In the world of blogging and writing, sometimes you write an article that someone else uses as a springboard to push their opinion. Even going as far as to misquote you to allow for them to use something you’ve said to prop up their position on a particular issue.
This happened recently with an article that I wrote for Theology Review when a local North East political satire blog (read of that what you will) took upon itself to quote mine less than half a quote from our recent article on the situation revolving around Eugene Peterson in July. The situation being around a reported affirmation of gay marriage, and a retraction of Peterson’s statement on the subject.
For more on that please read our article “Getting to Grips With Eugene Peterson’s Statement on Gay Marriage”.
Due to the busyness of the summer, I haven’t been able to spend as much time working on content for Theology Review as I would like. However, last night I logged in to the website to check on a couple of things (not intending to write an article) and came across that the website had been tagged by another website in a blog post. So I went and checked it out, lo and behold, it was an article about homosexuality, where our website was subtly targeted for not being “inclusive” of people of a homosexual persuasion.
So I’ve read the article, and have responded to the article. In this article, I’m going to include my response to the blog and then post some observations about the blog.
Please note that I have removed the name of the author of the blog post at The Northern Jester.
Our Response to The Northern Jester
First off, thanks for tagging my post in your article on this subject. It’s always nice to be tagged in a post, as it helps get a little more attention to the site.
However, let me take exception to the comment you made where you said the following:
“Or this article by the Theology Review that’s states how homosexual marriage was “not being pushed down the throats of society in 1997, whereas it is now” in which I don’t want to sound crass but the imagery just writes itself there.”
The first thing to point out here is that you take the quote out of context immediately, as the comment was addressing my observation/assumption to what Eugene Peterson meant by saying the question of whether he affirmed homosexuality or not wouldn’t have even been discussed 20 years ago. Stating that you think that “the imagery just writes itself”, is an indication of your view that this either shouldn’t be discussed or blindly accepted.
The other thing to note in the paragraph I quote you from is that you target an article found on Babylon Bee’s website. I feel as if I should let you know that Babylon Bee is a Christian satire site. So including an article that was written as a joke is not really something that would support your argument here.
It is also worth pointing out that Jesus definitely addressed the homosexual issue, he did this by expressly stating that marriage is to be between one man and one woman only as was established at creation in the garden of Eden (Matthew 19:3-5), also it is quite possible that Jesus references a tradition that was later recorded in the Genesis Rabbah, and is also noted in the Babylonian Talmud, that is that gay marriage was happening at the time of the flood (Genesis Rabbah) and had been outlawed from the time of Noah (Babylonian Talmud). This is found in Matthew 24:36-51 and Luke 17:20-37. Below are the quotes from the Babylonian Talmud and the Genesis Rabbah.
“The generation of the Flood was not blotted out of the world until they had begun writing nuptial hymns for marriages between males or between man and beast.”
Genesis Rabbah 26:5:4
“These are the thirty commandments which the sons of Noah took upon themselves but they observe three of them, namely, (i) they do not draw up a kethubah [marriage contract] document for males, (ii) they do not weigh flesh of the [human] dead in the market, and (iii) they respect the Torah.
Babylonian Talmud, Chullin 92a-b”
So as we can see there is very good reason to believe that Jesus did, in fact, address gay marriage, it just takes a lot of studying of Jewish history, tradition, and Midrash to see that. Personally, it took me a long time of studying the Bible before I came across this, so I encourage you to dig deep into this issue if you really want to have a voice on it.
However, I am not the authority here, God is, so let’s see what God says on the subject. Now because we are under the New Covenant, I’m going to focus on what the New Testament says, as the standard rule of thumb with law is that if it is noted in the New Testament in a context of whatever unlawful deed you’re referring to, still being unlawful, then we can say that in God’s eyes it is still wrong and shouldn’t be done. So here goes:
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” – 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
“Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine, in accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God with which I have been entrusted.”- 1 Timothy 1:8-11
“For this reason, God gave them up to dishonourable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” – Romans 1:26-27
Read these passages (this just a sampling from the New Testament by the way), and tell me if any of these suggest that homosexuality and gay marriage is acceptable in God’s eyes. If we’re honest with ourselves, we can’t do that, not without manipulating and twisting scripture. At least with the Jesus argument, all you’re doing is ignoring what Paul said (John also speaks on the issue in Revelation).
As Christian’s our responsibility is to side with God and follow His will and His ways, not the ways that culture wants us to follow in. Now I understand that this will at times be difficult, I mean let’s be honest wouldn’t it just be easier if everyone gets saved if everyone went to heaven. Absolutely it would. But what real glorification of God would there be in that? Very little if we’re honest. God has set the world in His order, and that is the order we are to follow. We are not to try and worm our way around God because we don’t like His rules. That’s frankly an immature way to live. What we need to do is to adjust our position and stand in line with God, easy or not.
In terms of the love aspect, I actually agree with the basic sentiment. As Christian’s we should love everyone, and welcome them in. But truly loving someone does not mean that we affirm their sin, and God clearly defines homosexuality as a sin. It’s no different to adultery, murder, lust, gluttony, or any other sin in God’s eyes. The only difference is how much pop culture is pushing this agenda, when was the last time you saw a rally for polygamy, or Ofsted checking schools performances based on their acceptance of those who desire to commit bestiality. You don’t see either of those things (yet), but the LGBTQA+ agenda is massive, so much so that organisations such as the National Trust have tried to make the endorsement of this compulsory. I’m sure that’s tolerance though, right 😉
Anyways, I’ve been on a while now and this comment is getting long. But let me say that I think it’s great that you have a heart and passion for everyone being welcome in God’s house. But with the gay marriage issue, that isn’t really the point. In fact, if you think that is the point, you’re actually missing the point. The real point is that if we’re really going to be godly people, then we can’t just blindly accept what the world tells us to. God is the authority here, not you or I, or pop culture. I know who’s side I’d rather be on.
All the best,
Following up on Our Response
I’d encourage those of you who read this article to read the blog from The Northern Jester. It’s always good to read the opinions of others, especially so if they don’t line up with your views, and more importantly scripture. Personally, I regularly read the likes of Bart Ehrman and Elaine Pagels (and others), why? Because if we truly want to have a voice on any issue, we should have a balanced understanding of it from both sides of the fence.
Outside of my reply to the article, there isn’t too much to say here. Although I could go on for days picking apart this article, I’m not going to here. As I don’t think that’s fair to the writer. What I will say that wasn’t really mentioned in the reply I sent to the blog, is that if you are someone who wants to argue for the affirmation of homosexuality, then at least avoid the Jesus argument from silence. It’s not a good argument, as what always happens when using this is that you ignore what Jesus defines as marriage (one man and one woman) because you’re looking for Jesus uttering the word homosexual.
On that front allow me to share something I found rather recently in my research on this subject (something I’ve been doing for over 2 years now). In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus is found in many debates with the Pharisees and scribes. Chapter 15 is one such occasion, in verses 10-20 of that chapter Jesus zones in on the subject of what defiles us, where in verse 19 he says:
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.” – Matthew 15:19 (ESV)
Logically the person arguing for the affirmation of homosexuality may look at the citing of this verse and ask why is this verse even being brought up. It doesn’t include the word homosexuality, so Jesus can’t be including it here. However, this shows a lack of understanding of the original language the New Testament was written in, Koine Greek. See the word we translate as sexual immorality is the word porneia. Here is a quick translation of the word:
- illicit sexual intercourse
- adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.
- sexual intercourse with close relatives; Lev. 18
- sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman; Mk. 10:11,
- metaph. the worship of idols
- of the defilement of idolatry, as incurred by eating the sacrifices offered to idols
So as we can see here, homosexuality (as well as lesbianism and beastiality) is included in the definition of porneia. Now the question to those arguing for Jesus never mentioning homosexuality during his ministry, is can you show me from this list what form (or forms) of sexual immorality Jesus is specifically mentioning and give a valid reason as to why this isn’t the case with homosexuality and lesbianism? And the answer to this question will have to be factual, not solely based on opinions.
Now, in this article, I will not be outlining what the Biblical view on this issue is, or how Christians should deal with this very important issue. That will come at another point in time. The purpose of this article is to share my response to the Northern Jester and to highlight this important question of whether or not Jesus did mention homosexuality in his ministry, which from reading the New Testament in Biblical Greek, it most certainly seems like he did.
This is a huge issue in our culture today, it will be discussed no end for a long time. This article and the Northern Jester’s blog will not change that anytime soon.