Friday, January 18, 2008

Twisting Scripture:

Monday, January 14, 2008 Homosexuality and What Paul’s Letter to the Romans Really Says

There are numerous scriptural arguments against homosexuality, but none as commonly used as Paul’s Letter to the Romans, which describes the apostle’s vision of the Gospel for the mixed Jew/Gentile church in Rome. Paul wrote it in the 1st Century, long before the idea of “sexuality,” when people spoke merely of various sexual acts. Even so, we’ll take a look at this proof text to see what it says about God’s attitude toward what we call homosexuality today.

In other words, Paul and others were just ignorant first century folk. The concept of 'sexuality' was foreign to them. Nothing could be more clearly wrong. The sexual boundaries God had set forth had been well known for thousands of years. Sexual sin carried a death sentence in the law; the law, Paul a Pharisee, knew all to well.

Of course, because we worship the Creator, rather than any creature in this material world that God breathes into existence, AUR understands that denying the possibility of human error in the process of transcribing, compiling, and transmitting scripture is irrational at best, ecclesiolatrous at worst. Scripture and its human stewards are mere creatures, and for the true believer God alone is perfect.

A common heresy here. God is prefect, man is not. Even God's Divine breath leading man, man still screws it up. This denies two fundamental qualities of God, His truthfulness and His complete sovereign rule. There is no book in antiquity that is more closely scrutinized than the Bible. It remains God's holy and perfect word in 2008, all 66 books!

Therefore, we have to look for God’s wisdom through God’s messengers and messages, not always in them. Even assuming a certain work is “God-breathed,” it has to be read with consideration given to the limited understanding of those inspired by God to write. A 1st-Century mind cannot speak truth with a 21st-Century understanding of sociology, biology, and psychology.

More common heresies here. Notice how the author begins ever so gently to lead you away from the authority of God's word. As if God's word and authority changes over time? The author is really asking you to make excuses and to re-interpret the scripture through a 21st century lens. In other words, see God's word through the world around you, not the spirit. God can only do so much to inspire men to write it down correctly. Once again, the author denies God's fundamental qualities of truth and complete sovereignty.

Even so, let us read what the proof text states with a serious eye to the spiritual truth therein. The proof text most often cited from the Letter to the Romans begins:

1:21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

The list of idolatrous imagery here demonstrates the point from above: Paul did not have a modern understanding of biology when he categorized living creatures as “man and birds and animals and reptiles.” Does this error in material fact mean that the underlying spiritual truth of the Letter should be dismissed?

Absolutely not. Despite Paul’s unscientific laundry list of creatures, there is still wisdom in worshipping the wholeness of uncreated God, in whom all things are reconciled, rather than worshipping images as represented in God’s creatures, whether those creatures be living or not.

For starters lest use the NASB: 21 For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
23 and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.

The author here is clearly confused. Paul clearly says that foolish men; men who do not know God, make idols of Him. Whether the idols be in the image of another corruptible man, birds, or crawling creatures. The Roman pantheon of gods, which Paul most assuredly was aware, comes to mind. The more shocking arrogance and ignorance of this author is asking should we dismiss this letter based on his/her own 'wisdom' of interpretation. More confusing and quite typical of the Unitarian heretical spin cycle is this idea of worshipping 'the wholeness of uncreated God". I know gnostic garbage when I hear it, now you do as well. Lastly, Christ was made flesh (living and breathing) for a reason, it matters.

Let’s read on:
1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Paul’s more general statement here, using “created things” rather then a list of examples, is much more to the point, and less subject to being rendered obsolete by new discoveries about the material Creation. Turning from the worship of the Universal for the worship of the particular, Paul’s subjects were given over to self-destructive fetishism. The connection seems reasonable.

Lets use the NASB 24 Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them.
25 For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

Fairly clear scripture here folks. God does not intend His word to be a hidden truth, no matter how hard this author desires that to be. They loved the creature more than the Creator. As we read on, we will discover this author also will ask us to seek truth in the creation and not the creator's word, the Holy scripture.

The author goes on...

One final objection: if homosexual behavior is not categorically “faithless, heartless, ruthless,” what about “senseless”? Are homosexuals behaving in a way that defies sense and reason?

Applying outside standards of sense and reason to biblical morality is a touchy subject for scripturalists and bibliolaters, so let’s see what the Letter itself says about how can we identify God’s Eternal and Universal intent, behind the creaturely limitations of God’s mortal servant Paul.
Take a look at the verses introducing the proof text above:

1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from Heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

The Creator’s invisible qualities have been known “since the creation of the world,” meaning long before the existence of scripture, and are “understood from what has been made,” i.e., by studying the created world.

Lets use the NASB 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,
19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them.
20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

These verses have nothing to do with studying the created world and verse 20 has everything to do with Mark 10: 6"But from the beginning of creation, God MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE. Further evidence:

Ephesians 5: 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.

Colossians 3:6 For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience,

Jeremiah 5:21'Now hear this, O foolish and senseless people, Who have eyes but do not see; Who have ears but do not hear.

It is our duty as Christians and servants of the One True Creator God to seek truth not merely in the mouths of God’s mortal servants, but by studying “what has been made” by God. This dedication to rationalism would not only lead us to question the material facticity of Paul’s categories of living things, but also his categories of sexuality, without having to doubt the divine inspiration of his underlying moral lesson.

This is pure apostasy: Seeking God's truth in the creation. Does anyone remember the Apple in the garden? The tree of knowledge? Were these things not created? Enough said.

By turning a rational eye to the objects of Creation, it is clear that there is a distinct difference between those for whom homosexual behavior is a matter of love, sacrifice in love, and commitment of character, and those for whom homosexual behavior is reduced to an obsessive fetish, often in the context (and in violation) of an otherwise heterosexual lifestyle.

Actually by having an ounce of common sense, putting the words 'love', 'sacrifice in love' and 'commitment of character' in front of adultery does it no more good than putting it in front of homosexuality. The author would like you to turn your attention away from God's design for sexuality and concentrate on 'fetishes'. The snake's are alive and well.

and more...

“Literalist” worship of Scripture as perfect and sufficient is precisely this sort of image-worship. As scripturalist preachers demonstrate again and again, bibliolaters who turn away from God and “suppress the truth” of human sexuality end up ”senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless” and given to “shameful lusts.”

Using the scripture to establish authority in a false doctrine and in the same breath denying that authority is the two faced doubled minded teaching and life of the gay christian movement.

A clear line has to be drawn between homosexual behavior as natural psychology and homosexual behavior as an “unnatural” psychology, homosexual behavior informed by commitment and character and homosexual behavior absent of moral boundaries. This same line must be drawn through heterosexual behavior as well

Actually a clear decision has to be made: My way or God's way? Your eternity, your choice.

Consider 2 Peter 3:16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

This is one of the clearest statements in the Bible that affirm Paul is writing scripture. The NT apostles just as the OT prophets were aware they were writing the word of God. See 1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

The author concludes:

Given the knowledge to be learned from God’s own Creation using their God-given reason, as Paul’s letter makes clear, these bigots “are without excuse.”

Ah, I knew the word 'bigot' would rear it's ugly head in a sad attempt to silence those who live and abide in God's word.

Be aware of them who preach “ANOTHER” Jesus, “ANOTHER” Gospel, and “ANOTHER” spirit - 2 Corinthians 11:4

Wherever God erects, a house of prayer,
The Devil always builds a chapel there:
And 'twill be found upon examination;
The latter has the largest congregation.
- Daniel Defoe


Neil said...

"Paul wrote it in the 1st Century, long before the idea of “sexuality,” when people spoke merely of various sexual acts."

They tip their hand with the first section. If they believed scripture was inspired by God they wouldn't take such a low view of it.

Excellent analysis, Mark! Thanks for all that effort.

Christinewjc said...

I love coming over here and reading your excellent expositions of truth Mark! Loved the comment over at Neil's blog too!

How is it that you, me, Neil, D.L. Foster and others who have never personally met, don't attend the same church (or even belong to the same denomination), and yet we all generally agree so wholeheartedly in our posts about God's Word?

Must be the Holy Spirit of God guarding our hearts and leading us to the truth of Scripture! Amen?