Monday

Hate in the Name of Christ

I prayed on if I should make this post. I always believed anti-gay theology would grow an ugly fruit that Christians could no longer deny because of it being the Doctrine of Demons that it is. This is it's fruition, it's ugly flower in full bloom. I couldn't call myself a Christian if I turned my back on the horrors done in the Name of my God.



Friday

Rev. Joseph Adam Pearson, Ph.D.

What I love about Pearson is that he's a Bible thumper's thumper, a real conservative and hard liner with the Word of God, he just happens to believe the Bible doesn't condemn homosexuality.
His book on-line.

Thursday

Michael Craven

I made the big mistake to write a comment to Michal Craven on his site. I should have known better when he thinks all of America is going into some moral morass because I get googly eyed with boys and because of "secular humanists" (I thought that terminology went out in the late 80's with Evangelicals?). Apparently Michael missed the Scriptures that we are to be set apart from the world and not in a tug of war with it. We are to live at peace with our neighbor, not demand our way with them, we are to preach the "Good News," not force un-believers to act like they were.
This is what I first wrote him and his response:
http://www.battlefortruth.org/ArticlesDetail.asp?id=236&rr=1#resp

The actual article is harmless enough with coming from an anti-gay Christian, but how does Michael really feel when in a different article on homosexuality he says:

"In short, social acceptance of deviant sexual behaviors (homosexuality) represents the final stages of a society working to rid itself of all traditional mores related to sexual conduct. The jettisoning of sexual morality renders the individual and its attendant society devoid of its productive energy. Such societies diminish because their collective creative energies are redirected toward the fulfillment of their personal sexual appetites (hedonism)."

Of course what you don't see is my final comment Michael didn't want to post with what he wrote me back so it looks like I had no response to him or the Scriptures he brings up (in one part of my post I say I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, breathed by God and is inerrant. I guess that popped his bubble of claiming I'm a "Liberal Progressive," so he just rather not post it).

Michael loves to put people in boxes who he believes are picking fights with Christianity in what's  his made-up; "Culture War." People he labels; "Secularists," "Homosexuals with an agenda," "Liberal Progressives" and a list of others with scary titles who are either fighting Christianity coming into the world or kicking out of the world the Christianity it still has left. Notice his fighting words (battle, war)? People like him are always needing to see a spiritual enemy behind individuals and "Homosexual Activists" are one of his combatants (Any homosexual who has the nerve to demand the same rights as a heterosexual is an "activist)." It's lost on Michael that there are not tiers of citizenship in America where you being a Christian American citizen somehow trumps the citizenship of a Gay American in the Bill of Rights or the Constitution. I DO believe in spiritual enemies, but not the ones Michael believes in, gay men and women. To Michael, the simple and you could even say the boring way of "Loving your neighbor as yourself" just isn't thrilling or enough for him. Jesus wants us to love one another like we were in a love story movie, Michael wants to make it into a war movie with bombs and kicking Satan's ass. To him, why should it be about anything else when he's all geared up and ready to go with fighting battles that will turn the tide in what he sees as a war of good and evil on a grand scale? Even accusing me of; "... attempting to transform the world to accommodate my behavior." I can do that???
I love his last line of him saying he sees an "inner conflict" with me. I honestly don't believe he sees it, it's just a little trick to make people second guess anything I have to say.

Wednesday

American Theologians and Bible Scholars who do not see an anti-gay reading from the Bible


Victor Paul Furnish, Professor Emeritus of New Testament, Yale University.

David L. Bartlett, Professor Emeritus of New Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary.
   
Jim Brownson, Professor of New Testament, Western Theological Seminary.

William McDonough, Associate Professor of Theology, St. Catherine University.

Dale B. Martin, Woolsey Professor of Religious Studies, Yale University.

J. Philip Wogaman, Professor Emeritus of Christian ethics, Wesley Theological Seminary.

Jennifer Knust, Associate Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins, Boston University. 

Ted A. Smith, Assistant Professor of Ethics and Society, Vanderbilt Divinity School.

William Schoedel, Professor Emeritus of Classics, University of Illinois

Dan O. Via, Professor Emeritus of New Testament, Duke University Divinity School.

David Brodsky, Associate Professor of Judaic Studies, Brooklyn College. 

James B. Nelson, Professor of Christian Ethics, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. 

Jack Bartlett Rogers, Professor Emeritus of Theology, San Francisco Theological Seminary.
  
Saul Olyan, Professor of Judaic Studies and Professor of Religious Studies, Brown University.

William Stacy Johnson, Professor of Systematic Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary.

Phyllis A. Bird, Associate Professor of Old Testament Interpretation, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary.

Ken Stone, Associate Professor of Hebrew Bible, Chicago Theological Seminary.

Daniel Boyarin, Professor of Talmudic Culture, University of California at Berkeley.

L. William Countryman, Professor of New Testament, Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley.      
                                                                                                                                          
Bernadette J. Brooten, Professor of Christian studies, Brandeis University.

David E. Fredrickson, Professor of New Testament, Luther Seminary.

Robin Scroggs, Professor of Bible Theology, Union Theological Seminary.

David L. Balch, Professor of the New Testament, Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary.
  
Walter Wink, Professor of Biblical Interpretation, Auburn Theological School.

Marten H. Woudstra, Old Testament scholar, Calvin Theological Seminary.
  
Robert L. Brawley, Professor Emeritus of New Testament, McCormick Theological Seminary.

George R. Edwards, Professor of New Testament, Lousville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

Mark D. Jordan, Professor of Divinity, Harvard Divinity School.

I didn't even tap into the Bible scholars worldwide who don't read the Bible as prohibitive of homosexuality.

Monday

Biased Bible Translators

The whole crux of who's right and who's wrong in the Bible/Homosexual debate can be found in the translations of the Biblical texts. Anti-gay proponents with the Bible, when they aren't taking words or verses out of context, insist no bias worked it's way into the translations of the Bible from the translators with their readings.
They can now be proven wrong.
Link

"The question could be asked... whether the proverbial “whore with a heart of gold” may also be permitted to seek ordination while still plying her trade?"

- Bruce Metzger on gays within the church he compares to "whores." The supposed "unbiased" Translator and editor of both the Revised Standard Version and the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible.

Sunday

Of Romans and Reptiles


One day I'll do a treatment of Romans 1. In the meantime this guy, with outside sources, does a pretty good job of explaining those verses in the context they were written in, idolatry. Jeramy Townsley's (popular) paper also makes the case with giving the name of the specific cult Paul if talking about in Romans.

I want to add one thing.

Look at Romans 1:22-23:
"Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles."

Now look at Deuteronomy 4:16-18:
"Therefore watch yourselves very carefully, so that you do not become corrupt and make for yourselves an idol, an image of any shape, whether formed like a man or a woman, or like any animal on earth or any bird that flies in the air, or like any creature that moves along the ground..."

Now there is not a Bible scholar in the world who doesn't read Deuteronomy 4:16-18 as anything but  talking only about idolatry, it's a given. Yet when Paul repeats Deuteronomy word for word in Romans, Romans is only talking about homosexuality and not idolatry?

Another instance of Paul putting the homosexuality in Romans 1 in only the context of idolatry is his quoting the 'idolatry part' of the book "The Wisdom of Solomon" (a book well known to Paul). Francis Watson in his book; "Paul And The Hermeneutics Of Faith" makes the comparison:

"Romans 1:18-32 follows Wisdom 13-14 not just at individual points but in the whole construction of the argument. Both writers argue that the true God might have been known by way of the created order, but that the opportunity has been wasted; that the most fundamental error is the manufacture and worship of idols; that idolatry is the root of all other evils; and that those who commit such sins are subject to divine punishment."

To take homosexuality outside of the context of idolatry in Romans 1, you would have to reverse the text with how it unfolds. It's not:
Homosexuality = Worship of animals, it's Worship of animals = Idolatrous homosexuality.

Friday

Charisma's Folly

I think one of the biggest obstacles to reaching Christians to change their mind about homosexuality and the Bible is because of the place they are coming from right out the gate. Instead of listening to me with what I have to say with what I explain with Scripture, AS explaining Scripture to them, they see it as; "How is this homosexual going to try to make a case for himself and other homosexuals that's NEVER going to cut it with me?" If you start off seeing me as that, ANYTHING I say will fall on deaf ears because they'll just see it as an interesting thing I have to say and nothing that should change their minds.

Charisma is an on-line magazine geared to the charismatic community. I saw a challenge by this twit with questions he posed to a gay Christian, any gay Christian, he wanted to get honest answers from. I met that challenge and the Charisma moderators deleted my comment not once, but twice. These are the questions posed by Brown and my answers before they were deleted because they really never expected or wanted a response.

As an actual gay Christian, I'd like to answer Michael's challenge.

"1. Are you 100 percent sure that your interpretation of Scripture regarding homosexuality is correct?"

Absolutely.

You come across a few gay Christians in leadership positions and you believe from those encounters, we are all 'iffy' on the Bible and homosexuality debate with where we stand. I'm so confident in my belief, I've made it a duty to hear all the argument, including yours Michael, of leaders in the 'anti-gay because of the Bible' side of the debate (Albert Mohler, James White, Ravi Zacharias and even your 'Grand Leader' Robert Gagnon) to see just how solid they are with what they had to present. Let's just say I was floored at what these men try to pass off as coming from Scripture.

Now let me turn it around and ask you the same question. Are you 100% sure that your interpretation of Scripture regarding homosexuality is correct?"
Are you so confident the Bible condemns in one large stroke every practicing gay man and woman with the Bible giving nothing in the negative on homosexuality outside the contexts of the Sodom attempted rape, idolatry and the exploitive terminology used in 1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy? I know my exegesis is spot, prove me wrong. If you believe I am deceived with my own willful justification, excuse, in that deception, understand only my soul will suffer and I will quote that defense for how I believe before the very Throne of God in confidence, but if YOU are wrong, the blood of all gays you have offended against Christ will be on your head including the gentlemen I name above and all those who use the Bible in an inflammatory way against homosexuals. Want to take that gamble because of a few Scriptures totaling 6 altogether, taken out of their Biblical context, having gone through interpretation after interpretation from interpreters who were not inspired?

By the way Michael, you give yourself away with saying "I'll pray for you" if a Christian doesn't agree with your Bible interpretation on homosexuality and it shows you really aren't here to listen with truly open ears.

"2. Do your beliefs start with certainty about the authority of Scripture, or do they start with certainty about your “sexual orientation”?

Always the Word of God and only the Words of the inspired Word of God matters, NOTHING ELSE. The irony is that I give more authority to Scripture than most Christians because I actually searched them like a Berean and not just blindly followed what was told to me by Pastors, church leaders or Christian groups who have no love or mercy for homosexuals and have no interest with going deeper into the Bible with what is an eternal life or eternal question with gay men and women. Know without one hint of doubt what you speak as speaking for the Living God.

3. What do you say to those people who are genuinely ex-gay or to those who are still same-sex attracted but have chosen to separate themselves to the Lord unless He changes them?

I've know "ex-gays." A common thread with them is the horrific same-sex experiences they have had with everything from molestation to same sex prostitution that lead them into deep addictions. I question if many of these people were even gay. Once these people are healed from these same-sex traumas and are delivered from their addictions they go back to their true orientation. Most blame homosexuality instead of blaming what was the true cause of their descent, what was sexually done to them by others. If others have separated themselves for the Kingdom with not having a same-sex relationship, fine, but do it for that reason and not because of the fear of going to Hell because you believe Scripture prohibits homosexuality even in a monogamous relationship dedicated to the Lord.

4. If you were convinced that God opposed all forms of homosexual practice, would you follow Him anyway?

Yes. I care about my soul and where I will spend eternity too much to be swayed by any personal desire. I came to this years ago with an open heart to go by what I found, I found my answer and the fruits of my life are a testimony to that.

You end your article with a question Michael and I'll end this with a question. Are any of you really open to change your mind on the Bible's view of homosexuality if a clear case was layed out before you? Can it revise your current opinion with what you were always lead to believe? Or would you put on blinders, dig your heels in the sand and continue to believe as you do because it is something that you cling to so strongly? Search your soul, because Christ will.

Thursday

Monday

The Narrow Gate

[work in progress]
If you were able to go inside the mind of a Christian, see what's really at it's core, you'll find percentages around like this of what they think being a Christian is all about:
50% Loving God, 30% doing what the Bible tells you to do, 15% Loving your neighbor and the other 5% Prayer, seeking God, meditation on God and His Word and whatever else.
Like I said the percentages might be off by 1 or 2 between "loving your neighbor" and "doing what the Bible tells you to do," but pretty much in those percentages range. We get the biggest percent with loving God because He does say to love Him with all your heart, soul and mind after all.

I beg to differ with those percentages because the Bible does. If you were to put the Bible in the most accurate percentages from summing up all the Bible messages from front to back cover (but let's take out the equation of God loving us, because when it comes right down to it, the whole of the Bible is a living love letter from God to the creature He created), you'll have 99% of loving your neighbor and 1% of everything else and I'll tell you why.

The Bible says Jesus will forgive you of your sins; ONLY He can forgive your sins. Sins that once were, are now gone, blotted out, like they were never there. But the Bible gives us another example of what can happen to our sins in Isa 1:8: "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool."
If you look at the context of that verse you see why God will do this with your sins in the previous verse 17: "Learn to do good (for others); Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow."

Love for others is the key with this verse. We find another verse that plays out the same way in 1 Peter 4:8: "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins." It's even in Proverbs 10:12: "...love covereth all sins."

Now this is not FORGIVENESS of sins with these verses, it's a covering, a translation of a verb word from the Greek that means a continuous hiding, a veiling of sins that are still there, they just can't be seen. The love talked about comes from the command of; 'Loving your neighbor as yourself'." This love is so strong, so powerful, this love will hide your sins from the very eyes of God, a love so powerful, Paul says it is greater than having a faith that moves mountains and better than all wisdom and knowledge (1 Cor 13:2).


Christ says ALL the Laws that were given to man by His Father, ALL of what the Prophets spoke, hang on loving God and what Matthew 22:39,40 says is the same as; "Loving your neighbor as yourself."

Is the author of this post writing, "Loving your neighbor is the same as loving God," when that Scripture says loving God is the greatest? Yes.

The ancient Jews have a popular word trick (Gezera Shava) in that if two separate announcements had the same word or phrase, they were equal. It was this word trick that Jesus used against the Pharisees who tried to trap Him in Matt 22:34-39:
"But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him and saying, Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."

Now if Jesus would have answered them with saying loving God was the greatest commandment, it would have taken away from what the Pharisees understood was the whole message of Jesus, loving your neighbor as yourself, but if Jesus said loving your neighbor as yourself was the greatest commandment, the Pharisees would have stoned Him for blasphemy. What does Jesus do? He uses the Jewish word 'trick' (Gezera Shava) to show both are equal:
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."
"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
Jesus putting both commandments as being the same is what get's Him out of their snare. He does it again in the parable of the Good Samaritan with the follow up explanation of; "Who IS my neighbor?"

What about the Laws we as Christians are to keep and follow? Jesus says:
"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill." (Matt 5:17)
But what is "The Law?" Laws from the Old Testament? No. The answer is found in Matt 19:16-19 with what Jesus tells the rich man and it's found again with Paul in Romans 13:8,9. The 'law' we are to keep is to be found in the commandment in Leviticus 19:18; "...but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.

To many it looks like Christ is reading laws off the top of His head to give you a general idea that old laws are to still be followed with what he says to the rich man, but every single prohibition He states is said for a reason and those prohibitions He did not include were left out on purpose.

To the rich man:

Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.” “Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery,* you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother," "love your neighbor as yourself."

And now what Paul says:

"Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Each prohibition listed by Christ and each prohibition listed by Paul is breaking the general rule of "Loving your neighbor as yourself" From Leviticus 19:18. Now we have the answer with the seeming contradiction Paul says in Romans 2:13: "For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous."

With what Paul is saying in the following chapter:

Romans 3:20: "Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God's sight by the works of the law..."

And Jesus seemingly saying we are to keep the Old Testament Laws in Matt 5:17 with:
"...Think not that I am come to destroy the law..."

Paul and Christ, two learned Jews of the Torah, treated the Torah the way the ancient Jewish nation did, they divided the laws that were between man and man (mitzvoth bein adam lachaveiro) that involved loving and doing kindness to your neighbor that we are to keep as a general law from Leviticus 19:18, and laws that were everything else (mitzvoth bein adam lamakom) that involved Laws between God and man that Christ said is fulfilled with loving and doing kindness to your neighbor. So the answer to what looks like Paul contradicting himself with Romans 2:13 and Romans 3:20 is Paul saying the 'works of the laws' (Old Testament laws and rules) will not make you right with God, it is only the 'works of the law' (Leviticus 19:18 in our actions) that will make you right with God.** 
If you stay within that commandment of Leviticus 19:18 in all you do, Christ says you fulfill ALL the Laws and Prophets in the Old Testament (Matt 7:12):
"So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."

Now we know what SPECIFIC law Jesus said He will not destroy in Matt 5:17, the law found in Leviticus 19:18. Christ fulfilled the rest of the old laws in the complete work of His sacrifice on the cross and Paul drives that point home over and over again.



John 13:35 says loving your neighbor shows the world you belong to Christ:

"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Loving your neighbor shows a physical outward proof you have passed from death into Salvation according to 1 John 3:14:

"We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death."

Christ gives an example of what loving you neighbor is with the action of showing servitude in John 13:8, 12-15:

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.” Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.  “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.

James 2:8 says if you do this, you're doing good with everything else:

"If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF," you are doing well.


If you truly love God with all your heart, soul and mind, you will 'love your neighbor as yourself.' Jesus said if you truly love me, you will 'love others as I have loved you.' It will be the ONLY thing we will be held accountable for when we stand before God and it will be the ONLY thing that will that will decide whether we go to Heaven or be cast in Hell (Matt 25:31-46):
 
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

And always remember, the mercy you show others will always trump the judgment of God you show and say to others:

"Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment." (James 2:12,13)



note: V'ahavtah L'rey-acha Kamocha (Love your neighbor as yourself) is steeped in Jewish tradition as is Gemilut Chassadim (bestowing loving kindness) that is supposed to be given with no fixed measure.

*Adultery is a sin that breaks the command of "loving your neighbor" in that it's an offense against another (wife, husband, mate, an extension of your fellow human being) as themselves. Now since a man loving another man does not constitute breaking "Loving your neighbor as yourself," homosexuality wouldn't fall in breaking that command.

**Author Michael Wood explains in detail how the ancient Jews divided their laws between what a man did for God and what a man did for his fellow man in his book "Paul and Homosexuality" and not this Christian invention of dividing Jewish laws between what is "purity" and what is "moral."