As part of an on-going debate on the issue of homosexuality a friend of mine posted a fairly good article on facebook about it. After a short while what seemed to be an upset young lady replied with this….
There are some inaccurate points, & this quote is confusing,”have found something better than being gay,”, uhm…it’s not a choice, how people are born, or is he suggesting that people should deny who they really are? Another point I question is his saying that Jesus talks against it,,, uhm, not familiar w/ that, & my church is currently doing a Sun school class on it, & there isn’t any quotes from Jesus we have talked about. Also, we have a man who attends our church, he went to seminary, & then got his PH D in the Old Testament, & teaches the Old Testament at a Jewish Univ, & he has been one of the major researches on the Dead Sea Scrolls that are touring around the US, AND he agrees that the LGBT community should be welcome in church, & if anyone should be against it, I would think he would, since he is has spent so much of his life studying the OT & researching what it all means…. our pastor had a sermon a couple of Sundays ago, & the scripture he talked about was one that referrenced about raping women, & men wanting to rape a man guest of a villager… history around this time says that this practice was a way to humiliate men, just like the US soldiers have done things to Muslims which they know is a humiliation action in their culture, not as a teaching that homosexuality is wrong…. he pointed out that too many take these out of historical context to use for their purposes.I think some parts of the article are weak as well…..but I would like to take a second and respond to your points. I know this is a charged an touchy subject but the majority is Christian scholars are vastly of the opinion that same-sex behavior is not affirmed by the Bible. That means nothing for America, though, since we do not make our laws according to the Bible, but according to the people. But we still have to define within the church what is a sin and what is not.
Since her questions or points seem to parallel some of the common ideas being passed around right now with today’s Christian youth I put together a thorough reply designed to address her points of concern. Below is that response.
1 – “he suggesting that people should deny who they really are”
I would say that this is almost what he is saying…and I agree with him. But it is not a denial of “who” they are as much as denying a desire that they have. Every day I have to wake up and deny my desires to have sex outside of marriage. I have to walk in accordance to a life that is not controlled by my own lusts and desire to look at porn. Was I born this way? You bet I was! It’s a battle that I have fought daily since I hit puberty and will probably always fight. The same goes for those predisposed to alcoholism, rage, pedophilia, and the list goes on. Being born with any certain desire does not define who that person is and it does not change God’s design for humanity.
2 – “Jesus doesn’t talk about it.”
You’re right. Jesus doesn’t really talk about homosexuality directly. The closest he gets is confirming Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 during his discussion on divorce. But keep in mind that Jesus does not mention abortion, incest relations, sex trafficking, drug use, and many other issues that were important back then and today also. I think the reason why Jesus didn’t address homosexuality but Paul did, was because Jesus had a mainly Jewish audience.I realize that we love to think of Jesus as slamming the Jews and chilling with Gentiles all the time but that is not really how it was. That being said, the Jews didn’t really have this issue to deal with like the Greeks and Romans. In fact, they were considered weird by the Gentiles for not doing things like having homosexual relationships or visiting prostitutes. So, since Jesus is not recorded in the Bible as saying homosexuality is should we assume he was all for it? No of course not. That is silly.
3 – “The LGBT community should be welcomed in church”
I don’t think anyone is disagreeing with you there. But like everyone else who becomes a Christian, they need to admit their sins and try to live a life that is pleasing to God. According to both the OT and NT, that means not having same-sex relations.
I would also advise you to not believe everything you hear from someone just because they have a PhD. You are better off having listened to hundreds of PhD holders of many denominations. As of now, the consensus among scholars is that the Bible promotes homosexual behavior as a sin. For every Bible teacher who teaches it’s not a sin, you will find 100 who disagree.
4 – The historical context of Sodom and the parallel in Judges 19.
The sermon you are referencing was speaking about the historical context of Lot and the destruction of Sodom. Unfortunately, the precise reason they were destroyed is not 100% clear. Some OT prophets claim that is was because they were so vile that they couldn’t even keep general hospitality codes. Hence, the severe issue with raping an honored male guest. I don’t want to deny that this WAS a severe offense whether it was homosexual in nature or not.
But Jude 7 states that it was because of their uncontrollable desires, particularly homosexuality which was an abomination of the worst kind according to Lev 18 and 20, and sexual sins like these are the reason why God chose to remove the Canaanites from the promised land. So, the idea homosexuality had nothing to do with their demise is incorrect. Other NT texts mention this issue as well, such as 2 Peter 2:7.
Moreover, the parallel story appears in Judges 19 with the Levite and his concubine. Its almost a whole repeat of the Sodom account except that rather than raping the Levite, he threw out his concubine for them to rape and they raped her all night. In both instances the stories were constructed to demonstrate a portion of society that become so corrupt that destruction was imminent. It is no coincidence that in both cases the people were overcome with homosexual behavior as well as an inability to obey the general laws of hospitality as well as preserving social order…which, of course, is why Jude makes mention of it in the NT as well 2 Peter 2:7 and dozens of texts that refer to it outside of the Bible.
The Jewish (and subsequently OT) tradition has never been affirming of either homosexual marriage or sexual practice. It is forbidden and condemned by the OT, Midrash, Talmud, and Jesus being a Jew would have had the same view.
I would finally point out that the NT clearly defines it as a sin in Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, 1 Tim 1:10, Jude 7, 2 Peter 2:7, and some others but the others are not as clear. It is clearly a sin in both the OT and NT. You have been fed information by leaders who have placed their own opinion far above the majority of Christian scholars, as well as clear biblical texts. The ring leader who popularized some of these ideas such as the Sodom point you made was not really backed by many other scholars and he (John Boswell) was also operating out of a clear agenda since he was gay. Ironically, (and sadly) the year he published his best known work he died from AIDS. I don’t say that in jest, I’m just providing information.
You will find zero academic commentators on the Bible that don’t find the OT to be thoroughly against homosexuality and the NT to be at least moderately clear that it is a sin. If you find a published commentary that has been accepted by any academic body that thinks it is OK then let me know and I will reconsider my position.
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Their are a lot of people who also think that homosexuality should be legalized no matter what the Bible says. In this regard I don’t really disagree since I cannot really force people to live out what I believe to be true. But if someone calls themselves a Christian they should understand what the Bible teaches about this topic.
Furthermore, just because it is a sin, it does not necessarily mean that ALL homosexual are going to hell. That is something we won’t know for sure until God makes his judgement. But Paul does state in 1 Cor and 1 Tim that those who practice homosexuality will not inherit the kingdom or eternal life. That seems serious to me.