Sunday, November 05, 2006

Queer Theology Exposed

This is guaranteed to rile up some people and ruffle a few feathers here! But it is a comprehensive, truthful and devastatingly accurate analysis of what I have been saying all along about the "gay-behavior-affirming" churches. The author of this article calls the leaders of such churches "queer theologians" so don't yell at me for the title that this post has been given.

Christine

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"Queer Theology Exposed"

Queer theology is, in many ways, a branch of Liberation theology, sharing much of the same methodology and seeing theology as a tool in addressing the oppression which many queer theologians believe is perpetrated on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people by wider society in general and, in particular, the religious establishment. A reader of feminist theology or womanist theology would recognise a similar approach in queer theology.

[Note: It has come to my attention that it is the desire of the original author that the entire article be presented. Therefore, I am including the "Introduction," "Why this dramatic shift in opinion," and "What 'queer theology' says the Bible says about homosexuality" sections that were omitted at the other blogspot.]

Introduction

In America's so-called "culture wars," one of today's most intense controversies rages around the issue of whether homosexual "orientation" is an "acceptable" lifestyle, and if so, whether homosexuality and openly gay individuals should enjoy protected "minority" status under civil rights laws and full participation in the active fellowship of "mainline" religious organizations.
Four decades ago, few in either public or religious sectors dared even to raise the possibility that it might be "O.K. to be openly gay" in America. Yet recent decades have seen slow but dramatic shifts in public attitudes toward homosexuality, in both secular and religious circles.

In 1960, all 50 states maintained laws criminalizing sodomy, even engaged in by "consenting adults." In 1970, 84 percent of respondents to a national Gallup poll agreed that homosexuality was "a social corruption that can cause the downfall of a civilization." Two-thirds of those polled thought homosexuals should not be allowed to work as school teachers, church pastors, or even government employees.

In 1973, several years of concerted pressure by self-styled "gay activists" culminated in a decision by the American Psychological Association (APA) to remove homosexuality from the APA's DMSIII list of "objective disorders" and declare it "a normal, if divergent lifestyle." Throughout the 1970s and early to mid-'80s, laws forbidding "sodomy" were repealed in state after state. By 1987, during "gay activists'" first "March On Washington," Jeffrey Levi, then executive director of the militant National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, told the National Press Club:


"[W]e are no longer seeking just a right to privacy and a right to protection from wrong. We also have a right -- as heterosexual Americans have already -- to see government and society affirm our lives.
Now that is a statement that may make our liberal friends queasy. But the truth is, until our relationships are recognized in the law -- through domestic partnership legislation or the definition of beneficiary, for example -- until we are provided with the same financial incentives in tax law and government programs to affirm our family relationships, then we will not have achieved equality in American society (emphasis added)."

By 1989, 24 states had repealed sodomy laws criminalizing homosexual behavior between consenting adults. More than 100 local communities had placed "gay rights" ordinances (recognizing "sexual orientation" as a specially protected "minority" class distinction) "on the books."

In 1992, a poll of Colorado citizens revealed that, while Coloradans passed a statewide amendment banning "gay rights," less than 50 percent said they considered homosexuality "immoral." Only six percent of Coloradans thought homosexuals represented a danger to children. Well over 50 percent felt gay individuals should not be denied jobs as public school teachers. Today, 29 states have rescinded laws criminalizing consensual sodomy. Nine states now have statewide "gay rights" laws in force. Some 75 percent of Americans polled nationwide feel homosexuals should not be "discriminated against in employment, housing and public accommodations." Even granting ordinary margins of error (+/-3 or 4%), these polls obviously reflect a considerable shift in American public opinion about homosexuality.

Why this dramatic shift in public opinion?

Part of this dramatic opinion change is certainly due to ongoing public action by self-described "gay activists" -- and pressure on mainline denominations exerted by self-styled "queer theologians," who insist that the Bible regards homosexuality as merely a normal, sin-less "way to be human."

In secular circles, "gay militants" have argued that homosexuals represent an "oppressed minority," needing recognition by government under civil rights laws specially designed to protect a select number of disadvantaged and politically powerless classes of Americans.

In religious circles specifically, debate on this issue centers on several crucial questions, among them: Does the Judeo-Christian Bible truly consider homosexuality a "sin"? Does Scripture clearly condemn homosexuality as "unnatural" and "an abomination," as conservative theologians believe?

Or, as today's self-styled "gay activists" and "queer theologians" claim, does the Bible regard homosexuality benignly? Is it possible that the Bible views homosexuality as an identity/lifestyle that should be considered normal and acceptable to God, Christians and Jews?

Have the ancient Judeo-Christian Scriptures suffered, as "queer theologians" insist, centuries of misinterpretation by "forces of religious oppression intent on irrationally persecuting homosexuals"? In the political sphere, do homosexuals truly constitute an "oppressed minority" comparable to others now recognized under special civil rights laws?

To begin answering these questions, let's first consider what "queer theologians" say the Bible says about homosexuality.

What "queer theology" says the Bible says about homosexuality

"Not a Sin, Not a Sickness," a pamphlet published by the California- based Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC), contains perhaps as good a summary as can be found of what "queer theologians" say Scripture says about homosexuality.

Founded in 1968, the UFMCC is a largely gay-populated "denomination," now claiming more than 3,000 member churches nationwide. According to its "Not a Sin, Not a Sickness" pamphlet, the UFMCC holds that "[G]ay men and lesbians should be accepted -- just as they are -- in Christian churches, and homosexual relationships should be celebrated and affirmed!"(1) This acceptance, celebration and affirmation are due gay men and women, says the UFMCC, on the grounds "that Scripture does not condemn loving, responsible homosexual relationships."(2)

The UFMCC acknowledges that its conclusions are based on "new ways of understanding Scripture." These "new ways," says the UFMCC are rooted in "New scientific information, social changes, and personal experience..." These, UFMCC says, "are perhaps the greatest forces for change in the way we interpret the Bible and develop our beliefs."(emphasis added)(3)

Stated briefly, "queer theologians'" "new ways" of understanding Scripture result in the following kinds of discoveries: that the destruction of Sodom, recorded in Genesis 19:1-25, resulted from its "gross violation of hospitality rules" rather than the homosexual nature of the gang rape desired by Sodom's male citizens. The UFMCC also speculates that the Sodomites' actions also might "express intent to examine the visitors' credentials."

"Queer theologians" quote Ezekiel 16:48-50 to support the view that homosexual "sodomy" wasn't the real sin of Sodom. According to "queer theologians," Ezekiel 16:48-50 states that Sodom sinned primarily by neglecting the poor and practicing idolatry. The UFMCC says:


"[The] people of Sodom, like many people today, had abundance of material goods. But they failed to meet the needs of the poor, and they worshipped idols. The sins of injustice and idolatry plague every generation. We stand under the same judgment if we create false gods or treat others with injustice."(4)
(Following the main text of "Not a Sin..." the UFMCC prints a principle statement that says it stands for "Confronting the injustice of poverty, sexism, racism, and homophobia through Christian social action.")(5)

Apparent condemnations of homosexual behavior in passages like Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 refer not to "loving, responsible homosexual relationships," but to God's desire that His people not engage in idolatry-associated homosexual cult prostitution of the kind practiced by other nations.

Though these passages do refer to same-gender sexual behavior as an "abomination," according to the UFMCC, "Christians are no longer bound by these Jewish laws... To be sure, ethical concerns apply to all cultures and peoples in every age. Such concerns were ultimately reflected by Jesus Christ, who said nothing about homosexuality, but a great deal about love, justice, mercy and faith."(6) (This view assumes that all Mosaic law constraints, including those addressing moral law, are no longer binding on Christians.)

"Most New Testament books, including the four Gospels," the UFMCC says, "are silent on same-sex acts, and Paul is the only author who makes any reference to the subject. The most negative statement by Paul regarding same- sex acts occurs in Romans 1:24-27 where... certain homosexual behavior is given as an example of the `uncleanness' of idolatrous Gentiles" (emphasis added).(7)

The UFMCC also claims that "unnatural," a word used by Paul in this Romans passage to describe same-sex behavior, "does not refer to violation of so-called laws of nature, but rather implies action contradicting one's own nature. In view of this, we should observe that it is `unnatural'... for a person today with a lesbian or gay sexual orientation to attempt living a heterosexual lifestyle" (emphasis added).(8) Again, the UFMCC claims that the idolatrous context of the homosexual behavior Paul addressed was his main concern, not "loving, responsible lesbian and gay relationships seen today."(9)

The UFMCC acknowledges that in "1 Corinthians 6:9, Paul condemns those who are `effeminate' and `abusers of themselves with mankind...'"(10) The first of these words, the UFMCC says, "most likely refers to someone who lacks discipline or moral control,"(11) rather than to a homosexual person or persons. Of the second word, the UFMCC says: "Paul [was] extremely concerned with prostitution, so it is very possible he was referring to male prostitutes,"(12) again, not gay persons.

Under the heading "Other Insights," the UFMCC pamphlet quotes Robin Scroggs, a Union Theological Seminary Professor of Biblical Theology: "The homosexuality the New Testament opposes is the pederasty of the Greco-Roman culture..."(13)

The UFMCC claims that "[t]he rarity with which Paul discusses any form of same-sex behavior and the ambiguity in references attributed to him make it extremely unsound to conclude any sure position in the New Testament on homosexuality, especially in the context of loving, responsible relationships. Since any arguments must be made from silence, it is much more reliable to turn to great principles of the Gospel taught by Jesus Christ and the Apostles,"(14) such as loving god, loving one's neighbor, and non-judgmentalism (emphasis added).

The pamphlet text concludes with "An Invitation," that says in part, "Whoever you are, wherever you may be, whatever the circumstances of your life, it is important for you to know that Jesus Christ died to take away your sin, not your sexuality. Christ accepts you as you are, and so do we. You are always welcome at MCC!"(15) (emphasis added).

It should be pointed out that other "queer theologians" argue for homosexuality's acceptance because they say... Biblical figures Ruth and Naomi were a lesbian couple obviously approved by God. David and Jonathan were also gay. Jesus himself was probably bisexual (he allowed a "disciple whom he loved" to lean against his chest). The Apostle Paul disliked women, spoke only out of the outmoded cultural prejudices of his time, was "homophobic" and was perhaps himself a repressed homosexual.

Supposedly, the above conclusions shore up "queer theologians'" view that Christians and Jews should, based on Scripture, regard homosexuality and gay relationships with full acceptance and favor.

Does "queer theology" square with a comprehensive overview of Scripture's references to Sodom and homosexuality?

As "queer theologians" themselves admit, "any" arguments they have made in favor of Scriptural commendation of homosexuality have been extrapolated "from silence." However, it must be observed that interpreting Scripture's "silence" about homosexuality to mean all negative references to homosexuality are not about homosexuality per se, and that Jesus must have approved of homosexuality because he is not reported to have discussed it, require accepting some far-stretched assumptions.

First, part of the "silence" "queer theologians" argue from may not be "silence" at all, but the impression of silence, obtained by ignoring clear commentary on homosexuality which they don't want to acknowledge.

Second, Jesus isn't reported to have spoken about any number of acts and attitudes we may be reasonably sure he didn't approve of, such as wife- beating, child abuse and slavery, not to mention sins like computer fraud that didn't exist in his times. It's illogical to assume simply from his "silence" that Christ would have found such things acceptable.

Is Scripture, comprehensively viewed, as "silent" about homosexuality as "queer theologians" would have us believe? Let's go to Scripture itself for evidence. Four types of Jewish/Christian Scripture passages have been regarded for centuries as touching on homosexual issues, Sodom, sodomy or "sodomites."

Narrative references describe events in which homosexual actions and/or desires seem to play some part. Moral/civil law references state what seem to be proscriptions of and penalties for homosexual behavior. New revelation references seem to describe homosexuality's relationship to the framework of Christian life and doctrine. Commentary references illuminate other apparent references to homosexuality throughout the Judeo- Christian Scriptures.

Narrative references to homosexual behavior
Genesis 19:4-11

This account, of what seems to be an attempted homosexual assault on two human-appearing angels by male citizens of Sodom, is familiar enough.As we have seen, "queer theologians" insist that God's anger with the Sodomites was over either homosexual rape, not homosexuality itself, or "poor hospitality" on the part of the Sodomites, who were annoyed because the angels' host, Lot, refused to allow the men of Sodom to "examine the visitors' credentials."

Even a cursory examination of this single Biblical text casts doubt on "queer theologians'" view. First, Lot regards the acts he knows the Sodomites wish to engage in as "wicked," and he has no doubt as to the homosexual nature of those intended acts.

Second, Lot should certainly have had no objections to Sodomites merely "examining the visitors' credentials." Nor, if "credentials" were the issue, should Lot have perceived any need to offer his two daughters to the men instead of the angels.

Surely, the Sodomites "knew" Lot's daughters (they were engaged to citizens of Sodom, Scripture tells us). It is obvious from Lot's description of his daughters as virgins that he didn't imagine it was the angels' "credentials" that the Sodomites wanted to "examine."

If rape was the Sodomites' motive, Lot seemed to think heterosexual gang rape was preferable to homosexual. Thus, the passage implies not only that gang rape was evil, but that the homosexual motive was "wicked" also. Commentary references throughout Scripture to the Genesis account of Sodom seem amply to bear out this conclusion.

Commentary references on the Sodom account

New and Old Testament "commentary references" to Sodom, its destruction and the sexual nature of Sodomites' offenses, as Scripture describes these, are abundant.For instance, if we allow the New Testament's Book of Jude to "comment" on the Sodom account, the sexual nature of Sodomites' offenses stands out in clear relief.

Jude 7, for instance, describes the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah as "indulging in gross immorality," and "going after strange flesh." Authorities in koine Greek, in which the New Testament is written, more precisely describe Sodomites' offense as excessive indulgence in perverse fornication, which called forth God's judgment.

Similarly, 2 Peter 2:6,7 compares the judgment predicted to fall on false teachers to that of Sodom. Lot, this passage says, was oppressed by the sensual conduct (another translator calls it "lascivious, lustful behavior") of "unprincipled" Sodomite men.

Some "queer theologians" claim that Old Testament passages negatively referring to "sodomites" are only speaking about male prostitutes. But Hebrew terms used indicate that the desires of "sodomites" were "different," strongly implying that the behavior involved was criticized for being homosexual, not just mercenary.

Numerous Old Testament passages refer to Sodom or "sodomites" in clear contexts of sexual misconduct: Deuteronomy 23:17; 1 Kings 14:24, 15:12, 22:46; 2 Kings 23:7; Jeremiah 23:14. Sodom also serves as a persistent Biblical "paragon" of God's most severe judgment on societies that have incurred his disfavor.(16)

It is difficult to imagine that poor hospitality, inordinate material luxury or even neglect of the needy would provoke Scriptural disparagement this extreme. It's certainly clear from the "commentary" of all Scripture that homosexual immorality was one of Sodom's serious sins, a precipitating factor in God's judgment and a significant cause of Sodom's annihilation.

Judges 19

This tragic episode, involving an attempted homosexual rape of a Levite and the "gang rape" of his female concubine, bears many similarities to the Sodom account.As in Sodom, this couple takes shelter in a town (Gibeah) to which they are strangers. As in Sodom, the city's men attempt to break into a house to assault the male stranger.

The host, an old man, begs the men of Gibeah: "No, my friends, don't be so vile... don't do this disgraceful thing." In this instance, the Levite hands his concubine over to the men, who abuse her so savagely she dies. These events so outrage the whole nation of Israel that a civil war is launched against the perpetrators (Judges 20, 21), resulting in the near- annihilation of one of Israel's 12 tribes.

Again, the Biblical context and overall commentary (see footnote 18) on homosexuality clearly condemn the homosexual nature of the attempted rape.

One significant difference in the Genesis and Judges accounts is that, unlike the first, the second account follows the giving of the Mosaic law. Though during the era of the Judges, Israel as a nation had largely abandoned active adherence to the law (it's repeatedly said that "everyone did what was right in their own eyes"), the law had already commented on homosexual behavior. To explain how, we will examine next the...

Moral/civil law references to homosexual behavior

The Mosaic law contains two direct references to male homosexual behavior. The first describes the act, in terms of moral law; the second prescribes a penalty under civil law:

"You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination." Leviticus 18:22 (New American Standard)"

If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them." Leviticus 20:13 (New American Standard)

In both cases, these negative references to homosexual behavior are placed in contexts which plainly list proscribed acts of sexual immorality.

These texts certainly don't appear to deal exclusively with forms of prostitution or idolatrous cult activity. They simply say, "Here's a certain kind of behavior -- don't engage in it, or these penalties apply."

In both cases, the two translations above come close to being literal. The word translated "male" in both is generic -- the passages refer to any sexual activity between males and males, of any age or other non-sexual form of differentiation.

In other words, the proscriptions are categorical, and this is all the more apparent from the contexts in which they are given. "Mosaic moral and civil law does not smile on homosexual behavior" is the plain sense of these Scriptures.

Does the prescribed civil penalty (death) for engaging in homosexual behavior still apply in today's Judeo-Christian circles -- or, like other Mosaic "abominations," have proscriptions against gay behavior been swept away by new revelation, given by Christ and/or others? "New revelation" references will supply the answer, as we will see in a few moments.

Another reference we will consider under the "moral/civil law" heading is Ezekiel 16:49-50:

"Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen." (New International Version)

In a verse just preceding this passage, the writer, personifying Israel as an unfaithful daughter, compares Israel with Samaria and Sodom. He says, "You not only walked in their ways and copied their detestable practices, but in all your ways you soon became more depraved than they." Later, in verse 58, the prophet says to faithless Israel, "'You will bear the consequences of your lewdness and detestable practices,' declares the Lord." As we have seen, "queer theologians" "proof-text" this passage to imply that God was not concerned with the Sodomites' sexual behavior, but with their idolatry and neglect of the needy.

But in light of the rest of Scripture, it is far-fetched indeed to posit that the "detestable things and practices" the passage refers to consisted solely of neglecting the poor (which, though Scripture does considers Sodom guilty of it, is a more sin of omission than comission).

Obviously, this passage doesn't "let homosexual behavior off the hook"; taken at face value, the passage simply includes such behavior in a nexus of offenses, all of which God was displeased with, and for which he brought Sodom into judgment.

However, verses 53-63 also introduce a note of hope that Israel/Sodom will be restored, despite her (sexual, among other) offenses. Throughout the Hebrew Scriptures such notes of restoration hopes are struck, and these appropriately lead us into the "new revelation" hope in the New Testament's references to homosexuality.

"New revelation" references to homosexual behavior

Though, as we have seen, Christian New Testament Scriptures speak numerous times about Sodom (sometimes in references that comment on Sodomites' "gross immorality" and "lascivious, lustful behavior"), only three passages speak directly to the subject of homosexual behavior (together with other kinds of sexual immorality and sin): Romans 1:18-32; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; and 1 Corinthians 6:9-20.

As we've noted, "queer theologians" view no New Testament references to homosexuality as condemnations of "natural, committed" gay relationships per se, but rather link any negativity apparently attached by New Testament authors to homosexuality with pagan idolatry or Greco-Roman pederastic practices.

Since the Romans passage stands as the most lengthy and significant "new revelation" reference dealing with homosexuality, we'll analyze these verses at some length.

Romans 1:18-32

This passage forms the "pagan" section of a sustained argument by the Apostle Paul written to prove that (1) Godless pagans and idolaters, (2) virtuous pagans, and (3) Jews under the Mosaic law all (a) are fundamentally sinful and corrupt by nature and by choice; (b) fall short behaviorally of God's nature and standards revealed in creation and in Scripture; (c) are incapable even by "good works" of pleasing and making peace with God; and (d) in need of his grace through faith in Christ to be reconciled to him.

Thus, Paul's statements regarding homosexuality must be seen in his perspective that not only many different kinds of sin, but all self-willed "good works" as well, thoroughly disqualify all humankind from relationship with a holy God.

And, while the passage we're looking at does discuss idolatry, these verses have as their primary subjects godlessness, wickedness and their effects, such as idolatry. They also deal with a host of other offenses, including homosexual behavior. Note how the passage begins:

"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities -- his eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse" (vs. 18-20)(17).

Paul's analysis of factors that bring on God's wrath begins, not with pagan humankind's descent into idolatry, but with its outright, willful rejection of God's clear self-revelation in creation. He explains how the next step to idolatry is taken:

"For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles" (vs. 21-23).

Early 20th-century author G.K. Chesterton once observed that when men refuse to believe in God (as Scripture reveals him), they don't believe in nothing, they believe in anything.

In Paul's view (which Chesterton shared) humankind are not atheists by nature, but worshippers. When people en masse become futile in thought and dark in heart, says Paul, and reject the concept of an omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, holy, loving, and sometimes wrathful God, they don't cease to worship, they cast about for something else than God to worship.

Those who reject God, says Paul, begin the worship-"exchange" of God for something else with some kind of embodiment of things he created. In more primitive societies, people create and worship material images of animals, celestial bodies or other natural phenomena -- or idealized images of human beings themselves.

In more sophisticated societies, worship of creation may become more "intellectualized"; people may revere "the cosmos" or "the mind of man" or anything else awe-inspiring, but less threatening, than the omnipotent Deity Paul speaks of.

Almost inevitably, people trying to find the God-less object most worth of their reverence end their search with the highest natural manifestation of creation, humanity itself. (We might refer to this stage as discovering the essence of what's known today as secular humanism.)

In Paul's frame of reference, the highest of all created beings in spirit, intellect and authority is man. And, as Paul says elsewhere, his view is that the male gender possesses the higher authority of the two genders. Thus, Paul posits, when God-less human beings seek an ultimate being to worship other than God, they eventually conclude their search revering the most awe-inspiring and esthetically beautiful specimen(s) of humanity itself. At this point, Paul implies,"

God [gives] them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator -- who is forever praised. Amen" (vs. 24-26). In most cultures that have taken this direction, fervent admiration (approaching or encompassing) worship of human male and female forms becomes common.

Often, sexual preoccupation of this sort manifests itself in ritual, religious prostitution (as it did in the Baalistic cults the Israelites contended with and sometimes indulged in Canaan). At other times it resolves into elevating various esthetic sexual obsessions to the status of cultural norms.

In such eras, as they combine admiration for the acme of creation with sexual estheticism, males pursue passionate, quasi-worshipful sexual relationships with other males. Reacting to male neglect, yet still pursuing a physical manifestation of similar esthetic ideals, women seek sexual relations with other women. At this juncture, Paul says, God lifts any restraints the Deity might have sovereignly placed on such pursuits:"

Because of this, 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 lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion" (vs. 26-27).Clearly, if we allow the entirety of Scripture to "comment" on these verses, it is a sheer distortion to try to square their meaning with the "spin" put on their depiction of homosexuality by "queer theologians." The text plainly regards both the desires/"lusts" and physical activities of both males and females (this is Scripture's only reference to lesbianism) who desire and have sexual relationship with partners of the same gender as "shameful" and "indecent," and as "perversion."

The references seem as generic in regard to same-sex behavior as those in Deuteronomy. And there seems no reason from the plain sense of the text to assume that Paul is positing that the offenders are heterosexuals deliberately and perversely engaging in homosexual relations, or that he in any way considers homosexuality "natural."

Nor does he conversely spend any time condemning homosexuals for "unnaturally" engaging in heterosexual behavior, which would seem, if "queer theologians'" analysis of this passage is correct, to be a parallel and comparable sin. Lest any reader think that in this passage Paul is implying that homosexuality is the "lowest" form of sin, he finishes this first chapter of Romans by detailing a further decline into what Paul calls "a depraved mind."

We must assume from the context that Paul considers this a stage of even greater evil. As such, it is characterized by a whole cluster of "every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity," a sinful mindset, if we accept Paul's logic, collectively worse than mere homosexual behavior, that includes as...

"...envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them" (vs. 29-32).

Obviously, throughout this passage Paul is talking about descending degrees of "wickedness" resulting from a God-rejecting mindset, and about individual behavior not directly related to formal worship of idols. Therefore, it would be scarcely reasonable to assume that every offense he recounts, including homosexuality, is to be directly associated with cultish idolatry.

Furthermore, Paul doesn't end his "disqualifying" argument with this chapter. He goes on to demonstrate that not only "high-moraled" pagans but Jews with the advantage of knowing Mosaic law are also totally incapable of pleasing God. Not only so, but Paul indicates that God regards Jews under the law as most culpable of all; their responsibility is greater in God's eyes because of they are familiar with the law yet fail to adhere to the heart of its precepts.

Thus, Paul's attitude in Romans toward sexual sin is remarkably similar to that of Jesus Christ, who was far more condemnatory toward hypocritical religious leaders than he was toward "sinners" given to more "fleshly" vices. Not that Paul or Jesus condoned "fleshly" vices; both regarded such sins as contrary to law and "sound teaching," as we will see clearly from analysis of the two other "new revelation" passages that deal with homosexuality.

1 Timothy 1:8-11

These verses include but a brief reference to homosexuality, but the context of that reference is again significant:"

But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, or the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers and 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."(18)

Again, some "queer theologians" conveniently claim that the word translated "homosexuals" above (also used in the 1 Corinthians passage we will examine shortly) does not refer to homosexuality per se, but to "general moral weakness," ritual prostitution, or some other form of immorality. Their argument is, again, one "from silence." "We know of no pre-Pauline use in koine Greek of this term, so Paul may have invented it, and we don't really know why, so it doesn't necessarily have to do with homosexuality."

This view conceals the simplest translation possible of the word used: "a male who goes to bed with another male." If Paul invented this term, it's quite likely that he did so to make his disparagement of homosexuality as generic as the Deuteronomy references, with which, as a Hebrew scholar, he was doubtless familiar.

As in Deuteronomy, no age distinction is made here; the reprehensible nature of any male bedding any other male is what Paul wishes to communicate, in as simple terms as possible. In the context of this passage, it is obvious that Paul regards homosexual behavior as a sin, among those offenses listed that it's the law's function to proscribe and control, though he doesn't seem to single out homosexuality as worse than other sins listed.

It's also clear, from the final "new revelation" passage we'll examine, that Paul doesn't consider the offense of homosexuality unforgivable or irremediable.

1 Corinthians 6:9-11

In this, the last we'll examine of three "new revelation" references dealing directly with homosexuality, Paul introduces a strong note of hope that, while homosexuality is a sin, it can be forgiven, and homosexuals can be "cleansed," "made whole" and "made right with God":

"...[D]o you not know that the unrighteous shall 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, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 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 Christ, and in the Spirit of our God."(19)

Here again, the word used for "homosexuals" merely means "men who bed men." It sense is active or aggressive. The preceding word translated as "effeminate" has traditionally been interpreted to connote passive homosexual behavior. Negatively, Paul appears to be saying

(1) that neither active nor passive homosexual behavior are acceptable; both are sins. Note the many other offenses he also regards as unacceptable. No one should conclude from this passage that Paul regards homosexuality as more reprehensible than the other offenses listed -- or any less possible to be freed from.

(2) Paul is saying that individuals for whom these sins are so dominant as to constitute personal identities will have no place in "the kingdom of God." One can't, Paul says, claim to accept God's rulership and continue to be dominated by these offenses at the same time.

(3) Paul points out that it is possible to be deceived into thinking that one can continue to let one's life revolve around these sins and still take part in God's kingdom. Paul says, "Do not be deceived." It's not possible, he says.In this passage, Paul also strikes three positive notes. And he precedes these with a remarkable observation: "And such were some of you..." In other words, among Paul's Corinthian readers (Corinth was known to be a "wide open" town sexually in his day) were some who had at one time been homosexuals -- but were not gay any more! What were they? In earlier verses of 1 Corinthians, Paul describes his readers as "saints" (people "set apart," vs. 1:2), "babes in Christ" (vs. 3:1), "newborn," new creations saved by God's power (vs. 1:18).

Because this is true, Paul goes on to say in 6:11, his readers, including former homosexuals, had been (1) washed, cleansed within from their previous sins; (2) sanctified, set apart and made holy, separated from sin and reserved for God; (3) justified, made morally and legally acceptable to God because of the sacrificial death on Calvary of Jesus Christ.Thus, these offenders, including some who had been homosexuals, were forgiven, restored to right relationship with God, and accepted in his eyes as if they had never sinned.

Biblical References to "Homosexual" Relationships

Comprehensively viewed, Scripture gives us no reason to believe that the close personal relationships it describes, such as David/Jonathan, Ruth/Naomi, Jesus/John or Paul/Timothy were sexual in nature.

Especially in the case of Jesus, whom Scripture describes as being "without sin," the inference of homosexuality is ludicrous. If we grant a comprehensive Scriptural view that homosexuality is a sin, we must assume that Christ did not indulge in it.

To insist that the close relationships described in Scripture were sexual is by implication to virtually deny the possibility that true non- sexual intimacy can exist between persons of the same gender, which would almost deny the possibility of the existence of true friendship.

History and human experience emphatically confirm that people can enjoy, and have enjoyed deep, non-sexual, same-gender friendships. If anywhere in Scripture, the application of an "argument from silence" would be appropriate here: Scripture gives no hint whatsoever that these relationships were sexual, and its silence makes it reasonable to assume they were not.

A Summary of Scripture's Comprehensive View of Homosexuality

We can summarize a comprehensive Scripture view of homosexuality in this way:

(1) Both Old and New Testaments clearly declare homosexual acts and "lusts" sinful, "unnatural" and among a number of sins that tend to provoke God's anger and bring His judgment on individuals and societies.

(2) No Scripture references even hint at the notion that homosexuality is "natural" or innate; homosexuality is regarded as an offense that can be forsaken and repented of. (Scripture may never call homosexuality "natural" simply because the idea that homosexuality or homosexual relationships might be "natural" never entered the authors' minds.)

(3) Scripture doesn't consider homosexuality the worst of sins, nor does the Bible hold homosexuality up for extraordinary censure; Scripture regards homosexuality, along with and often in connection with a host of other sins, as an abridgment of God's law.

(4) The Bible clearly indicates that homosexuality, though a sin, can be and has been forgiven by God, and homosexuals can be cleansed and transformed as persons through the power of an indwelling Christ.

(5) Comprehensively viewed, Scripture offers no evidence that should lead us to believe that any of many close, same-gender personal relationships it describes were sexual in nature.

A Crucial Interpretive Assumption

In the "Scripture-comprehensive" overview we've undertaken, we have made the "traditional" interpretive assumption that the import of "commentary" and "new revelation" references supersedes earlier Scripture references where there seems to be a difference in the Bible's proscriptions and prescriptions.

For instance, where the Mosaic law contains certain dietary proscriptions, such as against eating shellfish, "new revelation" references "open the door" for Christians to eat an unlimited variety of foods. This understanding has largely influenced Christian practice ever since that "new revelation" was given. Thus, eating pork, which Mosaic law calls an "abomination," is no longer regarded as such, and pork is commonly enjoyed by Christians.

However, where "new revelation" references do not overrule earlier proscriptions and prescriptions, the earlier understandings remain in force. As theologian J.I. Packer has pointed out:

...Christ said in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:17) that he came not to destroy the law but to fulfill it; that is, to be, and help others to be, all that God in the Commandments had required. What Jesus destroyed was inadequate expositions of the law, not the law itself (Matthew 5:21-48; 15:1-9; etc.). By giving truer expositions, he actually republished the law. The Sermon on the Mount itself consists of themes from the Decalogue [the Ten Commandments] developed in a Christian context" (emphasis Packer's).(20)

Likewise, says Packer, "When Paul says that `he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law' (Romans 13:8; cf. 10), he explains himself by showing that love to neighbor embraces the specific prohibitions of adultery, murder, stealing, and envy. He does not say that love to neighbor cancels them!" (emphasis Packer's)(21)

In the case of homosexuality, as we have seen, both Mosaic law and "new revelation" teaching condemn homosexual behavior, so the proscription against it remains in effect. Also, the fact that Jesus never commented directly about homosexuality (though he did speak negatively about Sodom and its sins) doesn't nullify the import of other Old and New Testament Scripture passages that clearly condemn it. However, "new revelation" references indicate that, where homosexuality is forsaken by a Christian believer, the penalty/prescription of death no longer automatically applies.

These understandings resolve the apparent "disagreement" "queer theologians" say exists between Old and New Testament attitudes toward homosexuality. What we see in fact is a remarkable consistency in Old and "new revelation" views of homosexuality, when this "Scripture- comprehensive" approach is taken.

"Queer theologians" views disagree with the comprehensive view of Scripture

Clearly, "queer theologians'" views on what Scripture says about homosexuality sharply disagree with the results of a comprehensive Scripture approach like the one we've just taken. Again, "queer theologians" insist that...

(1) The Bible considers homosexuality neither a sin nor a sickness; Scripture never condemns "`natural,' normal, responsible, committed" homosexual relationships.

(2) Scripture references that appear to condemn homosexuality are not addressing homosexuality per se, but idolatrous/cultic homosexual prostitution and practices.

(3) Christians are under no obligation to give regard to Old Testament proscriptions because Jesus never spoke about homosexuality, and Christians are not bound by Jewish laws.

(4) God judged Sodom, not for homosexual lusts or acts, but for Sodomites' attempted rape, poor hospitality, and neglect of the poor.

(5) Scripture depicts what "queer theologians" believe to be a number of homosexual relationships apparently smiled upon by God.

(6) Because homosexuality is not a sin or a sickness, sexually active homosexuals need not repent of their behavior or seek any change of their desires; sexually active homosexuals should be accepted "as is" into the full fellowship of religious life.What accounts for the difference between these views?

Obviously, the "Biblical" assessments of homosexuality by "queer theologians" and those arrived at by a comprehensive approach to Scripture are irreconcilable. Yet they both appear to be derived from the same Bible. How do we account for the profound differences just observed? We believe the differences are precipitated by sharply divergent methods of interpretation of the Biblical text.

Before we can tell for certain what the Bible says about homosexual issues, we need to decide how to evaluate what the Bible says...

To discover what Scripture truly says about homosexual issues, we must first choose how to approach interpreting the text. Should we approach the Bible as an internally coherent work whose ideas themselves, whether we agree with them or not, should be allowed to clarify the distinct issues it deals with? Should we examine Scripture as a work which, though written over many centuries by numerous authors, communicates to us a consistent view of humanity, God and nature?

Or...
Do we engage Scripture as a kind of "blank slate" onto which we "write" our reactions to what it says, and into which we read certain preconceptions about the issues the text deals with? In other words, do we exegete the text -- draw out of it what is manifestly, consistently and solely there? Or do we eisogete the text -- that is, base our evaluation on ideas that are not necessarily in the text, but ideas and concepts we may wish were, or feel should be present, or that we believe would make the text more compatible with contemporary cultural trends or our own private beliefs?

Obviously, these two approaches may produce quite different conclusions about what the Bible says about homosexual issues. In truth, only one of the two approaches -- the exegetical approach -- actually constitutes interpretation of the text. However couched, eisegesis is nothing other than commentary on the text -- opinion expression which may or may not have any interpretive basis.

Ultimately, if we agree with the principle that the reality of a matter lies in the entirety of what it is, regardless of what we think about it judgmentally, we'll have to conclude that we will only determine the truth about a matter when our thoughts about it are consistent with its self-defined and expressed reality. Logically, a single text cannot both say and not say something simultaneously. What is the "reality" of the Bible's stand on homosexuality, judged on Scripture's own terms?

The comprehensive interpretive method

The comprehensive interpretive method employs the following principles, which are common to literary textual criticism:

(1) The Bible is assumed to be an internally consistent text whose parts must be allowed to "explain" one another in order to arrive at accurate conclusions about its views of various issues it deals with.(22)

(2) More definitive passages about issues, both in Old Testament and "new revelation" Scriptures, "rule" the interpretation of vaguer passages dealing with the same issues, and "new revelation" passages "rule" the interpretation of Old Testament texts.(23

3) Wherever possible, the "plain sense" of Scripture's meaning should supply the "preferred" sense of its import.(24)

(4) Literary, historical or "contemporary," sources or opinions external to Scripture should not be allowed to add to or pass judgment on its clear meaning, or pretend to provide valid "interpretation" of the text.(25)

Clearly, this approach involves exegesis of the text, as defined earlier. Allowing the text to "explain" itself in terms of its own internal consistency results in the comprehensive view of homosexuality we've described.

"Queer theologians'" method

To arrive at views on homosexuality utterly contradictory to those given by the comprehensive interpretive method, "queer theologians" clearly resort to quite different principles in reading Biblical texts. Some of these principles seem to be along these lines:

(1) "Queer theologians" consciously neglect to allow the entirety of Scripture to interpret or "comment" on itself.

(2) "Queer theologians" allow vague, non-definitive Scripture passages to "rule" definitive, plain-sense passages that deal with sexual issues, including homosexuality.

(3) After first excising from their Scriptural approach any and all texts which don't agree with their views about homosexuality, "queer theologians" then employ the resulting "argument from silence" to

(a) claim Scripture has no clear position on homosexuality, and to

(b) read homosexuality into close, same-gender relationships described non-sexually in Scripture

4) "Queer theologians" consciously filter contemporary cultural notions through ancient Biblical texts in order to claim that Scripture "says" what they want it to say about homosexuality.

Clearly, "queer theologians'" approach to Scripture is, by definition, isogetical, and as such, cannot be properly said to constitute interpretation at all. If this is true, Scripture commentators holding the "comprehensive" view are in error even to compare their exegesis with "queer theologians'" isogetical comments, since these two methods of examining a text are not truly comparable, their conclusions having been arrived at by entirely different means. "Queer theologians'" "interpretations" represent, in fact, no more than "queer theologians'" subjective opinions about homosexuality.

One particularly objectionable process in "queer theologians'" isogetical method has been dubbed phantasie (German for fantasy) by feminist author Dorothee Solle. As "queer theologian" Robert Williams describes it:

"The technique is simply one of creative visualization. You select a biblical passage, read it carefully and thoughtfully, then close the Bible and allow yourself to experience the passage...."

As with any visualization, the secret is to set the scene as vividly as possible. When you close your eyes and imagine the setting you just read about, imagine it in the most intense detail you can muster. Pay attention to colors, sounds, smells. Notice what people are wearing, what color their eyes and hair are, what their facial expressions are."(26)

The results of such a seemingly mystical process, which verges on (if not veers into) self-hypnosis ought not to be considered valid textual interpretation by any serious critic.In fact, even some "queer theologians" find this methodology too far- fetched to be credible. Elsewhere in the book just cited, Robert Williams himself is reduced, under the weight of plain analysis of 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:9-11, to saying, "Paul, like most of us, had his good moments and his bad moments."(27)He quickly tries to resolve his apparent internal contradiction by saying, in effect, "Maybe Paul had a bad day, but if what he says doesn't ring true to your `deepest capacity for truth and goodness,' you're certainly not obligated to believe him." Elsewhere, and perhaps a bit more honestly, Williams also frankly acknowledges that Paul may well be saying what he seems to be saying in Romans 1, but we're at liberty, in effect, to jettison Paul's opinions from Scripture if we don't like them:"

Perhaps Paul is condemning homosexuality in this passage, or at least labeling it as 'unnatural' (which is not exactly the same thing as calling it sinful). But the bottom line for you is: So what? Paul was wrong about a number of other things, too. Why should you take him any more seriously than you take Jerry Falwell or Anita Bryant or Cardinal O'Connor?"(28)Perhaps a more pertinent question is, why should we take the obviously subjective opinions of "queer theologians," blatantly isogeted from their own self-induced meditations on Scriptural texts, with any seriousness whatsoever?

What are "queer theologians" "reading into" Scripture -- and why?

Despite their flagrant lack of interpretive integrity, "queer theologians" do demand to be taken seriously, as evidenced by their constant pressure for full acceptance of "gayness" in academia and in mainstream religious life. And their demands force us to confront still another crucial question: If "queer theologians" are indeed passing off eisegesis as interpretation, what ideas are they "reading into" Scripture, and why are they doing so?

First, as we have seen, "queer theologians" insist that homosexuality is "natural"; most also insist that "gayness" is inborn and immutable. Second, "queer theologians" insist that homosexuality and homosexuals have been oppressed and persecuted due to faulty readings of Scripture, and that homosexuals have been unjustly excluded from deserved "places at the tables" of religious fellowship and general participation in society.

If we examine the implications of these assertions, it may easily be discovered that "queer theology's" major tenets coincide precisely with those that undergird the politically active "gay rights" movement. In fact, though some object to attempts to even discuss possible linkages between "gay activism" and "queer theology," in this writer's opinion it is impossible to fully explain either of these movements without reference to the other.

"Queer theologians'," "gay activists'" promotions of "gayness" are inextricably linked

It is also essential that we explore the below-the-surface connections between "queer theology" and "gay activism," because the two depend on one another for "credibility" by shoring up one another's positions. Therefore, it will serve us well to now examine "gay activism" and try to arrive at some conclusions about its credibility.As we will see, alongside "queer theologians'" activities in religious circles, "gay activists" are waging among the most ambitious public image and political campaigns in American history, with the media's generous help. The message: Homosexuals are an oppressed, disadvantaged "minority," with an "orientation" identity as innate and fixed as African-Americans' and Hispanics' -- and gays deserve special legal status and privileges under civil rights law equal to those granted to traditional minorities like these.

This message appears to be tailored to help gays claim to meet three "criteria" established by courts and civil rights authorities in awarding special "protected" or "suspect" status to disadvantaged minority classes.(29)

Criterion #1: Averaged as a whole group, the class must have suffered a history of societal oppression evidenced by lack of ability to obtain economic mean income, adequate education, or cultural opportunity.(30).

Gay activists claim gays as an entire class are economically, educationally and culturally disadvantaged. Numerous extensive/intensive marketing studies (several boasting accuracy beyond 99%) refute these claims(31), and reveal gays to be, on the contrary, perhaps America's most affluent self-identified "subculture":

Homosexuals have average individual incomes ranging from $37,800 to $42,100+, depending on the study cited, versus about $12,300 for average Americans and a minuscule $3,041 for truly disadvantaged African-American households.(32)

More than three times as many homosexuals as average Americans are college graduates (59.6% v. 18%) -- a percentage dwarfing that of truly disadvantaged African-Americans and Hispanics.65% of gays are overseas travelers -- more than four times the percentage (14%) of average Americans.

More than 13 times as many gays as average Americans are frequent flyers. (Truly disadvantaged Americans don't even "make the charts" in these categories.)"America's gay and lesbian community is emerging as one of the nation's most educated and affluent, and Madison Avenue is beginning to explore the potential for a market that may be worth hundreds of billions of dollars.... It's a market that screams opportunity." So said Eric Miller, editor of Research Alert, a New York-based consumer research publication.(33)

Robert Bray, a spokesman for the "gay rights" promoting National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, complains to the "politically correct" about "epidemic oppression" of gays. Yet he has also been quoted thus: "Gay greenbacks are very powerful and the gay and lesbian community is a virtual motherlode of untapped sales."(34)

Surely, affluent "gay activists'" attempts to secure status and benefits reserved for the poor constitute every bit as grievous a "sin" against the truly disadvantaged as any such sin Ezekiel 16 (see earlier reference) attributes to "Sodomites."Yet "queer theologians," who boast of "Confronting the injustice of poverty, sexism, [and] racism... through Christian social action", remain curiously non-confrontational about such blatant duplicity as that practiced by Robert Bray and other "gay activists."

Criterion #2: Averaged as a whole group, specially protected classes should exhibit obvious, innate, immutable, or distinguishing characteristics, like race, color, gender, national origin or disability, that clearly define them as a discrete group(35).

Attempting to apply this criterion to homosexuals, "gay activists" claim that

(1) gays represent some 10% of the general population (in this way, they appear to be as substantial a minority as, say, African-Americans);

(2) "gayness" is innate and immutable. As with activists' "poverty and oppression" claims, recent studies cast serious doubt on both these assertions.

Earlier 1948 "Kinsey Report" figures lending "support" to the "10%" theory have largely been discredited.(36) Later studies(37) reveal the 10% figure to be almost undoubtedly bogus. One of the most recent and major of these studies, a survey of male sexual behavior conducted by researchers from Seattle's Batelle Human Affairs Research Centers, concluded:

"...[O]nly 2 percent [of American men] ever engaged in homosexual behavior... Only 2.3 percent of the men reported any homosexual activity in the past 10 years, and just 1.1 percent said they had engaged in exclusively homosexual sex. That is far less than the 10 percent figure attributed to the landmark Kinsey report from 1948."(38)In a remarkably frank 1993 statement, pioneer "gay activist" attorney Tom Stoddard virtually admitted the fraudulence of the "10%" figure, and revealed the apparent reason both "gay activists" and "queer theologians" have eagerly promoted it:

"We used that figure when most gay people were entirely hidden to try to create an impression of our numerousness."(39)"Gay activist" Bruce Voeller has written elsewhere:

"I campaigned with Gay groups and in the media across the country for the Kinsey-based [10%] finding that `We are everywhere.' This slogan became a National Gay Task Force leimotif. And the issues derived from the implications of the Kinsey data became key parts of the national political, educational and legislative programs during my years at New York's Gay Activist Alliance and the National Gay Task Force. And after years of our educating those who inform the public and make its laws, the concept that 10 percent of the population is gay has become generally accepted `fact'.... As with so many pieces of knowledge and myth, repeated telling made it so -- incredible as the notion was to the world when the Kinsey group first put forth its data or decades later when the Gay Movement pressed that data into public consciousness."(40)

In an equally duplicitous ploy, "gay activists" claim that "gayness" is inborn and unchangeable. Ironically, three or four decades ago, almost no homosexuals answering anonymous surveys said they thought they were "born homosexual." Nor did any but a fraction of psychological practitioners agree that gays were "born that way."

Yet "gay activists'" attempt to move into the civil rights arena forced them to try to justify this parallel with ethnicity and color. As "evidence," they most often cite a "study" (by "gay activist" Simon LeVay) purporting to find "differences" between the brains of "homosexual" HIV-created and "heterosexual" corpses.

Among the most devastating of many critiques of LeVay's "findings" was that of self-avowed gay writer Michael Botkin, who wrote, shortly after the release of LeVay's "study":

"...[I]t turns out that LeVay doesn't know anything about the sexual orientation of his control group, the 16 corpses `presumed heterosexual.' A sloppy control like this is... enough by itself to invalidate the study. LeVay's defense? He knows his controls are het[erosexual] because their brains are different from the HIVer corpses. Sorry, doctor, this is circular logic. You can use the sample to prove the theory, or vice versa, but not both at the same time."(41)As other critics of LeVay's work point out, his dubious methodology and speculations also lead to the conclusion that three corpses LeVay identified as "heterosexual" "should" have been homosexual, and three supposedly "homosexual" corpses "should" have been heterosexual. Methodologically misclassify 6 out of a total of only 35 corpses, and you scarcely have a theory that can stand much scientific scrutiny.

"Gay activists" also frequently cite a "study" purporting to show "genetic origins" for homosexuality among fraternal twins. Again, though the media has tended to tout this "study" as if it were "gospel," its methodology is flawed from the outset: It derives 100% of its results from groups of twins raised together -- thus totally neglecting to eliminate possible environmental factors. Perhaps developmental biologist Anne Fausto Stirling has dismissed this study as accurately and succinctly as possible:

"In order for such a study to be at all meaningful, you'd have to look at twins raised apart. It's such badly interpreted genetics."(42)

Furthermore, another "gay twin" study, providing very different results, has been mysteriously ill-reported by the mass media. The authors, Michael King, M.D., and psychologist Elizabeth McDonald, found a much lower concurrence among twins than Bailey and Pillard -- only 12% versus 22%. The authors concluded that "genetic factors are insufficient explanation of the development of sexual orientation."(43)

Other critics have pointed out that, in both studies, environmental factors, such as incest, offer a more likely explanation of homosexual development than "genetics." (Incidentally, all efforts to duplicate "gay twin" results among lesbian populations have failed utterly.)

Research shows that gays not only can, but do change their "sexual orientation" -- some numerous times. One post-1975 Kinsey Institute study found that 84% of homosexual men shifted their "sexual orientation" at least once in a lifetime. 32% reported a second shift. 13% claimed at least five changes in "sexual orientation" during their lifetimes.(44)

"Gay activists" and "queer theologians" know these facts well -- but pretend they don't, out of sheer political expediency. Author and American University history professor Jerry Z. Muller explains:

"In political arguments toward the non-homosexual public, [`gay activism'] has tended toward a deterministic portrait of homosexuality as grounded in irrevocable biological or social-psychological circumstance. Yet among homosexual theorists in the academy, the propensity is toward the defense of homosexuality as a voluntarily affirmed `self- fashioning.'"The confluence of feminism and [`gay activist'] ideology has now led to a new stage, in which the politics of stable but multicultural and multisexual identities is being challenged by those who regard all permanent and fixed identity as a coercive restriction of autonomy, which is thought to include self-definition and redefinition."(45)

In March, 1992, The National Association for Psychoanalytic Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) "was founded... by psychoanalysts and psychoanalytically informed individuals who believe that obligatory homosexuality is a treatable developmental disorder," according to the group's literature.

Faced with "gay activists'" attempts to perpetuate (what even they know is) the myth that "gayness" is immutable, NARTH will "Endeavor to protect the rights of [homosexual] patients to receive treatment" to change their homosexuality. As of this writing, more than 300 psychologists, psychoanalysts and other professionals have joined the new organization.

But perhaps the very best "refutation" of "gay activist/queer theologian" innateness claims are the thousands of "ex-gay" individuals who claim their "sexual orientation" has radically and permanently changed as the result of religious conviction and conversion -- just the possibility the Apostle Paul's ancient writings hold out so clearly! But if "gay activists'" claims to meet the first two "minority status" criteria are bogus, so is their attempt to satisfy...

Criterion #3: Specially protected classes should clearly demonstrate political powerlessness.

Far from being politically powerless, "gay activists" have in recent years demonstrated enormous political "clout" relative to their numbers. Combining educational advantage with high-pressure lobbying tactics, gay activists have ridden waves of tolerance emanating from the sexual revolution to a position of almost irresistible influence in today's America. Extraordinary quantities of political dollars spent by "gay activists" explain why. As recently as 1987, a report issued by the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) stated:

The Human Rights Campaign Fund (HRCF), the national gay activist political action committee (PAC), was at that time "the 16th largest independent political action committee (PAC) in the nation" and "the 39th largest PAC overall." Considering that, at the time, more than 4,500 PACs had registered with the FEC, this represents enormous political power.

Robert Brasile, then HRCF's executive director, commented on this news:

"We have clearly become a big-league PAC, which means the gay and lesbian community has increasing power in American politics.... This means we have recognizable clout in the election and in the legislative process of this country..."For better or worse, politics in this country responds to money, and politicians now know they had better respond to our community."(46)

During the 1986 elections, HRCF raised more than $1.4 million. "Gay militants" are reported to have financed President Bill Clinton's election campaign to the tune of some $3.5 million. HRCF announced a 1992-1993 projected budget of over $5 million. "Gay activists" have since established a Washington, D.C.-based PAC known as the "Victory Fund" to empower local, openly-homosexual candidates. Its current operating budget exceeds $1 million.The top 12 "gay rights"-promoting national PACs sport budgets totaling well in excess of $12.5 million. In one state alone, "gay activists" plan to spend at least $2 million defending "gay rights."

Lastly, the Washington, D.C., Convention and Visitors Association (CVA) estimates that gay participants in 1993's "March On Washington" (in support of gays in the military) spent more than $177 million during that four-day event -- more, according to CVA, than on any other single event they've ever tracked, nearly triple CVA estimates of spending on all Clinton Presidential inaugural ceremonies and festivities combined.(47) Political powerlessness all this is not.

Significance of the "unholy alliance" between "gay activism" and "queer theology"

One factor makes the coincidence we've noted between "gay activists'" and "queer theologians'" presuppositions and goals particularly significant: Even conservative religious organizations firmly holding to the view that homosexuality is immoral and that openly practicing homosexuals should not be admitted to full religious fellowship will be compelled to embrace both homosexuality as an "orientation" and practicing gays in religious fellowship if the "gay rights" movement is totally successful.

This is because "gay activists" and "queer theologians" frequently employ deceitfully written "gay rights" legislation to try to lull conservative religious organizations into a false sense of security.

Proposed local and state "gay rights" legislation often courts public acceptance by including compliance "exceptions" for religious organizations.

Typically, "exceptions" clauses in "gay rights" bills state that religious denominations will not be compelled by these ordinances to hire "persons who are not members of their denominations." Such wording gives religious organizations the illusion that they will be protected from "gay activist" attempts to force them to hire or receive self-avowed, practicing gays into church or synagogue membership.

Even cursory analysis reveals that, at best, these "protections" would

(1) place religious organizations in an unflattering public light at best; and

(2) would prove only temporary at worst.At best, these kinds of "allowances" for church impunity against enforcement of "gay rights" laws place churches and other religious organizations in a negative public light. "Gay activists" may continue attacking these organizations as "the only institutions in society that are allowed to `discriminate against gays'" and other such epithets.

So-called parachurch ministries will usually receive no protections at all under "gay rights" bills with "religious exceptions." Non- compliance clauses customarily say something like: "Religious organizations need not hire persons not of their denominations." Since most parachurch organizations are non-denominational, and denominational affiliation is not a condition of employment, these organizations enjoy no real protection from "gay activist" aggression.

Because "sexual orientation" is impossible to identify just by looking at a person, any "gay activist" might take steps to meet membership requirements in a denominational church, then suddenly claim to be gay and demand church employment, on the grounds that they're "now members in the denomination." Thus, these organizations also have no real protection against the threat of "gay militancy."

In a key U.S. Supreme Court decision (Bob Jones University vs. Simon, 1983), the High Court ruled that the beliefs of any tax-exempt religious organization "must be approved by [federal] public policy" if that organization is to retain its tax exempt status. According to Constitutional attorneys, this may well mean that, under the guise of "preventing religious subsidies," the Federal government now has the power to completely regulate tax-exempt religious organizations' beliefs according to Federal dictates.

If homosexuals gain inclusion in Federal civil rights laws, such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964, promotion of "gay activists'/queer theologians'" aims will be the "public policy" of the United States of America throughout its borders. In that even, any existing "religious exceptions" in "gay rights" legislation will collapse under court scrutiny.

While many religious organizations have been "lulled to sleep" by such "exceptions," "gay activists" and "queer theologians" are well aware of the implications of Simon -- and know how to apply pressure that (they hope) will one day give this decision "teeth":

"Queer theologians" apply the pressure of their arguments inside religious organizations; "gay activists" supply the political "clout" outside church doors, with the intent to thrust gays in; while gay PAC dollars energize both "pushes."Yet, belying "gay activists'" and "queer theologians'" apparent sincerity in promoting their cause, inside and outside church doors is the ample evidence that both their political and "spiritual" claims are rooted in blatant (and probably conscious) fraud. (Note: We do not seek to imply that the entire gay community is guilty of the duplicity employed by the small "gay activist" and "queer theology" segment of that community.)

Reviewing the evidence:

"Queer theologians" employ dubious (if not consciously deceitful) methods of Scripture interpretation to twist the text into "saying" homosexuality is not sinful; that it is "normal, natural" and acceptable behavior; that homosexuality and homosexuals have been unjustly judged and oppressed by society and religion; that it is therefore mandatory that openly practicing gays be fully accepted into all aspects of religious life.

"Gay activists" employ conscious deceit to persuade the public that the gay community as a whole is disadvantaged and oppressed; that "gayness" is innate and immutable; that the gay community as a whole is politically powerless; that gays should therefore be recognized under special civil rights laws as a protected class akin to traditional racial, ethnic and disabled "minority" classes.

It may be difficult to believe any group capable of perpetrating such blatant fraud with such seeming sincerity, but, as we have seen, neither "gay activists'" claim to protected "minority" status, nor "queer theologians'" claim that Scripture smiles on "gayness" seem to possess a thread of authenticity to commend them.

Thus, we can safely assume that these claims represent neither valid public policy nor sincere theology, but rather blatant propaganda in the service of a two-pronged "hidden agenda"

(1) to use government to coerce society at large into accepting homosexuals and "gay rights" in all areas of community life; and

(2) to use church acceptance (compelled by government edict) to achieve any and all privileges, including the right to marry, now available to religious individuals across America.

One oft-recognized purpose of propaganda is to persuade by so skillfully communicating opinion that opinion "smells like" truth. Truth in communication can exist only when speakers say what they honestly believe. If we think or know one thing and say another, we lie.

We can say further that truth in communication requires speaking with a complete absence of intent to deceive. Nothing we have learned about "gay activists'" and/or "queer theologians'" claims indicates that they speak with any other intent than to deceive.

Our conclusion: If "gay activists'" and "queer theologians'" claims are clearly and self-consciously fraudulent, neither secular citizens or organizations, nor religious persons or organizations should feel obligated to

(1) promote "gay activist" or "queer theological" aims;

(2) embrace self- avowed, practicing homosexuals into either protected "minority" status or religious fellowship.

Secular organizations may well elect to tolerantly employ self-avowed homosexuals as individuals according to these persons own merits -- but should not feel coerced into treating gays as if they were a legitimate "minority" class.

Religious organizations may certainly wish to encourage gay individuals to pursue the hope of change in their "sexual orientation" -- and religious people may wish to take steps toward becoming ably-equipped "change agents" in the lives of persons desiring spiritual transformation.

In the final analysis, how we respond to "gay activism" and "queer theology" hinges on seeking the truth in Scripture and public policy -- then responding appropriately and with integrity to the answers we discover at our search's end.

Hat tip: Fighting For the Right to Change

Update: Thanks to Ebsfwan for providing a link to the original article. I left a message at the above blogspot to find out the author (and include the endnotes), but I had not heard back from her yet. Thanks, again, Ebsfwan for providing that important information. I didn't want to plagerize!!

ENDNOTES:
(1) "Not a Sin, Not a Sickness: What the Bible does & does not say about homosexuality," pamphlet published by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches, Los Angeles, CA, page two.

(2) Ibid.

(3) Ibid, page three.

(4) "Not a Sin, Not a Sickness," page four.

(5) Ibid, page ten.

(6) Ibid, page five.

(7) Ibid, page six.

(8) Ibid, page six.

(9) Ibid, page 6.

(10) Ibid, page seven.

(11) Ibid, page seven.

(12) Ibid, page seven.

(13) Ibid, page eight.

(14) Ibid, page seven.

(15) Ibid, page nine.

(16) Cf. Deut. 29:23, 32:32; Isaiah 1:9-10 (in which apostate Israel's comparison to Sodom constitutes one of Scripture's most stinging insults), 3:9, 13:19; Jer. 49:18, 50:40; Lam. 4:6; Amos 4:11; Zeph. 2:9; Matt. 10:15, 11:23-24; Mark 6:11; Luke 10:12, 17:29 (in which the world's final judgment is compared with the judgment that fell on Sodom); Romans 9:29; Rev. 11:8.

(17) All Scripture quotations in this section are from The New International Version.

(18) This Scripture section is quoted from The New American Standard version.

(19) New American Standard rendering.

(20) Packer, J.I., I Want to Be a Christian, Tyndale House, Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL, pp. 253,254.

(21) Ibid., p. 262.

(22) Christ himself is reported to have said "...and the Scripture cannot be broken [or divided, split into self- contradictory pieces]..." (John 10:35, identically translated in New American Standard, New King James and New International Version); "All Scripture is inspired by God [lit. "God-breathed"] and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness" (2 Timothy 3:16, New American Standard.)

(23) Christ himself established the latter principle, in saying on various occasions, "You have heard that the ancients were told... but I say to you..." (ex. Matthew 5:21,22, New American Standard).

(24) "All the utterances of my mouth are in righteousness; There is nothing crooked or perverted in them. They are all straightforward to him who understands, and right to those who find knowledge" (Poverbs 8:8,9); "For this commandment which I command you today is not too difficult for you, nor is it out of reach. It is not in heaven, that you should say, `Who will go up into heaven for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?' Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, `Who will cross the sea for us to get it for us and make us hear it, that we may observe it?' But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may observe it" (Deuteronomy 30:11-14, New American Standard).

(25) "I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book" (Revelation 22:18, New American Standard); "Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. Do not add to His words/Lest He reprove you, and you be proved a liar" (Proverbs 30:5-6, New American Standard).

(26) Robert Williams, Just As I Am, New York: Crown, 1992, p. 26, emphasis the author's.

(27) Ibid., p. 51

(28) Ibid., p. 53

(29) The U.S. Supreme Court has established and reaffirmed these criteria through a series of decisions familiar to civil rights authorities: San Antonio Independent School District v. Rodriguez, 1973; Massachusetts Board of Retirement v. Murgia, 1976; Plyler v. Doe, 1982; City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Center, 1985. Also cf. Jantz v. Muci, 1991, recently allowed by the U.S. Supreme Court to stand against "gay activist" plaintiffs and the American Civil Liberties Union; cf. also Frontiero v. Richardson, 1973.

(30) Ibid.

(31) Among many media articles reporting on these marketing studies: "Overcoming a Deep Rooted Reluctance, More Firms Advertise to Gay Community," The Wall Street Journal, July 18, 1991; "Gay Market a Potential Gold Mine," The San Francisco Chronicle, August 27, 1991; "For Gays, Ship Charters Are a Boon, Say Two Travel Companies," Travel Weekly magazine, August 5, 1991; and "Where the Money Is: Travel Industry Eyeing Gay/Lesbian Tourism," The Bay Area Reporter, September 19, 1991.

(32) Cf. Statistical Abstract of the United States, 1990.

(33) Op. cit., San Francisco Chronicle article above.

(34) "Corporate America comes out: Companies trying to win share of lucrative gay market," The Rocky Mountain News, November 30, 1991.

(35) See footnote 6.

(36) Cf. Reisman and Eichel, Kinsey, Sex and Fraud, Lochinvar- Huntington House, 1990.

(37) Tom W. Smith, Adult Sexual Behavior in 1989: Numbers of Partners, Frequency and Risk; Dawson, Fitti, Cynamon, "Aids Knowledge and Attitudes for January-March, 1990, Provisional Data From the National Health Interview Study"; "Study of U.S. sex habits may contain surprises," Dallas Morning Times, September 2, 1992, citing a recent University of Chicago study; Science magazine, July 3, 1992, reporting a very recent French study finding that only 4.1% of men and 2.6% of women claimed having had homosexual intercourse even once in their lives (cf. "Homosexual figures grossly exaggerated," AFA Journal, September, 1992; a London Daily Mail report on "the most exhaustive survey ever conducted into British sexual habits," citing findings that only 1.1% of British men said they were active homosexuals (cf. World magazine, January 29, 1994); and many more.

(38) "Homosexual activity lower than believed, study shows," Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, April 15, 1993, emphasis added.

(39) "The Homosexual Numbers," Newsweek, March 22, 1993.

(40) Voeller, "Some Uses and Abuses of the Kinsey Scale, in Homosexuality, Heterosexuality: Concepts of Sexual Orientation, June Machover Reinisch, ed., Oxford University Press, 1990, emphasis added.

(41) "Salk and Pepper," the Bay Area Reporter, September 5, 1991.

(42) Newsweek, February 24, 1992, p. 48.

(43) The British Journal of Psychiatry, March 1992, vol. 160, pp. 407-409.

(44) Cf. Bell and Weinberg, Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women, New York, Simon Schuster, 1978; Hammersmith, S.K., Sexual Preference: Its Development in Men and Women, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1981.

(45) "Coming Out Ahead: The Homosexual Movement in the Academy," First Things magazine, August/September 1993.

(46) The Dallas Voice, June 19, 1987.

(47) "Capital Gains," Out magazine, Fall 1993, p. 91.

(48) The writer thanks a friend, Dr. Lamar Allen, for his thoughts on Truth in Communication, from which these observations are in part drawn.

copyright © 1995-2006 Leadership U. All rights reserved.
This site is part of the Telling the Truth Project.

*******
Update 11/9/06
I put a link to this excellent article in the comments section, but decided to also post it here:

Responding to Pro-Gay Theology

40 comments:

Stephen said...

*grins*

That was rather well written, whoever wrote it. However, being well written does not make it true.

After all, I have seen very well written argumnts from the Bible that support racism, slavery and the oppression of women, and these arguments are not true. :)

I have also seen very well written arguments from the Bible that say the earth is 6000 years old, which, is also not true.

Let me digest it for a bit before I come up with an intelligible reponse. :)

ebsfwan said...

This was a long yet interesting post. It made me dust off my Bible and start reading it again. :)

I think the Bible considers homosexuality unnatural for sure. It is never explicitly approved but it does appear to be frowned upon.

But so what?

As a society we have evolved. We are more moral than the writers of the Bible in many aspects of our lives. In others we are probably terribly depraved by the standards of ancient Israel.

The Bible explicitly approves slavery. To whit:

Genesis chapter 17, verse 12
Exodus chapter 12 verse 43
Exodus Chapter 21, verse 1
Exodus Chapter 21, verse 20
Exodus Chapter 21, verse 32
Leviticus Chapter 22, verse 10
Leviticus Chapter 25, verse 44
Luke, Chapter 7, verse 2
Colossians, chapter 3, verse 22

As a society we all agree that slavery is evil and so we have moved on.

The Bible is terribly sexist. As a society we have moved on. (Well, some might argue not far enough but that's another argument.)

I've always thought that if you get too caught up in the chapter and verse you sometimes forget the big picture.

Matthew 22:36-40

36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

If I look at all the Christians I know the one who loves his neighbour and his God the most - judging by his actions - happens to be homosexual.

If I look at myself I know I'm not nearly the Christian he is.

I guess we should all remember Matthew 7.

____________________________________

One other thing that I have been thinking about recently is can we afford to alienate people who want Christ in their lives?

Most studies show that religion is becoming less important to mainstream folk all around the world.

A strict literalist interpretation of the Bible turns people off religion. You probably don't think I am a Christian and what I'm about to say will probably cement that in your mind. I cannot believe and follow everything in the Bible as it is too full of things that I think are silly and illogical or contradictory.

Maybe I am too weak to throw off the shackles of my intellect. Who knows? I have grave doubts about it all but I still want to believe in the fundamental message of Jesus which is agape.

Jaded&Opinionated said...

Please forgive me if this link doesn't work...I always forget how to do it!

Paul, Homosexuality and 1 Cor 6:9-11

I hope you'll take the time to look through that page. You'll see the Methodist perspective on this. Of course, more than once I've been told that satan has taken over the Methodist church so now we're all headed to hell, but I believe otherwise.

I think it paints the picture that this is not something which is totally cut and dry. I think there are other perspectives to take into consideration.

I'm not about to engage in a debate about this. I think it would be nothing but counterproductive. I would just say that I find it to be absolutely unbelievabe that so many people can earn a huge living by dwelling on what amounts to a handful of verses out of more than a million in the Bible that deal with homosexuality. Does that mean it's not important? Not necessarily. However, there are far more important things to do, like, feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, loving others as God loves us, showing compassion, not passing judgement etc. Yes, the gate is a narrow one, but I don't think it becomes any wider by sitting in condemnation of anyone or anything. No man has ever gotten taller by forcing another to his knees. (that's an old African proverb)

I think that the Bible is about God's love for the world and the people of the world. I don't think it's a rule book for human sexuality. I think that through prayer and guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are taught that not all things are applicable for all times. For instance, even Jerry Falwell believed that the Bible supported segregation until a black man shining his shoes asked him when a person like himself would be allowed to worship in Falwell's congregation. Falwell has said that it was at that point the Holy Spirit spoke new truth to him about ancient Biblical texts and in obedience, he opened his Thomas Road Baptist Church to people of all races. Even if we are to believe that every single word contained in the Bible is perfection and infallible, it is dangerous to believe that our interpretation of every single word is also infallible. We're human. We're not without flaws.

Again, I will say what I have been saying all along... regardless of our opinions about homosexuality, it only causes greater harm to alienate people from God by telling them that they are an abomination in His eyes. We can't know what's in a person's heart, nor about their walk with the Lord. It is only through love and compassion that we can reach another's heart and soul. The idea that we should constantly drive home a point to "prove" that we are right only serves to separate Christian from Christian and Christian from non-Christian. Neither case is good.

Just my opinion.

Christinewjc said...

Stephen and Ebsfwan,

I just give each of you credit for even reading the whole thing!

I'll admit. The first time I saw this post even I didn't read the entire article!

Ebsfwan,

I'm glad to hear that it made you "dust off your Bible again." Does that mean that you haven't opened it in quite a while?

I don't agree that as a society we are "more moral" than the writers of the Bible. I agree that we are terribly depraved as compared to God's standards, not necessarily ancient Israel's. They had their morality and immorality ups and downs. Scripture reveals this throughout God's Word. What's noticable is that each time they hit bottom, through succombing to idolatry and immorality, they needed to cry out to God for forgiveness. God was always there to take His rebellious nation back, too.

It is the same for us. We often see that when we fall into the depths of depravity and despair, we need to call out to Jesus. It is only when we humble ourselves, confess and repent (which means turning away from immoral practices, not condoning them!! that we can receive the saving grace, mercy and forgiveness through the power of the cross of Jesus Christ.

About slavery.

I won't go into a huge amount of detail here, but suffice it to say that plenty of cases of "slavery" in the Bible could more likely be labeled today as closer to the meaning of servanthood rather than the bondage that the Hebrews suffered in Egypt. I haven't done an extensive study on this, but in several of my Old Testament Bible studies, this issue came up and the leaders described the differences.

With that said, I would disagree that the "Bible explicitly approves" of slavery. If that were true, then why would God have sent Moses to release his people from bondage?

No. Each chaper and verse needs to be evaluated on its own...not given that blanket statement that "the Bible explicitly approves of slavery."

One example (off the top of my head so I don't have the verses right now) was when Joseph was originally "sold" into slavery and then was given high prominence in the king's residence.

Another example is when Jacob worked many years for Laban in order to be able to marry his younger daughter, Leah. (see Genesis 29:16-46:15)

More later...

David Mariner said...

Interesting,

I think it's a good thing that you acknowledge there are gay Christians out there, and that Christians can have a difference of opinion about what the bible says about homosexuality.

Reading a biased person's description however, is not the same as actually reading what gay Christians say about themselves.

Check out STRANGER AT THE GATE by Mel White. Mel was a ghost-writer for many of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell's books, and is a gay christian.

And if you're a biblical scholar (and I don't know if you are or not), you will want to read Jonathan Boswell's 'Homosexuality, Christianity, and Social Tolerance'.

Only then will you be able to really intelligently criticize the points gay Christians are making.

I think that book may be the one you can relate to the most at this point in your journey.

Ted Haggard, the evangelical minister who was recently exposed for having a three year sexual relationship with another man, described his behavior as "repulsive and dark". I would have to agree that cheating on your wife, buying illegal drugs, and lying to your congregation is in fact "repulsive and dark".

But Ted has been in denial about his sexuality for so many, many, many years that he does not yet realize that there is nothing repulsive or dark about being Gay. It's only when you try to suppress your natural self, that things start to get all twisted and dark.

Unfortunately, this is the only kind of 'being gay' that many Christians are exposed to. Of course, their church Choir Director is probably gay, and their church organist is probably gay, but they are likely lying about their sexuality like Ted Haggard was.

If you met happy gay couples that lived without shame, without lies, without dishonesty, and without infidelity and drug use (gay men that are the opposite of what Ted Haggard is), you might start to feel differently about gay men.

David Mariner said...

One last thing,

I find it absolutely fascinating that Christinewjc picks and chooses which parts of the bible she wants to embrace.

By anyone's standards, the Bibles support of Slavery is much more clearly stated than what some of have interpreted as the possible disapproval of monogamous same-sex relationships.

Let's be honest, the bible's support of slavery is in both the Old and New testament, whereas the passages some interpret as being about homosexuality are only in the Old testament.

And of course, the Bible's support of Slavery is EXPLICIT, whereas the Bible's alleged criticism of same-sex relationships is at best implied (go back to Boswell's book).

I love how people -say- they are Bible believing Christians, but as soon as the Bible says something they don't believe, they manage to find a way to not take it seriously!

Christinewjc said...

Jaded,

There are several reasons why I keep bringing this subject up.

1. The tendency for the secular humanist crowd and activists to push the homosexual agenda upon our children.

As I've said many times before, I never wanted to EVER get involved in this issue. I remember how tortured Anita Bryant was in the 70's. I was much younger then, and admittedly fearful of anyone "hating me and calling me a homophobe, bigot, religious right freak" etc. So for years I just ignored the politics of it all and thought I should just "live and let live."

It wasn't until the homosexual indoctrination reached the doors of my children's public high school that I started reading up on all that has transpired over the last 30 years. I was absolutely appalled!! It was then that I became a traditional values and marriage activist parent.

2. With the current "breaking down the walls" of the churches into teaching "queer theology," as the article states (I have called it gay-behavior-affirming churches and leaders), as a Christian, Bible believing follower of Jesus Christ, I can't just sit here and ignore the damage this esogetic "theology" has caused in many Christian denominations. Do you think it is good that one gay bishop is tearing apart the Episcopal church? Maybe you don't see it that way but I do. I think it's absolutely disgraceful!

3. The book of Jude specifically warns us about sexually immoral men "creeping into the churches."

Jud 1:4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God* and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Also:

Jud 1:7 as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.
Jud 1:8 Likewise also these dreamers defile the flesh, reject authority, and speak evil of dignitaries.



I'm sure, as you have stated previously on this blog that you would place former pastor Haggard as an example of this verse. But I challenge you now. Don't you see that this verse could, and should also be applied to men who place forbidden sexual desires (any type) as OK with God and teach others that it's OK with God when such sexual acts are specifically labeled as sin in God's Word?

This is why there can be no reconciliation between "queer theology" and true, exegetic, hermeneutical, Scripture interprets Scripture, inerrant, Biblical interpretive traditional theology!

I asked this specific question months ago and no one could answer it! Why? Because, as this long but accurate article points out, the worldviews between the two cannot possibly be reconciled!

Yes. Stephen and others here that agree with the "queer theology" worldview may never change their minds on this issue. But neither can I, nor millions of other Christians who know the truth of what the Bible specifically says regarding homosexual behavior. That's just the way it is, Jaded. You may want to continue to call me being "judgmental," but there is a huge difference between judgment and discernment. As Christians, we are to be discerning; especially when it comes to sharing God's Word.

Contrary to what many might believe, I don't do this to harm, ridicule, reject, or bash "gay" Christians. I do it out of love for God, Jesus Christ, and my fellow human beings. If I didn't love them, I wouldn't bother warning them now would I?


God's Word tells believers to warn people of heresy and apostasy. What I share is not my opinion, but God's unchanging Word on this issue!

All of the other causes you mentioned are very important as well. But right now, with an important election one day away, this "gay" marriage issue is a sign of the times! This controversy is not about to just "go away" and must be confronted through Biblically accurate arguments. People are being caught up in a lie through homosexual activism in both secular society and now in many churches. It must be challenged! I think that this article has done just that!

Admittedly, this isn't the only issue pressing against Christianity. There are others who would have us believe that the DaVinci Code is real, authentic history. There are even crazy instances of skeptics supposedly wanting to put Jesus Himself on trial!

Sound ridiculous? I found it quite eerily similar to the Judgment movie (excellent film, btw)that came out years ago. The current push for "hate crimes law" is another example of how Christians could inadvertently (or, more likely purposely) be labeled as "haters" for their objection to, and rejection of acceptance of the homosexual-behavior agenda.

[PLEASE NOTE THAT I DIDN'T SAY REJECTION OF THE PERSONS/PEOPLE!! IT IS THE PROMOTION OF THE BEHAVIOR THAT IS WRONG!]

In the Judgment movie, a Christian woman is arrested and put in prison and her group are all falsely accused of "crimes against humanity" by the O.N.E. (One Nation Earth) government. In reality, we find that the "terrorist" accusations of blowing up a busload of children was actually a set up done by the O.N.E. operatives. What is similar in that movie battle and the homosexual agenda battle is that the Christians are called "haters".

Well...this is getting very long so I guess I should end here.

I knew that this post would draw criticsm and controversy. But I think that it is a topic that needs to be exposed and discussed. Hopefully, we can continue to do that in a civil manner.

Christinewjc said...

Hi David,

Welcome to Talkwisdom! I appreciate your willingness to discuss this issue in a civil manner. It appears that we are on opposite sides of the morality worldview regarding homosexuality. That's fine. You have your arguments and I have mine.

But I'm confused as to why you state this:

" I love how people -say- they are Bible believing Christians, but as soon as the Bible says something they don't believe, they manage to find a way to not take it seriously!"

Where did I not take the issue of slavery seriously? I just pointed out that in biblical times, some instances of slavery were more comparable to servanthood, which benefitted the servant (could be considered an "employee") as well as the master (could be considered an "employer.") I didn't say that all instances were favorable examples of slavery (e.g. the Egypt example).

Tell you what...sometimes my husband feels like a slave to his job! He works very hard at what he does and our entire family is so grateful! We are both looking forward to his retirement in a few years!

I'm not trying to make light of the fact that slavery is wrong and was acceptable and condoned by many people in the Bible.

In past Bible study classes, I remember discussing that in some cases, the slaves were able to work their way to freedom. Sometimes they would stay to earn extra money (before taking that freedom) so they could fend for themselves until another job came along.

Lastly, I will state, however, that the Bible records many things that it doesn't necessarily approve of. It is an honest book and therefore, records the errors, evil, and sinful deeds of fallen angelic beings and fallen men/women.

ebsfwan said...

Christine,

Whenever someone raises something that points out a problem with your interpretation of the Bible you fall back on this old chestnut:
"I will state, however, that the Bible records many things that it doesn't necessarily approve of. It is an honest book and therefore, records the errors, evil, and sinful deeds of fallen angelic beings and fallen men/women."

The Bible explicitly approves slavery. Read the verses I mentioned before. There are rules on how to treat and beat your slaves in there! Who you are allowed to sell etc.!

You are guilty of the same thing you accuse homosexual theologians of when you refer to the other passages which you interpret to mean that there might be some distaste for the practice. God sending Moses to free his people doesn't necessarily mean that he disapproves of the institution of slavery. It's sophistry for you to claim that he does.

If you were consistent in your approach I might take your concerns more seriously.

Jaded&Opinionated said...

Well, interesting...I don't have the time to respond as fully as I might otherwise like, but, I will add a few things to my previous post.

You'll notice that I didn't say that I adhere to this so-called "queer theology." You'll also notice, if you read the information contained in the link I posted, that my chuch doesn't adhere to it, either. You should also notice that my disdain is for those who make a profit by latching onto a topic that breeds fear, both in the secular and non-secular population. I don't doubt that you approach this subject because you have a love of people and of God. I just think there are better ways to go about it.

To add to the text from Jude that you included:

"But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, disputed about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a reviling judement upon him, but said, 'The Lord rebuke you.'"Jude 1:9

He didn't presume to pronounce judgment, he left it up to God. This is important, don't you think?

To answer your question about the other verses you quoted, yes, I do include Haggart in that group, as well as pedophile priests, any pastor who has committed adultery, looked at internet porn, etc etc etc. As you, yourself, said, anyone who is ordained as the leader of a church should be held to a higher standard. And, yes, I do see how those passages COULD mean what you're saying...it's the SHOULD part that I have trouble with. I have not personally attended a chuch in which the pastor teaches it's ok to have a homosexual relationship, only that it's not for us to pass judgment and alienate anyone from seeking the love of Jesus. Do you not see that there's a difference? My own pastor welcomes everyone, without exception, because he can then try to reach souls with the Word of God. We can only plant the seed, it's up to God to cultivate that seed within a person's heart. How can we hope to plant the seed when people think we're extreme or rigid?

I have always been shocked that homosexuality is such a HUGE issue, when there are other things in the Bible that are discussed more frequently. Divorce is an example of this. The Bible clearly states that divorce is forbidden, yet nobody is forming "ministries" to condemn divorce. You'll have to forgive me, but I don't time to look this up at the moment, so I can't quote chapter and verse directly, but I believe it's in Matthew, somewhere around chapter 18 or 19... The Pharisees tried to test Jesus by asking if it's lawful to divorce your wife and Jesus said pretty much, no, it's not. They asked then why Moses commanded someone to give a divorce certificate and Jesus said that yeah, Moses allowed it but that whoever divorces his wife (except for unchastity) and marries another is commiting adultery. Since commiting adultery is one of the big no-no's in the 10 commandments, doesn't that then mean that divorce is an even bigger deal to God, and to Jesus? Yet, where are the televangelists and grass roots ministries formed around something that was so clearly a problem with Jesus, Himself? They don't exist because divorce doesn't breed fear, and therefore, you can't cash in on it.

So, I ask you this... should any man or woman be allowed to be a pastor in any Christian congregation if he or she has been divorced and remarried? Are they commiting a huge sin by allowing divorced/remarried people in the congregation? Should they be allowed to conduct a marriage ceremony in the church when at least one of the participants is divorced? It happens every day of the week, but no one thinks twice about it. Divorce is as commonplace as eating and sleeping these days, yet, I don't hear anyone preaching against it with the hellfire and brimstone that people preach against homosexuality. I have never said that since Jesus didn't speak about homosexuality, He didn't have a problem with it. BUT, Jesus, Himself, speaks about divorce being a very bad thing and no one bothers to condemn anyone for divorce. Talk about a subject that is promoted in public schools, I mean, more than half the married population gets divorced, so it's perfectly acceptable in society, with no stigma whatsoever attached to it.

What I find most interesting about our conversations, Christine, is that we don't see most things all that differently. We just go about things in very different ways.

Christinewjc said...

OK Ebsfwan,

You seem really upset about this slavery issue. So, I decided to get someone else's take on it.

In Ron Rhodes (President of Reasoning from the Scriptures Ministries)book The Complete Book of Bible Answers he answers the following question:

Does the Bible support slavery?

Answer:

No. From the very beginning, God declared that all humans are created in the image of God (Genesis 1;27). The apostle Paul also declared that "we are the offspring of God" (Acts 17:29 NKJV), and God "has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth" (verse 26 NKJV).

Moreover, despite the fact that slavery was countnanced in the Semitic cultures of the day, the law in the Bible demanded that slaves eventually be set free (Exodus 21:2; Leviticus 25:40). Likewise, servants had to be treated with respect (Exodus 21:20, 26). Israel, itself in slavery in Egypt for a prolonged time, was constantly reminded by God of this (Deuteronomy 5:15), and their emancipation became the model for the liberation of all slaves (cf. Leviticus 25:40).

Further, in the New Testament, Paul declared that in Christianity "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Galatians 3:28 NAS). All social classes are broken fown in Christ; we are all equal before God.

Though the apostle Paul urges, "Bondservants, be obedient to those who are your masters" (Ephesian 6:5 NKJV; cf. Colossians 3;22), he is not thereby approving of the institution of slavery, but simply allluding to the defacto situation in his day. He is simply instructing servants to be good workers, just as believers should be today, but he was not thereby commending slavery. Paul also instructed all believers to be obedient to government (even if unjust) for the Lord's sake (Romans 13:1; cf. Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13). But this in no way condones oppression and tyranny which the Bible repeatedly condemns (cf. Isaiah 10:1; Exodus 2:23-25).

limpy99 said...

I didn't read the whole article, but I will say this: if I were gay, I probably wouldn't spend a whole lot of time looking to the Bible to justify who I was as a person. I'd look to the civil laws and worry about them and what I needed to do to attain equal rights in all aspects of my life. Looking to the Bible is just guaranteed to lead into a fight that can't be won, as the opponents, (as well as the proponents), will just pick and choose from the verses and chapters to find 4,000 year old sayings that will best defend their positions.

Whoever you are and whatever position you take, VOTE tomorrow. I'd just like for once to see a national election with a better rate of participation than "American Idol."

Unless you disagree with me, in which case you should stay home because it's going to rain and you wouldn't want to catcha cold.

limpy99 said...

Christine, I noticed in your response to my comment on the Ted Haggard issue that you thought I was accusing you of hypocrisy. I was not, but in reviewing the comments I can see where I should have been clearer. My comment was towards Haggard's hypocrisy. I do not for a minute believe you to be a hypocrite. You and I undoubtedly disagree about many things but I do not beleive for a second that you don't live your beliefs as best you can. I despise hypocrites, and I apologize for any confusion my phrasing may have caused.

I still think Haggard's a great big gay old hypocrite.

Christinewjc said...

Jaded,

There are several reasons why I keep bringing this subject up.

1. The tendency for the secular humanist crowd and activists to push the homosexual agenda upon our children.

As I've said many times before, I never wanted to EVER get involved in this issue. I remember how tortured Anita Bryant was in the 70's. I was much younger then, and admittedly fearful of anyone "hating me and calling me a homophobe, bigot, religious right freak" etc. So for years I just ignored the politics of it all and thought I should just "live and let live."

It wasn't until the homosexual indoctrination reached the doors of my children's public high school that I started reading up on all that has transpired over the last 30 years. I was absolutely appalled!! It was then that I became a traditional values and marriage activist parent.

2. With the current "breaking down the walls" of the churches into teaching "queer theology," as the article states (I have called it gay-behavior-affirming
churches and leaders), as a Christian, Bible believing follower of Jesus Christ,
I can't just sit here and ignore the damage this esogetic "theology" has caused
in many Christian denominations. Do you think it is good that one gay bishop is tearing apart the Episcopal church? Maybe you don't see it that way but I do.
I think it's absolutely disgraceful!

3. The book of Jude specifically warns us about sexually immoral men "creeping into the churches."

Jud 1:4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God* and our Lord Jesus Christ.

I'm sure, as you have stated previously on this blog that you would place former pastor Haggard as an example of this verse. But I challenge you now. Don't you see that this verse could, and should also be applied to men who place forbidden sexual desires (any type) as OK with God and teach others that it's OK with God when such sexual acts are specifically labeled as sin in God's Word?

This is why there can be no reconciliation between "queer theology" and true, exegetic, hermeneutical, Scripture interprets Scripture, inerrant, Biblical interpretive traditional theology!

I asked this specific question months ago and no one could answer it!

Why?

Because, as this long but accurate article points out, the worldviews between the two cannot possibly be reconciled!

Yes. Stephen and others here that agree with the "queer theology" worldview may never change their minds on this issue. But neither can I, nor millions of other Christians who know the truth of what the Bible specifically says regarding homosexual behavior. That's just the way it is, Jaded. You may want to continue to call me being "judgmental," but there is a huge difference between judgment
and discernment.
As Christians, we are to be discerning; especially when it comes to sharing God's Word.

Contrary to what many might believe, I don't do this to harm, ridicule, reject, or bash "gay" Christians. I do it out of love for God, Jesus Christ, and my fellow human beings. If I didn't love them, I wouldn't bother warning them now would I?


God's Word tells me to warn people of heresy and apostasy. What I share
is not my opinion, but God's unchanging Word on this issue!

All of the other causes you mentioned are very important as well. But
right now, with an important election one day away, this "gay" marriage issue is a sign
of the times!
This controversy
is not about to just "go away" and must be confronted through Biblically accurate arguments. People are being caught up in a lie through homosexual activism in both secular society and now in many churches. It must be challenged! I think that this article has done just that!

Admittedly, this isn't the only issue pressing against Christianity. There are others who would have us believe that the DaVinci Code is real, authentic history. There are even crazy instances of skeptics supposedly wanting to put Jesus Himself on trial!

Sound ridiculous? I found it quite eerily similar to the Judgment movie (excellent film, btw)that came out years ago. The current push for "hate crimes law" is another example of how Christians could inadvertently (or, more likely purposely) be labeled as "haters" for their objection to rejecting acceptance of the homosexual agenda.

In the Judgment movie, a Christian woman is arrested and put in prison and her group are all falsely accused of "crimes against humanity" by the O.N.E. (One Nation Earth) government. In reality, we find that the "terrorist" accusations
of blowing up a busload of children was actually a set up done by the O.N.E. operatives. What is similar in that movie battle and the homosexual agenda battle is that the Christians are called "haters".

Well...this is getting very long so I guess I should end here.

I knew that this post would draw criticsm and controversy. But I think that it is a topic that needs to be exposed and discussed. Hopefully, we can all continue to do that in a civil manner.

GMpilot said...

Christine: ”…I will state, however, that the Bible records many things that it doesn't necessarily approve of. It is an honest book and therefore, records the errors, evil, and sinful deeds of fallen angelic beings and fallen men/women.”

Does that include fallen gods as well? Do you believe that the Bible approves of its own God drowning the entire world, killing 70,000 people for the transgressions of one man, engineering the death of his own son…oh yes, I guess you do.

Christinewjc said...

Oops...sorry Jaded. I just noticed that I copied and pasted the wrong comment!

Blogger (or maybe it was just my computer?) was acting up on me earlier today. I have learned to save my posts elsewhere in case they don't publish and I get that dreaded "error" message.

I just noticed that I copied and pasted an earlier comment instead of the new one!

Duh!!

Here's the new one:

Jaded,

I understand and agree with most of what you are saying. We don't condemn or pass judgment upon any person at our church either. But my pastor does state the need for
repentance from sin and he's not afraid to mention specific sins from portions of the Bible that we are studing during the sermon.

Yes. Divorce is terrible.
Yes. People continue to get divorced.

But the difference is, I don't see anyone creating a church that condones divorce and claims to worship Jesus and believe the Gospel, do you?

But that is what is happening in the "queer theology" churches!

About the verse 9 in Jude. You must realize the context of that verse, and examine it in light of the verses before and after it.

Here is a link to a brief, but good, commentary on Jude.

Here's what the commentary author shares regarding verse 9:

v. 9 It appears that Michael the archangel was given the task of burying the body of Moses, and that Satan came along to try to take the body It's better for
us to put the Lord between ourselves and Satan than to take on Satan by ourselves. We shouldn't say things against Satan. For he was once God's
anointed [As Lucifer, before iniquity was found in him]. David was careful in his dealings with Saul, for God had anointed Saul
to be Israel's king (1 Samuel 24:6-10). Michael said, "The Lord rebuke thee" to Satan, and we'd be wise to keep our distance also.


If you will notice what Pastor Chuck Smith says about verse 13, we see how admonition to avoid certain behaviors is not judgment. That is left up to God
at the culmination of all of history. Yet, we are to be "salt and light" as Jesus has told us in this world of darkness. How can we be salt and light if we don't point out the darkness that is keeping people's souls in bondage to sin?

That is the truth of the gospel, right there, Jaded. We must share the bad news of our sinfulness and our need for repentance (every one of us!!) before the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (which includes the forgiveness, mercy, grace and salvation )can be
indwelled into us by the power of the Holy Spirit!

This is what being "born again" is all about! Jesus said, "You must be born again." It wasn't just a passing suggestion. It is absolutely necessary for the salvation of every individual soul!

Notice this too:

v. 22-23 People come to Christ for different reasons. Some people hear of God's love for them and respond to Him in love. Other people are afraid of hell and come to Him through fear. It's better to draw people to God through love than through fear, so we should emphasize His love when we witness to unbelievers. (bold mine)

v. 24 Jesus Christ keeps us from falling when we stay in the love of God. Christ presents us to God faultless, as pure and holy as He is, with great joy.


I bolded the part that was similar to what you had expressed in your post.

However, emphasizing God's love
sometimes includes telling the truth about our sinful nature!! Wouldn't you have to agree?? At some point, we all have to acknowledge that!

Yes. Some people do a better job of it than others. I have even questioned my own approach here at this blog in the past. But after reading The Way of the
Master
, I realized that I am doing unsaved human beings a disservice if I just
share the joy, peace, love, mercy, forgiveness, grace, salvation etc. without first showing their need to come to the foot of the Cross of Christ for forgiveness!

Jesus said, "What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?"

One example of that, to me, is to ignore the consequences of Jesus admonition that says that anyone gaining any worldly "lust" through claiming that it isn't a sin is unprofitable and tantamout to losing their own soul!

This is an example of what Jude says here:

Jud 1:23 And others save with fear, pulling [them] out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.

What's my ultimate goal? The same as God and His Son, Jesus, whom we follow!!

We want:

For all to come to repentance!.

2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish,
but that all should come to repentance.

Admittedly, all that we can do as believers is sound the alarm bells. It is God, through Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit that brings all unto
Him. We can only plant a "seed" or two. The Lord does the rest and reaps the harvest!

Jud 1:24 ¶ Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,


Jud 1:25 To the only wise God our Saviour, [be] glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever.

GMpilot said...

Christine: Does the Bible support slavery?

Answer:

…despite the fact that slavery was countnanced in the Semitic cultures of the day, the law in the Bible demanded that slaves eventually be set free (Exodus 21:2; Leviticus 25:40). Likewise, servants had to be treated with respect (Exodus 21:20, 26). Israel, itself in slavery in Egypt for a prolonged time, was constantly reminded by God of this (Deuteronomy 5:15), and their emancipation became the model for the liberation of all slaves (cf. Leviticus 25:40).

That’s not the way I heard it:

”Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, [shall be] of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids.
Moreover of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that [are] with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your possession.
And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after you, to inherit [them for] a possession; they shall be your bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye shall not rule one over another with rigour.”
Lev 25:44~46

IOW, you can’t treat fellow Hebrews in such a manner, but it’s okay to enslave your non-believing neighbors, and their children, or those travelers who had children while in your lands; and you may deal with them as you like, for they are not believers in the True God. You don’t have to free them at jubilee—they are yours forever.
This is not mere ‘acknowledgement’—it’s encouragement! “Ye shall buy”, “ye shall take them”, “they shall be your bondmen for ever”—yeah, just try to deny it.

Jaded&Opinionated said...

Isn't any church that makes allowances for divorce also then condoning it?

I do see your point, however. There aren't any new churches springing up based solely on the idea that divorce is ok. At least, not to my knowledge. That doesn't make divorce any less damaging to families, and to children. In all honesty, I find it more troubling that children grow up without ever knowing a parent than the perceived idea that my child will be inundated with this alleged "gay agenda." Having made my living primarily as a performer for my entire adult life, I have had privilege of making life long friendships with people who happen to be gay. They certainly don't know anything about this whole agenda mess. The fact that someone wrote about it in a book doesn't make it true, you know.

If the nation is concerned about moral issues that tug at the very fibers of our families, they should concern themselves more with things like divorce, children born out of wedlock, women who have many children with different fathers, drugs, pornography, alcohol infidelity, etc. I think those are the things that most directly affect our families.

I also see your point about your pastor singling out specific things which are of concern. I don't have any problem with that, as mine does the same thing. My problem is that people will then beat others over the head with the same information, time and time again, in an effort to prove that he or she is "right." I think that's beating the proverbial dead horse. Sow the seeds, then give God a chance to cultivate them. They will die if you over-water them.

I think of this in the exact opposite from you. I don't think it's best to tell the "gloom and doom" and hope that someone will stick around for the good parts. I have always found it best for people to SEE the good parts...to see how God will shower us with blessings IF we are faithful to His Word. I just think to do otherwise alienates people, and I'd rather lead them to Christ than scare them away.

ebsfwan said...

http://www.leaderu.com/stonewall/issues/marco2.html

To read the original article.

Well said Jaded.

Christinewjc said...

Thanks for providing that link
Ebsfwan. I really appreciate it!

I have been waiting for a response from the other blogspot so that I could include a citation to the original article and author, plus include the endnotes (especially since the numbers were in the text).

I have updated the blogpost to include credit for the author, link to the site, and endnotes.

Thanks again!

Christinewjc said...

Jaded,

What you have shared is well said. However, be reminded that those following the "queer theology" movement are deceived! We are not talking about people who claim to reject Christ, but those who claim to have accepted Him as Lord and Savior. Is it incorrect to point this out to them? I don't think so, but maybe you do. So be it.

If this had been any other kind of sin, would you feel the same way (e.g. a lying-behavior affirming church)?

The parable of the Sower tells us upon what ground the seeds of the Gospel will fall. What type of ground would you say that "queer theology" is?

Christinewjc said...

FYI,

Not to make a very long post even longer,, but I thought that now that I have a link to the original article, I should include the entire thing.

Section that was omitted, but now added here in the comment section as well as in the original blogpost:

[Note: It has come to my attention that it is the desire of the original author that the entire article be presented. Therefore, I am including the "Introduction," "Why this dramatic shift in opinion," and "What 'queer theology' says the Bible says about homosexuality" sections that were omitted at the other blogspot.]

Introduction

In America's so-called "culture wars," one of today's most intense controversies rages around the issue of whether homosexual "orientation" is an "acceptable" lifestyle, and if so, whether homosexuality and openly gay individuals should enjoy protected "minority" status under civil rights laws and full participation in the active fellowship of "mainline" religious organizations.
Four decades ago, few in either public or religious sectors dared even to raise the possibility that it might be "O.K. to be openly gay" in America. Yet recent decades have seen slow but dramatic shifts in public attitudes toward homosexuality, in both secular and religious circles.

In 1960, all 50 states maintained laws criminalizing sodomy, even engaged in by "consenting adults." In 1970, 84 percent of respondents to a national Gallup poll agreed that homosexuality was "a social corruption that can cause the downfall of a civilization." Two-thirds of those polled thought homosexuals should not be allowed to work as school teachers, church pastors, or even government employees.

In 1973, several years of concerted pressure by self-styled "gay activists" culminated in a decision by the American Psychological Association (APA) to remove homosexuality from the APA's DMSIII list of "objective disorders" and declare it "a normal, if divergent lifestyle." Throughout the 1970s and early to mid-'80s, laws forbidding "sodomy" were repealed in state after state. By 1987, during "gay activists'" first "March On Washington," Jeffrey Levi, then executive director of the militant National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, told the National Press Club:


"[W]e are no longer seeking just a right to privacy and a right to protection from wrong. We also have a right -- as heterosexual Americans have already -- to see government and society affirm our lives.
Now that is a statement that may make our liberal friends queasy. But the truth is, until our relationships are recognized in the law -- through domestic partnership legislation or the definition of beneficiary, for example -- until we are provided with the same financial incentives in tax law and government programs to affirm our family relationships, then we will not have achieved equality in American society (emphasis added)."

By 1989, 24 states had repealed sodomy laws criminalizing homosexual behavior between consenting adults. More than 100 local communities had placed "gay rights" ordinances (recognizing "sexual orientation" as a specially protected "minority" class distinction) "on the books."

In 1992, a poll of Colorado citizens revealed that, while Coloradans passed a statewide amendment banning "gay rights," less than 50 percent said they considered homosexuality "immoral." Only six percent of Coloradans thought homosexuals represented a danger to children. Well over 50 percent felt gay individuals should not be denied jobs as public school teachers. Today, 29 states have rescinded laws criminalizing consensual sodomy. Nine states now have statewide "gay rights" laws in force. Some 75 percent of Americans polled nationwide feel homosexuals should not be "discriminated against in employment, housing and public accommodations." Even granting ordinary margins of error (+/-3 or 4%), these polls obviously reflect a considerable shift in American public opinion about homosexuality.

Why this dramatic shift in public opinion?

Part of this dramatic opinion change is certainly due to ongoing public action by self-described "gay activists" -- and pressure on mainline denominations exerted by self-styled "queer theologians," who insist that the Bible regards homosexuality as merely a normal, sin-less "way to be human."

In secular circles, "gay militants" have argued that homosexuals represent an "oppressed minority," needing recognition by government under civil rights laws specially designed to protect a select number of disadvantaged and politically powerless classes of Americans.

In religious circles specifically, debate on this issue centers on several crucial questions, among them: Does the Judeo-Christian Bible truly consider homosexuality a "sin"? Does Scripture clearly condemn homosexuality as "unnatural" and "an abomination," as conservative theologians believe?

Or, as today's self-styled "gay activists" and "queer theologians" claim, does the Bible regard homosexuality benignly? Is it possible that the Bible views homosexuality as an identity/lifestyle that should be considered normal and acceptable to God, Christians and Jews?

Have the ancient Judeo-Christian Scriptures suffered, as "queer theologians" insist, centuries of misinterpretation by "forces of religious oppression intent on irrationally persecuting homosexuals"? In the political sphere, do homosexuals truly constitute an "oppressed minority" comparable to others now recognized under special civil rights laws?

To begin answering these questions, let's first consider what "queer theologians" say the Bible says about homosexuality.

[Read the rest in the original blogpost]

Jaded&Opinionated said...

Good questions you've posed, Christine. I'll have to answer them another time, however, since I've got a whole tooth situation going on. I need a cap on a tooth that has 2 cracks in it. I had the temporary put on last week and had the impressions taken for the permanent. However, the tooth now hurts like crazy, and the dentist gave me some pain meds until I can see her tomorrow morning. I'll most likely need a root canal prior to having the permanent cap put on. I can't complain much because I've made it to 40 without ever having a cavity. In any case, I don't think too clearly with the pain medication!

Have a good night, and I'll try to answer your questions when I'm a little less loopy.

Lewis said...

Just as the so called "queer theologists" may ignore and interpret parts of the bible, you people do exactly the same thing. (Like the slavery issue)
It's all just "You're wrong" "No, you're wrong, i'm right!" "No you!" "NO YOU" "NO UR WRONG. LALALAL" and so on.
Doesn't look very good from a non-christian perspective ;)

Also, you people (meaning anti-gay christians) "pushed" first. We're just pushing back.

Everytime a church allows people who have been divorced to get married they're pretty much condoning divorce. If they didn't, then they wouldn't let divorced people get married!

Here in New Zealand, we allow gay "marriage" or rather "civil unions" that are exactly marriages, just under a different name. Both same sex and different sex couples can enter into this. Society hasn't been destroyed (by gays, at least) here yet. Nor has god "struck us down"

JOSE said...

Thank you for the email,
I hope the post did help you!

Kathy

Righteous Bubba said...

Seeing as people pick and choose from the bible all the time in support of various crappy ideas, I don't see why queer theology should be singled out for special abuse. Witness your equivocating about slavery.

Christinewjc said...

Hi All,

The power went out on my block for 6 hours! I've been itching to find out what's happening in the election!

The neighborhood polling place used the new electronic voting consoles. They ended up running them on batteries and the power company had to bring in generators to get lights working for the evening voters!

Of all days for the power to go out!!

*******

Jaded,

I was sorry to read that you had severe tooth pain. I know how bad that can be. Hope all went well at the dentist.

*******

Stephen W.,

Where are you??

*******

Hi Kathy,

I'm glad that you got my email. Thanks again for your post alerting me to that comprehensive and truthful article.

*******

More replies coming tomorrow...

I will have a wonderful post to put up tomorrow. For now, going back to the T.V., praying that the Republicans keep the majority in both the House and the Senate!!

Stephen said...

Hi all, I am sorry I haven't posted much here but I was kept late at work for some very interesting work.

I must say I am really pleased and gratified that you at least had a go at grappling with so-called "gay theology", albeit vicariously.

I, for one, am not a "queer theologian". I may be queer, but I am certainly not knowledgeable enough to claim the title of theologian. I do know gay priests who do qualify as theologians, and they have been a wonderful source of comfort to me.

My mind has been abuzz with possible contributions I could make to this discussion. Of course, I think that reading "What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality" may help you, Christine, in better understanding what this so-called "queer theology" is. I know you don't want to understand it, and that's fine too.

Firstly, It behooves me to point out there is a church that was started solely for the purpose of allowing divorce. I think it's called the Church of England and was set up by King Henry VIII. Arguably better than beheading your wife, though still, I would argue, wrong. They don't celebrate divorce as a good thing, though, they just allow it. It is one of the primary purposes why the church was established.

The reason we have "gay" churches is not because we use the church to celebrate our sexuality, but rather so that we are allowed to go to church at all. Some churches are gay affirming, in that they do not actively turn homosexuals away. Many others or require us to become "straight" before we can join.

While we're on the subject of conversion, I believe Exodus recently changed their requirements for successful conversion. The criteria is now that ex-gays no longer "identify" as being gay. A kind of "name it and claim it" concept. Not sure exactly what that means.

Some gays argue that there's no need for a gay church anymore, that there are many mainstream churches that will accept us without judging. Then, all I have to do is read about someone's experiences in an openly hostile church and I am glad for the safety of mine.

I also think it's important to point out that, as far as I am concerned. The "radical" homosexual agenda is not to destroy marriage, nor to "recruit" your kids to our orientation. At least, the last time the global consortium of gays against humanity (GCGAH) met, those two agenda items weren't tabled.

Do you really think that your son, if exposed to the notion that homosexuals are just normal people, worthy of as much respect as anyone else, is going to want to have sex with another guy? Please, 95% of guys would rather chop off their right arm than even kiss another guy, let alone have a relationship with one.

Also, it's important not to confuse sexual behaviour with sexual orientation. Sometimes, kids in school indulge in some sort of sexual play. Sadly, it never happened to me, but I hear it does happen. Mutual masturbation, for example, maybe even something more involved in that. Simply because a boy has a sexual experience with another boy does not make him gay. It also doesn't make him "ex-gay".

Kids need to know that sometimes they may have homosexual thoughts but that this does not necessarily make them gay, they need access to counselors that they can talk to about this otherwise they may actually end up with unnecessary worry or (worse) getting advice from their friends.

I repeat, for effect: we don't want to convert your straight kids. However, if your child is actually gay, then we want to be able to tell him/her this: you don't need to kill yourself, your family still love you, you are not alone. This message is so important to us because we have all "grown up gay" for many, it's a very difficult and lonely thing. As people of compassion, we wish only to make other people's lives easier. Part of me thinks that all gay kids should grow up with the usual tribulations, because it makes us stronger, but when I speak to young people who have attempted suicide, I change my mind.

I am also intrigued by the labeling of "conservative" versus "liberal" Christianity. I am assuming you're not using that in the political sense. God, of course, does not play partisan politics. I recommend the book "God's Politics - Why the Right gets it wrong and the Left don't get it" as some thought-provoking reading on that subject. I assume that by "liberal" theology you mean a theology that is distinct from a literalistic view of the Bible.

I guess we do come from two very different worlds when it comes to our understanding of the nature of God. Perhaps I can expose some of my liberal theology to you so you can better understand my thinking. First, I should address the Bible.

I don't believe in God because the Bible says so. That would imply that the Bible "proves" the existence of God, which is, of course, a logical fallacy. This is where both Biblical literalists and Atheists are the same. Biblical literalists attempt to dissect the Biblical record to prove it to be scientifically and historically accurate, thereby proving (in their minds) the existence of God. Atheists laugh at this and point to science which is (in many respects) inconsistent with a literalist view of the Bible. Literalists respond by rejecting this and making up their own science (an example of which being young earth creation science).

Now, I think both sides are missing the point here. To have faith in God is (quite frankly) to have faith in God and God alone without need for corroborating evidence. To look for evidence of God in the Bible is tantamount to asking God for a "sign" or asking Jesus to show you His wounds. Remember, blessed are those who have not seen, yet still believe.

I do not believe in God because the Bible says so. I believe in God because, when I look at creation and at the wonderful mystery of the gift of life, it is abhorrent to my logical brain that there is no intelligent agent behind it all, that there is no Divine Will: God. As the Bible says, God places eternity in our hearts, my heart longs for the eternity my mind cannot comprehend, I long to understand the nature of God.

The quest of my theology, therefore, is to gain a better understanding of who God is. To do this, I choose to look to the Bible.

The Old Testament is a collection of genealogy, history, sayings, prophecies, poems and other writings collected by the Jewish people. It is a testament to God's providence and the faithfulness of the Jewish people that these writings have come to us in such good condition. I am willing to concede there may be bits missing, there may be bits lost in translation and there may be bits miscopied, but all-in-all, I have faith that God has ensured there is enough truth in the old testament to make it still useful, instructive and relevant to me today.

The New Testament is a collection of gospel accounts, letters, prophecies and sayings written after the arrival of Jesus, these are the founding documents on which we base the Christian faith: our way of coming to grips with what God means to us as Christians.

The Bible, I believe, is a book which is God's revelation of himself to the world. It would be supremely arrogant of me to presume that my Bible is the only true revelation of God to the world. In fact, it would be just as arrogant of me to presume that my faith is the only true revelation of God to the world. Do I have any proof that I am right? No. Does anyone have proof I am wrong? No. It seems we are at an impasse. I can tell other people what I believe but I can't prove the existence of God. Why? Because what I believe presupposes the existence of God. Without God, the Bible is meaningless. So, God doesn't flow from the Bible, but the Bible from God.

I have a lot more to add, but I will do so later.

Much love

Stephen

Christinewjc said...

Hi Stephen,

I'm just glad to see that you are alright! Was worried there, for a minute.

You address many things in your comment. Some go into completely new areas of discussion and could probably spark some new blogpost debates.

But I feel that you have ignored the real issue in the "Queer Theology" post. You didn't address any of the twisted logic that gay theologians are using to negate the fact that the Bible explicitly says that homosexual behavior is sin.

Secondly, I have never attended a church where gay and lesbian people are not welcome. They may not get to be in leadership, but many recognize their brokenness and attend the "discover recovery" meetings available at the church. Even there, the particular brokenness of a person could be anything from unwanted homosexual behavior, fornication, adultery, porn, tendency towards alcoholism or any other addiction you could think of.

Next, I would assume that the Exodus group wants gay or lesbian people to understand and realize that homosexual behavior is a sin, but one that can be repented of and left. That's just my take on what that means.

You mixed in a little bit of politics into the discussion of this post (perhaps I did, too?), and that's not really what it was all about.

Bottom line is this. Either God's Word is inerrant or it is not. Therefore, either homosexuality is a sin against God or not. The Bible clearly says that it is sin. Therefore, those who engage in it are sinning. Here, we are discussing Christian believers, not secular people, who are claiming that it is not a sin and therefore, needs not to be repented of. Can't you see the danger in that? It is a mindset that leads people away from the truth. God's Word is God's truth! Jesus said to the Father in his prayer, "Your Word is truth." What was the Word he was referring to? The Old Testament which includes the verses that call homosexual behavior an abomination, as well as Jesus' words during this 3 year ministry on this earth.

As the author of the article stated, the "argument from silence" (regarding the endless claims of gays that "Jesus never said anything about homosexuality") is not valid!

I sensed, from the start, that no matter how much biblical proof you would be presented with, you would not change your mind on this issue. One of my main goals was to hopefully show that evangelical Christians who agree with what the Bible says about homosexual behavior being sin, would not continue to be regarded as "homophobic," "bigoted," "haters," etc.

Another thing. Divorce is not a behavior, it is an action taken to dissolve a marriage. IMO, it cannot (and should not) be compared to the gay theology argument. It was allowed by Moses, originally, in cases of infidelity and because men's hearts were hardened. But divorce happens today at a drop of the hat because since the 1950's people have drifted further and further away from God's Word, and have gotten closer and closer to all kinds of sexual sin and depravity. We have Kinsey, for one, to thank for that.

Comparing our topic to the slavery issue is incompatible, as well. There are thousands of African-American people who resent such a comparison. Why? Many reasons, but the most glaring one is the fact that one cannot change one's skin color, but thousands of gay and lesbian people have changed their behavior. It is not my purpose to get back into political arguments at this time, but just that one fact needed to be said.

Lastly, part of learning who God is, is to learn what He calls sin. The sin of homosexual behavior is described exactly in Scripture, so, no matter that the term "homosexual" wasn't in existence back then, the behavior certainly was. In every case, it is frowned upon and listed among many other types of sexual sins. No matter how anyone tries to spin it, there is no doubt, according to Scripture, that homosexual behavior is sin and abhorrent to God!

The book you recommended probably does it's own spin job on this issue, but after reading Tony Marco's excellent comparison of queer theology and traditional interpretive theology, it has cemented by beliefs. No more proof is needed for me. He used biblically solid evidence for the traditional side of this issue. No more need to read the spin doctors.

With that said, I must say that I wish you well in your Christian walk. I'm sure that God has a wonderful plan for your life and I pray that you will continue to learn from His Word and seek His will.

To borrow a sentence from Jerry Cesario's "Days of Lot" essay:

"As followers of and believers in Jesus Christ we must be compassionate and seek every opportunity to extend the Gospel to all sinners. Homosexuals do need to be reminded of their specific sins, but rather that their sins are forgiven through the blood of Jesus, should they want it and confess that Jesus is Lord."

When Jesus is Lord over our lives, He doesn't just want a part of us...he wants our entire being...including mind, soul, body, and spirit.

Allowing Jesus to be Lord in our lives is the sanctification process that occurs over our lifetime. It takes but a moment to confess, repent, and invite Jesus into our hearts as Savior. But it takes our lifetime to make him truly the Lord of our life! IMO, gay theology does not allow the complete manifestation of Jesus to be Lord over the entire life of the believer. He/she may be saved, but living a life of unrepentant, homosexual sin means that a physical desire that the Bible clearly condemns, is being elevated to a place above His Lordship. Just my opinion, but I think that the Bible backs this up.

In Romans, we are told this:

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Rom. 12:2 NIV

Think about that for a moment. Whom does "this world" follow? How would most non-believers in Christ want to view homosexual behavior? They are showing us with each ACLU lawsuit that they want it normalized, not only just tolerated, but completely accepted by all, without regard for religious differences. Who would they more likely jump to embrace? A type of Jesus who condones a sexual behavior or the true Jesus who, through God's Word, explicitly condemns such behavior? Who would agree with your gay theology worldview and want the world to be deceived by it?

No wonder Jesus said that the road to life is narrow and there are few who find it.

Mat 7:14 Because strait [is] the gate, and narrow [is] the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Jaded&Opinionated said...

Thanks for the good wishes, Christine. I ended up needing and emergency root canal. I needed the temporary cap because of a crack in my tooth that turns out to have gone directly to the nerve. So, she did the first part of the root canal yesterday, and will finish in a few weeks, after all of the irritation and inflamation subside. I am very sore, but at least I can brush my teeth without searing pain.

I wish I could tell you that I have cut and dry answers to your questions, but I don't. After reading Stephen's post, I think I am better able to articulate some of my thoughts on this.

No, I don't think it's a good thing to have a church spring up with the sole purpose of affirming any sort of sin - lying, adultery, divorce, what have you. Nor do I think it's a good thing to have so many "ministries" spring up with men and women calling themselves "pastor" when they've never been to seminary and haven't been ordained by any legitimate denomination. I think that leads many faithful down the wrong path, because the information may not be entirely correct. People study for years to become pastors and priests. They study the Bible, Biblical history, the ancient texts, they debate different theological theories etc. They come out of school with a broad knowledge of Christianity, counseling and a whole host of other things that a pastor should have. Someone just annointing himself of herself as "pastor" is dangerous. How can someone act as a counselor without the proper education? These things are equally as troubling to me. Would you go see a doctor who never went to medical school, even if he or she has access to medical texts and WebMD? Of course not! So, if you wouldn't trust a cold or sprained ankle to someone who didn't diligently study at a medical school, why would you trust your soul and salvation to someone who didn't diligently study in seminary? Being able to read the Bible doesn't make us an expert, it only gives us the tools to seek guidance from someone who has studied for years to guide us.

I do happen to agree with Stephen about they need for gay-affirming congregations - those that will embrace homosexuals rather than turn them away. Jesus welcomed everyone, not only those who were faithful to Him. If we close off our congregations to only those we deem worthy or Christian enough, we've missed the point. If, when a gay man or woman seeks comfort from the church we turn them away because they're sinners, we've missed the point. Maybe by worshipping with other Christians, God will free someone from homosexuality. Or maybe He won't. Those are struggles that we can't know. We can't presume to know another's relationship with God. We can only do our best to embrace others with the love that Jesus has for us, and lead by example. When people tell me that they think I'm so lucky, and they wish they had my life - and don't be shocked that people do say that to me, Christine - I tell them that they absolutely CAN have the life I have. I tell them I'm not lucky at all, I'm blessed, and that every blessing comes directly from Jesus Christ. I let them know that I am available to share Jesus anytime they'd like. Often, people say NO THANKS and keep right on going. Equally as often, they'll come back later, weeks or months, and are ready to listen to my testimony. That's the seed, Christine. WE are the seeds. If we live our lives in the way Jesus wants us to, we are the seeds. People see the kind of joy, love, contentment, friendship etc., that we have and they want it. It's a wonderful thing to be able to tell someone, "You know what? You CAN have these things and more, because it all comes from Jesus."

We can give people the information and the tools. We can't force them to use any of it. We can hope they will, and continue to reach out, but we will accomplish nothing if we reach out with judgement. We will do the exact opposite of what we intended. We may try to witness out of love and concern for others, but if it comes across as aggressive and accusatory, we will alienate people. If they feel uncomfortable or judged around us, we are the ones then keeping them from a better relationship with the Lord.

I know we don't see eye to eye on this subject, and we probably never will. I find that somewhat sad. You see it as me ignoring the Bible, and I see it as embracing others with the hope that they WILL read the Bible. I do know the Bible, Christine. I've been reading the same one since July 9, 1982, the day my father presented me with my very own Bible. I know the date because he included a lovely inscription that said "Given by her father, Gordon, with love and respect." I've been reading and studying ever since. That's more than 24 years, so the leather cover is soft and the pages well-worn. It saddens me more than I can say to know that we can all read the same book, and yet come to such different conclusions.

I hope that gives you at least a bit more insight into why I believe the way I do. I know you'll still think I'm a heretic, but, so be it.

Christinewjc said...

Hi Jaded,

I'm glad that you got the work done on your teeth so that you are not in pain anymore!

I am currently working on another blogpost, but when I checked my email I saw your post. I do want to respond in more detail later. But something extraordinary happened after I read your post. The very next email that I opened to read was the following devotional from Dr. David Jeremiah. I thought that it really fit with what we have been discussing here:

Staying Focused

Do not turn from [the law] to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.
Joshua 1:7b


Recommended Reading
Deuteronomy 28:1-14


In the early centuries of the Christian church, a movement of ascetics developed. These individuals became hermits, living in caves and other isolated places as a way to remove themselves from the impurities of the world and enhance their own holiness. One of the most famous was Symeon the Stylite who lived atop a 40 foot stone pillar for thirty-six years, dying in A.D. 459.

It would be spiritually safe, though thoroughly impractical, for us to retreat to a cave or climb atop a pillar to live. There is much in life to distract us as we journey through this world, but no physical protection can guard the thoughts and intents of the heart. We need a way to keep our priorities, values, and decisions focused only on the will of God for our life. The Bible refers to such choices as obedience the outworking of the believer's committed faith. When Joshua was heading into the spiritually dangerous pagan land of Canaan, God cautioned him to obey all the Word of God, staying focused turning neither to the right nor to the left.

A daily prayer for obedience is how we keep our eyes focused on Christ. But it's up to us to pray the prayer.


The best measure of spiritual life is not ecstasies but obedience.
Oswald Chambers

Read-Thru-the-Bible
Romans 8:1 - 10:21

ebsfwan said...

Hi Christine:

1. If homosexuality is a deliberate choice then your argument carries weight. If homosexuality is inbuilt then it doesn't. Seeing as no one really knows why don't you give them the benefit of the doubt? I'm not gay so I won't presume to judge on their behalf.

2. But the Bible is not inerrant.

Just for fun 101 contradictions (some trite some more serious):

101 Contradictions In The Bible
pdf version by Desolution
desolution@nibirumail.com
1.Who incited David to count the fighting men of Israel?
(a) God did (2 Samuel 24: 1)
(b) Satan did (I Chronicles 2 1:1)
2.In that count how many fighting men were found in Israel?
(a) Eight hundred thousand (2 Samuel 24:9)
(b) One million, one hundred thousand (IChronicles 21:5)
3. How many fighting men were found in Judah?
(a) Five hundred thousand (2 Samuel 24:9)
(b) Four hundred and seventy thousand (I Chronicles 21:5)
4.God sent his prophet to threaten David with how many years of famine?
(a) Seven (2 Samuel 24:13)
(b) Three (I Chronicles 21:12)
5.How old was Ahaziah when he began to rule over Jerusalem?
(a) Twenty-two (2 Kings 8:26)
(b) Forty-two (2 Chronicles 22:2)
6.How old was Jehoiachin when he became king of Jerusalem?
(a) Eighteen (2 Kings 24:8)
(b) Eight (2 Chronicles 36:9)
7.How long did he rule over Jerusalem?
(a) Three months (2 Kings 24:8)
(b) Three months and ten days (2 Chronicles 36:9)
8.The chief of the mighty men of David lifted up his spear and killed how many men at one time?
(a) Eight hundred (2 Samuel 23:8)
(b) Three hundred (I Chronicles 11: 11)
9.When did David bring the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem? Before defeating the Philistines or after?
(a) After (2 Samuel 5 and 6)
(b) Before (I Chronicles 13 and 14)
10.How many pairs of clean animals did God tell Noah to take into the Ark?
(a) Two (Genesis 6:19, 20)
(b) Seven (Genesis 7:2). But despite this last instruction only two pairs went into the ark (Genesis 7:8-9)
11.When David defeated the King of Zobah, how many horsemen did he capture?
(a) One thousand and seven hundred (2 Samuel 8:4)
(b) Seven thousand (I Chronicles 18:4)
12.How many stalls for horses did Solomon have?
(a) Forty thousand (I Kings 4:26)
(b) Four thousand (2 chronicles 9:25)
13.In what year of King Asa's reign did Baasha, King of Israel die?
(a) Twenty-sixth year (I Kings 15:33 - 16:8)
(b) Still alive in the thirty-sixth year (2 Chronicles 16:1)
14.How many overseers did Solomon appoint for the work of building the temple?
(a) Three thousand six hundred (2 Chronicles 2:2)
(b) Three thousand three hundred (I Kings 5:16)
15.Solomon built a facility containing how many baths?
(a) Two thousand (1 Kings 7:26)
(b) Over three thousand (2 Chronicles 4:5)
16.Of the Israelites who were freed from the Babylonian captivity, how many were the children of
Pahrath-Moab?
(a) Two thousand eight hundred and twelve (Ezra 2:6)
(b) Two thousand eight hundred and eighteen (Nehemiah 7:11)
17.How many were the children of Zattu?
(a) Nine hundred and forty-five (Ezra 2:8)
(b) Eight hundred and forty-five (Nehemiah 7:13)
18.How many were the children of Azgad?
(a) One thousand two hundred and twenty-two (Ezra 2:12)
(b) Two thousand three hundred and twenty-two (Nehemiah 7:17)
19.How many were the children of Adin?
(a) Four hundred and fifty-four (Ezra 2:15)
(b) Six hundred and fifty-five (Nehemiah 7:20)
20.How many were the children of Hashum?
(a) Two hundred and twenty-three (Ezra 2:19)
(b) Three hundred and twenty-eight (Nehemiah 7:22)
21.How many were the children of Bethel and Ai?
(a) Two hundred and twenty-three (Ezra 2:28)
(b) One hundred and twenty-three (Nehemiah 7:32)
22.Ezra 2:64 and Nehemiah 7:66 agree that the total number of the whole assembly was 42,360. Yet the
numbers do not add up to anything close. The totals obtained from each book is as follows:
(a) 29,818 (Ezra)
(b) 31,089 (Nehemiah)
23.How many singers accompanied the assembly?
(a) Two hundred (Ezra 2:65)
(b) Two hundred and forty-five (Nehemiah 7:67)
24.What was the name of King Abijah’s mother?
(a) Michaiah, daughter of Uriel of Gibeah (2 Chronicles 13:2)
(b) Maachah, daughter of Absalom (2 Chronicles 11:20) But Absalom had only one daughter whose name
was Tamar (2 Samuel 14:27)
25.Did Joshua and the Israelites capture Jerusalem?
(a) Yes (Joshua 10:23, 40)
(b) No (Joshua 15:63)
26.Who was the father of Joseph, husband of Mary?
(a) Jacob (Matthew 1:16)
(b) Hell (Luke 3:23)
27.Jesus descended from which son of David?
(a) Solomon (Matthew 1:6)
(b) Nathan (Luke3: 31)
28.Who was the father of Shealtiel?
(a) Jechoniah (Matthew 1:12)
(b) Neri’ (Luke 3:27)
29.Which son of Zerubbabel was an ancestor of Jesus Christ?
(a) Abiud (Matthew 1: 13)
(b) Rhesa (Luke 3:27) but the seven sons of Zerubbabel are as follows: i. Meshullam, ii. Hananiah, iii.
Hashubah, iv. Ohel, v. Berechiah, vi. Hasadiah, viii. Jushabhesed (I Chronicles 3:19, 20). The names
Abiud and Rhesa do not fit in anyway.
30.Who was the father of Uzziah?
(a) Joram (Matthew 1:8)
(b) Amaziah (2 Chronicles 26:1)
31.Who as the father of Jechoniah?
(a) Josiah (Matthew 1:11)
(b) Jeholakim (I Chronicles 3:16)
32.How many generations were there from the Babylonian exile until Christ?
(a) Matthew says fourteen (Matthew 1:17)
(b) But a careful count of the generations reveals only thirteen (see Matthew 1: 12-16)
33.Who was the father of Shelah?
(a) Cainan (Luke 3:35-36)
(b) Arphaxad (Genesis II: 12)
34.Was John the Baptist Elijah who was to come?
(a) Yes (Matthew II: 14, 17:10-13)
(b) No (John 1:19-21)
35.Would Jesus inherit David’s throne?
(a) Yes. So said the angel (Luke 1:32)
(b) No, since he is a descendant of Jehoiakim (see Matthew 1: I 1, I Chronicles 3:16). And Jehoiakim was
cursed by God so that none of his descendants can sit upon David’s throne (Jeremiah 36:30)
36.Jesus rode into Jerusalem on how many animals?
(a) One - a colt (Mark 11:7; cf Luke 19:3 5). “And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their
garments on it; and he sat upon it.”
(b) Two - a colt and an ass (Matthew 21:7). “They brought the ass and the colt and put their garments
on them and he sat thereon.”
37.How did Simon Peter find out that Jesus was the Christ?
(a) By a revelation from heaven (Matthew 16:17)
(b) His brother Andrew told him (John 1:41)
38.Where did Jesus first meet Simon Peter and Andrew?
(a) By the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 4:18-22)
(b) On the banks of river Jordan (John 1:42). After that, Jesus decided to go to Galilee (John 1:43)
39.When Jesus met Jairus was Jairus’ daughter already dead?
(a) Yes. Matthew 9:18 quotes him as saying, “My daughter has just died.”
(b) No. Mark 5:23 quotes him as saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death.”
40.Did Jesus allow his disciples to keep a staff on their journey?
(a) Yes (Mark6: 8)
(b) No (Matthew 10:9; Luke 9:3)
41.Did Herod think that Jesus was John the Baptist?
(a) Yes (Matthew 14:2; Mark 6:16)
(b) No (Luke 9:9)
42.Did John the Baptist recognize Jesus before his baptism?
(a) Yes (Matthew 3:13-14)
(b) No (John 1:32,33)
43.Did John the Baptist recognize Jesus after his baptism?
(a) Yes (John 1:32, 33)
(b) No (Matthew 11:2)
44.According to the Gospel of John, what did Jesus say about bearing his own witness?
(a) “If I bear witness to myself, my testimony is not true” (John 5:3 1)
(b) “Even if I do bear witness to myself, my testimony is true” (John 8:14)
45.When Jesus entered Jerusalem did he cleanse the temple that same day?
(a) Yes (Matthew 21:12)
(b) No. He went into the temple and looked around, but since it was very late he did nothing. Instead, he
went to Bethany to spend the night and returned the next morning to cleanse the temple (Mark I 1:1-
17).
46.The Gospels say that Jesus cursed a fig tree. Did the tree wither at once?
(a) Yes. (Matthew 21:19)
(b) No. It withered overnight (Mark II: 20)
47.Did Judas kiss Jesus?
(a) Yes (Matthew 26:48-50)
(b) No. Judas could not get close enough to Jesus to kiss him (John 18:3-12)
48.What did Jesus say about Peter’s denial?
(a) “The cock will not crow till you have denied me three times” (John 13:38).
(b) “Before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times” (Mark 14:30). When the cock crowed
once, the three denials were not yet complete (see Mark 14:72). Therefore prediction (a) failed.
49.Did Jesus bear his own cross?
(a) Yes (John 19:17)
(b) No (Matthew 27:31-32)
50.Did Jesus die before the curtain of the temple was torn?
(a) Yes (Matthew27: 50-5 1;MarklS: 37-38)
(b) No. After the curtain was torn, then Jesus crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into thy hands I
commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last (Luke 23:45-46)
51.Did Jesus say anything secretly?
(a) No. “I have said nothing secretly” (John 18:20)
(b) Yes. “He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained
everything” (Mark 4:34). The disciples asked him “Why do you speak to them in parables?” He said, “To
you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given”
(Matthew 13: 1 0-11)
52.Where was Jesus at the sixth hour on the day of the crucifixion?
(a) On the cross (Mark 15:23)
(b) In Pilate’s court (John 19:14)
53.The gospels say that two thieves were crucified along with Jesus. Did both thieves mock Jesus?
(a) Yes (Mark 15:32)
(b) No. One of them mocked Jesus, the other defended Jesus (Luke 23:43)
54.Did Jesus ascend to Paradise the same day of the crucifixion?
(a) Yes. He said to the thief who defended him, “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43)
(b) No. He said to Mary Magdelene two days later, “I have not yet ascended to the Father” (John 20:17)
55.When Paul was on the road to Damascus he saw a light and heard a voice. Did those who were with
him hear the voice?
(a) Yes (Acts9: 7)
(b) No (Acts22: 9)
56.When Paul saw the light he fell to the ground. Did his traveling companions also fall to the ground?
(a) Yes (Acts 26:14)
(b) No (Acts 9:7)
57.Did the voice spell out on the spot what Paul’s duties were to be?
(a) Yes (Acts 26:16-18)
(b) No. The voice commanded Paul to go into the city of Damascus and there he will be told what he
must do. (Acts9: 7; 22: 10)
58.When the Israelites dwelt in Shittin they committed adultery with the daughters of Moab. God struck
them with a plague. How many people died in that plague?
(a) Twenty-four thousand (Numbers 25:1 and 9)
(b) Twenty-three thousand (I Corinthians 10:8)
59.How many members of the house of Jacob came to Egypt?
(a) Seventy souls (Genesis 4&27)
(b) Seventy-five souls (Acts 7:14)
60.What did Judas do with the blood money he received for betraying Jesus?
(a) He bought a field (Acts 1: 18)
(b) He threw all of it into the temple and went away. The priests could not put the blood money into the
temple treasury, so they used it to buy a field to bury strangers (Matthew 27:5)
61.How did Judas die?
(a) After he threw the money into the temple he went away and hanged himself (Matthew 27:5)
(b) After he bought the field with the price of his evil deed he fell headlong and burst open in the middle
and all his bowels gushed out (Acts 1:18)
62.Why is the field called “Field of Blood”?
(a) Because the priests bought it with the blood money (Matthew 27:8)
(b) Because of the bloody death of Judas therein (Acts 1:19)
63.Who is a ransom for whom?
(a) “The Son of Man came...to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). “Christ Jesus who gave
himself as a ransom for all... “(I Timothy 2:5-6)
(b) “The wicked is a ransom for the righteous, and the faithless for the upright” (Proverbs 21:18)
64.Is the Law of Moses useful?
(a) Yes. “All scripture is... profitable...” (2 Timothy 3:16)
(b) No. “ . . . A former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness... “(Hebrews
7:18)
65.What was the exact wording on the cross?
(a) “This is Jesus the King of the Jews” (Matthew 27:37)
(b) “The King of the Jews” (Mark 15:26)
(c) “This is the King of the Jews” (Luke 23:38)
(d) “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews” (John 19:19)
66.Did Herod want to kill John the Baptist?
(a) Yes (Matthew 14:5)
(b) No. It was Herodias, the wife of Herod who wanted to kill him. But Herod knew that he was a
righteous man and kept him safe (Mark 6:20)
67.Who was the tenth disciple of Jesus in the list of twelve?
(a) Thaddaeus (Matthew 10: 1-4; Mark 3:13 -19)
(b) Judas son of James is the corresponding name in Luke’s gospel (Luke 6:12-16)
68.Jesus saw a man sit at the tax collector’s office and called him to be his disciple. What was his name?
(a) Matthew (Matthew 9:9)
(b) Levi (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27)
69.Was Jesus crucified on the daytime before the Passover meal or the daytime after?
(a) After (Mark 14:12-17)
(b) Before. Before the feast of the Passover (John 1) Judas went out at night (John 13:30). The other
disciples thought he was going out to buy supplies to prepare for the Passover meal (John 13:29). When
Jesus was arrested, the Jews did not enter Pilate’s judgment hail because they wanted to stay clean to
eat the Passover (John 18:28). When the judgment was pronounced against Jesus, it was about the sixth
hour on the day of Preparation for the Passover (John 19:14)
70.Did Jesus pray to The Father to prevent the crucifixion?
(a) Yes. (Matthew 26:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42)
(b) No. (John 12:27)
71.In the gospels which say that Jesus prayed to avoid the cross, how many times did ‘he move away
from his disciples to pray?
(a) Three (Matthew 26:36-46 and Mark 14:32-42)
(b) One. No opening is left for another two times. (Luke 22:39-46)
72.Matthew and Mark agree that Jesus went away and prayed three times. What were the words of the
second prayer?
(a) Mark does not give the words but he says that the words were the same as the first prayer (Mark
14:3 9)
(b) Matthew gives us the words, and we can see that they are not the same as in the first (Matthew
26:42)
73.What did the centurion say when Jesus dies?
(a) “Certainly this man was innocent” (Luke 23:47)
(b) “Truly this man was the Son of God” (Mark 15:39)
74.When Jesus said “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken Me? ” in what language did he speak?
(a) Hebrew: the words are “Eloi, Eloi…“(Matthew 27:46)
(b) Aramaic: the words are “Eloi, Eloi... “(Mark 15:34)
75.According to the gospels, what were the last words of Jesus before he died?
(a) “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit!” (Luke 23:46)
(b) "It is finished" (John 19:30).
76.When Jesus entered Capernaum he healed the slave of a centurion. Did the centurion come personally
to request Jesus for this?
(a) Yes (Matthew 8:5)
(b) No. He sent some elders of the Jews and his friends (Luke 7:3,6)
77. (a) Adam was told that if and when he eats the forbidden fruit he would die the same day (Genesis
2:17)
(b) Adam ate the fruit and went on to live to a ripe old age of 930 years (Genesis 5:5)
78. (a) God decided that the life span of humans will be limited to 120 years (Genesis 6:3)
(b) Many people born after that lived longer than 120. Arpachshad lived 438 years. His son Shelah lived
433 years. His son Eber lived 464 years, etc. (Genesis 11:12-16)
79.Apart from Jesus did anyone else ascend to heaven?
(a) No (John 3:13)
(b) Yes. “And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven” (2 Kings 2:11)
80.Who was high priest when David went into the house of God and ate the consecrated bread?
(a) Abiathar (Mark 2:26)
(b) Ahimelech, the father of Abiathar (I Samuel 1:1; 22:20)
81.Was Jesus’ body wrapped in spices before burial in accordance with Jewish burial customs?
(a) Yes and his female disciples witnessed his burial (John 19:39-40)
(b) No. Jesus was simply wrapped in a linen shroud. Then the women bought and prepared spices “so
that they may go and anoint him [Jesus)” (Mark 16: 1)
82.When did the women buy the spices?
(a) After “the Sabbath was past” (Mark 16:1)
(b) Before the Sabbath. The women “prepared spices and ointments.” Then, “on the Sabbath they rested
according to the commandment” (Luke 23:55 to 24:1)
83.At what time of day did the women visit the tomb?
(a) “Toward the dawn” (Matthew 28: 1)
(b) “When the sun had risen” (Mark 16:2)
84.What was the purpose for which the women went to the tomb?
(a) To anoint Jesus’ body with spices (Mark 16: 1; Luke 23:55 to 24: 1)
(b) To see the tomb. Nothing about spices here (Matthew 28: 1)
(c) For no specified reason. In this gospel the wrapping with spices had been done before the Sabbath
(John 20: 1)
85.A large stone was placed at the entrance of the tomb. Where was the stone when the women arrived?
(a) They saw that the stone was “Rolled back” (Mark 16:4) They found the stone “rolled away from the
tomb” (Luke 24:2) They saw that “the stone had been taken away from the tomb” (John 20:1)
(b) As the women approached, an angel descended from heaven, rolled away the stone, and conversed
with the women. Matthew made the women witness the spectacular rolling away of the stone (Matthew
28:1-6)
86.Did anyone tell the women what happened to Jesus’ body?
(a) Yes. “A young man in a white robe” (Mark 16:5). “Two men ... in dazzling apparel” later described as
angels (Luke 24:4 and 24:23). An angel - the one who rolled back the stone (Matthew 16:2). In each
case the women were told that Jesus had risen from the dead (Matthew 28:7; Mark 16:6; Luke 24:5
footnote)
(b) No. Mary met no one and returned saying, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not
know where they have laid him” (John 20:2)
87.When did Mary Magdelene first meet the resurrected Jesus? And how did she react?
(a) Mary and the other women met Jesus on their way back from their first and only visit to the tomb.
They took hold of his feet and worshipped him (Matthew 28:9)
(b) On her second visit to the tomb Mary met Jesus just outside the tomb. When she saw Jesus she did
not recognize him. She mistook him for the gardener. She still thinks that Jesus’ body is laid to rest
somewhere and she demands to know where. But when Jesus said her name she at once recognized him
and called him “Teacher.” Jesus said to her, “Do not hold me...” (John 20:11 to 17)
88.What was Jesus’ instruction for his disciples?
(a) “Tell my brethren to go to Galilee, and there they will see me” (Matthew 2 8: 10)
(b) “Go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and
your God” (John 20:17)
89.When did the disciples return to Galilee?
(a) Immediately, because when they saw Jesus in Galilee “some doubted” (Matthew 28:17). This period
of uncertainty should not persist
(b) After at least 40 days. That evening the disciples were still in Jerusalem (Luke 24:3 3). Jesus
appeared to them there and told them, stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high”
(Luke 24:49). He was appearing to them “during forty days” (Acts 1:3), and “charged them not to depart
from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise ... “(Acts 1:4)
90.To whom did the Midianites sell Joseph?
(a) “To the Ishmaelites” (Genesis 37:28)
(b) “To Potiphar, an officer of Pharaoh” (Genesis 37:36)
91.Who brought Joseph to Egypt?
(a) The Ishmaelites bought Joseph and then “took Joseph to Egypt” (Genesis 37:28)
(b) “The Midianites had sold him in Egypt” (Genesis 37:36)
(c) Joseph said to his brothers “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt” (Genesis 45:4)
92.Does God change his mind?
(a) Yes. “The word of the Lord came to Samuel: “I repent that I have made Saul King...” (I Samuel 15:10
to 11)
(b) No. God “will not lie or repent; for he is not a man, that he should repent” (I Samuel 15:29)
(c) Yes. “And the Lord repented that he had made Saul King over Israel” (I Samuel 15:35). Notice that
the above three quotes are all from the same chapter of the same book! In addition, the Bible shows that
God repented on several other occasions:
i. “The Lord was sorry that he made man” (Genesis 6:6)
“I am sorry that I have made them” (Genesis 6:7)
ii. “And the Lord repented of the evil which he thought to do to his people” (Exodus 32:14).
iii. (Lots of other such references).
93.The Bible says that for each miracle Moses and Aaron demonstrated the magicians did the same by
their secret arts. Then comes the following feat:
(a) Moses and Aaron converted all the available water into blood (Exodus 7:20-21)
(b) The magicians did the same (Exodus 7:22). This is impossible, since there would have been no water
left to convert into blood.
94.Who killed Goliath?
(a) David (I Samuel 17:23, 50)
(b) Elhanan (2 Samuel 21:19)
95.Who killed Saul?
(a) “Saul took his own sword and fell upon it.... Thus Saul died... (I Samuel 31:4-6)
(b) An Amalekite slew him (2 Samuel 1:1- 16)
96.Does every man sin?
(a) Yes. “There is no man who does not sin” (I Kings 8:46; see also 2 Chronicles 6:36; Proverbs 20:9;
Ecclesiastes 7:20; and I John 1:810)
(b) No. True Christians cannot possibly sin, because they are the children of God. “Every one who
believes that Jesus is the Christ is a child of God. (I John 5:1). “We should be called children of God; and
so we are” (I John 3: 1). “He who loves is born of God” (I John 4:7). “No one born of God commits sin;
for God’s nature abides in him, and he cannot sin because he is born of God” (I John 3:9). But, then
again, Yes! “If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (I John 1:8)
97.Who will bear whose burden?
(a) “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2)
(b) “Each man will have to bear his own load” (Galatians 6:5)
98.How many disciples did Jesus appear to after his resurrection?
(a) Twelve (I Corinthians 15:5)
(b) Eleven (Matthew 27:3-5 and Acts 1:9-26, see also Matthew 28:16; Mark 16:14 footnote; Luke 24:9;
Luke 24:3 3)
99.Where was Jesus three days after his baptism?
(a) After his baptism, “the spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. And he was in the
wilderness forty days ... (Mark 1:12-13)
(b) Next day after the baptism, Jesus selected two disciples. Second day: Jesus went to Galilee - two
more disciples. Third day: Jesus was at a wedding feast in Cana in Galilee (see John 1:35; 1:43; 2:1-11)
100.Was baby Jesus’ life threatened in Jerusalem?
(a) Yes, so Joseph fled with him to Egypt and stayed there until Herod died (Matthew 2:13 23)
(b) No. The family fled nowhere. They calmly presented the child at the Jerusalem temple according to
the Jewish customs and returned to Galilee (Luke 2:21-40)
101.When Jesus walked on water how did the disciples respond?
(a) They worshipped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God” (Matthew 14:33)
(b) “They were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were
hardened” (Mark 6:51-52)

Christinewjc said...

Ebsfwan,

Excuse my quick response here, but I've got to get some other work done today!

1. The decision to engage in homosexual behavior and acts is a choice.

2. There are Bible difficulties, but not errors. One website that counters most of the common examples that people put up as perceived "errors" is here.

There is also a refutation of the perceived "errors" written about the Bible in the "Skeptics Annotated Bible." I couldn't quickly find the link, but it is somewhere on the Tektonics site.

There are many others as well. Perhaps someone can add to this list.

Christinewjc said...

Found it!

Go here and type in the Biblical reference. It will then lead you to a page with explanations (sometimes offsite like my example below).

Your first Bible difficulty on the list explained.

Stephen said...

Ok, here are some more thoughts, specifically relating to the article:

One of the things that concerns me in the article you posted is the reliance on the Jewish mosaic laws. The writer appears to take the position that God chose the Jewish people, then gave them law after law through Moses and the prophets. When He realised they weren't understanding the law all that well, He sent his Son, who gave them more laws and clarifications. Then they killed His Son, and His Son's students wrote some more laws and clarified the previous laws. Then they wrote it all down in a book and stopped writing laws because all the laws were written and fully clarified now.

This then implies that in order to find out the complete list of God's laws, we take all the laws from the Old Testament, add the new ones from the New Testament, then subtract the ones that were explicitly revoked in the New Testament. We now have a new set of definitive rules, a set of golden rules to follow in order to get into heaven.

That does not sound to me like the Bible I read or the Christianity I practise. That sounds like a new kind of Judaism or, perhaps, the Amish faith.

If we use the Bible in this way, we quickly come unstuck as Christians, because when we do the math, there are a lot of rules "left over" which we don't adhere to anymore. There is already disagreement as to which laws in the Bible "count" anymore. For example, the Jehovah's Witness take "abstain from blood" (from Acts in the New Testament) very seriously, so seriously in fact that they would rather die than have surgery requiring a blood transfusion. Now, you may laugh, but it is true and very very sad.

The Amish are an extreme example of Christian legalism, they have taken the Old Testament laws, added the New Testament ones, chosen not to remove any and also added a few more just in case. They live a very strictly regimented life. I respect them a great deal and I believe them to be great Christians, but I believe their neurotic rule-focus to be unnecessary.

The mosaic laws of the Old Testament are very similar in nature to the laws we have today. They address behaviour only, not intent. Moses says "do not do X" and we don't. Deuteronomy, for example, has some very involved rules about when it is appropriate to kill someone and when it is not and what sort of things we can eat.

But God doesn't say "don't do X" simply because He has nothing better to do than to make up silly rules. Oftentimes my evangelical friends will say: "we don't know why God made this rule, but He doesn't have to have a reason". Well, I agree God doesn't have to have a reason, but I disagree that God's rules have no reason. God is the embodiment of reason.

God's Law is spiritual, but when Moses tried to codify it into "dos" and "don'ts", it became fleshy and bogged down with details. What I mean is, the laws recorded by Moses in the Old Testament are man's attempts to codify the will of God in words man can understand. This is the so-called "letter of the law" versus the "spirit of the law". I believe the letter of the law relates to actions (the nature of the flesh), but the spirit of the law relates to intent (the nature of the heart or Spirit).

Let's take a good example:

I was surprised one day when watching a church program on TV. The preacher talking about the Jewish laws. She read this verse:
"A woman shall not wear men's clothing, neither shall a man put on women's clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to Yahweh your God."

I grinned and wondered what she would say about it considering most of the congregation were women and many of them (I guessed) were wearing jeans.

"You know what else is an abomination?" She asked her congregation, they fidgeted nervously.
"That's right, and we all know what He thinks about that!"
She was obviously referring to homosexuality here.
"Be obedient to the Lord your God and don't wear men's clothing!"
That was her message.

So, this preacher was admonishing her congregation that women should not wear men's clothing or else God would see them as an abomination. She was reading the literal meaning of the verse to apply to her congregation today.

I shook my head.

The word for "abomination" used in the Bible is more accurately translated "taboo". It refers to something "unclean", like the skin of a pig. Why would God call those women who wear men's clothing an "abomination"?

Well, apparently, in those days, there were pagan rituals which involved women wearing men's clothing (among other things). These rituals also involved homosexual sex.

Remember what I said before: these rules address only behaviour, not intent. The spirit of this law is to admonish the people of Israel to not be like the pagans. It has nothing to do with the kinds of clothes you're wearing. If a woman wears men's clothing as a form of rebellion against God, it is sinful. In those days, women only wore men's clothing as a form of rebellion against God, so it was sinful. Nowadays, wearing men's clothing has no intent of that nature against it. The law has not changed, God has not changed, but our motivations have changed. Nowadays, of a woman wears men's clothing it is (generally) not in rebellion against God.

Let's look at the verse immediately following:

"If a bird's nest chance to be before you in the way, in any tree or on the ground, with young ones or eggs, and the hen sitting on the young, or on the eggs, you shall not take the hen with the young"

Huh? Do we keep that law? Do we even know what that law means?
Do you know what it means to Orthodox Jews?

The Orthodox Jews will not eat eggs and chicken together, because of that law.

Do you really believe God cares what you wear or whether you eat egg with your chicken? No. He cares about the nature of your heart.

Another example would be all the laws preventing people without perfect vision or with other disfigurements in their bodies from coming to the temple. These laws are so as to ensure bodily "fleshy" perfection, they deal with outward appearances but not the inward intentions.

The law is imperfect because it is an attempt to control our intentions by controlling our actions. It thus has flaws in it. Loopholes. An example a Christian friend of mine relayed to me long ago (observant Orthodox Jews can correct me here if they like): On Passover the Jews are supposed to discard the plates they use. In order to get around the expense, one Jewish family used to trade plates with my friend on the eve of Passover. Because they were using someone else's plates, they could not break them, thereby neatly avoiding the expense of needing to buy new plates (or even disposable ones).

This is adherence to the letter of the law in ad nauseum but not the Spirit. The role of the Pharisees in the time of Jesus was (I think) to be the lawyers, to apply the law, to debate the law. They tried to trick Jesus into debating the law but he easily cut them down, because He knew that adherence to the letter of the law was the way of the flesh, the way to sin. What we need to do is to adhere to the law of the Spirit.

Jesus didn't come to give us new laws of the flesh and he didn't come to replace these laws, he came to fulfill the law, to complete it. Jesus' death on the cross was the one and only possible fulfillment of the law possible. We ourselves are incapable of fulfilling the laws in the Bible, whether they be the (sometimes idiosyncratic) Jewish ones or the half-baked Christian ones we have cobbled together by adding and subtracting in the Bible.

So, what is the point of the law then? Should we just run amok and do what we like. Certainly not, Paul actually argues this exact same argument in his letter to the Romans.

In Romans, Paul argues that the Jewish law was given so as to awaken us to sin. We know we are sinful because we break the law. So, this is the purpose of the evangelists, they show people the law, explain that they are sinful, then offer Jesus as the path to their redemption. "Go and leave your life of sin" they quote. They pray, tell the convert that they are now covered by God's grace and now what?

Do we expect that through the power of the Holy Spirit, that the person who once ate chicken with their eggs and wore jeans, will suddenly keep all of the laws in the Old Testament? Do we expect that someone who has glasses will suddenly have perfect vision, being made perfect in the flesh and pleasing to God? No, none of this happens. What's wrong? Did God's Holy Spirit stop working?

No, Paul calls us to live after the Spirit, not after the flesh. I believe that the law of sin is a thing of the flesh, it relates only to actions. But the Law of the Spirit, the Spirit of God does not relate to actions but relates to intent, to the nature of our hearts.

Did Jesus give us laws that relate to intent? That relate to the heart? Well, I argue He did, with "love the Lord your God and Love your neighbour as yourself". Both Paul and Jesus claimed that this was the fulfillment of God's spiritual Law.

So, if we look to all the laws in the Old Testament about killing, for example, we see all the rules pertaining to lying in wait, to murder, to revenge, to justice, these are very similar to the laws we have in society today, they govern actions. Underpinning them is that great Spiritual law of Love. Love cannot murder, it is inconceivable! How can you, filled with the Agape love of God, kill any human being?

I am thoroughly convinced that we are justified by faith, and that the Holy Spirit does not make a change in our bodies but a change in our hearts. I think this is explained (rather torturously) by Paul in Romans. At one point he says:

"So then with the mind, I myself serve God's law, but with the flesh, the sin's law."

That sentence has always puzzled me. The more I think about it, the more I come to the conclusion that Paul is talking about two kinds of laws, laws of the flesh (actions) and laws of the Spirit (the heart, or intent).

Anyway, by that long-winded argument, I come to my conclusion about the laws of the Old Testament. I am not suggesting they are wrong or that they should be ignored. I am suggesting, however, that they are just a poor shadow of a Spiritual Law which Jesus gave us. If we hold to that Spiritual Law, all these other laws fall in place.

This Law of the Spirit is actually closer to God's will and more difficult to keep than a list of rules. Why? Because it deals with intent. Lustful thoughts, Jesus said, are the same as adultery. Cursing your brother, Jesus said, is the same as murder. This is an extreme version of the intent argument: even intent without action is considered sinful.

Still, Christians have a great deal of difficulty with the ideas that homosexuals see their sexuality as not being sinful. Even though I can explain till I am blue in the face that the purity laws of the Old Testament actually refer to a specific admonition against pagan fertility rituals, even when I claim that loving, committed homosexual relationships can be Spiritually correct in God's eyes, some Christians still have difficulty with that.

This is because we are used to the idea of repentance. We do something bad and then we apologise. We are forgiven and go do it again. I think this is still living by the flesh, by the way, but that's another matter.

One of the reasons people are so upset by homosexuals is we appear unrepentant. We claim our sexuality (which others view as inherently sinful) is not inherently sinful. I argue that you can have a godly homosexual relationship, because God is not interested in our genitals, but He is interested in our hearts. A man can sin while having sex with his wife, it all has to do with intent and the nature of your heart.

Anyway, so we are unrepentant, and that just gets up the noses of other Christians who feel like they should be able to be unrepentant about their own sin of choice (gambling, drinking or eating for example). They feel like we are claiming special status of our particular "sin" of choice.

Is there another group of people who have a similar problem? Well, remarried divorced people for one. Jesus is very clear that when a man marries a divorced woman, they are both committing adultery.

This problem vexed me for ages. How can people be in this situation? The Catholics believe that remarried people are in sin and so they are excluded from Holy Communion. My question to you is: how are remarried people supposed to "repent"? Should they divorce their newly wedded spouse and disown their new kids?

Are they caught up in an unforgivable sin? Will the power of the Holy Spirit free them from their new marriage and do away with their new kids? Should they repent every time they have sex with their new spouse?

No, I don't think so. I don't think divorce is an "unforgivable sin". It still begs the question whether remarried people can get into heaven. Once again, I think it is about intent. People's hearts can change, but their situations don't necessarily. So, people may have divorced with hate and malice in their hearts, they may have remarried with lust in their hearts, but those sins they can repent from, they can turn around from them and never revisit them. But the resulting reaction from such a change in heart is not a change in circumstance.

Likewise, you can be living a promiscuous gay lifestyle in rebellion against God, feeding your own lusts and selfishness, then you can turn around, repent and return to God. Will God make you straight? Why should he? If God makes a change in your intent, in your heart and your actions are now based out of love, you will live a godly homosexual life rather than an ungodly one.

That is my opinion anyway.

Stephen said...

A friend of mine accused me (in the above argument) of essentially saying: if you are good, then anything you do is not sin.

Yes, by definition, if you are good, you cannot sin.

The thing I am trying to emphasise here is that we should not outwardly appear good, or seek to do good things (works) but rather that we should seek to actually be good inside (a change of heart).

It's easy to be nice to people. It's much harder to actually mean it. Jesus emphasised this a lot in his ministry.

I need to stress, of course, that it is not possible for us to be "good" on our own. We need the Holy Spirit imparted upon us, through faith.

This is why Paul says that anything done of faith is not sin.

An important corollary to this is anything not done of faith is sin. So, if you wear men's clothing, fully believing you are rebelling from God by doing so then guess what, you are!

Love

Stephen

Christinewjc said...

Stephen W.,

You said, "
This is why Paul says that anything done of faith is not sin."

Are you referring to this verse?

Rom 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because [he eateth] not of faith: for whatsoever [is] not of faith is sin.

That verse has the opposite meaning of what you said.

David Guzik commentary:

Each of us must ask: "God what is there in my life hindering a closer walk with You? I want to know the happiness that comes from not condemning myself by what I approve in my life." This takes faith, because we often cling to hindering things because we think they make us happy. Real happiness is found being closer and closer to Jesus, and by not being condemned by what we approve.

c. Whatever is not from faith is sin: Paul concludes with another principle by which we can judge “gray areas” - if we can’t do it in faith, then it is sin.

i. This is a wonderful check on our tendency to justify ourselves in the things we permit. If we are troubled by something, it likely isn’t of faith and likely is sin for us.


Jam 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth [it] not, to him it is sin.



1Jo 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

The Bible is filled with warnings not to trample upon God's grace by continuing in any willful sin that is explicitly identified as sin in the Bible.

Rom 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.



Rom 7:7 What shall we say then? [Is] the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.



Rom 7:20 Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.

Christinewjc said...

Here's a related article called responding to pro-gay theology.

Also, a great case study that shows New Evidence Found for Childhood Family Factors Influencing Sexual Orientation

Stephen said...

I have to gently disagree with you there, Christine. In Romans 14, Paul explicitly says that if you eat meat and believe it is sinful then you sin. If you eat meat and know it is not sinful, then you don't sin. This is the important corollary to the "weaker faith" argument: "blessed is he who does not judge himself by that which he approves". I know you don't believe I am filled with the Holy Spirit, but I can tell you I know that God does not condemn me.

As for the study. It doesn't matter to me whether I was "born" gay or "became" gay through complex interactions of multiple factors. Either way, I see it as God acting in my life.

Also, the study assumes causality. Some psychologists (eg. Richard Isay) posit that gay men tend to perceive their fathers as being "absent" because of a freudian erotic attraction to their father.

Alternatively, you could claim it's the "sins of the father" being visited on the child. I am comfortable with that. God knows my heart and His yoke is light.

Stephen said...

Also, I know my post was a little long but please understand that nowhere in it am I suggesting that I am without sin. I am suggesting rather that the sins I am guilty of are sins of the heart rather than sins of the flesh.

I have not loved my neighbour as myself, I have been selfish, judgemental, thoughtless, greedy, self-seeking. As a gay man I am exposed to a great many temptations with respect to lust, some of them I have succumbed to. That does not mean, however, that my choice of sexual partner is inherently sinful, no more than your choice of clothing is inherently sinful. It has to do with the nature of your heart.

This is why all the Jewish laws have so many detailed exceptions worked into them, and why laypersons do not apply the law in the Jewish faith. Rabbais are supposed to apply the law in the Jewish faith because they are supposed to know the spirit of the law and can apply God's law to the specific circumstance. :)