Advertisements

Does The Bible Say That Homosexuality Is Sin?

"And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly." (Genesis 19:6-7)

To be completely honest, I must admit that this is really a post that I wish was not necessary to write. There are so many spiritual truths that can be explored in Genesis 19 that it is quite unfortunate that time should need to be spent on something that I believe is a peripheral issue. I do not believe that the purpose of what we are told in Genesis 19:4-11 is to establish that the practice of homosexuality is sinful, nor do I think that this was the only, or even primary, sin that the people of Sodom were guilty of. Paul writes to the Romans that homosexuality itself is but a step in the descending depravity of mankind apart from God, but lists it along with a myriad of other wicked behaviors in the indictment of humanity (Romans 1:27-32). I think this whole sordid incident is recorded in Genesis 19:4-11 to demonstrate the depth of immorality that the citizens of Sodom had fallen into.

I say that it is unfortunate that time should be spent discussing the matter of homosexuality in a Bible study because I find it incredibly puzzling that it would be necessary to demonstrate that sin is sin. No argument should be necessary, this ought to be a foregone conclusion. However, we have but to look at current events to realize that there is an attack being made today against God’s Word on the subject as people are twisting and misinterpreting the Bible to allege that no prohibition is ever really made: specifically or implicitly. I read in my local newspaper only a week or two ago about a “seminar” being hosted by a local church (of a major denomination, I might add) wherein the topic of being a homosexual Christian was to be discussed. Apparently, even a documentary celebrating prominent homosexual practitioners in church leadership was scheduled to be presented.

There have always been those who will do whatever they want, regardless of what God has to say about it. In fact, all of us were exactly that way before we came to faith in Christ. Until recently, there was no denial that the Word of God clearly condemned the practice of homosexuality. But now the effort is being made to cast a shadow of doubt and re-interpret the Scriptures in order to manufacture a Biblical support for this lifestyle. Therefore, since the purpose of this website is to look to God’s Word for answers, let us see what the Bible really does have to say on the subject:

Was The Sin Of The Sodomites Homosexuality Or The Desire To Commit Rape?

A major objection raised against this passage is the assertion that the only sin here is that the men of Sodom sought to force themselves on the two angelic visitors of Lot. Rape, they say, is the abomination, not consensual homosexuality. Yet in Genesis 19:4-5, there is no threat of force nor violence toward Lot and his visitors. Where are the men?…bring them out that we may know them, the townspeople say. Lot responds, “I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly” (v.7). Of course, the threats of violence do follow afterward, but at first it is merely their perverse lust that causes Lot to label their desires as wicked. At the risk of sounding crude, may I say that it seems that, if consensual homosexual practice was an acceptable and valid “orientation” (as those raising this objection suggest), why didn’t Lot ask the two angelic visitors if they wanted to go out to the men? If God indeed makes some people homosexual, how would Lot know that these two visitors were not made that way?

Is The Prohibition Against Homosexuality in Leviticus 18:22, And 20:13 Still Valid?

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22)

“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” (Leviticus 20:13)

A major objection to verses such as these is that they are found in the Old Testament. The argument is made that we are no longer living under the laws of the Old Testament. While it is true that in Christ we live under Grace and not Law (e.g., Romans 6:14), it is also true that sin was not redefined with the coming of the New Testament. The Lord Jesus said that He did not come to do away with the Law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17-18). If anything, the Lord Jesus’ definition of sin is even more restrictive than the Law of Moses because it focuses not only on actions, but thoughts and attitudes (e.g., Matthew 5:27-28).

Admittedly, dietary laws and regulations were changed (Acts 10:13-15), and some laws and penalties were specific to the nation of Israel. We are not living in a Theocracy today such as ancient Israel was, so God does not expect us to put offenders to death for their sins. With this in mind, the only changes that we can be safe in asserting are those specifically given. It is fallacious to assume that Jesus wiped the slate of the Old Testament clean and repealed every definition of sin when He came to Earth. For the most part, if it was sin in the Old Testament, then it is still sin in the New. Additionally, homosexuality is still specifically called sin in the New Testament, anyway, as we will see in a moment.

But Jesus “Hung Out” With Sinners, He Was All About Love, Wouldn’t He Be All Right With Homosexuality?

That Jesus associated with sinners is absolutely irrefutable. If He hadn’t, then we would all be in trouble because we are all sinners! But what was His attitude toward sin? Mark 2:17 tells us that Jesus stated that He came to call sinners (and I say again, we are all sinners) to repentance. That means that He called all of us to turn from our sins and turn to Him. He did associate with prostitutes, tax collectors, and adulterers, but He didn’t leave them that way! And He never approved of what they did. In fact, His admonition was to “go and sin no more” (e.g., John 5:14, 8:11). The Apostle Matthew was a crooked tax collector before Jesus called him to follow Him. What did he do when Jesus called him? “He left all, rose up, and followed Him” (Luke 5:28 emphasis added). You cannot say that Jesus approved of crooked, governmental endorsed extortion because He called Matthew to follow Him. Matthew left that behind, he repented of it when he came to Christ.

“For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:… I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” (John 5:22,30)

The Lord Jesus Christ came to Earth and offered Himself as the Savior of mankind. Whoever puts their faith in Him will be saved. He came not to pass judgment in His earthly life, but He will be the Judge of those who reject Him when He returns.

Is Romans 1:27 Really Talking About Homosexuality?

Many of the objections concerning New Testament references to homosexuality center on the idea that the language is not more specific or explicit. Some have even asked why the word “homosexual” or something like it does not appear in the text. Indeed, euphemistic language is sometimes employed because it is naturally assumed that the reader will understand what is being referred to. Some of the more modern translations do in fact forego this and specifically use more contemporary terminology:

“Men behaved in the same way. They stopped wanting to have sex with women and had strong desires for sex with other men. They did shameful things with each other, and what has happened to them is punishment for their foolish deeds.” (Romans 1:27 CEV)

I do not wish to go into etymology at great lengths, but examining the original Greek text confirms that homosexual acts are being referred to. “Leaving the natural use” refers to that which goes against nature (phusikos), that which is “physically” perverse and abnormal. It is difficult for me to understand how someone can miss the meaning of even the King James Version language: “burned in their lust one toward another; men with men”, but somehow there are those who apparently misunderstand this.

So Where Besides Romans Does The New Testament Refer To Homosexuality?

Two other passages refer to homosexuality: 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10. Again, the objections are raised about what specifically is being referred to in these. “Effeminate” (found in the KJV and NASB) is translated from a word that literally means anyone who is sexually perverted and was commonly used to refer to young men who were homosexual prostitutes. The term translated as “abusers of themselves with mankind” (1 Cor. 6:9) and “them that defile themselves with mankind” (1 Tim. 1:10) literally means A man who has sexual intercourse with a man (arsenokoites). This was the commonly used Greek term to mean a homosexual. You really cannot get any more explicit than this.

Conclusion

A lot of groups that state they are Christian have placed an inordinate amount of attention on the sin of homosexuality. It has been singled out in recent years by those who seem more interested in the condemnation of those who practice homosexuality than in seeing them come to Christ in repentance. We should note that, while it is mentioned in Scripture, it is usually done so along with a list of other sins. It is usually included right alongside other sins of sexual perversion and unrighteousness, including adultery. Some people like to carry signs about God’s condemnation of the homosexual, but they don’t say a lot about God’s condemnation of the “swinger”, the “playboy”, the “wife-swapper”, and the adulterer. There is without question a secular, social stigma that goes along with homosexuality that compels people to want to view it as a much more grievous sin than those that are listed with it in Scripture. But if we may be frank, sin is sin. If we commit any sin, we have disobeyed God and are guilty of violating God’s law (James 2:10-11). Like any other sin, homosexuality can be forgiven when a person comes to Christ and repents.

We all have fleshly desires that we struggle with. We should never conclude that simply because we desire something, then that is the way God intended us to be. There are Christians who formerly struggled with homosexual urges, yet today they have come to genuine faith in Christ and they are not giving in to those desires. My intention for writing this is not to single out homosexuality as some type of unusually abhorrent sin nor is my purpose to persecute homosexuals. I acknowledge that there are a lot of practicing homosexuals who couldn’t care less what God has to say about the matter and, frankly, that is between them and God. But my purpose here is to stand up for what the Word of God does have to say about the subject and warn those who are erroneously imagining that the Bible endorses their sinful practices. Along with all other sinful behaviors, the Bible condemns homosexuality. Regardless of whatever sin we struggle with, let us turn to Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and put our faith in Him for forgiveness. Let us look honestly at what the Lord God has said through His Word and change our ways to fit what it tells us, not change what it says to fit our ways.

Advertisements

30 responses

  1. Loren,

    This is very nicely said and is fully in accordance with God’s word….. We can praise God for those who have had the courage to become “straight” again, as they say….. Everyone who repents will definitely be saved, and that needs to be an encouragement to everyone stuck in whatever sin they might practice, that would lead them to eternal damnation.

    Revelation 21:8 says, “But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

    Such verses show that it is the refusal to repent that condemns a person….. Repentance is not something to be afraid of because it brings God’s blessings….. But, if someone realizes how their unrepentant heart is condemned, they do need to be afraid enough to seek help in changing before it is too late for them….. God uses the law and the gospel to draw us back to Him.

    Margaret

    Like

  2. Hi Loren,

    I enjoyed your post. You have outlined what would seem to be obvious to any reader of the Bible.

    I would go one step further and say that none of the law of Moses is done away with. Instead, as you have said, Christ set an even higher standard. Christians should take the law as God’s expressed desire for how His people should live, including dietary laws and observance of the Sabbath.

    Of course this has nothing to do with salvation. It is just what is expected, by God, of believers. Romans 3:20 “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

    Like

  3. Thanks for reading and sharing your comments, Ed. God bless you.

    Like

  4. Great observations, Margaret, thanks.

    Like

  5. Thanks Loren for this wonderful and enlightening post. Its good and right to make a stand on what we believe to be true of the Word of God. Yes, I do agree with you, people tend to make homosexuality more grievous a sin than adultery or fornication. And while homosexuality is a perversion as the word says. It is a sin just like any other of which the Lord is able to deliver from as He would adulterers, liars or sorcerers. Thank again and blessings as always.

    Gladwell

    Like

  6. Hi Loren,

    The bible does say that homosexuality is a sin — but it also says a whole host of other things are a sin. For some reason, Christianity as a whole has jumped on the homosexuality bandwagon while remaining rather quiet about other sins. It is true that God has treated certain sins as deserving more punishment. For instance, theft did not require the death penalty under the theocratic criminal law where adultery and homosexuality did carry a punishment of death.

    Homosexuals can receive salvation just like any other sinner. There is no one that is righteous and without sin. All of mankind are guilty.

    You correctly noted the tragedy of some churches trying to justify and welcome homosexuals by interpreting scripture to fit their views. It is not limited to this sin, many sins are re-interpreted to fit man’s views.

    What it boils down to is mankind wants God and what He has to offer but they expect God to conform to man and his views instead of man conforming to God’s ways. Interpreting scripture to fit mankind’s ways does not change God. It might make individuals feel good in the here and now but it does a grave injustice for mankind cannot change God’s Word no matter how much they try.

    Like

  7. Thanks, Gladwell. Praise God that He is able to deliver anyone who wishes to be delivered from whatever sin has a grip on them.

    Like

  8. “What it boils down to is mankind wants God and what He has to offer but they expect God to conform to man and his views instead of man conforming to God’s ways.”

    I agree with you. There is an inherent desire within the hearts of all people to be in right-standing with God. Unfortunately, our inclination is to come to Him on our own terms, not His.

    Like

  9. Loren-

    As I read your post, I wondered why you persist in repeating false information about the clobber passages.

    I hope you will continue to study and discover that the anti-gay views which you assume to be right were not, in many cases, the views of our spiritual ancestors in the Bible.

    God bless you as you walk the path of His purpose for your life.

    Your gay brother in Christ,

    Rick Brentlinger

    Like

  10. Rick,

    Thanks for reading this and taking the time to share your comments.

    I am not quite sure what you are meaning when you use the phrase “clobber” passages. I do not know if your contention is with the verses themselves or the exposition thereof. If you take issue with the verses themselves, then that is certainly between you and God. If you believe that my exposition is erroneous, perhaps you could show me where? After careful study of the passages that I mentioned, I honestly do not see any ambiguity.

    As far as characterizing my views as “anti-gay”, I would humbly disagree. I would say that my views are “anti-sin”, including the sins of which I am guilty. I serve a holy God and am compelled to agree with Him in what He has labeled as sin. I would also beg to disagree with you that my “views” are born out of assumption, I am going by what the Scriptures say. Apart from subjective conjecture, you and I both are limited to appealing to the Biblical text itself when concluding the viewpoints of those mentioned in the Bible, as well as those who held the pens which wrote it.

    My friend, you name the name of Christ. If you love Him, keep His commandments (John 14:15).

    Thanks again for reading this and sharing your thoughts.

    To God goes all the glory,

    Loren

    Like

  11. By clobber passages, I mean verses removed from their historical and religious context and then used to clobber gays and lesbians.

    I believe every word of every verse of scripture is from God but we must be honest and exposit every verse in context. A verse without a context is a pretext for teaching something that is not true.

    You state that you see no ambiguity in Genesis 19, by which I understand you to be saying that the Sodom story unambiguously demonstrates God’s hatred of the “sin” of homosexuality. The problem with that view is that it is not supported in the Bible.

    1. Scripture never mentions homosexuals in Sodom.

    2. Scripture never tells us anyone in Sodom committed a homosexual act.

    3. Scripture never tells us anyone in Sodom lived in a same sex relationship.

    4. Scripture never tells us that the sin of Sodom was homosexuality.

    5. Scripture never tells us God destroyed Sodom because of homosexuality.

    6. Scripture never links homosexuality or lesbianism to Sodom.

    7. Sodomites in scripture never refers to homosexuals as we use the term today.

    8. Facts on the ground in Sodom reveal that a mob attempted to gang-rape angels. Even conservatives like John MacArthur admit that salient truth.

    Of course, if I am wrong, it will be easy for you to provide chapter and verse to disprove these basic facts.

    Your brother in Christ,

    Rick Brentlinger

    Like

  12. “And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.” (Gen. 19:5-7)

    Or, as the Contemporary English Version renders it:

    “[The men of Sodom] started shouting, “Where are your visitors? Send them out, so we can have sex with them!” Lot went outside and shut the door behind him. Then he said, “Friends, please don’t do such a terrible thing!”

    No threats. No attempt to take them by force. Just a request: “Send them out to us.” When Lot rebukes them for their lewd request, yes, they do decide to attempt to use force, but not before that. As I mentioned in this posting, If homosexuality is perfectly acceptable, why didn’t Lot ask his visitors if they wanted to go out and have relations with his townspeople? How would he know that they weren’t perfectly willing to accommodate their request? Why would he label their request as wicked if homosexuality is completely acceptable?

    As I am sure that you noticed when you read this post, I have not attempted to “build a case” about Scripture’s prohibition of homosexuality based entirely on this passage. It is specifically condemned in Leviticus 18:22. Leviticus 20:3, Romans 1:27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and 1 Timothy 1:10. I suppose that one could accuse others of “removing from context” any portion of Scripture that they personally dislike, but the validity of such a claim is not established simply by making an accusation. How exactly is the following statement taken out of context: “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters…nor abusers of themselves with mankind (homosexuals, GK. arsenokoites)…shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10). Is there a verse or statement in the context (surrounding verses, chapter, or even book) that would mitigate or re-interpret this? Is it unclear in any way?

    As I mentioned in this post, I do not believe that the sin of homosexuality was the only sin of which the people of Sodom were guilty. And you are absolutely correct that Sodomites means something entirely different in the Bible than the way people have used it historically. I think that people who walk away from reading Genesis 19:4-11 and say, “Yeah, this is about how much God hates homosexuality” are really missing the point of what this event has to teach us. You are right that the passage does not go into the sordid details of the sins of the Sodomites (people of Sodom), but the Word of God never glorifies man’s sin.

    Rick, I believe that your point of contention is with God and not with me. I would strongly urge you to read the Bible in its context and let it change you into what God wants you to be rather than attempt to change its clear meaning to fit your own preferences. When we come to Christ, we must allow Him to change us; for He will never change to suit our tastes. If you don’t like what Leviticus 18:22, Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and 1 Timothy 1:10 say, your argument is with the Spirit of God, not me.

    In Christ,

    Loren

    Like

  13. Loren asked:

    How exactly is the following statement taken out of context: “Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters…nor abusers of themselves with mankind (homosexuals, GK. arsenokoites)…shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10).

    Is there a verse or statement in the context (surrounding verses, chapter, or even book) that would mitigate or re-interpret this? Is it unclear in any way?

    How odd that you assume arsenokoites means homosexual. I am surprised that you would use 1 Cor 6:9 to support your anti-gay view. As I’ve pointed out on my website, the Greek word, arsenokoitai, was never used to mean homosexual in the first century. I list the first 56 uses of, arsenokoitai, in extant Greek literature on my website, which covers all its known uses from AD 56 when Paul coined the term to AD 600.

    46 of the 56 uses simply quote 1 Cor 6:9 or 1 Tim 1:10, without defining the word. Of the remaining ten uses, where there is enough information in the context to guess at meaning, arsenokoitai, referred to:

    1. anal rape of a female or male

    2. shrine prostitution

    3. masturbation

    If arsenokoitai meant “homosexual” as you believe, we would expect to find arsenokoitai used with that meaning during the first 600 years of church history. Yet arsenokoitai is NEVER used to mean “homosexual,” not even one time.

    Putting an anti-gay spin on 1 Cor 6:9 and then presenting your spin as ‘what the Bible says’ is the wrong way to win souls and interpret scripture.

    Your brother in Christ,

    Rick Brentlinger

    Like

  14. Rick,

    You are appealing to extra-Biblical Greek literature to validate your supposition that the term arsenokoites does NOT mean “homosexual.” Your suggestion is that, since it is not specifically defined in the contexts in which it appears, then the term must not be referring to homosexuality. Well, arsenokoites is a compound word :

    730 ἄρρην, ἄρσην [arrhen, arsen /ar·hrane/] adj. Probably from 142; GK 776 and 781; Nine occurrences; AV translates as “male” four times, “man” three times, “man child” once, and “man child + 5207” once. 1 a male.

    2845 κοίτη [koite /koy·tay/] n f. From 2749; GK 3130; Four occurrences; AV translates as “bed” twice, “conceive” once, and “chambering” once. 1 a place for laying down, resting, sleeping in. 1a a bed, couch. 2 the marriage bed. 2a of adultery. 3 cohabitation, whether lawful or unlawful. 3a sexual intercourse.

    733. ἀρσενοκοίτης arsĕnŏkŏitēs, ar-sen-ok-oy´-tace; from 730 and 2845; a sodomite:— abuser of (that defile) self with mankind.

    (Strong, James: The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible : Showing Every Word of the Text of the Common English Version of the Canonical Books, and Every Occurrence of Each Word in Regular Order. electronic ed. Ontario : Woodside Bible Fellowship., 1996, S. G2845 — emphasis added)

    To postulate that a term is void of definition simply because a definition is not given with the term is illogical and fallacious. If I wrote: “The doghouse in my yard is red”, one would not assume that the word doghouse is meaningless or debatable because I failed to specifically explain that it is a house where a dog lives. Even a basic knowledge of English would make it quite obvious to what this English compound word is referring. Would it truly be prudent to hypothesize a different meaning for the word “doghouse” because a redundant side-note was not added explaining what the word is specifically referring to?

    Honestly, Rick, I really believe that you are grasping at straws with this and are desperately trying to bend the facts to fit your own personal agenda. The “facts” that you have presented are quite unconvincing, in my opinion, and are patently contrived. You seem very zealous to persuade other people to concur with your false conclusions, but it is not persons whom you need to convince. I am taking the liberty of posting your website address at the end of these remarks, if anyone reading these comments is interested in further investigating your viewpoint. I, personally, have made the point that I feel the Lord would have me to make in the post I have written. I have also invested time into clarifying these points over the past couple of days with you, and believe that there really remains nothing else for me to add. It is painfully obvious that you have no apparent interest in what the Word of God has to say about matters that conflict with your own personal desires, and it is not my job to persuade you otherwise. I have given a witness for what the Lord has spoken on this subject, you do with that what you will.

    You misrepresented (among many other things) what John MacArthur has said about the Bible’s teaching concerning homosexuality. I will let him have the last word:

    “Homosexuality is condemned throughout Scripture. It was so characteristic of Sodom that the term sodomy is a synonym for that sin. The Sodomite men were inflamed with perverted sexual desire, and on one occasion they surrounded Lot’s house and demanded that the two angels (who had come in the form of men) be sent outside so that they could “have relations with them” (Gen. 19:4–5). God completely destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because “their sin [was] exceedingly grave” (18:20). Since that time sodomy has stood for sexual perversion and the phrase Sodom and Gomorrah has stood for moral corruption. For believers the terms also have come to stand for God’s hatred and judgment of moral corruption.
    By Paul’s day homosexuality had been rampant in Greece and Rome for centuries. In his commentary on this passage, William Barclay reports that Socrates was a homosexual and Plato probably was. Plato’s Symposium on Love is a treatise glorifying homosexuality. It is likely that fourteen of the first fifteen Roman emperors were homosexuals. Nero, who reigned close to the time Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, had a boy named Sporis castrated in order for the boy to become the emperor’s “wife,” in addition to his natural wife. After Nero died, the boy was passed on to one of Nero’s successors, Otho, to use in the same way.

    Confusion of sex roles, like adultery, is particularly evil because it attacks the family. It corrupts the biblical plan for the family, including the standards for authority and submission within the family, and thus retards the passing of righteousness from one generation to the next. The most ungodly societies of history have been plagued by sex role perversions, no doubt because Satan is so intent on destroying the family. Churches who, in the name of love, defend homosexuality and condone homosexual ministers, “marriages,” and congregations not only pervert God’s standards of morality but encourage their members in sin. Encouragement in sin has no part in love. True love of others is not doing for them what they want but doing for them what God wants. “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments”(1 John 5:2–3)”

    (MacArthur, John: 1 Corinthians. Chicago : Moody Press, 1996, c1984, S. 142)

    Rick’s website: http://www.gaychristian101.com

    Like

  15. Loren;

    Very impressive volly back-n-forth. I still like Paul’s take on the matter;

    Rom 1:27 “And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.”

    It’s hard to break this verse down and not come away with a feeling that men lusting after men is just not right.

    Glen
    “Lov’n the Lord & Liv’n the Life…”

    Like

  16. Glen,

    Thanks for reading this and taking the time to comment.

    “It’s hard to break this verse down and not come away with a feeling that men lusting after men is just not right.” I couldn’t agree with you more. It still baffles me how anyone could come away from reading this passage and have any doubt as to what Paul is saying.

    In Christ,

    Loren

    Like

  17. Adison Showalter

    Loren, I have to say, as I read the comment duel between you and Mr. Brentlinger I was on the edge of my seat going, “Ada girl!” (or are you a male?) I was fascinated by your approach and how much information you have gathered in support for your claim. You annihilated Mr. Brentlinger’s argument. I have to say, I was impressed!

    I read Mr. Brentligner’s site over a year ago, and the first “proof” he had that homosexuality is condoned and accepted by God is that Jesus himself supposedly affirmed this. He misquotes a verse (and indirectly distorts an entire passage) in Matthew 19:12 and infers that Jesus was condoning homosexuality. Jesus was giving three good reasons why not to marry, but Mr. Brentlinger insists that the word eunuch is a synonym for homosexuality. His argument is fallacious and unsound due to a statement he posted on his site that I read: “Some eunuchs in history and Bible scripture were homosexuals”. But this implies that only some, not all, eunuchs in history were homosexuals, and he cannot confirm that the eunuchs in Bible History were homosexuals!

    Anyways, I could rant on and on, but I do love Mr. Brentlinger, and I hope that you are praying for him. I’m going to try and start from now on, and hopefully he will let go off his argument and accept the Lord’s Word as it is; truthful, unbiased, with only ONE intended message.

    I believe that anyone that distorts God’s Word distorts Jesus Christ (because Jesus is the Word). But anyone that seeks God’s Word with an open-heart will see that there is only one intended message.

    Anyways, God bless you!

    Your brother in Christ,

    -Adison Showalter

    Like

  18. Adison,

    Thanks for reading this and taking the time to share your comments!

    I am glad that you found the information I presented useful (by the way, I am a male — I get that a lot, maybe I need to come up with a nickname :) )

    I actually was completely unfamiliar with Mr. Brentlinger before he commented on this post. I had heard some of the arguments that have been raised which attempt to distort the Bible’s perspective on homosexuality, and this was what I was originally addressing in the post. It seems that there are a lot of fallacious arguments and conclusions that are being employed in an effort to revise the Biblical perspective; your example about interpreting the term “eunuch” being a great one.

    I do pray for Mr. Brentlinger and everyone who has bought into any lie about what the Bible teaches. It is my firm belief that we all must read the Word of God and let it change us rather than changing the Word of God to suit who we are. May the Lord open the eyes of our understanding so that we may all know the Truth that is the Lord Jesus Christ — our never-changing Word of God.

    Thanks again, Adison, your encouragement is truly a blessing.

    Your brother in Christ,

    Loren

    Like

  19. Homosexuality itsnt a sin. Why look at the Hebrew a d Greek. The lev as to do with Pagan ritual. Why because of toebah. Which in the english bible is abomation. The Greek word in the New Testement which is translate as homosexual can be because arsonokoitai is compound of adult
    Male and bed. The word malako is together with arsonokoitai.So adult male laid with a boy prostitutes. Sodom & Gomorrah as nothing to do homosexuality

    The New International Version translates the same verse without any ambiguity: “They called to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them.’ ”
    Ya,da is a Hebrew verb which is commonly translated as “know.” Its meaning is ambiguous. It appears 943 times elsewhere in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). Usually it means “to know a fact.” In only about a dozen of these cases does it refers to sexual activity; in these instances, the sexual meaning is always obvious. The text generally talks about a man “knowing” a woman and of her conceiving a child as a result of the “knowing.” All such references involve heterosexual relationships.

    It is not clear whether the mob wanted to:

    Gang rape the angels. This was a common technique by which men, particularly enemies,  were humiliated in that society.
     
    Engage in consensual homosexual sex with the angels: This may the interpretation of the NIV translators. They wrote very clearly that the intent was to “have sex with them.” People “having sex” with each other normally implies mutual consent.
     
    Interrogate them. They may have been concerned that the strangers were spies who were sent to the city to determine its defensive fortifications.
    “Sodom was a tiny fortress in the barren wasteland south of the Dead Sea. The only strangers that the people of Sodom ever saw were enemy tribes who wanted to destroy and take over their valuable fortress and the trade routes that it protected.” As noted above, the city had just recently survived just such an attack, and may have been on high alert. 2

    Attack them physically.

    Genesis 19:8 — Lot’s offer to have his daughters gang raped:

    From the context, it seems obvious that the mood of the mob was not friendly. In Genesis 19:7, Lot expected that the mob would engage in “wicked” behavior. Lot may have assessed that they had sex on their minds, because he offered his virgin daughters as an attempt to placate the mob. Some Christian interpreters maintain that all of the men in the city were present in the mob, and that all were homosexual. Lot would certainly have know of this, for he was a resident of the city. If they were all gay, then he would hardly have made a gift of his daughters to be raped; the mob would have had no sexual interest in women. Instead, he would have given the mob a gift of his two future sons-in-law. His daughters were both engaged to men from Sodom. In their culture, engagement was a binding arrangement, with many of the properties of marriage. It gave Lot authority over his future sons-in-law, much as he had control of his daughters. So he would have been able to sacrifice his daughters future husbands. But he didn’t. Thus, we can conclude that most or all of the men of Sodom were not gay.

    Other indications that all of the men of Sodom were not gay are:

    Extensive biblical references which emphasize that one of the serious sins of Sodom was their neglect of orphans and widows. If all male “Sodomites” were gay then there would be few or no marriages and thus few or no widows and orphans.

    As mentioned above, Lot’s daughters were engaged to two male residents of the city. If they were gay, they would have had no interest in marrying women.
    God was apparently not critical of Lot for offering his two daughters to be raped. If he were, he might have decided to not save Lot and his family.
    Please look at the Greek and Hebrew to look at god word. You know how people use to the bible to twisted it to their beliefs not letting women in the church, African American, Slavery look at the Greek and Hebrew. Many women have been leaders but bais translated lower their leadership. For example phebeo a Diakono(Deacon) is often translated as servant when paul called himself a Diakono and translated as deacon. Not letting women wear pants which is studip if you look at the Hebrew is Talk about a pagan act where women were putting men armor and men Dress as women. Timithory talks about false teaches that women who recently convert state that women were the created of man and that eve was Adam created and lover. Paul was telling to learn in selient so they can learn the correct way. The Greek is more of a class work silent.The key word in Verse 12 is “authentein” in the original Greek. It has been traditionally translated into English as something like “usurping authority over.” The word appears only once in the Bible. So, to fully understand its meaning, one has to consult other literature that was written during Biblical times. One source, Richard and Catherine Clark Kroeger, (2) points out that:

    During the 6th century BCE, the word usually meant “to initiate or be responsible for a murder.”
    During the 3rd century CE, it meant to fraudulently “claim ownership of property,” or to “usurp power.” The latter is the meaning that most Biblical translators chose. But that meaning was centuries in the future when 1 Timothy was being written.
    When 1 Timothy was written, the most common meaning was “to be, or claim to be the author or the originator” of  something.
    To further confuse matters, the Greek word  “hesuchia” had many similar meanings: “silence, “harmony,” “peace,” “conformity” or “agreement.”

    Substituting the correct 1st century meaning for the Greek word “authentein,” and using an alternative meaning for “hesuchia” the passage would go something like:

    “I am not allowing a woman to teach or to proclaim herself [to be] the originator of man; she must conform [to scripture and church teaching]. For it was Adam who was first formed and then Eve. Adam was not deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became the sinner”
    Marriage is mutual
    Kephale is source the source of
    Every husband is his wife.
    Ephes. 5:21-32

    Head:Kephale

    Subject to:hupotassomai

    Love:Agapao

    Hupotassomai is to voluntar­ily subject

    Agapao is love but more attitude.

    Like

  20. Romans 1:26-27 is one of the few Bible passages commonly used to condemn homosexuality. But, unlike the other “clobber passages” (as they’ve come to be called), this is the only passage in the entire Bible that condemns both male-male and female-female sexual activity. As such, it’s the only one that can, in any way consistent with its language, be legitimately interpreted as condemning same-sex sexual activity in any general or universal way. But, just because an interpretation is legitimate does not mean that it is correct. Consequently, the passage still requires careful and thoughtful deliberation.

    So, let’s dive right in and see just what this passage is about.

    For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: [27] And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet.”
    Romans 1:26-27

    The language couldn’t be more clear. Both male-male and female-female sexual activity were condemned as vile, against nature (unnatural), and unseemly. Not only were the activities condemned, but the assertion of their appropriate punishment (“recompense… which was meet”)—which is often interpreted as sexually transmitted diseases—reinforces just how bad these activities were considered.

    As apparent as the language of this passage may seem, however, it behooves us to consider the textual and cultural contexts within which these verses reside. We’ll then be in a much better position to interpret and apply the language of the verses in a manner most consistent with their original intent.

    The best way to begin is to examine the greater textual context for clues as to what brought on this serious condemnation of same-sex activity. Was it just a random thought that Paul wanted to be sure to address, or what it a part of a bigger discourse on some other issue? To answer these questions, we’ll begin with verse 18, and read through until the end of the chapter. I do, however, encourage you to read the entire chapter when time permits.

    “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; [19] Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. [20] For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: [21] Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. [22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, [23] And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. [24] Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: [25] Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. [26] For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: [27] And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. [28] And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; [29] Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, [30] Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, [31] Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: [32] Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
    Romans 1:18-32

    By considering verses 26-27 in isolation from their surrounding context, we could easily make the mistake of believing that the subject of his message was homosexuality. In fact, this was not the case. When homosex sexual intercourse was mentioned, it was specifically related to his message concerning people who were thwarting the revelation of God by engaging in idolatrous practices.

    In verse 18, Paul transitioned into a discussion about a certain group of people against whom God’s wrath was revealed. He described the effects of their sin in verses 19-22, and then identified the group in verses 23 and 25. He was speaking about idolaters—people who changed the glory of God into fashioned images that resembled men and animals. These images are called idols, and it is from the worship of these idols that we get the word “idolatry”. And the worship of idols was exactly what the people Paul was referring to engaged in (v. 25).

    Now that we’ve determined the context of Paul’s statement, we’re in a much better position to interpret and apply his words in a manner consistent with the original intent. Ultimately, the accurate interpretation boils down to the answer to a simple question: Does Paul’s condemnation of homosex sexual acts in verses 26-27 apply to any such acts in general (a moral pronouncement that is universally applicable), or does it only apply to such acts engaged in within the socio-religious framework of idolatry?

    Most people will be quick to answer this question one way or the other, depending on where they already fall in their theological beliefs concerning homosexuality. They’ll choose to interpret the passage in a manner consistent with their existing beliefs. But, such an approach won’t serve us here because rather than looking to validate existing beliefs, we want to allow Scripture to speak for itself. Consequently, we have to look into the text itself to see if it provides any hints as to the answer to this pertinent question.

    First, it’s important to acknowledge that a surface-level reading of the text can easily justify either conclusion. On one hand, the subject of Paul’s discourse is idolatry, not sexuality. The homosex sexual acts are only an extension of the idolatrous practices that are at the heart of the matter. As a result, a case can be made that homosex sexual acts engaged in outside of the realm of idolatrous worship would not fall within the scope of Paul’s condemnation.

    But on the other hand, a case can also be made that although it’s clear that the subject of Paul’s message is idolatry, the homosex sexual acts that extended from that idolatry were still described in language that indicates a divine perspective on the acts themselves, whether idolatry is involved or not. In fact, vile (v. 26), against nature/unnatural (vs. 26 and 27), and unseemly (v. 27) were all words Paul used to describe the acts themselves, not the idolatry that they found their source in.

    Such interpretational problems are a perfect case in point. Scripture is not to be used to validate doctrine. Rather, we should use it to formulate doctrine (2Timothy 3:16). If we start off reading a passage with an absolute certainty of what it means, it is ever-so-easy to read into the text a validation of those beliefs—whether the text itself actually supports those beliefs or not. I strongly encourage you to remain mindful of this when engaging in biblical study, especially when it involves issues with implications as serious as those surrounding sexual orientation.

    So, which of these interpretations is correct? The only way a certain answer can be derived is by examining the text itself, as well as related passages, for clues. One very important rule of interpretation is that Scripture interprets Scripture. Let’s employ this rule and determine exactly what Paul is condemning.

    The first thing that must be acknowledged is that the subject of this passage was, indeed, idolatry, not sexuality. Not only is this borne out by the verses preceding verses 26-27, but also, Paul made an explicit link between the idolatry that was his subject matter and the homosex sexual activity. In verses 23-24, Paul identified these people as idolaters (verse 23) and then said, “wherefore” (or “therefore”) in relation to God giving them up to sexual uncleanness (verse 24). Clearly, he was saying that their same-sex sexual acts were a result of their idolatry.

    This isn’t where the connection ends, though. It’s interesting that people love to read verse 26 in isolation from verse 25; yet the very beginning of verse 26 states, “For this cause” (or “for this reason”). Well, for what reason? Seeing that God gave them over to “vile affections” (which were identified as same-sex sexual affections), what exactly was the reason? Was it because they were born that way? Was it because they were molested during adolescence? What exactly was the reason these people engaged in same-sex sexual activity? Well, if we back up to verse 25, we discover the reason. Paul explicitly told us that they “changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.” Again, Paul identified idolatry as the cause of their same-sex sexual activity.

    So then, the first thing we must drill into our minds is that Paul looked at these sexual acts through a specific lens. It wasn’t the lens of whether someone is born gay. It wasn’t even the lens of whether they become gay because of upbringing or traumatic sexual experiences during childhood development. He wasn’t even talking about sexual experimentation or feelings that just seem to develop over time. He was specifically talking about sexual activity being engaged in as a direct result of idolatry. To deny this explicit link to idolatry is to deny the language that God saw fit to inspire Paul to use, not once (in verses 23-24), but twice (also in verses 25-26).

    In fact, we find this connection to idolatry emphasized a third time in this passage. Immediately after Paul condemned the sexual activity in verses 26-27, he once again stated that God’s judgment was a result of their idolatry. In verse 28, he said, “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind…” If you look at other common translations, it reads something like, “And because they did not…” or as “Since they did not…” Again, this judgment was not the result of the sexual activity. It was the result of their idolatry. Because they rejected the worship of the one true God, God gave them over.

    The obvious question is: Why was their homosex sexual activity an extension of idolatry? What was it about the context of their sexual acts that connected them to idolatry in so explicit a way as to make Paul draw this connection not once or twice, but three times? I’m telling you… If we fail to consider this link, we will fail to properly interpret this passage.

    Before considering this link, however, let’s examine the words Paul used to describe the sexual activity itself. Let’s determine whether or not Paul’s description of the activity as vile, against nature, and unseemly is subject to the activity’s relation to idolatry, or if it describes the activity irrespective of its context within idolatrous custom.

    Term Greek Transliteration Meaning
    vile atimias Strong’s G819 – infamy, that is, (subjectively) comparative indignity, (objectively) disgrace: – dishonour, reproach, shame, vile
    against nature para phusin Strong’s G3844/G5449 – beyond or opposed to native disposition, constitution or usage
    unseemly aschêmosunên Strong’s G808 – an indecency
    Two of these Greek words—atimias and aschemosunen—have meanings that are apparently subjective. For example, the World War II attack on Pearl Harbor is infamous in American history, but likely famous in Japanese history. Likewise, what is considered disgraceful, dishonorable, shameful or indecent is subject to the particular culture within which the acts involved are perceived. It is disgraceful, for instance, to show one’s back to a ruler in many monarchistic societies, whereas such a thing is not given a second thought in the United States.

    Not so obviously subjective is the meaning of para phusin—beyond or opposed to native disposition, constitution or usage. At face value, it seems almost certainly objective. Still, it would serve us well to consider other biblical usages of these terms. If we cannot be absolutely certain of their objectivity or subjectivity by considering this isolated usage, a wider perspective of the biblical writers’ use of these terms (with special emphasis on Pauline usage) will almost certainly indicate whether or not his description is subject to the society in which he lived.

    Let’s start with atimia—translated as “vile” in verse 26. Does Paul use the term elsewhere in Scripture in a subjective way?

    “Doth not even nature [phusis] itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame [atimia] unto him?”
    1Corinthians 11:14

    In this passage, Paul actually uses two of our terms—phusis (the root of phusin) and atimia. We’d be hard-pressed to find a person within the modern Church who believes that this passage establishes a universal principle concerning hair lengths on men. Only in the most legalistic mind would a person believe that God is the least bit concerned with how long a person’s hair is. To the contrary, what He is concerned about in passages such as this one is what long hair on a man represents; and what it represented within the ancient Greco-Roman society (femininity; a rebellion against the prevailing patriarchal social order) is very different from what it represents in modern Western society (absolutely nothing). Consider Native American Christians. Should we demand of them that they cut their hair to a certain length, despite the fact that their ethnic culture has no such stigma on men with long hair?

    When we fail to understand why a command was given in the first place, we can find ourselves applying it to people and situations to which it was never intended to apply. This may certainly be an easier approach to Scripture—for it doesn’t require a person to think beyond what they read on the page—but it certainly isn’t the way to honorably approach God’s word, which can only maintain its holiness and efficacy if applied in a manner consistent with its original intent.

    Let’s take our examination a step further. As with every language, Greek is not absolutely precise. People often employ synonyms in different contexts, although the overall point being made is the same. So, although Paul used both atimia and phusis in 1Co. 11, does he describe culturally subjective things in Scripture using synonyms of these words, or of aschemosunen (unseemly, indecent)? Actually, he does.

    Judge in yourselves: is it comely [prepon (G4241) – suitable, proper, fitting, becoming] that a woman pray unto God uncovered?”
    1Corinthians 11:13

    Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame [aischron (G149) – a lack of decorum] for women to speak in the church.”
    1Corinthians 14:34-35

    It’s clear that Paul certainly used these words in a manner reflective of the culture within which he lived. Consequently, the application of his descriptions would necessarily have to reflect changes within those cultural perceptions.

    Even Paul’s appeal to nature in Romans 1:26-27 does not necessarily indicate a divine pronouncement, or some type of universal principle. We certainly don’t consider his appeal to nature in 1Co. 11:14 as a universal, divine pronouncement concerning hair lengths on men (and, considering verse 15, hair lengths on women).

    Since it cannot be our default belief that homosex sexual activity is still “vile”, “against nature”, or “unseemly”—seeing as Paul used the same (and synonymous) words to describe culturally subjective things elsewhere in Scripture—we have to consider why he said what he said. Uncovering his purpose in describing the acts the way he did will help us determine whether or not the description still applies.

    This is where the textual and cultural context is vitally important. It is only through understanding Paul’s socio-religious location, as well as the overall argument he was making in this passage of Scripture, that we will be able to properly apply his words within the modern socio-religious context—a context that is substantially different than the one Paul originally addressed.

    We’ve already determined that the textual context dealt not with human sexuality but with idolatry. Paul’s language in the text expressly indicates that the sexual activity being condemned was absolutely an extension of the idolatrous worship that was the subject of his discourse. Remember that he, three times, connected the judgment of God in relation to the sexual activity to their idolatry. He said, “wherefore/therefore”, “for this cause/reason”, and “as they did not/because they did not”. The sexual activity cannot be considered in isolation from the idolatry that it resulted from. To do so would be to detach verses 26-27 from their context, thereby twisting God’s word.

    Now, I previously raised the question of why Paul would state three times that the sexual activity these people engaged in resulted from idolatry. The answer to this question is very easily found by considering the culture within which Paul lived (Greco-Roman), and the particular people to whom he addressed his epistle (the Romans).

    From the cultural perspective, the ancient Greco-Roman world was known for its open sexuality. One mustn’t dig deep into history to discover that the Greco-Romans engaged in activities as sexually liberal as temple prostitution and orgies, particularly in religious contexts associated with the worship of the Roman god, Bacchus (called Dionysus by the Greeks). Considering the textual association of the same-sex sexual acts with idolatry, it is almost certain that this type of cultic sexual activity was what he was referring to. To his Jewish eyes, such acts were directly associated with idolatrous worship, and had been considered so for almost 1,500 years (22:1-8, 13). The fact that those within his culture who engaged in the activity often did so within the framework of their idolatrous beliefs only cemented his view that those acts were vile, unnatural, and unseemly.

    It was the activity’s association with the idolatrous Greco-Roman society that colored Paul’s view of the acts in general. As far as he was concerned, all same-sex sexual acts were a symptom of idolatry—much like we consider the swastika or burning cross hateful, even though it is actually what they represent that is what’s hateful. Still, when we see such things, we don’t stop and think, What’s the context here? The images immediately invoke a certain negative reflexive emotion. As a Black man, I have the same revulsion at the very sight of the Confederate flag , which some people still don’t seem to understand.

    Following this logic, it is not only appropriate but vital to proper hermeneutics (methods of interpretation) to consider the association of the images described when determining whether the description is relevant or applicable to our modern society. Is same-sex sexual activity still deeply intertwined with idolatrous culture and/or worship? The answer is: Absolutely not. As is the case with heterosexuality, there are certainly homosexuals who are not Christians, and some who likely subscribe to idolatrous beliefs (worshiping images and icons); however, no sincere person can possibly conclude that homosexuality has anything to do with idolatry within the modern world. Even the most ardent opponents of homosexuality don’t immediately think “idolater” when they think “homosexual”. Instead, they likely think, “Nasty bastard!” No one is imagining homosexuals bowing to a statue of Bacchus, yet that’s precisely what Paul envisioned when condemning same-sex sexual activity in Romans 1.

    This is not a guess by Pastor Weekly. Three times, Paul explicitly linked the sexual activity (and God’s releasing them unto it) to their idolatry. These were not people who were faithful servants of Christ. These were not people who had committed their lives to serving Christ and who never bowed to another god. These were not people who wanted lifelong, monogamous (marital) relationships with people of the same-sex, based on inner attractions having absolutely nothing to do with idolatry. These were idolaters, plain and simple, and the sex they engaged in was prompted by their idolatry. Such is absolutely not the case in modern society, and it certainly isn’t the case when it comes to gay Christians, who would sooner die than worship someone or something other than the Lord Jesus!

    Now, I understand that people can sincerely read verses 26-27 and misinterpret them. They can even read the greater context and miss the links Paul made and the reason he made those links simply because they’re reading into the text what they’ve been taught down through the years. Still, in the here and now, we have to make a decision. Either we’ll let the text speak to us afresh, or we’ll cling to that old rugged doctrine. Either we’ll accept the fact that Paul clearly condemned this sexual activity within the context of idolatry, or we’ll continue to consider these passages an everlasting condemnation of homosexuality in general, directly contradicting the inspired language of the text itself, as well as an objective consideration of the culture that prompted the language.

    Taking into account all that we have considered, it would be wholly inappropriate to hold modern people to Paul’s ancient worldview. While he rightly condemned the activity he witnessed within the idolatrous Greco-Roman culture—much like I, as a pastor, might condemn the inverted pentagram, swastika, and other images or acts associated with evil things within our society—that condemnation is now wholly obsolete because the sexual activity is no longer culturally intertwined with and representative of idolatry, and it most certainly is not being engaged in by people as an extension of idolatrous beliefs or practices. Applying it to 21st century humanity is as ridiculous as condemning a modern woman for wanting to wear her hair short (1Co. 11:15), which, regrettably, a few fringe churches still do—God help us!

    Like

  21. The vice lists of the apostle Paul are two passages most commonly used by opponents of affirming theology in their condemnation of homosexuality. At face value, most English translations certainly seem to back up their assertion that homosexuality is condemned in Scripture; but as we have seen with the previous examinations in this series, face value has too often led to misinterpretations and misapplications of Scripture. So, let’s reexamine these vice lists in detail and determine whether or not Paul is, in fact, condemning homosexuality (as an orientation) and/or same-sex sexual activity.

    “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [malakoi], nor abusers of themselves with mankind [arsenokoitai],  [10]  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”
    1Corinthians 6:9-10

    “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,  [10]  For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind [arsenokoitais], for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine”
    1Timothy 1:9-10

    In this installment, we’re going to examine two passages in conjunction with one another. As with Lev. 18:22 and 20:13, these passages so closely mirror one another that it makes sense to consider them together.

    As you can see, there are two terms present that are often used by Christians to condemn homosexuals and/or homosexuality—malakoi in 1Co. 6, and arsenokoitai(s) in both passages. While it’s to the entire Church’s benefit to ensure that the traditional translation and interpretation of these terms is accurate, it’s especially important for those who have same-sex sexual attractions to know precisely what Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is condemning here. Consequently, we will reexamine the traditional translations and interpretations to see if, in fact, they are consistent with Paul’s intentions.

    Because arsenokoitai(s) is used in both passages, we’ll begin there. It’s important to note right out of the starting gate that arsenokoitai is an exceedingly uncommon term. In fact, many scholars believe that Paul coined the term because there’s no evidence in any ancient documents that the term was used before Paul’s usage.

    Let’s start by examining how the most common English translations render this obscure term.

    Version Translation (1Co. 6:9) Translation (1Ti. 1:10)
    KJV abusers of themselves with mankind them that defile themselves with mankind
    NKJV sodomites sodomites
    NIV homosexual offenders perverts
    NASB homosexuals homosexuals
    AMP those who participate in homosexuality those who abuse themselves with men
    NLT those who… practice homosexuality people… who practice homosexuality
    CEV one who… behaves like a homosexual people… who live as homosexuals
    NCV men who have sexual relations with other men people… who have sexual relations with people of the same sex
    HCS homosexuals homosexuals
    ESV combined with malakoi as “men who practice homosexuality” (footnotes as “the passive and active partners in consenual homosexual acts”) men who practice homosexuality
    YLT sodomites sodomites

    For the most part, this word has been translated consistently from one version to another, and from one passage to another; but there are a few very important exceptions. Before considering them, it’s important to note that these two passages are the only places in the Bible where arsonokoitai(s) is used. So, the fact that these exceptions exist is quite telling in relation to how sure the translators were in deriving the accurate translation of this word.

    The New International Version translates arsenokoitai(s) as “homosexual offenders” in 1Co. 6:9, but as the very general term, “perverts”, in 1Ti. 1:10. Now, I’m sure that some Christians are content to consider these terms synonyms; but such a conclusion does not suffice a serious student of Scripture. I was recently told by a friend who worked in a hospital of a young girl who was brought in, pregnant with the child of her grandfather. This filthy man certainly qualifies as a pervert, so is that the type of person Paul was condemning; and if so, should the word have been translated as pervert in 1Co. 6:9, as well, rather than as “homosexual offenders”? Which interpretation is correct; and with such a serious inconsistency, why should we trust either NIV translation?

    The Amplified Bible provides a similar inconsistency. It translates arsenokoitai(s) as both “those who participate in homosexuality”, as well as “those who abuse themselves with men”. But, how is the reader to know what kind of “abuse” Paul is referring to? Don’t female prostitutes abuse themselves with men? As with the NIV, we’re left to wonder which translation is accurate, and what basis we have to believe either one.

    Also, the New Century Version has a gender ambiguity between the two passages. In one, only male-male sex is condemned (similar to what we saw in Lev. 18:22 and 20:13). In the other, all same-sex sexual activity is condemned. Now, this may not seem like a pertinent distinction to the casual reader; but to someone who is after the truth, and especially to someone to whom these condemnations would apply, I think the ambiguity is, at the very least, just cause for a deeper examination.

    A final problem with the way these translations render our term is that from one translation to another, they can’t seem to agree on whether those with a same-sex sexual orientation (homosexuals) are being condemned, or only those who engage in same-sex sexual activity. Once again, we see a distinction that, quite regrettably, wouldn’t concern many Christians, but which is more than concerning for those of us who are gay, and for those of us (despite sexual orientation) who do not want to unjustly terrorize or condemn people for being who they are. While such a consideration should apply to every Christian, it’s an unfortunate reality that it most certainly does not.

    The most disappointing part of this is the fact that the vast majority of Christians have no idea what the Greek term actually is, or where else it was used in Scripture. All they know is what’s printed on the pages of their Bibles. They’re trusting that what they’re reading is accurate; and as we can see, that’s not always the case. Even when a single word is translated only twice in the entire Bible, the translation isn’t always consistent. Yet, we’re told to simply trust the “scholars” because they know the biblical language better than we.

    Rather than putting my confidence in man, I’ll take God’s advice. I’ll “study to shew [myself] approved”, so that I can “rightly [divide] the word of truth” (2Ti. 2:15). I strongly encourage you to do the same.

    Determining the correct translation of arsenokoitai(s) is not as easy as it may seem. One might choose to simply play a numbers game, and conclude that since the majority of common translations render the word “homosexuals”, we should do the same. But, that doesn’t suffice me. Having seen the damage that majority rule has done to the Church time and time again throughout history, I’m inclined to rid myself of the translations offered in the text, and try to construct the proper translation from the ground up. It’s certainly better than putting my trust in scholars who have already demonstrated that they weren’t as absolutely sure about the meaning of this term as so many Christians, by default, believe.

    PLEASE NOTE: My intention here is not to besmirch the work done by linguistic and biblical scholars in the translation of these various Bible versions. I don’t doubt that they worked very hard to provide a translation that was, if nothing else, more than adequate for instruction in the things of God. My intention is only to point out the undeniable inconsistencies and inaccuracies in these translations, not to call into question the credentials or intentions of those who served on the translation committees.

    The first thing that should be considered with regard to this word’s meaning is that arsenokoitai is a compound word. Paul combines the Greek word for male (arsen) with the word bed (koitus), which is often used as a euphemism for sex, as the verb form of “bed” is used in English. So, the constituent words of arsenokoitai can be translated as meaning “those who have sex with men” or “men who have sex”. Most likely, what is meant is those who have sex with men, male-bedders, as it were.

    PLEASE NOTE: The meaning of a compound word cannot always be derived by examining the meaning of its constituent words. For example, a hallmark is not a mark in a hall. A butterfly is not a stick of butter that flies. A ladykiller is not a person who kills ladies, nor a lady who kills people.

    But, we have to derive a more precise meaning for this term; because even if male-bedder is an accurate generic simplification of this term, it’s not specific enough to be helpful in interpreting Paul’s intended target. For example, heterosexual wives are male-bedders. Is it Paul’s intention to condemn them, as well? It’s obvious that a more precise meaning must be derived. What type of male bedder is being condemned?

    Under most circumstances, the context of a difficult word would give us enough clues to ascertain its meaning. It’s a lesson we learned in reading class. Now, at first glance, we might get a little discouraged when looking at the context of arsenokoitai(s) in these two passages because both passages contain seemingly arbitrary lists of sinful activities. However, let’s not form that conclusion too quickly.

    In 1Timothy, Paul grouped the terms in his vice list in such a way as to provide just enough clues to derive the target of “male-bedders” with absolute precision and certainty—and we’d better thank God for this, otherwise we’d have to relegate ourselves to a “best guess”, as so many of our English translations erroneously did.

    Think about grouping like this… When I’m preparing to go grocery shopping, I often group my items together so that when I’m in the store, I can find what I’m looking for more quickly. I group all of the dairy products together, all of the meats, all of the vegetables, etc. That way, I don’t have to search my list when I arrive in a particular section of the store, nor do I have to keep going back and forth when I come across another product that I forget to get while I was in a particular section.

    Paul uses this very same tactic when addressing his vices in 1Ti. 1:9-10. By examining these groups, we can discern the proper meaning of arsenokoitai(s) once and for all.

    “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,  [10]  For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind [arsenokoitais], for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine”
    1Timothy 1:9-10

    Grouping Analysis
    Terms Type of Group
    lawless and disobedient synonyms for lawbreakers
    ungodly and sinners synonyms for people who transgress God’s word
    unholy and profane synonyms for the sacrilegious; those who dishonor the sacred
    murderers of fathers/mothers, and manslayers related terms; types of killers
    whoremongers [pornois],
    male-bedders [arsenokoitais], and
    menstealers [andropodistais] (we’ll examine the connection below)
    liars and perjured persons synonyms for people who speak untruths

    As you can see, Paul clearly grouped his terms together. Consequently, the question we have to ask ourselves is: What do whores, “male-bedders”, and menstealers have in common? If we can answer this question, we can be fairly certain that we’ve found the definition of arsenokoitais.

    Obviously, since we don’t know what type of male-bedders are being condemned—nor do we even know for certain that arsenokoitai(s) can be properly broken apart into its constituent words—we need to focus on finding the link between whores and menstealers first. Then, we’ll be in a better position to discover the role that male-bedders play in this group.

    The word translated “menstealers” in the KJV, andropodistais, is translated in other common translations as kidnappers and slave traders. So, we’re basically looking at people who forcibly exploit others, usually for financial gain. Now, the fact that whores (prostitutes) are being condemned in this group indicates that the type of exploitation being spoken of here is sexual exploitation.

    So, we have Paul condemning both prostitutes, and those who exploit them for financial gain. Considering modern prostitution, it takes only a small awareness of the industry to quickly identify those who exploit prostitutes. We call them pimps.

    Seeing that Paul is, indeed, condemning the participants in a prostitution ring—considering that he condemned both the prostitutes, as well as those who profit from their exploitation—we have to ask one more simple question: Who is the third player in a prostitution ring? Quite obviously, the industry would not exist if it were not for one of its more important players—the customer! So, in this 3-player group in which prostitution is condemned, Paul condemns the prostitutes (pornois), the pimps (andropodistais), and those who “bed” the prostitutes—the customers (arsenokoitais).

    Some believe that male-male prostitution, specifically, is what’s actually being condemned here. This is certainly possible when we consider the culture Paul lived in. Pederasty—the sometimes forced sexual relationship between an older and a younger person—most often took a male-on-male form in ancient Greco-Roman culture. So, it’s perfectly consistent with the cultural environment to conclude that Paul was condemning male-male pederastic prostitution. The inconsistency comes into play once we take it upon ourselves to translate and/or interpret this passage as in any way condemning homosexuality in general. Such a leap would be as abusive of the text as seeing a condemnation of opposite-sex prostitution and translating or interpreting it as a condemnation of heterosexuality!

    As with arsenokoitai(s), the first thing we need to do is determine whether a reexamination of the meaning of malakoi is justified. Is there sufficient cause to question the translation of this term? To answer this question, we’ll do the same thing we did with arsenokoitai(s)—compare the ways our modern English translations render this term.

    Version Translation
    KJV effeminate
    NKJV homosexuals (footnoted as “catamites”)
    NIV male prostitutes
    NASB effeminate (footnoted as “effeminate by perversion”)
    AMP combined with arsenokoitai as “those who participate in homosexuality”
    NLT male prostitutes
    CEV pervert
    NCV male prostitutes
    HCS male prostitutes
    ESV combined with arsenokoitai as “men who practice homosexuality” (footnoted as “the passive and active partners in consenual homosexual acts”)
    YLT effeminate

    It doesn’t take long to realize that a reexamination the translation of malakoi is more than called for. Contrary to what many people would have us believe, it’s exceedingly obvious that the translators were not sure of the proper translation of this term within this context.

    Out of the 11 translations considered, 4 completely different terms are used:

    effeminate (KJV, NASB, YLT)
    some variation of homosexuals, either by orientation or activity (NKJV, AMP, ESV)
    male prostitutes (NIV, NLT, NCV, HCS)
    perverts (CEV)
    Excuse my candor, but this is absolutely ridiculous. These translations are all over the place. In just 11 translations, the word was translated in four completely different ways. That’s an average of a different translation for every two Bible versions. If we made a distinction between the condemnation of “homosexuals” and the condemnation of “homosexual activity” we’d have to add yet another variant translation. If there were ever evidence that a word’s translation requires reexamination, this is it!

    Unlike arsenokoitais, malakoi was used elsewhere in Scripture, which allows us to take into consideration its usage in a non-list context. In Matt. 11:8 and Luke 7:25, it (malakois) was used to describe John the Baptist’s clothing. It was translated as “soft” in these verses.

    The root word, malakos, actually means soft or feminine. Think of its usage in the gospels as referring to soft apparel, which may seem feminine, like silk. From this perspective, “effeminate” is a fairly accurate rendering of the term in 1Co. 6, in a literal sense. Still, it doesn’t really convey the specific way in which Paul used it. For example, was he intending to condemn anything soft, like the aforementioned clothing worn by John the Baptist? As we had to do with male-bedder, we have to try to identify the specific type of femininity that is being condemned here; for example, all women are, by definition, feminine in one way or another, and we certainly don’t want to think Paul was condemning them.

    Now, we saw in the 1Ti. 1 vice list that Paul grouped his terms together. While there’s no evidence that he did the same in 1Co. 6, the fact that malakoi appears in conjunction with arsenokoitai may lead us to the proper translation of the word.

    In fact, it does! Considering that arsenokoitai(s) refers to the customers of prostitutes, it makes perfect sense that Paul would also condemn the prostitutes themselves whenever he condemns their customers. Indeed, as was the case in 1Co. 6, it makes sense that he would condemn the prostitutes before he condemned their customers.

    Think about modern styles of speech. If I was pastoring a church and condemning certain behavior in a particular sermon, I wouldn’t say, “The customers of prostitutes, and also prostitutes are in sin.” What I would say is, “Prostitutes and their customers are in sin.” The primary subject in such a consideration is the prostitute. Their customers are an extension of them; so it makes sense that in both 1Co. 6 and 1Ti. 1, Paul would condemn prostitutes before he’d condemn their customers—and that’s exactly what he did.

    Unlike the English translations’ renderings of arsenokoitai(s) (in which every single translation got it wrong), 7 versions got the translation of malakoi correct (even if not precise), including the KJV, NASB, and YLT (which correctly, albeit imprecisely rendered the term “effeminate”), as well as the NIV, NLT, NCV, and HCS (which more accurately rendered the term “male prostitutes”).

    Now, if you’re thinking through this information critically, your next question is likely, Why would Paul refer to male prostitutes by calling them feminine? The answer is found in the type of male-male prostitution Paul was likely condemning—pederasty. The prostitutes were always younger boys, even prepubescent. They would certainly be considered feminine, not only in that they would take the submissive role sexually, but also in that their prepubescent skin was smooth and “soft” (malakos), their voices higher, and their mannerisms not markedly macho.

    Without a doubt, the terms often translated as having something to do with homosexuality, malakoi and arsenokoitai(s), actually have nothing to do with it (in any general sense). To the contrary, what is condemned in these passages is pederastic prostitution, which, although male-male in nature, cannot be seen as in any way analogous to homosexuality in general. Paul was condemning behavior that was familiar to himself and to his readers, and it’s exceedingly unfortunate that our modern English translations have not faithfully preserved his words.

    Often hailed as one of the smoking guns of antigay theology, these two Pauline vice lists are an ever-present reminder of the dire need to engage in study before making a theological pronouncement. What’s so sad is that the lists in and of themselves are actually fairly straight-forward. Rather than Paul’s words being the problem, it’s the translation of his words that has held the Church captive to ignorance for so long. But, in the words of Jesus Christ, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free!”

    Leviticus contains two of the most oft-quoted passages dealing with homosexuality. Their language is clear, their prescribed penalty severe, making them the perfect weapon to use in establishing homosexuality as one of, if not the most horrible sin one can commit against God. But, rather than make assumptions about the text, we’ll determine the proper interpretation and application of these two well-known, yet often misunderstood verses. We’re examining them together in one study because they are so similar in content, as well as context. Indeed, they’re practically a repetitive emphasis of the self-same command.

    Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” – Leviticus 18:22
    If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” – Leviticus 20:13
    In relatively recent years, the common interpretation of these two passages has been brought into question. The Hebrew word-arrangement in the verses is quite weird (for lack of a better term), leading to multiple alternative translations.

    Hebrew Transliteration of 18:22: Ve’et zachar lo tishkav mishkevey ishah to’evah hi.

    Literal Translation: And with a male you shall not lay lyings of a woman. It is an abomination (detestable).

    As this literal translation demonstrates, the language of the text is anything but absolutely clear. While it may seem obvious to some on the surface, it can be interpreted in a few substantially different ways. For example:

    Possible Interpretation #1: And with a male you shall not lay as the lyings of a woman, which can indicate that what’s being condemned is male-male penetrative sex (a male having sex with another man as he would with a woman).

    Possible Interpretation #2: And with a male you shall not lay as the lyings of a woman, which can also indicate that what’s being condemned is heterosexual males engaging in male-male penetrative sex (a male having sex with another man as he would normally have sex with a woman).

    Possible Interpretation #3: And with a male you shall not lay in the lyings of a woman, indicating that what’s being condemned is male-male sex within a woman’s bed.

    What is obvious is that these two passages are condemning male-male sexual intercourse in some way. What is not so obvious is whether all male-male sexual intercourse is being condemned, or simply that which is committed in a certain way (e.g. by a heterosexual male, or in a woman’s bed).

    Unfortunately, there is no way to derive the proper translation based on the Hebrew words alone. We’re going to have to yield to a logical review of the text in order to discern which translation makes the most sense within the cultural and textual context.

    Beginning at verse 6 and continuing to verse 20, a veritable laundry list of sexual acts are prohibited. In the parallel passage in chapter 20, the context also includes various sexual proscriptions. I don’t think that any sincere inquisitor subscribes to the notion that these various and sundry proscriptions are anything but universal in their intent. For example, no reasonable student of Scripture would conclude that incest is only being condemned within a limited context or scope.

    Given the universal condemnation of other sexual activity in the previous verses, the rule of interpretational consistency leads me to believe that this verse is saying exactly what it appears to be saying—that under any and all circumstances, male-male penetrative sex is to be condemned.

    Although we now have an understanding of what these two verses are saying, it’s exceedingly important that we do not stop there. A grand mistake Christians make in interpreting a particular verse is in failing to realize that interpretation is only half of the task. When we fail to seek out why a particular command of Scripture is given, we run the risk of obeying or applying the command in a manner that is inconsistent with its original intent.

    Consider the example of hair lengths. In 1Co. 11:14-15, the apostle Paul states that it’s shameful for a man to have long hair. He also implies in verse 15 that it’s inappropriate for a woman to have short hair. Those who fail to understand why these things are said regarding hair lengths would mistakenly apply these proscriptions to modern Christians, despite the fact that they are wholly obsolete!

    You see, hair lengths meant something to the world/culture Paul lived in and addressed that it doesn’t mean to us today. Long hair on a man symbolized culturally undesirable feminine qualities in a way that it no longer does. In addition, we no longer view women as property or subservient people who need a “covering” (a symbolic representation of her submission to patriarchal authority). As the world changed, so did the application of these proscriptions, which, although not obvious from the verse itself, contain a socio-religious worldview—applicable in its own place and time, but not in ours.

    This potential to misapply properly translated and properly interpreted passages is why it’s so important to ponder what we read—to consider not only what it says, but also why it says it. It’s essential that we apply this rule to our examination of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.

    The key to getting a fuller picture of the intent of a passage is to consider the cultural and textual context within which it is written. These verses in Leviticus were recorded during a time when the children of Israel were in grave danger of falling into idolatry. Not only had they mischievously exported idolatrous beliefs and practices after their deliverance from enslavement in Egypt (remember the golden calf they made while camped at the foot of Mount Sinai—Ex. 32), but they were also in danger of adopting the idolatrous beliefs of the Canaanite people, where God was bringing them to.

    God expressed this concern at the beginning of each respective chapter where these proscriptions are found.

    And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, [2] Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the LORD your God. [3] After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances. [4] Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God. [5] Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.” – Leviticus 18:1-5
    And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  [2]  Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones.  [3]  And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.  [4]  And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not:  [5]  Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.  [6]  And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.  [7]  Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.  [8]  And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you.” – Leviticus 20:1-8
    [all emphases mine]

    In both of the relevant chapters, God expressly laid out His reasons for the proscriptions that would follow; and in both chapters, those reasons are ultimately identical. He desired for His people to be culturally and religiously separated from the world around them. He didn’t want them exporting Egyptian idolatry, or assimilating into the socio-religious culture of the Canaanites. They were His people, and the best way for that to be demonstrated was for them to maintain complete separation from the world/cultures around them.

    This explains why only male-male sex was condemned, not female-female sex. Homosexuality (or more precisely, same-sex sexual intercourse) was not being condemned in these passages. What was being condemned was activity that was taking place within the idolatrous cultures of Egypt and/or Canaan. Within the idolatrous worship beliefs and practices of these cultures, men would have sexual intercourse with the male priests of the idol temples (who were often eunuchs) as an act of worship, for the intercourse symbolized the coming together of the idol fertility goddes, Astarte, and the fire god, Molech, who was the male counterpart of Astarte. The sexual intercourse was done for the agricultural blessing of the coming years’ harvest—if Molech, the part played by the male worshiper, planted his seed (semen) within the fertility goddess, Astarte, it would promise a good harvest of crops that year.

    Since women did not play a part within this particular cultic worship practice, it perfectly explains why they were not mentioned in these particular passages. Keep in mind that women were mentioned alongside men in the verses preceding and succeeding the verses in question. But, when it came to these specific proscriptions, they were nowhere to be found. This is the only logical interpretation of the text, which corresponds perfectly to the overall context of God’s intention to keep the Israelites sanctified (separated from the idolatrous beliefs and practices around them).

    How sure can we be that the proscriptions contained in these two verses (18:22 and 20:13), both of which include proscriptions of male-male sex, are referencing cultic worship rites and not all same-sex sexual activity? Well, first of all, one would have to explain why only male-male sex was condemned, if all same-sex sexual activity was supposedly ungodly in the eyes of God.

    To claim that the textual intent was to imply condemnation of both sexes engaging in same-sex activity is to stretch the text beyond its expressly stated scope. Remember, women were specifically mentioned in proscriptions prior to and after these specific verses. If the intent was to condemn homosexuality in general, we would expect to see both sexes condemned within these particular verses.

    Second, we must remember that God specifically laid out the reasons for these proscriptions in the first few verses of each respective chapter. If we ignore this expressly stated intent, and apply His words more broadly then He originally intended, we will be purposefully twisting Scripture in order to validate our traditional beliefs. I’m not willing to do that. Are you?

    Third, not only did God lay out the intent of the text in the first few verses of each chapter, but the worship of idol gods is clearly within the mind of the author (and Author) within these contexts—for in chapter 18, right in the midst of this list of proscribed sexual acts, child sacrifice unto Molech is also condemned. In fact, the text breaks from a listing of proscribed sexual acts, talks about a specific act of Molech worship, and then condemns male-male sex in the very next verse. Remembering that Scripture was not originally written in verses, it’s clear that this is a flowing thought. It flows from the first verses down through the condemnations of male-male sex, including specific mentions of Molech worship in both chapters (18:21, 20:2-5). Clearly, idol worship is in the mind of the writer.

    So, male-male sexual activity was representative of idolatrous peoples. As such, they served as symbols of cultural similitude that God was trying to avoid in keeping the Israelites sanctified from the world around them. That is why the acts were condemned within this Leviticus context. To maintain the intent of the text is not to twist or disobey Scripture. In fact, it’s the highest means of ensuring that God’s holy word is not abused or misused.

    This is a very legitimate question, and I think that the answer is helpful in ensuring that we continue to apply God’s word in a manner consistent with its intent. Here’s the deal. If I condemn activity within a specific context, it should only be viewed as condemnable within that context. That would mean that none of the condemnations within these contexts should be applied outside of the context of idolatrous socio-religious practices. Where such practices are not culturally steeped in idolatry, it would be inconsistent to apply the proscriptions, including those related to incest and other sexual sins listed in these verses.

    But, that doesn’t automatically mean that the activities proscribed are perfectly okay today. It only means that we must look elsewhere in Scripture to see if the activity should be condemned universally, because these particular verses clearly and only apply to activity engaged in within the socio-religious cultures of idolatrous people.

    As an example, consider racial hate crimes. Now, a law may exist within hate crimes legislation that the murder of an individual for racial reasons is unlawful. Would this mean that murdering someone for non-racial reasons is okay? Of course not! However, we would be forced to look outside of the hate crimes legislation to find legal backing for our case, for those particular provisions are only applicable within a framework of race-based crimes. No court of law would apply the Levitical proscriptions to a modern population, in which idolatrous cultural worship practices are now wholly obsolete (culturally speaking). To do such would be to apply the laws within contexts that they simply do not apply. Secular judges would see this, but studied Bible scholars, pastors, and teachers of Scripture seem to only remember it when the subject isn’t homosexuality!

    We’ve already dealt with the fact that these verses do not apply outside of the context of cultures deeply intertwined with idolatrous activity. However, the reasons behind the inapplicability of these passages do not end there. We also need to consider an important biblical principle that applies to the entire Mosaic Law, and to all the laws contained therein.

    In the apostle Paul’s epistle to the Galatian church, he makes as good a case as can be made regarding a Christian’s relationship to the Mosaic Law. I strongly encourage you to read the entire epistle; but the point of Paul’s teaching was that the Law served a purpose during a specific place and time, and for a specific people. When Christ came and died on the cross, the era of the Law was brought to a conclusion. Every single provision of the Law is now, therefore, null and void, just as much as ancient Egyptian law is null and void in 21st century America.

    The Law was right and good during the time that it was in force; but for a believer in Christ to live under any provision of it is to, by implication, reject the death of Christ—the horrible price He paid in order to free us from bondage to the Law and deliver us into the liberty of the sons of God. Christians who turn to the books of the Law to determine the code by which we should live are guilty of one of the most egregious errors a Christian can commit. In fact, God considers it spiritual adultery for a person to submit to any portion of the obsolete Law.

    “Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?  [2]  For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.  [3]  So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.  [4]  Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.” – Romans 7:1-4
    What makes this error even more treasonous is that the majority of Christians who turn to the Law to prove that homosexuality is a sin are well aware of the fact that we are no longer under the Law (Ro. 6:14). Yet, they ignore this reality in an attempt to validate their beliefs. Such a blatant and purposeful abuse of Scripture is antithetical to what it means to be a follower of Christ, who is, Himself, the living Word. I pray that God calls this error to their attention, so that they can repent of enforcing a Law that Christ died to fulfill and bring to a conclusion.

    Pastor Romell D. Weekly is founder and president of Judah First Ministries, a Christian organization dedicated to the opposition of bigotry and faulty theology in the Christian Church, especially as it relates to homosexuality. He is also the pastor of New Revelation Christian Church, in Saint Louis, Missouri, and author of the life-changing books, Homosexianity and The Rebuttal

    Like

  22. I’ll neither agree or disagree, but I will say that your first point is ridiculous.

    Lot: “Hey, I know you two travelers just arrived into town, had dinner and are now preparing for bed, but this mob of men are outside and are kindly wondering if you would like to go with ALL of them to fornicate anally. So…do ya want to? Don’t worry, dinner can wait.”

    1) You don’t know the attitude of the group of men. You argue they kindly ask if they can “know” the visitors? They “surrounded the house” AFTER dinner…quite late, one might argue. I implore you to try such an experiment- get a group of men, young and old, to surround a house late at night and have them “kindly” ask to have sex with those inside. See whether or not the residents therein feel threatened prior to physical threats. Rape or gang rape, hetero or homo, is wrong and threatening. For you to suggest Lot simply told them it was wicked because of their gender choice makes me question your moral compass. I don’t suppose you would find a problem if they had accepted Lot’s daughters, since according to you it is simply their gender preference that makes it wicked.

    2) You lead with the absolute *weakest* point made in your whole disposition. I understand why – it is easier, perhaps, to address things chronologically- but here “logic” is not at all a part of your analysis.

    3) Ezekial 16:49 tells us the sins of Sodom: “Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.”

    I’m not arguing that your point about homosexuality is wrong- but you left out information that is, perhaps, more important than that which you noted. Homosexuality is *not even mentioned* in this Ezekial verse, making it perhaps not an important enough reason for their destruction as these other acts.

    I’d like to note that Paul ALSO says: “Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak” (1 Cor. 8:9). Your fragmented explanation and analysis is exactly this- a stumbling block. You are not educating people by this post, which isn’t a good interpretation of Sodom and Gomorrah, since you fail to incorporate any other Biblical references to the sins of Sodom. Let’s not reinterpret the Bible, okay?

    Like

  23. Sodom can’t be about homosexuality because enoshe . It mean mortal. It wasn’t only men but all the people in sodom.

    Like

  24. Thanks Angela! I appreciate your posts- mine was addressed to the author of the blog post, I hope that’s clear.

    I’m glad for your information and will follow it up with research of my own. http://www.affirmingtheology.com/1corinthians-69-10-and-1timothy-19-10/

    Like

  25. The word of god don’t lie! God is real I’m a witness of god real word and being gay is a SIN!!

    Like

  26. Look at the Greek and Hebrew. First of all sodm used enshoe it means mortals. It’s not gender specif. Second Leviticus user tobeah meaning taboo.

    Like

  27. But I forgot to say if you repent from the bottom of your heart and turn away from your wicked ways god will forgive you and give you the gift of the holy gost that will guid you to do right without the holy gost we are just flesh an will not enter into haven ACT chapter 2 verce 38!;)

    Like

  28. […] here is a link where they also look at the original text. Does The Bible Say That Homosexuality Is Sin? | Answers From The Book __________________ Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding, […]

    Like

  29. A not entirely unreasonable exegesis as far as it goes. Deserving though of the rejoinder that the Bible is the word of man not of God.

    Like

  30. […] rules, from a variety of Christian sectarian perspectives, can be found here, here, here, and here (these are just Internet samples; on any topic of theology, the best stuff is in books […]

    Like

Share Your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: