Editor’s Note: Last Sunday, the nation witnessed a horrific tragedy in Orlando, Florida. Over 50 patrons of a gay nightclub were murdered in the worst mass shooting in US history. In the aftermath of this tragedy, we’ve seen beautiful outpourings of love and solidarity across the country. We’ve also seen many who would place themselves under the “Christian” banner double down on hateful rhetoric and verbally attack the LGBT community.
First, we at Brazen Church want to offer our voice in love and solidarity with the LGBT community. Second, we want to help move the conversation on homosexuality forward by dismantling a common misconception – the idea that the Bible offers a crystal clear take on this issue. The reality is that homosexuality in the Bible is anything but straightforward… but you may not realize that if you read in English.
The following post was written by Dr. Donald Haynes for The United Methodist Reporter ahead of the 2016 General Conference in Portland. Dr. Haynes is a highly respected minister and a longtime writer, and despite coming from a more “conservative” theological stream, this is what he sees when he takes an honest look at scripture.
In the January-February 2016 issue of “Good News” magazine, Thomas Lambrecht wrote a very helpful article in which he presents quite clearly four of the proposals being circulated prior to the 2016 General Conference regarding the ordination, the appointment or the marriage of persons of LGBTQ sexual orientation. Any reader should thank Tom for bringing these into focus for all elected delegates to preview. I respectfully present a response.
Prior to his excellent specificity about potential legislative proposals, Tom wrote, “The root issues are biblical authority–‘will we keep church teaching in line with what the Scriptures say….’? This rather pejorative statement implies that the Scriptures speak with a unilaterally definitive voice on homosexuality. That is a stretch! To my knowledge, there are only seven biblical references to homosexuality. The most frequently quoted is Leviticus 18:21-22 that is in the context of Mosaic cultic laws, most of which we ignore. Most likely, he joins this text with other interpretative voices in Romans 1:26-27, I Corinthians 6:9-10 or even I Timothy 1:8-10. At least these are the passages over which I have more deeply poured and whose interpretations I have researched from biblical commentaries.
For me, there are some major stumbling blocks in making the Bible a manual of jurisprudent specificity rather than holistic principles:
Leviticus 18:22 clearly states with reference to male sexual behavior, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination,” In Leviticus 20:13 the same disobedience of the law is repeated provoking a certain sentence: “They shall surely be put to death.”
However, if we are to be biblically literalistic, let us put this cultic law into context.
- Leviticus 17 prohibits eating blood, leading to the longstanding practice of having rabbis come into every abattoir to slaughter animals so that the blood is drained out, in accordance with Mosaic law. Christians do not abide by this law.
- 18:22 is preceded by a long discourse on the prohibition for any family member to observe the naked body of another person, without reference to medical care. That is understandable in the wilderness, but not in the emergency room today.
- Farmers will take note of 19:19 that prohibits cross breeding of kinds of animals (mules are a crossbreed!). Hybrid corn is forbidden in vs. 19b.
- 19:19c forbid us to wear clothes with different materials: “…nor shall you put on a garment made of two different materials.” (No more polyester wool!)
- Verse 33 is interesting in today’s political climate: “When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself….” (They had been aliens in Egypt; our ancestors were aliens, many of them before documentation was required.)
- In Leviticus 20:10, the Bible is clear about adultery: “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death. (NRSV)
Leviticus is mostly the behavior laws given by Moses to the Israelites as he prepared them for years of nomadic life wandering in the wilderness. In our radically different culture and morality code, why do we seem to pick and choose the Mosaic law texts that match our own conscience and use the Bible as a proof text, but ignore the Mosaic law that conflicts with our conscience or lifestyle today? By what logic do we insist that God still wills that homosexual conduct be punished if we merely wink at the others. In Christ’s death on the cross, I believe we are saved by grace through faith, “not of works lest anyone should boast.
What did Jesus say?
What did Jesus say? First of all, he said to Philip, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9) Would we not all agree that Jesus knew Leviticus by memory in its entirety? He said he came to “fulfill the law,” yet he waded through all the myriad laws of Leviticus and cited only a portion of a single verse — 19:18 — “…you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord…” in his great commandment.
When I was a 20 year old I was a biblical literalist who knew a lot of scripture verses that I would use as weapons to “send you to hell in a New York minute.” One day I was given the opportunity to here Dr. E. Stanley Jones speak. He arguably was the most saintly Methodist of the 20th century, a graduate of Asbury Seminary who spent his life in India. That night, as he spoke, he carried his Bible in his hand. At one point he lifted it into the air and said, “The Bible did not become printer’s ink; it became ‘flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.” I did not sleep that night and by the next morning I had surrendered my Bible to God, vowing never to use it again as a weapon, but instead as a lifeline to “rescue the perishing” and to “tell the poor wanderer a savior had died.” My evangelistic creed ceased to be a litmus test of belief, but instead a calling to approach every person as a child of God, knowing them as people “…down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter, feelings lie buried that grace can restore, touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness, chords that were broken can vibrate once more.”
John Wesley said that we must not “fragmentize” our study of scripture. When a verse seems contrary to the overarching biblical message, we must look at the verse in question macrocosmically rather than microcosmically. If any passage of scripture summarized the ethos of Christian ethics, it is Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6, 7) In chapter 7:1-5 Jesus warns us against judging others, asking, “Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye but do not notice the log in your own eye?” He then calls such a person a hypocrite.
In Matthew 22:34-40, a lawyer who knew the law of Moses asked Jesus which of all the commandments is the greatest. He first told the man a verse that every Jewish child learned–the Shema from Deuteronomy 6:4-9. He called this the “greatest and first commandment,” but then he quoted Leviticus 19:18 and said, “the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” Jesus concluded, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” So what if our neighbor is LGBTQ? To that we must ask, “WWJD”?
I am grateful for our prayer of confession before we approach the Lord’s Table: “…we have broken your law, we have not loved our neighbor….” My own “daily office” is a prayer that always leaves me coming up short at the end of the day:“Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open (ugh oh), all desires known (oh no!), and from whom no secrets are hid (wham!); Cleanse the thoughts of my heart by the inspiration of Thy Holy Spirit that we may perfectly love Thee, and worthily magnify Thy Holy Name through Christ Our Lord.” This Collect for Purity makes judgment come hard!
The passage in Romans seems more apropos to our situation, but of course we must consider the context. Paul is raging against the Roman culture of idolatry. “They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles,” he writes in Romans 1:23. “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator who is blessed forever. Amen!” (vs. 25) Paul then introduces the reference to homosexual intercourse with the phrase,“for this reason” based in his belief of homosexuality as a form of idolatry. Given that he’s writing from Corinth — a city known as the “sin city” of the Mediterranean world — Paul was likely referring to both the male and female prostitutes that were the norm in pagan temples.
Paul is clear here; he considers homosexual conduct as being “consumed with passion.” However, we need to be equally assured that he is referring to conduct, not personhood.
Of course, we are just as selective about what we listen to in Paul’s writings as we are with Leviticus. After all, Paul suggested that marriage is not the ideal state for believers, but most of us have rationalized our way out of that as law.
For Paul, it seems to me, the major message of his writing is grace. “God’s Spirit witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God” he writes in Romans 8:16. Later, in chapter 10 he wrote, “No one who believes in Him will he put to shame….Everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
Now, does not “everyone” mean “everyone”? In 10:20, he even quotes Isaiah 65:1, “I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.” Before WE begin to decide who is saved and who is lost, we need to remember Romans 11:33: “O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable are his ways! ”
While the Bible makes seven references to homosexual conduct, it never mentions homosexuality as a genetic sexual orientation. The “nature or nurture” debate cannot be resolved with a biblical text. We are not segregated in Genesis 1:31: “God saw everything that God had created and indeed it was very good.” What if a genetically homosexual person cannot wish or pray or choose one’s way out of their same sex attraction? Would it not be cruel of God to bring someone into the human family only for the purpose of condemning them? Would God create an LGBTQ child and leave him or her no path to grace? Is gender change the “unpardonable sin”? (I have never heard it defined as such.)
Some of the biblical references condemning homosexuality use the Greek or Hebrew word that means “catamite”(a boy kept by a man for the man’s sexual pleasure). Other biblical references mean “homosexual rape” as in Genesis 19:1-13 and Judges 19:22. In I Corinthians 6:9-10, the reference is to sodomy and male prostitution in addition to “thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers….” Adultery is condemned fifty-two times in the Bible, self-righteousness seventy-nine times, covetousness forty times, and idolatry 169 times! Are we seeking to bar all these behavioral sinners from marriage, ordination, and membership? Or do we, as we should, remember that Jesus said, “Anyone who comes to me I will never drive away?” (John 6:37b) Did he not say, “It is not the will of your Father in heaven that one of these little ones should be lost”? (Matthew 18:14)
Holy Scripture never refers to homosexuality in the context of a loving relationship between two consenting adults whose sexual orientation might be naturally homosexual, and who have a committed, monogamous relationship or marriage. Is our condemnation of such relationships on the basis of rather scant scriptural references somewhat like the justification of slavery until the 19th century? Is it like the subordination of women until the 1960’s and, in some instances, still today? Are all of these remnants of anthropological culture that we must address with biblical principles rather than random biblical prooftexts? As with many biblical commandments, just as there are many opinions about their meaning so are there many uncertainties about their meaning. Many of our convictions about homosexuality are rooted in our own culture more than in the overarching biblical message.
I stand with John the Elder who wrote one of the last books of the New Covenant; I can do nothing else; God help me:
“Beloved, let us love one another because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.” (I John 4:7-8)
“God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God and God abides in them…..There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear; for fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not reached perfection in love. We love because God first loved us. Those who say, ‘I love God,’ and hate their brothers or sisters are liars; for those who do not love a brother or sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God whom they have not seen. The commandment we have from Him is this: those who love God must love their brothers and sisters also.” (I John 4:16b-21)
Dr. Donald Haynes has been an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church for more than 50 years and is a member of the Western North Carolina Annual Conference. A recipient of the Harry Denman Evangelism Award, Dr. Haynes is the author of On the Threshold of Grace—Methodist Fundamentals; serves as an adjunct faculty member at Hood Theological Seminary; and is the Assistant to the Pastor in Evangelism at the First United Methodist Church of Asheboro, North Carolina. Dr. Haynes has written for The United Methodist Reporter since 2005.
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You are not presenting truth. God did not create us to have homosexual relationships as if they were heterosexual . Your arguments are not sustainable by the Word. Our issue should be how we treat people who have taken on the homosexual lifestyle. Can we hate the sin and love the sinner? That is the issue, not trying to change God’s word to make it justifiable. People who sin need a Savior no matter what the sin. Jesus is for all no matter what they have done . We cannot change God’s word to suit a few who insist on living outside of it. Still, we must approach them as Jesus would.
Bill McInerny says
An excellent article. It forces biblical literalists to actually examine passages in context and in terms of the ancient words/concepts originally used. I found the historical contexts for the examined passages to be most informative. Also, the huge point that no biblical text addresses issues of genetic sexual orientation or informed adult same sex loving committed relationships. This article makes it points clearly and forcefully.
Kenneth Weinkauf says
Your comment and the article presupposes that there is such a thing as genetic sexual orientation. The scriptures describe you well; “Thinking themselves wise they became fools.”
Edna Fuller says
I believe that there is, and will soon be proven. Anecdotal evidence from myriad sources confirms that gays will be gays.
That is an argument for ignorance
It’s interesting that you presuppose that homosexuality is not a congenital predisposition. What on earth gives you the idea that anyone would choose to be homosexual? Nobody that I’ve ever known or heard of ever had any inclination to have a heterosexual relationship if they were homosexual. For their entire lives they had same sex attraction. Doesn’t that sound like they’re born that way? Ditto for transsexual people. Most if not all Trans folks knew from their earliest memories that they weren’t the gender they were assigned based on genitalia. It sound like they are indeed born that way.
Also, what about the 1 in 1,000- 1,500 people who are intersex?
Gary Sudeth says
Sorry, Jayne, you have lived a sheltered life.
Joe Stains says
“Chosen” or “congenital” are NOT the only options from which to choose. There are lots of compulsive or involuntary behaviors that no one contends are congenital–any addiction, for instance. And yes, there are minority cases of people who chose identity during adolescence. Some embraced the preference, some wanted out, and a few got out. What seems most precise (which takes more than media or personal impressions to verify) is 1) that there is no gay gene, and 2) that whatever causes homosexuality, the identity generally becomes involuntary.
No one actually chooses to be homosexual, however one is not “born that way”, either. Every human being is born with a sinful nature. Which sins you are vulnerable to differ from person to person. Some are tempted to lie, to steal, to commit murder, to rape…the list goes on, and some are tempted to have intimate relationships with the same sex. Sometimes it is not at the forefront early in life, but events, circumstances can bring it to the forefront. There is also a spirit of homosexuality, but I’m not sure if every person who calls themselves gay or lesbian has been demonically influenced. I tend to believe (again…this part is my take & I’m not 100% sure) that it is the spirit of homosexuality that takes hold when a person doesn’t start off leaning toward the same sex but is molested, raped, etc. which causes a change in desired relationships. I personally know 1 person who lived a straight lifestyle well into her adulthood but was so abused that once her spouse was out of the picture decided she didn’t want anything more to do with men & is now living as a lesbian, another that was quite interested in boys when she started becoming of the age to show interest in a dating relationship, but was sadly raped a few times and decided she didn’t want anything more to do with boys, either. With her, the attraction was still there, though, so she now identifies as a bi-sexual. I also know a male who was molested & raped by another male several times when he was young so he grew up thinking he was gay, and lives as if he is, but has confided in someone close to him that he has attractions to females as well. I know, and am friends with, several others that identify as gay, and though I don’t know all of their history, I’d wager you’d find similar stories for most, if not all, of them. They didn’t choose to be gay, but they wholeheartedly believe they are. And just as is the case for the liars, thieves, rapists, murderers, etc. They need to come to the realization that they are not, indeed, born gay and that it is a sinful lifestyle but that they can be freed from it, only through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
Mark Pollock says
There are some folks that are “born that way” but as a professional counselor most of the people that I have worked with are living the homosexual life style because they have made a choice to live that life. Especially among the youth of our culture, it has become the new acceptable way to be defiant and go against the “norm” – not because they were born that way but because they are choosing to be different.
Terry Christian says
“In accord with findings from prior twin studies, resemblance for sexual orientation was greater in monozygotic twins than in dizygotic twins or nontwin sibling pairs. These results suggest that genetic factors may provide an important influence on sexual orientation.”
— Kenneth S. Kendler, MD, Director of the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, et al., “Sexual Orientation in a U.S. National Sample of Twin and Non-Twin Sibling Pairs,” American Journal of Psychiatry, 2000.
“There is no one ‘gay’ gene. Sexual orientation is a complex trait, so it’s not surprising that we found several DNA regions involved in its expression.
Our best guess is that multiple genes, potentially interacting with environmental influences, explain differences in sexual orientation.
Our study helps to establish that genes play an important role in determining whether a man is gay or heterosexual.”
–Brian S. Mustanski, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, news release about his Human Genetics article “A Genomewide Scan of Male Sexual Orientation,” Jan. 27, 2005.
“Although much research has examined the possible genetic, hormonal, developmental, social and cultural influences on sexual orientation, no findings have emerged that permit scientists to conclude that sexual orientation is determined by any particular factor or factors. [M]ost people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.”
“To date, there has been no scientifically adequate research to show that therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation (sometimes called reparative or conversion therapy) is safe or effective. Furthermore, it seems likely that the promotion of change therapies reinforces stereotypes and contributes to a negative climate for lesbian, gay and bisexual persons. This appears to be especially likely for lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals who grow up in more conservative religious settings.”
–American Psychological Assocation, http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/orientation.aspx
Mark Pollock says
Again, most of the people I know professionally and privately would indicate that they have chosen the lifestyle, especially among young people who view it as the newest for of defiance against the norm. Therefore, they jump back and forth between same sex and opposite sex behavior.
Persons who “take” the Bible more literally are typically those who most frequently adhere to the use of verses ‘in context.’
Sadly the above article is replete with misinformation & opinion.
I hope people who want Godly truth will dig deeper, in fact I pray you will. Listen to or read information on Biblical hermeneutics as well as exegesis and apologetics by Ravi Zacharius and by Erwin Lutzer – to name two very gifted teachers.
To gain additional perspective on the culture of the day and an added depth of understanding for various Biblical depictions, listen to Dr Michael Rydelnick.
I won’t listen to Michael Rydelnik. He’s arrogant and full of himself.
If one does dig deeper, and one should, and they find an answer supporting homosexuality, will your mind be open to the possibility? Maybe we won’t know until we all get to heaven. But don’t be so closed-minded that it’s a possibility. We are on this earth to continue studying the Bible and see what God has to say, and He may not always give us the positive or negative answer in this life.
John Price says
Did you actually read the article? If you are ignoring context in favor of your own prejudices that is not legitimate.
Mark Schnitzer says
No one “takes on” the “homosexual lifestyle”. People are born straight, gay, bi, trans.
Did you take on the straight lifestyle?
People are not born that way. Thatbisbcalled free will, something God gives us. You can either accept Him into your life or chose to not believe. I had friends who where gay and married and now have divorced and given there life to God by choice and after doing so they have not felt that way toward other men at all. Stop ignoring the facts
David A Kemp says
Trying to remember when I chose to be cis-hetero…nope, it chose me.
mike, a practicing homosexual says
Jim, I am not dismissive but “what ever”. I do not reject what you say but I just choose to pass on by. love
Rebecca Stanton says
Jim, I don’t think you read the article very closely. I am certain that you probably do many of the other things that are condemned in Leviticus. Your argument is extremely weak, therefore. You must know it is important to understand the context. My God is is an all-powerful, loving God who knows what he is doing when he created people. I’m a student of the Hebrew language, and I know that ancient Hebrew has Mini different interpretations 4 words. You are looking at the versus in English, the language that came about only about the last few hundred years. please don’t claim to have a deep linguistic knowledge of biblical translation and ancient Hebrew, unless you actually do.
אלוהים הוא אהבה
Joe Stains says
Many who are students of the biblical languages have nonetheless come to a variety of conclusions regarding the content and intent of the relevant passages. Being restricted to English versions (or German, or Spanish, etc.) does not hamstring anyone from engaging this discussion, nor does the biblical language give either side a particular edge in wisdom.
Jim, you obviously did not read the article, or, if you did you don’t care about truth….if you want to call the words of the bible “truth” then you had better learn to read it in it’s ORIGINAL language and context.
Kim Prance says
Homosexuality is not a LIFESTYLE, it is also not a choice. To say such things is to say that heterosexuality is a choice, that living in a heteronormative relationship is a lifestyle choice, this would infer that that you could just as easily choose the opposite., and yet if I asked you to CHOOSE to be homosexual for just one week you couldn’t do it, and don’t fire back at me that you wouldn’t want to, I know that. But that’s just the point a person can’t be raised to be homosexual any more than you could just choose to be homosexual for a while, Sexuality and gender are hard wired in our DNA and brains. Forcing someone to be heterosexual and enjoy it because it fits your version of normal would suggest that you could be forced to be homosexual and enjoy it.
Joe Stains says
The media has interpreted that these things are hardwired in our brains. Hard science reports no “gay gene”, and the APA in 2007 backed away from its 1990’s claim that this was so. It is generally agreed that for nearly all, orientation is involuntary, and that for all but a few, it is experienced as irreversible.
Beth Ackerman says
I read some of the other responses to your statement and my addition will not be unique but I want to say it this way: When did you choose to be heterosexual? I first heard this question about 40 years ago, before it became popular. My siblings were telling me that our cousin was gay. If you answered that question, your answer would probably sound a lot like my answer. “I didn’t choose to be straight, I just knew I was from a very young age.” I became aware that my cousin, same as anyone else did not CHOOSE to be gay, he just knew he was from a very young age. Who would CHOOSE a path in life that will surely lead to difficulties? Judgement, hatred, systematic oppression? No one would CHOOSE that! If the tables were turned and suddenly being heterosexual became a small percentage of people in the world, would YOU be able to become gay in order to please the powers that be? I’m pretty sure I know your answer to that question too. If the way you understand scripture forces you to see homosexuality as a sin, even then Jesus wants you to LOVE the sinner. You are a sinner too and Jesus LOVES you too.
Each day millions of children are aborted and Christians are silent. Each day millions of people are taught that we evolved, there is no God and Christians are silent. Today, Christians are witnessing the disintegration of God’s plan for the family and ‘educated’ Christians are trying to justify it. God “… created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: …” (Gen 1:27-28) They disobeyed. Why is it that people can’t follow God’s plan – including the clergy? Is it because they see themselves ‘qualified’ to question God, like the Devil? We are called to preach a message of ‘repentance’. Jesus said, ” ..except you repent, you shall all likewise perish (Luke 13:3). The message Christ gave was that Hell awaits the unrepentant. If you love people, you will warn them of their sin against God. The Bible verses that warn people about homosexuality are found in the old and new testaments of the Bible. Old Testament: “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them” (Lev 20:13). New Testament: “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; (Roman 1:27-28). Jesus said, “I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for you (the faithless religious person)” (Matthew11:24). The Bible also warns people about perverting the truth – “Woe unto them” says Isaiah, “that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness” (Isa 5:20). That comes as a warning to us – including you Dr. Haynes with your ‘honest’ distortions of the scriptures. God is love but he is also holy and just. Be warned. Pastor Steve.
1. Each day there are roughly 125,000 abortions worldwide. Throwing arbitrary numbers out there damages your credibility.
2. Why not preach to end something that actually hurts thousands of people every week: divorce. There are at least 15 condemnations of divorce in the Bible, compared to 7 verses that sort of maybe condemn homosexual behavior, if you translate it a certain way. Why do I never hear of any campaigns to make divorce illegal unless you can prove your spouse cheated? That’s what the Bible teaches, after all. But no, nobody pushes to end divorce, and nobody has to fight for divorce rights. Why is homosexuality attacked so viciously but divorce isn’t? Do you know what is 100% a choice of at least 50% of people? Divorce. But it’s accepted as something that is sad and unfortunate, not a sin that Christians should hate, while trying hard not to hate the sinner. Why? Because common sense says that if you aren’t happy with your spouse, you shouldn’t be stuck with that person. Because divorce isn’t “icky” to people. So a sin that stems from a lack of love is normalized, while a sin that stems from love that just happens to be for the “wrong” group of people is condemned? This is the disintegration of God’s plan for the family.
Brilliant reply. Thank you!
“nobody pushes to end divorce, and nobody has to fight for divorce rights. Why is homosexuality attacked so viciously but divorce isn’t?”
Thank you so much for this response, which exposes our hypocrisy so clearly. We fixate on a few disparate verses to justify – intentional or unintentional – homophobia in our midst. Meanwhile gay Christians continue to live with suffering, persecution and rejection.
But change is coming, and I thank God that nothing will stop it. Year by year, we move closer to loving and accepting the gay community the way Jesus would – and surely does.
This is why I have left your repulsive religion behind me. Such hate. Such condemnation. Such ugly fruits by which we shall know this tree. I self-censor3d most of my expletives but this nasty piece of SHIT is not a representative of Christianity.
Orlando has shown you the outcome of “Hate the sin, love the sinner”.
I agree we should love one another. I believe I can not judge. Lord knows in a sinner as is everone. However I do not believe we should enable the sinner to sin. or bend the words to enable the sinner. I do not believe the church is giving out wisky to the drunks or natural drugs to drugies. NOR should the church be marring homosexuals. However I believe their doors should be open and welcoming to all winners just like me.
That was supposed to SINNERS just like me not winners ….. I HA HA
I’m not sure how we are to go about “loving the sinner, hating the sin.” How does that really play out? What does that look like/sound like/feel like to the one we are deeming sinful? It seems to me that John’s message to us via Jesus and the woman caught in adultery was not “love the sinner, hate the sin” but “love, be concerned about your OWN sins, and leave the rest to God.”
Long – but very clearly answers your question. It would be worth your time to watch it.
Mark Pollock says
I agree, but would like to expand on this, which I don’t hear a lot about. I believe that people can live with unhealthy and unnatural same-sex desires on varying levels that contradict and even war against their natural-born physical and emotional design. I would call these “ungodly assignments”. They can be present from ones infancy. I have heard many say, I have felt this way as long as I can remember. Some will live with these feelings and compulsions all their lives, but never act on it. However, I feel if the stage were set, their innocence and values would be easily compromised. People live with propensities that they do not know how to explain or justify; they just know they are there and often feel vexed over it.
I want to submit that there are oftentimes generational things in our lives, whether that be genetic predispositions towards disease, fears, etc that if undetected can haunt us all our lives. This definitely includes gender issues.
I hear people say that Jesus never addressed the issue of homosexuality, but I don’t believe that is true at all. With the amount of sexual explicitness in first century Palestine, you know Jesus encountered many who were sexually “wandering”, from the marketplace to the Temple. In Matthew 4:23 in the Greek-English Lexicon by Thayer, one of the words for “sickness” describes unhealthy desires, diseased appetites, wrong thinking. It describes a man who submits his body to unnatural lewdness; an effeminate man.
I think if we do not take into account that there really is a spiritual/cosmic, yet undeniably real affect how a person’s life can be shaped by unseen entities, we will never see a massive exodus of people who so deeply struggle with their identity. I think it’s interesting how so many others sins do not seem to target the very core of someone’s personhood like homosexuality. That driving force is not content until it completely captures the person’s total identity; who they perceive themselves to be from their innermost being; spirit, soul and body. It appears that no part of ones life goes untouched.
Homosexuality is a complex issue; somewhat like a box of tangled coat hangers. And as the Church, If we are not offering Kingdom-sized hope, compassion and supernatural insight, our moral-isms will continue to be offended by strictly behaviors, when the issue is so much deeper. This is a human life we are talking about. People that want to engage in real joy and purpose. People that want to experience a full lives, and to exercise their gifts and talents of leadership, creativity, humor, empathy and meaning. Let’s elevate these conversations, and nurture our engagement to help every person see their worth and value and how God’s original design is worth fighting for. Let’s be champions for clarity and the beauty of redemption!
Are we saved by grace, or by choosing to think. of the Bible as God’s unique word? I say grace. If so, then it does not matter what we believe, what we think of the Bible. Because either it’s grace or it isn’t. Freedom can be terrifying – it involves taking responsibility for ourselves, perhaps being uncertain from time to time. It’s humiliating! It exposes us. What I’m trying to say is that we are free to experiment. Maybe it’s okay to date, love, and marry someone you are attracted to, even if they are your own gender! But what would my mother say, or my church, my friends, etc.? It’s easier to hide behind the Bible and live in fear.
John Garfield says
I found this article much more helpful than, “Gee we don’t know what to think”
Thank you for pioneering into this messy, confusing, yet crucial time in our history.
Rose Webb says
Thank you for this very timely article. I so appreciate your way of looking at scripture through the lens of Jesus. His perspective should always be ours. He is indeed the Word of God!
This is the kind of stinking thinking that will continue to send people to hell. The “Law” was given to Moses; it was not Moses’ law, although he lived it better than most. The junk that was spoken about Paul is the same junk that was being said about him when he was teaching and traveling. Just as Peter who indicated that many will take Paul’s words and twist them in all sorts of pagan ways. Paul teaches that many back then were following the “other jesus”. I think this is the same thing today. When you say that christians don’t follow that law, etc., well, you got that right! Most christians have been following the “other jesus”. That jesus is basically, the devil, but what can I say? Practice Sun-god day? Christ-mess? Ishtar/easter? And the beat goes on!
Satan appears to be live and well at the Brazen Church if they truly believe in this article.
I quote from the above text:
“For me, there are some major stumbling blocks in making the Bible a manual of jurisprudent specificity rather than holistic principles:”
Is not the Bible God’s instructions for living a Holy life ?
“Leviticus is mostly the behavior laws given by Moses to the Israelites as he prepared them for years of nomadic life wandering in the wilderness.”
These are GOD”S LAWS dictated to Moses ! Behavior laws YES…God’s instruction on being HOLY..
“However, if we are to be biblically literalistic, let us put this cultic law into context.”
Now you refer to God’s Laws as being “cultic law”.
Hope you’re not wearing polyester, or eating seafood, or divorced, or any of the other “laws” you bigots like to ignore.
“Is not the Bible God’s instructions for living a Holy life ?” No, it is not. The Bible is a collection of various types of literature (history, prose, etc.) which tells the story of how God’s people are delivered from death unto life. Is it not a manual addressing all of life’s questions but is, instead, a sweeping narrative revealing God’s “answer” about Himself – and about us – via Jesus the Christ.
In my opinion I think it all boils down to this – we are all sinners in some manner. None of us were, are or will be sinless while here on earth save one – Jesus. The Bible tells us there is only one unforgivable sin which is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. It also tells us that most all sins are equal. For example Jesus tells us, regarding one of the Commandments, that looking at a woman with lust is no different than physical lust. However I am to love all sinners, myself included, as God loves us. That doesn’t mean I have to participate in, engage or observe any of the sins by others. It is not up to me to decide whether this life choice is physical, psychological or God-designed. Only God truly knows that answer. My place is to love and share God’s word.
One thing that was not addressed in this article is the many verses that discuss a man and his wife and raising our children. Even in Genesis God talks about the creation of man and woman then goes on to say that the man leaves his parents to become one with his wife. There are also multiple verses describing how men should treat their wives and vice versa. When a male and female come together the physiological design is procreation. I am addressing this design as the intent not an absolute outcome. (My intent is not to hurt anyone where this has not been an achievable option).
Another thing that was briefly discussed was judging. First, the definition of judging – to form an opinion or conclusion. You can not live in this world without judging, it is impossible. I found this article that explains it the way I was taught to view judgement. https://answersingenesis.org/bible-questions/does-the-bible-tell-christians-to-judge-not/
Mark Cox says
It appears you’ve swallowed the genetic lie. The law of Genesis/genetics is “every seed creates after it’s own kind”. It’s impossible for God to put within a man desire/passion for another man.
Florence Mayes says
It’s impossible for God to create anything bad. We have babies born every day with congenital deformities. We can visibly see that so we pity them. The possibility for numerous types of genetic abnormality exists due to a choice Adam and Eve made. Innocent people are born with all sorts of genetic traits that deviate from how we were originally created as a result of that. Yes there are people born homosexual just as some are born with a genetic predisposition to any number of things. I mean really, that is why Christ was so adamant about not judging others because bottom line is only God knows the secrets of our hearts. The Mosaic Law (old covenant) was given to make us aware that it is impossible to please God through works. It is faith that saves, the type of faith that father Abraham had. It is time to stop condemnation and spread the good news of salvation.
Sandra Crane says
WELL said! Agree wholeheartedly.
I hope you realize that what you just said must apply to pedophiles as well. Let me say it for you: There are people born pedophiles. If we are going to uphold one, we must uphold the other.
Levan Revazishvili says
It’s a beautiful thing to destroy lives of those who doesn’t think it wise to keep their bodies holy and have some knowledge & fear of their Creator. I always pray for the destruction of them who lead people astray by saying, „Do not deny yourself. Do anything you love to do! You are adorable! God loves you!“
We are God’s creation. We are His belongings! And we should have the same attitude toward our bodies and ourselves, just as our Creator have! And His attitude is the following:
„Be holy. for I am holy.“
If you struggle with homosexuality or anything that is depraved, it is a good thing to struggle! Cry & pray all the time. Stay with God. Learn all His commandments. Never leave His side and He will make you strong and beautiful. Nothing is impossible with Him. But if you don’t think it wise to obey God your Creator, have a nice destruction!
Let me make sure I understand what you’re saying: You find it a good and beautiful thing to “destroy lives” of those who affirm both their own homosexuality in addition to their allies? Did I get that right? “Have a nice destruction” is your response to those whom you think are disobedient to God because they are living out of their inherent sexual attractions? Am I on track, here? Please point me to where Jesus addressed this, because I’m only seeing where He roundly chastised the religious leaders (calling them “sons of hell, whitewashed tombs”) for self-righteously erecting stumbling blocks before the down-and-out. I fear your attitude is perilously close to that line with your comments.
We are God’s creation, yes. God demands our holiness (I Peter), yes. “Holiness” and “wholeness/wholeheartedness” share the same root. When we fail to live authentically before God and others, we are living unholy, fractured lives. When we tell others that they cannot love as they are wired to love, we are insisting they live unholy, fractured lives. What other “sin” prohibits people from falling in love than the “sin” of homosexuality? Can you imagine being told you are too sinful to love another human being intimately because of something you did not choose and cannot change? Are you aware of how many LGBT people have attempted to “pray the gay away” for years and years, only to have their sexual orientation remain unaltered? Maybe read up on Exodus, Int’l and why it finally shut its doors (I’ll give you a hint: They got real and honest and said reparative therapy is destructive and futile in 99.9% of cases).
Your comment implies that homosexuality and Christian faith cannot co-exist, but this is patently untrue. Some of the most faithful, faith-filled people I know are members of the LGBT community, and believe me, it takes a tremendous amount of faith – more than I can fathom – for an LGBT person to remain part of the Christian community, given comments like yours.
Why not simply unconditionally love and faithfully serve the LGBT people on your path (as Jesus has asked us to do of all people) and leave the judgment to Him? I don’t believe we can ever rightly judge anyone – only God can – because He is the only One Who knows everyone’s backstory. We aren’t given that information, and for good reason.
Nina Carley says
Meredith’s words are spot on. It seems to me that many who exclaim that LGBTQ people can’t be or are not Christians are turning heterosexual orientation into a “work” to be achieved in order to be saved, or turning heterosexism into an idol.
If you submitted this article in a college it would be thrown back at you, it is opinion and nothing more. Also you have fallen into the classic trap of using typographical evidence – you can support anything out of the bible, even genocide as we see God carry it out through his people in the Old Testament. One needs to step back and look at the bigger picture rather than piecing together word battles as you have done: God is a God of order, consistency, and predictability. Why would he create an inconsistent sexuality in his creation? In the name of order, and predictability why would he create mankind who would not wish to reproduce? It does not make sense with who we know God has revealed himself to be.
Allow me to return to my earlier comment on your style of argumentation in case you have not
had the opportunity for critical review before: consider the following passage – isolated it cannot stand alone let alone support the weight of the writing that came before or after it:
” Paul then introduces the reference to homosexual intercourse with the phrase,“for this reason” based in his belief of homosexuality as a form of idolatry. Given that he’s writing from Corinth — a city known as the “sin city” of the Mediterranean world — Paul was likely referring to both the male and female prostitutes that were the norm in pagan temples.
Paul is clear here; he considers homosexual conduct as being “consumed with passion.” However, we need to be equally assured that he is referring to conduct, not personhood.”
– end quote
There is so much inconsistency, conjecture and opinion here that even a freshman would even have this paper tossed out if they mistakenly gave this in as an evidential
piece of writing. You first assume to have a private knowledge of Paul’s personal beliefs, which you then nullify by saying he “most likely” – which assumes you know nothing of Oauls personal beliefs (discrediting what you said just before this). Finally you say that Paul considers homosexual behavior a consuming passion but then you say it is only a behavior, not the real person – when you just stated Paul himself said it is a passion which consumes them and he dies not regulate it down to a simple behavior…
I haven’t even begun to delve into sourcing and referencing research of other notable scholars that one should always use and include (cite) in order to gain a balanced perspective and present a substantiated argument when approaching such a complex and divisive subject matter so as to help your supporters be able to educate themselves even further by using your research (which I assume you did) and for those who disagree you to see the perspective you are coming from so they understand you are not simply running on your own conjecture but actually have spent some time researching the issue and will respect your efforts (I assume you
Apologies for typos, I typed this on my phone and cannot find an edit button?
“God is a God of order, consistency, and predictability. Why would he create an inconsistent sexuality in his creation? In the name of order, and predictability why would he create mankind who would not wish to reproduce? It does not make sense with who we know God has revealed himself to be.”
Are you aware that 1 out of every 1.300 babies is born with both male and female genitalia (intersex)? Wouldn’t you call that “an inconsistent sexuality?” In Matt. 19:12 Jesus speaks of eunuchs who are born eunuchs and followed that up by saying, “The one who can accept this, should accept it.” Wouldn’t eunuchs be “an inconsistent sexuality?”
Because God has revealed Himself to be like Jesus, we have the stories of God in Jesus reaching out to and embracing those who were socially “other.” The Spirit told Philip to share the Gospel with the Ethiopian eunuch (a big-time sexually and socially “other” of his day) and then baptize him, welcoming him into God’s Kingdom. This person with “an inconsistent sexuality” was loved, embraced, and welcomed into the family of God. His sexuality – or lack thereof – didn’t change, but Philip’s heart and perspective surely did.
monica thompson says
If God is a God of order, and the only point of sex is procriation, should we disallow infertile couples to be married? What about couples past child-bearing age?
And what about all the kids in this country in foster care? Couldn’t it be part of God’s plan to make families that couldn’t have kids biologically to take care of them? Wouldn’t that bring God’s order and consistency to the chaotic lives of these children?
Why does this always have to be about sex? Life and love is so much more than the sexual act. Sex is not only for procreation, it is for intimacy and bonding. And it feels good because it is supposed to feel good. If God didn’t want us to do it, it wouldn’t do all those things for us. People need to get over themselves. Foster care and adoption is a whole other thing. Anyone and everyone who has room in their heart for another child should do so. Don’t have to be childless to fit that role. As a matter of fact if all the church people who claim they care actually did, we shouldn’t have any kid in need.
This article is complete crap. “Do not lie with a man as with a woman, it is an abomonation” is pretty clear. No sugar-coating is going to change that. What “Christians” do does not defend their interpretation of scripture. My gosh, you people are lost!
Do you eat bacon? Ever throw a football? Worn polyester?
Have you ever acted self-righteous? Maybe within an online comment section, for example?
Now runaway, little hypocrite.
Joe Stains says
Pot calling kettle black.
Deut. 21: 18-21
“If any man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey his father or his mother, and when they chastise him, he will not even listen to them, then his father and mother shall seize him, and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gateway of his home town. And they shall say to the elders of his city, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey us, he is a glutton and a drunkard.” Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death; so you shall remove the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear of it and fear.”
By your argument, Liam, this passage above seems crystal clear, as well. But how many people are stoning to death their offspring for being gluttons and drunkards? If they were, then a good many colleges and universities would be ghost towns.
We can’t isolate and cherry-pick verses like you have – and like I just did – and be faithful to the text.
Another thoughtful article that’s sure to get some fiery responses 🙂
You make some great points about the context of Leviticus. If I may add to that: firstly, the Mosaic Law is no longer a requirement for our belief (you do allude to this at one point). It doesn’t consist of behaviours that we must conform to for our sanctification or salvation. But they give us some kind of general moral compass, I imagine.
Another two points are not so much critique or support but caution regarding some of two of your arguments. The treatment of other and our value of them as just as important and valuable as anyone else are paramount in the gospel narrative. The gospels are not concerned with judging and condemning others. Neither should we be. You’re wonderfully clear on this point and I think it’s great.
My first point of concern is very minor but when you rely so heavily on biblical context to build your arguments, it becomes important.
1. You say that Leviticus is mostly concerned with behaviour laws to prepare for nomadic life. This is an inaccurate representation of the whole book. Isn’t the book more concerned with the cultivation life of the Hebrews? With sacrifice and religious observations to ensure the sanctification of the Hebrews so that God can live among them. Normal behavioural laws come Int it but the major themes are priestly (hence the name!) duties that result in sanctification of the people so that YHWH can live in their midst. It may not change your article much but this kind of detail lends or removes weight from your argument when you’re so insistent on contextual purity. That is all!
2. The genetic argument is a dangerous line to walk if only because it can be used to communicate the opposite sentiment in a different context.
I speak of, for example, alcoholism. There can be a genetic component to alcoholism which predisposes and individual to dependency upon alcohol. Because it is genetic, does that then make it godly?
Or what of the genetic predisposition to schizophrenia (or other conditions like bipolar disorder) that some people have? Does it make it godly to have schizophrenia? Does it make it ungodly?
Perhaps it is neither. Perhaps it is simply the way things are for some people.
Did God make humans that way? Is it a genetic adaptation from a mutation that occurred somewhere in the gene pool?
Or is it an hormonal genetic expression that occurs in response to certain conditions being met and which can be changed over the generations by altering the environmental conditions, much like the genetic anxiety and stress response predispositions that can be passed on from generation to generation and changed depending different exposures? In this case it is a neutral phenomena that is adaptable. Genetic but changeable.
Apart from these, you said some great things that needed to be said.
When I said “cultivation life” above I meant to say “cultic life”. Silly autocorrect 🙂
I was brought up to believe the Bible said homosexuality was a sin. As I got old enough I began to question what happens when a person is born with sexual organs of both sexes. Do we deny God created them. Do we count them as sinners no matter which identity they decide to adopt. Is it sin for a man to cook or a woman to repair automobiles. Why is it a sin for a woman to wear pants because pants are for men when Jesus wore a robe and never wore a pair of pants? When we stop the rhetoric and just pause to think of the questions before we just blurt out the answers, we discover that everything is not just so black and white afterall. It may appear the Bible clearly says some things, until you try to apply it to all the myriad of real life situations, then some of that clarity gets fuzzy real fast. About the only thing that never gets fuzzy is this, I am to love my neighbor as God who is love has loved me.
B.K. Morgan says
Best comment yet … Thank you Wayne
Eunice Ann Carr says
After reading this article, I’m unsubscribing, it is so way off track, that I’d not trust anything else written and submitted by this author.
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions. 2 Timothy 4:3
And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. 2 Peter 2:2 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. Claiming to be wise, they became fools…Romans 1:21–22 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the Truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Watch and pray, that you enter not into temptation: the Spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. Matt 26:41 He must hold firm to the trustworthy Word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. Titus 1:9 Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray. Proverbs 10:17 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Proverbs 30:5 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. Colossians 3:16 “
Jerry Schultz says
The editor asserts the claim that Dr. Haynes presents a “conservative” approach, when in fact, he writes from an extremely liberal theological perspective. The truth is that the Bible speaks extensively and clearly on matters of sexuality. Here is a link to a grace-filled, redemptive and thorough conservative explanation of what the Biblical Text teaches for those who have an interest: http://thetrustworthyword.blogspot.com/2016/04/identity-crisis-created-in-image-of-god.html
Genetic homossexuality was never 100% proven, and even so, if men can mess with DNA, I think so can our enemy, and that’s the reason of genetic disorders. I don’t think God has ever created anyone supposed to be homossexual, and you have no biblical base for it. We have an identity since before we were born, and the God that I personally love and know is not a God of confusion. And you also don’t make it clear if you rhinknit is a sin or not. In my understanding, yes, it is a sin, however, I totally agree that God doesn’t make a difference between sins and self rightness, pride, lust, adultery are all as bad as homossexuality. I think that after Jesus death and resurrection, God is not worried about our sins anymore, only where is your faith and your heart, but if you live in them they still will bring death to you. Our role is to love people, and live a relationship with Jesus, not point fingers on other peoples sin, specially if they are not open about Jesus. We have too many bad representatives of Jesus already.
Your basic premise is that who I love is a sin. Fuck you Felicia.
Down, boy. No need for that.
Thank you for this article! I appreciate that the main message was that one can’t use Bible verses that mention homosexuality as proof texts against that lifestyle. There is translation from another language and cultural context that need to be incorporated into the understanding of these verses. The issue is not black and white – which can be said about pretty much every issue we encounter – I know many Christians would disagree with that statement, but life is just way too messy and complicated to slap a “black and white” answer or judgement on. For me this article simply made the declaration that the Bible cannot be used to defend the “God is against homosexual lifestyle” line of thought.
I also really appreciated that author pointing out all of the other sins that are given much more attention in the Bible. I have said for years that Paul mentions homosexuality in the same sentence as gossip. Do we say the same things about practicing gossipers that we say about practicing homosexuals? Furthermore, Jesus was clear that the most important commandment is to love God and love others – aren’t we sinning if we fail to love others? We claim that in condemning homosexuality, we are loving God (or maybe more accurately, God’s laws), but we are failing miserably at loving others. I believe we need to hold ourselves guilty of this sin. Regardless of what you believe about the sinfulness of homosexuality, we need to remember that those of different sexual orientation are human beings whom God loves and our job is to love them too. It’s really not much more complicated than that. Our job = love. Let’s leave any judging of one’s sins to the only one who is qualified for that job – God. (And yes, I know the NT talks about us being able to judge, but we need to be cautious in how frequently we take up that task because the NT talks a lot more about unconditional love.)
Jacob McMillen says
You nailed it Christine. This article is applicable regardless of one’s ultimate conclusion on the issue discussed.
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not covet,’ and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Paul says that *whatever commandment there may be* can be summed up in the rule to love your neighbor. In other words, Paul is saying that if we lived our lives with a truly loving spirit, acting in truly loving ways, we would automatically fulfill *every one* of God’s laws. We wouldn’t have any need for specific rules. We could literally go through every single one of God’s commandments and show that each one of them is simply an extension of this basic principle to live a life of servant love.
Thus, any person, gay or straight, single or in a romantic relationship, who is living by this principle is fulfilling every single one of God’s law.
Homosexuality debate over. 🙂
Jacob McMillen says
Well said Julie, and Jesus speaks to this as well in Matt 22:38-40, when he says that all the law and prophets hang on loving God and loving your neighbor.
It’s amazing how we can so easily miss the point to pursue our own little rules.
Hi Jacob, I think you’ve crossed a line meant not to be crossed. Ceremonial (symbolic) law and moral law are very different. Neither sperm and sperm nor egg and egg make a baby person from any perspective. Children are a product and proof and object of God’s love and our love. We all have physical, emotional and mental arousal weather in same or opposite sexual activity but that does not mean it’s right or approved. Your ending medical and physiological impact facts about homosexual sex are an indicator of what God has said about homosexual being “against nature”. Agreeing with God is the first step in Godly sorrow, repentance, salvation, healing, recovery and restoration. All of which are available through the Holy Spirit, that same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. Homosexuality is no more right than my sexual activity with any and all beautiful women. I must agree with God that fornication and adultery is wrong before I can or will have sorrow for my acts of sin. “…sin no more” is the message of the Savior and the Bible. By His love, mercy and grace this is possible through the power of His Spirit. Stepping out in these things is the beginning of Spiritual birth and growth.
To love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength is the first and greatest commandment. Loving your neighbor is like it and subordinate to it because to hate your neighbor is to hate God, but one can love their neighbor and hate God. This requires a proper discernment of how to love God, Who is beyond comprehension and yet divulged His divine plan to His elect such as the Prophets and the Apostles. When Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” in the Gospel according to John, that identifies God as these three things, since Jesus is God. To love a lie, or death, or anything antithetical to either life or Jesus Christ as the salvific means for mankind, is to hate God. So then the question becomes, “Can the gift of sex be abused in a way so that the creation of life, the profound likeness we are related to God Himself, is no longer possible?” The answer is obviously yes, and any of these abuses deny this grand gift, whether it be contraception, homosexual acts, masturbation; the list goes on. Matthew 15:19 lists fornication and adultery as things that defile a person’s heart, and what are they except infidelity to marriage either before or after that covenant is formed? And that covenant can only be between a man and a woman per Matthew 19. No, there is no way to get past this definitive sin. Any that read this article and this comment must tread cautiously and keep by Truth Himself. Many will not be taken because they do not know God; still more will not be taken because they know Him but do not fear Him.
The Apostle Paul wrote that every single commandment in existence is summed up in the rule to love your neighbor, which means that when you love your neighbor you *are* loving God. That’s why Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of mine, even the least of them, you did it to me.”
As *any* person, including a gay married person, “lets no debt remaining outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another” he has fulfilled the law. This is biblical proof that the non-affirming view has been wrong all along.
Wake up! You can’t nullify the Word of God with merely human argument. While the Old Testament is clear about its condemnation of homosexuality, Paul used the Greek term “arsenokoitai” in 1Cor 6:9 and 1 Tim 1:10. This word is clearly a combination of the two words “arsenos”(man) “koiten” (bed or lay with) used in Septuagint Lev 18:22 and 20:13. The Bible’s teachings on this matter is unchanged in the both testaments. And neither does Lev or 1Cor specify mutual consent as being the factor exempting a homosexual activity from condemnation. Moreover, science tells us that homosexual love is not “loving each other” but “destroying each other”! Nothing can be clearer than the conclusion that homosexual activities are harmful to human health. See the following MEDICAL EVIDENCES.
Anal intercourse is the sine qua non of sex for many gay men.Yet human physiology makes it clear that the body was not designed to accommodate this activity. The rectum is significantly different from the vagina with regard to suitability for penetration by a penis. The vagina has natural lubricants and is supported by a network of muscles. It is composed of a mucus membrane with a multi-layer stratified squamous epithelium that allows it to endure friction without damage and to resist the immunological actions caused by semen and sperm. In comparison, the anus is a delicate mechanism of small muscles that comprise an “exit-only” passage. With repeated trauma, friction and stretching, the sphincter loses its tone and its ability to maintain a tight seal. Consequently, anal intercourse leads to leakage of fecal material that can easily become chronic.
The potential for injury is exacerbated by the fact that the intestine has only a single layer of cells separating it from highly vascular tissue, that is, blood. Therefore, any organisms that are introduced into the rectum have a much easier time establishing a foothold for infection than they would in a vagina. The single layer tissue cannot withstand the friction associated with penile penetration, resulting in traumas that expose both participants to blood, organisms in feces, and a mixing of bodily fluids.
Furthermore, ejaculate has components that are immunosuppressive. In the course of ordinary reproductive physiology, this allows the sperm to evade the immune defenses of the female. Rectal insemination of rabbits has shown that sperm impaired the immune defenses of the recipient. Semen may have a similar impact on humans.
The end result is that the fragility of the anus and rectum, along with the immunosuppressive effect of ejaculate, make anal-genital intercourse a most efficient manner of transmitting HIV and other infections. The list of diseases found with extraordinary frequency among male homosexual practitioners as a result of anal intercourse is alarming:
Herpes simplex virus
Human immunodeficiency virus
Human papilloma virus
Viral hepatitis types B & C
Sexual transmission of some of these diseases is so rare in the exclusively heterosexual population as to be virtually unknown. Others, while found among heterosexual and homosexual practitioners, are clearly predominated by those involved in homosexual activity. Syphilis, for example is found among heterosexual and homosexual practitioners. But in 1999, King County, Washington (Seattle), reported that 85 percent of syphilis cases were among self-identified homosexual practitioners. And as noted above, syphilis among homosexual men is now at epidemic levels in San Francisco.
A 1988 CDC survey identified 21 percent of all Hepatitis B cases as being homosexually transmitted while 18 percent were heterosexually transmitted. Since homosexuals comprise such a small percent of the population (only 1-3 percent), they have a significantly higher rate of infection than heterosexuals.
Anal intercourse also puts men at significant risk for anal cancer. Anal cancer is the result of infection with some subtypes of human papilloma virus (HPV), which are known viral carcinogens. Data as of 1989 showed the rates of anal cancer in male homosexual practitioners to be 10 times that of heterosexual males, and growing. 30 Thus, the prevalence of anal cancer among gay men is of great concern. For those with AIDS, the rates are doubled.
Other physical problems associated with anal intercourse are:
retained foreign bodies.
Paula Propst says
I don’t believe this article was written for the purpose of a medical discussion/ lecture. We all know straight people get STD’s too. Promiscuity leads to disease! And, let’s not forget that the Bible, the Koran/Quran, and other religious manuscripts as well as the author of this article and the varied responses to it, were ALL written by mere Humans. LIVE AND LET LIVE~~~
Regarding “Arsenokoites” you confuse etymology with semantics. Etymology only tells us the history of the word. The only way to confirm the meaning is to look at the contexts in which the words are used, especially around the same time. We don’t know for sure what Paul meant by that term but it’s surely not a blanket condemnation of all homosexual relationships. We aren’t even sure what Lev 18:22 is prohibiting. The Hebrew “Mishkebe Issha” doesn’t translate well in English.
It’s also quite disingenuous if you, who writes on your. blog attacking and mocking others who take a scientific approach to forming a new understanding of the Bible to then use science to build a narrative that homosexuals are more perverse and unhealthy.
Jerry Eckert says
This morning on NPR, a writer was talking about her experience as a waitress. She spoke of the “rule of thumb” for hiring wait staff. The boss said prospective employees had to have empathy. He said fifty one percent of the job of waitstaff is to relate to the customers. He said it is something that is not learned but is innate. He said it cannot be taught. Could it be that those who cannot show empathy toward those of other races, toward, people who are fat, toward people who are LGBT are genetically incapable of empathy, compassion, and even love? Now there’s something to examine with good science.
Does it really make one sun ok hy exposing others? Doesnit make it ik for one to sin because another does? No we ALL sin no human is without sin. I have beliefs that are different than others yet I refuse to judge or degrade anyone for their beliefs. That is the one part of the bible I hole hearted do try my best to follow… I am so sorry for the way people treat others no matter the differences we all are Gods children. We deserve to be treated no less than anyone else…..
Rob Novil says
No article can accurately discuss Bible and homosexuality topics without discussing the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, I don’t think.
Jason E. says
Remember the reference the author made to Genesis 19? That’s a reference to the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Scripture. As a pastor, I find it very disturbing when people read the story of a whole town showing up to gang-rape two strangers and the only thing my fellow theologians seem to find wrong with this is the gender of the intended victims! Reading Genesis 19 as a condemnation of loving same-sex relationships makes no more sense than reading the story of the judgment of the Benjamites after the rape and murder of the Levite’s concubine in Judges 19-20 as a condemnation of a loving heterosexual marriage.
Further, if we read Ezekiel 16:49, we are told, “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” In other words, you’ve got a place where people were completely unconcerned regarding the well-being of anyone other than themselves, and cruelty of all kinds flourished.
Jennifer Avery says
I definitely think more people need to look at progressive interpretations of the Bible. Some gay and bi people are awful with sexuality, just like straight people, but if you look past that you can find beautiful monogamous loving couples and normal single people.
As you stated, this is a complex issue. I lived as a gay man for 13 years. In 1986 I came to know Christ and my life took a dramatic turn. No one told me that homosexual acts were wrong. I knew it in the core of my being. For many years I studied science, psychology and theology and I kept coming to the same conclusion. God made each of His creations to multiply after their own kind and He made mankind in His own image. Male and female together show a fuller picture of the image of God. Together we are the word picture of Christ and His bride. I’ve been married to an amazing woman for the past 27 years, I have four incredible adult children and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I don’t spend my days telling gay people they are wrong, or that they need to live like me. I do my best to love each and every person I come into contact with. I believe you do the same. I would, however, caution you to not post articles until you have true clarity. It just comes across as pandering. I don’t believe that’s your purpose. But it feels that way. I like your articles and I will keep reading them. You have an important voice in the body. Don’t waste it.
Paul basically echoed Jesus’s message that love was the key to Godliness.
I understand love between two people but I am confused a bit about how it is to be shared. I was taught that fornication was sinful, that sex outside of marriage and such practice as adultry wrong no matter the amount of love expressed. I can confess that I have sinned in these ways. I try not to sin any longer, although temptation has never left my being.
I do not believe that being gay is any more sinful than being straight however, I do have to wonder about the gay “act” in the eyes of God. Does He see it equally as sinful as fornication, of does it get a pass?
Tim Higgins says
To be frank, this article was disappointing. I have read Matthew Vines’ book ‘God and the Gay Christian’ – he presents a very forceful argument which is theologically based and goes over much of the language in scripture in detail. Vines came from a fundamentalist background and appears to still be very conservative in his reading of scripture. I was not totally convinced by the arguments, but they were certainly as ‘valid’ as any other doctrines I have encountered in Bible College or since. Maybe I’m just an evangelical who is throwing off old beliefs one by one, and this has yet to be shed. I most CERTAINLY believe that LGBTQ folk must be addressed by churches in a much more understanding and loving way, whatever your stance on the ‘sinfulness’ involved.
I never expect an article to be as detailed as a book, obviously, but it really could have been longer, and analysed the original languages a bit more. IMHO.
Joe Stains says
Thank you. IMO, one of the most wise entries in the whole blog.
Jacob McMillen says
Thanks for the comment. Matthew Vines absolutely provides a more thorough and compelling Biblical argument in his book, and yes, that is much easier to do in a book than an online blog post.
The reason this post from Dr. Haynes stood out to me (and the reason I wanted to share it here) is because he does a fantastic job of connecting this debate to broader concepts within Christianity.
Frankly, there is only so much that can be said on the 7 brief Biblical passages that in any way reference homosexuality. As you can see in the comments on this post, most individuals have already analyzed a more thorough analysis of the Biblical text and come to their own conclusions. I wanted to make this post available (1) for the those few who were not yet aware that there is room for argument on this issue, and (2) to help connect this issue to broader concepts for those with the ears to hear and consider.
On my journey of deconstruction, I’ve discovered that I rarely hear an argument and am immediately convinced. Instead, I am exposed to a series of arguments with which I disagree, and then sometime later, I discover that I have embraced those arguments at some point along the line because they better fit with my broader understanding of God.
My hope is that people who are searching for genuine understanding will read this article and then “catch” it’s deeper meaning and broader truths at some point down the road.
Tim Higgins says
That is true, Jacob. We DO hear a series of different arguments which coalesce into a clearer picture. I remember arguing with conditionalists not long after I left Bible College, trying to point out the times that Jesus clearly spoke about ‘eternal punishment’ and ‘fire’. I heard their arguments but dismissed them. Over the years I came to see value in some of them, then I found bloggers like Benjamin Corey who argued well, and finally, here. The realisation that there was no concept of hell in the Old Testament was the clincher… Jesus could NOT have been talking about ‘hell’ to his audience in Judaea! I then was able to acknowledge that all the other arguments were actually acceptable to me all along. It took the pieces of the jigsaw to fit together to create the final product.
I then let it be known on Facebook in a comment that I had changed my theology on that, and a younger brother with whom I often get into debates started arguing with me, saying ALL the things I said when I was his age! It does take time, especially when pulpits stuff it down your throat. I’ve always been a free thinker, and blog myself on ‘alternatives’ to the usual church fast food diet, but even I have been ‘charmed’ into certain beliefs I now utterly reject.
Thank you, Dr. Haynes for a very informational article.
We all have our opinions, based on our own systems of belief. This, to me, is a very articulate article worth reading and thinking about. I know that he has limited his discussion to Biblical text (thus the title of the article). However, we must all remember that God is not confined within the print of the Bible or any “Holy” book. God IS. The Bible can be used to express many facets of God, however God is not limited to those pages.
Trust that the creator of all that was, is and is to come will be able to sort all of this out. If anything, using biblical texts, may we model our lives after Mark: 12:28-31 and 1 John 4:7-8. If we do this we will not only SHOW the presence of Christ but also BE the presence of Christ to a world longing for peace.
Israel was governed by a Theocracy – the Church and State ruled together, so the moral and civil law were combined. Today, we have a civil government and no longer have that role as we move out into the world.
There is a difference between the Ritual Law and the Moral Law. Breaking the Ritual Law could be remedied by cleansing (bathing), which points to perfect fulfillment in Jesus. Now it is no longer necessary, since Christ has come so we don’t follow the ceremonial/ritual laws any longer. But the Moral Law remains in effect. You are mixing these in your argument.
Both the Moral Law and the Civil Law gave a penalty for transgressions of the law. If you broke the Civil law, then you also broke the Moral law. The Levitical Laws were the Civil Laws that they were to obey when they entered the land.
Ceremonial and Civil Law flow FROM the Moral Law and when we see Jesus, we see God.
(Special thanks to Dr. Allyn Ricketts for this insight.)
The entire arc of Biblical expression honors masculinity and femininity as gifts of God, and He compares His love for us to the most intimate relationship of humans – with Christ as the Bridegroom and the church as his Bride.
I believe that same sex attraction is rooted in a breakdown of human bonding early in life, and I have known several people and read hundreds of stories of those who have addressed those memories and relationships that were lacking (through counseling and forgiveness and inner healing prayer and new understandings of their identity in Christ) who would tell you they are restored to a happier, healthier place in their life. For those who seek professional help in reparative therapy, about 1/3 identify as heterosexual, 1/3 identify as satisfied and content with the results of their therapy, and about 1/3 continue in same-sex attraction. Most won’t believe that, but there are literally thousands who have been healed of past hurts that impacted their emotional and sexual expressions. This is not hate or bigotry or Pharisee-ism, but rather that healing the cause is better than masking the symptoms of rejecting or longing for one’s gender. My 2 cents.
Joe Stains says
Your two cents are worth much more. Thank you.
Jacob McMillen says
Hey Louise, what you just described was my past point of view. There are definitely instances where trauma, neglect or abuse can affect sexuality, but the arbitrary numbers you are quoting are nothing more than Christian-created propaganda. The American Psychology Association and peer reviewed studies have collectively disproven the efficacy of gay therapy. My personal belief is that the few who do ” successfully convert” are probably bisexual.
If you have legitimate peer-reviewed sources that can prove otherwise, you are welcome to share them, but otherwise, you are just repeating the same erroneous rhetoric we’ve all heard before.
The whole Word of God is true, it is what we have. I love everyone reading and participating here… God loves you. There is a way to be healed, it is by God’s Spirit, God Himself who dwelled in Jesus. This Spirit, God, is ready to renew every heart that has true Godly sorrow and who repents, turns away from that which God calls sin, Agreeing with our designer and maker. Turning away means abhorring and mortifying, hating and putting away. Not just sexual sins like adultery and fornication and rape, but homosexuality too. Every man and woman has lust and pride. Turning away from these is so important. Listen to what God says here:
“Therefore God gave them over in the evil desires of their hearts to impurity, to dishonor their bodies with one another. They EXCHANGED the TRUTH of GOD for a LIE and worshipped and served the creature (satan)(and them selves) rather than the Creator (God), who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason God gave them up to shameful passions. Even their women exchanged natural relations for what is against nature. Likewise the men abandoned natural relations with women and were burning with passion toward one another—men committing shameful acts with other men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And just as they did not see fit to recognize God, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what is not fitting. They became filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents. They are foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s righteous decree—that those who practice such things deserve death—they not only do them but give hearty approval to others who practice the same.” Romans 1:24-32
God wants to “re-birth” every person (the spirit person inside) so that the soul (mind emotion and will) will follow that Spirit and put away and control the flesh which is temporary.
Ask the Holy Spirit, who is God, to do this in your spirit, be born of the Spirit from above, that same Spirit that raised Jesus from the Grave. Be washed in His precious blood shed, that he shed when God became a person and died in your place so you could live forever after the weak flesh dies. The Power of God is in Him, His Spirit, the HOLY SPIRIT.
Thanks Louise, very well said. God is healing so many hearts of so many wounds!
I would just like to say that I am a male and am attracted to females. I seem to have been this way my whole life and I find myself, almost naturally, desiring to have sex with all the females that are attractive to me. I would venture to guess that it is this way with most heterosexual males. We were born this way and we can’t help the urge. Does that make it ok to sleep around, cheat on your wife or lust after other women? Nonetheless this was not God’s intent that we should have more than one partner, apart from that partner dying, and that we shouldn’t be lusting after other females. Just because someone is born a certain way doesn’t justify going against God’s design. We are all born with many desires that go against God’s will and our job is to honour His will by taking it seriously, not trying to do what feels natural to us. SIN is natural to us. I sympathize with homosexuals as they have one more thing to deal with than I do but the fact is biblically it is despised by God to practice homosexuality as well and drunkenness, greediness etc. I don’t hate homosexuals but I cannot stand people who twist up people’s minds to go against God’s desires over their own.
But doesn’t the natural design of the body tell us something? I mean male and female look like there designed for sex.