Jesus on Homosexuality

Shawn has a great post on the silent and the audible words of Jesus on homosexuality.

John 21:25 states there were many things that Jesus said and did that no one recorded.  True, He could have spoken in approval about same-sex relationships, but then again, He could have not.  The question I keep coming up with is, if Jesus did give approval to gay relationships then why wasn’t He more vocal about it?  Christ never backed away from correcting wrong teaching.  Take the Sermon on the Mount, for instance, where Jesus took time to clear up misconceptions about what the Old Testament said and how it was being taught by religious leaders.  If He believed that same-sex relationships were now acceptable, wouldn’t he have made such declarations?  Especially when He talked about relationships and marriage (Mark 10:5-9).

The silence of Christ doesn’t really help the pro-gay side on this issue; in fact, to me, it hurts their argument.  Jesus’ silence could be that He didn’t have anything new to add to what was already said about homosexuality.  Christ understood that such relationships – even committed ones – were wrong in God’s eyes.  Even more, the Jewish people knew this.  Was there reason to debate the issue if both sides believed it was wrong?

But Jesus didn’t understand homosexuality like we understand it today, might be running through your head.  Again, while the question is valid, don’t forget one important detail: Jesus, being God, knows all things that He has created (Colossians 1:15-20).  Unless you believe that Jesus was not God, He shared the same characteristics as God because He is God (omniscience, omnipotence, etc).  And, if Jesus understood homosexuality as it is now, the other writers of the Bible fully understood the issue, too.

Even though Jesus was silent about gay couples, He didn’t exclude them from salvation.  Several times Jesus says that He came to save the world, to bring all of mankind to Himself, through His death and resurrection (John 3:16, Luke 19:10, John 10:14-16, John 12:32).  All of mankind includes gays and lesbians.  Jesus didn’t make a distinction as to who can be saved and who can’t, and neither should the Body of Christ.  Every man, woman, and child deserves to hear and receive the message, love, redemption, and grace of Christ – EVERY ONE!  The church doesn’t decide who receives Jesus, or who gets into heaven, only God does.

The message of Jesus is universal, but it’s a message that speaks to us specifically.  God is after our hearts.  He is bent on us walking in purity.  The idols we hold dear to our hearts, the foolish things we wrap our lives around, the discontentment we feel, the masks we wear each day, are all things Christ calls us to forsake in order to fully embrace the abundant life He offers us.  This includes the struggles we deal with and the sins we live out justifiably.

One of the points Shawn makes is critical – given that homosexuality is such a big issue at the start of the 21st Century, surely God in his omnipotence would have made sure we today knew that same-sex relationships were actually good good and would not left us with a Bible that seems to the conclusion that all sex outside of marriage is sinful?

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  • http://twitter.com/TheUtarEfson Utar Efson

    The issue boils down to what Utar believes is a simple one: Jesus cannot be corralled or constrained by the Gospels. Why? Jesus clearly claims to be God therefore every affirmation of monogamous hetrosexual marriage and every condemnation of sexual behaviour outside of that estate is from Jesus from Genesis to Revelation.

    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

      I think I understand and I think I agree!!

    • http://six11.wordpress.com/ Shawn

      Exactly, Utar.

      Peter – thanks for linking to this. I’ll be writing the conclusion this week or next. I’m a bit confused by your last paragraph though.  Can you explain.

      • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

        Just trying to restate the point again, that if God is God, one would have thought he could have made it really simple for us by making it clear if he approved of same-sex behaviour.

  • Richardashby

    Goodness me, more homosexuality. Isn’t there anything more importnat going on in society or the Church at the moment. What about Mr Cameron and his return to biblical values while his MPs go to stag parties where the guests dress up as storm troopers and drink toasts to Hitler?

    So what did Jesus say about the internet, traffic jams, universities, i-pods, the circulation of the blood or the open heart surgey. Precisely nothing.

    Can we therefore assume that we know what he would have said about any of these or the many other things which had never even been imagined in the first century CE. Since Jesus was a MAN, something which some forget, his knowledge and understanding must be limited by the circumstances of his time. James’s argument doesn’t wash.

    ‘Christ understood that such relationships – even committed ones – were wrong in God’s eyes. Even more, the Jewish people knew this. Was there reason to debate the issue if both sides believed it was wrong?’

    Oh come off it, this is nonsense as far as Christ is concerned. You can have no idea what the eternal Christ’s view is of such matters. As far as the Jewish people is concerned why should we in the west be constrained by the teachings of a primitive bronze age peoples?

    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

      You really don’t want to engage with the issues do you Richard? The common default position of 1st Century Judaism was that all sex outside of marriage was sinful (easily demonstrated if you doubt this statement) so if Jesus wanted to correct that you’d think he would have bothered to do so.

      And the issue isn’t the “teachings of a primitive bronze age peoples” (not sure how that fits into 1st Century AD, but nevermind) but rather the inspired words of Scripture.

    • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

      ‘Can we therefore assume that we know what he would have said about any of these or the many other things which had never even been imagined in the first century CE.’
      The idea that Jesus wouldn’t have known about homosexual activity given its place within the dominant Hellenistic culture is rather implausible.

      • Cerebusboy

         Equally implausible is the notion that the predominant form of such unions, i.e. pedarastic exploitative unions – is a good analogy for the sort of gay relationships that liberals would hold up as not intrinsically sinful. 

        • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

          The problem with this is that it’s certainly not the case that encouragement of homosexual activity within Hellenism was limited to exploitative pederasty (just look at the variety in Plato’s Symposium). That the traditional Christian witness is against homosexual activity -regardless of questions of identity or orientation or motivation- is part of the Christian analysis: it doesn’t matter how good the motivation might appear (and, again, the Symposium provides all sorts of apparently benign motivations behind homosexual activity), it’s the activity that’s important.

          • Cerebusboy

             Debatable. Let’s not forget that for centuries if not millenia “sodomy” and “sodomite”  was the Church’s code for all homosexual activitiy. Whatever else one might think on these issues, “attempting to gang rape a pair of angels” – not tricky to condemn – is a self-evidently poor analogic basis to condemn “all and every forms of homosexual activity”.  I find the reference to Plato amusing – conservative Jill, for example, (hello Jill! Hope you’re looking forward to Christmas :-)) has referred to marriage as the joining together of two “sterile” halves. That’s straight from Plato’s symposium, and quite different from the asceticism advocated by Our Lord. 

             And of course particular popular first century Jewish perceptions *of* the sexual lives of those filthy greeks and romans is not the same thing as an objective historical source on the extent to which particular practices were known or not known. We’re both just speculating. 

            • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

              1) I’m not sure if you’re denying that Catholic teaching is completely clear on the subject of homosexual activity? (I can’t imagine you are.) If you’re making your point about other versions of Christianity, I’m sure they’ll defend themselves once you make the grounds of your attack clear.

              2) Plato was being adduced as evidence of Hellenistic views on homosexuality, not as the basis for approving/disapproving of it. (It’s anyway clear from the Laws that he disapproved of it.)

              3) My original reply was directed to Richard’s point that Jesus wouldn’t have known about homosexuality. He certainly would have known about homosexual activity and, absent any evidence to the contrary, it is quite implausible that he would have taken any other view than the universal Jewish one of disapproval. Now your point to me was that this would have been directed only against exploitative pederasty. That truly is speculative -particularly given the historical fact -evidenced by (but not exclusive to) the Symposium- that exploitative pederasty was not the only type of homosexual activity approved of within Hellenism.

              • Cerebusboy

                1) I’m not a Catholic, but I will concede that the catholic objection to  not just homosexuality, but also masturbation and birth control are part of a (if you except the initial presuppositions) logical system which does (on that point at least) compare favorably with some evangelical systems.  But in the last analysis I have no obligation to concede to the authority of popes and councils (for they have contradicted each other ;-))

                2) I think Plato was demonstrably wrong on what constitutes “natural” sexuality.  Aquinas has religious reasons to view generative sex as the only valid kind; in contrast, it’s silly (given the biological facts – i.e. quantity of semen produced by the human male, the “natural” erotic responses of the body etc) for Plato to pretend to be espousing a Natural meaning *of* the body when (lacking theology) he is merely imposing a philosphical construct *on* it.  However one can posit plato as being part of a greco-roman picture that viewed “spiritual” same-sex love as acceptable and included pederasty as a common picture; I’d maintain that the more details one adds the shakier an analogy between that context and “permanent, stable and faithful” modern gay relationships become. 

                3) The point remains that, if the most *common expressions* of same-sex activity in the culture were the kind that (for reasons *not solely because of* the sex of the two partners) are clearly not morally acceptable, then it is at least potentially problematic to think that (as per the original post) that Jesus should have made a point of approving them if homosexual relationships *per se* are at least potentially not intrinsically sinful.  But then some elements of the church have at times read “Pharisees” as synedoche for all phrarisees (or, worse, all Jews) , so we come back to particular fundamentalist reading strategies that I regard as flawed (and of course the modern Christian is well used to read the word “women” and to “know” that “of course” it doesn’t actually refer to all women)

                • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

                  1) I do have an obligation to concede to the Pope’s authority! (If I were being cheeky I’d say you do too, but simply haven’t recognized it!!)
                  2) Philosophical/theological exploration of Plato’s views -except as historical evidence of Greek attitudes to same sex sexual activity- is beside the point at the present moment. But to the extent you are tempted to rely on them (as you seemed to in your previous comment) it’s good to remember that, whatever the differences of his reasoning from Christian morality, he did end up by disapproving of homosexual activity.
                  3) Not sure I quite follow you! I’d stake my case on two points. a) Given the absence of any contrary evidence, it is reasonable (and telling) to note that Jesus, as a Jew, would have disapproved of homosexual activity. b) There is no reason -pace your original comment- to assume that this disapproval is  limited to exploitative pederasty as Hellenistic same sex activity was not limited to exploitative pederasty.

                  • Cerebusboy

                    1) come on, those guys makes all sorts of mistakes! For example, Pope Paul VI abolished the wearing of buckles on ecclesiastical shoes, and the Bishop of Rome hasn’t rocked the proper Papal Tiarra look for decades! ;-)

                    2) The point is that greek philosophy is , well, that.  If same-sexuality in the Hellenic world amounted (mostly) to pederasty, class-based stigmatisation of the passive partner and the (literally) pagan, then it is unsurprising that Judaism would condemn it for reasons not necessarily relating to homosexuality per se. Actually, the church has perhaps been a bit overly hellenized in its past condemnations of homosexuality. No conservative worth his salt would now (one imagines, or at least hopes) would parrot the Norman Mailer macho line that homosexuality is wrong *because* being the passive partner is (presumably) painful and degrading, but past condemnations of “soft” or “effeminate” men are in their way consistent with greco-roman prejudice. Conversely, it’s not easy to see why other models of homosexuality, such as the Spartan buddy system, still involve putting something else (be it state, or Love of a Friend above anything else), plainly an unchristian state of affairs.

                    3) The point largely centered around the original post, endorsed but not made by Peter. Textual spaces are exactly that. “Love of neighbour and love itself” is in itself a radicalisingly astringent understanding of Judaism, and given that Jesus’ predominant teaching methods were parables, I don’t think it’s (generally, and irrespective of what one thinks about homosexuality) tenable to expect a proof-text for every particular break from Jewish teaching.  The Incarnation itself is a break (or fulfillment, but it can be both) from Judaism (both particularly and generally) 

                    • http://cumlazaro.blogspot.com/ Lazarus

                      1) As you know, all Catholics are bound to believe that the Pope possesses an infallible sense of style so I cannot comment further!
                      2) I don’t think your characterization of either the Graeco-Roman view of homosexual activity is correct, nor the church’s relationship to it. But in any case, it’s marginal to the present point. As a Jew living in a Hellenistic world, Jesus would have known about homosexual activity. Jesus would have condemned homosexual activity. Anything beyond that is highly speculative.
                      3) I doubt whether anyone thinks an argument from Jesus’ silence is a particularly strong one. But given that I’ve certainly been challenged before on the ground that ‘if Jesus wanted to condemn homosexuality, he would have condemned it explicitly’, it is legitimate to explore what conclusions can be drawn from the silence. Shawn rightly I think draws the conclusion that silence suggests an acceptance of Jewish standards of sexual morality and thus a condemnation of homosexual activity regardless of the reasons/context for it.

                    • Cerebusboy

                      1) Point taken o{]:-)|>+

                      2) We still come back to the point that condemnation of particular expressions of homosexuality are not necessarily condemnations of homosexuality per se (and *that* point remains valid, even if you don’t think it applies in the Christian case). I’d also say that the ‘highly speculative’ still compares favourably to some of the Christian attempts – however long-established – to reductively pretend like the Church is broadly maintaining Jewish tradition. Jesus Christ was not reasserting Jewish teaching in all things (c.f. my point about ‘wasting sperm’ in the post to Peter below – an abomination in Judaism that goes non-reasserted in the contemporary Christian church). Given that you could argue that much of Christianity has (from a neutral viewpoint) looked like it’s asked “how little” rather than “how much” they can have in common with Judaism, it’s arguably also indicative of a curious bias to presuppose that Jesus Christ must be reasserting Jewish morality in all things unless we get a self-evident proof text (no such thing of course, but that’s a separate issue…) indicating otherwise. I’m not sure what aspects of my account of Hellenic culture you regard as inaccurate too.  Theologically speaking, one can at least attempt to argue that the popular Hellenic expressions of homosexuality warranted condemnation for reasons that don’t necessarily invalidate gay relationships per se. 

                      3. You can argue that Our Lord’s lines on merely looking lustfully represent a ‘tightening’ of the mosaic law, but they are still something different from a mere reassertion of it.  The language of “another man’s wife” (do women not look lustfully? also , as feminists would say, points towards the patriachal OT structure that we have largely moved away from regarding as moral, let alone normative. That, at the very least, has implications if homosexuality is condemned for similarly patriachal reasons. 

                • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

                  3) But the most common expressions WERE morally acceptable to most Hellenistic people. That’s the point. They weren’t acceptable to Jews but they were a tiny minority of the Eastern Mediterranean population.

                  As I outlined here - http://www.peter-ould.net/2009/07/02/sexuality-and-slavery-part-two/ - there were a number of different models of homosexuality prevalent in the Levant at the time of Jesus, not just pederasty. Some were clearly (as was pederasty) consensual.

                  • Cerebusboy

                     From the piece you link to:
                     We identified two forms of homosexuality in particular that have the closest equivalence to modern western gay relationships, that of Greek pederasty in its most noblest forms and the Roman practice of taking someone of socially inferior status as a lover.

                     Well, exactly (the ‘closest’ speaks volumes) And how much do the sexual ethics of contemporary (say) conservative Christianity (both in terms of permitted/precluded acts and the *reasons for* them) accord with the discourse and underpinnings of  first century Judaism? I’d argue – and this is largely a question of easily verifiable historical fact – that an honest answer would be “hardly at all”. Even if you take Our Lord’s words on looking at a women lustfully being adultery literally you are still seeing something quite distinct from a mere reassertion of Jewish sexual morality in all things. I know that some contemporary evangelicals still look down on masturbation, but they’re hardly espousing the Jewish view that wasting sperm, in and of itself is a grave sin (serious question: how many conservative Christians do you know who believe that non-vaginal heterosexual marital acts – which, assuming they lead to completion, very much are “wasting sperm” in the traditional rabbinical sense – are intrinsically sinful? I’d imagine that “hardly any at all” would be the honest answer, and I seriously doubt that’s because of self-evident proof text from Jesus Christ pointing out that , in fact, the Jewish understanding of the sinful nature of non-reproductive sex is wrong and married believers should knock themselves out!) 

  • Richardashby

    perhaps this might bring us back to some sanity and get us away from Sex:-
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2011/dec/18/giles-fraser-faces-2011-occupy?INTCMP=SRCH

  • Cerebusboy

     You’d think conservatives would have their hands full sufficiently trying to explain away Our Lord’s harsh line on divorce. And of course Jesus’ teaching differed from the established Jewish kind (i.e. rabbinical; isn’t ‘pharisee’ an insult in the Christianised west for a reason?) – you know and I know that His aesteticism (shared by St.Paul) tends to get fudged by those who overplay the primacy of heterosexual marriage.  “You consume an elephant and excrete a gnat” and understanding all 613 OT laws as being essentially ‘Love of God and Love of Neighbours” is , like the Incarnation itself, quite distinct from a ‘Follow this List of Do’s and Don’t” model of monotheism.  And of course some way ascribe St.Paul’s asceticsm to the fact that he thought the world was going to end soon (necessarily mandating being in a state of ritual purity) 

      And your first paragraph doesn’t really help matters, Peter, leading as it does to the question “If God is God then why do plain-meaning ‘commonsenical’ Sola Scriptura readings of the Bible appear to support things that we now regard as demonstrably evil?”  Is it not a bit much that we all think OF COURSE slavery is always wrong despite Jesus not making a special point of condemning it but silence on homosexuality is read as ‘proof’ of the permanently sinful nature of all same-sex acts? Is it not troubling that we would not now cite “synagogue of satan” passages are referring to all Jews but gay people are still subject to the crudest and most inanely reductionist forms of “textual harassment”?

     Are you really sure that the evidence indicates that the 1st Century Jewish understanding of WHY extra-marital sex is sinful was the same as Our Lord’s?

     And I’d note that both yourself and Robert Gagnon prominently use elaborations of analogies- quite different from uncritical quoting of ‘objectively’ self-evidently true, moral etc Scriptural verses – *from* Scripture. 

  • Tom Jones

    Jesus said nothing about slavery either (the ownership of one human being by another. However you try to dress it up – or down – that’s supported throughout the Bible). Is it reasonable then to suppose that because he said nothing against that he supported it? Ryan is absolutely right about how modern Christians skate over the hard things he said about divorce and remarriage as adultery (in Mark -mitigated only slightly in the later Matthew). I am reading a fascinating new book by Jennifer Wright Kunst _Unprotected Texts – the Bibles Surprising Contradictions and Sex and Desire_. She is professor of religion at Boston University specialising in New Testament, biblical studies and early Christian history, apart from being an ordained American Baptist pastor. She shows convincingly that the concept of “biblical marriage” was very far removed from the nostrum of “one man and one woman for life” espoused by those who haven’t really read the sacred texts.

    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

      Tom,

      No-one sensible argues that there aren’t polygamous marriages in the Old Testament. What they do argue is that there is a clear trajectory towards monogamy so by the time we get to the NT it’s very clear that that is the ultimate model.

      As for slavery, since (as you rightly point out) Jesus is silent on the subject (or at least not terribly vocal) we look to the other inspired words of Scripture to see the truth. And that truth is very easy to see – slavery is condemned (eg Philemon) but if one finds oneself as a slave one’s duty is to be the best slave you can (Ephesians). And after all, we are all slaves, either to sin or to righteousness (Romans).

      You can either choose to read “contradictions” into the Bible or you can read clear trajectories of thought. Often it’s one’s underlying prejudices which will affect the choice between those two paths.

      • Cerebusboy

         Come now ‘trajectories’ is the same argument that the RC Church uses to justify Mariology (“trajectory of imagery” is IIRC the exact phrase). A tub-thumping ulster presbyterianist, in contrast, might not seem very intellectual but they are at least consistent in their proof texting. And in any case if the  trajectory you identify is towards a GREATER focus on monogamy then would that not also mean a tightening of divorce “loopholes”,  making (not just!) my point on divorce that Tom agrees with even more valid?

          And I thought, from the Jesus and Homosexuality thread, that, if Jesus doesn’t specifically address an issue then we’ve to assume that He’s implicitly reasserting the Jewish teaching on it………? 

        • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

          But trying to argue Roman Mariology directly from Scripture is impossible whereas the Bible is full of the “trajectory” on marriage. The two things are not the same.

          And as for divorce, Jesus himself allows divorce for sexual infidelity and abandonment, so I don’t think you can argue that there are or aren’t “loopholes” – rather there are clear indications as to when a marriage is effectively over.

          • Orangecat

            So, the trajectory on marriage doesn’t end with one-man-one-woman, does it? but moves through ultimately to the early Christian idealisation of non-marriage, consecrated virginity, eunuchism, or just plain old celibacy as a higher and more spiritual state as the Catholic Church still (though perhaps less bravely than before) teaches and the Reformers didn’t like. 

            • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

              No, because we’re talking about the Scriptural trajectory. Try again.

              • Tom Jones

                Don’t know if you are trying to convince yourself or me but aren’t you ignoring Paul’s advocacy for celibacy over marriage. The author(s) of Colossians and Ephesians represent an ordered home life under Jesus as ultimate master, with everyone in due order under the husband whereas Paul recommends the mutual subjection of married partners to each other for the avoidance of illicit sexual temptations. I read that to mean celibacy as the higher and preferred state – and it’s in scripture even if it is an interpretation less welcome to protestants.

                • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

                  I’m not ignoring Paul’s advocacy of celibacy in slightest. And note carefully, he doesn’t say that it is better to be celibate and single, rather he says that it’s not wrong to be so.

                  Now as a concession, not a command, I say this. I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.
                  To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

                  (1 Corinthians 7:6-9 ESV)

                  So it is good to remain single, but it is not essential.

                  And there is no contradiction between the husband being the head of a household and mutual submission in sexual matters. Surely a husband who was Christlike would not impose himself upon his wife?

          • Tom Jones

            And which is it, Markian absolute prohibition or Matthean single  allowance on the grounds of the wife’s (please note) immorality?

            • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

              The question being asked in Mark 10 is not whether divorce per se is wrong but rather the ability to simply issue a certificate of divorce to get rid of a wife you no longer want to be married to. This is clear from the context of the question. Jesus cannot mean to forbid all divorce because, as you yourself point out, in Matthew’s Gospel he lays out grounds for which divorce is an acceptable solution.

              And this brings me back to an earlier point – you phrased the question from a paradigm seeking conflict not harmony in Scripture. I answered it from the other paradigm, that Scripture is obviously harmonious when we just take a moment to think sensibly about the text.

  • Tom Jones

    ” but if one finds oneself as a slave one’s duty is to be the best slave
    you can (Ephesians). And after all, we are all slaves, either to sin or
    to righteousness (Romans).

    I think that’s a bit smelly. But as you say, or infer, your prejudices are my special pleading and vice versa.

    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

      But then our difference is that I believe the Scriptures to be authoritative, so I take serving my master in whatever context very seriously. At the moment, my master is the firm I work for, so the Scriptures tell me to deal honestly and work hard whether being watched or not.

  • Tom Jones

    Even if you think that the scriptures are authoritative doesn’t mean that the meaning is plain. It may appear so to you but the whole business of biblical exegesis down the centuries proves entirely otherwise. As just an example, why else would there be differing interpretations of the “clear words” of Jesus Christ when he said “This is my body”, or “Thou art Peter and upon this rock…” and so on and so forth, leading to the myriad spawnings of dissenting churches, all convinced that the scriptures were “authoritative” and “plain”.

  • Cerebusboy

     Indeed Tom! I think the over-easy sense of authority so prevalent in evangelical Christianity warrants a paraphrase of Chesterton: the trouble is when Christians stop believing in Magisterium, they start believing in far less serious forms of “authority”. You could argue that Sola Scriptura, in and of itself, ultimately points towards ignorance of history (how can you claim ‘sola’ scriptura when, as with those troublesome passages on women speaking in church, you need to consult an ‘expert’ on first century NT culture to explain away the plain meaning? Bringing in other – and so inter- texts is demonstrably not “sola” in the strictest sense, nor is deferring to a ‘pastor’s’ knowledge, priestly intermediate style). It’s pretty depressing how many “biblical” evangelicals I know who found their faith on and “understand” Scripture via, not just Calvin (which is bad enough), but the collected “wisdom” of the John Pipers and Mark Driscolls of this world. There’s nothing like standing on the shoulder of giants, and that’s, indeed, nothing like standing on the shoulders of giants…. ;-)

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/KQFF4YUONMJ6UC3ZZ33FJNVHDY Billy

    Bringing up divorce? Really? It just proves the dishonesty of the liberal. No one is trying to bless divorce. Actually, that’s not true. Gene Robinson had a blasphemous divorce blessing service with his former wife where they gave back their wedding rings.

    And the premise is that Jesus was silent on homosexuality? He certainly was not. In the same passage where we are released from Jewish purity laws, he reaffirms Jewish sexual morality:

    “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them.”

    Any evidence whatsoever that first century Jewish sexual morality was “inclusive”? Of course not.

    So Jesus was NOT silent about the subject.

    And the first Christians also reaffirmed Jewish sexual morality for Gentile converts at the Jerusalem Council, but released them from purity laws. One wonders why we have the mixed fibers or shellfish arguments raised in a Pavlovian fashion by the liberals. Again, we don’t actually need to wonder. It is because of the inherent dishonesty of the liberals else they wouldn’t repeatedly bring up this false argument.

  • Cerebusboy

     Ah, Billy Liar (or is it “Dad”? Someone should check your IP)

     Firstly, the only one mentioning mixed fibres in this thread is you : straw man (although, in passing, the evangelical boilerplate ‘understanding’ of Leviticus leaves a lot be desired. Are rules against menstruating women a) moral b) moral and ceremonial c) ceremonial and, being misogynistic, *im*moral?  etc ).

     Secondly, if you’re going to claim that Christ is reasserting traditional Jewish sexual morality, then you’re required to believe that spilling seed – i.e. non potentially procreational sex, so by definition including any non vaginal penetrative acts even within the context of marriage, or sex with an infertile woman, again even within marriage – is a grave sin. Do you? If so, does it not bother you that ‘conservative’ churches, supposedly maintaining to Christ’s reassertion of first century Jewish sexual morality (!) don’t cleave to this standard? 

      Divorce. Again, how many contemporary evangelical churches have objections to divorced leaders? And “having no problem with” might not be “blessing” but it’s a damn site away from “condemn in the vast majority of cases”. 

     Also: understanding all 613 OT laws as Love God and Love Thy Neighbour is in itself a “liberal” methodology; proof texting inanities are the “methodology” (!) of YOUR team. 

    • Tom Jones

      Ryan, I agree that when people like Dad or Billy try to defend divorce/adultery as long as it is heterosexual they don’t seems to realise that they do far more damage to the Christian cause in the long term than any of the short-term gains made through “defence” of marriage and other propeightism. The Cardinal Archbishop of St Andrews may be trying to influence Scottish politics but in the end he will do Roman Catholicism in these isles no favours.

      • Cerebusboy

         good point, Tom. Glasgow’s only episcopal anti-gay agitator used to boast that no couple who did his Alpha marriage preparation course ever got divorced, and that “marriages don’t fail – people do”. He has since dialed down such rhetoric after (IIRC) his own marriage broke down and he hooked up with another woman (which hasn’t stopped him from claiming that teh gays are the ones that will lead to society abandoning monogamy!)

         Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humour? ;-)

         Also worth noting that evangelical Christians only major partner in the anti-gay marriage alliance are Muslims, who could be forgiven for wondering why they’re being roped in to prevent the acceptance of polygamy (which was good enough for the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) ) 

      • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/KQFF4YUONMJ6UC3ZZ33FJNVHDY Billy

        Where do I “defend” divorce/adultery? Let me quote again our good Lord:

        “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart,
        and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, ADULTERY, SEXUAL IMMORALITY, theft, false testimony, slander. These are
        what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile
        them.”

        But are these sins forgiveable? Of course. Are these sins, if repented, absolute disqualifications for the ministry? Of course not, especially if done prior to conversion. St. Paul, himself, participated in the murder of St. Stephen. With or without the allowance of divorce for infidelity, most or all cases of divorce and remarriage is adultery according to Jesus. Adultery is sin, and I do not “defend” it. But looking on a woman is also adultery. I do not defend that either.

        So please don’t misrepresent me. (I won’t use crude epithets like cerebusboy.)

        The upholding of traditional marriage has been shown to be an absolute necessity for any Christian Church. Any Church that bows to the lowest cultural denominator is seen to be rapidly disappearing. That is abundantly clear. What is becoming clear as well is that any society that accedes to the lowest common denominator is rapidly disappearing as well. Liberalism in Christianity and in society as a whole is a disaster.

        • Cerebusboy

           Ah, so do you think men who look lustfully at women (currently, not in the used-to-but-repented-of-it sense) should be barred from ministry too? Wouldn’t that, male sexuality being what it is, be most of them?

           Liberalism is a disaster? Liberal comes from the Latin root meaning ‘pertaining to a free man’.  I’d call that a good thing; the triumphs of Western Demoncracy, such as the US Bill of Rights are ‘liberal’ in the truest sense. Perhaps you prefer theocracy, but I’d argue that you’re hardly necessarily in the best of the Christian tradition. Protestants, for example, celebrate the triumph of King William III (especially here in Glasgow! ;-)) because, in part, it secured “religious liberty for all”. I’d be interested if you could unpack what you mean by liberalism (given that you are above already apparently conflating the theological and political kinds). One hopes that it means something other than “rights for teh gays”.

            And of course quoting capitalised SEXUAL IMMORALITY does not actually explain  what it is. Again, do you, since your pretending like your church upholds first century Jewish beliefs on sexuality, regard “spilling seed” as a grave sin? 

           
           Perhaps you could cite some facts to support your last paragraph? And do you mean marriage as in the “Christian Sacrament” or (in Protestantism) ‘Christian Institution’ or ‘any marriage, as long as its heterosexual’. Do you see no problem with such blurring? One is reminded of those who used to claim, madly, that Rome fell because of the gays. I think you’ll find that particular fascistic countries, contrasting (to me) unfavourably with ‘liberal’ democracies, largely worshiped devotedly at the shrine of Marriage and The Family. 

    • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/KQFF4YUONMJ6UC3ZZ33FJNVHDY Billy

      Liar? Nice manners. I wonder if there are no standards at this website, but I consider the source.

      We have this: “Divorce. Again, how many contemporary evangelical churches have
      objections to divorced leaders? And ‘having no problem with’ might not
      be ‘blessing’ but it’s a damn site away from ‘condemn in the vast
      majority of cases’.”

      Liberals decry the “judgemental fundamentalists”. Now we “fundamentalists” aren’t judgemental enough. But I certainly agree that a church ought to tread carefully when putting a divorced man in the pulpit. There are certainly exceptions to be made, e.g., someone who became a Christian after a divorce. In fact, this is not an uncommon scenario. The widely reported stat that evangelicals have a divorce rate just as high as secular folk. This is simply false and among those divorced evangelicals are ones that divorced prior to their conversion. From Barna:

      — Among the population segments with the lowest likelihood of having been
      divorced subsequent to marriage are Catholics (28%), evangelicals (26%),
      upscale adults (22%), Asians (20%) and those who deem themselves to be
      conservative on social and political matters (28%). —

      One of my most favourite pastors was a gentleman who self-admittedly “did it all” as a young man.

      Then we have, “Secondly, if you’re going to claim that Christ is reasserting traditional Jewish sexual morality…”

      I don’t have to claim anything. It is plain language and was reasserted by first Christians. That is why it frustrates me that our good host accepts the “Jesus was silent” meme. He wasn’t unless you try to make the completely indefensible claim that 1st century Jewish morality did not proscribe homosexuality.

      And you couldn’t help yourself in alluding to another commonly made “shellfish” argument made by liberals. The proscription against touching menstruating females was certainly a purity code: “‘When a woman has her regular flow of blood, the impurity of her
      monthly period will last seven days, and anyone who touches her will be
      unclean till evening.”

      • Cerebusboy

         Billy, if you can’t take it don’t dish it out. I imagine that Peter here shares many of your theological views, he does, not, however, merely traffic in strawman and come-out-swinging against those evil liberals. 

         Any chance of a link for your +Gene Robinson point? You’ll appreciate that “non liberals” have a habit of lying about the great man (c.f. the claim that he left his wife ‘for’ another man)

          And you couldn’t help yourself in alluding to another commonly made “shellfish” argument made by liberals. The proscription against touching menstruating females was certainly a purity code

         And was it moral or not? 

         Again, you keep ignoring my points. The handy (which is to say self-serving) divvying up of Leviticus was formulated with Aquinas, which makes it a bit funny when nominally Sola Scriptura types keep giving it such easy uncritical acceptance.  

         I don’t have to claim anything. It is plain language and was reasserted by first Christians

         Even if it was, it remains demonstrably true that contemporary evangelical Christians very much do not regard ‘spilling seed’ – i.e. ALL forms of NON potentially procreative sex – as a ‘grave sin’.  Do YOU regard it as a grave sin? If Our Lord did reassert traditional Jewish sexual morality (including on this issue) and evangelical churches do not, then perhaps you should get off your high horse about being so much better than ‘liberals’? 

         The idea that contemporary evangelical Christians have the same sexual ideology as first century Jews is one of the most ludicrous things I’ve ever heard, even if both do condemn homosexuality. 

         Divorce. People are fallen, we all accept that. I am not talking about divorce rates per se, but about the ACCEPTANCE of divorce, on which issue mainstream evangelicals are hardly cleaving to the harsh biblical line. 

         Lying is worse than bad manners, O Billy. We are all, as a great evangelical once said, just sinners ;-) 

      • Cerebusboy

         Billy, if you can’t take it don’t dish it out. I imagine that Peter here shares many of your theological views, he does, not, however, merely traffic in strawman and come-out-swinging against those evil liberals. 

         Any chance of a link for your +Gene Robinson point? You’ll appreciate that “non liberals” have a habit of lying about the great man (c.f. the claim that he left his wife ‘for’ another man)

          And you couldn’t help yourself in alluding to another commonly made “shellfish” argument made by liberals. The proscription against touching menstruating females was certainly a purity code

         And was it moral or not? 

         Again, you keep ignoring my points. The handy (which is to say self-serving) divvying up of Leviticus was formulated with Aquinas, which makes it a bit funny when nominally Sola Scriptura types keep giving it such easy uncritical acceptance.  

         I don’t have to claim anything. It is plain language and was reasserted by first Christians

         Even if it was, it remains demonstrably true that contemporary evangelical Christians very much do not regard ‘spilling seed’ – i.e. ALL forms of NON potentially procreative sex – as a ‘grave sin’.  Do YOU regard it as a grave sin? If Our Lord did reassert traditional Jewish sexual morality (including on this issue) and evangelical churches do not, then perhaps you should get off your high horse about being so much better than ‘liberals’? 

         The idea that contemporary evangelical Christians have the same sexual ideology as first century Jews is one of the most ludicrous things I’ve ever heard, even if both do condemn homosexuality. 

         Divorce. People are fallen, we all accept that. I am not talking about divorce rates per se, but about the ACCEPTANCE of divorce, on which issue mainstream evangelicals are hardly cleaving to the harsh biblical line. 

         Lying is worse than bad manners, O Billy. We are all, as a great evangelical once said, just sinners ;-) 

  • Imeanbusiness

    Jesus and God are one and the same. The Holy Trinity destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah.

  • Imeanbusiness

    Of the 12 men who followed Jesus, 11 were married to one woman. Only the youngest, John, was not married. There were no homosexuals with partners in the group. That speaks volumes.

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