Homosexuality and the Bible

It is obvious to me when reading the online comments of several professed Christians that culture is having a greater influence upon their thinking than the inspired Scripture. And it is equally obvious by references these people make to the Bible that many don’t really pay attention to what it very plainly says.. Rather, they rely on others who have read key passages to (re)interpret what it says about homosexuality. Additionally, I see increasing instances of people disrespecting the Apostle Paul and discounting what he wrote as irrelevant for a 21st century context. What is even worse is the assertion that Paul is teaching a different Gospel than Jesus! Because if you can dismiss the Apostle Paul, then you’re left with a much depleted New Testament, and a far less defined Gospel.

I’m not going to make the attempt at the moment to defend Paul. If you claim to be a follower of Jesus, then you dismiss Paul at your own risk. Jesus Christ himself appeared to Paul in the road to Damascus, and called him to be the Apostle to the Gentiles. That means he’s the key communicator for the overwhelming majority of us. Further, Paul started churches and set precedent for how churches should be formed, which arguably continues to bear fruit today. See, I couldn’t leave it alone! I will proceed with the same faith passed down to the saints from the beginning: the Gospel distilled and proclaimed by Paul, Peter, John and at least four other New Testament writers.

But, just to make a point, let’s start with Jesus, whom many make the case never addressed homosexuality. Actually, Jesus taught about something more important than sexual choice, he taught about God’s design for gender and human relationships. Most importantly for this discussion, Jesus affirmed Old Testament teaching about marriage.

Matthew 19:3-6
“And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, ‘Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?’ He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female,’ and said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.’”

The one flesh relationship that Jesus affirms is part of God’s design in creation. In fact, the Lord quotes from the creation account in Genesis (2:24) in his reply to the Pharisees. I think Jesus might say the same thing to us today regarding the issue of marriage: “Have you not read…?” God intentionally designed and created two different genders, male and female. Sex is part of God’s design and the physical connecting link between the man and woman who commit themselves to each other in marriage. It is also the procreative tool to bring about new life. When a man and a woman join together by covenant and in sexual union, they become one physically, emotionally and even spiritually. The one flesh relationship God designed is impossible between two people of the same gender. This should be anatomically obvious to anyone who considers it.

It has become culturally acceptable for men and women to act like the opposite gender, and even to have themselves surgically and chemically altered to resemble the opposite gender. However, God’s design is deeper than that. We are living in a fallen world and there are some who are born with characteristics of both genders, and others who never feel comfortable living out their genetic gender. “God created them male and female.” Each one of us is created to be either male or female, outside and inside. Perhaps the person born with both characteristics is a good illustration of the “inside” gender idea. That individual must chose to live as a male or a female and will choose what they are inside as opposed to living according to their ambivalent or confusing anatomy.

You are either male or female. God designed you to be that gender. Physically and emotionally and spiritually you will become more and more a man or more and more a woman.

It is not God’s will for everyone to marry. Observe what the Lord taught us about divorce. The disciples were surprised about his strict interpretation.

Matthew 19:10-12
“The disciples said to him, If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”
A eunuch cannot have sexual intercourse with a woman. Some men are born this way, some were conscripted and surgically altered as children, and others may choose to remained celibate.

There is a pattern and a principle here. If you are a man and are not attracted to women, or if you are attracted to other men instead, then it is incumbent upon you to remain celibate, not to presume that God made you to be a homosexual. We are living in a fallen world and I have no doubt but that there are complex factors at work in the lives of those who have same sex attraction. However, sex is not the answer to same sex attraction. You may genuinely love someone of the same gender. Good! But sex is not love. You find yourself in the same position as the eunuchs Jesus taught about above, and the same situation as any unmarried person with heterosexual attraction. You can abstain. Nothing bad will happen if you do not act out on your sexual attraction and desire. However, it will be very bad if you determine to identify with homosexuality and act against God’s design for male and female.

Let’s look at what Paul had to say in his letter to the Romans. This is an important inspired document. It was written to the capital city for the entire Roman empire. Paul distilled the Gospel and presented it very clearly in Romans. The epistle starts with a presentation about the world’s number one problem: sin. This is a longer passage, but read it carefully. I want you to understand the flow of the Apostle’s inspired reasoning.

Romans 1:18-27
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

I left the verse numbers so that you can find what I comment on.

First, God’s righteous anger is demonstrated against all sin (v. 18), not just sexual sins, and not just certain sexual sins. People who live sinful lifestyles suppress the truth (v. 18)—sin as defined by God in the Bible, and clearly in this Epistle to the Romans. To suppress means they try to hold the truth down, cover it up and keep people from hearing it, or argue against it. People suppress the truth with words and with their actions and lifestyle choices. That describes a variety of ways advocates energetically defend homosexuality and same sex marriage today. It has been cast as a civil right, and same sex marriage is “marriage equality.” Who wants to deny someone equal rights? Do you want to be on the wrong side of history? In one sense we’re all on the wrong side of history, until Christ returns and establishes righteousness and justice on the earth.

Because many Christians oppose homosexuality and support traditional marriage, a number of outspoken LGBT groups express outrage, sometimes even hatred. Apparently Christians don’t have the right to speak or exercise freedom of conscience. Activists shout down and attempt exclude anyone who doesn’t agree with their opinion about homosexuality. Do you need reminding about the Atlanta fire chief who was dismissed for at statement in support of traditional marriage, or of how national Christian speaker Louie Giglio was pressured by the gay lobby to turn down an invitation to pray at Obama’s inauguration because of something he said in a sermon against homosexuality many years earlier. And do you remember the Chik fil’ A brouhaha and boycott? All because the mild mannered founder supported traditional marriage. Suppressers are not supporters of free speech… unless they are the ones speaking.

Everyone is accountable to God because God has revealed himself in some way to everyone, both in their conscience and in creation (vv. 19-20). Suppression of the truth continues: Is it any wonder that many who reject God embrace a worldview that teaches everything came from nothing as the result of pure chance, and “There is at bottom no design, no purpose, no good, nothing but pointless indifference” (Dawkins). Every living thing is the product of the blind force of natural selection. This certainly leaves a gaping hole, through which any random idea or set of values can come, and indeed have come. If you begin with the provable assumption that the world is designed, created by an intelligent mind, then the next step is to understand the design and discover how you fit into it.

Even though we have all seen evidence of God in ourselves and in the created order, we all rebel and refuse to acknowledge Him in our thinking (v. 21). There is a biblical Proverb that says, “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge him,and he will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6). No, we put God out of our minds and think and do whatever we please. We think we are so wise! Further, we are ungrateful for all that the good and loving Creator has provided and done. The result is idolatry. We idolize things, people, and most of all, self (vv. 21-24).

Now let’s focus on those last two verses, which clearly describe homosexuality, even though they do not use that term. In fact, that has been an argument used by the pro homosexuals who try to use the Bible to buttress their position, or disabuse it in a continued effort to suppress what it says. The argument goes like this: The word “homosexual” is never actually used, so what we call homosexuality is not wrong. Actually, more descriptive and graphic words are used to describe and define the behavior. We often use the English word “homosexual” to gather these ideas together.

The Apostle Paul observes the ancient world and states (Romans 1:26-27 again),
“For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Once someone gets to the place where they choose an active lifestyle of sin, rebellion and perversion, it is the because they have stopped responding to God who has been convicting their conscience about right and wrong. Eventually, the person who chooses such a lifestyle hardens their heart to the point that they no longer respond to God’s urging. So, he gives them up to their desires (v. 26). Among these may be a burning desire to do sexual things with the same gender. Women are said to exchange natural sex with a husband for disordered sex with other women. Men are said to burn in their passion for other men. I believe that this is an expression of self-love and selfish idolatry.

I have come to believe that, at it’s root, homosexuality is an attempt to love and worship the self. A gay man sees another like himself, projects himself onto that person and makes love to them, and in so doing loves himself. This is partly what sex is, a means of obtaining acceptance and love. The perversion with homosexuality is the inability or unwillingness to completely love the other. I’m not saying that a lesbian couple cannot love one another (not sex, but compassion), but I am saying that the sexual side of homosexual relationships is very self-involved. The homosexual may project onto someone who is very much like themselves, someone who has similar physical features, and then show affection to that person and try to become physically intimate with them in an attempt to love themselves. In a different case a homosexual may project themselves onto an ideal person, someone they wish they were like, and make them the object of affection, in which case they are compensating for what they feel they lack. Now, this is my theory; you may criticize or jettison it as you’d like. I’m trying to understand homosexuality as it relates to sex itself.

The Apostle Paul stated in Ephesians 5:28-29: “So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it….” It is evident, then, that sex is a means of self-love. The man and woman become one flesh, and when they have intercourse, they are expressing love each for the other and for the self as they identify with the other. The problem with homosexuality is both, that it cannot result in a one flesh relationship, and that it is expressing love for what amounts to an ideal image in the mirror of another just like me or like I want to be.

Whatever the root and reason for homosexuality, it is inherently unfulfilling. The homosexual receives in her/his own body the due penalty for their error (v. 27). Same sex marriage, social acceptance, or pleasurable sexual experiences: none of these will fill the emptiness. Homosexual activity merely exacerbates the loneliness and inevitably results in pain, loss, depression, isolation, despair. Whatever the psychological, emotional and physical consequences of homosexual behavior, it is sin. All sin separates from God, and without God we are all empty and headed for destruction.

There are two other New Testament passages of Scripture about homosexual behavior and relationships. Like the passage above, homosexuality is not treated alone. It is listed alongside other sins.
The Apostle Paul indicates that the Law should be taught or preached to those who are acting lawlessly so that they will be given an opportunity to realize that they are wrong.

1 Timothy 1:8-11
But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted.”
The word for immoral is “pornos” in Greek and likely refers to the sexually immoral, of which the next word is an example. In the NASB, the Greek word “arsenokoites” is translated “homosexual.” In the NRSV and the NKJV it is rendered “sodomites.” It is a highly descriptive term that refers to more than mere same sex attraction; rather, it speaks of men actually having anal intercourse with other men. We get the English word “coitus” from one of the two words this Greek term has joined together. “Male” and “intercourse.” Please notice, homosexual conduct is treated no differently than any other sinful lifestyle choice on the list, from murderers and kidnappers to the profane or perjurers (liars).

1 Corinthians 6:9-11
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.
The key teaching in this passage is that all sin separates people from obtaining eternal life with God in His Kingdom. The two terms that refer to those who actively practice homosexuality are very graphic and refer to the active and passive male partners in homosexual sex. Those who are involved in such activity are included in the larger list of people who are living other sinful lifestyles, such as, fornication (heterosexual sex outside of marriage) and adultery.

So, there it is, a concise overview of what the New Testament (and Old Testament as Jesus taught it) teaches about homosexuality. This is why I am opposed to it. I don’t hate professed homosexuals, any more than I hate people caught up in other sinful lifestyle choices. I don’t believe I am any better without Christ. But I am in Christ, and he has given me life. I want everyone to receive what I have, but to do that you’ll have to have a change of heart and mind about many things, not just homosexuality.

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16 thoughts on “Homosexuality and the Bible

  1. Clare Flourish

    culture is having a greater influence upon your thinking than the inspired Scripture.

    You follow your conservative evangelical culture, with its insane hatred of gay people, in gay relationships, and read that into the Bible, rather than looking at the actual terms. Paul condemns slave traders enslaving rent boys and the men who use them, rather than gay men.

    Read the first chapter of Ruth for a beautiful declaration of a woman’s love for another woman. And turn to Christ, and find in him his redemptive Love.

    1. deorl Post author

      I am a degreed student of the Bible, and I try to follow the teachings found there, as interpreted by Jesus. I know of no evangelical who hates gay people, and I do know quite a few. Ruth is an amazing story as much about Naomi as Ruth. If you are trying to cast them as lesbians, then you have hit far from the mark. It is about redemption and restoration. Ruth marries Boaz and they become the great, great grand-parents of King David. Naomi, who calls herself “mara” (bitter) after the loss of her husband and sons is restored when she nurses Ruth’s son Obed as if he was her own.

      1. Clare Flourish

        Boaz is a marriage of convenience. He’s the guy with the money. Naomi nurses Ruth’s son like her own? See what I mean?

        Hatred is as hatred does. If you behave like someone who hates would, however much you protest love, you hate. Also, people internalise centuries of hatred and contempt from their society. They think they’re being normal, when they are being hating.

      2. deorl Post author

        Marriage of convenience? Now how in the world would you be able to make that determination on the basis of what is written in the text? You are doing precisely what many people do with the Bible, reading your own biases into it. In my field we call that “eisegesis” and it is a bad way to do hermeneutics. There is no credible interpreter of the Bible of which I am aware who would support your speculation.

  2. Daniel

    The Bible never addresses the issue of homosexual love, yet it does have several beautiful examples of same-sex love. David’s love for Jonathan was said to exceed his love for women. (2 Samuel 1:26) Ruth’s relationship with Naomi is an example of a deep, bonding love, and Ruth’s words of covenant to Naomi are often used in heterosexual wedding ceremonies. (Ruth 1:16-17) The Bible clearly values love between persons of the same sex.

    Paul’s statement in Romans 1:18-32 has been taken as the strongest New Testament rejection of homosexuality. He is concerned about the influence of the pagan culture on the Roman Christians. After giving a detailed description of a world that “exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator,” he continues, “Therefore, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lusts for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men and received in themselves the due penalty of their perversion.”

    A complete reading of these passages, in their original context, clearly shows that what Paul was actually referring to was homosexual temple prostitution, which was performed by various cults (though far more cults used heterosexual prostitution). Again, Paul is not referring to same-sex love, and he clearly has no concept of persons for whom this lifestyle is “natural.” Paul’s other reference to homosexual acts in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 is similar to 1 Timothy 1:8-11. These two passages contain lists of persons to be excluded from the Realm of God. The interpretation of these passages depends on two Greek words that have always presented a problem for translators. In the King James Version, they are translated “effeminate” and “abusers of themselves with mankind.” In the Revised Standard Version, they were combined and rendered as “homosexuals,” however, these are not the Greek words for homosexual, so these translations reflects the scholars’ bias. The New International Version illustrates the difference in these two words by translating them “male prostitute” and “homosexual offenders.” The Jerusalem Bible uses the terms “catamites and “sodomites.” Catamites were youth kept especially for sexual purpose, who were usually paid large sums of money. Neither passage refers to persons of same-sex orientation but to people who used their sexuality for personal gain.

    In the New Testament there is no record of Jesus saying anything about homosexuality. This ought to strike us as very odd in light of the great threat to Christianity, family life and the American way that some would have us believe homosexuality is. Jesus saw injustice and religious hypocrisy as a far greater threat to the Realm of God.

    Episcopal priest Dr. Tom Horner has written that the Gospels imply in two places that Jesus’ attitude toward lesbians and gays would not have been hostile. (Jonathan Loved David, p. 122) The first is found in the story of Jesus healing the Centurion’s servant. (Matthew 8:5-13) The word used for the servant is “pais,” which in the Greek culture referred to a younger lover of an older, more powerful or educated man. Clearly, the story demonstrates an unusually intense love, and Jesus’ response was wholly positive.

    The other hint of Jesus’ attitude is seen in his comments about eunuchs. (Matthew 19:10-12) Jesus opposed divorce in opposition to the abuses experienced by women. It is in the context of marriage that Jesus said “some eunuchs were born so; others had been made eunuchs and still others choose to be eunuchs for the Kingdom’s sake.” Jesus’ remarks about celibacy and castration are clear, but a male child being born without testicles is a rare birth defect. It is only in our day that the Kinsey Institute has demonstrated that sexual orientation is likely determined prior to birth. It could well be that those to whom Jesus refers as being “born eunuchs” are the people we call lesbian or gay.

    Jesus’ attitude toward eunuchs differed greatly from the fundamentalist Pharisees of his day. To them, eunuchs should have been excluded from the covenant and barred from worship and participating in the community of faith. Jesus’ graceful approach to eunuchs is beautifully pictured in the promise of the prophecy of Isaiah, “To the eunuchs… I will give them an everlasting name that will not be taken away.” (56:4-8)

    In Jesus’ day there were three types of persons called eunuchs: celibates, those who were slaves and were castrated so that children would not be born to them, and those who were “born eunuchs,” or homosexuals. Royal and wealthy households used castrated slaves to work with and guard the concubines and female slaves. However, when assigning slaves to female members of the royal family, they would choose homosexual slaves. With female members, the concern was not just unwanted pregnancies but also rape.

    It is against this background that we must read the story found in Acts 8:26-40. In this passage, the Holy Spirit sends Philip the Deacon to witness to and baptize an Ethiopian eunuch of Queen Candace of Ethiopia. One of the earliest converts to Christianity was a person excluded for sexual reasons from the Old Testament community.

    For the Christian, sin must be understood as a disease that results FROM a broken relationship with God and that results IN a broken relationship with one another and with ourselves. Hence, Jesus’ supreme command is to love God and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. Christianity is not a religion with new rules and laws but rather is a new relationship with God. Those things that the legalists are fond of labeling “sins” are actually just symptoms of the much deeper disease of alienation and estrangement. Much of the energy of the Church has been spent dealing with symptoms while leaving the disease intact. Jesus did not seem overly concerned about the legal transgressions of those to whom he ministered. Rather, he was much more concerned with healing the physical, spiritual, emotional and relational brokenness of people. Perhaps if the Church would again give itself to the healing/reconciling ministry of Jesus, then some of the symptoms about which we are so concerned would begin to disappear.

    That brings us to the question: Is homosexuality a symptom of brokenness? In a very few cases, perhaps. Yet, pointing fingers of blame and accusation is not Christ’s way. Rather, Jesus accepted people as they were and allowed love and acceptance to work its miracle. However, most lesbians and gays have been lesbian or gay for as long as they can remember. For them, it is a much a natural characteristic as their eye color or their handedness. Kinsey Institute research (University of Indiana, 1981) has suggested that homosexuality may well be genetic or, at least, linked to some prenatal factors. (Sexual Preference, Bell &Weinberg) Certainly most competent psychologists would concur that sexual orientation is set prior to the age of five in most persons. It is, therefore, not a matter of choice, so it cannot be a moral or ethical issue.

    Many Christians insist that God can change/cure the homosexual. In the book The Third Sex there are six reported cases of homosexuals whom God has “cured.” Of these six, at least four are known to have returned to their gay lifestyle. (Christianity Today, February 1981) Many lesbians and gays spend most of their lives trying, with no success, to persuade God to change them. It is like trying to get God to change your eye color. What option, then, is left to these persons? They have been told that they can’t be gay and Christian. Since all efforts have failed in their struggle not to be gay or lesbian, then their only recourse, according to the Church, is that they can’t be Christian. So, the Church has discounted or discarded as much as 10% of the population.

    If they are excluded from the life of the Christian community, who, then, will tell them of God’s inclusive love and of Jesus’ reconciling death? Are they left to assume that God is so narrow-minded as to exclude them for something over which they have no control and for a choice they did not make? When will the Church finally be brave enough to say with Paul, “in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave or free, male or female,” gay or straight? God has enough love for all!

    1. deorl Post author

      The Bible addresses homosexual actions and does not refer to them as “love” as the article I wrote clearly outlines. Did you read my blog, or are you using this as a forum for your settled opinion? If you would read you’d find your opinion soundly refuted by the Scripture passages cited and lightly exegeted.

      The Bible is replete with references of love between those of the same gender, and you mention two good examples. Sex is not love. If you infer that there was any sort of sexual attraction or action going on between Naomi and Ruth, you are reading a distorted bias into the text. If you believe David and Jonathan were involved in some sort of gay relationship, you have again grossly misread both the verses to which you refer and ignored the testimony of the life of David, who had so strong an attraction to women that he nearly destroyed his kingdom over the love of a married woman.

      The Apostle Paul’s language is very descriptive. I will not go back into what I’ve already written in the article. I would simply encourage you and others to observe what is written there concerning these Greek words. I will say it is poor exegesis on your part to take a translation from a particular English Bible and use that as the basis for your intepretation of the original meaning and context (I refer here to your understanding of the usage of “catamite”).

      I’ve heard this recent and novel interpretation of the Centurion’s servant used by others seeking to justify homosexual conduct. Even if the word “Pais” referred exclusively to the “younger lover of an older more powerful” patron, which it does not, this would not be proof of Jesus’ support for homosexuality any more than the story about the woman caught in adultery is proof of his support for adultery.

      I wholeheartely agree with your paragraph about sin resulting from a broken relationship with God.

      There may (or may not) be genetic components to homosexual attraction, the science is far from certain on this, much further than one would assume from the assertions of those who would say, “I was born this way. I would agree that there are complex social, and perhaps genetic, components to homosexual attraction. I gave my own psychological interpretation within the article, ie. that homosexual love may well be an attempt at objectification of the self in order to attain acceptance and love.

      Thank you for your thoughtful reply.

      1. Daniel

        First, you are having a very polite approach and I want to acknowledged that. You take the Matthew 19:10-12 passage in a way most conservatives I have encountered simply refuse to. So extending some logic to the eunuchs Jesus taught about, you say that I as a gay man, find myself “in the same position as the eunuchs, and the same situation as any unmarried person with heterosexual attraction. You can abstain.” Let us extend Paul’s remedy for those unmarried persons with heterosexual attraction. 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 “But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.” The precise solution to immorality that Paul proposed. Even a light read of the Bible as a whole shows that there has been a fundamental evolution in what marriage is. Starting with Adam and Eve and then logically extending to their children (marrying each other????), David and Solomon with many (many) wives, to the New Testament period when monogamy became common (but where the matchmaking was largely the purview of the parents) the understanding of marriage has changed. Even the relationship with Abraham & Sarah which by Abraham’s own admission was incestuous. The evolution of marriage is particularly striking for women. The idea of a woman having a romantic choice in her marriage was unthinkable until centuries after the Bible was compiled. The very definition that most conservatives point to as being final was given by Jesus in Matthew 19 includes Jesus’ redefinition of redefining or reverting back the definition of marriage. “Haven’t you read …. Moses permitted you ….. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that….. ” The message of Christ love, sacrifice and saving grace is much more to the point than some technical discussion or if the God of the Bible cares if my husband of over 20 years engage in sex. The truth, for me, as I read it is that God’s love and grace extends much much further than the limited purview of religious leaders willingness to extend.

    2. deorl Post author

      On “pais” in your reply, here is an interesting comment by Ulrich in the Hermeneia Commentary on Matthew: “Παῖς here means “son” and not “servant,” a conclusion that eliminates the older interpretations that saw in our story an expression of solidarity between masters and servants. Reasons: (1) In v. 9* Matthew uses δοῦλος for “slave”; (2) previously Matthew has used παῖς with the meaning “child” (2:16*); (3) in the related story of 17:14–21* παῖς clearly means “son” (17:15*, 18*). Cf. also below, III A 1.3 on 12:18*.”

      Ulrich Luz, Matthew: a Commentary, ed. Helmut Koester, Hermeneia—a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg, 2001).

      1. Daniel

        Male concubine is the extended meaning of “pais”. Often, though pais is used as a male slave child, sexual or non-sexual, so without any contextual aid, it is impossible to distinguish between a sexual and non-sexual slave child.

  3. Pingback: Ruth | Clare Flourish

  4. Eliza

    The Greek for the term abusers of mankind with themselves, KJV, refers to men who lie with men as one lies with a woman, or homosexuals. Whether or not homosexuality has a genetic component, it is the same as the genetic component that drives all sin, we inherited our sins natures from Adam. We sin because we are sinners and hate God and others. We transgress God’s law because we prefer our own ways to His ways. So basically, when you try to justify your homosexual sin you are just reinforcing the fact that you are a sinner separated from God because you are a rebel and hate His ways. Only you try to justify your sin by tacking Jesus onto it, which is reprehensible and diabolical since He never supported any sin.
    So why would Jesus Christ address homosexuality with the Jewish people when it wasn’t an issue with them? Paul addresses homosexuality because it was an issue with the Gentiles, in that they were actively pursuing and engaged in this perverted lifestyle. Much as the homosexual lobby today is trying to pass homosexual perversion off as normal and on par with normal heterosexual relationships, homosexuality was accepted as normal by the culture of the day when Paul lived. Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit wrote otherwise to the churches to warn them against this wickedness that demonstrated the lack of genuine repentant faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. Those who claim faith in Christ today while embracing or accepting this sinful rebellion against God demonstrate their lack of being born again into the family of God through the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit through belief in the truth and trust in and faith in Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior sent by God to redeem sinful man to Himself. Church attendance or adherence to ecclesiastical dogma does not confer eternal life upon anyone.

    https://holdingforthhisword.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/beloved-brother-paul/

  5. Daniel

    I know that my husband and I have been together 20 years 5 months and 26 days so far. I know that, sex died off long long ago. It takes much more that gay sex to have a loving, committed gay relationship that endures as long as ours has. It seems as if your issue is solely related to homosexual sex. Well friend, I don’t have that – I’m too old lol. I know where my heart is. I know that we love our kids very much. I know that every Sunday for over 20 years we have been in church. I know that I would place my tithing, my relationship, my bible study, my dedication to my church the Cathedral of Hope and my relationship with Jesus Christ up any day, any where for others to measure against. I am a sinner saved by grace. I seek only to continue my dedication to my savior, my family and my country. I disagree with traditional understandings of the scriptures, but I know that I and my God are just fine between us with my life as lived in service to my God.

  6. Daniel

    I think that most self-identified “Christians” seem to have a fetish for their favorite sin to put on blast – “homo-sex”. You mention the “right or wrong side of history”. The history of Christendom has, as one of it’s shames, listed as being the complete inability to get the slavery issue right until about 170 years ago. Except for murder, slavery has got to be one of the most immoral things a person can do. Yet slavery is rampant throughout the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments. The Bible clearly approves of slavery in many passages, and it goes so far as to tell how to obtain slaves, how hard you can beat them, and when you can have sex with the female slaves. Many Jews and Christians will try to ignore the moral problems of slavery by saying that these slaves were actually servants or indentured servants. Many translations of the Bible use the word “servant”, “bondservant”, or “manservant” instead of “slave” to make the Bible seem less condoning or slavery than it really is. In the bible slaves were bought, sold, and treated worse than livestock. I’m not just throwing chaff in the air here, I have a point. Even the shortest book in the New Testament is a letter written from the Apostle Paul to a slave owner about a slave. Paul’s writing to Philemon about the slave in question, Onesimus, is actually a turning point in how slaves are regarded, but Paul doesn’t get the slavery question right according to history. Neither did the body of Christ, until recent times. Now, if the body of Christ can take a subject like slavery, with which the Bible is rife with reference to, and abolish it and stand by the rightness of their decision on this side of history, then I feel very certain that the body of Christ can and will eventually move on this issue as well which very few verses are actually associated. Not you perhaps, not your church, but the larger body of Christ will indeed be able to separate Old Testament references from New Testament references to temple sex and prostitution and be able to include loving, committed same-sex couples into their fellowship. History will judge, but more important to me is that I will stand someday before the judgement seat. There I am fully prepared to answer on what I did with the saving precious blood of Christ. I have accepted it, I have lived my life in service to his name. I have become a man that I know God intended me to be, I have developed my family with my husband of over 20 years, I have not been stingy with the blood of Christ. As a matter of fact, I have tried as hard as I can to be like the seed thrower Jesus spoke of – I liberally and graciously spread the love of Christ on fertile soil, on had ground, on the stony ground – where ever the seeds fall. Now, I believe that the homosexual is my neighbor, so I love them as I love myself. I also know that the conservative evangelical is my neighbor and so I love you as I would love myself. Back to the beginning where I said most self-identified “Christians” – the reason I say it that way is because in Acts they were first called that pejorative term. That is a term the world had for them. I don’t choose to call myself that. It is a great honor when every once in a while, someone looks in on my life and says, “So you’re a Christian?” I just smile, wishing I could be so bold as to call myself a “little Christ”, but I know what he called me in Matthew 12:49, he called me “family”. Your exegesis, eisegesis, hermeneutics, Greek, Hebrew etc will not change the fact that I as a believer have been adopted into the family of God. You are very careful to separate homo-sex, from homo-love and homo-sexuality and so, to me, it is then very clear that you are discussing “penis into a vagina” theology. My God, my Savior and my Scriptures are more concerned about how much I love than if I only practice “penis into a vagina”. I think there are more important things to God, to people, to the world than “penis into a vagina” theology.

    1. Eliza

      Daniel,
      26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:26-28

      22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:22-24

      10 ‘The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death. 11 The man who lies with his father’s wife has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. 12 If a man lies with with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death. They have committed perversion. their blood shall be upon them. 13 If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of the have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. 14 If a man marries a woman and her mother, it is wickedness. They shall be burned with fire, both he and they, that there may be no wickedness among you. 15 If a man mates with an animal, he shall surely be put to death, and you shall kill the animal. 16 If a woman approaches any animal and mates with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood is upon them….23 And you shall not walk in the statutes of the nation which I am casting out before you; for they commit all these things, and therefore I abhor them….26 And you shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you form the peoples, that you should be Mine.’ Leviticus 20:10-16, 23, 26

      16 “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. 17 Do not think that I came to destroy the Law of the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” Matthew 5:16-18

      9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

      18 For the wrath of god is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of god is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man–and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. 26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even the women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting: Romans 1:18-28

      First God is our Creator, and He created us in His image, male and female, and blessed that union alone. He created and blessed marriage; for a man will leave his mother and father and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. This is all between a man and a woman, period. You are following the lawlessness of this wicked age and are trying to overthrow what God has ordained. You are arguing and fighting against God, what He has created and His revelation in the Scriptures. That is not something that a child of God does, Those who belong to God through repentant faith in Christ submit to the Holy Scriptures.

      Second, God is holy and He expects those who truly know Him to be holy. That means not following the vile and destructive behaviors of the world around them. Notice that homosexuality it listed along with other sexual sins. Also notice that the penalty for this perversion is death for both participants, as decreed by God. Notice that in each instance of these listed sexual sins the penalty for those who practice any of them is death.

      Third, Jesus Christ did not come to do away with the Law and the Prophets, He came to fulfill them, and they will remain in effect until the new heavens and the new earth in which righteousness reigns. Jesus did not preach against homosexuality Himself, because He was sent to the lost sheep of Israel, and they did not practice this sexual sin.

      Fourth, homosexuality and sodomy are listed with other sinful practices that will keep those who practice them out of heaven, period. There is no way that you can get away from the translation for homosexuals, it is there in the Greek. You are deceived if you think that anyone can practice homosexual sin, not repent of it, and think that they are going to heaven. God’s Word, the Bible does not say that. You are arguing with what God has said and are following the sinful practices of the world.

      Fifth, the homosexual lobby is making a god after their own ungodly image that condones all manner of wickedness, even though in their heart of hearts they know better, because God whispers it into their consciences. Lesbians and homosexuals are the recipients of God’s just judgment because they refuse to believe in Him, praise Him and thank Him. You can say that you know Jesus Christ all you want, but your efforts to justify your sin and the sin of others by trying to twist what God has made so perfectly clear in the Bible, belies your confession. As it says in Romans the first chapter, this perverse sexual attraction is God’s judgment upon mankind because they refuse to respond to the truth in creation and in their consciences. Their is a list of other sins that follow this particular just judgment, but the rest are also a condemnation upon sinners because they refuse to turn to God in repentant faith and belief in His Son Jesus Christ.

      Finally, the patriarchs had no slaves. The Jews brought slavery with them when they left Egypt, where they were slaves themselves. In Exodus, chapter 21, God gives the legal rights of slaves and protects them from their owners. This is the chapter on property rights, since slaves belonged to the slave holder. Here is the sober truth. Being a slave or a slaveholder kept/will keep no one out of heaven. Being a homosexual, murderer, liar, thief, etc. will. Here are verses in the NT that deal with slavery:

      21 Were you called while a slave? Do not be concerned about it; but if you can be made free, rather use it. 22 For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise, he who is called while free is Christ’s slave. 1 Corinthians 7:21-22

      5 Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; 6 not with eyeservice, as menpleasers, but as bondservants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, 7 with goodwill doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, 8 knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord, whether he is a slave or free. 9 And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him. Ephesians 6:5-9

      So God instructs slaves to get their freedom,if they can, and if not, then to serve their masters as they would serve Christ Jesus Himself, with all fearful trembling and lowliness of mind, but He commands the masters to give fair and equitable treatment to their slaves because they will answer to Christ for how they treat their slaves. Slavery was man’s design, not God’s, He is the one who demands fair, just and honest behavior from both for His glory. That, of course, runs counter to the dictates of man.

      You are not the judge of God, He is the judge of you. He will judge you by His standard, which is His law that you claim to know. You must either repent of homosexual sin, or spend eternity in hell, there is not any other option. We, if we are believers, believe what God has told us in His Word the Bible, and we strive to obey it; if we don’t, then we prove that we do not belong to Him. May God in His infinite mercy open your eyes to the truth through the work of His Word in your heart by the power of the Holy Spirit.

  7. Daniel

    Since you are honorable in separating homo-sex from homo-love from homo-sexuality let us carry the same into the life of David and the words spoken of him. First by you, “the testimony of the life of David, who had so strong an attraction to women that he nearly destroyed his kingdom over the love of a married woman.” David who had 8 wives, sortied affair, murdered at least one man, might have even had a sexually transmitted disease and yet despite all of his hetro-sex, hetero-love and hetero-sexuality, God said “David is a man after my own heart”. Add to that he is in the blood-line that leads directly to Jesus. I as a homo-sexual, with homo-attraction, homo-love and having had homo-sex still believe that even IF you can somehow align my homo-sex with the types of homo-sex the bible speaks of in the New Testament which are clearly temple prostitution (I’ve not done that) and pagan worship (I’ve not done that) and homo-prostitution (yep there has been that sin in my past, of which I have repented for and ceased long long long ago) – I still claim the love of Christ, the blood of Christ, the blessings of God on my life and in my life. Extend Paul’s “in Christ there is neither male or female” to the same and what I have is an equally yoked, loving, committed relationship with another soul for over 20 years. I agree that sex is not love – the love that we have for each other on our same sex relationship, as parents to our two children, through the struggles of life, that has lasted is no less than that of countless hetero-couples who haven’t weathered the test of time and faithfulness. Were it not for God who is on our side, we too would have failed long ago. The intense interest the evangelicals have surrounding the exclusion of gays from the community of Christ will live as testament to the shame of Christ. Every time one twist the Gospel to exclude and then says “Well Christ was offensive in his love also” they crucify Christ again. I know that you and I are not likely to ever agree, honestly I do not care too much about that. After Bible College at Bible Baptist College and post graduate study and degree at Waylon Baptist University, I began to study and read the Bible with true biblical exegesis, letting the text interpret itself against the culture and origins of itself without the burden or modern understandings and interpretation. When I honestly look at the cannon of scripture, it never even touches the subject of what we know as Gay committed relationships. It mentions homo-sex in relation to those who it assumes have hetero-attraction, it mentions pagan homo-sex worship rites, it mentions homo-rape, it mentions temple homo-sex prostitution, but it never even comes close to reflecting as a prohibition the loving, committed relationship that my husband of over 20 years and I share. The persuasion of scripture and my personal relationship with Jesus Christ lead me to know that God has put he and I, my husband and I together, and I will not allow a man with a couple of degrees and fancy interpretation of scripture put that asunder. As I said, I know we will not agree so why have I written all of this? Because I do not want you to be the only voice in the room on this subject. You can come after me and comment, you can come after me and delete, but either way this is my final post on this subject on your blog. I’ve noticed that you are extremely polite, and I want to acknowledge that. Perhaps if evangelicals had employed your approach long ago the cultural war would not have been lost to us. April 28th will come, the Supreme Court of the United States will rule and you will stick by your beliefs. I, as an American, would fight and die for your right to proclaim from the rooftop and certainly from your pulpit, those things that I would spend a life-time opposing. We as Gay Believers in Christ and those who resist even our right to claim the name of Christ will somehow learn to live in peace side-by-side. But we will probably never agree. If I am wrong, then I will have lived a life proclaiming the sacrificial love of Christ to those that the evangelical Christians have nearly banished from their churches. I am more than willing to answer before the judgement seat for what I have done. What if you are wrong? What if you cause the suicide of those you have relegated to a celibate shamed life? What if you are wrong and have refused full welcome into full service within your church those who actively live in a homosexual relationship such as myself? What if you have harmed the least of these?

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