Churches Stance on Homosexuality Part IIgreenspun.com : LUSENET : A.M.E. Today Discussion : One Thread
A Continued Look At Homosexuality and the Church
The dialogue continues on Alternative Lifestyles and the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
The consensus of thinking seems to be that the church warmly welcome those whom may be of an alternative lifestyle but the consensus also seems to say that a person who is practicing an alternative lifestyle, specifically living with an having sex with a partner, would not earn the gift of ordination. This is not to say they would be shunned or not allowed to worship, just night the right of ordination.
This dialogue has been intense and impassioned, but as I requested, it has been maintained I feel with a blessing of the Love of Jesus Christ. It has not sunken to invectives or stereotyping language.
Now we will attempt to take the dialogue further.
The reason the discussion occured was because of an article I saw originally online in the MiamiNewTimes. The article was inaccurate as it portrayed the AME Church and I took offense at the allegations it either made outright or by inference.
Thankfully, that exception prompted a healthy and hopefully helpful dialogue. But in the midst of all this, we must remember, that this was not an annonymous case but one that directly affected the life and ministry of someone, Rev. Tommie L. Watkins, the subject of the article.
The article did not even portray Rev. Watkins properly. It never mentioned or implied that Rev. Watkins was coming to the Aa.M.E. Church from the Baptist Church, where he already was ordained. Neither did it explain that he had come to the Annual Conference looking for reoligation in the A.M.E. Church.
Today, I received communication from Rev. Watkins. It explains his thoughts on his ministry and outlook. I will not try to interpret it but rather will share it with you so we may continue the dialogue and do so with a firm grasp on the facts. The article below this was offered by the Rev. Tommie Watkins for republication here.
Please continue this dialogue with the same sensitivity and eye towards Jesus with which you have proceeded thus far.
-- Anonymous, November 08, 2000
THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILLITATION
(A Study of the Inclusion and Affirmation of Gay. Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, PWAs, and their families of all of GodBs Children)
Ministry of Reconciliation Mission Statement
VISION: To form an inclusive, affirming, spiritually sound congregation of primarily African-American Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning persons, Persons Living With AIDS, PFLAG members, and heterosexual family members of all GodBs children.
GOAL: To identify and encourage primarily African-American GLBTQ persons and PLWAs to regularly attend a traditional spiritual worship experience. This service will take place a Greater Bethel AME Church.
Press release to be completed and local and national papers will be contacted. A flier will be distributed displayed for people to see.
Initially begin with Sunday evening service at 6:30pm. Then as time progresses and God blesses we will hold a Bible study at 6:00pm prior to the worship service which will begin at 7:00pm. The Bible study will focus on subjects that pertain specifically to reconciling GLBTQ person, PWAs, and other marginalized and stigmatized groups.
ALL of the Ministerial Staff will be on hand to assist in the service.
The worship service will be traditional held weekly initially at 6:30pm with the expectation that if circumstances dictate a change in the frequency and/or time of the service it will be done.
A survey will be inserted and distributed in the bulletin for that evening.
In the Spirit and conviction of II Corinthians 5:17-20 we go forward!
A THESIS OF THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION: a study of the spiritual, inclusive, affirming worship of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning persons and their families
The objective of this thesis is to introduce and articulate beliefs regarding homosexuality and spirituality.
Among African-American Christians there seems to be no other topic that provokes such heated debate as homosexuality. It is such a cultural taboo to many: the love that dare not speak its name. It seems to be so central to belief that to debate the subject is just shy of impossible. To many people the case is closed, Scripture is clear on this subject, and the Church remains condemning and stolid to so many people whom for them the jury is still out and their belief of homosexuality and the Bible remains inconclusive. Regardless to which of these groups you find yourself we believe it is now time for the Church to take a stand and extend ourselves to all of GodBs children. God put His Church in the world to change the world and share with all of his creation the Good News about Christ, particularly his suffering, death, and resurrection. Christ himself charges us to go out and compel ALL people to come to Him.
The Bible has been used for years to condemn and condone practices thought to be socially acceptable such as slavery and the subordination and subjugation of women. To many the Bible means what it says. For example, in some religious circles the Bible doesnBt permit women to preach or allow interracial dating. To others these conclusions are both ignorant and prejudicial and are clear cases that exemplify we have not understood what the Bible was or is saying. So this leaves us disagreeing on interpretation which for years has been the case in regards to the Bible. The Bible has been used to legitimize violence and the victimization against Women, Blacks, Native Americans and Homosexuals. The same scriptures used to condemn these groups other scripture seems to call for their liberty and equality in the context of the Christian Church and Christianity. For we are all Children of Christ and are no longer individuals but rather brothers and sisters in the family of Christ Jesus.
Christ commands the inclusion of all his children. Jesus declares BCome unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you restB (Matthew 11:28 KJV). So the issue of homosexuality really is not an issue at all. Homosexuality as we define it today and understand it does not appear in the Bible at all. It is not referred to in the Ten Commandments, no Old-Testament prophets teach on it, and Jesus himself says nothing on the subject. In fact, the word homosexuality was not invented until the late Nineteenth Century. It doesnBt appear in the original biblical manuscripts at all. No word for homosexuality appears in the Hebrew, Greek, Syrian, or Aramaic languages and never in the King James Version of the Bible. It doesnBt appear in Biblical transliterations until 1946 solely in the Revised Standard Version (Gomes, 158-161).
The issue here is to undo our cultural taboos and deep seeded prejudices regarding homosexuality. The perception that all homosexuals are sexual perverted, cross-gender acting, special rights activist, pedophiles has to be done away with. For this is just not true. The fact is that many people whether they acknowledge it or not are touch by homosexuals in some way and personally know someone who is homosexual. Many of our own mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, clergy, Congressmen, Presidents, deacons, stewards, trustees, church workers, cooks, teachers, bus drivers, construction workers, pilots, lawyers, doctors, and even military personnel are homosexual. To preach against the issue is to preach against and in turn polarize these persons. The Church should never polarize, stigmatize, or segregate any of GodBs children. We must act intellectually and acknowledge that homosexuality like heterosexuality is a small part of a whole God constructed individual. In our largely Anglo heterosexual society there exists a great prejudice against what is unknown and different. The reason homosexuality carries the stigma it does today in America is because of the uneducated masses refusing to acknowledge the vitality of different people and different cultures. For this study homosexuality for us is defined as the loving, caring, nurturing, monogamous relationship between persons of the same sex.
So what does the Bible say about homosexuality? NOTHING. So the question is what does the Bible say about same gender relationships or acts? Very little. There are only five passages out of 66 books of canonized scripture that refer to same-sex relationships or acts and have become the crux of debate for and against the term homosexuality:
1-The Creation of Adam and Eve (Genesis 1-2)
2-Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:1-9)
3-The Holiness Code (Leviticus 18-20, 20:13)
4- PaulBs teachings to the Romans (Romans 1:26-27)
5- PaulBs lists of sins (I Corinthians 6:9; I Timothy 1-10)
1-The Creation of Adam and Eve appears to many to condemn same gender relationships because BGod made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,B as the belief goes. While this is indeed fact, it in context cannot be an argument against same sex relationships. The creation story of Adam and Eve details the creation of humankind and answers the question where does humanity come from? In context is simply relates and details an omnipotent Creator God ordaining the existence of humankind. The story is silent about other social relationships such as friendships, but we do know that friendships exist and are not immoral or abnormal. As Rev. Dr. Marilyn Usher states in her Doctoral Thesis BThe Creation Story is not a lesson on sexual orientation. It is not to be a history of anthropology or of every social relationship. It is not a paradigm about marriage, but rather the establishment of human society. There is nothing in the Creation story to suggest that heterosexuality, in contrast to homosexuality, was the concern of the author. Heterosexuality may be a dominant form of sexuality, but it does not follow that it is the only form of appropriate sexuality.B (Usher, 55-6). To argue the fact God made Adam and Eve and not Adam and Steve based on the Bible is ignorantly accurate as to argue the first family, Adam and Eve, were immoral fornicators and all of humanity are bastards since the first family were never officially married.
The Command from God to Bbe fruitful and multiplyB doesnBt mean that sex is ordained solely for marriage for then comes in question those heterosexual persons who cannot be procreative (barren, infertile, abstinent, etc.) should they or should they not engage in sexual behavior. As Rev Usher puts it Bthe command does not relate only to biological reproduction, but also means making life a fruitful endeavor that benefits the world in which we live. For those who engage in non-procreative sex, it is the opportunity to nourish intimacy and extend the longevity of attachment in couplesB (Usher, 57).
In context this passage answers the question of the origin of life and the Divine CreatorBs role in that origination. It therefore cannot be used to condemn any other social practice or relationship it fails to mention (Gomes, 149).
2-Sodom and Gomorrah seems to be the one place in scripture where same-sex relationships and those that practice these unions blatantly experience GodBs disapproval and wrath in the form of fire from heaven that totally eradicates both cities. Once again in context this story doesnBt condemn homosexuality or homosexuals but rather the sins of inhospitality and self-centered pride. This is confirmed by Ezekiel when he records the words of God in the 16th chapter specifically in verses 49 and 50: BBehold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughtyBtherefore I took them away as I saw goodB (KJV). Jesus Christ himself confirms this truth in Matthew 10:14-15 and Luke 10:10-12 where he declares to his disciples BAnd whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Day of Judgment, than for that cityB (KJV).
It is important to note that the word Sodom from which we derive our term sodomy only bears its negative connotation because of the King James biblical translation of the word sodomite-the Latin term used throughout the Middle Ages to refer to same sex relations. The term sodomite has been used to refer to heterosexual intercourse, unorthodox heterosexual sex, sex with animals and male same gender relations. Term in the King James transliteration most always refers to male prostitution which the Cannaanites and Babylonians used in their practice of idolatry and not to same gender relations or relationships as we know and understand them today (Helminiak, 40-45). In recent ages we in this country have applied the term sodomy to same gender sex and however ignorant and erroneous this was it has become widely accepted today.
The important thing to note is that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah is never clearly articulated in Scripture. Also to note is the fact GodBs judgment of destruction of the cities was determined prior to the recorded incident at LotBs door and no where else in the entire scripture is the quick and awful destruction of these cities linked to same gender sex or same gender relationships. Even if one believes the episode at LotBs door is deplorable and an evil condemnation of same sex rape one cannot invalidate all who are homosexual nor more than one can condemn heterosexuals because of the sins of adultery or pedophilia-which statistics show that 92% of pedophiles are heterosexual).
In context the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was that of being inhospitable to strangers, a practice that was crucial during that time since there was not the existence of hotels, motels, etc. to accommodate travelers. GodBs people were to be those that were accepting of all strangers and inclusive of humankind not self-focused. For these sins of arrogance and inhospitality GodBs indignation and judgment came upon these two cities and as far as the scripture articulates only these reasons.3-Holiness Code particularly the Law of Leviticus is one of the most quoted scriptures against same gender relationships. Leviticus 18:22 clearly states BThou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abominationB (KJV). Leviticus 20:13 ordains the penalty for such egregious behavior to be death.
Again it seems the Bible clearly condemns same gender sex and same gender relationships. A more intrinsic contextual analysis at this text articulates a different meaning. On must know the term BholyB simply means to be separate and peculiar in word and deed to distinguish GodBs chosen from the rest of the world. As I Peter 1:16 records GodBs command BBe ye holy; for I am holyB (KJV). The Holiness Code that is found in Leviticus 18-20 chapters are all commands to make Israel different and separate from other heathen cultures particularly the Cannaanites that worshipped idol gods. This code was to be GodBs standard of moral behavior for the Jews. It articulates the Kosher laws of pork and shellfish. It is imperative that we understand the Holiness Code was given for a particular time, for a particular setting, and for a very specific purpose. The main function of the code was to build Israel as a nation and give them and identity. Thus any practices that were potentially contradictory to this purpose and non-procreative were condemned. (Gomes, 158-161).
Now in context the term abomination does not mean hateful or deplorable, as we know it today. In the original Hebrew, toevah, means unclean or impure. The same word was used to reference those animals Israel werenBt supposed to eat. In context same gender sex was Bgross,B Bnasty,B and offensive to the status quo especially because the Cannaanites practiced it. It was ritually wrong because the practice didnBt build Israel as a nation. Thus culturally it was offensive. (Helminiak, 60).
It is important to not that if the practice of same gender sex was sinful in and of itself then the Hebrew word zimah which means intrinsically evil, would have been used to refer to the practice. This is confirmed by the fact the Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septguaint, uses the Greek term bdelygma, for toevah instead of anomia which in the Greek means a violation of the law or sinful. So scripture confirms that IsraelBs admonishment against same gender sex as they knew it was because the non-Jews practiced it and therefore it was unclean. One was to keep clear that even if the Holiness Code condemned same gender sex, under the New Covenant in the New Testament we as Christians are not bound by this code just as we as Christians do not observe the dietary or sexual restrictions of the Jewish Laws. One must remember this fact when opponents against same gender sex quote from and use this passage as a crux for their ignorance and bigotry.
4-PaulBs teachings are perhaps the most controversial New Testament arguments against same gender sex and relationships. In the first chapter of Romans the Apostle Paul seems to command the Romans against all the sins that have caused humankind to fall away from God. However, a closer examination of the text in its original verbiage yields a different perspective. It is imperative to note that at this time there still existed no word for homosexual in the Greek. Furthermore the same gender sex that Paul knew or would have known was male prostitution, also known as sodomy, and pedastry not the monogamous, wholesome, loving, devoted relationships between people of the same gender as we know today.
Paul talks extensively about natural (physiken in the Greek) and unnatural (para physin). Term refers to acts considered natural in term of societal normalcy. For many what was and is correct is what is assumed normal by society. For example the Bible records in Romans 11:24 that acted unnatural (para physin) when he grafted Jews and Gentiles together in Christ. This was not normal and many Jews believed it was contrary to the Law, but God perpetuated His will regardless. It is important to note that though the word para physin is used to describe this act of God it doesnBt carry any negative immoral connotations.
What Paul is referring to specifically in Romans 1:24-31 is Gentile idolatry and converted ChristianBs role in this deplorable practice. He in essence is arguing that because of this idolatry that the entire Gentile nation was unclean as cleanliness related to Jewish law and practice. He begins in verse 21 stating how the Romans had become self-absorbed, self-centered, and self- reliant. Thus they had become worshipers of themselves and not God and put carnal images above spiritual ones and so received GodBs indignation. The reference to forsaking natural relationships and exchanging them for unnatural refers specifically to any acts done heterosexually or homosexually which were different from the procreative missionary position Paul believed was BnaturalB. It meant sex during menstruation, oral sex, anal sex, or sex with an uncircumcised man, all of which are unnatural in the context Paul was using. What Paul was in essence saying was humankind had become so self-reliant as to answer all of the questions God had purposed for them including salvation and thus had no need of God. The reference to receiving the due penalty for their perversion is not necessarily a negative action as in the English. In the Greek it simply states they receive recompense, reward, or payment for these actions of uncleanliness. These actions are unclean because the Gentiles do it and so receive the reward that their entire nation is unclean. (Helminiak, 92-96).
So once again the Bible is not condemning of same gender sex and is silent on the monogamous, loving, responsible relationship between same gender persons.
5-PaulBs list of sins are also a point of controversy since he seems to state that people who are practice same gender sex have no inheritance in the Kingdom of Heaven along with liars, adulterers, fornicators, drunkards, thieves, slanderers, and swindlers. The Greek verb used by Paul to refer to persons who practice same gender sex is malakoi that literally means soft but in this context refers to boy prostitutes. Until the reformation of the 16th Century it was a wide held belief that the same term referred to masturbation. As prejudices changed so did the translation of this term. Now in Catholicism the term refers to those actively involved in same gender sex. In 1970 the Catholic Catechism articulated that to be attracted to persons of the same sex is not sinful, but to act on these feelings is sinful. Now it is a widely held belief that arsenokoites refers to any perversion or propensity taken to be abnormal and diseased. So these terms refer to abusive forms of male- male as well as male-female sex acts. But the original term did not refer to monogamous, loving same gender relationships. As Rev. Dr. Marilyn Usher states B African American clergy must develop a paradigm for biblical revelation that does not utilize the Bible as an archetype, but as a prototype. A hermeneutical understanding of Scripture as prototype demands a critical exploration of historical-social-theological dynamics operative in the interpretation of Scripture. In and through structural transformation, the Bible and the biblical community will be able to respond to new social needs and theological insightsB (Usher, 72).
What we must realize and conclude is that it is not all about sex between same sex individuals. It is ignorant and erroneous to think that sex is only for procreation. Because with that belief one must also conclude that every act of sexual intercourse must be proactive which certainly is not the case. God gave sex for procreation yes but primarily for two individuals to totally express their love and affection for and to each other in a manner that is totally exclusive of any other individuals and and outside of oneself. The key to an understanding of this topic is to acknowledge that it centers on GodBs love. Christ loves us because of who we are not because of what we do. It is for that reason and His example of self-sacrifice that we are to love one another as Christ loved us. By this all men shall know we are his disciples if we love one another (John 13:34). If Christ looked past our faults to see our needs shall we do no less?
We are convinced that we should leave the judging to Jesus Christ and confer the loving of humankind to us and this service is our step in that direction. For those that are still at odds with the Church and those that are involved in same gender relationships we leave the following poem by Edwin Markham:
He drew a circle that shut me out-
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in.
GodBs love (agape-unconditional) compels us to take all of His children in. If we as Christians do take up this awesome task then who should?
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR ADDITIONAL COPIES PLEASE CONTACT:
Rev. Tommie L. Watkins, Jr.
245 NW 8th Street
Miami, FL 33136
Gomes, Peter J. The Good Book. Boston: Harvard Divinity Press, 1996.
Helminiak, Daniel A. What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality. San Francisco: Alamo Square Press, 1995.
Usher, Marilyn, Rev. Dr. Reconciliation of Texts and the Transformation of Human Minds on the Issues of Sexuality and Religion for African American Clergy. 1998.
Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things will come the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Therefore, donBt participate with them (Epes 5:6-7).
-- Anonymous, November 11, 2000
With all that you have written it appears that you agree that homosexuality should be permitted and recognized. That people who participate in homosexual behavior should not be ostriszed and there behavior is not to be perceived as an aberation. Am I correct?
-- Anonymous, November 11, 2000
With all that you have written it appears that you agree that homosexuality should be permitted and recognized as acceptable behavior. That people who participate in homosexual behavior should not be ostrasized and there behavior is not to be perceived as an aberation.
In esscence the church approves of such behavior, since it was never mentioned in the bible. Am I correct?
-- Anonymous, November 11, 2000
We should not shun anyone because we have all sinned and none of us is perfect in the eyes of God. However I do not believe that means we accept the actions of the sinner. Love the sinner and hate the sin. If we accept the continued sin then we are wrong
-- Anonymous, November 12, 2000
God called Israel to live holy: "You be holy because I am holy. One of Peter's epistles added that command to the church. Individuals, and nations are also called to be holy. I fear that this country which I had hoped to leave to my children and my children's chindren will not long endure with the nation laws we have passed regarding abortion and the practice of homosexuality.
-- Anonymous, November 13, 2000
Michael, I strongly agree with you, however, I have specifically directed my question to the initiator of the post since I am only beginning to read and learn the word of God. The information that he has supplied appears to be a contridiction to all that I have learned prior to studing the bible and at present.
I am from the school of thought that homosexuality is a choice as opposed to a biological aberation. If in fact, homosexuality is not a choice then I can understand and accept the poster's statement. If in fact, it is to the contrary, and he is speaking as a man of the cloth then all that so many of us has been taught is false. For this reason, I am asking that he verify my assesment of his statement.
I want to make it clear that I am not against homosexuals, but I do disapprove of what I perceive as their choice in lifestyle.
If I am confused as an adult who is attempting to learn the word of God, after this statement by the minister, I am sure that many much younger than myself, attempting to find the right way are also confused, simply because a man who follows the word of God has made the above statement.
-- Anonymous, November 13, 2000
God is still the God over everything. That would include biology. If all men and women were to take up homosexuality that would kill off the entire generation of people (if you discount the fact of artificial insemenation-a practice new to mankind as a whole). Men and women have X and Y chromosomes, two men or two women together cannot reproduce life. We all have or have had sins that seem impossible for us to overcome, but that doesn't mean that we should mutate scripture to mask our own fleshly weaknesses, whatever they may be. Rev. Watkins you can overcome your lifestyle if you let Jesus in. I'll pray for you and remember that "with God all things are possible".
-- Anonymous, November 14, 2000
I believe that too much emphasis has been placed on homosexuality and not enough to developing our God Consciousness. Homosexuality is a lifestyle that is anti-nature; no other animal on the planet practices same sex relationships. This does not mean that we do not embrace homosexual individuals, we must love all Divine creations. However, it does not mean that we glorify their behavior either. It is egotistical for homosexuals to force acceptance of their lifestyle on others. What if a prostitute decided to preach? Would we so readily accept their chosen lifestyle? I donBt think so. We probably would accept her/him in the congregation, provide support, and pray that s/he become balanced and discovers their way back to God.
-- Anonymous, November 14, 2000
REJOINDER TO REV. WATKINS’ THESIS ON HOMOSEXUALITY By: Bodé Adeboyejo
“Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.” (Colossians 1:8, NKJV)
“The constant or determined repetition of an error does not make it true. Errors are errors regardless of their prevalence or the persistence of those who advance them.” -- Michael Bauman (Dispelling False Notions of the First Amendment)
“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.” (2 Timothy 4: 2-4, NKJV)
Rev. Tommy Watkins, I read your thesis in support of homosexuality and what the Bible ‘truly’ says on the subject. According to your thesis based on homosexuality and spirituality, homosexuality or same sex relationship is not a sin, and not mentioned in the Bible, as most Christians would want people to believe. You wrote and I quote:
“The issue of homosexuality is not an issue at all. Homosexuality as we define it today and understand it does not appear in the Bible at all.”
But this is not true, as the word of God is very clear and specific about same gender sex. As I will prove in this rejoinder.
Reading your article, I must say that I went through different shades of emotion. From disgust to outrage, to disbelief to bewilderment and then into a den of sympathy. I was disgusted and outraged at your misinterpretation and misrepresentation of the Holy Scriptures. I was in disbelief and bewilderment at some of your arguments. For instance, where you said Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for inhospitability and pride and not sexual immoralities. And finally, to sympathy at how you may been blinded by lust. Seeing how much you manipulated scriptures to prove your case, so much so that you believe your own lies. Bringing to mind these two scriptures respectively, Matthew 6:22-23 and Romans 1:28. “The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness.” (NKJV). “And even as they did not retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting.” (NKJV)
What I have decided to do in this rejoinder is take each of the same points you raised to justify how the Bible does not condemn homosexuality or same sex relationship, to borrow your phrase. Since according to you, they do not mean the same thing. I decided to do this so as not to raise any new issues necessarily, other than the ones you raised so as not to complicate matters. Besides, your points seem to pretty much cover all the arguments Christians use against homosexuality anyway. However, it is imperative that I point you to some other scriptures other than the ones you used. Matter of fact that’s all I have. Scriptures.
I noticed that throughout your article, you referenced some pro homosexual writers and scholars. May I have you know that I am not a scholar, and so I write not with the excellence of speech or of the wisdom of man. But I come to you in the name of Jesus Christ the Righteous, to whom belong all glory, dominion and power, forever and ever. Amen. “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” (1 Corinthians 2:2, NKJV)
Having said that, let’s examine your arguments.
In your article you examined the following points (passages) as arguments used by the Church against homosexuality or same sex relationships, which according to you do not mean what the Church says they mean:
1. The Creation of Adam and Eve (Genesis 1-2)
2. Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:1-9)
3. The Holiness Code (Leviticus 18-20, 20:13)
4. Paul’s teaching to the Romans (Romans 1:26-27)
5. Paul’s list of sins (1Corinthians 6:9; Timothy 1:10)
Before I examine these points, I’d like to point you to an argument you raised about why the Church ought not to preach against homosexuality, because according to you, many people from all walks of life are homosexuals. To which you wrote:
“To preach against the issue is to preach against and in turn polarize these persons.”
Are you saying that simply because of the fear of polarizing people, sin should not be preached against and called what it is? Or should we because of the fear of polarizing heterosexuals, not preach against fornication, adultery, incest, bestiality, etc?
As Christians, we ought not to be concerned about polarizing. People are polarized anyway. Those on the Lord’s side and those on the devil’s side. Rather, we ought to be concerned about preaching God’s word uncompromisingly, letting the chips fall where they may. Even Jesus was not concerned about polarization. “Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three.” (Luke 12:51-52, NKJV). Sir, rather than preaching what the people want to hear you should preach the truth. Only the truth sets people free! “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” (Proverbs 27:6., NKJV).
Still trying to prove that homosexuality is not in the Bible, you wrote,
“Homosexuality as we define it today and understand it does not appear in the Bible at all…and Jesus himself says nothing on the subject.”
True. Neither did He say anything about masturbation. Does that make masturbation right? Certainly not! Rather, I would suggest that Jesus might have been silent on homosexuality, because he thought it was an aberration and not worth mentioning. After all, it wasn’t God’s intention for man, in the first place.
Besides, there’s no way Jesus could have touched on every subject. If He did and the Bible recorded it, what we would have would be as large as an Encyclopedia and not a Bible! This is why Apostle Paul when he lists sins, uses phrases like “and such like these” or “and if there is any other thing contrary to sound doctrine,” to include all other sins too numerous to mention.
However, should you insist on the argument that homosexuality is normal because Jesus didn’t teach against it, then I would suggest that neither did he teach on homosexual marriages. Which means there’s no scriptural basis for homosexual marriages. Or if there was one, don’t you think that Jesus would have mentioned it, when He taught on divorce in Mark 10? He would have said, “If any man divorces his male wife or female husband, he/she should give him/her a certificate of divorce.” Or better yet, if it was all right for a man to marry another man or a woman to marry another woman, don’t you think that at least there should be one reference of such a ‘union’ in the Bible?
Besides, if homosexual marriages were all right, they would negate Paul’s teaching in Ephesians 5:22-23, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is (the) head of the wife, as also Christ is (the) head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body.” (NKJV) Which brings me to ask, “In a homosexual marriage (male to male or woman to woman) who is the head of the household, and who is submissive to whom?”
Now to the issues you raised:
1. The creation of Adam and Eve (Genesis 1-2) To support your argument that the creation story does not ratify heterosexuality or any other sexual orientation at that, you quoted one Rev. Dr. Marilyn Usher’s doctoral thesis. I quote:
“The Creation story is not a lesson on sexual orientation. It is not to be a history of anthropology or of every social relationship. It is not a paradigm about marriage, but rather the establishment of human society. There’s nothing in the Creation story to suggest that heterosexuality, in contrast to homosexuality, was the concern of the author. Heterosexuality may be the dominant form of sexuality, but it does not follow that it is the only form of appropriate sexuality.”
Without a doubt, this is reading too much into the scriptures or trying to second-guess God, as to what He meant or didn’t mean. “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him…?” (1 Corinthians 2:16, NKJV).
If truly “the creation story is not a lesson on sexual orientation” don’t you think that the Lord would at least have made mention of the other kinds of sexual orientations that exist? Or isn’t it enough that when He established the institution of marriage that He said, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24, NKJV) Notice He said “joined to his wife,” not joined to another man, or another woman joined to another woman. God established the foundation and boundary for marriage, when He said that man be joined with his wife. Any other type of marriage is a perversion from the bottomless pits of hell! Homosexuality or same sex relationship is not and cannot be of God.
Also, God only ordained sex within the confines of marriage. Hebrews 13:4 says, “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” (NKJV). Only the marriage bed is undefiled. Any other bed is defiled. Which is why heterosexuality outside marriage is as sinful as homosexuality, bestiality, sodomy, etc. Because these are all sexual acts, outside marriage as God defined it, that is, between a husband and a wife. Not between a man and another man, or a woman and another woman.
2. Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:1-9) Admittedly, you wrote concerning Sodom and Gomorrah:
“Sodom and Gomorrah seems to be the one place in scripture where same sex relationships and those that practice these unions blatantly experience God’s disapproval and wrath in the form of fire from heaven that totally eradicates both cities. “
But in order to justify and push homosexuality, this is how you interpreted the story, again I quote:
“…In context this story doesn’t condemn homosexuality or homosexuals but rather the sins of inhospitability and self-centered pride.”
Now, your most honorable sir, since when did God start destroying cities or nations because of inhospitability and pride? If that were the case, this country, as we know it, would have been obliterated from the face of the earth. Matter of fact, the whole world would have been wiped out. Because every city, every nation is guilty of the sin of inhospitability and pride.
You quoted Ezekiel 16:49-50 to prove that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed for inhospitability and pride. But in your quotation you deliberately left out the phrase, “and committed abominations” (which would have included sexual perversions) as one the reasons they were destroyed. Here is how you quoted Ezekiel 16:49-50:
“Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, therefore I took them away as I saw good” (KJV)
Here is the full and correct quotation of Ezekiel 16:49-50 from the same King James Version of the Bible you referenced:
Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty, and committed abomination before me: therefore I took them away as I saw good.
Perhaps, you say “Yeah, the verse said ‘committed abomination’ and not homosexuality or same gender sex.” Or perhaps you need a definition of ‘abomination’. Well, Leviticus 18:22 clearly explains it: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.”
No sir, Sodom and Gomorrah were not destroyed for inhospitability and pride. They were destroyed for their sexual immoralities, chief of which was homosexuality, sodomy, incest, etc. Genesis 13: 13 and Jude 7, corroborated this. Let’s not read too much meaning into God’s word. Let’s not add to or subtract from the Word of God, so that the consequences promised those who do such things in Revelation 22:18-19, do not befall us.
3. The Holiness Code (Leviticus 18 – 20, 20:13) Concerning the Holiness Code, particularly Leviticus 18:22, referenced above, you wrote, and again I quote,
“The Holiness Code that is found in Leviticus 18-20 chapters are all commands to make Israel different and separate from other heathen cultures particularly the Canaanites that worshipped idol gods. This code was to be God’s standard of moral behavior for the Jews.”
Really? If the Holiness Code was “to be God’s standard of moral behavior for the Jews” only, one can then suffice to say that fornication, and adultery, incest, sodomy and bestiality, which this same Code condemns and warns against was only for the Jews, and not for us Christians!
Also, may I have you know that the Jews, like the sacrificing of animals for the atonement of sins, were a shadow of the real thing to come pre-Christ. Just as animal sacrifice symbolized Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, so did the Jews symbolize the Body of Christ, post-Christ. Because just as they were God’s chosen people, separated and set-aside for God, so is the Body of Believers, chosen, separated and sanctified for God. Therefore, if God said that same gender sex was evil among God’s chosen people, be it Levites, Jews or the Body of Christ, which we are, don’t you think that it would be evil too for us today? God does not stutter! Neither does He double- speak like man does. If He meant it then, He means it now. He never changes. He told prophet Malachi, “For I am the Lord, I do not change…” (Malachi 3:6, NKJV)
You went on to write,
“One was to keep clear that even if the Holiness Code condemned same gender sex, under the New Covenant in the New Testament we as Christians are not bound by this code…”
How ridiculous! This is a misinterpretation of the scriptures. Yes, indeed, we are no longer under the Law but under Grace. That doesn’t mean that we ignore or make void the law. “Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.” (Romans 3:31, NKJV)
4. Paul’s Teachings to the Romans (Romans 1:26:27) On Paul’s teachings to the Roman in Romans 1:26-27, you wrote,
“The Apostle Paul seems to command the Romans against all the sins that have caused humankind to fall away from God. However, a closer examination of the text in its original verbiage yields a different perspective. Further more, the same gender sex that Paul knew or would have known was male prostitution, also known as sodomy, and pederasty not the monogamous, wholesome, loving, devoted relationships between people of the same gender as we know today.”
I think it’s rather arrogant and presumptuous of you to try to x-ray Paul’s mind. Trying to preempt him. Trying to put words in his mouth. Or even worse trying to read his mind. Or how would you know what type of same gender sex he knew or would have known, when you were not there or in his head? Are you so bent on justifying and pushing the homosexual agenda that you now read minds, and can tell what people mean and don’t mean?
Trying to explain the meaning or the context in which the words “natural” and “unnatural” were used in the passage, you wrote,
“The reference to forsaking natural relationships and exchanging them for unnatural refers specifically to any acts done heterosexually or homosexually which were different from the procreative missionary position Paul believed was natural. It meant sex during menstruation, oral sex, anal sex, or sex with an uncircumcised man, all of which are unnatural in the context Paul was using.”
You were right on target that “unnatural” refers to acts like sex during menstruation, oral sex, anal sex, etc. Now my question to you is “Seeing that oral sex and anal sex are forbidden, which other ways do or can homosexuals have sex? Or may be I’m just ignorant. However, may I say that seeing that oral and anal sex is considered unnatural, in the Bible, isn’t that enough indication that homosexuality is unnatural and forbidden?
I know you, like other homosexual advocates say that homosexuality is a state of being and not about sex. Just as heterosexuality is a state of being. True. Heterosexuality is not about sex. But sex is honorable among married heterosexuals. Now, seeing that oral and anal sex are forbidden in the Bible, what do homosexuals in “monogamous, loving relationships” or marriages do, if homosexuality is not about sex but a state of being?
5. Paul’s list of sins (1 Corinthians 6:9; 1 Timothy 1:10) Regarding the two scripture references above (1 Corinthians 6:9, and 1 Timothy 1:10), where Paul listed homosexuality along side fornication, adultery, etc, you tried to explain how the words Paul used (malakoi), meant boy prostitutes and (arsenokoites) referred to any perversion either in male-male or male-female sex acts, but not homosexuality. Even though that argument is too far-fetched to say the least. I am not going to dwell much on it. What I’d like to bring to your attention is a statement toward the end of your article. You wrote,
“What we must realize and conclude is that it is not all about sex between same sex individuals. It is ignorant and erroneous to think that sex is only for procreation…God gave sex for procreation yes, but primarily for two individuals to totally express their love and affection for and to each other in a manner that is totally exclusive of any other individuals and outside of oneself.”
As good as that may sound to you, I don’t believe that you are convinced yourself. However, should you still be deluded to think that this vile affection is proper, maybe this graphic description of a homosexual sex act, from an editorial in the Harvard’s Peninsula Journal, will help jolt you back to reality:
“How can (homosexual) people be happy when they’re persistently deceiving themselves, believing that it is just as natural for sperm to swim into feces as it is to swim into eggs?” (emphasis mine).
Rev. Watkins, as you can see, human sperms are not meant to swim in feces, neither are they meant for the mouth! These are all unnatural uses of body parts.
As much as you may want to believe your own lies, and impose them on others I believe that deep down on the inside of you, in the innermost crevice of your heart, you know that homosexuality is unnatural and sinful. And you are not at peace with yourself. That you have to go to such great extent to justify it proves that. A married man does not have to justify why he makes love to his wife. Because that’s what married folks do.
My prayer for you (and those who share your belief or may have been persuaded by your misleading thesis or bound by homosexuality) is that you open the innermost part of your heart and let the Son shine in! Only He can heal and deliver you. You may think that this is not possible, considering the fact that you may have been born this way. Remember that with God, nothing shall be impossible (Luke 1:37).
Steps To Deliverance From Homosexuality · Genuine faith in and acceptance of Jesus Christ · Abstinence · Acknowledging that homosexuality is unnatural and against God’s Word – where there’s no acknowledgment, there can be no deliverance · Pray to God for total deliverance from homosexuality.
May God’s grace be multiplied to you. Amen.
-- Anonymous, November 28, 2000
god is really smart and i believe that god gave man a male sexual organ and a distinctly differently sexual organ to a man's.this is to stimulate pleasure(i'm onlyfourteen and i cannot express myself fully.)
-- Anonymous, October 28, 2002
I really wish to comment on Tasha's response without dealing with the merits or demerits of either position on homosexuality. The comments of the is young person signifies that perhaps we need to set some areas of this discussion to adult responders only. At 14 Brother or Sister Tasha needs more information on sexuality and this conversation thread is difficult to comprehend at times for those of us with seminary degrees.
-- Anonymous, October 29, 2002