The following is a review & commentary on the following article in yesterday’s Huffington Post (11/13/2011).
You can read the article HERE
Note that this Huffington Post article, “The Bible and Sexuality” was written by two scholars; with their curriculum vitae including the likes of Vanderbilt University Divinity School, Duke University, and Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen, Germany. But whether brilliant, or merely the recipients of high-dollar theological education, I believe the authors of this article miss the mark on a number of levels.
Here’s my concern with articles like this; aside from a clear agenda, many of them pick and choose what they want to quote, and how much of it to include. And hey, THIS is our modern world and it feeds modern agendas, and immoral apathy. For example, my biggest concerns in this article came in reading the 3rd approach – where they exegeted Ezekiel and Genesis. (skip the 1st and 2nd approaches…) They conveniently left out the part about, “and committed an abomination in my sight” from Ezekiel’s passage in chapter 16, verse 49. Debate can rage over just what that abomination is, but it’s clear to anyone who wants to read it, that Sodom’s problem was not a heterosexual HYPER-sexual violent rape. In that particular case, the city was completely consumed with sexual fulfillment… well, read it for yourself:
4But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. 5 And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” (Genesis 19:4-5)
To “know” them was clearly to have sex with them. Whether hetero, or homo, it was completely NOT what God designed for mankind according to the Bible. I agree with the writers that the main problem was violent sexuality/rape. I do not agree with them, that their soft take from Ezekiel 16:49 is the problem there in Sodom. If that were the case, would sitting back, taking their ease, and not caring for their neighbor result in fire and brimstone raining down from Heaven annihilating the inhabitants of the city? Violent and harsh for a lack of hospitality, ain’t it?
Also, “It is not good for man to be alone” is in the context of the creation in Genesis 2, when he specifically created a woman for the man; complimentary, equal, perfect. Different roles and responsibilities to be sure; but perfectly equal and correlative to the man. Their ability to procreate showed a natural relationship that God created there, in addition to the statement that “there was not found a suitable companion/helper for him”. Whether we like it or not in our 21st Century, American society, their society was a patriarchal one, and men had a more authoritative role than today. Part of that is the failure of men… not to be chauvinistic or woman-haters, but leaders the way we should be. Another part of that is the evolution of society.
I am by no means a screaming conservative, or one of those idiots that holds signs saying, “God hates gays” (or fags). It makes me sick, frankly, to hear of those people who continue to make those of us who also have conviction look like blabbering fools. Let’s be clear about this: God loves everybody without exception. While I do have personal convictions about sexuality and what the standard is for right and wrong, I don’t bang it over people’s heads at all.
I do hold a traditional Bible believer’s stance on sexuality. But those convictions lead me to minister to homosexuals, porn addicts, adulterers, fornicators, and even men and women (with the help of my bride) who’ve bit into the internet’s cloak of privacy, that makes it easy to cheat on your spouse emotionally, lustfully, or even potentially physically. But I still have lots of questions, and any honest student of the Bible should. What do you do with 700 wives? Seriously, Solomon. Why the polygamous allowance for Biblical men of 2000-5000 years ago? I’m not totally sure, but I also know many of those guys messed things up intended for simplicity. Why is it that a king (a “man after God’s own heart”) would murder one of his own “mighty men” – covering up for stealing and impregnating that man’s wife and cover up his own adultery and sin? A KING! That was never God’s plan… but yes, even God worked through that imperfect, terrible, stupid, and immoral situation to achieve his glorious means, and the Messiah was born through that woman’s (and man’s) descendants.
Another issue I have with the article is that it almost assumes that the Bible times, laws, and writers were closed minded imbeciles, clueless about real love or relationships. It takes on an apologetic for equality and human rights in the modern culture of sexual freedom and choice. I just can’t accept that, being a Christian. That doesn’t mean gays are evil; it means homosexuality is sinful according to Hebrew/Christian scripture. In no way is it allotted for, and that’s clear to me from the Greek in 1 Corinthians – when Paul condemns so many flavors of sexual immorality, specifically the more blanket “homosexuals” and also “male prostitutes” – the givers, and takers, of immoral sexual conduct. David/Jonathan doesn’t cut it as a Biblical example of homosexual love and affection. Read it all. Ruth doesn’t cut it for approved and blessed pre-marital sex. Even if laying at his feet was sexual (in the Hebrew) as some scholars say, it falls into the same category as the David/Bathsheba situation. Approved of, no.
The final thing I take issue with in this article, is the statement, “Fourth, we do well to recognize that biblical standards are not always our standards, and nor should they be.” This statement is especially troubling. If Biblical standards are not our standards, what are our standards? Societal consensus? If that is the case, who is to say that child pornography, rape, or any other thing that we still currently deem (societally) is evil? What if the natural evolution of things goes to that point where sex with your mother is totally acceptable, since she nursed you, and there’s already an intimate fleshly connection with her? Or pedophilia is acceptable? Or perish the thought, beastiality? Waiting for Society to determine its own standards for right and wrong is suicide. Among other things, it was the demise of the Romans and Greeks. The Bible’s standards are universal in the sense that they apply cross-culturally and across time; we just need to understand what they are and why.
If you’ve read this far… and hopefully you have! I HAD to write this. Not because of any one person, or need to vent my seething vitriol, but because I NEED to understand how Christians counter the very loud, vocal pleas of the American Human Rights agenda. If you are reading this and are gay, I beg of you not to be personally offended by my convictions or statements. I realize people make their own choices, and have a God-given right to that. I am one of those who is actually a Christian minister trying to be relevant, real, authentic, and Biblical all at the same time. But I’m sick of – hate it frankly – people making Christianity the punching bag because of some people who wield it like a flailing stick in ignorance, or enthusiastic venom to defend truth. I believe Christianity was meant to save lives, to give it meaning and real fulfillment; not to propel an agenda. I believe Christ died to give people who live hopelessly empty lives a chance for fulfillment. I believe that’s how God intended man and woman to live; in holiness, and in true love and compassion to those around them; not to divide, destroy, hate, and bully-whip people who live contrary to the way the Bible says to live.
Christ died so that at the right time – the plank, the chair, the injection table, or whatever capital means of punishment you can imagine – so that we didn’t have to die that death. He did is FOR us. That love, that selflessness demands my soul, my life, my all. And it demands I find a way to make the gospel real and relatable to those who least want to hear it.