Archive for the ‘ Pastor Romell D Weekly ’ Category

What really was the sin of Sodom?

This was written by a friend of mine, and I’m posting this for her.

***********************************************************************************

Christian or not (especially in a Jamaican context), we’ve heard repeatedly that homosexuality is wrong because God destroy Sodom and Gomorrah (hence the term Sodomite). But is that really the honest interpretation we should get out of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah?

Many persons believe that the cities were destroyed because of an attempt by the men to have sex with two apparently male angels.

Pastor Romell D. Weekly, in his article Why Did God Really Destroy Sodom & Gomorrah?[1], tells us that Genesis 19 tells us the circumstances surrounding the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, but not actually why God decided to destroy the cities.

I’ve noticed that with many passages of Scripture that have been misinterpreted it’s usually because people chose to read only the passage that directly speaks to the point they’re trying to prove. Having said that, let us look at the passages before the recording in Genesis 19. Genesis 18 tells us why God decided to destroy the cities.

Genesis 18:16-33

New International Version (NIV)

 

16 When the men got up to leave, they looked down toward Sodom, and Abraham walked along with them to see them on their way. 17 Then the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do? 18 Abraham will surely become a great and powerful nation, and all nations on earth will be blessed through him.[a] 19 For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him.”

20 Then the LORD said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous21 that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know.”

22 The men turned away and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before the LORD.[b]23 Then Abraham approached him and said: “Will you sweep away the righteous with the wicked? 24What if there are fifty righteous people in the city? Will you really sweep it away and not spare[c] the place for the sake of the fifty righteous people in it? 25 Far be it from you to do such a thing—to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating the righteous and the wicked alike. Far be it from you! Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?”

26 The LORD said, “If I find fifty righteous people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.”

27 Then Abraham spoke up again: “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, though I am nothing but dust and ashes, 28 what if the number of the righteous is five less than fifty? Will you destroy the whole city for lack of five people?”

“If I find forty-five there,” he said, “I will not destroy it.”

29 Once again he spoke to him, “What if only forty are found there?”

He said, “For the sake of forty, I will not do it.”

30 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak. What if only thirty can be found there?”

He answered, “I will not do it if I find thirty there.”

31 Abraham said, “Now that I have been so bold as to speak to the Lord, what if only twenty can be found there?”

He said, “For the sake of twenty, I will not destroy it.”

32 Then he said, “May the Lord not be angry, but let me speak just once more. What if only ten can be found there?”

He answered, “For the sake of ten, I will not destroy it.”

33 When the LORD had finished speaking with Abraham, he left, and Abraham returned home.

Note that nowhere in the passage it is stated that the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah was because of homosexuality. Instead if we turn to Ezekiel 16 we are told what the sin of the cities was.

EZEKIEL 16:49-50

New International Version (NIV)

49 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.

Through the prophet Ezekiel, God tells us that the sins of Sodom were:

  1. Arrogance
  2. Gluttony
  3. Haughtiness
  4. Not helping (unconcerned with) the poor and needy
  5. Abundance of idleness
  6. Committing detestable things

God gave us the sins which led to his decision to destroy the cities.

Now, the 6th sin; committing detestable things is ambiguous and can be the cause for the assumption of homosexuality. But this is erroneous. Jumping to conclusions and forcing one interpretation on an ambiguous text does not honour the word of God.

We need to look in other places in Scripture for guidance on how to work with this ambiguous sin; this is following the principle that Scripture interprets Scripture.

Pastor Weekly states that in Jude we find a qualification of the term ‘detestable things’ (NIV) or ‘abomination’ (KJV)

JUDE 1:7

New International Version (NIV)

7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

 

King James Version (KJV)

 7Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

It is in this passage that we get the first distinct mention that one of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah is of a sexual nature. Pastor Weekly goes on to say:

It says that they gave themselves over to fornication, and pursued “strange flesh”. “Fornication” in this passage is the word ekporneuo, which is derived from the word porneuo, which is an umbrella term that is often translated “prostitute”, but which refers more simply to sexual immorality, in general. Think of how we might call a person a “whore” today because he/she is sexually promiscuous, not necessarily because he/she sells the body sexually

They went after “strange flesh”. Once again, we have a fairly generic, ambiguous term that people associate with homosexuality. But why do they associate it with homosexuality? Does the verse indicate homosexual activity? No. It’s associated with homosexuality because that’s how people interpret the intentions of the townsmen in the destruction narrative (Gen. 19). The problem is that that interpretation is grossly inaccurate—a conclusion explained in detail in another study.

So we now begin to question what does Scripture mean by the term ‘strange flesh’? In the same passage of Jude we find that explanation.

JUDE 1:6-9

New International Version (NIV)

6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling—these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.

 8 In the very same way, on the strength of their dreams these ungodly people pollute their own bodies, reject authority and heap abuse on celestial beings. 9 But even the archangel Michael, when he was disputing with the devil about the body of Moses, did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

Each verse deals with interaction between angels and humans. Reading Jude 1:7 in context, can we really come to an interpretation that verse 7 refers to homosexuals?

Pastor Weekly concludes:

the “strange flesh” that the Sodomites were pursuing sexually wasn’t strange in that it belonged to other men. It was strange in that it belong to another (an other) created kind—that of angels. And before we make the mistake of believing that angels don’t have flesh since they are spiritual entities, let’s remember a few things.

  1. 1.     The angels who sinned in the days of Noah certainly had flesh, in that they were able to copulate and have hybrid children with human women.
  2. 2.     The apostle Paul specifically tells us that angels are able to take human form and interact with humans (Heb. 13:2).
  3. 3.     There are multiple examples in Scripture of angels taking human form, including those of Noah’s day (Point 1), those mentioned by Paul (Point 2), and those who visited Abraham in Gen. 18 (the same ones who later carried out God’s judgment against Sodom and Gomorrah in ch. 19).

To be certain we’re clear Pastor Weekly points out that:

Bestiality was the sexual sin of the Sodomites, not homosexuality. God destroyed them for precisely the same reason He destroyed the world during the days of Noah. They were a wicked people and they committed abomination (Ez. 16:49-50), pursuing sexual activity with angel-beings (beings of another created kind). Interestingly, these very two ingredients were contained within the culture of Noah’s day.

“There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.  [5]  And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

Genesis 6:4-5

Notice that the giants (Hebrew: Nephilim) were not simply genetic anomalies. They were the hybrid offspring of human women and angels. Yet, verse 4 expressly states that these Nephilim were in the earth “in those days, and also after that…” If they were in the earth after the time of the Flood, that means that these human/angel liasons did not end with the destruction of the old world. Even post-Flood, there were times when angels and humans copulated and had hybrid offspring.

Two aprocryphal books—though not considered inspired by most Protestant Christians—indicate that giants (Nephilim) were in Sodom prior to its destruction (Ecclesiasticus 16:7-9, Book of Jubilees 20:5). If this was the case, it certainly correlates with Jude’s accusation that they pursued angelic flesh, as well as Ezekiel’s prophetic word that they “committed abomination” before God.

So, in concluding lets go over the list God gave regarding the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah.

  1. Arrogance
  2. Gluttony
  3. Haughtiness
  4. Not helping (unconcerned with) the poor and needy
  5. Abundance of idleness
  6. Committing detestable things

Nowhere in this list is homosexuality specifically mentioned, and upon looking at the passages that give light to the context of the one ambiguity there is still no mention of homosexuality.

The notion that the destruction story of Sodom and Gomorrah pertains to homosexuality, is an erroneous one, imposed upon the Biblical text by persons jumping to conclusion by reading the Bible at face value rather than actually studying Scripture, and by persons imposing their interpretation on the text.


[1] Why Did God Really Destroy Sodom & Gomorrah?

(http://gaychristianfellowship.com/articles.php?aid=1011)

In The Closet, Out Of My Mind

This article was taken from the Gay Christian Fellowship Website and can be viewed in it’s original format at (http://gaychristianfellowship.com/articles.php?aid=1027)

The article was written by Morgan Smith
August 19, 2010

 

If you had asked me a year ago “When was the last time you cried?” I would have been completely honest with you and replied “I honestly cannot remember.” It’s strange how much a year can change things. It has been happening at least once a week now.

It usually happens late at night when I’m left alone with myself. As I let my music go from song to song and sit quietly on my bed thinking about everything that is going on in my life, I inevitably come to the topic that has been such a huge part of my life in the past few months. I’m gay and nobody knows. My parents don’t know, my brothers don’t know, my relatives don’t know, my friends don’t know, and my enemies don’t know. No one knows. So I lie on my bed at night and cry. My shoulders jolt up and down, my chest heaves, my mouth contorts into a rather unattractive grimace, and the tears fall off of my cheeks and onto the pillow that I have my face buried in.

What can I do? I’m waging a cold war on myself. On the one hand I could simply “come out” of the closet. But what does that mean for me? It means that I thrust myself into the spotlight. With so much responsibility on my plate now, this would just heap one more gigantic issue onto the pile. It would create a conflict between the church that I attend and myself. I go to a non-affirming church and I’m currently involved in some projects that require assistance from the congregants as well as the leadership of the church. If I come out, what happens? I would lose their support faster than you can say “Reconciled Gay Christian.”

It could also injure the image of the church. I’m leading a landscaping project for the church and if I decide to drop the bombshell in the middle of this project, what course of action would the church take? Would they halt the project which I’ve invested so much time into already? Most likely. They can’t really have an openly gay kid involved in such a project without, whether through affirmation or silence, accepting homosexuality and causing an uproar in the church. It would be a quick way of losing a good-sized chunk of congregants. No, they’d force me to drop the project.

Also, this landscaping project is my Boy Scout Eagle Project. As a Boy Scout, I cannot identify as gay and serve in a leadership position. So not only would I lose the support of my church, I’d also be denied the chance to obtain my Eagle rank (the highest rank in Boy Scouting).

Too much is at stake. I’m not willing to put my church, whom I love, in such an awkward position and I’m not willing to give up on my goal of reaching the Eagle rank.I’m pinned down by my responsibilities, obligations, and aspirations. I cannot just throw those off without doing a lot of damage to people I care deeply about. Coming out, here and now, is not an option I’m willing or able to consider.

So where does that leave me? The closet. I have got to lock away this little secret in my head. That is so much easier said than done. Concealing what is on your mind and in your heart is not a simple task. It requires constant awareness of everything you say and do. You cannot make the mistake of accidentally commenting on the attractiveness of that boy that you just passed walking down the street. You can’t leave http://www.gaychristianfellowship.com up on your computer screen without the possibility of Mom and Dad barging in and seeing it. The “it’s research” excuse doesn’t work more than once or twice. You can’t really say anything when the issue of gay marriage pops up at the dinner table. And those skinny jeans that you bought the last time you were out shopping? Yeah, I don’t care how much you love them, they are suspicious. So much vigilance and restraint is required.

The worst part is that while you are doing so much to hide the truth, you still have all the responsibilities that you deal with every day. School work, sports, chores, student groups, and multiple other extra-curricular activities. All of that is fairly exhausting in and of itself, but I haven’t even touched on the overwhelming fear that I experience when the thought of coming out crosses my mind.

How many loved ones am I going to lose once I come out? Who will reject me? Will I face a lot of discrimination and harassment? Will my parents ever be proud of me again? And what about all of the stuff that I haven’t even thought of yet! What else could be lurking out there in the vast unknown that is my future? All of these questions bombard my mind and every situation plays out like a sick, heart-wrenching movie.

It’s at this point that all of my emotions converge. The fear that fuels my façade, the anxiousness and impatience to reveal the true me, the sadness at the thought of so many broken and lost friendships, and the exhaustion that has been wreaking havoc on my mind and body all come shooting up into my throat. Then I fall onto my bed, curl up in a ball, and sob.So this brings us back to the original question. What can I do? The answer is quite simple. There is nothing I can do. Pretty scary, don’t you think? That’s what I thought for a while as well.

Then I had one of those moments. The sort of moment where I just wanted to smack myself for leaving such a huge part of my life out of this process. For too long, the most important part of the equation was left out.

I forgot about God.

While I felt terribly ashamed for such a careless, absent minded mistake, something else happened. The relief began to settle inside of me. All of this time that I was trying to do it all by myself, God had been trying to remind me that I can’t do it without him. Let me tell you, when God teaches you a lesson it is humbling. This moment of pure understanding was the turning point of my post-reconciliation trek to this point. The lesson God taught me totally changed my experience in this weird limbo between the point that I accepted myself and the point that I will tell others.

My lesson was that of faith. From the very start I should have had faith that he was going to get me through this.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11
From the outset of it all, God has been guiding me to my hopes and planning for me to prosper. Of all the uncertainties that loom in what is to come, I can only ever be sure of one thing and that one thing is God. If the only thing that I can be certain of has promised me a future of hope and prosperity, what do I have to fear? What do I have to be saddened by? What do I have to be overwhelmed by?

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Psalms 23:4

 

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

John 16:33

 

“The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever”

Psalms 138:8
I can only be certain of God, and his word hasn’t failed me yet. Every day is a struggle, but there is a light at the end of this long tunnel. So I now walk boldly along the path that God has made for me, letting the one who forged the path lead me. I’ve got a guide on this journey. He is my comfort. He is my peace. His love for me endures forever. He removes these burdensome and overwhelming chains. He takes me by the hand, hoists me onto my feet, and encourages me onward.
No, I am not alone in this closet. In fact, I can barely see in here with God shining so brightly.
Hope. Faith. Love.

Morgan Smith

Let’s wrap this up: 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy clearly say homosexuality is wrong!?

We’ve reached the last of the clobber passage. We will now take a look at those that include some of the previous passages; such as those that refer to Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Romans passages. The passages covered in the following article, taken from the Gay Christian Fellowship’s website, covers 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy. Most Christians will tell you that scripture validates scripture and so also, rely on these passages. It is important that you read keenly so you can see exactly what it is the Bible says.

The article can be read at the following website: http://gaychristianfellowship.com/articles.php?aid=1019&cid=6

**********************************************************************************************************************

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

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

1Corinthians 6:9-10

 

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

1Timothy 1:9-10

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

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

What Does arsenokoitai(s) Mean?

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

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

NOTE: Place your mouse pointer over the Bible version abbreviation for the full version name.

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

Arsenokoitai(s) – Identifying the Problem

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arsenokoitai(s) – Finding the Correct Translation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1Timothy 1:9-10

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

What Does malakoi Mean?

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

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


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

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

  1. effeminate (KJV, NASB, YLT)
  2. some variation of homosexuals, either by orientation or activity (NKJV, AMP, ESV)
  3. male prostitutes (NIV, NLT, NCV, HCS)
  4. perverts (CEV)

Excuse my candor, but this is absolutely ridiculous. These translations are all over the place. In just 11 translations, the word was translated in four completely different ways. That’s an average of a different translation for every two Bible versions. If we made a distinction between the condemnation of “homosexuals” and the condemnation of “homosexual activity” we’d have to add yet another variant translation. If there were ever evidence that a word’s translation requires reexamination, this is it!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Conclusion of the Matter…

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

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

The Bible seh homosexuality and lesbianism is unnatural just read Romans!

I’ve always been amused that through all the condemnations of same-sex sexual activity pointed out the only one that specifically speaks to females is the Romans passage.

The following was written by Pastor Romell D Weekly and can be read here: http://gaychristianfellowship.com/articles.php?aid=1009

 

*********************************************************************************************************************

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

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

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

Romans 1:26-27

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

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

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

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

Romans 1:18-32

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Term Greek Transliteration Meaning
vile atimias Strong’s G819 – infamy, that is, (subjectively) comparative indignity, (objectively) disgrace: – dishonour, reproach, shame, vile
against nature para phusin Strong’s G3844/G5449 – beyond or opposed to native disposition, constitution or usage
unseemly aschêmosunên Strong’s G808 – an indecency

Two of these Greek words—atimias and aschemosunen—have meanings that are apparently subjective. For example, the World War II attack on Pearl Harbor is infamous in American history, but likely famous in Japanese history. Likewise, what is considered disgraceful, dishonorable, shameful or indecent is subject to the particular culture within which the acts involved are perceived. It is disgraceful, for instance, to show one’s back to a ruler in many monarchal societies, whereas such a thing is not given a second thought in the United States.

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

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

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

1Corinthians 11:14

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

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

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

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

1Corinthians 11:13

 

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

1Corinthians 14:34-35

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the cultural perspective, the ancient Greco-Roman world was known for its open sexuality. One mustn’t dig deep into history to discover that the Greco-Romans engaged in activities as sexually liberal as temple prostitution and orgies, particularly in religious contexts associated with the worship of the Roman god, Bacchus (called Dionysus by the Greeks). Considering the textual association of the same-sex sexual acts with idolatry, it is almost certain that this type of cultic sexual activity was what he was referring to. To his Jewish eyes, such acts were directly associated with idolatrous worship, and had been considered so for almost 1,500 years (Lev. 18:1-3, 22; 22:1-8, 13). The fact that those within his culture who engaged in the activity often did so within the framework of their idolatrous beliefs only cemented his view that those acts were vile, unnatural, and unseemly.

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

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

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

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

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

Leviticus seh two man mussen wrap-up inna bed!

If man and man lie down inna bed them must dead! I’m sure you’ve heard that before, from all different types persons. So what exactly does the Bible say about ‘two man wrap up inna bed’? Let’s study Leviticus 18 and 20 and see what the Bible says, not man but God.

The following was written by Pastor Romell Weekly and can be read at its original location here: http://gaychristianfellowship.com/articles.php?aid=1014&cid=6

**********************************************************************************************************************

Leviticus contains two of the most oft-quoted passages dealing with homosexuality. Their language is clear, their prescribed penalty severe, making them the perfect weapon to use in establishing homosexuality as one of, if not the most horrible sin one can commit against God.

In this first installment in our Clobber Passages series—so called because homosexuals are often metaphorically beaten over the head with these passages—we’ll determine the proper interpretation and application of these two well-known verses. We’re examining them together in one study because they are so similar in content, as well as context. Indeed, they’re practically a repetitive emphasis of the self-same command.

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.”

Leviticus 18:22

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

Leviticus 20:13

In relatively recent years, the common interpretation of these two passages has been brought into question. The Hebrew word-arrangement in the verses is quite weird (for lack of a better term), leading to multiple alternative translations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Is Male-Male Sex Condemned?

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

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

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

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

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

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

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  [2]  Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the LORD your God.  [3]  After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances.  [4]  Ye shall do my judgments, and keepmine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God.  [5]  Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.”

Leviticus 18:1-5

“And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,  [2]  Again, thou shalt say to the children of Israel, Whosoever he be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn in Israel, that giveth any of his seed unto Molech; he shall surely be put to death: the people of the land shall stone him with stones.  [3]  And I will set my face against that man, and will cut him off from among his people; because he hath given of his seed unto Molech, to defile my sanctuary, and to profane my holy name.  [4]  And if the people of the land do any ways hide their eyes from the man, when he giveth of his seed unto Molech, and kill him not:  [5]  Then I will set my face against that man, and against his family, and will cut him off, and all that go a whoring after him, to commit whoredom with Molech, from among their people.  [6]  And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people.  [7]  Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the LORD your God.  [8]  And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the LORD which sanctify you.”

Leviticus 20:1-8

[all emphases mine]

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

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

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

Cultic Worship, Not Homosexuality? Are You Sure?

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

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

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

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

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

Does This Mean That All of the Activity Proscribed Here Is Okay Today?

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

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

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

How Does This Apply To Modern Christians?

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

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

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

“Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?  [2]  For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.  [3]  So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.  [4] Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”

Romans 7:1-4

What makes this error even more treasonous is that the majority of Christians who turn to the Law to prove that homosexuality is a sin are well aware of the fact that we are no longer under the Law (Ro. 6:14). Yet, they ignore this reality in an attempt to validate their beliefs. Such a blatant and purposeful abuse of Scripture is antithetical to what it means to be a follower of Christ, who is, Himself, the living Word. I pray that God calls this error to their attention, so that they can repent of enforcing a Law that Christ died to fulfill and bring to a conclusion.


For a more comprehensive analysis of Levicus 18:22 and 20:13, as well as a more detailed examination of a Christian’s relationship to the Mosaic Law, I encourage you to order your copy of Homosexianitynow. Lives are being touched by the truths revealed therein. Add your name to the list!

But the Bible says!

The following was taking from the AffirmingTheology.com, and can be viewed in it’s original l format here: http://www.affirmingtheology.com/homosexual-behaviour-sic-v-the-bible/

Homosexual Behaviour [sic] v The Bible

 

There’s never a shortage of traditionalist literature to rebut. I was recently made aware of one typical article written by a woman by the name of Ann Lamont. She has a lot of abbreviations after her name, but they don’t serve her well in the claims she puts forward, which are chalk full of logical and theological errors. Writing for Creation Ministries International (a site I’ll be rebutting a number of articles from), she offers a range of traditionalist viewpoints, none of which stand to even a modicum of scrutiny.

She starts off by making an absurd statement. Quoting Pastor Andrew Lansdown, a member of the Baptist Union of Western Australia (BUWA) Task Force on Human Sexuality, Lamont asserts that “gender, race and impairment all relate to what a person is, whereas homosexuality relates to what a person does.” This is patently false. While the title of Lamont’s article accurately portrays their sentiment (referring to “homosexual behavior”, rather than to homosexuality), the fact is that homosexuality has absolutely nothing to do with behavior, and everything to do with the attractions a person feels, whether those attractions are desired or not, or acted upon or not.

It’s only those most ignorant of sexual orientation who would ever claim such a thing. The idea that a member of a task force on human sexuality, as well as someone who would venture to write an article on this issue would demonstrate such ignorance is laughable.

She goes on to quote from the final report issued by this task force that she apparently holds in high regard, and the quotation is no better than the first.

“…a person becomes a homosexual ultimately by choosing to be involved in same-sex activity …. This is in contrast to innate characteristics such as gender and ethnicity.”

It’s obvious that this task force (which, I imagine, is supposed to be a trusted body of individuals who commit substantial time and resources to researching the issue they are tasked with) had already decided what to believe before engaging in any research—that is, if any research was engaged in at all. Who but those informed solely by rhetoric and invective actually believe that a people aren’t homosexual until they engage in same-sex activity? This goes beyond homosexuality and betrays an ignorance on their part to the nature of human sexuality in general—the very issue this BUWA task force is supposed to have a solid command of.

Ultimately, this statement requires that we believe one of two unreasonable assertions:

  1. Every human being is asexual unless and until (s)he engages in sexual activity of some kind. I imagine if this is true, those who have only masturbated are selfsexuals.
  2. Every human being is heterosexual, unless and until they engaged in counter-orientational activity, which changes their orientation at the time of engagement.

Traditionalists would, undoubtedly, claim that the second conclusion is the accurate one; however,  I can’t find an ounce of reason in it. Someone who feels no sexual attractions to someone of the opposite sex is, by definition, not opposite-sexual (opposite=hetero).

Whether we believe non-hetero orientations are sinful or not, intellectual honesty requires an admission that orientation is not defined by behavior, but rather, by attraction. Heterosexuals do not need to have sex with someone of the opposite sex to know that they are straight. Likewise, homosexuals don’t need to have same-sex intercourse to know they’re gay. These things are determined by a person’s awareness of their own feelings, even in the complete absence of activity or even behavior of an erotic, but non-sexual sort (e.g. flirting).

Lamont then asserts that Genesis 1-2 provide foundational teachings about marriage and sexual issues. Unfortunately for her, she draws conclusions based on those chapters where none exist to be drawn. I have to quote this directly. No paraphrase could hope to match its level of adolescent foolishness.

Genesis teaches us that ‘male and female He created them’ (Genesis 1:27). We were created to a plan—male and female complementing each other. That is, God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve, nor Madam and Eve.

Really? I didn’t even realize serious people were still making statements like that! To the point itself, how does one derive a “plan” from a historical fact? God created male and female. This is not in dispute. But, she chooses to connect that to an exclusive plan between those two that cannot exist in any other form. That doesn’t gel with the greater testimony of Scripture, however.

For example, God created male and female, a fact, by her interpretative philosophy, means that it’s not God’s plan that anyone remain single. His creating male and female was, indeed, part of a “plan”, right? So then, the prophets Elijah and Elisha, the apostles John and Paul, and—dare I say—our Lord Jesus all lived outside of God’s plan. Shame on the lot of them!

She then claims that there are a number of reasons why God “instituted and designed marriage between a man and a woman.” Yet, not a single one of the reasons she puts forward has any merit whatsoever.

  1. “The complementary structure of the male and female anatomy is obviously designed for the normal husband-wife relationships. Clearly, design in human biology supports heterosexuality and contradicts homosexuality.”Watch out when you see words like “obviously” and “clearly”. They’re a dead giveaway that you’re about to be presented with an unsubstantiated claim, which will require you to simply accept it at face value. Does human biology support heterosexuality and contradict homosexuality? No. The only aspect of biology that supports heterosexuality exclusively is procreation; yet there is nothing in Scripture that teaches that such a fact is indicative of anything when it comes to God’s intentions.There are other biological factors that should be considered. For example, men have a sex gland that can only be stimulated through anal penetration. Yet, men aren’t penetrated in natural opposite-sex intercourse, leaving one to wonder why when God created male and female, He created male with a sex gland requiring anal penetration. Likewise, why did He create female with an external sex gland (the clitoris) that could be stimulated without the need for penetration, when natural opposite-sex intercourse would involve penetration? Both of these biological facts demonstrate a creative facilitation of same-sex intercourse in both males and females.Now, should I make the same mistake as Ann Lamont and conclude that because same-sex sex is biologically facilitated that it must be God’s exclusive intention for human sexuality? No. I simply conclude that same-sex sex is biologically facilitated. That people on Lamont’s side of the aisle insist on going further in their conclusions than logic will take them demonstrates their commitment to the end, rather than the integrity of the means thereto.
  2. “The combination of male and female enables man (and the animals) to produce and nurture offspring as commanded in Genesis 1:28—‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth’.”I knew going in that this claim would be made. It’s absolutely impossible to have a discussion about homosexuality without seeing it raised at some point. It saddens me, though, because it frustrates my attempts to give people the benefit of the doubt. It’s difficult for me to excuse misinterpretations of this particular command as honest mistakes because the correct interpretation is just so apparent.The idea that this procreative command applies to all mankind is an indictment against every human being who chooses not to have children. Remember those giants of the faith that I pointed out a short while ago (people like Elijah, John, and Paul)? Well, all of them disobeyed this supposed command! This fact wouldn’t tell us whether the command is actually universal or not, but for the fact that Jesus disobeyed it, as well. Considering that He was without sin (Heb 4:15), we cannot but conclude that this command must not have been universal; ergo, it cannot be seen as applicable to this debate!
  3. “God gave man and woman complementary roles in order to strengthen the family unit. Woman was to be the helper that man needed (Genesis 2:18). However, the woman’s role as the helpmate is certainly not an inferior one. The enterprising God-fearing woman in Proverbs 31:10–31is an inspiring role model.”I like how she tried to wiggle her way out of the clearly subordinate, inferior status that is the consequence of applying biblical teachings concerning the role of women within the modern context. Let’s not forget that women, according to Scripture, are not to teach or have authority over men (1Ti. 2:12). In fact, forget teaching. They’re not supposed to so much as open their mouths in church, not even to ask a question (1Co. 14:35)!  You mean to tell me that’s just a difference in roles, and says nothing about the inferior status of women within the biblical context?So, are we to believe that God, who isn’t a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34), actually is one—that He would give default authority to someone based not on intellect, skills, or leadership abilities, but on the basis of whoever has a penis? Is our wise God really that stupid (Jude 25)? That would be analogous to parents leaving Billy in charge at 12 years old just because he’s taller than his 5’1″ brother George (who happens to be 17). It would be analogous to a Christian believing he was superior to someone else based solely on the color of his skin. Oh wait… There wasa time when some Christians believed that. Shame.Contrary, then, to Lamont’s claim, gender roles in Scripture were not a result of a universal pronouncement of the superiority of men, or even of certain roles that each gender must play. It was simply an accommodation of the culture surrounding people living in what was, regrettably, a patriarchal society. Thankfully, the modern Western world is now egalitarian (with the exception of a few backward-thinking Christians who are stuck in yesteryear because of their failure to understand why Scripture says what it says, and how to apply it properly to a vastly different social context).

Lamont goes on to contend that homosexuality is ungodly because it’s physically harmful.

Andrew Lansdown points out that ‘homosexual activity is notoriously disease-prone. In addition to diseases associated with heterosexual promiscuity, homosexual actions facilitate the transmission of anal herpes, hepatitis B, intestinal parasites, Kaposi’s Sarcoma and AIDS.’1 Research on the life expectancy of a group of homosexual men in Canada in the early 1990s indicated that they could expect 8–21 years less lifespan than other men.

Um, what’s her point? Police officers, poor people, and even Black people tend to have a shorter life expectancy. It’s just a fact. Are we to conclude that each of these groups is ungodly? With regard to the transmission of STDs, as with heterosexuality, there are ways to engage in sex safely, and ways to engage in it recklessly. The practice of safe sex destroys any disparities in the transmission of STDs in relation to opposite-sex versus same-sex intercourse. In fact, but for the fear of pregnancy leading to more consistent condom usage in opposite-sex intercourse, we’d probably see the gap between infection rates close substantially.

All this being said, even if the disparity were unavoidable, no conclusion could be drawn from it. We can’t use statistics to determine whether activity is right or wrong. Some heterosexuals contract STDs, and some homosexuals do not. Morality is not subject to statistical analyses, nor does any such analysis intimate God’s approval or disapproval of anything.

She then makes the mistake of talking about same-sex parenting, claiming that the one thing “humanists” miss is the biblical admonition to “train up a child…” She contends that “you cannot faithfully teach God’s Word to your children while living a lifestyle specifically condemned by God’s Word. All Christians are sinners forgiven by God’s grace, but living in a homosexual relationship constitutes habitual, unrepented sin.” Does she really want to go down this road?

If moral living were the standard by which people would be deemed worthy and able to have children, the population of the world would scarcely be sustainable. Indeed, no unbeliever would even qualify for a parenting license, as they certainly aren’t qualified to raise children in the way of the Lord. So, completely ignoring the question of whether or not a committed, romantic (and yes, even sexual) relationship between two people of the same sex involves “unrepented sin”, the standard she seems content to hold over homosexuals is non-existent when it comes to heterosexuals. Should people “train up a child…”? Absolutely. Does a failure to do so make someone a bad parent? Only a closed-minded zealot would claim such a thing.

Moving on, she combats the contention that what two adults do in their private lives is nobody’s business but their own. Her logic: “God, our Designer and Creator, has authority over all aspects of our lives. He makes the rules and He quite specifically forbids homosexual behaviour [sic].” Fine. Why don’t you leave the matter to God, then? As long as we’re talking about activity that God has a problem with, I seem to recall Him having a huge problem with Christians who attempt to lord their beliefs over non-believers. In fact, He specifically said that what unbelievers do and don’t do is His concern, not anybody else’s.

“For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church?  [13]  But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES.”

1Corinthians 5:12-13 [emphasis in original]

The only conclusion that can be drawn from this passage is that Christians have no business telling an entire society how to live. At best, we are only authorized to preach our beliefs within the Church, to those who have made Jesus Lord. Everyone else’s lifestyle is between them and God… not according to Pastor Weekly, but according to God Himself, through the apostle Paul.

One of my primary theses regarding the interpretation of biblical condemnations of some form of homosexuality or another is that those particular passages were condemning activity associated within that culture with the custom or ritual of idolatrous people. Lamont addresses and summarily dismisses this argument.

Some people claim that homosexual behaviour was only condemned in the Bible because it was associated with idolatry (e.g. 1 Kings 14:24). However, it is clearly condemned apart from idolatry as well (e.g. Leviticus 18:22). It is described in Scripture as an unnatural, immoral perversion. ‘For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another …’ (Romans 1:26–27).

Lamont’s problem is that these two passages referenced as evidence that Scripture condemned homosexuality apart from idolatry actually tie the condemnations directly to it! If she would have started reading Leviticus 18 at verse 1, she’d have noticed that God specifically stated that His purpose was to keep the Israelites sanctified (separated) from the customs of the Egyptians (where He’d delivered them from) and the Canaanites (where He was taking them to). The language he employs clearly identifies their worship of other gods as the impetus for these proscriptions.

“Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,  [2]  ‘Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘I am the LORD your God.  [3]  ‘You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you; you shall not walk in their statutes.  [4]  ‘You are to perform My judgments and keep Mystatutes, to live in accord with themI am the LORD your God.  [5]  ‘So you shall keep Mystatutes and My judgments, by which a man may live if he does them; I am the LORD.

Leviticus 18:1-5 [emphases mine]

The language God employs makes it obvious that He doesn’t want them falling into false worship, or even involving themselves in the customs of false worshipers. Repeatedly, He reminds them that He (YHWH) is their Lord and God, in contrast to the false deities of the Egyptians and the Canaanites. He emphasizes that they’re to walk according to His judgments and statutes. Any unbiased reader of this passage will see quite clearly that the source of God’s concern in this context is His concern that the Israelites remain faithful to Him, even though they’re surrounded by faithless tribes.

It’s not simply a matter of Him condemning things associated with idolatrous ritual (worship rites), but He also condemns things simply because of their association with an idolatrous peoples—simply because they’re a part of the custom of idolatrous people. This is made evidence when reading His closing remarks in the chapter, which mirror the opening remarks, demonstrating that He hasn’t changed subjects on us. He’s still dealing with the same issue.

“‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled.  [25]  ‘For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants.  [26]  ‘But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and My judgments and shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native, nor the alien who sojourns among you  [27]  (for the men of the land who have been before you have done all these abominations, and the land has become defiled);  [28]  so that the land will not spew you out, should you defile it, as it has spewed out the nation which has been before you.  [29]  ‘For whoever does any of these abominations, those persons who do so shall be cut off from among their people.  [30]  ‘Thus you are to keep My charge, that you do not practice any of the abominable customs which have been practiced before you, so as not to defile yourselves with them; I am the LORD your God.‘”

Leviticus 18:24-30

So, in both opening and closing this list of prohibitions, God definitively lays out His purpose. He wants them to remain separate from the cultures surrounding them, not only in isolating themselves from their idolatrous rituals (v. 22), but also from anything associated with their customs.

Contrary to what traditionalists realize, that actually is the very definition of “abomination”—something disgusting, abhorred, or filthy because of its association with idolatrous custom or ritual. That’s why every time the word appears in the Torah (the writings of Moses), it’s connected by textual or cultural context to idolatry.

The same problem exists with Lamont’s interpretation of Romans 1:26-27. If she would leave those two verses in context, she’d she that Paul repeatedly connected the condemnations with idolatry.

“Professing to be wise, they became fools,  [23]  and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.  [24]  Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.  [25]  For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.  [26]  For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural,  [27]  and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.  [28]  And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper.”

Romans 1:22-28 [emphases mine]

Each of the black bolded segments demonstrate a direct association with the idolatrous acts of the group of people that are the subject of this condemnation. Traditionalists want to make you believe that the subject is homosexuals, but no, idolaters are the people being condemned in this passage. Therefore, the reference to the same-sex acts they committed is a reference to acts committed within an idolatrous framework. The blue bolded segments demonstrate that it was precisely because of the idolatry that the judgments followed. Further, it’s clear that Paul saw the same-sex acts as an expression or natural result of their idolatry, certainly not as an expression of love between two consenting adults who serve God alone.

Consequently, this condemnation is in no way related to the modern context, in which idolatry has no part of homosexuality, as it once did (or at least was perceived to) within the ancient Greco-Roman culture. Indeed, if one examines history, he sees that the ancients did, in fact, engage in all sorts of sexual activity (including same-sex) within an idolatrous framework. These festivals were called Bacchanalia, and were dedicated to the Roman god of wine, Bacchus. It’s no wonder Paul addressed this condemnation to Roman Christians.

Lamont also references the condemnations of arsenokoitais in 1Co. 6:9 and 1Ti. 1:10; however, she does not probe adequately into the translations in order to see the huge disparity of how the word was translated from version to version, especially in conjunction with its partner-terms, malakoi (1Co. 6:9) and pornois and andrapodistais (1Ti. 1:10). Although she offers a literal translation of arsenokoitais as “men who sleep with men” (which is actually inaccurate, being more literally translated as “male-bedders”), she fails to understand the context—the connection that these “male-bedders” have with malakoi, pornois andandrapodistais. In fact, arsenokoitais are the customers of male prostitutes (malakoi/pornois); and in 1Ti. 1:10, Paul goes so far as to also condemn the ancient equivalent of the pimp—the andrapodistais, or slave traders, who profited from the sale of (usually young) male prostitutes.

So then, these two passages actually condemn a form of male-male sex quite prevalent in the ancient Greco-Roman society—pederastic prostitution. This condemnation can no more be seen to apply to homosexuality in general as the biblical condemnations of heterosexual prostitution could be seen to apply to heterosexuality in general. Of course, Lamont doesn’t dig deep enough into the linguistics of the text to see this; but why bother, when a surface-level evaluation serves one’s purpose nicely?

Of course, it wouldn’t be a worthy traditionalist tort without a reference to the infamous cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Lamont certainly doesn’t disappoint. Without going into too much detail, the sin in that narrative was clearly the intention of the townspeople to rape non-human visitors—angels. Jude 7 clearly identifies this intent when kept in the surrounding context of human/angel interactions (vs. 6-9, he references the ambiguous commission of abominations. Upon inspection, bestiality is, indeed, referred to as an abomination in Lev. 18, and certainly qualifies, given the fact that nowhere in all of Scripture is homosexuality mentioned in conjunction with Sodom.

She finally points to “evidence” of divine punishment of homosexuals, referencing the poorly interpreted narrative of Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction, the incorrectly translated 1Co. 6:9-10, and the unjustly applied reference to male-male sex in Lev. 20:13. Not a single one of the instances she sites actually holds up to scrutiny, demonstrating the weakness of the case she puts forward.

In a desire to end on a “happier note”, she quickly transitions from the destructive judgment of homosexuals into the hope of their salvation, as though even if the logic of the universe were suspended and her arguments proved true, one couldn’t be a Christian and a homosexual at the same time. In her words, they’d need to experience genuine “repentance and reform” first. But maybe she’s right. The Bible does say that we’re saved by three things: 1) the free gift of God’s grace, 2) faith, and 3) the absence of sin. Oh wait, that’s the wrong translation… 3) heterosexuality. Oh darn, that’s the Ann Lamont Version, not the most objective of translations. Well, in lieu of these new versions of Christianity and the Bible, I’ll have to settle for the first 2 things that save: grace through faith.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;  [9]  not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9