UPDATE 2: (7.May.2020)
APPARENTLY there’s been repeated clicks on this post, and I’m doing a disservice to NOT include the actual scriptural foundations for everything. And I’ve actually been including it for my college students every semester, but don’t know why I’ve never gotten around to doing so here.
Anyway. Here we go.
It all began in a fun, lively little Twin City area called Sodom and Gomorrah. In fact, the word we often see translated into homosexual is “sodomite.” BUT before we get into that, what was the issue with the town in the story? Were they wicked because of being gay, or because of rape? Is mob violence the same as consensual homosexuality? Can there be same sex rape to which the perpetrator ISN’T gay?
And how would you make sense of Ezekiel 16:53? Which was preceded by verses 49-50, explaining the actual “sin” of Sodom.
Okay, you say, but it CLEARLY says in Leviticus (18:22, 20:13) that you can’t have relations with the same sex.
True. It ALSO says not to shave the sides of your head OR trim your beard. Or get tattoos. (Lev. 19:27, 28)
Why? Well, all of this had to do with the acts of worshiping pagan gods. Idol worship, and this is what temple prostitutes would do. Nations at the time, as an act of worship of their gods would shave the sides of their heads and mark their bodies.
How do we know that when it talks of lying with someone of the same sex it’s talking about temple prostitutes? Well, it’s referenced in 1 Kings 14:24. “male cult prostitutes” is the rough English translation.
How would they worship pagan gods at the time? Go to the temple and “petition” the god by having sex with one of the temple prostitutes–male or female. You gave the prostitute your…*ahem* “seed”, by giving it to the MALE prostitute, you were then offering it to the god.
IN FACT, the word used for a male temple prostitute was/is SODOMITE. While the female temple prostitute was/is a harlot.
So “Sodomite” never meant homosexual, but a male temple prostitute…one who happened to have sex with both women and men as a means for those coming to worship the pagan gods.
And that was ruled a big NO NO. Probably why we don’t have sex in churches today…
Too much baggage associated with temple prostitutes and sex as a form of worshiping pagan gods…
So “wrongness” isn’t tied with the act of laying with someone of the same sex itself, but with that of idol worship.
Alright. That’s enough OT. Moving on. But what about the mention of Homosexuals in the NT?
Well, the word in the greek is “Arsenokoites.” And it’s only used two times in the whole of the Bible (1 Cor. 6: 9-10, and 1 Tim. 1: 9-10). It references the Hebrew term “Sodomite.”
BUT. Here’s the deal Arsenokoites is a compound word–like Butterfly–and compound words are tricky. Like butterfly, we’re not talking about a fly made of butter, arsenokoites is similar. And since it’s only used twice in the Bible, without any context as to what the word means, we have to look elsewhere.
Arsenokoites is a compound word coming from arsen, and koites.
Koites= the plural for beds. (It’s where we get our word, “coitus.”)
So arsenokoites is actually “man who has sex in many beds”
But again, given the non-biblical Greek texts which use this word to give it proper context and definition, this wasn’t about homosexuality, but about taking advantage sexually.
This was more about rape.
Arsenokoites was someone who took advantage of someone else sexually.
Well then what about in Romans 1:26– where it talks about natural vs unnatural???
You mean the Greek word, “physis”?
Well, that SAME WORD was also used in Romans 11:24 to talk of God offering salvation to Non-Jews. That’s UNNATURAL!!!
So AGAIN, it can’t be the “unnaturality” that makes it wrong, but the motivations.
That’s a word often used and means we need to look at what came before to give understanding.
Therefore…Romans 1:26 needs to be framed in reference to before. Specifically Romans 1:23.
Which states AGAIN about idolatry. Worshiping pagan gods.
Lusts were SHAMEFUL when they were about indulging in sexual acts in honor and worship of pagan gods.
Sex tended to be tied into the Greco-Roman form of worship (as it did with “pagan” cultures in the OT).
The writer of Romans was addressing an audiences all too familiar with this practice and was drawing a larger point about the sinfulness of pagan worship.
Basically. The gist of all this? PAGAN DEBAUCHERY DOES NOT EQUAL HOMOSEXUALITY.
UPDATE 1: (1.August.2012)
This being one of the top viewed posts on my blog, I felt the need to add a minor blip to it, in order to convey what I believe the Bible is saying about homosexuality. The post itself is a specific response to a specific conversation and–while still worth reading, only conveys a broad picture of what I hold true.
The large scope of the matter, I feel, rests on the word Sodomite.
In the New Testament, the passages concerning homosexuality–and all the times in the various translations the word ‘homosexuality’ is used, the actual word that it’s translated from is ‘Sodomite.’ Sodomite was a term familiar to the Jew, and it’s history does in fact date back to Sodom and Gomorrah, and the story of Lot there.
Yet what is intrinsically tied to this term, Sodomite, has been lost in modernity, lost in translation, and lost in meaning.
You see, Sodomite was a term used to reference male temple prostitutes. Whereas female temple prostitutes were referred to as Harlots, to distinguish a temple prostitute that was male as opposed to one that was female, they referred to them as Sodomites.
As I said, it was indeed coined based on the story of Lot in Sodom, and the gang rape and desire to rape the angels visiting Lot, but I believe that there is an enormous difference between what we call and consider homosexuals today, and what was termed a Sodomite in Scripture.
You see, if we’re referring to Sodomites, we’re not only referring to the male version of a prostitute, but there’s a whole ideology and cultural understanding of specifically ‘Temple’ prostitution that we do not seem to grasp.
Temple prostitutes were known for vile sexual acts, what we would deem presently/modernly as ‘Sexual Deviancy.’
There is no love represented in Temple Prostitution. It is vile sexual action in the mindset of ‘worship’ of false deities.
Now, we know according to John’s letters (1st John) that God is LOVE, and where the Spirit of God is, there is Freedom.
When Paul was writing about Sodomites in the New Testament, he was referencing the Greek and Roman community present in his time, and noting to his followers, to the churches he was writing to, not to become embedded in that culture. The gratuitous sexuality for the sake of itself and pleasure what was what Paul was warning against.
For in it, there is no love, and without love, there is no freedom.
So I ask, if Paul was really warning about ‘giving in to our sexual desires,’ our lusts, no matter what they are, was he warning against homosexuality, or against actions that contain no love, and therefore, no freedom, and thus, are binding, addicting, enslaving?
While I will state that the “Gay Pride” movement–especially men in it, has the strong appearance of what can only now be described as ‘Temple Prostitute’ ideology–flagrant sexual acts for the sake of the acts themselves, the friends I have in the GLBT community can only be considered as seeking love.
So how then, can those that seek love, even if it is in a way which runs contrary to what and how we consider to be the ‘natural order of things,’ be faulted as not loved by God as they are, for who they are?
Even still, the crazy thing about God is that he not only is Love, but He seeks out the lost and the low–the prostitutes. He even commanded one of His prophets to marry a Harlot so for Hosea (the prophet) to better understand God’s relationship and abounding, unrelenting love for us.
As such, I will forever hold that God is love, and where love is, God is.
Yet the funny thing about scripture, is that it cleaves us, like we were two people, not one. The very passage that says, “but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us,” and “we love because He first loved us,” goes on to say that “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.”
Part of me thinks, “Alright, God lives in me, and His love is made complete in me, cause I have loved.”
And then part of me thinks, “Crap, there are people I struggle with loving, and if I can’t say I love them while saying that I love God, not only am I a liar, but I don’t truly love God.”
Two people. One of me loves, yet one of me doesn’t.
The good news is that that one that doesn’t will one day be cut from me and thrown into the fire forever, while the one that loves will live on IN LOVE, to Love, forever and ever.
And I hold this to be true of EVERYONE, regardless of gender, orientation, or sexual preference.
~And the world will be better for this.
ORIGINAL POST: (Written 10.June.2011)
In recent conversations with some online friends, I really felt the need to express my thoughts/heart on homosexuality and the LGBTQ+ community.
Here we go:
I think too often we take the story of the horrific sexuality that happened in Sodom and Gomorrah, combine it with Romans 1, where it says “God gave them over to their shameful lusts” and then make some sort of theological doctrinal dogma…stuff about homosexuality. Without covering terrible English translating (the actual translation of Romans 1 would read something more like “God let them have their dishonorable sufferings,” note, sufferings, which is a more broad category that somehow–translation wise, the “Church” has attributed to homosexuals only.), let’s just take it as is for argument’s sake.
Firstly, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are my ways your ways.” –God
If we are to know him, we are to know his Son. Who…as it turns out, was significantly silent on the subject of homosexuality. What He was loud and proud about was love. Love to such a degree that those who may be our “enemies” are who we are supposed to love, which will then make us perfect, as the Father is perfect. Love to such a degree that the last and the least were made first, and the first (Jesus), was made last for such a feat. But herein lies the problem. Modern Evangelicalism claims to be followers of Christ—to be Christians, but we’ve got an awful lot of Darwinism (the philosophy, not the science) in our doctrine.
We (I’ll lump myself in even though I’m ashamed of it) by our actions seem to say, “God came to save the world, yeah, but there are those of us who are winners, and those who are losers.” Sounds a lot like the Christian version of “survival of the fittest” to me. So…why does that need for a loser rear its ugly head in a religion whose King became the very last and least, the loser, so that we all could win?* (Insert obligatory Rob Bell reference that “Love Wins.” God wins in the End)
Why do we need to have villains, losers? Gays. Muslims. Mormons. Obama. The people that shop at Wal-Mart. Osama. Harold Camping.
So that we can know we are right? How is that Christianity? When our God became the scapegoat, so that all of us losers (that’s right, we all are; maybe in a later post I’ll tell you why I am) could win?
Mull on that for a bit and I’ll continue with point number B.
Number 2: “for they exchanged the truth of God for a lie.” Pretty sure that’s what Paul was getting at in that Romans 1 passage. The byproduct of that was everything else which follows in the passage. And I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just “the gays” that “exchanged the truth of God for a lie,” but all humanity at one time or another.
You. Me. Everyone.
So…God consigned us to a destruction of the body…in any and every perverse way we ourselves had the freedom to think of. Cause after all, what is shameful lusts but sin? And what is sin? Paul goes on to call it lawlessness. And what does the bible say is the law? Pretty sure it says it’s summed up in this: love.
So…sin is lovelessness…which is essentially selfishness.
And that looks an awful lot like all of humanity, not one single group.
So how does all that seem to translate to what the notion now seems to be: “God has made some sort of more shameful sin that looks like people are born with it, and I guess I just don’t know ‘cause it’s so damn confusing.”
Now we come to some of the more “liberal” Christian views. Some say, “hey, you know what, this whole homosexual thing is just your sin nature. And as such—while I myself can’t seem to work out an “abstinence from sin” program for my sin, we’re gonna tell you that all you have to do to be a Christian and serve God is to abstain from being Gay. Just…stay single, and…don’t rock the boat. And we’ll love you as a single person in the church struggling with an addictive sin just like we do alcoholic Christians and the like. Because quite frankly, when it boils down to it, we can’t fathom a God who might create someone to be something like a homosexual and yet still desire Christ.”
I think it’s easier to just lump it in with “other sins” because of not understanding it. “You’re not really Gay, you’re just a sinner. And when we get to heaven, you’ll see. Just as when you become a Christian you get a new heart and a new spirit, someday when we get to heaven, you’ll get a new body. And that’ll be a non-gay body. So…YAY GOD!”
Sorry, but I just don’t think it’s too clear on whether that entails gays getting a brand spanking new non-gay body. In fact, it really is rather vague on that. It says the sin, the lawlessness—which is lovelessness will be gone; that it will be burned away. But as for whether that entails homosexuality…not so clearly defined…
Who knows what heaven is gonna be like? Maybe it will entail the freedom and ability to share yours, your neighbor’s, my neighbor’s, and anyone else we(I) come into contact with’s ecstasy and joy. Pure, unadulterated, heavenly joy, with no heterosexual/homosexual labels coined and pertaining. That deserves to be said again… WITH NO HETEROSEXUAL AND HOMOSEXUAL LABELS COINED OR PERTAINING.
I think when we get to heaven the only sexuality that is going to exist is…heavenosexuality.(just made that up on the fly, copyright, gotta give me mad proppas if you wanna use it.)
What I’m saying is this: doesn’t it kinda make more sense that just as when we are in Heaven there will be “people from every tribe, nation, race, and people group,” yet our focus will not be on those defining traits, but on the fact that truly, we are of one nation—that of Zion; wouldn’t it make sense that maybe there won’t be any “earthly” defined sexuality? That we will all share in each others joys and praises and heavenly ecstasy?
Thus, we will all be heavensexuals.
It’s here I feel like I need to clarify on the point of Gender vs. Sexuality. I believe they are two differing aspects. In that, I don’t think gender necessarily garnishes sexuality, nor sexuality, gender. Now I know that that has seemed to become perverted in our state and time, that there seems to have been a rickety bridge constructed between gender and sexuality, but I think its false. So when I talk of Heaven, understand that I do not mean we will give up our gender—that there will be no male or no female, but just as everything, it may not matter once we’re there. . I don’t know how that’ll look. I mean, Lewis gets into some pretty crazy descriptions of such in Perelandra–that of gender and male/female debate, and he is able to word it much more eloquently than I find myself able to, so I’m just going to point people that way, to that book if they want to see a great description of Gender and the whole “male/female” shtick.
For now, I rest with this: we are all family. Sons and daughters of a Father we may not fully know or understand, but a day will come when we know just as we are known. Until then, we are called to Love God, and Love each other. IN that makes the kingdom now, if we so choose to see it. But as for me, if anyone (Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Muslim, Obama, Wal-Mart shoppers, etc) can see who Jesus really is, and love Him—or at least allow themselves to be loved by Him, if anyone sides on the side of love and compassion, knowing love kisses everyone, you’re welcome to do so in my church, standing next to me.
14 responses to “‘Them Gays’ and The Church”
This got me thinking about how marriage is a symbol of the relationship between God and the church. In no way does this symbol perfectly represent the true substance, God’s love, yet God uses it. Just as God has had a specific relationship with his chosen people, the Jewish people, inorder to symbolize his kingdom and more… I use this as an example of how, even though I am not Jewish, I can see the substance in the symbol. Just as any person not in a male and female marriage could see God’s example of love through it.
I think you do an excellent job helping me and others understand the homosexuality debate better. I’ve been curious about the subject lately myself. Not that I personally want to be a lesbian. I’ve just been thinking about how I grew up on certain beliefs, but I’ve been opened up to other thoughts and friends that are gay and lesbian.
Thank you for your insight.
Christian, this doesn’t solve anything. If you handed the Bible to an unbiased reader who was trying to understand Romans 1, would they get out of it what you just did? This is a reaction to the cultural context we’re living in and the missteps of evangelicals. It’s not even a commentary on the verses themselves. This is you judging what’s wrong with the church and trying to solve it by oversimplifying theology you don’t like. I find a lot of truth distasteful myself, but it’s because of what’s wrong with me, not because of what’s wrong with the truth. To “speak the truth in love”, one must start out with an earnest desire for truth, whether or not that truth agrees with him. Anything less is a form of deception, no matter how good it sounds.
I would like to say that I agree with you. This did seem more a post about what is wrong with the church today than what scripture says. But I would say, as someone who stumbled on to this blog by its Rob Bell tag, and out of a curiosity from the title, I began to read, I wouldn’t say that Christian is disagreeing with “truth,” but with the church’s interpretation of that truth. I feel you misjudge him on that. Though I could be wrong, but from exploring his blog, it seems he just wishes to express his heart on such matters. It didn’t seem at all as if he was “oversimplifying theology” but rather using it as a tool to convey his point.
Thank you for your expression of views. While we seem to have differing opinions about the topic at hand, contrary to @Chris, I do not feel as if you were trying to “solve” anything. Correct me if I am wrong, but it more felt like attention being drawn to an issue which has been painted in such a way that many avoid it all together.
You seem to have a genuine heart for Truth and for people, so my question to you is this: you posit a lack of sexuality in heaven, I was wondering your feelings on family. I am not one of those Christians who preaches “Adam and EVE, not Adam and STEVE,” but I do affirm that there is a Godly pretext to a man and woman in a relationship and in a marriage. Further, the backing of how much more important it is for a family to be raised by a man and woman; what do you feel about this issue? And how do you feel that will play out in heaven? Do you feel as if the families we establish and are given here on earth won’t matter anymore? I hope not. I am really excited to see relatives that have passed, and family that I was brought into and sharing in their joy. I would love to see and experience my Grandmother’s love as my Grandmother, not as something asexual. The same goes for my Grandfather. What are your thoughts and feelings on this?
Thank you again.
Since you were asking a question. I’ll answer you first.
Firstly, if you notice, I made it a point to distinguish gender and sexuality. I don’t think your Grandmother will be some asexual being but rather…still female, just not inclined to have sex one way or the other. I’ll get more into that in a bit (where I can go with that structurally doesn’t seem to quite fit right now), but I wanted to address the gender vs. sexuality bit right off the bat seeing as though I think I made it clear enough about the differentiation.
As far as (Focus on the) Family values is concerned, I don’t mean at all to diminish its importance at all, nor your view. But rather, I wish to expand it. I too am excited to greet and meet loved ones that have come and gone and are now in heaven. But, I am also excited to meet and greet—and… all that stuff, with people I know to be believers, and those I don’t. See, it doesn’t diminish the importance and meaning of the family I was given here on earth, but on the contrary, expand the meaning of…meaning, of importance; it takes what is meaningful and important to me here on earth, and blow it up exponentially.
See, everywhere in the Old and New Testament, we are called Sons and Daughters of God. Whether you like it or not, we are all family.
That even goes for the wackadoos I’m not too fond of, or the church goers that I get so angry at for not truly loving. They are family.
Jesus even emphasizes abandoning your family to follow Him. Not so that you are no longer tied to them, but rather, so you can learn what being tied to them really means. If you believe that God created us with a purpose and had us in mind from the beginning of time, then you must also (when thought through) give warrant to the notion that that is our first family, and as such, should hold more sway. But in this, it doesn’t lessen what the families here on earth mean. Instead, in the light of this fact, the families God has given us “in this age” should be treasured and honored for what they are—signs and symbols for something of real truth and substance, our heavenly family (which is everyone!).
Okay, going back to the sex/gender bit. Jesus, when questioned in Luke 20 about the resurrection of the dead and marriage, flat out states “The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in the age to come and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry or be given in marriage.” No one will. This tells me a number of things.
God has a plan for us in this life (in this age) that entails marrying and being given in marriage that won’t be part of his plan in the life (the age) to come.
Given what scripture tells of the “age to come” we can’t handle it in our present form. Lewis wrote in “The Great Divorce” that “Flesh and blood cannot come to the Mountains (High Heaven). Not because they are too rank, but because they are too weak.”
The age to come will be a reality we in our present state are not ready for. Could it be that—just as Paul writes about celebrations, we should celebrate things like marriage, family, sex, for what they are: shadows of something real yet to come?
Something so grand, so real, that we in our present form cannot and would not be able to handle it?
Lastly, we will have resurrected bodies. But we will not marry or be given in marriage? So…what are those new bodies gonna be good for? Used for? I don’t think we can fully imagine a reality without the thought of sex and the privacy of our privacy parts (a 10 year old student of mine calls them pirate parts). So some of this is a “who knows?”
But as for what scripture leads to, as to what the REAL WORD (JESUS) leads to, it’s that these things—family, marriage, etc, should not be viewed in the light of the world, but rather, in the light of Jesus, the logos, the Reason, the Plot, who reveals all things (And who—it might be worthy to note, or I just want to add this for controversy sake, never said, “Blessed are the strait; for theirs is the kingdom…”).
In this light (the light of the Cross) family values may look like something entirely different in the Kingdom than in American Evangelicalism.
These things—family, sex, culture, background, marriage, in this age are but shadows of what will be seen in the age to come; things that are real, that are true.
And we just can’t handle the truth. Not yet.
My first thought when I read your comment was about the use of “truth” over and over again. I don’t know why, but punch words like that make me (at least in my head) replace them with words like “Jesus” or “God.”
So…your last bit there:
To me became:
In lieu of this reading, I would say that I totally agree with your statement about Jesus. I’m still discovering things that I don’t like about Jesus. That doesn’t make me love Him less, it just reveals more about the “me” that’s not “me” that I’ll be ready to be done with in the “age to come.” Thing is, I really think that’s how it is for everyone, not just me. Scripture says that truth is sweet on the lips but a stomach ache in the belly (something like that, I’m paraphrasing but I think I’m pretty close). Thus, Jesus doesn’t really “agree” with any of us once we ingest it. But He is life (life is in the blood, and as we do every time we take communion, we acknowledge this and drink Him), and maybe what it takes is having life flow through us which also puts to death the things considered life in our “dream world.”
I don’t want to judge anyone. I know it does get hard for me to see a church who should be one, should all have the blood flowing through it all, NOT being the body, NOT loving. NOT demonstrating Jesus and His judgment–which is the cross, which is sacrifice, which is LOVE. But please don’t mistake “zeal for my Father’s house” for judgment. And you know, if it is, I’m sorry. The most I can offer is that I want that judgment to line up with Jesus’ judgment–that of the cross, sacrifice, LOVE.
A judgment of Love. It’s a solution to everything and a solution to nothing depending on those who receive it. My hope is that you don’t take and see that judgment and turn away from it. My hope is that you don’t judge yourself out of God’s judgment.
And honestly, my hope is take and see and hope that things will not only be revealed in “the age to come,” but that we can see that judgment, that love, it this age. Now. We can truly see that the kingdom is now, and that true Love burns, but its a good pain. It’s a pain that make us strong, real, able to handle a reality we are being awoken to. That if we see that the Kingdom isn’t coming, it’s here, we can start living it. We can start becoming what we are meant to be now.
I welcome your opinion and feedback, but know this: you’re family.
Sorry @Dwayne! I totally called you Doug in the first comment. Nope, you’re Dwayne. And I now corrected that.
Unforgivable @Christian. I can’t believe you would do that.
But really, I didn’t even catch it until I checked my email and the original comment again in the email and it said “@Doug.” All is forgiven.
In regards to your comment, I am really impressed with your response. This is to both my and @Chris’s comments. Without getting in to how many blogs I come across and find myself commenting on, you seem to be someone who has thought a lot, or who thinks a lot, about these matters, and handles himself very well given your newness to the blogging community.
I have seen this topic in a new light which, as it seems, forces me to go back and rethink all that I once held. So thank you. If I can be an encouragement to you as you seem to begin this online expression of thought, keep it up! You have found at least one who will now continue to pop in and view your thoughts from time to time.
@Dwayne (I got it right that time!)
Thank you for your encouragement. I look forward to hearing (reading, actually) your thoughts and comments on future blog posts…especially if they’re as rapid and speedy as your last one!
Here’s to interacting more on a regular basis…or as often as I post (I’m hoping once a week. Some friends and I discussed today over lunch and that seems to be the best route. Take care til then.
@Christian’s comment to @Chris….
I apologize for my harshness in my original post… I was totally overreacting.
It seemed like several critical points in your post were more based on your assumptions and experiences (i.e. that people are born gay) than on what the Bible speaks plainly to. I don’t hang verses about homosexuality on my fridge, but Romans 1:27 and the surrounding verses don’t give the impression that God condones a gay lifestyle or that a gay lifestyle can be congruent with a Christian lifestyle, which seemed to be a great deal of the argument you made in your post.
Okay- here’s the other side of the coin. I can’t imagine what it is to deal with the thoughts and feelings that gay men and women deal with every day. I don’t know what it’s like to have people convince me that I’m gay because of a feminine affect, or to rehearse scenes of sexual abuse from my childhood and believe that being raped by a man makes me gay. (Is that even what causes it? Frankly, I don’t have enough experience to know).
However, I could never believe that God makes people gay. There. I said it. While I think there are conditions that could lead someone to believe that the “I’m attracted to guys” part of them is who they really are, I can’t accept that God would design someone to have homosexual thoughts and feelings and then tell them that it’s completely wrong to act on them. Our culture has romanticized emotions to such an extent that we think that thinking or feeling something gives validity to that thought or feeling. But that’s completely unbiblical. We’re told to “take every thought captive” and spiritual warfare as described in Ephesians 6 centers squarely on the mind. Why would God focus on the mind, translated “heart” in some passages, if it weren’t a breeding ground for deception and misinterpretation on our part.
I heard a moving testimony from a guy named Sy Rogers on iBethel TV. He used to be immersed in the gay lifestyle, and had a dramatic turnaround when a group of guys from a local church was willing to walk through the difficult process with him. Now he’s happily married with children and has a ministry that focuses on this very subject. I have a personal friend with a similar story, who now has a wife and a beautiful little daughter. The way I said that made it sound like a cakewalk. It wasn’t a cakewalk for either of them. They were so used to thinking and acting a certain way that it took YEARS to get passed relating to men in a healthy way- the way God designed it. The deception is that thoughts and feelings you experience represent the “real you”.
If it weren’t for some of the materials that I’ve been fortunate enough to run into, I would have never known that my thoughts and feelings don’t always represent the “real me”. Books like “The Rest of the Gospel” do an incredible job at highlighting the difference between the renewed, already saved part of us, and the still waiting for Jesus part. Learning that difference is important for any believer- we need to recognize and discern deception from truth, and that starts with a clear understanding of God’s Word.
Apart from that, whether or not I agree with how you’re applying it, I love that you’re seeking out where love fits into everything. There’s a religious spirit in the church that ruins everything good about the church’s value system by making it about being right instead of making it about doing right. We’ve got to get back on track with acting out our faith instead of theorizing our way to God.
In regards to your comment, I don’t think at all it’s an issue of wrong thoughts, but wrong mindset about Scripture. Hopefully this will help clear up that I don’t consider homosexuality merely a wrong thought that your mind gets carried away with. It’s not like lusting or dreaming, maybe it’s something more that God didn’t intend to make clear so that we seek Him instead of just making assumptions based on Scriptural interpretation. My mind almost immediately goes to the notion of slavery. Slavery isn’t necessarily encouraged or condoned in Scripture, but it isn’t condemned either.
And in fact, verses talking about slavery were often used and turned to to support its practice all the way up through early America. These same verses were even used to go further and encourage racism–not blatant, but that there were lesser men than we and that was the order of things as God made; That God did not in fact, create all men equal.
My point is this: It’s very easy to throw terms like exegetical and eisegetical out and around in regard to interpretation of Scripture, but could it be that even these may be contingent on time and circumstances? That is, could one thing in Scripture be read and interpreted exegetically, and another time be eisegesis?
We look at those passages on slavery now–in a time where WE don’t condone its practice, more over and specifically to the point, we condemn it, but we contextualize it to a time when slavery was commonplace and a part of regular society and therefore, okay. We’re not racists, we don’t think slavery is okay–even if our “holy book” doesn’t make such condemning statements. And we really aren’t very far from its practice within our own nation ourselves. Wounds are still a bit fresh.
Could it be then supposed–and possibly even allowed for, that we are on the cusp of another turn around on scripture interpretation, or entering a new time when homosexuality is going to be treated the same way scripturally as as slavery once was and now is?
We seem to have a moral system in a religion that emphasizes a lack of morals because we’ve made a book to express the revelation of God to the world into what we turn to to answer moral questions. But we aren’t called to worship a book; even if it is the written expression of the revelation of God. We’re called to worship Jesus, “the Word,” who is living and gives wisdom to those who seek it.
He didn’t lay out a series of events to be recorded and give us clarity. Why? I think cause He wants us to seek Him. I’m not at all trying to lessen the importance of Scripture, but rather, redirect attention and focus to what it should be on: the Way, the Truth, the Light, the Life, Jesus. Through Him should Scripture be read and contemplated on, wrestled with. Why turn to the love letters over the lover Himself? He can probably explain them clearer than we can understand them.
So I would then ask this: What does He tell you, reveal to you about this issue?
Ugh. I am agreeing with about 90% of what you’re saying, but there’s this 10% that is driving me nuts. “Hopefully this will help clear up that I don’t consider homosexuality merely a wrong thought that your mind gets carried away with.” I hope you know I meant nothing of the kind. Maybe you read my point and understood what I meant, but the implications of people getting freed from a homosexual lifestyle and genuinely finding that God had something different for them are enormous. If it’s true, then what you’re saying would actually be taking the church backwards- not towards progress. While I admire your desire to accept people of a different creed and orientation, I completely disagree with the way you’re applying that desire.
If God calls homosexuality sin, who am I to disagree? If it were only found in the Old Covenant, that would be one thing, but the fact that Paul brings it up in a description of the progression of human depravity REALLY means you’d have to have a solid case to call this “myth” busted. This was the FOUNDATION he laid for possibly the greatest work ever written to describe and explain grace. And the interesting thing was, EVERYTHING that God revealed in the New Testament, he’d already spoken of in the Old Testament. So while I agree that conceptually you could make the “slavery” argument work, you’d have to show how one person putting another person into bondage is in anyway similar to one person choosing of their own free will to engage in particular lifestyle. Also, slavery was a part of the culture at the time, and the rules God set for slavery were much different than how America practiced them… Israel wasn’t traveling halfway around the planet to take captives from helpless people groups with less developed technology, and God didn’t set any precedent for treating slaves as subhuman. In reality, the biblical system of slavery was much closer to indentured servitude, something that probably would still be acceptable in our culture if slavery hadn’t been so twisted and abused… But that’s entirely beside the point.
It’s actually destructive to run around postulating things like this without REAL revelation from God and an understanding of his perspective. And if it’s already revealed in Scripture, I would question anyone that says God’s changed his mind at some point since and forgot to tell us. I’m okay calling homosexuality a sin, because I easily empathize with the weakness of others’ humanity. I see it in myself every day. At the same time, though, I don’t take it upon myself to remove the tension, the difficulty, the cross of the gospel, for the sake of finding a better all-encompassing answer that removes any sense of mystery I have towards God’s reality. David said it best in Psalm 131:1-2–
“1 My heart is not proud, LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
2 But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.”
We have to be content with what’s been revealed and not try to think our way to truth God hasn’t revealed , whether we do it out of pain or fear or any other motivator. I don’t need revelation on whether or not homosexuality is sin. It’s something the Bible plainly speaks to. What I do need revelation on is what I’m supposed to do with that, because I think you’re right that we, the church, have applied that knowledge in the wrong way for a very long time.
Well, I think if it boils down to that–that you think the Bible says something is a sin, then that’s okay. I used to be like that too. But I don’t know, I can’t go back to calling something which is now like being born a certain race a “lifestyle choice.” I cannot think of my own weaknesses and struggles and connect them with something like homosexuality anymore.
And as I said, I don’t think scripture IS that clear on the issue. For the same reason it’s not clear on a lot of issues, because it’s not meant to be treated as a go to for everything. If that were the case, Jesus would’ve had a lot more to say about times to come, and specifics, and things, like saying He isn’t okay with the Crusades, but He is okay with infant baptism, He’s not too keen on Disco mixing with worship, nor with the Inquisition, but he is okay with tattoos.
But thanks for the back and forth, and for clearing up that it does seem to come down really to whether or not one considers homosexuality a sin. I used to, and I just can’t go back to that view anymore. It can give way to sin, much like any of our lusts and passions and anything we don’t include God in, but if God’s in every step of a homosexual’s life, how can they be considered “sinning” just by living? We are all consigned to sin, yes, we all have a sin nature, yes, but does that mean we live and breathe sin based on our nature? I don’t think so. And I don’t think anymore that homosexuality can fall into any tier of that discussion. To me, they are now like talking apples and gays.
What gets me is how closely sex and love are intertwined. Yes this was part of God’s design for sex to represent love and communion, but sex is not a definition of love ( if that makes sense). In our society we put a lot of emphasis on sex and love in relation, the same happens to people who are attracted to people who are the same gender/ sex as them. They may have some desires that are to show love, affection, and admiration and others which show lust and selfishness.
I bring this all up to point out why there is such a challenge when the church brings up homosexuality… isn’t the sin following lustful, nonfruitful desires? It is not wrong for a man to love a man. Jesus and his deciples were extremely affectionate torwards one another. If the interactions described by those men in the bible was acted out the same today, how many people would say they are gay?
Finally, I just would like to say that although God did not desire for us to be sinners, He allowed it (I think He has the power to stop it anytime). He wants to show us grace, mercy, and love in our brokenness. Sin means missing the mark. In relationships, sex, health… we all miss the mark… then God comes to offer us something we could never find on our own.
So arguing the nature of a sin is utterly useless. Live your life for God, and He will reveal to you his desires.