Friday, 23 May 2003

Stephen,

We, as Christians, are in sad shape when we continue to go to the Bible and make it say what we want it to say, rather than conforming our understanding to God's. Whether one agrees or disagrees with homosexuality today, the use of Romans 1 to make a doctrinal or dogmatic statement against homosexuality is not correct. We can disagree with homosexuality, but we cannot make the Bible fit our own wants or beliefs.

People argue the point because of misinterpretation of scripture - not handling the word of God in the right way. Romans chapter one is not intended by Paul, or God, to be a polemic on homosexuality! The original Greek does not support that nor does the text itself, in any language. Paul intended it to set up an argument against Jewish Christians who are judging, unjustly, Gentile Christians. Chapter one, beginning in vs.16, sets-up chapter two! What does chapter two say? "Therefore you have no excuse whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself... because you are doing the very same thing." That is the scripture portion in context, not taken out of context to proof-text a particular belief.

Paul uses the example in Romans 1:18-27, because these pagan practices would be particularly repulsive to the Jewish Christians. The Jewish Christians would be saying to Paul, "yeah, man, you tell 'em how it is." Paul has them where he wants them. Then, with chapter two, Paul turns around, points his finger at them, and says, "You are doing the very same thing!" What is the "thing?" No, not having sex with the same-sex, but acting in carnal, ungodly ways, like self-righteously judging one another when they themselves are sinning away before God! The list of examples Paul just listed.

Then, of course, there is the argument that these were heterosexual persons engage in same-sex behavior against their nature (heterosexuality). But then, what is meant by "nature" or "natural?" The understanding in Paul's time is not that "nature" is a common given applied to all humanity in the same way, as we tend to view "nature" today. "Nature," is what is normal or "natural" in making the individual him or herself. Of a right-handed person, it is of his or her nature to be right-handed. It is natural for them – they can be nothing else but truly right-handed. They may learn to use their left-hand, but that is not of their nature, in fact, it is unnatural for them. What is natural for someone who has a heterosexual orientation is to be heterosexual. It is of their nature. What is natural for someone who has a homosexual orientation is to be homosexual - it, too, is of their nature. It would be unnatural for either of the above two to try to be the other – heterosexual or homosexual. Initially, it has nothing to do with behavior, just what the person is made of, or what makes up the person. In understanding this, it would be just as "unnatural" in Paul's thinking to have a homosexual, which wasn't even defined then as it is today, engaging in heterosexual sex - that would be against a homosexual's nature.

Anyway, if we are to argue against homosexual behavior, we have to use scripture with integrity - which means we have to be very diligent in studying it and applying it today. If we do not, then we do the very thing Paul commands us not to in chapter two – judging others unjustly when we ourselves are sinning all along. God's truth is His word, in which is everything we need for salvation, but it has to be rightly divided.

Bob



--- In exgaydiscussionboard@yahoogroups.com, "Stephen Modawell" <smod1@y...> wrote:
> This from the first Chapter of Romans...
> God's Wrath Against Mankind
>
> 18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the
> godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their
> wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them,
> because God has made it plain to them. 20For 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.
> 21For 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. 22Although they claimed to be wise,
> they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for
> images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and
> reptiles.
> 24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts
> to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one
> another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped
> and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever
> praised. Amen.
> 26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their
> women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same
> way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were
> inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with
> other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their
> perversion.
>
>
> HOW DOES ONE ARGUE THIS? Sounds pretty clear cut to me...
>
> Stephen


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