What Does the Bible Say About Homosexuality?
Publish onTwitter, Linkedin, FaceBook, and email Poor biblical scholarship and a cultural prejudice read into the Bible are at the basis of the assertion that the Bible is unambiguous “that homosexuality is prohibited by God.” When It Comes to Homosexuality, What Does the Bible Say? Introduction Pew Research Center has observed for the previous two decades that sexual variety is one of the most persistent ethical difficulties throughout Christian faiths, and that this has been true for almost two decades.
Although it is unlikely that the biblical authors had any understanding of sexual orientation (for example, the term homosexual was not coined until the late nineteenth century), the Bible is frequently consulted by people of faith for timeless guidance on what it means to honor God with our lives, and this most certainly includes our sexuality.
What exactly is the Bible?
In this light, the Bible is frequently seen as the key source that assists us in determining how God’s people should spend their lives.
As a result, most Christians approach these difficult decisions by first studying what the whole of Scripture says about a specific topic, then investigating the linguistic, historical, and cultural context in which the words were written, and finally putting these discoveries in conversation with what we already know to be true about God’s character more broadly.
- What is Biblical Interpretation and how does it work?
- Individuals who are attracted to persons of the same sex are frequently informed that when they come to affirming conclusions about their relationships and identities, they are ‘elevating’ their experience above the teachings of Scripture.
- However, the issue remains as to whether this is a fair and truthful evaluation.
- Is there a single accurate or true method to understand the Bible, and if so, who has the authority to declare what is proper?
Hermeneutics is the process through which we examine a text and question not just “what does this say,” but also “what does this imply.” We must investigate what the relevant biblical passages on the topic meant in their original context and what they mean for us today when we ask the question, “What does the Bible say about homosexuality?” (or, more appropriately, “What does the Bible say about attraction to someone of the same sex?”) Our goal is to understand what the relevant biblical passages on the topic meant in their original context and what they mean for us today.
- Further, we want to know if the biblical writers were criticizing specific activities linked to sexuality in the ancient society, or whether they were truly condemning all same-sex partnerships of any type throughout the remainder of time.
- In the case of many evangelicals and other conservative Christians, the answer to this question is affirmative.
- This includes, but is not limited to, 1) what they were taught was a “unbiased” interpretation of the relevant texts, and 2) a basic conviction that sex distinction is an essential aspect of Christian marriage, both of which are supported by Scripture.
- This is why it is so important to be married.
However, while passages from Genesis 1 and 2 do indeed support gender complementarity, it is important to note that while these stories say God began by creating human beings of male and female sex (defined as the complex result of combinations between chromosomes, gonads, genes, and genitals), there is nothing in Scripture that indicates God only created this binary.
- These are examined in further depth here.
- The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:17-18) teaches that experience should influence our understanding of God’s truth, and what Jesus said about good trees giving good fruit and poor trees bearing terrible fruit supports this.
- It also served as the foundation for Christian arguments that led to the abolition of slavery, and it has backed campaigns for women’s emancipation throughout the history of the church.
- What they did advise was that the evident exclusion, unfairness, and devastating consequences of commonly held ideas should prompt Christians to return to the text in order to contemplate a new perspective, one that would more accurately represent the heart of the Creator.
- Suffering must have a redemptive purpose in order to be Christ-like in nature.
- As a result of all of these factors and more, Christians have a moral need to reevaluate their understanding of what the Bible teaches regarding LGBTQ+ identities.
- However, while the six verses that deal with same-sex sexuality in the ancient world are critical of the activities that are mentioned, there is no evidence that these passages speak in any manner about same-sex relationships based on love and reciprocity.
It is the stories of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19) and the concubine of the Levite (Judges 19) that deal with sexual violence and the Ancient Near East’s stigma against breaching male honor that concern us today.
When the New Testament mentions the subject in a list of vices (1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10), the argument being made is more than likely about the sexual exploitation of young men by older men, a practice known as pederasty.
This means that any persistent hostility to same-sex partnerships and LGBTQ+ identities must be founded on something other than these biblical passages, which puts us back to a theology of Christian marriage or partnership as a starting point.
While the endeavor to dismantle the decades-long, dominant, and exclusionary readings of these texts is crucial, its concentration on and against the welcoming features of Christian theology for LGBTQ+ persons has hampered study of a deeper meaning of sexuality for everyone in the community.
Christian partnership provides a chance to demonstrate God’s love to others.
A wide range of disparities (and consequent problems) are inherent in any two personalities striving to integrate their lives, as any individual who has ever been in any form of close relationship can attest to.
Overall, God’s purpose for Christian partnership is about expressing the most real and sweetest love anybody could ever know, which is the self-giving and everlasting love between God and creation that has been made available for us by Christ.
Conclusion Taking everything into consideration, it is crucial to recall that throughout church history, fresh understanding about people and the world has repeatedly prompted Christians to reevaluate their religious views.
There are millions of faithful Christians throughout the world who have come to acknowledge the work of God in and through the relationships of LGBTQ+ people as it stands today (see here for a list of denominational perspectives on LGBTQ+ individuals within Christianity).
As Christians, we should learn from the apostles’ example and from our current witness in the world (Luke 15).
Religion is covered by Michael Vazquez (Head Editor).
Stan Mitchell (Contributing Editor) is a co-founder of GracePointe Church and a co-founder of Everybody Church.
Vanderbilt Divinity School offers a Master of Theological Studies degree.
Further reading may be found at: Cheryl B.
Keeping Ancient Laws in the Face of Contemporary Controversy: The Importance of Inclusive Biblical Interpretation (Oxford University Press 2009) Dr.
Keen’s article “Scripture, Ethics, and the Possibility of Same-Sex Relationships” may be found here (William B.
God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships is available for free download (Convergent Books, 2014) James V.
Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2013) Elizabeth M.
Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know About Life and Love, and How It Can Revitalize Christianity is a book written by a group of LGBTQ people (Beacon Press, 2016) Eugene F.
“Same-sex Complementarity: A Theology of Marriage” is the title of this paper.
Homosexuality: Not a Sin, Not a Sickness Part II “What The Bible Does and Does Not Say.”
Rev. Elder Don Eastman’s comment is available online. Universal Fellowship Press in Los Angeles has the exclusive copyright for 1990. In its entirety, the Bible is a collection of texts that span more than a thousand years and chronicle the history of God’s relationship with the Hebrew and Christian people. It was produced in a variety of languages, incorporates a variety of literary genres, and represents civilizations that are extremely different from ours. These are critical elements for correctly comprehending the Bible in its historical and cultural context.
- As a result of these discrepancies, some Christians have come to believe that other Christians are not actually Christians at all!
- What was the Sin of Sodom, and why did it happen?
- Some “televangelists” make the erroneous idea that God destroyed the ancient towns of Sodom and Gomorrah because of “homosexuality,” which is not supported by the Bible.
- Following the announcement of punishment on these towns in Genesis 18, God sends two angels to Sodom, where Abraham’s nephew Lot persuades them to remain at his house.
- This would have been a clear instance of attempted gang rape had the author’s intended intention been the opposite of what he meant.
- Because the inhabitants of Sodomrefuse to believe, the angels make them blind.
- There are several noteworthy observations.
Second, the entire population of Sodom took part in the attack on Lot’s house, whereas in no other culture has more than a small minority of the population been homosexual.
The fourth question is, if it was a sexual issue, why did God spare Lot, who immediately commits incest with his own daughters?
Ezekiel 16:48-50states it clearly.
But they failed to meet theneeds of the poor, and they worshipped idols.
We stand under the same judgment if wecreate false gods or treat others with injustice.
But some ignore its definitions of their own “uncleanness”while quoting Leviticus to condemn “homosexuals.” Such abuse ofScripture distorts the Old Testament meaning and denies a New Testamentmessage.
Their meaning can only be fully appreciated in the historicaland cultural context of the ancient Hebrew people.
Hebrew religion, characterized by the revelation of one God, stood incontinuous tension with the religion of the surrounding Canaanites whoworshipped the multiple gods of fertility cults.
The Hebrew word for a male cult prostitute,qadesh,is mistranslated”sodomite”in someversions of the Bible.
An abomination is that which God found detestable because it wasunclean, disloyal, or unjust.
Given the strong association of toevah with idolatry andthe canaanite religious practice of cult prostitution, the use oftoevahregarding male same-sex acts in Leviticus calls intoquestion any conclusion that such condemnation also applies to loving,responsible homosexual relationships.
But, as stated in Galatians 3:22-25, Christians are no longer bound bythese Jewish laws.
To be sure, ethical concerns apply to all cultures and peoples in everyage.
The New Testament – Scripture Study Romans 1:24-27 Most New Testament books, including the four Gospels, are silent onsame-sex acts, and Paul is the only author who makes any reference tothe subject.
This raises the question: Does this passage refer toallhomosexual acts,or to certain homosexualbehavior known to Paul’s readers?
They would also have been aware of tensionsin the early Church regarding Gentiles and observance of the Jewishlaws, as noted in Acts 15 and Paul’s letter to the Galatians.
The homosexual behaviors listed inRomans1:24-27were considered to arise from idolatry and are associatedwith certain extremely significant sins as indicated inRomans 1.
What exactly is “Natural”?
Romans 11:24 describes God acting in a “unnatural” manner, para physin, in order to embrace the Gentiles.
It is important to note that it is “unnatural,” paraphysin, for a person of lesbian or homosexual sexual orientation to seek to live a straight lifestyle in today’s society.
Romans 1:26 is the only verse in the Bible that might be interpreted as a possible allusion to lesbian activity, while the exact meaning of this verse is uncertain at this time.
Assuming Paul’s period was characterized by oppressive societal expectations of women, such an interpretation may be plausible.
I Corinthians 6:9 (New International Version) In order to properly evaluate New Testament statements on same-sex acts, it is necessary to take into account the social context of the Greco-Roman culture in which Paul ministered.
As translated in the King James Version, individuals who are “effeminate” and “abusers of themselves with humanity” are condemned by Paul in I Corinthians 6:9 (King James Version).
Recent research has revealed the homophobia that lies behind such mistranslations.
The term is used in several contexts throughout the New Testament, but never in relation to sexuality.
It is derived from two Greek words, one of which means “males” and the other which means “beds,” which is a euphemism for sexual encounters.
In light of the overall context of I Corinthians 6, which reveals Paul to be exceedingly worried about prostitution, it seems most likely that Paul was referring to male prostitutes.
Conclusion of the Scripture Study.
Because of the rarity with which Paul speaks about any type of same-sex conduct and the obscurity of the passages attributed to him, it is exceedingly unwise to draw any firm conclusions about homosexuality from the New Testament, especially in the context of loving, responsible partnerships.
Love God with all of your heart, and love your neighbor as you would like to be loved yourself.
Love is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, and there is no law that can be applied to it. One thing is crystal evident, as Paul remarked in Galatians 5:14: “There is no doubt about it.” In one sentence, the entire Law is fulfilled: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
Insights from Other Bible Scholars
“The homosexuality that the New Testament condemns is the pederasty of Greco-Roman society; attitudes against pederasty and, to a certain extent, the language employed to condemn it are affected by the Jewish heritage.” Union Theological Seminary in New York City is home to Robin Scroggs, a Professor of Biblical Theology. “It is impossible to know with certainty if the two essential phrases in I Corinthians 6:9 are intended to be allusions to male homosexual activity.” ” Visiting Assistant Professor of New Testament at the PerkinsSchoolofTheology in Dallas, Victor Paul Furnish.
- This argument has historically been taken from Romans 1:26, in which homosexual practice is designated as para physin.
- If you are a pagan, it might be a reference to the individual who goes beyond his own sexual cravings in order to experience new sexual pleasure.
- McNeill, Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, has published several articles on the subject.
- Pauldid not reject the existence of a distinction between clean and unclean, and he even believed that Jewish Christians would continue to adhere to the purity rule after becoming Christians.
However, they should refrain from associating bodily impurity with sin or requiring Gentiles to abide to that ethic.” Distinguished Professor of New Testament at the ChurchDivinitySchoolofPacific in Berkeley, William Countryman “The Hebrew word ‘toevah,’ which is translated as ‘abomination,’ does not usually refer to something intrinsically evil, such as rape or theft (which are discussed elsewhere in Leviticus), but rather to something that is ritually unclean for Jews, such as eating pork or engaging in sexual relations during menstruation, both of which are prohibited in these same chapters.” Distinguished Professor of History at YaleUniversity in New Haven, John Boswell HelpfulReading: It is highly advised that you read the following books if you are interested in learning more about homosexuality and the Christian Church: John Boswell’s biography.
- Christian doctrine, social tolerance, and homosexuality in Western Europe from the beginning of the Christian period through the end of the fourteenth century The University of Chicago Press published this book in 1980.
- Christians who are gifted by their otherness include gay and lesbian Christians in the Church.
- Victor Paul Furnish is a fictional character created by author Victor Paul Furnish (1979).
- Abingdon Press (Nashville, TN) Robert E.
- Take theWord back into your hands.
- Tom Hanks is a famous actor.
- WipfStock Publishers first published this book in 2001.
- Helminiak’s What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality is available online.
- Carter Heyward is credited with inventing the term “cybernetics.” Touching Our Strength: The Erotic as a Source of Power and the Divine Love HarperCollins published the book in 1989.
- Jonathan and David were in love: Homosexuality in Biblical Times.
- John J.
The Church and the Homosexual, originally published in 1976 by Beacon Press in Boston. Robin Scroggs is the author of this work (1983). The New Testament and Homosexuality is a controversial topic. Fortress Press, based in Philadelphia. This entry was posted in.
Members of our church who have LGBTQ family members who have been injured and rejected by individuals who told them that God condemned them because of who they were produced this compilation of scripture. We hope you enjoy it. Ultimately, we want to draw attention to some of the many messages of love and inclusion that can be found in the Bible, while also assisting people in considering the original meaning of the chapters that have been used to condemn LGBTQ people (sometimes called the “clobber verses”).
God loves LGBTQ people
Nothing will ever be able to separate us from God’s love. (See Romans 8:38) This message is intended for people of all backgrounds, especially LGBTQ folks. God did not commit a clerical error when he created LGBTQ persons. “Because you made my inmost being; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb,” I said. It is because I am fearfully and wonderfully formed that I give you thanks; your works are marvelous, and I am completely aware of this.” (Psalm 139:113-14; 139:13-14) People’s sexual and gender identities are important components of their personalities, and as such, they are important aspects of who God created each of us to be.
According to 2 Corinthians 3:19, “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them,” and as a result, “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have gained entrance by faith into this grace in which we now stand.” (Romans 5:1, 2).
Not that being LGBTQ constitutes a sin, but if it did, one would be forgiven without hesitation if one came forth.
God accepts people of all genders and sexual orientations as his guests. ‘There is no longer a distinction between Jew and Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there a distinction between male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’ Paul writes in Galatians 3:28 that Also, “.God has revealed to me that I should refrain from referring to someone as dirty or unclean.” (See Acts 10:28 for further information.) Jesus was happy to mingle with those who were deemed unworthy of his company by the religious establishment.
- (Matt9:11) The Church is in desperate need of its LGBTQ members.
- Some of us are Jews, while others are Gentiles, and some of us are slaves, while others are free.
- An Ethiopian eunuch was baptized by the apostles in one of the earliest reported baptisms.
- Anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ will be held accountable in court, according to the New International Version of Matthew 5:22.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control,” says the Bible. “There is no legislation that protects you from such things.” (Galatians 5:22-23; Revelation 21:4) Our relationship with God and with one another was designed by God: “it is terrible for man to be alone,” God said (Genesis 2:18) The fact that God created individuals who were gay and then condemned them to a life of loneliness would be incompatible with God’s loving nature.
In the line “that is why,” the reference is made to verse 18.
As a result, whatsoever God has put together, man should not separate.” (See Matthew 19:5 for further information.) God can and does form unions with people of different backgrounds, including those who identify as LGBTQ.
19:11-12); marriage is also a good thing to do (“better to be married than to burn with passion,” 1 Corinthians 7:9).
As soon as David had completed chatting with Saul, Jonathan became one with David in spirit, and he loved him as if he were his own son.” The Bible says in 1 Samuel 18:1 that Jonathan’s love for David is described as follows: “Your love for me was amazing, much more lovely than that of women” (2 Samuel 1:26).
With these words, Ruth emphasizes her love and dedication to Naomi: “Whither you go, I will go; wherever you reside, I will live.” And your people will become my people, just as your God will become my God.
May the LORD deal with me, however brutally, even if it means separating you and me by death.” (See Ruth 1:16-17.) Among those there were the Centurion and his servant (Matt 8:5-10).
People of all sexual orientations and gender identities were formed in God’s image: “So God created humans in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them,” the Bible says. (Genesis 1:27, New Standard Revised Version) As a “merism,” this paragraph refers to a single object (in this case, humanity) by a phrase that identifies some of its constituent elements but does not identify all of them is most likely to be referred to by a single thing (in this case, humanity).
- This verse also demonstrates that God is not bound to a particular gender as previously thought.
- To the contrary of his brother, Jacob liked to remain at home with his mother, loved to cook and had smooth skin, as opposed to his brother, who had hairy skin and wanted to hunt and be in the great outdoors.
- Judge Deborah (Judges 4-5) served as a prophet and military commander for Israel during a time when women were viewed as property and valued only on the basis of the number of children they were capable of bearing.
- Ebed-Melech was also a eunuch, and he was the one who saved the prophet Jeremiah’s life (Jeremiah 38).
- In addition to the male metaphors of “Father” and “King,” the Bible provides pictures of God that are more feminine in nature.
(1 Corinthians 1:24). In the Bible, several allusions to God are made in connection with female behaviors, such as caring for unborn children (Psalm 139:13), giving birth (John 3:5-6), and safeguarding children (Matthew 23:37).
Bible verses that have been used to condemn LGBTQ people
When attempting to comprehend any Bible verse, it is critical to grasp the context in which the verse was written as well as how the passage was translated from the original language of the text. If you’re thinking about the scriptures that have been used to support restrictions on same-sex marriage and full participation in church communities for LGBTQ persons, consider the following points: Neither is there a restriction against loving, consensual same-sex partnerships in the Bible if the Bible is read in its original language and context, nor is there a barrier against individuals living as their real genders.
Genesis 19:1–13 is a biblical text that teaches about the creation of the world.
The refusal to extend hospitality to visitors and the intention to inflict harm on them were both regarded terrible sins, regardless of the gender of those who committed them.
This was the fault of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters were haughty, overfed, and uncaring, and they did not aid the poor and needy.” “This was the sin of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters were overfed, and they were indifferent.” (See Ezekiel 16:49 for further information.) 18:22 (Leviticus 18:22) It is abhorrent to have sexual intercourse with a man in the same way that one has sexual relations with a woman, according to the New International Version of this text.
- But the direct translation of the original Hebrew is “And with male you shall not lie lyings woman,” which means “And with male you must not lie lyings woman.” Aside from Genesis 49:4, where it pertains to incest, the term translated as “lyings” is found just once else in the Bible.
- 1:26-27 (Romans 1:26-27) In this passage, Paul is denouncing the wicked and destructive practices that he considers to be prevalent in Roman culture at the time.
- (1 Cor.
- 2:12, where Paul criticizes people who use God’s teachings to pass judgment on others.) 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:9-11 are two passages that come to mind.
Matthew 19:4 (KJV) “Haven’t you read,” the narrator responded, “that the Creator’made them male and female’ from the beginning?” As Jesus explains later on in the chapter, in verse 12: “There are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others—and there are others who choose to live like eunuchs in order to further the kingdom of heaven.” It is clear that Jesus was aware that there was a difference between men and women, yet he did not criticize it.
Deuteronomy22:5 “A woman must not dress in men’s attire, and a man must not dress in women’s clothing, because the Lord your God abhors anybody who does so,” the Bible says.
Criteria by which God will evaluate our lives
When considering whether or not it’s “better to be safe than sorry” to adhere to “traditional” teachings on LGBTQ matters, keep in mind that the Bible does not command us to pass judgment or make others’ lives more difficult by refusing to discriminate against them. Seven verses have been cited to justify discrimination against LGBTQ people, but there are more than a hundred passages on love – so it may be best to concentrate on love! Scripture has been used to justify slavery, to exclude divorced people from full participation in the sacraments, to exclude women from ministry, and to persecute left-handed people; if the church has erred in its treatment of LGBTQ issues, this would not be the first time this has happened in church history.
- John 8:7 (KJV) “Let him who is without sin be the first to throw the first stone.” Throughout the Bible, God expresses his admonition against passing judgment on others.
- The second principle is as follows: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “There is no higher commandment than these,” says the Bible.
- As an example, consider the situation of LGBTQ persons who have lost their faith because their church has informed them that God does not love them.
All Bible quotations are taken from the New International Version (NIV). Linda Tatro Herzer. (2016). Transgender people’s experiences with the Bible; how Scripture supports gender variation. The Pilgrim Press is based in Cleveland, Ohio. K. Renato Lings is a fictional character created by author K. Renato Lings. “The ‘Lyings’ of a Woman: Male-Male Incest in Leviticus 18.22?,” a paper published in the Journal of Biblical Literature. TheologySexuality, vol. 15, no. 2, p. 153. (May 2009). Rev. Justin Cannon is a minister in the Episcopal Church.
- Peterson Toscano (producer), and Samuel Neff are among the cast members (director).
- (Video) Peterson Toscano is based in the United States.
- (March of this year) “How the Bible Became Anti-Gay: Forging a Sacred Weapon,” a report by the Center for American Progress.
- “Jesus gave his blessing to a gay couple.” Elizabeth A.
- She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse.
The Bible’s Sex Texts: Sexuality, Gender, and Relationships in the Old and New Testaments Dorrance Publishing Co., Inc.
Paul Varnell’s full name is Paul Varnell.
IGF Culture Watch.
Kalie Hargrove is a woman of faith.
(2021) Published in Whosoever, “A Transgender Journey Toward Pride: A Creation Theology” is a creation theology. “God loves you,” reads the slogan. It is the trademark of the Episcopal Diocese of Ohio that “There are no exceptions.” is used. Content last modified August 9, 2021.
What Does the Bible Say About Being Gay?
Making a difference by shining God’s light of truth on a contentious issue Bible Study in Three Sessions When it comes to discussing sexuality in general, Christians have done a lousy job, particularly when it comes to the same-sex orientation of people. For many, it is a taboo subject that should be avoided at all costs. Others have spoken about it extensively, but they have done it exclusively in the name of truth and without regard for love or grace. What exactly does the Bible have to say about being a homosexual man?
These concerns are addressed in truth and love in this study, which draws on three articles—two from Christianity Today and one from Her.meneutics—to do so.
When It Comes to Sexuality, What Does the Bible Say? God’s Word holds a high esteem for sexuality, and it has ramifications for everyone, regardless of sexual orientation. There is no doubt that we are living in a moment of transition. In order to preserve God’s truth in love and grace, many Christians are seeking for new methods to do so. This is especially true given the fact that many of us have LGBT friends or family members. What exactly does the Bible have to say about being a homosexual man?
In addition, we’ll look into more effective ways of talking about sexuality as a whole.
Is it wrong to be same-sex oriented? What should the church do in the case of Christians who are attracted to someone of the same gender? It’s a problem that Christians can’t afford to ignore: there are people among us who are attracted to others of the same gender. An anonymous account published by “a Christian husband and father who, day by day, refuses his same-sex urges,” as the subtitle describes him, focuses on one Christian’s inner conflict: “I am a Christian husband and father who, day by day, opposes his same-sex impulses.” Will my Christian friends be able to relate?
Respecting and Adoring Our LGBT Neighbors Following in Jesus’ footsteps, we should love others who are different from ourselves. If your best friend is vastly different from you in a variety of ways, is it feasible to have a best friend who is also vastly different from you? Courtney Humphreys and Nishta Mehra are certain that this is the case. Courtney is aware that their relationship appears to be complicated on paper: “I’m a white evangelical Christian who is married with two small children.
She’s dark, non-Christian, and she and her girlfriend, Jill, are raising a two-year-old boy together.” Nishta, on the other hand, is considered to be one of Courtney’s most real and steadfast companions on this planet.
In order to actively love someone who is different from themselves, Courtney and Nishta have discovered how to do it. As we will discover in this lesson, they are following in the footsteps of Jesus. He instilled in us the importance of loving one another, and that includes our LBGT neighbors.
The Best Christian Argument for Marriage Equality Is That the Bible Got It Wrong
What was the number of times Jesus got things wrong? (Image courtesy of Shutterstock/CHOATphotographer. ) Opposing homosexuality is as simple as opening one’s Bible, according to many evangelical Christians. “Though a man lies with another man as if with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination,” says a particularly scathing verse from Leviticus. “They must be put to death immediately.” Alternatively, you may be reading Paul’s first epistle to the Corinthians and come across anything like this: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor males who practice homosexuality.
“Do not be fooled,” he writes.
Additionally, other biblical texts that have historically been used against homosexual people, such as the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, may be re-imagined in a less anti-gay approach in a similar fashion.
As a result, for decades, the halls of academia have been bustling with well-intentioned academics and bible commentators eager to demonstrate that, contrary to popular belief, the Bible is not anti-gay in the way we think it is, and that, if we all just followed their hermeneutical lead, we’d discover that both the Old and New Testaments speak positively—if in a coded manner—of homosexual love.
It takes discipline, scholarship, prayer, and sometimes creativity to interpret the Bible in a way that makes sense to us today.
It was only last week that former President Jimmy Carter stated that Jesus would “approve of homosexual marriage.” This scholastic fixation has reached its height. Predictably, and quite soon, analysts on both sides published remarks either agreeing with or disagreeing with or kind of agreeing with the former president, all of whom used scripture to support their positions. In this way, America’s favorite hobby of stating absolutely what Jesus would do continues. When we contemplate who Jesus was, revisionist hermeneutics might appear to be a bit ridiculous.
- If Jesus had deviated greatly from Jewish tradition on this point, we may be certain that his dissatisfaction with the custom would have been documented (just like his reconsideration of divorce or his new interpretation of adultery).
- Any ambiguity around this appears to be a result of present politics rather than ancient history.
- Actually, that’s not the case.
- It should be noted that I say this as a sincere LGBT Christian who believes in the divinity of Jesus as well as in the inspiration of the Holy Bible.
- As a result, while most critical scholars believe that Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament, the majority of critical scholars believe that they were really written, edited, collected, and anthologized by a variety of persons over a long period of time following Moses’ death.
They would depend on “what Jesus said” to discredit more comparative, historiographical approaches to biblical studies because Jesus appeared to confirm Mosaic authorship (“If you trusted Moses’ books, you would have believed me”).
To answer a complicated issue of our day by simply opening the bible and reciting a passage is to misunderstand what the Bible is—and, importantly, what it is not.
While the fact that Jesus referred to the Torah with the shorthand “Moses” is not conclusive evidence that he was incorrect about the books’ provenance (many scholars refer to the books metonymically), it is reasonable to conclude that Jesus believed Moses wrote the Pentateuch. And, if he did believe that, he was completely incorrect. Evangelical bible scholar Peter Enns makes this point in a footnote to his book The Evolution of Adam, in which he writes, “Jesus here reflects the tradition that he himself inherited as a first-century Jew and that his hearers assumed to be true.” Jesus’ knowledge is thus limited, according to Enns, to what was known in the first century because—and this is a crucial point that I fear too many Christians overlook—Jesus is, in many ways, limited by what was known in the first century, according to Enns.
- In accordance with what orthodox Christianity believes and has always asserted, Jesus is both completely divine and fully human at the same time.
- He was a human being.
- The author of Luke’s gospel is correct in stating that Jesus gained in wisdom and stature as time went on.
- In other cases, such as when someone grabs his robe in the hopes of getting a miracle, the priest will inquire of his students as to who did it.
- The irony is that many of those who advocate for a “plain reading” of the biblical text when it comes to homosexuality jump through extraordinary interpretive hoops to convince us that Jesus’ questions weren’t really questions in the first place.
- I don’t want to put too fine a point on it, but Jesus was tragically wrong when he predicted that the world would end.
- is certainly the most embarrassing verse in the Bible.
The facts then are these: that Jesus professed himself (in some sense) ignorant, and within a moment showed that he really was so.
That would make of his humanity something so unlike ours as scarcely to deserve the name.
Based on these two examples alone—Jesus’ question and his thoughts about the world’s end—it’s safe to conclude that Jesus didn’t know everything.
Jesus, whose mind is a product of his first-century upbringing, had a different worldview than we do.
(Kirk, it should be noted, isleaving his positionat Fuller at the close of the academic year, largely because of his progressive views on homosexuality.) Jesus and the scriptures that tell of his good news are products of their ancient environment.
Or, for that matter, an elaborate position on human sexuality that takes into account all the advances the social sciences have made in the past few decades.
Given what we know about Jesus’ humility, why wouldn’t he be open to changing his mind?
In no way shape or form, the Bible does not serve as some sort of guidebook for navigating the twenty-first century. It is not God, and it should not be accorded god-like status in any way. (To regard it as such would be a violation of the second commandment). Exist universal truths hidden within the pages of the bible? Do you believe that? Absolutely! What proportions of these principles are applicable in every period and culture, as well as binding on Christians across the world? Without a doubt, loving your neighbor, forgiving your adversaries, and watching out for the vulnerable are all tasks that Christ has placed on the shoulders of every individual who professes to be his disciple.
- Of course, the physical resurrection of Jesus is an unassailable element of the Christian faith that cannot be compromised.
- What do you think?
- What about all of the laws described in the Torah, such as the one that prohibits the wearing of different fabrics together or the planting of different kinds of seeds in the same field?
- What about that?
- Anthology of many distinct texts, the Bible we have today was developed and edited by a varied set of writers and redactors from different social and historical strata.
- Despite the fact that Jesus commands sinners to physically cut off their hands in the gospels, no one would come to the conclusion that he wants them to do so.
If the essence of Torah is love, as Jesus says it is, then committed gay relationships hardly fall afoul of the Bible.
The writings from the New Testament period are the written record of Jesus’ disciples attempting to make sense of his life, what he said, and what it all meant at the time of his death and resurrection. We are still “working out” the memory of Jesus, even two thousand years after his death. Working out this memory might be difficult at times, like as during talks about diplomacy and peace, because it requires bringing Jesus’ own ideals to the debate. As with slavery (a system to which Jesus alluded but did not condemn), figuring out this memory can be difficult since it requires demonstrating that one’s knowledge of historical events is constrained by historical ignorance.
Remember that it was Jesus who made a profession out of calling into question the conventional wisdom of religious authority.
Kirk reminded me of a passage from the gospels in which Jesus is genuinely persuaded to modify his viewpoint by a Canaanite woman, of all people, in order to save his life.
“It is not acceptable to take the children’s bread and give it to the dogs,” he argues, making a remark that is almost as humiliating as the one Lewis discussed above.
So, did this lady have any effect on the Son of God’s decision-making?
In a similar vein, it is not impossible to foresee Jesus’ viewpoint on the problem of homosexuality shifting in the modern day as well.
I find it difficult to believe that he would do so on the grounds that all same-sex love is inevitably sinful.
If, as Jesus claims, the core of Torah is love, then committed gay partnerships are scarcely incompatible with the law of Moses.
However, by thinking along with, or inside of, the memory of Jesus, which is dynamic and always contemporary, as well as constantly on the move, we can hazard a guess that this same Jesus—who is always coming to the aid of those who have been cast out of polite society, who is always challenging religious ideologues, who is constantly wrestling with the scriptures and re-imagining their applications—might someday find himself being asked to create wine for a gay wedding.