God and Homosexuality: Part 1

Leviticus 18:21
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.

Leviticus 20:13
If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.

First,  Scripture must be read it in light of its context and the culture in which it was written. When we look at the beginning of chapter 18:2-3 we read:

“Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the Lord your God.You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes.

The context of the chapter is that the Israelites are not to do as the Canaanites or Egyptians did when worshiping their gods. Chapter 20 is more specific saying not to take part in the rituals done in worship of a god named Molech. Both chapters set forth long lists of sexual practices common in the cultic worship of the cultures mentioned.The question then arises, what were the practices of the Canaanites and Egyptians? Biblical historians tell us that Canaanite’s worship often included sexual rituals. During the rituals, whole families, including husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, cousins, aunts and uncles would engage in sexual activities, including some homosexual activities . There were also temple prostitutes involved in the worship of some of the gods. Having sexual intercourse with them was thought to bring you favor with the god or goddess of that particular temple.

Historians also tell us that homosexual relationships were untenable in such tribal cultures. Men and women were largely kept separated and men’s and women’s work clearly delineated. They simply would not have been familiar with a meaningful long term sexual relationship between members of the same sex. Wouldjesusdescriminate.org puts it this way:

It simply is not reasonable to believe the author of Leviticus intended to prohibit a form of homosexual relationship that did not exist at the time. When read in textual and historical context, the prohibitions in Leviticus 18 and 20 are clearly directed at homosexual temple prostitution, and that is how they should be applied.

Some people may object, saying, “But if you ignore the context and just read the words of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 in black and white, they appear to prohibit all sex between men, not just sex in pagan rituals.” But that is the whole point: The meaning of words depends on context. Remember, the words of 1 Corinthians 11 also appear to require long hair and head coverings for all women in all circumstances. But, because we have studied the context, we know that is not what was meant. A text taken out of context is pretext. Let’s apply the same common-sense rule here.

The Leviticus passages were clearly written in the context of pagan religious ritual. Since we are not bringing a question about the appropriateness of cultic sex practices for modern Christians, we can safely set aside these clobber passages.

The holiness codes had a purpose; to help keep Israel from falling into idol worship because of the land they came out of and the land they were entering. They were rules to keep them from falling into the ways of the people of those lands who worshiped false gods. These laws were not and are not universally applicable. Indeed, prior to these laws being given, God blessed several relationships forbidden in these two passages.

  1. Abraham and Sarah – an incestuous, brother-sister marriage.
  2. Amram and Jochebed – an incestuous, nephew-aunt marriage.
  3. Judah and Tamar – an incestuous, father in law-daughter in law marriage.
  4. Jacob, Leah, Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah – a polygamous marriage.

These examples illustrate that the Levitcal laws had a beginning. These laws also had an end. Jesus. The only law that remains is the law of love. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. And love your neighbor as yourself. The law of love has overturned other things the church used to say were abominations: Interracial marriage, slavery and the subjugation of women, among others. The Levitical laws were given,

  1. to a specific people (Israel & resident aliens),
  2. in a specific location (Palestine),
  3. under specific rules (the Holiness Code),
  4. for a specific purpose (to bring them to Christ their Messiah),
  5. during a specific time period (1450 BC to AD 30).

If you intend to follow them, you must follow them all. Galations 5:1-3 says:

For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law.

There are many specific acts commanded in the Old Testament that we ignore and many that are prohibited that we enjoy. These are a few of my favorites noted in an open letter to Dr. Laura from several years back:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?

Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? – Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Your devoted fan,
Jim

Oh yes, don’t forget your tattoos.

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21 thoughts on “God and Homosexuality: Part 1

  1. Indeed, prior to these laws being given, God blessed several relationships forbidden in these two passages.

    1. Abraham and Sarah – an incestuous, brother-sister marriage.
    2. Amram and Jochebed – an incestuous, nephew-aunt marriage.
    3. Judah and Tamar – an incestuous, father in law-daughter in law marriage.
    4. Jacob, Leah, Rachel, Bilhah and Zilpah – a polygamous marriage.

    Where is it ever said or written that Judah and Tamar’s relationship was a “marriage”?

    Genesis 38:

    1 Right about then, Judah left his brothers and went to live with an Adullamite man named Hirah. 2 There Judah met1 the daughter of a Canaanite man named Shua. He married2 her, had sexual relations with her, 3 and she conceived, bore a son, and named him Er. 4 Later, she conceived again, bore another son, and named him Onan. 5 Then she bore yet another son and named him Shelah. Judah was living in Kezib when she bore him. 6 Judah found a wife for his oldest son Er. Her name was Tamar. 7 But the LORD considered Er, Judah’s oldest son, to be wicked—so he put him to death. 8 So Judah instructed Onan, “You are to have sexual relations with your dead brother’s wife, performing the duty of a brother-in-law with her, and have offspring for your brother.”
    9 But Onan knew that the offspring wouldn’t be his own heir, so whenever he had sexual relations with his brother’s wife, he would spill his semen on the ground to avoid fathering offspring for his brother. 10 The LORD considered what Onan was doing to be evil, so he put him to death, too. 11 After this, Judah told his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Go live as a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up.” But he was really thinking, “… otherwise, Shelah3 might die like his brothers.” So Tamar left and lived in her father’s house. 12 Some years later, Shua’s daughter, that is, Judah’s wife, died. As Judah was grieving, he visited the shearers of his flock in Timnah, accompanied by his Adullamite friend Hirah. 13 “Look!” somebody reported to Tamar, “Your father-in-law is going to Timnah to shear his sheep.” 14 So she took off her mourning apparel, covered herself with a shawl, and concealed her outward appearance. Then she went out and sat at the entrance of Enaim, which is on the way to Timnah, because she knew that even though Shelah had grown up, she wasn’t being given to him as his wife. 15 When Judah saw her, he thought she was a prostitute, since she had concealed her face. 16 So on the way, he turned aside, approached her, and said, “Come on! Let’s have some sex!” But he didn’t realize that he was talking to his own daughter-in-law. “What will you give me,” she asked, “in order to have sex with me?” 17 “I’ll send you a young goat from the flock,” he responded. But she pressed him, asking, “What security will you put up until you’ve sent it?” 18 Then he asked, “What pledge do you want me to give you?” “Your signet ring, cord, and the staff in your hand,” she suggested. So he gave them to her, had sex with her, and she became pregnant by him. 19 Then she got up and left. Later, she took off her shawl and put on her mourning clothes. 20 Later on, Judah sent his Adullamite friend to take her a young goat, intending to retrieve what he had put up as security from the woman, but he could not find her. 21 He asked the men who lived in that area, “Where’s that temple prostitute who was sitting alongside the road at Enaim?” But they replied, “There’s been no temple prostitute here.” 22 So he returned to Judah and said, “I haven’t found her. Also, the men who are from there said, ‘There’s been no prostitute here.’ ” 23 Then Judah said, “Let her have those things.4 Otherwise, we’ll become contemptible. I sent this young goat, but you didn’t find her.” 24 Three months later, it was reported to Judah, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has turned to prostitution!5 And look! She’s pregnant because of it!” “Bring her out,” Judah responded. “Let’s burn her to death!” 25 While they were bringing her out, she sent this message to her father-in-law: “I am pregnant by the man to whom these things belong. Furthermore,” she added, “tell me to whom this signet ring, cord, and staff belongs.” 26 When Judah recognized them, he admitted, “She is more upright than I, because I never did give her my son Shelah.” And he never had sex with her again. 27 Later, when it was time for Tamar6 to give birth, she was carrying twins in her womb! 28 While she was giving birth, one of them put out his hand, so the midwife grabbed it and tied something scarlet around his hand, observing, “This one came out first.” 29 As it was, he withdrew his hand, and then his brother was born. Amazed, the midwife7 cried out loud, “What’s this? A breach birth?” So that boy8 was named Perez.9 30 Afterwards, his brother came out, and around his hand was the scarlet. So they named him Zerah.10

    1 38:2 Lit. saw
    2 38:2 Lit. took
    3 38:11 Lit. he
    4 38:23 Lit. it
    5 38:24 Lit. has been acting like a whore
    6 38:27 Lit. her
    7 38:29 Lit. Amazed, she
    8 38:29 Lit. So he
    9 38:29 The Heb. name Perez means breach
    10 38:30 The Heb. name Zerah means rising

    International Standard Version. 2011 (Ge 38). Yorba Linda, CA: ISV Foundation.

  2. DeeAnna says:

    So clearly from the post/rebuttal thing we’ve got going on lately, I have a lot of thoughts provoked by your incredible blog. I’ve been mulling over the letter to Dr. Laura for about a week now. This isn’t the first time I’ve seen that letter, of course. There are a lot of things to say about it, but I’m trying to be slow to speak because I know it makes me a bit worked up.

    Here’s a post I found on why we don’t own Canadians that I think does a good job of getting into it a little bit, though there’s still much missing from this as well. I’ve pulled some of the points I want to emphasize from the article and posted below the link.

    http://www.whitehorseinn.org/blog/2011/09/27/%E2%80%9Cwhy-can%E2%80%99t-i-own-canadians%E2%80%9D-rightly-dividing-the-word-of-truth/

    Quote: “It also requires that we interpret the Old Testament in light of the New Testament, allowing the fulfillment to guide our understanding of the typological promise.”

    This is something I was trying to encourage you to do when I was asking you to explore the New Testament views on homosexuality. I was NOT asking you to throw out the Old Testament. I believe we can’t understand the New Testament without it. However, if Jewish law becomes a stumbling block to you, it’s wise to seek to understand the sin of homosexuality from another angle. The New Testament provides a good place to get that different view. The New Testament, time and again, reinforces the Old Testament’s view that homosexuality is a sin. However, it does not agree on the punishment. See below.

    Quote: “Homosexuality is still a violation of God’s moral law for all times and places, but the sanction for it under the old covenant (death by stoning) was theocracy-specific.”

    Quote: “In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus quotes some of these passages in Leviticus and Deuteronomy: “You have heard it said, ‘…..’ But I say,….” These old covenant commands were not wrong; they had their place in the theocratic government that God exercised directly over his people. However, Jesus rebukes James and John when they seek to call fire down on the Samaritan village that rejected the gospel.”

    See where Jesus did not change the Old Testament. He didn’t declare that the things that go against the holy nature of God no longer are against His holy nature. He didn’t say, “Yeah, being gay used to be wrong, but now it’s not. I forgive it, go forth and practice it as your heart directs you.” He instead gave us the proper way to live in His kingdom, established with the cross and full of forgiveness, while still respecting the holiness of God. The Gospel you have been putting forth forgets that God is holy. It is only part of the Good News. “Let he without sin cast the first stone,” YES. But also we are commanded to spread the Gospel. It is impossible to truly do so without grace AND truth.

    ***** Most important******

    Quote: “So you can’t invoke the old covenant passages for common nations in this era in which Christ’s kingdom is not identified with any geo-political nation. It’s an era of forgiveness, a stay of execution before the dreadful day of judgment. In this in-between time, the kingdom of Christ (regardless of what the secular kingdoms of this age determine) announces God’s righteous judgment and gracious salvation. It calls all people everywhere—gay, straight, gossips, and the pious grandmother who trusts in her own righteousness—to repent and embrace God’s only Son.”

    How ’bout that. Try not to be too turned off by the references to Reformist thinking in this post; it’s still got some good stuff in it. :-)

    And, just to review a few points:

    Dear Dr. Laura:

    Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination …. End of debate. (My words: This statement is interesting. Yes, many Christians simply point to a verse in the Bible, and go, “See? SIN! Sinner! You’re going to hell unless you start having sex with the ‘right kind of person.'” That is an incredibly flawed, overly simple view of Scripture. Jesus had the whole of Jewish Scripture available to him, but he never said, “It’s a sin ’cause God said it was a sin; repent or burn in hell.” He didn’t do that because that’s not what he wanted to teach us to do! So anyone who approaches the sin of homosexuality from this angle is not approaching it in the loving, righteous way Jesus himself would. The comment holds some merit. However, it is a mistake to think that ALL who point to Scripture as the basis for what they believe are falling into this trap. It’s a whole ‘nother trap in and of itself. One must be on guard not to view all Scripture-quoting as overly simple or intolerant “clobbering.” It’s better to listen to the words the person is actually saying before one draws a conclusion about how it’s being said. After all, if it were wrong to quote Scripture, Jesus wouldn’t have done it so gosh darn much. Yes, I look to the Bible to know how to share the Bible. I know atheists who would claim that’s circular reasoning and therefore a giant fallacy, but I don’t believe it is. I believe that I can look to Paul, Peter, etc. to know how to share the Scriptures in both grace and truth.)

    I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.
    •1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians? (My words: You do realize, don’t you, that these questions are designed to make you view the Bible as absurd? I feel silly saying it out loud, but the idea is to take you from “agreeing” with the Bible that homosexuality is a sin and get you to second guess yourself due to all these other things. So, you’re supposed to think, “Wait. The Bible does say it’s okay to have slaves, and I think THAT’S wrong. Does that mean the Bible promotes things that are morally wrong?” )

    •2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her? Now you’re supposed to be thinking, (My words: “Uh… I think the Bible might really be immoral. Selling my daughter into slavery is clearly wrong.”)

    •3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness – Lev15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense. (My words: Now you’re also supposed to be thinking that the Bible is not only morally questionable, but possibly silly. After all, this is absurd, isn’t it? And misogynistic to boot!)

    •4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them? (My words: And now we’re thinking both “ewww” AND that clearly, anyone who doesn’t worship the Lord this way is a hypocrite. You can’t say you follow the Bible unless you follow the Bible, right?)

    •5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it? (My words: Okay, now we’re just getting horrified. What’s wrong with a good work ethic? And how could anyone in their right mind think it was more moral to KILL a person, rather than allow him to work on the Sabbath? What is WRONG WITH THE BIBLE???)

    •6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination? (My words: I actually think this is a great question. The answer is no, there aren’t degrees of sin, even though some people seem to be confused about that. This is why I don’t believe the Church should treat homosexual acts as if they are “worse” than lying. They’re not.)

    •7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here? (My words: Oh, the unfairness of it all! God doesn’t love people like me who wear glasses! Clearly there is some equating of homosexuality and less than 20/20 vision here. After all, we’re pretty much “born into” both defects, aren’t we?)

    •8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die? My words: Again, what kind of twacked out book thinks a man deserves to die because he trimmed his hair????)

    •9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves? (My words: More of that silliness. What a silly God we must have, if He did indeed write this goofiness.)

    •10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-
    16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14) (My words: Reeeeeaaaaally?)

    I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging. (My words: Oh, THIS is just the best part of the whole letter. Let’s paraphrase, shall we? “Hey, Dr. Laura, if you believe homosexuality is STILL a sin, then you must believe all this other stuff as well. You are a big ol’ hypocrite for pointing to one part of the Scripture while ignoring all the others. Your religion is NOT moral. Your God is NOT good. Your God is the “god” that demands a man die for cutting his hair or working on the Sabbath. Your God is the “god” who says it’s okay to do detestable things like sell/own/buy/trade slaves. Your “god” is disgusting, and so are you for believing this crap. But I’m going to give you an “out” here. I’m going to let you distance yourself from this apparently cruel and hateful “god” if you do one simple thing: Just admit that God’s word is evolving. Let’s replace the words “eternal and unchanging” with “living and active.” Let’s reinterpret what these passages mean. Let’s decide together that we don’t really have to follow the Law as it’s written, because it’s clearly immoral. And this immoral Law is the same one that declares homosexuality a sin… It must be wrong about that. Doesn’t it turn your stomach to think about killing your neighbor just because of what he does in the privacy of his home? Listen to your gut. It’s less offensive than these Scriptures. Let’s just admit that our “gut” is part of how we should interpret these “laws” and I’ll forgive you for being such a homophobe, mmkay?”)

    Your adoring fan
    (It would be a damn shame if we couldn’t own a Canadian)

    Dr. Laura is an Orthodox Jew. She really does have trouble answering these questions. A Jew is supposed to still be under the Law, living in the theocracy established by the Law. She is supposed to be seperate from the world, right? She has no sacrifice of a Messiah to redeem her. She’s still supposed to burn the bulls/doves/lambs, you know, whatever sacrifice is appropriate for the sins she needs to atone for. She’s still supposed to be seperate when she’s on her period. She’s still supposed to eat kosher and wear pure fabrics. She’s still supposed to identify and “get rid of” all kinds of sin, lest those sins corrupt the seperate, chosen people that are the Jews. To be sure, she’s got no leg to stand on, and no argument to give back. Either her Scriptures have changed enough to allow her to behave the way she does, or she’s guilty of sin upon sin for not following those Scriptures, and thus looks absurd calling out homosexuality as a sin. RIGHT?

    But you and I are not Orthodox Jews. We have the knowledge of Christ. We acknowledge Him as the Messiah, promised by the Old Testament Scriptures that we have in common with Dr. Laura. We have the “luxury” of looking at what the New Testament says about the Law. We, as pointed out above, use Scripture to interpret Scripture. I could write even more about the New Testament’s views on these things mentioned in this letter, but I’m getting a little tired of typing. Instead, I encourage you to focus on a few things in your research on homosexuality:

    1) What the New Testament says about it. Not because it’s different than the OT, but because I think the OT is something you are prone to stumble over.
    2) Why we (Christians) don’t kill people who are guilty of any sin. Or make them feel like they’re less than human, or judged, etc. In short, what’s different about the Christian view on homosexuality v. the Jewish view?
    3) How lots of Christians have gotten how we treat homosexuality WRONG. Aka: Why the Christians who act like Jews are guilty of sin.
    4) Did Christ call us to pretend that things that ARE sins AREN’T?
    5) Is there any Biblical basis whatsoever for the idea of “gay marriage?”
    6) Do you equate the statement “homosexuality is a sin” with being intolerant and unloving? Why or why not?

    I’d like to conclude with a few thoughts on love. I think we as humans have a flawed concept of what love really is. We can spot some misconceptions easily, like when someone says they just don’t love their spouse anymore. Other flawed thinking is harder to spot. My idea (and this is just my idea; it’s very much a work in progress) is that no one human fully understands what “true Love” is. What one person labels as love (example: disciplining a child) another labels as horrible abuse. I truly and whole-heartedly believe that every word in the Bible is loving, because God is love. That means that command to stone someone guilty of a certain sin is a loving command. I’m confident in this because I have the luxury of the “whole picture.” I’ve got the Old and the New Testaments. I see how the Law lead to my Lord Jesus on the cross. I see how this is all playing out until the very end. Well, I see pieces of it anyway. Obviously I only “know” what the Bible tells me about how it will all end. I marvel at King David and how he seemed to understand that God was loving long before he had all the information I had. I would have trouble, as an Old Testament Jewish believer, trusting that God was loving. My response would have been, “God is righteous and holy; you’re a lunatic.” King David didn’t have that problem, and it amazes me. David read the Law and saw God’s love. The rest of us had to wait until the story was a little more complete. Using the whole of Scripture to interpret the whole of Scripture is a huge blessing. It’s a mistake not to take advantage of it.

    So…. When the Bible says to spread the Good News I don’t shy away from calling sin “sin.” Not. Ever. I don’t do it in a way that hits people over the head and berates them for being so crappy. That’s not Biblical. In fact, I shy away from listing sins in general. I let the Holy Spirit tell people where they need to repent. I simply tell them that we ALL need to repent, and give them the Good News. I tend to quote the Bible, and let God’s loving words speak for themselves. When asked, I give my opinion about what the passages in the Bible mean. Now, you haven’t asked, but you have blogged! It opens up the discussion, which I believe is the whole idea, right? It’s not my opinion that homosexuality (or lying or stealing or murder) is a sin. It’s in the Bible. My feelings about it don’t matter.

    Sometime I’ll tell you about my FEELINGS on the matter. Believe me when I tell you, you’d be shocked.

    Okay. That’s my “piece.” I’m sure I haven’t typed it out well enough to avoid misunderstandings about what I’ve said. I may have to clarify certain points if miscommunications become apparent. But yeah, that’s the gist of it.

    • APeene says:

      Thank you, DeeAnna, for clearly pointing me away from Christianity. I have been on the edge, especially given the numerous suicides by gay teens, and the incessant rant from the Christian right about homosexuality being a sin. Christians do not care about the message from the bible, the message of love. They only care about putting people down to build themselves up. There will be judgment one day, and it will not be against the homosexuals.

      • AP,
        I have been trying to put together the words for a brilliant reply that shows you the overwhelming beauty and all consuming love that God has for you. I believe the scriptures are clear. Most people stop reading after John 3:16 but I would like to point you to John 3:17 that says, “For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world , but that the world through him might be saved.” The awesome news of Jesus is that he is not keeping track of your sins. His sacrifice is enough to cover all. The good news is good news for everyone or it is good news for no one. His love for you is unconditional and never ending, just as you are with no unless. Please do not allow what you feel any person is saying to sway you against Jesus unless you are listening to him. He says he loves you. He says you bear his image. He says you were worth dying for before you ever existed.
        Peace to you,
        m

      • Paul says:

        Beautifully put Michelle.

        APeene I know exactly how you feel. I continue to be enraged by and despair at all the terrible things that anti-gay Christians are responsible for, some of the worst you refer to above. And to a certain extent I have to include my own parents among those people, as much as I love them. Those people have also done their best to rob me of my faith and I find this truly despicable. I don’t think most (if any) anti-gay heterosexual Christians really know what it means to have their faith really tested.

        But never forget that your faith is your relationship between you and God, no-one else. I haven’t felt able to participate in the Church for a decade, since my early 20s. Consequently my faith hangs by a thread most of the time but remembering that it is only Gods opinion that matters gets me through.

    • Paul says:

      DeeAnna I found your analysis of the open letter to Dr Laura very interesting. How you demonstrated interpreting each part and then stringing those interpretations together can show what you think a text should mean. In much the same way that disparate parts of the Bible have been taken, re-interpreted out of context and strung together to substantiate a teaching on homosexuality. Which is exactly the point that the open letter is making. Were you to spend a little more time making an objective analysis of it then you too would be able to see that.

  3. Don Johnson says:

    Thanks for exploring this area.

    Jesus was a Torah-observant Jew and was always calling people back to Torah observance. There are Messianic Jewish responses to the famous “Laura letter” that unpack it so that the answers actually make sense, instead of being totally off base.

    Also, “The Bible Now” by Eliot Friedman has a discussion on homosexuality and abomination that shows that abomination may not mean what many thinks it means. One can do a study of the work in the Tanakh.

    • Angela, I can’t wait to check out the links! Praise God so far I have not had to deal with too many hate posts directed at me. When I do, I hope to respond by proclaiming truth and returning love for hate. The (usualy) private message I get from folks who disagree with me is one of concern that I be careful what I am teaching people. That as pastors Kent and I are held to a higher standard and have the responsibility not to lead people astray. To which I reply that I take it very seriously, and that I think Jesus was about loving and including, and that if I am going to be in error (which we all are at least partially) I am going to err, as often as I am able on the side of love. I had a former pastor with a gay son tell me that I was going to have to answer for every word written on my blog. I stand by my answer to him: I am ready because I believe that all I have done was in the interest of touching as many as possible with his love and telling as many as possible the good news that God is not holding their sins (I do not belive being gay is a sin) against them.
      Thanks for the awesome question. <3

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