Tag Archives: glbtq

Problems with pro-gay theology

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Introduction

This post is a little long for a blog, but I think it is worthwhile and hope you read it all.  I like to run it every couple of years.

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Many churches today are being torn apart by false teachings about human sexuality, so we can’t ignore this topic.  I am continuously disappointed that so many Christians who don’t get educated on this topic and stand up for the truth.  In addition, the rapid and radical changes in public schools are a serious issue and hate speech laws and activist judges are a blatant attempt to shut down debate and curtail religious freedoms.  Barely a week goes by without hearing about a business owner forced to cater to gay couples (e.g., bed-and-breakfasts, wedding photographers), LGBTQ indoctrination in elementary schools, religious organizations forced to hire LGBTQ people, people losing jobs for saying that skin color is morally neutral but sexual behavior is not, laws being proposed that will make it a crime to criticize homosexual behavior, and so on.

Many people who hold the orthodox Christian view would love to move on to other issues, but the problem is that the pro-gay theologians aren’t giving up.  Therefore, we need to stand firm and do a better job of educating those in the middle ground.

While this issue isn’t an essential of the faith, such as Jesus’ divinity and exclusivity for salvation, those who take the pro-gay theology view typically have to deny the essential of the authority of scripture to arrive at their conclusions.  And that is a dangerous thing.

The general Biblical ignorance of many Christians on this topic isn’t helping things.  I know of people who have gone to church their whole lives and have been in multiple Bible studies but still ask questions like, “Does the New Testament say anything about homosexual behavior?”  (Short answer: Yes.)  And it goes downhill from there.

And make no mistake: The LGBTQX lobby inside and outside the church is incredibly persistent.  As Christine noted in the comments, God gave them over to a debased mind because they would not acknowledge him.  Therefore, simply reasoning with them probably won’t persuade them.

Romans 1:28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

Keep in mind how the men of Sodom were blinded by God when trying to sin, yet they still groped for the door!  You’d think that if you were literally blinded while sinning that you just might stop, at least momentarily, to think about what you were doing.  But not them.

Genesis 19:11 And they struck with blindness the men who were at the entrance of the house, both small and great, so that they wore themselves out groping for the door.

So keep speaking the truth in love, but don’t be shocked when people love the world more than God and the truth.  The “Christian” Left aggressively lobbies for taxpayer-funded, unrestricted abortions to the child’s 1st breath, so do not be surprised when they support any sexual perversion that Satan dreams up.

Before I dive in, let me state that while I firmly believe that homosexual behavior is a sin, I do not think it is something we should grandstand on.  We all have temptations and stumble and fall at times.  Romans 1 explains in no uncertain terms that homosexual behavior is an affront to God, but it also lists greed, gossip, deceit and other things as serious sins (anyone squirming yet?).

And we should act as suggested by a believer I am friends with who is tempted by same-sex attractions: Pray for them and be their friends.

Do homosexuals have a legitimate complaint when they point out how many Christians are softer on divorce, adultery and pre-marital sex than they are on homosexual behavior?  Sometimes, yes, although it should be noted that those aren’t being forced down our throats as the others are.  No one is trying to make it illegal to criticize those topics.  Grandstanding on sins that aren’t a temptation for us and downplaying or ignoring sins that are a temptation is not a Christian thing to do.  But the lesson is to hold consistent Biblical views on all sins, not to water things down more.  We need to raise the bar back up on all these sins because they have huge consequences and, more importantly, because that is in line with what the Bible says.

But we shouldn’t call evil good and good evil.  I support the Methodist position on homosexuality, which regards the behavior as sinful but the people as having worth.  (Sadly, I left the Methodist in large part due to their lack of adherence to their own positions!)  I think it should be illegal to abort babies just because they might be homosexual (Ironically, that position puts me at odds with many liberals whose support for abortion is such that they think it should be legal under any circumstances).  I mention these things simply to pre-empt any nonsensical allegations that I am homophobic, a childish and false put-down designed to stifle debate.  The real homophobes are those who are so scared of being politically incorrect that they deny God, the Bible and common sense rather than state the obvious.

I also believe that homosexual behavior is a forgivable sin and can be overcome by the power of the Gospel.  When I meet gays I don’t view it as my job to change them.  I treat them like I would anyone else, developing relationships and hoping to be able to share the Gospel with them at some point.  The real work is the job of the Holy Spirit.

I was sharing the Gospel with a young man once who happened to be gay.  He was all over the place with his religious beliefs and questions.  At one point he asked, “Doesn’t the Bible say homosexual behavior is a sin?”  I could have glossed over it and said it was a debatable matter, but that wouldn’t have been true or loving.

I also could have spent an hour explaining all the verses around this topic, but that would have been overkill.  Instead I just confirmed that yes, the Bible does say it is a sin, despite how some try to twist it.  Then I just shifted back to the basic Gospel – namely, that we are all sinners in need of a Savior and Jesus is that Savior.  It was a great back-and-forth conversation on a lot of topics and I pray that it planted a seed and that the young man kept searching.

Pro-gay theology tends to fall into one of three categories.  They are all wrong, but for varying reasons.  Sometimes they overlap categories.

  1. The Bible is either not the Word of God, or most parts of it aren’t. This view claims that we can ignore the prohibitions against homosexual behavior because they were written by homophobic Jews.
  2. The Bible is the Word of God, but it doesn’t really say homosexual behavior is wrong. This view holds that people just aren’t reading the Bible properly, and that God’s Word is actually affirming of gay relationships.
  3. The Bible is the Word of God and does clearly and emphatically describe gay behavior as sinful.  However, the Holy Spirit has given additional revelations such that this behavior is now acceptable. This view holds that God has changed his mind on this moral issue and not only is it now acceptable, but it is sinful if you don’t affirm this behavior and same-sex relationships.

Category 1: The Bible is either not the Word of God, or most parts of it aren’t.

Regarding the first view, many liberal theologians deny that part or all of the Bible is the Word of God.  Unlike those in the second view, these folks seem to understand that the Bible does describe homosexual behavior as being sinful.  They just dismiss those parts.

Some appear to believe in Leopard Theology, the false notion that the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots.  If God wasn’t capable of inspiring all of the original writings of the Bible to be error-free, then why should we trust him to communicate with such clarity to these people regarding what is inspired and what isn’t?

The problem is that this view is very hard to reconcile with the 2,000 year tradition of the church and, more importantly, of the clear text of the Bible itself.  People are certainly entitled to hold that view, but it doesn’t seem logical for them to refer to themselves as Christians.

The Bible claims to speak directly for God roughly 3,000 times, so if someone believes that all of those are mistakes then why on earth would he take this faith seriously?  Why would he want to be a leader in the Christian church?

Remember that Jesus validated the law and the Prophets, among other parts of the Old Testament, right down to the last little mark.  He unapologetically referred to the most controversial parts, too – Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah and Sodom and Gomorrah.  Christians should strive to view the Bible in the same way that He did.

Note that many of these church “leaders” are liars: They either lied at their ordination vows about believing the essentials of the faith, or they changed their minds later and didn’t do the honest thing and resign.  Their views are usually not just a little different than historic Christianity, they are the opposite.  I believe in religious freedom, so they are entitled to their beliefs.  I also believe in honesty: HP salesman shouldn’t endorse Dell products, and Christians shouldn’t promote non-Christian beliefs about the Bible.  If either one breaks those rules they should be quickly fired.

It is challenging to argue with those who hold the first view, because you tend to go in circles.  They claim to be Christian, which should mean we can refer to the Bible as a “final court of arbitration” of sorts.  But whenever you find a passage they don’t like they’ll claim it was written just by men, not God, or they’ll pull out the false argument that you are being a Biblical literalist.

They may say things like, “But Jesus never said anything about homosexual behavior.”  That is called arguing from silence and it is poor reasoning.  Jesus inspired all scripture, He supported the Old Testament law to the last letter, the “red letters” weren’t silent on these topics in the sense that they reiterated what marriage and murder were, He emphasized many other important issues that these liberal theologians completely ignore (Hell, his divinity, his exclusivity, etc.), He was equally “silent” on issues that these folks treat as having the utmost importance (capital punishment, war, welfare, universal health care, etc.), abortion and homosexual behavior simply weren’t hot topics for 1st century Jews, and He did mention Sodom and Gomorrah.This view is also part of the 2nd type of theological error noted above.

They may jump through hoops trying to dismiss the plain reading of verses like Leviticus 18:22 (“Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable”) yet gladly take other plain passages literally.  They may claim there were “only a few verses” but are quick to make all sorts of firm statements on other topics with less verses.  And just how many times does God have to clearly say something before we believe it?

They may try to dismiss passages like that by misreading other passages, such as saying that “God said that eating shellfish was an abomination, so why aren’t you opposed to that?”

To have a rational discussion on the verses referencing homosexuality you have to convince people in this group that the Bible is reliable and authoritative first.  And that may be impossible.

Here’s a sample quote from a person in this camp:

A 21st century [Martin] Luther would surely recognize that the few biblical proscriptions against “sodomy”-shaky in themselves as condemnations of same-sex love and rooted in a worldview vastly different from our own-should not bar the loving union of two gay or lesbian persons. Equally, a 21st century Luther would affirm the ordination of such persons, as in line with his theology of the ‘priesthood of all believers.’

Mary Zeiss Stange, professor of women’s studies and religion at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, responding to the recent decsion by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to expel a minister who admitted to a physical homosexual relationship-a violation of the denominations “Visions and Expectations” statement.

She really tips her hand with the “worldview vastly different from our own” comment.  The worldview she is referring to is that of Middle East Jews and Christians a couple thousand years ago or more.  But she misses the obvious: The Biblical commands weren’t always the Jews’ worldview – they rebelled against that view over and over!  The worldview is God’s, and Ms. Stange is absolutely right that it is vastly different from hers.  She apparently doesn’t believe the Bible is the Word of God.  And if she ends up in Heaven I think Martin Luther will have a few things to clarify with her.

The verses aren’t “shaky,” and there are plenty showing God’s plan for human sexuality and his disapproval of homosexual behavior.  Some (but not all) people in this category may be predisposed to only consider verses that affirm their views, and they typically don’t have a problem drawing all sorts of conclusions from less clear passages.  Therefore, they won’t like these facts:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referencing God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

Category 2: The Bible is the Word of God, but it doesn’t really say homosexual behavior is wrong.

The second view is generally better than the first (“the Bible is not the Word of God”) with respect to being able to guide people towards the truth, because you have a common authority to appeal to.

The problem with this view is that it is just plain incorrect.  As hard as pro-gay theologians try, the truth is that the Bible is overwhelmingly clear.  Pro-gay theologians are good at casting doubt about certain passages but they never seem to pay attention when someone points out how their reasoning is flawed.

Even some pro-gay theologians agree that the Bible has straightforward commands, but they appeal to “experience” over Scripture.  The heretic John Shelby Spong denies the authority of the Bible at every turn, he at least admits that:

The Bible can certainly be read as condemnatory of homosexual practice. Both sides admit that.

Luke Timothy Johnson, a more orthodox theologian said:

I think it important to state clearly that we do, in fact, reject the straightforward commands of Scripture, and appeal instead to another authority when we declare that same-sex unions can be holy and good.

As noted previously, here is a summary of the Biblical view:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referencing God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

I find those figures to be unambiguous and very compelling based on plain readings of the text and even more so when delving further into the context and the original languages.  I think it is important to consider all those points because some people try to dismiss the traditional Biblical view because it “only” has a few passages about homosexuality.  It only takes one clear passage to make a point, but there are many more than that in the Bible.  These folks also don’t seem to mind making broad conclusions on verses that really do just have one verse behind them.

I have written on a couple specific mistakes pro-gay theologians make regarding Leviticus 18 (“Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”), another article on the shellfish argument and another on Romans 1.

There are many other resources dealing with particular verses.  Here’s a terrific outline on Romans 1 that explodes the myth that the real sin is acting outside your desires (as if anyone does that!).

My favorite resource is Responding to Pro-Gay Theology by Joe Dallas.  I highly encourage everyone to read it.  It is very thorough but readable.  I don’t have time to cover all the passages here but if people have questions on specific verses we can cover them in the comments section.

There are solid answers for any question you can come up with, provided people want to really discuss the issue.  I saw this commentary on an ex-ex-gay blog (i.e., someone who tried to leave the homosexual lifestyle and returned).  She is commenting on Mel White, a leading pro-gay theologian.

Mel White is a passionate and articulate man who makes it clear from the beginning of the workshop that he has absolutely no desire whatsoever to discuss the biblical passages on homosexuality. Over the years he has suffered a barrage of debates on the issue and he is thoroughly burnt out. He refuses to engage in the discussion any longer. Instead, he passes out a booklet he has written on the subject and tells us to read it. Then, he encourages us to refrain from discussing the Bible with conservative Christians because fundamentalists have no interest in sincere dialogue. Mel also encourages us not to engage in the debate for another reason. By having the conversation, we expose ourselves over and over again to the “lie” that homosexuality is wrong, and when heard repeatedly, “deep down inside you will wonder if they are right.”

That is a clever dodge on Mel’s part.  But I’ll be glad to have a sincere dialogue even if he won’t.

If you examine all the facts, I think you’ll find that the case is overwhelming: God considers homosexual behavior to be sinful and his ideal for marriage is one man and one woman.

So why do people twist the scriptures so blatantly? I generally don’t speculate on the motives of individuals, as only God knows their hearts. But I have seen some themes and evidence in various cases.

Some believe the lies out of ignorance or laziness. They may be sincere Christians who just haven’t fully examined the issue. There are issues I haven’t fully explored and may have the wrong views on, so we should approach things with humility.  We should do the hard work to understand important issues.

Some believe them out of political correctness. It is much easier to go with the views of the culture. Have they noticed the the liberal theologians came to the conclusion that abortion, homosexual behavior, easy divorce and fornication were acceptable just after the culture did?  What a coincidence.  They should remember 1 John 2:15-16: Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world-the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-comes not from the Father but from the world.

I won’t name specifics here, but I am aware of those in the pro-gay theology camp that pretend to be otherwise-orthodox Christians.  But if you follow their own blogs, for example, you discover how thoroughly fraudulent they are.  You need to watch out for those who use a veneer of Christianity to justify their preferences.  They desparately want everyone’s approval – even though it will still leave them unfulfilled – and they especially want the church’s approval — or at least its silence.

There is also the passive-aggressive stance where some confidently claim that the Bible does or doesn’t say something about homosexual behavior, then when you go to analyze the verses they “humbly” say they don’t know that much (as if the subject were just too complicated or it is so gray we just can’t reach a conclusion).

False teachers aren’t necessarily gay themselves.  They may have other motives for spreading their lies.  Jesus warned that there would be false teachers in the church and Paul did as well.  What better way to accomplish this than to infiltrate the church and bring it down from the inside?

2 Corinthians 11:13-15  For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.  It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

Of course, there are frauds at the other end of the spectrum as well, such as Ted Haggard, or hateful false teachers like Democrat Fred Phelps.  Those aren’t Biblical models, either.

Some people have a “revelation” about the lack of sinfulness of homosexuality when a loved one is involved. Perhaps this is due to new information and a fresh look at the Bible, but perhaps it is due to major league rationalization. It is similar to pro-life Christians who change their minds when their child is pregnant and encourage the destruction of their grandchildren. Did they really change their views on the morality of abortion based on new information, or did their fear of embarrassment and/or inconvenience trump their moral views?

Some people just want to believe the lies. It is a strong delusion. And Satan’s oldest trick is still used today: “Did God really say . . .?”  Hint: Yes.  Yes, He did.

Category 3 – The Bible is the Word of God and does clearly and emphatically describe gay behavior as sinful.  However, the Holy Spirit has given additional revelations such that this behavior is now acceptable.

This view holds that God has changed his mind on this moral issue and not only is it now acceptable, but it is sinful if you don’t affirm this behavior and same-sex relationships.

The third view attempts to affirm scripture but makes a major theological mistake afterwards.  Think about the premise: God is allegedly overturning a moral law and simultaneously making it immoral to quote the Bible.

One denomination has a slogan that “God is still speaking.”  This would be true provided that it meant that God still speaks through his Word.  However, liberal theologians tend to use this phrase to mean that God is changing his moral laws.

Some people appear to believe in Leopard Theology, the false notion that the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots.  That is the first error above.  However, those in this third category appear to hold to Advanced Leopard Theology, where God is also changing spots and adding/removing spots, and, oddly enough, He is only telling theological liberals and progressives.

This category overlaps a bit with those who don’t think He communicated his laws in a discernable way in the first place (i.e., in the Bible), but they now think He is communicating with Swiss-watch precision to them.

Here’s an example: A Methodist pastor named Laurie Hays Coffman did a pro-gay theology piece that made the argument that she wants to “unfurl our corporate sails to catch today’s winds as the Spirit blows afresh.”  She said she was challenged by the vision God gave to Peter in Acts 10-11 where God makes it clear that the Gospel is for the Gentiles, too, and that the Israelites’ ceremonial dietary laws are no longer in force.

Her reasoning is that in the same way that God overturned those laws that He is now overturning the prohibitions against homosexual behavior.

The problem is her poor Biblical analysis.  There are at least nine things wrong with this view:

  1. The person with the revelation was Peter, one of Jesus’ inner circle and a key leader in the early church.  It wasn’t made to you, me or someone like Ms. Coffman.  That doesn’t mean God couldn’t reveal something important like this to us, just that it is highly unlikely.
  2. The visions were clear and emphatic.  Peter was given the vision three times.
  3. Peter was inclined to reject the meaning of the vision, whereas these pro-gay theologians have views on human sexuality that are virtually indistinguishable from the prevailing culture and they are glad to accept this “new revelation.”
  4. There was external validation for Peter from the Roman centurion.
  5. This lesson showed up in the Bible, not outside it.  I’m not saying miracles don’t happen outside the Bible.  It is just that things appear in the Bible for a reason.  God communicating that the ceremonial laws had been fulfilled was one of those “big deals.”
  6. This vision overturned a ceremonial law, not a moral law.  There are zero examples in the Bible of God reversing his moral laws.  In fact, the more Jesus talked the stricter the laws seemed to get, because He emphasized the spirit of the law and not just the letter (i.e., lust was akin to committing adultery, anger was akin to murder, etc.).  The dietary laws never applied to Gentiles.
  7. The “God has changed his mind view” is primarily being “revealed” to theologically liberal Christians in the U.S. . . . the very ones who often deny his Word to begin with!  So we can’t trust the accurate transmission of the original writings but we can trust their new revelations?  Go figure.
  8. If God is revealing a change, why is it necessarily more liberal?  Why couldn’t God make his laws more stringent?
  9. The Bible gives strong warnings not to add or take away from its teachings.

And as noted above, even some pro-gay theologians agree that the Bible has straightforward commands, but they appeal to “experience” over Scripture.  Again, Luke Timothy Johnson said:

I think it important to state clearly that we do, in fact, reject the straightforward commands of Scripture, and appeal instead to another authority when we declare that same-sex unions can be holy and good.

There are simply no good reasons to believe that God is changing his moral laws (dropping those against homosexual behavior and adding those saying not to preach against it) and only informing selected people — as opposed to the Apostles and their direct followers — through revelation or “experience.”

Summary – Pro-gay theological principles in action

I have addressed the three commons ways pro-gay theologians make errors, namely by believing that:

  1. The Bible is either not the Word of God, or most parts of it aren’t.
  2. The Bible is the Word of God, but it doesn’t really say homosexual behavior is wrong.
  3. The Bible is the Word of God and does clearly and emphatically describe gay behavior as sinful.  However, the Holy Spirit has given additional revelations such that this behavior is now acceptable and the “new” sin is saying that homosexual behavior is sinful.

Now I am taking the pro-gay theological reasoning out for a test drive, so to speak, to see how it applies to other passages.  After all, if their principles are sound they should work in other situations as well.

We’ve addressed Leviticus 18:22 (Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.) and some of the improper interpretations of it here. But I wondered how their reasoning would apply to a verse in the same passage, such as Leviticus 18:8 – Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father. After all, the context of Leviticus 18 is abundantly clear because it starts and ends with the same admonitions: Don’t be like the pagan Canaanites and do the detestable things listed in the middle of the text, or you will be vomited out of the land like they were.  These were obviously not ceremonial laws just for the Israelites.

You can use any verse from Leviticus 18 to make the same points (bestiality, child sacrifice, etc.).  I chose this one because it happened to be addressed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 5.  Especially note how Paul chides them for being proud and boastful about this man’s behavior.  Read it once, then read it again and replace the descriptions of incest with homosexual behavior.  That is how I view the pro-gay theology community (especially the heterosexuals): Proud and boastful for ignoring God’s Word.

1 Corinthians 5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.

Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”

Now let’s apply the various lines of pro-gay theological reasoning to Leviticus 18:8 and 1 Corinthians 5 and see how well they work. I realize that not all pro-gay theologians hold all these views.  I tried to convey their reasoning as accurately as possible.  Using their logic, we could conclude that:

  • Jesus didn’t specifically say not to have sexual relations with your father’s wife, so it couldn’t have been very important and probably wasn’t even a sin (the argument from silence).  We should err on the side of saying it isn’t a sin.  We ignore the fact that Jesus, as God, authored the Old Testament and that He fully supported it.
  • The man was born that way (i.e., with the desire to have sex with females).  It was his natural desire and function.
  • He and his father’s wife love each other!  Who are you to say that is wrong?  Gene Robinson, a Bishop in the Episcopal church, left his wife and kids so he could be with his gay lover.  Pro-gay theologians usually affirm and applaud this behavior.  Living up to marriage commitments made before God isn’t nearly as important as indulging your sexual preferences.
  • How do you know he and his father’s wife didn’t pray about it?  Maybe God gave them a personal revelation permitting them to have sex and/or get married.  That would make it acceptable.
  • Maybe the couple says that Jesus told them it was OK.  Who are you to argue with Jesus?
  • Leviticus 18:8 was a ceremonial law.  It was only for the Jews.  It obviously doesn’t apply to Gentiles.  If you eat shellfish then you obviously are a hypocrite if you don’t condone incest.
  • The Bible never actually uses the word incest.
  • There are only a few verses saying not to have sexual relations with your father’s wife [probably less than there are describing homosexual behavior as sinful].Therefore, how can we be sure about it?  And they are kinda obscure as well.
  • The man or the father’s wife was a temple prostitute or this was part of some pagan temple worship, and that is what made it wrong [even though the text doesn’t even hint at that].
  • Paul was an ignorant prude.  He didn’t understand sexual behavior or have the advantage of all the knowledge we do.  [This assumes that the Holy Spirit wasn’t inspiring his writings, of course].
  • You are just using the “yuck” factor and saying “Eeewww” because a man having sex with his father’s wife seems gross to you.  There is really nothing wrong with it, though – you were just made differently.
  • Judge not, lest ye be judged.  Paul must be sinning here because he is clearly making moral judgments.  [Please ignore the fact that I’m judging Paul for judging and that I’ve taken Matthew 7:1-5 out of context].
  • You are just an incest-o-phobe.  You need therapy for your irrational hatred.  In fact, speech like that should be prohibited because it will incite violence against those who practice incest.
  • You just don’t love the man and his father’s wife!  If you did, you’d want them to be happy.  Hater!  Hate speech!
  • Other parts of the Bible portray God acting in ways that don’t appear to be in line with his moral laws, so they obviously aren’t really from him.  Therefore, Leviticus 18:8 may not be his Word either.  When in doubt, we should ignore Scripture, because God’s revelation to my heart trumps anything in the Bible.
  • Some parts of the Bible aren’t clear to us [even though this part is] so we can ignore it.

If that sounds like an unsound line of reasoning that’s because it is an unsound line of reasoning. These principles don’t work on the passages they are designed to dismiss, and they completely self-destruct when applied to other passages.  Pro-gay theology is flawed, sinful and destructive and should be abandoned by any Christians who hold those views.

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Once again, note that:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referencing God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

Remember, if homosexual behavior is a sin – and the Bible clearly identifies it as such – then affirming and encouraging that behavior is also a sin and providing the orthodox Biblical view is the loving thing to do.  God is perfectly holy, but He is also perfectly gracious and merciful and will forgive those who repent and believe in Jesus.  Hear the Good News:

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Comments are welcome, but please stick to the topic.  We aren’t debating secular views, we aren’t demonizing anyone (pro-gay or orthodox) and we don’t need straw-man arguments (“You just don’t love them,” etc.).

Love LGBTQ people, be friends with them and pray for them.  If they need to develop a friendship with you so they can see what normal relationships should look like, then do so.  But don’t encourage them to participate in sinful behavior.  If you do, then you are loving yourself, not them, and you are committing a serious sin (Romans 1:32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them).

And remember, God catches his fish and then He cleans them.  You don’t have to convert their sexuality before sharing the Good News that by his grace God adopts, completely forgives and eternally blesses everyone who repents and trusts in Jesus.

Problems with pro-gay theology

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Introduction

This post is long, but I think it is worthwhile and hope you read it all.  I like to run it every couple of years.

Many churches today are being torn apart by false teachings about human sexuality, so we can’t ignore this topic.  I am continuously disappointed that so many Christians who don’t get educated on this topic and stand up for the truth.  In addition, the rapid and radical changes in public schools are a serious issue and hate speech laws and activist judges are a blatant attempt to shut down debate and curtail religious freedoms.  Barely a week goes by without hearing about a business owner forced to cater to gay couples (e.g., bed-and-breakfasts, wedding photographers), LGBTQ indoctrination in elementary schools, religious organizations forced to hire LGBTQ people, people losing jobs for saying that skin color is morally neutral but sexual behavior is not, laws being proposed that will make it a crime to criticize homosexual behavior, and so on.

Many people who hold the orthodox Christian view would love to move on to other issues, but the problem is that the pro-gay theologians aren’t giving up.  Therefore, we need to stand firm and do a better job of educating those in the middle ground.

While this issue isn’t an essential of the faith, such as Jesus’ divinity and exclusivity for salvation, those who take the pro-gay theology view typically have to deny the essential of the authority of scripture to arrive at their conclusions.  And that is a dangerous thing.

The general Biblical ignorance of many Christians on this topic isn’t helping things.  I know of people who have gone to church their whole lives and have been in multiple Bible studies but still ask questions like, “Does the New Testament say anything about homosexual behavior?”  (Short answer: Yes.)  And it goes downhill from there.

Before I dive in, let me state that while I firmly believe that homosexual behavior is a sin, I do not think it is something we should grandstand on.  We all have temptations and stumble and fall at times.  Romans 1 explains in no uncertain terms that homosexual behavior is an affront to God, but it also lists greed, gossip, deceit and other things as serious sins (anyone squirming yet?).

And we should act as suggested by a believer I am friends with who is tempted by same-sex attractions: Pray for them and be their friends.

Do homosexuals have a legitimate complaint when they point out how many Christians are softer on divorce, adultery and pre-marital sex than they are on homosexual behavior?  Sometimes, yes, although it should be noted that those aren’t being forced down our throats as the others are.  No one is trying to make it illegal to criticize those topics.  Grandstanding on sins that aren’t a temptation for us and downplaying or ignoring sins that are a temptation is not a Christian thing to do.  But the lesson is to hold consistent Biblical views on all sins, not to water things down more.  We need to raise the bar back up on all these sins because they have huge consequences and, more importantly, because that is in line with what the Bible says.

But we shouldn’t call evil good and good evil.  I support the Methodist position on homosexuality, which regards the behavior as sinful but the people as having worth.  (Sadly, I left the Methodist in large part due to their lack of adherence to their own positions!)  I think it should be illegal to abort babies just because they might be homosexual (Ironically, that position puts me at odds with many liberals whose support for abortion is such that they think it should be legal under any circumstances).  I mention these things simply to pre-empt any nonsensical allegations that I am homophobic, a childish and false put-down designed to stifle debate.  The real homophobes are those who are so scared of being politically incorrect that they deny God, the Bible and common sense rather than state the obvious.

I also believe that homosexual behavior is a forgivable sin and can be overcome by the power of the Gospel.  When I meet gays I don’t view it as my job to change them.  I treat them like I would anyone else, developing relationships and hoping to be able to share the Gospel with them at some point.  The real work is the job of the Holy Spirit.

I was sharing the Gospel with a young man once who happened to be gay.  He was all over the place with his religious beliefs and questions.  At one point he asked, “Doesn’t the Bible say homosexual behavior is a sin?”  I could have glossed over it and said it was a debatable matter, but that wouldn’t have been true or loving.

I also could have spent an hour explaining all the verses around this topic, but that would have been overkill.  Instead I just confirmed that yes, the Bible does say it is a sin, despite how some try to twist it.  Then I just shifted back to the basic Gospel – namely, that we are all sinners in need of a Savior and Jesus is that Savior.  It was a great back-and-forth conversation on a lot of topics and I pray that it planted a seed and that the young man kept searching.

Pro-gay theology tends to fall into one of three categories.  They are all wrong, but for varying reasons.  Sometimes they overlap categories.

  1. The Bible is either not the Word of God, or most parts of it aren’t. This view claims that we can ignore the prohibitions against homosexual behavior because they were written by homophobic Jews.
  2. The Bible is the Word of God, but it doesn’t really say homosexual behavior is wrong. This view holds that people just aren’t reading the Bible properly, and that God’s Word is actually affirming of gay relationships.
  3. The Bible is the Word of God and does clearly and emphatically describe gay behavior as sinful.  However, the Holy Spirit has given additional revelations such that this behavior is now acceptable. This view holds that God has changed his mind on this moral issue and not only is it now acceptable, but it is sinful if you don’t affirm this behavior and same-sex relationships.

Category 1: The Bible is either not the Word of God, or most parts of it aren’t.

Regarding the first view, many liberal theologians deny that part or all of the Bible is the Word of God.  Unlike those in the second view, these folks seem to understand that the Bible does describe homosexual behavior as being sinful.  They just dismiss those parts.

Some appear to believe in Leopard Theology, the false notion that the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots.  If God wasn’t capable of inspiring all of the original writings of the Bible to be error-free, then why should we trust him to communicate with such clarity to these people regarding what is inspired and what isn’t?

The problem is that this view is very hard to reconcile with the 2,000 year tradition of the church and, more importantly, of the clear text of the Bible itself.  People are certainly entitled to hold that view, but it doesn’t seem logical for them to refer to themselves as Christians.

The Bible claims to speak directly for God roughly 3,000 times, so if someone believes that all of those are mistakes then why on earth would he take this faith seriously?  Why would he want to be a leader in the Christian church?

Remember that Jesus validated the law and the Prophets, among other parts of the Old Testament, right down to the last little mark.  He unapologetically referred to the most controversial parts, too – Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah and Sodom and Gomorrah.  Christians should strive to view the Bible in the same way that He did.

Note that many of these church “leaders” are liars: They either lied at their ordination vows about believing the essentials of the faith, or they changed their minds later and didn’t do the honest thing and resign.  Their views are usually not just a little different than historic Christianity, they are the opposite.  I believe in religious freedom, so they are entitled to their beliefs.  I also believe in honesty: HP salesman shouldn’t endorse Dell products, and Christians shouldn’t promote non-Christian beliefs about the Bible.  If either one breaks those rules they should be quickly fired.

It is challenging to argue with those who hold the first view, because you tend to go in circles.  They claim to be Christian, which should mean we can refer to the Bible as a “final court of arbitration” of sorts.  But whenever you find a passage they don’t like they’ll claim it was written just by men, not God, or they’ll pull out the false argument that you are being a Biblical literalist.

They may say things like, “But Jesus never said anything about homosexual behavior.”  That is called arguing from silence and it is poor reasoning.  Jesus inspired all scripture, He supported the Old Testament law to the last letter, the “red letters” weren’t silent on these topics in the sense that they reiterated what marriage and murder were, He emphasized many other important issues that these liberal theologians completely ignore (Hell, his divinity, his exclusivity, etc.), He was equally “silent” on issues that these folks treat as having the utmost importance (capital punishment, war, welfare, universal health care, etc.), abortion and homosexual behavior simply weren’t hot topics for 1st century Jews, and He did mention Sodom and Gomorrah.This view is also part of the 2nd type of theological error noted above.

They may jump through hoops trying to dismiss the plain reading of verses like Leviticus 18:22 (“Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable”) yet gladly take other plain passages literally.  They may claim there were “only a few verses” but are quick to make all sorts of firm statements on other topics with less verses.  And just how many times does God have to clearly say something before we believe it?

They may try to dismiss passages like that by misreading other passages, such as saying that “God said that eating shellfish was an abomination, so why aren’t you opposed to that?”

To have a rational discussion on the verses referencing homosexuality you have to convince people in this group that the Bible is reliable and authoritative first.  And that may be impossible.

Here’s a sample quote from a person in this camp:

A 21st century [Martin] Luther would surely recognize that the few biblical proscriptions against “sodomy”-shaky in themselves as condemnations of same-sex love and rooted in a worldview vastly different from our own-should not bar the loving union of two gay or lesbian persons. Equally, a 21st century Luther would affirm the ordination of such persons, as in line with his theology of the ‘priesthood of all believers.’

Mary Zeiss Stange, professor of women’s studies and religion at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, responding to the recent decsion by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to expel a minister who admitted to a physical homosexual relationship-a violation of the denominations “Visions and Expectations” statement.

She really tips her hand with the “worldview vastly different from our own” comment.  The worldview she is referring to is that of Middle East Jews and Christians a couple thousand years ago or more.  But she misses the obvious: The Biblical commands weren’t always the Jews’ worldview – they rebelled against that view over and over!  The worldview is God’s, and Ms. Stange is absolutely right that it is vastly different from hers.  She apparently doesn’t believe the Bible is the Word of God.  And if she ends up in Heaven I think Martin Luther will have a few things to clarify with her.

The verses aren’t “shaky,” and there are plenty showing God’s plan for human sexuality and his disapproval of homosexual behavior.  Some (but not all) people in this category may be predisposed to only consider verses that affirm their views, and they typically don’t have a problem drawing all sorts of conclusions from less clear passages.  Therefore, they won’t like these facts:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referencing God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

Category 2: The Bible is the Word of God, but it doesn’t really say homosexual behavior is wrong.

The second view is generally better than the first (“the Bible is not the Word of God”) with respect to being able to guide people towards the truth, because you have a common authority to appeal to.

The problem with this view is that it is just plain incorrect.  As hard as pro-gay theologians try, the truth is that the Bible is overwhelmingly clear.  Pro-gay theologians are good at casting doubt about certain passages but they never seem to pay attention when someone points out how their reasoning is flawed.

Even some pro-gay theologians agree that the Bible has straightforward commands, but they appeal to “experience” over Scripture.  The heretic John Shelby Spong denies the authority of the Bible at every turn, he at least admits that:

The Bible can certainly be read as condemnatory of homosexual practice. Both sides admit that.

Luke Timothy Johnson, a more orthodox theologian said:

I think it important to state clearly that we do, in fact, reject the straightforward commands of Scripture, and appeal instead to another authority when we declare that same-sex unions can be holy and good.

As noted previously, here is a summary of the Biblical view:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referencing God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

I find those figures to be unambiguous and very compelling based on plain readings of the text and even more so when delving further into the context and the original languages.  I think it is important to consider all those points because some people try to dismiss the traditional Biblical view because it “only” has a few passages about homosexuality.  It only takes one clear passage to make a point, but there are many more than that in the Bible.  These folks also don’t seem to mind making broad conclusions on verses that really do just have one verse behind them.

I have written on a couple specific mistakes pro-gay theologians make regarding Leviticus 18 (“Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”), another article on the shellfish argument and another on Romans 1.

There are many other resources dealing with particular verses.  Here’s a terrific outline on Romans 1 that explodes the myth that the real sin is acting outside your desires (as if anyone does that!).

My favorite resource is Responding to Pro-Gay Theology by Joe Dallas.  I highly encourage everyone to read it.  It is very thorough but readable.  I don’t have time to cover all the passages here but if people have questions on specific verses we can cover them in the comments section.

There are solid answers for any question you can come up with, provided people want to really discuss the issue.  I saw this commentary on an ex-ex-gay blog (i.e., someone who tried to leave the homosexual lifestyle and returned).  She is commenting on Mel White, a leading pro-gay theologian.

Mel White is a passionate and articulate man who makes it clear from the beginning of the workshop that he has absolutely no desire whatsoever to discuss the biblical passages on homosexuality. Over the years he has suffered a barrage of debates on the issue and he is thoroughly burnt out. He refuses to engage in the discussion any longer. Instead, he passes out a booklet he has written on the subject and tells us to read it. Then, he encourages us to refrain from discussing the Bible with conservative Christians because fundamentalists have no interest in sincere dialogue. Mel also encourages us not to engage in the debate for another reason. By having the conversation, we expose ourselves over and over again to the “lie” that homosexuality is wrong, and when heard repeatedly, “deep down inside you will wonder if they are right.”

That is a clever dodge on Mel’s part.  But I’ll be glad to have a sincere dialogue even if he won’t.

If you examine all the facts, I think you’ll find that the case is overwhelming: God considers homosexual behavior to be sinful and his ideal for marriage is one man and one woman.

So why do people twist the scriptures so blatantly? I generally don’t speculate on the motives of individuals, as only God knows their hearts. But I have seen some themes and evidence in various cases.

Some believe the lies out of ignorance or laziness. They may be sincere Christians who just haven’t fully examined the issue. There are issues I haven’t fully explored and may have the wrong views on, so we should approach things with humility.  We should do the hard work to understand important issues.

Some believe them out of political correctness. It is much easier to go with the views of the culture. Have they noticed the the liberal theologians came to the conclusion that abortion, homosexual behavior, easy divorce and fornication were acceptable just after the culture did?  What a coincidence.  They should remember 1 John 2:15-16: Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world-the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-comes not from the Father but from the world.

I won’t name specifics here, but I am aware of those in the pro-gay theology camp that pretend to be otherwise-orthodox Christians.  But if you follow their own blogs, for example, you discover how thoroughly fraudulent they are.  You need to watch out for those who use a veneer of Christianity to justify their preferences.  They desparately want everyone’s approval – even though it will still leave them unfulfilled – and they especially want the church’s approval — or at least its silence.

There is also the passive-aggressive stance where some confidently claim that the Bible does or doesn’t say something about homosexual behavior, then when you go to analyze the verses they “humbly” say they don’t know that much (as if the subject were just too complicated or it is so gray we just can’t reach a conclusion).

False teachers aren’t necessarily gay themselves.  They may have other motives for spreading their lies.  Jesus warned that there would be false teachers in the church and Paul did as well.  What better way to accomplish this than to infiltrate the church and bring it down from the inside?

2 Corinthians 11:13-15  For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.  It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

Of course, there are frauds at the other end of the spectrum as well, such as Ted Haggard, or hateful false teachers like Democrat Fred Phelps.  Those aren’t Biblical models, either.

Some people have a “revelation” about the lack of sinfulness of homosexuality when a loved one is involved. Perhaps this is due to new information and a fresh look at the Bible, but perhaps it is due to major league rationalization. It is similar to pro-life Christians who change their minds when their child is pregnant and encourage the destruction of their grandchildren. Did they really change their views on the morality of abortion based on new information, or did their fear of embarrassment and/or inconvenience trump their moral views?

Some people just want to believe the lies. It is a strong delusion. And Satan’s oldest trick is still used today: “Did God really say . . .?”  Hint: Yes.  Yes, He did.

Category 3 – The Bible is the Word of God and does clearly and emphatically describe gay behavior as sinful.  However, the Holy Spirit has given additional revelations such that this behavior is now acceptable.

This view holds that God has changed his mind on this moral issue and not only is it now acceptable, but it is sinful if you don’t affirm this behavior and same-sex relationships.

The third view attempts to affirm scripture but makes a major theological mistake afterwards.  Think about the premise: God is allegedly overturning a moral law and simultaneously making it immoral to quote the Bible.

One denomination has a slogan that “God is still speaking.”  This would be true provided that it meant that God still speaks through his Word.  However, liberal theologians tend to use this phrase to mean that God is changing his moral laws.

Some people appear to believe in Leopard Theology, the false notion that the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots.  That is the first error above.  However, those in this third category appear to hold to Advanced Leopard Theology, where God is also changing spots and adding/removing spots, and, oddly enough, He is only telling theological liberals and progressives.

This category overlaps a bit with those who don’t think He communicated his laws in a discernable way in the first place (i.e., in the Bible), but they now think He is communicating with Swiss-watch precision to them.

Here’s an example: A Methodist pastor named Laurie Hays Coffman did a pro-gay theology piece that made the argument that she wants to “unfurl our corporate sails to catch today’s winds as the Spirit blows afresh.”  She said she was challenged by the vision God gave to Peter in Acts 10-11 where God makes it clear that the Gospel is for the Gentiles, too, and that the Israelites’ ceremonial dietary laws are no longer in force.

Her reasoning is that in the same way that God overturned those laws that He is now overturning the prohibitions against homosexual behavior.

The problem is her poor Biblical analysis.  There are at least nine things wrong with this view:

  1. The person with the revelation was Peter, one of Jesus’ inner circle and a key leader in the early church.  It wasn’t made to you, me or someone like Ms. Coffman.  That doesn’t mean God couldn’t reveal something important like this to us, just that it is highly unlikely.
  2. The visions were clear and emphatic.  Peter was given the vision three times.
  3. Peter was inclined to reject the meaning of the vision, whereas these pro-gay theologians have views on human sexuality that are virtually indistinguishable from the prevailing culture and they are glad to accept this “new revelation.”
  4. There was external validation for Peter from the Roman centurion.
  5. This lesson showed up in the Bible, not outside it.  I’m not saying miracles don’t happen outside the Bible.  It is just that things appear in the Bible for a reason.  God communicating that the ceremonial laws had been fulfilled was one of those “big deals.”
  6. This vision overturned a ceremonial law, not a moral law.  There are zero examples in the Bible of God reversing his moral laws.  In fact, the more Jesus talked the stricter the laws seemed to get, because He emphasized the spirit of the law and not just the letter (i.e., lust was akin to committing adultery, anger was akin to murder, etc.).  The dietary laws never applied to Gentiles.
  7. The “God has changed his mind view” is primarily being “revealed” to theologically liberal Christians in the U.S. . . . the very ones who often deny his Word to begin with!  So we can’t trust the accurate transmission of the original writings but we can trust their new revelations?  Go figure.
  8. If God is revealing a change, why is it necessarily more liberal?  Why couldn’t God make his laws more stringent?
  9. The Bible gives strong warnings not to add or take away from its teachings.

And as noted above, even some pro-gay theologians agree that the Bible has straightforward commands, but they appeal to “experience” over Scripture.  Again, Luke Timothy Johnson said:

I think it important to state clearly that we do, in fact, reject the straightforward commands of Scripture, and appeal instead to another authority when we declare that same-sex unions can be holy and good.

There are simply no good reasons to believe that God is changing his moral laws (dropping those against homosexual behavior and adding those saying not to preach against it) and only informing selected people — as opposed to the Apostles and their direct followers — through revelation or “experience.”

Summary – Pro-gay theological principles in action

I have addressed the three commons ways pro-gay theologians make errors, namely by believing that:

  1. The Bible is either not the Word of God, or most parts of it aren’t.
  2. The Bible is the Word of God, but it doesn’t really say homosexual behavior is wrong.
  3. The Bible is the Word of God and does clearly and emphatically describe gay behavior as sinful.  However, the Holy Spirit has given additional revelations such that this behavior is now acceptable and the “new” sin is saying that homosexual behavior is sinful.

Now I am taking the pro-gay theological reasoning out for a test drive, so to speak, to see how it applies to other passages.  After all, if their principles are sound they should work in other situations as well.

We’ve addressed Leviticus 18:22 (Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.) and some of the improper interpretations of it here. But I wondered how their reasoning would apply to a verse in the same passage, such as Leviticus 18:8 – Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father. After all, the context of Leviticus 18 is abundantly clear because it starts and ends with the same admonitions: Don’t be like the pagan Canaanites and do the detestable things listed in the middle of the text, or you will be vomited out of the land like they were.  These were obviously not ceremonial laws just for the Israelites.

You can use any verse from Leviticus 18 to make the same points (bestiality, child sacrifice, etc.).  I chose this one because it happened to be addressed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 5.  Especially note how Paul chides them for being proud and boastful about this man’s behavior.  Read it once, then read it again and replace the descriptions of incest with homosexual behavior.  That is how I view the pro-gay theology community (especially the heterosexuals): Proud and boastful for ignoring God’s Word.

1 Corinthians 5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.

Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”

Now let’s apply the various lines of pro-gay theological reasoning to Leviticus 18:8 and 1 Corinthians 5 and see how well they work. I realize that not all pro-gay theologians hold all these views.  I tried to convey their reasoning as accurately as possible.  Using their logic, we could conclude that:

  • Jesus didn’t specifically say not to have sexual relations with your father’s wife, so it couldn’t have been very important and probably wasn’t even a sin (the argument from silence).  We should err on the side of saying it isn’t a sin.  We ignore the fact that Jesus, as God, authored the Old Testament and that He fully supported it.
  • The man was born that way (i.e., with the desire to have sex with females).  It was his natural desire and function.
  • He and his father’s wife love each other!  Who are you to say that is wrong?  Gene Robinson, a Bishop in the Episcopal church, left his wife and kids so he could be with his gay lover.  Pro-gay theologians usually affirm and applaud this behavior.  Living up to marriage commitments made before God isn’t nearly as important as indulging your sexual preferences.
  • How do you know he and his father’s wife didn’t pray about it?  Maybe God gave them a personal revelation permitting them to have sex and/or get married.  That would make it acceptable.
  • Maybe the couple says that Jesus told them it was OK.  Who are you to argue with Jesus?
  • Leviticus 18:8 was a ceremonial law.  It was only for the Jews.  It obviously doesn’t apply to Gentiles.  If you eat shellfish then you obviously are a hypocrite if you don’t condone incest.
  • The Bible never actually uses the word incest.
  • There are only a few verses saying not to have sexual relations with your father’s wife [probably less than there are describing homosexual behavior as sinful].Therefore, how can we be sure about it?  And they are kinda obscure as well.
  • The man or the father’s wife was a temple prostitute or this was part of some pagan temple worship, and that is what made it wrong [even though the text doesn’t even hint at that].
  • Paul was an ignorant prude.  He didn’t understand sexual behavior or have the advantage of all the knowledge we do.  [This assumes that the Holy Spirit wasn’t inspiring his writings, of course].
  • You are just using the “yuck” factor and saying “Eeewww” because a man having sex with his father’s wife seems gross to you.  There is really nothing wrong with it, though – you were just made differently.
  • Judge not, lest ye be judged.  Paul must be sinning here because he is clearly making moral judgments.  [Please ignore the fact that I’m judging Paul for judging and that I’ve taken Matthew 7:1-5 out of context].
  • You are just an incest-o-phobe.  You need therapy for your irrational hatred.  In fact, speech like that should be prohibited because it will incite violence against those who practice incest.
  • You just don’t love the man and his father’s wife!  If you did, you’d want them to be happy.  Hater!  Hate speech!
  • Other parts of the Bible portray God acting in ways that don’t appear to be in line with his moral laws, so they obviously aren’t really from him.  Therefore, Leviticus 18:8 may not be his Word either.  When in doubt, we should ignore Scripture, because God’s revelation to my heart trumps anything in the Bible.
  • Some parts of the Bible aren’t clear to us [even though this part is] so we can ignore it.

If that sounds like an unsound line of reasoning that’s because it is an unsound line of reasoning. These principles don’t work on the passages they are designed to dismiss, and they completely self-destruct when applied to other passages.  Pro-gay theology is flawed, sinful and destructive and should be abandoned by any Christians who hold those views.

Once again, note that:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referencing God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

Remember, if homosexual behavior is a sin – and the Bible clearly identifies it as such – then affirming and encouraging that behavior is also a sin and providing the orthodox Biblical view is the loving thing to do.  God is perfectly holy, but He is also perfectly gracious and merciful and will forgive those who repent and believe in Jesus.  Hear the Good News:

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Comments are welcome, but please stick to the topic.  We aren’t debating secular views, we aren’t demonizing anyone (pro-gay or orthodox) and we don’t need straw-man arguments (“You just don’t love them,” etc.).

Love LGBTQ people, be friends with them and pray for them.  If they need to develop a friendship with you so they can see what normal relationships should look like, then do so.  But don’t encourage them to participate in sinful behavior.  If you do, then you are loving yourself, not them.

And remember, God catches his fish and then He cleans them.  You don’t have to convert their sexuality before sharing the Good News that God adopts, completely forgives and eternally blesses everyone who repents and trusts in Jesus.

Problems with pro-gay theology

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Introduction

This post is long, but I think it is worthwhile and hope you read it all.

Many churches today are being torn apart by false teachings about human sexuality, so we can’t ignore this topic.  I am continuously disappointed that so many Christians who don’t get educated on this topic and stand up for the truth.  In addition, the rapid and radical changes in public schools are a serious issue and hate speech laws and activist judges are a blatant attempt to shut down debate and curtail religious freedoms.  Barely a week goes by without hearing about a business owner forced to cater to gay couples (e.g., bed-and-breakfasts, wedding photographers), LGBTQ indoctrination in elementary schools, religious organizations forced to hire LGBTQ people, people losing jobs for saying that skin color is morally neutral but sexual behavior is not, and so on.

Many people who hold the orthodox Christian view would love to move on to other issues, but the problem is that the pro-gay theologians aren’t giving up.  Therefore, we need to stand firm and do a better job of educating those in the middle ground.

While this issue isn’t an essential of the faith, such as Jesus’ divinity and exclusivity for salvation, those who take the pro-gay theology view typically have to deny the essential of the authority of scripture to arrive at their conclusions.  And that is a dangerous thing.

The general Biblical ignorance of many Christians on this topic isn’t helping things.  I know of people who have gone to church their whole lives and have been in multiple Bible studies but still ask questions like, “Does the New Testament say anything about homosexual behavior?”  (Short answer: Yes.)  And it goes downhill from there.

Before I dive in, let me state that while I firmly believe that homosexual behavior is a sin, I do not think it is something we should grandstand on.  We all have temptations and stumble and fall at times.  Romans 1 explains in no uncertain terms that homosexual behavior is an affront to God, but it also lists greed, gossip, deceit and other things as serious sins (anyone squirming yet?).

And we should act as suggested by a believer I am friends with who is tempted by same-sex attractions: Pray for them and be their friends.

Do homosexuals have a legitimate complaint when they point out how many Christians are softer on divorce, adultery and pre-marital sex than they are on homosexual behavior?  Yes.  Grandstanding on sins that aren’t a temptation for us and downplaying or ignoring sins that are a temptation is not a Christian thing to do.  But the lesson is to hold consistent Biblical views on all sins, not to water things down more.  We need to raise the bar back up on all these sins because they have huge consequences and, more importantly, because that is in line with what the Bible says.

But we shouldn’t call evil good and good evil.  I support the Methodist position on homosexuality, which regards the behavior as sinful but the people as having worth.  (Sadly, I left the Methodist in large part due to their lack of adherence to their own positions!)  I think it should be illegal to abort babies just because they might be homosexual (Ironically, that position puts me at odds with many liberals whose support for abortion is such that they think it should be legal under any circumstances).  I mention these things simply to pre-empt any nonsensical allegations that I am homophobic, a childish and false put-down designed to stifle debate.  The real homophobes are those who are so scared of being politically incorrect that they deny God, the Bible and common sense rather than state the obvious.

I also believe that homosexual behavior is a forgivable sin and can be overcome by the power of the Gospel.  When I meet gays I don’t view it as my job to change them.  I treat them like I would anyone else, developing relationships and hoping to be able to share the Gospel with them at some point.  The real work is the job of the Holy Spirit.

I was sharing the Gospel with a young man once who happened to be gay.  He was all over the place with his religious beliefs and questions.  At one point he asked, “Doesn’t the Bible say homosexual behavior is a sin?”  I could have glossed over it and said it was a debatable matter, but that wouldn’t have been true or loving.

I also could have spent an hour explaining all the verses around this topic, but that would have been overkill.  Instead I just confirmed that yes, the Bible does say it is a sin, despite how some try to twist it.  Then I just shifted back to the basic Gospel – namely, that we are all sinners in need of a Savior and Jesus is that Savior.  It was a great back-and-forth conversation on a lot of topics and I pray that it planted a seed and that the young man kept searching.

Pro-gay theology tends to fall into one of three categories.  They are all wrong, but for varying reasons.  Sometimes they overlap categories.

  1. The Bible is either not the Word of God, or most parts of it aren’t. This view claims that we can ignore the prohibitions against homosexual behavior because they were written by homophobic Jews.
  2. The Bible is the Word of God, but it doesn’t really say homosexual behavior is wrong. This view holds that people just aren’t reading the Bible properly, and that God’s Word is actually affirming of gay relationships.
  3. The Bible is the Word of God and does clearly and emphatically describe gay behavior as sinful.  However, the Holy Spirit has given additional revelations such that this behavior is now acceptable. This view holds that God has changed his mind on this moral issue and not only is it now acceptable, but it is sinful if you don’t affirm this behavior and same-sex relationships.

Category 1: The Bible is either not the Word of God, or most parts of it aren’t.

Regarding the first view, many liberal theologians deny that part or all of the Bible is the Word of God.  Unlike those in the second view, these folks seem to understand that the Bible does describe homosexual behavior as being sinful.  They just dismiss those parts.

Some appear to believe in Leopard Theology, the false notion that the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots.  If God wasn’t capable of inspiring all of the original writings of the Bible to be error-free, then why should we trust him to communicate with such clarity to these people regarding what is inspired and what isn’t?

The problem is that this view is very hard to reconcile with the 2,000 year tradition of the church and, more importantly, of the clear text of the Bible itself.  People are certainly entitled to hold that view, but it doesn’t seem logical for them to refer to themselves as Christians.

The Bible claims to speak directly for God roughly 3,000 times, so if someone believes that all of those are mistakes then why on earth would he take this faith seriously?  Why would he want to be a leader in the Christian church?

Remember that Jesus validated the law and the Prophets, among other parts of the Old Testament, right down to the last little mark.  He unapologetically referred to the most controversial parts, too – Adam and Eve, Noah, Jonah and Sodom and Gomorrah.  Christians should strive to view the Bible in the same way that He did.

Note that many of these church “leaders” are liars: They either lied at their ordination vows about believing the essentials of the faith, or they changed their minds later and didn’t do the honest thing and resign.  Their views are usually not just a little different than historic Christianity, they are the opposite.  I believe in religious freedom, so they are entitled to their beliefs.  I also believe in honesty: HP salesman shouldn’t endorse Dell products, and Christians shouldn’t promote non-Christian beliefs about the Bible.  If either one breaks those rules they should be quickly fired.

It is challenging to argue with those who hold the first view, because you tend to go in circles.  They claim to be Christian, which should mean we can refer to the Bible as a “final court of arbitration” of sorts.  But whenever you find a passage they don’t like they’ll claim it was written just by men, not God, or they’ll pull out the false argument that you are being a Biblical literalist.

They may say things like, “But Jesus never said anything about homosexual behavior.”  That is called arguing from silence and it is poor reasoning.  Jesus inspired all scripture, He supported the Old Testament law to the last letter, the “red letters” weren’t silent on these topics in the sense that they reiterated what marriage and murder were, He emphasized many other important issues that these liberal theologians completely ignore (Hell, his divinity, his exclusivity, etc.), He was equally “silent” on issues that these folks treat as having the utmost importance (capital punishment, war, welfare, universal health care, etc.), abortion and homosexual behavior simply weren’t hot topics for 1st century Jews, and He did mention Sodom and Gomorrah.This view is also part of the 2nd type of theological error noted above.

They may jump through hoops trying to dismiss the plain reading of verses like Leviticus 18:22 (“Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable”) yet gladly take other plain passages literally.  They may claim there were “only a few verses” but are quick to make all sorts of firm statements on other topics with less verses.  And just how many times does God have to clearly say something before we believe it?

They may try to dismiss passages like that by misreading other passages, such as saying that “God said that eating shellfish was an abomination, so why aren’t you opposed to that?”

To have a rational discussion on the verses referencing homosexuality you have to convince people in this group that the Bible is reliable and authoritative first.  And that may be impossible.

Here’s a sample quote from a person in this camp:

A 21st century [Martin] Luther would surely recognize that the few biblical proscriptions against “sodomy”-shaky in themselves as condemnations of same-sex love and rooted in a worldview vastly different from our own-should not bar the loving union of two gay or lesbian persons. Equally, a 21st century Luther would affirm the ordination of such persons, as in line with his theology of the ‘priesthood of all believers.’

Mary Zeiss Stange, professor of women’s studies and religion at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, responding to the recent decsion by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America to expel a minister who admitted to a physical homosexual relationship-a violation of the denominations “Visions and Expectations” statement.

She really tips her hand with the “worldview vastly different from our own” comment.  The worldview she is referring to is that of Middle East Jews and Christians a couple thousand years ago or more.  But she misses the obvious: The Biblical commands weren’t always the Jews’ worldview – they rebelled against that view over and over!  The worldview is God’s, and Ms. Stange is absolutely right that it is vastly different from hers.  She apparently doesn’t believe the Bible is the Word of God.  And if she ends up in Heaven I think Martin Luther will have a few things to clarify with her.

The verses aren’t “shaky,” and there are plenty showing God’s plan for human sexuality and his disapproval of homosexual behavior.  Some (but not all) people in this category may be predisposed to only consider verses that affirm their views, and they typically don’t have a problem drawing all sorts of conclusions from less clear passages.  Therefore, they won’t like these facts:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referencing God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

Category 2: The Bible is the Word of God, but it doesn’t really say homosexual behavior is wrong.

The second view is generally better than the first (“the Bible is not the Word of God”) with respect to being able to guide people towards the truth, because you have a common authority to appeal to.

The problem with this view is that it is just plain incorrect.  As hard as pro-gay theologians try, the truth is that the Bible is overwhelmingly clear.  Pro-gay theologians are good at casting doubt about certain passages but they never seem to pay attention when someone points out how their reasoning is flawed.

Even some pro-gay theologians agree that the Bible has straightforward commands, but they appeal to “experience” over Scripture.  The heretic John Shelby Spong denies the authority of the Bible at every turn, he at least admits that:

The Bible can certainly be read as condemnatory of homosexual practice. Both sides admit that.

Luke Timothy Johnson, a more orthodox theologian said:

I think it important to state clearly that we do, in fact, reject the straightforward commands of Scripture, and appeal instead to another authority when we declare that same-sex unions can be holy and good.

As noted previously, here is a summary of the Biblical view:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referencing God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

I find those figures to be unambiguous and very compelling based on plain readings of the text and even more so when delving further into the context and the original languages.  I think it is important to consider all those points because some people try to dismiss the traditional Biblical view because it “only” has a few passages about homosexuality.  It only takes one clear passage to make a point, but there are many more than that in the Bible.  These folks also don’t seem to mind making broad conclusions on verses that really do just have one verse behind them.

I have written on a couple specific mistakes pro-gay theologians make regarding Leviticus 18 (“Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”), another article on the shellfish argument and another on Romans 1.

There are many other resources dealing with particular verses.  Here’s a terrific outline on Romans 1 that explodes the myth that the real sin is acting outside your desires (as if anyone does that!).

My favorite resource is Responding to Pro-Gay Theology by Joe Dallas.  I highly encourage everyone to read it.  It is very thorough but readable.  I don’t have time to cover all the passages here but if people have questions on specific verses we can cover them in the comments section.

There are solid answers for any question you can come up with, provided people want to really discuss the issue.  I saw this commentary on an ex-ex-gay blog (i.e., someone who tried to leave the homosexual lifestyle and returned).  She is commenting on Mel White, a leading pro-gay theologian.

Mel White is a passionate and articulate man who makes it clear from the beginning of the workshop that he has absolutely no desire whatsoever to discuss the biblical passages on homosexuality. Over the years he has suffered a barrage of debates on the issue and he is thoroughly burnt out. He refuses to engage in the discussion any longer. Instead, he passes out a booklet he has written on the subject and tells us to read it. Then, he encourages us to refrain from discussing the Bible with conservative Christians because fundamentalists have no interest in sincere dialogue. Mel also encourages us not to engage in the debate for another reason. By having the conversation, we expose ourselves over and over again to the “lie” that homosexuality is wrong, and when heard repeatedly, “deep down inside you will wonder if they are right.”

That is a clever dodge on Mel’s part.  But I’ll be glad to have a sincere dialogue even if he won’t.

If you examine all the facts, I think you’ll find that the case is overwhelming: God considers homosexual behavior to be sinful and his ideal for marriage is one man and one woman.

So why do people twist the scriptures so blatantly? I generally don’t speculate on the motives of individuals, as only God knows their hearts. But I have seen some themes and evidence in various cases.

Some believe the lies out of ignorance or laziness. They may be sincere Christians who just haven’t fully examined the issue. There are issues I haven’t fully explored and may have the wrong views on, so we should approach things with humility.  We should do the hard work to understand important issues.

Some believe them out of political correctness. It is much easier to go with the views of the culture. Have they noticed the the liberal theologians came to the conclusion that abortion, homosexual behavior, easy divorce and fornication were acceptable just after the culture did?  What a coincidence.  They should remember 1 John 2:15-16: Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world-the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-comes not from the Father but from the world.

I won’t name specifics here, but I am aware of those in the pro-gay theology camp that pretend to be otherwise-orthodox Christians.  But if you follow their own blogs, for example, you discover how thoroughly fraudulent they are.  You need to watch out for those who use a veneer of Christianity to justify their preferences.  They desparately want everyone’s approval – even though it will still leave them unfulfilled – and they especially want the church’s approval — or at least its silence.

There is also the passive-aggressive stance where some confidently claim that the Bible does or doesn’t say something about homosexual behavior, then when you go to analyze the verses they “humbly” say they don’t know that much (as if the subject were just too complicated or it is so gray we just can’t reach a conclusion).

False teachers aren’t necessarily gay themselves.  They may have other motives for spreading their lies.  Jesus warned that there would be false teachers in the church and Paul did as well.  What better way to accomplish this than to infiltrate the church and bring it down from the inside?

2 Corinthians 11:13-15  For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.  It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

Of course, there are frauds at the other end of the spectrum as well, such as Ted Haggard, or hateful false teachers like Democrat Fred Phelps.  Those aren’t Biblical models, either.

Some people have a “revelation” about the lack of sinfulness of homosexuality when a loved one is involved. Perhaps this is due to new information and a fresh look at the Bible, but perhaps it is due to major league rationalization. It is similar to pro-life Christians who change their minds when their child is pregnant and encourage the destruction of their grandchildren. Did they really change their views on the morality of abortion based on new information, or did their fear of embarrassment and/or inconvenience trump their moral views?

Some people just want to believe the lies. It is a strong delusion. And Satan’s oldest trick is still used today: “Did God really say . . .?”  Hint: Yes.  Yes, He did.

Category 3 – The Bible is the Word of God and does clearly and emphatically describe gay behavior as sinful.  However, the Holy Spirit has given additional revelations such that this behavior is now acceptable.

This view holds that God has changed his mind on this moral issue and not only is it now acceptable, but it is sinful if you don’t affirm this behavior and same-sex relationships.

The third view attempts to affirm scripture but makes a major theological mistake afterwards.  Think about the premise: God is allegedly overturning a moral law and simultaneously making it immoral to quote the Bible.

One denomination has a slogan that “God is still speaking.”  This would be true provided that it meant that God still speaks through his Word.  However, liberal theologians tend to use this phrase to mean that God is changing his moral laws.

Some people appear to believe in Leopard Theology, the false notion that the Bible is only inspired in spots and that they are inspired to spot the spots.  That is the first error above.  However, those in this third category appear to hold to Advanced Leopard Theology, where God is also changing spots and adding/removing spots, and, oddly enough, He is only telling theological liberals and progressives.

This category overlaps a bit with those who don’t think He communicated his laws in a discernable way in the first place (i.e., in the Bible), but they now think He is communicating with Swiss-watch precision to them.

Here’s an example: A Methodist pastor named Laurie Hays Coffman did a pro-gay theology piece that made the argument that she wants to “unfurl our corporate sails to catch today’s winds as the Spirit blows afresh.”  She said she was challenged by the vision God gave to Peter in Acts 10-11 where God makes it clear that the Gospel is for the Gentiles, too, and that the Israelites’ ceremonial dietary laws are no longer in force.

Her reasoning is that in the same way that God overturned those laws that He is now overturning the prohibitions against homosexual behavior.

The problem is her poor Biblical analysis.  There are at least nine things wrong with this view:

  1. The person with the revelation was Peter, one of Jesus’ inner circle and a key leader in the early church.  It wasn’t made to you, me or someone like Ms. Coffman.  That doesn’t mean God couldn’t reveal something important like this to us, just that it is highly unlikely.
  2. The visions were clear and emphatic.  Peter was given the vision three times.
  3. Peter was inclined to reject the meaning of the vision, whereas these pro-gay theologians have views on human sexuality that are virtually indistinguishable from the prevailing culture and they are glad to accept this “new revelation.”
  4. There was external validation for Peter from the Roman centurion.
  5. This lesson showed up in the Bible, not outside it.  I’m not saying miracles don’t happen outside the Bible.  It is just that things appear in the Bible for a reason.  God communicating that the ceremonial laws had been fulfilled was one of those “big deals.”
  6. This vision overturned a ceremonial law, not a moral law.  There are zero examples in the Bible of God reversing his moral laws.  In fact, the more Jesus talked the stricter the laws seemed to get, because He emphasized the spirit of the law and not just the letter (i.e., lust was akin to committing adultery, anger was akin to murder, etc.).  The dietary laws never applied to Gentiles.
  7. The “God has changed his mind view” is primarily being “revealed” to theologically liberal Christians in the U.S. . . . the very ones who often deny his Word to begin with!  So we can’t trust the accurate transmission of the original writings but we can trust their new revelations?  Go figure.
  8. If God is revealing a change, why is it necessarily more liberal?  Why couldn’t God make his laws more stringent?
  9. The Bible gives strong warnings not to add or take away from its teachings.

And as noted above, even some pro-gay theologians agree that the Bible has straightforward commands, but they appeal to “experience” over Scripture.  Again, Luke Timothy Johnson said:

I think it important to state clearly that we do, in fact, reject the straightforward commands of Scripture, and appeal instead to another authority when we declare that same-sex unions can be holy and good.

There are simply no good reasons to believe that God is changing his moral laws (dropping those against homosexual behavior and adding those saying not to preach against it) and only informing selected people — as opposed to the Apostles and their direct followers — through revelation or “experience.”

Summary – Pro-gay theological principles in action

I have addressed the three commons ways pro-gay theologians make errors, namely by believing that:

  1. The Bible is either not the Word of God, or most parts of it aren’t.
  2. The Bible is the Word of God, but it doesn’t really say homosexual behavior is wrong.
  3. The Bible is the Word of God and does clearly and emphatically describe gay behavior as sinful.  However, the Holy Spirit has given additional revelations such that this behavior is now acceptable and the “new” sin is saying that homosexual behavior is sinful.

Now I am taking the pro-gay theological reasoning out for a test drive, so to speak, to see how it applies to other passages.  After all, if their principles are sound they should work in other situations as well.

We’ve addressed Leviticus 18:22 (Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.) and some of the improper interpretations of it here and here. But I wondered how their reasoning would apply to a verse in the same passage, such as Leviticus 18:8 – Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father. After all, the context of Leviticus 18 is abundantly clear because it starts and ends with the same admonitions: Don’t be like the pagan Canaanites and do the detestable things listed in the middle of the text, or you will be vomited out of the land like they were.  These were obviously not ceremonial laws just for the Israelites.

You can use any verse from Leviticus 18 to make the same points (bestiality, child sacrifice, etc.).  I chose this one because it happened to be addressed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 5.  Especially note how Paul chides them for being proud and boastful about this man’s behavior.  Read it once, then read it again and replace the descriptions of incest with homosexual behavior.  That is how I view the pro-gay theology community (especially the heterosexuals): Proud and boastful for ignoring God’s Word.

1 Corinthians 5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.

Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”

Now let’s apply the various lines of pro-gay theological reasoning to Leviticus 18:8 and 1 Corinthians 5 and see how well they work. I realize that not all pro-gay theologians hold all these views.  I tried to convey their reasoning as accurately as possible.  Using their logic, we could conclude that:

  • Jesus didn’t specifically say not to have sexual relations with your father’s wife, so it couldn’t have been very important and probably wasn’t even a sin (the argument from silence).  We should err on the side of saying it isn’t a sin.  We ignore the fact that Jesus, as God, authored the Old Testament and that He fully supported it.
  • The man was born that way (i.e., with the desire to have sex with females).  It was his natural desire and function.
  • He and his father’s wife love each other!  Who are you to say that is wrong?  Gene Robinson, a Bishop in the Episcopal church, left his wife and kids so he could be with his gay lover.  Pro-gay theologians usually affirm and applaud this behavior.  Living up to marriage commitments made before God isn’t nearly as important as indulging your sexual preferences.
  • How do you know he and his father’s wife didn’t pray about it?  Maybe God gave them a personal revelation permitting them to have sex and/or get married.  That would make it acceptable.
  • Maybe the couple says that Jesus told them it was OK.  Who are you to argue with Jesus?
  • Leviticus 18:8 was a ceremonial law.  It was only for the Jews.  It obviously doesn’t apply to Gentiles.  If you eat shellfish then you obviously are a hypocrite if you don’t condone incest.
  • The Bible never actually uses the word incest.
  • There are only a few verses saying not to have sexual relations with your father’s wife [probably less than there are describing homosexual behavior as sinful].Therefore, how can we be sure about it?  And they are kinda obscure as well.
  • The man or the father’s wife was a temple prostitute or this was part of some pagan temple worship, and that is what made it wrong [even though the text doesn’t even hint at that].
  • Paul was an ignorant prude.  He didn’t understand sexual behavior or have the advantage of all the knowledge we do.  [This assumes that the Holy Spirit wasn’t inspiring his writings, of course].
  • You are just using the “yuck” factor and saying “Eeewww” because a man having sex with his father’s wife seems gross to you.  There is really nothing wrong with it, though – you were just made differently.
  • Judge not, lest ye be judged.  Paul must be sinning here because he is clearly making moral judgments.  [Please ignore the fact that I’m judging Paul for judging and that I’ve taken Matthew 7:1-5 out of context].
  • You are just an incest-o-phobe.  You need therapy for your irrational hatred.  In fact, speech like that should be prohibited because it will incite violence against those who practice incest.
  • You just don’t love the man and his father’s wife!  If you did, you’d want them to be happy.  Hater!  Hate speech!
  • Other parts of the Bible portray God acting in ways that don’t appear to be in line with his moral laws, so they obviously aren’t really from him.  Therefore, Leviticus 18:8 may not be his Word either.  When in doubt, we should ignore Scripture, because God’s revelation to my heart trumps anything in the Bible.
  • Some parts of the Bible aren’t clear to us [even though this part is] so we can ignore it.

If that sounds like an unsound line of reasoning that’s because it is an unsound line of reasoning. These principles don’t work on the passages they are designed to dismiss, and they completely self-destruct when applied to other passages.  Pro-gay theology is flawed, sinful and destructive and should be abandoned by any Christians who hold those views.

Once again, note that:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referencing God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

Remember, if homosexual behavior is a sin – and the Bible clearly identifies it as such – then affirming and encouraging that behavior is also a sin and providing the orthodox Biblical view is the loving thing to do.  God is perfectly holy, but He is also perfectly gracious and merciful and will forgive those who repent and believe in Jesus.  Hear the Good News:

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Comments are welcome, but please stick to the topic.  We aren’t debating secular views, we aren’t demonizing anyone (pro-gay or orthodox) and we don’t need straw-man arguments (“You just don’t love them,” etc.).

Love LGBTQ people, be friends with them and pray for them.  If they need to develop a friendship with you so they can see what normal relationships should look like, then do so.  But don’t encourage them to participate in sinful behavior.  If you do, then you are loving yourself, not them.

And remember, God catches his fish and then He cleans them.  You don’t have to convert their sexuality before sharing the Good News that God adopts, completely forgives and eternally blesses everyone who repents and trusts in Jesus.

God’s view of marriage and parenting

The last post talked about religion in the public square.  This one is for those within the church.  Non-believers are welcome to comment, but please stay on topic.

As I addressed in Problems with pro-gay theology, there are many false teachers and/or confused people in the church who hold one or more of the following erroneous beliefs:

  • The Bible is either not the Word of God, or most parts of it aren’t.  This view claims that we can ignore the prohibitions against homosexual behavior because they were written by homophobic Jews.
  • The Bible is the Word of God, but it doesn’t really say homosexual behavior is wrong.  This view holds that people just aren’t reading the Bible properly, and that God’s Word is actually affirming of gay relationships.
  • The Bible is the Word of God and does clearly and emphatically describes gay behavior as sinful.  However, the Holy Spirit has given additional revelations such that this behavior is now acceptable.  This view holds that God has changed his mind on this moral issue and not only is it now acceptable, but it is sinful if you don’t affirm this behavior and same-sex relationships. 
  • But as I’ve mentioned many time, the Bible couldn’t be more clear:

    1. 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
    2. 100% of the verses referencing God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
    3. 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
    4. 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

    Item 1 gets talked about the most, but I encourage people to search for the passages that relate to items 2 and 3 and then honestly ask themselves if they think the Bible even hints at oxymoronic “same sex unions” as being part of God’s plan.  I was reading this passage yesterday and this idea really stood out:

    1 Corinthians 7:1-10 Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another. To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to be aflame with passion. To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband.

    There is not even a hint that God has any plan for marriage other than one man and one woman.  Really, read the whole book and see.  I find the arguments from silence (i.e., “But the Bible never specifically says “same sex marriage” or gay parenting is wrong”) to be ridiculous and a sure sign that you are talking to person who is deceived and/or a deceiver. 

    P.S. If a professing Christian wants to claim that Paul was backwards or confused, then I offer this:

    • Paul was a really cerebral guy.  Read all his letters and see.
    • You should know that the Bible was inspired by the Holy Spirit.
    • Are you claiming that Paul was wrong and you are not and that I should trust your revelation over his?  I’m skeptical of that.

    Oh the humanity! UPDATED

    Update: Be sure to read Playing the Race Card on Gay Marriage.  Carlotta highlights some of the absurdities of the pro-LGBTQ movement.  They have a lot of nerve trying to co-opt the Civil Rights movement.  From the article she analyzed:

    Well, let’s see. The civil rights once denied to black Americans included the right to register as a voter, the right to cast a ballot, the right to use numerous public facilities, the right to get a fair hearing in court, the right to send their children to an integrated public school, and the right to equal opportunity in housing and employment. Have gay people been denied any of these rights? Have they been forced to sit in the back of buses? Confined to segregated neighborhoods? Barred from serving on juries? Subjected to systematic economic exploitation?

    Then there’s this from Verum Serum:

    Oddly enough, I haven’t been able to find one gay activist/gay rights spokesperson who has been able to articulate HOW these two are the same.

    Let me give it a shot…

    The history of blacks in the United States begins with slavery and continues on to various forms of societal discrimination that has included:  denial of voting rights, denial of property ownership rights, denial of equity in education, denial of access to public facilities, denial of access to businesses, denial of equal access to public transportation, etc.

    Homosexuals in the United States have had to endure…society’s refusal to allow them to change the definition of marriage.

    You know what?  The homosexuals are RIGHT.  They are EXACTLY the same as blacks!  Viva la Revolucion!

    At times I’m tempted to say, go ahead and give them “gay marriage.” The sooner they get all they think they want the sooner they’ll realize that they are still miserable and separated from God.

    The problem is that one of the things on their laundry list is to silence the church, because the Bible will always be a constant reminder that they aren’t fooling God.  And I’m not keen on giving up the church just yet.

    hindenbergA post titled When MY Generation Speaks by a 30-ish liberal friend railed against people in favor of Proposition 8 in California. 

    This entry is not to argue the inherent rights of gays to marry – not because there aren’t plenty of people who would love to debate this but because the debate would change nothing. Exit polling clearly indicates people make this decision based on dogma, not on logic – and if I have learned one thing in life, it is that reasoning with dogma is like talking to a wall. 

    Yeah, I’ve noticed that too, with dogma such as, “Haters!  Irrational!  Uneducated!  You want to send gays to internment camps!  You’re forcing your religion on us!  Of course we wouldn’t teach kindergarteners about this!  Etc.!”

    Here is some logic for those who are interested:

    • Same sex unions can never provide a mother and a father to a child, so the State has no interest in promoting or regulating them.
    • Marriage is a union of a man and a woman.
    • Gay couples already get benefits from the State of California.  This was all about affirmation.
    • The judges ignored the will of the people, so the amendment made perfect sense.
    • Sexual preferences are not Civil Rights.  Skin color is morally neutral, sexual behavior is not. 
    • Oxymoronic “same sex marriage” doesn’t mean that marriage is redefined as man/woman, woman/woman or man/man, it redefines it to say that it is not just between a man and a woman — it is whatever anyone wants to define it to be.  The same “anti-discrimination” rationale is immediately available for polygamists, incestuous couples, etc.

    Note that I didn’t even refer to the Bible.  If people want to know what God has to say — and they should, since He created the universe and us — here’s a summary:

    • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
    • 100% of the verses referencing God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
    • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
    • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.
    • In short, to advance “same sex marriage” is to be perpetually shaking your fist at God in rebellion.

    Here’s more from the other blogger:

    That the proposition passed is an injustice and is unjustifiable – but look to the horizon. People, especially the dogmatized, fear that which is different – that which they do not understand. Just as the elderly and the dogmatized were the most fervent opponents of desegregation and of women’s suffrage, they are holding back progress on this issue – the civil rights issue of my generation. But my generation will have the last word, and years from now, when gay rights are considered as inalienable as the rights of blacks and women, we will look back with shame and confusion at those who stood against the tide of equality.

    Actually, we do understand it.  We don’t fear what is different, we fear what it will do to innocent people and the structure of the foundation of society.

    And as usual this guy and his bigoted, shameful generation pull up the drawbridge on people with different sexual preferences.  They pat themselves on the back for supporting gay rights but ignore preferences of others.

    What about the “Civil Rights” of  those who want polygamy, incest, bestiality, necrophilia, and who knows what else?  If marriage is not just for a man and a woman, then who says it has to be just for humans, or just for two people,  or just for non-siblings, or just for living people, etc.?  The reasoning for same sex unions would apply to them as well.  And don’t tell me that judges wouldn’t rationalize those.  Any group that can see unlimited abortion rights in the Constitution has a remarkable — albeit perverted — creative streak.

    I realize how tempting it is for people to insist that those who disagree with them are irrational bigots, but the facts do not support their arguments.

    I am glad that his generation has the right to speak and I concede that they may get their way at the ballot box someday.  I just hope that more of his generation exercise their right to think critically as well.

    We told you so. VOTE YES ON 8!

    Hi – welcome to newcomers from the latest link(s) from other blogs.  Feel free to take a look around and comment if you like.

    Here’s another example of what you’ll get lots more of if Prop 8 fails: School holds surprise ‘Gay’ Day for kindergartnersRight out of the gay agenda playbook.

    It is interesting that some people criticize those who have the audacity to take exception to the things being pushed on children.  The same rationale people use to criticize me for criticizing the gay lobby could also be used to justify showing pornography to kindergarteners.  After all, you don’t want moral busybodies trying to prevent the victimization of children, do you?  You’ll just hurt them all the more, right?  I mean, anyone who wants to protect the innocence of children must have a series of psychological problems, don’t you think? 

    But I probably shouldn’t use that pornography example with one of the guys pointing people to my site, considering what he considers normal in their parades and how he enjoys blogging about gay camping –  what with its fluid sleeping arrangements, tubes of lube on the picnic tables and dozens of naked guys in the pool.  And he claims to be a “Christian,” no less!  Of course, that guy thought that reading illustrated gay fiction to 2nd graders was a good thing and had no issues with kissing his “husband” in front of little kids. 

    This is what we are dealing with, people.  Sick.  Of course, this is also the guy who said I was “worse than an abortionist’ and had “blood on my hands” because I think that pushing condoms on kids gives implicitly and explicitly wrong messages. 

    And of course, he offers his favorite line of attack: If you criticize schools for teaching the normality of sodomy to 5 year olds then it must be because you are a closeted homosexual.  Uh, yeah, good logic there, folks.  I must also be a closet abortionist, pagan, tax-and-spend liberal as well.  (P.S. to my good buddy: It ain’t gossip if you quote someone off their blog on another blog, though it is a sin to make things up about someone and accuse them of things they have never said or done.  But I sincerely forgive you.)

    But he does offer one insurmountable argument.  Maybe one day I’ll be clever enough to rebut it, but so far I’ve failed.  You see, he always refers to people like me as “wacky fundies” multiple times in each post.  So he must be correct in his views, eh?  And here I am, just stuck with facts and logic (Oh, and for authentic Christians, the Bible).

    Such desperation.  It is a strong delusion.

    P.S. I was amused that those who defended the field trip did so on the grounds that the parents signed permission slips.  Aside from the obvious peer-pressure issue, it misses the larger point: Even without field trips, just imagine the garbage they are pouring into these kids without parental awareness! 

    Be sure to read the comments of Joanne below, who proudly says that she pushes the gay agenda whether oxymornic “same-sex marriage” is legal or not.  Reason #13 to home school if you are in California.

    Also see What Same Sex Marriage Does to Kindergarteners.

    I hope Californians vote “yes” on proposition 8 before it is too late.  Read Field Trip Takes First-Graders to San Francisco City Hall for Lesbian ‘Wedding’

    This is so disturbing. It is exactly what many of us have identified already and predicted would spread further wherever oxymoronic “same sex marriage” is made legal.  First graders are being fed the lie that this behavior is somehow normal and positive.

    Some people try to deny the slippery slope argument, which is sometimes, but not always, a logical fallacy.  But things like this are exactly what one should expect when a few rogue judges override the will of the people and invent civil rights for sexual preferences.   

    Once this is legal then the state becomes an enemy of the church, because the church “discriminates.”  The state must give equal, or at least proportional time and space to these relationships in classes and textbooks.  Sadly, this whole process is aided and abetted by many fake and/or seriously confused Christians.

    The San Francisco Chronicle ran this photo Oct. 11 by photographer Mike Kepka showing first-grade students from a local public grade school cheering their teacher’s lesbian “wedding.” This homosexual “marriage” “field trip” occurred just eight days after the Chronicle editorialized against the “fear tactics” used by pro-Proposition 8 forces in defending their proposed amendment preserving marriage in California as between a man and a woman. The newspaper had mocked a Prop 8 TV ad on the adverse effects of legal “gay marriage,” stating: “People would be sued on the basis of their personal beliefs! Churches would lose their tax-exempt status! Gay marriage would be taught in public schools!” The troubling photo above certainly contradicts the Chronicle editorial’s assertion that, “Public schools certainly would teach that same-sex marriage is legal, and the history behind it. But the value judgments surrounding matters of marriage and family would remain in the domain of home and church as they are today.” The school’s principal justified allowing the lesbian-wedding excursion to be considered a “field trip” on the basis that it would be a “teachable moment” for the young students.

    Yes, it is teachable.  Another teachable moment is to show how God used behavior like this as exhibit A in the teaching that the sinfulness and rebellion in the world has turned the created order upside down.

    Romans 1:18-33 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

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

    Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

    Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

    Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

    Not surprisingly, you also get public nudity, sex and indescribable perversions out in the streets in San Francisco – Nancy Pelosi’s district, no less – and nothing is done by the police!  Will this be the next field trip for the 1st graders?  After all, it appears to be legal since nothing was done to stop it. 

    Or will the next field trip be to a Creationist Museum?  Probably so, if that is what the parents agree to, right?  Or would the “wacky liberals” complain about that, or would they be as creative in justifying the trip as they were this time?

    If you are in California, please vote “yes” on proposition 8!

    The good news buried in this atrocity is that it will show people what they will have – and more! – if proposition 8 fails.

    P.S. I’m amused and encouraged that some EONs (self-described Enemies Of Neil) are linking to this post and using all their intellectual power to refute my arguments, mainly by using the phrase “wacky fundies” over and over and getting simple facts wrong, such as insisting that this public school was private.  Hard to argue with that, right?

    Endless errors from Soulforce

    Update: Read here about how Mel White cheated on his wife with a male prostitute and blamed it on God.  This is the kind of perverse thinking grounding the “gay Christian” movement.

    This pro-gay theology pamphlet by Mel White of the pro-gay theology Soulforce group is an absolute train wreck of bad reasoning.  I’m going to give you just a sample.  Joe Dallas made this observation in Responding to Pro-Gay Theology (a terrific resource I refer to several times below).

    Mel White alludes, in his book, to some earlier studies of the destruction of Sodom but his turning point seems to have come not from a careful, prayerful study of scripture, but from a psychologist who encouraged him to accept his homosexuality and find a lover!

    Here are parts of the pamphlet with some comments.

    What the Bible Says – And Doesn’t Say – About Homosexuality

    by Rev. Mel White, co-founder of Soulforce

    LIKE YOU, I TAKE THE BIBLE SERIOUSLY!

    Many good people build their case against homosexuality almost entirely on the Bible. These folks value Scripture, and are serious about seeking its guidance in their lives. Unfortunately, many of them have never really studied what the Bible does and doesn’t say about homosexuality.

    We gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Christians take the Bible seriously, too. Personally, I’ve spent more than 50 years reading, studying, memorizing, preaching, and teaching from the sacred texts. I earned my master’s and doctoral degrees at a conservative biblical seminary to better equip myself to “rightly divide the word of truth.” I learned Hebrew and Greek to gain a better understanding of the original words of the biblical texts. I studied the lives and times of the biblical authors to help me know what they were saying in their day so I could better apply it to my own.

    I’m convinced the Bible has a powerful message for gay and lesbian Christians — as well as straight Christians. But it’s not the message of condemnation we so often hear.

    I’m not expecting you to take my word for it, though. I ask only that you’d consider what my research has taught me about the passages used by some people to condemn God’s gay and lesbian children. Then decide for yourself…

    MY FIRST PREMISE:

    Most people have not carefully and prayerfully researched the biblical texts often used to condemn God’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children.

    As you may know, biblical ignorance is an epidemic in the United States. A recent study quoted by Dr. Peter Gomes in The Good Book found that 38 percent of Americans polled were certain the Old Testament was written a few years after Jesus’ death. Ten percent believed Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife. Many even thought the epistles were the wives of the apostles.

    This same kind of biblical ignorance is all too present around the topic of homosexuality. Often people who love and trust God’s Word have never given careful and prayerful attention to what the Bible does or doesn’t say about homosexuality.

    I actually agree with his statements about Biblical illiteracy.  But that is a two-way street.  Let’s see how well he analyzes the Bible.

    For example, many Christians don’t know that:

    • Jesus says nothing about same-sex behavior.

    Yes, and many Christians don’t know that arguing from silence is a logical fallacy, Jesus inspired all scripture, He supported the Old Testament law to the last letter, the “red letters” weren’t silent on these topics in the sense that they reiterated what marriage and murder were, He emphasized many other important issues that these liberal theologians completely ignore (Hell, his divinity, his exclusivity, etc.), He was equally “silent” on issues that these folks treat as having the utmost importance (capital punishment, war, welfare, universal health care, etc.), and abortion and homosexual behavior simply weren’t hot topics for 1st century Jews, and Jesus specifically mentioned Sodom and Gomorrah multiple times.  I address the complete and absolute errors of the “Jesus says nothing” argument here.

    In short, that is a very bad argument on Mel’s part.

    • The Jewish prophets are silent about homosexuality.

    That ignores that many of the prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Zephnaniah) use Sodom and Gomorrah as an example of the sin and rebellion that God has punished.  It also ignores the obvious: The Prophets all wrote after the law was given to the Israelites, and homosexual behavior brought the death penalty.  It didn’t appear to be an issue for them.

    • Only six or seven of the Bible’s one million verses refer to same-sex behavior in any way — and none of these verses refer to homosexual orientation as it’s understood today.

    Actually, there are 31,173 verses in the Bible but I’ll grant him that bit of hyperbole.  How many verses does God have to use until He really means it?  There are even less verses on bestiality.  Is that OK?  There are zero on gay-bashing, but I’m pretty sure that is a sin.  And how about the fact that every reference to God’s ideal for marriage and every reference to parenting involves one man and one woman?

    Most people who are certain they know what the Bible says about homosexuality don’t know where the verses that reference same-sex behavior can be found. They haven’t read them, let alone studied them carefully. They don’t know the original meaning of the words in Hebrew or Greek. And they haven’t tried to understand the historical context in which those words were written. Yet the assumption that the Bible condemns homosexuality is passed down from generation to generation with very little personal study or research. The consequences of this misinformation are disastrous, not only for God’s gay and lesbian children, but for the entire church.

    Again, there is Biblical ignorance on both sides of the issue, but a vast number of scholars around the world realize what the Bible really says.  Even some pro-gay theologians concede that the Bible condemns the behavior.  They just invent a scenario where God has changed his mind now.  Luke Timothy Johnson said: “I think it important to state clearly that we do, in fact, reject the straightforward commands of Scripture, and appeal instead to another authority when we declare that same-sex unions can be holy and good.” And even the heretic “Bishop” Shelby Spong says, “The Bible can certainly be read as condemnatory of homosexual practice. Both sides admit that.”

    The apostle Paul says, “Test all things and hold fast to that which is good.” By reading this little pamphlet, you are taking Paul seriously.

    That begs the question.  So far Mel hasn’t demonstrated that he has anything good to offer.

    MY SECOND PREMISE:

    Historically, people’s misinterpretation of the Bible has left a trail of suffering, bloodshed, and death.

    Over the centuries people who misunderstood or misinterpreted the Bible have done terrible things. The Bible has been misused to defend bloody crusades and tragic inquisitions; to support slavery, apartheid, and segregation; to persecute Jews and other non-Christian people of faith; to support Hitler’s Third Reich and the Holocaust; to oppose medical science; to condemn interracial marriage; to execute women as witches; and to support the Ku Klux Klan. Shakespeare said it this way: “Even the devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.”

    Feel free to read the whole thing in the pamphlet, but I’m deleting most of this section.  It proves nothing.  Yes, people have misused the Bible to support bad things such as slavery and the oppression of women.  But people also properly used the Bible to end slavery and the oppression of women.

    So what are we to conclude?  That you must use the Bible properly.  The burden of proof is on Mel to prove that the Bible does not consider homosexual behavior a sin.  Christianity considered it so for 2,000 years.  The only exceptions are some recent changes in some Western churches that, coincidentally, often deny many essentials of the faith (Jesus’ divinity and exclusivity, the authority of the Bible, etc.).

    After Matthew Shepard was killed in 1998, a pastor in North Carolina published an open letter regarding the trial of Aaron McKinney that read: “Gays are under the death penalty. His blood is guilty before God (Lev. 20:13). If a person kills a gay, the gay’s blood is upon the gay and not upon the hands of the person doing the killing. The acts of gays are so abominable to God. His Word is there and we can’t change it.”

    Most of the people I know who say “the Bible condemns homosexuality” would never condone these acts. Most Christians have no idea that the people killing gay and lesbian persons go around quoting those few verses of Scripture as justification.

    So we agree that you shouldn’t bash gays (even though Jesus didn’t say anything about that . . .).

    But it’s important to hear these stories, because I’m not writing this little pamphlet as a scholarly exercise. It’s a matter of life and death. I’m pleading for the lives of my lesbian sisters and gay brothers who are rejected by their friends and families, fired by their employers, denied their civil rights, refused full membership in their churches, and kill themselves or are killed by others — all on the basis of these six or seven verses.

    Now that is just idiocy.  Consider Matthew Shepard’s killers.  For one thing, they now deny that they killed him over his sexuality.  But either way, do you seriously think that they just got back from a Focus on the Family “Love won out” conference and thought they should kill him?  Muslims kill gays without using any Bible verses.  Virtually all cultures look down on this behavior.  Mel proves nothing here.

    MY THIRD PREMISE:

    We must be open to new truth from Scripture.

    Even heroes of the Christian faith have changed their minds about the meaning of various biblical texts.

    It took a blinding light and a voice from heaven to help the apostle Paul change his mind about certain Hebrew texts. A sheet lowered from the sky filled with all kinds of animals helped the apostle Peter gain new insights into Jewish law.

    Yes, God revealed things to Paul and Peter.  But there are at least nine things wrong with applying that to pro-gay theology:

    There are at least nine things wrong with this view:

    1. The person with the revelation was Peter, one of Jesus’ inner circle and a key leader in the early church.  It wasn’t made to you, me or Mel.  That doesn’t mean God couldn’t reveal something important like this to us, just that it is highly unlikely.
    2. The visions were clear and emphatic.  Peter was given the vision three times.
    3. Peter was inclined to reject the meaning of the vision, whereas these pro-gay theologians have views on human sexuality that are virtually indistinguishable from the prevailing culture and they are glad to accept this “new revelation.”
    4. There was external validation for Peter from the Roman centurion.
    5. This lesson showed up in the Bible, not outside it.  I’m not saying miracles don’t happen outside the Bible.  It is just that things appear in the Bible for a reason.  God communicating that the ceremonial laws had been fulfilled was one of those “big deals.”
    6. This vision overturned a ceremonial law, not a moral law.  There are zero examples in the Bible of God reversing his moral laws.  In fact, the more Jesus talked the stricter the laws seemed to get, because He emphasized the spirit of the law and not just the letter (i.e., lust was akin to committing adultery, anger was akin to murder, etc.).  The dietary laws never applied to Gentiles.
    7. The “God has changed his mind view” is primarily being “revealed” to theologically liberal Christians in the U.S. . . . the very ones who often deny his Word to begin with!  So we can’t trust the accurate transmission of the original writings but we can trust their new revelations?  Go figure.
    8. If God is revealing a change, why is it necessarily more liberal?  Why couldn’t God make his laws more stringent?  Jesus never watered down any moral teachings.  At a minimum he made the intent more clear and more difficult to adhere to (i.e., lust is like adultery, unrighteous anger is like murder).
    9. The Bible gives strong warnings not to add or take away from its teachings.

    Jerry Falwell believed the Bible supported segregation in the church until a black shoeshine man asked him, “When will someone like me be allowed to become a member of your congregation?” Through those simple words, the Holy Spirit spoke new truth about the ancient biblical texts to the Rev. Falwell, and in obedience he ended segregation at Thomas Road Baptist Church.

    Even when we believe the Scriptures are “infallible” or “without error,” it’s terribly dangerous to think that our understanding of every biblical text is also without error. We are human. We are fallible. And we can misunderstand and misinterpret these ancient words — with tragic results.

    What if someone asked you, “Is there a chance you could be wrong about the way you’ve interpreted the biblical texts sometimes used to condemn homosexual orientation?” How would you respond? What does it say about you if you answer, “No, I could NOT be wrong”? I am asking you to re-examine these texts — carefully and prayerfully. Lives hang in the balance.

    Yes, lives hang in the balance.  Eternal lives.  I agree with Mel that we should examine these scriptures carefully.  I know I have, including the original Greek and Hebrew terms for key words, studying the passages in context, etc.  Mel assumes that we haven’t read them carefully, yet countless people have.

    There are far too many tragic stories of what happens when we fail to study these texts. Mark B. was a young man who accepted his sexual orientation “until he became a Christian” and was told on the basis of these texts that he couldn’t be both a Christian and a gay man. Mark committed suicide and wrote this suicide note to God: “I just don’t know how else to fix this.” Mary Lou Wallner, one of our most faithful Soulforce volunteers, was led by these texts to condemn her lesbian daughter, Anna, who hanged herself. Mary Lou now says, “If I can steer just one person away from the pain and anguish I’ve been living, then maybe Anna’s death will have meaning.”

    If heroes of the Christian faith could change their minds about the meaning of certain biblical texts, shouldn’t we be prepared to reconsider our own interpretations of these ancient words when the Holy Spirit opens our minds and hearts to new truth? That’s why we study the Bible prayerfully, seeking the Spirit of Truth, God’s loving Spirit, to help us understand and apply these words to our lives.

    On the night he was betrayed, Jesus told his disciples he was going away from them for a while, but that the Father would send them a “Comforter,” an “Advocate,” the “Holy Spirit” who would “teach them all things.”

    I believe with all my heart that the Holy Spirit is still teaching us. When we reconsider the texts that are used by some people to condemn God’s gay children, we must fervently seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance, or we risk being misled by our own prejudices.

    Yes, just as a gay person like Mel might be inclined to see what he wants in the texts.

    MY FOURTH PREMISE:

    The Bible is a book about God — not a book about human sexuality.

    The Bible is the story of God’s love for the world and the people of the world. It tells the history of God’s love at work rescuing, renewing, and empowering humankind. It was never intended to be a book about human sexuality. Certainly, you will agree.

    Of course that isn’t the primary purpose of the book, but that is a deceptive move on Mel’s part.  If it is the word of God – and Mel is at least pretending that it is – then anything it teaches about human sexuality is completely true.

    In fact, the Bible accepts sexual practices that we condemn and condemns sexual practices that we accept. Lots of them! Here are a few examples.

    • DEUTERONOMY 22:13-21
      If it is discovered that a bride is not a virgin, the Bible demands that she be executed by stoning immediately.
    • DEUTERONOMY 22:22
      If a married person has sex with someone else’s husband or wife, the Bible commands that both adulterers be stoned to death.
    • MARK 10:1-12
      Divorce is strictly forbidden in both Testaments, as is remarriage of anyone who has been divorced.
    • LEVITICUS 18:19
      The Bible forbids a married couple from having sexual intercourse during a woman’s period. If they disobey, both shall be executed.
    • MARK 12:18-27
      If a man dies childless, his widow is ordered by biblical law to have intercourse with each of his brothers in turn until she bears her deceased husband a male heir.
    • DEUTERONOMY 25:11-12
      If a man gets into a fight with another man and his wife seeks to rescue her husband by grabbing the enemy’s genitals, her hand shall be cut off and no pity shall be shown her.

    I’m certain you don’t agree with these teachings from the Bible about sex. And you shouldn’t.

    Whoa!  You just tipped your hand there, buddy.  First, you showed that you can’t read in context.  The rules in Deuteronomy were for an Israelite theocracy.

    The list goes on: The Bible says clearly that sex with a prostitute is acceptable for the husband but not for the wife. Polygamy (more than one wife) is acceptable, as is a king’s having many concubines. (Solomon, the wisest king of all, had 1,000 concubines.) Slavery and sex with slaves, marriage of girls aged 11-13, and treatment of women as property are all accepted practices in the Scriptures. On the other hand, there are strict prohibitions against interracial marriage, birth control, discussing or even naming a sexual organ, and seeing one’s parents nude.

    This is a gross misunderstanding of how to read the Bible.  It records what really happened, sins and all, but doesn’t necessarily approve of all that it records.  In fact, it disapproves of most of what it records.

    Over the centuries the Holy Spirit has taught us that certain Bible verses should not be understood as God’s law for all time periods. Some verses are specific to the culture and time they were written, and are no longer viewed as appropriate, wise, or just.

    The Holy Spirit taught the through the scripture and by reading it in context.

    Often, the Holy Spirit uses science to teach us why those ancient words no longer apply to our modern times. During the last three decades, for example, organizations representing 1.5 million U.S. health professionals (doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists, counselors, and educators) have stated definitively that homosexual orientation is as natural as heterosexual orientation, that sexual orientation is determined by a combination of yet unknown pre- and post-natal influences, and that it is dangerous and inappropriate to tell a homosexual that he or she could or should attempt to change his or her sexual orientation. (See Recommended Resources, p. 23-24.)

    Again, he tips his hand.  So the world understands what the word of God does not?  Indeed.

    While there are some people now living in heterosexual marriages who once perceived themselves to be gay, there are millions of gay and lesbian persons who have accepted their sexual orientation as a gift from God and live productive and deeply spiritual lives. The evidence from science and from the personal experience of gay and lesbian Christians demands that we at least consider whether the passages cited to condemn homosexual behavior should be reconsidered, just as other Bible verses that speak of certain sexual practices are no longer understood as God’s law for us in this day.

    MY FIFTH PREMISE:

    We miss what these passages say about God when we spend so much time debating what they say about sex.

    If the Bible is the story of God’s love for the world and not a handbook about sex, then that should shape how we read the Scriptures. So as we take a look at the six biblical texts that are used by some people to condemn homosexuality, let’s ask two questions about each of them:

    First, what does the text say about God that we need to hear but might be missing?

    Second, what might the text be saying about homosexuality?

    PASSAGE 1
    GENESIS 2:21-25
    THE CREATION STORY

    Let’s start “In the Beginning…” What does the creation story in Genesis 1-2 say about God?

    I’m so tired of reading signs carried by protesters that say: “It’s about Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” In fact, the creation story is as important to Adam and Steve as it is Adam and Eve. Gays and non-gays alike need to know and celebrate the truth at the center of this story.

    This creation story is primarily about God, a story written to show the power of God who created the world and everything in it. It teaches us that ultimately God is our Creator, that God shaped us, and that God said, “It’s good.” Isn’t this the heart of the text?

    Now what does the creation story say about homosexuality? Because the text says it is “natural” that a man and a woman come together to create a new life, some people think this means gay or lesbian couples are “unnatural.” They read this interpretation into the text, even though the text is silent about all kinds of relationships that don’t lead to having children:

    • couples who are unable to have children
    • couples who are too old to have children
    • couples who choose not to have children
    • people who are single

    Are these relationships (or lack of relationships) “unnatural”? There’s nothing said here that condemns or approves the love that people of the same sex have for each other, including the love I have for my partner, Gary.

    Those are called exceptions.  And some debate whether it is God’s plan for people to choose not to have children.  And if they are unable to have children or are too old then that may have been God’s design.

    Mel argues disingenuously and from silence about the Bible not condemning the love they have for each other.  First, the Bible thinks Mel and Gary’s love is great.  It has no objections to that at all.  It just says you should add sex to the relationship.  Big difference.

    Mel picks and chooses his verses quite a bit, and rarely includes the parts that hurt his case.  Consider Genesis 2:23-24 The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

    One man, one woman, one flesh.

    So I believe the creation story says a lot about God’s power and presence in the universe — but nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today.

    He says this out of ignorance, whether deliberately or not.  The creation story showed God’s plan for marriage.  It is crystal clear.

    PASSAGE 2
    GENESIS 19:1-14
    THE STORY OF SODOM

    Now let’s consider the second biblical text used by some people to condemn God’s gay children. You remember the ancient story of Sodom. First, what does the story of Sodom in Genesis 19 say about God?

    When Gary and I arrive at a college or university to speak, there are often protesters carrying signs that read, “Mel White, Sodomite.” (Has a nice ring to it.) Actually, I’m not from Sodom. That city was buried beneath the Dead Sea centuries ago. I’m from California — but perhaps that just confirms their suspicions!

    Once again, this story is not primarily about sex. It is primarily about God. Some people say the city of Sodom was destroyed because it was overrun by sexually obsessed homosexuals. In fact, the city of Sodom had been doomed to destruction long before. So what is this passage really about?

    Jesus and five Old Testament prophets all speak of the sins that led to the destruction of Sodom — and not one of them mentions homosexuality. Even Billy Graham doesn’t mention homosexuality when he preaches on Sodom.

    Listen to what Ezekiel 16:48-49 tell us: “This is the sin of Sodom; she and her suburbs had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not help or encourage the poor and needy. They were arrogant and this was abominable in God’s eyes.”

    Hmmmm . . . Mel forgot to include Ezekiel 16:50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.  That’s odd, because I think the word detestable in that verse is the same as the one in Leviticus 18:22 Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.  Must have been an oversight.

    Today, heterosexuals and homosexuals alike do well to remember that we break God’s heart when we spend all we earn on ourselves, when we forget the poor and hungry, when we refuse to do justice or show mercy, when we leave strangers at the gate.

    I admit, there are a lot of gay folk who are Sodomites (and a lot of straight folk as well). Sodomites are rich and don’t share what they have with the poor. Sodomites have plenty and want more. While millions are hungry, homeless, and sick, Sodomites rush to build bigger homes, buy bigger cars, and own more property — putting their trust in safer stock portfolios and more secure retirement accounts.

    Whatever teaching about sexuality you might get out of this passage, be sure to hear this central, primary truth about God as well. God has called us do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our Creator. Sodom was destroyed because its people didn’t take God seriously about caring for the poor, the hungry, the homeless, or the outcast.

    But what does the story of Sodom say about homosexual orientation as we understand it today? Nothing.

    That is a diversion and a lie.  I’ll note what Joe Dallas said about the “inhospitality argument” – The argument makes no sense in light of Lot’s responses. His first response, “Don’t do this wicked thing,” could hardly apply to a simple request to “get to know” his guests. His second response is especially telling: he answered their demands by offering his two virgin daughters- another senseless gesture if the men wanted only a social knowledge of his guests. And why, if these men had innocent intentions, was the city destroyed for inhospitality? Whose rudeness was being judged-Lots’, or Sodom’s citizens? The theory raises more questions than it answers. While Boswell and Bailey are correct in pointing out the seriousness of inhospitality in Biblical times, inhospitality alone cannot account for the severity of Lot’s response to the men, or for the judgment that soon followed.

    It was common for soldiers, thieves, and bullies to rape a fallen enemy, asserting their victory by dehumanizing and demeaning the vanquished. This act of raping an enemy is about power and revenge, not about homosexuality or homosexual orientation. And it is still happening.

    In August 1997, Abner Louima, a young black immigrant from Haiti, was assaulted by several police officers after he was arrested in Brooklyn. Officer Charles Schwarz held Louima down in a restroom at the precinct, while Officer Justin Volpe rammed a broken stick into Louima’s rectum. These two men and the three other officers involved in this incident and its cover-up were not gay. This was not a homosexual act. It was about power.

    The sexual act that occurs in the story of Sodom is a gang rape — and homosexuals oppose gang rape as much as anyone. That’s why I believe the story of Sodom says a lot about God’s will for each of us, but nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today.

    More from Dallas re. the “rape” angle, with emphasis added: The argument is partially true; the men of Sodom certainly were proposing rape. But for such an event to include “all the men from every part of the city of Sodom-both young and old,” homosexuality must have been commonly practiced. Mollenkott makes a persuasive case for the event being much like a prison rape, or the kind of assaults conquering armies would commit against vanquished enemies, but her argument is weakened by Professor Thomas Schmidt’s cited evidence in early literature connecting Sodom with more general homosexual practices: The second-century BC Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs labels the Sodomites ‘sexually promiscuous’ (Testimony of Benjamin 9:1) and refers to ‘Sodom, which departed from the order of nature’ (Testament of Nephtali 3:4). From the same time period, Jubilees specifies that the Sodomites were ‘polluting themselves and fornicating in their flesh’ (16:5, compare 20:5-6). Both Philo and Josephus plainly name same-sex relations as the characteristic view of Sodom.

    Also, keep in mind that God sent the angels to destroy Sodom before the attempted rape.  They had already been judged for actions already committed.

    PASSAGE
    LEVITICUS 18:22 AND 20:13
    THE HOLINESS CODE

    Let’s move on. What do the two verses sometimes cited from Leviticus say about God?

    Leviticus 18:6 reads: “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female. It is an abomination.” A similar verse occurs two chapters later, in Leviticus 20:13: “A man who sleeps with another man is an abomination and should be executed.” On the surface, these words could leave you feeling rather uneasy, especially if you are gay. But just below the surface is the deeper truth about God — and it has nothing to do with sex.

    Leviticus is a holiness code written 3,000 years ago. This code includes many of the outdated sexual laws we mentioned earlier, and a lot more. It also includes prohibitions against round haircuts, tattoos, working on the Sabbath, wearing garments of mixed fabrics, eating pork or shellfish, getting your fortune told, and even playing with the skin of a pig. (There goes football!)

    So what’s a holiness code? It’s a list of behaviors that people of faith find offensive in a certain place and time. In this case, the code was written for priests only, and its primary intent was to set the priests of Israel over and against priests of other cultures.

    At the age of 10, I signed a holiness code written by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union that said I would never taste beer, wine, or liquor. I thought signing it would please God and my grandmother. That’s a holiness code. When I was in high school we evangelical Christians had an unwritten holiness code that went like this: “I don’t drink, smoke, or chew, or go with girls who do.” Now I know what you’re thinking. That last part about “girls who do” proved especially easy for me. But the point is that I obeyed this evangelical holiness code because my parents said that breaking these rules didn’t please God, and I knew it didn’t please them.

    We had another evangelical holiness code while I was in high school that prohibited dancing. I was student body president, yet I refused to go to the prom because I had promised not to dance. I did this to please God and my mother — whose mother had made her sign a holiness code that she wouldn’t go to dances either.

    What about this word abominationthat comes up in both passages? In Hebrew, “abominations” (TO’EBAH) are behaviors that people in a certain time and place consider tasteless or offensive. To the Jews an abomination was not a law, not something evil like rape or murder forbidden by the Ten Commandments. It was a common behavior by non-Jews that Jews thought was displeasing to God.

    Jesus and Paul both said the holiness code in Leviticus does not pertain to Christian believers. Nevertheless, there are still people who pull the two verses about men sleeping together from this ancient holiness code to say that the Bible seems to condemn homosexuality.

    Mel is grossly mistaken.  He trots out the shellfish argument, which is full of holes but is appealing to many because so few bother to read the passages in context. I encourage you to read this piece for a thorough debunking of that thinking.  Here’s a summary: There were different Hebrew words translated as abomination. They were used differently in the individual verses and were used very differently in broader contexts.  The associated sins had radically different consequences and had 100% different treatments in the New Testament. 

    If Mel was studying carefully, he’d know the the word translated as “abomination” (or “detestable”) is different for the shellfish and the homosexual behavior sections.  More imporantly, the context of the shellfish type rules (e.g., the ceremonial laws designed to set the Israelites apart from other peoples) is clearly different than the rule against homosexual behavior.

    Look how Leviticus 18 starts and ends: Leviticus 18:1-3 The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. Leviticus 18:30 Keep my requirements and do not follow any of the detestable customs that were practiced before you came and do not defile yourselves with them. I am the Lord your God.”

    Does Mel want us to believe that God was going to wipe out the Canaanites for not following the Jewish holiness code?  That makes no sense.

    But wait, before we go any further, let’s ask: What does this text say about God? Even if the old holiness codes no longer apply to us as Christians, it’s important to remember that in every age, people of faith are responsible for setting moral and ethical standards that honor God. But we people of faith must be very careful not to allow our own prejudices to determine what those standards should be.

    Instead of selecting one item from an ancient Jewish holiness code and using it to condemn sexual or gender minorities, let’s talk together about setting sexual standards that please God — standards appropriate for heterosexuals and homosexuals alike, standards based on loving concern, health, and wholeness for ourselves and for others.

    Now what do the Leviticus passages say about homosexuality?

    I’m convinced those passages say nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today. Here’s why. Consider this single Bible passage that was used for centuries to condemn masturbation:

    “He spilled his seed on the ground… And the thing which Onan did displeased the Lord: wherefore he slew him also” (Genesis 38:9-10).

    For Jewish writers of Scripture, a man sleeping with another man was an abomination. But it was also an abomination (and one worthy of death) to masturbate or even to interrupt coitus (to halt sex with your spouse before ejaculation as an act of birth control). Why were these sexual practices considered abominations by Scripture writers in these ancient times?

    Because the Hebrew pre-scientific understanding was that the male semen contained the whole of life. With no knowledge of eggs and ovulation, it was assumed that the man’s sperm contained the whole child and that the woman provided only the incubating space. Therefore, the spilling of semen without possibility of having a child was considered murder.

    Mel misses the point of scripture and tips his hand again.  Even if the Hebrews had a pre-scientific understanding of something it doesn’t mean that God did! God created the universe and everything in it, and would not inspire errors.

    The Jews were a small tribe struggling to populate a country. They were outnumbered by their enemy. You can see why these ancient people felt it was an abomination to risk “wasting” even a single child. But the passage says nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today.

    We’ve talked about the passages in the Hebrew Scriptures that are used (or misused) by some people to condemn sexual minorities. Now let’s look at three verses from the letters of the apostle Paul in the Christian Scriptures that are used the same way. Remember: First, we’ll ask what the text says about God; second, we’ll consider what it may or may not say about sexual orientation.

    PASSAGE 4
    ROMANS 1:26-27
    NATURAL AND UNNATURAL

    What does Romans 1:26-27 say about God?

    For our discussion, this is the most controversial biblical passage of them all. In Romans 1:26-27 the apostle Paul describes non-Jewish women who exchange “natural use for unnatural” and non-Jewish men who “leave the natural use of women, working shame with each other.”

    This verse appears to be clear: Paul sees women having sex with women and men having sex with men, and he condemns that practice. But let’s go back 2,000 years and try to understand why.

    Paul is writing this letter to Rome after his missionary tour of the Mediterranean. On his journey Paul had seen great temples built to honor Aphrodite, Diana, and other fertility gods and goddesses of sex and passion instead of the one true God the apostle honors. Apparently, these priests and priestesses engaged in some odd sexual behaviors — including castrating themselves, carrying on drunken sexual orgies, and even having sex with young temple prostitutes (male and female) — all to honor the gods of sex and pleasure.

    The Bible is clear that sexuality is a gift from God.

    Actually, it is clear that sex is for one man and one woman in marriage.  That is very, very clear.

    Our Creator celebrates our passion. But the Bible is also clear that when passion gets control of our lives, we’re in deep trouble.

    When we live for pleasure, when we forget that we are God’s children and that God has great dreams for our lives, we may end up serving the false gods of sex and passion, just as they did in Paul’s time. In our obsession with pleasure, we may even walk away from the God who created us — and in the process we may cause God to abandon all the great dreams God has for our lives.

    Did these priests and priestesses get into these behaviors because they were lesbian or gay? I don’t think so. Did God abandon them because they were practicing homosexuals? No. Read the text again.

    No, how about if Mel reads the text again?  It never mentions temple prostitutes.  In fact, the whole temple prostitute reasoning falls apart completely when you study the text in detail as Mel encourages us to.

    Romans 1 doesn’t include the words “temple prostitute,” “temple” or “prostitute.” The temple prostitute theory is completely read into it.  Read Romans 1 for yourself and see what I mean.

    The context of the passage militates against the temple prostitute view. Romans 1 is perhaps the most big picture book of the Bible, with messages that are not only world-wide in scope but timeless as well. The context is rebellion against God and what He has clearly revealed to us all, so that we are “without excuse.” So to say that Paul is zeroing in on a local custom is to completely miss the point.

    Also consider the sins listed at the end of the chapter which have nothing to do with pagan worship practices (greed, arrogance, gossip, etc.).

    I am not aware of any lesbian temple prostitutes, by the way.  Maybe Mel is.  So why is the first example in Romans about lesbians?

    In our Soulforce video, There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy, the Rev. Dr. Louis B. Smedes, a distinguished Christian author and ethicist, describes exactly how the Bible says these promiscuous priests and priestesses got into this mess. Once again it has nothing to do with homosexuality:

    SMEDES: “The people Paul had in mind refused to acknowledge and worship God, and for this reason were abandoned by God. And being abandoned by God, they sank into sexual depravity.”

    SMEDES: “The homosexuals I know have not rejected God at all; they love God and they thank God for his grace and his gifts. How, then, could they have been abandoned to homosexuality as a punishment for refusing to acknowledge God?”

    SMEDES: “Nor have the homosexuals that I know given up heterosexual passions for homosexual lusts. They have been homosexual from the moment of their earliest sexual stirrings. They did not change from one orientation to another; they just discovered that they were homosexual. It would be unnatural for most homosexuals to have heterosexual sex.”

    Smedes doesn’t understand Romans 1 then.  If everyone just follows their natural desires when it comes to sex, to whom is Paul speaking?  There would be no one to talk to!  And wouldn’t anyone charged with this sin just claim to be bisexual?

    And he completely misunderstand the “natural” part of the text.  The Greek is very clear in saying that it is the natural function, not the natural desire.

    Romans 1 is bulletproof against pro-gay theology.

    SMEDES: “And the homosexual people I know do not lust after each other any more than heterosexual people do… their love for one another is likely to be just as spiritual and personal as any heterosexual love can be.”

    Thank you, Dr. Smedes. (To get a copy of the video featuring Dr. Smedes, There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy, visit http://www.soulforce.org.)

    Getting to know a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person of faith will help you realize that it is unreasonable (and unjust) to compare our love for each other to the rituals of the priests and priestesses who pranced around the statues of Aphrodite and Diana. Once again, I feel certain this passage says a lot about God, but nothing about homosexuality as we understand it.

    You’ll also note that Romans 2 begins with “Therefore, [referring to Romans 1], you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself…” Even after he describes the disturbing practices he has seen, Paul warns us that judging others is God’s business, not ours.

    Mel makes the common error about judging.  People make judgments all the time.  Jesus taught us to judge properly.  Mel’s whole piece here is an extended-play judgment.  So he is being disingenuous to say we shouldn’t judge.

    PASSAGES 5 AND 6
    1 CORINTHIANS 6:9 AND 1 TIMOTHY 1:10
    THE MYSTERY OF “MALOKOIS” AND “ARSENOKOITAI”

    Now what do the writings of Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10 say, first, about God, and then about homosexuality? These are the last two places in the Bible that seem to refer to same-sex behavior. We can combine them because they are so similar.

    Paul is exasperated. The Christians in Ephesus and Corinth are fighting among themselves. (Sound familiar?) In Corinth they’re even suing one another in secular courts. Paul shouts across the distance, “You are breaking God’s heart by the way you are treating one another.”

    Like any good writer, Paul anticipates their first question: “Well, how are we supposed to treat one another?” Paul answers, “You know very well how to treat one another from the Jewish law written on tablets of stone.”

    The Jewish law was created by God to help regulate human behavior. To remind the churches in Corinth and Ephesus how God wants us to treat one another, Paul recites examples from the Jewish law first. Don’t kill one another. Don’t sleep with a person who is married to someone else. Don’t lie or cheat or steal. The list goes on to include admonitions against fornication, idolatry, whoremongering, perjury, drunkenness, revelry, and extortion. He also includes “malokois” and “arsenokoitai.”

    Here’s where the confusion begins. What’s a malokois? What’s an arsenokoitai? Actually, those two Greek words have confused scholars to this very day. We’ll say more about them later, when we ask what the texts say about sex. But first let’s see what the texts say about God.

    After quoting from the Jewish law, Paul reminds the Christians in Corinth that they are under a new law: the law of Jesus, a law of love that requires us to do more than just avoid murder, adultery, lying, cheating, and stealing. Paul tells them what God wants is not strict adherence to a list of laws, but a pure heart, a good conscience, and a faith that isn’t phony.

    That’s the lesson we all need to learn from these texts. God doesn’t want us squabbling over who is “in” and who is “out.” God wants us to love one another. It’s God’s task to judge us. It is NOT our task to judge one another.

    So what do these two texts say about homosexuality? Are gays and lesbians on that list of sinners in the Jewish law that Paul quotes to make an entirely different point?

    Greek scholars say that in first century the Greek word malaokois probably meant “effeminate call boys.” The New Revised Standard Version says “male prostitutes.”

    As for arsenokoitai, Greek scholars don’t know exactly what it means — and the fact that we don’t know is a big part of this tragic debate. Some scholars believe Paul was coining a name to refer to the customers of “the effeminate call boys.” We might call them “dirty old men.” Others translate the word as “sodomites,” but never explain what that means.

    In 1958, for the first time in history, a person translating that mysterious Greek word into English decided it meant homosexuals, even though there is, in fact, no such word in Greek or Hebrew. But that translator made the decision for all of us that placed the word homosexual in the English-language Bible for the very first time.

    In the past, people used Paul’s writings to support slavery, segregation, and apartheid. People still use Paul’s writings to oppress women and limit their role in the home, in church, and in society.

    As noted above, that is irrelevant.  The Bible was used to address those societal ills as well.  So the only question is, “What does the Bible really say?”

    Now we have to ask ourselves, “Is it happening again?” Is a word in Greek that has no clear definition being used to reflect society’s prejudice and condemn God’s gay children?

    We all need to look more closely at that mysterious Greek word arsenokoitai in its original context. I find most convincing the argument from history that Paul is condemning the married men who hired hairless young boys (malakois) for sexual pleasure just as they hired smooth-skinned young girls for that purpose.

    Responsible homosexuals would join Paul in condemning anyone who uses children for sex, just as we would join anyone else in condemning the threatened gang rape in Sodom or the behavior of the sex-crazed priests and priestesses in Rome. So, once again, I am convinced that this passage says a lot about God, but nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today.

    I’ll just paste Joe Dallas’ response to this here:

    Paul coined 179 terms in the New Testament. The terms do not, because they are original, significantly change the context of the verses they appear in.

    Nor is it remarkable he would have coined this one, considering he derived it directly from the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint):

    meta arsenos ou koimethese koiten gyniakos
    (Lev 18:22)

    hos an koimethe meta arsenos koiten gynaikos
    (Lev 20:13)

    In other words, when Paul adopted the term arsenokoite, he took it directly from the Levitical passages-in the Greek translation- forbidding homosexual behavior. The meaning, then, could not be clearer: Though the term is unique to Paul, it refers specifically to homosexual behavior.

    As for the inference that it applies to male prostitution, a breakdown of the word shows it implies nothing of the sort. ‘Arsene,’ as mentioned earlier, appears few times in the New Testament, always referring to “male.” ‘Koite’ appears only twice in the New Testament, and means “bed,” used in a sexual connotation:

    Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality [koite] and debauchery… (Rom 13:13)

    Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed [koite] kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. (Heb 13:4)

    The two words combined, as Paul used them, put “male” and “bed” together in a sexual sense. There is no hint of prostitution in the meaning of either of the words combined to make arsenokoite.

    MY SIXTH PREMISE:

    The biblical authors are silent about homosexual orientation as we know it today. They neither approve it nor condemn it.

    We’ve looked closely at the six biblical texts used by some people to condemn homosexuality. But we must also remember that Jesus, the Jewish prophets, and even Paul never even comment on the responsible love a gay man or lesbian feels for another.

    Right.  Because homosexual behavior received the death penalty in Israel.

    The Bible is completely silent on the issue of homosexual orientation. And no wonder. Homosexual orientation wasn’t even known until the 19th century.

    Mel hasn’t proven that there is a genetic orientation, and even if he could, that wouldn’t make the behavior moral.

    The discovery that some of us are created and/or shaped in our earliest infancy toward same-gender attraction was made in the last 150 years. Biblical authors knew nothing about sexual orientation. Old Testament authors and Paul assumed all people were created heterosexual, just as they believed the earth was flat, that there were heavens above and hell below, and that the sun moved up and down.

    But God didn’t believe those things! Mel tips his hand again with his foundational distrust of God’s word.

    In 1864, almost 3,000 years after Moses and at least 18 centuries after the apostle Paul, the German social scientist Karl Heinrich Ulrichs was the first to declare that homosexuals were a distinct class of individuals. It was a big moment for all sexual minorities. It’s our Columbus discovering the New World. It’s our Madame Curie discovering radium used for Xrays. It’s our Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. It may seem like one small step for the rest of you, but it’s a giant leap for us.

    Ulrichs assured the world of what we who are homosexual already know in our hearts. We aren’t just heterosexuals choosing to perform same-sex behaviors. We are a whole class of people whose drive to same-sex intimacy is at the very core of our being from the very beginning of our lives.

    That is a lie that dooms many people with homosexual desires.

    Although the word homosexualwas not used for the first time until later in the 19th century, Ulrichs recognized that homosexuals had been around from the beginning of recorded time, that we were “innately different from heterosexuals,” and that our desire for same-sex intimacy and affiliation is intrinsic, natural, inborn and/or shaped in earliest infancy. According to Dr. Ulrichs, what may have looked “unnatural” to Moses and Paul was in fact “natural” to homosexuals.

    So this is my sixth premise. The Biblical authors knew nothing of homosexual orientation as we understand it, and therefore said nothing to condemn or approve it.

    The authors of the Bible are authorities in matters of faith. They can be trusted when they talk about God. But they should not be considered the final authorities on sexual orientation any more than they are the final authorities on space travel, gravity, or the Internet.

    Since the writers of Scripture are not the final authorities on human sexuality, since they didn’t even know about sexual orientation as we understand it today, since Jesus and the Jewish prophets were silent about any kind of same-sex behavior, I am persuaded that the Bible has nothing in it to approve or condemn homosexual orientation as we understand it.

    Again, that is a ridiculous conclusion.  It denies that God is the author of scripture.

    MY SEVENTH PREMISE:

    Although the prophets, Jesus, and other biblical authors say nothing about homosexual orientation as we understand it today, they are clear about one thing: As we search for truth, we are to “love one another.”

    We may not be able to use the Bible as our final authority on sexual orientation. But as we search for the truth, we can and should use the Bible as our final authority on how we should treat one another along the way.

    A young Jewish scholar asked Jesus, “What is the greatest commandment?” Quoting the prophets, Jesus replied, “The great commandment is this… to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and the second command is like it, to love your neighbor as you love yourself.”

    “This is my commandment,” Jesus said, “that you love one another, as I have loved you.” On this the Bible is explicitly clear. Even if we disagree about what the Bible seems to say about homosexuality, we can agree that above all else we are commanded by the Scriptures to love God and to love one another.

    Since God is the God of truth, since Jesus himself told us that the truth would set us free, one way that we love God and love one another is by seeking the truth about sexual orientation wherever we can find it.

    There is a growing body of evidence from science, psychology, history, psychiatry, medicine, and personal experience that leads to a clear verdict: Homosexuality is neither a sickness nor a sin. Unfortunately, the church has always been slow, if not the last institution on earth, to accept new truth.

    But that isn’t what the Bible says.  If you really love God, you’ll defer to its truths.

    In 1632 the scientist Galileo (who was a man of faith) dared to support the radical 15th-century idea of Copernicus that all planets, including the earth, revolve around the sun. Immediately, Galileo was proclaimed a heretic by the Pope who quoted Scriptures in his attempt to disprove what science was proving.

    This is a side-note, but Mel repeats a myth about Galileo here.

    Earlier, Protestant heroes had joined in quoting Scriptures condemning Copernicus. These weren’t evil men. But they couldn’t admit that the Bible was a book about God, not about astronomy — just as good men and women today have trouble admitting that the Bible is a book about God, not about human sexuality.

    Martin Luther said, “This fool Copernicus wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred Scripture in Joshua 10:13 tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.”

    John Calvin quoted Psalm 93 in his attack on Copernicus. “The earth also is established. It cannot be moved.” Calvin added, “Who will venture to place the authority of Copernicus above that of the Holy Spirit?”

    Melancthon, one of Luther’s closest allies, used Ecclesiastes 1:4-5 to condemn Copernicus. “The sun also rises, and the sun goes down and hurries to the place from which it came.” Then he added these dangerous words: “It is the part of a good mind to accept the truth as revealed by God and to obey it.” In other words, believe what the Bible says — even if science disproves it.

    Because Christians refused to let their understanding of God’s Word be informed by science, Copernicus was condemned and Galileo was declared a heretic and placed under house arrest for the remainder of his life. In 1992, 359 years later, Pope John Paul II finally admitted the church had been wrong to ignore science and to interpret the Bible literally.

    The Pope said something we must never forget: “Recent historical studies enable us to state that this sad misunderstanding now belongs to the past.” Unfortunately, the apology came too late to relieve Galileo of his suffering. What if the biblical scholars of Galileo’s day had said to Galileo, “We don’t agree with your Copernican theories, but we love and trust you. As long as you love God and seek God’s will in your life, you are welcome here.”

    Imagine the suffering that could be avoided if the church could say this to their lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender children: “We don’t understand your views about sexual orientation, but we love and trust you. As long as you love God and seek God’s will in your life, you are welcome here.”

    Instead, well-intentioned Christians are driving their own children away from the church, using Scripture passages that may not even pertain to sexual orientation as we understand it.

    MY EIGHTH PREMISE:

    Whatever some people believe the Bible says about homosexuality, they must not use that belief to deny homosexuals their basic civil rights. To discriminate against sexual or gender minorities is unjust and un-American.

    Please consider one last thing. I love the Bible. I read God’s Word in it and hear God’s Word through it.

    I don’t believe him.  He repeatedly stated above that the Bible couldn’t be right because of the pre-scientific views of the Israelites and other writers.

    But the United States is not a nation governed by the Bible. Our nation is governed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Our laws were created to protect an individual’s right to disagree. If the Bible (or someone’s view of the Bible) replaces the Constitution as the law of the land, we undermine the great foundation upon which this country was built.

    When I was a guest on a talk show in Seattle, I saw what might happen to me and to millions like me if a genuine literalist gained political power over this country. The other guest on the show was an independent Presbyterian pastor. When I told him that I was gay, he said without hesitation, “Then you should be killed.” A Christian brother sentenced me to death, guided only by his literal understanding of Leviticus 20:13.

    The pastor was mistaken.  That punishment doesn’t apply to people outside of the Israelite theocracy.

    I asked him, “Who should do the killing, you church folk?” He answered, “No, that’s the civil authorities’ job. That’s why we need to elect more good men of God into government.” I sat there in stunned silence, until he added, “I know it must be hard for you to hear it, Dr. White — but God said it first and it’s our job to obey.”

    I hope we can agree that all of us must stand together against those who would replace the Constitution with biblical law. That’s why, when I lecture on a university campus, I carry a Bible in one pocket and a Constitution in the other.

    Can we support full civil rights for all… even if we disagree?

    He has completely changed subjects at this point.  The pamphlet is about what the Bible says, now he is saying to ignore the Bible with respect to the topic.  Civil Rights for skin colors are fine, because those are morally neutral.  But sexual behaviors are not morally neutral.  Shame on Mel for co-opting the real issues of the Civil Rights movement to advance his perverted agenda.

    In this last premise, I’m asking you who disagree with my stand on homosexuality to support my stand on full civil rights for all people, including gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans.

    I hope you’ll agree that we are family, all sisters and brothers of the same heavenly parent. We may be different, but we can still live together in peace.

    Thanks for reading this pamphlet. I’m grateful. If you are interested in learning more, I’ve listed a few resources on the next few pages. You can also find resources online at our Web page, http://www.soulforce.org.

    According to the Bible, we are not all God’s children.

    Why would we vote for civil rights for sexual preferences?  Mel endlessly conflates not granting civil rights with persecution.  Those are not synonymous.

    Phew!  That’s a lot of errors to address, and I didn’t even hit them all.

    Please pray for the people that Mel and Soulforce have either misled or are trying to mislead.  If you believe their lies they will take you further from God and his eternal truths.  Homosexual behavior is a sin but it is not unforgivable.  We are all sinners in need of a Savior, and Jesus is that only Savior.  He will forgive you.  But shaking your fist at him and unrepentantly sinning is a bad idea.