Pastor say:”God can’t accept you if you’re gay.”

This was what the local Pastor said to me, after I went to see him during this week. I have had a real intense want to meet with God, to find him and build a relationship with him. My issue was not with sexuality.

When did men start thinking that they know the heart of God? When did they receive that chip on their shoulders? I would have thought that the main concern would be to get me to the cross, let God decide if He wants me. I am getting married in less than a month to my partner of three years. I love him. I refuse to think that God would have made me gay, and expects me to live a life of celibacy for the rest of my days.

There may still be a few knowledgeable people who do not believe this, but practically all behavioral scientists now accept this statement as a fact. Down through history same-gender sex was universally considered to be acts by (heterosexual) people who had chosen to engage in perverted sex. Advances in the sciences, particularly psychology, in the last 100 years have shown that not all people are heterosexual; some are homosexual, and their homosexuality is an unchangeable nature, not a choice.

Evidence that homosexuality is unchangeable includes: (a) ten thousand suicides each year of young homosexuals unwilling to face life with that orientation; (b) the high percentage of homosexuals who go to psychotherapists desperately wanting to change their orientation, and then (c) the very small percentage of them reportedly being changed after hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars being spent in psychotherapy; (d) the millions of homosexuals who remain “in the closet,” not acting like homosexuals and not wanting anyone to learn of their orientation; (e) the thousands who are reported as coming to pastors and counselors devastated to have to recognize their unchangeable orientation and wanting assistance in dealing with it

Evelyn Hooker, who taught psychology at UCLA, conducted the “…very first investigation into whether or not homosexuality was an illness that examined a population of `normal’ gay men–men who were not residents of mental hospitals, prisoners, or distressed patients in therapy [common subjects of study at that time], but ordinary people living ordinary, if closeted, lives….In 1956 Hooker presented her findings–that no psychological differences existed between homosexual and heterosexual men–before the annual meetings of the American Psychological Association.”3-1
But do not most heterosexuals have the very narrow view that homosexuality means engaging in sex with a partner of the same gender? That is a gross distortion. The homosexual has all the interests and concerns in life that a heterosexual has. Whatever importance sex has for the heterosexual, it has the same importance for the homosexual–no more, no less. The best definition I have read of a homosexual is that he or she is a person who falls in love with someone of the same gender. What made me, a heterosexual, fall in love with a person of the opposite gender? I can’t say–it is just some innate characteristic of my makeup. In the homosexual, that characteristic works differently for some yet unknown reason, and the falling-in-love process is directed at the same gender. But it is a true falling in love. It isn’t a sexual thing for them any more that it is for heterosexuals.

(1) Understanding the Bible is understanding what the writer wanted his readers to understand. This seems so obvious, but millions of Bible readers and thousands of preachers violate this principle constantly because when they look at a passage, they do not give a thought either to the author or to those to whom he wrote but immediately begin to decide what the words, by themselves, mean. Practically everyone is guilty of this. This leads to almost as many different ideas as there are readers. But the only truth in a passage is the truth the writer was trying to convey to readers who were his contemporaries. The New Testament scholar H. E. Dana, in his Searching the Scriptures, says, “The ultimate object which we seek in interpretation is the thought in the mind of the New Testament writer which sought expression in the written text…. We should seek to discover the one meaning which the writer had in mind, and then apply that meaning to our moral and religious experience.”A-1 This is a basic fact about the whole Bible, and it involves several things:

(a) The writer’s meaning comes out of his background. While the Bible is an inspired revelation of God, giving us “truth without any mixture of error” about God as the Baptist Faith and Message Statement says, God did not dictate; he let the authors of the books write out of their own consciousness and experience, using their own words (for example, the Greek of some NT writers was atrocious. Isn’t it wonderful how unimportant that was for God’s using them!). The Biblical author can write only out of his own culture, understandings and presuppositions. (Two presuppositions every writer in the Bible had were that everyone was heterosexual and that women were inferior.) People who have gone to church and Sunday school regularly usually know something about the writer’s circumstances. The problem often is not ignorance of the writer’s background but careless inattention to it.

(b) The writer’s meaning is determined by the background and situation of those to whom he wrote. Paul’s letter to Philemon is an obvious illustration of this. The scriptures were written to people who lived thousands of years ago. Everything the author wrote to them had in mind their culture, circumstances and needs. Do we read and with great earnestness ask, “What is Paul saying to me?” The answer: Nothing. He wasn’t writing to me. God is trying to say something to me through something he inspired Paul to write almost 2000 years ago to his (Paul’s) contemporaries to meet their first century needs. Paul was applying eternal, Christian principles to their needs. It is my task to see and understand these principles so that I can apply them to my 21st century life.

(c) Our understanding of the writer’s meaning is colored by our own culture, experiences, understandings, presuppositions, etc. It is easier for us to impose our culture on the first century writer and readers than it is to understand theirs, so I am sure our interpretations would often be unrecognizable by the writer. If you and I read the same thing, not just the Bible, our interpretations will often be different just because of our different backgrounds and experiences. Which of us will be right? So many times I have stood in the vestibule after a service to speak to people as they left the church and had someone comment on something I had said in the sermon, only to think to myself, Where in the world did they get that? I didn’t say anything like that! Many church members have such a cultural revulsion to the thought of same-gender sex that anything in the Bible about it is interpreted as its being the worst of revolting evils. So their thought is, “No homosexual could ever be welcomed to our church, he or she is just too vile.” Actually, same-gender sex is in lists along with greed, envy, lying and gossip and is apparently neither better nor worse than those sins. Our culture’s influence is what makes them different, not the Bible. (Now, does the list mean that lust is not very bad or that greed, envy, lying and gossip are just as vile in God’s sight as lust? That is a serious question: How does God judge sin? The way we do? Appendix C below attempts to say a little about this.) We must try to keep our own background and culture out of our interpretations.

(d) Isn’t it obvious and unquestionable that the Bible writers had a purpose for writing what they did? Our understanding of that purpose may be the most important thing about our understanding the meaning. As we read and watch the author fulfill his purpose, our understanding opens up. Whatever the author’s purpose, it was for his contemporaries; he didn’t have us in mind. Understanding why the writer was writing and what he wanted to accomplish will lead to our finding the principles and eternal truths in the writing.

(e) The meaning of the author is not in his words (!); words are merely imperfect vehicles for use in transferring thought. I can still hear the great W. T. Connor raise his voice in my theology class: “The Bible does not mean what it says, it means what it means.” And I also hear thoughtless, defensive cries, “My Bible means what it says!” No, nothing ever written or spoken means what it says, it always means what it means. Words are the best things we have for trying to transfer the thinking of one mind to the understanding of another mind. If we are face to face, gestures and tone of voice help, and we can ask, “What do you mean?” But if it is something written, we probably never get exactly what was in the writer’s mind. Nevertheless, we must try, and remembering principles of interpretation helps.

Every principle of interpretation outlined here is violated when we lift words out of the Bible, out of their context, out of their culture, away from the writer’s purpose, hold them up and declare, “This is what the Bible says!” An example of this evil is in pointing to Leviticus 18 or Romans 1 and declaring, “The Bible says homosexuals are going to hell.” The words of the Bible, wonderful as they are, are still limited in transferring thought, but they are all the writer had for getting his thoughts to his readers. If we can possibly go behind the words to the mind of the writer, we can have a glorious revelation of God. If we stop with the words, we shall find and worship and proclaim only false gods. The right question never is, “What does this passage say?” It always is, “What does this passage mean?”

If all these things are not considered seriously, we shall have either no understanding of what we have read or a wrong understanding.

(2) As the points above indicate, what we must do is find the central truth or God’s eternal principle in any passage we are studying. The words used to form the context are the media for giving us that truth. Unsupportable doctrines and practices are often formed from the setting in which the truth is couched or in peripherals of the truth, or first century practices are turned into rules for practice today. Women keeping silent in some churches and being obedient to their husbands, as Paul instructed, were not central truths of scripture, but practices that would keep the church and Christianity from being unnecessarily “discredited” in the first century’s culture (Titus 2:5). So the central, eternal truth is: Do not (in any century) unnecessarily engage in practices that would alienate unbelievers. Compare slavery. It is evil, but in the first century Paul wanted slaves to obey their masters “so that in every way they [slaves] will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive” (Titus 2:10).

(3) Nothing should ever be taken out of its whole context. Dr. Dana says, “No single sentence or verse should ever be interpreted independent of its logical connections. Interpretation should deal with whole sections, each section being considered from two angles: its connection with… and its contribution to the general progress of thought.”A-2 If we ignore the context, for example, then couples would not marry unless one of them “burned with lust,” then it would be OK to marry so the lust could be satisfied in a legal way (I Cor. 7:9)! And that is as ridiculous and repulsive as many of the ways “proof-texts” have had cults built around them. Paul thought Christ would return very shortly, so he was saying that since marriage would last for such a brief period, it was just better, if you were single, to stay as you were. When the time came that it was no longer so certain that couples would have only a brief time for marriage, Paul’s (scriptural) admonition was no longer considered applicable. It was not an eternal rule; it was for the conditions described in the context.

(4) A single passage should be interpreted in the light of the Bible as a whole. Peter said that if we believe and are baptized for the remission of our sins, we shall be saved (Acts 2:38). This says rather clearly that faith and baptism are the way to salvation. Baptists don’t believe he meant literally what the words say, for we know from the whole New Testament that baptism in itself has nothing to do with salvation. So now we know what he really meant and didn’t mean.

(5) The Bible is not a rule book. Grievous errors are made by those who believe it is. The Bible is a record that gives us a revelation of God by the writers’ having recorded their experiences with God, things that happened in the first and preceding centuries. I regret it now, but I’m sure I have said it a thousand times–you’ve heard me–”Jesus commanded us to do” so and so. Louise, I lied–well, it was at least misleading and careless of me. Jesus didn’t command my hearers or me to do anything; We weren’t there. But I contributed to the mistaken idea that any statement found in the Bible is a rule for us to follow today. What we need to do is find the eternal, central truth behind the “rules” and apply that truth to our 21st century circumstances. Many rules are eternal, but that is because of the eternal truth in them, and it is that truth we follow, not the rule that contained it. For example, Jesus didn’t command me to go into all the world; I wasn’t in the group that heard him that day. But when I read the record of that event, I understand God’s plan and that if I want to do God’s will in my age, I must do all I can to go into all the world, not because that is a rule to follow as a child follows a parent’s rule, but because it is my mature understanding of God’s plan and my place in it. We follow the fundamental truth, not a first century rule. If the Bible is a rule book, we should stone to death anyone who eats a cheeseburger (see below)!

Jesus and Paul made it clear that the rule of law was in the past and now we live by grace and the spirit, not the letter of the law. The Christian Jews stopped observing the Sabbath and worshipped on Sunday; one of the Ten Commandments was no longer a commandment for them! God himself told Peter that the laws regarding what food is clean and the law about not associating with Gentiles were no longer in effect (Acts 10:13-15). One reason the Jewish leaders hated Christ so much was his constant violation of the Sabbath laws. Jesus condemned the Pharisees for following the letter of the law in tithing every little thing but having “neglected the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and faith” (Matt. 23:23). Paul has lengthy discussions about the laws of circumcision being useless to the Christian. This is his strong word about trying to obey law: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Gal: 5:1) Instead, he says, we live by “faith working through love” (v. 6). Rom. 6:4 tells us we are “not under the law but under grace,” and Rom. 1:14 that “Christ is the end of the law,” and II Cor. 3:6 that “The letter kills, the spirit gives life,” and Gal. 5:14 that “The whole law is fulfilled in one word, `You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Legalism has no place in Christian living today, but much of it is already in our churches and it should be rooted out. Actually, the “law” of the spirit is the broader law. Consider how Jesus so greatly broadened the law against adultery. Now we see it is not only a lustful act but also a matter of a man’s thinking of a woman as a sex object rather than as a person (Matt. 5:28). Our wonderful Bible is a revelation of God through records of God’s experience with people of some centuries ago. It is not a book of rules for our lives today to be imposed on us from the outside; it is a book of spiritual principles from which we build our lives from the inside out. It is not a rule book.

(6) How do we move from the first century Bible to today? We have talked about principles, but applying the principles is not always easy. The Bible has nothing to say about much that we encounter in the twenty-first century, for example, innate homosexuality.

To begin with, we remember that we have the Holy Spirit promised to us for this task; we must always ponder the text and/or the subject in the posture of prayer to the Holy Spirit for guidance.

Because the Bible does not speak of many things we encounter today and yet we believe God wants to lead us in our decisions today, we realize that revelation did not end when the Bible was completed but is “living,” “dynamic,” meaning that each age or circumstance has new revelation for the new challenges. All our spiritual growth through learning more about God means the Holy Spirit has given us a new revelation.

Bible commentators still follow John Wesley’s pattern for finding God’s new revelation for the current time: consider (a) scripture, (b) tradition–how Christian churches have interpreted and applied scripture through history, (c) reason–Wesley thought religion and reason went together, that any irrational religion was false religion, and (d) experience–what produces Christlikeness in individual lives.

Then there is the final test. Christ is the perfect revelation of God, and he is the final and supreme criterion by which our concepts are to be judged and shaped. The principles he taught and exemplified as unchanging and eternal have to be met by our conclusions about the Bible’s message for our lives. Commentators agree, “We must constantly hold the interpretations…up against the person of Christ, who is the final criterion for valid understanding.”A-3 Our (1963) Baptist Faith and Message Statement says, “The criterion by which the Bible is to be interpreted is Jesus Christ.”

An excellent example for seeing this “living” revelation is in our concept of slavery. The Bible supports slavery, mentioning it frequently with acceptance. Philemon was not told to free Onesimus. Slaves are repeatedly told to obey their masters (Eph. 6:5, Col. 3:22, I Tim. 6:1, Titus 2:9). Our revelation today is that in order to be Christian we must ignore the Bible’s approval of slavery. We also know that we have to ignore tradition, for our churches supported slavery, at least in the South, until it was finally destroyed by a great civil war. By our reason/wisdom and our personal experience of seeing right and wrong and being a part of it, we came to recognize that the spirit and principles of Christ are found in the abolition of slavery. Most of us now recognize the same about segregation, but it took a civil war and congressional laws in this century to bring about the reason and experience to make us see the Christian truth about slavery and segregation. How sad! Why didn’t our churches destroy slavery before it ever started in America? And why didn’t our churches do away with segregation long ago? And where are our churches’ blind spots today? (I am convinced that they include homosexuality and sexism.)

Another example of “living” revelation is in divorce, for our current beliefs go against Jesus’ clear statement (Matt. 5:32, 19:9; Mark 10:11,12) that divorce and remarriage after divorce are adulterous. With this condemnation by Jesus, why do we sanction divorce and remarriage today? Conservative ethics professor Stanley Grenz summarizes the thinking of most scholars:
Situations arise in which God’s ideal for marriage is being effaced and human failure and sin are causing great suffering…. At this stage, the principle of God’s compassionate concern for the persons involved, God’s intent to establish shalom (peace) or human wholeness, must take precedence over the concern to maintain the inviolability of marriage…. The church, as the redemptive community [has the] opportunity to model the compassion of the God of new beginnings.A-4

We believe God blesses and uses many of those remarriages as he could never use the original marriage. I think many Bible principles go into our current belief about divorce and remarriage: love, forgiveness, the ideal of freedom for every individual, the value of God-given talents and the responsibility to develop and use them, etc. Psychological principles also are involved, which, if true, are God-given.

(Some would accept divorced people in the church but never ordain them. Dr. Grenz has an applicable word about this.
The past of every believer is marred by sin and failure. There are no righteous ones in the church. The disqualification of a believer from an office solely because a divorce is found in that person’s past elevates this one expression of sin and failure to a status of sinfulness beyond all others….The texts that set down guidelines for the selection of officers focus on three basic prerequisites – giftedness for leadership, spirituality and character, and public reputation (e.g., I Tim. 3:1-13)….These criteria give central emphasis to the importance of one’s present life of faith.A-5)

By our thinking about slavery and divorce are we ignoring the Bible? No, we are searching for its eternal principles and the best understanding we can have of Jesus Christ. This incredible, priceless Bible is not God’s final revelation. Christ with his life and principles is the authentic revelation to be applied to every new age. Just as the Old Testament and its laws were reinterpreted by the New Testament, so the New Testament’s applications to the first century are reinterpreted by Christ and his principles in the centuries after the New Testament.

The relative importance of the Bible to the life of Christ is indicated when we realize that those Christians who were said to have turned the world upside down for Christ in the first century (Acts 17:6) did not have a New Testament; it had not been written. They had only (!) a life-transforming experience with Jesus Christ and were living like him to the best of their understanding of him. (Do you suppose if we didn’t have a New Testament to wrangle over and had only such an experience with Jesus Christ that we would do better at turning our world upside down for him?) Surely we can see that the important thing is to weigh every understanding of revelation–scripture, tradition, reason or experience–in the scales of Jesus Christ.

Interpreting scripture is surely one of the most glorious and rewarding privileges we have. It is worth making every effort we can to learn what eternal principles God was trying to give for all ages when he inspired writers long ago to write to their contemporaries.

As stated above, until 1869 there was no written idea of homosexuality being an innate part of one’s nature. Until that time it was believed that all people were heterosexual, but some were so perverted that they engaged in same-gender sex. When the Bible writers talked on this subject, within their culture and understanding, that is what they were talking about–that kind of heterosexuality.

Nevertheless, there are Bible passages used by some people today to condemn homosexuals. I want to discuss each passage in some detail to show that not only is there no statement about homosexuality, but also that there is no statement applicable to homosexual sex if that sex is not lustful. Many authors write on this subject, and I am indebted to many of them.

THE OLD TESTAMENT

Genesis 1-2, The Creation Story

Critics of homosexuality enjoy saying, “The creation story is about Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” Those who say that marriage can be only between a man and a woman argue that God’s creation of Adam and Eve as heterosexuals shows that this is what he intended all persons to be; anything else is outside His will and therefore sinful. Dr. Gomes responds,
[As] Jeffrey S. Siker has pointed out in the July 1994 issue of Theology Today, to argue that the creation story privileges a heterosexual view of the relations between humankind is to make one of the weakest arguments possible, the argument from silence….It does not mention friendship, for example, and yet we do not assume that friendship is condemned or abnormal. It does not mention the single state, and yet we know that singleness is not condemned, and that in certain religious circumstances it is held in very high esteem. The creation story is not, after all, a paradigm about marriage, but rather about the establishment of human society.B-1

One can read anything one wants to into the creation story but cannot read anything about homosexuality out of it.

Genesis 18:20 to 19:29–The Sodom Story

Some consider the sin of Sodom to be same-gender sex, although we are not told in Genesis what Sodom’s sins were, only that they were so great that God determined to destroy the city. On the evening before its destruction he sent two angels, in disguise as men, to the city to lead Lot and his family out early the next day. Hospitable Lot invited them to spend the night at his house. During the evening the men of the city surrounded the house and demanded of Lot that he bring the two men out so that they could [19:5]
King James Version: “know them.”
Revised Standard Version: “know them.”
New International Version: “have sex with them.”
When Lot refused to bring his guests out, the men of the city were about to break his door down when the angels struck them all blind and the mob dispersed. The next day Lot and his family were led out of Sodom, and the city was destroyed by fire and brimstone from heaven.

The Hebrew verb used here, “yadha,” “to know,” is used 943 times in the OT and only ten times clearly to mean “have sex,” then it always means heterosexual sex. The word normally used for homosexual sex is “shakhabh.” Many scholars believe that in Gen. 19:5 yadha means “know” in the sense of “get acquainted with” (the city’s men may have wondered if these were enemy spies or they might have sensed the city’s impending doom and been concerned with what these strangers were doing there) and have several arguments for this, including Sodom’s being used as an example of great sin numerous times in the Old and New Testaments with nothing ever said about same-sex sex, and the context of Jesus’ references to Sodom (Luke 10:10-13) which seems to imply lack of hospitality as the sin.

Other scholars think it was the common practice of showing dominance over and humiliating outsiders by forcing them to take the part of a (an inferior) woman in a same-gender rape.

Others think it means “have sex,” and point to Lot’s offering his two virgin daughters to the crowd if sex is what they want, if they will just leave his guests alone. If this is the right interpretation, it is clearly about violent, criminal, gang rape, something always condemnable.

Another thought is expressed by Religion Professor David L. Bartlett: “This story is certainly an unlikely starting point for a `biblical’ understanding of sexual ethics. While the attempted homosexual rape by the men of Sodom is explicitly condemned, the offer by Lot to hand his two virgin daughters over to the violent and lecherous inhabitants of Sodom is related without a word of judgment.”B-2

Conservative theologian Richard Hays says, “The notorious story of Sodom and Gomorrah–often cited in connection with homosexuality–is actually irrelevant to the topic.”B-3

There is nothing in this story applicable to our consideration of homosexuality.

Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13
Revised Standard Version:
22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman, it is an abomination.
13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death…

The King James and New International versions say virtually the same thing.

Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 are the only direct references to same-gender sex in the Old Testament. They are both part of the Old Testament Holiness Code, a religious, not a moral code; it later became the Jewish Purity Laws. [“Abomination” is used throughout the Old Testament to designate sins that involve ethnic contamination or idolatry. The word relates to the failure to worship God or to worshiping a false god; it does not relate to morality.] Professor Soards tell us, “Old Testament experts view the regulations of Leviticus as standards of holiness, directives for the formation of community life, aimed at establishing and maintaining a people’s identity in relation to God.”B-4 This is because God was so determined that his people would not adopt the practices of the Baal worshipers in Canaan, and same-gender sex was part of Baal worship. (The laws say nothing about women engaging in same-gender sex; probably this had to do with man’s dominance, and such acts by the subservient had nothing to do with religious impurity.)
God required purity for his worship. Anything pure was unadulterated, unmixed with anything else These Purity Laws prohibited mixing different threads in one garment, sowing a field with two kinds of seed, crossbreeding animals. A few years ago in Israel when an orthodox government came into power, McDonalds had to stop selling cheeseburgers. Hamburgers, OK. Cheese sandwiches, OK. But mixing milk and meat in one sandwich violated the Purity Laws–it had nothing to do with morality. These were laws about worshipping God, not ethics, and so have no bearing on our discussion of morality. Helmut Thielicke remarks on these passages: “It would never occur to anyone to wrench these laws of cultic purification from their concrete situation and give them the kind of normative authority that the Decalogue, for example, has.”B-5

Another reason they are not pertinent to our discussion is that these laws were for the particular time and circumstances existing when they were given. If you planted a fruit tree, you could not eat its fruit until its fifth year, and all fruit the fourth year must be offered to the Lord. A worker must be paid his wage on the day of his labor. You must not harvest a field to its edge. We readily dismiss most of them as not applicable to our day and culture, and if we dismiss some of them for any reason, we have to dismiss all of them, including the sexual regulations, for that same reason.

When we add the fact that these laws were talking about heterosexuals, it makes three reasons, any one of which would be sufficient, why they have no bearing on questions about homosexuals or homosexuality or on the morality of same-gender sex by homosexuals today.

THE NEW TESTAMENT

In the New Testament there are three passages to consider.

Romans 1:21, 26, 27
Revised Standard Version
21 for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him…
26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men…

The King James and New International versions say virtually the same thing.

Romans 1:26 and 27 clearly speak of same-gender sex by both men and women, the only passage in the New Testament that does so. Rom. 1:18-32 speaks of Gentiles (heterosexuals) who could and should have known and served and given thanks to God but would not, so God gave them up and let them do whatever they wanted to do, and that resulted in degrading and shameful acts, including same-gender sex. It is almost a moot point, but Paul is not listing sins for which God will condemn anyone, he is listing sins that occur because people have forsaken Him. These are acts committed by those who have turned away from God and so become “consumed with passion.” All of us recognize that those who forsake God and give themselves over to lustful living–homosexual or heterosexual–stand condemned by the Bible. This passage is talking about people who chose to forsake God.
Conservative theologian Richard Hays says, “No direct appeal to Romans 1 as a source of rules about sexual conduct is possible.”B-6

I Corinthians 6:9
King James Version:
9…Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate [malakoi], nor abusers of themselves with mankind [arsenokoitai], 10 Nor thieves…, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

New International Version
9…Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes [malakoi] nor homosexual offenders [arsenokoitai] 10 nor thieves…will inherit the kingdom of God.

Revised Standard Version–1952 edition:
9…Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals [malakoi and arsenokoitai], 10 nor thieves…, will inherit the kingdom of God.

Revised Standard Version–1971 edition:
9…Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts [malakoi and arsenokoitai], 10 nor thieves…, will inherit the kingdom of God.

A comparison of how the two Greek words are translated in the different versions shows that translations often, unfortunately, become the interpretations of the translators. In I Cor. 6:9 Paul lists the types of persons who will be excluded from the kingdom of God and for some he uses the Greek words malakoi and arsenokoitai. KJ translates the first “effeminate,” a word that has no necessary connection with homosexuals. The NIV translates the first “male prostitutes” and the second, “homosexual offenders”. The RSV in its first edition of 1952 translated both words by the single term, “homosexuals”. In the revised RSV of 1971, the translation “homosexuals” is discarded and the two Greek words are translated as “sexual perverts”; obviously the translators had concluded the earlier translation was not supportable.

Malakoi literally means “soft” and is translated that way by both KJ and RSV in Matt. 11:8 and Luke 7:25. When it is used in moral contexts in Greek writings it has the meaning of morally weak; a related word, malakia, when used in moral contexts, means dissolute and occasionally refers to sexual activity but never to homosexual acts. There are at least five Greek words that specifically mean people who practice same-gender sex. Unquestionably, if Paul had meant such people, he would not have used a word that is never used to mean that in Greek writings when he had other words that were clear in that meaning. He must have meant what the word commonly means in moral contexts, “morally weak.” There is no justification, most scholars agree, for translating it “homosexuals.”

Arsenokoitai, is not found in any extant Greek writings until the second century when it apparently means “pederast”, a corrupter of boys, and the sixth century when it is used for husbands practicing anal intercourse with their wives. Again, if Paul meant people practicing same-gender sex, why didn’t he use one of the common words? Some scholars think probably the second century use might come closest to Paul’s intention. If so, there is no justification for translating the word as “homosexuals.” Other scholars see a connection with Greek words used to refer to same-gender sex in Leviticus. If so, it is speaking of heterosexuals given to such lust they turn to such acts.

Richard Hays tells us, “I Corinthians 6:9-11 states no rule to govern the conduct of Christians.”B-7

One commentator has another reason for rejecting the NIV and original RSV translations, “homosexuals.” Today it could mean that a person who is homosexual in orientation even though “of irreproachable morals, is automatically branded as unrighteous and excluded from the kingdom of God, just as if he were the most depraved of sexual perverts.”B-8

So I Cor. 6:9 says nothing about homosexuality with the possible exception of condemnable pederasty.

I Tim. 1:10
King James Version:
9…the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners,…10…for them that defile themselves with mankind (arsenokoitai)…

Revised Standard Version – both 1952 and 1971 editions:
9…the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for 10 immoral persons, sodomites (arsenokoitai),…

New International Version:
9…the law is not made for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful…10 for adulterers and perverts (arsenokoitai)

Here only the RSV specifically refers to same-gender sex, using the term “sodomites,” which is the translation given in both the Old Testament and New Testament to Hebrew and Greek words for male temple prostitutes. The KJV probably has the same thought. The NIV does not necessarily refer to same-gender sex. Again Paul has used the Greek word arsenokoitai, the word in I Cor. 6:9.

As discussed above, this word would have no reference to homosexuality or homosexual sex in our discussion.

So like the other two New Testament passages, I Tim. 1:10 says nothing about homosexuality or homosexuals and nothing about same-gender sex unless that of temple prostitutes or possibly the molestation of young boys by heterosexuals.

In view of the facts set forth above, we realize there is no moral teaching in the Bible about homosexuality as we know it, including homosexual sex (except possibly pederasty). The Bible cannot be used to condemn as immoral all same-gender sex. It clearly condemns lust, whether homosexual or heterosexual. There is certainly nothing in the Bible about anyone going to hell because he or she is homosexual. All who go to hell will go for the same, one reason: failure to commit their lives in faith to Jesus Christ as their lord and savior.

From a slightly different approach to interpretation, Dr. Robin Scroggs states, “The basic model in today’s Christian homosexual community is so different from the model attacked by the New Testament that the criterion of reasonable similarity of context is not met. The conclusion I have to draw seems inevitable: Biblical judgments against homosexuality are not relevant to today’s debate.”B-9 [Italics his]

Dr. Gomes concludes his discussion of homosexuality and the Bible with these words:
The Biblical writers never contemplated a form of homosexuality in which loving, monogamous, and faithful persons sought to live out the implications of the gospel with as much fidelity to it as any heterosexual believer. All they knew of homosexuality was prostitution, pederasty, lasciviousness, and exploitation. These vices, as we know, are not unknown among heterosexuals, and to define contemporary homosexuals only in these terms is a cultural slander of the highest order, reflecting not so much prejudice, which it surely does, but what the Roman Catholic Church calls “invincible ignorance,” which all of the Christian piety and charity in the world can do little to conceal. The “problem,” of course, is not the Bible, it is the Christians who read it.B-10

In writing this, I borrowed a lot from a letter written to a women named Louise. She had a gay brother, and once said to a pastor that he hates God, ’cause God made him gay. The learned people say that exclusion and/or rejection literally hurts the hart, it’s a physical pain. I can agree to that.

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9 Responses to “Pastor say:”God can’t accept you if you’re gay.””


  1. 1 Marianne November 10, 2009 om 9:00 nm

    You are making too many excuses, and do not understand proper interpretation of scripture.

    You have a non-biblical lifestyle, which is sin in Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

    All sin has to be repented of to have a relationship with God. There are no privileged groups.

    Stop trying to fit into a religion that you do not agree with, and stop trying to make them accept you.

    You do not accept the teachings of the bible, so stop trying to make the bible fit your way of life….

    There are other religions that do not care if you are gay. Become a Buddhist.

  2. 2 Mack November 11, 2009 om 4:44 nm

    You mentioned, “Arsenokoitai, is not found in any extant Greek writings until the second century when it apparently means “pederast”, a corrupter of boys, and the sixth century when it is used for husbands practicing anal intercourse with their wives.”

    I find it rather interesting that today a Christian preacher with a mega church says that anal intercourse with your wife is good and should be practiced, if both the husband and wife agree.

  3. 5 Louis November 12, 2009 om 1:11 vm

    OK, Marianne, if flintstone is living a life of sin according to the bible, who the fuck are you to condemn him. As a representitave of Christ on this earth, you should be showing him the love Jesus has for him regardless of whether you think his lifestyle is sinfull or not. For by the same hand you will be judged. There has only ever been one human being on this earth that was 100% perfect. Im sure you must have heard of him? Not Oprah, Jesus, the one you seem to know better than anyone else. Here’s what I think. According to the bible, because to God sin is sin, whether its a man lying with a man, or the remarkably fat man who looks like he could survive a biblical famine. Firstly he is not taking care of Gods temple, which is his body, secondly greed is a sin. So to you I say (assumming he did not eat your bible) before you try to take the lollipop out of a gay christians mouth, take the cottage pie from your own. I tend to be a very negative person. Stop using the bible to suit your lifestyle and pass judgement on your neighbors by condemming them which is in contravention to Jesus’ greatest commandment to love your neighbour and God.

    Would you go to a doctor when you have a clean bill of health?

    No! Thats absurd. We dont have to be perfect people to get to know GOD.

    So while we are all in the same boat, I beseach your fat friend to do the selfless thing and to swim alongside you.

  4. 6 Marianne November 12, 2009 om 1:03 nm

    I never mentioned that I did not love anyone. We can love the sinner, but cannot ignore the sin. Everyone sins, and needs God’s forgiveness.

    I was just making it clear what is sin and what isn’t, and homosexuality is a sin. Any kind of sexual perversion is wrong, whether it be heterosexual or homosexual.

    This definition of sin is not a condemnation of the individual. It is clarification of what is stated in the bible.

    A pastor should accept anyone who wants to repent and change their life. If a person does not want to change, why are they in church?

    People can make their own choices.

    True, people do not need to be perfect to approach god.

    In fact, God expects us to come to him, when we are in sin, and ask for forgiveness. As we ask, we repent of our ways, and ask for help, so that we do not repeat our sins.

    What I see here is an expectation of gays for others to accept their sin as NOT a sin, so they do not have to change. This is not their fault, since society has played a part in this, in removing moral guidelines.

    Society has removed the condemnation due to sin, along with the condemnation that SHOULD be removed for the individual.

    Everyone should be treated with compassion, and helped to understand God’s will. Ignoring the behavior issue is a cop out.

    But, for the sake of their heart and soul, if they are truly looking for a relationship with God, then they have to put away sin and repent, and ask for forgiveness.

    I hope the gays can see that they are just as welcome before God’s throne as any other person. They are not banned from salvation, just because they have a certain sin. One sin is like another to God. We all have to repent. Once we repent, and ask for forgiveness, then we are all equal, and can enter into God’s complete presence.

  5. 7 R-za November 14, 2009 om 12:44 nm

    It amazes me that there are still people in today’s world and age who are still so closed minded and intolerant. It saddens me.

    Marianne sounds as if she’s in one of the Shofar or HisPeople (or similar charismatic) sects, who believes everything that the not-so-wise (rather greedy) “pastor” indoctrinates them with.

    Being gay and/or acting gay has several different possible causes, or combination of causes (given some may be non medical and due to life circumstances and exposure – i.e. having a choice/being able to change).

    But actually being born gay, medically, scientifically, beyond control of the individual – has been PROVEN with so many scientific and medical studies. (including slicing and analysis of brain tissue and development of sexual regions in the brain – read: the brain is actually different from straight people)

    This nutshell mindset is as disturbing (and I deem dangerous) as “super holy religious people” (read: brainwashed sect members) who claim evolution doesn’t exist

    Hallo, wake up and smell your coffee burning: evolution is already a proven, scientific fact, it is reality – the same as the earth being round, yes this is true, the earth is NOT flat!
    (laughing at this statement? yet merely a couple of centuries ago, most churches wanted to burn anyone at the stake who differed from their “flat earth” view)

    Just as evolution and the earth being round are scientific facts, so is the fact that many people are born being gay. Same as in the animal kingdom, many animals are gay. Shock Horror. That’s life.

    One would’ve thought, that with the Caster Semenya saga, that many of these nutshell closed minded ‘holier than thou’ people would’ve started to face reality – and maybe even start to THINK for themselves, rather than being brainwashed or indoctrinated by their sect.

    Caster is a female, she has breasts and a vagina and most other female characteristics – but guess what? She also has internal testis – male genitalia. Yes she was born this way, she didn’t sin or pray to satan to become this way. She is a hermaphrodite. No she’s not the first or only one, there are many – and if you didn’t know this, you’ve just been too isolated and uninformed for most of your life.

    Same with Siamese twins, same with several babies being born with a tail, or extra finger, or any other missing/extra body parts or deformities.

    Yes this is shocking, yes this is sad, but it’s part of life, part of reality – it won’t go away by closing your eyes or refusing to listen to it.

    In no way am I comparing being gay to being deformed or having a disability – I’m merely making the comparison that many were born that way and that it is beyond the individual’s control. If you truly believe in God and if you believe that he is perfect and all knowing – then what the hell gives you the right to judge any of mentioned creations?

    Oh yes wait, because your ‘pastor’ told you it’s a sin/wrong – is this the same kind of people who told everyone that the world was flat and that evolution isn’t reality?

    Stop being a sheep, start thinking for yourself.
    Unless you prefer being a sheep and being exploited for your naivety for the rest of your life.

    We should all pray for Marianne and others like her who are in dangerous sects – may He forgive them and free their souls from the lethal clutches of their heretic pastors.

    And no, I am not gay. I’m 100% heterosexual and I’ve always been. To be honest, the thought of being intimate with another man grosses me out. But that is BECAUSE I’m heterosexual and it’s impossible for me to imagine myself being gay.

    But what if all of a sudden reality shifted and the “normal thing” was to be gay? Would I be able to confirm to society and all of a sudden deny my heterosexual orientation and force myself to be homosexual?

    No I wouldn’t be able to – possibly the same way as Marianne won’t be able to force herself to be homosexual.

    So why and how can anyone expect people who have been born (medically) homosexual to try to conform to heterosexual’s view of what is ‘normal’?

    Do not judge that which you do not understand – and more so don’t judge if you’re totally uninformed and misguided.

    If your pastor tells you anything different he’s nothing more than a heretic. Shocking statement? Well, that’s reality, that’s life. Open your eyes and wake up.

    (I must admit I haven’t read all of Flintstoned original post yet (bit long) – but after reading Marianne’s self-righteous, misguided, deluded statements – i just had to post a reply)

    If there is a God out there – may he forgive Marianne and save her soul.

    =R-Za

  6. 8 illuminerend November 16, 2009 om 7:04 vm

    Thank you so mucho for this!!!

    Gaynora.
    xxxxxxx


  1. 1 Daar’s ‘n Gay Pastoor in my kop. « FlintStoned Terugskakeling op November 24, 2009 om 10:31 nm

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