RELIGION CAN BE DIRTY
But you don't have to throw the Baby out with the bath water.
Jesus only loves.
Copyright 1993-2010 by Calvary Open Door Center, a truly Open Door Worship Center
A Few Myths and Simple Facts Regarding the Bible & Same-Gender Relationships
By Mark Elias
The following is not meant to present a scholarly and exhaustive dissertation on the issue of same-gender relationships and the Bible. It is meant only to pique oneís interest in learning the facts, which have been so incredibly distorted over time. If you are one who is seeking to fill the spiritual void in your life, or your faith has been shaken by misrepresentation of the Scriptures, you are encouraged to do your own research. In dealing with his own religious oppressors, Jesus said, "You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:32). Ignorant, self-righteous religious leaders may have succeeded in placing you in spiritual and emotional bondage; but Jesus Christ wants you to be free. The very first step in realizing this freedom is to develop a personal relationship with Him. It is not Godís will for you to have mental anguish about your salvation or your sexuality.
MYTH #1: The Bible condemns homosexuality & same-gender relationships.
FACT: There is not one condemnation of homosexuality as one's innate sexual constitution in the Scriptures. In fact, any reputable Bible scholar will tell you that when the original manuscripts were written in the languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, in none of these languages did the word "homosexual," or any viable translation of the word, exist.
MYTH #2: The Old Testament teaches that God destroyed an entire city because of homosexuality.
FACT: Even a cursory reading of the story of Sodom in Genesis chapters 18 & 19 makes this myth ludicrous. First of all, in Genesis Chapter 18, God appears to have decided to destroy the city before the infamous "homosexual" act with angels was attempted.
However, God promised Abraham that He would not destroy the city if there were at least 10 righteous people (gender is not specified) living within its city limits (Gen 18:32). The fact that the city was destroyed means that not even 10 righteous people, male or female, could be found. To assume that every remaining person was a homosexual is absurd. In Chapter 19, verses 4 and 5, we are told that "the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; and they called to Lot and said to him, ĎWhere are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out that we may know them.í" The NRSV says "the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. The idea that every single man in the entire city was a homosexual is preposterous.
Jude 1:5-7 is a passage that is ambiguous so that manuscripts differ, especially in verse seven, where some make reference to "strange flesh" (KJV, NKJV) and others do not. This most likely refers to humans having sex with angelic beings. (Cf. Gen. 6:2-4) The inference is that the sexual immorality and perversion that took place in Sodom and Gomorrah was deemed as such because the men attempted to have nonconsensual sex with the angelic beings who came to rescue Lot's family. (Gen. 19:1) This dramatic account has nothing whatsoever to do with two people of the same gender who are in a loving relationship. It is time for all sensible, truth-loving people to look at the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in its entire context, and stop twisting it to suit their bigotry and prejudice.
Furthermore, in over 40 references to Sodom in the Scriptures, not one of these makes specific reference to homosexuality. If homosexuality were the "sin of Sodom," you would think that there would be at least one! In fact, there is one very specific reference to what Sodomís sin actually was: Ezekiel 16:49,50 says, "Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen" (NIV). If homosexuality was the "sin of Sodom," this was Ezekielís perfect opportunity to declare that fact and he missed it!
MYTH #3: The Bible calls homosexuality an "abomination."
FACT: Because biblical exegesis of Old Testament Law and the word "abomination" is beyond the scope of this tract, let it suffice to say that what is interpreted as "abomination," where homosexuality is concerned, is also made in reference to eating seafood without fins or scales and several other dietary and ceremonial laws. (See Leviticus 11:10,12). So the next time someone spouts off to you, that being in a loving, caring, intimate relationship with another human being who happens to be the same gender is an "abomination," remind them that according to Old Testament Law, so is eating a bowl of clam chowder!
It is also very important to remember that one of the basic tenets of New Testament Christianity is that all of those "abominations" of the Old Testament Law are abolished. People who "pick and choose" some Old Testament laws while ignoring others, need to be reminded that "... now we are discharged from the Law, dead to that which held us captive, so that we are slaves not under the old written code but in the new life of the Spirit" (Romans 7:6). Furthermore, by holding you to a few specific Old Testament laws, while they, themselves, do not practice every single one of them is pure hypocrisy. Galatians Chapter 3 tells us that when people choose to live by Old Testament Law, they must keep ALL the Law. For those who choose to live by the law, if they break one law, they have broken them ALL. Those who impose one sentence of the Law on another, while not keeping the WHOLE Law themselves, are establishing their own righteousness! This is a total insult to the doctrine of grace, which says that salvation is purely by Godís unearned favor through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
MYTH #4: Not just the Old Testament, but the New Testament also condemns homosexuality.
FACT: It is interesting, to say the least, that despite homosexuality being looked on as the "vilest of sins," as it is so often referred to, Jesus never mentioned it! Furthermore, as was already mentioned, the words "homosexual" or "homosexuality" did not exist in the original Greek and Aramaic languages of the New Testament. There are only three passages of Scripture in the N.T. which have been cited in reference to homosexuality. The first is Romans, Chapter 1. In this passage, the Apostle Paul gives a very specific list of characteristics describing those in question: He describes them as those who once knew God, but who chose not to honor God as God. Instead, they worshiped material images of human beings, birds, animals, and reptiles as objects of worship rather than the One True Living God. We are told that they were filled with EVERY kind of wickedness, evil, covetousness, and malice. They were full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, craftiness, gossip, slander, insolence, haughtiness, and boastfulness. They were inventors of evil, rebellious toward parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, and ruthless. (NRSV) As a result of their total depravity, God turned them over to complete spiritual ruin, so that they left no stone of sexual debauchery unturned, engaging in mass orgies and idolatrous sexual cult worship, which included both homosexual and heterosexual debauchery.
These murderous, malicious people who worshiped idols and hated God after once knowing Him, have NOTHING to do with people who have a sincere desire to love and worship the Lord Jesus Christ and who happen to be homosexual. Today, there are multitudes of homosexual people who are tirelessly yearning to be a part of the Church so that they can WORSHIP the One True Living God and profess Jesus as their Savior. Anyone who can possibly equate the monstrous, reprobate people of Romans 1 to modern-day gay and lesbian people who reach out to humanity, love and respect their parents, and who have been expelled from the church they love, just for being homosexual, is not using common sense! Like those religious leaders who scorned Jesus, they have chosen to believe lies founded on their traditions.
In fact, rather than Romans 1 being intended as a warning to gay and lesbian people, its actual purpose is revealed in the first verse of Chapter 2, where Paul rebukes his readers for passing judgment on others! The entire First Chapter of Romans was given to rebuke those who were being judgmental so as to "despise the riches of Godís kindness and forbearance and patience," forgetting that it is Godís kindness that leads men and women to repentance" (Romans 2:4). In other words, while many Christians use Romans Chapter 1 as a means of clobbering gay and lesbian people, the truth is that this chapter was actually written to rebuke those original readers for being so self-righteous and finger-pointing, that they forgot just how forbearing and gentle God was toward them! In their vindictive, finger-pointing, self-righteous preaching, they were forgetting that "all have sinned (missed the mark) and fall short of the glory of God," (Romans 3:23) including themselves! No one who has truly humbled himself or herself, and acknowledged his or her own missing of the mark, can ever point a finger of judgment at someone else.
The other New Testament references, 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10, involve just two Greek words, malakoi and arsenokoitai. There are many good dissertations on the translations of these words, which are available in bookstores and libraries. For the purpose of this pamphlet, suffice it to say that over the centuries, malakoi has been translated and interpreted in every possible way, from the general term "sexual perverts" to those who masturbate! In Matthew 11:8, malakoi is translated "soft" in reference to clothing, and in the context of other literature, it has even been used in reference to moral weakness. Only recently has the term been translated "homosexual," which is a serious violation of Biblical exegesis. Michael England, in his book, The Bible and Homosexuality, makes note of the fact that in 1 Corinthians 6:9, both malakoi and arsenokoitai are listed separately, and yet, some translators come up with "the entirely unjustified translations which choose to ignore the fact of the two separate words." (P.44) Thus, what the Greek Interlinear translates "voluptuous persons" and the vague term, "sodomite," some translations have rendered the single word, "homosexual." Again, it is extremely important to remember that every seeming reference to homosexuality in the Bible is based solely on interpolation and conjecture, and under no circumstance does the Bible make reference to, or condemn gay men and women who have a sincere desire to live in a committed, loving relationship, professing Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior.
MYTH #5: The Bible has no references to same-gender intimacy, and it teaches that physical affection between persons of the same gender is "unnatural."
FACT: The Bible has several instances of persons of the same gender expressing intimate affection for each other. In fact, the Old Testament story of Jonathan and David tells us that Jonathan loved David "as his own soul," and that when Jonathanís father, Saul, forced them to separate from each other, they began to weep and in the Hebrew text, "they kissed one another..." (1 Samuel 20:41). Because of modern homophobia, one paraphrase of the Bible has actually taken the license to distort this passage: Completely omitting the original phrase "they kissed" (Heb: nashaq), the publisher substituted it with the words, "they sadly shook hands"!
Another example: The Greek Interlinear of John 13:23-25, reads like this: One of the disciples whom Jesus loved "in the bosom (Gk: kolpos) of Jesus was reclining." (v. 23) and "falling back on the breast (Gk: stethos) of Jesus, that one says to him..." (v. 25) Could it be because of present-day homophobia that more modern "translations" have violated this passage by TOTALLY ELIMINATING THE GREEK WORDS FOR "BOSOM" AND "BREAST" in the original manuscripts, instead using phrases such as "leaning back against Jesus" (NIV)? Is the thought of a man laying his head on the breast of another man simply too much for them? Right here, before our very eyes, the Biblical literalists have committed a total violation of literal translation. Much to their shame, it is they who are guilty of twisting the Scriptures for their own comfort.
MYTH #6: AIDS is Godís punishment on homosexuality.
FACT: This myth is so inane that it is hardly worthy of response. Anyone who has taken the time to read the morning newspaper knows that AIDS is a world-wide disease, that the majority of those who suffer with AIDS are not homosexual, and that in certain third-world countries, as much as 60 % of the countryís heterosexual and child population is afflicted with AIDS.
A FEW MORE FACTS
FACT: No one has the right to point a finger, calling you a sinner.
Romans 3:23 ALL have sinned (missed the mark) and come short of the glory of God.
FACT: The only ingredient necessary for any person - homosexual or heterosexual - to have perfect peace with God, is faith in Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1 Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
FACT: The person who condemns you based on your innate sexuality confesses his or her ignorance of the Biblical Doctrine of Salvation.
Ephesians 2: 8,9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast.
Titus 3:5 He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit...
FACT: Your sexual constitution has nothing to do with salvation.
Romans 10:9 If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING:
1. The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart (2002) by Peter J. Gomes
2. What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality (2000) by Daniel A. Helminiak
3. The Church and the Homosexual (1993) by John J. McNeill
4. The New Testament and Homosexuality (1983) by Robin Scroggs
© 1993-2010 Calvary Open Door Center