Friday, August 17, 2012

An Extremely Unconvincing Graphic Concerning Homosexuality

I've been wanting to comment on this graphic that has been making its rounds on FB. Others have already addressed it, but I thought I would just add my two cents as well.

1.  "Jesus Never Uttered a Word about Same Sex Relationships."

       I’ve dealt with this odd argument before. Jesus' teaching is directed to the Jewish community, which already believes it's a sin. His purpose is to point out where they were neglecting the Word of God, not where the Gentiles were neglecting it. He never addresses pedophilia either. That's because it was viewed as a Gentile evil. He was sent to the house of Israel first, so he takes on their sin, not the sins of others. His apostles will be sent to the Gentiles, and it is there that we see the condemnation of what God had condemned already in the Old Testament. But Jesus, in fact, did condemn homosexual activity, as I've argued before.
        Let me just summarize: (a) Jesus is YHWH God who said in Leviticus 18:18 that homosexuality is an abomination to Him (not just to the Israelite people), and hence, if a man has sex with another man, they are to be cut off from the people; (b) Jesus taught that God’s will is for one man and one woman to be married for life; (c) Jesus taught that sexual immorality, which is a term in Second Temple Judaism of the unproductive sexual acts described in the Holiness Code found in Leviticus 18, is evil; Jesus affirms that the Old Testament is the word of God, that not even the smallest jot or tittle of the moral law is to be set aside, and that the Scripture cannot be broken; (d) Jesus stated that the one who rejects the word of His apostles who come after Him, rejects Him as well, since their teachings are one and the same as His teachings, as they are given to the apostles by the Holy Spirit; and it is the Holy Spirit, who is also called the Spirit of/from Christ, who inspires all of the teaching of the New Testament; and finally, (e) the creation principle that is the foundation for all of biblical ethics/good is taught everywhere by Jesus throughout the Gospels and beyond. Hence, Jesus taught against homosexuality everywhere.

2.     "The OT says it's sinful to eat shellfish, to wear clothes woven with different fabrics, and to eat pork. Should we still live by OT laws?" 

          I’ve also discussed this before as well. The ritual code is attempting to teach something about the holiness and defilement of sins found in the moral code (i.e., such as the morals found within the Holiness Code in Leviticus 18). Hence, they function as pictures of what holiness looks like, i.e., staying away from things that are disgusting to the Israelites functions as day to day lessons that God’s people are to stay away from what is spiritually disgusting to God. Hence, shellfish is disgusting to the Israelites, not to God. Homosexuality and sexual conduct that is unproductive (i.e., it doesn’t work with God, but rather against Him, in His creation purposes to create human life) is not an abomination to the people, but to God. Hence, those who practice such are to be cut off from His people (i.e., rejected as false believers/members of God’s community).

Hence, the Holiness Code also tells us that adultery is wrong, sacrificing children is wrong, incest, and bestiality is wrong. Likewise, Leviticus tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Should we not live by these because God used living pictures to teach His people about their importance in having a relationship with a Holy God? It would seem absurd to suggest that we shouldn’t.

3.       "The original language of the NT acutally refers to prostitution, molestation or promiscuity, not committed same-sex relationships."

          Um, yeah, no, it doesn't. This is utter nonsense. It’s what happens when you have either people who don’t know Greek or who have basic Greek skills without the understanding of how language works. I harp on bad lexicography all the time, and this is a major example of bad lexicography.  The terms refer to both partners in the homosexual act, not to a specific relationship in which that act may occur. That’s because it is not a specific relationship (e.g., being promiscuous, prostitution, etc.) that is being condemned, but the unproductive sexual act that may exist in any relationship between two males.  To say anything other than this is to attempt an illegitimate totality transference, where the entire contextual referents of foreign contexts are imported into the New Testament context that is absent of them. This is like my saying the following: “The electrician is coming today. The man will be here at 2pm.” And then seeing that “man” in this context refers to the electrician, and then attempt to interpret all occurrences of the word “man” as referring to an electrician. Hence, when my wife says, “The man will be here to fix the toilet at 10am,” I end up concluding that the electrician is coming to fix my toilet, even though she’s referring to the plumber in this context. You can’t carry contextual referents over to foreign contexts, especially when they are being stripped of their relationships and described as the basic actions, regardless of relationship, instead.

4.    "Paul may have spoken against homosexuality but he also said that women should be silent and never assume authority over a man. Shall modern churches live by ALL of Paul's values?"

       Christians believe that the writings of Paul found in the NT are inspired by the Holy Spirit as the very Word of God Himself, so, no, the church should not live by ANY of Paul's values, because Paul was a man. It should live by the God's values spoken by the Spirit of Christ through Paul. That's why we also understand that God wants women to be women and not take roles that reduce their womanhood because of some modern chauvinistic idea pretending to be feminist that men's roles are better because they carry certain responsibilities. God is going to care for women as women, so He's not going to fall for our cultural propaganda that would be harmful to them. Again, that's why we need to follow the Scripture above our cultural conditioning to believe otherwise (because we end up doing more harm than good). So, yes, all values/principles taught to God's Church in Scripture should be followed today, because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, heaven and earth shall pass away but His Words shall not pass away, the same Word that Jesus spoke will judge everyone at the end of time, and the grass whithers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever. Hence, the one who rebels and teaches otherwise does not have the Spirit of God within him and is to be considered an unbeliever.

5.       "That was when the earth wasn't populated. There are now 6.79 billion people. Breeding clearly isn't an issue anymore."

          First off, we don't "breed." We co-create human life. Only people who disdain human life and God's good act of creating it speak of it this way.
      Second, if there are plenty of people now so that we no longer need to obey the ethics that are derived from the creation principle (i.e., the creation mandate in Gen 1:28), then someone should (a) tell God that He should stop creating humans through our sexual acts, since there are enough now; (b) ignore the teaching of the Bible that tells us to refrain from sexual immorality, since that term refers to sexual acts that don’t work with God to create human life; (c) ignore the teaching concerning taking care of the poor, since preserving human life was only needed when the world had a low population. Now that we have seven billion people on the planet, we can afford to let a bunch of people die of starvation; (d) we can go ahead and ignore the prohibitions against murder as well, since they too are based in the creation principle, and again, we have enough people now, so that a bunch who are killed won’t be a threat to our numbers. If you want to throw out the creation principle, you can’t just pick and choose what ethics that stem from it you’re going to keep. The creation principle, in all actuality, is at the foundation of all Christian morality. It defines what the Bible means by “good” and likewise gives reference to what it means by “evil.” So, um, no, I’m not going to throw it out because you think God is making a mistake by making more people (of course, this person likely has a naturalistic understanding of the sexual act, where God is not involved in making people, but such is not a biblical/Christian worldview).

6.      "The Bible also define marriage as one-man-many-women, one man many wives and concubines, a rapist and his victim, and conquering soldier & female prisoner of war."

          LOL. The Bible doesn’t define marriage clearly? Hugh? Your Jedi tricks don't work on me, Boy. People who actually know the Bible see all of the above in their ancient contexts, and as good in those contexts too btw (Q: What would happen in those contexts if women went unmarried/unprotected/unsupported? A: They would die. Is that a better option in dealing with the injustices of circumstance, rape and war, i.e., let a further injustice occur by letting the woman die? No thanks. I'll take biblical justice in those ancient contexts any day over yours).
       Here are two terms that I think would be helpful for everyone to learn: Descriptive vs. Prescriptive. There is one prescriptive teaching that defines marriage, and that is Jesus’ teaching that God originally made them male and female and the two are to become one flesh. This is what I call a “Priority Argument,” which is a common argument in Second Temple Judaism for displaying God’s ultimate purpose and intention with humanity. All other descriptions (note, “descriptions,” not “prescriptions”) are concessions between male and female(s) partnerships (i.e., although not ideal, they are all consistent with the creation mandate, since these male-female relationships can participate in procreation). Homosexuality, and any other unproductive relationship, is not accepted at any time, even as a temporary concession, as it cannot be used to produce human life).

7.      "Because it just disgusts me."
       Oh, I agree. Sexual morality should not be decided by how we feel about it. That's why so many who once condemned it now accept it as moral. We can be convinced in our depravity that evil things are good. Sexual immorality isn’t disgusting to us, so it's just a matter of making certain forms of it more normative in our culture. However, although it is not disgusting to us, it is disgusting to God. That’s the point. That’s why God had to actually condemn it and make it known through Scripture that it is evil because (like murder) it works against His creation of humanity and toward chaos that would see a humanless world instead. It is adversarial to God. If we knew that already, we’d have no need to pay attention to Scripture on the matter. We are distorted and our sexual mentality is warped, so we can’t go by what is disgusting or acceptable to us. I do think that when one begins to acquire the mind of Christ that it does become disgusting to us, but this occurs post-regeneration and is through a process of sanctification that seeks to align its own mind and heart with God’s. We may find certain sexual depravities as gross beforehand, but will likely find our own depravities acceptable until the mind of Christ is fully ours. Hence, in the mean time, we cannot rely upon ourselves. The only dishonest person is the one who knows his mind is sinful and incapable of lining up with God’s, but pretends otherwise.

Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. (Eph 5:6-14)


  1. Every point you made is like a breath of fresh air. But I'd really like to thank you for point #1. It is such a crazy argument to me. As you know I'm more familiar now with Jewish Law than I ever really cared to be or at least I've become more familiar with it due to a situation I wish I wasn't in. Anyway, the thing that gets me is that it seems like people forget 2 things when making this argument... 1. Jesus is Lord, the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He didn't come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. 2. Jesus was JEWISH. Therefore He didn't need to speak out specifically about homosexuality. His audience already knew it was sin. He spoke against sexual immorality. That would have automatically included it. I know you already hit this point, I'm just agreeing with you in this long comment. That argument drives me crazy.

    1. You got it, Emily. It is crazy. It's really said by people who don't know what they're talking about. If they would just read the Second Temple Jewish literature in which the Judaism of the Lord's day is immersed, they would see that homosexuality is condemned everywhere in it. In fact, what Paul argues in Romans 1 is what all pious Jews believed about the Gentiles concerning their idolatry. Their homosexuality and other forms of sexual immorality were the primary marks of the pagan to the Second Temple Jewish person. So why in the world would Jesus bother to rebuke them about it? That makes no sense. He rebukes them for their own moral failures. Hence, He never directly brings it up, because there is no reason to do so. That would be like someone bringing up that cheating on your taxes is a sin when you're dishonoring your father and your mother, but paying your taxes with integrity. But I really think it stems from the idea that the Gospels somehow contain everything Jesus would have us believe, which if that were the case, I'm not sure why He would send His apostles out to preach further truths and confirm those found in the Old Testament that He did not touch on in His earthly ministry (as far as we know).