Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Bible Says - Homosexuality

Homosexuality

What does the Bible Say?

Each and Every Verse the Text and the Context

The Culture and the History of the Time

(There are only six by the way)

 

Let's start with the big one:  Leviticus 18:22    Do not lie with men as you would with women.

Leviticus 20:13     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 be upon them

In order to understand these verses, one must understand the culture of the time.  In reading the entire chapters, we are told three different times that they were being forbidden to live as the Egyptians and the Canaanites.  Biblical historians will tell you that the Cannanite religion during this time also included sexual rites.  These were done to ask for the blessings of their god.  These sexual rites included whole families; Husbands, wives, cousins, mothers, daughters, nieces and nephews.  Also included in the rites were temple prostitutes.  Every kind of sexual practice was going on when worshiping these gods during this time including homosexual sex.  They felt that having physical contact with the priests of the gods and goddesses would bring them blessings.  Sexual intercourse was felt to gain great favor of the goddess because the male was offering his semen, thought to be the essence of life, to the goddess through the priest.  Depositing semen in the body of the priest was believed to be the way to eternal life.  Similar practices went on during this time in history through out the religion in worship of pagan deities.This is what was going on in Canaan and Egypt at the time the Levitical rules were announced --homosexual temple prostitution. And as already noted, Leviticus 18 and 20 specifically say that they were written to address pagan religious practices.

Leviticus 18 begins (18:3)  You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you...

Leviticus 20 is even more specific even naming the pagan god Molech. 

So these verses which are quoted so often in condemnation of homosexuality, are actually in condemnation of idol, false god pagan practices.

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Sodom and Gomorah in Genesis 19 

For years, this has been used by people to condemn homosexuality.  Let's look at the story a little more closely.  The Bible says that all the men of the city every single one of them both young and old came to Lot's house.  This is very telling.  The most "gay" city in the United States is arguably San Fransisco.  Yet, in this very "gay" city, less than half of the men are gay.  It stands to reason that if the Bible was talking about homosexuals, perhaps it would have been worded that "certain men of the city" or even "many men of Sodom".  It is not.  It says that every single one of the men and boys .... all of them to the very last man came to Lot's house.  To suggest that every single man in Sodom and Gomorrah was a homosexual is simply not credible.  From where did the children come if this was so.  I believe that something other than homosexual desire was going on here.  This is further proved accurate by Lot himself.  He offers his daughters, his virgin daughters to the men of Sodom and Gomorrah.  If these men were truly homosexual, what was Lot trying to accomplish here.  Lot knew the men at his door and knew them to be predominately heterosexual (his actions are reprehensible) which is why he offered his daughters. 

From ancient records, we know that at the time, the practice of the people of Sodom and of all the people of the area was to use rape of men by men to humiliate them.  "When victorious soldiers wanted to break the spirit of their defeated enemies, they would 'treat them like women'".  This is a story of mob violence, not of homosexual desire. 

So if homosexuality was not the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah, what was it that caused God to rain fire and brimstone.  Well, once again, the Bible has the answers to this.  The Bible itself tells us that it was not homosexuality that caused God to destroy these two cities.  The Bible mentions Sodom and Gomorrah twenty times in later scriptures and NONE of them states that their sin was homosexuality.   In the book of Ezekiel we find probably the most extensive references to Sodom and Gomorrah.  Ezekiel 16:49 & 50  This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.  They were haughty and did abominable things before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it.

According to the Old Testament prophets, the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was the fact that they behaved with "callous indifference" to those in need-- the widows, orphans, poor and the strangers in their midst.  In truth, this story is at best a condemnation of homosexual rape; and as other Scriptures affirm, it is more generally a condemnation of the mistreatment of those who are most vulnerable ....  It is ironic that the story of Sodom is now used by Christians to justify judgement toward another vulnerable group -- homosexuals. [excerpt from The Children are Free by Rev. Jeff Miner and John Tyler Connoley]

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Romans 1:21-28

(King James Version)

 21Because 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.

 22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

 23And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.

 24Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves:

 25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshiped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

 26For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

 27And 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.

 28And 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;

 

The apostle Paul is addressing the Roman people.  All accounts of this passage that I have studied (and there were a lot) agree on one thing.  Paul is talking to these people about idol worship.  God gives them over to their idol worship and the practice of homosexual relations in said pagan rituals.  That each of them agree upon.

 

1:24-25 The expression God gave them (parevdwken aujtouV" oJ qeov", paredoken autous ho theos) over means that the process envisioned in 1:18-32 is not simply the natural course of events but an ongoing history directed by a sovereign God who makes decisions which affect people, societies, and cultures. The thought is truly a frightful one. It is reminiscent of Pharaoh turning his back on God and in turn having his heart judicially hardened by YHWH (Exod 9:16; cf. Rom 9:17).

Though there is no mention of fire and brimstone at this point in Romans, there is a process underway that is not altogether distinct from hell. If people really want their sinful lifestyles, then the awesome reality is God will give them over to it. As C. S. Lewis as aptly remarked, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in hell chose it.” The point is, that although Paul is not talking about hell here, and indeed there is still hope for these people, there is nonetheless a continuum between their present existence and their future plight. If a person really wants God out of their thoughts, as these people most definitely do, Love has decided to provide a place in the end where they can choose to go and never have to think about him again.

There comes a time in the divine mind when people, who revel in the sinful desires of their hearts, are to be handed over to their desire for impurity, in particular, to the dishonoring (tou` ajtimavzesqai) of their bodies with one another. One should not miss the ideological connection here between the Gentiles’ idolatry and sexual sin—a connection which was commonly made in the Judaism of Paul’s day.

Wisdom of Solomon 14:12-14 reads: 12For the idea of making idols was the beginning of fornication, and the invention of them was the corruption of life; 13 for they did not exist from the beginning, nor will they last forever. 14 For through human vanity they entered the world, and therefore their speedy end has been planned (NRSV).

Though there is no explicit grammatical tie with verse 24, verse 25 makes it clear that sexual perversion is closely linked with idolatry. People have exchanged (methvllaxan, metellaxan) the truth about God’s existence and glory for the lie that he neither exists nor merits worship. Indeed, the irony of the whole thing is that they give religious worship and service to this lie (tw/` yeuvdei, to pseudei) when they give themselves to idolatry—the worship of the creation rather than the Creator. For idolatry is not just the worship of useless idols, it is the express proclamation that the biblical God does not exist. Such a thought is so abhorrent to Paul that he finds it necessary to invoke a blessing on God: “God is forever blessed!”

 

 

The Apostle Paul was a very educated man.  He addressed the facts of the time in a very logical and throughal progression.

1.  In verse 21 he addresses People who refuse to acknowledge and glorify God

2.  In verse 23, they were worshipping idols

3  They were interested in earthly things rather than the things of the Creator (verse 25)

4.  Gave up natural passion for the opposite sex in an "unbounded search for pleasure"

5.  Lived lives full of covetousness, malice, envy, strife, slander, disrespect for parents, pride and hatred for God

The model of homosexual behavior that Paul is addressing here is explicitly associated with idol worship (probably temple prostitution), and with people who, in unbridled search for pleasure (or because of religious rituals associated with their idolatry), broke away from their natural sexual orientation, participating in promiscuous sex with anyone available.   Paul simply does not address the issue of a stable, loving homosexual relationship among people of faith.

[exerpt from The Children are Free by Rev. Jeff Miner and John Tyler Connoley]

 

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1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and I Timothy 1:10 (King James Version)

 9Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

 10Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Timothy 1:10 (King James Version)

 10For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 comments:

  1. That was a amazing write up!!

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  2. Thanks for your well researched interpretations.

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  3. Seldom have I read such a succinct and correct report on the Gay-Bashing Scriptures. You won't find these in a Baptist Seminary, heh heh heh. Thank you so much!
    Dakotahgeo, M.Div. Pastor/Chaplain

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  4. Actually, I attended a baptist seminary and took a whole class on the subject of gay theology and exegesis, taught by a lesbian woman who was also an Episcopal priest acting as an adjunct professor. It was a very enlightening class, and she did a thorough job of dealing with both sides of the issue.

    I came out of the class utterly convinced that the church could not yield on the issue of homosexuality. Others came out of the class with the opposite position.

    But I really don't appreciate your bias against Baptists.

    And, frankly, I'm rather unimpressed by this writeup. I can't regard any writeup that depends on the King James Version throughout and completely fails to deal with αρσενοκοιται (arsenokoitai) as convincing.

    Regards,

    Rev. Patrick Narkinsky, MTS
    Formerly of the Southern Baptist Convention

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  5. I am sorry, Rev. Patrick Narkinsky, MTS formerly of the Southern Baptist Convention, that you feel that I am bias against the Baptists...I am Baptist. Independent Fundamental Baptist...I don't consider myself that anymore as they refused to allow my son to attend their preschool on the merits that they "had nothing to offer him". I said how about teaching him about eternal life.

    As for not addressing the word arsenokoitai (the word that Paul invented), I apologize. Perhaps you are more learned than I on the Greek....my point being that no where in the Bible does God condemn a loving monogamous same sex relationship. If you do not agree, well, sir that is fine.

    Sincerely,
    Also a Reverend AAS, RRT, CRT, RCP

    ReplyDelete