A Scriptural View of Homosexuality & Homosexuals

By | 25 Feb 2012

Quite awhile back, I watched an episode of Dr. Phil where they were exploring the issue of homosexuality vs. Christianity. One of the lesbians appearing in that episode made the following statement:

Let’s not forget that the Bible was used to deny women the right to vote, to support slavery and look what “good and decent Christians” did to our Native Americans in the name of Christianity. Homosexuality, I believe, is a test made by God for all those “Christians” on THE primary commandment and fundamental basis of ALL religions…to love one another as thyself. To say, I love everyone BUT… negates everything you just said. There is a pyramid of hate and the bottom levels starts with the unacceptable and name calling and escalates to the violence and murder of innocent people.

Seriously think about what you are saying when you say, “I love everyone but don’t talk about it.” It’s okay if I’m straight, and talk about my dating life, or children or husband but you can’t say a word about your life. Would you want to go to work and live your life in silence? I think not.

I’m okay in the eyes of God, loved and accepted for who I am… a lesbian, newly “married” to a wonderful woman, active in my church and my community.

A much more accurate statement would have been: “Let us not forget that the Bible was MISUSED to deny women the vote, to support slavery, etc.” and for that matter, justifying a whole host of ungodly acts.” Just because misguided people of the past misinterpreted the Bible to support their various agendas does not negate the Truth of God’s Word nor its demands upon our lives, behaviors, and relationships.

Christianity and it’s foundation, Judaism, are the only world religions whose fundamental operating principle is to love others as we love ourselves. That is a direct quote from Jesus Christ Who was defining the most important of the laws found in the Jewish Torah and no other founder of any world religion or any other so-called “holy book” for any of those religions says anything remotely like it.

I’m fed up with people, gay or Christian, equating the Bible’s stand on homosexuality with hatred and intolerance.

Does God hate homosexuals?

Absolutely not!

Are His followers commanded to hate them?

Not even close!

Does He hate all types of sinful behavior, homosexuality included?

You bet!

On top of that, I’ve met numerous homosexuals and lesbians over the years and only one of them fell into the “atheist” category described in the first chapter of Romans. You know the common thread I’ve found in every one of the rest? They all were severely abused and/or molested/raped as children or young adults. Puts a little different light on the issue, doesn’t it? Having been abused/molested doesn’t justify their sin, but it sure explains a lot about why they ended up the way they did. And I’m not the only believer in the Body of Christ who has noticed the strong connection between homosexuality/lesbianism and pedophilia.

If you identify as a homosexual, you are indeed loved and accepted by God just as you are. He also loves you way too much to allow you to remain in that sinful lifestyle unchallenged. And your religious works won’t save you, just like the dead religious works of idolaters, adulterers, murderers, drunkards, the power-hungry, gossips, and others won’t save them.

The Unassailable, Inescapable Issue of Porneia

I’ve had extensive discussions with a lesbian gay activist in times past and she spent a significant amount of time and effort quoting all the so-called “biblical scholarship” wherein her fellow activists had attempted to explain away all the passages from the Bible condemning homosexuality (notice I did not say “condemning homosexuals”) as translational errors from the original Greek and Hebrew. Even if all that were all true (and I do not believe that for even a second), there is one Greek word all of these gay activists interestingly refuse to deal with and that is porneia which is where we get the modern word “pornography.”

The word porneia is translated throughout the New Testament into the English word “fornication” and is included in the list of the “works of the flesh” found in Galatians:

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Galatians 5:19-21 (emphasis mine)

Porneia is defined in Thayer’s Greek Lexicon as “illicit sexual intercourse,” and specifically lists what types: adultery (extramarital sex with a married person not your spouse), fornication (extramarital sex between 2 unmarried persons), homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality (sex with animals), and incest (sex with close relatives).

Also in this list of the works of the flesh is the Greek word aselgeia which translates into the English word “lewdness.” The literal meaning of aselgeia is “unbridled lust, excess, promiscuity, wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence.” All these behaviors are a prevalent characteristic of the homosexual community (especially its activists) and such behaviors were indeed publicly exhibited and confessed by the gay woman with the red hair on the show.

Even if the word porneia was not in the list (and it is indeed listed) and all other verses in Scripture were removed from the equation as inaccurately translated (and they aren’t), the fact is the vast majority of homosexuals consistently operate outside the bounds of a monogamous committed relationship (the clear demand of Scripture regarding all expressions of sexuality) which would be prima facie evidence they are functioning out of their fleshly desires rather than the Spirit of God.

Here is an excellent video on the topic of porneia:

Should We Hate & Reject Homosexuals?

Does the Bible say that God hates homosexuals? No way! He loves all humans equally, yet hates all sin committed by them. He is the ultimate Redeemer, Who can deliver any human from any bondage. According to Scripture, homosexuality is simply another sin of the flesh, though the accompanying addiction to it is one of the hardest of all addictions to deal with. Homosexuals are no more worthy of receiving protected minority status as anyone else who practices any of the other works of the flesh in that list.

Does the Bible say homosexuals are all going to Hell because they’re gay?

No!

It says people who go to Hell choose to go there because they have refused to surrender their lives to the lordship of Jesus Christ. Sin was dealt with on the cross and is no longer the issue.

Should homosexuals be excluded from our churches? No way! How else will they receive the help they need if they have no access to the Body of Christ for support and assistance? Jesus hung out with the underclass of his day, the rejects of society. I cannot help but believe there was a homosexual or three in that crowd because the Roman Empire was rife with them.

People who are sick go to hospitals and those who are spiritually sick (all of mankind) need a spiritual hospital. Churches are supposed to be spiritual hospitals to help spiritually sick people overcome their sickness (sin) and train them to effectively and compassionately reach out to other spiritually sick people. Churches are not supposed to be places where self-righteous people gather to affirm how “good” they are to themselves and one another while rejecting those who they deem as “less than.” Having said that, however, gays should be excluded from positions of authority within churches just like any other person who does not qualify for leadership in the Church due to sexual or other blatantly sinful misconduct.

Can you be a Christian and also be a homosexual? Sure, just like anyone else in the Church who has a sexual lust problem or a sexual addiction. Will those people be joyful and fulfilled and blessed spiritually and materially by God while engaged in an ongoing promiscuous lifestyle with either sex? Not hardly! One of the requirements for qualifying for all those blessings is repentance, which means we stop doing things our way and start doing things His way. And that includes turning away from ALL sexual sin — homosexuality included — and relying upon God’s grace to make our repentance stick.

In other words, an abstinent homosexual believer should be treated no differently as any other fellow-Christian who has repented from his/her sins and received God’s mercy and forgiveness. And hating a homosexual is just as grievous a sin in the eyes of God as actually committing homosexual acts.

Conclusion

People should read what the Bible actually says, rather than repeating erroneous Scripture interpretations handed down by the ignorant, the prejudiced, or those with an agenda to promote. I’m just as fed up with ministers and Christians who persist in treating homosexuals as some special class of irredeemable sinners — and therefore “less-than” — as I am with gay activists who persist in justifying their sin through questionable Bible “scholarship.”

Thanks for reading!

12 thoughts on “A Scriptural View of Homosexuality & Homosexuals

  1. Alex Haiken

    Nearly every person who acknowledges an aversion to homosexuality does so on the basis of what he or she believes the Bible has to say. In their mind, there is no doubt whatsoever about what the Bible says and what the Bible means. Their general argument goes something like this: Homosexuality is an abomination and the homosexual is a sinner. Homosexuality is condemned in both the Old and New Testaments. Therefore, if we are to be faithful to the clear teachings of Scripture we too must condemn homosexuality. Needless to say, this premise is being widely debated among evangelicals today and seriously challenged by biblical scholars, theologians and religious leaders everywhere. It rarely occurs to any of us that our reading of Scripture is profoundly colored by our own cultural context and worldview.

    1. Steve Willis Post author

      I regret that I had to edit your comments somewhat, but I am unwilling to allow you to use my blog as a venue for presenting a list of articles counter to what I believe to be sound biblical scholarship. If one of my readers wants to read them, they can find them on their own.
      From the list of articles you included in your unedited comment, I can see that you’ve covered all the same ground dealt with in my previous discussions with another gay activist. In fact, it’s entirely possible — indeed probable — that your articles are the very ones she cited during our discussions. Please note that I didn’t attempt to refute those issues, only that I did not accept them. On these we can agree to disagree because I feel that debating them would be useless in persuading gays and pro-gay straights to agree with me and vice-versa.
      What I did do was focus on a point that you, she, and everyone else of similar persuasion have consistently avoided: responding to the Greek words porneia and aselgeia cited in my article above.
      I am neither homophobic nor anti-gay. I am secure in my sexuality and have no fear of “gay-cooties” jumping on me through social interaction with homosexuals of either gender. I neither condone nor support, but indeed condemn the hate-speech that characterizes so much of the rhetoric offered by Christendom on the matter, an excellent case-in-point being those ignorant bozos from Topeka, KS who picket soldiers’ funerals.
      I personally believe that much of that rhetoric is much more of a knee-jerk reaction to an act that repulses and horrifies the majority of mainstream American church-goers than it is a thoughtful, reasoned, and compassionate interpretation of Scripture.
      And that “culture-wars” rhetoric has played directly into the hands of Satan by driving gays off from the only Source of deliverance and healing from such a pernicious bondage: Jesus and His Church (the word “Church” here meaning the Body of Christ, God’s primary channel of His grace toward mankind, not the physical edifices and religious organizations that pervade our society, many of which stand diametrically opposed to what Jesus preached and stood for).
      That is why I’ve made a diligent effort to differentiate myself from those views in my article.
      What I really am is pro-Jesus and pro-Scripture and I stand with Him independent of — and often contrary to — any segment of popular and religious culture to the best of my ability.
      From that viewpoint, I call the shots as I see them.

      1. Alex Haiken

        Fine, they can Google me and find my site easily.
        But as the old time radio teacher, Dr. J. Vernon Magee, used to say, “A text without a context is a pretext.” The dictionary defines a pretext as, “An effort or strategy intended to conceal something.” In other words, unless we consider the context of Scripture – I mean the entire context including the historical setting – we are, purposely or not, engaging in a strategy to conceal the teachings of the Bible.

        1. Steve Willis Post author

          I remember ol’ J. Vernon quite well. Brings a smile to my face remembering him, though there are several areas, especially eschatology, where we had opposing opinions. And I can assure you, the chances of him agreeing with your stance on this topic would have been infinitesimally small, but that is a case that neither of us can ever prove since he is long-gone to the arms of Jesus.
          As to your accusation of pretext, I’ve made no attempt whatsoever to conceal anything. And I’ve complied with the standards of proper exegesis (see my most-recent article, if you wish to see my personal standards on the subject)
          I have simply made some statements concerning 2 Greek words in the NT that, to my mind, contradict any so-called biblical scholarship that could be used to support the concept of homosexuality as acceptable to God. The context of these words were in Galatians 5:19-21, specifically a list of “the works of the flesh” as contrasted with a list of “the fruit of the Spirit.” I’ve already addressed the meaning of these words in my article above and neither you nor any other gay activist I’ve encountered have even attempted to come up with a counter for them.
          If your viewpoint is indeed correct, you should be able to deal with these words in a way acceptable to any Bible scholar. However, you keep attempting to divert the discussion away from this issue by first accusing me of conforming to the anti-gay cultural norms of typical American church-goers, an assertion I’ve just refuted, and now by accusing me of concealing something, a charge which I am now also refuting.
          So, please, please, PLEASE, take your best shot at refuting my exegesis of these two Greek words using universally-accepted Greek lexicons and do your best to prove me wrong!
          But unless you are willing do directly engage in a discussion on this specific matter rather than trying to muddy the water with baseless accusations, this exchange is over!

    2. dianna

      First of all remember who was speaking….Paul not God if God had a problem with fornication He would have put it into the Ten Commandments….did not Solomon have 700 concubines….he committed fornication, King David committed not only fornication but murder also, Abraham committed fornication…Paul was in direct violation of God’s edict to be fruitful and multiply when he told men and women that if they could to not marry at all -1 Corinthians Chapter 7….You should take the time to READ really READ and discern what is said in the Bible…Paul is the one who gave the edict that a should marry rather than burn just like he said that he wished all were like him, single, so they could devote all their time to God which is not what God wanted for us during our time on earth….no I am not a believer in having more than one wife or husband or more than one man or woman but God did not say fornication was a sin, neither did he say incest was a sin…now think about it who did Cain and Seth marry? Their sisters…..there was no one else….as far as homosexuality is concerned Moses considered it an abomination which if you translate abomination from Hebrew to English simply means “unnatural” or “disgusting.” As far as Sodom and Gomorrah are concerned those cities were destroyed for their OVERALL wickedness…not for the homosexuality that may or may not have been prevalent…it is an unfortunate depiction of homosexuality to say the cities were destroyed because of it…the men that went to Lot’s house had every intention of raping and abusing the angels….that is the type of wickedness that went on in Sodom and Gomorrah not the homosexuality itself….if God had a problem with it wouldn’t He have put it in the Ten Commandments? I think that is more important than having a day of rest….and we break that commandment ALL THE TIME, and do we not have people who worship graven images, like the CROSS? Let’s smarten up people!!!! If God has a problem with lesbians and gays He’ll take it up with them in eternity….as far as bisexuals are concerned as long as they are faithful to whichever one they are with I don’t see a problem there either. Di

      1. Steve Willis Post author

        While it was indeed Paul who was speaking in Galatians, it is a fundamental and essential doctrine (meaning if you don’t believe it, you aren’t a Christian and aren’t going to heaven) that every single word in the Bible is inspired by God and is absolutely infallible and inerrant in the original languages. Ergo, everything Paul wrote was inspired by the Holy Spirit and is intended by our Creator for us to accept and believe as 100% factual and true.
        The cross is not a “graven image.” The concept of graven images in the 10 Commandments was addressing the subject of idolatry as practiced by the pagan nations surrounding the Israelites. These nations’ idolatrous images were carved (aka “graved”) in the images of human beings, animals, or fish, or some monstrous combination thereof. True Christian believers do not worship the cross, we worship the God-in-sandals-Man (Jesus) who died upon it and was raised from the dead. The empty cross is a symbol of Jesus death, burial, and resurrection and that Jesus is still living to this day, both in the hearts of believers and at the right hand of God the Father. The crucifix and statues of Mary and saints used by the Roman Catholic cult are indeed idols and the vast majority of Catholics are far from being Christian in anything other than name only, so they don’t count in this discussion. (see my article on idolatry)
        Anything that rates capital punishment in the Law of Moses (in the case of homosexual acts, stoning to death) is far more than an act that is merely unnatural or disgusting in the eyes of God — He wanted such behavior completely rooted out of the Israelite society in the strongest possible terms.
        God forgives many sins of many people who come to Him in sincere repentance as David did (see Psalm 51), though David suffered a host of consequences for his adultery with Bathsheba and his murder of Uriah the Hittite for the rest of his life starting with the miscarriage of the baby he adulterously conceived with Bathsheba and ending with his beloved son Absolom attempting to depose him and usurp the throne. Despite Solomon’s initial wisdom and successes, he was completely backslidden and given over to idolatry by the time he acquired so many wives and concubines, so he can hardly be held up as an example of godliness. Abraham was forgiven his adultery because it was committed in an ignorant effort to help God out at his wife’s urging (the whole “sex with the barren wife’s slave” thing was a common practice of the day), not because he had the hots for Hagar.
        So you can join with all the other gay activists and try to argue about Sodom and Gomorrah and that the verses describing homosexual behavior in the Old and New Testaments really didn’t mean what they say to your heart’s content and that doesn’t change a thing.
        The bottom line is this:

        1. If you insist Paul’s writings are not from God, you have just declared yourself a non-Christian, and your comments on Scripture are completely irrelevant;
        2. If you do accept them as Scripture, you still have not dealt with the issue of porneia. Indeed, you are incapable of doing so because you are not a Greek scholar of sufficient stature, expertise, or credentials to refute the definitions penned by the man who wrote the lexicon I quoted.

        Either way, your arguments are moot.

  2. Alex Haiken

    I would happily take you up on that offer if you can ageee to not “edit” my text.

    1. Steve Willis Post author

      The only editing I did to your comment was remove your list of posts and website link — it was otherwise left intact.
      I was completely forthcoming about precisely what I excised and why in my response.
      Bring it on!
      I’ll save you some work. Copied-and-pasted from Thayer’s:

      4202 porneia por-ni'-ah
      from 4203; TDNT - 6:579,918; n f
      KJV - fornication 26; 26
      1) illicit sexual intercourse
         1a) adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism,
             intercourse with animals etc.
         1b) sexual intercourse with close relatives; Lev. 18
         1c) sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman;
             Mr 10:11,12
      2) metaph. the worship of idols
         2a) of the defilement of idolatry, as incurred by eating the
             sacrifices offered to idols
      
      766 aselgeia as-elg'-i-a
      from a compound of 1 (as a negative particle) and a presumed
      selghv selges (of uncertain derivation, but apparently meaning
      continent); TDNT - 1:490,83; n f
      KJV - lasciviousness 6, wantonness 2, filthy 1; 9
      1) unbridled lust, excess, licentiousness, lasciviousness,
         wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence
      For Synonyms see entry 5891
      
      1. Alex Haiken

        I thought the two Greek words you were referring to were “malokoi” and “arsenokoitai” from 1 Corinthians 6. Kindly explain to me how you can justifiably take a general term like “porneia” which can have varying meanings in various contexts and simply conclude from Galatians 5:19-21, “Um, its homosexual, that settles it; let’s move on” — especially from a simple vice list like this without any other context or supporting information to shed light on its meaning? That is more eisegesis (reading one’s own ideas into the text) rather than responsible exegesis (drawing out from the text what is truly there in the first place).

        1. Steve Willis Post author

          I don’t know where you possibly could have thought I was referring to the words you listed — I was very specific in every one of my posts and replies to your comments.
          As for justifiably taking a general term such as porneia, a renowned NT Greek scholar named Thayer defined it as including homosexuality, lesbianism, bestiality, and incest. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon is universally regarded by Christian theologians across the vast majority of Protestant denominations and seminaries as the top-rated reference book of its type in the world.
          When I read a definition of a word in a dictionary, it is not at all unreasonable for me to assume that the definition is authoritative, especially if that dictionary has the credentials Thayer’s possesses. On top of that, whenever Thayer presents a word that has contextually-sensitive variations, as a good scholar he documents it and explains the issues involved. His listing for porneia has no such variants to the best of my knowledge — and yes, I did look for their existence.
          Your problem is with Thayer, not me!

  3. Alex Haiken

    Steve, as a graduate of one of the most academically rigorous evangelical seminaries in the country, my problem is not with any man but with irresponsible exegesis. As I presume you are aware, exegesis comes from the Greek verb which means “to draw out”. Simply put, it is about drawing out from the text the true meaning of a Bible passage. Or phrased a bit differently, it means getting out of the text what it originally meant to the author and to the original intended audience, WITHOUT reading into the text the many traditional interpretations that may have grown up around it.
    Exegesis then is an investigation. The question we always have to be asking is: What’s going on here? The reader today must somehow try to enter the world of the biblical writer and seek to understand what the writer was saying. If we fail to pay attention to the world in which the Bible was written, we will simply read biblical texts, infuse them with meaning from our social and symbolic world and conclude that the Bible speaks directly to us.
    In contrast to this, what many, like yourself do instead is what theologians refer to as “frontloading”, that is to say, they read their own personal, political or ideological beliefs back into the Bible, instead of reading out from the Bible what the original writers were saying. This process of reading one’s own ideas into interpretation of the Bible is called “eisegesis”. Exegesis and eisegesis are conflicting approaches to interpreting the Bible. Why? Exegesis is reading out from the Bible what the original writers were saying. Eisegesis is reading one’s own ideas or prejudices back into the Bible. Exegesis is about getting out of the text what is truly there in the first place. Eisegesis is about putting into the text something never intended by the author. Exegesis is drawing out the true meaning of a Bible passage. Eisegesis is at best unwise, and at worst extremely dangerous.
    You may not simply lift a general word from a vice list without any context to help and conclude its meaning. That is not exegesis. The only reliable way to define a word is to analyze its use in as many different contexts as possible. A word means according to its function, according to how particular people use the word in different situations.
    Harper’s Bible Dictionary, for example, says of homosexuality: “A WORD FOR WHICH THERE IS NO SPECIFIC EQUIVALENT IN THE HEBREW OLD TESTAMENT OR THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT, SINCE THE CONCEPT ITSELF AS WELL AS THE ENGLISH WORD ORIGINATED ONLY IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY.” Did you catch that? Not just the word but the very concept itself did not exist in Ancient times.
    Fact is if we could stand Moses and Paul before us — the only two biblical authors who have been attributed as having said anything pertaining to or about homosexuality — and applaud (or deride) them for their condemnation of homosexuality, they would almost certainly stare at us in blank incomprehension. Why? Because homosexuality per se simply isn’t anything they’d ever been aware of. No kidding.
    It may well take time to get used to seeing this in ancient writings — and none of us assimilates this notion on the first pass — but like it or not, this understanding operates in biblical interpretation and more and more bible scholars working in good faith and out in the open find this reality necessary for grasping what the biblical writers were talking about when they were treating something “sexual.”
    The human race did not divide into gender identities or orientations of “homosexual” and “heterosexual.” Readers are often misinformed and encouraged to believe something that is untrue, that the Bible condemns “homosexuality.” The truth is that the Bible cannot condemn homosexuality since no such concept as homosexual orientation existed at the time of the Bible’s writing.
    Now let’s stay with what that means for a moment. Why did no one in the OT, the NT, classical Greece, ancient Rome, ancient Egypt, Sumer, Babylon, or anywhere else around the eastern Mediterranean have a word for homosexuality, homosexual, heterosexuality or heterosexual? They had plenty of sexual words. Whole lexica have been assembled of their “dirty” talk. And they knew a number of crimes committed with the genitalia, principally penises. But no collective word. Why not? Because there was no sense that the various activities and crimes employing penises formed a collective category. Our biblical and classical ancestors did not see homosexuality as a unitary phenomenon. To phrase it differently, they felt no pressure to represent the various misdoings a penis made possible into something called homosexuality. They simply felt no need for the term. They had words for theft, murder, adultery, lying and the like; they needed those words. But not homosexuality. It was not something they were aware of as a description. It was not a class of action or of persons. To the extent that we superimpose our reified and imparted view of homosexuality or heterosexuality onto the Bible’s pages, we will almost certainly miss the point of the passages we so violate. Those passages are talking about something quite specific and we evade them by reducing them to generality.
    Therefore, when we read a passage that gets wielded against our gay brothers and sisters, we must always ask the text: What is the specific crime here? It is never enough to say, “Um, its homosexual, that settles it, let’s move on.” That distances us from God, the writer and the text. It may indeed be something bad — and likely is — but it’s something other than homosexuality per se.
    I submit what’s really going on here, Steve, is that you are blinded by your reifications and canonical interpretations. A reification, as you might know, is when we use a concept or doctrine so often and for so long that it comes to be a distinct “thing” to us, something that’s really there, a piece of our mind’s furniture. We are often greatly unaware of how much of our mental furniture consists of reifications. A canonical interpretation, of course, is a way of looking at a biblical passage or doctrine that we’ve become so accustomed to that the interpretation has become indistinguishable in our minds from the text or the passages themselves.
    It’s been said that a healthy dose of self-examination to see where our fears, prejudices and/or past experiences may be controlling our thought can be an antidote to the moralistic misuses of biblical authority that seem to abound in discussions of homosexuality. When we presume that the Bible is perfectly clear on a moral issue — so clear that only a fool or dishonest person could possibly differ from our view of things — then that over confidence should alert us to the possibility that our egos, fears, prejudices and/or past experiences may be clouding our interpretations.
    Hence, I left you with our dear brother Dr. J. Vernon Magee’s cardinal rule: “A text without a context is a pretext.” The dictionary defines a pretext as, “An effort or strategy intended to conceal something.” In other words, unless we consider the context of Scripture – I mean the entire context including the historical setting – we are, purposely or not, engaging in a strategy to conceal the teachings of the Bible.
    As Dr. Carl Trueman, professor of historical theology and church history at Westminster Theological Seminary where I attended, put it in his own blog, “For people like myself, now in middle age, dislike of homosexuality came with the territory; our reasons for opposing it were more to do with our own cultural backgrounds [and personal aversions] than with any biblical argumentation.”

    1. Steve Willis Post author

      This is really a simple issue, from my perspective. It is certainly not rocket science nor are there any esoteric theological principles involved.
      You are constantly accusing me of eisegesis, frontloading, and other theological ills, yet you persist in your refusal to address the single issue I’ve raised that could convince me were you were successful in your refutation.
      Interestingly enough, I have written the curriculum for and taught the course on Galatians at my own theological alma mater, so this book is intimately familiar to me.
      The context is extremely clear.
      The greater context is a apostolic letter addressed to the churches in a region of Asia Minor, now modern day Turkey. These churches had been plagued by false teachers who had been preaching one of the 3 major heresies against Christianity: Judaizing. This heresy, as exemplified by modern-day Adventists, holds the erroneous idea that, in addition to believing on Christ, Christians must also obey the Law of Moses (ritual circumcision, dietary laws, etc.) in order to be saved, thus creating a system of “salvation by works.” In chapter 1, verses 8-9, Paul pronounces a curse upon anyone, human or angelic, who preaches a different gospel than what he had proclaimed to them.
      The immediate context is a discourse by Paul on the concept presented in chapter 5, verses 13-18 that there is only one law: agape. Love plus our “walking in the Spirit” are more than sufficient to subdue our sinful flesh nature apart from the Law of Moses.
      Galatians 5:19-21 is a list of behaviors God considers to be “works of the flesh.” At the end of that list, the Holy Spirit inspired Paul to state that the people who practice the items on that list should not expect to inherit the kingdom of God. Now we may disagree as to precisely what “not inherit the kingdom of God” means, but one thing is for certain: it ain’t good! Whatever the meaning may be, it’s pretty safe to say that God disapproves of the behaviors on this list.
      In verses 22-23, Paul then presents a list of the “fruit of the spirit” and indicates God’s approval of the items on that list with the phrase, “against such there is no law”
      So we have two lists of behaviors/attitudes, one that God disapproves of, and one that He does approve of.
      It is in this context that the words porneia and aselgeia appear in the list of the “works of the flesh” already cited above. Like I said, this is not rocket science.
      When I go to the dictionary and look up the word “fornication” in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it defines the word as “consensual sexual intercourse between two persons not married to each other – compare adultery.” No one would ever think to contest the meaning of this word because that definition is found in a dictionary, the final authority on what a word means in the English language.
      When I go to Thayer’s Greek Lexicon, the equivalent definitive and authoritative work on the topic of NT Greek, the definitions I published in my previous reply to your comments appear. I quoted them verbatim, copying-and-pasting them from an electronic version of the book. The definition for porneia has no notations indicating contextual variations to the meaning of the word.
      QED
      You’ve cited other people/texts and your theological training concerning other aspects of this issue (as exemplified in your list of blog posts in your original comments and your most-recent comment) because that’s where you’ve had your “successes” in justifying your lifestyle — that is your comfort zone. Some people you’ve actually been able to convince, which has to be gratifying. Others have been frustrated at their inability to contest your interpretations of Scripture and history, so they sputter, “But it’s just WRONG!” And you get an immense satisfaction at reducing them to an irrational position, thus reinforcing the “rightness” of your cause and your stereotypes about those who don’t approve of homosexuality.
      You desperately keep trying to drag the discussion back to those topics so that you can operate from a perceived position of strength — that’s where you’re used to fighting this battle and where you feel you are winning. So you are frustrated because I refuse to debate you on your turf and your terms.
      This reminds me of a fencing bout I was in years ago. I, an unrated épée fencer, was faced with a C-rated opponent 3 levels better than me. He was notorious for waiting until his opponent would attack, then making a riposte with deadly accuracy. I determined that I was not going to fence him on his terms, that I would make him attack me instead. So when the director called, “En guard!” I put my guard up and was ready to fence. When the director commanded, “Fence!” I just stood there with my guard up, not moving. My opponent stopped the bout and demanded that the director make me attack him. The director responded that he could not, that there were no rules anywhere saying I had to attack him. It so disconcerted my opponent that I ended up winning the bout.
      You cannot directly address my position concerning porneia because: 1) you have no way of refuting it, and; 2) to admit I was correct would call EVERYthing in your life — your sexuality, your activism, your carefully constructed theological justifications supporting your cherished hope that God approves of your homosexuality, and everything else you hold dear – into question. If you’re wrong, then your whole life goes into meltdown and you think you would be left with nothing.
      Were I in your shoes right now, in all honesty I’d be terrified. Not to mention more than a little angry at this no-name upstart blogger from some Bible school I’ve never heard of who comes out of nowhere and is successfully threatening everything I hold dear.
      Please do not think I take any pleasure from this — my heart is filled with compassion for you and your situation, rather than gloating. I have no moral high ground from which to judge you or anyone else, for that matter. The only reason I am what I am and have accomplished what I have accomplished is by the precious blood of Jesus and the finished work of the cross, period.
      One thing I do know with an absolute certainty is this:
      God unconditionally loves you and is standing ready to help you reconstruct your life according to His narrative, not yours.
      While neither of us can remotely imagine what His narrative for you may look like right now, I’m equally convinced that, whatever that may be, it will be so awesomely wonderful that you’ll stand amazed at the mighty works of God through His limitless grace, mercy, and compassion, giving Him ALL the glory.

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