Defining Terms for a Defining Moment: Homosexuality in the New Testament: There have been a few good articles dealing with the church and the gay marriage issue that I really wanted to gather together for future reference. The first one is by Charles L. Quarles (Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology, SEBTS) and is dealing with the actual Greek terms used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:9. Both the Greek in the New Testament and Hebrew in the Old Testament make it quite clear that the Bible condemns all homosexual activity even that couched in the false love of those today. Quarles is writing against Pastor Danny Cortez who has come out open for homosexual marriage, even though his denomination stands against it. He is trying to make the case that Paul was only writing to those who used homosexuality in a violent way to express domination over a lesser male. Quarles counters:
First, Cortez argued that Paul coined the term translated “homosexual” in 1 Corinthians 6:9. No one can be sure what the term really means since the term had no previous history of usage. Paul probably did coin the term arsenokoites in this passage. Nevertheless, the term was not used in a linguistic vacuum. It has sufficient background to make Paul’s usage clear. The term was formed by combining the word arsen (“male”) with the word koite (“bed”). The word refers to “one who goes to bed with a male.” Since “bed” was often used as a euphemism for sexual relationships, the term refers to “one who has sex with a male.” Paul’s term was derived from Leviticus 18:22 (“You shall not sleep with a male as with a female, for it is an abomination”) and 20:13 (“Whoever sleeps with a male as with a female, both of them have committed an abomination”). Both components of Paul’s term (“male” and “bed/sex”) appear in the Greek translation (LXX) of these two texts from Leviticus. Paul’s term forms a clear allusion to these two texts and thus refers to a man who has sex with a male who fulfills the role ordinarily assumed by a female. This noun describes the one who plays the masculine or dominant role in a homosexual act. Although the HCSB combines this and the previous moral category in the rendering “anyone practicing homosexuality,” the marginal reading is very precise: “active homosexual partner.”
I don’t think it could be any clearer than this, but those who have embraced gay marriage as the new freedom from slavery, will have none of it. Just a side note: Paul always seems to refer to sin as slavery. I wonder if these people realize how much they have been enslaved to the works of the flesh.
There Is No ‘Third Way’ — Southern Baptist Face a Moment of Decision (and so will you): Albert Mohler is also writing in response to Danny Cortez’ proclamation. He is saying basically that there is no third way, as Cortez is claiming, when it comes to the subject of gay marriage. Mohler writes:
But, there is no third way. A church will either believe and teach that same-sex behaviors and relationships are sinful, or it will affirm them. Eventually, every congregation in America will make a public declaration of its position on this issue. It is just a matter of time (and for most churches, not much time) before every congregation in the nation faces this test.
The impossibility of a “third way” is made clear in Pastor Cortez’s own letter.
In one paragraph, he writes:
“So now, we will accept the LGBT community even though they may be in a relationship. We will choose to remain the body of Christ and not cast judgement. We will work towards graceful dialogue in the midst of theological differences. We see that this is possible in the same way that our church holds different positions on the issue of divorce and remarriage. In this issue we are able to not cast judgement in our disagreement.”
But in the very next paragraph, he writes:
“Unfortunately, many who voted to remain traditional will now separate from us in a couple of weeks. We are in the period of reconciliation and forgiveness. Please pray for us in this. Then on June 8, we will formally peacefully separate, restate our love for one another, and bless each other as we part ways. It has been a very tiring and difficult process.”
In two successive paragraphs the pastor refutes himself. His church is notgoing to take a middle ground. He states clearly that “we will accept the LGBT community even though they may be in a relationship.” And his church did not unanimously “agree to disagree,” for a significant portion of the church is leaving on June 8, just 48 hours before the Southern Baptist Convention convenes in Baltimore. Many “who voted to remain traditional” are now forced by conviction to leave the church.
Why? Because there is no “third way.”
It is worth reading the entire article, but the point is that we can either adhere to the teaching of Scripture, or we ignore it. We can either follow God’s word, or suppress it in unrighteousness. It’s not going to change, just as He does not change. So to find a supposed third way is ridiculous. Churches will either be for it or against it. There is no middle ground.
The Coming Evangelical Divide: Ray Pritchard is also saying that there is no middle ground on this issue. But the point he is making is that what this really boils down to is the authority of Scripture. Either we adhere to God’s word, or we don’t. Pritchard writes:
Can’t we all just get along? No, we can’t.
The people who argue for full inclusion of gays and lesbians in the church are going to go one way, and the rest of us are going to go another. This will mean splitting denominations, leaving churches, and in some cases, it will divide families.
No one can be happy about the very real pain involved.
But better that we should separate than stay together and pretend at a unity that does not exist.
A few years ago I would have thought that most evangelicals would stay true to the biblical teaching about marriage. Today I will hedge my bets on that issue. We hear seductive voices calling us to “rethink” our position while other influential leaders admit to “struggling” over this issue. Clearly those voices are having an impact.
But in one sense it doesn’t matter. The people who think it’s okay for two guys or two girls to get married and then come and lead Awana on Wednesday night will never be accepted by the rest of us.
We aren’t buying what they are selling.
Five Questions for Christians Who Believe the Bible Supports Gay Marriage: This is classic Kevin DeYoung. He asks the questions that other have been asking about gay marriage that make it obvious that it isn’t biblical, nor good for those involved. I really appreciate that he included the following question:
4. What will you say about anal intercourse?
The answer is probably “nothing.” But if you feel strongly about the dangers of tobacco or fuss over the negative affects of carbs, cholesterol, gmo’s, sugar, gluten, trans fats, and hydrogenated soybean oil may have on your health, how can you not speak out about the serious risks associated with male-male intercourse. How is it loving to celebrate what we know to be a singularly unhealthy lifestyle? According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the risk of anal cancer increases 4000 percent among those who engage in anal intercourse. Anal sex increases the risk of a long list of health problems, including “rectal prolapse, perforation that can go septic, chlamydia, cyrptosporidosis, giardiasis, genital herpes, genital warts, isosporiasis, microsporidiosis, gonorrhea, viral hepatitis B and C, and syphilis” (quoted in Reilly, 55). And this is to say nothing of the higher rates of HIV and other health concerns with disproportionate affects on the homosexual community.
Far too many want to try and ignore the fact that our bodies were not made for gay activity. This is one of those things that so many have ignored. Biologically speaking, two mean together doesn’t work. It wasn’t mean to. This is why so many gay men suffer from a disproportionate number of disease. Their bodies cannot handle what they are doing to one another.