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August 13, 2013

Comments

"Samantha - the Bible mentions that blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is an unforgivable sin only three times, by your numeric scale is that still a sin? What's the cut-off number where above it an activity becomes a sin and any activity that's mentioned less becomes a virtue?"

We cannot determine whether or not an action is a sin simply by counting the references to that action.

Samantha, you say that you once thought being gay was a sin, but the Bible never makes this claim. The Bible focuses on sin not as a state of attration, but as an action. This may seem like pedantry, but it's important to make this distinction. Often times attraction cannot be controlled, while action can.

Furthermore, ewe cannot just look at how often a sin is mentioned, but why it is mentioned. Homosexuality is mentioned six times, but it is never mentioned in a positive light. Certainly a few negative mentions don't make it a positive or even a neutral action.

Finally, there are somethings I think you would agree are sins, such as negligent homicide, manslaughter, or sexually molesting children that are mentioned fewer than six times or not all in either testament. Would you agree with me that these are still sins or not?

Also, current issues like abortion, cyber-crime or embryonic stem-cell research have 0 entries in a Scripture search. Does that mean we should change our paradigm regarding these as well?

Samantha, if you want to have a faith that is consistent with the Biblical worldview, you should acknowledge that the ONLY foundation for marriage and parenthood that is accepted by God is the union of man and woman. Anything that deviates from that is not the way God wants us to live - even if He doesn't explicitly say it's wrong.

Various responses . . .

1. How many times does God have to say something before I should obey?

2. How many times does the Bible mention bestiality?

3. How many times does the Bible say not to beat up gays? (I think that is wrong, of course, but am taking her argument to its logical conclusions)

4. The Bible doesn't just clearly say homosexual behavior is wrong -- including the "exhibit A" example of rebellion in Romans 1 -- there are countless passages showing God's ideal.

The Bible couldn't be more clear. Bible-believing Christians and even two out of the three types of pro-gay people* (religious or not) can see these truths:

100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.

100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.

100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).

0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions of any kind.

* The three general types of pro-gay theology people: 1. "The Bible says homosexuality is wrong but it isn't the word of God" (obviously non-Christians) 2. "The Bible says it is wrong but God changed his mind and is only telling theological Liberals" (only about 10 things wrong with that) 3. "The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it" (Uh, no, not really.)

Part of what was going on with Samatha was realizing the ways that LGBT people have been mistreated by Christians. The same thing is going on with countless Christians who have gay friends.

A lot of Christians have this idea that we are doing nothing wrong; all we are doing is enforcing biblical morality. As a Christian guy who is attracted to both sexes but agrees with the traditional understanding of the Bible with regards to sexual ethics, I have to disagree. People say a lot of ignorant and hurtful things, and often treat homosexuality differently than more common sins like pornography use. They often don't acknowledge and wrestle with the real pastoral issues that LGBT people face. They also talk a lot about loving the sinner, but often don't do enough to put things into practice.

A critical part of our response is not simply to have good arguments, but to examine ourselves and repent of our own sins towards LGBT people, and to find more tangible ways to show care for LGBT people. If we don't do that, any argument at all will fall on deaf ears.

Crucial in this argument is this particular line from the article:

>> becoming more tolerant of the homosexual lifestyle.

Yes, but on what terms? By ignoring clear statements of Scripture? By total submission to the gay lifestyle as legitimate?

Consider: What is the goal of tolerance? Acceptance of homosexuality as valid? That would be directly declaring God to be wrong in principle (or at least mistaken in our interpretation). Polite and gentle admonition? This would be difficult, if mere disagreement is point-blank reduced to hatred To warn a person is one thing. To beat him/her into agreement is on the extreme. that's wrong.

Note the progression of thought in the exposition of Scriptures. The first one, the Levitical citation declares it an abomination, worthy of death (yet no recorded executions in the OT). It was enough to note that homosexuality was not a practiced art in orthodox Jewish practice (please, the David-Jonathan friendship is often protrayed as the life of two gay men. Nothing more forced than this interpretation). The last pair, the Pauline warnings in 1 Cor. 6: 9 and 1 Tim. 1: 10, simply state that heaven cannot be open to thse who oppose God's commandments. It can be reduced to an appeal to "pkease, for your soul's sake, don't consider such a life as this!" One who warns another to keep his/her best advantages can be quickly misunderstood, but it can't be seemed hateful. If Paul wishes you to live in all integrity before God, only a pre-established volition would call such vicious and spiteful.

Doug Evans started with a good point. Numbers don't matter. We can't establish an "Eight is Enough" maxim to God's word. I recall God told Adam once about the tree in the middle of the garden. It boils down to respecting God above humanity. Asking God to say it one more time to make sure we're clear on the issue is a frank admission that we haven't been listening all that time.

So, the Bible mentions homosexuality only 6 times? But, oh, how direct, clear, and powerful those mentions are! In fact, we should really only need one mention to convince us of what's God's will is in this matter: 1 Cor. 6:9.

Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Are we really so obtuse that we need God to tell us something more than 6 times in order for it to be binding?

More troubling is that this is occurring at a "seminary." Preposterous!

Further, the idea that homosexuals have a sordid history of suffering and persecution within the church is false. It's not stated explicitly, but I would imagine that the original author would say that the church proclaiming the gospel and urging homosexuals to repent and leave their life of sin is hate speech. Couldn't be further from the truth and is nothing more than a twisting of the design of the gospel.

That's actually love speech, especially in light of such clear Biblical evidence. It's simply proclaiming the truth in love to someone who is destined for an eternity in hell unless the Lord works in their life and causes them to repent and leads them to righteousness. Hate speech happens when we condone such behaviour and look the other way in order to avoid hurting feelings, all the while the person persists in their sin on the way to eternity.

Hi Samantha,

Thank you so much for your testimony. Although I must say that I was a little taken aback to see that you have become "more tolerant of the homosexual lifestyle". Let me explain to you why that is.

Although I am against homosexuality, I am tolerant towards homosexuals. There is a big difference between those two: the one is specifically the behavior of homosexuals, the other specifically involves the person. People cannot help who they are, but people sure can control the way they behave. It is good to keep ose two things seperate frome eachother since people may have the tendancy to merge their behavior with their identity. And while we are to be tolerant towards homosexuals, we are to be intolerant towards the behavior or the homosexual lifestyle. I will explain below what exactly it is I mean with tolerant and intolerant.

That you went to an ethics class where they teach you ethics that are not based on Biblical ethics, is to be expected. But whose ethics are they talking about? Let us, as God's children, not forget where we get our ethics from: they come from our Creator. And He has told us that homosexuality is a sin. Don't forget that it is God that determines what sin is, not man. What you also have to keep in mind is that you should pay attention on what you probably haven't been told rather than what you have been told.

You have said that shocked to learn that the Bible only mentions homosexuality six times. Why is that shocking to you, Samantha? How many times did you expect it to be mentioned? They told you that homosexuality is mentioned six times but did they also tell you that every time homosexuality is mentioned it is condemned as sinful? Every single time! Also, Why did you feel slighted by your faith community? Did they teach you somethng that was not true? Did they misrepresent the Biblical data on homosexuality? I would also like to ask you how many times do you think something must be condemned in the Bible for it to actually "count" as being negative or wrong? Bestiality and pedofilia are mentioned even less than homosexuality. I bet the people at the ethics class aren't prepared to accept that same criterion to condone those behaviors.

I would also like to tell you about this word "tolerance". That is a word that people who are pro-homosexuality tend to use a lot to describe their own position. But in reality they seem to be the most intolerant people when someone doesn't agree with them. What do I mean by that? To understand what I mean you have to know what tolerance truly means and what it doesn't mean. Someone is tolerant when he doesn't agree with someone's views, but still tolerates those views to be expressed. Tolerance is NOT, agreeing with someone or accepting someone's views that you already agree with. Thus, if someone already agrees with homosexuality and embraces those views of people that are pro-homosexual, that is not "tolerance". That is simply "agreement". True tolerance is accepting that someone disagrees with you and still tolerating that person's views to be expressed.

Now that you know what tolerance truly is, you will understand what I mean when I say that the true intolerant ones are those on the pro-homosexuality side. A good way to test this is to simply disagree with them on homosexuality. Simply express your Biblical stance and see if they will tolerate it. You will find that those people that claim to be on the side of "tolerance" and "diversity" and "inclusiveness" often will not tolerate, appriciate your diverse views and be inclusive when people disagree with homosexuality. Contrary to their claim of tolerance, most of the time you will find yourself getting demonized and called names rather than being accepted, respected or tolerated.

There is so much I want to share with you, but I will throw in a last point if you will let me. I usually dont let them control the narrative. With that I mean I don't let them own the language as they are acustomed to. For example, they will claim the right to use terms such as "hate speech", "bigotry" and "homophobe" to placate or silence people into shame. I challenge that. For example, if I tell them that, because of my beliefs (largely, I have other reasons as well) I cannot accept their stance on homosexuality, they will quickly accuse me of either hate speech, being a bigot or a homophobe. I will not let them have a monopoly on that. I usually ask what makes them think I am a homophobe. Or what they mean with the term homophobe. Homophobia strictly means an irrational fear for homosexuals. Yet nothing in my behavior has shown me to have any fear for homosexuals at all. Or why they think I engaged in hate speech or bigotry. Is it simply because I disagree with them? If that is the case, why aren't they Christophobes, bigots or engaging in hate speech for disagreeing with me? See, if simple disagreement is to be labelled by those terms they use, then it goes both ways, since not only do I disagree with them, but they disagree with me as well. See what I mean?

Well, as I said I have a lot more to share with you but I will leave it at that. Please keep this in mind: maybe the Church has been going about it the wrong way in dealing with homosexuals. And the Church is making a valiant effort to repair the damage done to homosexuals. But does that mean that homosexuality is now okay in God's sight? Let's stand together and reach our to homosexuals in love and offer them our help and compassion as we tell them God has a better way than homosexuality. It's called holiness.

It appears to me that there are two issues here:

1) Whether homosexuality is a 'sin' as defined in the Bible, and
2) The treatment ('hatred and intolerance') of homosexuals by many who profess Christ.

I'll discuss issue two first... When Jesus met the Samaritan woman at the well and asked her for a drink, he was breaking a number of social rules. Jews and Samaritans did not get along, and a 'polite' man would not speak to a woman in public in such a way. Further, she was a sinful woman, and bound for Hell. Yet, Jesus was kind and loving through the conversation. THAT is how Christians should respond to homosexuals. Take note, however, that although He showed love, He did not condone here lifestyle. That leads me to the other point...

The number of times the Bible says something should not be an indicator of how 'right' or 'wrong' it is. Simply put, if the Bible says it six times, then it is true. It is not up to us to determine that we decide otherwise because it doesn't meet some arbitrary number or mentions...

Why is it someone else's responsibility to tell her what is in the bible. It is more evidence that many people now feel that our problems are not our own fault.

Make Jesus your first love, and He will put the 2nd, 3rd and last love in line for you. With Jesus as your first love, conviction and strength will guide you.

I would try to carefully agree with Samantha's view but not so far as to say sexual immorality is not a sin. I think her new insight is; the judgmental approach hasn't changed lives, it only hurts. And I would agree.

She's not interested in a carefully reasoned argument or the number of explicit references one way or the other. She wants to see life change.

It might help to clarify with her if being gay is the same thing as sexual immorality. But, I don't think she cares because in a way, she sees this issue as a kind of subjective truth. She has the beginnings of faith that homosexuality is not a sin.

I don't how to talk about faith very well but, I feel this is the right direction to further the conversation in Samantha's example.

Another point I learned from bank employees might be helpful here. They learn to spot counterfeit money not by studying counterfeit money, but by studying authentic currency. When they know backwards and forwards what real money looks like, the counterfeit is obvious.

Jesus talked not about homosexuality, but about marriage. He told us what human relationships should be according to God's perfect plan. By that, we can easily rule out homosexual relationships, especially coupled with the other negative mentions of homosexual activity in the Bible.

As far as being outraged at the treatment of homosexuals by Christians (which is deplorable), ask if she knows that more Christians have been martyred in the last 100 years than in all previous history. That fact never gets any press. (And doesn't make either behavior right.)

Did you say she was in seminary? Has she never read the Bible for herself? I am truly confused to think she took this class on the Bible as "truth" over the Bible to be read for herself if she is going to be a pastor? Many of above comments are so very well put. Thank you all for your comments. You put things very well. I think I would need to take a deep breath before I answered kindly and rationally.

I have an older brother who is gay and when someone quotes this passage from the bible, 20:13 "If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.", he says that it's talking about a man being with another man while also being with a woman. I'm quite sure this isn't true, though

The Bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that God doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision. ~ Lynn Lavner

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