Why Using the Bible Against LGBTQ People is Irresponsible

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Christians will go to great lengths to get God to consent to their prejudices. It’s actually quite astounding and equally sad. 

Every day I watch and read fellow followers of Jesus attempting to use Scripture to discriminate against, marginalize, and condemn people who identify as LGBTQ. They engage in the most protracted, passionate, theological gymnastics, arrogantly and confidently tossing out chapter-and-verse grenades in an effort to make the case that God has a problem with being gay and that the Bible is proof. They do this with great authority, unwavering confidence, and very little tolerance for dissent.

This is one of the most irresponsible things Christians have ever done.

In truth, only a literal handful of the Bible’s 31,102 verses mention what could be translated as homosexuality (an English word first coined in 1946)and in even those few cases the reference is solely to a sexual act, never to anything remotely resembling what we understand as gender identity or sexual orientation. The reason for this is quite simple: such complex ideas were beyond the grasp of the writers, just as the shape of the planet or the inner workings of the human body or the nature of gravity were. This is understandable. They had no knowledge of how the brain worked and so they could only observe behavior and imagine that was the extent of sexual identity. 

This is the greatest flaw in attempting to use the Bible to address the intricacies of human sexuality—that it is woefully inadequate for that specific task. The Bible did not drop from the sky and it isn’t a product of Divine dictation where God took over the faculties of the author. It is a sprawling library of 66 books, orally preserved and then written down over hundreds of years by dozens of disparate and largely unknown, very human authors in multiple languages, during which time the concepts of gender identity or sexual orientation were formed at only the crudest levels.  

The Bible is a product of its time and culture and contains the inherent limitations of its writers. It isn’t an attack or mutiny to admit these things, it is simply being honest with our sacred text. Even fundamentalists and Conservatives understand this. We see it in the way our orthodox Christian understanding and approaches to slavery, women’s rights, mental illness, and divorce have all evolved with what we’ve learned over time. It’s the reason we no longer stone adulterers or accuse paralytics of moral failing or imagine Hell sitting below a flat earth.

This is why arguing incessantly about a handful of parsed out lines of Scripture, as if these verses answer the complex questions of sexuality is such misguided time and such a misuse of the texts themselves. Using these few bits of text to justify discrimination and bigotry is reckless and irresponsible. We don’t rely on the Bible to understand gender identity and sexual orientation for the same reason we don’t rely on a 2,000 year old medical text to understand the circulatory system, or use ancient hieroglyphics to map out the Cosmos. We know that these things are not enough because time has taught us.

When we put our bodies in the hands of surgeons, we want them to bring every bit of study and experience and historical learning to bear, because of the complexity of the task. We wouldn’t accept that what we knew in the first century was at all adequate. In fact, we’d demand that anything antiquated, technologically or intellectually be discarded. That is the only responsible decision when life is in the balance.

In this and in so many other ways, God has given us time as a gift in which to gain understanding about the world and about our bodies and our brains, that we didn’t and couldn’t know two or three thousand years ago. We gladly and wisely use this experience without giving it a second thought, without exception. In every other sphere of life, this is how we live; allowing new revelation to help us make better decisions and to override information when it proves to be incomplete or erroneous.

The damage the Church has done an continues to do to the LGBTQ community by trying to claim the writers of the Bible understood things they simply couldn’t have understood about sexuality, is one of our greatest shared sins. We need to allow all that we’ve learned to inform our faith perspective. We can go to the Scriptures for wisdom and guidance and inspiration, but we should never go to them as authoritative textbooks on biology or anatomy, and never as an excuse to ignore what we’ve discovered since they were first recorded.

If we don’t see and consider the Bible’s limitations regarding the complexities of gender identity and sexual orientation, we will continue to try to use God to reinforce our fear and sanction our prejudices, and we will continue to engage in behavior toward the LGBTQ community that makes our violence and mistreatment feel righteous, while not at all reflecting the love of Jesus.

282 thoughts on “Why Using the Bible Against LGBTQ People is Irresponsible

  1. Always so wise and so balanced but it will no doubt raise the ire of the fundies and their ilk and set them in a rant that will get their knickers in a total knot. Just wait and see.

      • Once upon a time there were fundamentalists and there were evangelicals. When evangelical turned into the more attractive term, many many many fundamentalists started calling them elves evangelicals. It’s very hard to know whom is whom any more except for those of us who are not either.

        As fro name-calling, is it ok for fundamentalists to call themselves fundies? And the rest of us are not allowed to use that term? Because I have seen more than one person on this blog refer to themselves as fundies. So perhaps anyone who picks up on their use can be forgiven for usin g the term not knowing one had to be a fundie to use it without pejorative connotation in the same way black folk can use the n word and we white folk can’t.

    • Mr. P demonstrates “very clearly” that is better for us to use our Bible to confront our biases rather than to use them in an attempts to confirm them.

  2. The Bible has way more text regarding monogamous, committed relationships being essential. Seems we should be encouraging that amongst any consenting adults rather than attacking their choice of a partner!

  3. Wow! Clear and concise!!

    Funny how what we fear and what we don’t understand causes us to put up defenses and offences all out of proportion to the subject at hand.
    And we all do that in some form or another about all of life.

    Fear and hate are such a drain on society, money and most of all our energy and health.

    • I think the important piece of the puzzle that many Christians miss is this…what did Jesus have to say about homosexuality? After all, as a follow of Jesus (which is what makes you Christian), this should be the standard used. It is a very short book with absolutely zero words. There is a lot of push to apply levitical laws and old testament condemnation when we talk about Christian viewpoints. I understand that the Old Testament is a source of history for the traditions from whence Christians came; however, it is just that – history from where they came. Jesus brought freedom from the law and a new covenant. If you are not accepting of the new covenant and live your life under the rules and laws of the old covenant…is that really what can be called Christian? Or are you something else entirely…neither Old Testament nor New Testament, neither Jewish nor Christian? That isn’t an argument or a condemnation. It is a genuine question that I have yet to get an honest answer to. It isn’t up to any other man to determine if his neighbor is sinning. Love the sinner hate the sin is just disguised hatred for both but it makes the person doing the judging feel better about themselves. Neither should people be so quick to talk about things they don’t understand as disorders. Being gay is not a disorder, and this has been proven so long ago and so repetitively that ignoring it now has to be a deliberate act of willful ignorance…not in an insulting way (ignorance of something is not the same as being stupid by any means). After all, if Christians start bandying around that things they do not understand are disordered they are opening themselves up to being labeled as having disorders as well because there are so many people who do not understand the lives they are leading as Christians.

    • I take the concept of love seriously because I’ve had to fight for two decades just to maintain it in the face of rabid hatred and bigotry. I have little respect for the way the empty word “love” flows off the bile-spitting tongues of so many Christians, who daily make a mockery of the concept. This gay man neither needs nor wants your arrogant judgmentalism masked as “love.”

  4. Dear John P., I love what you have written. It is common sense, it is sane. Something that I have grieved over is the use of the Bible to combat mental illness and to watch mentally ill people I know abused and traumatize by people wanting to cast demons out of them. Or be abused and traumatized by people telling them they have a mental illness because of unconfessed sin in their lives or because they have not fully yielded their lives to Jesus. This damage was done to people in the name of God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit by other people using the Bible to diagnose that which the Bible never addresses.

    I know this post is going to bring out many voices in disagreement. Some people may choose to disagree with you in respectful and validating language. I welcome those who can write in that way.

    But there will also be many a shrill screed written in the most insulting language the author can come up with. Those people are here simply to be trolls. We should ignore the writers who use such inappropriate, demeaning, divisive language and only respond to those who choose to be polite, respectful and validating of those with whom they disagree.

    I think the last two paragraphs are so important, I quote them here to emphasize them. Those who disagree might benefit, in my opinion, from reading them to look for what Johnis actually saying and not what they think they are saying.

    “We can go to the Scriptures for wisdom and guidance and inspiration, but we should never go to them as authoritative textbooks on biology or anatomy, and never as an excuse to ignore what we’ve discovered since they were first recorded.

    “If we don’t see and consider the Bible’s limitations regarding the complexities of gender identity and sexual orientation, we will continue to try to use God to reinforce our fear and sanction our prejudices, and we will continue to engage in behavior toward the LGBTQ community that makes our violence and mistreatment feel righteous, while not at all reflecting the love of Jesus.”

    • I suggest you re-read those last two paragraphs, again, Joe Catholic.

      Bishop Rhoades is just plain wrong.

      I always wonder two things about the loudest of voices against homosexuality. The loudest of voices are usually males. The first thing I wonder is :how deep in the closet are they?

      The second I wonder is if they are not deep in the closet, are they afraid of being raped? Because, you know, we women learn to be afraid of rape at around age fourteen (unless we have been sexually molested at a younger age) and we live with that fear in the back of our minds all of our lives and yet we don’t use that fear to denounce an entire segment of the population.

      The Bible is not a scientific treatise and never will be. People’s sexual orientation is determined in utero.

      People are people are people exactly as it delighted God to create each one of us as unique individuals.

    • The Roman Catholic Church is just one more church out of money that claims to be the one, true, and only church of Jesus Christ. Get in line. The line continues at the rear.

    • Nobody who is nonCatholic is buying anything you have to sell. Churches who claim they are the one, only, and true church are a dime a dozen. Like I said, the line starts at the rear.

    • The Church is messed up about sex – and the teachings on homosexuality are rooted in the same misogyny that afflicted the macho Men of Sodom. They treated women as less than men – and their proposed use of a violent sexual act against strangers was an attempt to show that the men of Sodom are the strong he-men while the visitor-victims were debased, defiled and less-than-women.

      Before the Church can civilize its teachings on homosexuality, it must review and reform its teachings on the treatment of women.

      Perhaps the best theological source for such an i ternal reform, is a nice book (complete with nihil obstat and imprimatur) called Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven, by former theologian Uta Ranke Heinemann.

      Start there, and the rest will eventually follow.

      • “There is no “mistreatment” of women in Catholicism.”

        — That statement made me laugh out loud. Barring women from all of the major positions of leadership (priest, pope, bishop, etc.) is not mistreatment? Demanding women live their lives as human incubators and telling them they have zero rights over their own bodies is not mistreatment? Teaching women they are subservient to men and, hence, must obey their husbands is not mistreatment? Let me guess, if “Bible says so,” it can’t be wrong.

        “The Church will never corrupt doctrine or dogma to please the world, as do progressive christians.”

        — OK, cool – it’s pretty fun to watch those kind of churches tumble, kicking and screaming, into the dust-bin of history and become more and more irrelevant by the day 😀

        • Where did you get the idea that women have no rights over their bodies in Catholicism?

          I hope you’re not referring to killing a fetus as a “right.”

          Have you ever been a Catholic? Have you learned anything about Catholicism from any source other than its detractors?

          • The Catholic church is massive and there are many different kinds of perspectives within the church. In fact they disagree and argue quite a bit about everything from how the service is ordered to birth control to tithing. They are liberal, traditionalist, ultra-traditonalists, charismatic, greek orthodox, eastern orthodox, evangelical, roman catholic, opus dei, mariologists, (and yes I have catholic friends) so I don’t think you are speaking for everyone.

        • I was expecting you to say “Christians persecute non-Christians”

          I am in between (trying to decide to be a Christian or not), now I have decided.

          In all of the websites written by Christians about this same topic, not once have they called names, made fun, or bashed on Atheists directly. Then I read this Atheists work that call Christians “irresponsible” and even calling their faith “sad”.

          And these comments (once again from Atheists) are even worse. Referring to Christians as “immature” and “dumba*s’s”. On comment even stated this:
          “it’s pretty fun to watch those kind of churches tumble, kicking and screaming, into the dust-bin of history and become more and more irrelevant by the day”.

          I have made my decision. And if you ask me, the title about Christians being the immature ones have got it ALL wrong.

    • If you believe every word of the Bible then I wish to point out the end of Revelations to you. Which strictly says do not add or subtract from this Book, the Bible. You are adding 2000 plus years of imperfect human thought to it. The Catholic Church has added much that isn’t in the Bible. Venal, and mortal sins, one of the more obvious things. Your priests can’t marry, but in one spot in the Bible it is talking about Church leaders being the leaders in their homes. You can claim it is the Church all you want, but I don’t believe it. I will quietly follow Jesus as I was taught, and confess my sins to God as I was taught. I would thank you to stop shoving your legalistic doctrine down my throat.

    • Dear Joe Catholic, when you base all your arguments on the ” supremacy ” of the Catholic Church as the sole authority on all things Christian, indeed, when you proudly refer to it as ” The Church “, dismissing all other forms of Christianity as inherently ” inferior “, well, why would anyone take you seriously ? You ignore the historical fact that the Greek Orthodox Church is considered by many scholars to be much closer to the original Apostolic Church tradition than the Western ” Catholic Church ” .

      You also ignore the historical fact that when Constantine ( who really didn’t “get ” what being a disciple of Christ really entails ) made the Western Catholic church the ” official religion ” of the Roman Empire he did so for political rather than religious goals and sadly began the corruption of the Gospel message by subsuming it to secular politics that continues today, most notably in the USA’s ” religious right ” evangelical machine. Of course your assertion that the Catholic Church ” has faithfully passed down the teachings of Christ for 2,000 years ” is laughable. Jesus never proposed that his earthly mother Mary be elevated to near-equality with Him, nor that prayers be offered to her or any other human being. Nor is the selling of indulgences found in scripture, nor the mandatory celibacy of the priesthood, nor for that matter any actual ” priesthood ” that acts as a go-between of mankind and God at all . Rather the New Testament teaches that as Christians we are ” a priesthood of all believers “, all lead by the Holy Spirit Who ” leads us into all understanding ” .

      Now I’m not a Catholic-basher in any way. They did carry the Word forward through the first 1500 years in the West, although albeit with many horrendous, un-Christlike heresies along the way, like say the Inquisition, the slaughter of Indigenous peoples in the New World of the Americas, many utterly corrupt Popes, but they kept a glimmer of the Truth alive in numerous individual saints until the Reformation brought much needed changes within and without the Catholic Church. And in the 20th century the Catholic Church has been a leader in the pro-life movement, meaning not merely the anti-abortion part but also anti-war, anti capital punishment and the Civil Rights movement. But get over yourself, bro, you never had nor ever will have the sole possession of the Gospel. that belongs to Christ alone and is available to all human beings through Scripture, faith and the direct revelation of the Holy Spirit. Not just to the Pope. Even as much as I love Pope Francis he isn’t any closer to God than I am or anyone else who is born again as a new creation in Christ Jesus.

      • Neither you nor the Catholic Church gets to define whether Protestants taking Communion are truly having a ” Holy ” experience, only God, Who alone knows perfectly what is in the heart of each human, has the right , the ability and the authority to determine such things.

        As for ” having an authority ” to guide me in understanding sacred texts I have the only true ” authority ” , God Himself in the Holy Spirit Who lives in me and just as Jesus promised us in John 14:15-17 and 16:12-15 , guides us into all understanding . If you don’t literally have the Holy Spirit living in you but must rely only on some priest to guide you then you Joe are the one lacking any authority. You seem pretty ignorant of what Scripture really teaches from your comments, but then many Catholics, especially older ones, are like that because they were never instructed to read the Bible growing up.

        As for ” understanding the Catholic perspective ” I already have a Catechism and a NAB translation to reference what Catholics believe. I actually like much of your theology and your liturgy , but sadly you don’t have the lock on truth you wrongly think you do. You should realize that false pride is the source of almost all sin, a flaw you exhibit repeatedly in your comments.

        BTW, i didn’t say I thought you were boasting that individual Catholics were better than other Christians, that at least is to your credit. But no, you simply cannot prove that ” the fullness of all that God reveals to mankind subsists in the Catholic Church ” . The sole Truth is that in Christ alone such fullness subsists, not in ANY man made religious institution. Why else does Scripture say this ?

        I have no doubt of your sincere belief in what you say, just don’t expect someone who is Born Again and thus ” free indeed ” like myself to buy what you are selling. I talk with God daily, not needing any other human as an ” intermediary ” between myself and my Lord & Savior. The good news is that we will both be with Him in glory eternally. Too bad you think you’ll have to wait for an indefinite time in Purgatory before you see Jesus lol, another belief with absolutely NO basis in Scripture .

    • All of a unified Christianity can trace its origins back to the Council of Nicaea, in AD 325. It is disingenuous to claim the Roman Catholic Church is “the one.” If credal Christianity is the basis, then the Roman Catholic Church would be the schismatic body, having changed the Creed, by the addition of the filioque, from the Creed adopted at Nicaea. With that change, the Roman Catholic Church’s separation form Orthodox Christianity would give its foundation as a separate Church to AD 1054.

      Jesus, though, was not so choosy – so long as “two or three are gathered” in His name, He is with us. One can argue theological concepts without resolution, but when I analyze the worthiness of a religious tradition, the first principle is to evaluate whether the tradition’s teachings and tenets do any harm.

      Traditional Christianity, whether it be Orthodox Christian, Roman Catholic, Mainline Protestant, Evangelical, Fundamentalist, or however it might be characterized or classified, often fails the test.

      A serious re-evaluation of those aspects of moral theology that do harm is in order, and until that is done, the whole theological house of cards falls – because when a Church claims to have all the Truth, it cannot stand if even one iota of its teaching is in error. And trust me, there is more than a single iota that is in error. Look for Robbie George’s Achilles’ Heel – (hint, you canfind itt, if your ead tthis 2009 article very carefully; http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/20/magazine/20george-t.html

    • The problem is not so simple. When someone believes down deep it effects their decisions. Those decisions then effect others. Look at the church and government deciding to stop sending condums to Africa during the aids epidemic. Religious grounds that condemned thousands. Instead we sent a pamphlet. That is not harmless. Science not superstition .

    • Galatians 1:8King James Version (KJV)

      8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached

  5. This is what I always suspected about the Bible privately. I didn’t see someone like me represented in stories at all. I suppose I identified most often with eunuchs but I am told I am nothing like them either. Even the verses used to condemn me didn’t fit my experience or tell me who I am. I felt vindicated when I learned that homosexual was added to the text in translations and did not represent the real word used. What I did see in the Bible was God’s undying love for me. That truth is clear. The truth of Gods’ love for ALL is undeniable.

  6. None of this matters if you believe that the Bible is the direct word of God, who, having created mankind, would know all about sexuality and identity, and further would have made the human authors of the books of the Bible to speak about it in the language and for the condition of their time but in such a way as to be applicable to future ages. That’s some serious writing chops.

    The historical context of the creation of the Bible is well-taught in seminaries, but never revealed to the parishioners. It’s a common lament of clergy everywhere.

    The first step in establishing control is to silence analysis and dissent. Positing that a corporeal text is the inerrant world of God, not the inspired writings of believers, is the first step, of which many sects, Christian or Muslim, are guilty.

    I of course agree with John here wholeheartedly, but know it won’t change those who most need enlightening.

    • well said, mosswings, i have a question about this bit “The historical context of the creation of the Bible is well-taught in seminaries, but never revealed to the parishioners. It’s a common lament of clergy everywhere.”

      isn’t this part of the job of the clergy?

      • We’ve had this discussion with our pastor. He’s close to retirement and doesn’t want to rock the boat and possibly lose members. Well, he lost us, we’ve moved to a different denomination that is more open

        • My point is this is the job of the pastor, priest, minister from day one, “Not rocking the boat” is not part of the job description. If the boat isn’t being rocked, then the clergy are failing to do the job.

          JohnP is an excellent boat rocker.

          • I sure think it’s the pastor’s job to enlighten the congregants, not just regurgitate Bibilical chestnuts. I have been told, and have read variously, that the scholarly study of the Bible includes its historical context, but in order to maintain the viability and patronage of the congregation, the pastor must attend to the congregation’s desires – they, after all, keep the physical church going with their contributions and labor, and with it, the pastor’s job. One cannot learn if one does not want to listen.

            Long ago, my pastor chose to teach the whole of the context of the Scriptures as well as the content of the passages. Brave man. For his diocese, it was the right thing to do. He became a Bishop quite quickly. In the next county, things were often different.

            • Mosswings, you wrote “I sure think it’s the pastor’s job to enlighten the congregants, not just regurgitate Bibilical chestnuts. I have been told, and have read variously, that the scholarly study of the Bible includes its historical context, but in order to maintain the viability and patronage of the congregation, the pastor must attend to the congregation’s desires – they, after all, keep the physical church going with their contributions and labor, and with it, the pastor’s job. One cannot learn if one does not want to listen.”

              I hope you don’t think I am advocating the regurgitation of Biblical chestnuts.

              I also think that giving a congregation what it desires is insufficient. Clergy are supposed to challenge their congregations to grow, individually and corporately.

              Some pastors weave the historical. contextual, etc context into their sermons quite skillfully.

              • Not at all, Gloriamarie, just giving a little more context to my previous comments. As I noted , my pastor of long ago was just such a skillful weaver, and our congregation was the better for it.

    • Even for those whose tradition is sola scriptura, there is wriggle room for interpretation of exactly what that “literal interpretation” is. I have made it a habit of arguing the meaning of the “clobber vesrses” that are used against LGBTQ people, and my “literal interpretation” is every bit as good as theirs. When I throw in a few other passages, they can only disagree and at that point it is just a matter of my pearls against their swinish stubbornness. (Scriptural allusion, not literally intended – though I usually part with my Mt. 25 reference to those goats).

      • I’ll take 2,000 years of Church teaching over your agenda-based “research” any day.

        Besides that, even the “sola scriptura” guys have homosexual acts nailed as serious sins without the help and guidance of the church. It’s as plain as day.

        And what about just plain common sense. Excuse me for speaking plainly, but a man’s reproductive organ is designed to connect with that of a female. Is it even logical to consider combining it with an anus of another man?

        • Anal sex is not exclusively a homosexual act, heterosexuals do it as well. I know of two male couples who have never had anal sex yet they are married. I guess they get ignorant comments and questions from people about them having anal sex and they get tired of it. Sexual intimacy between LGBT people is a loving act which is much more than your misinformed mind knows. or understands.

          • It’s not exclusively homosexual, but it’s disordered. And if there is a homosexual act, they are doing something with their sexual/reproductive organs that does not and cannot lead to reproduction. I am aware that not all homosexual couples do that, but I was using it as an example of what should be an obviously disordered act. I don’t believe it can be a truly “loving act” if it goes against natural law and God’s law.

            My mind is informed by my Church on this topic. My Church is informed by Christ.

            Compassion is needed for people with homosexual inclinations. It’s NOT compassionate to enable or encourage them to sin.

            • Just how do you propose exercising any kind of real control over the actions of others, especially when you do not even remotely know the majority of these others? Repeat after me: I have no personal responsibility for anyone other than myself. I do not control the lives of other people.

            • Benny, it’s not my business what two consenting adults do in the privacy of their home to give pleasure to each other. I really am not interested in thinking about it. All of the repressive laws that are meant to control our sexuality cases sexual shame and sin. This is what the law does. It perpetuates wrong thinking about God’s gift to us, our bodies.

              sex abuse is harmful.

              sexual intimacy blesses the union of two souls.

              In closing you need to doubt that love between two men cannot “be truly loving” because it is the only way you can accept what you believe.

              Please uphold your beliefs about sex and I will uphold mine.

              But also be open to understanding that sex is not something the church controls.

    • Correct. 1946 sounds like the start of the Kinsey studies.
      The first gender-affirmation surgery happened in 1930 in Germany.

  7. Thanks for the post, John. For the most part, I agree with you. But I think you don’t go far enough.

    I’ve come to the conclusion, after studying the Bible for 35 years, that the Bible is the word of man, not God.

    Leviticus was written LONG after Moses lived, if he ever existed. It was likely written after the Babylonian exile. What the authors of the law did was take their own prejudices, the majority opinion among the religious Jews, and give it the stamp of holy unction by putting it into the mouth of God.

    Think about it. It wasn’t like the ancient Israelites were freely practicing homosexuality and, of a sudden, the law comes along and tells them it’s a sin. “Oh, we shouldn’t do that? Oh, okay. I guess we better stop. Thanks, God. Homosexual sex was fun and all, but I’ll do what I’m told.”

    The truth is that God doesn’t speak to man, at least not clearly and unmistakably. At least that’s what my experience of zealously trying to follow Jesus Christ for 35 years tells me. We all get “impressions” or we “feel the Holy Spirit confirming the truth” of something or a particular verse “speaks to us”—but never anything specific. We all instinctively distrust anyone who says they speak for God, don’t we? That’s because we know God is mainly, if not totally, silent.

    God wants us to figure things out on our own. I mean, if he can speak to man, why not give us something that can actually help us, like the cure for cancer?

    Instead we get a lot of ridiculous rules, in my mind obviously man-made rules. For example, check this out from Leviticus 14. It’s what a leper has to go through should he want to be cleansed from his uncleanness.

     First the leper must bring the priest two clean birds, along with some cedarwood, crimson yarn, and hyssop.
     Then the priest sacrifices one of the birds immediately—over fresh water in a clay pot—and then dips the living bird, the cedarwood, the yarn, and the hyssop in its blood.
     Then the priest sprinkles blood on the leper and releases the living bird.
     Then, seven days hence, the leper washes his clothes, shaves off all his hair and bathes himself.
     Then, on the eighth day, the leper takes two male lambs, free of blemish, and one ewe lamb, also without blemish, as well as a grain offering of choice flour mixed with oil, back to the priest, who will make of them a burnt offering to the Lord.
     Then the priest ribs a bit of the blood from the offering on the leper’s right earlobe, on his right thumb and on the big toe of his right foot.
     Then the priest sprinkles the leper with the oil seven times—not six; seven.
     Then . . . only after all of this is complete shall the leper be considered free of the sin and guilt that led to his leprosy in the first place; only then shall he be allowed to rejoin the community of God.

    God wants us to figure out things on our own. He’s not speaking.

      • I agree.
        More importantly, your point delivers the critical distinction faith requires. As Christians, we should understand – the Jewish law of the covenant has been replaced through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
        Yet, we labor and perhaps for some are amused with the never ending debate between traditional and progressive perspectives.
        Last, – I reject the “us vs them” perspective so often promoted here and by those of both perspectives.
        Jesus Christ ministered and showed mercy on the human condition – in this he healed the sick and those poor of spirit – encouraging all – “to go and sin no more”.

        • There is a word I heard first decades ago, not sure if i was in college or seminary at the time. In either case, it was used by evangelicals. Bibliolatry. When people worship the Bible more than they worship Jesus.

          “Yet, we labor and perhaps for some are amused with the never ending debate between traditional and progressive perspectives.”

          I had to chuckle at this and mean no disrespect by it. “Traditional” and “progressive”, when applied to views of Christianity strikes my funny bone. As immersed in the writers of the Early Church as I am, I am very much struck by how the so-called progressives echo the writings of the Earl Church, which is perhaps as traditional as it gets.

          Of course, if by traditional one means Reformed, then I would counter that Reformed is not traditional at all as it is only 500 years ago next year that the Reformation started.

          I too am uncomfortable with the “us vs them” mentality. I think an either/or approach is never helpful. One of my professors of the Hebrew Scriptures empahzied over and over again that the Hebrew Scriptures do not allow for an “either/or” because it is always a “both/and” because the Hebrew can hold two seemingly contradictory ideas in tension because both/and are true. That has always fascinated me.

          Perhaps Anglicanism is the only bunch of Christians who have incorporated that into their theology . To much “either/or” going around, in my opinion.

          • I share your perspective with a good heart and a shared appreciation for humor that is often missing.

            As a student of early church history – I have found many of the “issues” we see presented here – have already been addressed or if you will, debated and arguably resolved within the Christian theological frame work available today.
            It is with this perspective I selected the “traditional vs progressive” labels and my rejection of the “us vs them” (groups) paradigm that has only one purpose – to divide.
            Interestingly, we are counseled as (individuals) to discriminate as Christians – to discern good from evil – to be guarded and ask not to be led into temptation.

            • I would disagree that we are counseled to discriminate. Jesus does say pretty emphatically that we are not to judge unless we ourselves want to be judged.

              If we are to discern anything, it is that we are, I think, supposed to discern good from evil. I would suggest that what us merely sinful, and that perhaps only in the eye of the beholder, is not necessarily evil.

              I personally don’t think homosexuality to be a sin. What I do consider sinful is when we Christians turn our backs on those things of which Jesus actually spoke and commanded us to do such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, providing for those unable to provide for themselves, and visiting the prisoners so that they do not despair. I believe if we gave ourselves over to those things we would all fall into bed at night too exhausted to worry about who was able to find love in this harsh world.

              • My selected words, by definition are accurate. To conflate “discriminating” with “judging” is simply a sophomoric characterization of both the modern definitions and of course the numerous New Testament discussions about the physical world we inhabit.
                Interestingly, your own expressed personal opinion, by its’ very nature, is a “judgement” – “I think homosexuality is not a sin.”
                Regardless, your negation of a value does not necessarily make the behavior or your judgment valid.
                This is a very old theological argument (as I suspect you aware) and one through God’s love was resolved through Jesus Christ.
                Ergo, my attempt to discriminate between individuals and groups within the context of “us vs them” and its intent to divide.
                Regardless, we are called to be charitable (as you wrote above).
                In my opinion, the American Christian body (groups) and (irrespective of denomination) has been and continues to be the most generous the world has ever seen.
                It provides the means for those (individuals) with little or much to give as the spirit of Christian charity and mercy compels.

                • OK, if you are going to call me “sophomoric” I gotta tell you that does not meet my definition of agreeing to disagree in a respectful and validating manner.

                  • You’re working from a false premise – specifically, “you” were not called sophomoric rather your decision to conflate two separate words and the resulting characterization was.

                    In fairness, finding or rather creating a slight when none was intended or exists is more than revealing – as is your stated need of agreement and the validation of others.

      • I’m sincerely asking Gloriamarie: how is Jesus any different than the rest of the Bible? What we know of him is also based on accounts & stories told by others passed down over time. I understand the deep seeded need to encapsulate/personify such a perfect love, to make it accessible. But this longing spans all religions. Why is it you think that Christ is the one and only word of God, as you say? I truly want to know.

        • I say Jesus is the word of God because John 1 tells me so. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

          The Bible is not Jesus,

          “Why is it you think that Christ is the one and only word of God, as you say? ” Where did I ever say this? What I said was that when people speak of the Bible as the Word of God, they are mistaken because the Bible explicitly states Jesus is the Word of God.

          • Ok, you say Jesus is the word of God because the Bible (John 1) says so. Why? How is this different than anyone else who believes/interprets any other part of the Bible?

            My question remains: Why do you believe this part above all other parts?

            • Carmen, I honestly don’t understand your question.

              Here’s how I approach understanding the Bible and what I was taught.

              If one is truly desirous to learn what the Bible said, one must read the selection in the original language. One must place the book within its cultural, historical, societal context. One must understand the grammar and the linguistic nuances.

              As for my own personal belief system, I believe the entire Bible. I appreciate that some of it is Wisdom literature and not meant to be taken literalistically. Some of it is the Law, some of it is the Prophets, some of it is the New Testament.

              Translations can be very flawed. Men have often translated the Bible according to an agenda. Too many people irresponsibly isogete the Bible rather than exegete it.

              I don’t knwo if I have answered you questions, but I have tried my best.

    • With all due respect, studying the word of God for 35 years means nothing in and of itself.
      You’ve simply come to your own conclusion which you have every right to have. God doesn’t Force us to love Him, believe in Him or his word, no more than you can force someone to love or believe in you. If someone doesn’t believe it’s the inspired word of God, you might as well throw out the Ten Commandments…. the moral compass. This Earth is certainly not the Garden of Eden, so I hardly doubt that anyone has the purity of mind to even come up with them. If one does believe in the Almighty creator, it would be incredulous to believe that we know more than He does.
      You mentioned cancer, cancer is a billions of dollars industry per year. the cure for cancer is already out there, and yes, I work in the medical field. You’ll have to do your own research as I have on that one, I’m not even going to try to explain it here. If you factor in the word $greed$ and big Pharma its self- explanatory.
      In conclusion, The Book of John teaches us about Jesus’s work on earth and the nature and characteristics of God himself, so we do get a “glimpse” into who God is. Read Timothy chapter 3 verse 16, the inspired word of God , Leviticus chapter 18 verse 22 and the abomination of homosexuality. And finally Malachi chapter 3 verse 6 about God and that He changes not. No where does God say we should treat the homosexual Community with rude and vicious comments etc..Remember Jesus healed anyone who asked Him, whether they believed in Him or not.
      We still love our children even when they have disobeyed our rules…. sometimes theres punishment correct?
      God loves everyone, but he has rules too.
      God has made his word clear enough for all of us to understand. But our sinful nature wants us to try and change it to meet what we want! Why do you think God let the Israelites wander around the the desert for 40 years? Because they wanted it there way! ….yet He was more than patient and loving to them and prepared daily sustenance and didn’t let them go hungry did He? He did so until they understood. He put up with all the whining and complaining for 40 years and today God is no different he still puts up with our whining and complaining.
      So we can all believe his word or not. It is it is our own sinful Minds that lets us think that we can get over on God’s word.

      • Ah, a “clobber verse.” You write: Leviticus chapter 18 verse 22 and the abomination of homosexuality.

        Douay-Rheims: Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind, because it is an abomination.

        That is fine – a single act is forbidden. But exactly what is it? Is it a reference to the kind of violent act the Men of Sodom wanted to perpetrate? For a man to treat another man like a woman?
        Or do we take it in context with the prior verse, and relate this to the “sacrifice of seed” by having non-reproductive sex with a female, male or eunuch priest/ess of Molech as a sort of sympathetic magic to encourage crops to grow?

        Whatever it is, it’s not anything at all about a loving same-sex relationship, where a man might have sex with a man *as* a man, and not to treat him as “less than a woman.” And it’s not about practices involved in worshipping with the “competition” that held sex out as a sacrament – one can see a parallel with Roams 1 here – it’s not the same-sex sex that is bad, it is acting against one’s nature *and* in the fuurtherence of a “sex as sacrament” tradition.

        I would imagine that if Moloch-worship, or Bacchic or Cybelline rituals were the mainstream religion, with sex as a sacrament, there would be believers scoffing at those ancient Christians with their cannibalistic theophagy practices (the wquivalent of calling their “sacramental sex” something like “temple prostitution.”)

        David and Jonathan kissing in the field until David literally “grew harder” (‘cried’ harder is NOT an accurate translation) is a story that gets cut off before it natural follow-up (but that’s okay, they were a married couple).

  8. Thank you for saying this.

    But, sadly, you can’t have a Bible based argument with people like this blog author who don’t believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. If Scripture isn’t innerant, you can twist it to believe whatever you want or whatever your feelings or emotions or current events of the day are telling you. I had a feeling he didn’t believe in Scriptural authority in his last blog. This just affirms it. No wonder he never uses Scripture in his blog posts.

    Props to use for sticking with Scripture. Build that house on the rock. It’s much more steady than building it on the sand.

    • Ben, would you please define what you mean by inerrancy?

      What I was taught at my evangelical college and later in my evangelical seminary is that inerrancy applies only to the original autographs which we no longer have. It does not apply to translations.

      • You can’t have a serious conversation about inerrancy when Jesus said the mustard seed was the smallest of all seeds. Taken literally, he was wrong. Perhaps he meant “the smallest known seed”. Perhaps he meant “the smallest visible seed”. Or, perhaps it is the spirit that is inerrant, not human understanding, human language, and human interpretation of written words.

        • Which is exactly why we can’t use the Bible as a scientific text, Rebecca. I like your questions.

          Ever since I learned of the ancient grains of amaranth and teff, I’ve been curious about the mustard seed. Amaranth and teff are seeds smaller than that of mustard. While i don’t know if these grains were grown in Israel, they were certainly grown in countries that traded with each other 2,000 years ago.

          While the point is not really what is or is not the smallest seed in the world, the point about the mustard seed is one about faith, which is very true.

          But the Bible is not inerrantly true that the mustard seed is the smallest. Given what I was taught about what the doctrine of inerrancy actually means, I’ve always wondered what seed was actually mentioned in the first autograph of this gospel.If a different seed was mentioned. We will never know, of course.

    • If you believe that the Bible is innerant than why aren’t you killing homosexuals? Lev. 20:13 says “If a man has sexual relations with a man……They are to be put to death. Their blood will be on their own heads”. Do you actually believe this? And so, the Bible seem to contradict itself because it also says “Thou shalt not kill”. It’s obvious that we have misinterpreted many parts of the Bible. There is no harm in admitting that we’ve been wrong. In fact, it is very freeing.

      • Go to the original languages. Lev 20:13 is one of those mistranslations – the literal meaning is more about the place where a man might have relations with another man. Doing it “in a woman’s bed” is what appears to be forbidden. It is only in faulty translations that this gets turned into “gay sex.” And even if we look to the more traditional interpretation, that is rooted in patriarchal misogyny – the idea that women are less than men, and it does not refer to a loving gay relationship. but rather to a macho dominance act – the macho using the act to prove he is the macho and the other man is “less than a woman.”

        Either way, this is not about loving same sex relationships. Literally.

  9. John P says that ‘the idea of gender identity, and sexual orientation was beyond the grasp of the writers of the bible.’

    I disagree. They understood it all too well, from the prevailing culture that surrounded them.

    Same sex relationships, and partnerships have been around since 5,000 BC. Or before. The Sumerians, the Babylonians, the Uruk, Hindu, Maya, Zurvanists, Shinto, Buddhists, Mana, Inuits, Aztecs, had a place for homosexual & pansexual partnerships in their religion. And often, it held an elevated or set-apart position in their cultures. It was embraced, accepted among certain parts of society, even celebrated, and sometimes financially beneficial.

    [Basically, the only religion that does not allow for it is Judaism/Christianity. Go figure.]

    But, I guess that’s all changed now.

    By the way, those other cultures were all merit-based. In other words, they believed humans were good, and good deeds could earn rewards in afterlife. They also embraced or accepted magic, occult, ancestor worship, honor killings, child sacrifice, nature worship, temple prostitution, child brides, abortion, widow burning, polygamy, mass suicide, self-worship, infanticide, cannibalism, sex slaves , divination, pharmacia trances & rituals. [To name a few of their ‘enlightened’ religious practices.]

    [Strangely, Judaism/Christianity forbid those spiritual practices. Go figure.]

    • A very broad brush you’re painting with. In reading this comment it would be easy to think that all of the above religions practiced all of the above rituals, until Judaism and Christianity came along.

      Didn’t happen that way. The Axis religions (Abrahamic, Buddhist, Hindu, Confucian, Daoist) direct rejections to the sacrifical belief systems that preceeded them (and many of those religions you cite long predated them). I would argue that Hinduism (which of the 33 M Hindu religions are you talking about) didn’t quite get rid of some of the sacrificial aspects of its predecessors, but Buddhism sure did. Most of these religions had very strong gender role prescriptions. Buddhism doesn’t, and doesn’t say much about sexuality other than to not become addicted to it. Sure, most Buddhist monks in the East are men, but that’s cultural, not philosophical.

      Now let’s consider what nominally Christian/Judaic faiths practiced after their revelations: child brides, yep; infanticide, yep; honor killings, yep…I could go on. It’s easy to confuse what’s cultural with what’s religious. Most of Europe is culturally Catholic, but not devout. Much of what we call the Buddhist East is a cultural overlay on “fundamental” Buddhism. And don’t get me started on the cultural soup that is the Indian Subcontinent.

      • In Hinduism some god’s are from home sex ( two male gods coupled n created another god). So far I know there isn’t sacrifice in Buddhism.
        Jesus clearly says not to kill. Which Bible passage allows for child bride / infanticide / honour killing? Please do not forget we are Christians, we follow Jesus. We don’t follow moses, David nor Solomon.
        There are evil people in all the religion. If you want to know more study about Jesus and his disciplines not the church. In the same way if you want to know about islam study about Muhammad and his companion s, not the present day Muslims. Stay blessed.

  10. Hundreds of people show up to LGBT Pride festivals in various locations throughout the world every year, Bibles in hand, blasting signs also in hand. They use blow horns to shout angry and hateful words toward LGBT persons telling us how God hates us and we are condemned to hell. No, they are not trying to convert us. They are trying to shame us. For what good reason? They whip us with hatred while believeing they are saved and beloved. They have direct access to God and know everything about the Bible, yet they advise their “neighbor” rather than loving us as their spiteful selves. Not exactly a selling point for Christianity or Christian love. Not all Christians behave this way, but until the Christians who disagree with these hateful ones get out in the streets to demonstrate love and redemption, the rest of you are not off the hook.

    • Dawn, I am so very sorry that this has been your experience. I wish people didn’t act like this.

      When men and women act in such a homophobic manner I wonder how deep in the closet they live because all those horrible things they do reminds me of a case of “methinks thus dost protest too much” as my mother always used to say.

      When males act in such a homophobic manner, I wonder if it is because they have a fear of being raped. In which case I want to say to them: get over it. We women live with a fear if being raped once we turn 14 or so, unless we have been molested at an earlier age. If we women can live with this fear and still enjoy the company of men, then homophobes who are afraid of being raped can do exactly what we women do which is learn to live with it. We women don’t expect all men to disappear. So homophobes need to take responsibility for their own issues and stop blaming LGBTQ people.

        • Hubert, I am thinking you don’t like the reflection of yourself that you see in the mirror that is Jon P’s words. Because you certainly do misunderstand what you claim to have read.

          Please read it again. It takes nothing away from the Bible to say what it actually is and what it really is not and has never been.

    • I don’t know about other places, but in Ottawa, Capital Pride Parade always has a very strong representation from several different denominations as well as many individual churches. Clergy wear their collars. Church members carry processional banners as well as placards with Bible verses that support the love and acceptance of all people. We even regularly had a rabbi in full ceremonial garb marching with us. When we pass by, the onlooking crowd always erupts into spontaneous applause. Some start to cry and immediately receive pastoral care. I know the church contingent is strong in parades across Canada. It is happening, but it doesn’t always get the press that the haters get.

  11. I would rather call myself a follower of the way. There weren’t any “Christians” until long after Yeshua’s death, when much of the editing and additions Romanized the writings of the faithful.

    • It seems to me that Love was Christ’s theology. And yet we’ve made a religion out of Christ himself. Why not keep it pure? The Way, being the way of Christ, is Love. Everything else is a distraction.

      I’ll be surprised if I get an answer other than “the Bible tells me so.”

      • Thank you for your question Carmen. There are historical writings outside of the Bible that mention Jesus. From a historical perspective they are persuasive that Jesus was a person who lived and died. I came across this knowledge when I studied History at university. I found the following excerpts for you to read. Interesting to see the life of Jesus through non-christian eyes.

        “Nero fastened the guilt … on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of … Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome….”

        Tacitus, the Roman historian, A.D. 64,

        “On the eve of the Passover Yeshu was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald … cried, “He is going forth to be stoned because he has practiced sorcery and enticed Israel to apostasy.”

        the Babylonian Talmud, a collection of Jewish rabbinical writings compiled between approximately A.D. 70-500

        “The Christians … worship a man to this day – the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites, and was crucified on that account…. [It] was impressed on them by their original lawgiver that they are all brothers, from the moment that they are converted, and deny the gods of Greece, and worship the crucified sage, and live after his laws.”

        Lucian of Samosata was a second century Greek satirist.

        “They were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food – but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.[10]

        Pliny, a Roman governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor. A.D. 112,

        (he asks Trajan’s advice about the appropriate way to conduct legal proceedings against those accused of being Christians. Pliny says that he needed to consult the emperor about this issue because a great multitude of every age, class, and sex stood accused of Christianity.)

        “About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he … wrought surprising feats…. He was the Christ. When Pilate …condemned him to be crucified, those who had . . . come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared … restored to life…. And the tribe of Christians … has … not disappeared.”

        Josephus, a first century Jewish historian. On two occasions, in his Jewish Antiquities, he mentions Jesus.

          • Not sure what you are getting at Charles. But the evidence I offered are valid historical documents. I thought you being an academic with an archaeological background would understand that

          • Maybe not. I’ve tried with all sincerity to respond to the questions you posed as best I could, according to my understanding.

            If ultimately your question has to do with why did the church develop as it did, I can’t answer that question here because the answer is much too long. People needed to be taught about Jesus.

            The other thing is that you pose it as is the answer must be an either/or, when , ultimately, the answer is a both/and.

            It is your choice to see “everything else as a distraction” but I have no idea what you mean by “everything else.”

          • Okay Carmen. I will try. This wordy but bear with me.

            I spent a life time believing in the Bible and the Christian religion but had a difficult time connecting with the multitudes of doctrines and denominations. I researched other religions as well. In addition I have had a personal experience in my life which confirmed my faith in a Christian God. Other Christians call this a testimony. But I don’t want to draw attention to my experience because it is personal and often times recalling a testimony overshadow the simple telling of the life of Jesus, which is out there for all to think about and discover on their own.

            For me the importance of the existence of Jesus, is his unique example and teachings. What he taught was controversial and turned the idea of how we live in the world upside down. He taught that there was no more ” eye for an eye”; he taught that we must love our enemies; he taught that our words must not harm others; he taught that we must not objectify others sexually; he taught that we must not abuse our privilege; he taught that we must not be greedy and stingy with our wealth. In every way the things Jesus taught threatened those who cannot forgive, who slander people, who make sexual conquest their hobby, who are obscenely rich and powerful. People like that have something to lose. Even in this Jesus does not condemn but offers the opportunity for everyone to repent. Not by fighting and tearing others down but by making peace. Forgive them for they know not what they do.

            The importance of the existence of Jesus I see is that out of the great people in history he doesn’t lead an army and was not an emperor of great a civilization on this earth; rather he leads the way through a narrow path which demonstrates by example how to make the hard choices of peace and love.

            Mahatma Ghandi learned from Jesus. He studied his life and said that he chose the path of non-violence by learning about Jesus in the Gospels. This is why Ghandi said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” That is a blanket statement because so many fail to follow Jesus; instead they claim to have his power but by their actions and words deny love and deny him. There has always been humble people who follow the example of Christ but the worst examples have sometimes had the biggest impact and voice.

            It says in the bible that those who are not against me are for me. This is why anyone who says the teachings and life of Christ are good and should be followed are friends of God, not enemies. This is why I don’t care about someone’s religion. If someone is peaceful, generous and kind I stand with them. They cannot help how they were raised or what they know and God is great enough to understand that.

            We will all end up at the same place when our journey is one of love, because I believe God knows how to draw those to him who choose good. In the story of Cain (before religion, before Abraham, before Moses, before Jesus came to show us the way) God extended a hand to Cain, after he murdered his brother. According to scripture he said to Cain, “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it.” Sin is contrary to our nature and we must rule over it; meaning we must employ our effort to choose good over evil.

            I think a lot of the observations JP makes in his blog are valid because many worship God in vain. They do not truly practice love as Jesus did. Rather they hold on to a form of worship that they have been taught; they hold to the methods of force and coercion which is used in the world to make people submit to their own will and deny the power of love and conciliation with each other.

            Jesus sat down with Pharisees. He was in their homes; sat at their dinner tables and ate with them. Does anyone believe that Jesus sat in someones house and took a scroll from the temple and read through it in their presence scolding them? The bible tells a story of a Pharisee who loved and respected Jesus so much he bought the burial shroud for him. That is controversial. There were Pharisees who loved and knew the person of Jesus. What kind of man inspired that kind of devotion?

            Jesus gives us hope by his example not because he overcame the Roman Empire though force but because he overcame the greed and lust for power that perpetuates an oppressive regime.

            In terms of all the fire and brimstone teachings of the Bible being thrown around from time to time in the comments on this blog RE: the end times; Jesus won’t need to come back to earth with an army to slaughter people he will need to come back to earth to pick up the pieces after we have slaughtered each other. The people who will be there with Jesus helping him restore a broken world are those who are ready to love, help, heal and de-program a damaged, indoctrinated and lost people. If people would only take up the true cause of love and work towards peace, by disarming ourselves, there would be no one left fighting.

            The story of Jesus is one of service towards humanity and ultimate sacrifice in the face of hate and violence. And the concept that Jesus is called the son of God, son of Man, Lord, gives me hope that there is a God who loves and is merciful.

            Without that example of Jesus I don’t think I could even begin to emulate a life of love and forgiveness. Jesus said he would help those who followed him. So I have faith in the words attributed to him. Hope this helps you understand the dept of my belief and devotion. Would love to discuss more if you have more questions, Carmen

              • Carmen, Thank you for questioning us believers and challenging us. Sometimes I wonder why you put up with us 🙂

                I am curious what you believe. Are you agnostic?

              • Carmen, do you like classical music? Today just happens tp be the 499th anniversary of the day Martin Luther started the Reformation by posting his 95 theses to the door of the Cathedral in Wittenberg.

                This piece was written to honor that occasion. Hope you like it.

                In honor of the 499th anniversary of the Reformation:

                • Yes Gloriamarie, thank you, I actually LOVE classical music. I’m in the process of relearning Beethoven’s Moonlight sonata currently.

                  I’ll have to give this a full listen tomorrow while I’m painting.

                  • Not sure it is suitable to listen to while painting. but you decide.

                    What you you paint? I paint icons and have an FB group called Painting the Mystery.

            • Kathy, thank you for your words. You explain so beautifully what being a Christ follower means to me.
              I’ve been reading John P’s blog for some time; I appreciate your insights and feel your heart in your posts.
              Take care

        • Many scholars see at least some of those references as having been later interpolations – the Josephus reference being one of those. Pliny, on the other hand, is likely to be real. The key is when the writer seems to start writing in a different voice. (Theologians who trace three different threads in Genesis, for example . . . )

      • “I’ll be surprised if I get an answer other than “the Bible tells me so.” Well, ouch.

        I would agree ith you that Love is foundational to Jesus’ teaching. He tells us to love God with every fiber of our being and He tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. He gives some very explicit examples of what love of neighbor looks like. All positive actions.

        How do I know what Jesus teaches? It is in the Gospels and all the other books of the New Testament.

        BTW, it is incorrect to speak of Jesus in the past tense, because He arose from the dead and is alive.

        • I am deeply curious about things. It isn’t with the intention to hurt, just to understand.

          I know what Jesus says to do. And I think most people do these things to the best of their ability. Those who live in alignment with his teachings do so out of pure joy. No matter what verb tense is used.

      • There’s an excellent discussion of the importance of the Testaments at this link about the story of Shammai and Hillel:
        http://forward.com/culture/14250/the-rest-of-the-rest-is-commentary-02564/

        It appears that Christ himself was as dismissive of study of the Torah as those today who complain. The criticism of Christians therein appears to be that Christians, from the outset, disregarded what had been written down in the old Testament in order to “love their neighbor”, and that formed a new religion. But that’s not exactly true. One could say they were simply following the advice of the often forgotten second half of Hillel’s answer to the Gentile: “That which is hateful to you, do not unto another: This is the whole Torah. The rest is commentary — [and now] go study.” Study. Understand all of the Torah, including its context, its authors, and how its message changed over time. And apply. the results may be surprising.

  12. The writer’ analysis is a serous deliberate Attack against the Bible and Christians. His analysis is so idiotic deserving no time to react to it.

  13. If Joe Catholic would read his catechism verses carefully, he would find that there is an almost schizophrenic disconnect between the “Under no circumstances can they be approved” in 2357, and the “They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. ”

    While this is a result of a distinction being made between the “act” and the “person,” the resulting advice (obligatory celibacy) is barbaric when attempting to impose it on sexual beings. It also conflicts with Paul’s advice in 1 Cor. 7:8-9.

    The catechism reference in 2357 mis-references sacred scripture as being the source of the Church’s misguided and evil Tradition, and the last three sentences, appealing to natural law, actually represent a perversion of nature – homosexual behavior occurs in nature – it is not only something that occurs in humans and somehow “against nature.”

    Then look at 1 Sam. 18:3 – where David and Saul’s on Jonathan get married (covenant to become one soul). Much as where an opposite-sex couple marry to become “one flesh” a same sex couple can marry to become “one soul.” The difference being that a same-sex couple is not naturally capable of reproduction – but reproduction is not the reason for marriage, it is a byproduct (see the aforementioned Corinthians reference). The purpose for marriage is to provide a licit outlet for sexual activity for those who cannot contain their libidos. All Christians are called to celibacy, not only gay ones – and marriage is only for those who are too weak. The great Sin of the Church is its opposition to the sacramentalization of same-sex marriages, albeit in the tradition of becoming One Soul, rather than One Flesh,

    • The last part of Mt.19:12, which the Catholic Church cites as an inspiration for priestly celibacy, says “He that can take, let him take it.”

      That ties in with my citation of 1 Cor. 7:8-9 – celibacy is a voluntarily chosen thing.

      Making it obligatory, solely for those with a natural same-sex attraction, *is* barbaric. Especially when the moral theology is twisted in such a way as to refuse to gay people the married state in accordance with the Davidic tradition of becoming one soul.

    • Well, it hasn’t done a very good job of changing the world has it?
      Gay people are not disordered. Over 99% of sex enjoyed by heterosexual couples is recreational; reproduction is not an issue. Why does it become so when you want to disparage gay intimacy? Reproduction and what you see as an inability to ‘properly join reproductive organs’ really don’t enter into the matter, just as they don’t when you and your wife (or whoever) have sex for pleasure and to express your love for each other.

    • Actually, what Paul said is that engaging in idolatry is what somehow magically creates same-sex attractions in people. You’re welcome to believe that patently false nonsense if it makes you feel less guilty about how bigoted you are.

  14. It is not for me to judge the world, that will be up to God, but we, as followers of Christ are to talk WITH the world about what God’s word tells us all with regard to His plan of Redemtion, His Love and Grace for falled man/ woman, and yes if you choose to not accept this gift of redemption, at the time of His choosing will come judgement. But the obvious difference with the writer and the follower of Christ and the point where he lost me was when he stated; the Holy Bible is not the divine inspired word of the Living God. Well there it is!

  15. So what I have read is a perspective and follow ups from “christians” on how the Bible is not accurate, man is now smarter than his Creator, God was not capable of dictating His Word to His believers and that the early church was ignorant to the modern progressive movement.

    Camen asked a great question, should have been a statement of warning. The theme of this is deism, not Christianity. JESUS is Lord. Sent by the Father to die for repentant sinners. I recommend those on this blog do so. The Bible is the loving Word of God. Not to be altered. I read this and felt I’ll that some in the church calling themselves “Christians”, which by definition means a follower of Christmas that Believes the Bible to be just as it says it is. Yet here is a blog doing the same and rewriting history. The Bible and history tells what happens to the church when led astray, the wolves in sheep’s clothing that fool the church, and culture that head down this path.

    Galatians 1:8King James Version (KJV)

    8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached

    • The problem Anonymous is that you preach the same gospel that the Apostle Paul was warning his Galatian friends against—reinstituting the Old Testament law that had passed away. All you fundies do it. Get yourself save by grace and then get busy focusing on the Old testament law and using it as a checklist to scrub off your sins. The choice is not grace + law. If you are going to be a Christian, you have to accept the grace in full and reject the Old Testament law because Christ fulfilled it and its has fulfilled its purpose in leading you to Jesus. It is a spent rocket booster stage. It is falling back towards Earth after burnout, but you want to leave your spaceship headed to Mars, fall down onto the spent booster stage and demand that it rejoin with the rocket. When will you fundies ever learn what every other kind of Christian on this Earth has known for 2,000 years?

      • “Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:17-19)

        • An excellent example of proof-texting, lifting a verse out of context to prove a point that the selection does not make within its context.

          Do you keep a kosher home? Do you avoid blended fabrics? Do you eat shellfish? Do you eat pork? If your answer is “yes” then you are violating the Law.

          Read further in the same chapter and see how Jesus spins the Law on its head.

          Matthew 22:36-40New American Standard Bible (NASB)

          36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and [a]foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”

          We Christians need to be busy with what Jesus actually tells us to do. Not sticking our noses into what is none of our business.

          Honestly, if we invested our days making sure we were loving our neighbors by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, providing for those unable to provide for themselves, and visiting the prisoners so that they do not despair, we would fall into bed too exhausted at night to care about who managed to find love with whom in the greedy, hard, and selfish world.

          Happy Reformation Day.

  16. John, I’m sure you mean well, but you terrify me with your disregard for the Bible and sin. If we love others, we should want to bring them out of sin, not justify sin or make people comfortable in sin. Jesus did not die for us so that we could blithely continue in a state of sin. You put the Word aside and join the World – how do you call yourself a Christian minister? Are you going to rewrite the Bible to be inclusive of murder, adultery, and pride bc people just didn’t understand human nature 200 years ago? You are an example of the false teachers the Bible warns is about – but that’s probably outdated for you as well. Praying for you.

    • This planet would be a better place if there were many, many more Christian ministers like John P, with the same kind heart and wisdom. He’s not rewriting the Bible, he’s challenging and also encouraging Christians to be more like Jesus.
      I absolutely love Gloriamarie’s words and they’re so worth copying here…”Honestly, if we invested our days making sure we were loving our neighbors by feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, caring for the sick, providing for those unable to provide for themselves, and visiting the prisoners so that they do not despair, we would fall into bed too exhausted at night to care about who managed to find love with whom in the greedy, hard, and selfish world.”
      Take care

      • Thank you, Patricia.

        I love these words you wrote “This planet would be a better place if there were many, many more Christian ministers like John P, with the same kind heart and wisdom. He’s not rewriting the Bible, he’s challenging and also encouraging Christians to be more like Jesus.”

        It would be and John P is not. I agree. I believe John P has a prophetic gift of exhortation. What he writes serves as a mirror for his readers. We may or we may not like what we see in the mirror. When we don’t like it or if we feel we’ve been smacked upside the head when we read what he has written, if may be that we are the ones who most need to heed John P’s wisdom. I know I’ve read some of his stuff that made me think “Whoa,Nellie” but when I reread more carefully, I see what he is saying.

  17. Carmen – your question is excellent as its insightful. Perhaps I’m reading more into it than intended – but I wonder – are you asking about the historical reliability of the Bible?
    If so, this resonates with my own skepticism. Yet, I cannot explain how or why I was compelled to such a difficult and incredible journey. I simply wanted to know “why”. This of course, created new questions.
    In retrospect, the genesis of some questions came from an over-dependence with a materialistic worldview. But what’s really exciting and most important now – the journey and discovery is not over.

    My path, regarding the historical reliability of scripture and perhaps similar to your question, took me into the world of canonicity, linguistic interruption, manuscript evidence and even early church writers who struggled with similar questions.

    If indeed you you are being compelled to ask “why” questions – this is a blessing (in my opinion). I encourage you to ignore the philosophers warning – be careful what you ask for… peace.

  18. You can dress that teaching up as prettily as you want, but when you tell someone that their only choices are lifelong celibacy (whether God has called them to it or not), marrying someone of the opposite sex who they have attraction to and living a lie, or burning in hell, you harm those people. When you tell them that their desire, not just for sex, but to hold hands, or have a first kiss, or build a life with someone, is dirty and perverted, you hurt them.

    You harm 12 year olds who keep praying for God to make them straight, and who keep being told that if they really truly believed, they would be. Do you know what happens to those children? Many of them kill themselves. Others are thrown out of their homes when their families discover that they’re gay, because to let them stay would be “indulging sin.” Others are sent to reparative therapy, where methods from psychological torture, to beatings, to electroshock therapy are used to try to make them straight. And, not surprisingly, a number of those children kill themselves.

    If you want to convince me that your theology is loving, tell me how is it, exactly, that it kills so many people and ruins so many lives.

    If the church were not going out of its way to harm gay people, one of two things would be happening. *Either* there would have been no outcry about same-sex marriage, because people would have recognized the difference between a legal marriage and a religious one *or* the Catholic church would have been campaigning for years to make it illegal for divorcees to remarry, or for people on contraception to marry. Both of those are against Catholic teaching, and yet you never see people shouting for Constitutional amendments or screaming that their rights are being violated when divorcees get married.

    But if an evangelical says she thinks it’s okay to be gay? Then, out come the torches and pitchforks. Not just, “Politely tell her we disagree.” No, send her hate mail. Scream at her, swear at her. Call every store that sells her books and urge them to stop—never mind that the thing you objected to wasn’t in any of those books. She transgressed, so the good and proper Christian thing to do is to ruin her livelihood. Likewise, if World Vision decides to be neutral on the issue of same-sex relationships, then the only good Christian thing to do, clearly, is to pull sponsorships by the thousands. If some kids in Africa starve, oh well, better that than to not call a sin a sin. And again, Christians will claim that they treat “homosexual behavior” the same as any other sin, but will happily let divorcees and gossips serve in the church. Heck, they’ll cover up sexual assault, while kicking LGBT people out of the church.

    All the time, Christians go out of their way to tell LGBT people that they’re less than. Literally every day. People just going about their lives get verses from Leviticus spray painted on their doors.

    This is not about “making friends with liberal Democrats.” This is about not abandoning, rejecting, and utterly destroying the people within your church, who have been faithful to it in every way possible, save their inability to magically turn themselves straight. I’ve got plenty of friends, and I don’t care if you like me. But the 14 year old in your church choir who lives in fear of the day her parents find out she’s bi, or the kid who knows in his heart that he’s a boy even though his body and the people around him tell him he’s a girl, they could use your understanding. Not pretending that you’re being loving because you tell them you’ll pray that God will help them stop sinning, but actually seeing them as they are and loving them the way God made them.

    • So well said, Kelly, and obviously from experience. Anyone who reads this with any empathy could not continue to condemn, discriminate against or sideline a person who doesn’t fit the hetero model that they claim was the only one God “ordained”. Faithfulness and commitment in a relationship is much more important than what your “bits” are. I say this as a hetero woman in her 60s, happily married to a bloke for 45 years, and with a gay brother and a gay son. The latter has been married for 2 years to a lovely guy and we love them both and are proud of them. And I am a Christian who thinks Jesus is the only one worth following.

  19. “…Claiming to be wise, they became fools…”

    So just as the scientific world has also made great claims a thousand, a hundred or merely fifty years ago has come up short or contradict itself what happens when ten, fifty or a hundred years ago science finds more “new” truths that don’t align with the premise of this article’s argument? Change the current “truth” again so we can stay “relevant” and accepted into the culture? Why do you ignore the contradictions the scientific world makes?

    This article diminishes the Word of God to little more than musings these “disparate” humans wrote down that create an unreliable, incoherent and unrelated notions of a God incapable of creating the universe that can manage the Word He imparts to us for redemption, reconciliation and restoration to His perfect plan.

    Jesus lived a life counter-cultural to EVERY culture around him and never wavered in truth to calling the world to redemption and reconciliation…he didn’t bend truth because of how popular he thought it would be, but called us despite the mess or whatever position we come from to lay our EVERYTHING, every thought, word, deed, proclivity, our everything so that we may be redeemed and restored as image-bearers of God.

    This article and authors like this show how culture (and more concerning are those who claim to be Christians) bow at the altar of Science, Culture, Popularity, Self-preservation. Our idols just look different nowadays in our culture than when the passage referring to that above in Romans 1 did.

    • Science is merely the discovery of what God has done, or it is one means God uses to reveal more about his universe to human beings. It is the discovery of truth. If science reveals a thing to be true and that thing conflicts with scripture, the answer is not to reject the truth that has been discovered and hold the scripture high for its own sake. That is like saying that a red sofa cushion is really blue. The answer is to recognize that we misunderstood the applicable piece of scripture or we misunderstood what the scripture writer was doing with that piece of scripture. In some cases, it may turn out that the scripture is just plain factually wrong. For example, we know for certain now that the earth and our universe is much older than 5,000-10,000 years, which means you cannot accurately determine the ages of the earth by adding up begats in the Bible. If you disagree, I have nothing else to say to you because I make it a point not to waste my time talking with idiots.

      • Charles,

        I think you missed the point I made entirely. Throughout history science finds itself to many times be wrong. More specifically, we could point to medical science and practices and how they have changed because a current practice (e.g. bloodletting, electroshock, leaching), drugs (how many have been discontinued in our generation alone!), etc., has been found to be wrong. My point is that people and cultures throughout history will hang their faith, life and eternity on human discoveries and theories and then see if what God’s Word says is convenient for our wishes or needs to be “adjusted for new discoveries”. What I am NOT saying is that science is always wrong. Just as you stated, science allows us to discover what God has done. However, the main difference is that people look FIRST through the lens of man THEN God, rather than consider God’s Word to guide what we discover. Jesus is the Word that became flesh. We can be confident in resting in Christ to be Truth as our foundation, seeking Him first so that all things may be known.

        To your point about the age of the earth, the Bible doesn’t give all the years to simply add up. However, that is something that can be discussed and debated, but not divided over. That argument doesn’t make scripture fallible or incorrect. It is simply not given in exact years so no exact conclusion can be had, therefore, not a huge point of debate really.

        The point here is that humans continually place their faith in man. What man finds to be true for the given time and culture. It doesn’t even necessarily mean that a finding is wrong or incorrect, but we raise up what we as humans find to see how the Word might fit into it, rather than letting God’s Word drive and reveal who He is.

        Again, my point is that people are bowing down again to alters build by man.

        If you cannot discuss with someone of different opinion and feel that you are “wasting your time talking with idiots” then I’m not sure why you reply to something you disagree with. You would be more comfortable talking with those you agree and always support your opinion so you are not challenged to account for what you believe. I believe we can only learn more by discussion and have to dig deeper to understand why we believe what we believe. I would hope you would desire the same.

  20. The premise of this article puts the Bible as the product of man within the construct of the 66 books. This sets the platform and on that premise, an excellent article.

    However when put against the backdrop of that the Bible is the inspired and infallible word of God, the arguments will be different.

    So this article is not Christian at all for a Christian who embraces the second premise. This latter premise is the bedrock of my Christian faith.

    I know few will agree with me. I am not seeking agreement but allow me to state my belief even if it is different and politically incorrect.

    That is the beauty of freedom of choice. I chose the latter premise.

    • I very much appreciate it, Agness Osmond Gerald, that you have stated your opinion in a respectful and validating manner.

      You wrote, “However when put against the backdrop of that the Bible is the inspired and infallible word of God, the arguments will be different.”

      Please tell me where within the Bible it says it is the Word of God. The witness of Scripture in John 1 is that Jesus is the only logos of God.

      Yes, it does say in 2 Tim that Scripture is God-breathed, but that must be placed within its historical context. Because the letter pre-dates the existence of the New Testament canon, historically, this verse can only refer to the Hebrew Scriptures. At that time the Hebrew Scriptures were what Protestants call the Old Testament and the Deutero-Canonical literature, also known as the Old Testament Apocrypha. These latter texts were removed from the canon of the Hebrew Scriptures at the Councils of Jamnia in 99CE when the Jews codified their canon and closed it with Malachi.

      As for the infallibility of the texts, this means that Scripture is an infallibie guide to salvation. It does not mean infallibility in the sense of perfect.

      If you wish to respond and mention the inerrancy of Scripture, that does not mean that the Bible is free from error. What the doctrine of inerrancy means is that it is the original autographs that are free from error. We no longer have those, unless they are waiting for discovery somewhere in a cave near the Dead Sea as were those fascinating scrolls.

  21. Why do belief systems which believe a baby isn’t a baby until first breath also believe promiscuity is fine, homosexuality is wonderful, and transgendering is the latest gift to enjoy?

  22. Belief systems abound and enslave the masses. Take a stand against them. Belief systems that support abortion most likely also support promiscuity and homosexuality and transgendering. This isn’t a coincidence and the Christian’s war against such belief systems is not misguided or unloving. Your treatment of Bible inerrancy is treaturous and humanistic.

    • Tell that to the men and women who have had hate crimes committed against them because our religious culture seems to state they are worth nothing., unless they “repent”. The very segregation of how a transgender person is thought of leads to the hate filled actions Of those unable or willing to show the love Jesus spoke of.

      Jesus said love God, love your neighb<r, and love your enemies. He said judge not lest you be judged. He ate with the major "sinners" of the day. In His eyes it was the stubborn relious pers<n who was the "major" sinner . And still he met with them, trying to show them the error of their way.

      Also, I can't find the post I read in email, but for the person who suggesting using the Bible as basically toilet paper. Why? You may find nothing of use in there but is showing those of us that do use it as a guide in how we are supposed to act A kind of disrespect that is as wrong as Benny and his catholism thumping. I find it frustrating that he keeps referring to it as if it were without fault, but I will not show the disrespect of telling him it's worse than garbage. How we treat others faults show an awful lot about ourselves, but nothing of that other person. Wasn't that Jesus' point, at least in part?

  23. Sorry, but you fail
    They are natural and can be affective and complementary.
    A relationship is more than sex.
    And a big % of gay people don’t want just to have friends. They want to be with the love of their lives.
    What you call disordered, I call different
    Stop demonizing what you don’t like with an outdated book which arguments were used to justify racism and slavery as well.

  24. And yet the “Church” formed those opinions, and put forth those statements based upon ancient understanding of sexuality and flagrant literalism. Quite literally, the Bible nowhere talks about sexual orientation (an internal and innate state that directs a persons romantic attraction a particular gender); It discusses acts. On top of that, it only discusses those acts in the context of idolatry or abuse, themselves grave sins. The Bible nowhere discusses relationships built on mutual love and fidelity. In fact, there is only one verse in the ENTIRE scripture that mentions female acts of any kind (Romans) and the author makes it extremely clear that they are talking about group lasciviousness as a result of rejecting God. Our gay brothers and sisters who grew up in the church and had the terrible misfortune of discovering their homosexuality when they entered puberty did not reject God, and their sexual orientation is not a result of rejection of God. It is unchosen, unwanted, and places them immediately at risk of being cast out of their families and churches; this is why the rate of suicide is so much higher among gay teens. No one wants to be something that will cause their entire faith community to suddenly proclaim that they are disordered, broken, and may never, ever have a real and fulfilling “marriage” with another person.

    In addition, it is incredibly disordered to suggest that because someone is gay, they should be celibate (a much misused term, given that we’re not talking about refraining from having sex- we’re talking about permanent and sustained separation from love, marriage, romance, and everlasting loneliness). We all know in our hearts that almost all people need to love and be loved meaningfully. We all know that almost all people yearn for that deepest connection to one other. God even recognized that when he said “It is not good for man to be alone”. Homosexual people are no different in this regard- they have the same deep needs for connection to another. Their sexual orientation does not allow that to be with someone of the opposite sex; they are incapable of participating in a heterosexual marriage. They are fully capable, however, of participating in the love, fidelity and support of a homosexual marriage. To relegate a human with deep needs for connection to permanent separation from marriage relationship causes indescribable psychological harm. Again, suicide rates are higher among this population.

    I believe the most compassionate and reasonable Christian response is to acknowledge that the Biblical authors simply weren’t talking about what we are talking about. Sexual acts are not the same thing as a relationship of love. That is why adultery is something very different from sex within marriage, even though the physical act is the same: because context and intent are everything. Jesus repeatedly told us that a person’s internal motivations matter to God, and are considered. Homosexual people don’t commit “acts” in isolation, any more than heterosexual people do. Their relationships are mutually good when those acts occur within the context of mutual love, commitment before God, and fidelity. This is true for all people- homosexual or heterosexual.

    We must recognize that when the Bible speaks of gang rape and abuse (Sodom and Gomorrah), that is not synonymous with two people who love one another and want to live in fidelity together before God. We must recognize that when the Bible speaks about idolatry (Leviticus) and rejection of God that results in wanton lasciviousness (Romans), those things are not synonymous with two people who love one another and want to live in fidelity together before God. When the Bible speaks about sex between two people who are not equals, when there is a financial connotation (Corinthians) or misuse of another, these things are not synonymous with two people who love one another and want to live in fidelity together before God. In fact, the only thing that is synonymous with discussions of homosexual persons are relationships based on love, and fidelity before God. Anything else is a misuse of the text and a distortion of what the authors truly intended to write about.

    It is well past time for the “Church” to revise its position, as it has had to revise its position on the leadership of women, slavery, and an enormous host of other issues. And the REASON that revision is necessary is that the lack of it has caused great harm to others unjustly. John is right. The Church’s position and behavior is a shared sin, and I would argue, it is the single greatest sin of our generation.

    • The Catholic Church has never reversed doctrine and never will.

      Homosexual acts are gravely disordered and always will be considered very serious sins. Other churches might give in to the pressures of our coarsened culture, activists, and evil, but the Catholic Church is not going to change and that’s for the BENEFIT of those who are caught up in this and other sins. (Once again, the inclination itself is not a sin).

      • I am not a disorder, I am a variation. Diversity is good because we each have gifts and unique ways we can contribute to our communities. In God’s wisdom he has blessed the LGBT community. Marriage is a good thing for us. A way for us to demonstrate our love and generosity and establish families of our own. It is only bigoted (intolerant) people who want to keep tearing us down.

      • And this is why the catholic church will lose membership, apart from having priests molesting children and keeping it a big secret. I see nothing sinful at all in homosexual acts, and because you see it in the bible, you do, you are just as delusional as those who think the world is flat. I am not sinful, and I refuse to be told I am by someone who does not live my life but thinks they have any right at all to judge because of what one truly hypocritical book mentions. So take your pious “we don’t hate the sinner, only the sin” sanctimonious and patronizing BS and shove it, and wipe it with those same passages of that book.

      • The Catholic Church has changed doctrine (see “Rome has spoken….” by Maureen Fiddler and Linda Rabben Editors) and will change on this one if it would be true to its call to be a church for all of the God who is love.

    • Rebecca, where can I read more of what the Bible says about same drx relationships as you have described them? I would like to share it with my son

  25. Inerrancy doesn’t match with the facts as we experience them. We know that God doesn’t “possess” people and take over their free will, making them incapable of making the many errors to which humans are so prone. God doesn’t act like that in our lives — at best He’s ephemeral and vague. We just get “inklings.” We have no reason not to believe that was the case for the biblical authors. It’s clear, at least with Paul, that they were writing as themselves. He writes in the first person. A number of times he says what is saying is “his opinion.” Are we to believe that for those moments God retracted His inspirational power?

    Why not assume God acted them the same way He acts now?

    God wants us to figure things out on our own.

    • I believe God deals with us as he has of old. I also believe in God’s power to work through flawed humans, even with their murky understandings, and create the inerrant, inspired Bible not to be added to or taken from.
      Psalm 62:11 God speaks once and men repeat. People in authority don’t have to say things twice.
      God is a God of justice and that demands judgement. In like manner the people of the earth, made in His image, are called to embrace justice and to rightly judge to protect those oppressed from the oppressors. I also understand this to mean standing up against oppressive belief systems. Humans are given by God an innate sense of justice (made upright and in His image), which can be appealed to without any reference to scripture or even any knowledge of God. What makes Christians so sure that God hasn’t given them power to correct the oppressor today. How do they know that this isn’t the day to blast the evolutionary humanistic belief systems, taught in our public schools to children, funded by our government, out of the country and out of human thought. When did Christians decide all belief systems are equal and unjudgeable? Freedom of religion is not freedom from religion or the right to silence religion in our schools and governments.

      Psalms 94:1-23 (KJV) O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself.
      Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud.
      LORD, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?
      How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves?
      They break in pieces thy people, O LORD, and afflict thine heritage.
      They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless.
      Yet they say, The LORD shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.
      Understand, ye brutish among the people: and ye fools, when will ye be wise?
      He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? he that formed the eye, shall he not see?
      He that chastiseth the heathen, shall not he correct? he that teacheth man knowledge, shall not he know?
      The LORD knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity.
      Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;
      That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked.
      For the LORD will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance.
      But judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it.
      Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity?
      Unless the LORD had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence.
      When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O LORD, held me up.
      In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.
      Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with thee, which frameth mischief by a law?
      They gather themselves together against the soul of the righteous, and condemn the innocent blood.
      But the LORD is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge.
      And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the LORD our God shall cut them off.

  26. Hi, Gloriamarie.

    Enjoy your posts.

    I don’t buy that “original autographs” argument. To me, it just something inerrantists cooked up to explain away the glaring errors in the Bible.

    If God could keep the original authors from making errors, He could keep the scribes who copied their work from making errors. Good grief, He’s all-powerful supposedly.

    • Thank you, John Draper.

      I am saddened that you don’t agree with the doctrine of inerrancy as taught at the evangelical college and seminary I went to. Some excellent evangelical scholars that I was privileged to study under held the view, which has a pretty gosh darn long history within the church, such as J I Packer, Gordon Fee, Doug Stuart.

      In fact the latter 2 wrote a book addressing this: How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth:
      by Gordon D. Fee and Douglas Stuart

      What you describe as inerrancy “If God could keep the original authors from making errors, He could keep the scribes who copied their work from making errors. Good grief, He’s all-powerful supposedly” is a relatively modern idea espoused by those unable to read the koine, in my experience.

      This concept is easily disproven because we have actual proof that it is untrue. For instance, someone tampered with the ending of 1 John.

      “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these agree in one.” (1 John 5:7–8, King James Version). Verse 7 does not appear in any version of the Greek text prior to the ninth century, and first appears in most of the Latin manuscripts, especially in the Vetus Itala (Old Latin predating Jerome) before being translated into Greek and added to later Greek manuscripts.[7] It was included in the King James Bible, something Isaac Newton commented on in “An Historical Account of Two Notable Corruptions of Scripture.”

  27. Which would mean that Truth doesn’t exist, because if my Truth doesn’t match with your Truth or contradicts, than how to you reconcile that?

    • Well, I’ll tell you one way I wouldn’t reconcile it — reading a 3,000-year-old book. And how do you know you have the right ancient book? Maybe the answers are in the Koran? I have to guess, Peter, but I’m guessing from your posts that you believe the Bible is authoritative. The way I see it, the only reason anyone believes in the Bible is someone told them to believe in it. The only reason we hold any religious conclusion is someone else told us to hold them. We don’t deduce our way to belief.

      I mean, you can look up in the night sky and feel wonder — but that doesn’t lay the Plan of Salvation for you. (Or the Four Spiritual Laws as we used to say with Campus Crusade for Christ in the 70s. Yes, I’m old.) That’s why humans make up all the specifics. At least, that’s the way I see it.

      • I see you are coming from a very different perspective that we believe things because we are told when you say that any conclusion we make are because “someone else told us to hold them”. Or are you just leaving that to certain conclusions you would categorize as religious? Wouldn’t any conclusion you have, whether you categorize it religious or non-religious, be just because someone told you to? I would hope you wouldn’t “deduce your way to belief”, but I’m afraid you do by holding to the notion of a relative truth. You claim that by deciding or deducing from our culture, feelings, and proclivities truth can be found. One would be exhausted in the continual relativism when the current model doesn’t fit our needs. I suppose that why our culture is comfortable in diminishing every aspect of life and relationships to mere commodities that can be discarded the moment they no longer serve our needs.

        No, John, I do not believe in the authority of Scripture because I was “told” to, but because I actively pursue the Word which is not an “ancient book” as you would indicate, but the person of Christ. When you read the Bible in it’s entirety you see that it is not separate books, stories, etc., that are strung together in some meaningless meandering through religious history, but a story of Creation that we see in the world around us that is being restored to it’s Creator through the redemption, restoration and reconciliation that the person of Christ – the Word – of God has accomplished. I do not “own” Truth anymore than you do, but when we realize we are imperfect, flawed, self-serving people and in need of redemption from our sin we lay down our lives at the cross and recognize we know nothing, yet are made in the image of God, therefore, we can begin to SEEK truth. Then, when we can start in looking at the world, creation, relationships, and everything around us through a loving God who seeks to reconcile and restore his creation is when we set aside our agendas (though we aren’t great at doing that perfectly!) to FIRST seek HIS Kingdom so that THEN all things are added.

        But, as humans we want to fight that in every way Truth, Love AND Justice (those two are inextricable) because we don’t get what we want in the way we want it. We want Truth on OUR terms. That’s how we run back to our personal idols of Feelings, Self-Preservation, Pride, Money, etc., etc.,

        I see you were involved in an organized ministry in your past. Of course, I have my feelings on how many of those can or cannot be great witnesses, but that fits in a different conversation. However, what was it from then that you have chosen to reject what seemed to be what you believed? Or, did you not accept it then, but exercised the motions because you were told to? I would be interested to hear your story.

    • Peter. I think you should be aware that the truth in one place in the Bible often does not match the truth at other locations in the Bible. Nowhere is this so Readily apparent than in the first four gospels of the New Testament. Listen to this sermon, and you will understand that:

      • First, it would be helpful to clarify that I wouldn’t consider myself a “fundamentalist” as this guy seems to define. I would claim that Scripture is authoritative not that the Bible is taken “literally” outside of the way it was intended to be read (I will explain below).

        The same argument he uses to disprove his definition of “fundamentalists” and that they taught to take the Bible literally, he is trying to disprove the authority of the Bible by trying to force one to read it literally as well. This is an elementary mistake that is difficult to understand educated people can actually make and are not being intellectually honest.

        He doesn’t allow for reading scripture in how it was written to be fully appreciated, for example:

        – When books or scripture are historical and should be read as a historical.
        – When a parable is read, read it as a parable (no, we know that the mustard seed isn’t “technically” the smallest seed, but Jesus knew what his audience would understand).
        – When scripture is narrative, read as a narrative.
        – When it’s metaphorical, read as a metaphor (when scripture speaks of “one day in your courts are better than a thousand elsewhere” or “the cattle on a thousand hills” it’s not a literal 1:1000 ratio, but communicating the message of many to make a point.

        Rather, he takes the mix of literary devices and stacks them up together to be reconciled as his argument and says, “see there’s a contradiction!”

        I get the point and understand the arguments made. Unfortunately, this format is not the best to communicate an exhaustive response, but it’s disappointing that so many have an inability to exercise critical thinking skills to press people such as a passive-aggressive, intellectual Keith Ward because we see how his philosophy serves our own needs by rejecting Scripture as authoritative.

  28. Absolutely, Charles. Back when I was a believer, I read a book called “Five Views of Law and Gospel.” The point of the book was to present different proposals for resolving whether or not Christians are supposed to obey the law.

    I now see the answer is really quite simple. The Bible says different things about the Law and the Gospel because it was written by different humans with differing agendas. Jesus wanted us to follow the Torah, Paul didn’t.

    The Bible speaks with many voices and with varies opinions about right and wrong. Some of those opinions match facts, many don’t.

    • John Draper, please tell me where you find evidence that Jesus wanted us to follow Torah. And by Torah do you mean Levitical Law?

      “Jesus wanted us to follow the Torah, Paul didn’t.”

  29. Peter
    No, we don’t believe most truth because we are told to believe them. We believe them because they can be proven. We know what temperature water freezes at, for example. Many truths can be deduced. That’s what the scientific method is for. However, religious truths can not be deduced. We must adopt them as an act of will/faith.

    I’ve read the Bible . . . a lot. I was a devout, zealous Christian for 35 years. Yes, I was in Campus Crusade back in college. We used to walk up to people cold to share the “Four Spiritual Laws.”

    I’m very familiar with the outline of “redemption, restoration, and reconciliation” you mention. However, I’ve come to believe that outline is something that Paul invented. I don’t think it’s what Jesus preached. Jesus preached Torah observance. Jesus believed one got to heaven by virtue of what one did, not what one believed. See the parable of the Sheep and Goats.

    • I see you are hung up on religious constructs and rituals as your basis of understanding Christ and the Bible. Jesus, more than once, made an extreme example that it wasn’t about the “things” we did. After all, he healed on the Sabbath, he picked the grain heads, etc., but his point was about the Heart. Rather, His message was consistently about concern is about the Heart. If you reduce the Bible and Jesus down to how you can “prove” and “win” then I would say you and anyone else will always find it wanting. It’s not about winning and proving a philosophy or behavior, but as Christ taught about a heart change. It is not to be saved to better behavior, but to a new heart and mind set on being like Christ.

      Just because you have heard what you consider an outdated, invented “outline” does not discredit the merit that is communicated. And, after all, why would you consider that message to be so offensive?

  30. If only more (a LOT more) Christians were like you, John. More people (like yourself) need to be willing to outrightly say that the Bible, of course, cannot be taken literally — but it seems that so many well-intentioned Christians who know this to be true deep down, still won’t come out and say it.

    “Christians will go to great lengths to get God to consent to their prejudices. It’s actually quite astounding and equally sad.” — Unfortunately, I think the below would be a more accurate statement :/

    “Sane and decent Christians will go to great lengths to get the Bible to consent to the sane and decent things they believe. It’s actually quite astounding and equally sad.”

  31. Gloriamarie,

    You misunderstand me. I’m not saying the “original autographs” weren’t tampered with. The Bible’s been tampered with every step of the way — by humans with agendas.

    For example, the two oldest manuscripts of Mark 16 end with verse 8, which has the women fleeing from the empty tomb, and saying “nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.” Many scholars take 16:8 as the original ending and believe the longer ending was a later addition.

    What I’m saying is that humans were the instigators every stage of the Bible — the original autographs, the scribes. Humans make mistakes. Humans also have agendas.
    I don’t believe God was able to prevent the authors of the original autographs to write without error. I don’t think He works that way.

  32. Truth is extremely important to LGBT people because we can only know God if we are truthful about ourselves. God desires us to reveal ourselves to each other. If we deny a what a person feels or experiences, which is relative, we are teaching them to lie.

    Further to that we may accept that there are LGBT people but call a behaviour sinful if a LGBT person does it.

    The problem I have with calling any behaviour sin is where is the harm?

    There are harmful laws and proverbs in the Bible which are no longer followed because faithful people have matured in their wisdom through the humility and walking in the Spirit. Jesus fulfilled the law of love because he revealed the truth about how God’s love actually works for humanity. Love others as yourself.

    Why did Jesus break the Sabbath according to his words? “Does the law permit good deeds on the Sabbath, or is it a day for doing evil? ”

    Does God permit us to do good to people even LGBT persons ? or does he permit us to do evil to those we chose in the name of the Bible?

  33. Pingback: God’s Sexual Ethic Is Good For the World – USSA News | The Tea Party's Front Page

  34. Thanks, Peter. Don’t worry. I never thought you were a fundamentalist! 🙂

    I assumed you were an Evangelical.

    I agree that the Bible needs to be read based on its literary forms. However, even when you take this into account, the Bible contradicts itself, within the Old and New testaments and between the Old and New testaments. It’s full of errors, contradictions and contrasting theologies. To me, that’s not surprising. It was written by humans.

  35. Do I believe fornication is a sin?

    Yes, as is adultery. However, there are circumstances where an act seen externally as fornication might not be sinful. If the church and/or state place a bar on marriage, then sexual relations within an otherwise committed relationship that does not bear the color of a legally-sanctioned or sacramentalized/blessed relationship would not be sinful. God does not require the impossible, though the Church might.

    There is another circumstance where fornication can fall within a gray area – biologically, children in their teens are hormonally mature enough for sexual relations even though they might not have the soundness of judgment that one might attribute to an adult. In other eras, children of 12 or 14 were of an adult, marriageable age, on attaining puberty. The sociocultural delay between sexual maturity and modern, delayed adulthood creates a disconnect between adolescent libidos and religious tenets that leads to an awful lot of problems. I am not sure that the easy answers are the right ones – and merely labeling it sinful creates a host of unintended consequences.

    Masturbation, on the other hand, is not sinful. Particularly for those aforementioned teens. I could preach a sermon about what the sin of Onan really is, but the short version is that “spilling the seed on the ground” isn’t in fact the sinful aspect of it.

    Children who are taught that everything sexual is sinful, have reached puberty, and are not old enough to get married, are in the same sort of position, albeit temporarily, as gays and lesbians. No matter what they do, it’s a sin. Or is it? Change the teaching on masturbation and it may be possible for them to avoid fornication without the consequent “burning.”

    The moral gyrations of teens can result in bad situations getting worse.

    Follow this train of thought to its ultimate derailment:
    If they plan to have sex, the planning itself is a sin. If they use birth control, it’s another sin (Catholic, anyway). Bringing a condom and using it means it was planned. Sin! But wait, if it just “happens” and wasn’t planned, it’s still a sin but not as bad? But then all of a sudden someone is pregnant. (Something that doesn’t happen to the boys) Uh-oh – and what happens when that someone is visibly pregnant? Then everyone will know that I am (she is) a sinner. (keep following the tortured “logic” . . .) Abortion is a sin. But if one has an abortion, early on, no one has to know.

    The grim statistic is that the abortion rate for Catholic teens is higher than it is for other Christian teens who don’t have that “anti-birth-control” thing going on, all other factors being equal.

    It’s too complicated an issue to explore fully while sleep-deprived. But the first problem with moral theology is considering masturbation a sin. I’ll leave with that thought. (Okay, on Onan: Onan was greedy and wsnted the inheritance from daddy. Getting his dead brother’s widow pregnant would have meant that child (assuming a boy) would inherit from grandpa, as Brother’s (imputed) son, bypassing Onan. In desiring the inheritance, he made sure he would not get his sister-in-law pregnant by pulling out. The result was not just onan’d greed, the sin was denying to the childless brother the Hebrew equivalent of eternal life (the promise to Abraham was not “you will sit at my right hand in Heaven” – Heaven didn’t even become a concept until Isaiah, after the Captivity). The promise was numerous descendants – and the sin was denying that to his dead brother.

  36. on “continuity of popes going back to Peter” – sure. And Rome is one of the patriarchates, with its line of bishops stretching back to one of the apostles. Special, because Peter was special, but for many centuries treated as primum inter pares, and not as infallible.

    There is that incident where one bishop of Rome had his predecessor’s body exhumed, placed on trial, condemned for heresy and dumped in the Tiber? Another reinstated him, and yet another had him re-condemned. Poor Formosus!

    If I remember correctly, this was happening in the late 9th Century, when the schism with the Eastern Churches was beginning but had not become complete.

    Then we do have those convenient antipopes – only one pope at a time, unless there are more than one – and except for some of the oddball situations (there are currently something upwards of 20 papal claimants), it was sometimes difficult to tell who was officially a pope – for example, it wasn’t until the middle of the last century that it became official that the first John XXIII must have been an antipope, as the pope at that time went and re-used the number instead of becoming the XXIV.

  37. Benny, look at nature, and our nearest relatives (or are you going to deny evolution?) There are two species, chimpanzees and bonobos, who were once considered the same species but are now seen as separate. Bonobo culture includes a lot of same-sex sex. Natural law is all around us – but to claim that nature is solely heterosexual goes against nature.

    None of the scriptural condemnations of homosexuality hold up to scrutiny, and at least one of the scriptural references to same sex marriage was obfuscated by notorious homophobe Jerome in his Vulgate. (Strangely, the Protestant literalist Darby got that verse right when he went to original languages for his translation)

    • Joann, thanks for answering my question. I haven’t spent enough time researching Pope history or the history of the Church. I was taught Peter was not the first pope and that the Catholic church was established through Constantine. And the Catholic church appropriated St. Peter as the founder. This is what I was taught at a fundamentalist church I attended. It has always concerned me that all these different Christian denominations compete for the status of the “One True Church”. I think those who are believers are the church in the world. I don’t relate to the barriers doctrine and rituals create between the faithful followers of Jesus.

  38. “We don’t rely on the Bible to understand gender identity and sexual orientation for the same reason we don’t rely on a 2,000 year old medical text to understand the circulatory system, or use ancient hieroglyphics to understand the Cosmos. We know that these things are not enough because time has taught us.”

    Yeah, but people aren’t still using 2000 year old medical texts and people ARE still relying on the Bible for everything from how to run their home to who they vote into office.

    What John doesn’t follow through on is what we CAN rely on the Bible for if we can’t rely on it to understand such pretty-big-deal-if-you’re-human topics as gender identity and sexual orientation (or, to follow up on some of the other things he mentions — women’s roles, heaven/hell, death and disease, etc.). What’s left of the good stuff that can’t be found elsewhere?

    • “What John doesn’t follow through on is what we CAN rely on the Bible for if we can’t rely on it to understand such pretty-big-deal-if-you’re-human topics as gender identity and sexual orientation (or, to follow up on some of the other things he mentions — women’s roles, heaven/hell, death and disease, etc.). What’s left of the good stuff that can’t be found elsewhere?”

      I don’t understand the first sentence I quoted. I confess I am baffled and cannot figure out what you are trying to say.

      As for the second, it’s not applicable to his thesis.

      • I can’t tell if you actually don’t understand me or if you’re just trying to be insulting, but nevertheless, allow me to clarify:

        If the Bible is too outdated to be useful for such things as gender identity and sexual orientation, in addition to no longer being useful on a host of other topics which seem to be a big deal to human beings, what is it still uniquely and singularly useful for?

        I struggled for a very long time to answer that question for myself, and in the end what I came to was: not much.

        • “I can’t tell if you actually don’t understand me or if you’re just trying to be insulting, but nevertheless, allow me to clarify”

          Why don’t just ask instead of twisting my words? Your grammar was so convoluted, I had no idea what you were trying to say.

          You wrote, “If the Bible is too outdated to be useful for such things as gender identity and sexual orientation”
          This is not what JohnP. said.

          You wrote, “in addition to no longer being useful on a host of other topics .” Again, this is not what John P. said.

          You wrote, “what is it still uniquely and singularly useful for.” My answer is it is powerfully, uniquely, and singularly useful to get to know Jesus.

          You wrote,”I struggled for a very long time to answer that question for myself, and in the end what I came to was: not much.” It saddens me that was the conclusion you came to.

  39. You completely missed the point of the article. What you are quoting is a modern day interpretation of the Bible. How do we know that? Because the word “homosexual” was not created until 1945, so there is no way it could have be in the original scriptures. The versus you are quoting are a translation, probably by a religious homophobe, who made it state what he wanted it to state.

  40. You are doing nobody a favor by insisting some things are sins simply because the bible says it is. As the wrote, the bible is a book, written over centuries, after oral dictation from centuries, and written by people who could not comprehend all that was around them. Take those books, make them into law, and then spread that authority over centuries at the point of a sword or gun, and there you have the spread of christianity, and the spreading of ideas, such as women being lesser than a man, slavery being ok, rape being condoned, and homosexuality being some disease. You do not live inside the head of a homosexual, so you have no right, not even if you think god is on your side because your book says so, to tell someone to resist temptation, to be chaste, because you have a problem with who they are attracted to. It is irresponsible. And all you are doing in your tirade is once again using the fallacy that you are being challenged or persecuted as a christian, making yourself the victim. As humanity progresses, i do hope they see the downright stupidity, hypocrisy, and uselessness of the bible, and it becomes nothing but another book of religious myth.

  41. Dawn, that is one of the central proofs of just how messed up the “moral” theology is, when they prattle on about “natural law” that does not in any way reflect actual, real, nature, when it is in reference to sex.

    In the 13th Century, Aquinas helped ignite the Renaissance by influencing the Church to accept Aristotelian-level science. Unfortunately, too many theologians have left it there. De Natura is not the last word on science, though, or nature.

    In nature, there are some animals that use sexual activity as a way to establish hierarchical dominance, or “pecking order” within the social group – something similar to the intended behavior of the Men of Sodom – and these “theologians” conclude that the macho-style cultural artifact (seen in prisons, for example) is the same thing as modern “same sex attraction.” It isn’t – they just have no idea about science.

  42. The Joe Catholic quotes that start with “2357” or “2358” are not from the Bible, or a translation of the Bible. It is from the official Catechism of the Catholic Church. As revised. The original version of these catechism provisions were worded a little differently, but have evoked the same sort of schizophrenic results hen applied by Catholic hierarchy.

  43. I preach about transgender people and how God loves us.

    Isaiah 56, Mt. 19:12 and Acts 8 all fit together in a way.

    Gen. 1:27 has been misused by Christians for years – the ” mage and likeness of God is “male-and-female.” The Tetragrammaton, when read backward, according to a beautiful article by Rabbi Mark Sameth, reveals a secret name of God, when read backward – and translates out to “He/She” (often used as a taunt against trans folks). Rabbi Sameth points out that this isn’t the only place where the forward/backward reading in Hebrey results in a bit of a theological revelation. For example – Moshe (Moses), read forward, means “Son Of” – backward (in Hebrew), the letters read as “HaShem” – one of the words used by Jewish people to refer to God – the name, read both ways, means “Son of God.” Meditate on that a bit –

    There is more – suffice it to say that my biblical ammunition on the subject, plus real science, pretty much blows away the kinds of things, biblical or otherwise, used by some people who profess to be Christian (including the late Urbano Cardinal Navarrete (best known for rulings invalidating baptisms that do not reinforce male names for the Trinity), or eating disorders specialist Dr. Paul McHugh). Of the two in the parenthetical, McHugh is the more dangerous, because he couches his lies in pseudoscientific language.

  44. Hi there! I took the liberty of translating your post into Spanish and sharing it in Facebook, properly cited, of course. There are not enough readings like this out there. Thanks for this!

  45. regarding the lineage of popes and the foundation issue – the answer is complicated. Technically, Jesus founded a Jewish religious movement, “The Way.” At the Council of Jerusalem, The Way became not exclusively Jewish, but it did not develop a unified theology.

    When the emperor Constantine decided to use Christianity as an official religion, the majority of Christians were Arians. But the Orthodox Trinitarian faction narrowly prevailed in the voting at Nicaea. The creed adopted at that time is still used by Orthodox Christianity. Roman Catholicism as a separate Church finally emerged in the 10th-11th century – with the final break, complete with mutual excommunications coming in AD 1054.

    All christianity can trace its roots to Judaism through The Way. And none actually have a monopoly on Truth.

  46. Why when some people cling to Christ as an example when he ate and spent time with sinners do they also neglect to include that He also called them to leave their life of sin?

    I think the point many are trying to make is that it’s not about using the Bible “against” any group of people no matter the label given as this article would have us believe. We are all sinners in need of a Savior. Do some commit horrifying, unkind, unloving acts on the basis of scripture, sure, and they will be held accountable for their carelessness and perversion of scripture. Just as some use scripture to justify their own desires and philosophies.

    Instead, we come to understand the gospel is offensive to us in our natural state. We are designed to be in relationship with God, but our natural response is to rebel and pursue our desires. So when we justify ourselves by how we naturally feel we neglect to acknowledge that our natural inclinations are contrary to how we are designed. If we went through life living in whatever way we are naturally inclined toward it wouldn’t lead to a lot of great decisions.

    Christ acknowledged this multiple times as people have referred to in his meeting and eating with the “sinners” and while doing so He called to them to leave their ways so they might have life and have it to the fullest.

    • Peter wrote, Why when some people cling to Christ as an example when he ate and spent time with sinners do they also neglect to include that He also called them to leave their life of sin?”

      Why when some people cling to Christ as an example when he ate and spent time with sinners do they also neglect to include that He also called them to leave their life of sin do they make up “sins” that Jesus and the Bible never address as sin?

      There is compelling evidence that homophobes have centuries of history of interpretation the Bible to suit their own homophobic agenda. The words of the Bible have been distorted and twisted into allegedly saying what it never says.

      People here have gone the extra mile to disprove all the distortions and twisting. Really hard to believe that a Hebrew scholar’s knowledge is rejected because people would rather cling to their prejudices. “Christians” did that about people of other skin colors. “Christians” often still do this about women. “Christians” do not want to be taught something which challenges their biases. That is what John P often writes about.

      Please read:

      Reasonable and Holy: Engaging Same-Sexuality
      by Tobias Stanislas Haller

      God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships
      by Matthew Vines

      Same-Sex Unions in Premodern Europe
      by John Boswell

      Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century
      by John Boswell

      Gay Unions:In the light of Scripture, Tradition and Reason.”
      Rev. Gray Temple (Jr.).

Gay and Christian? Yes!
      by Rev. William H. Carey

      • Gloriamarie, John and Charles,

        As I research the resources and videos you have shared I would be interested if you might take the time to view this and let me know what your thoughts are after listening/watching in it’s entirety. I know it is stuff you might have already addresses and have heard, but I would be very interested in hearing your views:

        • Peter, I live in San Diego. This video made the rounds a few years ago and Joe has been outed as a liar who did this to make money. I am sorry it is still floating around the internet and that people take it at face value.

          • Gloriamarie,

            I’d imagined that might be a response, but I’ve heard Joe on many occasions, yet am still trying to learn how he is a liar? Many never want to address his points, but call him a liar. Is there something you can share that would allow me to see him in a different light?

            • Peter, I don’t think Joe Dallas is a liar but I think Gay Theology is a side issue to this.

              Not everyone who affirms LGBT christians and same sex marriage adhere to a gay theology.

              • Kathy,

                I agree and understand that, but much of the conversation here is about how homosexuality is viewed in the context of scripture. It would be helpful if that is the premise of many comments that scripture and homosexuality can be reconciled to acknowledge the questions that are raised and explanations given from those who have some thoughts on it, such as Joe Dallas. I would just simply ask that someone listen as I have to their views and provide their thoughts on how they agree, disagree, etc.

                To call anyone a liar without substantiation doesn’t give me anything to learn from.

                These are good discussions that I know I can learn from and dig deeper and hear opposing and like views that I would hope others here can also learn things.

                • I have to speak the truth about myself and my experience is different from Joe Dallas and other ex-gay ministers. Lets not call each other liars rather lets respect and love one another and walk through this with a reverence for God’s calling to all people. We are all at different places in our journey and I am willing to allow grace to flow through all my relationships no matter how divisive they may seem.

              • In short to clarify, from what I understand about Joe Dallas, he comes from a MCC background and is responding to that specific church and what they teach as gay theology whereas other faith based churches, who are affirming, do so because they believe the Bible is not clear and does not hold all answers yet… they know the Bible speaks about love and welcoming all people to the table.

                • The best example I have is that Rev Carey teaches Gay Theology for example. There are affirming Christians who question there is biblical support for same sex marriage. Many affirming Christians don’t see that connection but they understand God is inclusive and despite the lack of LGBT stories in the Bible we exist and need recognition and fellowship with other Christians.

            • A very fair question, Peter, but unfortunately I don’t remember the details. That was the impression I formed at the time when he was first making a splash here in San Diego.

              I think and of course, I could be wrong, that the lie might have been that he ever in his life was on the side of the LGBT community which throws his whole testimony into doubt.

  47. Gloriamarie , Thank you for actually answering my question and keeping on point.

    Though, I disagree with the premise that homosexuality is a “made up sin”.

    As I stated, just because people have twisted scripture to do horrendous things against any people (as many people groups throughout all of history have been oppressed in the name of the Bible or other authoritative philosophies, practices, government, etc.,) we do not respond by swinging the scriptures to the other side of the pendulum and/or throw it out all together. Nothing of what people practice in the act of racism and discrimination or the like is EVER upheld in the Bible no matter how someone perversely uses it and they will be held accountable. Therefore, we cannot attribute the notion of them as “Christian” acts or as Christ-followers. Any group of people that exemplify hatred and other unjust and unloving acts that Christ and God’s Word speak as the antithesis of what believer is about. So, any example (e.g. Westboro, KKK, etc., etc.,) should be nullified immediately and never upheld as a notion of what Christ-followers believe since even they cannot claim to believe what is written in the pages of scripture.

    I live and walk through life with many of my friends that are in same-sex relationships. Tolerance is NOT about acceptance of everything someone else does. You do not agree with my thoughts here, but you tolerate my opinions and offer your own. We have come to think that to preach tolerance means that not only should I accept someone’s lifestyle, but should even be compelled to celebrate and encourage it. My friends that are in same-sex relationships and I can have a friendship that allows for discussion and disagreement, but because we are both seeking Truth from God’s Word.

    The focus of the discussions here become so focused on what the person receives and the benefit “we” get. How do I get MY happiness? How can I FEEL good about myself and others? Should I be allowed to be happy too? Instead, we should be focused on who Christ is and how He exemplified unconditional love by choosing to walk alongside us as we were ALL dead in our transgressions. I know you don’t consider homosexuality as a sin and I’m also frustrated that we’ve somehow relegated homosexuality as a “bigger” sin than adultery, etc., other other sins we seem to be less “sensitive” about nowadays. I suppose it’s how culture has approached certain issues that bubble up to being deemed more egregious for the time.

    Unfortunately, however, it seems that consistently culture bends the rules so that certain choices, acts, whatever the proclivity can become more palatable. And, yes, unfortunately many, MANY that consider themselves Christians have failed miserably at loving and walking life with those that may not share the same world-view. But, those too, as we all must do, is carry ourselves, our anger, frustration, confusion, to the cross. Lay ourselves down, knowing that we are weak on our own so that then, we might acknowledge Christ and seek Him first. Additionally, I will also say I have had many (the same who preach tolerance at every opportunity) hate and tell me terrible things when I am willing to stay in community with them, but unless I agree and condone their every choice I am labeled as a “bigot and homophobe” or whatever other label that seems fitting for the situation.

    We are all messes. We are all weak. We all are equal at the cross.

    Regarding your point on how Jesus never stated certain things as sin I think it is quite plain and clear the kind of relationships Jesus spoke of and addresses. What romantic, same-sex union cited in any of scripture would you uphold as an model, example or testament as there are many examples and references to a marriage between a husband and a wife?

    Thank you for good discussion, thoughtful answers and staying on point!

    • Peter, Yes, I appreciate your words “Thank you for actually answering my question and keeping on point.” I consistently astonished at the way Certain Subjects get dragged into comments on John’s blog despite the fact that a blog post might be about something else entirely. I consider it acts fo spamming by trolls.

      I share your frustration that sexual sins, especially the alleged sins of homosexuality have been perceived as the Worst Sins Ever. There is no such thing as a sin being worse than any other because all sin is equally heinous in the eyes of God.

      Unfortunately, I do think people are homophobic when they cling to an interpretation of some portion of the Bible that cannot be supported by the original languages. There is isogesis, reading into the Bible what is not there in order to support a pet prejudice. Then there is exegesis which takes into account not only the original languages but the culture and social issues at the time the document was written as well as archaeological and historical evidence.

      You asked, “What romantic, same-sex union cited in any of scripture would you uphold as an model, example or testament as there are many examples and references to a marriage between a husband and a wife?”

      Assuming that we agree that nowhere in the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament, that marriage as we know it in the 21st century did not exist, then yes, here are examples. As supported by the original languages in more than one of the books I recommended above.

      They are: Jonathan and David; Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

      Again, if your eyes are now sticking out on stems, as one my college English profs used to say, please refer to the books listed above, especially Gay and Christian? Yes!
      by Rev. William H. Carey>

      Rev Carey is an active member of this blog and if you scroll through the comments you will find many erudite posts which address all these issues of the original languages.

      Thank you for writing in a manner that is respectful and validating. That is so refreshing compared to the way those who consider themselves on the other side choose to write. Choosing to write in this manner tells me you really want to converse, not bludgeon me into agreeing with you.

    • Peter, Christians have failed miserably at walking with LGBT Christians who share their confession of faith because you don’t see us. I don’t share the world’s view, I am a Christian through and through. The rejection I have felt from Christians because of the truth of who I am has challenged my faith more than any temptation in the world. I will not give up my faith in Jesus when I am misrepresented and maligned. I know you feel the same way.

      I guess this is the vicious cycle Christians are finding themselves in as a result of old ways of thinking that mischaracterize people. I am not a big fan of how JP criticizes the church on his blog posts but there is truth to it. The church body has to start realizing that people have concerns and those concerns need to be addressed and not dismissed.

      Jesus is calling us all out of the world.

      We need a place to land with our faith after we are called by God.

  48. Two comments: Christian churches differ in theology on the issue of homosexuality, even within the same denomination. People have to live out the faith they have come to understand. Brow-beating others is not a good way to persuade anyone into agreement with your understanding. Agree to disagree. Allies of the LGBT community are not pandering to us. Their understanding of the Bible comes from their discernment. No one can really say right or wrong, only different. Judge me T day, if you believe in it, will sorry all this out. We are not in charge, only God.

    Secondly, I don’t believe it is fair for anyone to condemn me for a sexual act that I commit a whopping 17/100,000 of the year. Less than 90 minutes. Much more of my time, nearly all of it, is devoted to work, charity, caring for my father, showing compassion to others and study of religion as well as discussions, even with people I disagree with. Am I a sinner? Yes, we all are. I do not drink, smoke, do drugs, covet, take God’s name in vain, etc. I follow the Commandments, especially the Greatest one. So, for what I hardly do, you may call me a sinner. But at least I do it after a lifetime of discernment, learning God’s plan for me, and with a consenting adult who is legally my wife. If this is my son, God knows my heart and intent. Let God do the judging and those who disagree with me really can get on with their lives. Especially if I don’t really know you! Peace and blessings to all.

    • Dawn,

      Your comments are heard and I agree with you that brow-beating people is unacceptable, unhelpful and counterproductive. I also would say that acknowledging that we are sinners we have something to be saved. From what Christ shows it is that we are not simply saved to good behavior. So, I am not saved to being a “better person”, but rather that I am utterly unable to be anything without Christ. Then, I recognize the sin that is in me. And I do hope that those I am in community with that also claim this hold me accountable. So that when I claim one thing, yet do another someone in love and respect points that out to me. This is not easy to hear or take when this happens, but it is necessary and welcomed so that my focused might be righted.

      Do you think there is a place for us to hold each other accountable for the truths we claim?

      • Peter, I know you addressed this to Dawn, so I hope you will not mind it if I respond.

        One of my very favorite from the collection known as the Saying of the Desert Fathers (which i really think should have been called Sayings of the Desert Christians because it included sayings of Desert Mothers) is one about Abba Moses the Black.

        The members of the community gathered one evening to discuss the sins of a member and what they were going to do about it. Abba Moses came to the gathering. Different accounts have him carrying a leaky basket full of sand or a leaky basket full of water. Abba Moses says “My sins stream out from me like the sand (or the water) in this basket and I am asked to judge another?”

        There is another anecdote about Abba Kopris. The brothers gathered to discuss the sins os someone and forgot to invite Abba Kopris. so they rectified their omission and the abba’s response was why did they want to waste their time with someone else’s sin when they had so many of their own.

        To answer your question, no, I do not think it our place to hold each other accountable for the truths we claim but to allow the Holy Spirit to work in each person’s live. Jesus tells is to pay no attention to a splinter in someone else’s eye when we have a log in our own we are ignoring.

        For centuries, Christians practiced what is now called “custody of the senses.” That is is people minded their own business and did not look around at other people to see what they were up to because this could occasion the snooper to fall into sin. Then along came the Reformation and people were encouraged to snoop into each other lives in order to hold them accountable. Ok, yes, I know I over-simplify, I also know that today custody of the senses is practiced in convents and monasteries. Also as a practice among the Orthodox but they use a different term which eludes me at the moment.

        The Desert Christians felt that paying attention to the sins of others opened the doors for demons to enter those who failed to mind their own business. Those who practice custody of the senses regard it as protection from falling into the exact same sin they observed in others.

        Having said all that, I do think it is my Christian responsibility to intervene when abuse occurs when a person with power misuses that to abuse another. As best as i can as a chronically ill, disabled and partially handicapped person, I will be a voice for the voiceless.

        • Gloriamarie,

          Not at all do I mind – thanks! And, I think there are some great tenets to glean from your story. Moreover, I think it does align with the “splinter and plank” you refer to. Too often, that reference is consistently used to excuse the call to being accountable or keeping each other accountable. I think what your stories outline is what I would say is the key to understanding the “splinter and plank”. That we are first recognizing our sin and shortcomings so that we can approach each other in humility knowing none of us are above another. So, when I do approach you, or you me, we come in humility knowing I am in need just as much as you, thus why I am coming to you. This is not easy since pride is right at our door many times.

          And, I absolutely agree that if we are taking an attitude of “gotcha” accountability that is in itself an unloving and unkind act not upheld by anyone who would genuinely claim Christ. When I know I have just as much mess and sin and I approach you because I am your spouse, friend, father, etc., I do it because I love and must communicate in humility, love and respect so that we both may have joy in redemption. It is not about “winning” and being “more perfect”, etc., yet, I surround myself so that when I am lacking others can lovingly come alongside me and encourage, discipline, or whatever is required so that I might adhere to the testimony I have given. Otherwise, it would be unloving for a community to let someone choose to go whatever way they so choose and especially when it is contrary to what they have claimed before!

          • Peter, I have another reason for thinking it is not up to us Christians to hold each other accountable for perceived sins and that is because people do NOT do it as you describe.

            All Too Often, and I know as one on the receiving end, “Christians” have perceived my chronic illness as sin. “Christians” have perceived my love of classical music and jazz as sin. “Christians” have perceived the icons I write as sin. “Christians” have perceived my sexual molestation as a child and rape by my husband as sin because I must have asked for it.

            I have lots of examples when “Christians” just simply did not like something about me, perceived that to be sin, and bludgeoned me over the head.

            No, I disagree that we Christians have the right to hold each other accountable for sin because we lack a true understanding of what sin is. Also, because we are entirely too ready to project our issues upon another person. Also, because Christisans, too many of them, think holding accountable is the same thing as twisting the knife.

            Yes, I agree the Sayings I cite and the custody of the senses address what Jesus really means by splinter and log. So instead of holding people accountable for what God may or may not view as sin, let us agree to deal with our own logs and leave the perceived splinters of others alone.

            • I had another thought about this business of Christians holding each other accountable for our sins. I can think of a ton of verses where we are supposed to help each other but I have never read them within context to say we are tyo hold each other accountable for sin.

              I m drawing a blank, but where in the New Testament does it say to do that, exactly? If it does, I really can’t remember where.

              I know Jesus tells us that we should not judge others because we open ourselves up to judgment. Jesus says it is not what goes into our mouths that defile us but what comes out. Then, of course, James waxes all eloquent on the subject of the tongue and the problems it can cause.

              Peter, I appreciate your style. If you were to like me on Facebook, I would invite you to join a certain FB group I have.

              • Gloriamarie,

                It’s great to engage in discussion with others who want to think critically about these matters – even if we don’t always have the same conclusions – isn’t it?!

                Firstly, we do see how Christ teaches that in the verse we referred to in Matthew 7:3:

                3 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

                So it is clear that we ought to, “first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” So it’s not merely to think and take care of ourselves, yet in our recognition of our sin we humbly can righteously restore one another.

                A second verse that I would refer to is Galations 6:1-2:

                Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. 2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

                Again, called to “restore” each other “in a spirit of gentleness”.

                Of course, there are many other examples of how this is done between Christ and the disciples, but also after that how we are called to continue encouraging one another on towards righteousness.

                However, I think to what many here are either struggling with, speaking out about, or frustrated with is how many that claim to be Christians are caught up in the particular sins deemed more egregious than others and get distracted from the focus of how we are all hot messes desiring to follow Jesus by “deny[ing] ourselves and pick[ing] up our cross and follow me [Jesus]”….(Matthew 16:24). I am just as frustrated too when the church or those that claim to be Christians act unchristianly! However, the same is to be with them and all of us no matter our offense!

                We must meet everyone at their point of need and walk, talk and encourage each other towards redemption and restoration – even those we don’t necessarily like! Life is messy, life is hard and we all do fall short!

                I’ll see if I can find you on Facebook!

                • I have found I don’t have to point out anyones sin and they don’t have to point out mine because as soon as I rub shoulders with people I see my own shortcomings. Likewise unless my brother is obviously committing a crime I simply avail myself to my friend; encourage them and listen to them. Usually the sin rises to the surface and often it has nothing to do with being LGBT.

                  Often it has to do with being proud, arrogant, self righteous and greedy.

                  Restoring someone is forgiving them and encoring to keep going…and telling them that God loves them.

                  • Kathy wrote “Restoring someone is forgiving them and encoring to keep going…and telling them that God loves them.”

                    I agree. Kathy, it would seem you and I share the view of the early church writers on this subject.

                    I have an almost visceral rejection of the evangelical Reformed view that we Christians are supposed to hold each other accountable because in my experience, it overlooks that we are all sinners who have fallen short of the glory of God. If we went around holding each other accountable, it would a very bleak experience of CHristian community.

                • Peter, I just changed my friends’ request status bso you should be able to find me now.

                  Yes, I agree, I think more people commenting on this blog need to learn and profit from your example about to disagree without calling names, violating boundaries, using appropriate language, and being respectful and validating. I knwo I appreciate it.

                  About Mt 7:3-5, the key portion of this to me is ” You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye..

                  This tells me a few things. One is that we are all hypocrites to think we see another person with clarity of vision. Another is that maybe by the time we succeed in dealing with our own denial, we won’t fin anything to hold another accountable for. A third is that we will never be anything but hypocrites, no matter what we do. Then there is the example of all the Desert Christians and the Early Christian writers that place such an emphasis upon the need for humility that I wonder how any of us can presume to hold another accountable when we are oursevles need to be held accountable by the Lord.

                  About the Galatians quote… I am sorry that you chose a gender exclusive version to quote. That is quite hurtful. Not at all in keeping with the admonition of gentleness.

                  “We must meet everyone at their point of need and walk, talk and encourage each other towards redemption and restoration – even those we don’t necessarily like! Life is messy, life is hard and we all do fall short!”

                  Yes, and if women are treated as second-class citizens, as you treated me with that gender-exclusive quote, why, pray tell, should I listen to you?

                  • Gloriamarie,

                    I think a helpful concept that could be entertained by many here would be that the Bible wasn’t written TO us, but FOR us. When Paul writes to the church in Ephesus, he wrote a letter to the church in Ephesus, not specifically to us in 2016. However, the wisdom and fundamental truths he was communicating are what we can learn from.

                    I know many take issues with the the language termed as “gender-exclusive”, but I would argue that this is not the case at all. Now, I believe we are getting somewhat off-topic and down a new rabbit-hole with this, but seems like it might be necessary for further discussion. When we understand the text in the context of the audience and time we can read with an open-mind. Now, I know the audience reading my comments are maybe in a different generation and will largely laugh and disagree with me, but I think we’ve worked very hard in our modern times (and not so modern) to take offense to Paul’s writings and other scriptures, considering them to be demeaning towards women because of a quick read or simple sound-byte from cultural influencers (I think the latter tends to be more true just has we have a culture so satisfied on sensational news/information headlines and not take a minute to think critically and seek more deeply into what they’ve heard, but merely take and run without understanding – what a disservice to themselves and others!)

                    The passage I cited in Galatians begins with the Greek word: ἀδελφός, or adelphos, which is translated “bretheren, brothers” as it’s the masculine form, and YES can be understood then as to all regardless of gender, which would have been understood at the church in Ephesus.

                    I might be speaking from a different generation as I know in my generation considered to be the “millennial” generation this is not an issue women (or men) get caught up in from learning the meaning. And, this is not just from my believing friends either. Therefore, I don’t have trouble making it say to “Sisters and Brothers” or however you would prefer, but it’s not something we get hung up on knowing trying to stay true to the original text while pairing it with context. Since the word in the original language most closely translates to “brethren or brothers”, etc., we keep to that while understanding the message. Does that make sense?

                    Additionally, I think it’s helpful for people to acknowledge how a thorough and careful reading of the Bible would actually prove how women are not considered second-class by Scripture. There might be examples that the Bible shows how the culture may have reflected that, but there are several examples to how Christ, Paul and other Christians respond very differently.

                    For instance, when Christ speaks to the woman at the well…a SAMARITAN woman…ALONE! What a risk he was taking culturally doing such a thing! First, a man speaking to a Samaritan and secondly a woman?! But, he speaks truth in love to her concerning her relationships.

                    Women were also the first to discover and report of Christ’s resurrection. How counter-cultural?! As you know, women’s testimonies at that time carried little to no value, yet it is women who are used to convey the most important information of this time!

                    Furthermore, Paul, many, many times regards women as “co-workers” and “fellow workers” in the ministry even within when the same greek work “adelphos” is used. Phillipians 4:1-3 says,

                    1 Therefore, my brothers (“adelphos”), whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.
                    2 I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.
                    3 Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

                    Paul names several women considered to be leaders, ministers or deacons in the church in Romans 16:

                    1 I commend to you our sister Phoebe, a deacon of the church in Cenchreae. 2 I ask you to receive her in the Lord in a way worthy of his people and to give her any help she may need from you, for she has been the benefactor of many people, including me. 3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila, my co-workers in Christ Jesus. 4 They risked their lives for me. Not only I but all the churches of the Gentiles are grateful to them. 5 Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia. 6 Greet Mary, who worked very hard for you. 7 Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me. They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.

                    Paul is acting WILDLY outside the present-day culture to acknowledge and work alongside with women. Paul has traded his life of leadership, importance, acceptance and power in the previous role he had before Christ for a 180 degree change that brought him beatings, prison, shipwrecks, and death for ministry. It’s astounding how unfairly or partially people will read and understand him! His choices did not bring himself any great favor or popularity of the culture!

                    As I said earlier, I think this is another GREAT topic we can vigorously discuss, but I think somewhat deviates from this article, but I understand how we got here!

                    All that said, I hope this provides clarity and understanding how when I use and understand scripture is is not and cannot be interpreted in anyway to convey the demeaning of anyone regardless of their gender or any other quality for that matter!

                    • Peter there is a bigger issue here and it is not a rabbit trail.

                      If women are not given access to leadership roles in the church; if they are not permitted to be priests and ministers; if they are not valued for their intellectual and moral equivalence to men then we are being treated as second class citizens. Language is a symptom of a greater problem.

                    • Sorry, if you are going to insist on using gender exclusive language and justify your use of it, that tells me that you choose to ignore a boundary I set and makes me wonder if you ignore other boundaries women set. I am done.

  49. Hi, Peter. There are no examples of positive same-sex unions in the Bible because the Bible is a thoroughly heterosexual book. It assumes heterosexuality. It reflects the ancient worldviews of the people who wrote it.

    The Bible hates homosexuality because the men who wrote it hated homosexuality. To try and make the Bible say other than what it clearly says requires tortured interpretation and contortions. I see the same thing when Christian feminists try to prove that Paul didn’t see women as second-class citizens. He clearly did.

    Our problem is we want to have some way for God to talk to us, We yearn for His voice. But all we have is the Bible–and the vague “spiritual feelings” inside ourselves.

    The truth, I think, is that God is silent and nobody knows what He/She/It/They thinks.

    God wants us to figure out life on our own. In the same way that we have to find the cure for cancer ourselves, we have to learn how to treat one another on our own.

    • Yet, the Bible gives examples of other sexual relationships it does not deem as acceptable…wouldn’t it be expected, then, that it wouldn’t acknowledge adultery or extra-marital relationships to be acceptable if it is written by such misogynistic men as you seem to be conveying?

      Homosexuality is just one relationship that is mentioned, but there are plenty of heterosexual relationships that are called out too. The reason, not just because the act(s), but that it is not how God has designed. So, it’s not to lift up one as “worse” than another. But, we should pursue how we are designed in the image of God should we not?

      Your belief system seems so amorphous and relativistic in my reading of your comments so it is hard to know what you believe. How would you describe what you believe? I know you already said that there is not really any Truth since we can all have our own truths, which would be the same as saying that there is no truth.

      • Peter, actually, it has been my experience that the Bible records that God’s accommodates the relationships people have.

        Throughout history it is man who has made rules about marriage not God.

        • Are you proposing that any relationship we desire is acceptable then since marriage is a construct of man? I’m guessing you’re not saying that, but thought it would be helpful for clarification in further discussion.

          • Please cease to use gender exclusive language as that is neither respectful or validating as it leaves women out of the conversation.

            Although in this case, since marriage is a construct of males, maybe gender exclusive language is appropriate.

            As there are many varieties of marriages described in the Bible, all for the convenience of males, and making women chattel, I think what we of the twenty-first century understand as marriage is not found in the interpretation of English texts.

            How Paul, for instance, has been interpreted is not what Paul actually wrote.

          • Peter, considering that many evangelicals don’t even think the marriage of unbelievers is Holy then I would say there is no place to begin this discussion with a bias like that.

            “If your conscience allows you to wed two non-Christians, make sure the wedding isn’t presented as a worship service.” – Brian Croft, The Gospel Coalition

  50. Hi, Peter. I believe God has given us reason and that’s what we use to determine right from wrong. (Also, you could say that we have the “natural law” written inside ourselves that lets us know when we’re doing something wrong. That was the position CS Lewis took. I’m not too sure I agree. I think the fact that a two-year-old knows to feel guilty is evidence that, even at that young age, socialization has begun its work. What’s the first word most children learn? “No.”)

    I believe that absolute truth exists. But I don’t feel it’s found in the pages of scripture, necessarily. Scripture is just too full of holes, contradictions, lies and falsehoods — just like every other book written by humans. It can’t be used as an infallible guide, I don’t think.

    • Thank you John,

      That helps me a bit more to see where you’re coming from. And, very much, agree that God has given us the ability to discern right from wrong and that it is written on our hearts. I think your example of a child is fantastic for this discussion. I’m not sure that simply because it might be common for a two-year old to hear the word “no” and repeat that it is an egregious error termed as “socialization”, therefore, immediately wrong or bad in some way, or that it equates a feeling of guilt. It seems that they recognize something has not gone their way not even knowing it is many times good for them. For instance if I tell my child, “no, don’t put your hands on the hot stove!” Does that not protect the child? It’s not to bring about guilt, but wisdom. And, this is precisely what I think we are doing as adults. God first has given us a way of redemption and restoration, which in turn might cause us to move away from our sin, but sin grips us too and we internally struggle what we do with it. We want to continue to do our own things even if they are not good for us. So, many decide that we want both. We want to acknowledge Got while holding on to the parts of our sinful nature we enjoy.

      Do you uphold any particular thing/teaching as true?

  51. Peter, you misunderstand me a bit. I think socialization isn’t necessarily bad. Like you said, it’s valuable to teach your kids not to touch a hot stove. Socialization does go bad at times, though. For example, Nazi parents teaching their children to hate Jews.

    I think we just do the best we can. We figure out how to lead moral lives as the centuries roll on. It’s two steps forward and one step back. We think something is the right path to walk down, and then when we have traveled on that path a bit we learn it was not a wise choice.

    Having said everything I’ve said about scripture, I must admit that much I’ve my world view has been shaped by scripture. I can’t help it. There is much in scripture that I try to follow in my life — but not because it’s in scripture. I’m particularly drawn toward certain portions of the Sermon on the Mount.

  52. Peter, I don’t think anyone is saying we are not sinners and we don’t need God. As a follower of Jesus I have come to understand that the importance of his message is loving God and loving others. It is only through love that we free ourselves from sin. Once I began walking with Jesus, and felt His love, I was reassured over and over again that I am accepted as I am. I learned what was sin i.e.: what was harmful to myself and others, and the difference between what is not sin.

    When we maintain a bias towards LGBT people and separate ourselves based on thinking they are sinful we cut off the source of love and understanding. We force LGBT people to be deny themselves and be something they are not.

    Jesus did not have to point out the sin of the woman caught in adultery because there was a crowd of men ready to point her sin out and condemn her already. But the church does this to LGBT people who are not even sinning! They judge and condemn us for being who we are and for telling the truth about ourselves.

    The message of Jesus is one of sinners finding mercy when they are assailed by human judgement masked as God’s judgement. I am convicted in my heart but my own sin and it is the work of the Spirit not man!

    Jesus shows us the way out of condemnation through grace. Grace offers the freedom to try again. This unmerited pardon allows us to learn what is good and decent without the constant threat of being misunderstood and despised. Without living in fear of man made doctrines and man governed laws.

    Our relationship with God is built on learning to TRUST a grace-filled God. No one truly trusts someone who has a sword hanging over your head ready to fall on you simply because you disagree with an organized religion run by fallible humans who tell you what to think, say and do.

    I will give you an example of this. My daughter came to me one day and confided something personal to me which was upsetting. I was glad she came to me so I could be there for her and help her make the right decision and support her though it. I told her we should get her dad involved and she begged me not to tell him. When I asked her why she said all he would do is get angry and tell her what to do. He wouldn’t listen or care about her feelings. She didn’t trust him with anything this difficult.

    A church that cannot accept our struggles and truth about ourselves cannot care for us and have abdicated it’s role in our lives.

    This is why I bring my confessions and my truth to God alone.

    But the story doesn’t end there, thank God for answered prayers! Thank God for affirming churches and Christians who support my walk with Christ with whom I can find fellowship and encouragement.

  53. Faith communities exist to hold its members accountable. To go beyond that is too broad of a stretch. Trust is important in discernment and in accountability. I adhere to my denomination’s ethics and doctrine.

    • Well the faith community seems to only hold certain people accountable then therefore why trust a church that is hypocritical?

      • This hasn’t been my experience. If it has been yours maybe it’s time to seek a new community. It is possible to outgrow them. Everyone is in various places in their journeys. Elders instruct, newbies need to listen more and talk less. No one should participate without engaging his or her brain. Reasoning is just as important as belief – or you will fall for anything – or just parrot what you’ve been told without any serious reflection.

  54. Absolutely, Dawn. Faith communities provide a support that is critical. In fact, faith seems to be something do together. People who are out on their own proclaiming their own version of the truth — we tend to distrust those people.

    Part of the value of a faith community is it helps you sustain your belief. When you’re feeling unsure, it’s great to have a conversation with someone at coffee hour that restores your faith.

    We band together for love and encouragement. That’s irreplaceable.

  55. Re the idea that homosexuality is sinful (or that homosexuality is okay, but homosexual acts are sinful):

    I would posit that God does not require the impossible. If legal or sacramental marriage s not available for same-sex couples, same-sex sexual relationships cannot be sinful.

    Where there is a licit relationship available in accordance with their nature as created by God, and as was made available to David and Jonathan (1 Sam 18:3) when they made their covenant to become “one soul,” then one can consider sex outside such a marriage to be sinful, in the same way that one does for heterosexual people

    The “clobber verses” are all either mistranslations or references to actions or activities that are not within the ambit of a loving same-sex relationship, and in many cases, involve the practices of a competing religion, a macho power/dominance act, or (in the case of malakoi and arsenokoitai) pedophilia/ephebophilia ( the latter term applied by the Catholic Church to distinguish children from teens as victims).

    If we’re considering sex outside of marriage to be sinful, then marriage should be a possibility.

  56. John P seems to be an ethical, compassionate pastor who takes the responsibility and authority of his position seriously. I’m sure he has done his homework exegetically. He is not the only cleric who believes the same as he does after studying scripture. Of this i am quite certain. He takes a lot of risk in his blog, saying what others believe but often do not say out loud. So instead of constantly attacking him, let’s find a way to discuss different perspectives respectfully. Saying someone is wrong flat-out is not conducive and changes nothing. Let’s focus on the topic, not the messengers.

    • Dawn, thank you for these words ” So instead of constantly attacking him, let’s find a way to discuss different perspectives respectfully. Saying someone is wrong flat-out is not conducive and changes nothing. Let’s focus on the topic, not messengers.”

      From my experience, those who attack John P, instead of discussing things in a respectful and validating manner are here to be trolls.

      If someone will not use respectful and validating language, I see no reason to engage with them.

  57. Hi, Peter. Millennials who are staying in the church, such as yourself, are trying to comes to terms with biblical teachings that make them uncomfortable—such as teachings on homosexuality and the role of women in the family. In my mind, they are engaging in misinterpretation.

    The Bible says what it says. We err when we try to turn the authors into modern-day liberals. They weren’t. They were ancient conservatives. (Although they are a few glimmers of progressive thinking. For example, as you point out, some of Paul views on women’s roles in the church run counter to the culture of his day.)

    Did God speak through the authors? I don’t know. I think there is a lot of commendable ideas in scripture that we can use—loving one’s enemies, for example. But there’s also a lot of incorrect notions and backwards thinking.

    So can the church use scripture? Well, I’m not convinced “the church” as we know it will survive another 30 years. People are fleeing from Christianity in droves, at least in North America. (Pentecostalism is growing like wild fire in Latin America.) I think that if the church survives into the second half of this century it will because it abandons dogma – the idea that we know what God’s thinking. It will be, in other words, a church that is focused on mystery, not certainty.

    I think the Bible will have to fit into this dogma-less environment. I think you’re already starting to see that in what is known as the Emerging Church.

    At least that’s the way I see.

    • Yes, John, I agree with you that the church is absolutely changing. But, I think I have a different view of what, how and why.

      First, many of us in my generation (of course, I’m not foolish to think I’m representing everyone) are not uncomfortable with those topics. In fact, it is entirely the opposite. Bring your: uncomfortable, messy, embarrassing, proud, greedy, addicted, apathetic, confused, angry, self or questions, or whatever your wrestling so that we might bring it to the cross. We deal in the messy, because Christ did and calls us to.

      I think previous generations are uncomfortable with these things because they tucked them away and chose to not acknowledge or talk about it. I think that’s why many from generation before us have opted to leave the church. That is changed. We cannot ignore it and choose not to ignore, but instead welcome it. Not to welcome it and say, “you’re good, carry on”, but to say there is hope, mercy, grace, love and justice for what we bring. Let us bear it together! We don’t see the church as the walls, traditions, curriculum, outlines, etc., but as a community that acknowledges we are a broken people in need of a Savior so we are compelled to live life together in seeking that out!

      We certainly know we are incapable on our own and dreadfully fall short. So, we must put our faith in the One who is the “author and perfecter of our faith” not in our own musings, feelings, or culture that surrounds us.

      We also don’t think to view the authors in and try to categorize them in political associations. They certainly dealt with an entirely separate and different challenges than we do today so I don’t find it beneficial to try and make them fit into a right vs. left construct.

      But, I certainly have seen and agree the church as we know it is changing.

  58. Kathy,

    To your comment, “If women are not given access to leadership roles in the church…”

    Please read my comment in it’s entirety. If you do, you will see that what you state is exactly what I underscore is in scripture in multiple instances. And, those were just the few I used as there are more. They are ministers, deacons, benefactors, co-workers, entrusted with the most important information, etc.

    The content of your comment entirely contradicts and misrepresents everything I said which would lead me to believe you didn’t read it.

    Otherwise, please refer to how my comment does otherwise.

    Language is important, which is why we look at the language exactly how it was written in complementing to the context as which it was written. Thus, there is clarity and understanding without having to twist scripture to say what we want.

    • Peter, sorry I have read every word and it’s not clear what you mean, on the one hand you say you , “…YES can be understood then as to all regardless of gender, ” and then you contradict yourself by saying, “Language is important, which is why we look at the language exactly how it was written in complementing to the context as which it was written” So which is it? Does the Bible need to be changed to be gender inclusive or not? Do we need to change and be gender inclusive so those who have no educational background or understanding of context can understand that Paul was writing to all?

      • “Do we need to change and be gender inclusive so those who have no educational background or understanding of context can understand that Paul was writing to all?”

        Since Paul always a plural “you” and since Paul referred to many women as equal co-workers, I fail to see any reason to choose gender inclusive language. After all, Paul was himself.

  59. There is no contradiction and it’s straight-forward:

    I cited the greek word used>We learn what the greek word means when translated> We apply that to the context of the audience/time/etc.

    It’s like the word humankind. Will people misunderstand who we are addressing thinking it’s just to men? Maybe in a few hundred years, but context will help them understand that is a word used for all people. Do we need to go replace everywhere it’s written humankind or mankind? No, we understand that when we see that it is to all people.

    It doesn’t take advanced educational background to understand when there is consistency used in language. If brethren for the time is consistently used to address men and/or a group of people regardless of gender we can see how it is consistently used in other passages in the same way.

    Just like in other languages, like Spanish, words are understood in context. If there is a stadium full of boys we say “niños” if girls enter into the mix, we still say “niños”. If it’s ALL females, we then say “niñas”.

    No contradiction, but context in language.

    Again, I’m not anti the use of saying “brothers and sisters” or anything like that, but what I saying is if we’re so unable to keep the literal words written and make them into divisive issues where there wasn’t even an issue then we start off on a bad foot.

    And this goes both ways. If someone is hellbent on saying that it’s for the word brethren in that passage could only have addressed men only then they are doing the same injustice to the passage and have also not understood the context, but that’s not the fault of Bible, but of the person being ignorant.

    Additionally, I think the passages I cited are VERY CLEAR that women are included in the very roles you asserted they should be! I would think you would celebrate that!

    • In the preface of the ESV translation the translators explain ” In the area of gender language, the goal of the ESV is to render literally what is in the original. For example, ‘anyone’ replaces ‘ any man’ ”

      You see, the literal translation is understood here as the meaning not the words themselves.

      This is why JP’s post is important.

      So often Christians are arguing about words and not meaning.

      This is why so many Christians are suffering from cognitive dissonance because some biblical scholars give more weight to words rather than to meaning. Some biblical scholars dissect language and chop up verses in the most unhelpful way as if there is some hidden code in the words (which are are not directly translated and therefore could not possibly have a formula to them) and totally miss the meaning of the message.

    • English is a language that is continually evolving with words shifting in meaning and intent. I am 58 years old and I have never heard the word “brethren” meant as anything other than exclusively male. If the word translated as”brethren” can be faithfully translated using an inclusive word, then the inclusive word would be the better choice.

      It’s like saying that Wayne Gretzky was a great American hockey player. Canadians will rise up howling in protest because, strictly speaking, while anyone on the continents in this hemisphere is an American, it is not what we commonly understand it to mean.

      I accept “humankind” and “mankind” as referring to all genders because those meanings have not changed. I do not accept “men” as including other genders because that definition has definitely shifted in common usage. I also do not accept “guys” as being inclusive.

      • Good point Patricia, yet there are Brethren churches (Mennonite background) which include men and women in their congregations. Word preferences can vary from person to person. I don’t have a preference but I pay attention to how my choice of words affect others when I am in conversation with. As well, transgender people may prefer to be called ‘he’ or ‘she’ , others ‘they’ and some don’t care one way or another.

        The only thing I can make of all of this is that we must be willing to care about others to the point of sacrificing our own word preferences in order to understand how others see the world around them and experience life. It takes patience to understand that the rules don’t always apply.

        • and Peter, I apologize if I am coming off poorly, this is not the best forum and I don’t have a lot of time to spend making these comments perfectly succinct and diplomatic but I think it is a worthy discussion. Thanks for the food for thought.

        • I have a friend who was Brethren and since she was not allowed to speak in church, I felt that the name of her church exemplified the exclusion she felt. She is now an Anglican priest. Other than the denomination named Brethren, which is an entirely other matter, I still will say that I have never heard the word used to mean all genders.

          I agree that our word choices matter, but I believe that being inclusive is rarely offensive, while being exclusive is often unhelpful.

          • Patricia, yes, I get that, for sure! I was a member of a fundamentalist church which referred to our membership as brethren which included women. They continued to use that term even when political correctness become popular. Some of the congregation wanted to use brothers and sisters. The pastor said it was not an important distinction. He gave a long sermon on it and the pitfalls of political correctness. I see now that at the root of the term brethren is the submission of women and gender exclusion but when the word brethren is used I still picture a church congregation with men in leadership positions and women in domestic roles. It’s difficult to let go of the associations we have with words.

  60. One thing I like to ask when a Christian is trying to use God to beat upon a gay person is this — “can a hermaphrodite marry and if so which sex does he marry? Since the beating is all based upon the sexual organ one person has, the hermaphrodite has both. So using the theory of the person beating up on a gay person, by default either way a hermaphrodite goes they are being gay.

    Some people smile and nod but there are some Christians that get really, really mad at my theory. I call it putting God in a box. Their own person box, nice and tidy to be used with their version of Christ’s mission. I do believe that God is much bigger than a box.

    • I believe the Roman Catholic, and some other Christian, approach to intersex/”hermaphroditism” is the same as it is for those with same-sex attraction – that marriage is not a licit option, sex outside of marriage is sinful, and the only option is a celibate life. Barbaric.

      Just as barbaric as the primitive medical science that allowed (even relatively recently) the sort of infant genital mutilation performed on some intersex babies to make them conform to more societally expected genital shape, that often results in complete loss of capacity for orgasm.

  61. It sounds like it’s time to end a chapter as some here value diverse opinions as less than others. So, here are my final thoughts.

    Gloriamarie,

    RE: “Sorry, if you are going to insist on using gender exclusive language and justify your use of it, that tells me that you choose to ignore a boundary I set and makes me wonder if you ignore other boundaries women set. I am done.”

    – Nowhere EVER did I “insist on using gender exclusive language”. Multiple times I explicitly said I was not anti to “gender neutral language”, but rather used the original language and provided the meaning (of which I think most here seem to agree with eventually on the meaning even if we disagree on the gender neutrality or lack thereof).

    – I simply and plainly explained that people get hung up on the word and not the meaning behind the word which detracts from the point and gets us distracted on secondary issues.

    – Finally, your last sentence is MOST offensive to me and hardly do I feel offended, but what you have insinuated about me regarding if I “ignore other boundaries women set” and you know nothing of my character other than what I have exemplified here of respectful discussion. Even if you disagree vehemently with my point of view I would’ve expected you to treat me with the same degree of respect. Nothing of what I wrote was personally to you, yet you felt you should attack my character falsely.

    I thought differing thoughts and opinions were the valued by those who consider themselves “Progressive” or similar titles, but I see that diversity of thought is not valued.

    At the end, I hope there is some ounce of value people can glean from reading these posts to see that when we set our hearts to seek first God, then when we have heart-change we desire to walk with each other through the uncomfortable, messy, and challenging life as broken people behind restored because of the finished work of Christ.

    • Peter, you started out your visit here to the blog by quoting scripture;

      “ …considering themselves wise they became fools” I think you started off on the wrong foot by causing

      Do you really think you laid a foundation of trust with other commenters by revealing how much you despise and look down on others?

      Offended you started on the blog and offended you leave.

  62. Ok, not to change the subject entirely, but this is for those who take the Bible literally and believe in its inerrancy: which creation story do you believe and/or not believe? The one in Genesis 1 or the one in Genesis 2? These are two vastly different creation stories, demonstrating two different relationships with God by virtue of our creation. Go!

    • Dawn, love your question. I would add, how many times did that rooster crow? Three or Nine?

      About the Creation stories in Genesis. Have you read and noticed the remarkable similarities between the Genesis accounts and the Tale of Gilgamesh which dates from about 2100 BCE which is the 3rd dynasty if Ur?

      I am unsubbing from comments on this discussion. Until the next time, folks.

  63. Pingback: Why Using the Bible Against LGBTQ People is Irresponsible – My Mind Snaps

  64. Pingback: Why Using the Bible Against LGBTQ People is Irresponsible | KitoDiaries

  65. I guess my biggest question after reading your article is…

    Which parts (or verses) of the Bible is it ok to believe in and use to shape our World View?

  66. “The Bible did not drop from the sky and it isn’t a product of Divine dictation where God took over the faculties of the author. It is a sprawling library of 66 books, orally preserved and then written down over hundreds of years by dozens of disparate and largely unknown”

    Funny, Liberals Christians believe this, but still still insist on reading the Bible. Guess what kids, the parts you like are myths too.

  67. To all my Christian brethren that like to beat the gay’s on the head with the bible I suggest you put down the KJ bible and start learning how to read Greek. Each translation lost true meanings of certain, some or a lot of verses. cooler heads can conclude that Paul was giving direction to solve specific problems among the Corinthian Saints of that day. The people were forcibly taking boys into temples and having sex with them, they were having pagan ceremonies, etc. So Paul was trying to solve the problem in Corinth and most likely not giving a Jesus type order of life.

    So many modern day bibles have added terms such as homosexuality, a word that never existed in the day of Jesus. Now if you are led to n Old Testament verse, I have questions for you. Are you a pick and choose Christian. You can’t just pick out one piece from the Old Testament and forget other verses. Verses that would rule out some type of cancer patients, men wounded in war or accidents causing harm to a certain part of the body would prohibit them from entering the congregation of the Lord. There are a heck of a lot other such verses.

    Deut 23:1 “He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the LORD.”

    Now about the KJV — you can research on your own about who, what and why the translation was started. You can start a big christian fight talking about the KJV but no place in the Bible does it say the KJV is best and only Holy Bible.

    One example of the poorly translated KJV –
    Erasmus (KJV translator) had no Greek manuscript (=MS) (he only used half a dozen, very late MSS for the whole New Testament any way). He was therefore forced to ‘back-translate’ the Latin into Greek and by so doing he created seventeen variants which have never been found in any other Greek MS of Revelation!

    So those that throw that first stone might want to consider what was said in the bible about throwing stones.

  68. Yes and thank you very much for this comment. It feels like those who hold these “outdated” truths are not welcome to share these beliefs without being labeled, judged and called names. Focusing on biology allows for empathy and understanding; however by no means permits one to act in any way they see fit.

  69. “it isn’t a product of Divine dictation where God took over the faculties of the author.”

    If you don’t believe that the Prophets and the Laws handed down to Moses are those things, then I’m not sure why you’re bothering with it at all. That’s the must basic claim as to why the Bible is holy. No one has to believe it. But that belief would seem to be a prerequisite to be a Jew or Christian.

  70. 2 Timothy 3:16
    All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness

    “All Scripture”. Not the ones you pick and choose. It is God breathed.

  71. an excellent article/essay & one that should be read many times by Christians.
    I would point out that the word ‘homosexuality’ was first used in 1865 but did not appear in print until 1869. at that time it was used within the new science field of psychology to describe the phenomena of same-sex attraction.
    Using the word to describe a person as a homosexual occurred in the earl to mid 20’s & was not used as a derogatory term until the 30’s. It was in 1946 that the word first appeared in an English language version of the Bible, (ASV).
    Thus began the problem we have today, a problem that should never have arisen.

  72. Simply and clearly stated, He created them male and female. Generally, there need not be a lot of confusion. However, our world is fallen and we are broken along with it. Unfortunately, we love imperfectly and have fears and egos that do damage. Let’s strive to love better, inspire hope, do justice and walk humbly with God.
    The Bible speaks as an authority for life and practice, and yes, followers differ on its reading. It still speaks. It speaks of hope and freedom and deliverance and identity (in Christ) and meaning.

  73. As usual very well done.
    Just one point, the term “homosexual” was first used in C.G. Chaddock’s translation of Krafft-Ebing’s “Psychopathia Sexualis”. By 1895 homosexual was in common use.

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