being a literalist because I think that’s good and right. I obviously wouldn’t identify with the way the term is used in the more pejorative sense.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Heck, I was told of the inconsistencies in my Southern Baptist Liberal Arts college Bible Studies class. I would find it hard to develop an academic curriculum studying Scripture without recognizing the confusion and discrepancies.

  • Yup. Even at fundamentalist schools we were told about inconsistencies, the alleged addition to John by one of his disciples, etc. Not a secret.

  • bz

    Wouldn’t an actual literalist disagree with violence and homosexual acts equally?

  • If we’re being honest, doesn’t everybody do this? Everybody takes the
    bible at face value on certain things and then changes their rules of
    interpretation when it comes to other things. If you’re a Calvinist, you
    take Ephesians 1, Romans 9, and many other predestination passages at
    face value, while you have this nuanced understanding of other passages
    that seem to say something else. If you’re an Arminian, you do the
    inverse of that. And if conservative fundamentalists do that with
    violence and homosexuality (which I agree, they usually do), doesn’t
    that mean that you and other progressives do so as well, only inversely?

    It’s a difficult line to walk, but I’m trying lately to deal
    honestly with what the bible seems to be teaching as far as I can tell
    on the issues of homosexual activity AND violence (that is, that both
    are against God’s will). Call me an outlier.

  • Jeff Preuss

    It was amazing the variety of reactions to this class. Many students suddenly found themselves at odds with their taught belief that the Bible is all literally factual, and some despaired at how to even possibly believe any of it anymore.

    For me it reinforced the thought that the Truth inherent within the passages comes from the overall story of Christ coming to Earth to fulfill God’s promise to the Jewish people. This story is enhanced throughout with parables, some from Christ Himself, which aren’t supposed to be taken literally, yet are no less “true.”

    At least, that is MY take.

  • Wayne A

    I’m not sure where you are finding all these Christians. I don’t know any Christians that condone violence yet call homosexuality a sin. It is clear in scripture, homosexual acts are sin, and we are to love our enemies.
    Jesus speaking of the Old Testament said God’s word is truth so he most certainly endorsed everything written in the law. Also God being triune, when God speaks, and the Holy Spirit Inspires scripture, all three are in agreement.
    And if there are Christians in name only that lust for money, are greedy and screw over fellow humans, the Bible says Jesus will say to them, “depart from me you who practice iniquity. (Live like I never gave you a law to keep.) “You will know them by their fruit.”

  • Jeff Preuss

    You don’t see them? Visit Charisma News to view a lot of them. Also, many of them pop by here frequently to espouse (sometimes thinly-veiled, sometimes not veiled at all) violence AGAINST homosexuals.

  • I can only speak for my own seminary, but we were told point blank that if our faith was fragile, it wasn’t going to survive the critical scholarship we’d be exposed to.

  • Deltarose

    I hesitate to call myself a “Christian” now days. Christianity has lost it’s way. So many call themselves Christians and give it a bad name. Movie stars, Musicians, etc. and they continue in un- christian ways, TV preachers who have warped doctrines-for their own gain. Theologians and Church leaders teach false doctrine. Most people don’t read, study, and pray, they listen to others. Yes,the truth has been lost. Just reading the Bible will not give you instant enlightenment.God said He won’t reveal the mystery to anyone who attempts to find them with the purpose of doubt and criticism in mind. With sin and self pleasure so rampant and those wanting to justify their own desires, the words of God have been twisted every which way. Most do not want to hear or, would accept the real truth.

  • Ron McPherson

    Thanks for the clarification. When referring in a pejorative sense, I’ve heard/read some utilize the phrase “wooden literalist.”

  • Amy Aletheia Cahill

    I think you make some great points here. I am absolutely horrified by some of the justifications for believing Jesus somehow taught it’s just fine to kill people.

    And as a side note to the author and readers of this blog, I behaved very inappropriately last time I was here and I am sorry. I had just been in a car accident and sustained a severe head injury. That took off the filters, so to speak, and made me incapable of recognizing how inappropriate my behavior was. Think of it being like very very intoxicated, except I was not. I am much better now, thanks.

  • louismoreaugottschalk

    thx 4 that! glad you are better and hope you get complete recovery.

  • I believe absolutely in non-violence as Christ taught it…I also believe absolutely in our origins being part of Gods design and by that I mean to imply behavior and actions do not determine either value or identity…for some reason we are ok condemning adultery in Pauls passages but bending arsenokoitia (homosexual) in hard passages to fit our particular preferred definition rather than accepting the evidence of the Levitical Septuagint passages as informing Pauls use.

    I am not anymore willing to accept harmful behavior as wrong and hurtful to the person doing it as I am to accept violence as a christian metric…(I am no expert but it seems that this particular behavior is either the result or results in damaged emotional constructs, we tend to assume culture has done it but that is an assumption that we have not made certain, I am in no way diminishing that society does in fact damage this particular segment, but that does not mean all the damage is done by society we simply have not enough research to be definitive here)

    When we let behavior determine identity rather than wholeness as presented in Christs resurrection we defraud the gospel of it’s intention, regardless of who we bend the rules for.

    Homosexuality must be brought into a candid and historical discussion, as well as a host of other things including greed, non-caring (whether people or planet) and our models of dominant empires we call “church” (find one passage in the New testament that makes one man the “Senior Pastor” and leader of a fellowship community, or find me a “worship pastor” in the New testament for that matter, and I speak as a former worship pastor)…we have a lot of things to fix, there is a need for inclusion, but at the end of the day we need to look like the resurrected man not the modern one.

  • WilmRoget

    “but bending arsenokoitia (homosexual) in hard passages to fit our particular preferred definition rather than accepting the evidence of the Levitical Septuagint passages as informing Pauls use.”

    You got that more than a little backwards.

    However, the important point is this – by insisting against reason and evidence that Paul invented a new word, arsenokoite, rather than use any of the seventeen pre-existing Greek words in his culture that meant homosexuals, to condemn homosexuals, you are actively and purposefully contributing to the culture of violence inflicted on GLBTQ people.

    “but that does not mean all the damage is done by society we simply have not enough research to be definitive here”

    Your very language is dehumanizing, we are people, not a segment. And the evidence is clear, anti-gay theology is directly linked as the dominant and primary source of anti-gay violence.

    “I believe absolutely in non-violence ”

    And yet violence – spiritual, emotional, verbal, physical, is intrinsic to and and epidemic within anti-gay theology. At the core of it is a passage, one you are invoking indirectly by the way, that demands death. If you claim that Paul is referring to Leviticus and that it is relevant (which is false), then you are asserting that you believe Paul condoned violence against homosexuals and you are giving your tacit approval to violence. If you bring up Sodom, falsely by the way, you are embracing violence. If you equate our relationships with stealing, murder, you are embracing and encouraging violence against us.

    Equating homosexuality with greed is simply irrational, as well as slander. As a slanderer, you are barred from the Kingdom of Heaven under the very passages you mistakenly think condemn homosexuality.

  • WilmRoget

    “I don’t know any Christians that condone violence yet call homosexuality a sin.”

    Well, you could try Russia, Uganda, and the other nations were GLBTQ risk death or imprisonment as the deliberate enforcement of ‘homosexuality is sin’. Or the U.S., where several thousand GLBTQ people experience violence as the enforcement of ‘homosexuality is sin’ every year. Not to mention the social and verbal violence of campaigns like the bans on same-sex marriage, a deliberate and intentional enforcement of ‘homosexuality is sin’.

    So what you don’t seem to know is the reality of life for GLBTQ people in most of the world, including the U.S.

    ” It is clear in scripture, homosexual acts are sin, and we are to love our enemies.”

    You are wrong about Scripture, it does not clearly say anything negative about homosexual acts, but you have also declared that you perceive us as your enemy.

    The reality, Wayne, is that anti-gay theology is entirely evil, it produces murder and torture, raped and abusive of every kind. You and your peer engage in verbal violence against GLBTQ people.

    “And if there are Christians in name only that lust for money, are greedy and screw over fellow humans, the Bible says Jesus will say to them, “depart from me you who practice iniquity. (Live like I never gave you a law to keep.) “You will know them by their fruit.””

    You’ve really raped this passage, it says nothing about lust for money, or greed. Instead it, Matthew 7:15-23, talks about false teachers, like you. People who produce evil fruit, like the murder, rape, torture, persecution of GLBTQ people. You practice iniquity.

  • WilmRoget

    “but I’m trying lately to deal honestly with what the bible seems to be teaching as far as I can tell on the issues of homosexual activity AND violence (that is, that both are against God’s will).”

    If you think the homosexual activity is against God’s will, then you are not dealing honestly with what the Bible teaches, and, you are working violence.

    Bear in mind, the fruit of ‘homosexuality is sin’ is murder, rape, torture, brutality and violence of every kind.

  • WilmRoget

    Not an honest one.

  • WilmRoget

    ” And do you also feel that we can’t take the verses on homosexuality at face value?”

    At face value, those passages do not address homosexuality.

  • WilmRoget

    “would require you to take a literalist position on homosexuality as well?”

    A truly literalist position on the relevant passages does not support ‘homosexuality is sin’.

  • WilmRoget

    “For instance it says in Jude and Genesis both that angels had sex with humans; sorry but it really says that’

    The amazing thing is that many homophobes take the Jude passage, with its ‘heteros sark’ in the Greek, and insist that this is about homosexuals, when it is clearly about a heterosexual dynamic.

  • So you are suggesting that Jesus was resurrected as a gay man? Your argument about Paul not borrowing from the culture to determine his definition holds no water here, my point was it is not a leap to suggest he simply transferred the Septuagint Levitical definition… I get that you think I am hostile to homosexuality and contributing to violence but that is a convenient way to malign my argument and make yourself feel superior, I made it clear that our definitions of humanity must come from the resurrection and not modernity, if you have a problem with that you have a problem with the gospel, because the resurrection is the gospel. At some point you need to make an argument for your case outside of responses to what you see as hostility, make a positive Holy Spirit infused argument for me rather than demeaning my disagreement as some kind of hostility, stop being a victim and give me an Orthodox and scriptural basis for approved homosexual activity, I am serious here all I ever hear are arguments about how evil rational historical postures are, give me some biblical truth I sink my teeth into rather than some circus chase of bending definitions…I get that the bible is not perfect, but it still contains some level of influence upon our behavior, if violence is un-biblical so are other things…no one has ever truly made a compelling arguement to suggest that behavior determines Gods definition of us…and the defintions I find in scripture do not seem to suggest that this particular metric carries any sense of favor…help me out here. (Written on ipad with a terrible inability to correct anything)

  • I have to disagree; I am dealing honestly with it. I may very well be mistaken about what it says, but I’m not being disingenuous. I’ve certainly nothing to gain from the traditional view, but I just can’t buy the opposing arguments.

    And I get what you’re saying about all of the evil that’s been done to lgbt people, but I think you’re making too big of a leap. For instance, people have, for centuries, justified all kinds of horrible antisemitic violence in part by pointing out the Jews’ rejection of Jesus. And in the crusades, the same can be said concerning Muslims. But the fact that violence has been done to those groups doesn’t somehow lead to the conclusion that rejecting Jesus is not sin. Likewise, such a conclusion about gay sexual activity can’t be reached by the fact that lgbt people have been persecuted and discriminated against.

    I wouldn’t use the phrase “homosexuality is sin” because I think that what I and most level-headed traditionalists mean is something more nuanced than what those words convey.

  • nabil89

    how is he wrong?

  • Although the argument that everyone does this is valid so some degree, it also reveals a lot about the assumptions that a person makes before in daily life, in dealing with Scripture, and in making “their rules of interpretation”. For anyone dealing honestly with the Scriptures, they must fit it all together into a cohesive whole: and will (consciously or not) twist things to get them to fit into that whole. This is very well illustrated by this article. The way a person interprets the Scriptures says much more about themselves and their relationship with God than it says about what God intended us to receive.

    The very fact that there is so much (often violent) disagreement on what is meant shows that we are usually wrong in our interpretation. What we do with that wrong-ness is as much an illustration of what we’ve taken from the Scriptures as our theological arguments. I choose to always fall on the side of love and justice and meekness and not hurting others. Others make different choices.

    Having graduated from a conservative Bible College, I have many friends who interpret this verse traditionally (as far as I know) yet they accept myself and my husband as well as any other two Christian friends. They do not harp on our marriage; they accept us as a couple. What you do with how you interpret these verses, fitting them into the totality of Scripture, is as important as your interpretation.

  • OK… now Ben, I hope you know where I am by now in all this stuff. So… what I am asking now is more on the lines of something kinda-sorta midrashish… It’s poking at the issue you presented to get us to examine ourselves.

    You article criticizes the apparent hypocrisy of taking one passage of the Bible literally and another passage more figuratively. You use the conservative example. However, using the EXACT same issues… couldn’t you do the same from a progressive view? “Love your enemies” is taken literally… but the verses on homosexuality are taken as having a lot more nuance and contextuality about them. Wouldn’t the same critique cut both ways?

    I think the MOST honest response to ALL of this is basically saying, “I have a particular conviction. I’m attempting to live it out faithfully based upon what I’ve found in the teachings of Scripture. But…. I could be wrong. I think I’m right and I have some good reason for thinking that way… But… I COULD BE WRONG.”

    If we have that level of honesty and humility, then, even in our disagreements, perhaps we can come to a better way of living as a body rather than a bunch of severed limbs…

  • Agreed. I think there are plenty of ways the left does this. There’s tremendous humility needed on all sides.

  • James

    Outstanding article Benjamin. My two cents is that many people use the Bible as a Magic 8 ball – they keep shaking it until it gives them the results they want. Speaking as an atheist, the “new atheists” tend to do that when pointing out the bad stuff in the Bible; it’s a legitimate criticism, but it also ignores the good. But if one wishes to hate gay people, there’s a verse for that. Because homosexuality is an easy target – pastors can be certain that 95% or more of the congregation aren’t gay -they tend to focus on these verses and not the ones that make their congregation queasy, such as heterosexual sin. And there are verses against hypocrisy that aren’t quoted for the simple reason the pastor, sooner or later, is going to ask for his 10%. As you pointed out, there are also verses commanding people to love – it’s unequivocal. There are verses for not judging – also unequivocal. But when this is pointed out to people who want to use the Bible as a weapon to justify their tribalism and prejudice, they’ll just tell you that you “aren’t reading it in context” (i.e. the subjective way that they happen to prefer). What they’re blind to is the fact that their own biases determine the way in which they read the Bible too.

  • This is why literal-inerrantism is not, and never will be, a faithful or intellectually honest response to scripture. World without end, amen.

  • lollardheretic

    Can I just say, and this isn’t wholly on topic, sorry, but “What if Hitler raped your wife?” Really? Because the worst possibly thing that could possibly happen to a man is for HIS WIFE to be raped. Not “what if someone tried to kill your family?” or “tried to kill you.” (Those are, at least, philosophical questions–or could lead to them–about moral responsibility to defend self and others.) But NOPE, it’s the disgrace of having a raped wife. That’s the big “gotcha!” Argh. Women and women’s bodies as symbolic chattel (or literal chattel) upon which all of men’s masculinity and identity is inscribed. For, if your WIFE or WOMAN is violated, it is the MAN who suffers. Or at least it’s his suffering that is of concern. Sure, the women suffer, but hey, that’s what they do, right? Eve’s curse and all.

    Sorry for the mini-rant. Stuff like that just drives me nuts.

  • John Mury

    The first two questions can’t possible be serious but the third has been widely addressed — the Acts 15 council left the Levitical sexual code intact. Perhaps this was because, unlike most other sections of the Levitical code, Leviticus 18 is specifically placed in a cross-cultural context and one that applied to people who were not under the Law (Lev 18:24-30). I think it’s safe to say that Paul would not take grace as a license to sin, and anything in the Leviticus 18 code was solidly assumed to be contrary to the will of God. Also, I’m not even saying that Paul has to be appealing to the Levitical code, just that arsenos koiten was a term in use by Greak-speaking Jews to refer to homosexuality in general — and not just narrow subsets of same-sex relations. To be clear, I’m not a literalist nor a conservative (I think Ben himself could attest to this as we know one another IRL). However, I am passionate about theological and logical consistency, which is why I have convictions but a wide tolerance for other perspectives.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    I think you need to start reading Paul’s letters more if you think that his teachings were pro-law and didn’t give a license to sin. Paul was so passionate about God’s grace that people actually believed that it was right to sin, that’s how we should preach also. When Paul cleared this up by saying that we shouldn’t sin so that grace may abound, he wasn’t saying that God’s grace doesn’t cover our sin. He says himself that of we continue to sin, then grace WILL abound, but he says we shouldn’t. This means that even though we can sin because God’s grace is perfect and unconditional, we should respect God and thank Him by not sinning. God’s grace can cover it and because His grace is unconditional, we can’t do anything to earn or to lose it.

  • John Mury

    Check out Richard B. Hays’ book “Moral Vision of the New Testament.” He addresses it in his chapter on Homosexuality and includes references.

  • John Mury

    Yes, this is exactly what I’m hoping for! To hold honest convictions while leaving room for others to hold theirs.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    No one said anywhere that Jesus was homosexual. Ever. But, you would be hard pressed to prove that He was heterosexual. Jesus, as far as we know, was not attracted to either sex. There is no record of Jesus ever longing for a partner of either sex or of Him having any kind of orientation. Jesus could have been asexual for all we know. Furthermore, the gospel is NOT the resurrection. I’ll repeat that. The gospel is NOT the resurrection. The word gospel literally means the good news. The good news is not the death, or even the resurrection, of Christ (though those are good), but it was His life and what He taught. American Christianity is so obsessed with violence and death that we ignore Christ’s words and embrace His death. That’s really messed up. We’ve also abandoned the death theory of Jesus that the early church had. The early church didn’t believe in either the Satisfaction theory (Jesus paid our debt of honor to God) or the Penal Substitution theory (Jesus paid our legal debt to God); they mostly believed in the Moral Influence theory (Jesus exposed our sin and taught us how to live), but some believed in the later Random theory (Jesus paid our ransom to Satan). I believe as the early church did, in the Moral Influence theory, not the other two that make God look evil or the one that makes Satan bigger than God. God doesn’t require sacrifice and He never has.

  • John Mury

    And yet he still labeled many things as wrong, yet without wanting to place people under the Law. The Law was and can still be instructive as to what is right and wrong (or what the will of God is) without necessarily having to be under its authority. (Calvin’s third use of the law is an example of this line of thought, but not the only example.). If you think I can come to my opinions only by not having read Paul’s letters enough, I think you’re mistaken. In crude theological terms, the exclusion of the Law from justification doesn’t exclude a role for the Law in sanctification. Luther, recognizing the inherent danger, still saw the Law as something that drives us to Christ inasmuch as we are simul justus et peccator.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    Jesus absolutely did not affirm the law… He kind of broke it…. On many occasions…. Have you read the gospels?

  • John Mury

    If so, then you’re using “literalist” differently than it’s used in this post. In any case, this would be “special pleading” – allowing different standards for each side. Specifically, “literalists” arguing against the pacifist position could (and do) argue that a “truly literalist” position doesn’t necessarily require pacifism — an option that is specifically excluded from this discussion.

  • Funny, I seem to recall Hays focusing on Romans, not 1 Corinthians. Perhaps I missed something? Regardless, I can’t exactly just pop down to the local library to borrow a copy of that one. Would you be so kind as to educate me on what Dr. Hays had to say?

  • Jeff Preuss

    “So you are suggesting that Jesus was resurrected as a gay man?”
    Y’know, I pored over Wilm’s post, and I cannot see anywhere he suggested that.

    “When we let behavior determine identity rather than wholeness as
    presented in Christs resurrection we defraud the gospel of it’s
    intention, regardless of who we bend the rules for.”
    Ah, behavior. THAT’s how you’re skewing this issue. It’s not a behavior, as that would reinforce the erroneous belief that gay people are just straight people going against their nature. It’s by and large an innate orientation.

    “I am no expert but it seems that this particular behavior is either the result or results in damaged emotional constructs”
    Honestly, that stereotype in itself is more damaging than you might think. We’re often assumed to come from broken places or create a break, which leaves no room in your perception for those of us who simply are homosexual, without the assumed trauma that is supposed to make us this way. We can and do have whole, happy, healthy relationships.

  • shalombringer

    The logic and conclusions in this article are spot on, and I can certainly agree with the premise that “if you take scripture seriously, you need to take it all seriously”.

    However, it would seem that the premise could be turned the other way as well –

    “Do you accept the teaching of Jesus regarding loving your enemies?”

    “Yes.”

    “Then why don’t you accept the scriptural admonitions regarding same-sex relationships?”

    Thoughts?

  • John Mury

    I’m not near a library either but Hays’ position and analysis (including 1 Corinthians) is summed up here:
    http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2004/04/Homosexuality-Rebellion-Against-God.aspx#

    But seriously, why all the sarcasm and latent malice? Unless I’m reading you wrong, in which case I apologize. Sometimes I feel like a fool wading into discussions in the vain hope that people can disagree yet still be gracious.

  • I’ve mentioned as much in other comments. I affirm that whatever Paul taught is inspired and true, and have been public about the fact that I am on the fence as to what he meant, so I side with a position that is inclusive and doesn’t condemn. Yet, I desire to know what he meant and I am prepared to affirm what he meant, if one side or the other can convince me.

  • Didn’t intend sarcasm. Sorry, text doesn’t convey tone well. Looking back, I can see where you would’ve seen sarcasm, and I apologize for not choosing my words more carefully, but everything I wrote here was intended genuinely.

    Regarding that link, I saw it when I did my cursory search before responding (I always try my best to have at least a basic understanding of something if I’m going to talk about it), but wasn’t sure how seriously to take it, since it begins by saying that it was adapted from Dr. Hays’ work. I’m always wary when I see that word, “adapted.” But giving it a closer read, the article appears to take for granted that the assertion “arsenokoitai comes from Leviticus” will be accepted without fuss. There’s a brief mention of Robin Scroggs, but no real reason given for why someone who is skeptical should prefer Robin Scroggs’ arguments over that of the unnamed “some scholars” who argue that the meaning is uncertain.

    Likewise, the author of the article just takes for granted that we’ll accept his explanation of malakoi, to the point where there’s not even an attempt at a reference. I find that especially problematic, since what reading I’d done prior to this regarding 1 Corinthians 6 supports the opposite of what this author is claiming. Where this author claims that it’s clearly a Hellenistic pejorative for a penetrated man/boy (unsourced), an author elsewhere points out that Xenophon, Philo, Plutarch, etc. used the word to describe a man who enjoyed heterosexual sex too much (with sources).

    This author also mentions Acts 15, which you didn’t mention to me but I saw you mention below, so if I may briefly touch on that. This author suggests that the Apostles in Acts 15 are holding Gentile Christians to select parts of the Levitical law. It seems to me more likely that they’re holding Gentile Christians to the Noahide laws – those seven laws given to or before Noah which were therefore given to all humans, not just the people of Israel. Granted my reasoning for that is based only on my knowledge, not any scholarly articles, but I know that the Noahide laws are what Judaism teaches that Gentiles need to follow to be considered righteous, and I know that Acts 15 is often summed up as “Gentiles don’t have to become Jewish to be Christians.” But whether it’s a reference to the Noahide laws or Levitical, the Greek word used is πορνεία, and while I’m no Greek scholar, Strong’s is telling me that it means “fornication, whoredom, idolatry.” So in that instance, it would seem that the burden of proof would be on the person claiming that πορνεία includes homosexuality. And this article doesn’t do much by way of proof there.

    Granted, I realize that this article isn’t Dr. Hays’ work, it’s “adapted” from his work. If I’d realized at the time that I would be having conversations like these, I think I would have asked Dr. Hays (and others) about it while I was at Duke. But alas, I didn’t, and now the Church has called my wife and I to a small rural town for this season of our lives, and the internet is all I have to do my research with.

  • Greg Monk

    Robert, I completely agree with you. And certainly, there are examples on both sides of the fence of extreme folks who fail to accept even the possibility that the other side is right (I thought the movie, “The Last Supper” (1995) was a pretty good, if dark, portrayal of extreme liberalism) – but, in general, it seems to me that the liberals, by definition, are usually more likely to adopt that honest response than the conservative side.

  • Ron McPherson

    John,

    I don’t want to hijack this thread with a discussion on atonement, but would like to provide some info for the record. The gospel is used in different contexts within the NT and I accept that it refers to good news in a broad sense. For instance, Jesus and His apostles certainly preached the gospel of the Kingdom to the Jewish people at the time He walked the earth.

    But one cannot ignore passages to the NT church like First Corinthians 15:1-4 which speak definitively to Christ’s death and resurrection encompassing the NT gospel, “Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures”

    Even the apostle Peter (perhaps Jesus’ closest disciple), in Acts 2:22-24 (recorded by Luke), preaches, “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.”

    Peter himself wrote (I Peter 2:24), “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” For me personally, that’s good news.
    Peace

  • Jason

    This is an excellent point. And Robert Martin makes another good point below. I would argue that nuance is always needed when reading scripture, but when you take the issue of homosexuality and violence in the context of what is loving, what is Christ-like and also examine the effects of Sin on peoples lives (that it is harmful), I think we will see a very stark contrast in the difference between violence and homosexuality and what their effects are.

  • phil locke

    “many people use the Bible as a Magic 8 ball – they keep shaking it until it gives them the results they want”

    very nice analogy :-)

  • Unfortunately, I’m not sure one side or the other will ever convince you. The one side is characterized mostly by shallow readings of “self-evident” Scripture, and the other is split between those who agree with their opponents that Scripture is clear on this issue and is simply wrong, and those who think that Scripture is not at all clear. From what I’ve seen, there simply isn’t an argument that Scripture is clear and doesn’t condemn homosexuality. From where I sit, the “it’s just not clear” argument seems to be the most honest and valid, but maybe that’s just me.

    …of course, ultimately, I think that the way this argument should be framed is in a way that’s fairly consonant with your article here. “Are you gay? No? Then stop making such a big deal about it and focus on working out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” The very fact that it’s so clearly unclear (to me) would suggest to me that we shouldn’t be treating it as “the one great and unforgivable sin” like we currently do. But like you say in your article, we’re much more interested in changing them than in being changed ourselves.

  • Richard Worden Wilson

    We are all pretty fallible no matter how well educated and able to parse closely argued nuances of meaning, so I try to defer to scripture as written and understood by the early church. In the early centuries of the Christian church there wasn’t any serious debate about whether followers of Jesus could take up weapons and kill anyone and there wasn’t any debate about whether homosexual activity was acceptable. Period. If one looks for a consistent understanding of why violence got rejected but not rules against homosexual behavior it would have to be the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles as they and the early church understood it. New Covenant teaching affirms much of the Old Covenant behavioral guidelines but rejects or redefines other aspects. A consistent hermeneutic for dealing with the two issues you bring into focus here Benjamin is an Anabaptist one that discerns the distinctive shifts Jesus brought without rejiggering them to adapt to the new circumstances brought by Constantine 1700 years ago or by sexual revolution 50 years ago. New cultural circumstances, new definitions of natural, new definitions of homosexual behavior, or new definitions of love shouldn’t change our understanding of what it means to obey Jesus, to obey God, so much that it diverges greatly from what the early church believed. I know a lot of people will try to reject this perspective with all the “issue” arguments about things the church has supposedly changed on: women’s roles, slavery, etc.; I don’t think those are as much changes as a return to what the early church believed and was already trying to accomplish. I think I’m open to re-interpretation of what scripture actually says, but to overthrow what the people of God have believed God’s will to be regarding sexual behavior for about 3000 years should require the authority of a prophet at least, not just a lot of complex arguments about why the early church didn’t understand what they actually meant.

  • Richard Worden Wilson

    Sorry for the double posting of this same comment, but it applies here also. We are all pretty fallible no matter how well educated and able to parse closely argued nuances of meaning, so I try to defer to scripture as written and understood by the early church. In the early centuries of the Christian church there wasn’t any serious debate about whether followers of Jesus could take up weapons and kill anyone and there wasn’t any debate about whether homosexual activity was acceptable. Period. If one looks for a consistent understanding of why violence got rejected but not rules against homosexual behavior it would have to be the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles as they and the early church understood it. New Covenant teaching affirms much of the Old Covenant behavioral guidelines but rejects or redefines other aspects. A consistent hermeneutic for dealing with the two issues you bring into focus here Benjamin is an Anabaptist one that discerns the distinctive shifts Jesus brought without rejiggering them to adapt to the new circumstances brought by Constantine 1700 years ago or by sexual revolution 50 years ago. New cultural circumstances, new definitions of natural, new definitions of homosexual behavior, or new definitions of love shouldn’t change our understanding of what it means to obey Jesus, to obey God, so much that it diverges greatly from what the early church believed. I know a lot of people will try to reject this perspective with all the “issue” arguments about things the church has supposedly changed on: women’s roles, slavery, etc.; I don’t think those are as much changes as a return to what the early church believed and was already trying to accomplish. I think I’m open to re-interpretation of what scripture actually says, but to overthrow what the people of God have believed God’s will to be regarding sexual behavior for about 3000 years should require the authority of a prophet at least, not just a lot of complex arguments about why the early church didn’t understand what they actually meant.

  • If I may, I’d also like to ask your thoughts on two other things that I’ve gleaned regarding arsenokoites. First is the argument that, had Paul meant homosexuality, he would instead have used paiderasste (as I said elsewhere, I’m no scholar of Greek, so if you are then I will defer to your greater knowledge). Second is that in the time of Martin Luther, arsenokoites was universally interpreted as “masturbators.” And apparently the Catholic Encyclopedia included that interpretation as recently as 1967. Not that I necessarily think that that’s a better translation, but I do find it curious how one universally-accepted interpretation gives way to a completely different one.

  • Sonya1978

    I am reminded of the scripture (Prov. 21:2) “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirit”. So much of what we express reveals the attitude we serve the Lord with. I wonder if he is not more concerned about the attitude behind it and its motive than the action itself.

  • gimpi1

    Me too, Lollard. I hate being nothing more than a prop in someone else’s idiot example.

  • Jeff Preuss

    I think it would be hard to honestly and respectfully debate you on this issue if you continue to summarize homosexuality as “behavior.”

    “to overthrow what the people of God have believed God’s will to be regarding sexual behavior for about 3000 years should require the authority of a prophet at least, not just a lot of complex arguments about why the early church didn’t understand what they actually meant.” And by what measurement would you determine someone to be an acceptably authoritative prophet?

    I don’t believe that stating the early church didn’t have a complete grasp of either sexuality or reproduction is all that complex of an argument.

  • WilmRoget

    “So you are suggesting that Jesus was resurrected as a gay man?”

    Nothing in my post suggests anything to that effect. So, either you are utterly incompetent at reading comprehension, or thoroughly dishonest. Either way, you simply are no longer a credible source about the meaning of any text, including the Bible.

    “Your argument about Paul not borrowing from the culture to determine his definition holds no water here,”

    Again, your characterization of my position is miles from accurate. Paul did not use any of the words of the language his letters were written in that communicate the concept ‘men who have sex with men’. It is not rational to conclude then that he was writing about men who have sex with men.

    It is as if I wrote a letter about the evils of the automobile, but instead of using words like car, auto, automobile, roadster, jalopy, gas-guzzler, etc – I made up a word instead.

    “but that is a convenient way to malign”

    No, it is reality, the reality of thousands of GLBTQ people beaten, murdered, stripped of civil rights, bullied to suicide, slandered and reviled.

    “nd the defintions I find in scripture do not seem to suggest that this particular metric carries any sense of favor’

    And again, your dehumanizing language reflects your absolutely contempt for GLBTQ people. And your consistent dishonesty on this communicates the same message.

    Jesus was clear on something relevant to this that you accidentally introduced. Jesus stands with the oppressed, not the oppressors such as you and your peers. Jesus said that what we do for the oppressed, the ‘least of these among you’ and in our society that includes GLBTQ people still, we do for Jesus as well. And what we fail to do for the oppressed, we fail to do for Jesus.

    The abuse and discrimination and scorn and malice and contempt you heap on GLBTQ people, you heap on Christ as well. Your failure to even give a damn about the persecution of GLBTQ people, much less work to stop it, sacrificing our lives to your pride-based theology ‘homosexuality is sin’, is neglect and failure you inflict on Christ as well.

  • Guy Norred

    And of course there is the misunderstanding of the source of the trauma that so many of us obviously do carry.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    With all due respect, your arguments don’t really support your position…

    In 1 Corinthians your point is sustained, but it is merely a portion of what Paul writes. To argue that Paul limits the gospel to death and resurrection is a stretch.

    Your Acts reference maks almost no coherent sense. Firstly, your “perhaps Jesus’ closest disciple” argument is irrelevant and has no basis. Onto the real argument, Peter is clearly condemning what happened on the cross. He says that man’s evilness killed Jesus (which is a belief only held by the Moral Influence theory) and that God did not approve, so He raised His son (or Himself) above death for He could not be subjected to it. I’m not really sure how this has anything to do with the gospel, this just condemns the death of Christ as a great evil.

    Your 1 Peter scripture literally says that Jesus died so that we could live, which neither confirms, nor denies any of the theories. The argument, however, is irrelevant because it makes no mention of the gospel.

    A word of advice: figure out what the gospel is by reading the gospels… They’re called the gospels for a reason. They mentioned the life of Jesus far more than the death.

  • WilmRoget

    “I have to disagree; I am dealing honestly with it.”

    But you are not, and yes, no doubt pride demands that you disagree.

    “but I think you’re making too big of a leap.”

    Then you are not being honest, and, you are rejecting Christ’s own teaching.

    ” For instance, people have, for centuries, justified all kinds of horrible antisemitic violence in part by pointing out the Jews’ rejection of Jesus.”

    And that was evil and false theology as well, and it remains evil theology. The Jews did not reject Jesus, their leaders did, largely for political reasons. By the way, by repeating that lie “the Jews’ rejection of Jesus” you showed that you are an antisemite as well as a homophobe.

    You are making excuses, but Jesus is clear “good trees bear good fruit, evil trees bear evil fruit”. Reject Christ if you must, but His words show that you, and everyone else who teaches ‘homosexuality is sin’ are false teachers, workers of iniquity. As were those who taught ‘the Jews killed Jesus’, or ‘convert Muslims by force or death’.

    “I wouldn’t use the phrase “homosexuality is sin” because I think that what I and most level-headed traditionalists mean is something more nuanced than what those words convey.”

    No, it is not. You won’t use it because it is too honest for you.

  • Guy Norred

    Interesting–I had not heard that.

  • WilmRoget

    “You know it’s really a bit dishonest to say “anti-gay theology produces murder and rape””

    No, it is not. It is reality. Real human beings are murdered, raped, burned alive, doused with acid, blinded with gasoline, bullied to suicide, stripped of basic human rights, as the deliberate and intentional enforcement of ‘homosexuality is sin’.

    “it almost seems like you are switching decks here.”

    You are avoiding reality by smearing me.

    “I could just as easily suggest that historically gay men have been overwhelmingly violent to underage boys and be fairly accurate’

    No, you would be a vicious liar and fraud. In fact, people like you, who equate homosexuality with pedophilia, are far more likely to be sexual predators than gay men are. And with that slander of yours, you prove my point. It is impossible to ‘homosexuality is sin’ to be expressed without verbal violence. And as a slanderer, you are barred from the Kingdom of Heaven, unless you repent.

    ” Lets play honest here”

    I have been, you have not.

  • Which part? :-P

  • John A. C. Kelley

    Paul disagrees, he literally says that the law is a ministry of death. Jesus commanded us to do all that we do in love because if we truly love God and each other, then we will not do wrong. There is no arbitrary list of do’s and don’t’s attached because any extra would limit and fornication the love. Them law does nothing but lead us away from Christ. It is good on its own, but it hurts us when applied.

  • Can we have a rational discussion without calling people dishonest or accuse them of rejecting God and other name calling? I’m not sure the level of combativeness is contributing to the discussion.

  • WilmRoget

    “The first two questions can’t possible be serious”

    In other words, you cannot refute either.

    “the Acts 15 council left the Levitical sexual code intact.”

    The false distinction is sin on your part. James 2 makes it clear, break any part of the Law and you break it all:

    10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. James 2.

    So bear in this mind, not only is it fraud to apply either of the passage from Leviticus to homosexuals, for neither is about homosexuals, there is no bed wife, no mishkap ishshah in our lives, you have not only bound yourself for judgement to all of the law, per Christ in Matthew 7,

    you are a murderer in thought and word.

    ” just that arsenos koiten was a term in use by Greak-speaking Jews to refer to homosexuality in general”

    No. That claim is not substantiated by any evidence. Quite the contrary. Greek texts of the period use seventeen other words to express that concept, but no arsenokoite.

    http://www.gaychristian101.com/what-words-could-paul-have-used-if-he-intended-to-condemn-homosexuality.html

    ” However, I am passionate about theological and logical consistency,”

    Nothing in your post substantiates that claim.

  • Guy Norred

    the “masturbators” interpretation

  • WilmRoget

    “If so, then you’re using “literalist” differently than it’s used in this post.”

    No. Though I may be using it more strictly that most fundamentalist Christians live it.

    “In any case, this would be “special pleading” ”

    No, and your false assertion and empty dismissals and poor examples accomplish nothing.

  • Indeed – although of course now that I’ve made the assertion, I’ve gone and misplaced my source. Go figure.

  • Question, because I’m curious where you’re coming from: where do we draw our sexual ethics from? Is adultery still wrong or was that part of the law that’s been done away with?

    I don’t believe in following Levitical law either (though I think the 10 commandments still stand in the new age now), but conversations like this always raise the hair on the back of my neck because it can get to a point where anything goes, and scripture becomes stripped of it’s authority.

  • Upon further review, although the assertion is that “masturbators” was the accepted translation of the time, apparently Luther himself wanted it to mean “those who rape young boys” – Das Problem kirchlicher Amtshandlungen an gleichgeschlechtlichen Paaren: Sozialwissenschaftliche, theologische, ethische, poimenische und liturgiewissenschaftliche Perspektiven by Wiebke Krohn, p. 124, V&R unipress GmbH, Aug 15, 2011

    EDIT: So, ultimately, I think one of the major take-aways here is that the debate over what arsenokoites means is nothing new, and enough different translations have been proposed through the years that claiming one particular translation is clear and self-evident seems dishonest.

  • WilmRoget

    I understand that you are upset with me for criticizing your stance on abortion, and for articulating the utter inappropriateness of any male telling women they must face serious, life threatening health risks that he is intrinsically exempt from.

    But falsely accusing me of name-calling won’t change that.

    Now you present as an ally for GLBTQ people.

    (edit: I misunderstood you, and had missed this statement of yours “have been public about the fact that I am on the fence as to what he meant, so I side with a position that is inclusive and doesn’t condemn. Yet, I desire to know what he meant and I am prepared to affirm what he meant, if one side or the other can convince me”)

    So, factoring in the above, you are not an ally. And that puts your post to me in a much worse light. 10 hours ago, Mark Pixley made this accusation against gay men:

    “I could just as easily suggest that historically gay men have been overwhelmingly violent to underage boys and be fairly accurate without naming my time period.”

    There is no rebuke from you for him as of this moment, 11:00 PST Wednesday, 10/9/2014 . His post has not been removed. Yet you misrepresent my arguments to rebuke me?

    When hate speech like that stands for hours, and you jump on me within minutes for minor, accurate criticism, something is really wrong.

  • CroneEver

    Great post! I had the Bible verses v. homosexuality trotted out to me just yesterday, and I said, “Yes, I know – 4 verses against homosexuality in the Bible, and they have to be rigidly adhered to. However, we can ignore the 20+ verses against usury (the charging of interest on loans), the myriad verses against financial rapacity, i.e., toxic capitalism, because that’s what our whole financial system is based on. We can totally deprive widows and orphans, the elderly and the poor, of any help whatsoever, because God didn’t mean what he said about THAT. From His own word, the Bible, God is far less concerned about what we do with our private parts than what we do with our wallets, and as far as that goes, modern society is dishonoring God pretty much 24/7. THAT’S a collective responsibility.”

  • In fairness, I think what you’re calling “face value” is really in-depth study, whereas the phrase “face value” usually means at a more superficial level.

  • WilmRoget

    In depth in the sense of finding the literal meaning of the original words, yeah. But once one gets to the literal, face value meaning of these passages in their original language, they do not address homosexuality.

    One of the things that I’ve noticed with conservative, fundamentalists regarding theology is that they will engage in a great deal of ‘in-depth study’ to prove that they are right about something, or that something in their life really isn’t sin,

    but rarely make the same effort when trying to condemn others – for that, the least amount of work necessary to reach the desired interpretation is consistently sufficient for them.

  • Not sure if “what if Hitler raped your wife” is an actual example, or a reference to this article: http://brianzahnd.com/2014/07/hitler-invaded-house/

    Admittedly, when I was remembering the article I remembered it wrong, so perhaps I’m mistaken about it being a reference.

  • Not arguing with you about that :-P I was just making sure that I hadn’t been using the phrase “face value” wrong my whole life.

  • WilmRoget

    “From what I’ve seen, there simply isn’t an argument that Scripture is clear and doesn’t condemn homosexuality.”

    There are no arguments from Scripture that clearly condemn homosexuality. None.

    Where, exactly, is the mishkap ishshah in my life? It is in two of the passages that bigots use to revile my life. Where is it in my life?

  • WilmRoget

    “And yet he still labeled many things as wrong,”

    And yet Paul wrote, in Romans 14:

    14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.

    The whole chapter is about refraining from judgement of others:

    https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+14&version=NIV

  • Sorry, I mistyped. What I meant to say was that there’s not an argument that Scripture clearly condones homosexuality. But what you’re arguing here, which is the same stance as what I take, is essentially a rebuttal by way of introducing reasonable doubt. Through careful study, it’s clear to me that none of the so-called “clobber” passages condemn homosexuality. And I think that’s enough, even though I’d say that falls most readily into the category of “Scripture isn’t clear.” The reason I say that is because the argument doesn’t propose to claim with authority what the passages do say, only what they don’t. Saying, for example, that there’s no good evidence for translating arsenokoitai as “homosexuals” is, I’d say, arguing that Scripture’s not clear. I’m not proposing to know what that word means, but in saying that nobody has a handle on what it means, I’m proposing that it’s invalid as evidence that homosexuality is sinful.

    …am I making sense? It’s like in a court of law, where the defense doesn’t have to prove their innocence, only that the prosecution has failed to prove guilt.

  • Guy Norred

    I see where you are coming from and in some ways agree with both of you, but it seems to me that what John said is essentially the meaning of Jesus’ assertion that on the two greatest commandments hang all the law. The law (as a list of dos and don’ts) may form a guideline when in doubt as to what the loving thing to do in a given situation is, but we really SHOULD be following the leading of the Spirit in all that we do, and if we did this, we would be in no need of the law. This is not to say that I do not consider the ten commandments fully valid (just reread them to see if I could at least quickly come up with any reason to disagree with this assertion), but that if without them we would break them, then we are not truly loving God and our neighbor.

  • Ron McPherson

    John,

    You stated, “Furthermore, the gospel is NOT the resurrection. I’ll repeat that. The gospel is NOT the resurrection.”

    I referenced the I Corinthians passage to show that your assertion is incorrect based on the Scriptures. And nowhere did I, in your words, ‘argue that Paul limits the gospel to death and resurrection.’ I wasn’t the one limiting the gospel, you were – by excluding Christ’s death and resurrection. You’re falsely accusing me of doing the very thing that you have done. I actually showed where the gospel could be expanded.

    I referenced Peter’s message in Acts because his message can be defined as the gospel, based on the definition in I Corinthians (which was addressed). Further, the I Peter passage, “By his wounds you have been healed” shows that we must grapple with the fact that Christ’s death healed us in some respect (since you brought up the topic of atonement).

    And you open your comments, “With all due respect” only to lead to your words that my “reference maks (sic) no coherent sense.” You then close with a condescending “word of advice” about figuring out what the gospel is by reading the gospels.

    Good grief!

  • Minor nit-pick, but I believe the usual figure is six verses against homosexuality. Only four distinct arguments, though.

    1. Sodom and Gomorrah (which Scripture itself claims is about something else, but it still gets used so I still list it)
    2&3. Leviticus 18:22 and Leviticus 20:13 (different wordings of the same concept)
    4. Romans 1:26-27
    5&6. 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:9-10 (ultimately boil down to how one translates arsenokoitai)

    Sorry, I know, that’s really nit-picking and not ultimately relevant to the actual point you were making. Which, by the way, is a fantastic point.

  • WilmRoget

    “couldn’t you do the same from a progressive view? “Love your enemies”
    is taken literally… but the verses on homosexuality are taken as
    having a lot more nuance and contextuality about them. Wouldn’t the
    same critique cut both ways?”

    Begging the question like that is not very helpful.

    It would be helpful if instead you demonstrating that there actually is a difference in nuance and contextuality in the way progressive Christians understand ‘love your enemies’ (Matthew 5:) and the way we treat the verses used to falsely brutalize GLBTQ people.

    For example, how would the process applied to the ‘gotcha verses’ by progressive Christians alter, in any way, our understanding of Matthew 5?

    Please be detailed.

  • For me, it’s a threefold response. Firstly and most importantly, as Christ-followers we follow the Law that Christ presented (love God and love one another, plus the new commandment in John to “love one another as I have loved you”). Second, I take seriously the seven Noahide laws, which according to Rabbinic tradition are what is necessary for a Gentile to be considered righteous. Thirdly, there’s the fact that the Law is still Scripture. And while I would say that the totality of the New Testament frees us from legalistic adherence to the Law, as Scripture it still reveals to us the nature of God and our relationship to God. Which means we should be studying it with great fervor, in order to understand not only the letter of the Law but the underlying logic behind it, so that we may more fully love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.

    Which perhaps doesn’t totally answer your question. It’s a starting point, though.

  • (a) I did not see his comment that said that. I am not always able to catch every comment, but it has sense been removed.

    (b) I politely asked you to try to dialogue without being combative. That’s not a false accusation.

    (c) If you want to dismiss the breath of my writing, taking a stand for the LGBT community (something that has cost me jobs and friendships) and say that I’m not an ally, fine. It doesn’t change the fact that I’ve been consistently a vocal supporter of the LGBT community.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    Ok, to say that the gospels are NOT the death and resurrection is a completely true statement. They are not equal and therefore one is not there other. They death and resurrection are part if they gospel, but are NOT THE GOSPEL. I’m not sure why that’s such a difficult concept.

    Is it disrespectful to say that’s something doesn’t make sense? What do you define as respect and disrespect? If we can’t point out fallacies and inconsistencies, then how do we communicate and debate ideas effectively? The only other thing that’s you called me out on was my “condescending ‘word if advice'”, which was completely valid considering that’s we’re talking about THE GOSPEL and you didn’t quote from any of the gospels. Also, “with all due respect” gives you only the respect that you’re due and you are due no more respect than I am. You are a fellow human being and have absolutely no raised or lowered status compared to me and therefore I can point out you inconsistencies and give you advice and you can take it or leave it.

  • Didn’t think I needed to do so… sorry, dude. :-)

    In any case… Matthew 5 says “Love your enemies”, “turn the other cheek”, etc. Progressives tend to take those statements at “face value” to say that I would need to, in all cases, even in cases where violence is threatened on me or others, that returning violence for violence is not in keeping with Christian character. So… a very “literal” reading of Matthew 5.

    A not so literal reading of Romans 1, 1 Timothy 1:10, 1 Corinthans 6, Galatians 5, etc., uses a cultural nuance based upon the words used in the original language and the context of the original target audience to indicate that the practices mentioned are not meant to cover all same sex relationships but only those outside of the moral context of a committed relationship.

    So, the process used on the latter is actually NOT used on the former… a literal reading is used by progressives on the Matthew 5 and a nuanced reading on the “gotchas”… while conservatives flip this with a nuanced reading on the Matthew passage and a more literal “face value” reading on the “gotchas”.

    The same tools are used by both sides, just applied differently… this is not a judgement call on either side but simply pointing out that we all do it… we all come at Scripture with different lenses, different tools, and different treatments so to point the finger at one group and say, “You’re doing it wrong” means we need to take a VERY close look at our own group and ask the question, “How sure am I that I’m doing it right?”

    As Ben pointed out, there is tremendous humility needed on all sides.

  • Agreed, Greg… Conservatives, in general, and, perhaps, by definition, tend to want to “conserve” a particular reading and will fight tooth and nail to “conserve” that reading… while progressives/liberals, because of the very nature of that line of thinking, are not afraid to question and seek deeper understanding, even if it means challenging their own assumptions.

  • Ron McPherson

    So am I to understand that your point is that Christ’s death and resurrection is, in fact, a PART of the gospel?

    You write, “You are a fellow human being and have absolutely no raised or lowered status compared to me and therefore I can point out you inconsistencies and give you advice and you can take it or leave it.” I agree. Does this go both ways?

  • John A. C. Kelley

    I really appreciate that you took the time to respond to me and I would like you to know that you have been a major voice in the reshaping of my theology. Thank you for doing what you do and I apologize if I ever come off as rude, harsh, or ignorant in your comments.

    I wholeheartedly believe in the ten commandments, but not the Levitican law. In the Torah, it is written that the ten commandments were written by God and He added no more, it goes on to state that the Mosaic law was written by Moses. I believe that the mosaic law is flawed because some of it contradicts the ten commandments.

    I would like to play with a concept though. God’s grace is perfect, correct? And it is also unconditional, correct?

    Now riddle me this, how can God’s unconditional grace be conditional based on our actions?

    I believe that, just as Paul wrote, we are no longer bound to the law, but saved by grace. I also agree when he points out that just because we will not be judged by the law, doesn’t mean that we should become immoral, it means that we should be come more moral out of reverence and respect for what God has done.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    Yes it is PART of the gospel, but it is not THE GOSPEL. Just as my hands are a part of me, but they are not me.

    I don’t see why it wouldn’t.

  • WilmRoget

    No worries. Of course, 2000 years from now, someone will probably interpret our posts as rebuking ‘covalent marriage’ or whatever is the burning issue of the day.

  • WilmRoget

    ” What I meant to say was that there’s not an argument that Scripture clearly condones homosexuality.’

    Of course, there is no argument that the Scripture clearly condones many things, like computers and cars. And there is no evidence that the Scripture clearly says ‘anything no condoned here is condemned’.

    ” I’m not proposing to know what that word means, but in saying that nobody has a handle on what it means,”

    Well, there is the argument made by Jeremy Townsley that arsenokoite refers to sexual aggressors, though he also make a good case for ‘traders in sex slaves’. I intermittently look into this idea, since there is a difference in what a good Jew like Paul would see as permissible treatment of slaves, and what was common in Roman society as regards the sexual use of slaves.

    ” It’s like in a court of law, where the defense doesn’t have to prove their innocence,”

    That is a great point.

  • Ron McPherson

    Thank you for the clarification. I hope you can see why the semantics of your statement that the resurrection was NOT the gospel could have led to some confusion. I’m not suggesting that was your intent. Maybe a better way would have been to write that the resurrection is a PART of the gospel. Otherwise, it could be misconstrued that the two are exclusive. Just a word of advice.

  • Then it seems we’re in one accord. Now, how many others can we squeeze into this Honda? :-P

    Incidentally, “trader in sex slaves” is one of the better possibilities, in my mind. After all, what evidence we have of a word’s meaning is its context, and other writers contemporary to Paul used arsenokoitai in lists of economic sins (these being authors who grouped like unto like), so there’s a high probability of it meaning something economic in nature.

  • WilmRoget

    (a) Ten hours vs. ten minutes to criticize me.

    (b) The false accusation is ‘name calling’.

    (c) One could interpret your two posts as combative, combative is subjective, and frankly, a standard dismissal used by people who preach ‘homosexuality is sin’. Further, all posts asserting any defense of ‘homosexuality is sin’ are combative and abusive, from the perspective of GLBTQ people.

    When someone asserts that Leviticus condemns our lives, that is a call for us to be murdered, Mr. Corey. It doesn’t get much more combative than that. When someone used Paul’s I Cor 6 and I Tim passages, equating our loving relationships with stealing, addiction, murder, patricide, etc – that is extremely combative. Anti-gay theology is intrinsically combative.

    (d) “and say that I’m not an ally, fine.” You stated that you are on the fence regarding Paul’s meaning.

    (e) “It doesn’t change the fact that I’ve been consistently a vocal supporter of the LGBT community.” And yet your feed here is full of vicious anti-gay rhetoric, extremely combative commentary on the lives, character and spirituality of GLBTQ people, the vast majority of which is not rebuked by you, though you do rebuke me, falsely. The double standard is not a good sign.

    Understand, GLBTQ people are not inferior, and we don’t and won’t sit passively while we are reviled in public. If you want to talk about us, then you ought better be open to hearing from us, authentically, about the damage anti-gay theology causes. And you should not require us to kiss-up to, sugar coat or sweet talk those who proclaim us worthy of death and damnation.

    People are murdered, raped, burned alive because of the belief ‘homosexuality is sin’. And the kinds of things that appear regularly in the comments here contribute to that violence. Yet you apply to me a standard that is not applied to those who preach ‘homosexuality is sin’.

    One of the key sins in anti-gay theology is the injustice of the double standard, favoritism. It is so common, even people who want to help GLBTQ people, fall into it. Taught for so long that GLBTQ people are “abominations” – y’all don’t even see the intrinsic combativeness of any expression of ‘homosexuality is sin’, but elevate any rebuke of that belief out of proportion because of an internal and unresolved belief that GLBTQ people are inferior and to quote one homophobe from beliefnet ‘shouldn’t talk back to their betters’. And so GLBTQ people are held to a standard that is not imposed on those who revile us.

    That is a grave moral wrong.

  • WilmRoget

    “Progressives tend to take those statements”

    Can you back that up with evidence please?

    “even in cases where violence is threatened on me or others,”

    Oh, like this:
    “Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

    52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”” Matthew 26.

    ” So… a very “literal” reading of Matthew 5.”

    So, unsubstantiated speculation on your part. So far, you have not shown any real “difference in nuance and contextuality in the way progressive Christians understand ‘love your enemies’ (Matthew 5:) and the way we treat the verses used to falsely brutalize GLBTQ people”.

    “So, the process used on the latter is actually NOT used on the former…”

    You have not substantiated that accusation yet.

  • Covalent marriage? Sounds messy…

  • WilmRoget

    “Incidentally, “trader in sex slaves” is one of the better possibilities, in my mind.”

    I agree. It is historically documented that the Romans allowed the sexual use of slaves, basically without regard for gender, or age, and of course, oblivious to consent.

    From what I’ve read about the Jews laws and traditions for slavery in that culture, such abuse is inexcusable. It seems reasonable that Paul would be repulsed by the sex slavery in Rome and its culture. The question I pick away at is whether or not Paul had a pre-existing term for that particular abuse, which would explain why he felt it necessary to coin arsenokoite.

    I pick at it a bit, with little expectation of doing anything formal with the idea, mostly to satisfy my curiosity – why did Paul invent the word, if he supposedly was talking about something that had many pre-existing words to describe it?

  • WilmRoget

    But sometimes, electrifying.

  • Let me put it this way… I take those statements in Matthew 5 at face value… Does that make it clear? :-)

  • Yeah, that’s honestly a part of the debate I personally haven’t seen a whole lot of: what of our suggestions are things that Paul already had a perfectly good word for? Maybe that’s a discussion that’s happening and I’m just not seeing it, but on the other hand I’m pretty sure there were Koine Greek words that meant sex between two men. I’m not a Greek scholar (as I’ve mentioned elsewhere in this comment section), but as of yet nobody’s contested it.

  • Ron McPherson

    Good point. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once stated, “There is no better test as to whether a man is really preaching the New Testament gospel of salvation than this, that some people might misunderstand it and misinterpret it to mean … that because you are saved by grace alone it does not matter at all what you do; you can go on sinning as much as you like because it will redound all the more to the glory of grace. This is a very good test of gospel preaching. If my preaching and presentation of the gospel of salvation does not expose it to that misunderstanding, then it is not the gospel.”

  • WilmRoget

    “but on the other hand I’m pretty sure there were Koine Greek words that meant sex between two men.”

    Considering that there’s a lot of greek poetry and prose and graffiti about the subject – – –

    Here’s a site and cite I’ve found useful and credible. While more than a few teachers of ‘homosexuality is sin’ have summarily dismissed it, to date none of have provided any sort of fact based, evidence based argument to refute it:

    http://www.gaychristian101.com/what-words-could-paul-have-used-if-he-intended-to-condemn-homosexuality.html

    The author makes the case for seventeen greek words that were used to communicate various nuances of homoerotic relationship, intimacy and desire – none of which Paul used.

  • bz

    Matt 5:17???

  • bz

    Tell me more……

  • WilmRoget

    “New cultural circumstances, new definitions of natural, new definitions
    of homosexual behavior, or new definitions of love shouldn’t change our
    understanding of what it means to obey Jesus, to obey God,”

    So, what is the date in time at which something becomes ‘new’? Anti-gay theology is about 1300 to 1700 years old. It was an innovation, it was new at one point.

    The rebuke and rejection of anti-gay theology then can be seen to be a rejection of a false ‘new’ thing.

    “but to overthrow what the people of God have believed God’s will to be regarding sexual behavior for about 3000 years”

    What about slavery and racism then? After all, for not quite so long, slavery was believed to be God’s will, God’s natural plan for humanity. Appeals to tradition are simply convoluted exercises is laziness.

  • Ron McPherson

    Nailed it!!

  • Guy Norred

    This has continued on my mind since I responded and I felt the need to add. I think Jesus hints at the purpose of the law when in regard to divorce, he says that Moses allowed it because of the hardness of our hearts. We did not fully know God and needed this guide just as children need guidance from parents. That said, we still do not fully know God. We still need guidance, but there is always the danger of a guide becoming a crutch and impeding our growth or the guide being mistaken for God in some way. I think a good bit of 1 Corinthians 13 is about specifically this idea.

    This reminds me of being a child and having a difficult time learning to swim. At some point when wearing a life jacket, I made some headway–I could move myself around on top of the water. I then thought that I had learned to swim. Even realizing that I needed the life jacket, I didn’t realize that what I was doing was far from actual swimming.

  • WilmRoget

    Why? You made an insinuation with no substance. And it seems that you cannot recognize the fundamental difference between violence and ‘homosexual acts’ anyways?

    And by the way, that is a very combative association you’ve made, equating our expression of our innate capacity for love and intimacy with violence.

  • WilmRoget

    So you are determining what all progressive Christians do with these passages based on your self.

  • I’ll have to give that one a look. My go-to is http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bibl.htm which is the Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. Their goal is to not make value judgments about any stance, but merely to state it. So for hateful stances, they just let the stance speak for itself. And in this particular instance, it was very helpful to have the progressive argument articulated in a way that didn’t immediately dismiss it; it’s hard to understand a perspective when you only ever hear it from its opponents.

  • WilmRoget

    So, if someone’s honest conviction is that you should be put to death, you could leave room for them to hold that belief?

  • R Vogel

    Jesus somehow taught it’s just fine to kill people

    This is a false dichotomy. I was in the Marine Corps for many years and even there nowhere is it taught it’s just fine to kill people. There were ROEs that determined when deadly force was justified. Police Officers, to whom most non-violent types delegate their violence, also have strict rules as to when and how they may use deadly force. There is virtually no civilized society where deadly force is not consider regrettable even if at times necessary. I would be equally horrified by a Jesus who teaches we should sit on our hands while innocent people are victimized just to avoid the regrettable use of deadly force.

  • WilmRoget

    That has been a very helpful site over the years.

    You may find this useful: http://www.jeramyt.org/gay.html#mypos

    He covers a lot of the standard ground from a “historical-critical method of Scriptural interpretation”. And he provides a lot of substantiating detail.

  • John Mury

    Perhaps you missed the mutuality element that I noted. Killing someone for holding a contrary belief necessarily negates the mutuality.

  • Ron McPherson

    I hope this does not sound combative. Are you suggesting that one who understands the Scriptures to teach that homosexuality is a sin essentially perpetuates the degradation of GLBTQ people? I don’t want to misrepresent anything you said (please forgive me if I’ve done so). I genuinely desire to understand.

  • John Mury

    And so we move from a disagreement to “you are a murderer.” Even among progressives, the vast majority would hold that Leviticus is referencing homosexuality (though they would argue it doesn’t apply to people today), so apparently the entire realm of academia and ecclesia is guilty of fraud and bound to judgment because they disagree with you on whether Leviticus is referencing homosexuals (“for neither is about homosexuals”). I suppose I should never mention that I think divorce is wrong, even if sometimes condoned, or else I would be doubly guilty of all the sins your mention. You really don’t leave much room for dialogue? It’s pretty much a steady diet of ad hominem in response to disagreement. It’s obvious I won’t persuade you. It (seems) obvious that you have no desire to persuade me, only silence me. I hope that were we to meet IRL, we might be capable of an actual dialogue.

  • Richard Worden Wilson

    If one is committed to the scriptural revelation of God’s will then one goes with that rather than questions about what is new or when it became new. What I want to know is what has God commanded for us for today. I’m pretty sure “anti-same-sex activity” is at least 3000 years old in biblical tradition so I don’t know where you get the 1700 year innovation idea; may be some convoluted logic there, but I don’t see it. As for the slavery issue, as I noted in my comment:” I don’t think those [the rejection of slavery and strict patriarchialism] are as much changes as a return to what the early church believed and was already trying to accomplish.” The letter to Philemon, and the whole NT, doesn’t in any sense just say slavery is “God’s will, God’s natural plan for humanity,” quite the contrary, despite what many who claimed to be Christian teachers said. The question is what the Bible as understood in NT says, not what people believed it said.

  • WilmRoget

    I missed nothing. I am pointing how the rather simplistic nature of your premise “hold honest convictions while leaving room for others to hold theirs”.

    It is really easy for heterosexuals, for example, to spout that platitude, saying that society should leave room for the belief ‘homosexuality is sin’ – but they aren’t the ones being brutally murdered as the deliberate expression of that belief.

    And yes, violence is intrinsic to and inseparable from ‘homosexuality is sin’.

  • WilmRoget

    ” Are you suggesting that one who understands the Scriptures to teach
    that homosexuality is a sin essentially perpetuates the degradation of
    GLBTQ people?”

    I am not merely suggesting it, I am articulating that fact of life. Those who proclaim ‘homosexuality is sin’ intrinsically promote violence against and degradation of GLBTQ people. Violence and degradation are intrinsic, inseparable, and frankly, the primary reason for, ‘homosexuality is sin’.

  • Ah, many thanks for that one as well! And let me once again return the favor:

    http://www.clgs.org/arsenokoit%C3%A9s-and-malakos-meanings-and-consequences

  • WilmRoget

    Your dismissal indicates that you are not interested in dialogue.

    “Even among progressives, the vast majority would hold that Leviticus is referencing homosexuality”

    Your fallacious guess accomplishes nothing. It certainly does not change the fact that when you wield Lev 20:13 to brutalize GLBTQ people, you are telling GLBTQ people that we are to be slaughtered to please your god, and you are telling other people to kill us to please your god.

    ” You really don’t leave much room for dialogue?”

    Your false accusation accomplishes nothing. But what do you leave room for, for GLBTQ people? No authentic intimate relationship, under pain of death. Oh, we can fake it with someone of the opposite gender with your approval, and live in shame and deceit.

    And you leave no room for self-respect, for you claim that our innate capacity for love and intimacy makes us worthy of death and damnation, that it is the equivalent of murder, stealing, addiction.

    ” It’s pretty much a steady diet of ad hominem in response to disagreement”

    Not at all, and your false accusation is not only sin, but hypocrisy. After all, the belief ‘homosexuality is sin’ is an ad hominem attack on all GLBTQ people. It is intrinsically a vicious attack on our lives, our character, our relationship with God. And your post here to me has been not an attempt to address my points, but an attempt to discredit me, ad hominem.

    ” It (seems) obvious that you have no desire to persuade me, only silence me.”

    Nice ad hominem, but completely false. Please repent of your false accusation about me.

  • WilmRoget

    Now, bear in mind, Mr. Mury, for all of your noise, you did not address any of the material I presented. You were wrong about the Law, the Bible does not permit you to pick and choose. And if you use the Law to judge others, as you have on this issue, then you are bound for judgement to all of it.

    And you have provided nothing to substantiate your claim: ” just that arsenos koiten was a term in use by Greak-speaking Jews to refer to homosexuality in general”, nor did you make any attempt to show that there was any error in the citation I provided.

    Instead, you attempted to discredit me personally. And of course, that is what ‘homosexuality is sin’ is about – an excuse to dehumanize and vilify millions of people. It is not about bringing anyone to God. It is about trampling millions of people.

  • sharon peters

    “Be always sure you are right, then go ahead.”
    ― David Crockett

  • WilmRoget

    “If one is committed to the scriptural revelation of God’s will then one
    goes with that rather than questions about what is new or when it became
    new.”

    So, your prior post was meaningless noise, and the standard you introduce ‘new’ is pointless.

    “What I want to know is what has God commanded for us for today.”

    I don’t believe you, frankly. If that were true, you would not be promoting a 1300 to 1700 year old innovation that contradicts Christ’s own teaching.

    “I’m pretty sure “anti-same-sex activity” is at least 3000 years old in biblical tradition”

    Well, your ‘pretty sure’ doesn’t count for much. But it is a nice argument based on ego, a form of ‘I said so, that proves it’.

    “As for the slavery issue,”

    You dodged the point. It shows that the standard you use to excuse persecuting GLBTQ people, is a convenient fraud that you don’t apply to other issues.

  • CroneEver

    I’ll remember – 6 verses, 4 arguments.

  • Like I said, really minor, I was tempted to not even say anything for fear that it would be taken as a petty attack.

  • WilmRoget

    Of course, there is the ironic use of Jude verse 7, where ‘heteros sarx’ in the Greek (different or strange flesh) somehow becomes ‘sexual immorality’ (essentially calling heterosexuality ‘sexual immorality’), and turning a reference to Genesis 6’s account of women getting pregnant through sex with angels into a wholly illogical claim against homosexuals.

    There was a really novel ‘gotcha verse’ that cropped up recently, one I hadn’t seen before. Absolutely not relevant to the issue, but the person who used it defended it somewhat. I may see if I can track it down, if only to show how odd anti-gay theology is.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Hey, Wilm. In all honesty, from outside some of your conversations, though I agree with many of your points, you do come off as very combative, often very quickly. I think Ben is trying to maintain open and lively debate here, but respect needs to come from all sides of the issues.

    Ben has deleted many a comment from the most virulent anti-gay positions, but he is one person who cannot filter every comment before it is posted. Yet, I have found him to be responsive when I’ve flagged comments or emailed him about them. He’s not attached to the comments here 24/7.

    Please, from one gay Christian to another, understand even I perceive you as hostile. And, I think that further shuts out the people who may be “on the fence” about us.

    You’re actually kinda being all “fire and brimstone” about things, just from the other side of that fence. :)

    Said with much love.

  • Yeah, I’ve been on the fence about including Jude for a while, but ultimately Jude depends upon Sodom and Gomorrah (that is, if Genesis 19 doesn’t condemn homosexuality then neither does Jude) so I consider it a secondary passage for the issue, rather than a “clobber” verse.

  • WilmRoget

    Great citation. I love this paragraph:

    “Usually the statement is accompanied by a shrugged-shoulder expression, as if to say, I’m not condemning homosexuality! I’m just reading the Bible. It’s there in the text. Such protestations of objectivity, however, become untenable when examined closely. By analyzing ancient
    meanings of the terms, on the one hand, and historical changes in the translation of the terms on the other, we discover that interpretations of arsenokoités and malakos as condemning modern homosexuality have been driven more by ideological interests in marginalizing gay and lesbian people than by the general strictures of
    historical criticism.”

    Especially that sentence: “Such protestations of objectivity, however, become untenable when examined closely.”

    One of the issues I have with malakos, and Paul using it to connote ‘effeminacy’, whatever trait he had in mind by that, is the deep sin of perceiving femaleness as wrong or bad. It is ironic at least that Paul states “in Christ there is neither male nor female” and then apparently proceeds to use ‘being like a woman’ as a pejorative.

    Of course, that whole assertion from Galatians raises a huge problem for any Christian theological position that is based on enforcing some sort of gender contingent relationship or rule.

  • For future reference (though it seems Jeff may have beaten me to it), if you believe a comment is truly abusive, you can flag it as inappropriate and that should bring it to Ben’s attention. Just remember, as Uncle Ben once said, that with great power comes great responsibility :-P

  • WilmRoget

    Combative is in the eye of the beholder. One could interpret your post to me in that way.

    “Please, from one gay Christian to another, understand even I perceive you as hostile.”

    Understand I don’t always perceive you in a very flattering way either. But I keep it to myself.

    “You’re actually kinda being all “fire and brimstone” about things, just from the other side of that fence. :)”

    Nice snark.

    But of course, the actual issue here is the double standard demonstrated. Homophobes are allowed considerable leeway, while I am rebuked for comparatively mild rebukes of a belief that destroys human lives.

    And I’ll share something. On beliefnet, the absolute kindest, gentlest, sweetest person challenging anti-gay theology, and mods posted frequently stating that they could not find any thing wrong in his posts –

    received death threats on a regular basis.

    Orders of magnitude politer than anyone, including Mr. Corey (and lets face it, to many homophobes his article here is combative) the guy I mentioned was persistently abused more than anyone else, including more than those who were much more aggressive and assertive.

    Combative is subjective. To those who benefit from ‘homosexuality is sin’, any rebuke of that belief, no matter what, is combative. Just take a look at the criticism that conservatives post at Mr. Sandlin, or Ms. Knight, or Dr. Borg.

    And the complaint ‘you are being combative’ has been used to oppress, stifle and marginalize GLBTQ since before Stonewall. It is the equivalent of telling an African American that they are being ‘uppity’.

  • bz

    Whoa there…What makes you feel like you have to be combative towards me? I was simply wanting you to shed some light on what you thought an honest literalist was. I fail to see why you’re seemingly so offended by me writing the words “homosexual” and “violence” in a comment together as contrast and juxtaposition of the two is basically the whole point of the blog post. No one is attacking or insulting you. Sheesh.

  • WilmRoget

    I do flag such posts, consistently. And I’ve found that on patheos, of those I’ve read and followed for any significant length of time, the only one to take anti-gay hate speech seriously, is Kimberly Knight.

  • WilmRoget

    “Whoa there…What makes you feel like you have to be combative towards me?”

    That’s a very combative thing to say. Why do you feel you have to be that way?

    “I was simply wanting you to shed some light on what you thought an honest literalist was.”

    Oddly enough, none of that is communicated through your reply.

    ” fail to see why you’re seemingly so offended by me writing the words “homosexual” and “violence” in a comment”

    Your false characterization comes across as combative. I was quite clear: ” that is a very combative association you’ve made, equating our expression of our innate capacity for love and intimacy with violence.”

  • WilmRoget

    The interesting thing about the Jude passage is how much desperation is communicates. Here is a passage that, if it condemns any sexual orientation, and it does not of course, would be a condemnation of heteros sexuality, but homophobes use it anyways.

  • That’s all I was trying to say. Thanks.

  • Amy Aletheia Cahill

    I appreciate that, thanks. :)

  • Amy Aletheia Cahill

    Oh I agree with Jesus NOT being fine with killing people; I am unsure whether or not my point on that was clear. Jesus, who healed the ear Peter cut off and had words with Peter. Yeah, not thinking Jesus is gonna condone shooting up your neighbors with an assault rifle. :(

  • bz

    So when you say that “an honest” literalist would reject my original thought of what an actual literalist view might be and I say “Tell me more”, you somehow don’t get that I was asking you to expound on your viewpoint???

    Then it seems as if you question “why” you should explain your viewpoint to someone who is apparently ignorant and cant understand the difference between topic “x” and topic “y”.

    You can see how easy it is to infer from your statements that you are somehow annoyed at me personally for asking a question about a hypothetical literalist.

  • Thanks, John. Really appreciate that.

    I do agree, with one caveat: yes, his grace is perfect, free and unconditional. However, love (and the grace that comes with it) must always be chosen. The way we choose to abide in God’s grace so that it becomes a reality that reconciles us (to God through Christ), is through faith, turning our hearts back toward him (repentance) etc. So, yes– perfect and unconditional inasmuch as the offer to accept it and enter into the relationship is unconditional.

  • Shiphrah99

    So, nu, you’re better and no permanent damage?

  • Shiphrah99

    There was a rabbi in the Talmud, Bag ben Bag (really!) who said, “Turn it over and over, for everything is in it.” But I don’t think he meant Magic 8 Ball.

  • Chris Flynn

    Who cares any more…. One sin is all sin. If you’re a liar, you’re a murderer, a gay, a thief and so on and so on. There is no difference. And every body doesn’t have the same weakness. I don’t believe there is a living soul in this earth WILLFULLY going to let their enemy take their life. I don’t care what they say what Jesus told them to do.

  • BTW, saying “telling women they must face serious, life threatening health risks that he is intrinsically exempt from” is a blatant distortion of my view. I’ve never once said that, and you know it.

  • Jeff Preuss

    No. Just no. I was not combative with you, nor was I snarky.
    Everything I said was sincere and true, and you misread it. Peace out.

  • Okay then. I’m never sure, because I’ve run across people that I was certain knew how to flag posts give me the text equivalent of a blank stare when I mention it.

  • Chris Flynn

    Genesis 2:24 states: “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh.”

    In Matthew 19:4-5, Jesus reaffirms this: “He answered, ‘Have you not
    read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and
    female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and
    mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one’?”

  • Ron McPherson

    You would agree though that not everyone proclaiming (whether from a pulpit, forum, or otherwise) that homosexuality is a sin would endorse violence or degradation against GLBTQ people, no? In other words, that violence and degradation happens to be a terrible consequence of the proclamation of it, regardless of one’s individual motives? I hope I’m making sense. Thanks for the discourse. I seriously am trying to be open to understanding.

  • I’ll agree that I could’ve been more careful to distinguish the idea of blaming the Jews for Jesus’ death, from the objective fact that adherents to Judaism do reject Jesus as the messiah. But I think that most people could get my drift and would not have walked away from that comment feeling that I was an antisemite.

    And I’m sorry, but if there’s one thing I’m not, it’s a homophobe.

  • Wow, so it’s ok to say that when I interpret scripture to maintain it’s Orthodox historically held position I am a “slanderer”? This is why I said this is a dishonest discussion, it’s ok for people of the same sex orientation to make broad generalized comments and attack people who hold a different interpretation, but it’s not ok the other way around. I seriously wanted to have an honest discussion here, but the broad brush stroke and posture of the “accuser” taken by EVERYONE in defense of this ideology makes it impossible.

    Seriously all I have ever seen from (there is no way to even suggest a label of any kind here without being condemned myself, I cannot use “people group/segment/metric/etc” because I will be accused of dehumanizing) same sex adherents is a vicious and unrelenting accusation and demanding that no none else is allowed to use the same tactics they do.

    I have maintained that the gospel hinges on the resurrection this is not a new or novel approach it is the biblical one and I can cite a ton of references, but Peter basically says we have been born again by the resurrection from the dead…I take that to mean quite clearly that ALL identity of believers is now taken NOT from the flesh or natural/historical/human definition but instead God identifies ALL of us in the resurrection of Jesus as a New Creation…
    The Orthodox position of the church is that the action of homosexuality is sin, this is not in dispute and not something I made up, there are scriptures that back this up, and again I get the bible is not a literal book, but it does in fact include instructions for ACTIONS and identifies those which are not in accordance with the kingdom of God.
    I DO NOT take the position that sin keeps you from eternal salvation, I am much closer to a universalist than that, what I see as “not inherit the kingdom of God” to mean is that in this lifetime you will not enjoy the full provision of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit as identified by Romans, that has no reflection upon eternal destiny whatsoever as far as I can tell…

    What I am honestly asking for and what no one seems to be willing to listen to or provide is finding a biblical or historical endorsement of same sex activity (and no I do not believe the “condition: defines anyone any more than any pother condition does since we have established that it is the NEW MAN where our identity is defined).

    You can stop the BS “slander” technique as it is simply a ridiculous straw man distraction, I did not slander anyone, I am simply pointing to an interpretation of scripture and saying I have not seen evidence to make me move that posture, if that makes me a “slanderer” then it makes historical Christianity and the billions of saints slandered as well, including most if not ALL of the early church fathers…so if you are willing to call Basil the Great/Clement/John Chrysostom/Augustine and many others “slanderers” go ahead but please understand I am not intimidated by your accusation because it holds no historical objectivity to me.

    Once again I appeal to you to make a historical Orthodox position, help me see the scriptures as not simply being “interpreted” by new definitions…I get that Jesus did not talk about it, but he also never mentions witchcraft or eating meat sacrificed to idols, his context was different than Pauls, and yet Paul is not writing from a vacuum, he is writing as a student of rabbinical schools so when he splices two words together that have a direct reference to Septuagint passages that were commonly held to mean quite clearly homosexual I have a hard time believing that he was operating in some sort of weird non-definitive posture…no one has made a serious argument that eliminates this possibility, he is simply using the Jewish definitions and translating them into the Roman environment as he did many other things… no need to reinvent the wheel here, he does the same thing with witchcraft and other issues he calls sins…

    So if anyone is interested in a real discussion and not simply beating back others by stepping into the role of “accuser” I am all ears, otherwise I cannot see how this discourse will profit anyone.

  • Jeff Preuss

    (Total random tangent, but I just looked at your Disqus and saw Duke! I miss Duke’s campus. It’s beautiful.)

  • You’re a Devil too?

  • Jeff Preuss

    No, no. I took a calc class there one summer a millllllion years ago when I was 12, but it left quite the impression on me.

  • Daniel Fisher

    Let’s see, Scriptures that at some level condone or give explicit approval to warfare, violence, or military service would include Abraham’s conquests in Genesis, various conflicts and wars throughout the Exodus, the conquests of Canaan and the surrounding, the innumerable rescues of God’s people through warfare in Judges, David’s warfare (slaying his “thousands”), Jesus telling his disciples to sell their cloak and buy a sword, Jesus making a whip and using it to disrupt the trade in the temple, Jesus telling parables that end with “take those enemies of mine and slaughter them in front of me,”….. That’s just off the top of my head.

    Scriptures that at some level condone or give explicit approval to homosexual behavior…..

    So, is it really so surprising that people who claim to follow the Bible might, perhaps, find some justification for combat, violence, or warfare in the Bible, but not find similar approval for homosexual behavior?

  • Ah, gotcha. Yeah, it’ll do that. I made a point to be out in front of the chapel every day at 5 to listen to the tower bells. Absolutely beautiful.

  • Jeff Preuss

    I spent a lot of my free time in the chapel and the library. SO many books.

  • Amy Aletheia Cahill

    I am better, but there is permanent damage. Memory is really bad and cognition in certain ways isn’t a lot better. I’ve been physically affected also; I can’t exercise and have to even keep walking to a minimum. Head injuries either get better over time or they don’t. Other than retraining the brain, there is nothing anyone can do. Unlike other parts of the body, the brain does not regenerate. :( I really appreciate you caring enough to ask how I am doing. :)

  • Oh, wow. Just realized who you were… thank you for the apology. I’m so sorry about your health struggles; I’ll be praying for you as you continue to recover.

    Grace & peace be upon you,
    Ben

  • Amy Aletheia Cahill

    I really really appreciate that. Sorry to make waves in your space. Hopefully I can start again on the right foot. :)

  • Nick

    Evidence?

  • WilmRoget

    “you somehow don’t get that I was asking you to expound on your viewpoint???”

    And of course, you didn’t get that my reply was an invitation to you to expound on your view.

    “You can see how easy”

    No.

  • WilmRoget

    The intrinsic message of being anti-abortion is that women must face serious, life-threatening health risks that any male is intrinsically exempt from, because pregnancy and delivery carry real risks, including death. And since men cannot get pregnant – they do not face the risks associated with pregnancy.

    Telling a woman she cannot have an abortion, shouldn’t, must not, is wrong to have one, etc, however on spins it, is very much telling her to face risks of death and disability that you won’t.

  • WilmRoget

    “No. Just no.”

    Nope.

    ” I was not combative with you, nor was I snarky.”

    Yes, you were. See, you don’t perceive your posts as combative, or snarky. I don’t perceive any of mine as combative or snarky, or hostile, or ‘fire and brimstone’. So when you choose to define me, I get to define you.

    “you misread it.”

    Nope. But how combative of you to dismiss me so cavalierly.

    Are you getting the point, yet, that ‘combative’ is subjective?

  • WilmRoget

    No problem. And one never knows if flagging posts does any good at any particular website, or on any particular day. I remember over at Amazon, the standard on anti-gay or racist hate speech depended on time of day and day of the week – things that would be all but instantly removed by a mod on weekdays 9-5 basically, would stay all weekend long no matter how many people flagged ’em.

  • WilmRoget

    “You would agree though that not everyone proclaiming (whether from a
    pulpit, forum, or otherwise) that homosexuality is a sin would endorse
    violence or degradation against GLBTQ people, no?”

    Why would I agree with a falsehood like that, when I’ve argued from the start that violence and degradation are intrinsic to ‘homosexuality is sin’?

    “that violence and degradation happens to be a terrible consequence of the proclamation of it,”

    No, not ‘happen’. Violence and degradation are an integral and purposeful part of ‘homosexuality is sin’, and the core reason for that belief’s very existence. The belief ‘homosexuality is sin’ is not about bringing anyone to God, or encouraging the Gifts of the Spirit, or anything positive at all. The belief ‘homosexuality is sin’ is predominantly, purposefully about denigrating a select class of people so everyone else can feel superior.

    To summarize, violence and degradation are integral and inseparable from ‘homosexuality is sin’.

  • WilmRoget

    Matthew 19:3 – why did you leave it out? Are you ashamed of that part of the Gospel?

  • WilmRoget

    So in your moral view, being attracted to someone of your own gender is equivalent to killing someone, or stealing, or lying.

    This indicates that you either do not understand consent and harm, or that you simply dismiss both as irrelevant. How then can you possibly have the moral understanding necessary to have anything credible to say about morals or sin – when you dismiss or don’t understand the foundation of the subject?

  • WilmRoget

    “it’s a homophobe.”

    Your own words show that you are: “I can tell on the issues of homosexual activity AND violence (that is, that both are against God’s will)”

    Not only are you equating homosexual activity (and that is so huge a category, it really includes every thing that homosexuals do, including breathing) and violence,

    you clearly articulate condemnation of homosexuality, and that makes you a homophobe.

    And that makes your denial of antisemitism less than convincing.

  • WilmRoget

    “so it’s ok to say that when I interpret scripture to maintain it’s Orthodox historically held position I am a “slanderer”?”

    Your false characterization is dishonest.

    “This is why I said this is a dishonest discussion,”

    Because you make dishonest statements.

    ” it’s ok for people of the same sex orientation to make broad generalized comments and attack people who hold a different interpretation,”

    And again, your characterization is false.

    ” I seriously wanted to have an honest discussion here,”

    Yet everything you post indicates the opposite, that what you want to do is revile progressives and GLBTQ people, so you can feel superior.

    “same sex adherents is a vicious and unrelenting accusation and demanding that no none else is allowed to use the same tactics they do.”

    Your self martyrdom is not convincing, neither is your false assertion. You made a deeply vicious and evil claim about hundreds of millions of people you don’t know, a gross and disgusting lie about people who have never wronged or harmed you. Now you want to play the victim? Come down from the cross, Mark, Habitat for Humanity needs the wood for something useful.

    “The Orthodox position of the church is that the action of homosexuality is sin,”

    And that is evil, and the Orthodox church has blood on its hands, most recently, in Russia. Real people have been kidnapped, tortured, beaten to death as the direct result of the Russian Orthodox church teaching “homosexuality is sin”.

    “You can stop the BS “slander” technique as it is simply a ridiculous straw man distraction,”

    Your empty dismissal and false use of the concept of straw man accomplishes nothing that helps you.

    “I did not slander anyone,”

    Yes, you did. Unless, of course, you want to admit that you do perceive GLBTQ people to be human, that we are not part of ‘anyone’ to you. Because you absolutely and most certainly slandered GLBTQ people.

    “Once again I appeal to you to make a historical Orthodox position,’

    Why? A position based on Christ should be sufficient.

    “So if anyone is interested in a real discussion and not simply beating back others by stepping into the role of “accuser” I am all ears, otherwise I cannot see how this discourse will profit anyone.”

    Nice ad hominem by insinuation.

  • WilmRoget

    Well, I could be as cavalier as you and upload and simply say “Matthew, Mark, Luke and John”. It would be an accurate, and complete answer.

    But you’ll want something more specific, so how about:

    31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

    34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25.

    The goats demonstrate that conservative perspective on social justice issues. And to those, He says they will go away to eternal punishment.

  • 1. “Your false characterization is dishonest.”

    Please explain, how it is dishonest, making a blanket statement with no substance behind it is hardly a conversation, seriously explain why you feel my characterization is dishonest, you accused me of slander because I adhere to the historical position that homosexcuality is denounced by the church Orthodox…

    2.”Because you make dishonest statements.” see #1

    3. “And again, your characterization is false.”
    …I am seeing a pattern here…I am honestly asking for you to explain how my perspective that Paul is not writing in a vacuum and is in fact using the Septuagint definitions, which is a fairly widely held perspective, is slandering hundreds of millions of people…you seem to feel that making point blank declarations is dialogue, I feel a real conversation is not possible with you because you won’t explain anything, how can I truly understand your position if you refuse to elaborate?

    I will bow out now I am fairly convinced that you will do far more harm for your cause than I would ever wish simply because your hostility preempts the conversation.

    I believe Jesus death and resurrection included all people, so you are my brother whether you want to be or not…good luck to you.

  • I am assuming that the violence you claim is justified by literalists is not individual violence. No one ever justifies that. Presumably, you are speaking of people speaking and writing in favor of government-administered violence — capital punishment, etc. Your pairing of the two issues in this article — homosexuality and violence — is apples and oranges. Homosexuality is directly forbidden by scripture. That prohibition is against individual sexual behavior. “Love your enemies” is an equally clear and valid command. However, the latter command has nothing to do with capital punishment and what is permissible during, say a war. The Bible doesn’t make any commands toward governments (with the exception of the nation of Israel in the Old Testament). Scripture speaks almost exclusively to individuals. Because of the corruption of the legal system in America, I am against capital punishment. But governments have a right to use violence to keep order. Read Romans 13:4: “For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.” However, you are right that most people are quick to affirm scriptures that speak against sins they don’t have an issue with, while rationalizing others that hit home for them. This is intellectual and spiritual dishonesty. Welcome to Christianity in America. Way too much hypocrisy here.

  • Ron McPherson

    Bless you. I will be praying.

  • Ron McPherson

    So in your view, anyone who believes homosexuality is a sin also desires that violence be inflicted upon homosexuals? The reason for my follow up questions stems mostly from how you’ve used the term ‘intrinsic’ a couple of times. Thank you for bearing with me.

  • Shiphrah99

    Me, too.

  • Hank

    Thank you, Benjamin! When I was young, I heard a few adults say they believed everything in the Bible from cover to cover. Consequently I decided to read the Bible from cover to cover from Genesis through Revelation. Let me tell you, that was truly a revelation! I decided that those making the claim had probably not read the Bible from cover to cover. By the time I was thirteen years old I had read the Bible from cover to cover three times.
    So what did I learn? Many things. It became clear to me that biblical personalities went to great lengths to attribute their beliefs to “God’s will”. Then there were a few prophets who saw things differently. God was compassionate especially toward those who were disenfranchised from the power structures. I observed that we see the same kinds of personalities at work today. Not much has changed over the last few thousand years. People pick and choose which God fits their personal view.
    Does that mean that I disregard the Bible? Not at all! I find it very instructive in understanding how the human mind works and how the Bible is used to justify unjust behavior. The Bible also shows me how people of faith have struggled to understand the meaning of their relationship to God’s creation, both human and universal.
    Key questions for me:
    1) How honestly will I search for that relationship?
    2) Which God will I choose?
    3) How will my choice affect my actions?

  • Excellent article.

  • CroneEver

    No problem – it’s important to have the details right, because that obsessive mind-set will use the tiniest thing to reject your arguments as “unbiblical” and, therefore, wrong.

  • Yeah. “You only said four, obviously that means you can’t refute two of them so you’re ignoring them instead!” :-P

  • CroneEver

    You got it!

  • Roger A. Sneed

    Then it’s all, “Jesus didn’t say that, and that was Paul, so, CONTEXT!”

  • John A. C. Kelley

    I understand how it could lead to confusion, but that is only because people choose to rest most of their belief in the death and resurrection rather than the entire story of Christ. It would not be confusing to anyone if I said my hands are not me, they would understand that they are merely a part of me. My response wasn’t to a question of what role the death and resurrection play in the gospel, it was to the statement that the death and resurrection are the gospel. To say that the death and resurrection are the gospel, then you are excluding the birth and life of Jesus.

  • Hrm… you know, I think I’m done here. It’s pretty obvious that you’re not interested in conversation but simply pointing out how everyone other than you is wrong…

    So… much love and peace…

  • Ron McPherson

    Thank you for the considerate reply. I apologize for my original over-sensitivity. Please forgive my actions if they came across ill-tempered. I expect more from myself than that.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    This is a very commonly misunderstood verse. Jesus words were:

    “17Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Matthew 5:17-18 (NASB)

    Now, what is Jesus saying here? He says, I did not come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. What is the Law and the Prophets? The Law and the Prophets are how the Jews of His time referred to the Tanakh (Old Testament). Jesus was speaking out against many things in the Law and the Prophets, which made people think that He was abolishing them; this is why He clarified by stating that He wasn’t abolishing them.

    What was Jesus doing then? Jesus came to fulfill the Law and the Prophets. What does that mean? If you are a student in college, then you most likely owe loans. If someone decided to come in and abolish your loan contracts, then they would be tearing them up and making them invalid. If someone decided to come in and fulfill your loan contracts, then they would be paid in full. Fulfilling and abolishing accomplish the same thing, but by different means.

    Jesus also goes on to say that not a stroke of the law will pass away until it is all accomplished or fulfilled. Jesus already told us that He came to fulfill it. Do we believe that Jesus didn’t fulfill the Law and the Prophets yet? Did Jesus fail? I don’t think so.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    I’m glad you do. At first your blog was confirmation for a lot of things that I was thinking through and abandoning from my childhood church, but then you started to break the groundwork of even more of what I thought I knew. Your blog is inspiring and helpful. I share it with my mom regularly and even my roommate at my Christian liberal arts college.

    That’s the way I’ve thought of it too, but the more and more I think about that, the more and more I question it. Is it truly unconditional if you have to choose it? Isn’t that a condition? You may only have my grace if you choose it. It doesn’t sound wrong, but it sounds conditional. I think that a better way to put it would be to say that it applies unless you refuse it. I’m not sure though, I’m still trying to figure it out.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    No problem. Thank you for the conversation; I love discussions. You’re absolutely fine, don’t worry about it. I know that I wasn’t as loving as I could have been and that I was a bit harsh and blunt. We all could do better at just about everything that we do.

  • Ron McPherson

    Thank you. I truly do value your input.

  • R Vogel

    No, I think you misunderstand my point. The choice between non-violence or ‘being just fine with killing people’ or ‘shooting up your neighbor’ is a false dichotomy. No one preaches a morality that is ‘just fine with killing poeple’ or that it is OK to ‘shoot up your neighbor’. There is plenty of middle ground between those to extremes. It’s an easy position for people who live under the rule of law, which was obtained and maintained by violence, to say everyone should be non-violent. It is also an overreach to say that Jesus, who in the gospels never specifically addresses violence in defense of innocents, is categorically against violence. Context matters, and most of the time Jesus speaks against violence he is talking about an oppressed people’s response to the Roman oppressors. The question I would ask is if you are really non-violent does that mean if you see someone assaulting your neighbor you would not call the police? Or is violence by proxy OK as long as you don’t have to dirty you hands with it?

  • MusicLover

    Roger, perhaps you missed WimRoget’s point. When read in context, the first chapters of Romans takes on the meaning I believe Paul intended. First, one must ask; what is the subject? Paul is not making a list of sins, rather listing the things which men do (therefore) while engaging in -the subject- idolatry. Chapter 2 reveals that when we judge others WE are engaging in idolatry. The subject of these chapters is not (and never has been) homosexuality…or any of the other ‘results’ of idolatry. It is important also to remember; Paul wasn’t talking to homosexuals…he was talking to the Roman Christians in general.

  • $122284574

    …nothing else in the Bible could be, either.

    That would be true. It’s all a bunch of pure nonsense.

    For the message about the cross is nonsense to those who are being destroyed, but it is God’s power to us who are being saved. For it is written,

    “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
    and the intelligence of the intelligent I will reject.”

    20 Where is the wise person? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? God has turned the wisdom of the world into nonsense, hasn’t he? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through its wisdom did not know God, God was pleased to save those who believe through the nonsense of our preaching.

    1 Corinthians 1:18-21

  • I hear you… there is tension there.

    As a premise, I don’t think we need to run from the tension (as I wrote in Undiluted). Specifically, I think progressive Christianity is quick to run from the parts of the Bible that seem to indicate that not everyone gets in.. but, they’re there. So in that regard, we might need to look at what we mean by “unconditional” because Jesus certainly seems to lay out some conditions (say for instance, John 3:16, Matthew 5, Matthew 25, etc. It’s all over the NT, actually). So, as uncomfortable as it makes us, I think the truth is closer to “unconditionally available for those who want to embrace it” than to simply say “unconditional” as a blanket statement, which just doesn’t seem to accurately reflect the NT.

  • WilmRoget

    “Please explain, how it is dishonest, making a blanket statement with no substance behind it is hardly a conversation,”

    Which of course, describes the vast majority of statements i your posts. The statement of yours that I quoted is false because it does not reflect what I wrote.

    ” you accused me of slander because I adhere to the historical position that homosexcuality is denounced by the church Orthodox…”

    Wrong again. I accuse you of slander because you made a false, vicious and degrading and dehumanizing assertion about millions of people.

    Denying your dishonesty doesn’t make it go away. The pattern you are seeing is created by you. You make false and dishonest assertions, I call you on them. If you want to break the pattern, start telling the truth.

    “I will bow out”

    Might as well, all you have are falsehoods and they don’t work anymore. I doubt though that you’ll be able to stick to that.

  • WilmRoget

    Your speculative paraphrases are unhelpful. Instead of inventing what you think I am saying – address what I have said:

    “Violence and degradation are intrinsic to ‘homosexuality is sin. . . . Violence and degradation are an integral and purposeful part of ‘homosexuality is sin’, and the core reason for that belief’s very existence. The belief ‘homosexuality is sin’ is not about bringing anyone to God, or encouraging the Gifts of the Spirit, or anything
    positive at all. The belief ‘homosexuality is sin’ is predominantly, purposefully about denigrating a select class of people so everyone elsecan feel superior.

    To summarize, violence and degradation are integral and inseparable from ‘homosexuality is sin’.”

    Now, if you disbelieve that, then make the real effort of proving it wrong. You’ll have to do at least two things –

    1) provide multiple examples in which ‘homosexuality is sin’ is articulated without being degrading or encouraging, even subliminally, violence, and demonstrate that this is actually the dominant expression of ‘homosexuality is sin’ – i.e., that most of the time it is neither violent or degrading

    2) provide absolute proof that some other influence explains the most of the violence against GLBTQ people.

    Now, I am confident that you cannot.

    “The reason for my follow up questions stems mostly from how you’ve used the term ‘intrinsic’ a couple of times.”

    I don’t believe that. If the issue were ‘intrinsic’, you would demonstrate that violence and degradation are separate from ‘homosexuality is sin’, and that any violence and degradation is coincidental. Instead, your questions are designed to passively aggressively smear me.

  • Jamin Bro Melanson
  • WilmRoget

    Yep. And the same of course with divorce, and greed, and anything else the conservatives want to do that even appears to be condemned in the Bible.

  • WilmRoget

    “It’s pretty obvious that you’re not interested in conversation but simply pointing out how everyone other than you is wrong…’

    Yet your false and derogatory assertion about me is not only self-descriptive, it shows that you are not interested in conversation, but that you simply sought to falsely define progressive Christians.

    In contrast, I have invited you, repeatedly, to demonstrate with real examples that your claims are accurate. Conversation does not require me to buy your claims hook, line and sinker, nor does it require me to believe you. It does require me to take you seriously, which I have done.

  • Ron McPherson

    I’m sorry you feel this way. I am totally at a loss as to how to engage you in any meaningful dialogue in attempting to understand you position. I’ve tried to be gracious.

  • WilmRoget

    “I’m sorry you feel this way.”

    Why are you sorry that I recognize the reality of ‘homosexuality is sin’?

    “I am totally at a loss as to how to engage you in any meaningful dialogue in attempting to understand you position.”

    I’ve explained what you could do.

  • WilmRoget

    Oh, I thought he got it – that conservatives switch from literalism to context when it suits them.

  • WilmRoget

    “Is adultery still wrong”

    Jesus and Paul both addressed this.

    “40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”” Matthew 22

    8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”[a] and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 10 Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. Romans 13

    Galatians 5:14

    For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

    It is also in

    James 2:8
    If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.

    Adultery violates ‘love your neighbor as yourself’, stealing violates it, murder violates it, greed violates it, being oblivious to poverty violates it. Homosexuality and homosexual sex do not intrinsically violate it, those like heterosexuality and heterosexual sex, specific instances of any sexual expression can violate the “royal law”.

  • Ron McPherson

    I’m sorry that you feel the way you do about me. I apologize if I came across as trying to disprove anything you said. I was genuinely trying to understand your position.

  • WilmRoget

    Another point – For all of the gay men and lesbians I’ve known over the last 30 years, heterosexual sex is not only unnatural, it is shameful. So the dynamic that Jeremy and his peers seek to impose of gays and lesbians is the very one Paul writes of – we are to abandon our ‘physikos chresis’ toward our own gender, our innate sexual desire for our own gender, and engage in sexual practices that are shameful for us, unnatural, against our nature

    to please a false god of heterosexism.

  • WilmRoget

    “Homosexuality is directly forbidden by scripture.”

    No, it is not. That false assertion raises serious doubts about the credibility of the rest of your post.

  • WilmRoget

    Daniel – which passages of Scripture condone computers?

    Absence of affirmation is not condemnation.

  • WilmRoget

    “”Then why don’t you accept the scriptural admonitions regarding same-sex relationships?””

    There are none.

    And passages like Matthew 7:15-23, James 2:8-10, Ezekiel 16: 20-22, 49-51, Galatians 3:28, Matthew 25:31-49, and others, make a very, very strong case rebuking those who teach ‘homosexuality is sin’. After all such people commit all seven of the to’ebah, detestable things God hates listed in Proverbs 6

    There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
    17 haughty eyes,
    a lying tongue,
    hands that shed innocent blood,
    18 a heart that devises wicked schemes,
    feet that are quick to rush into evil,
    19 a false witness who pours out lies
    and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

  • Please point to the statement I made you are referencing…be specific, quote me if you like…so we can clear this up, I have no intention of “slandering” anyone…

  • WilmRoget

    If you are sincere, articulate your sincere concern. Posting hypotheses about “my view” rather than addressing what I have actually presented, is not helpful.

    Your questions appear to be attempting to draw a distinction between merely teaching ‘homosexuality is sin’, and explicitly proclaiming ‘kill the gays’, like this kid is doing:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ws3Bvfv38Tc

    That distinction is false. Violence and degradation are intrinsic to and inseparable from ‘homosexuality is sin’.

    The belief ‘homosexuality is sin’ bears only evil fruit, like that child promoting violence in public. Not only is he threatening millions of people, he has been damaged by being taught such hate, it has stripped him of the capacity for empathy and compassion.

  • WilmRoget

    1) Slander is intrinsic to the belief you are defended here: “homosexuality is sin”.
    2) I explicitly quoted your false accusation against gay men, and though your original post with that material has been deleted, it remains in quote form in my post, where I clearly indicated that it was slander.
    3) your pretense of innocence accomplishes nothing.
    4) it does communicate that you do intend to slander GLBTQ people, but don’t intend to be held accountable.

    And thanks for showing that your assertion “I will bow out” was empty grandstanding.

  • Scott Jacobsen

    Could you clarify nonviolence? Do you mean it at the personal or national level. It seems that personal homosexuality is sinful, as is personal violence. I don’t think Jesus spoke of nonviolence to rulers, but did call out their injustices. Violence is, it seems, a moral obligation of government.

  • AtalantaBethulia

    Word.

    “What’s good for thee is not for me.”

    They’ve been double talking this way for years – about lots of things. It’s indicative of anyone who lacks self-awareness and lives in an ego-based, self-centered psychology. Hold others to a strict letter of the law; hold yourself to no accountability or a much softer, more flexible one. It shows they have not truly had a metanoia, but still follow the wide way of ego and remain blind to themselves.

    Fundamentalism needs therapy… so that someone can peel back the layers of their unreality and show it to them and say, “See. Look at yourself and your reality” for the first time.

    Jesus said the truth would set us free. Fundamentalism needs this kind of come to Jesus moment… and, so, we, who once lived on their side of the fence, need to keep being the mirror holders who say: “This is you. Look at yourself. It’s past time for a spiritual awakening.”

  • Ok so that pretty well clears it up, on just about every reply to me (I honestly have no looked back to count) you have directly accused me of slander beginning from the first, and now I find out that it is “intrinsic slander” for defending the classical interpretation as opposed to blindly accepting a redefining of terms based on speculation as to why Paul did not use a different cultural term than we would have…this amounts to slander in your book and because of that I am somehow less of a believer….that makes it quite clear to me…and now I am done since there is no way to defend against “intrinsic slander” since it remains the custody of the person who feels it rather than being a specific statement that I can repent or correct…seems like typical fundamentalist posturing to shout over real discourse with accusations and character attacks based on how you feel…good luck with that.

  • paganheart

    Yep. Rape Culture, Exhibit 1 of 1,234,872… makes me sick.

  • WilmRoget

    “and now I find out that it is “intrinsic slander” for defending the classical interpretation’

    And no again. Your false characterization of the situation accomplishes nothing. The concept ‘classical interpretation’ is irrelevant to the situation, anti-gay theology, the belief ‘homosexuality is sin’ is intrinsically slander.

    “since there is no way to defend against “intrinsic slander”‘

    Of course not. You can repent, or you can remain in your sin. But you cannot make slander into anything other than slander.

    “seems like typical fundamentalist posturing to shout over real discourse
    with accusations and character attacks based on how you feel…’

    Which of course is exactly what you have done here.

  • WilmRoget

    ” It seems that personal homosexuality is sinful,”

    Only to people who seek to do personal violence, at least in thought and word, to homosexuals.

  • “Intrinsic slander”…ok that clears it up…not sure where my other response to this went, maybe someone is deleting them because they make to much sense. SO let me see if I am clear about how this works: I read how a modern re-interpretation suggest that Paul did not mean “homosexual” and I look at the evidence presented and find it is not compelling so I stay with the current Orthodox definition and state my reasons for doing so, this somehow makes me a “slanderer of hundreds of millions”…when I ask for specifics on how I have slandered it is “intrinsic” which I assume means that by not agreeing I am guilty of “the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a persons reputation”…(the definition of slander)…when I point out the obvious that the early church fathers and classical history would make BILLIONS of believers “slanderers” by this definition I get silence, it is only me in question…so as I stand back and look at the discussion it becomes apparent to me that it is not ready for prime-time, since it currently revolves around accusing dissent of slander…I suppose the thing to do is to lay down my intellect and blindly accept what everyone presents because I don’t want to be labelled, but frankly I don’t care what label I may be given I will continue to look for people who truly want to dialogue this and not turn it into a shout down for disagreement or perhaps flagging my post for deletion because they are somehow offensive in ways that defy logical standards…I was truly hoping for a real conversation and dialogue, but it is clear that will not happen here.

  • WilmRoget

    ” because they make to much sense.”

    Nope.

    “this somehow”

    No, again. How you arrive at the belief ‘homosexuality is sin’ is irrelevant, the belief itself slandered hundreds of millions of people, as did you accusation regarding sexual violence.

    “I was truly hoping for a real conversation and dialogue,”

    Nearly every word of your posts indicates the opposite.

    By the way, every time you continue to post after your dramatic exit, it means that your word means nothing.

  • Sure, but after looking across the OP and your responses to others it makes much more sense to me. “Combative” and “Accusing” pretty well sums it up.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    I can see that, but there are also many passages that claim that all were forgiven and saved or that all will be saved. It’s a very tricky subject and I’m not to keen on choosing who is in and who is out without understanding the scriptures on either side. I don’t want to make it sound like I’m running away from what is or isn’t, but I’m not comfortable saying ye or ne before I truly understand it.

    By the way, I love your book Undiluted and I can’t wait for your next one!

  • WilmRoget

    And the fact that you, who so viciously slandered gay men with that disgusting accusation of sexual violence, like the way I was labeled “Combative” and “Accusing” shows how wrong Ben and Jeff were.

    I understand. You cannot disprove my assertion that ‘homosexuality is sin’ is intrinsically slanderous, so you complain about being called out on your sin against us, and when that doesn’t work, you simply degrade me further with ‘combative’ and ‘accusative’. And isn’t that amazingly arrogant – you entitle your self to rebuke GLBTQ people (without cause), but look how upset you are when you are rebuked, with cause, for your sin against us.

    When you state ‘homosexuality is sin’, you are proclaiming that the innate capacity for love and intimacy given by God to millions of people, including myself, my husband, many of our friends, is worthy of death and damnation.

    That is slander,

    that is combative,

    that is accusative,

    and most of all

    it is sin.

    You set out to judge GLBTQ people, you got judged in return. You brought it on yourself.

    Please, for your sake, repent of your sin against us.

  • shalombringer

    To say “there are none” is disingenuous and frankly, wrong. There are very specific passages that deal with same-sex relationships and while I don’t believe they can be applied to the justice issue we face right now, you can’t simply say they don’t exist. They do.

  • gimpi1

    My dad survived traumatic brain injury, and the road back can be rocky. It’s much better now, however. Retraining really does work, and many functions can be re-learned. Best of luck.

  • Stacey (the kids’ Aunt Tasty)

    I’m glad you shared this; thank you for doing that.

    From my POV, it was an illustration of the carelessness/traditionalist-valuing mind of the portrayed speaker and not Corey’s own view. I do think it was very important that you pointed it out, because it’s now obvious there was another way to understand it. And that’s important.

  • Ron McPherson

    Before articulating my concerns, I wanted to properly understand your views for fear I would be voicing a concern that misrepresented your beliefs or that was irrelevant, which is why I sought clarification. To be honest, I suppose I was walking on egg shells throughout our conversation and have some trepidation over disagreeing with you about anything for fear of being labeled. That may be entirely my fault, not yours. For the record, I thought the video was extremely disturbing. In all honesty, I wished you lived in my area so that I could just have you over for dinner one night with a relaxing glass of wine in brotherly fellowship. Sometimes written communication can send wrong signals. God bless.

  • WilmRoget

    “To say “there are none” is disingenuous and frankly, wrong.”

    No, disingenuous and and frankly is to call yourself ‘shalom’ i.e., peace bringer, and then defend the evil belief ‘homosexuality is sin’.

    ” There are very specific passages that deal with same-sex relationships”

    Not that condemn them.

    ” They do.”

    There are no passages in the Bible that when translated accurate, read in context, and evaluated with a bare minimum of integrity, condemn homosexuality or homosexual sex or same-sex relationships.

    Now, if you decide to bring up the ‘gotcha verses’ that have been used falsely to condemn homosexuals, understand that I will point out every flaw I know of for each passage, and there are many flaws for each one. This may embarrass you. You may find it combative.

    You will have the burden of addressing every rebuttal point I raise with equal effort.

    Oh, and you can apologize for falsely accusing me with ” disingenuous and frankly, wrong”. That was sin on your part.

  • WilmRoget

    The passive aggressive smear job isn’t helping you.

    Your invitation sounds dangerous. All too frequently, people who believe ‘homosexuality is sin’ have lured GLBTQ people to private, isolated situations and then attacked them verbally or physically.

  • Ron McPherson

    You have got to be kidding. I have a friend who is gay who has eaten dinner at my home on many occasions. I don’t attack people verbally or physically. Why are you insisting that I’m your enemy?

  • bz

    “Till heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stoke shall pass from the Law is accomplished”. Heaven and earth passing away doesn’t happen until the end of Revelation. I’m pretty sure we aren’t there yet. Romans 7:7 and 3:1 suggest that Paul was an advocate of the law. Not to mention James.

    There are some parts of the law that were simply pointing to Jesus like all of the sacrificial laws. I think it’s important to understand the difference between the sacrificial or sanctuary laws and the moral law of which Christ says “do this and you will live” and “if you love me, keep my commandments”.

    Its also important to note the difference between what God actually said in the OT, and what the Pharisees were teaching people to do. Jesus never rebelled against the former, but openly trashed the latter. The Jews after being in captivity in Babylon, Persia, etc were so determined not to repeat the same mistakes that they added extra burdens onto God’s law. Thats what Jesus was rebelling against and that’s why he was right to say that he was fulfilling them (as in he IS the Passover lamb) and that the law wouldn’t be done away with.

    The Law of God is the foundation of His government. The only reason to do away with the government of God is if we were to set up our own.

    Of course Jesus didn’t fail! I can agree with you there!

  • bz

    My view of what a literalist might think was the first statement I said dude. You seem not to want to give your view of what you think a literalist would think. Its all good.

    If other people on this thread (even the poster) have characterized many of your responses as having more of an argumentative tone than a healthy discussion tone, maybe that should be a heads up. If we’re mostly Christians in this thread maybe we can all pray about how we’re representing Christ to each other. Have a good day.

  • WilmRoget

    Not kidding at all. After all, I’ve buried friends who were shot just walking down the street.

    “Why are you insisting that I’m your enemy?”

    I haven’t at all. I have argued a particular point of view, which you have danced around, you’ve attempted repeatedly to smear me with derogatory insinuations, and now, rather than address this subject in public, you articulate a desire to get me alone in private. At the very least it was inappropriate, but in context, as a member of a group of people who are routinely beaten and murdered, given your attempts to downplay that, what am I supposed to think? That your intentions are innocent?

    If they were, you’d be able to express it here.

  • WilmRoget

    “My view of what a literalist might think was the first statement I said dude.”

    And you’ve provided nothing to back it up.

    ” You seem not to want”

    Nope.

    “If other people on this thread (even the poster) have characterized many
    of your responses as having more of an argumentative tone than a
    healthy discussion tone, maybe that should be a heads up.”

    It is a head’s up – about their character. Anyone who rebukes homophobia gets called ‘combative’ or ‘militant’, just as African Americans who rebuked racism got called ‘uppity’.

    Now, I could characterize your posts as combative, superficial, shallow, and ego-centric. Is that how you wish to represent Christ?

  • Ron McPherson

    You’ve accused me of trying to smear you, and be derogatory to you. Accused me of downplaying the detestable act of beating and killing innocent souls, charged me with being inappropriate in extending a dinner invitation. I seriously just give up. I’ve seen what happens when others disagree or dare to challenge your views right out of the block, so I tried to engage in peaceful discourse to understand why you are so quick to attack (and yes you attack), only to be met with charges of being passive aggressive.
    For the record, I personally do not believe that being gay is a sin and do not believe that one ‘chooses’ to be gay anymore than one ‘chooses’ to be straight. As to whether homosexual acts themselves are sinful, I simply do not know. I’m open either way to understand the apostle Paul’s meaning within culture and context. I’m still trying to understand. I believe the Bible is absolutely true, but I acknowledge there are parts I’m unsure about how or what to believe. I do not believe that everyone who thinks homosexuality is a sin desires for gays to be beaten and murdered. Those are my views, stated publically.

  • WilmRoget

    “I’ve seen what happens when others disagree or dare to challenge your views right out of the block,” Nice smear there.

    “so I tried to engage in peaceful discourse”

    No. You repeatedly posted rather distorted characterizations of my position, rather than either a) quote me, or b) ask direct questions about what I’d actually written. As of this moment, you still have spent more words trying to denigrate me, than even attempting to address the subject.

    “As to whether homosexual acts themselves are sinful, I simply do not know.”

    Just that characterization says a lot that is negative about your position.

    ” I do not believe that everyone who thinks homosexuality is a sin desires for gays to be beaten and murdered.”

    Yet violence and degradation is intrinsic to ‘homosexuality is sin’.

  • bz

    Here’s me being “judgmental”.

    You’re reading too deep into what people are saying here and extracting meaning and intent in statements that are only perceptible to you. Maybe your’re more clever than 90% of people that have commented on this page, but more likely you have probably been marginalized and traumatized in the past (as many people have) and have now converted every statement you’re reading into some sort of an insult. You’re among friends for the most part on this forum. I would hate to see what you have to say to your enemies.

    One man’s simple question thus becomes another man’s “superficial, shallow, and ego-eccentric” waste of typing. Have it your way *shrug*.

  • Ron McPherson

    I’ll move on.
    Peace
    Romans 12:18

  • WilmRoget

    Matthew 25: 45,46.

  • WilmRoget

    Your use of ad hominem does not help you. Look at how many words you’ve expended trying to make yourself look good by putting me down.

    If that is how you treat your IRL friends, they have my condolences.

    Bear in mind, that all of the energy you’ve expended trying to denigrate me, has been in place of any effort, at all, to substantiate your initial claim.

    Which strongly suggests you simply cannot back up your own initial claim, and all of this noise from you has been a face-saving exercise.

  • That’s unnecessary, as is the way you’ve been treating people.

  • bz

    But I wasnt trying to back up anything! I was asking how one would define the term “literalist”… Nobody is denigrating you!

  • Daniel Fisher

    If the Bible actually spoke about computers and yet didn’t condone them, you would have a legitimate comparison. The fact that the Bible does speak about sexuality – both heterosexual and homosexual varieties, and condones (and praises) the one and not the other is categorically different than condoning something that is not discussed in any way whatsoever.

    That being said, this wasn’t really my point – The original blog post was suggesting evangelical and/or Bible believing people were inconsistent for condemning homosexuality while embracing warfare or violence. Point is if the author can condone homosexuality when there are no passages that condone it, how can he condemn violence with the myriad passages that condone it? As such, I can’t see his accusation of inconsistency on the part of evangelical Christians, when their view seems at least superficially on par with the teachings of the Bible on those two topics.

  • Linnea912

    I’m totally with you on the greed thing. Just look at the “prosperity gospel” churches. Of course, the irony is that Jesus talked about money more than probably any other topic.

  • Linnea912

    Excellent analogy! I’ll have to remember that one. :)

  • Larry TheKeyboardist Blake

    “I love this person so much, I’m going to condemn him to Hell because I can find a verse in the bible that he doesn’t live by as much as I do (and what he does in his bedroom makes me squeamish).” That’s pretty much their logic in a nutshell.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    Ok, let’s dissect this then. Heaven and Earth have passed away if you truly study all that Jesus has said. Jesus said in Luke 21:22 “22because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled.” This was about the destruction of the Temple in 70AD. Jesus continues to say in verse 32-33 “32Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” Apparently to Jesus, the destruction of the temple is when Heaven, Earth and the Old Covenant would pass away. The destruction of the temple fits the dialogues of Daniel 9, Matthew 24. Luke and Revelation 21. The Old Testament regularly refers to Israel (Jerusalem) as the heavens and the earth. (http://www.ecclesia.org/truth/heaven-earth.html)

    If you believe that the rapture will happen and believe in the Left Behind theology, then I would urge you to search the Bible for what it does and doesn’t say about Christ’s return with an open mind.

    The issue is that Jesus never defines “His commandments” as the Mosaic law. “His commandments” are the Ten Commandments.

    Paul said that the law brings wrath to those who follow it (Romans 4:15), if the law worked, then faith would be useless (Romans 4:14), the law increased sin (Romans 5:20), Christians are not under the law (Romans 6:14), the law leads to death (Romans 7:10), etc. (http://www.phildrysdale.com/2013/10/37-scriptures-that-prove-christians-are-not-under-the-law/)

    You should really read the rest of Romans 7 considering that Paul said that if it wasn’t for the law, then He wouldn’t know sin and he wouldn’t sin (Romans 7:9). Romans 3:1 questions what advantages a Jew has and how circumcision helps anyone, I’m not sure how this supports the law.

    I think you need to reread the Gospels because Jesus regularly broke the Mosaic law. Jesus refused to stone those who the law said should be stoned, Jesus touched those who the law said were not to be touched, Jesus defied the law in many ways. You should also learn what fulfilling means, I already explained it once. Fulfilling is removing the burden from you.

    The law is not the foundation of God’s kingdom; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control are. God doesn’t need the law because He has already given us His perfect and unconditional grace.

  • Jill

    Christ never once maligned homosexuals or women, yet the condemnation of both entire classes of people still masquerades as the “word of God” in Epistles and in the violence and depressing “punishing God” chronicled in the Book of Revelations. How long will we believe in lies that Christ never uttered or visions for the future that Christ never envisioned is the real question?
    Rather than the condemnation of others in Epistles, and the violent prophecies foretold in Revelations, Christ taught us to seek “the heaven that is in our midst.” Following Christ really does mean following his words, not the words inserted after his death that betray his message.

    The true Omega is not Paul, or any other writer of Epistles or the book of Revelations. The true Omega is Christ. The beginning and the end of the New Testament is the Gospels.
    If humanity is unwilling to evolve in consciousness, or rise to higher levels of enlightenment, then clinging to ancient texts that betray love and life will continue. “By their fruits, you will know them.” Words of condemnation and hate, produce condemnation and hatred. Words of love and compassion, produce love and compassion. It is not rock science.
    We do have to want to rise from the dead in order to actually resurrect love and life from the grave, where we have assigned love, and life itself, to die.

  • shalombringer

    I have no need to defend anything against zealots who are driven blind by their hatred. You might want to examine your prior posts on this blog for evidence.

    But since you are likely someone who believes that anyone who brings up any point in contrast or contradiction to yours is evil, allow me to elaborate…

    I never once said anything about scriptures condemning same-sex relationships (btw, if you want to be as literate as you claim in your posts, you might look up the very recent history of the use of the word “homosexuality” and then take some time to hear how LGBT folks regard the word – I did and it’s why I won’t use it anymore, but I digress).

    What I did say, if you had taken the time to read my actual words, was that there are scriptures the DEAL WITH same sex relationships. If you deny this, you are simply ignorant.

    “That was sin on your part” – sounds like a phrase thrown out by the people whom you despise. Maybe you should spend some time reading and meditating on the words of Jesus, rather than patting yourself on the back for attacking those who, when all is said and done, agree with your position.

    Sometimes bringing peace involves confronting those who sow discord and dissent for the sake of discord and dissent…

  • Noah

    From an outsider’s perspective, it seems you’re bringing a lot on Ron that has nothing to do with him. He’s been bending over backwards to not be offensive.

  • Abbigail

    As a Menno who had been struggling with the moral issue of my own orientation, I really enjoy seeing these blog posts in my inbox. :) Thank you for writing them and may God bless your continued artistic ventures!

  • Amy Aletheia Cahill

    Thank you. :)

  • Amy Aletheia Cahill

    Thank you very much. :)

  • Amy Aletheia Cahill

    Thanks, I appreciate that. :)

  • Amy Aletheia Cahill

    Oh OK, I see where you are coming from now. No, I am definitely not categorically non-violent. Not only am I not opposed to the military, my husband has cousins who are Marines, so I am pretty strongly in support of them. Bless you and them. I know for a fact there is a time to fight. I can kinda see where my statements could be taken as a blanket condemnation of all violence under any circumstances, but that’s not what I actually think. Thanks for telling me what you saw. :)

  • Roger A. Sneed

    I hardly missed the point. “Conservative” and “evangelical” Christians miss the point, and with gusto.

  • Guy Norred

    A dear friend is going through a similar if less severe situation and from what I see through him, I can only try to imagine what you are going through. You are in my prayers.

  • bz

    Lets
    start with what (I think) we agree 100% with. Its possible you’ve misunderstood
    me on a couple of points.

    1. I do not think that left behind is biblical. Period. There is
    no secret rapture mentioned anywhere in scripture. There is no 7 year tribulation
    mentioned in scripture. I think we agree there.

    2. When the new testament speaks about the commandments of Jesus I
    WHOLEHEARTEDLY agree with you that James, Paul, and the gospels suggest that
    the Decalogue are the commandments of Jesus.

    3.We are saved by grace through faith. not by works.

    Now let me tackle what we might not agree about, although I’m optimistic
    we will agree on a few points. Lets start by better defining what the bible
    could be talking about when it mentions the Law. In the OT there are different
    types of laws. There was the moral law (10 commandments) written in stone by
    God himself. There was the civil law that delineated how the nation was to be
    run and how disputes were to be settled. And there were health laws. There were
    ceremonial sanctuary system laws that were a blueprint of salvation by faith by
    foreshadowing Christ’s atoning and High Priestly ministry on our behalf.

    Now who
    established these laws? Most Christians would say that God established these
    laws. It is common, however, for some to disassociate Jesus with these laws,
    but according to John 8:29 and 8:58 Jesus makes the claim for being the “I AM”,
    pre-existent, and always doing the will of his Father. Therefore is reasonable
    that the pre-incarnate Christ was responsible for the establishment of all of
    these Laws.

    If Jesus did “always the Father’s will”, he could not have
    been breaking the laws and he could not have been a spotless sacrifice. You use
    the example that he should have stoned the woman caught in adultery (Hebrew
    Civil law). The ACTUAL law says that BOTH perpetrators were supposed to be
    stoned after being accused by TWO or THREE witnesses. The Pharisees were polluting
    justice by claiming to witness a crime yet not accusing the other perpetrator.
    In the end by walking away, they symbolically dropped their case. Jesus didn’t break
    the law.

    I think your definition of the word “fulfill” is incomplete.
    I agree that Jesus “fulfilled” all of the ceremonial sacrificial laws and feast
    days by his death, resurrection, and Priestly ministry. But remember “fulfill” doesn’t
    only mean to bring to completion. It also means to “carry out a task duty or roll
    as required, pledged, or expected”. In other words you don’t fulfill your vows
    to your spouse by being faithful once and having the vows removed from you. You
    fulfill that pledge to keep them in perpetuity. That’s why when CLEARLY
    speaking of the Moral law in Matthew 5 on the sermon of the mount Jesus said “I
    have come to fulfill the law.” And “not one jot or title” will change till
    heaven and earth pass.

    You reference Paul and his relation to the law. I think we’re
    in agreement that he is declaring the ceremonial sacrificial laws and
    ordinances (including circumcision) that were against us nailed to the cross
    because Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice. (Col 2:14, Deut 31:26, Heb 10). This
    viewpoint is what got him in trouble with the Jews and ultimately arrested. We
    disagree (maybe) on what Paul is saying about the law in Hebrews. 1 John 3:4
    says we’re all guilty of sinning and that sinning is transgression of the law. Galatians
    3:24 calls the law our “tutor bringing us to Christ so that we can be justified
    by faith” With that in light Romans 7 makes so much sense! Paul details the
    inner struggle of the Christian. He calls the law “holy and just and good” and
    says that he “delights in the law of God”. The problem is with his inner man
    who serves the flesh who would not have known sin and his dead spiritual state
    without the law. At the end of chapter 7 and in chapter 8 he rejoices that he
    finds faith and forgiveness in Christ. Paul emphatically states in Romans that
    the law is not void and that we shouldn’t now start breaking the law because of
    justification. Therefore the law doesn’t save, but is God’s means of pointing
    us to the savior.

    The fruit of the spirit aren’t the foundations of God’s government but rather the result of Grace. The foundation of ANY government is the law. Gods government is no exception. The principles of the law happen to be love for God and love for neighbor as yourself.

    Lastly. You rightly use Daniel 9 as a reference to cite that
    it foretold the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. THERE IS NO 7 YEAR
    TRIBULATION but It has a very specific time prophecy that predicts that 483
    years after Artaxerxes decree the messiah would be anointed. This happened
    right on time in 27AD according to Luke 3:1. He was “cut off” 3 ½ years later
    and “confirmed the covenant” with the Jews for 3 ½ more years until they stoned
    Stephen and rejected the gospel as a nation. It then talks about Rome
    destroying Jerusalem. However… The end of the heaven and earth was not in 70
    AD. Jesus did not come back in 70AD.

    If you stay in Daniel you’ll find that in chapter 2 there is
    another world power that comes after Rome before God’s kingdom. Romans 7 also
    talks about a 1260 year period AFTER Rome before a judgment of earth’s kingdoms
    by God. So by Daniel alone, AD 70 was not the end of the world or by extension
    the law of God.

    Sorry for being verbose. Great discussion!

  • Nick

    Great section of scripture. I wasn’t trying to be cavalier. I think that the scriptures need to be our source. Sometimes we forget to cite our source.

    As a side note, I see both conservatives and liberals doing a good job at meeting Jesus’ words here. I also see many not following his words. Far too often it is me.

  • Nick

    1. My friend and I both proclaim that homosexuality is sin, yet still love and hang out with homosexuals.

    2. Please provide absolute proof that most of the violence against GLBTQ people is only from the idea that homosexuality is sin.

    What typically happens next is the poster will not respond on target, just as I did not. Why can we not discuss the idea that christians can disagree on this issue and still be christians?

  • Nick

    As a literalist who rejects violence and homosexuality for a christian, I am interested in your opinion.

  • Ron McPherson

    “You need to study your King James version a little deeper!”

    Why must it be this particular version?

  • MusicLover

    My bad…I’m generally a fan of sarcasm, but I thought you were making fun of WilmRoget. :-) I agree with you.

    I might go a step further though. In my way of thinking, the conservative approach to interpretation of scripture SHOULD be more avidly contextual, but somewhere along the line, “traditionalism” (which is altogether different began to replace pragmatic conservatism.

  • Benjamin, you are an amazing explainerologist. Much love, my friend. :) Susan

  • Bones

    But we can change other things that have been believed for 3000 years hey eg slavery, insanity caused by demonic possession, suicide and masturbation are mortal sins, killing heretics and witches, polygamy and concubinage, geocentricity, creation over evolution (though Augustine certainly held to a primitive form of evolution).

    There is no way Christians today believe the same or have the same world view as their first century counterparts who were far from unified.

    I take it you still hold to these myths until a prophet tells you otherwise.

    Oh and Paul sent a slave back to his owner so I gather you would do the same.

  • Amy Aletheia Cahill

    That is so much appreciated. :) The good thing about brain injuries is they usually improve over time. As many symptoms and problems as I am having, I am fortunate there wasn’t structural damage like a brain bleed or a skull fracture. Still serious, but much better than physical abnormalities. I wish your friend well; it’s a tough thing. :(

  • Lark62

    Wow. Talk about completely missing the point and proving Mr. Corey right with a single post.

    Oh, you might want to look into that abomination theory and take a closer look at what god calls abominations. In the meantime, no shrimp.

  • Lark62

    Honor the Sabbath is a perfect example. It is completely ignored by most christians – the same ones who demand that graven copies of the 10 commandments be placed on government property. I can look holy by using the government to promote my religious beliefs while dissing others, no problem, but there’s no way I’m missing Sunday afternoon football.

  • bz

    Exactly. Especially if the Sabbath really isnt on Sunday. But let me not cast stones at them either.

  • Falken

    I can’t support most of his combativeness, but honestly, I’ve kinda been where Wilm is. I’ve been where you see so many people as enemies, using sweet words and phrases then turn around and stab you – mostly figuratively – and many times start off seeming as understanding as possible.

    Truth is, one doesn’t need to go far. Turn on the news. More people who protest, who do violence, who are just downright mean to GLBTQ people quickly jump on the “homosexuality is a sin” bandwagon. They use the clobber passages, they point out they have a religious freedom to tell the “truth”. Ideas are something that have a root in action. How? I’ll paraphrase the saying as best as possible: Be careful of your thoughts, for your thoughts become your words. Be careful of your words, for your words become your actions. Be careful of your actions, for your actions become your habits. Be careful of your habits, for your habits become your character. Be careful of your character, for your character becomes your destiny.

    Argue all you want about his methods, I honestly can’t comment on it, as during my angrier moments I sound just like him. However, let’s cut the bull there and not do the “there’s no proof that most of the violence is only from the idea of being GLBTQ is a sin”. We’re grown ups, we know better.

    And you said yourself, you have gay friends, so I presume you’ve been human, you’ve been kind, you’ve been there to help them pat out the bruises from people with your ideas and sometimes bandage wounds both visible and invisible. If you haven’t, then you really have no right to say that the mere thought of “homosexuality is a sin” has not led to violence, is not part of the thought process behind that violence, has not sometimes been used to justify that violence.

  • Falken

    Ok, I will say this as plain and blunt as possible: calm the hell down. There are not fights everywhere. There are not arguments brewing at every person who makes a comment. If you spend your life making everyone your enemy at first glance, if you keep fighting that new fight just around the corner, you spend your life being part of the problem not the solution. We won’t get our enemies to drop their swords while we’re holding our own not just at their throats but even the throats of our allies.

  • R Vogel

    Thanks for the clarification. I haven’t sorted out all my thoughts on this yet, but like you I have a feeling the strongest form of non-violence is not defensible. I appreciate those who continually challenge our use of violence, however. It is the correct check for the confirmation bias that always sees violence as the answer (Looking at you John McCain!). As soon as someone defines ‘Just War’ everything suddenly looks like a Just War from those who benefit from it.

    Blessings for continued improvement.

  • ♪ Lovin’ you is easy ‘cuz you’re beautiful… ♪

    …Sorry, I managed to resist for almost a full week, but I couldn’t stop myself from singing any longer :-P

  • Funny enough, back when I was a youth director someone threw that command out to try to get out of doing a mission project on a Sunday. Which, ignoring the fact that the Sabbath is Saturday, meant that he was condemning both me and the pastor, though I doubt he realized it. Thanks, dude, glad to know that you support your pastor sinning every single week! Expect it, even!

  • mom

    So this is a blog for “progressive Christians” who want to ignore what the bible says about sexuality. Interesting. The doors of the church open both ways. No one is forcing you to identify as Christian. Please speak out against greed and excess in “Churchianity.” I have no issue with that at all. What I don’t support is this idea that you want the gospel to fit what is popular so you won’t be shunned by “millenials.”

  • Jeff Preuss

    Our choice is to be Christians. What is not a choice is whether one is straight or gay.

    We are not ignoring what the Bible says about sexuality – we are seeking a complete understanding of what the Bible says about sexuality, while giving it perspective through a broader knowledge of historical and cultural influences of the time in which men wrote the verses, and coupling that with what we know about the genesis of our sexuality today.

    We ignore nothing. We follow Christ.

  • Ron McPherson

    What specifically did you find objectionable within the article? I’m curious because the piece was neither an affirmation nor a condemnation against homosexuality, but rather pointed out how many of us have been hypocritical in our methods of biblical interpretation. The only thing uncomfortable for me was how much the truth hurts.

  • What I find so very interesting is that you’re condemning Ben for selectively reading Scripture… on the article where he condemns people who selectively read Scripture.

    I also find it interesting that your advice to Ben is for him to “speak out against greed and excess in ‘Churchianity,'” which, ignoring for a moment that I do believe Ben does speak out against greed and excess, rather nicely illustrates Ben’s point about how we’d much rather talk about the things that others are doing wrong. What it amounts to is “stop talking about things that make me uncomfortable and talk about things that I can feel superior about instead.”

  • Ron McPherson

    “…back when I was a youth director someone threw that command out to try to get out of doing a mission project on a Sunday.”

    Wow, this is frightening on so many levels. It makes me think of the times the religious bunch attacked Jesus for healing on the Sabbath. I applaud you for keeping your sanity through that one.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    Paul never confines his critiques of the law to the ceremonial and sacrificial laws. You will be hard pressed to make that assertion. He does call the law holy, just, and good, but he follows up with the fact that it cannot make anyone holy just or good (Romans 7:7-12).

    God only gave us the 10 commandments. The Bible says that Moses wrote the 613 others on his own.

    The book of Acts was written around 60 A.D. and could very well have been Jesus’ return in Spirit (as the Holy Spirit) because they are the same entity. I am not in the position to assert such a bold claim, but it could be true.

  • I had some issues with that guy… he was the same one who wanted to get more young people in the church, but also thought that “if they want to come here then they need to do things our way.” Yeah, they don’t want to come here. That’s kind of the problem.

  • Amy Aletheia Cahill

    Thank you. :)

  • Ron McPherson

    Exactly. I believe a youth minister has one of the most difficult jobs in the church, particularly in the overly conservative churches. The youth director has his/her hands full in helping nurture young believers in dealing with real life problems, all the while battling the overtly fundamentalists who try to force feed their version of religion down the kids’ throats. The youth leader ends up fighting a war on two fronts, one of which should be unnecessary (warring against religious conformity). That probably sounds harsh. You know the real scary thing is that many in the church blindly equate religiosity (touch not, taste not, etc) with the ways of Jesus. They actually think they’re the same. They want the youth to conform to their religion (no tattoos, no interracial dating, no contemporary worship music, etc.). The message is delivered, not necessarily verbally, but in dismissiveness. I used to go to a church where the pastor allowed the youth to conduct the service once a quarter. And some of the older crowd would just not show up that Sunday. Sorry, I hijacked this thread, but I appreciate the difficulties of being a youth minister and it touched a nerve. Bless you for being willing to stand in the gap.

  • Alana

    However, I think that sometimes churches will go too far the other way and pander to young people. As a fairly young person, it drives me crazy when churches automatically assume that I want an informal worship experience, complete with praise band, because “that’s what young people like”. Some young people do, but I sometimes feel like we are treated as a homogeneous group, and that there is no room for people like me who don’t fit the mold.

  • Ron McPherson

    Great points. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • Richard Worden Wilson

    Joe, mom didn’t actually “condemn” Ben, so I think your language is a bit more condemnatory than hers.

  • Richard Worden Wilson

    Whether one is straight or gay may or may not have an element of choice; this hasn’t been determined. What is evident is that we have a choice to act in obedience or not. I may have a natural inclination to be hetero-, homo-, poly-, serial-, andro-, bestial-, o whatever-sexual, but if I don’t actually follow the teaching of Christ and his Apostles I’m not really following Christ. The question is not what we are by “nature” but what we are meant to be by obedience and the power of the Spirit in Christ.

  • Richard Worden Wilson

    Not a complex argument, just a clear assertion that you know better than what God was able to reveal to those who spoke for God and who were actually prophets.

  • Richard Worden Wilson

    These things have not necessarily been believed by the Church for 3000 years: “slavery, insanity caused by demonic possession, suicide and masturbation
    are mortal sins, killing heretics and witches, polygamy and
    concubinage, geocentricity, creation over evolution.” This is just a broadsided red herring argument that doesn’t recognize historical realities. Paul clearly argues against even the more or less “indentured servant” type of slavery endured by Onesimus in his letter to Philemon. I believe scripture is prophetic but not distortions of it.

  • Richard Worden Wilson

    I resonate closely with Mark Pixley’s thinking and feeling
    that there is no open or fraternal dialogue with those defending the post-orthodox pro homosexual relations agenda here. I find it rather sad and regrettable. Oh well.

  • Bones

    It’s a broadsided red herring to someone who wants to lurk in ignorance and use ancient writings and worldviews to justify their bigotry and dislike of others.

    Paul sent a slave back to his owner and of course what about the history of slavery and christianity.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_views_on_slavery

    These quotes sound ominously familiar

    [Slavery] was established by decree of Almighty God…it is sanctioned in the Bible, in both Testaments, from Genesis to Revelation…it has existed in all ages, has been found among the people of the highest civilization, and in nations of the highest proficiency in the arts.—Jefferson Davis, President, Confederate States of America[111]

    Every hope of the existence of church and state, and of civilization itself, hangs upon our arduous effort to defeat the doctrine of Negro suffrage.

    —Robert Dabney, a prominent 19th-century Southern Presbyterian pastor

    … the right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example.

    —Richard Furman, President, South Carolina Baptist Convention[112][113]

    Of course the same argument is used with hetro marriage being the divine institute against the demonic gay.

    Good luck telling someone from 200 years ago that masturbation and suicides weren’t sins, evolution was real, witches shouldn’t be burnt at the stake and mental illness wasn’t caused by demon possession.

    And let’s add antisemitism (thanks Saint John with a big wink to Martin Luther and those who went before him).

  • Bones

    That’s ok.

    There’s no real open fraternal dialogue with anti gay bigots, antisemites and white supremacists either.

    Don’t know why people condemn those who don’t wish them harm. That’s part of the human condition – like those who crucified the Master.

    Btw I refuse to talk about this with Christians and family members I know, knowing the hatred that will come out.

  • Jeff Preuss

    I’ve not asserted any such thing, and you know it. This is just another attempt of yours to wave off anyone who interprets Scripture differently from you as setting themselves above God. And I do not believe I am above
    Him.

    However, I do not believe the Bible to be inerrant, infallible, and the direct Word of God. Divinely-inspired though it may have been, it was written by men, and translated (and translated and translated) by men, so studying the context and history around the creation of the verses gives a greater understanding of the overall meaning of the Scriptures themselves.

    Your insistence that anyone who doesn’t follow your version of the texts actually makes YOU seem like you’re trying to be the prophet, ordering us to only follow YOUR version of the Bible to be “obedient.” So, before we go any further here, why don’t you please enlighten us as to precisely WHICH Bible you read as the inerrant Word of our Lord? There are literally thousands from which to choose, and they don’t all contain the same books or say the same exact things in every passage. So, please, which is acceptable for true obedience?

  • Jeff Preuss

    And I am following Christ’s teachings in my life, and I am still a homosexual man, with a committed relationship. I am obedient.

  • If you honestly believe that, then either you didn’t read mom’s comment, or you’re unclear on the definition of “condemn.”

  • Here’s a helpful list of all of the English translations of the Bible, if Richard would like to use it:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_English_Bible_translations

  • If I may, I think the issue there is less “pandering” and more deciding that they know what young people want and need, rather than asking young people. Which ultimately makes it more of the same. Forget what young people actually want, like leadership roles and in-depth study of Scripture that deals with the tough questions of our times, we’ll give them a pretty lights and rock music but keep everything else the same as it was when we were their age.

    That’s just my take, though.

  • Jeff Preuss

    But shouldn’t we also list the different canons for varying Christian traditions? After all, there are many many other books that aren’t present in the Protestant Bible that could apply. How can I know how to be fully obedient if I haven’t even read, say, the book of Judith? Does someone get to tell me I am placing myself above God or acting as a new prophet if I am not following commandments set down in 4 Baruch or 1 Meqabyan?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_canon#Canons_of_various_Christian_traditions

  • Actually, Jesus taught, “For from inside, out of the heart of men, come injurious reasonings, sexual immorality [πορνεῖαι.] All these wicked things come from within and defile a man.”-Mark 7:21,23 (Bracket mine.)

    Further along in the Christian Greek Scriptures we find, “Φεύγετε τὴν πορνείαν. πᾶν ἁμάρτημα ὁ ἐὰν ποιήσῃ ἄνθρωπος ἐκτὸς τοῦ σώματος ἐστιν· ὁ δὲ πορνεύων εἰς τὸ ἴδιον σῶμα ἁμαρτάνει.” -1 Corinthians 6:18

    “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin that a man may commit is outside his body, but whoever practices sexual immorality is sinning against his own body.”

    “ἢ οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ἄδικοι θεοῦ βασιλείαν οὐ κληρονομήσουσιν; Μὴ πλανᾶσθε· οὔτε πόρνοι οὔτε εἰδωλολάτραι οὔτε μοιχοὶ οὔτε μαλακοὶ οὔτε ἀρσενοκοῖται οὔτε κλέπται οὔτε πλεονέκται, οὐ μέθυσοι, οὐ λοίδοροι, οὐχ ἅρπαγες βασιλείαν Θεοῦ κληρονομήσουσιν.” – 1 Corinthians 6:9,10

    “Or do you not know that unrighteous people will not inherit God’s Kingdom? Do not be misled. Those who are sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, men who submit to homosexual acts, men who practice homosexuality, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners will not inherit God’s Kingdom.”

    “Their females changed the natural use of themselves into one contrary to nature; likewise also the males left the natural use of the female and became violently inflamed in their lust toward one another, males with males, working what is obscene and receiving in themselves the full penalty, which was due for their error.” -Romans 1:26,27

    Notice that those passages utilize conjugations of the key phrase πορνεία. Precisely what is πορνεία?

    The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon

    πορνεία

    Strong’s Number: 4202

    Transliterated Word – Porneia – Phonetic Spelling – por-ni’-ah

    Definition:

    Illicit sexual intercourse –

    1.1 adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.

    As you can clearly see, with just a rudimentary comprehension of the Koine Greek concept of πορνεία , it’s clear what exactly is and is not normal human sexual conduct in our Creator’s sight.

    Does this mean that those with homosexual or bisexual inclinations must forever be a slave to their lust? Not at all! Unalike irrational beasts, human beings are more than capable of adapting their sexual behavior and limiting it to its proper place. (Even those struggling with sexual deviations have benefited greatly from medical advances designed to help them regain their good health.)

    Withal, there are many loyal to God who refuse to engage in any kind of porneia. They happily prefer to remain celibate until such time as they find a fitting heterosexual partner to marry and build a natural family with, as our loving Creator originally purposed. Such ones not only enjoy the benefits of having a clean conscience but the wonderful blessings reserved for those who persist in maintaining a close, personal relationship with the Sovereign of the Universe, Jehovah God. (Psalms 83:18; Psalm 97:10; Psalm 145:20; 2 Samuel 22:26; 1 Samuel 2:9)
    http://bit.ly/1ckFtZt

  • Guy Norred

    Actually I find it interesting that many of the younger people at my church are more into formal rituals than many of the older ones. Of course this is at an Episcopal church in an area where they could have easily found the more informal church if they wanted so….

  • The neutrality of the early Christians in relation to the political and military affairs of the world is an established fact of history. It was in harmony with Jesus’ refusal to be made a king by the crowds (John 6:15) and with his statement to Pilate that his kingdom was no part of the world. (John 18:36)

    Justin Martyr, of the second century C.E., in his “Dialogue With Trypho, a Jew” (CX): “We who were filled with war, and mutual slaughter, and every wickedness, have each through the whole earth changed our warlike weapons, – our swords into ploughshares, and our spears into implements of tillage.” (The Ante-Nicene Father, Vol. I. p. 254)

    In his treatise “The Chaplet, or De Corona” (XI), when discussing “whether warfare is proper at all for Christians,” Tertullian (c. 200 C.E.) used the scriptures to show the unlawfulness of a military life itself, concluding, “I banish from us the military life.” (The Ante-Nicene Father, 1957, Vol. III. pp. 99,100)

    The Rise of Christianity, by E. W. Barnes (p. 333) says: “A careful review of all the information available goes to show that, until the time of Marcus Aurelius [121-180 C. E], no Christian became a soldier, and no soldier, after becoming a Christian, remained in military service.”

    The Early Church and the World by C. J. Cadoux (pp. 275, 276) says: “It will be seen presently that the evidence for the existence of a single Christian soldier between 60 and about 165 A.D. is exceedingly slight; . . . up to the reign of Marcus Aurelius at least, no Christian would become a soldier after his baptism.”

    A Short History of Rome, by G. Ferrero and C. Barbagallo (p. 382) says: “In the second century, Christianity . . . had affirmed the incompatibility of military service with Christianity.”

    Our World Through the Ages, by N. Platt and M. J. Drummond (p. 125) says: “The behavior of the Christians was very different from that of the Romans. . . . Since Christ had preached peace, they refused to become soldiers.”

    The New World’s Foundations in the Old, by R. and W. M. West ( p. 131) says: “The first Christians thought it was wrong to fight, and would not serve in the army even when the Empire needed soldiers.”

    “Persecution of the Christians in Gaul, A.D. 177,” by F. P. G. Guizot, in the book The Great Events by Famous Historians (edited by R. Johnson, 1905, Vol. III, p. 246) says: “The Christians . . . shrank from public office and military service.”

    Finally, the famous historian Edward Gibbon wrote in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Vol. I, p. 416): “While they [the Christians] inculcated the maxims of passive obedience, they refused to take any active part in the civil administration or the military defence of the empire. . . . It was impossible that the Christians, without renouncing a more sacred duty, could assume the character of soldiers, of magistrates, or of princes.”

    Their stand was also in harmony with one of the features Jesus declared would serve to clearly identify his true followers, the profound love they would show one another. (John 13:34, 35) This love was to be exhibited without regard to race or nationality, since God is not partial. (Acts 10:34, 35) It was even to be shown toward those that hated them. (Mat. 5:44, 45) This was to be a serious matter, for the apostle John later wrote that if someone claimed to love God, yet hated his spiritual brother, he was a liar. (1 John 4:20) Most religions today preach love, yet Jesus showed that actions were more important than words, saying that no matter what a person claimed you would recognize him by the “fruits” he bore. (Matthew 7:13 – 23) So, how do religions today measure up?

    According to Catholic theologian Hans Küng: “There is no disputing that in negative, destructive terms [religions] have made and still make an enormous contribution. So much struggle, bloody conflicts, indeed ‘religious wars’ are to be held to their account; . . . and this also goes for the two world wars.”

    Other observers have made similar comments: “The innermost reason for inhuman savagery is religious.” (National Review) “The chief motivation for war is no longer greed but religion.” (Toronto Star) “The Holocaust ‘was all done by baptized Christians.’”—The Tampa Tribune.

    Many may be unaware of the backing given to Fascist dictators such as Franco and Mussolini by the Catholic Church during World War Two, or the fact that it even concluded a concordat with the Nazis in 1933. At that time Cardinal Faulhaber wrote to Hitler: “This handshake with the Papacy . . . is a feat of immeasurable blessing . . . May God preserve the Reich Chancellor [Hitler].”

    This religious involvement has continued. In 1980, Delmar Smyth, professor of administration at Toronto’s York University, told the Ethics Commission of the Baptist World Congress held in Toronto, Canada: “We in the Baptist tradition are addicted to war.” He then pointed out that Jesus’ early disciples “believed he taught and practised non-violence . . . Early Christian writers condemned war. They branded killing in war as murder.”

    As the late Harry Emerson Fosdick, who is considered to be one of the most influential Protestant clergymen in American history, once admitted: “Our Western history has been one war after another. We have bred men for war, trained men for war; we have glorified war; we have made warriors our heroes and even in our churches we have put the battle flags . . . With one corner of our mouth we have praised the Prince of Peace and with the other we have glorified war.”

    This involvement is not decreasing. In 1983, when the WCC (World Council of Churches) assembled in Vancouver, Canada, Philip Potter, its general secretary, told them to “stay political.” Most religions have done this, making themselves a part of the world.

  • Jeff Preuss

    So, Jesus taught against sexual immorality. One translation sets porneia as simply fornication. You are applying your translation as well as Strong’s definition of porneia to be about homosexuality, when Jesus didn’t speak of that. You are inserting a lot of extra meaning into one word that is actually attributed to Jesus.

    So, Alana’s post is still true. If you (and Strong’s) decide that clearly “immorality” is a blanket term that is set to include homosexuality, you don’t have Christ’s actual words to back that up.

  • Paul Julian Gould

    While Strong’s is a useful resource, depending upon his heavily Evangelical Protestant interpretations in all things is rather like depending on Bishop Ussher’s chronology ’cause it’s at the top of the page in some Bibles.

  • By condemning porneia he spoke out against all manner of sexual immorality which includes, among others, homosexuality.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Includes according to you and to Strong’s, NOT according to Jesus’ words. You are the one inserting one word to mean a broad assortment of things, because you already have the preconceived idea that homosexuality is immoral, therefore when Jesus speaks of sexual immorality, clearly He means homosexuality, too. Clearly to you.

  • Here’s what Jesus actually said, “ἔσωθεν γὰρ ἐκ τῆς καρδίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων οἱ διαλογισμοὶ οἱ κακοὶ ἐκπορεύονται, πορνεῖαι, κλοπαί, φόνοι, πάντα ταῦτα τὰ πονηρὰ ἔσωθεν ἐκπορεύεται καὶ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον.” (Mark 7:21,23)

    See where he says “πορνεῖαι”? He used this broad term to encompass all forms of sexual immorality which includes, among others, homosexuality.

    Another way of looking at it is that, since there never existed any provisions for gay marriage in the Bible, homosexual relationships would by necessity be an act of fornication or sexual immorality. No matter how you look at it, Christ clearly condemned homosexuality.

  • Jeff Preuss

    No, He didn’t. All the things you post just reiterate MY point to you. His actual word was porneia, which gets translated as “immorality” or “fornication.” According to YOU and Strong’s, porneia also encompasses a whole HOST of things that you think are clearly sexually immoral.

    I reject your assertion of what is sexually immoral when it comes to homosexuality. So, it doesn’t fall under the word that Jesus used. You can continue to reiterate the things you have already said, but simply repeating them doesn’t make your interpretation the only one that counts.

    “See where he says “πορνεῖαι”? He used this broad term to encompass all
    forms of sexual immorality which includes, among others, homosexuality.” According to you. Taken at face value, fornication and immorality do not apply to my committed relationship to my husband.

    “No matter how you look at it, Christ clearly condemned homosexuality.” No matter how you look at it, it’s not clear that he did at all, without YOU superimposing a host of other “offenses” onto His words.

    I’m stemming this off before getting too far into the rabbit hole with you. I remember how your “arguments” involve a bunch of keyboard macros, and cut-and-pasted screeds that are too long to ever want to read, and you just repeat and repeat and repeat with the hopes your opponent will capitulate. Done playing that game with you. Have a lovely day.

  • Since when is hand-waving a legitimate refutation of a definition? You’re going to have to do better than that …

  • Your relationship with your “husband” may be committed but, like pedophilia, bestiality, incest, etc., etc., it’s still an illegitimate one in your Creator’s eyes.

  • Jeff Preuss

    Considering that you haven’t engaged in what could be considered “open” dialogue, I’m not sure what disappoints you the most. Oh, it’s the “agenda,” isn’t it?

  • Jeff Preuss

    Nope. It’s valid and real, and we’re done with you. There is no hope for any real dialogue with someone who equates who and what I am with a pedophile, and pretends he is speaking on God’s authority.

  • Prove it.

  • Nick

    Hi Falken,

    Sorry it took so long to respond. My connection has been spotty.

    I will start by saying that violence against another human being is sin. There is no excuse. It is unacceptable for a christian.

    You misquoted me. I was trying to point out the silliness of absolutes and how it kills dialogue.

  • Ron McPherson

    Many of these things pretty much echoes what a friend of mine told me, who served as a youth director for years.

  • When you come looking for something, odds are you’ll manage to find it. Our interactions have led me to believe that you come looking for a “post-orthodox pro homosexual relations agenda” and expecting angry but ultimately empty responses. No surprise, then, that that’s what you see.

  • Alana

    Yeah, I am kind of with you on this. The word may be defined as sexual immorality, but is there any proof that homosexuality was considered to be a part of that?

  • Alana

    I probably should clarify- I don’t mean that people are necessarily trying to patronize me on purpose. Really, I think it mostly comes down to the fact that most mainline Protestant churches in the US are really worried about their declining numbers and tend to want to just throw money or effort at the problem without really considering the underlying problems. It is easier that way.
    I am United Methodist, and have often been a part of these discussions within churches I attended. Invariably people would ask me, the youngest person there, what I thought they needed to do to get more young people to come, but I never felt that I was qualified to answer that. As someone who never was and never will be a “cool kid”, I felt like my answers were somehow wrong by default. Especially since I am an ex-music major who just doesn’t get CCM.

  • Yeah, I think I get what you mean. It’s well-intentioned, but not well conceived. And they think that the “young demographic” are all similar enough that if they can come up with the right “fix,” all of the young people will flock in. I’ve also been that young person being asked what a church needs to do to bring in young people (in the United Methodist setting, funny enough), and if the people asking you were like the people asking me, you could just sort of tell that they wanted an answer like “more electric guitars” or “a pastor who wears graphic tee shirts and has a Jesus fish tattoo.” Whereas I think the only legitimate answer that would have been true for even a majority of young people would’ve been “an apparent and authentic attempt to engage with the deep and difficult aspects of our faith, instead of shallow gestures.” And even that I don’t think is true of all young people, but at least I think it would hit those of us who actually might potentially darken the doors of a church.

  • Colin Nunn

    Benjamin, You make some good points that however do not prove anything about the Bible’s stand on homosexuality – but rather that we as Christians can be very befuddled in our thinking. I believe that the issue is not that we condemn others (homosexuals) while we ourselves are hypocritical in our attitudes etc., but the issues of: a) ‘what DO the scriptures say about that particular practice’ and b) ‘do we as Christians have the right to practice and teach what we earnestly believe the scriptures tell us’. This latter issue is a thorn in the flesh to the whole ‘gay’ movement and is the reason for its resistance to the Church and its teaching. In order to not feel condemned by their practices, ‘gays’ use all means, fair or foul to bully Christians into re-interpreting the Bible such that it accommodates their (gay/lesbian) life-styles. In alliance with politicians, and media, they use their manipulative power, playing upon the emotions of the community to apply pressure to any that oppose, using educational systems, the media, the law systems etc. to force Churches and pastors into line.
    No other biblical sin brings out such resistance as does this matter. We don’t see the media, nor education departments, nor self-interest groups campaigning to recognize adultery as morally correct, that lying is acceptable, that character
    assassination is ok, but most, even of those that commit such things, know that
    those things are wrong and harmful. It’s not that those that commit these wrongs (including those of homosexual/lesbian behaviour) are horrible, unacceptable people in the eyes of Christians, but that all sin is unacceptable to God. It’s
    never right to pretend for the purposes of peace of mind, that radical sin we
    commit is sanctioned by God and by His word.
    No other group but the ‘gay’ rights movement leans on society and the Church in particular, in order for their wrong practices to be considered acceptable – indeed normal.
    If these deceivers and manipulators are successful in their aims, it will eventually become absolutely impossible for any in the Church to state or teach openly what the holy scriptures plainly tell, us as more of these self-interest groups gain power over us by the same methods the ‘gays’ are employing. We need to keep in mind
    not so much whether the scriptures teach against homosexual/lesbian behaviour, (which they certainly do), but our right as Christians to believe and teach what we understand the scriptures tell us without being bullied by groups using stand-over tactics similar to the gay/lesbian movement and its allies.

  • “See where he says “πορνεῖαι”? He used this broad term to encompass all forms of sexual immorality” …good so far…

    “…which includes, among others, homosexuality.” And there’s where you lost it. It’s a pretty bit of circular logic – homosexuality is immoral because of this passage, and this passage condemning sexual immorality clearly includes homosexuality because it’s immoral, because this passage says so, etc.

    “Another way of looking at it is that, since there never existed any provisions for gay marriage in the Bible, homosexual relationships would by necessity be an act of fornication or sexual immorality.” That’s certainly an interpretation. Of course, it still needs a lot of support before it could be considered a reasonable interpretation.

    “No matter how you look at it, Christ clearly condemned homosexuality.” You accuse Jeff of “hand-waving,” while here you are calling circular logic and insubstantial rationale “clear.”

  • Thus far, the only “proof” I’ve ever seen has been circular logic – it’s immoral because of X passage. “But X passage condemns sexual immorality and doesn’t get any more explicit than that.” Yes, but homosexuality is immoral. “How?” Because of X passage. And repeat.

    It’s especially fun when they try and pull that game with the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, because then they pull the word “sodomy” in, as if the existence of an English word whose origin only dates back to around 1300 AD somehow proves beyond a shadow of a doubt what Sodom’s sin was when Genesis was written no later than the 5th century BC. And the literalists who want to say that Sodom was destroyed because of homosexuality are the same ones who say Moses wrote Genesis by or before 1445 BC. I guess the 14th century (AD) wordsmiths had a more direct connection to God than Isaiah, who said that Sodom was destroyed for failing to care for the poor, widows, and orphans.

  • I think there is indeed a slight trend in the Millenial generation to prefer the more formal and traditional rituals and services. And I think that stems from a deeper trend in our generation, a yearning for authenticity. I mean, we’re a generation that grew up surrounded by advertisements, by tricks and gimmicks meant to grab our attention. We’ve gotten pretty good at discerning when someone’s feeding us a line, and unfortunately that’s what a lot of the “contemporary” stuff ends up being – smoke and mirrors (sometimes literally!) meant to grab our attention and keep us placated. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

  • bz

    We can definitely agree that God did indeed give us the 10 commandments and that they are still relevant. We can agree that the law does not save you at all! It cant make you just and holy. Paul seems to look at the law like a mirror. It can point out the flaws in our character which is very necessary but it cant cure us. Only God’s grace can do that.

    Paul’ speaks about the “ordinances that were against us” being nailed to the cross (Col 2:14). According to Deut 21:36 the witnesses against us were the ceremonial laws and ordinances written by Moses.(Like circumcision, the issue that got Paul arrested and killed eventually) The bible does NOT say he wrote them on his own. Exodus indicates that God dictated them to Moses.

    Jesus “officially” sent the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Well before A.D.60. If one looks at the baptism described in Matt 3:16-17 and Jesus’ statement in Luke 4:18 and several other verses the Bible suggests that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are separate entities.

    Acts 1:11 and several other verses indicate a physical/audio/visual return of Christ. Nothing indicates a “spirit return” or secret rapture.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    If the law doesn’t save us, then why do you believe it’s relevant? Paul makes exclusive claims that the law is done away with, not just the ceremonial law. To quote a wise man,

    “You see, a lot of people try to break up the law, into either two, ceremonial and moral, or three parts, ceremonial, civil and moral. I often hear people explain that it was the ceremonial law that was nailed to the cross. This is a nice idea we use to try keep a hold of as much of the law as we possibly can, while doing away with some. The problem is the Bible doesn’t break up the law as nice and neat as that, in fact it doesn’t break up the law at all. However, I’m not going to argue about whether or not the law is broken up into sections, let’s just go straight for the jugular. Paul explains that the ‘law’ which is no longer relevant to the believer’s life is the law which is ‘written and engraved on stones’ in 2 Corinthians 3:7. Which law does that sound like?” – Phil Drysdale

    Why do you insist on living by the Old Covenant and refuse to be ushered into the New Covenant by the loving arms of the Christ?

    Jesus may not have come back, but I assure you that Paul made it clear that we are not under the law and he did not break up the law.

    http://Www.ukapologetics.net/jesusandthelaw.html

  • bz

    I’m puzzled. Why you think I’m insisting on some old covenant and not in the loving arms of Christ?? I’m not in some desert tent killing sheep on a neat stack of rocks.

    I don’t want to get into a bible quoting match because those usually aren’t helpful, but I’m pretty sure i sited enough verses to show that the bible says:

    1.The law is simply a mirror or a tutor to point us to Christ.
    2. Sin is defined as transgressing the law. Paul said he wouldn’t have even known he was sinning if it weren’t for the law.
    3. Jesus said that he wasn’t doing away with the law. He also said that we would follow it naturally after falling in love with him.
    4. Paul never said that the law was done away with, instead said that it was holy and just and good. He posed the hypothetical question if our faith negates the law which he answered emphatically “God Forbid.
    5. The book of James.
    6. Revelation 12 says that God’s people keep his commandments and have the faith of Jesus.
    7. There would be no reason for Christ to offer himself as a sacrifice or for us to ask God for forgiveness if the law didn’t matter. Because there would be no such thing as sin!

    You yourself said that then 10 Commandments were the commandments of Jesus and that he didn’t do away with them.

    Please don’t get me wrong. We are saved through faith. Period. But being in the new covenant with Christ makes us want to keep the law because we love him.

    If one is honest and takes a holistic view of the biblical narrative, its evident that no one did away with the law. The law simply shows us how much we need to depend on the merits of Christ and not our own.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    The law is part of the Old Covenant and is not carried over into the New. Many of your points are either intentionally misleading or flat out ignorant. I’m not sure which.

    1. “The law is simply a mirror or a tutor to point us to Christ.” – Yes.

    2. “Sin is defined as transgressing the law. Paul said he wouldn’t have even known he was sinning if it weren’t for the law.” – You’re speaking of Romans 7, but directly twisting it to suit your own meaning. It literally says, and I quote, “…sinful passions … were aroused by the law” in verse 5. You are taking Paul’s words out of context. He says that we are no longer bound to the law in verse 3 and 4. He says that the law caused him to sin in verse 5. He said we are released to the law and are dead to the law and now we live by the spirit and not the law in verse 6. Your excerpt is verse 7, but your assumptions drawn from verse 7 are contradicted by the earlier verses and later verses. He says that the law produced sin in him and that there would be no sin without the law in verse 8. He says that when the law came to him, sin came alive and he died in verse 9.

    3. Jesus said he wasn’t doing away with the Old Testament (NOT THE LAW), but he was fulfilling it, which means to finish or complete. Remind me again what He said on the cross in John… oh yea, “IT IS FINISHED”. What did He finish? The fulfillment of the Old Testament. Also, if you are referring to John 14:23, then you are mistaken. Jesus says, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.” Obey His teaching, not His commandments.

    4. Paul said in Romans 6:14 that we are not under the law, but grace. He did say that the law is holy, just, and good, but also said that it does nothing but promote sin in us. Therefore, the law is holy, just, and good, but cannot make us holy, just, or good. Romans 8:2 says that we have been set free from the law. 2 Corinthians 3:7 says that the law engraved on stones is a ministry of death. 2 Corinthians 3:10 says that the Old Covenant law has no glory compared to the New Covenant. Galatians 2:19 says that we are dead to the law. There are many more, but I will end with this scripture because it explicitly contradicts your statement that Paul never said the law is done away with. Ephesians 2:15 says, “CHRIST ABOLISHED THE LAW”. Let that sink in for a moment.

    5. This is the third time that you have used the book of James in your argument, but you have not once given a specific scripture reference or assertion for it.

    6. Considering that this was written to Christians in the wake of the New Covenant, I would assume that its meaning is clear… Her children will keep the Commandments of the New Covenant with God and have faith in Jesus.

    7. Jesus didn’t die to forgive us. You should research the theories of atonement. Please read this: http://somewhereinthemiddleground.blogspot.com/2014/09/jesus-and-cross-revisited.html

    This is the broken link from my last response… Hopefully it works this time: http://www.ukapologetics.net/Jesusandthelaw.html

    I said that the 10 Commandments still apply in ignorance and now I have learned that they do not and that Paul is explicit that that they do not.

    We want to do good because we love Christ, but doing good is keeping the laws of Christ expressed in the sermon on the mount.

    If one is honest and takes a holistic view of the Biblical narrative, it’s evident that God has made multiple covenants with men and with each new covenant, the old was done away with. Why do we make an exception for the mosaic law?

  • You’re grasping at straws. There is no circularity here since the definition of “πορνεῖαι” is “adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals, etc.”

  • bz

    Sorry for the delay in reply. Ive been very busy. Before I dissect your reply, I want you to know where I am coming from. I believe the only way for the bible to be explained is to explain it with itself. In other words the bible is consistent with itself and if there are apparent inconsistencies it has less to do with the bible being wrong and more to do with our understanding of the concepts and contexts being faulty. We cant just throw out one portion of the bible that we don’t like. When it comes to doctrine we have to look at the whole body of work. When we do that it is always reconciled with itself. This principle of studying biblical doctrine is actually…biblical! See Isaiah 28:9-10.

    Forgive me for not stating everything plainly with a reference to scripture. Ill try to make sure I cite every concept to avoid any confusion. Feel free to ask me for a reference if I miss anything.

    Take a look at 1 John 3:4-8

    4.Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.

    5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

    6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

    7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

    8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

    These verses can answer much of what has been brought up in this conversation. Verse 4 gives us a definition of sin. It is transgression of the law. Now if the death of christ abolished the law because we are now under grace through, then there would have been no sin or sinners for the past 2000 years. I don’t think you agree with that. And Paul doesn’t agree with that idea either. See Romans 3:31. Its the law that gives us God’s standards and shows us that we cant meet them without faith in Jesus.

    Verse 5 questions a few of your previous assertions, that Jesus broke the commands of God, and that Jesus didn’t die to forgive us. Firstly his whole purpose of dying was to forgive us for our sins in other words, he died BECAUSE we transgressed his law. Heb 9:22 says our sins (transgression of the law) are not remitted without the shedding of blood. Heb 9:26 says that Christ sacrificed him self to put away our sin. Old testament typology of Christ’s sacrifice foreshadows this purpose. Read what happened on the day of atonement on Lev 16. Read what Isaiah says about the Messiah in Isaiah 53 using the same symbolism of Lev 16! Especially verse 4,5,and 6. After reading that read John 1:29. Jesus’ death was about forgiveness of sin. Period.Verse 5 says there was no sin in Christ. Meaning that it was impossible for him to be a sacrifice and have broken the law. See Hebrews 4:15.

    Verse 6. If we place our faith in Christ and surrender our life to him, he substitutes his righteousness for ours AND helps us not to transgress his law.

    Verse7. Apparently even at that time there needed to be a warning against believing that our justification by faith annulled the law. Paul also does this in Romans 3:31, 6:1-2 and verse 15-16

    Verse 8: Again the whole purpose of Christ coming was to forgive us of sin (transgression of the law)

    Now when looking at Romans 7 it makes perfect since to say BOTH statements that 1. “The law is holy and just and good” and 2.”When the law came to him sin came alive and I died.” The whole chapter is Paul speaking about how he thought he was righteous until he looked in the mirror (the law) and realized that he was nothing but a sinner because he transgresses it. Rom 7:15-24 details his frustration with not living up to God’s standard and then the conclusion in verse 25 that Jesus is the only answer to his transgression of the law.

    Again, there is a significant separation between the sacrificial law and the decalogue. You cite Gal 2 which if you read the entire chapter is in reference to circumcision. You cited Ephesians 2:15. Im glad you did! Read the whole thing:

    “Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace”

    Paul is very specific about which law he is talking about he says “Even the law of commandments contained in ORDINANCES” (Greek :dogma) These ordinances are the same ordinances that are found in Deut 31:26. The same ordinances found in Col 2:14. Its talking about the ceremonial law!

    The book of james speaks extensively about the Law. See James 2:7-12. James is speaking specifically about the 10 commandments and he gives examples in this passage. He calls them the “royal law” and the “law of liberty”. He also speaks about sin being a transgression of the law.

    You cite the commands given at the sermon on the mount being the Laws of Christ. Christ spoke about the 10 commandments on the mount! From Matthew 5:17 onward he first affirms the law, then Jesus speaks about murder, committing adultery, using God’s name in vain and not only validates the law but MAGNIFIES it and make it even HARDER to keep with human power. He says our righteousness must exceed the Pharisees who relied on their own power to keep the law. This is a direct fulfillment of Isaiah 42:21 which says that Christ would “magnify the law and make it honorable”.

    You say that all of the old testament was fulfilled at calvary. Yes and no. Jesus said it is finished signifying an ending of the sacrificial system and his earthly ministry. Hebrews speaks about his ministry as high priest that he had only just begun after Calvary. This is foreshadowed in Lev 16 as well. You previously cited Daniel 9. Yes that was fulfilled by Jesus and the left behinders are wrong. However im sure you’re well aware that Daniel2,7,and 8 have not been completely fulfilled.

    In summary, Jesus didn’t break God’s law or he wouldn’t have been a perfect sacrifice. Jesus didn’t do away the with the 10 commandments but “magnified them and made them honorable” Peter defines sin as transgression of the lawPaul and james do the same and emphatically say that the law is still God’s standard. Most importantly Jesus died to forgive us from our sins (transgressions of the law). He enables us to do the impossible. Our salvation is based on his merits and he empowers us to have his character.

    Now there are some Christians who really don’t care what the Bible says about topics. I don’t think thats you so I hope these passages help you. I can go more in depth if you would like.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    Did you even read 1 John 3 all the way through, or did you just stop when you thought it illustrated your point? You do realize that the 23rd verse of 1 John 3 clearly states that God’s law (or commandment depending on your translation) is “that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as He commanded us.”

    4. Whoever breaks the law sins. What law? The one the author quotes in the 23rd verse… It’s pretty clear. He says, “This is His commandment”. I don’t think there is any way around that….

    5. Jesus had no sin because He did not break His own commandment. Jesus broke the OT law. We live in the NT covenant, not the OT. Simple.

    6. If we truly know Christ, then we don’t break His commandment. Not the OT law, the commandment that the author quotes to say, “THIS IS WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!”

    I don’t think I need to explain the whole chapter, I think you’re wise enough to figure it out.

    You’re right, this scripture does answer many of the points brought up in this discussion. That is, when you don’t rip it out of context. Verse 4 gives us a definition of sin, which is breaking the law. Verse 23 gives us the definition of the law as what Christ commanded, specifically, believe in Christ and love one another. There are sinners and have been for the past 2,000 years, but not by the standard of the OT, they are sinners by the standard of the NT.

    Romans 3:31 isn’t about whether we keep the law or not. This should be excruciatingly obvious. It is because the purpose of the law was not to justify us, but to prove that we couldn’t justify ourselves. Galatians 3:22-24 is clear about that.

    Your assertions of verse 5 are very weak. If you deny that Jesus broke the Mosaic law, then you have not researched His life enough. He clearly broke many of the laws including, but not limited to: touching the unclean and diseased, speaking to those outside Judaism, refusing to execute those whom the law demanded be executed, etc. You cannot deny that Jesus broke the Old Covenant law. Again, the passage is clearly speaking of the New Covenant law outlined in the 23rd verse. Furthermore, it says nothing of Jesus’ death and only speaks of His reason for coming. Your argument crumbles when you realize that Christ forgave before He died.

    You should research the early church because the early church believed these scriptures meant that Christ died because of our sinfulness. His death revealed how legalistic and hateful we had become. Christ was not killed by Gentiles, Christ was killed by the Jewish religious elite who obeyed their laws. Christ was not sacrificed, He was murdered. Christ sacrificed Himself to make a point, not to forgive. He forgave throughout His entire life.

    Leviticus 16? Have you read 1 Samuel 15:22, Psalm 51:16, Proverbs 21:3, Hosea 6:6, Amos 5:21, Micah 6:6-8, Matthew 9:13, Mark 12:33, etc. There are many, many more that I could quote, but I think the one that best illustrates my point is Jeremiah 7:22-23:

    “‘For in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I did not
    speak to your fathers or command them concerning burnt offerings and
    sacrifices. But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my
    voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in
    all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’” – That was God speaking.

    You can interpret Isaiah 53 in many ways. Obviously you have chosen for it to mean that Christ died to save us, but again, that is not what the early church believed. The early church believed that Christ was our scapegoat, so to speak. He was abused for us meaning that He came and took our abuse for our sake so that we would realize how evil we had become. His sacrifice caused healing because it caused reflection.

    A good read that illustrates my prior point is this article: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/hellbound/2014/10/who-is-really-naive-those-who-think-violence-can-solve-their-problems-or-those-who-dont/

    Not responding with violence breaks the chain of violence and force introspection.

    I have no quarrel with John 1:29. It clearly states that Christ took away the sin of the world. How can Christ do that if sin is still here? Another way of saying it is that Christ took the sin of the world upon Himself. He was abused because of our sins. We took our sin out on Him.

    Hebrews 4:15 – Christ is without sin, not because He upheld the Mosaic law, but because He loved everyone perfectly. That is the true law. Christ says this Himself in Matthew 22:40. Jesus says that the two greatest commandments are to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind and to love your neighbor as yourself. These two commandments sum up the entire Old Testament.

    Verse 6. Of course! His law, not the OT law!

    Verse 7. I think you missed the point…

    Verse 8. Yes! Notice how it said nothing of His death.

    Your argument about “ORDINANCES” is laughable. Please, give reference for how the law is broken up exactly.

    Do you expect me to believe that Paul was only speaking of circumcision? If that’s the only “sin” that Paul mentions and it doesn’t refer to the whole law, then you don’t even have a case for your “ordinances” because Paul doesn’t mention them either. You have absolutely missed the point. Circumcision was a sign of the Old Covenant and Paul was saying that we don’t live that way any longer, now we are in the New Covenant.

    I am SO GLAD that you mentioned James 2 because it ruins your argument. The “Royal Law” is NOT referring to the 10 Commandments, read it again! It quotes the “Royal Law” as being “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”. James goes on to say that if you would like to live in the Old Law rather than the New, then you will be subject to all of the Old Law and judged by it as well. He then says to live by the “Law of Liberty”, which would line up with the “Royal Law” of loving your neighbor because love and mercy triumph over judgement. James was written long after all of Paul’s letters (Paul’s letters were written before any of the Gospels were written) and James knew that the 10 Commandments as well as the rest of the law was the law of judgement. This is why James says to live according to Love and Mercy (Jesus’ Law) and not Judgement (OT Law).

    I thought we already went over Matthew 5:17. Did you not read this? http://www.ukapologetics.net/Jesusandthelaw.html
    It dissects the Greek for you and everything. Also, Jesus says “it is finished” and Paul regularly mentions “the finished work of Christ”. So if you believe that the Law and the Prophets weren’t accomplished, then you deny scripture.

    I like how you also fail to mention that Jesus regularly called the scribes and pharisees unrighteous.

    There was no sacrificial system implemented by God and the OT is clear about that. Also, either Daniel is fulfilled or it is not. Either Christ and Paul lied, or they spoke the truth.

    So Jesus did not break the laws of not touching unclean or diseased people, not working on the Sabbath, etc. Then you claim that scripture lies.

    I care what the Bible says, but it does not say what you claim it does.

  • bz

    I dont think that being condenscending or calling someone’s understanding of scripture “laughable” is very christlike. We miss the entire point of the gospel if we get to that level. Now I could take the time to point out all of the ways you’ve not been clear on what exactly the law is, whether or not Jesus was sinless vs following his Fahther’s commands, whether or not Jesus died to take away our sins or just to prove a point, what the bible actually says about atonement vs. somebody’s theories, whether or not the Jesus of revelation advocates keeping “the commandments of God”. I could question your apparent belief that Christ and the Father act independantly of each other and therefore have totally different laws…I could throw the bible at you about how daniel 2,7,and 8 along with passages in malachi and other OT books PROOVE that jesus didnt come back in AD70. I could reproove to you that the woman caught in adultery was a set up and didn’t proceed according to the civil law in the books of moses to begin with or that Christ didnt break the Sabbath only the Pharisee’s extra rules. The list could go on and on. I dont think I would be accomplishing anything.

    Instead i would like to press the reset button and ask you this. Do you think that people have love languages? Do you think that God has a love language?

  • John A. C. Kelley

    I’m sorry, you are right, calling your beliefs laughable was wrong of me.

    I think that I have given enough proof that if the standard is the Old Covenant law, then Christ was not sinless because He did in fact break it. Christ was living by His (Father’s) law. He did not live by man made laws.

    The law is, in Jesus’ own words, to love God with all your mind, soul, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself.

    What the Bible says about atonement vs. somebody’s theories? Please tell me you’re joking. Every doctrine based on the Bible is a theory. The Trinity is a theory, Hell is a theory, Jesus being divine is a theory, etc. To say “I believe what the Bible clearly says” is to speak in ignorance (I know you didn’t literally say that). The Bible is not clear on anything and you are not working off of your interpretation of what the Bible says, not what it actually says.

    Jesus and God do not act independent of each other. Jesus clearly states that He and the Father are one.

    I didn’t say that Jesus came back in 70AD, I said that it could be argued that He was the Holy Spirit. I also never said that I believe this.

    You could argue that Christ didn’t sin by not stoning the woman. You could also argue that He did not break the Sabbath (even thought He did). You cannot argue that He did not break the law when He touched the diseased and unclean. That is a fact.

    It depends on what you mean by love language.

  • bz

    If the bible is not clear on anything and everything in the bible is purely theoretical then Im afraid that we are having a completely moot discussion and neither of us should be christians at all.

    Following your train of thought, it could be said that Jesus breaking the law is a theory and not a fact. If you examine the actions of Jesus on the Sabbath vs. what the old testament says about the Sabbath, it think its pretty clear that he didn’t break the sabbath. As for touching the unclean and diseased, It wasn’t a sin to touch that which was ceremonially unclean. Carcasses needed to be disposed of including carcasses of clean animals, unclean animals, and humans which by definition would be unclean. People didn’t let these things just sit around and rot. They had to touch them. The bible says that when these things were touched, the individual was “ceremonially unclean until evening” and had to wash their clothes. Women were ceremonially unclean on their menses. It doesn’t mean they broke a law by ovulating. The priests had to regularly examine people who were diseased. In fact when Jesus healed lepers he sent them to the priests to be examined. None of these actions indicates a transgression of the law.

    I don’t understand your theory of which laws were man made vs which laws God made. Are you under the impression that the “Old covenant” is man made? Perhaps you could clarify that for me.

    Love language meaning ones preference on how love is to be expressed. For example- I like quality time. I feel loved when my significant other gives me quality time. My significant other on the other hand appreciates acts of service. In order to best express my love for my S.O., I would give them acts of service primarily and secondarily give them quality time, physical touch, gifts, etc. My S.O. would prioritize my love language to make sure that I felt fulfilled. I wouldn’t feel fulfilled if my love language was quality time and I just kept on getting gifts from my S.O….

    I agree with you about the words of Jesus saying that the summary of His law is to love God with all our heart soul mind and love our neighbor as ourselves. The question is does God have a love language? Does humanity have a love language?

  • John A. C. Kelley

    It was unlawful for anyone to touch the unclean. You can explain it away all that you want, but if Jesus became unclean at any point in time, then He could not have been spotless.

    There is clear contradiction in the OT law, especially between the Mosaic law and the 10 commandments. Example, all of these laws about putting people to death

    http://christiancitizenship.org/syllabus/pdfs/cc22-3.pdf

    blatantly contradict the commandments “thou shall not kill”.

    Jesus also explicitly contradicts the law in Exodus 21:23-25 “23 But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life, 24 eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, 25 burn for burn, wound for wound, [x]bruise for bruise.”

    Yes, people have love languages. No, God does not have a love language. We are all created in God’s image; therefore, finding ourselves is finding God and pleasing ourselves is pleasing God. Don’t misunderstand me. I am not talking about pleasing the flesh as in sexual things or anything of the like. I am talking about what truly benefits us. We find God when we find ourselves because the truest form of ourselves is God’s image within us. For me, it is deep, intricate, and philosophical thought where I find my true self and by association God. For my roommate, it is pushing himself to be the best that he can be. I think God’s love language is us finding Him in us.

    The language of the Bible seems to reflect Plato’s reasoning of the human condition as expressed in “The Analogy of the Sun”, “The Analogy of the Divided Line”, and “The Allegory of the Cave”. I would like to focus on “The Analogy of the Divided Line”.

    We were created in the image of God, so when we pursue who we truly are
    and who we were made to be, we find God. When we find ourselves, we find God because God is in us and His image has been made full with the coming of His logos (logic).

    Galatians 2:19-20 “19 For through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives
    in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”

    Plato summarized God’s plan quite well. In the divided line we have the four different levels of knowledge. The higher two levels are the intelligible or supernatural knowledge and the lower two are the sensible of natural knowledge.

    The intelligible knowledge.

    The highest knowledge is “noesis”, which is best understood as ideas, forms, or reason.

    The next highest is “dianoia”, which is best understood as mathematical objects or intellect.

    Next we venture into the sensible knowledge.

    The highest sensible knowledge is “pistis”, which is best understood as things, objects, or beliefs.

    The last form of knowledge is “eikasia”, which is best understood as images or imagination.

    We were created in God’s image, the lowest and least of knowledge. We depict who He is, but we have no substance of who He is. Then, in the gospel of John, the author states that the logos became flesh in the manifestation of Christ. This means that God’s divine reason or logic (logos) returned to humanity and gave man the highest form of knowledge.

    We are no longer mere images of Christ, but Christ inhabits us and we inhabit Him. We have been made whole.

    I can further explain if needed.

  • bz

    Being ceremonially unclean does not mean the law has been broken. Consider that women were “ceremonially unclean” during menses. That didn’t mean they were transgressing the law. When Jesus was born, his mother was by ceremonial law unclean and by extension he was too. The gospels even document the family going to the temple and offering the ceremonial sacrifice for his birth (turtle doves). Because his birth by law required an animal sacrifice did not make Him sinful or not spotless.

    Exodus 21:23-25 can’t be properly understood without reading vs. 22 which basically speaks about a guy causing a miscarriage by hitting his enemy’s wife while she’s pregnant. It talks about the defendant paying compensation for the family’s losses and THEN says in verse 23 that “if any mischief follows, life for a life etc.” When read in contexts this “eye for an eye” principle is put in place to DISCOURAGE personal vengeance not encourage it as some might say. When Jesus cites this verse he is actually discouraging
    personal vengeance too.

    Yes many of those ordinances had the death penalty. After all Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death but God’s gift is eternal life.
    I agree 100% with you that we are the reason that Jesus died. I think we may disagree
    on why (atonement). I believe that he took our place. All of those ordinances were pointing to the severity of what sin costs…and what it would ultimately cost.

    I think both God and humanity have love languages. Jesus/God explained His love language a few times. (John 14:15 Ex 20:6). If one looks at the Ten Commandments Exodus 20, first four are specific on how God wants to be loved. The last 6 are specific on how we should love our neighbor. This makes
    Jesus’s words in Matt 22:37-40 make so much sense! No new groundbreaking concept though (Deut 6:5 and Lev 19:18).-Of course doing these things by
    themselves don’t show our love, but doing them after falling in love through faith certainly does. It’s the same way a hot meal from a school cafeteria isn’t as good as momma cooking the same dish. Without love it’s pointless.

  • John A. C. Kelley

    You believe that sacrifices were to atone for sins, do you not? If sacrifice was to atone for sin, then yes, it was transgressing the law to be unclean. Whether it was transgressing the law or not, Jesus was unclean and did not follow the laws for the unclean and also could not have been “spotless” if He was unclean.

    No, the context of the prior verse (which I did read) does not change what the scripture says. The scripture clearly says that it is an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Jesus clearly says that it is no longer an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. The broader meaning is irrelevant because Jesus word-for-word quoted and dismissed part of the law.

    If they require the death penalty, then they require further sin. That is a blatant contradiction. Also, the atonement theory of the early church was some form of “Moral Influence/Mimetic/Scapegoat theory”, not the “Child Abuse Atonement” of “Penal Substitution”.

    You should read this post from Scot McKnight and the critiques in the comments from Michael Hardin. You have to scroll to get to their conversation because others have replied to both of them.
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2014/02/25/atonement-and-divine-child-abuse/

    I don’t think it’s sufficient to say that God’s love language is the law or that God has one specific love language because that would deny His image in us.

  • bz

    Sacrifices were to atone for sins but there were other purposes for sacrifices like thanksgiving or making promises to God. Not all sacrifices involved a confession of sin. What makes you certain that Jesus did not take a bath after touching lepers (who were probably healed instantly upon contact) as taking a bath was the only requirement given in Leviticus?

    The broader meaning of the law is the entire point of the sermon on the mount! Jesus gives us the “Why”. Jesus also said God told Moses to give the Hebrews things like divorce because of the hardness of their hearts. Not because God actually wanted it that way. The broader meaning as outlined by Jesus makes its placement make so much more sense. (After all Jesus gave all of those instructions to Moses. I think

    Death penalty (and I hate the death penalty btw) doesn’t equal more sin. “The wages of sin is death..”
    Atonement is impossible to completely understand. But no “theory” of atonement makes sense without the establishment of the law. Grace makes no sense without the law. Sin makes no sense without the law. (sidebar-interestingly the scapegoat was never killed on the day of atonement. Lots of symbolism there that most of Christianity ignores)

    I dont think words are sufficient to describe God’s love language much less the law. Hes God! But I think it would be erroneous to conclude that the law is not part of His love language when he is so specific about it being a mark of those who are in love with him. It doesn’t deny his image, It affirms that his “visage was marred”.

  • Stevie D

    Ok, so we understand your stance on Homosexuality.

    You have not, however, addressed the point of Benjamin’s introduction. He asks how it can be right to reinterpret some tenets of Biblical teaching (love your enemies in the example) whilst being rigid (and unloving) on others – in this case homosexuality.

  • Colin Nunn

    Stevie D

    You said: “Ok, so we understand your stance on
    Homosexuality.

    You have not, however, addressed the point of Benjamin’s introduction. He asks how it can be right to reinterpret some tenets of Biblical teaching (love your enemies in the example) whilst being rigid (and unloving) on others – in this case homosexuality.”

    No – the points I read in the introduction were more like labelling dissenters as hate-filled violent persons. He is
    saying in effect: “If you disagree with the practice of homosexuality, then you are a violent person”
    I quote “I’ve noticed a trend. While not a scientific poll, it’s been my experience that most of the folks who reject the nonviolent teachings of Christ are also people who are in the non-affirming camp, arguing that the Bible’s position on homosexuality is clear in that it is unequivocally a sin. I’ve sat back and dissected a host of arguments and various reasons they’ve given to me on both issues, and compiled a list of comments and quotes from my dialogues with people. When I began to take a closer look at the thought process, I noticed an interesting approach to biblical interpretation that as your chief explainerologist, I’ll be happy to explain to you”, Unquote.
    Then follows a compilation of further alleged quotes which seem to propose violence against ‘gays’.
    In other words, according to the writer, we who would believe the scriptural injunctions against ‘gay’ practices and dare to say so, are violent persons and reject the non-violent teachings of Jesus. This is simply dishonest and it’s hard not to believe that it is also a deliberate smearing of the reputations of those that have the courage to dare to speak for honesty in understanding scripture.
    I know of no believers in the Churches I have attended in all of my Christian life that would consider violence to be acceptable against any that disagree with them, or suggest practice any kind of physical aggression against any sinner. We each and every-one of us recognise that we too are sinners and in need of God’s grace. Therefore any person that enters my Church will be made welcome – but will not be allowed to tell us how we are to believe and practice the Bible.
    Your dishonesty is disgraceful my friend. You (deliberately) ignored what I said and simply lumped me and any who hold my
    opinion in with the haters and killers. You will not gain God’s blessing on your attempts to bully and smear others that don’t agree. Have the honest courage to read what I said and do not practice your hate on dissenters.

  • Stevie D

    Wow!
    Clearly you and I understand Benjamin’s post differently.

    I find your final paragraph odd. I simply reiterated my reading of the OP. This enables you tell me that I am dishonest, a hater and a bully?
    You also apparently know that I will not gain God’s blessing as a result of these behaviours which you attribute to me?

    Very strange.

  • But even that issue is more complicated. ‘Course there are those unreflected christian rightists, who are just sayin’ what is appropriate to conservative, tea party republican partisan politics. But there’s something on here, if you’re holding on to a conservative evangelical hermeneutics, there’s still the problem, that there’s max. three occasions, that the NT talks directly about Homosexuality (and, if you’re a little learned in NT Studies, it shrinks down to one, I’d say), which leaves little place to distinguish (except, of course, you allow yourself criticise pauline teaching on the basis of your philosophical worldview). On the matter of violence there’s a lot more going on in the NT and the Hebrew Bible, so that there’s more space for a conservative evangelical to distinguish different cases. Plus, since Paul is using ‘physis’ in Rom 1,26ff that really is, in all of greek literature, a phrase for a metacultural standart. Concerning the non-violence teaching of Jesus, you have even by Jesus himself sayings, that sound pretty different (e.g. about bringing the sword not peace).

  • TsukiNaito

    How can you say that LGBT people (and judging by the way you put ‘gays’ I’m assuming you think they’re actually making a choice to be *sigh*) are trying to bully the Church into reinterpret scripture when there are gay and lesbian people out there who sincerely believe they are called to celibacy and do so? How does that fit into your little theory of “pervs” trying to “bully” you?