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    Christian Theology - Thread: Homosexuals and salvation

    1. #21
      hedrick is offline Apprentice Member
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      There are extreme views on both sides.

      I've looked at a number of studies. It seems that some people do manage to abstain or to have heterosexual relationships. That doesn't mean that there's a "cure" or a reliable way to "convert" people. But some level of change is possible for well-motivated people. But this certainly doesn't mean that being homosexual is simply a choice someone makes.

      As far as I can tell, the only serious Biblical passage for Christians is Rom 1. The video is right on Sodom. I think it's right on Leviticus, since generally Christians don't obey the holiness code from Lev. It's less clear that the prohibition of male on male sex was based on pagan sex. That's just a guess. There's nothing in the text supporting it, and I have a different guess. (I think it's about boundaries, much like the law about mixing fibers in fabric.) I think the clearest response is simply that we don't obey the holiness code as Christians. We aren't even bound to obey the sexual parts of OT law, e.g. having widows marry male relatives of their dead spouse, allowing polygamy, and having concubines.

      I have issues with this discussion of 1 Cor 6:9. It's true that we're not quite sure what some of the words mean, but almost everyone, even those sympathetic to gays, think arsenokoites probably means some kind of same-gender sex. The conjectures given in the video are not widely accepted. However in my view 1 Cor 6:9 is kind of irrelevant. It's one or two words in a list, with no specific rationalization. Since Rom 1 gives more details, we can reasonably assume that the judgement in 1 Cor 6:9 comes from the same judgement as Rom 1. If we don't accept Rom 1, there's no reason to accept the condemnation in 1 Cor 6 either.

      In Rom 1, we have some background on what Paul meant. Gagnon has done a very detailed study of opinions of both Jews and pagans on the topic. In my opinion Paul is giving a common Jewish view, that same-gender sex is what happens when someone becomes bored with normal sex and is looking for new experiences. He talks about abandoning natural sex for this, which is the exact terms in which Jews would traditionally talk about it. It is true that Paul is explicitly talking about the consequences of idolatry. He believes that that causes disordered morals, including disordered sexual behavior. He envisions same-gender sex as results from people who are looking for new sexual thrills, and abandon natural sex for that. This is roughly what the video says.

      But there's a common claim about Rom 1 that I think is false. It is "Paul was only speaking about same-gender sex in pagan contexts." There's no sign that 1st Cent Jews in general, or Paul in specific, thought that there was any acceptable context for same-gender sex. Their judgements were affected by the way in which 1st Cent Judaism thought of same-gender sex, that its association with pagans was significant, and that sexual orientation wasn't understood. But it's pretty clear that all same-gender sex was prohibited.

      I think what we know about sexual orientation actually does change things. I also think that there's a difference between the relationships gay Christians want and what Paul was thinking of. For that reason, I think the Church is empowered by Christ's gift of the power of the keys to make an exception. This kind of thing is common enough in other areas. E.g. many Christians think that divorce is often the lesser of evils, despite Jesus' condemnation of it. I agree with this judgement, and I think Jesus would as well. The Church truly is allowed to make this kind of decision.

    2. #22
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      Quote Originally Posted by hedrick View Post
      There are extreme views on both sides.

      I've looked at a number of studies. It seems that some people do manage to abstain or to have heterosexual relationships. That doesn't mean that there's a "cure" or a reliable way to "convert" people. But some level of change is possible for well-motivated people. But this certainly doesn't mean that being homosexual is simply a choice someone makes.

      As far as I can tell, the only serious Biblical passage for Christians is Rom 1. The video is right on Sodom. I think it's right on Leviticus, since generally Christians don't obey the holiness code from Lev. It's less clear that the prohibition of male on male sex was based on pagan sex. That's just a guess. There's nothing in the text supporting it, and I have a different guess. (I think it's about boundaries, much like the law about mixing fibers in fabric.) I think the clearest response is simply that we don't obey the holiness code as Christians. We aren't even bound to obey the sexual parts of OT law, e.g. having widows marry male relatives of their dead spouse, allowing polygamy, and having concubines.

      I have issues with this discussion of 1 Cor 6:9. It's true that we're not quite sure what some of the words mean, but almost everyone, even those sympathetic to gays, think arsenokoites probably means some kind of same-gender sex. The conjectures given in the video are not widely accepted. However in my view 1 Cor 6:9 is kind of irrelevant. It's one or two words in a list, with no specific rationalization. Since Rom 1 gives more details, we can reasonably assume that the judgement in 1 Cor 6:9 comes from the same judgement as Rom 1. If we don't accept Rom 1, there's no reason to accept the condemnation in 1 Cor 6 either.

      In Rom 1, we have some background on what Paul meant. Gagnon has done a very detailed study of opinions of both Jews and pagans on the topic. In my opinion Paul is giving a common Jewish view, that same-gender sex is what happens when someone becomes bored with normal sex and is looking for new experiences. He talks about abandoning natural sex for this, which is the exact terms in which Jews would traditionally talk about it. It is true that Paul is explicitly talking about the consequences of idolatry. He believes that that causes disordered morals, including disordered sexual behavior. He envisions same-gender sex as results from people who are looking for new sexual thrills, and abandon natural sex for that. This is roughly what the video says.

      But there's a common claim about Rom 1 that I think is false. It is "Paul was only speaking about same-gender sex in pagan contexts." There's no sign that 1st Cent Jews in general, or Paul in specific, thought that there was any acceptable context for same-gender sex. Their judgements were affected by the way in which 1st Cent Judaism thought of same-gender sex, that its association with pagans was significant, and that sexual orientation wasn't understood. But it's pretty clear that all same-gender sex was prohibited.

      I think what we know about sexual orientation actually does change things. I also think that there's a difference between the relationships gay Christians want and what Paul was thinking of. For that reason, I think the Church is empowered by Christ's gift of the power of the keys to make an exception. This kind of thing is common enough in other areas. E.g. many Christians think that divorce is often the lesser of evils, despite Jesus' condemnation of it. I agree with this judgement, and I think Jesus would as well. The Church truly is allowed to make this kind of decision.
      A decision that goes against His Word? Nope. Theyre not allowed to do that, but they do, ppl won't endure the real gospel anymore and get emselves some false teachers.

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    4. #23
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      Much to read on the topic of consisteny in observing OT laws. That said....

      The fact something is mandated or prohibited in Scripture but that rule is not represented in our national laws is of limited relevance. Scripture commands that we honor God but the law of the land makes no such stipulation. The fact the law of the land does not allow polygamy is of little relevance when it comes to how we honor our own calling as laid out in Scripture.

      Under the law of Leviticus death was the punishment for all sorts of transgressions, from sodomy and adultery to failing to honor one's parents. The fact we no longer execute people for transgressions doesn't mean that the act is no longer considered unacceptable, merely that a death sentence is not considered appropriate any more. The fact Jesus pardoned the woman caught in adultery shows just one example of grace, and his words justified neither the action nor the proposed punishment. "Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more" made it very clear that the woman's life was to be spared (cancelling the punishment) but that she was not to be continuing to commit adultery (not justifying the act).

      Much of the "justification" of homosexual acts toay revolve around concepts like "you can't help who you love" and 'God made me this way". Sadly these don't actually justify anything simply because they don't work universally. One might truly love an 8-year-old, one might genuinely believe that God made them that way, and yet nobody would claim that either of these "justifications" would make any resulting sexual activity even remotely appropriate. Likewise if the subject of one's affections were an immediate family member it is unlikely that very many people would like up to justify it. Whoever I may happen to love, and however clever I think I am being in claiming God made me this way, doesn't create a justification to act in a certain way. As a heterosexual man God gave me a desire for women but if my wife caught me in bed with the young lady across the road I don't imagine she would be impressed with "but God made me this way" as a justification.

      The simple truth is that we cannot necessarily decide what our desires will be, but we can decide how and indeed whether we act on those desires. If we are to take up our cross and follow Jesus we may have to accept that some of our desires will go unfulfilled.
      "Do what thou will shall be the whole of the law" - Aleister Crowley

      "If you love me, obey my commandments" - Jesus Christ

      The Bible comes as a complete package. If we want to pluck verses out of context so make them mean what we want them to mean, if we want to ignore the passages that are inconvenient to our outlook, we should be intellectually honest enough to throw our Bibles in the trash and admit we are following Crowley and not Christ.

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    6. #24
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      Quote Originally Posted by JRT View Post
      ***So if the Bible allowed polygamy and concubinage, why don't we?

      * Polygamy (many wives) and concubinage (a woman living with a man to whom she is not married) were regularly practiced in the Old Testament. Neither is ever condemned by the New Testament (with the questionable exceptions of I Timothy 3:2,12 and Titus 1:6). Jesus teaching about marital union in Mark 10:6-8 is no exception, since he quotes Gen. 2:24 as his authority (the man and the woman will become "one flesh"), and this text was never understood in Israel as excluding polygamy. A man could become "one flesh" with more than one woman, through the act of sexual intercourse. We know from Jewish sources that polygamy continued to be practiced within Judaism for centuries following the New Testament period. So if the Bible allowed polygamy and concubinage, why don't we?

      * A form of polygamy was the levirate marriage. When a married man in Israel died childless, his widow was to have intercourse with each of his brothers in turn until she bore him a male heir. Jesus mentions this custom without criticism (Mark 12:18-27 par.) I am not aware of any Christians who still obey this unambiguous commandment of Scripture. Why is this law ignored, and the one against homosexual behavior preserved?

      * The Old Testament nowhere explicitly prohibits sexual relations between unmarried consenting adults, as long as the woman's economic value (bride price) is not compromised, that is to say, as long as she is not a virgin. There are poems in the Song of Songs that eulogize a love affair between two unmarried persons, though commentators have often conspired to cover up the fact with heavy layers of allegorical interpretation. In various parts of the Christian world, quite different attitudes have prevailed about sexual intercourse before marriage. In some Christian communities, proof of fertility (that is, pregnancy) was required for marriage. This was especially the case in farming areas where the inability to produce children-workers could mean economic hardship. Today, many single adults, the widowed, and the divorced are reverting to "biblical" practice, while others believe that sexual intercourse belongs only within marriage. Which is right?

      * The Bible virtually lacks terms for the sexual organs, being content with such euphemisms as "foot" or "thigh" for the genitals, and using other euphemisms to describe coitus, such as "he knew her." Today most of us regard such language as "puritanical" and contrary to a proper regard for the goodness of creation. In short, we don't follow Biblical practice.

      * Semen and menstrual blood rendered all who touched them unclean (Lev. 15:16-24). Intercourse rendered one unclean until sundown; menstruation rendered the woman unclean for seven days. Today most people would regard semen and menstrual fluid as completely natural and only at times "messy," not "unclean."

      * Social regulations regarding adultery, incest, rape and prostitution are, in the Old Testament, determined largely by considerations of the males' property rights over women. Prostitution was considered quite natural and necessary as a safeguard of the virginity of the unmarried and the property rights of husbands (Gen. 38:12-19; Josh. 2:1-7). A man was not guilty of sin for visiting a prostitute, though the prostitute herself was regarded as a sinner. Even Paul must appeal to reason in attacking prostitution (I Cor. 6:12-20); he cannot lump it in the category of adultery (vs. 9). Today we are moving, with great social turbulence and at a high but necessary cost toward a more equitable, non-patriarchal set of social arrangements in which women are no longer regarded as the chattel of men. We are also trying to move beyond the double standard. Love, fidelity and mutual respect replace property rights. We have, as yet, made very little progress in changing the double standard in regard to prostitution. As we leave behind patriarchal gender relations, what will we do with the patriarchalism in the Bible?

      * Jews were supposed to practice endogamy -- that is, marriage within the 12 tribes of Israel. Until recently a similar rule prevailed in the American south, in laws against interracial marriage (miscegenation). We have witnessed, within the lifetime of many of us, the nonviolent struggle to nullify state laws against intermarriage and the gradual change in social attitudes towards interracial relationships. Sexual mores can alter quite radically even in a single lifetime.

      * The law of Moses allowed for divorce (Deut. 24:1-4); Jesus categorically forbids it (Mark 10:1-12; Matt, 19:9 softens his severity). Yet many Christians, in clear violation of a command of Jesus, have been divorced. Why, then, do some of these very people consider themselves eligible for baptism, church membership, communion, and ordination, but not homosexuals? What makes the one so much greater a sin than the other, especially considering the fact that Jesus never even mentioned homosexuality but explicitly condemned divorce? Yet we ordain divorcees. Why not homosexuals?

      * The Old Testament regarded celibacy as abnormal and I Timothy 4:1-3 calls compulsory celibacy a heresy. Yet the Catholic Church has made it mandatory for priests and nuns. Some Christian ethicists demand celibacy of homosexuals, whether they have a vocation for celibacy or not. But this legislates celibacy by category, not by divine calling. Others argue that since God made men and women for each other in order to be fruitful and multiply, homosexuals reject God's intent in creation. But this would mean that childless couples, single persons, priests and nuns would be in violation of God's intention in their creation. Those who argue thus must explain why the apostle Paul never married. Are they prepared to charge Jesus with violating the will of God by remaining single? Certainly heterosexual marriage is normal, else the race would die out. But it is not normative. God can bless the world through people who are married and through people who are single, and it is false to generalize from the marriage of most people to the marriage of everyone. In I Cor. 7:7, Paul goes so far as to call marriage a "charisma," or divine gift, to which not everyone is called. He preferred that people remain as he was - unmarried. In an age of overpopulation, perhaps a gay orientation is especially sound ecologically!

      * In many other ways we have developed different norms from those explicitly laid down by the Bible: "If men get into a fight with one another and the wife of one intervenes to rescue her husband from the grip of his opponent by reaching out and seizing his genitals, you shall cut off her hand" (Deut 25:11 f). We, on the contrary, might very well applaud her for trying to save her husband's life!

      * The Old and New Testaments both regarded slavery as normal and nowhere categorically condemned it. Part of that heritage was the use of female slaves, concubines and captives as sexual toys, breeding machines, or involuntary wives by their male owners, which II Samuel 5:13, Judges 19-21, and Numbers 31:17-20 permitted -- and as many American slave owners did some 150 years ago, citing these and numerous other Scripture passages as their justification.

      ***The Problem of Authority

      These cases are relevant to our attitude toward the authority of Scripture. they are not cultic prohibitions from the Holiness Code that are clearly superseded in Christianity, such as rules about eating shellfish or wearing clothes made of two different materials. They are rules concerning sexual behavior, and they fall among the moral commandments of the Scripture. Clearly we regard certain rules, especially in the Old Testament, as no longer binding. Other things we regard as binding, including legislation in the Old Testament that is not mentioned at all in the New. What is our principle of selection here?

      For example; virtually all modern readers would agree with the Bible in rejecting:
      incest
      rape
      adultery
      intercourse with animals

      But we disagree with the Bible on most other sexual mores. The Bible condemned the following behaviors which we generally allow:
      intercourse during menstruation
      celibacy
      exogamy (marriage with non-Jews)
      naming sexual organs
      nudity (under certain conditions)
      masturbation (some Christians still condemn this)
      birth control (some Christians still forbid this)
      And the bible regarded semen and menstrual blood as unclean, which most of us do not

      Likewise, the bible permitted behaviors that we today condemn:
      prostitution
      polygamy
      levirate marriage
      sex with slaves
      concubinage
      treatment of women as property
      very early marriage (for the girl, age 11-13)

      continued
      Celibacy? Wasn't Paul celibate? He wasn't married so... ?

      Sent from my LGLS755 using Tapatalk

    7. #25
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      Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, 20 but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood.

      Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.

      Such were some of you. They just repented and got set free.

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    9. #26
      hedrick is offline Apprentice Member
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      Quote Originally Posted by tango View Post
      The simple truth is that we cannot necessarily decide what our desires will be, but we can decide how and indeed whether we act on those desires. If we are to take up our cross and follow Jesus we may have to accept that some of our desires will go unfulfilled.
      Absolutely. It's a mistake to think that we'll never have to give up anything or do anything unpleasant. Christians should always understand this.

      But still, we shouldn't put unnecessary stumbling blocks in front of people. (Mat 18:6) Paul understands that many people are not cut out to be celibate, and that if you aren't you're better to get married. (1 Cor 7:9) It's my judgement, and that of most mainline churches, that calling all people with a homosexual orientation to be celibate is an unnecessary stumbling block, which has caused serious damage to many people.

      JRT's posting above makes it clear that the Church does in fact make judgements that aren't always based on a literal reading of the Bible. Jesus gave us the right to do this. (Mat 18:18)

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    11. #27
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      Homosexuality has been since before religion. Religion made it wrong. Some religions now say it is here to stay so we should love them and honor them and I am one who does. I have homosexuality in my family and love him and would not say a thing to change him!

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    13. #28
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      Homosexuality is no more inherently sinful than is heterosexuality.

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    15. #29
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      Quote Originally Posted by DHoffmann View Post
      Celibacy? Wasn't Paul celibate? He wasn't married so... ?

      Sent from my LGLS755 using Tapatalk
      from my understanding that in order for Paul to be a part of the Sanhedrin he would of had to have been married. So, it would seem that at some point he was if that is true and she either divorced him when he converted or just left him or died somehow

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    17. #30
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      Quote Originally Posted by Ruth View Post
      Homosexuality has been since before religion. Religion made it wrong. Some religions now say it is here to stay so we should love them and honor them and I am one who does. I have homosexuality in my family and love him and would not say a thing to change him!
      I think that's wonderful, I have a few gay friends and I respect them yet like I said I have had a few troubling experiences with some in the past and as long as they don't try to force themselves and say perverted things to me I have no problem with them.
      My understanding was always that in order for a homosexual to be saved they would have to become heterosexual, I never understood how thats possible or common in conversion, but its what the local Catholic school here taught growing up.


      Sent from my LGLS755 using Tapatalk

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