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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Monday, August 15, 2005

Answering Some More Gay Activist Revisionist Claims

A little bit ago I posted an entry highlighting the erroneous argumentation gay activist use in order to re-interpret the Bible so as to affirm a homosexual lifestyle. Much of the argumentation involves distorting the Bible to explain away specific passages clearly condemning homosexual behavior as a violation of God's moral law. I provided two illustrations of this in my entry: their reinterpretation of Leviticus 18 and 20 and Christ's words in Matthew 19.

Shortly after I posted my article, a defender of the so-called "gay Christian lifestyle" left a negative comment critical of my argumentation. Normally, I will leave my responses on the same comment page; however, this anonymous poster raised some additional objections I thought would be worth turning into an entry of its own.

I am not sure who this person is because whoever it was left anonymous comments, so I don't know whether it is a she or a he. Whoever the person is, he/she was the catalyst for penning rule #3, "Don't be a coward," on my posting guidelines. For the sake of time, I will just assume it is a he. "His" comments will be marked in blue, with mine following. I will also edit "his" comments for brevity sake, hopefully hitting the salient points.

Moving along....

The commenter begins by stating, "The Levitical law...remember it's all about CONTEXT" I couldn't agree more. The context of any Bible passage is key to establishing the truth being conveyed. I believe I took great pains to establish the context of Leviticus and Matthew in my initial evaluation. Mr. Anonymous didn't think so, but as soon as I started reading the critical comments of our unnamed visitor, he completely ignores this rule.

Let's consider his objections and provide a response.

Our commenter begins...
...the only way we can remain consistent as Christians in the treatment of the Biblical text is to do the same with all the surrounding passages. To carry one prohibition across the centuries requires that we carry all the prohibitions along with it. This raises a problem for many Christians since most ignore the prohibitions against eating pork or shelled fish, shaving their hair near the temples, not marking their bodies with a tattoo, not touching a pigskin, wearing blended fabrics or having sexual relations between a husband and wife during menstruation among a long laundry list of other requirements and prohibitions.

(Fred) This is the common objection raised by gay activist revisionists. I pointed this out in the previous article. Just so as to remind the reader, the claim goes along the lines of this: If you are going to say the prohibitions against homosexuality as recorded in Leviticus are still operative today, then you have to say ALL of the restrictions and prohibitions in Leviticus are operative. Any Christian, then, who does not observe all of what the book of Leviticus restricts and forbids is being hypocritical. As Mr. Anonymous stated, it is the only way we can remain consistent as a Christian.

Allow me to review once again the straightforward (no pun intended) answer which has the tendency of being ignored by these biblical revisionists.

First, the primary reason why we can disregard some of Leviticus while at the same time maintaining other portions has to do with the coming of Jesus Christ. I also noted this in my original article, but it seems to have escaped our commenter's attention. We no longer observe the dietary laws from Leviticus, along with other such restrictions like the mixing of seeds and fabrics, because God has repealed those restrictions at the coming of Christ. Those types of restrictions where placed upon the Children of Israel as a covenant people so as to serve to evidence a distinction between Israel and the other nations. Under the New Covenant made with Christ, such distinctions have been abolished between Jews and Gentiles (See again Acts 10; Ephesians 2:11-22; Galatians 3:28-29).

However, the prohibition against homosexuality was never repealed and in fact is reiterated in the New Testament. This is another important observation we must keep in mind. Where OT teaching is reiterated and taught in the NT by either Jesus or His apostles, that teaching is still binding upon God's people. That is why gay activist revisionists must also find clever ways to reinterpret the NT passages condemning homosexual sin.

Moreover, the book of Leviticus is selectively quoted in the NT. Jesus quoted from Leviticus 19:18 in Matthew 19:19 and 22:39, Paul quoted directly from Leviticus 18 and 20, and Peter provides an exposition from Leviticus 20:7 in 1 Peter 1:14-16. All three of these NT citations are taken directly from the Leviticus chapters condemning the sexual sins of adultery, bestiality, and sodomy. The holiness that must be expressed by the Christian in the NT is the same holiness expected from the OT believer in the book of Leviticus in two chapters directly renouncing perverse sexual behaviors.

Our commenter continues...
Not only do we need to be consistent in treating all the law equally but we need to be consistent in applying the prescribed penalty for disobedience to the law ... How can the church decide the prohibition is in place and yet not the penalty for its violation? If they insist that this passage is still in place within our world then so must the penalty be, including death for those who engage in homosexuality as well as stoning for children who curse their parents.

(Fred) One typical response against the biblical condemnation of homosexuality is to exaggerate the enforcement of the prescribed death penalty in these two chapters in Leviticus. The activist will suggest that any Christian who believes homosexual behavior is inconsistent with a Christian lifestyle equally desires to kill all homosexuals by stoning. Additionally, if a person wishes to condemn homosexual behavior yet at the same time doesn't call for their execution by stoning, he then is deemed a hypocrite, like our Mr. Anonymous here deems me to be.

It needs to be stressed that not all homosexual behavior received the death penalty. In 1 Kings 15:11-12, King Asa "put away" or "banished" (NKJV) the perverted persons or male religious prostitutes from the land of Israel. His son, Jehoshaphat, also "banished" the sodomites that were left in the land during his father Asa's reign (2 Kings 22:46). Yet, in spite of these exception, it is true God did command the death penalty to be enforced for His covenant people, a theocratic nation, against sodomy and other homosexual perversions, which clearly demonstrates its affront to God's stated holiness and it being a breach of His moral law expressed in the 10 commandments. But again, that was the law for a theocratic nation at the time. The government of Israel had the authority to execute practicing homosexuals; Christ never gave the Church the authority to carry out the death penalty against homosexuals or any violator of God's moral law.

One last thought, the dietary laws and regulations against mixing seed and so forth were regulations and precepts temporarily in effect and designed for the worship of God by Israel as a nation. A person will note when reading the OT that never were the pagan nations condemned and judged for not obeying the dietary laws or missing Passover, but they were condemned for sexual perversion, hence the reason why God describes those abominable acts in Leviticus 18 and 20 as being how the Canaanites defiled themselves. That shows once again the stark distinction between how God's moral laws against sexual perversion transcend both testaments, where as regulatory laws to keep Israel distinct from the nations, have been abolished.

Mr. Anonymous continues further...
"Thou shalt not lie with a man AS with a woman; it is an abomination." (KJV) ... some may say, this law forbids men to "lie with", or have sex with, other men. This interpretation is flawed as it entirely ignores the phrase "as with a woman." These four words cannot simply be understood to refer to lying sexually, since that is already indicated in the Hebrew word yada, translated "to lie with." "As with a woman" must have been added for some reason, and we must understand the context of this law to understand it fully.

(Fred) I am not sure what Mr. Anonymous's expertise is with the original Hebrew language, but here he demonstrates that it is woefully deficient if not totally ignorant.

Two things to be noted:

First, the word yada is not used in either one of these passages in Leviticus. The Hebrew phrase is mishkab ishah and is the Hebrew idiom that could be translated "bedding a woman." This same idiom is used in Genesis 19:33, 35 when the Bible describes Lot's two daughters getting him drunk so as to have sex with him. There we know for certain what the phrase means, and it would certainly be the same in these two passages from Leviticus. There is no mistaken that the issue at hand is two males have sexual relations as a man does with a woman.

A second instance of his lack of knowledge with the Hebrew text is his insistence that the phrase "as with a woman" has been added to the text. The phrase is part of the original and there are no textual critical indicators suggesting it was an added gloss to the text. His objection is pure fiction born out of a lack of respect for God's Word and desperation to affirm his beliefs.

Mr. Anonymous continues...
...The status of women in that time was much lower than that of men, and women were even considered property of the men. Rabbi Arthur Waskow explains, "The whole structure of sexuality in the Torah assumes a dominant male and a subordinate female." In other words, women were obedient to men, and men in that time would have been dominating and controlling in sexual encounters. The woman did what the man wanted and how the man wanted it.

(Fred) Here is another typical canard argument used to take off the edge of these two chapters in Leviticus. Mr. Anonymous even quotes a rabbi as some sort of authority on ancient near eastern cultures. But, if he is not being misrepresented by our revisionist commenter, he is also wrong. The argument presents a false perspective of ancient Jewish culture. Though it is true the surrounding pagan cultures were misogynistic in their treatment of women, it was not the same for the Jewish culture. In fact, a thorough study of the OT would reveal the opposite of Mr. Anonymous's claim: women were treated with fairness and equity and were valued members of Jewish society. Take for example the words of Proverbs 31, a poetic description of a truly godly woman. Also, women were involved in leading worship, military victory, taking of Nazerite vows, and so forth. To suggest across the board that all women were viewed as property shows me this person has little knowledge of scripture and OT history.

Moreover, it is not true, at least from several biblical passages, that only men were controlling in sexual encounters and dominated the women. Take for example Tamar's pursuit of Judah in Genesis 38, Potiphar's sexually aggressive wife in Genesis 39 and of course the warning passages of Proverbs 5 and 7 of women looking to use young, unwitting men for sexual pleasure.

Our commenter goes on...
Romans 1:26-27: It's about an ORGY filled with LUST, LIES, IDOLATRY AND DISHONORABLE PASSIONS. Think about a heterosexual orgy...men and woman not partaking of homo sex, only hetero...get the concept?

(Fred) Nope, I don't get the concept. Romans 1:26-27 is so clear a passage speaking to homosexual behavior that it is easy to see, if you are a revisionist wishing to make the Bible affirm your chosen lifestyle of sodomy, why there is such an effort to make this chapter say anything but what it truly says. Just a cursory reading of verse 26 will tell a reader that the vile passion to which these individuals were given over to was the practice of same sex intercourse. There is absolutely no mistaking this, and hence the reason revisionists offer so many alternative intepretations of this passage.

Moving on...
1 Corinthians 6:9-11, 1 Timothy 1:10,11: Have you ever heard of pederasty? Paul is rebuking the young male prostitute, and the man who sleeps with him. Again...PROSTITUTION, just like hetero prostitution isn't cool.

(Fred) Here is another common objection: The description is one of pederasty (adult/child sex) not loving, intimacy between two consisting adult men. I hear this one all the time. However, Paul specifically describes the homosexuality with the Greek word, arsenokoites, a compound word taken from arsenos - male and koiten - intercourse. Together, the word means simply, "male intercourse." In the context of both 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and 1 Timothy 1:10,11, it is clear Paul is referencing homosexual sex acts between two men. If he had meant pederasty there is an appropriate way he could have describe such a vile practice.

Even more striking is the reading of Leviticus 20:13 in the LXX, the Greek translation of the OT, the translation Paul would had most certainly been using during his ministry to the gentiles. The LXX has at Leviticus 20:13 the words, arsenos koiten. Paul is basically adapting the two words to make one word describing a behavior condemned by God that excludes the practitioner from the Kingdom of God and from which he or she must be redeemed.

Then finally...
Creation: God knew there would be homosexuals, and homosexuals are a small fraction in relation to the world population. I don't think there was EVER a threat to the world and it being fully populated.

(Fred) The Genesis narrative is clear that God created marriage between a man and a woman to be the bounds where human sexual intimacy is to be experienced. Jesus fully establishes this truth in Matthew 19 as I pointed out in my last post. My commenter seems to have completely ignored my argument along these lines. By the mere fact Jesus reminds his audience that marriage is defined by one woman and one man eliminates any and all options. There is an exclusivity to singularity, ONE man and ONE woman, along with an exclusivity of gender, one MAN and one WOMAN. No other combinations are allowed and any thing deviating from this normal order is condemned as fornication, peversion, adultery and sin. The issue is not the population of the world, as our commenter suggests, but obedience to what God has established as His norm for His creation.

One concluding note. I meant to highlight this in my previous post, but Dr. James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries debated Barry Lynn, a former lawyer for the ACLU and now full time advocate and spokesman for the Americans for the Separation of Church and State back in the spring of 2001. For nearly 2 hours or more, Dr. White so eviscerated the arguments of Lynn with careful exegesis and logic, that Lynn threatened to sue Alpha and Omega Ministries if they released the audio and video tapes of the debate. It was only after Lynn realized he had no grounds to sue that the debate was released for viewing. The transcript of the entire thing can be obtained here. There is also a Dividing Line, Dr. White's weekly webcast, available highlighting the controversy with Lynn here, and another debate with a pro-homosexual pastor who utlizes much of the argumentation I have interacted with, here. Both are recorded in Real Audio.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Jed said...

Fred,
It seems strange that you would resort to ad hominems after posting your rules which ban such conduct. You refer to the arguments below as “Gay Activist Revisionist”. Perhaps it was homophobes who first revised biblical teachings, and liberals are now seeking to promote God’s original intent. Unless you can prove a biblical ban on the gay lifestyle, this ambiguity persists.

I will also identify as anonymous has previously, that you have the burden of proof. If the Bible is inconclusive about homosexuality, then adding a prohibition is unwise, per Revelation.

You original points are identified in blue text, my responses follow.

First, the primary reason why we can disregard some of Leviticus while at the same time maintaining other portions has to do with the coming of Jesus Christ. I also noted this in my original article, but it seems to have escaped our commenter's attention. We no longer observe the dietary laws from Leviticus, along with other such restrictions like the mixing of seeds and fabrics, because God has repealed those restrictions at the coming of Christ. Those types of restrictions where placed upon the Children of Israel as a covenant people so as to serve to evidence a distinction between Israel and the other nations. Under the New Covenant made with Christ, such distinctions have been abolished between Jews and Gentiles (See again Acts 10; Ephesians 2:11-22; Galatians 3:28-29).
The NT never rescinded the following requirements in Leviticus 19.
Vs 27 Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.
Vs 28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.
Vs 33 And if a stranger sojourn with thee in your land, ye shall not vex him.
Should we follow these too? If not, what criteria do you use to determine which OT laws we are supposed to follow? I usually hear that “we follow OT commandments that are reiterated in the NT.” If this is your perspective, please focus your argumentation on NT teaching.
Yet, in spite of these exception, it is true God did command the death penalty to be enforced for His covenant people, a theocratic nation, against sodomy and other homosexual perversions, which clearly demonstrates its affront to God's stated holiness and it being a breach of His moral law expressed in the 10 commandments. But again, that was the law for a theocratic nation at the time. The government of Israel had the authority to execute practicing homosexuals; Christ never gave the Church the authority to carry out the death penalty against homosexuals or any violator of God's moral law.

Actually, the gay lifestyle is never mentioned in the 10 commandments. Christ never gave any authority to the church regarding homosexuality. The prohibition of homosexuality in the OT can be explained as a need to increase the population. Since there is a lack of a denunciation of the modern gay movement in the NT, cannot be part of God’s current perspective on sin.

By the mere fact Jesus reminds his audience that marriage is defined by one woman and one man eliminates any and all options.

This was a response to a specific question by the Pharisees. Revising this answer to fit with your philosophy is silly.

9:30 AM, October 20, 2008  
Blogger Michael Coughlin said...

Thanks, Fred.

12:46 PM, February 20, 2013  

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