Bock

Newsweek on Homosexuality Post 4 Jan 2

I want to begin this post by saying first that this is not an easy topic to address. If there is one thing Christianity teaches, it is that we are all sinners and the need for God is universal even for those who do not recognize it.

I want to begin this post by saying first that this is not an easy topic to address. If there is one thing Christianity teaches, it is that we are all sinners and the need for God is universal even for those who do not recognize it. Those who teach theology and discuss the Bible should be most aware of how deeply sin resides in all of us and how easy it is to excuse its presence as just being natural. This also means in discussing morality, those who get the Bible’s message know that all of us fail. Ministry inevitably brings many different kinds of people your way, as does life. I have had very competent people, including schoolteachers and others, who were gay contribute to my own life. I am grateful for their commitment to their vocation and the service they gave. I also am aware of many who are not gay who damage their lives by choices that also violate the moral standards God has set. Sin is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate between us. However, none of this cancels out the need to think carefully about morality and how we proceed as a society. I start here on this topic because the first thing that is suggested in being critical of gay lifestyle is that it is discriminatory and reflective of a kind of prejudice. Inclusiveness and nondiscrimination means we should permit anything with regard to marriage and sexual preference. This is certainly the view the Newsweek article takes.

On this topic the Newsweek piece begins by distinguishing between the topic of sex among men, which it says is treated, and sex between women, which “never, in biblical times, raised as much ire.” It cites the Anchor Bible Dictionary as stating that nowhere in the Bible is there a reference to sex between women. This dictionary is commonly used and seen as a trustworthy source, but on this point it is wrong. In Romans 1:26 there is a discussion of women who “exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.” Even the NRSV states it this way, “Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural,” and then the verse goes on to discuss the same acts between men. It is hard to blame a journalist who cites a common reference work to the Bible for the error here, but I do wonder if the writer interviewed any counter-voices so such a mistake could be avoided. Here is a second key area where the evidence from the Bible was severely misrepresented (not noting how Jesus defined marriage was the first area, see the third post for further discussion). As such, this was not a great start to the topic’s discussion.

Next, having halved the field of discussion inaccurately, the article zeroes in on Leviticus and its prohibitions of the practice. This topic is covered along with haircuts, women’s menstrual cycles, and blood sacrifices as things we have left behind (as if they are part of the same sphere of practice and moral weight). Leviticus deals with a variety of issues—some cultural, some cultic, and others moral and societal. The article describes the remarks about homosexuality as “throwaway lines in a peculiar text,” in effect dismissing with a few strokes of a pen issues rooted in design and something many cultures, both religious and nonreligious, over many centuries have judged to be something far more profound. To treat the core case as being rooted in Leviticus ignores what Genesis says about God’s design of humans, a point already made about the complementary relationship between men and women who were made in God’s image, not to mention the reaction in the Bible to circumstances in Sodom, which was not a mere throwaway narrative but is seen as a picture of how severely people rebel against God. The point here is that the challenge to homosexuality in the Bible is about far more than its presence in the cultic and legal code of Israel. It appears where the initial story of humanity’s rebellion against God is told.

The article does recognize that Paul was “tough” on homosexuality although the article tries to drive a wedge between homosexual sex and “self-delusion, violence, promiscuity, and debauchery.” We are told progressive scholars have shown these topics were the real points of the passage. But you have to ask, how can one read Romans 1:26-32 and not see that the description is not limited to those topics? When sexual relations are described as “giving up natural intercourse with women” (v. 27), is it not the issue of same-sex practice that is in view? (Of course, the passage continues to note with even more a sense of shock that not only are such acts performed, but that they “applaud others who practice them” [v. 32]). The Elliot quotation, given as a means of arguing for the “violent” interpretation of Romans 1 and not about the act, ignores completely the descriptions in the text that show the act is in view. Paul is not merely tough on homosexuality; he rejects the practice itself, not merely the excesses the progressives declare are the point because the act itself is unnatural and an assault on the design of God. Part of the frustration for some in this discussion inolves either the ignoring or skewing of the texts from within their own religious tradition. Frustration results when these texts are appealed to in a way that actually distorts what these texts affirm.

From here the article makes the point that Paul argues harder against divorce than he does against homosexuality, while noting half of the United States disregards that teaching. This is a good point to pause and reflect on what is being argued here—that the moral failure that leads to broken marriages should permit another moral failure to exist as well. It is almost as if saying, “You steal, so I can murder.” Two moral wrongs do not make a right. But is the point that Paul argued harder against divorce true? No, he regarded both as moral failures, but when it came time to discuss how Roman society had broken down from the design of God, the example he selects relates to sexual practice. This assessment of how much Paul contends for something is not merely a matter of counting how much Paul talks about something but where and how he does it. Divorce is talked about more because it was more common and accepted.

Only by the kind of distortion this article engages in can we then come to the conclusion the article offers for justice and inclusion, including an openness to gay marriage. The resurrection of the slavery argument, the Levitical penalty of death for adultery, and shelter for anti-Semites as examples that allow us to dismiss the Bible’s moral judgment on this topic ignore one basic fact. Unlike these other areas where counter-tone texts exist that show that these were not absolute practices, there are no counter-tone texts when it comes to homosexuality. Within the Bible on slavery, we can point to how Paul asked for a slave to be regarded as an apostle and even be set free. Within the Bible on the death penalty for adultery, we see how David (and many others) did not go to their death despite their sin. (I am not sure how the Bible is a shelter for anti-Semites, so I am not sure where this claim comes from.) The article’s suggestion at one point that something like a gay relationship could, by imagination, have been part of David’s relationship with Jonathan is nothing but grasping at a straw. Part of reading the Bible in a mature way is to know where laws existed for a certain place and time versus those that transcend setting (and how this distinction is indicated). Part of reading the Bible is appreciating where a case is made consistently in contrast to other examples that do show that time did bring change in practice.
 
So when the article goes on to claim that “religious objections to gay marriage are not rooted in the Bible at all, then but in custom and tradition (and to talk turkey for a minute, a personal discomfort with gay sex that transcends theological argument),” it can do so only by ignoring certain texts and adopting very questionable readings of others that actually do make a religious and theological challenge to the practice. To expose the problem by trying to argue that religious and theological objections are not at the root of the challenge to gay marriage for many has been the burden of these posts. Religious and theological objections are what motivate people to be against gay marriage in many cases although I could easily go on to say that there also is a kind of instinctive reaction among others who are not religious that something is not right about such practices.

With this post, the discussion of religious arguments about the Bible and homosexuality has pretty much reached its end. However, there are other issues the article raises about gay marriage that still need consideration. These include (1) the “natural” argument, namely that a gay orientation is inbred in people, is the most fundamental point and cannot be changed (Meacham’s point), (2) the issue of inclusiveness (where the Miller article ends), and (3) the civil argument, namely that as a nation made up of a variety of people from a variety of backgrounds and views and with a separation of religion and the state, we should be careful not to legislate prohibitions of rights.

30 Comments

  • Avatar

    Aaron

    What did we win?
    Dr. Bock,

    While I agree with you on the morality, rather the immorality of homosexuality I have a some questions in mind about legislation. I detest the way people twist and distort what the text says, especially when they hate the text itself. (or they hate the ideas of the text…) I spent a lot of time, money and energy learning how to handle these texts properly (not to mention dealing with a horribly hard-nosed Luke-Acts prof!) so it pains me to see when people mishandle them. So, we are on the same page when it comes to the sinfulness of homosexuality.

    Where my questions remain unanswered is on the issue of marriage in the civic arena. In CA “we” (meaning Evangelical Conservative Christians) won when it came to prop 8 and the preservation of marriage. But what did we win? People have more contempt for our faith and it has to wait a while before it appears on the ballot again. It doesn’t change what has already transpired concerning civil unions and the like. In that case, I don’t know why I’m against the GOVERNMENT allowing gay marriage. It does not impose on my faith and it won’t cause me to change my position on homosexuality. Nor, will it magically open my church up to performing same-sex marriages. But will lobbying to keep it outlawed do harm to the reputation of Christians or, more importantly, of Christ?

    On the other hand, the government does pass laws to prohibit rights. (I can’t kill that lady who almost made me wreck b/c she was texting while driving…) Whether people like it or not, these laws are based on morality. (just some archaic law that say I can’t steal other people’s stuff, beat up my neighbor, destroy random public property) Personally, I would like the law to prohibit same-sex marriage even if it does prohibit their rights.

    Maybe my question is: where is the proper place to stand? Not so much on the issue of homosexuality (I’m firm on that issue) but where to stand on the issue of same-sex marriage in the context of public policy. The truth in love is a tricky line to walk.

    Any thoughts or words of wisdom o’ sage?

    Thanks

    • Avatar

      bock

      What did we win? dlb

      Aaron:

      As just noted, the question you raise is to be part of a post to come as I noted at the end fo Post 4. I actually think it is one of the more important questions to raise, because it relates to how a society made up of a variety of people with different values and religions decide how they will function together and what kind of a society do they hope to build. Part of this discussion also relates to what rights are  by definition and how are they protected legally, which is a question for lawyers and legilsators. All of this discussion is yet to come.

      dlb 

    • Avatar

      Terry Scott

      What did we win?
      I am a born again Christian for almost 40 years. I do not believe it has anything to do with us, we, them, winning or loosing, but about “God’s Children” “John 1:12” and obeying the God of the Bible through Jesus Christ. I know what the Bible says on Homosexuality and all types of other sins that “everyone” commits. You asked for confirmation “where is the proper place to stand” sounds like you are asking man’s approval on what God has said very clearly in His Word. As for People having more contempt for Christians, that’s GOOD! “2 Tim 3:12” That’s very clear in his Word also. You stated “I don’t know why I’m against the GOVERNMENT allowing gay marriage. It does not impose on “my” faith and it won’t cause “me” to change my position on homosexuality.” SIN should always impose on ones faith. Sin effects all of society in a negative way. Sin destroys society. Sin took Jesus to the Cross. People who continue in “any” type of Sexual Immorality are lost sinners that our Lord died for. Lost people should absolutely impose on us believers, that’s you and me. They will die one day and spend an eternity in Hell apart from God. What God has done is allow us believers to be imposed upon. “Matt 28:16-20,” We tell the good news and we suffer the “temporary earthly consequences” but have eternal heavenly rewards. You asked about “public policy.” I just wonder what Jesus will say when someone stands before his thrown and says “public policy said I could……….” Do you think He might say “well done good and faithful servant” or “depart from me I never knew you.”
      That question really is a no brainer. Hope this was not to hard. Love can be tough, and actually, really is, but never fails. If you are still studying I pray the Word and God’s Spirit will be your ultimate guide in ALL questions and decisions.
      Love
      Terry Scott

  • Avatar

    steph

    Although I’ve read a book
    Although I’ve read a book you co wrote with some other Dallas people, I forgot you were a fundamentalist. The way you read Genesis reminded me. You say that Leviticus deals with a variety of issues—some cultural, some cultic, and others moral and societal. Who decides which is which? You? People have often mistaken difference with wrong doing. Leprosy, mental illness, epilepsy, physical deformity. People of difference have always been treated badly through the ages. You speak of an “instinctive” reaction in non religious people … really? Who says?

    It is very difficult to distinguish between what you say in your post and what the article says. It might have been helpful if you had linked to it.

    • Avatar

      bock

      a book dlb

      Steph:

      I am not at all sure what article you are asking me to refer or link to.

      The distinctions I am making within the Biblical materials are made by theologians and biblical scholars in general (and not merely fundamentalists, a nice label I do not think applies to me but often used to try and dismiss a conversation).  Many of the distinctions I am making are rooted in genre choices (Narrative versus law and how they function). Others elements involve how the biblical materials function both within the same period and across time. Another factor is whether such topics are handled consistenyl the same way or whether what I have called counter-tone texts exist, showing the area is viewed with soem recognition of tension on the topic. These distinctions are quite old, a partof normal biblical hermenutical discussions. For example, several centuries ago, Calvin was aware of distinctions between moral, cultic, and civil elements in the law. So do not try to pin these distinctions on me. They are far older than I am– part and parcel of discussions about the Bible.

      As for who says on "instinctive reaction" among non-religious people, again this is not just my claim. To see the point all one has to do is see how homosexuality was treated by most across the centuries and cultures, some religious, some not.

      Now I agree with you that in the past some have equated simple difference with wrong doing. The list you make is a good one. A question is whether all differences are the same and are all causes the same. I actually plan to discuss this in a post to come hat will discuss the claim that these desires are innate. A question to ask is whether a given behavior is innate or can be changed. The rest of this discussion i will defer until that post.

      dlb

       

  • Avatar

    bock

    Visit dlb

    Raycol:

    Many of the claims on this site made about what the Bible supposedly teaches are dealt with directly in these posts.

    dlb

  • Avatar

    steph

    No, fundamentalist wasn’t
    No, fundamentalist wasn’t used to dismiss you. However I am aware that in that book I read you make very selective criticism of biblical critics without takiing into consideration good critical scholarship which lies between fundamentalist atheist and evangelical scholarship.

    If you consider this list and the causes of each abnormality later I have a feeling that you will decide that homosexuality is a choice that can be controlled. I’m such a pessimist!

    • Avatar

      bock

      No, fundamentalist dlb

      Steph:

      Yes, that is what I shall argue. Just as other moral choices to act as God calls. Philippians 4:13 and Romans 8 in the context of Romans 1.

      dlb

  • Avatar

    Chuck

    The Context of Romans 1
    Dr. Bock,

    Thank you for these recent posts, which have provided many insights to the pertinent passages addressed in the Newsweek article. You have done this in an admirable and irenic manner, even in the face of some comments which have been less than charitable towards you. As ever, you provide an exemplary model of 2 Tim 2:24-26.

    My only suggestion (if I can make one, with hat in hand) would be that perhaps it might have been helpful to your readers (and to your argument) to offer further insight into the thrust of Paul’s argument in Romans 1. Paul describes the practice of homosexuality among the Gentile nations as one aspect of the manifestation of God’s wrath upon those nations as a result of their suppression of the truth and knowledge regarding Him. Such practices were the product of God ‘s just judgment of giving them over to the depraved desires of their heart, by His refusal to restrain their evil in these areas. This sets the stage for the Apostle’s assertion that both Jews and Gentiles are under judgment and need the righteousness that comes through faith in Christ.

    Understood in this light, Paul’s condemnation of the practice cannot be restricted to just the abusive behavior of such emperors as Caligula or Nero, for he is addressing the practice among the nations as a whole. Furthermore, Paul’s understanding of the core issue–the suppression and exchanging of the truth about the Creator for a lie, and the resulting loosing of divine restraint upon man’s sinful inclinations–provides remarkable insight in understanding the radical shift in thinking about homosexuality in our culture…and what, according to the Apostle, lies at the core of it.

    On a separate note, in response to a previous comment, this issue goes beyond gay marriage to the subject of homosexual behavior itself. Over the years I’ve become friends with many men involved in the gay lifestyle, and have been offered firsthand testimony as to what they’ve both seen and experienced in the gay community. As a result I can affirm with great conviction that there is much value in resisting any attempts to establish the homosexual relationship as being on the same moral level as the biblical ideal between a man and a woman.

  • Avatar

    steph

    There you go – you are not
    There you go – you are not open to other views. All your reasoning is entirely biblical, you will always argue against homosexuality as part of our natural diversity and you will claim it is a sin.

    I look forward to meeting you again – and not talking about homosexuality 🙂

    • Avatar

      bock

      There you go dlb

      Steph:

      You are right. I have come to a conviction on this after working through it, just as you have. I look forward to meeting you again as well – and discussing other issues. 🙂

      dlb

    • Avatar

      Lynn

      False Representation of the Issue
      Dr. Bock, many of the statements made in this discussion have involved blatant untruths and distortions of the facts. It would be helpful in our attempts at being people of understanding, if provable and substantial truths are at least respected in the overall discussion. Whatever the ultimate belief that one is attempting to uphold on this issue, God is not glorified by any untruths spoken in His name. If one disagrees with this assertion, and believes the end justifies the means, then there is no point to this discussion.

      Before I address just one of these distortions–i.e. the use of “partial truths” to create an “appearance” of something that is blatantly false, which is frankly how the devil functions–let me say that I agree with you that this can be a tedious and somewhat painful discussion. In many cases, including some of the statements of the Newsweek article writer unfortunately, provable truths are disregarded in order to make one’s case. Grace and patience from the Holy Spirit is definitely needed in regards to this issue. I have no doubt that God has laid this issue upon His people in our day with His purposes in mind.

      Let me also say that I can testify that it is a fact of life that some people were born with an innate homosexual orientation, as is evidenced and apparent in the very makeup of some gay people, and as many of the parents who raised these individuals can testify to. I personally don’t believe it can be thought to be outside of God’s divine plan for His family, whatever one believes should be the correct understanding of the issue of committed relationships, and He is examining the hearts of all people.

      I would love to address Steph’s comment that your reasoning is “entirely biblical,” because while I don’t consider your belief illegitimate, there is more to the Bible than what you are speaking about…but I’ll keep my focus on one point. I would like to comment on Chuck’s statement in particular, regarding “the homosexual relationship,” “the gay lifestyle,” and “the gay community.” For convenience I’ll repeat it here:

      …”this issue goes beyond gay marriage to the subject of homosexual behavior itself. Over the years I’ve become friends with many men involved in the gay lifestyle, and have been offered firsthand testimony as to what they’ve both seen and experienced in the gay community. As a result I can affirm with great conviction that there is much value in resisting any attempts to establish the homosexual relationship as being on the same moral level as the biblical ideal between a man and a woman.”

      Frankly speaking, does anyone really have to explain that (1) the lifestyle of many gay people in the world does not represent the lives and hearts of all gay people, any more than citing the willful sins of Christians, today and in history, represents what Christianity is about? (2) Is this a just and righteous perspective, considering that many gay people love God and desire only a committed life-partnership? (3) Does it not defy reason to address the question of “gay marriage” by speaking of the individuals whose lifestyle shows that they are uninterested in commitment? Are the proponents of legal recognition and equal treatment in America speaking of these types of lifestyles? (4) Do the lifestyles of many heterosexual people not also have the characteristics of rebellion, unfaithfulness, inability to stay committed, violence, and promiscuity? Do these things represent heterosexuality?

      Our God is a God of love and truth, but these truths have no bearing to Chuck, and to the many people who applaud and agree with his treatment of this issue. Bigotry functions on generalizations, and I trust that most people recognize that it is fundamentally unjust. Chuck speaks of “firsthand testimony,” but what about the testimony of the tens of thousands of same-sex partnerships that are not described in the ways that his particular gay friends have educated him on? Chuck is using the lifestyles of people who do not regard God in the least to represent the nature of same-sex relationships in themselves, for the sake of dismissing the issue. It is simply untrue, and this is merely one example of speaking falsehoods in the name of God to make a case.

      Is God pleased when His people go so far in making their case that they actually speak lies and distortions in His name, using godless people to falsely represent both the issue itself and the people whose lives are about love and commitment?

      In response to Terry Scott’s comment regarding being unconcerned with “more contempt for Christians,” and characterizing the repulsion of some people to the Christian faith over their handling of this issue as “persecution” of Christians…this is not an example of persecution, or to be credited as such. Their repulsion to what they are hearing on this issue has absolutely nothing to do with the cross of Christ, His claims, or personal conservatism in the life of the believer, which are the only things that would constitute persecution.

      I would like to get a response from both Darrell and Chuck on my comment, which only seeks to serve the truth in love.

      • Avatar

        bock

        misrepresentations dlb
        Lynn:

        Welcome back. We do not need to revisit the discussion we had on monogamous homosexuality. We covered the issues in our post which is still featured in the sidebar (your question 2). I think your other questions are fair to raise. It does not advance the discussion to raise poor examples to make the entire case. Some do overargue the case against homosexuality. But let me make one point in their defense. It is very frequently the case that multiple partners do emerge from the initial choice to go this way, even if this may not have been the initial intention. So the point Chuck makes may not be as irrelevant as you imply. Having said that the other issues you raise about bad heterosexuality not defining good heterosexuality is fair. The question then becomes in a biblical context, as you also embrace this as a factor, whether there is such a thing as faithful homosexuality that is seen as biblically moral. That was the question we worked through on the earlier string that we will not revisit now.

      • Avatar

        Chuck

        Response to False Representation
        I would like to offer a short response to Lynn’s comment. I cannot respond to everything, but I would like to address what I see as the major points to engage in.

        1)Lynn, I find it a bit curious that you responded to what was in fact an addendum to my primary point while ignoring the main thrust of what I wrote. I would find the argument you advance more cogent or weighty if you were willing to interact with the text of Romans 1 to demonstrate why the exegesis I provided is faulty and why another is to be preferred. Your response—an attempt to persuade that some homosexual relationships can be honoring to God—completely bypasses engaging with a New Testament passage that is vitally important to this discussion, regardless of whether one is speaking of same-sex marriage or the gay lifestyle in general.

        2) As a molecular biologist I do not find the evidence for a person born with an innate homosexual orientation either compelling or persuasive (in fact, I find the evidence pointing in quite the opposite direction). But for the sake of argument, let us suppose that this is the case. Does that necessarily mean that homosexual behavior is moral and that society ought to endorse it? It is a logical fallacy to suggest that because something is natural, it is moral or should be accepted. Claiming that homosexuality is natural is insufficient to make the claim that it is moral or approved by God.

        3) By referring briefly of my friends in the gay community, it was not my intent to imply that the gay lifestyle of many represents the lifestyle of all. Nor did I intend to define one expression of homosexuality with another. Perhaps I should have been clearer in regards to this, and your pointing this out is a fair one for which I’m appreciative of. I do think that the claims that I am spreading falsehoods and falsely representing the issue goes well beyond the evidence present in what I wrote, though.

        However, this does not diminish my main point (or, more importantly, Dr. Bock’s point) which was whether Scripture provides any allowance for one to define any expression of a same-sex sexual relationship as honoring to God. The test for whether one truly loves and honors God is found in 2 John 6: “Now this is love: that we walk according to his commandments.” Biblical history is replete with examples of how people can create in their minds a false image of a deity, one who gives them license to pursue a lifestyle explicitly condemned by the Scriptures. True love for God recognizes and honors the commandments and prohibitions God has established. Therefore, living according to God’s instructions is the true test for whether an individual truly loves God or not.

        4) Lynn, you state that “Our God is a God of love and truth, but these truths have no bearing to Chuck, and to the many people who applaud and agree with his treatment of this issue” and refers to my approach as “bigotry”. I am not sure how an ad hominem attack on myself and others can contribute to the furthering of this conversation. Dismissing a person as one who cares little for either love or truth and categorizing them as intolerant of any opinion that differs from their own, rather than dealing with what they wrote in a subtantive fashion, tends to suggest an inherent weakness in one’s argument.

        To conclude, I would invite you to consider how you would answer the following question:

        “If it could be demonstrated from the Scriptures, clearly and beyond a reasonable doubt, that God condemns all sexual activity, other than within the context of the marriage covenant between a man and a woman, as sinful and outside His will—would you abide by and yield to that teaching? Would you faithfully communicate this, even to those many gay people that you perceive as loving God and desire only a committed life-partnership?”

        The answer to this question will help to provide a jumping point for further conversations on this issue.

        Best,
        Chuck

        • Avatar

          Lynn

          Response to Chuck
          Chuck, thanks for your response. I’ll be glad to answer your comments and questions.

          (1) To clarify, the main point of my response was not an attempt to persuade that homosexual relationships can be honoring to God, although it is my belief that they can be. My point was to highlight the importance of speaking truthfully and fair-mindedly in making your argument against these relationships, which I believe is sorely lacking in the church in the sight of all, and as I see it to be a disservice to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

          Regarding the Romans passage: I encourage readers to examine carefully the entire passage, with a view to the context that is being explicitly laid out regarding the type of person Paul is looking at.

          Your belief appears to be that this passage shows that same-sex intimacy is inextricably woven, and the same in origin, with the bad character and a godless spirit that he spoke of, i.e., (a) the denial of who God is, though they knew Him, (b) a heart that does not love God or give thanks to Him, (c) the worship of idols, (d) the exchanging of the “natural use” of body parts, which implies to me a sense of rebellion of spirit (as do the other points) as being the purpose of the acts, (e) which were committed in lust, and (f) the very extensive list of bad character qualities, of which these individuals were guilty and encouraged others to engage in.

          The fact that they were “turned over” to these things was related to God’s relationship with these particular individuals who had turned their backs on Him, and to anyone who acts rebelliously against God. This very extensively described character does not describe in the least the type of character of the individual that we are speaking about. Paul associated same-sex acts with this spirit of rebellion, because this was from his own awareness and his experience, and he had no reason to believe otherwise. I do not believe he spoke with full knowledge of the issue, which his description proves to me, and which I believe was the intention of God in how these references were explicitly written.

          The point of this passage was all about a spirit of rebellion against God. Biology itself (or body parts) does not constitute either rebellion or godliness–how one lives their life is what constitutes these things. He is a God of the heart. You are entitled to take this at face value regarding same-sex relations, but it doesn’t describe either myself as a person, or the nature of same-sex intimacy in and of itself, so I cannot take it that way.

          It is also important to note that the commandment of God is not to blindly follow every word of Paul, nor do we. As born-again believers, we are to rightly discern the natures of things, and we do not live by all instructions in Scripture, which is a teaching of the New Testament itself. This is an extensive study of the Bible, and some of what I have to say about this is in my subsequent comment that I posted.

          (2) As to being born gay: You say that the evidence shows that people are not born gay, but this evidence that you are alluding to is not the experience of those individuals who were born gay, myself included, which is evidenced from childhood. Many people would agree that a distinction can often be drawn between gay and straight individuals, for not all but for some gay people, based only on the inherent makeup of the person. For example, I always guessed that CNN’s Anderson Cooper may be gay. I looked him up on Wikipedia, and sure enough he is. To make myself clear, it is not a femininity that I see in this particular example, but it is something in his makeup and frame. For some gay people it is very apparent, and for others it isn’t. For some people it is merely a preference. In the understanding of many people, it is a fact of life.

          As to whether this constitutes “morality” or not: You and I apparently have a different understanding of what constitutes morality. I think it is based on how we treat people (or other living creatures). Morality and a love for God does speak against promiscuity, for very substantiated reasons, and it requires high standards. Economy issues are related to morality, as we are “mortgaging our children’s future,” in the words of one outspoken thinker. I don’t see gender-related condemnations raised in any of the most important areas of Scripture, e.g., the Ten Commandments, the teachings of Jesus Christ, or the Book of Revelation, which could have easily been done for the sake of the complexities of this issue. Jesus made no such condemnation. He spoke of a model of marriage, absent of any condemnation (except…). I don’t believe it is related to morality, and a condemnation that is based solely on a gender issue would be “legalism” in my view, and has nothing to do with the heart of the person or the fruits of deeds.

          (3) In your statement that I commented on regarding “the homosexual relationship,” what you are doing here is establishing your understanding of the larger social issue, based on a generalization from your experience with “firsthand testimony,” which completely ignores the testimony of the individuals for whom the issue of domestic partnerships is all about. Your words speak for themselves.

          In comparison, what you are doing is along the lines of citing the high out-of-wedlock birth rates of African Americans, in order to establish a view of these people and limitation of their rights, if we still lived in a society where this could be done. This would be an egregious injustice, and not a true representation of what it is about to be a black person at all. It is not how God judges people. If pointing this out is an ad hominem attack, you must believe that it is wrong to bring up these principles for the sake of truth and justice, which is all that I did in my comment. (The biblical issue is separate from this as a principle. In a fair and truthful discussion, it should not make a difference regarding the use of this tactic, which should not be needed.)

          As to spreading falsehoods, I believe it is clear that your statement feeds right into the beliefs of many people, as to how we should view gay people and what same-sex relationships are all about. It is a blatant misrepresentation. There are very different kinds of people in the world. You could speak about those realities in a different context, if it is done fairly, but not as a foundation for your beliefs about homosexual relationships. What you are talking about is very far from what is being discussed on the issue of domestic partnerships.

          (4) In addition to what I have said, I didn’t simply dismiss you without addressing your words, and I did address it in a substantive fashion. You used the lifestyles of some people to establish your beliefs on all gay people and relationships, did you not? It is a fundamental injustice and untruth. In my understanding, if you highly regarded speaking only substantiated truths to make your argument, you would not be able to address the issue in the way that you did. Love would require no less.

          In answer to your concluding question: If it could be established that God gave us a simple set of laws to live by, and did not also prolifically establish principles that show that we are not to understand His Word in this simplistic way, I would absolutely live by all commandments of Scripture. You seem to be reading a different Bible, where we are to live by all of the instructions therein. That is not the Bible that God gave to us. This is precisely why it is highlighted in Scripture that “love” is the entirety of God’s law. (Romans 13:8-10 among others) The commandment of Jesus Christ is to love your neighbor as yourself. He is a God of the heart, and Scripture shows a view to the fruits of deeds. He showed that it is possible to use the Law to wrongly condemn “the innocent,” and He commanded His people to be very careful in how we judge others, and that we are not to judge “according to appearance.” (John 7:24)

          He not only established His Word with a view to reason and discernment, and the true essence of righteousness (John 1:17 and others), He also created some people with a homosexual orientation from birth. God will decide whether people will be accountable to have understood this from evidence in the makeup of humanity, but I personally know it to be true. The God of Scripture is compassionate and reasonable, and I believe God cares about this reality of nature, and that the priorities of those who place heterosexuality above the gay believer are amiss. I have no doubt that the hand of God is upon this, and it is part of His plan. He will also be the Judge of people’s use of His Word, as to consistency and a thought process regarding its complexities.

          Chuck, I would like to know what your understanding is on what I am speaking about in my other post. It addresses complexities of Scripture and the church’s use and understanding of God’s Word. I’ll answer only briefly if necessary. I have a strong perspective on the issue, and I don’t wish to take over the dialog any further, but I do thank Dr. Bock for allowing an alternative view, and it speaks well to his integrity. He is entitled to his view. My main point, as I said, is to encourage truthfulness and fair-mindedness in how you address the issue. God needs nothing more to make His case on any issue. Thinking people deserve nothing less.

          In love and truth. Lynn

  • Avatar

    Michael

    Greetings Dr. Bock. I came
    Greetings Dr. Bock. I came across this blog when exploring Bible.org. I’ve never read any of your books, but I felt led to comment on your original post.

    Here is what I have to say:

    I agree 100%

    I’m a young lad of 20 (well, if you consider that ‘young’), and I’m one of the unfortunate people to struggle with this wicked attraction. I love the Lord dearly. He means everything to me. Looking back in my life, I can see how much He has blessed me. One of the greatest achievements that I give full credit to the Lord for was graduating as one of the 18 valedictorians at my High School. Currently, I have a 4.0 average in college. Another blessing from the Lord. But anyhow… I just felt like sharing some of the things God has done for me… He’s so very Good.

    I’ve currently finished reading the Bible all the way through for the second time in a row the last day of December. Once again, I’ve started back and I’m in Genesis. One of the things that bothers me is how people can read the Bible, and try to rationalize the scriptures on Homosexuality as nothing more than “something that was not accepted during that time.” People use the excuse that since we live in a different day and time, God must bend His Truth to match modern society. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Mal 3:6 For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.

    God’s statues are everlasting. They change only if He changes it. So, does God no longer consider homosexuality an abomination? Well, His Word makes it clear that it is still wicked. And God’s Word lasts forever:

    Psa 119:89 For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

    I thank God that I have not yet fell to this wicked attraction; the Lord has kept me from committing such an abomination.

    For those who live an active gay lifestyle, who may be reading this, I implore you to humbly talk with Jesus, the Son of God, and ask Him for forgiveness. Ask Him to come into your heart, and to wash away every sin. No matter how deep the stain of sin may be in your life, God wants to see you repent and live:

    Isa 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

    He would be thrilled to have you turn to Him for salvation!

    2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    Eze 18:23 Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?

    Anyways, I thought you had a good, solid defense Dr. Bock. Keep up the good work! And may God continue to bless you and your writing daily!

      • Avatar

        Lynn

        for the sake of discussion
        Dr. Bock, respect for basic truths may be exacting, but it is surely the cause of Christ and the God of truth, regardless of your ultimate conviction on the issue. What some people do in their own personal lives, including as you mentioned regarding people’s original intentions not being carried out, which is true for gay and straight people, does not represent the entire issue.

        I do thank you for allowing me a few more words in your discussion, and in no way do I expect you to rehash our entire in-depth dialog on the subject of monogamous homosexual relationships and the Bible. I’ve been very clear that I respect your right to your belief and your understanding of the issue, and that it does have a foundation in the Bible. I feel that the previous discussion became bogged down with various things, and I would ask that you please allow me the opportunity to, as briefly as possible, sum up my biblical perspective here for the sake of the discussion.

        It is basically this: The Bible that God gave to humanity is both a simple and a complex book. The way I feel that it is used on this particular subject is that it is, or it contains, a simple set of laws, end of story, which it clearly is not. I don’t think you would disagree with that perspective on Scripture itself. There are many laws that have no place in the Christian faith today. In fact, the Christian faith is not a religion of many laws at all, relative to the number of laws found in the Bible. The royal law of God is love, and all that defines love. (James 2; Romans 13:8) Many passages of Scripture establish this truth.

        You find that there is an emphasis in this particular area. I see a strength in other areas of instruction that the church applies a “discernment” on, and we do not embrace as a law of the faith today. I also see biblical substantiation for this reason, liberty, and discernment–principles which do not get talked about in depth, but the church functions based on agreement amongst the majority, which would not serve this issue well for obvious reasons.

        I want to make myself clear that my understanding of the heart of God on the issue is not about the “time” in which Paul lived so much, as Michael characterized the belief of those who embrace acceptance on this issue. Godless living is just as rampant today. It was about the particular “people” that Paul was explicitly and very descriptively referring to, and context is everything in understanding Scripture. God established His Word with an explicit context related to this issue, and this context is what Paul was speaking from in his view of the issue. You say that we should defer to Paul’s understanding on the issue, as the words of Christ and impossible that he spoke without full knowledge of the complete issue, but on other areas of Paul’s instruction a different understanding is applied. I realize you have explained your interpretation on this, but I don’t think this is untrue in principle.

        Your case is that the laws of Scripture remain the law of the faith, unless there is what you refer to as a “counter-tone” on a particular area. I feel that this point should be made, and I’ll be very brief, I see no counter-tone on tattoos, hair-cuts, materials of a garment, head coverings, and most importantly of all…remarriage after divorce. I believe it is clear that God established a “precedent” in regards to law and the essence of righteousness, and an explicit counter-tone does not need to be present for reason to be applied. (This change from the old to the new covenant, including regarding things that had the word “abomination” and the “death penalty” attached to them, which Sabbath laws did, has nothing whatsoever to do with God changing. God does not change, but the establishment of laws did change. Romans 14 among others.) This principle applies to anything that is “appearance-based” and has no bad fruits associated with it, which does not speak to the divorce issue, but this issue is an important point to raise in regards to our use of Scripture.

        I ask again that you will please allow me a few more words in this discussion, and I’ll leave you to the rest of your presentation. The discussion here is all about Scripture, marriage, and morality, and this area was never answered in the previous discussion.

        It is very striking to me that “divorce” is the focus of many people in discussing this issue. We are fallible people and two wrongs do not make a right, as you have rightly said. The issue that I see as most compelling here, is that “remarriage” is not condemned as “adultery” in the church, as Jesus Christ spoke about the subject, with the exception of cases of infidelity. It is not part of the movement of conservative Christians to uphold His explicit words on the subject of “the definition of marriage,” while they claim that “our laws are based on the Bible.” The movement has no problem with the indiscriminate sanctioning of remarriage after divorce. They are only interested in upholding something that He did not even speak on, which of course doesn’t make my entire case on the subject, but what a thing that conservative Christians are claiming here.

        I’ll let the discussion here go now, but I felt that this point should be made. It is not an impossible situation that has no answer. I think the teachings of Jesus are clear that “law” can be rigid and unreasonable in some situations. He explains this in Mathew 12, and in another sense in Mark 7, that laws do not necessarily represent inherent righteousness. This is reiterated in several ways in the epistles. Jesus’ very words on remarriage seem to be condemning the innocent party in the divorce, if remarriage takes place, and it is a fundamental truth that God will not be condemning “the innocent” in any given area. He will be the Judge regarding those who remarry, but He is a kind and merciful God as I personally understand the issue of remarriage. He has set high standards regarding commitment, but we can only speculate on how He will judge this. He called it adultery, it is not a situation that involves repentance because it is an ongoing situation, and adulterers are on the list of people who will not enter heaven.

        The point is that the church readily gives understanding to the divorced Christian regarding remarriage, it does not call this an adulterous relationship, and believes that God would want people to be fulfilled in love and to not be alone. Some would disagree, but this is the norm in the church. When it comes to the issue of the gay person, who loves God and seeks only to have a committed life-partnership with a person they can love intimately, a different standard is applied in resounding agreement. It seems that the definition of the Christian faith is on the line on this issue, while we don’t see any defense or outrage at all on the divorce and remarriage issue.

        One of the ironies is that I don’t believe the gay individual’s situation involves failure–unless they believe it is wrong in their heart and conscience and engage in a relationship anyway–but the divorce and remarriage situation does involve failure and a need for forgiveness. If a believer who was born with a homosexual orientation views this as a wicked desire, as many gay believers do, that is between this individual and their God. I can only speculate and I don’t want to disrespect anyone, but it seems to me that their desire is for sexual activity in a lustful manner, and everyone has to follow what they believe in their heart is right. But it is not this way for all gay believers, and what many people see is that the Bible is clearly not a simple book, where an explicitly stated context, consistency in our understanding and use of Scripture, and the themes of liberty, reason, and discernment do not need to be considered.

        You’ve said that the position of those who are accepting of same-sex relationships does not come from Christian values, but the values of love, humility, understanding, and consideration for all, are what should be the core values of the Christian faith. Dr. Bock, I was never looking for a way out of the truth of God, in any way, shape or form. These truths are compelling to me and I feel cannot be denied, as a faithful believer who loves God more than anything else in life.

  • Avatar

    lenscap

    It seems to me, that when it
    It seems to me, that when it comes to “thorny” issues like homosexuality, Christians have an “advantage” over, say, Muslims, who believe that the Qu’ran was literally dictated to Mohammad (on a mountain), and that every word is verbatim from God.

    Christians, on the other hand, are well aware that their sacred texts, although based on the teachings of the Messiah, were written by mortal men. Indeed, the Synoptics clearly point to a multiple (relative) views on the same subject matter, and therefore leave considerable space for interpretation.

    And, that the Gospels cannot be “etched in stone”, literally, like the ten commandments, is a great boon when it comes to social issues that evolve over centuries.

    For me, the Bible clearly states that homosexuality is wrong, and this is analogous to the Qu’ran stating that if all else fails, a man should beat his wife. In both texts, the injunction is written black on white.

    Few, would argue that muslims should beat their wives, under any circumstances (save self defence 😉 ) , and yet many Christians feel compelled to condemn and – for some – to outlaw homosexuality.

    So the question for theologians : why must the writers of these texts be considered to be “on par” with the Son, the Father, and the Holy Spirit – in the same way the Mohammad is considered to actually be God’s scribe?

    Aspects of the Qu’ran, regarding violence especially, could (in my opinion) provide to be a great undoing for the religion as a whole. Shouldn’t Christians regard some of the more archaic aspects of the Bible to be a long-term threat to the very survival of their religion? If Jesus’ message in the text of the Bible were truly universal, why would so many people not adhere strictly to it? Are we to believe that homosexuals, as well as Muslims, Hindus, Ashkenazis, Sephardics, are sinning according to each little prescription contained in the Christian Bible?

    I question why this tiny (biblically-speaking) issue is so important to Christians, when it so clearly distracts from the real message of the Bible. Could obsessing over the issue of homosexuality be considered itself a sin? Personally I think most people take the concept of sin itself way too far, but I do understand it to be that which will distract from the message of Jesus.

    (I agree with Aaron, in the first post, that how significant the issue is in the Bible is a fundamental question. My feeling is that the issue of homosexuality will create significant and catastrophic dischord between the pro and con groups in our society, but that – in theory – Christianity has a much greater margin for “perfecting” what the ultimate message of Jesus was, as in for example the historical Papal Councils.)

  • Avatar

    Chuck

    A Final Response to Lynn
    Lynn,

    Thank you for clarifying your position. However, I cannot disagree with you more, both in your faulty approach and treatment of the biblical text, and in your misrepresentation of my assertions concerning the gay lifestyle. In the end, I find the arguments you advance as being neither compelling nor persuasive. Since I believe that this kind of format is ill-suited for lengthy discussions on topics like this, I shall leave it at that. But if you’d like to pursue discussing this topic further with me via another format, I’d certainly be amenable to the idea.

    To conclude my final response in this thread, the position I’ve arrived at concerning same-sex marriage is shared and affirmed by many Christians who are well-studied on this issue. Among them are Dr. Bock (as demonstrated by his insightful writings here and elsewhere), Greg Koukl, John MacArthur, John Piper, William Lane Craig, and Dr. James White, among others. Rather than offer a lengthy critique of your earlier post, I would direct you to their writings, which I highly recommend. You will find well-reasoned rebuttals to the position you’ve adopted, as well as a robust apologetic for the view I advocate.

    • Avatar

      Lynn

      Seeking truth and justice
      Chuck, you’re certainly entitled to your opinion. I try to approach this discussion with humility and openness, while at the same time bringing out the truths of the Bible and the issue. I’ve spoken some compelling truths regarding the discussion at hand, which have gone unanswered by those who present a bold criticism of the conviction of many Christians, that the issue of homosexuality has been misunderstood and the Bible misused towards the lives of others. The fact that you are “unpersuaded” by these components of the issue and Scripture that I have raised, which is for the purpose of an honest discussion and thought on the issues at hand, provides no weight to the discussion.

      Understanding the truth is the goal of believers in Christ, or should be, and I don’t know of a better format on the Web at this time for this discussion, if for no other reason than the record of an open discussion. I said that I will be brief in answering, so all that was left to be done here was an honest address on your part regarding the question that I asked you, which you declined to provide, the reason being that an address of the words of Jesus Christ regarding marriage, and the pursuit of conservatives to establish its definition in the church and in laws of the land, would apparently be much too lengthy. (I neglected to provide this reference to the words of Jesus before, so I’ll do this here: It is Matthew 5:32. I see the innocent party in a divorce, in particular, in the same category Scripturally as the gay believer who loves God. He is a God of the heart.) You could’ve kept your comments simple, but no answer speaks volumes as to the integrity of your position. Is this segment of the body of Christ seeking the truth, or simply working to support a social club that sweeps clear and compelling truths under the carpet?

      As to my original address of your words, is it actually an insulting thing to speak to an address of the issue that purports itself to be assessing “evidence” on the issue, i.e. your reference to what you have heard about “the gay community,” while ignoring the evidence which shows that the lives of people in wanton rebellion and lust do not describe “the homosexual relationship,” as a concept in and of itself? Life-partnerships are not seen in the sinful scenario that you based your address of gay marriage on. In contrast, if you were saying that the statements of Paul were all that you need to know, that would be one thing, and God will be the Judge as to the substance and consistency of our beliefs, and I contend the Bible shouldn’t be used simplistically (unless, of course, you are speaking about “love” being the entirety of God’s law)–but you are speaking about evidence and testimony, and it is a patently false portrayal of the evidence. It perpetuates nothing more than prejudice, and this has nothing to do with the truth or justice.

      I’ll look into these authors and see if they have addressed the components of the social issue and the Bible, as you say they have. May God be glorified in and through those who love the truth, which is born out much more by all that we say and do along the way in establishing our beliefs, than the ultimate conclusion itself that we hold on the issues.

      A note to Dr. Bock: I read your final edition on this series, and my personal opinion is that it was fair. The social issue does have its complexities. Love is the goal of the church. I appreciate your time with this issue. Thanks again for writing about this and God bless.

  • Avatar

    Anonymous

    Gay Marriage – Homosexuality in the Public Square
    As a Christian, I agree that one of the key issues still left to come to terms with iand is still a dilemma to be considered, is the issue of our response to gay marriage in the public arena, vs. our view of homosexuality in the church. I, too, have no wavering that the practice of homosexuality is a sin (more strongly stated, an abomination in the eyes of God). I also believe God could very well “be done with us” as a nation when that nation “calls evil good — good, evil”, etc. As to how we respond as Christians in the public arena, I don’t know where the line, now that our society has decidedly moved to the inclusion of and acceptance of homosexuality as “normal” or even “good”. I know this: I was blind and now I see. I was lost and now am found. I was God’s enemy when He, by His mercy and grace, saved me. I also know this: that if we are not careful about our demeanor in the public arena, the world does not know us by our love for one another, but considers us only by our hate for everyone else. I don’t think this is what Jesus had in mind! I don’t think going on Fox TV and, with hateful or aggresive langauge, take our public stand as the “right-ones against the evil wrong-doers” builds a bridge to inviting others to receive the same mercy afforded us when we, as Christians, were God’s enemy. I don’t know where the line is in the public arena. I do know this: if our country should fall into the heart of the sea , should our mountains crumble and quake around us, even due to God’s wrath — after having seen that a nation has spit in His face, He is, nontheless God. He is sovereign. So fear and self-protection, and treating “unbelievers” as our enemy (as though we had never been God’s) should not be our demeanor, even if we come to the conclusion that we must take public stands in the public square. I am tired of seeing Christians in the news monger fear as offer their opinions frantically in a way that implies we “must” win the public or civil argrument, or all is lost. Even if we feel we are called upon to take public stands, The gates of hell will not prevail against the church, no matter what. We need not fear; we need not hate. Even if we lose our civil freedom of religion ( a horrible thing), The Lord almighty has already granted us freedom as His children. Freedom to love our enemies, privilege to be a part of His kingdom when our earthly one fails. Freedom to be his servants. Freedom and privilege to receive His mercy and grace, even though we hardly deserve it. That should influence our attitudes and demeanor, regardless of what action we believe we must take in civil matters, or interacting with those who do not know God.

    • Avatar

      Lynn

      Response to “Gay Marriage and the Public Square”
      One of the problems that I have with anonymous’ take on the issue, is that he/she seems to have embraced the idea that the social and political issue at hand is “Christians vs. non-Christians.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. As anyone who follows the issue knows, the Christian church is divided on the issue, and for good reasons. The complex way in which God established His Word should not be taken in a simplistic manner, as many would agree. The commenter states that he/she has no wavering that homosexuality is sin. (For the sake of simplifying, I’ll refer to the commenter in the male pronoun.) It is fine if an individual is convinced in his or her heart that homosexuality, in and of itself, is sin. This is all part of the freedom that God has given to people, and of course this belief is not entirely without a foundation. However, many people–including believers in Christ, who love God as much as those who believe that homosexuality is sin–would agree that this belief must rely on a selective and non-discerning take on Scripture, and must ignore many truths regarding the issue and the Bible itself.

      He goes a step further in his comment, in stating that homosexuality is an “abomination” in the eyes of God. One more step for mankind in the purposed use of “partial truths.” In the Bible that God gave to humanity, if it is taken in a simplistic and partial truth manner, if a man has bacon and eggs for breakfast, and mows his lawn on Saturday, he has both committed an “abomination” (consumption of pork), and is wholly worthy of “death” by stoning (working on the Sabbath). There is a slight difference in the meaning of the Hebrew words used, but this doesn’t take away the severity of the definition of any use of the term, and the word that is used on this issue is also used in other areas that are obsolete today.

      You can cite the fact that the New Testament places these serious commandments in a very different light, and therefore cannot be compared with this issue, but this precedent actually does much to establish the very point of the individual who sees the issue of homosexuality through careful and discerning eyes. One cannot honestly cite the “abomination” element of the commandment regarding “a man lying with a man as with a woman,” when an “abomination” in the Old Testament was specifically regarding the “Holiness Code” of the Mosaic Law, and is “obsolete” under the new covenant, in terms of being an authoritative law of the Christian faith. Many people would agree that it cannot be taken as a reference to the inherent character quality of something, but must be looked upon with all facts and truths taken into consideration.

      The Bible has a great many laws, particularly in the Old Testament. God has established a “new covenant” with His people, which He announced to His people in the Old Testament, and which has been established through the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. He has written His laws on our hearts. Maybe this is not the case for some believers, but I do not see this code written on the hearts of people today. The N.T. has spoken to this principle of God’s Word, in making it clear that the law of God, in its entirety, is love. This is love in its truest form, and the law of God for all time is limited to all that this defines. If the commenter believes that “love” cannot accept same-sex relationships in God’s family, and that the issue has been addressed in a complete sense in the Bible, that is between him and his God and he is entitled to his belief. Many Christians disagree with his view.

      Many people can see that there is a biological truth to the idea that some people are born with a homosexual orientation, so it becomes a question of how we are to understand the “letter” and “spirit” of the law, and our obligation to it as believers. Paul’s address in Romans 1 absolutely does not describe or define the gay individual or relationship in an inherent sense, any more than do the O.T. addresses of violence, utter disregard for God and humanity, and temple prostitution of all things. I suppose it would be difficult to actually prove this truth, but the gay individual can be as filled with the Holy Spirit and faithful as the most faithful of heterosexual persons.

      I have to say that this discussion never did yield an explanation of why it is that remarriage after divorce is completely acceptable in the church today, despite the words of Jesus calling this adultery, with only one exception and in no uncertain terms. The easy acceptance of disregarding this commandment of Jesus–who spoke no commandment regarding the homosexual issue by the way, and “adultery” is condemned in all of the most significant areas of Scripture–leads to a decrease of a deterrence to divorce. I make no personal judgment on the issue, because it is a complex issue and is for God to judge, but my point is regarding what is specifically written, and the necessity for “reason” to be brought into the picture on these issues. Has the church called evil good here, and vice versa? Or are the tenets of Christianity decided by popular opinion in the church, and what is considered “normal” by the majority? I wonder if the commenter believes that “remarriage after divorce” is an issue of the true Christians vs. unbelievers.

      I do appreciate any efforts to separate church and state, which I believe is for the cause of the glory of God and His eternal purposes, and a concern with how Christianity is perceived in the world. I will also say that what the public sees–those who do know God, and those who do not know our God and Savior–is not only the hateful and aggressive language of some Christians on this issue, but also that many blatant untruths are spoken by believers, for the cause of making our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters, our children, citizens, and neighbors “the enemy” of America and of the Christian church. My prayer is for humility, understanding, and truthfulness to be seen in the church of Jesus Christ.

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    Peter Rufus

    Raycol, needs a dictionary
    Here’s an excerpt from the site http://www.gaysandslaves.com/
    Note: it’s not an interpretation but a direct quote.

    The Bible nowhere says that all sex outside marriage is wrong.
    The Bible simply says that certain kinds of sex, e.g. incest and adultery and prostitution, are wrong. More details

    Funny how people can actually write stuff like this and believe that nobody sees through it. But maybe that’s because they’re blind and think everyone else is too.

    Dr Bock, I admire your patience.

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    L.L.

    patience, Scripture, and honesty
    …and yet, still no comment on Christ’s addresses on marriage, the laws of the land, and what He defined as “adultery” in its complete sense. Where is the integrity in the marriage mission? Should the laws address rampant divorce, which is seen both inside and outside of the church?

    For the record, substantial facts have not been addressed in this discussion, as of yet.

    God be glorified in truth and love, which is for all of His children.

    Note: Dr. Bock is long since finished with this discussion, at least it appears so.

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    William Ross

    Government matters
    Some have expressed the opinion that what the government does is irrelevant to the believer… but is it? My opinion is that a misguided law affects everyone.

    I’m not a “True Believer” so my opinions do NOT reflect anyone else’s opinion, but ISTM that laws establishing gay marriage are STOOOOPID, especially from a Darwinian perspective.

    How, in the frickin’ universe, could nature select gay genes? These are the ANTITHESIS to Darwinian philosophy! Genes that CAN’T POSSIBLY REPRODUCE!? How does Biology, as we understand it in the 21st century, accommodate that?!

    It doesn’t. “Gays” are gay by palate, not by genetics. There is NO FRICKIN’ WAY that nature selected gays. They are aberrant, abhorrent to nature, and in NO WAY are naturally selected – NOT ACCORDING TO DARWINIAN PRINCIPLES.

    Biologically, only a male-female union produces an offspring. Gays, by all rights, should disappear in a generation.

    So, I am AGAINST any kind of government sanctions against leaving one’s gay partner, ON BIOLOGICAL, DARWINIAN PRINCIPLES alone. Slavery was condoned by the scriptures. We can do without it. Screw the scriptures, and the Quran, and what have you.

    There is no Constitutional, no moral, no “faith of the Fathers” guiding principle to support gay marriage. Shove it into the woods.

    Stick with the simple facts: Only heteros produce the “scrambled eggs” that *require* societal intervention.

    Dang, I LOATHE the “CAPTCHA” system. What a frickin’ pain in the ol’ KIPPUR..

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    Anonymous

    My God is a Jealous God!
    Amen! To the righteous heterosexuals! I am excited this homo problem is finally being confronted in the light of the truth of God. The sooner mankind removes homos from the planet the sooner we can move on to enforcing the rest of God’s laws which are clearly written for all to read and obey or burn in hell. For instance…

    Children who refuse to obey their parents must be executed.

    If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear. — Deuteronomy 21:18-21

    He that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death. — Exodus 21:15

    He that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death. — Exodus 21:17

    That’s right! Blow that dust off your bible and read it yourself if you do not believe me sinners. If a child mouths off God says stone the imp unto death!

    First homos! Tomorrow mouthy children! Then Genocide for all who oppose America, Land of the free and home of the righteous!

    1 Sameual 15:2 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Muslims did to America, how they laid wait for him in the way, when he came up to New York.

    1 Sameual 15:3 Now go and smite the Muslims, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.

    Praise the God who loves me and not you filthy sinners!