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Human Sexuality and the Bible
Stand Firm ^ | 9/05/2006 | Matt Kennedy

Posted on 09/05/2006 6:03:03 PM PDT by sionnsar

Below you will find a rather long article I wrote for my parish in October 2003 during the primates meeting. I am publishing it here because it contains an exegetical overview of the primary Old Testament and New Testament passages relating to homosexual behavior. I refer to it often in Part 5 of my response to Fr. Woodward above as many of the biblical questions raised in Fr. Woodward's apolgy are addressed.

Human Sexuality and the Bible

By the Rev. Matt Kennedy

The debate currently raging in the Episcopal Church and, indeed, throughout the Anglican Communion, is not over whether believers ought to love people who are homosexual. Christians are called to love others. This call is binding regardless of who the "others" are or how they live. God intervened and brought salvation to the world in Jesus Christ while the world was still dead in darkness and sin. For that reason, no matter what you think about homosexuality, there is never any justification for cruelty, bigotry, or unkindness. We owe all human beings dignity, respect, and love. That is not and never will be up for debate.

The question is not whether we ought to love homosexual people. The question is how best to love them. Christians are called to love sinners (ourselves and everyone else) and hate sin (our own and the sin of others) in the same way that one might love a sick person and hate his or her sickness. Christians must hate sin because it damages God's creatures and God's creation and ultimately, if not dealt with, it leads to spiritual death. The debate is not about homosexual people but about the nature of the homosexual act; whether it is a deadly sin from the bonds of which we must work to be free or whether it is an act of love approved by God. Does loving people who feel they have been born with a homosexual orientation mean helping them to recognize the sinfulness of homosexual behavior and repent, or does it mean accepting, embracing, and even celebrating the homosexual expression of love?

The Authority of Scripture
The core issue is the authority of the bible in the Church. Some argue that the bible is primarily a human book (some passages indeed inspired by God) that held authority for the Church in the past but that ought not to bind the Church at all times and in all places. Those who adhere to this argument presume that the Holy Spirit can and will lead the Church beyond the first-century limitations of the New Testament in order to make the gospel of Jesus Christ relevant to the people of this age.

Others say that the bible is a fully human book fully inspired—its truth superintended—by God the Holy Spirit and, therefore, its teachings are timeless and eternal. Those who adhere to this argument assert that the Church never has the authority to stand in judgment over the bible, but rather the Church must always humbly submit itself to the written revelation of God's will.

I hold the second view, the classic view of scriptural authority, and I do so for two reasons. First, when the Church begins to assume that its decisions are consistent with God's will without any objective means to test that assumption, the Church, whether she means to or not, sets herself up as the final arbiter of truth; and in doing this, she usurps a role and an authority that belongs only to God. When this happens theological reflection, doctrine, and discipline all become subservient to human perception and preference, rather than divine revelation, and the Church inevitably devolves into a distorted mirror image of itself. In other words, when the bible, God's Word revealed, ceases to be the final authority, the Church becomes her own god.

Second, I hold the classical view of scripture because God himself in Jesus held such a view. Every time Jesus referred to the “law and the prophets”—which was the 1st century rabbinical shorthand for the Tanahk or Torah (our Old Testament)—as “God's Word,” something he did quite often (if you are interested, I can pass along the passages where he does this), he affirmed that the Old Testament was and is to be taken and understood not just as the word of Isaiah, Moses, Jeremiah, etc., but also as the very Word of God. Jesus himself in other words used and applied the bible of his day as if it were the direct revelation of God.

What about the New Testament? At the Last Supper Jesus promised his disciples that following his ascension into heaven, God the Father would send his Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, Jesus said, would guide the disciples into all truth and recall to their minds the things that he taught and said (see John 14:25 -26; 15:26 ; 16:7-16).

All of the books of the New Testament were written either by the disciples present in that room, those whose work had been seen and approved by them, or those independently commissioned by the Risen Lord himself (Mark was Peter's disciple, Paul was commissioned by Christ himself after the resurrection, Jude was probably Jesus' brother, Luke was Paul's disciple, etc.). They were all written and circulated separately in the Church and approved by the disciples. Their authenticity, truth, and authority, then, is validated by the promise of Christ himself to reveal through the Holy Spirit all truth and to bring to light all of his teachings so that they could be recorded without error and provide guidance and light to the world and to the Church. You may have heard people say that the Church created the bible in the fourth century? But the truth of the matter is that the Church merely recognized the books already written that had been ordained and inspired by God.

Our own Anglican Communion recognizes the authority of scripture in the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, specifically articles 6 and 20 which you can read in the back of The Book of Common Prayer (pp. 867-876). And the Church throughout the world—Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant—has for two thousand years considered the bible the infallible word of God. Only in the last 200 years have some mainline Protestant theologians in Western nations challenged the doctrine of scriptural authority on the basis of now laughably arcane 19th century “enlightenment” methodology and reasoning. One contemporary result of this doctrinally schismatic move has been this great debate over homosexuality. Homosexuality, then, is not the real issue—the real issue boils down to the authority of scripture in the Church.

Does the Bible Still Apply to the Modern World?
“But surely,” some might say, “a book completed so long ago can't have much to say to modern people living in a modern world.” Well, if you think about it, there are many, many ancient books that have had a huge and lasting impact on the modern world. Plato's Republic and Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, just to name two, have virtually shaped the Western world politically, philosophically, and morally. Even if you are not aware of it, many of the ideas and ways of thinking that we take for granted come directly from Plato and Aristotle, both of whom wrote and lived before the New Testament was completed. If human beings—philosophers—writing and thinking thousands of years ago still have such a tremendous impact on our lives today, then surely the bible, written by human beings and inspired by an eternal God, still has something to say?

Indeed there are some passages in the bible that we can point to and say, “Well that was the rule then, but now times have changed.” For example, St. Peter in 1st Peter 3:3-5 admonished women not to accentuate their beauty with long braided hair and expensive jewelry. He said this partly because to do so in the context of his culture was to show off wealth, attract attention, and possibly, depending upon the context, ply the trade of a prostitute. St. Peter's admonishion did not have to do with earrings or braided hair but with self-aggrandizement, pretension, and sexual immorality.

To apply that today would be to say, “Don't dress to show off your wealth and don't dress in order to sell your body.” Women have the freedom to wear jewelry and braid their hair today because generally speaking in the context of contemporary American culture, such things no longer have anything to do with pretension or prostitution. The principles at stake in St. Peter's proscription—humility and modesty in dress—still bind us. The principle behind St. Peter's command has not changed, but the way we live it out has because the culture around us has changed. The truth is always the same, although its cultural application may change over time.

Sexual Ethics Not Subject to Change
As you will see, however, the passages in the Bible that deal with homosexuality are not at all subject to shifting cultural contexts.

First, Paul draws a firm link between homosexuality and the fallen nature of humanity. In a key passage, Romans 1:18-32, he argues that the homosexual impulse is an inclination that derives from humanity's original falling away from God. What this means is that St. Paul does not offer us a culturally bound description of a behavior that may have been wrong long ago but is perfectly okay now. Rather he is offering an ageless identification of homosexuality with a fallen nature that people of every age share in common—an identification that therefore applies to all cultures and times. Paul was in this passage, as Dr. Robert Gagnon notes, “referring to collective entities, not individuals and to widespread effect, not origin.” ( The Bible and Homosexual Practice, Dr. Robert Gagnon).

For an example of the significance of this point, let's take the debate over the existence of a gay gene. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the discovery of a so-called “gay” gene predisposing men and women toward homosexuality would not upset the identification of homosexuality with humanity's fallen nature, but rather such a find would affirm it. Moreover, such a find would be totally consistent with the classic orthodox Christian assertion that the Fall affects every aspect of our being.

Second, the proscriptions against homosexuality found in the OT are renewed and carried forward across time into the NT and therefore not bound to the OT sacrificial system, but are transcultural. Aside from St. Paul, Both Jesus in the gospels of Mark and Matthew and the NT Church in the book of Acts implicitly refer to and condemn homosexual behavior along with the entire category of sexual behaviors listed in Leviticus 18, and by this they establish the timeless baseline for sexual ethics in the Church.

References to Homosexuality in the Old and New Testaments
To demonstrate the truth of these two points, we will discuss the most important OT and NT passages in which the subject of homosexuality is discussed directly or indirectly:

• Romans 1:18-32 (This passage covers the Fall of Humanity as well as the results of that Fall)

• 1st Corinthians 6:9-10

• 1 Timothy 1:10

• Leviticus 18:22

• Leviticus 20:13

• Mark 7: 21-22; Matthew 15:19 (sexual immorality)

• Acts 15:20 (sexual immorality)

These passages make it absolutely clear that in the context of the whole of scripture, homosexuality is recognized to be contrary to the will of God and that any argument which puts forward the idea that homosexuality is a valid life-style cuts directly against the grain of God's Word written.

Romans 1:18-32
In Romans 1:18-32, Paul describes homosexual behavior as one of the twists of human nature resulting from the first human decision to turn away from God. Whereas Genesis 1 clearly indicates that human beings were originally intended to join together as male and female in procreative unions, when sin entered the world, when human beings turned from the God of created things to the created things in themselves, God gave humanity over to its own devices. As a result, all human beings are born with fallen natures, meaning our souls, our bodies, our desires have become disordered and twisted. One result of this twist is that our sexual natures have become perverted. Natural, or God-created, sexual desires have been exchanged for unnatural (or fallen) ones. Let me quote here again from Dr. Gagnon:

There is a whole series of behaviors and passions listed in Romans 1:29-31, following the reference to same-sex intercourse in 1:24-27, that…have some innate basis. People do not choose to be covetous or envious, for example. They are simply born with an innate proclivity to feel bad when others have attractive things or persons that they do not have. That does not mean that covetousness and envy are natural or in accordance with nature in the Pauline sense…since by ‘nature' Paul meant God's intended design for creation untouched by the introduction of sin into the world (i.e., the anatomical, procreative, and interpersonal complementarity of male-female sexual bonds…)…Current theories of homosexual development [therefore] are essentially compatible with Paul's own view of sin. In Romans 5 and 7 Paul speaks of sin as an innate impulse operating in the human body, transmitted by an ancestor human, and never entirely within the control of the human will. This is precisely how homosex-affirming advocates describe homosexual orientation. And Romans 1:24-27 itself talks about God, ‘giving over' people to pre-existing passions for members of the same sex, passions which, apart from God's help, are beyond control. If Paul could be transported into the 21st century and told that homoerotic desires have (at most) a partial and indirect connection to innate causation factors, he doubtless would have said either ‘I could have told you that' or at the very least, ‘That fits well into my own understanding of sin.' (The Bible and Homosexual Practice, Dr. Robert Gagnon )

In light of all this, care should of course be taken when reading Romans 1:24-27 not to neglect Romans 1:27-32. St. Paul uses homosexuality as an example of the shameful results of the Fall, but he also lists the following ramifications: envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice, gossip, slander, blasphemy, insolence, arrogance, pride, disrespect, faithlessness, heartlessness and ruthlessness. In other words, human nature as a whole has been perverted and marred. This perversion includes but is not limited to our sexual nature.

To summarize briefly, in Romans 1:18-32 (specifically verses 24-27) St. Paul points to the existence of the homosexual orientation, the desire of men for men and women for women, and the homosexual act, "men commit[ing] indecent acts with other men", as examples of human perversity deriving from the Fall.

1st Corinthians 6:9-11
In 1st Corinthians 6:9-11, St. Paul again turns to the subject of homosexuality and includes homosexual behaviors in a list of behaviors considered characteristic of people who “do not inherit the Kingdom of God” (see above). Some revisionist scholars have questioned whether the Greek words Paul uses here are intended to indicate all homosexual activity or whether St. Paul is addressing specifically male prostitution, in which case, they argue, this passage cannot apply to the monogamous homosexual relationships of today. Given Paul's very clear and strong condemnation of homosexual behavior in general in Romans 1, the argument over 1 Cor 6:9 is not all that crucial because we know that Paul condemned the homosexual act in general whether paid for or not.

But just to play along with the argument, let me note that the most common ways the two Greek words in question here, “Malakoi” and “Arsenokoitai,” were used demonstrate that Paul almost beyond a doubt was referring to male homosexual relations. “Malakos” refers most often to a male who is “soft” or effeminate, or passive. In the context of sexuality it was used most commonly to refer to the passive partner in a male homosexual erotic relationship. Some have argued that it refers specifically to young male prostitutes who take on the role of the female in bed, but there is another much more common word for these people, “kinaidos.” So, it's more likely, given the plain sense of the word “malakos” and the fact that there was a more common word available—“kinaidos”—that Paul was simply referring to the passive sexual partner in male homosexual intercourse, and the identification of these people as male prostitutes is incorrect.

“Arsenokoites,” the second word, means “one who lies with a male in a male homosexual erotic relationship.” This word as it was most commonly used in the context of sexual relations refers “in general” to any male who plays the role of the male in bed with another male, be he with a prostitute or with a lover.

The interesting thing about this word, as Richard Hays notes in his Moral Vision of the New Testament, is that coming from a learned Jew like Paul, “arsenokoites” would likely represent an allusion to the Greek text of Leviticus 20:13 “meta arsenos koiten gynaikos,” “arsenokoites” being a compound of “arsen” (male) “and koiten” (intercourse). The compound word, “arsenokoites” is in fact not known in Greek literature prior to the NT. For that reason Hays believes Paul likely created it in reference to Leviticus 20. The significance of this, of course, is that Paul understood the Levitical prohibitions against homosexuality to be morally binding on the church beyond the context of ritual purity. Most likely these two words taken together represent a blanket condemnation of both the passive and assertive forms of male homosexual behavior. This passage, therefore, represents another explicit NT condemnation of homosexual behavior without regard to cultural or relational context. ( Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich and Danker Greek Lexicon of the NT and other Early Christian Literature )

Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13

Now let's turn briefly to the Old Testament. I have saved this part of my discussion until now because the material we find in Romans and 1st Corinthians establishes that Paul not only carried forward the OT prohibition against homosexual behavior, but added much to it, providing the reason behind its prohibition, namely that it is perversion of the created order stemming from the Fall. It is helpful to have this NT context before turning to the OT because the OT passages which condemn homosexuality as an “abomination” or “detestable” (Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13) have been mischaracterized as:

• Part of the temple/tabernacle purity code, which was abolished in the NT when through his sacrifice Jesus became the new Temple, and

• Part of a xenophobic attempt to retain Hebrew identity over and against surrounding peoples. Since that particular social need is no longer extant, the law created to meet it is no longer necessary . . . so goes the argument.

Inspired by the Holy Spirit, Paul as we have already seen, and Jesus and the NT Church as we will see, understood the prohibitions found in Leviticus 18, including Leviticus 18:22, to be primarily moral in nature. Though there were most definitely ritual ramifications to transgressing the laws that are spelled out in Leviticus 20:13 (namely that one became unclean), the laws in themselves were understood to be primarily moral in nature. Thus, the either/or character of the most recent revisionist polemic must be corrected by a both/and point of view.

There are three categories of Levitical law: purity/ritual, theocratic and moral. Only the last category—moral—was intended to stand eternally.

The Purity/Ritual Levitical Laws

The purity/ritual laws have to do with tabernacle and temple. They were introduced by God to reinforce the concepts of holiness and bodily purity. The rules and regulations associated with the temple no longer apply to Christians for the very good reason that Jesus Christ, in his body and through his blood, has fulfilled and replaced the temple, as the writer of Hebrews makes clear in chapters 9-10 and as Peter's vision makes clear in Acts 10:9-23. Christ is our purity and our sacrifice.

The Theocratic Levitical Laws
The theocratic laws had to do with governing the people of Israel during the time of the judges and kings. They were intended to reinforce the concept of Israel being set apart as a holy nation and people. Because of rebellion and idolatry, those kingdoms were taken away. The new Kingdom of God introduced in and through Jesus Christ has superceded the old theocratic covenant, and therefore, the laws regarding governance in the Promised Land no longer apply.

Jesus did not come to change these laws, but rather, as he put it, to fulfill them. As the representative Israelite, he fulfilled the mission in and through the law that Israel as a nation failed to fulfill. In obedience even unto death, he became the light to the nations and the glory of God's people Israel . With Jesus' death and resurrection, the people of God have been given an eternal purity in his blood and have been ushered into a new sort of theocracy, the Kingdom of God, that includes all who call Jesus Lord. The old has passed away, God is making all things new.

Notice, however, that this fulfillment, this new creation, was initiated and begun by the sovereign Lord and verified and authenticated not apart from the law and the prophets, but through and according to them. This new covenant in blood was not voted on or dictated by the Sanhedrin or by popular demand, but it was handed down and authenticated by God himself at the resurrection and ascension. Moreover, the NT writers themselves, inspired by the Holy Spirit, attest to all of these things.

The Moral Levitical Laws are Eternal
Now we come to the third category, the moral law. These have not been superceded or changed. In this category you will find the Ten Commandments, the laws regarding sexual morality, and the laws regarding the poor and the foreigners. These laws are consciously alluded to and purposely mentioned by Jesus and the NT writers as absolutely binding in the new Kingdom.

The present debate has centered upon whether or not the sexual regulations listed in Leviticus 18 are to be categorized as purity/ritual laws or moral laws. It is clear, however, from the fact that the prohibitions against all forms of sexual behavior outside of monogamous heterosexual marriage are consistently and clearly condemned in the NT, including implicitly and explicitly homosexual conduct, that Jesus and the apostles considered these laws to be moral laws established at creation and in force until the end. That the NT writers considered them to be moral in nature should be clear from our discussion of Romans 1 and 1st Corinthians 6:9 above. That Jesus understood these laws to be moral rather than purity/ritual is clear from his discourse in Mark 7:9-23 (discussed below). That the early church held and enforced the same understanding is clear from the instructions to Gentile believers found in Acts 15:20.

Jesus does not address homosexual behavior as distinct from other illicit sexual behaviors, but he condemns it all the same by his negative application of the word “pornia” in Mark 7:21-22 and Matthew 15:19. The Greek word “pornia” in the context of first century Judaism referred specifically to the Levitical laws found in Leviticus 18 (homosexuality is specifically mentioned in 18:22).

The rabbis of the first century often used shorthand phrases to refer to the law, as we saw with the phrase “the law and the prophets” which refers to the Tanahk. “Pornia” was another shorthand word that, again, was used to refer to all the acts and behaviors listed in Leviticus 18 from incest to bestiality, from adultery to homosexuality. Therefore, when Jesus says, “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man unclean. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander . . . ”(Matt 15:18-19), he indicates very clearly that all the acts considered sexually immoral in the Levitical law code, from heterosexual promiscuity to homosexual partnerships, are to be considered immoral by his disciples as well. They are, in other words, moral in nature and thus eternal.

The very same word, “pornia,” is used in Acts 15:20 by the church council in Jerusalem. They command Gentile believers to abstain from “pornia,” again, a direct reference to and a clear endorsement of the Levitical sexual code.

In sum, throughout scripture you will find not one positive or even neutral word relating to homosexual activity. When referenced, the homosexual drive and the homosexual act are always and everywhere referenced as sins consistent with and arising out of the fallen-ness of humanity. To paraphrase Dr. Gagnon once again, homosexual behavior is a behavior that is proscribed by both testaments implicitly and explicitly, pervasively, severely, absolutely and without shadow or shade.

We are All Born with Orientations Away From God

I have no doubt that there are many people who have been born with an orientation toward those of the same sex, just as there are many people who are born with orientations toward promiscuity, strife, deceit, etc. In fact, we are all—every one of us—born sinners with orientations away from God. Sin has marred God's original creation.

The whole point of Christianity is that God in his love has acted to redeem what has fallen, to restore what has been broken, and to do away with the sin that has driven a wedge between him and the people he created and loves. Through faith in Jesus Christ, all human beings of whatever orientation are offered forgiveness, holiness, and eternal reconciliation with God and with one another. Those who come to Jesus Christ are forgiven for every sin they have ever committed in the past and every sin they will ever commit in the future. God himself in the person of Jesus has taken upon himself the just penalty for all of our sins. And he has committed himself to live within us, to fill us with his love and peace, and to cleanse us, his adopted children, from all of our unrighteousness through his Holy Spirit.

As Christians it is our role to recognize and identify sin and to fight through God's grace to eradicate it from our own lives and from the life of the entire Church. Sin is like a deadly disease. It must be rooted out and destroyed. The worst thing you can do with cancer is to deny that it's there and do nothing about it. In the same way, the worst thing you can do when confronted with sin, your own or the sin of the Church, is to deny it or hide from it. That means that we must be clear with ourselves individually and as the Church and with the world as to what constitutes sin and what does not.

On homosexuality, the scriptures are clear: homosexuality is a sin. It must be dealt with in the same way all sin is dealt with: it must be confessed and repented of, and then it must, by God's help be overcome.

I have heard many say that this is too divisive an issue to address. Sometimes debates that seem superficial and even petty to the casual onlooker actually cut to the heart of very serious, even essential, principles and doctrines. This is just such a time. The movement to bless same-sex unions and to ordain unrepentant and practicing homosexuals is a direct challenge to the validity of and authority of the Biblical witness and, therefore, worth the fight. But whatever happens, we can trust in the love of Jesus Christ for his Church and remember his promise that the Gates of Hell will never prevail against it. I believe that God is using this issue to force the Church to come to terms with the authority of the Bible.

Showing Christ's Love and Compassion to All

I wish it had been another issue—one not so political—at another time—one not so rent by discord. But this is where God has placed us, and this is where we will stand. It is unfortunate that the current political climate has so clouded this issue that instead of debating the validity of the scriptural witness, most of what you hear tends rather to focus upon whether or not homosexuals are to be “accepted” or “rejected” or whether or not the Church will be “inclusive” or “bigoted.”

I say unfortunately because the gospel is kind, loving and forgiving to sinners. We as sinners know that better than anyone. The Church is not the home of the righteous, but a hospital for people who know they are not perfect. The forgiveness of Christ is the most profound message of the gospel, and it is the message I would love to concentrate on most. But people cannot come forward to be healed by Christ unless they first recognize that they are sick. That is why it is so important to defend the truth of scripture. It does not help, it is not loving, it is not compassionate to tell someone who is sick that he or she is well. In fact, it is a cruel thing. Truth brings freedom, not bondage, and the Bible's identification of homosexual behavior with sin is truth.

In sum, it must be remembered that homosexuality is a sin like any other sin. Lust, covetousness, lying, false witness—all these are sins as well. There is absolutely no reason to single out homosexual people for special stigmatization. Show everyone the same love and compassion that Jesus shows to us in remembrance that it is only by the grace of God that we are saved—and not through our own goodness. All sinners of every stripe are to be welcomed with open arms into the Church because we are all sinners, and there are things, both big and small, in all of our lives that are in need of transformation.

At the same time, we are responsible for preaching, teaching, and remaining faithful to God's word, knowing that it would be cruel to have the truth and to withhold it. Hopefully, as Christian people we will be at least as vigilant in applying God's word to ourselves as individuals as we are to the Church.

The Future of the Episcopal Church
Well, now you know where I stand on the issue. I do not know the future. I do not know what will happen to the Episcopal Church. I do not know what will happen to the Anglican Communion. There is at present an international commission meeting at Lambeth, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s palace in London, to determine a way forward. I am not confident. This issue is unfortunately not one that can have a both/and solution. Either homosexuality is sin or it is not. There is no middle ground.

Anglican Primates representing over half of the world’s 75 million Anglicans have already declared themselves either out of communion or in a state of impaired communion with the Episcopal Church. A network of orthodox parishes and dioceses within the Episcopal Church that opposes the heterodox innovations of the 74th General Convention has been created and recognized by those same primates to be the legitimate Anglican presence, the only Anglican Church in America. There is, then, already a very significant division that will most likely grow even wider.

In the end, I have no idea what the future holds for the Church worldwide. What I do know is that by God's grace, so long as I am Rector of the Church of the Good Shepherd, I will stand firm on the foundation of the Word of God and remain faithful to God's Truth, come what may.


TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 09/05/2006 6:03:06 PM PDT by sionnsar
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2 posted on 09/05/2006 6:03:40 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† | Iran Azadi | SONY: 5yst3m 0wn3d, N0t Y0urs | UN: Useless Nations)
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To: sionnsar
"Does loving people who feel they have been born with a homosexual orientation mean helping them to recognize the sinfulness of homosexual behavior and repent, or does it mean accepting, embracing, and even celebrating the homosexual expression of love?"

Is adultery immoral and a sin? Men and women are born with heterosexual attractions and adultery is an act of love between two consenting adults.

The sex positive agenda ushered in the sexual revolution, and with it the homosexual agenda which has been a focused battering ram against society's laws and morals. Sex Positive proponents seek to end ALL moral attitudes against any sexual pairings regardless of age, sex, marital status, relation, number, or species of partner. They believe abstinence to be wrong because it is a denial of sexual desire. They want everyone sexually active at every age.

It is about defining deviancy downwards. Surrender an inch at your own peril.
3 posted on 09/05/2006 7:11:52 PM PDT by weegee (Remember "Remember the Maine"? Well in the current war "Remember the Baby Milk Factory")
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To: sionnsar
I've managed to read about 1/2 of this so far and it is an excellent piece - thoughtful and well written.

You wrote:

"For an example of the significance of this point, let's take the debate over the existence of a gay gene. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the discovery of a so-called “gay” gene predisposing men and women toward homosexuality would not upset the identification of homosexuality with humanity's fallen nature, but rather such a find would affirm it. Moreover, such a find would be totally consistent with the classic orthodox Christian assertion that the Fall affects every aspect of our being."

I've read fundamentalist writings which argue against the use of psychology for mental illness because it is caused by sin and thus must be overcome by the individual. Many scientists say that there are indications that mental illness runs in families (which may or may not have genetic origins).

I personally do not think a gay gene exists, although there is the possibility that there might be a genetic type of mental illness that causes an individual to have difficulty coping with societal norms.

I'm wondering if a genetic inheritance or problem can really be considered part of man's fallen nature because obviously, we do not consider physical disabilities to be so. Or do we?

That being said, I agree that the Church must follow scripture and that we must love the sinner but hate the sin.

I will finish reading in the morning. Thank you for posting this.

4 posted on 09/05/2006 7:52:04 PM PDT by sageb1 (This is the Final Crusade. There are only 2 sides. Pick one.)
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To: sageb1

In a general sense, all physical disabilities or sicknesses are resultant of that we all live in a fallen world. Human nature, in all its parts is affected by our inward falleness--but that doesn't mean, for example, that inherited problems--be they physical or psychological, indicate that one person or family is "especially" evil or cursed--ALL of us are sinners.

This writer is saying something I've maintained for a while, that the nature vs. nurture debate on the causes of homosexual desire is really a non-issue. I'm a firm believer in classical theology on this though...that old doctrine of original or "in born" sin. Many evangelical Christians of the more Methodist or Arminien stripe though reject this (biblical) doctrine out of hand--hence they feel a need to prove no one could be born with a tendency to have homosexual desires--or else, they say, God would be creating sin.

The fact of the matter is though, except in God's providence NONE of us is directly created by God--we are born, the products of countless generations of flawed genetics. We inherited a fallen nature from Adam and Eve--and physically we also have inherited certain other problems too (weaknesses toward heart disease, cancer, arthritus, bad eyesight, etc. etc. depending on who you are...) and amoung those problems we get from our parents are certain patterns toward certain sins.

A comparison to alcoholism is appropriate: It is well known the tendency to drink too much runs in's a burden those of us with certain Celtic roots have to bear--however, we acknowlege drunkeness as a problem, and actually yes a be turned away from, and given to God. Why society cannot have the same attitude toward sexual issues, I do not understand, except that the '60s generation seems to think that sexually we MUST have whatever we want, no matter what the consequences. That sounds like animal life to me, not that of a dignified human being.

Anyway, though I tend to believe that nurture has at least as much to do with homosexual desire as nature...still, human nature in every one of us is flawed, of a sinful "orientation" and in need of redemption: Jesus' cross and resurrection are the only answer.

5 posted on 09/05/2006 10:26:58 PM PDT by AnalogReigns
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