Reflections on a Homosexual Bible Study (Part II)

Read Part I of "Reflections on a Homosexual Bible Study".

In the next four chapter sessions, same-sex conduct was defended. Almost every well-known section of the Bible that dealt with it was analyzed to divert attention from its homosexual aspects toward something else. Only after attempting to strip down inferred homosexual aspects of each Bible passage was the most obvious disapproving Bible passage of same-sex conduct introduced from Leviticus.

"You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; such a thing is an abomination." (Leviticus 18:22)

The first verses used were from Romans.

"For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error." (Romans 1:26-27)

The creation stories (Genesis 1:26-28, 2:18-25) were introduced (not shown).

"[We] reflect that Genesis does not lay out God’s entire plan for sexuality. It was not written to tell people how to act sexually. Rather, it is a story of how the earth was first populated."

Yes, that is true. But it is much more than that. It talks of love, relationships, sin, consequences and so much more.

Relating the Genesis story to the Romans passage:

"The connection of Romans 1:26 with creation is ‘an invention arising in the present church dispute.’… Paul was drawing on the Wisdom of Solomon [Wisdom 13:1-9, 14:12-14, 24-27], not Genesis. Others interpreters imply that if Paul was drawing from Genesis, he misinterpreted it. … Theologian Theodore Jennings suggests that Genesis describes the cohumanity –not the complementarity- of the sexes."

Next we discussed what Saint Paul meant by “unnatural”.

"…Paul was objecting to pederasty, the love of, and sexual use of, boys or youth by adult men. … Paul especially had no understanding of same-sex relationships that are non-exploitative, committed, and monogamous. … Gentile men and women were doing the atypical, the socially unacceptable [like men wearing long hair]. … [Same-sex acts] was not in itself sinful, but had been visited upon the Gentiles as recompense for sins, chiefly the sin of idolatry but also those of social disruption."

Basically, the argument was based on the apparent misinterpretation of Genesis on the one side and the lack of insight by Saint Paul due to the limited knowledge of his day on the other.

Later on, I made another argument using this Romans 1 passage that related to the story of Sodom and Gomorra.

Further in this chapter, Psalm 139:1-18 (especially 14) was used.

"I will praise you, so wonderfully you made me; Wonderful are your works!"

Yes, we were wonderfully made by God. But, with the advent of sin, we have to deal with its consequences. The question is if same-sex acts are sinful. He did make us sexual creatures, but for what end and by what means?

The second argument for accepting (particular) same-sex acts was found in 1 Corinthians.

"Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators
nor idolaters nor adulterers nor boy prostitutes nor sodomites nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God."

"That is what some of you used to be; but now you have had yourselves washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." (1 Corinthians 6:9, 16:14)

The first verses from 1 Corinthians 6 used the words “boy prostitutes” and “sodomites”. These almost definitely refer to pederasty. The homosexual attributes are obvious, but I conceded that this was more of an exploitative matter. This admission should not negate anyone’s view that any homosexual act is sinful. This passage affirms one aspect of the whole picture: homosexual acts between men and boys are sinful.

The verse from 1 Corinthians 16 carries the same arguments as those from the passages in Galatians. It further continues, in the concluding paragraphs of the chapter, with an explanation of the study guide’s title “Claiming the Promise”.

"Paul named certain kinds of same-sex conduct as illustrations of wrongdoing. For Paul, however, we are baptized, sanctified, and justified by God’s action in Christ. By God’s grace we have become heirs of the kingdom. For Paul, the basic Christian ethic was not a set of rules. It was a way of being and living. We are to claim the promise. We are to be a new creation in Christ. [Ethicist Marie] Fortune would call this starting from the ‘vision’ side of ethics-which Paul did superbly!"

"Living by Paul’s vision on the one hand, and with Fortune’s ethic of discernment on the other, we might someday be able to affirm together:"

"Regardless of sexual orientation, the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) will be visible in any right relationship and lacking in any wrong or corrupted relationship (See Galatians 5:19-23)."

Yet again, this conclusion is correct only to the extent that one does not sin to this end. We still hadn’t proved that same-sex conduct was an acceptable act.

Comments 15

  1. John wrote:

    If we are going to cite Leviticus’ teachings on homosexuality, we shouldn’t cherry-pick. Leviticus 20:13 is clearer on the issue of homosexuality. “The punishment for homosexual acts is death to both parties. They have brought it upon themselves.”

    If we are to accept that people who engage in homosexual acts are sinful for that, do we not have to accept that everyone else is sinful for not executing them?

    Also, all of these prohibitions are followed by an explanation that if we do these things we will be cast out of Israel. Which seems a somewhat hollow threat.

    Posted 20 Jul 2006 at 2:41 am
  2. Funky Dung wrote:

    John, lessening the punishment for a crime is not the same as decriminalizing it. Also, it should be noted that the Mystical Body of Christ is the new nation of Israel.

    Posted 20 Jul 2006 at 11:49 am
  3. gbm3 wrote:

    There were many sins that were mentioned in Leviticus that carried death as a punishment.

    If a man commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall be put to death. (v10)

    Jesus seems to have reconfigured Earthly punishment to heavenly punishment (in “Gehenna”).

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you, everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
    If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna.
    And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body go into Gehenna.
    “It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife must give her a bill of divorce.’ But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) causes her to commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. (Matthew 5:27-32)

    Further, Jesus expanded the sins from the Old Testament into additional sins from the heart.

    Connecting it to same-sex acts, as a matter of course, I don’t see Jesus pulling back on this sin.

    Finally, it seems that loosing heaven (with the Church Triumphant) is worse than being thrown out of Old Testament Israel.

    gbm3

    Posted 20 Jul 2006 at 1:12 pm
  4. John wrote:

    gbm3 touches on another point where I have to take issue with a common approach to the homosexuality issue.
    If we accept that looking at a woman with lust in your heart is the same as committing adultery, isn’t looking at a man with lust in your heart the same as committing sodomy? This would seem to undermine the argument that homosexuality is not a sin, but homosexual acts are.

    Also, if a married couple have sex while the woman is menstrating, are they condemned to hell if they do not repent; as per Leviticus 20:18?

    Lastly, the passage cited from Mathew would only seem to add a punishment in the next world, not negate the corporal punishments.

    Posted 20 Jul 2006 at 3:04 pm
  5. Anthrakeus wrote:

    There is a difference between sexual attraction and lust. Christ’s words don’t enjoin heterosexual men from finding women attractive. It is when that attraction leads to impure thoughts, and those thoughts not only jump into the mind, but we keep them there. In the same way, a homosexual may be attracted to someone of the same gender without sin. It is only when that attraction leads to fantasizing that it becomes an immoral act (immoral acts require a choice).

    Posted 20 Jul 2006 at 8:45 pm
  6. gbm3 wrote:

    If we accept that looking at a woman with lust in your heart is the same as committing adultery, isn’t looking at a man with lust in your heart the same as committing sodomy? This would seem to undermine the argument that homosexuality is not a sin, but homosexual acts are. -John

    A man looking (note: action verb) at another man with lust in his heart is committing “sodomy” (I never did particularly like that word) in the strict sense and adultery in the general sense.

    My point is that the innate homosexual tendency, be it natural or trained, is not a sin. The same can be said about the heterosexual tendency. The tendency in itself is not an act.

    The unique thing about this verse is that it refers to the married and unmarried. In either case, if one has “lust in his heart” for any other that they are not married to, they are committing the sin of adultery. (If they are not married, everyone is someone else.)

    As a side note: I heard it said from one very great nun (with a Doctorate) that you can narrow sin down to 2 sins, one being adultery. See Hosea (in the Old Testament). God is faithful even when we are not.

    Also, if a married couple have sex while the woman is menstrating, are they condemned to hell if they do not repent; as per Leviticus 20:18? -John

    No. This is a clean/unclean issue which passes from the body. If the couple is married, in the true sense, this in itself is not a sin.

    Lastly, the passage cited from Mathew would only seem to add a punishment in the next world, not negate the corporal punishments. -John

    “Let he without sin cast the first stone.” -Jesus

    gbm3

    Posted 20 Jul 2006 at 9:12 pm
  7. Job wrote:

    Amen. Your Bible Study series are insightful, truthful. Thank you for not falling under the weight of liberal who want to distort and tear down what God, and his Bible emphatically state.

    Posted 20 Jul 2006 at 11:19 pm
  8. Anthrakeus wrote:

    “No. This is a clean/unclean issue which passes from the body. If the couple is married, in the true sense, this in itself is not a sin.”

    It could be seen as a precursor to prohibitions against contraception. It is clear that during menstruation a woman cannot get pregnant. Thus focusing sexual acts at this time may represent an unhealthy attitude toward reproduction.

    Posted 21 Jul 2006 at 12:38 am
  9. gbm3 wrote:

    “No. This is a clean/unclean issue which passes from the body. If the couple is married, in the true sense, this in itself is not a sin.”

    It could be seen as a precursor to prohibitions against contraception. It is clear that during menstruation a woman cannot get pregnant. Thus focusing sexual acts at this time may represent an unhealthy attitude toward reproduction. -Anthrakeus

    It could be seen as such (the “unhealthy attitude”), but the act in itself is not sinful.

    gbm3

    Posted 23 Jul 2006 at 5:37 pm
  10. Anthrakeus wrote:

    “It could be seen as such (the “unhealthy attitude”), but the act in itself is not sinful.”

    Is there reason to believe that the act isn’t sinful of itself?

    Furthermore contraception isn’t sinful because of the “unhealthy attitude”, quite the reverse. Sex separated from the procreative faculty is sinful, per se (regardless of one’s intent). Intending to be non-procreative is sinful because it is an attitude directed toward sin.

    Posted 24 Jul 2006 at 4:45 pm
  11. gbm3 wrote:

    Is there reason to believe that the act isn’t sinful of itself?

    Furthermore contraception isn’t sinful because of the “unhealthy attitude”, quite the reverse. Sex separated from the procreative faculty is sinful, per se (regardless of one’s intent). Intending to be non-procreative is sinful because it is an attitude directed toward sin. -Anthrakeus

    I’m sorry I didn’t get back sooner. This page on my computer wouldn’t load.

    Anyway, I gave my (unofficial RCC) thoughts on the subject. It is permitted as a clean/unclean issue. I’ll try to give more on this after I get a chance to study more of Leviticus 18 and 20 (soon).

    In terms of the “procreative faculty”, as far as I understand, during some of the periphery of the menstrual cycle (mostly the end), conception is possible.

    On the other hand, in the brunt of the cycle, I would suspect the woman and man would not like to have sexual relations for many reasons, including heath reasons. If the one party did and the other didn’t, that’s another problem.

    gbm3

    Posted 30 Jul 2006 at 4:15 pm
  12. Bryan Davis wrote:

    Anthrakeus wrote:

    Sex separated from the procreative faculty is sinful, per se

    Sorry – this question isn’t meant to be sarcastic; I just don’t know the Catholic answer. Is masturbation considered a sin in the Church?

    Posted 30 Jul 2006 at 9:00 pm
  13. gbm3 wrote:

    Is masturbation considered a sin in the Church?

    Yes.

    Please see this and this (2352).

    gbm3

    Posted 31 Jul 2006 at 11:32 am
  14. Bryan Davis wrote:

    Thanks!

    Posted 31 Jul 2006 at 7:23 pm
  15. cartmellauneas wrote:

    Our constitution was made only for a moral and religious people…so great is my veneration of the Bible that the earlier my children begin to read, the more confident will be my hope that they will prove useful citizens in their country and respectful members of society
    cartmellauneas
    The Bible

    Posted 05 May 2009 at 2:22 am

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