1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (“the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God”)

1corinthians

(1 Cor 6:9–11 ESV) 9 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, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

After addressing lawsuits between believers, Paul dramatically changes the subject to moral sin, declaring that certain sins will keep the sinner from inheriting the kingdom of God. Some of these are obvious, whereas others are a tad more controversial, such as “men who practice homosexuality.”

Before considering homosexuality in particular, we need to reflect on where this list comes from. Paul (as well as Jesus and other New Testament authors) often give lists of sins that damn, and the lists are never the same. Therefore, we need to avoid the interpretation that these are somehow “mortal sins” that are inherently more damning than other “venial sins.” Were we to compile a list of all sins that make a list like this one, it would be quite a long list.

And yet we’ve all been taught that sin is sin, and any sin can damn. If so, why does Paul pick on these sins? Well, as he says in verse 11, these are sins that the Corinthian converts had left behind when they were converted. Paul had been the first missionary to Corinth and knew these people personally — and he knew their stories. Therefore, he wasn’t speaking abstractly — these are sins the church members had in fact had to leave behind to become Christians.

Obviously, just about any Gentile convert would have been an idolater. And most Corinthian men would have been adulterers and otherwise sexually immoral. In the Grecian culture, it was expected that married men would enjoy the company of prostitutes and otherwise sleep around. Sexual fidelity to one’s wife was not really expected.

Just so, homosexuality was an entirely acceptable practice among the Greeks. Some of their philosophers considered gay sex preferable to heterosexual sex, because the love was considered purer, as there was no expectation of creating a family.

This was, of course, the exact opposite of the Jewish perspective on sexuality, which focused heavily on having children. The Jews took “be fruitful and multiply” (Gen 1:28) very seriously, so much so that they considered it sinful not to marry, with rare exceptions made for dedication to Torah study. Paul, in chapter 7, will break from Jewish tradition and allow Christians to remain single to better serve the Lord.

Drunkenness was also a part of the Grecian lifestyle, with banquets often being held to encourage drunkenness accompanied by the companionship of hetaerae, high-priced, highly cultured prostitutes, trained to serve male fantasies.

The other sins are not so typical of Greek society, except in the sense that all these sins are common to all societies: swindlers, revilers, thieves, greedy.

And so, are these unforgivable sins? No, but in that time and place, they were sins well known by the members of that church to be sin. Hence, if they were to return to these activities, they’d do so in rebellion against the known will of God, and so threaten their salvation.

Paul’s point, of course, is that his readers had left these very sins behind, knew them to be wrong, and had no excuse for going back to them — no matter how approved they might be in the local culture. Local culture is not our Judge. Jesus is.

This brings us to a translation difficulty. In the Greek, we have this phrase: οὔτε μαλακοὶ οὔτε ἀρσενοκοῖται, oute malakoi oute arsenokoitai, that is, neither men who engage in the male homosexual role nor men who engage in the female homosexual role. English translations vary quite a lot, but in the last several years, for obvious reasons, these words have drawn considerable attention from scholars, and a consensus has developed that Paul was referring to consensual, male homosexuality.

In the Greek culture, a distinction was drawn between gay men who acted in the female role and in the male role. To act as a female was to be soft and effeminate, and was considered entirely improper for free adults. This was a role reserved for boys and for slaves. On the other hand, to engage in sex with a boy or a slave as a man has sex with a woman was considered entirely acceptable behavior.

Thus, Paul uses two different words to make certain that his point is made: both roles are contrary to the God’s will and potentially damn. And it’s important to realize that Paul has not limited his condemnation to unwilling partners or ritual, idolatrous prostitution. There is nothing here suggesting Paul is only condemning rape or abusive sexual relations.

In fact free, adult men had no problem finding homosexual boys and slaves to be their consorts. And the literature of the time does not suggest that these relationships were typically abusive. To the contrary, the relationships were often considered a part of mentoring a young man.

Homosexuality and male prostitution, for example, were especially characteristic of Greco-Roman society. Plato lauded homosexual love in The Symposium (181B). Nero, emperor at the time Paul wrote this letter, was about to marry the boy Sporus (Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars, 6. 28), an incident bizarre only in its formality, since 14 of the first 15 Roman emperors were homosexual or bisexual.

Bible Knowledge Commentary.

Now, Paul’s other point, of course, is that the Corinthians had left these sins behind when they came to Jesus, had been cleansed by the name of Jesus — his authority acquired on the cross — and the sanctifying work of the Spirit. Therefore, don’t go back!

Profile photo of Jay Guin

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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304 Responses to 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 (“the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God”)

  1. Ray Downen says:

    It’s helpful to us all that Paul lists particular sins we should turn away from. We should believe him.

  2. Gary says:

    Jay, I know you are aware that the NIV uses the terms male prostitutes and homosexual offenders (suggesting to the modern reader that not all active homosexuals are offenders) in verse 9. As has been covered on here before there is no concensus among translators as to the meaning of the Greek words being translated- thus the difference in translations. You present it as if the meaning is cut and dried but we both know that reasonable people who love God very much and are disciples of Jesus differ greatly on this point.

  3. Gary says:

    Anyone interested in a comprehensive presentation on why the Bible does not require homosexuals to go through life celibate and alone should check out Matthew Vine’s YouTube presentation. What he sets forth is the majority view. Even if you disagree with him you will benefit from knowing what the “other side” understands Scripture to teach on homosexuality.

  4. Alabama John says:

    In this as in many other subjects, we quote and seemingly believe and emphasize anything negative Paul wrote more than we do anything Jesus said.
    In so many things like this why debate the legalize like the Pharisees did, let God do the judging, not us.
    Just for a while list the quotes of Paul numbered beside the writings of other apostles and Jesus, and see who we really follow.
    Are some humans born homos? Absolutely and anyone with anywhere near an open mind and eye can see that is true and has been throughout history and true in humans in far off places from the bible areas that never heard of the bible, Jesus or Paul. Remember Paul was Roman and his writing this as a sin was sure against the Romans.
    Maybe Paul after turning his allegiance from Roman teaching which he had followed since birth, (remember he held the coats of the stoners) to Jew caused him to overact against anything Roman to help in his having Jews believe him.
    lets put more emphasis on Jesus and the other writers teachings and be a little leery of Pauls quoted sins.

  5. R.J. says:

    What about a heterosexual effeminate man(or hetero emasculate woman) who doesn’t cross-dress nor intend to be the opposite sex?

  6. R.J. says:

    John,

    In all due respect, I hope your not serious. Moses was certainly not Roman when the Spirit through him declared homosexuality an abomination.

    Gary,

    Although the second word might be a bit unclear(it could refer either to a pediphile or a gay crossdresser as Jay suggests), the first term is unquestionably harkening back to Leviticus in depicting two men laying together sexually.

  7. R.J. says:

    in consensual sex that is.

  8. Gary says:

    RJ, just curious. Do you also believe and teach that heterosexual marital sex during a woman’s time of menstruation is an abomination? It’s in the same chapter- Leviticus 18. You can’t logically or consistently believe one and not the other. Also I hope you never eat shrimp or lobster or crabs as to do so is an abomination according to the Law of Moses. Those who try to bind the Law of Moses on us today invariably pick and choose according to their own agenda and biases.

  9. Gary says:

    How many of us, when we pass Red Lobster, think “What an abomination!”? It’s past time to leave the abomination argument from Leviticus in the trashbin of history along with other ill considered arguments from Scripture. No good comes from trying to proceed as if we are still under the Law of Moses. That battle was fought and settled in the first century of the church’s existence.

  10. R.J. says:

    Gary,

    Having sex during a woman’s menses is considered cruel and inhumane(she would be in pain). And meat that didn’t have split hooves and chew the cud of marine cuisine that didn’t contain fins and scales were considered unclean(not abominable).But even if that were true, it’s what those items spiritually symbolized in that culture that made them bad(propane moral filth and our inability to be clean by our own efforts at law-keeping). Not the food itself. They painted and foreshadowed the climactic One who would cleanse and sanctify us. And since he has come, we no longer need those laws.

    Unlike the food laws, the ban on homosexuality has never been loosed.

  11. Gary says:

    RJ check out Deuteronomy 24:1-4. When a man divorced his wife and she remarried another man it was an abomination for him to ever remarry his first wife even if her second husband died or divorced her. There would be no pain or cruelty involved in a sexual relationship between them but God said it was an abomination for the Israelites for the original couple to remarry. Is this what you believe and teach? I kind of doubt that you do. Churches of Christ today would have no problem with a divorced couple remarrying each other. The abominations of the Law of Moses simply are not applicable to Christians today.

  12. Alabama John says:

    Rj, is the act of homosexuality the sin or being a homosexual the sin?

    I’ve seen men that would never call themselves a homosexual do what they do and force others to do the same. Its interesting what men will do for sex with other men when no women are available. The Roman legions were famous for this conduct.

  13. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Gary wrote,

    the NIV uses the terms male prostitutes and homosexual offenders (suggesting to the modern reader that not all active homosexuals are offenders)

    Your are referring to the NIV of 40 years ago. Despite dramatic changes in cultural attitudes toward homosexual conduct, the NIV now translates,

    (1Co 6:9 NIV) 1 Corinthians 6:9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

    Combining both words into a single “men who have sex with men.”

    The notes to the 2011 NIV translation say,

    The words men who have sex with men translate two Greek words that refer to the passive and active participants in homosexual acts.

    Moreover, the sense of “homosexual offenders” is not “certain idolatrous or abusive homosexual relationships” but “those who practice homosexuality.”

    The NET Bible translates,

    (1Co 6:9 NET) Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! The sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, passive homosexual partners, practicing homosexuals, 10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, the verbally abusive, and swindlers will not inherit the kingdom of God.

    The NASB translates,

    (1Co 6:9 NASB) Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.

    (I think “effeminate” is a very poor translation.)

    The ESV translates,

    (1Co 6:9 ESV) 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, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

    Contemporary English Bible says,

    (1Co 6:9 CEB) Don’t you know that people who are unjust won’t inherit God’s kingdom? Don’t be deceived. Those who are sexually immoral, those who worship false gods, adulterers, both participants in same-sex intercourse,

    Holman reads,

    (1Co 6:9) Do you not know that the unjust will not inherit God’s kingdom? Do not be deceived: no sexually immoral people, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals,

    Mounce translates,

    (1 Cor 6:9 MOUNCE-NT) 9 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 male prostitutes, nor homosexuals

    (I disagree with translators who use “homosexuals,” because the sin is in the activity, not the state of being.)

    I’m running out of contemporary translations to check.

    The NET Bible translators explain —

    5 tn This term is sometimes rendered “effeminate,” although in contemporary English usage such a translation could be taken to refer to demeanor rather than behavior. BDAG 613 s.v. μαλακός 2 has “pert. to being passive in a same-sex relationship, effeminate esp. of catamites, of men and boys who are sodomized by other males in such a relationship.” L&N 88.281 states, “the passive male partner in homosexual intercourse – ‘homosexual.’ …As in Greek, a number of other languages also have entirely distinct terms for the active and passive roles in homosexual intercourse.” See also the discussion in G. D. Fee, First Corinthians (NICNT), 243–44. A number of modern translations have adopted the phrase “male prostitutes” for μαλακοί in 1Co 6:9 (NIV, NRSV, NLT) but this could be misunderstood by the modern reader to mean “males who sell their services to women,” while the term in question appears, at least in context, to relate to homosexual activity between males. Furthermore, it is far from certain that prostitution as commonly understood (the selling of sexual favors) is specified here, as opposed to a consensual relationship. Thus the translation “passive homosexual partners” has been used here.

    6 tn On this term BDAG 135 s.v. ἀρσενοκοίτης states, “a male who engages in sexual activity w. a pers. of his own sex, pederast 1Co 6:9…of one who assumes the dominant role in same-sex activity, opp. μαλακός…1Ti 1:10; Pol 5:3. Cp. Rom 1:27.” L&N 88.280 states, “a male partner in homosexual intercourse – ‘homosexual.’…It is possible that ἀρσενοκοίτης in certain contexts refers to the active male partner in homosexual intercourse in contrast with μαλακός, the passive male partner.” Since there is a distinction in contemporary usage between sexual orientation and actual behavior, the qualification “practicing” was supplied in the translation, following the emphasis in BDAG.

    The translators reference the principal dictionaries, such as BDAG and Louw-Nida. I’ve also checked several commentaries. The recent cultural rethinking of homosexuality in the last few decades has pushed the Greek scholars to study the text and vocabulary much most closely, and this is the current consensus.

    NT Wright has reached the same conclusion, and he studied the question very closely as part of the Anglican Lambeth Commission dealing with practicing homosexual bishops in the Anglican communion.

    The terms Paul uses here include two words which have been much debated, but which, experts have now established, clearly refer to the practice of male homosexuality. The two terms refer respectively to the passive or submissive partner and the active or aggressive one, and Paul places both roles in his list of unacceptable behaviour. As with everything else on the list, these are practices that some people find they deeply want to engage in, so much so that in our own day (this is a novelty of the last hundred years or so) we have seen the rise of the words ‘homosexual’ or ‘gay’ as an identifying label, a sign of a hidden ‘identity’ which can be ‘discovered’ or ‘recognized’. Biblical witness and pastoral insight alike suggest that this is deeply misleading—-as is the implication that all humans need active sexual experience, of whatever sort they prefer, in order to be complete, to be fully alive.

    Tom Wright, Paul for Everyone: 1 Corinthians (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2004), 69.

    Scholars have disputed the meaning of the term translated “homosexuals” (NASB), but it seems to mean those who engage in homosexual acts, which were a common feature of Greek male life in antiquity.

    Craig S. Keener, The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament (Accordance electronic ed. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993), 464.

    The next two terms call for some extended comment. That Paul here refers to homosexual behavior (of one form or another) is clear. Rather than referring to “male prostitutes and practicing homosexuals” (TNIV) they are better understood as the passive and active partners in any homosexual act.

    Roy E. Ciampa and Brian S. Rosner, The First Letter to the Corinthians (Pillar NTC; Accordance electronic ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010), 242.

    He adds adulterers and two words denoting the passive and active partners in homosexuality.

    Leon Morris, 1 Corinthians: An Introduction and Commentary (Tyndale NTC 7; IVP/Accordance electronic ed. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1985), 96.

    In short, the post reflects the majority view of scholarship today, the major NT Greek dictionaries, the major commentaries, and the major translations.

  14. John Fewkes says:

    What could not be more clear from some of the comments earlier is that if a Biblical writer says something that we don’t LIKE or WANT to “listen” to than we will “find” some means of diminishing the teaching — whether through supposed linguistic complexity or “cultural” considerations. When WE choose what portions are “authoritative” it is not the God of the Bible whom we worship, but or own imprint that we impose on God (just like those in the book of Job, and we deserve the same rebuke from God). What is “true and has been throughout history and true in humans” may be true of a fleshly nature, but not true of the spiritual nature to which we are called and certainly not true of the divine intent — one man, one woman, for life. That principle (from the garden forward) is consistently presented for us as we are called to “put to death” the deeds of the flesh. “God would not expect … ” and the avoidance of Biblical principles begins, then ends where we have already determined we will go.

  15. Buckeye Chuck says:

    Jay, I’m a long time follower of oneinjesus.info but new to commenting. Perhaps now is the right time and this is the right discussion. Buckeye Chuck is the name of Ohio’s version of Punxatawney Phil, the PA groundhog who appears on Feb. 2 to determine if we will have 6 more months of winter or if spring will be early. Kind of seems appropriate for me in this context.

    I followed your previous series on homosexuality and really appreciate everyone’s contributions. However, we can argue the Biblical meaning until all the cows have come home, been milked, put in the barn and bedded down; but if we don’t provide practical and practiced solutions for those who struggle with homosexuality, all we are is a “clanging gong and noisy cymbal.”

    I agree the discernment of the text and it’s correct hermeneutic handling is critical. But, without a workable prescription for those who struggle with same sex attraction, we can call it SSA, homosexual, gay, or whatever, what have we accomplished?

    Within the Christian realm and of those who consider themselves to be “gay”, there are three basic positions at the current cultural junction:

    SIDE A Christians are those who accept that they are gay, that they cannot change, and that they openly embrace gay relationships or gay marriage and do it within the confines of Christianity. Gary would be a Side A Christian as I understand his position from his posts. Although I appreciate Gary’s honesty and his individual struggle, I find his hermeneutic handling of the Scriptures unconvincing and it just seems to me that they are back-fitted into the desired conclusion. Gary has previously provided resources for this position and I’ll defer to him for what those would be.

    SIDE B Christians are those who accept that they are gay, that they cannot change, and that they desire to live a celibate and chaste life within the confines of Christian fellowship; or if they are in a heterosexual marriage (and I would argue this is a significant sized group), then they seek to live the best possible married life. A very good source for this position is Wesley Hill’s “Washed and Waiting”.

    SIDE X Christians are those who cannot accept that they are gay, that they must change in order to be acceptable to God and to the Church. This is the position taught by those who practice Reparative Therapy (RT) and various other ex-gay ministries. Joseph Nicolosi’s book, “Reparative Therapy of Male Homosexuality” has been the primary basis and text of this movement for over 20 years. However, in more recent times, his theories have come under much tougher scrutiny. Dennis Jernigan just released a film of his life story from this position called “Sing Over Me” which I haven’t seen yet.

    Now, Jay, perhaps this OP is not the one to address these positions or this topic in detail, but I’m asking that you give serious consideration to this question in the near future. I’m a former elder in the church and also spent a few years over two different concentrated time periods in RT, believing that I must conquer and eradicate my SSA and embrace only a heterosexual identity. While I can’t speak for everyone, I’m at a point now that I don’t believe this is possible for me.

    What is the church’s place for those with SSA? What is the church’s duty and responsibility to understand the SSA condition the driving need for same sex intimate non-sexual relationships and to minister directly to those with SSA? While we may oppose legalized gay marriage in the American legal culture, we have to begin to admit that that horse is out of the barn and half way around the track; it’s not going back in the barn. So, what is the church’s message and ministry in this culture? Where is my place among my brothers?

    Buckeye Chuck

  16. R.J. says:

    Gary,

    In that day and age and within that culture, to divorce a woman and marry another was to leave her in shame and utter destitution-being shunned by her family and friends. So for her former husband to also separate from his new wife(thus shaming her too) and remarry his former wife would shame her even more. Thus, treating women like property is what’s abominable in Yahweh’s sight. Not remarrying(in and of itself).

  17. Jay forgets to mention Vine’s opinion on YouTube, which Gary assures us is the majority view. All those other references notwithstanding.

    I do appreciate Jay’s separating the action from the inclination, or the purported “state of being”.

  18. R.J. says:

    I only meant to bolden the first part of the first sentence. note the whole paragraph.

  19. Buckeye Chuck says:

    Correction to my post: 6 weeks of winter not 6 months.

  20. R.J. says:

    John,

    Being Gay is just a temptation. It doesn’t become sin until one entertains or indulges in it in thought or action.

  21. While I appreciate the polite tone of Buckeye Chuck’s post, I don’t “accept” his use of the term “accept” in describing the people he describes as gay– as in, “those who accept that they are gay, that they cannot change…” Now, in general use, this language presumes “that they are gay” as an established fact. Chuck does this without offering any evidence of this purported “fact”. In fact, no one has ever offered any evidence of this “state of being” beyond the personal claims of those involved. The other assumption “that they cannot change” carries with it the exact same level of evidence, that is, none beyond the claims of those involved. BTW I met Dennis Jernigan and his family many years ago and his testimony is a powerful one.

    One of the methods of this entire argument on behalf of those who engage in homosexual acts has long been to try to command the language to change the terms of the argument. Using the word “accept” in lieu of “think” or “believe” renders the so-called homosexual identity a fact, not by scientific evidence, but merely by a consistency of terminology. Heaven knows that folly has been preserved by language before. Call a group of wealthy and privileged wealthy Englishmen “Lords” and watch the peasants curtsy. An entire population of Africans, kidnapped and hauled across the Atlantic, became by any measure, sub-humans in the view of white Americans, and that stupidity lasted into my own lifetime partly by virtue of one widely-distributed word. Starts with “n”.

    Words are powerful things. And clever men have always managed to make a tool of language to accomplish their own ends. But, as your grandma might have advised, “Sayin’ don’t make it so.”

  22. Tim Warner says:

    I am in the class with Buckeye Chuck. I think that two questions need to be answered for those of us who find that despite all efforts we cannot seem to rid ourselves of our psychic, emotional, and physical responses of desire and attraction for others of our own gender. The two questions are: 1) What is homosexual activity which is condemned, and what is homosexual activity which is not condemned? (For example, if I put my arm around another man to whom I am attracted is that as much of a sin as definitively sexual activity? In other words, where do you draw the line?) And question 2) : what shall those who are homosexual in nature or in constitution and equally Christian do? How shall we then live?

  23. Buckeye Chuck says:

    RJ

    I would suggest that being gay is no more of a temptation than being straight. According to the Scriptures already presented by Jay, giving into the temptation to engage in gay sex or straight sex outside of marriage is a sin. I’m not reading any ill will in your comment, but it fails to accurately define the “gay” identity.

  24. Buckeye Chuck says:

    Charles

    I’ll have to admit you have me scratching my head asking myself, did Charles McLean actually say that? I won’t assign any ill will to your comments. But, what I think I heard you say is that there is no such thing as BEING gay or SSA or homosexual, whatever word makes YOU comfortable. Society uses the word gay. I would suggest if you desire to interact with them or gay people on any level, you may want to use the same language that they use as well. Sort of like what Paul did when he preached in Athens at the alter of “the unknown god”.

    I would prefer not to take Jay’s original post any other direction than he has established. I believe my questions to be honest and valid ones and I assure you there are many, many members of churches of Christ and other fellowships who desire to be Godly, holy, blameless before God. And they struggle with same sex attractions that you apparently don’t. I won’t use this post as a proving ground that homosexuality or gay people actually exist. However, if it does not, why are we having this discussion?

    Rather, I ask you, as well as others here, as a brother in Christ who deeply desires (and possesses) the saving grace of God, will you tell me that the Scriptures teach that the only acceptable way to be within that grace and the fellowship of His church, that I must only be 100% heterosexual and live openly as such, denying and eradicating any same sex attractions, not the actions, but the attractions, as sinful? This is what I listed in my earlier post as the beliefs of Side X.

    Are you suggesting the only message and ministry of the church to those imaginary “gay” people is to just straighten up, quit it and get married to a woman?

  25. Buckeye Chuck says:

    To cut to the chase in Jay Guin style, I ask the following question.

    Is a person who identifies themselves as a “gay” person, but because of their understanding of scripture, lives a celibate and chaste, holy life, damned because of their self-believed “gay” orientation?

    If damned, what is the church’s mission to that person?

    If not damned, what is the church’s mission to that person?

  26. R.J. says:

    Chuck,

    God is not cruel. He would never implant an irresistible urge and then condemn you as that would be unjust. He will never let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. No one said it would be easy, but it is doable.

    Statistics don’t lie. The majority of homosexuals(at least 90% if not much more) are also bisexual. That should give us pause.

  27. R.J. says:

    “Is a person who identifies themselves as a “gay” person, but because of their understanding of scripture, lives a celibate and chaste, holy life, damned because of their self-believed “gay” orientation”?

    Nope. What tempts you might not tempt me. A gay, pediphile, crossdresser, beastial, hooker, rapist, or whatnot who surrenders his life to Jesus will still struggle with such inclinations now and then. But such vulnerability is not sin in and of itself and will not condemn him/her.

  28. Buckeye Chuck says:

    RJ – Thank you for placing the celibate Christian in such fine company. I’m sure they will all feel much better, much more accepted now… especially when compared to the whatnot. If you are trying to make them feel better or more loved, please try something else.

  29. One who is tempted to behave in a way that contradicts scripture, and who consistently takes God’s proffered “way of escape”, is to be commended for his faithfulness, not shunned for the nature of his temptation. The same thinking applies to one who is tempted to greed, or rage, or covetousness, and resists those sins. IMO, the fact that this person makes an error elsewhere does not detract from the value of that faithfulness. OTOH, that admirable faithfulness does not provide a pass for any other shortcoming, or wrong thinking. As to how we identify ourselves, if a brother tells me, “I just have a bad temper; that’s the way I am”, I do not accept that identity as truth, for it is not God’s will for him. We are all being discipled by our Father, and disciplined by Him, in that process of being formed into the likeness of the Son. The Son is the identity God has in mind for us, and nothing less.

  30. Gary says:

    Jay, I was not aware that the NIV had changed in 2011 its translation of 1 Corinthians 6:9 along with other passages dealing with aspects of homosexuality. But that is hardly a point in favor of the conservative position. When homosexuality was not a hot issue NIV translators translated these passages one way. Then, decades later, when homosexuality is the front burner issue, the NIV is changed not just in one verse but in practically every passage dealing with homosexuality. Doesn’t that seem just a little suspicious when these changes had to please the vast majority of the NIV’s Evangelical readers? In an equivalent legal situation I think you would have to admit that translation changes to a document that would appear to take a side in a current controversy would be highly suspect. In any event anyone can do an internet search of the range of interpretations of malakoi and arsenokoitai and judge for themselves whether there is now a concensus on their meaning. What seems a settled concensus to you is certainly not reflected, for example, in Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase in The Message.

    It is also entirely possible that both the old and new NIV translations of 1 Corinthians 6:9 are legitimate. A homosexual prostitute would typically have taken the passive or submissive role in sex and the “John” would typically have taken the dominant role. So even the new NIV translation could still be a reference to homosexual prostitution. I think that most would agree that Paul did not have in mind permanent, committed and loving same-sex relationships because such were not allowed to be publicly acknowledged. Yes there were a few rare exceptions in antiquity but they were exactly that- rare exceptions. Even homosexual relationships in the Hellenistic world that were public were almost never intended to be lifelong. Even men who openly preferred sex with other men were expected to marry a woman and produce children. The NT never addresses, much less condemns, the life long committed and loving relationship of two people of the same sex in marriage or a marriage like relationship. The concept of an exclusive homosexual orientation was not even known until the 19th century. Just as Paul knew nothing of the disease of alcoholism so he knew nothing of an immutable homosexual orientation firmly in place by puberty. We automatically filter Paul’s condemnation of drunkards through our understanding of alcoholism. In the same way we should filter Paul’s seeming condemnation of gays with what we now know about sexual orientation. Paul was concerned with prostitution, promiscuity and pederasty not with the current situation of gay men and women coming out of the shadows and committing their lives and love to one another in relationships that are increasingly honored and respected by the wider society and the wider Christian Church. It has been God’s will from the beginning that each person would have the opportunity to have a suitable and appropriate life companion. For Adam that was Eve. For gays it is necessarily a person of the same sex.

  31. R.J. says:

    “If not damned, what is the church’s mission to that person”?

    Then out of love we ought to not put a stumbling-block in his/her way, get them into a ex-gay support group, and if possible to find an opposite sex mate to fill in any potential voids. In turn, we ask them to steer clear of temptation though The Spirit as fellow co-heirs of the promise.

  32. Gary says:

    Good luck with that approach RJ. Are you aware that Exodus International tried that approach for many years and finally disbanded with its last leader apologizing to gays for the damage Exodus had done to them? Remember that lifelong celibacy is never commanded of anyone in all of Scripture. If your solution for gays is to marry someone of the opposite sex may God help anyone you might influence. Gays marrying straight folks does a world of harm to so many people. I know this from my own experience. I assume you are speaking hypothetically without any experience in this area. Be careful you don’t cause others to suffer on the basis of your hypothetical beliefs.

  33. Gary says:

    One more thing RJ. Where in the world did you come up with the statistic that 90% of homosexuals are bisexual? I have never in my life read anything remotely close to that. It may well be that many lesbians are bisexual but I don’t believe there are many truly bisexual men. There are some but most bisexual men are more likely to be either in denial about being gay or on their way to accepting their homosexuality. “Bi today gay tomorrow” is true for many men who claim to be bisexual. If you have sources to the contrary I would be interested in reading them.

  34. Directly to the question, “Is a person who identifies themselves as a “gay” person, but because of their understanding of scripture, lives a celibate and chaste, holy life, damned because of their self-believed “gay” orientation?” One is saved by faith in Jesus Christ. I assume Chuck’s description here includes this without saying so. That assumed, since we are saved by faith in Jesus, and not be being right about everything we think, of course a believer who merely identifies himself as a homosexual -but does not practice such acts- is not damned. Chuck describes a person whose error is limited to this.

    To me, the more interesting question is “what is the church’s mission to this person”. Chuck, that person you describe IS the church, not a member of an outside group to whom the church should mount some mission. Learning what is true and what is not true is part of our ongoing discipleship as the sons of God. What Jesus tells us is true is often different from what we see ourselves. It appears in many forms, just as any child learns about the realities of the world from those who know it better. Helping one another discover who we are in Christ– as opposed to who we think we are by some other set of definitions– is a general work and service we provide to one another. I understand that the church has traditionally been pretty selective about what sins we work hard to eliminate and which ones we kind of take as part of being people. This is wrong. Mainly because it tends to represent an attitude that whatever YOU need corrected is more problematic than what I need corrected. I agree that it is hypocritical for us to wink at heterosexual immorality or immoral financial dealings while we vilify that hypothetical person Chuck presents for our consideration.

  35. Grace says:

    Jay said: “Hence, if they were to return to these activities, they’d do so in rebellion against the known will of God, and so threaten their salvation.”

    Paul wasn’t saying the people within the church were under a threat of loosing their salvation. Paul was telling them that how they were treating their brother taking him to court, when they themselves have cheated their brother, that doing so they were acting no better than people who are not saved and are doing awful things.

    Paul didn’t say they had returned to these things, he was reminding them that some of them used to do these awful things when they were not saved. He was telling them they had changed and are no longer like that because they have been washed in the blood of Jesus and sanctified that they were justified by Jesus when they were given the Holy Spirit. He was telling them are no longer like that, he didn’t say they were going to loose their salvation, he was saying how they were treating their brother was just as wrong to do as the awful things done by those who are not saved.

  36. Grace says:

    Sorry about the typos, my phone doesn’t cooperate, technology is nice to have until it messes up. Thank God that’s not how He thinks about His children.

  37. Gary says:

    Chuck, you have received a lot of unsolicited comments so I hope I’m ok in adding one more. Your appraisal of the overall range of positions was accurate for the most part I thought and I appreciate your objectivity. You said that my approach to Scripture and hermeneutic seemed designed to arrive at my desired conclusion. That does not offend me or surprise me at all because for most of my adult life I would have agreed with you.

    The status quo interpretation of a passage of Scripture has tremendous power. I concluded from my own Bible study while still a high school student that no NT scripture forbade instrumental music in church. When I ventured to share my conclusion with some older Christians I still remember some of their shocked expressions. It was as if I had let loose with a string of profanities. I remember one salt-of-the-earth older preacher who told me in all sincerity that instrumental music in worship would be like adding grape jelly to the Lord’s Supper. In his mind the truth of that comparison was as clear as day and he was mystified that I couldn’t see it.

    Many other such examples of the tremendous power of status quo interpretations of Scripture come to mind. For centuries “it is shameful for a woman to speak in church” was unambiguous to the church as a whole and meant that a woman’s voice could not be heard in the assembly outside of congregational singing and readings. I remember how shocked I was in the mid 70’s when I became a member of a congregation in which it was commonplace for women to speak up during annoucements to make an addition or correction to an announcement.

    Well you get the idea. When I first heard the progressive understanding of Romans 1 regarding homosexuality from a leading minister of the Disciples of Christ around the turn of the century I think my jaw literally dropped open. I was shocked that an obviously intelligent and sincere follower of Jesus could believe as he did. The hold of the traditional Romans 1 interpretation was so strong on me that my mind at that time, and for a long time afterwards, could not even seriously consider whether a different way of hearing Paul was intellectually defensible. After a number of years I finally saw in the Romans 1 text itself strong evidence of what the Disciples minister had presented. I heard Paul for the first time say that those he was describing had given up and exchanged their heterosexuality for homosexuality. Those words had always been in the text of course but I had never really heard them. I realized for the first time that Paul’s denunciation of homosexual acts was limited in its application to those who had been heterosexual. My homosexual orientation was firmly in place by puberty and never weakened. I can’t describe adequately the relief and freedom that flooded over my soul when I finally understood that Paul’s condemnation did not apply to me. Today that understanding of Romans 1 could not be clearer to me.

    It used to be commonplace in Churches of Christ for us to tell those we were studying with who were members of another denomination to put aside what they had been taught and to consider the New Testament as if for the first time. A pretty tall order! It took me many years to finally be able to do that regarding homosexuality but I finally got there.

    I wish you Godspeed in your journey. I don’t presume to know what path you should take. But whatever path you choose let it be the one you have freely chosen in your conscience and understanding of Scripture. Even if you choose to be chaste the rest of your life don’t let it be because others would impose that choice on you as a condition of Christian fellowship. Christ has called us to freedom not to slavery.

  38. R.J. says:

    Gary,

    I’m not saying “We” can eliminate the oriented temptation(only Christ through The Holy Spirit can do that). But that we can help those struggling with SSA to flee whatever is alluring them to do what they do.

    Exodus International is only a splinter from it’s parent organization “Exodus Global Alliance”(which I believe is still running) which has recently ceased operations.

  39. Gary says:

    No, RJ, short of locking those with SSA in a room, there really isn’t anything you can do to help them flee the temptations they find alluring.

  40. Buckeye Chuck says:

    Gary,

    I appreciate the kind tone of your message. While we do not agree on the issue of open gay relationships and marriage, we may find agreement on a myriad of others. The arguments for and against have been effectively made many times through Jay’s blogs. God will be our judge; not me, not you, not any other person. Therefore, we “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling” to the best of our ability, lay it at Jesus feet and allow him to decide.

    I believe Jay’s book “The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace” lays out the reality of doctrinal grace and that not one of us can achieve or claim 100% doctrinal or behavioral perfection. Therefore, we each have the responsibility to discern truth to the best of our ability, try our best to live it, and then rely on God’s grace through the blood of Jesus.

    What churches of Christ and other fellowships must come to realize is that if they want to reflect Jesus, they must offer refuge, love and acceptance of those who struggle because of a gay identity, that they have a responsibility, a duty, because of God’s love, to extend not just a back-pew 2nd class existence within the family of God. They need love and active relationships within the body, and as with any other member of your local congregation or fellowship at large, whenever you find a brother in need, whatever that need may be, we have an obligation to provide it according to the best of our abilities. You can’t just farm them off to some remote ex-gay ministry (away from me because they make me feel uncomfortable), remain uninvolved and in effect, say go and be healed. I suggest a re-read of the parable of the Good Samaritan.

    Almost without exception, if you are a member of at least a 100 member congregation and you have no members (that you know of) who struggle with same sex attraction, it is because they do not feel safe and welcome in your midst. Perhaps it was not intentionally or knowingly, but it’s because you haven’t talked about the subject in any other way but from condemnation, as some of the language written in this thread exhibits. In reality, therefore, SSA strugglers have already moved on and left your congregation, not because they don’t desire to seek Jesus, but because you have not enabled and, in fact, have placed a huge stumbling block in their pathway and have prohibited them from doing so. The church faces a judgment because of this failure.

    The homosexual condition is most often one of self-condemnation, depression and a lack of self worth. They don’t need a message of condemnation from Christians. If there is no overt message of love from the church leadership and family in seeking the homosexual, then they will not feel safe and welcome and they will move from desperation (and in a self-preservation secrecy) to find where they believe will be a safer place. This is also why many SSA strugglers will leave the church and go into an open secular gay lifestyle because they don’t believe they can ever be part of the church. Where do they get that message? And yet we blame them for their Godless debauchery while in reality we may have unknowingly contributed to it.

    It’s interesting that some within the Catholic Church and other denominations are leading the way on ministering to gay strugglers (not necessarily in accepting open gay relationships), although there are pockets of attempts to do so within churches of Christ, noting ministries of Sally Gary and others. But, as some of the comments made in this thread indicate, we have a lot of education and work to do.

  41. Gary says:

    Chuck, I think you describe the situation in Churches of Christ for gays very accurately. I did not meet with condemnation and hostility for the most part in CoC when I came out as a gay man. It has been more like they just didn’t know what to do with me. A few of my CoC friends have hung in there with me in maintaining an ongoing friendship but a number of others have seemed relieved to just quietly lose contact with me. There is a deep discomfort for most men of conservative or traditional backgrounds to be in the presence of an openly gay man. The ones who are themselves closeted are the most uncomfortable of all. I was the same way myself when I was a closeted gay man even though I had never acted on my sexual orientation. I once sold a house to a lesbian and I was extremely uncomfortable even in her presence. It was as if my homosexuality was on display for all to see when I was around her. I never ever bashed gays or spoke disparingly of them when I was closeted. I just ignored the whole subject as much as I could.

    You may remember from the previous series on homosexuality my sharing that I was extremely sexually promiscuous for almost two years in my 50’s after a lifetime of chastity in singleness and faithfulness in a heterosexual marriage. Hardly a day goes by still that I don’t ask for God’s forgiveness for that time in my life. I know intellectually that God has forgiven me but it is hard to feel forgiven. From my own experience I know that once that line of having gay sex is crossed not many gay men will ever return to chastity or attempt to be heterosexual. Anything is possible of course but that is the Rubicon for gay men in the vast majority of cases I’m convinced. What enabled me to stop being promiscuous was meeting a wonderful gay man with whom I could share the rest of my life in a committed, loving relationship that was at first a partnership and is now a marriage.

    What boggles my mind about the conservative position is that I could have continued indefinitely as a member in good standing of a progressive CoC during my time of promiscuity because I “quit” almost every time after a sexual encounter. I would be overwhelmed with guilt and would resolve to stop. And I stopped many, many times sometimes for a day or two and sometimes even for a week or two. That’s considered struggling with homosexuality and I could have gone on indefinitely in many progressive Churches of Christ while in practise having sex with many, many men each year. As long as I would have saluted the flag of homosexuality as a sin I would have been accepted. But when I leave promiscuity behind and begin an open and committed, loving relationship with just one man then I’m a candidate for church discipline. This discrepancy is one of the reasons I believe change is coming in Churches of Christ which I still love dearly.

  42. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Tim asked,

    What is homosexual activity which is condemned, and what is homosexual activity which is not condemned? (For example, if I put my arm around another man to whom I am attracted is that as much of a sin as definitively sexual activity? In other words, where do you draw the line?)

    The scriptures say very little about what is and isn’t permissible, that is, the exact line at which affection because sexual activity. And in my experience, the answer is considerably impacted by culture. In the US, two unrelated men will not sleep in the same bed without it seeming sexual, but this was not true in the 19th Century US or even today in many countries.

    I think the standard, whatever it is, is very much the same as for heterosexual relationships. I’m a married man. What level of affection am I allowed to show to a woman not my wife? Well, not much at all — and nothing that could be remotely construed as sexual. I would not hold hands with a woman not my wife. She is forbidden to me.

    If I were unmarried and with a woman who is also not married, I could hold hands, kiss, etc. and not sin (generally speaking) because she is not forbidden. But there’s a line I cannot cross without marriage, and we don’t need to figure that one out today because that line only applies with respect to someone not forbidden to me.

    In my view, a gay man should not engage in contact or conduct that would only be proper with someone permitted to him. Another man is forbidden, and therefore his conduct should be much as my contact with women. We can be really good friends, but we cannot do the things that people who date or court do because she is forbidden to me.

    I’d be interested to know whether anyone sees it differently. I can’t say that I’ve had occasion to give it much thought. But it seems clear that if a given sexual relationship is forbidden to me, I need to stay well away from temptation.

  43. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Tim asked,

    what shall those who are homosexual in nature or in constitution and equally Christian do? How shall we then live?

    It is my view that the homosexual Christian must be celibate. The same is true of the unmarried heterosexual Christian.

    It’s a difficult teaching — and also difficult for heterosexuals who are unmarried or married to a spouse who is unavailable to them for any number of reasons — but I’ve yet to see a well-reasoned scriptural argument to the contrary.

    Yes, there were hetero- and homosexual prostitutes in ancient Corinth. And yes some sexual relationships were abusive. But the Romans practiced homosexual marriage at the time of Paul, and Corinth was a Roman colony —

    Although in general the Romans regarded marriage as a heterosexual union for the purpose of producing children, in the early Imperial period some male couples were celebrating traditional marriage rites in the presence of friends. Same-sex weddings are reported by sources that mock them; the feelings of the participants are not recorded. Both Martial and Juvenal refer to marriage between men as something that occurs not infrequently, although they disapprove of it.[119] Roman law did not recognize marriage between men, but one of the grounds for disapproval expressed in Juvenal’s satire is that celebrating the rites would lead to expectations for such marriages to be registered officially.[120] As the empire was becoming Christianized in the 4th century, legal prohibitions against gay marriage began to appear.[121]

    Various ancient sources state that the emperor Nero celebrated two public weddings with men, once taking the role of the bride (with a freedman Pythagoras), and once the groom (with Sporus); there may have been a third in which he was the bride.[122] The ceremonies included traditional elements such as a dowry and the wearing of the Roman bridal veil.[123] In the early 3rd century AD, the emperor Elagabalus is reported to have been the bride in a wedding to his male partner. Other mature men at his court had husbands, or said they had husbands in imitation of the emperor.[124] Although the sources are in general hostile, Dio Cassius implies that Nero’s stage performances were regarded as more scandalous than his marriages to men.[125]

    The earliest reference in Latin literature to a marriage between men occurs in the Philippics of Cicero, who insulted Mark Antony for being a slut in his youth until Curio “established you in a fixed and stable marriage (matrimonium), as if he had given you a stola,” the traditional garment of a married woman.[126] Although Cicero’s sexual implications are clear, the point of the passage is to cast Antony in the submissive role in the relationship and to impugn his manhood in various ways; there is no reason to think that actual marriage rites were performed.[127]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexuality_in_ancient_Rome#Gay_marriage (commentaries concur but this is the most thorough discussion I’ve run across). Nero was a contemporary of Paul, of course.

    It’s really hard to argue that gay marriage is a novel institution not anticipated by Paul when he lived in a world in which homosexual marriage was practiced among the Romans. Just as is true today, much of Rome frowned on the practice, but it was clearly practiced, even by emperors.

  44. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Buckeye Chuck,

    I think the gay marriage question is covered by 1 Cor 5:12-13 and irrelevant to the church. The church needs to worry with what the church does, not those outside the church. (I could address the topic as an American citizen in terms of public policy, but that’s a very different question.) The Kingdom is governed by Kingdom law, ruled by the Messiah-King, and what the secular government permits is utterly beside the point for those who bow to Jesus.

    “What is the church’s place for those with SSA [same-sex attraction]?” The word is agape. The church must love those with SSA just as they love those with DSA (different-sex attraction). Of course, we do a pretty lousy job of both at times, but it’s still the right answer. That’s Jesus’ answer — and while the church should properly insist that 1 Cor 6:9-10 be honored by its members, it must also be the church for those who struggle with these temptations. We must be Jesus to each other or else our call for obedience becomes cruel. We have to help each other.

    (1Co 6:11 ESV) 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

    Clearly Corinth included men who had been involved in homosexual relationships and who’d chosen to give up that lifestyle for the sake of Jesus. Others gave up the use of prostitutes — which in those days was likely even more difficult because prostitution was a part of the social culture of the day, especially among the guilds. It was how business was done — eat, drink, and spend the night with a prostitute. To give up prostitutes was to forsake the society of fellow businessmen — and the business opportunities that came with networking. It was how business was done.

    And, frankly, giving up idolatry was likely the hardest choice. You could not attend a city council meeting or obtain fire for your hearth without a ritual sacrifice to a false god. You couldn’t even enter many cities without a sacrifice. To give up idolatry often meant isolation from society and persecution by powerful people. It was difficult beyond our ability to imagine. Christianity in First Century Corinth was unbelievably difficult for these Christians.

    And they coped by the intensity of their love for each other — even when they slipped up and fell into sin. They helped each other repent and held each other accountable to live up to Jesus’ standards. There was no cheap grace. Nothing came cheap in those days. It was grace combined with a demand for a lifestyle that rejected nearly everything that Greco-Roman culture stood for. And the early Christians paid dearly for being so very different from the world in which they lived.

    Even though the Corinthians had been guilty of all sorts of dreadful sins, they put it behind themselves and held on to each other and to Jesus.

    “Where is my place among my brothers?”

    Not intending to sound flippant, your place is among your brothers. I’m a strong believer in accountability groups — of 4 men or so — who meet weekly, typically over a meal, to share their struggles, to admit their temptations, to hold each other accountable, and to offer each other unconditional love as they struggle to meet Jesus’ requirements.

    And in such a group, you should be able to tell your story, confess your struggles, and find loving brothers to help you follow the Master.

  45. Gary says:

    My understanding from my reading is that only anal intercourse has been understood in Judaism to be proscribed by Leviticus 18:22. Other forms of homosexual intimacy involving ejaculation were also forbidden but on a different basis- the sin of Onan. The sin of Onan as a proscription of contemporary sexual activities is largely discredited today in both Judaism and Christianity. I know an Orthodox Jewish gay man who does not engage in anal intercourse on the basis of Leviticus 18:22. Contrary to popular belief and media portrayals many gay men do not practice anal intercourse but rather intercrural intercourse and oral sex. There are actually gay websites that ridicule anal intercourse. One survey of gay American men that was published in this past year concluded that anal intercourse is the least common form of male homosexual intimacy.

  46. Buckeye Chuck says:

    Jay

    Thank you for your response. I also appreciate your answers to my questions. I am in agreement with your conclusions regarding 1 Cor 5:12-13. In my first post above, this describes the Side B gay Christian – those who accept that they are gay, that they cannot change, and that they desire to live a celibate and chaste life, or maintain their existing heterosexual marriage, within the borders of Christian fellowship. I cannot accept the Side A position that Gary does, and I have significant doubts and problems with the Side X position that requires that gay Christians must change to exclusively heterosexual in order to be acceptable to God and to the Church that Charles and R.J. seem to suggest.

    Your answer to “Where is my place among my brothers?” was not flippant, but dead on correct. The reality is that there are significant numbers of people struggling with same sex attraction who want desperately to live as followers of Jesus. They have been sitting next to you in the assembly, perhaps for years, and because of who they are your jaw may drop if their secrets became known.

    Because the gay Christian frequently have insecurities and general emotional distress, depression or weakness, they most often need an extra large dose of love from their church family and as you prescribed, a group to which they might be accountable, equally as brothers, not under thumb as the sinner who needs to be watched, even though they do really need to be watched. They need to feel a genuine interest from those they have shared their darkest secrets and a long-lasting desire to be “preferred” as intimate friends; true brothers. It’s just a fact that Gay Christians will probably always be a very needy group.

    A support group of exclusively other gay Christians may be helpful, but most often they just can’t meet the need. Gay men specifically need intimate friendships with other men, preferably Christian men, who are not gay. Gay men need to feel an affirmation of their masculinity from straight men that they feel they lack. This goes to the core of the nature of the homosexual’s struggle.

    Often, an accountability group may begin such an endeavor with any person in need and maintain a level of intensity and affirmation for a time, perhaps even what some would consider a long time, but the desire of the accountability group to maintain the same level of interest is a very difficult challenge. This is true when the accountability group is comprised of married men with jobs and homes and families and grandchildren and a host of other issues. It’s also true they just don’t feel the same intense need for the type of close male relationship the gay Christian requires. They most likely have that emotional need filled by their wives.

    One of the greatest difficulties that gay Christians encounter is the feeling of separation, seclusion and abandonment, whether such a perception is accurate or not. This is something the gay Christian may need to recognize and work to overcome, but it is also where the affirming supporting male friends must remain vigilant and not unintentionally ignore the gay Christian. Perhaps this is exactly what Jesus was seeking from Peter, James and John, his closest relationships, at the moment of his greatest personal anguish in the Garden of Gethsemane, but never received.

    This may be easy to understand but very, very, VERY hard to do.

  47. Chris says:

    “Gay Christian” — this is a contradiction of terms. There is no such thing, except in the minds of men. A “gay” person is, by definition, a heterosexual that engages in homosexual conduct. If he has repented of his sin (does not engage in homosexual acts) he is no longer a homosexual, even though he may desire a man of the opposite sex. Much like a kleptomaniac who has repented and still has the urge to steal, but doesn’t — it would not be proper to call him a thief (…such WERE some of you…). Or an adulterer who has repented having relations with another man’s wife. He is only an adulterer in the past tense.

    I agree words are “powerful things”, and the media along with government has let the homosexuals define and use words such as “gay”, “homosexual”, “sexual orientation”, “homophobe”, etc. to promote their selfish cause. I normally insist on defining terms before I begin a discussion about homosexuality, because the words or terms used in such discussions are either fabricated or have been twisted beyond recognition. It is slick sophistry at an extraordinarily refined level.

    The link below ought to be mandatory reading for all before entering into any discussion about homosexuality:

    http://www.whale.to/c/gay9707137.pdf

    “One survey of gay American men that was published in this past year concluded that anal intercourse is the least common form of male homosexual intimacy.”

    If this were the case, we would expect sexually transmitted diseases to be low in homosexuals. Unfortunately, that is not the case:

    http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/gender/msm/facts/

    “This may be easy to understand but very, very, VERY hard to do.”

    Very, very, very hard to do is still of a different nature than impossible (Phil. 4:13). Of course, even Jesus said the majority of people would not make it to heaven (Matt. 7:13-14).

  48. Gary says:

    Whoa Chris, don’t scare me like that! I wake up and read that I don’t exist! But I’ve pinched myself and I’m really here and I am most definitely a gay Christian. I will be a volunteer tutor later this morning and again Wednesday for poor folks trying to get their GED and I do this because I am honestly trying to live my life in imitation of Jesus in this largely impoverished city. If this is a typical week I will help several homeless people as well again in the name of Christ. I always thought a Christian was a follower of Jesus. You apparently have a different definition. But that’s ok. I remember when many in Churches of Christ denied the existence of Jews today which seemed strange to me as there was a prominent Jewish temple (Reformed) on Main Street of my hometown with a parsonage next door for the rabbi. I also remember a wellknown CoC minister who claimed that there were no real Christians who had been baptized after responding to an invitation that was accompanied by instrumental music. Some of our CoC folks have a venerable tradition of making up their own reality which I suppose could be considered a spiritual psychosis.

  49. Grace says:

    Let me try to get this. Chris is obviously not a gay man and Gary obviously is a gay man. However, Chris is giving Gary education of what it means to be a gay man.

    Gary has known he is gay since he was a young lad. Chris defines a gay man by sexual conduct with another man and lusting after another man. Gary is open about the sexual conduct between gay men and has even admitted he had a time in his life when for two years he lusted after other men, and Gary has told us he has asked God to forgive him.

    But Gary has told us what it means to be a gay man that Chris didn’t, Gary spoke about love, “What enabled me to stop being promiscuous was meeting a wonderful gay man with whom I could share the rest of my life in a committed, loving relationship that was at first a partnership and is now a marriage.”

    There is not any person who could ever be good enough. Chris can think he is so much better in an area of his life than Gary is, and also be failing miserably in another, while Gary is doing exceedingly good in that area in his life.

    Good people aren’t going to be in heaven, forgiven people are.

  50. Buckeye Chuck says:

    Chris

    As a point of clarification, my statement “This may be easy to understand but very, very, VERY hard to do” refers to the accountability group, not the gay Christian. I apologize the meaning of the statement was not more clear.

    You present somewhat of a side argument of the Side X position where Reparative Therapy and ex-gay ministries seek a “restoration” of the homosexual to their God-given true heterosexual identity. I spent a few years over two different time periods in RT, so I am very familiar with the processes and the teachings of this position. The conclusion that you state that “a ‘gay’ person is, by definition, a heterosexual that engages in homosexual conduct. If he has repented of his sin (does not engage in homosexual acts) he is no longer a homosexual, even though he may desire a man of the opposite sex.” Your very own words are contradictory because you first claim the homosexual (or gay person) is, by definition a heterosexual that engages in homosexual acts. Then you follow that with “he is no longer a homosexual”. Is he then a heterosexual in gay clothing or not a homosexual at all?

    I will not comment on the work of Scott Lively for this discussion. I am not aware of any of his work being used in Reparative Therapy or any other reputable counseling methodologies. He address the topic more from a secular political point of view, rather than a Biblical one. I’ll let Jay comment further there, but I would prefer to stay within the confines of Jay’s discussion from I Corinthians 6:9-11 that actually states that homosexuals, do, in fact, exist, contrary to your own conflicting statement above.

  51. Dwight says:

    I would have to agree with Chris…homosexual and Christian are two opposing concepts. The list that Paul gives is of people coming out of those type of sins. God has shown that He did not approve of homosexuality in the OT by a decree of death and we somehow think that He has changed His mind on its seriousness. Rom. 1:24-27 also written by Paul gives an account of women who have gone against nature (or that which God has set up as natural) and men who “lust for one another” and these things are regarded as “uncleanliness” and “vile passions”. Even in Rome at the time of Jesus homosexuality was seen as a fulfillment of the desire of sexuality by the Romans, but the Jews did not have a similr concept or issues. Vastly the Romans that engaged in sex with men also had wives and children. The engagement of homosexuality as with most of the other sins listed was an action and not a state of being as lust was the issue in general and is always the issue and we can direct it any where we want it. Bestiality too was an issue and it was condemned as well.

  52. Buckeye Chuck says:

    Dwight

    Would you say that a Christian would or could ever tell a lie and still be indwelled by the Holy Spirit?

  53. Gary says:

    It is striking to me that conservatives are drawn so much to the Law of Moses for what is and is not important for Christian living today when Jesus went out of his way in Matthew 25 to tell his disciples for all the ages what he thinks has eternal importance. Sex doesn’t even come up. What Jesus stressed was what we are actively doing to help the poor and “the least of these” in our society. Most Churches of Christ today, even the progressive ones, would not admit into fellowship a gay couple even if they are married. But to be consistent wouldn’t such churches also need to expel members who have not done anything to help the poor in a long time? (And I don’t think cleaning out one’s closet and giving away the clothes one no longer wants counts.) If any issue today facing the church is a Romans 14 disputable matter it is gay marriage/partnerships. If this is not a disputable matter then the term has no meaning. Conservatives will apparently split Christ’s Church once again this time between those who leave homosexuality as a matter between the individual Christian and God and those who insist that gays either do their best to be straight or go through life celibate and alone. That’s where we’re heading. I hope rational, mature voices will rise to the forefront to prevent that outcome. If what we claim to believe about Christian unity has any real substance then it will be applied to the issues surrounding homosexuality.

  54. Grace says:

    Lust isn’t always sexual it is the cravings or passions within us.

    James 4:1-3 What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.

    Dwight said: “The engagement of homosexuality as with most of the other sins listed was an action and not a state of being as lust was the issue in general and is always the issue and we can direct it any where we want it.”

    The general issue of lust where it starts is idolatry.

    Romans 1:20-23 From the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly observed in what He made. As a result, people have no excuse. They knew God but did not praise and thank Him for being God. Instead, their thoughts were pointless, and their misguided minds were plunged into darkness. While claiming to be wise, they became fools. They exchanged the glory of the immortal God for statues that looked like mortal humans, birds, animals, and snakes.

    And don’t think we don’t have idolatry today, and that you never participate in idolatry. People would rather spend the majority of their Sunday with their favorite buddy watching the Bears, Falcons, Rams, or whatever their favorite football team is, and they hurry on out from the church service rather than spend an hour or two longer hearing God’s word. It could be anything, a golf game with a buddy, or they’re on vacation so they don’t even bother to find a church to even go to for a little bit nearby.

    Romans 1:28-31 And because they thought it was worthless to acknowledge God, God allowed their own immoral minds to control them. So they do these indecent things. Their lives are filled with all kinds of sexual sins, wickedness, and greed. They are mean. They are filled with envy, murder, quarreling, deceit, and viciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, haughty, arrogant, and boastful. They think up new ways to be cruel. They don’t obey their parents, don’t have any sense, don’t keep promises, and don’t show love to their own families or mercy to others.

    The list Paul gives is not just about sexual sins. People were given over because of their idolatry to all these other sins. And many of them we don’t like to talk so much about, to be honest no one can say they don’t do things that are on the list.

    Too many of us fall into the ugly pit of greed, being mean, envy, quarreling, deceit, gossiping, slandering, haughty or above others, arrogance, boastful, don’t obey parents, not keeping your word to someone, being unloving, and not giving mercy to others.

    So by the list Paul gives none of us are fit to have the humble title of being a Christian.

    And though we are not fit to have this title, it is by the grace of God and the love of Jesus who’s blood covers us He can look at us and see His beautiful child as see His Son.

  55. Grace says:

    And though we are not fit to have this title, it is by the grace of God and the love of Jesus whose blood covers us He can look at us and see His beautiful child as He sees His Son.

  56. Dwight says:

    Christians do sin, but there is a difference between living in sin and falling to it. God understands that man will sin and can be forgiven, but to flaunt God grace by purposely sinning is not something God accepts. This is what I Cor. 6:9-11 is about those that bow to unrighteous behavior instead of righteous behavior as thier God. What good is the OT if not to learn from it? The early Chrsitians used the OT as thier learning guide as they mostly were still having God’s word revealed through the apostles at the time. The OT makes us aware of God’s character and attitude towards certain things. We are told that “God dates divorce.” We wouldn’t expect a God who so strongly opposed something to for some reason accept it or approve of it. This would be out of God’s character since God has always loved man. Being homosexual was hardly a disputable matter as it was condemned in both the OT and NT. Giving to the poor should be done, but no one was told to stone those who didn’t give to the poor as they did adulterers and homosexual activity. Notice I said adulturers. Most churches will seperate from an adulturer as well. When Jesus did mention marriage he gave the only reason to divorce as sexual immorality which included all things considered sexually immoral at the time, so yes, Jesus did comment on homosexuality, adultery, bestiality, etc. What we try to do is distance ourself from being unrighteous, by redefining what we think is unrighteous and it this way we can justify anything. Hey, maybe Adam and Eve didn’t really sin, after all they were two young kids on thier own and had desires and fruit is healthy and Eve gave it to Adam out of love.

  57. Grace says:

    A Christian woman was leaving a store with her baby and a man holds her up with a gun and robs her and then he shoots the gun to kill her but misses her killing her baby instead.

    The man later is sorry for the terrible thing he had done to her and her baby. The man asks her to forgive him. The woman loves God dearly, but the woman was so affected by what happened that she is wrought with grief and will not forgive the man.

    She is practicing sin, she is living in sin not forgiving the man. Is she no longer a Christian being unforgiving to this man?

    Or what about the Christian man who loves his wife and kids, but he puts them ahead of God in his life. They’ve become idols to him, so he spends more time at his job working, not just to provide for them, but to get them the best of everything and doesn’t spend time with God or in God’s word as he should. The man loves God dearly, but getting his wife and kids top of the line products is a bigger focus to him. He is practicing sin, he is living in sin making his wife and kids an idol in his life. Is he no longer a Christian making his family an idol in his life?

    If you still say the woman and the man, who both dearly love God but are practicing and living in sin, are both still Christians why do you look at Gary so differently than them?

    I’ve seen some Christians who can be pretty arrogant who think of themselves above others, but I don’t condemn them, I give them grace because I’ve been given much grace.

    You see we all do things on the list, practicing and living in sins more than what we would admit. People can fool themselves to think they are better Christians than Gary because he is a homosexual. People can think they are so much better in an area of their life than Gary is, and also be failing miserably in another, while Gary is doing exceedingly good in that area in his life.

  58. Dwight says:

    Ypou have two opposing thoughts going here…loving God and living in sin. Sin by defintion is missing the mark and going against God’s will. It is possible that pride, which seems slight in many people’s eyes, is greater in consequences than homosexuality in that many cannot and will refuse to see it and be humbeled. Jesus got on to the Pharisees because they judged others without love and did it because they thought they were better, as we are all under grace. Again I think there is a difference between doing sin and living in sin as one shows consitancy and a resistance to change. If we sin we are told to repent and pray and we should all do this. Paul ask “Shall we continue in sin so that grace my abound?”. The answer was “Cetainly not!”.

  59. Dwight says:

    In turn I may or may not be better than Gary who is a homosexual in my heart, but this still doesn’t detract from the fact that God saw homosexuality as a sin and able to keep him from seeing God. In the finality Gary will not answer to me and I will not answer to Gary. We will answer to God. But if I care for Gary’s soul I should watch out for him and he for me. This is our duty. I might find a flaw in him and he in me, but just because we have the flaws doesn’t mean we shouldn’t address them. Gary might be a great person, but it really doesn’t matter what I or you think or even what gary thinks. It matters what God thinks and He has told us what He thinks. We just have to listen. We can be comfortably and convincingly right in our own eyes and horribly wrong in God’s. I accept that I have a problem with the “Lust of the eyes”, but I do not accept it as my definement of who I am and I fight against it so that I do not fall to it. The faults I know are the faults that need filling with God.

  60. Dwight says:

    Lust of the eyues, lust of the flesh and pride of life wasn’t connected to idolatry, but to man himself. Adam and Eve fell to these desires and Satan tried to tempt Jesus with these three things. Agree there are many things that are sinful that are not sexual in nature, but then again there are many things that are sinful that are sexual in nature. We can know what God wants and that might be disagreeable with what we want. There are two wills at play here…God’s and ours and we can bow or we can not. God has already expressed His will and is waiting for us to express ours one way or the other.

  61. Gary says:

    I’d like to throw out a question. When was the last time anyone of us has known of a drunkard (Ephesians 6:10) being the subject of church discipline or being refused church membership. I have never known of it taking place in my lifetime although it was once probably the most common
    reason for the exercise of church discipline in American Protestant churches. The closest I can get is my late Southern Baptist grandmother telling me about it being done in her youth. (In her most memorable story of it the man who had been essentially disfellowshipped came back to the church again drunk on horseback riding round and round the rural church shouting the whole time!) I once was privileged to see the original record book of our first Stone-Campbell congregation in Baltimore. (The congregation began in 1810 as a Haldane church and soon affiliated with our churches.) What impressed me the most, sadly, was that most of the entries were about church discipline with, you guessed it, drunkenness being the most frequent offense.

    Why the change between then and now? Is it that they had a higher view of Scripture than we do today and were more faithful Christians? I don’t think many of us would agree with that explanation. I believe the reason for this drastic change is that we and our forebears over the last 75 years or so have come to realize that problem drinking is a whole lot more complicated than being a sin that can simply be forbidden. We now know about the disease of alcoholism that our 19th century brethren did not know about. It wouldn’t even occur to us today to disfellowship our alcoholic church members no matter how out of control their drinking may be. We would hopefully pray for them, reach out to them and show our support and availability to talk. We might encourage them to continue with their AA meetings. Beyond that we would simply leave it betweenthem, their families and God.

    What does this say about the apostle Paul and his confident assertion that drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of heaven? We still believe Paul was inspired but we implicitly interpret Paul’s views on social issues through the lens of our modern understandings. We still see Paul as the greatest Christian theologian after Jesus but, let’s be honest, we no longer take Paul at face value on social issues. When was the last time you even heard a sermon on drunkenness? How about women being keepers at home? All those sermons were retired around the mid 20th century.

    I submit that our understanding of Paul on homosexuality should be similar to our understanding of Paul and drunkenness. The situation regarding homosexuality is just a whole lot more complicated than being a sin that simply needs to be forbidden. Where can I even begin with the complications? One of course is sexual orientation which was not well understood if at all in Paul’s day. It is obvious that Paul believed any man could function heterosexually with a wife if he simply decided to do so. We know that that is not the case. This is why modern conservatives stress celibacy for homosexuals while Paul never mentions it. It seems to have never occurred to Paul that a man might have to remain celibate to avoid homosexual relationships. Paul saw heterosexual marriage as the remedy. Today we are starting to understand how cruel a mixed gay-straight marriage is for all concerned.

    Another huge complication is mental illness. I will have to fight the rest of my life for my mental health as a result of a half century of trying to be straight when God has created or at least allowed me to be gay. I can see clearly now that even from childhood I had to project an acceptable masculine persona that was foreign to whom I truly am. I can’t begin to describe the anguish and black depression I have had to endure. I would not wish it on my worst enemy. If you are straight you really don’t have a clue as to what gay people go through. It is so hard not to be bitter about straight Christians who think celibacy with its accompanying loneliness is so obviously the answer to homosexuality. If it’s so simple why don’t you do it? At least since I have found my husband I no longer want to die. I don’t expect my straight brethren to all understand homosexuality. But the least you could do, the least, is to suspend judgment and acting as if it is all so clear cut and leave homosexuality as a matter between the individual gay Christian and God. Most gay people are dealing with some degree of mental illness as a result of being gay in a world designed for straight people.

    Another complcation which is only beginning to be understood is the wide prevalence of being transgendered- identifying psychologically as a member of the opposite gender. We know that over 1% of all children born are born with some degree of an intersexed condition- having both male and female characteristics. Even conservatives can understand the complications this presents and I think would suspend judgment. The only difference with being transgendered is that the condition is psychological- which is still physical as it involves the brain. I am certainly no expert on transgender issues but I suspect that many gay men have some degree of being transgendered.

    Well I close by asking why the different treatment by Christian conservatives of drunkards and homosexuals? They’re in the same list in 1 Corinthians 6. The only reason I can come up with is that conservatives don’t feel threatened by “drunkards” but do feel threatened by homosexuals. Guys it’s time to let that go and get past the desire to return to 1950 when everyone at least pretended to be straight. Thank you Jay for allowing me to speak from my heart.

  62. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Gary wrote,

    It is obvious that Paul believed any man could function heterosexually with a wife if he simply decided to do so. We know that that is not the case.

    Really? What makes it obvious? In 1 Cor 7, he commends the single life to his readers, contrary to rabbinic teaching that all men should marry. I’m not aware of a single passage that suggests what you say.

    Are you arguing from —

    (1Co 7:2 ESV) 2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.

    But he immediately follows these instructions with instructions about the preferability of the single (celibate) life. I think a fairer reading is that he doesn’t entertain the prospect of sexual conduct outside of heterosexual marriage, even though homosexual marriage was an established practice among the Romans at the time Paul was writing, and Corinth was a Roman colony.

    It’s true that Paul doesn’t dwell on the difficulty of being gay in a straight world, but it’s not fair to the historical record to assume that Paul was unaware that there were men innately gay. This was well understood by the Greeks, including Plato — whom all the Greeks studied.

    Plato, in the Symposium, argues for an army to be comprised of same-sex lovers. Thebes did form such a regiment, the Sacred Band of Thebes, formed of 500 soldiers. They were renowned in the ancient world for their valor in battle.

    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/homosexuality/

    It should be added that for Plato, the only type of real love is the love between two men, and he has dedicated two of his dialogues to that subject: the Symposium and the Phaedrus. After all, homo-erotic love is related to education and gaining knowledge, and this makes it superior to other types of love.

    http://www.livius.org/ho-hz/homosexuality/homosexuality.html

    However, homosexual “orientation” is also indicated on the part of Callicratidas, at least toward boys, as in Amores 20 he is said to be reluctant to go to the temple of Aphrodite because he was going to see something female, while Charicles describes those who engage in homosexual sex as having “bought a little pleasure at the cost of great disgrace. Sternly reproving homosexuals he also states, With what blind insensibility have you engulfed your souls that you have missed the mark in both directions, avoiding what you ought to pursue, and pursuing what you ought to avoid? (22)

    http://www.conservapedia.com/Greek_Homosexuality

    Plato’s Symposium, a collection of ideas on love by several friends of Socrates, with the latter’s thoughts at the end, acknowledges homosexuality as a condition. Aristophanes posits that there were three kinds of beings from the beginning, that of the male, the female – and a third androgynous – type of person. Zeus is said to have cut these humans in half so that they seek their other sexual counterpart, or in the case of composite being, their own sex. Aristophanes then describes the latter as being such as prefer their own gender, in which he includes lesbianism, and all of which the pagan philosopher commends. Young notes that in Symposium,[14] Plato anticipates virtually every element in the modern discussion the homosexual condition. This reality stands in opposition to the premise which many pro-homosexual writers rely upon, in seeking to disallow the universal condemnation of homoeroticism in Romans 1.

    Ibid.

    In short, I don’t buy the argument that Paul was too primitive and uninformed to be trusted on the question of homosexuality. Nothing has changed. The Greeks were very knowledgeable on the subject and well aware that some men prefer sexual relations with men. Greek attitudes varied, but homosexuality was largely approved among the Greeks, and even regulated by law in Athens — and the Romans allowed homosexual marriage.

    If someone could show me the error of my reading of history and Paul, I’d be happy to be proved wrong. I have no personal stake in the question. But I can’t accept an argument based on a flawed reading of history or of the scriptures. I’m not willing to rationalize to reach a conclusion.

    That being said, nothing in scripture or history should be read as insisting that gay men pretend to be straight or marry women. The church, of all places, should be the first to accept gay men seeking to follow Jesus as gay men seeking to follow Jesus. In fact, it’s my experience that this is exactly what is (finally) happening. I think the younger generations find themselves very willing to support one another in their spiritual walks without feeling compelled to put up false fronts. I think this is one area in the church is greatly maturing — and none too soon.

  63. Alabama John says:

    Gary,
    the difference in how we look on prostitution, drunkards and other sins is that those, although wrong, do not bring to our mind the repulsiveness that a picture in our minds can of a man having sex with another man.
    The homosexuals on parade and pushing this activity to an absurd picture in our faces and minds sure doesn’t help either.
    Who would want to take a child or grandchild to a parade where this was being presented as some do today. Try explaining that repulsiveness dress and actions to the child. I don’t know of any of the other sinners you mentioned proudly displaying their actions and daring you to object.
    Many of the bad feelings today toward homosexuals were brought on by the homosexuals themselves.

  64. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Gary wrote,

    My understanding from my reading is that only anal intercourse has been understood in Judaism to be proscribed by Leviticus 18:22.

    What is your source. The Babylonian Talmud does not say this, that I can find, nor do any of the commentaries I have mention this possibility. It’s easy enough to find modern Jewish rabbis who condone homosexual conduct and homosexual marriage, but when they do, they say they are revising the traditional interpretation in light of modern understanding.

  65. Gary says:

    So Jay you totally ignore my central point about the comparison between how Christian conservatives deal with Paul on drunkenness and how you deal with Paul on homosexuality? Really?

    Paul never mentions celibacy in relation to homosexuality. The bare mention of homosexuality in 6:9 is not a specific connection with his treatment of celibacy in chapter 7. There is an undeniable contrast with conservatives today offering celibacy as the remedy for homosexuality and Paul’s failure to ever connect the two. Nothing in chapter 7 suggests that Paul had homosexuality in mind in his comments on celibacy.

    Of course there were men who were known in the ancient Greek world to prefer men sexually and at certain times of their lives exclusively. I’ve never disputed that. What cannot be shown from Paul’s day is any class of men who were exclusively homosexual throughout their lives to the extent that they never married women and fathered children. Only isolated examples of that are documented from the ancient world- certainly not enough to credibly claim that that was what Paul had in mind when he addresses homosexuality.

    I assume you would not refuse membership to “drunkards” today in your church or initiate church discipline against them. I assume you don’t emphasize in your teaching that Christian women have to be keepers at home. Why is it so important to you Jay to maintain this strong boundary against non-celibate gays? Why do we merit such special treatment?

  66. Gary says:

    AJ, I have never participated in a gay parade or in any public display of lewdness or vulgarity. I’ve never witnessed such either. Believe it or not I’m a Southern traditionalist- a very liberal one to be sure but one nevertheless. For the record have you ever gone to a gay parade and personally witnessed these extremes? I find it hard to believe that gays in the liberal state of Alabama are continually flaunting themselves in front of you. But it’s good to hear from you nevertheless and I hope you and your family are doing well. I have missed our exchanges on here.

  67. Buckeye Chuck says:

    Alabama John

    I understand your points and appreciate your honesty. We could all really use a little more honesty. It’s just that some of us who struggle with this particular sin are afraid you will at worst reject and judge us, or at best provide lip service of acceptance but offer nothing as far as real friendship.

    The gay Christians in your assembly are probably not taking part in the gay pride parade, nor are they wearing leather and hot pants to church or anywhere else. They are your friends’ teenagers, their grandchildren, your married nephews with kids, the deacon who takes care of the building and grounds whose wife just found his stash of porn on the internet.

    The problem is that the preconceived stereotypes are most likely a false view of the majority of gay Christians. Please understand that even though there are the Garys out there who advocate gay marriage, that he represents a minority of men and women from the Christian Biblical worldview.

    Are you willing to sit and have an open frank honest discussion with a gay Christian who seeks to follow Jesus and live a celibate and chaste life, and pray with them, cry with them, listen to them vent their pain, take them to a ball game, play cards, answer the phone when they are being tempted and when you just want to go to bed, watch a movie or just sit and share a meal…together?

  68. Larry Cheek says:

    Gary,
    You try to redirect the communication from your lifestyle to those of other sins that you identify, when the very same God also condemns those sins. The major difference in this discussion is that you would identify that you believe that all Christians sin in some way and you try to imply that the Church or Christians just turn their heads and allow those to continue to be a lifestyle unchecked or not contested. You have even attempted to draw our attention to the (good works) that you are performing, as if we or God should reward you by overlooking the sin in your lifestyle. God has promised us that there is not a human being that can perform enough good works to pay the price of sin or to gain the inheritance promised to the faithful. Notice, I said faithful, remember how God defined faithful as he interacted with mankind from the beginning. The total goal of the Law in the OT was to identify to men what God considered as sin. You have mention that OT Law as if it was all done away and that no part of it became incorporated into the New Covenant, but Christ stated that it was not to be done away but fulfilled.
    (Gal 3:24 NIV) So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.
    (Gal 3:25 NIV) Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.
    There is a direct correlation between some of the Laws and regulations imposed in the Law that have been totally incorporated into the identity of sins in the New Covenant. We did not start into this covenant with a lack of knowledge of what God considered as sin. Actually, there are some things that were mandated in the Law as sin that were not carried over into this covenant, but all of the items that we have been communicating about here, we have readily accepted as sin, even homosexuality, you have admitted that as you attempt to pit other identified sins together with it portraying if we don’t render the same action to them as you see being applied to your favorite, then your favorite should be exempted from criticism, and actually fully accepted as a faithful obedient Christian in full fellowship with all Christianity, and with Christ himself.
    As I read your comments of the (good) that you are accomplishing, I was reminded of Moses, reading of the volume of (good) that he accomplished, yet with one willful sin which he was later preventive of, was not allowed to enter the promised land. Would you believe that the work that you have acclaimed for yourself be capable of overcoming your forbidden lifestyle and securing the reward that you desire?

  69. Grace says:

    Whatch the movie, 12 Years a Slave that is based on a true story. The white owners of slaves and the plantations said they were teaching black people the word of God then they would beat them, sometimes to near death and said they were not sinning because the black man was their property. Black people were nothing more than an unintelligent animal to them, the black man’s emotions about the horrible beatings being done to them meant nothing, the slave owners line of thought was that the black man should’ve been grateful to them for teaching them the word of God.

    Watch it and see the cruelty people have done to other people as the slave owners used what so many like to say, “It is Scripture”. And this was the way of life for people for hundreds of years.

    After you watch it, then tell me how horrid Gary being a homosexual is. Is his love for the man he is with the worst thing people do? Can we really single homosexuals out knowing the butchery done to black people for hundreds of years by white people calling themselves Christians?

    Gary sure shows a lot more fruit in that he has been merciful to people who don’t like him, he cares for and helps homeless people who have nothing, and he volunteers to help poor people with an education.

    And as for the comment about the sin Moses did, and he did more than one willful sin in his life, but the sin that didn’t allow him to bring the people to enter the land shows that Moses wasn’t perfect either. Rather than speaking to the rock as God told him to, Moses angrily struck the rock with his rod misrepresenting God in front of the people. Numbers 20:10-12 “And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank. Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”

    Moses wasn’t allowed to bring the people to enter the land, he did get to see the land before they entered it. Numbers 27:12 “Now the LORD said to Moses: “Go up into this Mount Abarim, and see the land which I have given to the children of Israel.” Deuteronomy 3:25-27 “I pray, let me cross over and see the good land beyond the Jordan, those pleasant mountains, and Lebanon.’ “But the LORD was angry with me on your account, and would not listen to me. So the LORD said to me: ‘Enough of that! Speak no more to Me of this matter. Go up to the top of Pisgah, and lift your eyes toward the west, the north, the south, and the east; behold it with your eyes, for you shall not cross over this Jordan.”

    And though Moses didn’t get to bring the people to cross over and enter the land, God is always so gracious to His people, He did bring Moses to the land that he so desired to be in. Moses stood in Israel the promised land given to them.

    Matthew 17:1-3 “Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him.”

    Though we too are disobedient and rebellious, God has grace and mercy. And when we know how much grace has been given to us by God, we then want to extend that same grace to others.

  70. Tim Warner says:

    I became a Christian in the conventional Baptist manner by asking Jesus into my heart when I was 7 years old. For me, God’s presence and actions were very real. I couldn’t doubt Him. My parents would drop me off at church after they quit going… and take me to DVBS in the summer. But secretly, I knew something was very very wrong with me. You see, I loved other boys. Growing up in High School simply affirmed those feelings, and along with those feelings , those “crushes” on other guys, came intense shame, embarrassment and, worst of all, self-hatred. After High School, and in my early twenties, I played Christian music and gave testimonies in all kinds of settings, Young Life, Bible studies, churches, college campuses, a lot of places … I wanted to share The Truth and have others come to know Jesus, and come to know The Truth. But I couldn’t share my secret truth about my homosexual feelings which just wouldn’t go away. I thought it was those feelings which were eating me up inside, but it was the self-hatred which took an even deadlier toll. Years followed wherein I left the Church and lived a life of homosexual gratification. When I finally came to my senses, and to me knees, and back to the Lord, I entered a famous residential ex-gay ministry and lived in it for four years. I then transitioned into The Orthodox Church and eventually into monastic life. I had renounced and repented of my homosexuality as much as a man could do so. After deciding not to become a monk, I left monastic life, and found a job within the ex-gay ministry in which I had participated years before. The ministry was seriously struggling in administration and I left with disappointment. I need to say that throughout all those years of living in repentance, I would go through periods of total non-sexual or a- sexual feelings. I also would suffer through deep attractions and desires for other guys, not just physically but emotionally. I’d confess it to my priests or to the heiromonk of the monastery. But the feelings didn’t go away, despite all efforts. I had made my commitment to celibacy, so I wasn’t worried about that.But I was worried about the feelings, and having to once again, maintain the secrecy, the veil over my inner self which kept out the Christians in my life. Back into the world, I had lost the routines of life which kept me from being tempted. And of course, the Church hadn’t really changed in its misunderstanding and condemnation of homosexual men and women. Having returned to the evangelical, fundamental church, I encountered the same old fears and judgements of the many years ago, and I entered back into that “closet” of secrecy, and self condemnation. The effort to exist within the fellowship of other Christians became too tiring, too full of deep fatigue, and I have stopped going to church, stopped my deeply disciplined walk of faith. I still believe, I still pray, and I still read the Bible. I don’t do any of those things as much as I once did. And I still carry within myself homosexual feelings and desires. And I am still live out my commitment to celibacy. I am very disappointed in the Church for seemingly not to have made a place for me without deep judgment and prejudice so that I could participate as I need. And there is no further place of repentance or “change” that I can see.

    So I read these discussions and try to participate, honestly, truthfully, but nothing seems to change. The defense continues, the patronizing continues, the judgment continues. It’s frustrating.

  71. Gary says:

    Jay, I don’t recall where I first read about the concensus regarding Leviticus 18:22 extending only to anal intercourse although the Wikipedia article on Judaism and Homosexuality touches on it. What I read did not claim that there was a positive statement so limiting the application of Leviticus 18:22. Rather the writer made that observation based on the absence of any concensus regarding Leviticus 18:22 being the basis for forbidding other forms of homosexual expression such as fellatio. Are you aware of instances in the Talmud of a connection between Leviticus 18:22 and fellatio or homosexual frottage and intercrural intercourse? The Jewish obsession with forbidding the “spilling of seed” including masturbation was historically very strong and continues today among Orthodox Jews. Even heterosexual foreplay is cautioned to not accidentally cause a discharge of semen.

  72. Gary says:

    Larry, I’m not sure you understand that I don’t believe that I am now sinning sexually. I was sinning when I was promiscuous but I am no longer promiscuous. I am legally married to a wonderful husband and am very happy to be monogamous once again. I know you and other conservatives don’t recognize my marriage but what’s new? CoC conservatives in the memory of many of us who aren’t that old accused multitudes of legally married heterosexuals of living in adultery in marriages God did not recognize. Now it’s deja vu all over again.

    I don’t see how any rational observer could fail to see how conservatives cherry pick the Law of Moses for what suits their agenda and ignore the rest. RJ, for example, has no problem explaining away all the abominations except, of course, Leviticus 18:22. No matter what that one must stand.

    I only mentioned my good works when my Christianity was denied. According to James our good works are the evidence of our faith. I actively try to follow Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 25. It is a cornerstone of my faith. I find the lack of emphasis on Matthew 25 among conservatives conspicuous.

    Whatever God does with me will be both just and merciful. I am at peace with meeting my maker as a gay man who found a suitable and appropriate life companion. God said that it is not good for us to be alone and I take him at his word on that. But if I’m wrong and God sees fit to punish me or annihilate my existence I will still be thankful for all the good God has allowed me to experience in my life.

  73. Buckeye Chuck says:

    Tim

    Thank you for a very powerful testimony of faith. If we review the parable of the Prodigal Son from Luke 15, your story sounds remarkably similar. Praise God, your father has welcomed you back!

    For those of us who have returned to the father, we experience His forgiveness and restoration. However, that older brother… not so much. The church represents the older brother in this illustration who prefer to place the gay Christian who seeks the father’s grace through celibacy into a second-class status within the church. The challenge to those in this thread is to instead join the prodigal son at the party along with the father, lift him up and encourage him in his faith. Not from afar, but being involved in his daily walk through life.

  74. R.J. says:

    I agree 100% Buckeye and commend you for your desicion. I think some who struggle with SSA and sex identity actually have a hormonal disorder(though not genetic) somewhere in the brain and thus it would be unfair to lump them in with the rest who choose to practice these lifestyles. There’s even a mental illness in the DMV called “Orientation dystonic Disorder”.

    Now I’m not saying this justifies acting out these thoughts rebelliously. But the church needs to recognise this problem and provide love and support to these genuinely struggling souls.

  75. Alabama John says:

    Don’t see the homosexuals parading around here like is seen on TV.
    Have known several, some that have come out and several that have not but by listening to them talk one way when with those of us straight and then change their way of speaking when around others sorta lets you see a different person.
    Pray with them and would do as much for them as would for an alcoholic or any sick person or any with an addiction.
    The flaunting is what I don’t like and doing that hurts them instead of helping.

  76. Alabama John says:

    Gary,
    I’m curious, you wrote you have a husband, how do ya’ll decide who is the wife and who is the husband and what house keeping duties if any are required differently for each?
    I’m looking for anything different from a normal man husband and woman wife duties.

  77. Gary says:

    Jay, it’s interesting that you mention the Sacred Band of Thebes. Historians actually disagree today about the historicity of homosexuality being their organizing principle (150 pairs of lovers). But some pro-gay scholars do believe it was as Plato mentioned. As it turned out of course the Band all died in battle. Is it your contention, however, that had they lived they would not have married women and fathered children? In other words do you think that their intention was to live out their lives exclusively as homosexuals? This may be why you and I seem to be talking past each other at times. I’m well aware of how so many Greeks celebrated homosexuality and even at times almost made a cult of it. But I don’t believe that any significant number of Greek men were exclusively homosexual throughout their lives. This is important I believe because I don’t see any contextual basis in the first century that would allow 1 Corinthians 6:9 to be applied to the practice of homosexuality today in the Western world.

  78. Monty says:

    IMO it is one thing to say that I struggle with something, be it booze, drugs. overeating, gambling, homosexuality, lust, pornography, spending issues, etc. and it is a completely different thing to say I get drunk and it’s OK for me to do so. I am addicted to gambling, I don’t know why I am but I’ll tell you this, I have embraced it. I have embraced my alcoholism – I didn’t ask for it, but I am an alcoholic and I have accepted it as who I am. Or, I have this insatiable need(I can’t explain why) to spend and acquire things that I can’t afford, and I am good with it. Or, for some rogue male to say that I have a need, an unexplainable desire to have sex with as many women as I can, as often as I can, it’s what makes me feel whole. It’s my identity and I have embraced it. These people feel no shame, no remorse. No guilt. They have forgotten how to blush. Shame and guilt can be good, certainly better than a conscience seared as with a hot iron.

    Every day married Christian heterosexual men and women and unmarried Christian men and women struggle to keep themselves pure, faithful to their marriage partners(if they’re married)and faithful to their God if single. By trusting in God and believing HIs ways are higher than our ways, by following the teachings of the scripture and through the leading of the Holy Spirit they remain pure and free from adultery and fornication. For some Christians(far too many) they don’t keep those vows. They don’t remain pure. Everyone struggles with something. God knows this. Gary speaks as if same sex attraction is a stronger desire than opposite sex attraction. That is not true. Some people’s faith is greater than others. Embracing our lusts is not the answer to the problem. It never has been and it never will be. Will it bring short term gratification? Sure! Is it fun and exciting? Sure! However, If any man be in Christ he is a new creature. You have been set free from bondage to sin. We may sin and we do. But we have one in us who is greater than He who is in the world. We don’t have to be in bondage any longer. It’s a choice we didn’t have before Christ.

    Two heterosexuals shacking up in a committed relationship may seem more wholesome than some individual who hops from person to person, but neither is right. Both are wrong in God’s eyes.

  79. Dwight says:

    This thread leaves no doubt that we can reason ourselves from sin or from the guilt and burden of sin as plainly stated by making a distinction between them and us, but they are us. The nations in the OT didn’t practice homosexuality the same as the Romans did, but both were condemned because they were both sexually immoral. It is argued that the homosexuality condemned was without love or was idolotrous in nature, but the Jews did not have it at all and condemned it in any form. This thread is the essence of how self-justification works. Many who propose homosexuality as fine would be against bestiality and yet they either stand together or fall together in sin as they were listed together as sin. Who here is is fine with murder and yet murder is listed with sexual sins in Rom.1, as well as envy, covetousness, etc. There are many things just as sinful as homosexuality, but that doesn’t give allowance to to the other things or homosexuality. It seems as though we have left God out of the discussion here and it is all about what we want on our terms.

  80. Gary says:

    AJ we use a Ouija board. You might want to try it. Let us know how it works out.

  81. Gary says:

    Monty and Dwight, I am thankful for your sakes that you have not had to deal with homosexuality and so have the luxury of being simplistic about it. I once believed as you. From puberty until I was 52 I did everything “right” just like you recommend. I even avoided computers because I knew the temptations they would bring. I prayed fervently. I confided in two close Christian friends who kept me accountable. I did everything I knew to stay on the traditionally safe path. The result? I ended up with a strong death wish with depression so bad I considered electric shock therapy. Now I still face many challenges but I very much want to live and my depression is under control. Neither of you knows what you would do if you had been in my situation. You might think that you know but you really don’t. No offense but neither of you has a clue. The best you could do is to suspend judgment and leave it in God’s hands and give thanks everyday that homosexuality is only a theoretical concern for you.

  82. Buckeye Chuck says:

    Having beat this topic into oblivion and frankly without much honest, positive dialogue, I’ll end my participation here. I know where Jay stands on the Side A position which is represented here by Gary. I do request that Jay would at some point, perhaps in another post, discuss the church’s response to the Side B gay Christian or otherwise determine whether only a Side X approach of Reparative Therapy and ex-gay ministries that require a complete change to a heterosexual orientation and lifestyle is the acceptable and correct pathway to healing for the homosexual who seeks God’s grace.

    Jay, how do we educate the church to move past their flawed Scriptural applications, judgmental and homophobic attitudes and admonish the church to begin to minister to homosexuals as Jesus would surely require of his body?

  83. Alabama John says:

    Gary,
    I was serious, the bible is clear on many of the duties of both the husband and the wife, do ya’ll follow that in marriage gender designations? Or, are both called a husband since both are male?
    Is this designation reversed in lesbians and both called wives?

    As a person that has spent a lifetime in the construction business, there is no greater gambler, we all have some vices, some more obvious and some never thought of as one.

  84. Gary says:

    AJ after the Ouija board broke we just started flipping a coin every morning. Didn’t your mother teach you not to ask personal questions?

  85. Monty says:

    Gary,
    I’m sorry if I sounded condescending, I sincerely didn’t mean to, I haven’t walked in your shoes, and I do not understand what you have been through. I have had to struggle with things that aren’t right, since I was young. As have a myriad of others, which was my main point. I’m sure it’s not easy for alcoholics to refuse to drink, or for a crack addict to stop doing crack. Maybe your struggles are stronger than those, of those people, I honestly don’t know. I can’t relate to a person on crack. I feel for them and I realize we all struggle with something. But the point is Jesus can walk us through the toughest of times, not that we’ll be perfect, not that it won’t be difficult, not that it’s easy. But either it can be done by faith or the whole teachings about God changing us is just a big ole lie. And it’s not.

    .

  86. Gary says:

    Monty I do appreciate your sincere expression of Christian love. But I really do believe that I am now living a life that is right in God’s eyes. I know that may be hard to believe but I honestly have a clear conscience before God. In fact my husband is now such a wonderful part of my life that I believe God has put us in each other’s lives. I experience him as a blessing in my life so I thank God for him. I know this is a difficult subject for all of us to work through. It certainly has been for me and it took me years. Even when I believed as you do it did not feel right in my heart. I once taught a lesson on homosexuality to a church taking much the same approach as you. At that time I had never acted on my homosexuality. But afterwards something inside me did not feel right at all about what I had taught. That was in the 90’s and I did not change my mind until many years later but I did resolve then to say no more publicly about homosexuality until my heart and my mind could be reconciled on this subject.

    What has resonated with me in recent years is what I read in the opening chapters of Genesis. The first lesson we learn about humankind is that we are made in God’s image. The second lesson is that God has created us in such a way that it is not good for us to be alone. Any teaching that contradicts that foundation is fatally flawed. Everything else must be in line with these two principles. Then when God decides to create a help or companion for Adam God specifies that that companion must be suitable or appropriate for him. For Adam of course that life companion was Eve. Since God did not create us to be alone I believe God wants everyone of us to have such a suitable companion or help. For a gay person like me that is necessarily another man. This may sound preposterous to you but it is as clear as day to me.

  87. Dwight says:

    Gary, I think you don’t understand me. I have had to deal with homosexuality as I had at one point thought of going down that road. Also I had a brother-in-law who did, but didn’t stay on that road, but later died of AIDS seven years later after having two children. I have had friends that were homosexuals. You see passion and desires are not foreign to most people, but it is how you deal with them and where you focus yourself. We make the decisions. Paul was about self-control and fighting against his fleshly self in favor of God. If we are to take Paul seriously, “There is nothing we cannot do if we have Christ.” I still to this day struggle with sexual impulses and find myself drawn to the internet in search of porn, but I resist and when I think of spiritual things I think of fleshly things less. Don’t assume that all of the people that are telling you things haven’t struggled themselves in those same areas. We may not be in the same boat together, but we are on the same ocean being tossed about and we have to anchor ourselves in God/truth/love or we will be dashed on the rocks.

  88. Gary says:

    Dwight I apologize for not understanding where you were coming from. I respect your decision. If I had continued alone in life I’m not sure I would even still be alive but I am sure that I would not want to live. No amount of Christian support can compensate for being alone in my experience. I went through hell when I wanted to die and I will never return to that state if I can help it. Plus as I said in my comment to Monty I honestly don’t believe God expects or wants me to be alone. Thank you however for clarifying your perspective.

  89. Chuck said, “Jay, how do we educate the church to move past their flawed Scriptural applications, judgmental and homophobic attitudes and admonish the church to begin to minister to homosexuals as Jesus would surely require of his body?”

    A better question would be, “How do we educate certain brothers that we can tell the difference between being lectured, judged, commanded and sneered at– and being asked a question?”

  90. Gary says:

    Charles, your anger issues are showing again. Psychotherapy is a wonderful thing. I go regularly so I know.

  91. Chris says:

    Dwight commented: “There are many things just as sinful as homosexuality, but that doesn’t give allowance to to the other things or homosexuality. It seems as though we have left God out of the discussion here and it is all about what we want on our terms.”

    This is the crux of the matter. It’s all about the homosexuals — and God be damned.

    Gary retorted, “Charles, your anger issues are showing again. Psychotherapy is a wonderful thing. I go regularly so I know”

    Your snide remarks are juvenile and childish, Gary. Whether Charles has “anger issuses” or not doesn’t properly answer his question, does it?

  92. Larry Cheek says:

    Gary,
    Are these Psychotherapists committed to God’s instructions for life? Are they guiding you in paths that follow the examples of Christ’s life? As I read of the life of the early Christians and their struggles to live a life of worshipping God, it appears that the powers to be hated them because of their non-conformance to the ideals of their world. Because, their very lifestyle portrayed Christ’s nature to the unbelievers. The powers hated them to the extent that they attempted to eradicate Christians from the earth. IMO there is nothing about living our lives here (whether in bondage, slavery, depression, or any cruel treatment) that could compare to the treatment that was administered to many early Christians, who endured dire punishments culminating in their giving their lives to stand firm in their commitments to God. Read some of the stories about the horrendous treatment these Christians endured. After doing that imagine that those faithful individuals would have obtained the responsibility to judge (our or your lives), remember Christians will judge Angels. Would you really believe that those Christians would see your lifestyle as a representation of how Jesus would have lived on earth? Or do you believe that non-believers on earth see that your lifestyle is a reflection of Christ’s. Do you believe that Christ would live the lifestyle that you have chosen?
    Ah, now go ahead and attempt to compare your situation to other men living in this world, just as you have previously done. Don’t you understand that the men of this world (even Christians) are not the standard by which God expects us to conform.

    God has never given you or me the right to expect our emotions, feelings, health or desires to be the determining factor in accountability to obey His instructions. When we use these things to justify our actions, we become our own idol. We place ourselves above God.

  93. Gary says:

    Larry, my therapist is a staunch Lutheran. But I think you misunderstand the nature of psychotherapy. Therapists do not give advice or try to get a client to go in a certain direction. Lots of folks will gladly give us advice for free. Therapists help us to explore our life’s issues and find psychologically healthy ways of addressing those issues and moving forward in our lives instead continually sabotaging ourselves with self-defeating ways of thinking and behaving. Any therapist who would try to push their agenda and preferences onto their clients is a fraud- including any Christian therapists who would push a Christian agenda. Therapists are not pastors or evangelists. My therapist never expressed any opinion, explicitly or implicitly, about my living openly as a gay man or being in a committed relationship with the man who is now my husband. That was my decision. Rather he helps me deal with issues related to my life long depression and anxiety. Just as it doesn’t matter whether our surgeon is a Christian neither should it matter really whether our therapist is a Christian. The only advantage for us of a Christian therapist is that we may feel more comfortable with a fellow Christian and more readily establish a positive rapport which is important for the success of psychotherapy.

  94. Gary says:

    By the way I once worked in a psychiatric hospital and witnessed many psychiatrists interact with their patients. In that hospital the one who wore the Christian label was one of the worst ones there. I actually saw him stand by once while one of his staff felt an unconscious woman’s breasts during an ECT treatment. Today I would report him. At that time I was too young to know what to do. He was the psychiatrist in Nashville to whom many CoC and Evangelical ministers referred their patients. The psychiatrist there who seemed to care the most about his patients was Jewish.

  95. Alabama John says:

    Gary, I don’t see how you can get more personal than what you are freely posting on here about yourself.
    Keep seeing the psychologist!

  96. R.J. says:

    Gary,

    In all due respect, if you’re homosexual tendencies stem from a mental illness, that’s nothing to be ashamed of(any more than have ill tendencies caused by clinical depression or schizophrenia). There’s always medication, herbs, and Christian Counseling to treat this condition.

    But if it’s purely a choice then t be frank, your living contrary to God and nature.

  97. Grace says:

    The church for years has abused their discipline, pretty much saying to people no sinners are allowed in the church. The church should follow that God says to gently and lovingly discipline people. And the church should not put aside that God says that we are to give grace to each other, not sometime, but always.

    God doesn’t take sin lightly. God also doesn’t take lightly when people are unforgiving and unmerciful.

    2 Corinthians 2:5-11 But if anyone has caused grief, he has not grieved me, but all of you to some extent—not to be too severe. This punishment which was inflicted by the majority is sufficient for such a man, so that, on the contrary, you ought rather to forgive and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one be swallowed up with too much sorrow. Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him. For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things. Now whom you forgive anything, I also forgive. For if indeed I have forgiven anything, I have forgiven that one for your sakes in the presence of Christ, lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.

    Jesus says we are to forgive.

    Luke 6:37 Do not judge others, and God will not judge you; do not condemn others, and God will not condemn you; forgive others, and God will forgive you.

    He doesn’t quit what He is doing in a person’s life, we’d all be without hope if He did!

    Gary tried to meet the standard the church put on him. Gary became depressed and wanted to die. Gary has not reached the standard of perfection people think he should be at. That doesn’t make him any less a Christian than you or I. We all are at different points in our walk with the Lord.

    When we are critical and condemning of a person, that’s how the accuser wants us to be. Having the heart of God we have His compassion on others.

    James 2:13 Anyone who shows no loving-kindness will have no loving-kindness shown to him when he is told he is guilty. But if you show loving-kindness, God will show loving-kindness to you when you are told you are guilty.

    I need God’s grace everyday.

    Statistics show that churches are responsible for about 496 youth gay suicides per year.

    Christians could and should be the first ones to reach out to the ostracized and the bullied, rather than being a bigger bully to them in our communities.

    The emphasis isn’t just about gay suicide but is on gay teen suicides. Anytime a young person takes his or her own life it is horrific and unacceptable. Especially since churches know these suicides among gay teens are happening yet they turn a blind eye to it.

    Religious leaders need to face the damaging effects of their rigid behavior toward gay people.

    Being Jesus with skin on, that’s how these senseless suicides can be prevented. May God use us to love them not hurt them.

    Quotation by a concerned mother: “My child is of sacred worth. Both my children – one lesbian, one straight — are of sacred worth. I will faithfully work until my church truly reflects God’s love for both.”

  98. Grace says:

    It is hard to post on here sometimes. I have tried to put up a post twice and it still isn’t showing. Maybe it’ll show up on here when Jay sees it. Hopefully, since they both are the same comment Jay will just post one of them so it’s not on here twice.

  99. Gary says:

    AJ I’m sorry if anything I’ve said has embarrassed you. I know what delicate creatures you Marines are. Was there a swear jar in your barracks?

  100. Gary says:

    RJ, pray tell what herbs do you recommend for homosexuality?

  101. Alabama John says:

    LOL !!!

  102. IDH says:

    Jay said “It is my view that the homosexual Christian must be celibate. The same is true of the unmarried heterosexual Christian.”

    Apologies if this is an inappropriate question (feel free to delete if so), but why would God create someone with certain desires only to be displeased when they acted on those desires?

  103. Dwight says:

    I don’t know bu tI have had a desire to kill my brother at times and I think we have justified my doing so. If you are raised in a society where murder is normal, then why is it sinning? Adam and Eve acted on their passions in lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and pride of life and yet for some reason God disapproved. Are we arguing that God is wrong for making lines in the sand where some passions are good and some bad, as if they shold all be acted on if the person has it? It sounds like it. What are we thinking? Paul had passion and used that passion…to kill Christians, but I guess this wasn’t as wrong as it sounds as long as it was done for the right percieved reason.

  104. Alabama John says:

    Because God cannot judge how you handled temptation if you were never tempted.

    With so many things today that are not of a religious nature, you never know the man until you see him in dire circumstances or danger and see how he handles it. Same goes with great success, religious prominence and many other test.

    Our whole life is a test!!!

  105. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    IDH asked,

    why would God create someone with certain desires only to be displeased when they acted on those desires?

    I know someone born a sociopath. He has no conscience. Should I blame God? Is it a good thing that he feels no guilt when he breaks the law? Sells drugs? Steals? Being born the way he was doesn’t make the way he is good.

    I was born with a defective L5/S1 joint and genetic arthritis. Should I blame God? Or should I declare my pain good because I was born with it?

    Should we believe that the fact that someone is born a certain way ipso facto makes that thing good? Given how much my back and fingers hurt as I type this, I have a lot of trouble with that theory.

    We live in a fallen world. We are all broken — from the womb. And we should thank God that he gave his Son so that the brokenness can be healed — but brokenness is to be healed by the power of Jesus’ death, not denied.

    We are not born good. We are born broken. Goodness comes from God by the power of Jesus’ death and won’t be fully realized until the new heavens and the new earth. And, personally, I’m pretty excited about getting a new body. My sociopath friend, who is trying to do right despite having no conscience, is looking forward to an age without temptation. He won’t be alone.

  106. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Grace,

    I have very little control over the spam filter. None, actually. Long posts will get trapped, as will posts with multiple links. And others get trapped for reasons I don’t understand. But there’s no need to double post. When I have time, I’ll fish the posts out.

  107. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Buckeye Chuck,

    As the recent translations take pains to make clear, the sin is in the homosexual sexual activity, not being homosexual or having same-sex attraction. Those Christians who believe otherwise need to spend more time in the scriptures and prayer. There is simply no biblical basis for insisting that one must have heterosexual urges to be saved. In fact, in 1 Cor 7, Paul speaks of the preferability of being single to being married because it allows him to be concerned entirely with the Lord and not a wife.

    How do we get past ignorance? By teaching — and most especially by urging greater understanding of the Spirit. It’s my experience that those who admit the work of the Spirit are far more likely to be transformed by the Spirit. There are notable exceptions, but awareness and submission to the Spirit is the major tipping point for many Christians (Post coming soon.) The doctrine and actual presence of the Spirit brings humility — and an openness to a better way of seeing things, in part because to grasp the Spirit you have to give up the lie that it’s all up to you. The Helper helps.

  108. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Gary wrote,

    But I don’t believe that any significant number of Greek men were exclusively homosexual throughout their lives.

    It’s hard to fathom a reason that there’d be fewer true homosexuals in the First Century than today. To the extent it’s genetic, then why would the rate of those genes appearing be any less back then? To the extent it’s environmental, you’d think the Greek culture would incline more toward homosexuality than contemporary American culture.

    In short, there were surely at least as many truly gay men in the First Century, as a percentage of the population, as there are today. And just as is true today, some of those men lived as heterosexuals in disguise, but some lived entirely as homosexuals — because the culture accepted such a lifestyle, with some writers extoling homosexuality as preferable to heterosexuality because the love was not tainted with children and family.

    The ancient writers are clearly aware that there were men who preferred men (or boys) and men who had sex with other men (or boys) but were ultimately straight.

    Moreover, the Romans — and remember that Corinth was Roman colony, founded by Rome on the site of Grecian city they’d destroyed decades before — practiced gay marriage. Indeed, several emperors went through wedding ceremonies with other men, sometimes as the groom and sometimes as the bride.

    And so the only distinction between the Greco-Roman world of Paul and today’s world that I can find is that homosexuality was far more acceptable in Paul’s day than it is today. And yet, very counter to the culture, Paul condemned it and required converts to leave it behind.

    Again, I wouldn’t care if someone were to prove me wrong, but I’m just not seeing a Greek world in which all evident homosexuality was either abusive or else idolatrous. That case has not been made that I’ve seen.

  109. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Gary,

    Here’s the material from the Wikipedia article you mention —

    The Jewish Oral Law states that capital punishment would only be applicable if two men were caught in the act of anal sex, if there were two witnesses to the act, if the two witnesses warned the men involved that they committed a capital offense, and the two men — or the willing party, in case of rape — subsequently acknowledged the warning but continued to engage in the prohibited act anyway. In fact, there is no account of capital punishment, in regards to this law, in Jewish history.

    The same rabbinic attitude applied to a women caught in adultery. She had to be caught in the literal act and then warned by a reading of the applicable Torah passage. The rabbis just didn’t have the heart to stone men or women over sexual sins.

    That doesn’t mean they approved of homosexual activity other than anal sex, no more than they approved of adultery. They just weren’t willing to kill someone for the sin if they could find any excuse for it. But both were still condemned as sinful.

    The Jewish concern with seminal discharges is from —

    (Lev 15:16–18 ESV) 16 “If a man has an emission of semen, he shall bathe his whole body in water and be unclean until the evening. 17 And every garment and every skin on which the semen comes shall be washed with water and be unclean until the evening. 18 If a man lies with a woman and has an emission of semen, both of them shall bathe themselves in water and be unclean until the evening.

    It was not a sin but a cause of ceremonial uncleanness — similar to a woman menstruating or touching a corpse. To avoid the inconvenience of becoming unclean (and having to explain it to friends, I suppose), I’m sure the Jews were careful to engage exclusively in vaginal sex. And I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that rabbis had made very detailed rules on the subject — but it was about uncleanness, not sin.

    The sin of Onan, spilling his seed, contrary to Catholic teaching, is in failing to honor his obligation to his sister-in-law who lost her husband. Gen 38:9.

  110. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Gary wrote,

    So Jay you totally ignore my central point about the comparison between how Christian conservatives deal with Paul on drunkenness and how you deal with Paul on homosexuality? Really?

    I just don’t see the point. I have a good friend who died last year. He spent most of his life as an alcoholic, and yet he was a Christian and a deacon. He never defeated the temptation, but late in life, he did overcome the sin. I have nothing but admiration for him and his memory.

    My congregation has gay members. To my knowledge, they all struggle with the temptation. Some sometimes lapse, I’m sure. But they continue to try to follow Jesus as they believe they must. And I have nothing but admiration for them and their struggles.

    We also have unmarried adult members. They struggle with the temptation toward sexual sin, and some sometimes lapse. But they continue to try to follow Jesus as they believe they must. And I have nothing but admiration for them and their struggles.

    And not a one is treated as second class or inferior. None is cross-examined each Sunday. We don’t look the other way. The sin is real and wrong — and forgiven.

    The beauty of a congregation that understands grace is that we can be honest about being sinners — but sinners trying to get over our brokenness by the power of God’s Spirit. And we can support each other.

    We are very far from perfect, but given the number of people at church who admit their temptations and struggles and seek help from friends at church, there is something right happening.

    And so I have no idea how drunkenness among Christians in the church changes how I should feel about gay men and women Christians. We all struggle with sin, and we’re all trying to do better.

  111. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay did not address the concept of there being any member of the congregation who had not just slipped into their former life styles which they were recognizing as sinful, but willfully chosen to make public their rejection of living that lifestyle was sin and flaunting it before the congregation,
    defying the congregation to not follow the instructions given by Paul to the Corinthians to restore a sinner back into a relationship which was acceptable to Christ and the congregation.
    Yes, it would also be error for the congregation to not apply the same corrective actions to Christians attempting to apply the same terminology as described above to sins of a different nature which they are involved.
    IMO, if a church allowed someone living in the description above to continue as a Christian member in good standing without disciplining him, the church would be very likely to be addressed by Christ in a similar manner to some of the Churches in the Book of Revelation.
    I do recognize that Gary does not believe that his uniquely designed situation is sin. But, I am not convinced by his arguments that there is an exemption that he sees.

  112. Gary says:

    Larry, it never occurred to me that my arguments would be persuasive to you. I don’t ask anyone to endorse me or my acting on my homosexuality in a committed loving marriage. What I appreciate is kindness and a suspension of judgment, leaving it in God’s hands.

  113. Gary says:

    Jay, despite everything my point stands about homosexuality in the Hellenistic world. There was no class (significant numbers) of homosexual men who were exclusively gay throughout their lives to the point of never marrying a woman and producing children. If you find specific evidence for such please present it. Of course there were likely as many homosexuals per capita in the Hellenistic world as there are today. I’ve never suggested otherwise. But even men who greatly preferred homosexuality to heterosexuality were still expected to marry a woman and have children in the first century world. In fact in some areas of ancient Greece men who failed to marry a woman by a certain age were fined or were subject to an additional tax. It comes down to this: homosexuality in the Hellenistic world was allowed before heterosexual marriage and along with heterosexual marriage but not in place of heterosexual marriage. This is plainly not the situation we have today of an entire segment of our population (and a growing segment) entering into lifelong homosexual relationships and marriages with no intention of ever being with a member of the opposite sex sexually. A few isolated examples of lifelong exclusive committed homosexual relationships can be documented from the ancient world but certainly not enough to credibly claim that Paul had them in mind in any of his writings. There simply is no contextual basis to apply Paul’s writings on homosexuality to gay marriages and partnerships today. Hellenistic homosexuality was characterized by prostitution, promiscuity, pederasty and coercion (the prevalence of slaveowners in effect raping their slaves). Of course Paul spoke out against homosexuality! Who wouldn’t in that context? It is no mystery as to why Paul spoke out so strongly against homosexuality in the Hellenistic world. The only mystery is how the Hellenistic context for homosexuality could possibly be used to condemn gay couples today.

  114. Gary says:

    Jay you have missed my point entirely about drunkenness. My point is not about those who are struggling with it. My point is about those who have stopped struggling with it. Would you initiate church discipline against them as I assume you would against two men or two women in your church who married each other? If you wouldn’t, why not.

    You also ignore my primary point that the church basically since WW2 no longer views “drunkards” as the church did for centuries before. We now leave alcoholism as a matter between the alcoholic Christian, his family and his God. We no longer view the drinking of an alcoholic as a basis for church discipline. Upon what basis is a non-celibate homosexual treated otherwise?

  115. Gary says:

    Jay, we actually do have a specific description in Scripture of the class of homosexuals Paul had in mind when he condemned them. It is laid out very clearly in Romans 1:28-31. I’ve never met any gay folks today who remotely resemble the ones Paul describes. Have you? I do tend to agree with you and N.T. Wright that Paul in these verses is describing a hypothetical composite group of the worst sinners he could imagine and describe. But that only strengthens my contention. The homosexuals Paul had in mind in all his references to them were the very worst people anyone could imagine who would be corrosive to any community. The gay folks in America today largely lead respectable, upright and productive lives and are assets to the communities we live in. Our large cities for example can’t get enough gays. We revitalize neighborhooods and, here in Baltimore, are frequently civic leaders trying to improve the lot of the many poor people living here. For example, the Director of the commuity outreach center where I assist with teaching GED classes is a former Mennonite dairy farmer who came out as a gay man and moved to Baltimore City to help the poor. Many of our cities would be devestated if they suddenly lost their gay communities. Now compare again American gays to Romans 1:28-31. Can you seriously say that we are the kind of homosexuals Paul was railing against in Romans 1?

  116. At some point, this became not about following Jesus but all about defending one’s right to do as he sees fit without the church taking exception to it. Defense lawyers don’t have the interest of the law or society at heart, but the interest of preventing their client from suffering any consequences, whether or not a crime was committed. In pursuit of this goal, just about any method is appropriate: challenging the character of the jury, blaming others, blaming the law, blaming our genes, accusing all and sundry of prejudice. Forget “I didn’t do it”. We have now come to “I did it because I couldn’t help it”, “I did it because I am supposed to do it”, “You do it too”, “Lots of people do it”, “There’s nothing really wrong with it”, “You are just mean”, “You just don’t like me”, “Being a bigot is worse”, ad infinitum, ad nauseum. “I am not going to stop doing this. Now that this is settled, we should talk about making you stop criticizing me.”

  117. Gary says:

    Verily Charles you are a paragon of objectivity. Your ability to take intelligent, well reasoned arguments and reduce them to caricatures is uncanny.

  118. Dwight says:

    Gary, So your argument is that adultury for adultery sake is wrong, but adultury for love places it within a different class and therefore makes it right or not condemned. Or maybe murder as long as it was done with love as the motivation was not the murder that Jesus and the apostles were referring to. In reality murder, lying, homosexuality and adultery were the end results actions and were condemned no matter what inspired them and are often listed together with lying, strife, etc. The apostles never dissected any of the sins into sins that were sins and then there were exceptions within those sins. Homosexuality was an act and not considered a state of being, so this means that no matter why you commited homosexuality it was a sin in action, wheter out of hate or love or desire or anger. But in the end is all our desire. Desires can be controlled as Paul constantly points out and his goal was self-control over his desires so that the final destination would be God’s will and not his own. We can spin this every way we want to but it all comes down to what are we willing to give up for God and in bending our will to God’s desire.

  119. Gary says:

    No Dwight what it all comes down to is how much am I willing to give to please conservative Christians with whom I strongly disagree. A few decades ago there were actually men and women in heterosexual marriages who divorced in order to be in fellowship with conservative Churches of Christ who told them that they were living in adultery. I see the current conservatism regarding homosexuality as just more of the same.

  120. IDH says:

    Dwight said “Are we arguing that God is wrong for making lines in the sand where some passions are good and some bad, as if they shold all be acted on if the person has it? It sounds like it.”

    I’m not arguing for anything, I’m asking a question. My question is why would a creator create a person with passions and be angry that the creation acts upon these passions?

    Alabama John said “Because God cannot judge how you handled temptation if you were never tempted.” And “Our whole life is a test!!!”

    This answer seems to paint God as non-omniscient (unable to know “the” future) as well as not particularly caring, reasonable, or loving. I have no reason to believe that this life is any sort of test, but I greatly appreciate the direct answer.

    Jay Guin said “I know someone born a sociopath. He has no conscience. Should I blame God? Is it a good thing that he feels no guilt when he breaks the law? Sells drugs? Steals? Being born the way he was doesn’t make the way he is good.”

    Why wouldn’t you assign to God the responsibility for your sociopathic friend and your skeletal maladies? If you believe that God exists and directly authored this reality with these specific features, why wouldn’t you assign “blame” for these things on God? If you’re going to try to blame the negatives on sin, then who decided that all of these specific unpleasant aspects of life would be the result of an offense? In other words, who authored the specifics of the curse to include sociopathy, arthritis, and cancer? In the Christian worldview, if God is not the author of these maladies then who is?

    “Should we believe that the fact that someone is born a certain way ipso facto makes that thing good? Given how much my back and fingers hurt as I type this, I have a lot of trouble with that theory.”

    As well you should! Is your physical pain not the will of God? Is the homosexual’s desires not also the express will of God?

  121. IDH says:

    Charles Mclean said “At some point, this became not about following Jesus but all about defending one’s right to do as he sees fit without the church taking exception to it.”

    So clamor all of the various arguing fragments of Christianity.

    AKA

    At this point you’re not interested in following Jesus, you just have ears that itch for the doctrines of men and want to justify your ways.

    “Following Jesus” means many things to many people. Someone like Gary truly believes that he is doing the will of God by fighting for the inclusion of certain forms of homosexuality. Playing the “You’re just doing what you want to do…” game is nothing but a pointless form of self-comfort.

  122. Alabama John says:

    IDH,
    God has the ability to know everything in advance but doesn’t exercise that many times and we see that in action in many examples. Otherwise why would God ever be disappointed as stated He was in the bible.
    God allowed and allows temptations by the devil to men and even his own son. Could they have accepted the bad? Absolutely! I think so or we would be simply robots.

    There would be no need for a judgment day if all was preassigned and the end result already known. Why would we pray? Prayer has changed Gods mind many times.

    Remember the first question asked of a human by God was God asking Adan and Eve and that goes way back.

  123. Alabama John says:

    Old song:
    I like the part where he told about a mansion he would give, but the sweetest words he ever said was ‘I forgive”.

    Old songs we have sung for years have a lot of meaning.

    God cannot forgive what he caused you to do without you having a choice.

  124. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Gary wrote,

    I do tend to agree with you and N.T. Wright that Paul in these verses is describing a hypothetical composite group of the worst sinners he could imagine and describe.

    NT Wright states his position regarding Paul’s references to homosexual activity in Rom 1 thusly —

    Taking Genesis 1 as the primary theological statement, he sees humans created in God’s image and given charge over the non-human creation. Humans are commanded to be fruitful: they are to celebrate, in their male-plus-female complementarity, the abundant life-generating capacity of God’s good world. And they are charged with bringing God’s order to the world, acting as stewards of the garden and all that is in it. Males and females are very different, and they are designed to work together to make, with God, the music of creation. Something deep within the structure of the world responds to the coming together of like and unlike, something which cannot be reached by the mere joining together of like and like.

    This helps to explain the otherwise baffling fact that the very first instance Paul gives of what he sees as the corruption of human life is the practice of homosexual relations. Why on earth, we think, would he single out this particular behaviour and place it at the top of the list? The answer is not simply (as many have suggested) that as a Jew he was particularly disgusted by this behaviour, which many pagan cultures accepted, and indeed celebrated, but which Judaism had always banned. Nor is it merely that the emperor, Nero himself, was known to indulge in homosexual practice, as well as various types of bizarre heterosexual behaviour, and that Paul may have wanted to point the finger at the imperial system and its rotten, immoral core. This may have been a small part of his intention, but it is certainly not his central point.

    Nor is it the case, as is sometimes suggested, that in the ancient world homosexual relationships were normally either part of cult prostitution or a matter of older people exploiting younger ones, though both of these were quite common. Homosexual ‘marriages’ were not unknown, as is shown by the example of Nero himself. Plato offers an extended discussion of the serious and sustained love that can occur between one male and another. The modern world has put various names on this phenomenon (‘homosexual’; recently, ‘gay’; and its female counterpart, ‘lesbian’). These imprecise labels refer to a wide range of emotions and actions which it would be foolish to think only came to light in recent generations.

    Paul’s point, then, is not simply ‘we Jews don’t approve of this’, or, ‘relationships like this are always unequal and exploitative’. His point is, ‘this is not what males and females were made for’. Nor is he suggesting that everyone who feels sexually attracted to members of their own sex, or everyone who engages in actual same-sex relations, has got to that point through committing specific acts of idolatry. Nor, again, does he suppose that all those who find themselves in that situation have arrived there by a deliberate choice to give up heterosexual possibilities. Reading the text like that reflects a modern individualism rather than Paul’s larger, all-embracing perspective. Rather, he is talking about the human race as a whole. His point is not ‘there are some exceptionally wicked people out there who do these revolting things’ but ‘the fact that such clear distortions of the creator’s male-plus-female intention occur in the world indicates that the human race as a whole is guilty of a character-twisting idolatry’. He sees the practice of same-sex relations as a sign that the human world in general is out of joint.
    This out-of-jointness, he says, is the result of God allowing people to follow lust wherever it leads—once they have lost their grip on God’s truth and, like Adam and Eve in the garden, listened to the voice of the creature rather than the voice of God (this seems to be what he has in mind in verse 25). When, later, he describes Abraham’s faith and its results (4:18–22) he is deliberately showing how the problems of chapter 1 have been undone through humans trusting God and once more giving him glory. Only when we look at this larger context can we see the deep underlying points Paul is making. Only when we do that can we avoid the shallow readings of this passage that have, unfortunately, made discussion of a complex subject more difficult even than it already is.

    Tom Wright, Paul for Everyone: Romans Part 1: Chapters 1-8 (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2004), 21–23.

  125. Gary says:

    Jay, I could take issue with N.T. Wright on a number of points- primarily that his analysis would seem to point to the good of gay men trying to be straight by marrying women. I mean if that’s what God intends for all of us then why not try to make it work? The fruit of mixed gay-straight marriages speaks for itself. It is cruel sooner or later for all concerned.

    But of course I will never convince you that I’m right and N.T. Wright is wrong. So please answer this question for me: Will you follow N.T. Wright’s position and be in full fellowship not only with those who differ with you on homosexuality but also with non-celibate gay fellow Christians who are in committed same-sex relationships? Surely you know that the Church of England now even accepts non-celibate gay ministers. As far as I know N.T. Wright has not left the Church of England. If that is the case then he leaves this entire matter in the realm of Christian opinion and liberty.

    How about you Jay? This blog is based on the foundation of Christian unity. Would you, for example, be able to fellowship me and other gay Christians who are in same-sex marriages? Is N.T. Wright right on the substance but wrong in his decision to remain in the Church of England with its non-celibate gay members and ministers? If you’re going to rely on N.T. Wright so much I sincerely believe that these are fair questions to ask you.

  126. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Gary,

    I am not aware of any church that treats drunkenness as you say they do. Alcoholism and drunkenness are sins per the NT and every church I’m familiar with, conservative and progressive, takes those matters very seriously. You speak as though you know that chronic drunkenness is ignored by the standard Church of Christ congregation, and that is entirely contrary to my experience.

    It is my experience that churches and families make every effort to help an alcoholic relative admit the wrongness of his behavior and work to overcome it. Increasingly common are support groups in which church members work with addicts, including alcohol addicts, to overcome their addictions. Celebrate Recovery is very popular within the Churches of Christ.

    And so I suppose it’s true that discipline is not normally seen as an effective means of dealing with addictive behavior. The 12-Step program is far more likely to be tried. But the point is that alcoholism isn’t winked at or ignored. It’s considered a disease that should be treated.

  127. Gary says:

    Also, Jay, giving this long quotation from N.T. Wright is not an answer to the question I posed you from Romans 1:28-31. Most of N.T. Wright’s quotation that you point us to is his supposition. He is a wise man to be sure but that doesn’t change the fact that this is his supposition. Paul doesn’t tell us what he was thinking beyond the bare words of the text. Wright is mind-reading Paul 2,000 years later. Wright’s thoughts are certainly worth considering but they are still supposition.

  128. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Gary wrote,

    There was no class (significant numbers) of homosexual men who were exclusively gay throughout their lives to the point of never marrying a woman and producing children. If you find specific evidence for such please present it.

    In an earlier comment this evening, I quoted NT Wright, who disagrees. And Wright is an Anglican, a communion far more accepting of homosexual activity than the Churches of Christ.

    I’ve earlier cited evidence that the ancient world was well aware that some men are innately homosexual and so choose to live that way —

    However, homosexual “orientation” is also indicated on the part of Callicratidas, at least toward boys, as in Amores 20 he is said to be reluctant to go to the temple of Aphrodite because he was going to see something female, while Charicles describes those who engage in homosexual sex as having “bought a little pleasure at the cost of great disgrace. Sternly reproving homosexuals he also states, With what blind insensibility have you engulfed your souls that you have missed the mark in both directions, avoiding what you ought to pursue, and pursuing what you ought to avoid? (22)

    http://www.conservapedia.com/Greek_Homosexuality

    Plato’s Symposium, a collection of ideas on love by several friends of Socrates, with the latter’s thoughts at the end, acknowledges homosexuality as a condition. Aristophanes posits that there were three kinds of beings from the beginning, that of the male, the female – and a third androgynous – type of person. Zeus is said to have cut these humans in half so that they seek their other sexual counterpart, or in the case of composite being, their own sex. Aristophanes then describes the latter as being such as prefer their own gender, in which he includes lesbianism, and all of which the pagan philosopher commends. Young notes that in Symposium,[14] Plato anticipates virtually every element in the modern discussion the homosexual condition. This reality stands in opposition to the premise which many pro-homosexual writers rely upon, in seeking to disallow the universal condemnation of homoeroticism in Romans 1.

    Ibid.

    Per the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article “Homosexuality,”

    Some persons were noted for their exclusive interests in persons of one gender. For example, Alexander the Great and the founder of Stoicism, Zeno of Citium, were known for their exclusive interest in boys and other men. Such persons, however, are generally portrayed as the exception.

    Notice that these were very famous men studied in school by the Greeks. Paul was surely aware of them. Indeed, Zeno was a contemporary of Paul, as I recall.

    To continue in a submissive role even while one should be an equal citizen was considered troubling, although there certainly were many adult male same-sex relationships that were noted and not strongly stigmatized. While the passive role was thus seen as problematic, to be attracted to men was often taken as a sign of masculinity. Greek gods, such as Zeus, had stories of same-sex exploits attributed to them, as did other key figures in Greek myth and literature, such as Achilles and Hercules.

    Again, the approval of adult male/adult male homosexuality, with same sex exclusivity, was part of the literature of the age and well-known to the educated.

    Plato clearly sees same-sex passions as especially strong, and hence particularly problematic, although in the Symposium that erotic attraction could be the catalyst for a life of philosophy, rather than base sensuality (Cf. Dover, 1989, 153-170; Nussbaum, 1999, esp. chapter 12).

    This is hardly surprising, as Socrates and he were both likely gay men who only enjoyed sex with other males.

    Zeno, the founder of Stoicism, was, according to his contemporaries, only attracted to men, and his thought had no prohibitions against same-sex sexuality.

    If you think about it, if there were gay men in the First Century just as it true today (as was surely the case), and if homosexual conduct was not stigmatized as it is today (also clearly true), then anyone with a lick of sense would realize that there were gay men who were not attracted to women and who had sex exclusively with other men. If that was obvious when I was in junior high school in that highly stigmatizing culture, it was way, way, way beyond obvious in First Century Greece.

    The only reason to suppose that the First Century world was unaware of exclusively gay men is to suppose the ancient world to have been filled with the unintelligent and unobservant — and it doesn’t put much reading of Paul or Plato to dismiss such a notion.

    See also the thoughtful argument against modern defenses of homosexuality in the context of Romans 1 in http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/romans_malick.pdf.

  129. Larry Cheek says:

    Gary,
    I guess there are a huge number on this blog that misunderstand your motives, as you profess this statement. “I don’t ask anyone to endorse me or my acting on my homosexuality in a committed loving marriage.” Gary your total communication on this log is in support of your lifestyle as not being sinful, but totally accepted by God and to the extent of admonishing all who dare to offer scriptural communications that do not support your view. When you cannot support your view from scripture you then attempt to use any and all of history of mankind who were not even in God’s Covenant to address that God allowed them to do it, therefore he would be in violation of his own character to deny it for you.
    Think about that a little, if he allowed those to live that lifestyle who were not in his covenant, but legislated by Law that those in his Covenant would be punished if found doing that sin, and documented the destruction of even those doing that sin outside his Covenant, how could an individual feel comfortable while doing that in any era?
    Oh, now I remember your lifestyle is not sinful because of a technicality. We know that Jesus did not marry either a woman or a man. But, what impression would Jesus have left behind if he had married in the fashion that you have? Would he have still have been savior of mankind? Would we be arguing today whether he was the husband or the wife?
    Another thought has occurred to me as I attempt to understand the pressure or temptation which has led you to this lifestyle. You have identified that you have a husband, therefore you must be fulfilling the role of a wife, and being somewhat familiar with the role that my wife has played in my marriage, I cannot imagine anything that you can do for your husband that a wife could not do. So could it be is his fulfillment to be the master over another man who has submitted to his supremacy? On the other hand I can imagine what your husband can do for you that a wife could not. Therefore, it must be your desire for that action that fuels the relationship. I cannot imagine that the God I serve would have been the creator of those desires, which serves no purpose except to reward the receiver of an inward feeling of accomplishment. The message given to Adam and Eve is impossible in this relationship. The message there was not just for personal desires, the desires were in place to insure procreation.
    But, then did you indicate that sometimes you exchange roles? I guess that changes everything.

  130. Gary says:

    Larry, I’m offering substantive, intellectually based arguments for the positions I take. Of course I may be wrong but that is also true of Jay and anyone else presenting their thoughts here. I’m under no illusion that I’m going to change your minds. I’m not Don Quixote! I think my participation could benefit even the most conservative commenters here. You’re learning a lot more about the position of Progressive Christianity on homosexuality with me participating than if this was just an echo chamber of all conservative voices.

    The most I would hope to accomplish is to help a few perhaps to decide to leave this in God’s hands (where it is of course anyway) and cease the judgment of and implicit or explicit condemnation of non-celibate homosexuals. This is what Churches of Christ have done with the once divisive issue of divorce and remarriage. I still love Churches of Christ even though I am now a Disciple of Christ. I truly believe CoC are on the wrong side both of history and Scripture on homosexuality and will pay a high price in the coming years if change does not come. Within a decade churches that refuse membership to married gays will begin to be seen as being in the same category as racist churches. I don’t want to see CoC continue on this path. Society and the wider church are moving forward to be inclusive of all created in God’s hands. Churches of Christ are stuck in about 1985 if not earlier.

  131. Gary says:

    By the way Larry your curiosity about homosexual practices is quite common among straight men. It is remarkable that those who oppose homosexuality the most are sometimes also quite curious about it.

  132. Gary says:

    Jay, your response of 8:31pm yesterday still does not address my central point about homosexuality in the Hellenistic world. My main point is that homosexuality was accepted before heterosexual marriage and along with heterosexual marriage but not in place of heterosexual marriage which makes it quite different from homosexuality in 2014 in the Western world. Of course there were a few exceptions some of whom were notable such as Zeno of Citium. The very fact that he stands out for his lifelong exclusive homosexuality and, this is important!, his failure to marry a woman shows how exceptional his life choices were. Men overall were expected to marry a woman even if they only preferred men sexually. In Sparta, for example, the Laws of Lycurgus provided for criminal proceedings to be brought against men who failed to marry a woman. So I ask you again to please present evidence of a class of Greek men (significant number) who did not marry women and father children because of their homosexuality.

    I was surprised that you cited Alexander the Great as his case actually bolsters my argument. Alexander seems to have been very homosexual throughout his life but it is well known that he did marry a woman and father a son who was murdered after his death. Alexander the Great is an excellent example of Hellenistic homosexuality. There is no societal expectation in the Western world today that gay men will marry a woman at some point in their lives. The context of Hellenistic homosexuality really is quite different from homosexuality today. So the homosexuality that Paul condemns would have either been fornication (for single men) or adultery (for men married to women). That is not the case today for gay marriage.

  133. Gary says:

    Jay, I appreciate your statement that church discipline is not an effective way to address the situation of the alcoholic who has stopped struggling with drinking. Do you believe that church discipline is similarly ineffective for churches addressing the situation of homosexuals in committed relationships or marriages?

  134. Gary says:

    Larry, in fairness, please remember that Jay also refers frequently to the homosexuality of the Hellenistic world as does N.T. Wright whom he has quoted extensively. I can’t remember who brought Hellenism up first. Maybe it was me. But it was the prevailing culture of Paul’s day and so is important to understand the context for Paul’s letters.

    I do have a selfish reason for participating here. I have had significant cognitive and memory problems at times since a severe case of Lyme Disease about eight years ago. Participating in these discussions helps keep my brain sharp, especially intellectually jousting with Jay! Despite our disagreements I am very thankful to Jay for allowing a free and open exchange of ideas here. To my knowledge this is the only such forum among Churches of Christ. Even Edward Fudge won’t allow a discussion such as this one on his blog.

  135. Dwight says:

    Gary it appears you are looking at what churches are doing, as you percive them to be doing, or looking at cultures of the Roman time period, but not looking at scripture. In reality it matters not what other people or groups are doing, but it matters what you do and it matters what I do in relation to what God wants of us. So what if some conservative churches are allowing a drunkard to exist there, which I have never heard of by the way, this has nothing to do with you and justification for what you are doing. I can not base the justification of my sin on the basis of the hypocrisy of others or on what the culture did at any time in history. That is not how it works. God is not vague. When He wanted to condemn something He made sure people knew it was condemned. Sexual immorality which included bestialtiy, incest, homosexualtiy, etc. and this was carried forth into the NT by Jesus and the apostles. Why did God create passion if we can’t act on it? Paul’s point in many of his letters is we can act on it, but we are to control it and not be controlled by it, especially not the vile passions of the flesh. Again while homosexuality might have existed in the Roman cultures it did not exist in the Hebrew culture becuase they understood that God categorically condemned it.

  136. Gary says:

    Dwight, my point about drunkards is far different than what you described. Come on Dwight- don’t caricature my points just because you disagree with them. Go back and read them again please. Also I have dealt with Scripture on this thread a number of times- both 1 Corinthians 6:9 and Romans 1. Please go back and see for yourself.

  137. Grace says:

    Gary, I’m glad you’re not one of the statistics where too many gay people, and yes they are people too, and many who are teens have taken their own lives from the rigid behavior churches have toward them.

    Too often people use church discipline to draw the line in the sand that they think is so effective. Yeah, discipline without grace and mercy does have effect on people, damaging effects, so much so that too many gay people, too many young gay people have killed themselves. And to this churches turn a blind eye to.

    Christians could and should be the first ones to reach out to the ostracized and the bullied, rather than being a bigger bully to them in our communities.

    I believe God is working in your life, Gary, just as much as He is in mine and other Christians. I’m sure there are people who are grateful that you didn’t end your life, you can count me as one of them.

    Keep looking up to Jesus, He hasn’t stopped loving you, we don’t stop being His child because we’re not perfect, don’t ever let anyone make you think that.

  138. Gary says:

    Grace, thank you so much for your kindness and encouragement. I have found a wonderful Disciples of Christ congregation and am especially acive in my small group there. They have been a godsend. Two CoC minister friends as well as a CoC woman I have known for many years have continued their friendships with me and that has meant a lot. My husband is so good to me. I have several chronic health conditions and have good days and then days that really aren’t good. Whatever I need he is always there for me. I don’t know what I’d do without him. I cannot fathom spending the rest of my life alone in order to please my CoC brethren although I will always be CoC at heart.

    I do believe CoC folk are salt of the earth people for the most part but I wish they would wake up to the awful price that is still being paid for the stigmatizing of homosexuals and homosexuality. Only God knows how many boys and men especially have committed suicide in despair. Thousands upon thousands of school children, some gay and some simply perceived to be gay, are subjected to torment on a daily basis. In most states homosexuals can still be discriminated against and even fired or refused being able to rent without any legal recourse. Conservative Christians can get worked up over the right of florists and bakers to discriminate against gays but I hear no outcry from conservatives about the suffering that so many gays are subjected to. Why the silence? I’m old enough to remember segregation. Almost all of us white people were convinced we were so right. Any white person who spoke up for blacks was looked at as if they had two heads. Yet today we look back at those racist attitudes with shame. I believe the same will happen regarding gay people and Christians will look back with shame on the lack of compassion shown them and ask what in the world were we thinking?

  139. Chris says:

    Gary,

    You wrote earlier, ” I realized for the first time that Paul’s denunciation of homosexual acts was limited in its application to those who had been heterosexual. My homosexual orientation was firmly in place by puberty and never weakened.”

    This assumes that homosexuality is immutable, and is your assertion to prove. Where in scripture can you prove this (especially in light of 1 Cor. 6:9), and how can this be demonstrated scientifically? An example of this would be how we can prove a person’s gender from inside the womb (the presence of a physical sexual organ).

    Furthermore, do you agree that some men who are sexually attracted to little children are born that way, and if not, why? How do you show the difference between the two? Should the behavior be condemned, or accepted because they just “can’t help it”? Explain your answer.

    What about thieves, drunkards or adulterers — are they “born that way”? If it is possible to be a “Christian homosexual”, then is it possible to be a “Christian pedophile”, a “Christian fornicator”, etc. In other words, how is it objectively possible to separate homosexuality from the conduct that is inherently involved in it?

  140. Larry Cheek says:

    Gary,
    I doubt that I have missed a single one of your posts including those which were lost in a previous blog discussion. I do not remember an instance where you have been able to identify in scripture either OT or NT of an example of a man having a husband or a woman having a wife either Jew or Gentile and being accepted as having a relationship with God or his followers.
    Where is it that you identify that God has repented and removed the instructions given to Moses on this very subject and what actions were to be taken when an event became known? If you could identify an example within the time from Moses to Christ that would only prove that there was sin in Israel that had not been punished by the Law.
    But, your total goal as you express it is to modify the actions that the Church is applying from scripture to allow an action that scripture has always identified as sinful. I am certain that you will not find scripture condoning your lifestyle. Prove me wrong.

  141. Gary says:

    Chris, I don’t need to prove that homosexual orientation is immutable. My entire life experience is all the evidence I need. Multitudes of other gay people will tell you the same thing. If you have evidence to the contrary I would like to know about it. I participated in two series of sessions with what is commonly called an ex-gay ministry and even they do not believe that sexual orientation can be changed but rather that the intensity of it can be moderated.

    The foundation passage for my understanding of God’s will for homosexuals is Genesis 2:18 where we learn that God believes that it is not good for us to be alone and that he wants each of us to have a companion for life who is suitable or appropriate for us (“meet” in the KJV). For someone who is gay that is necessarily a member of the same sex.

    Many advances in our understanding of God’s will for our lives were not anticipated in Scripture. No Bible writer, for example, anticipated the universal illegality of slavery but I don’t believe any of us would want to bring slavery back. In much the same way gay marriage is a huge step forward in all people being able to have a suitable and appropriate companion for life (Genesis 2:18).

  142. Gary says:

    Larry, please see my response to Chris just now.

  143. Gary says:

    Chris, I’m not following the last question in your comment. Could you rephrase it?

  144. Grace says:

    There are people who are born with both male and female genitalia. There are several tests for this that can be done including analysis of chromosomes and hormones. Ultrasounds can also be used to detect any internal sexual organs.

    Some females are born without ovaries, and without any other internal female equipment (vagina, womb, fallopian tubes) and develop into fairly androgynous individuals. While some males are born with bodies completely unable to respond to their own testosterone, developing into an extremely womanly individual. Individual human beings do not always conform to the rule. That is some are born XXY while others are born simply X.

    Society has tried long and hard to pretend that people only come in two sexual flavors, man and woman, anyone who falls outside this template has been forced to conform, mimicking one gender or the other. Usually they have been forced hide themselves away, as though they were perverts, rebels against the social order. A special sense of shame attaches to having a child whose genitals are not as expected.

    A hermaphrodite is a person who has both male and female genitalia. The term hermaphrodite is no longer used by the medical community, the condition is more commonly referred today as intersex. Intersex can result in four possible conditions:

    XX Intersex – A person that has internal sexual organs of a woman, but external sexual organs of a man.

    XY Intersex – A person that has male chromosomes, but whose external genitalia appear female.

    True Gonadal Intersex – A person that can technically be described as a hermaphrodite, having ovarian and testicular tissue.

    Complex or Undetermined Issues of Sexual Development – Variations of the above conditions or a sexual condition that has not yet been classified.

    The word hermaphrodite comes from the names of two gods of ancient Greece: Hermes and Aphrodite. Hermes was considered to be the god of male sexuality, while Aphrodite was the god of female sexuality. According to mythology, the two had a son named Hermaphroditos, the god of effeminate men and hermaphrodites. A nymph named Salmakis prayed that she could become one with him and when the two were formed into one being, the resulting god had male and female characteristics.

    Scripture doesn’t say people born with this are to live celibate lives or live as a preferable male or a preferable a female.

    I will put another comment here to explain the ordeal many of these people have to go through and live like.

  145. Grace says:

    While many feel that the ultimate test of maleness or femaleness can be determined by the gonads, or at least by the chromosomes (XX=female, XY=male) there are actually a variety of conditions that don’t conform to the rule.

    Klinefelter’s syndrome – A condition in which a genetic male actually has one or more extra X chromosomes (XXY, XXXY). The individual appears anatomically male but would not be male according to XY=boy formula. Neither could such a person impregnate a female, being sterile.

    Turner’s syndrome – Condition in which an individual has one X and no Y chromosome, thus they are neither an XY male or a XX female. In addition, the gonads degenerate before birth. In most respects the person will be anatomically female, however without hormone treatment their will be no secondary sexual characteristics.

    Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (or adrenogenital syndrome) – In this genetically influenced condition the adrenal glands produce an excess of androgens in utero. Children who would be classed as female by both their genes (XX) and their gonads (ovarian) will have masculine appearing genitals, to a varying degrees. They will also, statistically, have an increased likelihood of forming romantic relationships with women as adults.

    Androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS, or testicular feminization) – Wtih AIS, a fetus which is genetically male (XY chromosomes) has receptors which are unresponsive to testosterone and so is born as a female — at least outwardly. However there is no female reproductive tract.

    Partial AIS – Individuals with partial AIS, will appear feminine at birth, but because they have only a reduced sensitivity to androgens, they may suddenly at puberty develop a more male presentation. The clitoris with enlarge to become a small penis. The voice will drop. Testes will descend. Eventually chest and facial hair may develop.

    Mayer-Rokitansky-Kustur-Hauser syndrome – A condition in which the body of a genetic female does not develop a vagina, cervix, uterus or fallopian tubes.

    Vaginal agenesis – A generic condition in which the vagina does not develop — for a variety of reasons, including MRKH syndrome.

    Cloacal exstrophy – This is a severe congenital malformation of pelvis which can include a male being born without a penis. Even when surgically reconstructed as a girl, males born with cloacal exstrophy generally develop a male identity.

    Hypospadias – A penis is designated hypospadic if the urethral meatus (or pee hole) is located somewhere other than the traditional location — i.e. the tip of the penis. Instead the hole is located at the base of the penis or somewhere along the shaft. It is a condition which intensifies genital confusion. In that, it causes the penis to resemble a hypertrophic (enlarged) clitoris, making it hard to decide if the individual is a male-appearing female, or a female-appearing male.

  146. Grace says:

    Continue from last comment:

    Occasionally however it is decided that although the child is biologically male (it has testicles), it should be raised as a female because it’s penis has been judged too small to useful for sexual penetration. (A condition known as micropenis.) It will be much “better”, doctors will counsel the parents, to remove the testicles and create an artificial vagina. The resultant “female” will never be able to have children, and will need to begin hormone treatments at puberty and for the rest of “her” life, but at least she will appear normal.

    Similarly, the female child whose clit is “too large” must also be surgically remodeled to fit expectations, even though the procedure will most likely leave her unable to ever experience orgasm. Or a child born with a penis too small for penetration must be made into a penetratable female. But at least everything will look normal.

    Interestingly enough, most intersexuals say that the medical intervention they received has made them feel anything but normal. In fact most say that, even as children, surgical intervention made them feel that there must be something monstrous about them, something terrible and unacceptable that had to be remedied by cutting off part of their privates.

    Better to cut off his testicles and create a pathetic, insensate excuse for a vagina. Regular hormone treatments and now he is a “she”. Women with enlarged clits and tiny vaginal shafts get cut down to size and deepened for penetration. Nevermind that a large number of such vaginal inventions simply never take. Or that urinary infections will plague the patient for the rest of his/her life. All this in the name of heterosexual ideals.

    The irony is that intersexuals don’t always follow the blueprint that parents and society carve into them. For example, while the feminine shemales of AIS syndrome lust after men, the women so clumsily alterred to equip them for penis entry, may simply prefer other women. Many other intersexuals are too burdened with shame and confusion to bother with partners of either gender.

    But for the time being, gender assignment seems to continue to be important for the child to follow. Some day, perhaps, personality may be allowed to unfold from within, regardless of the fleshy configurations between one’s legs. In such a climate, (future) intersexual children may find the freedom to explore the uniqueness of their own identity. But for now, they hide behind the masks of conventional identities.

  147. Gary says:

    Grace, thanks for pointing out an important factor that should give anyone pause in passing judgment on someone else regarding their sexual identity or preference or orientation. Up to 1.7% of individuals are born intersexed. So in a typical 100 member congregation it is likely that one or two of the members are intersexed. I would also add transgendered persons whose sexual ambiguity is centered in their brain rather than in any physical features. I suspect that a significant number of gay men are somewhere on the transgender continuum. How can anyone believe that Paul could have known about these conditions 2,000 years ago? So, once again, just as we automatically today read Paul’s condemnation of drunkards through our modern knowledge of the disease of alcoholism so we should read Paul’s seeming condemnation of homosexuals through our modern knowledge of immutable sexual orientations, intersex conditions and transgenderism. I’m convinced that the traditional condemnation of homosexuals will be looked back upon in not that many years as a cruel and primitive mindset.

  148. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Gary asked,

    Do you believe that church discipline is similarly ineffective for churches addressing the situation of homosexuals in committed relationships or marriages?

    Church discipline is like disciplining children. It’s more art than science and doesn’t lend itself to rules. It’s necessary and it’s commanded, but it’s only one tool in the church’s tool belt.

    I see it like “tough love” in a biological family. It’s going to take a lot to push me, as a father, to shun my own children. My four sons have misbehaved at times and been disciplined, but we never got anywhere close to sending one out of the family to live on their own (by the grace of God).

    But I know families where a child was into drugs or other criminal activity and so rebellious that they were forced to insist the child leave the house until he or she might repent. It’s an unimaginably painful situation. And anyone with a lick of compassion would try anything else first.

    And that’s how I see disfellowshipping a member of the church — a last ditch, desperate attempt to save that person’s soul by urging repentance. But it only has a chance to work if that person is so tied to the church that being removed might prompt repentance.

    There is nothing about homosexual sin that makes it a special case. Rather, the sin that requires being disfellowshipped is the sin of rebellion against the known will of God. It could be adultery, premarital sex, or lots of other things. We have to be in Heb 10:26 ff territory.

    EXCEPT that the other reason to disfellowship someone is to protect the congregation from danger. This could be a divisive person or predator. But in 1 Cor 5 Paul insists that the man who committed incest be expelled not only to bring him to repentance but also to protect the church from being tempted to sin in like manner. If the sin is on display and the church looks the other way, then the leadership might appear to condone the sin — which will destroy the souls of far more people than just the incestuous man. (Again, dealing with soul-destroying sin per Heb 10:26 ff, but now speaking in terms of what it would mean for others to follow the example of the man committing incest — not whether he is rebellious but whether those tempted by his bad example would be in rebellion.)

    And there’s a deeper issue. The goal of church leadership isn’t merely to get their members to heaven. It’s to lead the church to follow Jesus. It’s about spiritual transformation — supporting the work of Spirit to transform the members and the congregation to become more and more like Jesus. And this means that sin that is indulged in good faith, not subject to Heb 10:26 ff, is nonetheless a barrier to the purposes of the church and its leadership.

    The leaders can’t be silent on an issue merely because those who disagree are covered by grace. We still have to pursue Jesus together. Imagine an unmarried couple, newly converted, who engage in sex unaware that God opposes extra-marital sex. They are covered by grace. If they keep their relationship secret, may the church leaders allow the conduct to continue?

    I think that the answer is no. This is a case that calls for instruction in how to better follow Jesus. And this is a case that calls for submission to the leadership of the leaders. Long before we ask about disfellowshipping someone, we have to realize that God gives the church leaders and gives them authority, and to be a member is to submit to their leadership and authority — a fact that would moot much of these issues if taught and believed.

  149. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Gary wrote,

    My main point is that homosexuality was accepted before heterosexual marriage and along with heterosexual marriage but not in place of heterosexual marriage which makes it quite different from homosexuality in 2014 in the Western world.

    First, I certainly agree that Greco-Roman and modern Western attitudes toward homosexuality are different. The modern West would not countenance homosexual relationships with heterosexual boys — or homosexual boys for that matter. The Greek standard was the boys could be used as the passive sex partner until they grew facial hair. So they were likely engaging in sex with middle school aged boys — which is criminalized in today’s world.

    And so, in some respects, homosexuality was much more tolerated in the First Century than today.

    You suggest that the very recent practice of exclusively male-male relationships that result in marriage was unheard of in ancient Rome and therefore is not a case considered by Paul. I disagree, and imagine that you and I have said about all there is to say on the subject. I’ll try not to repeat myself.

    1. We don’t have the benefit of First Century polling or census data, just the writings of philosophers, plays, poems, the Scriptures, and such like. We know quite a lot about First Century culture, but have huge gaps in our knowledge — especially regarding those outside the aristocracy and intelligentsia. The poor did not write many books. Therefore, an argument based on what we don’t know about Rome is inherently dangerous. We learn more with each archaeological dig, but we’ll never have knowledge of Rome comparable to our knowledge of today. To argue that Paul was unaware of marriage between two men in a monogamous relationship is to argue from a supposed lack of information.

    2. So let’s talk about what we know.

    a. We know that there were exclusively homosexual adult men, Zeno being particularly prominent. I think a really good case can be made that Socrates only had sex with boys. Plato is less certain because his attitude seems to have changed over the years, although I am aware of no evidence that Plato ever married or engaged in heterosexual sex.

    b. I agree that Alexander the Great married, but he was a king and had to produce heirs. The point is that he only married a woman because he was head of state. He was known to prefer men.

    c. Plato describes men who were homosexual — innately preferring men as sex partners — hundreds of years before Paul.

    d. The Roman emperors often practices marriage to other men. It appears that the Greeks did not practice homosexual marriage, but the Romans sure did.

    Is it possible that Paul never considered that possibility of a committed homosexual relationship that included marriage? Well, he was a contemporary of Nero, who married men at least three times.

    A same-sex union was known in Ancient Greece and Rome,[2] ancient Mesopotamia,[3] in some regions of China, such as Fujian province, and at certain times in ancient European history.[4] These same-sex unions continued until Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. A law in the Theodosian Code (C. Th. 9.7.3) was issued in 342 AD by the Christian emperors Constantius II and Constans, which prohibited same-sex marriage in ancient Rome and ordered that those who were so married were to be executed. [5]

    Same-sex marital practices and rituals were more recognized in Mesopotamia than in ancient Egypt.[6] The Almanac of Incantations contained prayers favoring on an equal basis the love of a man for a woman and of a man for man.[7] …

    In Hellenic Greece, the pederastic relationships between Greek men (erastes) and youths (eromenos) were similar to marriage in that the age of the youth was similar to the age at which women married (the mid-teens, though in some city states, as young as age seven), and the relationship could only be undertaken with the consent of the father.[citation needed] This consent, just as in the case of a daughter’s marriage, was contingent on the suitor’s social standing. The relationship consisted of very specific social and religious responsibilities and also had a sexual component. Unlike marriage, however, a pederastic relation was temporary and ended when the boy turned seventeen. …

    Numerous examples of same sex unions among peers, not age-structured, are found in Ancient Greek writings. Famous Greek couples in same sex relationships include Harmodius and Aristogiton, Pelopidas and Epaminondas and Alexander and Bogoas. However in none of these same sex unions is the Greek word for “marriage” ever mentioned. The Romans appear to have been the first to perform same sex marriages.

    At least two of the Roman Emperors were in same-sex unions; and in fact, thirteen out of the first fourteen Roman Emperors held to be bisexual or exclusively homosexual.[26] The first Roman emperor to have married a man was Nero, who is reported to have married two other men on different occasions. First with one of his freedman, Pythagoras, to whom Nero took the role of the bride, and later as a groom Nero married a young boy to replace his young teenage concubine whom he had killed [27] named Sporus in a very public ceremony… with all the solemnities of matrimony, and lived with him as his spouse A friend gave the “bride” away “as required by law.” The marriage was celebrated separately in both Greece and Rome in extravagant public ceremonies.[28] The Child Emperor Elagabalus referred to his chariot driver, a blond slave from Caria named Hierocles, as his husband.[29] He also married an athlete named Zoticus in a lavish public ceremony in Rome amidst the rejoicings of the citizens.[30]

    Same-sex marriage was outlawed on December 16, 342 AD by the Christian emperors Constantius II and Constans. This law specifically outlaws marriages between men

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_same-sex_unions

    If male-male marriage was outlawed in the Fourth Century, obviously it existed and was practiced frequently enough to justify the attention of the government.

    In short, I don’t think the case stands up. Paul was a Roman citizen, very well educated, and spent many years in Roman colonies (such as Corinth and Philippi). He would not have been unaware of these things.

  150. Grace says:

    Hebrews 10:26 For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins.

    When reading Hebrews 10:26 integration with the context of the chapter is best to know what is being said. It is important to comprehend that it is the superiority of Christ and His sacrificial death that is over everything else. The primary aspect of this theme is Christ’s sufficient sacrifice for sin once for all.

    The book of Hebrews was, of course, written to the Hebrew people. The writer of Hebrews is addressing Jews who had knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures but also knew of the miracles and of the teachings of Jesus. The issue being discussed were people who were continuing to sin who knew about Christ and yet continued to walk in their rebellious ways by rejecting the sacrifice that God had provided. If something in place of or in addition to Jesus is trusted in, it is no different than a denial of Him.

    Hebrews 10:1-4 The law is a shadow of the good things that are coming, not the real things themselves. It never can perfect the ones who are trying to draw near to God through the same sacrifices that are offered continually every year. Otherwise, wouldn’t they have stopped being offered? If the people carrying out their religious duties had been completely cleansed once, no one would have been aware of sin anymore. Instead, these sacrifices are a reminder of sin every year, because it’s impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

    Verse 26 refers to Jews who had come to a head-knowledge of Christ and still continued to ritualistically reject Christ.

  151. Grace says:

    Continued from last comment:

    By virtue of the fact that you could lose salvation would mean that keeping salvation would depend upon your efforts or actions. To say we can lose salvation, is in reality saying that we are trusting in human works to save us. Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

    Jesus said in John 6:47, “I tell you for certain that everyone who has faith in me has eternal life.” It says the person has everlasting life. The person has salvation and this is forever, not temporary. According to Heb. 10:14 “For by one offering He has perfected FOREVER those who are being sanctified.”

    How do people uncreated what God has created and placed in the heavens with Christ? Nothing can be uncreated that God has created and has seated in the heavenly places with Christ. We have been saved by grace and not of any works done. Through the finished work of Christ, by His atonement we are seated. If we depend on our works, none of us meet the standard of perfection, we will never be seated. Being seating is that our salvation rests in His finished work on the cross.

    Ephesians 2:4-6 But God was merciful! We were dead because of our sins, but God loved us so much that He made us alive with Christ, and God’s wonderful kindness is what saves you. God raised us from death to life with Christ Jesus, and He has given us a place beside Christ in heaven.

    God forgives us by Christ’s atonement. If we had to live perfect without ever messing up after salvation in order to keep salvation, then Christ’s death on the cross would be incomplete.

    We are unable to have salvation by works and our works don’t keep it. We needed to be saved by grace and keeping of our salvation would not depend on anything other than grace.

    Rom 11:6 And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.

    It’s absurd to seriously suggest that God might only be interested in saving people for a few weeks or years? That is a God who is not sovereign and a God we could have no confidence in!

    The vast majority of mankind believes they have to work for salvation. There are some who invest in a halfway doctrine that says we have salvation by God’s grace but then we must keep our salvation by works. No one is going to be able to claim any merit before God. We will only be able to fall on our knees before the God of glory and grace and say, “You, Lord, have done it all!”

    Romans 8:31-39 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels NOR PRINCIPALITIES NOR POWERS, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  152. Grace says:

    Nothing can be uncreated that God has created and has seated in the heavenly places with Christ. We have been saved by grace and not of any works done. Through the finished work of Christ, by His atonement we are seated. If we depend on our works, none of us meet the standard of perfection, we will never be seated. Being seated is that our salvation rests in His finished work on the cross.

    We can’t reverse our human birth and become unborn. We have our earthly mother and father and can never genetically cease to be their child. We have our Heavenly Father by our spiritual birth who is even more so greater and it would be absurd to say we can reverse our spiritual birth and become unborn.

  153. R.J. says:

    Grace,

    Link

  154. Gary says:

    Jay, thank you for a wonderful and nuanced comment on church discipline. I agree with you in principle. I do think that as gay marriage becomes an accepted part of our society that more and more churches will simply take legal marriage at face value as we have now done with divorced and remarried persons (which would have been unthinkable in Churches of Christ a half century ago). But given your understanding of homosexuality your position makes perfect sense. Church discipline is almost extinct now in practice. Evan Ulrey of Harding wrote an excellent and comprehensive treatment of church discipline in a book some thirty years ago. It is the only significant work on church discipline among Churches of Christ that I’ve ever come across.

  155. Grace says:

    Gary is correct in that: Up to 1.7% of individuals are born intersexed. So in a typical 100 member congregation it is likely that one or two of the members are intersexed.

    And these conditions of intersex people are not so clear cut as the man in your link puts it. It’s not so clear cut for the many intersex people in my above comments, many who have already been altered to be either a male gender or female gender and were raised to be the gender their parents decided they should be.

    It’s not so clear cut for many of them.

    Such as those born with Turner’s syndrome – Condition in which an individual has one X and no Y chromosome, thus they are neither an XY male or a XX female. In addition, the gonads degenerate before birth. In most respects the person will be anatomically female, however without hormone treatment their will be no secondary sexual characteristics.

    And such as those born with Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (or adrenogenital syndrome) – In this genetically influenced condition the adrenal glands produce an excess of androgens in utero. Children who would be classed as female by both their genes (XX) and their gonads (ovarian) will have masculine appearing genitals, to a varying degrees. They will also, statistically, have an increased likelihood of forming romantic relationships with women as adults.

    And such as those born with Hypospadias – A penis is designated hypospadic if the urethral meatus (or pee hole) is located somewhere other than the traditional location — i.e. the tip of the penis. Instead the hole is located at the base of the penis or somewhere along the shaft. It is a condition which intensifies genital confusion. In that, it causes the penis to resemble a hypertrophic (enlarged) clitoris, making it hard to decide if the individual is a male-appearing female, or a female-appearing male.

  156. Grace says:

    And that statistics show that churches are responsible for about 496 youth gay suicides per year. And churches know these suicides among gay teens are happening yet they turn a blind eye to it.

    And to what Gary commented about: Thousands upon thousands of school children, some gay and some simply perceived to be gay, are subjected to torment on a daily basis.

    And by the deafening silence even on here about it, I have to echo Gary’s question:

    Where’s the outcry from conservatives about the suffering that so many gays are subjected to? Why the silence?

    In the name of our good Lord, where’s the compassion gone? For churches to see these things happening and sit idly by and is absolutely unacceptable.

  157. Gary says:

    Jay, thank you for setting out what we can now know about exclusive lifetime homosexual relationships in the ancient world. I suspect that their same-sex marriages were rare and notorious but, you’re right, we really have no way of knowing even an approximate number.

    I still honestly see the meaning of malakoi and arsenokoitai in 1 Corinthians 6:9 differently than you. Paul’s decision not to use the far more common Greek word paiderasstes which referred to men who had sex with men weighs heavily in my thinking. For Paul to use two words, and one of them exceedingly rare or freshly coined, suggests to me that he had an additional factor than simply homosexual sex in mind. From my reading several possibilities exist: young male prostitutes and their pimps, young male prostitutes and their older clients and young men and their older male lovers (what we would consider pederasty). The focus on prostitution in the very next section of the Letter suggests strongly to me that either prostitution was in the mix or some similar exploitative and sordid practice.

    There is no doubt in my mind that Paul was against homosexuality in any shape, form or fashion. But what Paul thought that is not reflected in the actual words of Scripture is only speculation now. We don’t consider Paul’s opinions to be authoritative but only what is in the canon. I still find the original NIV translation to be far more credible. You’ve got to at least see my point that across the board translation changes on homosexuality in 2011 that were guaranteed to please Evangelicals just aren’t very credible. You would rip apart in court anything equivalent in the legal field. Fee’s concession that the translation of malakoi and arsenokoitai is uncertain still stands I believe. I’m very sceptical that we really can translate them so much better now than in the 1970’s. I would like to see something detailed to back that claim up. The only thing I think that has really changed is that scholars have lined up on this litmus test issue on whichever side their allegiances lie. If that’s the case older translations are far more credible. But if you know of anything specific that has come to light about the meaning of malakoi and arsenokoitai please let me know.

  158. Larry Cheek says:

    Grace,
    I wonder how did Satan come into existence? Do you believe that he also always existed just as God has? An almost equal who God overpowered but did not destroy? Of course, I ask you those questions to introduce you to the fact that God also created Satan and all of the Angels. They also had the power of choice or it would not have been possible for them to rebel against God. There is an account in the scriptures that is directed to mankind, which identifies the relationship between God and Satan prior to his rebellion. As you read this account, notice if this relationship was any less than the relationship that God is expecting from us. I believe that all mankind should understand that God is a righteous Judge, he would never, in fact it would be impossible for him to render a judgement that was not (fair) righteous. Considering that fact I believe that even you would believe that if Satan truly repented of his rebellion and worshiped God or his Son as the Lord, he would be forgiven and replaced into the same position he had obtained prior to his rebellion. Christ would have paid the cost for even the rebellion Satan had committed.
    Now, I see your comments attempting to remove the possibility that a human who had committed themselves to God/Christ obtained forgiveness for sins ever being capable of being rebelling against God/Christ and receiving the same judgement that is rendered upon Satan and the Angels who have and remain rebellious. Really, is that your conclusion?

  159. Chris says:

    Gary,

    You wrote, “I don’t need to prove that homosexual orientation is immutable. My entire life experience is all the evidence I need. Multitudes of other gay people will tell you the same thing. If you have evidence to the contrary I would like to know about it.”

    Very well, then. You admit that you can’t prove or demonstrate that there is any scriptural or scientific evidence that homosexuality is something that cannot be changed. This means it’s only an opinion, and not something to be believed as factual.

    I won’t deny the evidence that there are “multitudes of gay people” who believe their “life experience” validates their behavior. I know what god they serve (Phil. 3:19). But there are also pedophiles, and adulterers (fornicators), thieves, human traffickers, etc. who believe their “life experiences” and lusts for children or (insert any other object of lust) justifies their behavior (Mary Kay Letourneau, for example). Since there is no scriptural or scientific evidence for the former, then your sympathies and acceptance must be consistent with the latter. If not, why?

    And as far as the “universal illegality of slavery”, there is more slavery today than there ever has been – in the form of human trafficking. And there are plenty of people who enslave and wish to be enslaved to sin (Rom. 6:17), regardless of what the law says.

    You write, “Many advances in our understanding of God’s will for our lives were not anticipated in Scripture.” Then perhaps pedophilia, bestiality and even human trafficking are part of God’s will, since God evidently didn’t anticipate it. Notwithstanding that these things existed in the first century, as well (Eccl. 1:9).

    And to you, Grace. While I appreciate the information on hermaphrodites, which I never denied the existence of, it doesn’t scripturally or scientifically prove that they, or homosexuals, are enslaved to a certain “sexual orientation”. It only shows that some people are born with both sexual organs. But Jesus spoke of some who are eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake (Matt 19:10-12). In principle, these are people who are either born, or made themselves celibate for the purpose of inheriting the kingdom of heaven.

    But these questions remain: do you agree that some men who are sexually attracted to little children are born that way, and if not, why? How do you show the difference between the two? Should their behavior be condemned, or accepted because they just “can’t help it”? Why should a loving, sexual relationship between a man and a child (or any other thing a person may be sexually attracted to) be condemned? Explain your answer.

  160. Grace says:

    I haven’t ever met a Christian who thought they were greater than God as Satan thought.

    Jesus defeated Satan and death on the cross. Satan is the accuser of the brethren, Satan accuses us saying, “Look what this person did, they are a sinner, you can’t call this sinner your child.” But Jesus says, “This one is Mine, they are covered by My blood.”

    Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross canceled our death sentence and His resurrection defeated Satan’s legal claims on us.

    Jesus said in John 6:47, “I tell you for certain that everyone who has faith in me has eternal life.” It says the person has everlasting life. The person has salvation and this is forever, not temporary.

    Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

    It’s absurd to seriously suggest that God is only interested in saving people for a few weeks or years. That is a God who is not sovereign and a God we could have no confidence in!

    Romans 8:31-39 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels NOR PRINCIPALITIES NOR POWERS, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  161. Grace says:

    I don’t condone sexual predators on children or on women at that. I also do not condemn them sentencing them to hell, that’s not my job, that judgment belongs only on God’s throne.

    It’s also not my job to get them to heaven, that belongs to Jesus.

    It is my mission to tell them about Jesus.

    I would tell them that Jesus is the only Way to heaven and tell them about His love for them no matter what they have done.

  162. Gary says:

    Chris, I beIieve the guiding principles for Christian behavior are justice (as expressed in the Golden Rule) and compassion (as Jesus set forth in Matthew 25). Obviously any sexual predators or rapists imposing their will on someone else is evil because they are hurting their victims both physically and psychologically. In contrast no one is being hurt or damaged by committed, loving and concensual same-sex relationships. As to who is born with what I don’t know. I’m not a scientist. But no responsible person gets a pass on being a sexual predator period.

    Chris, why is it so important to you to try to put gay people who are simply trying to live their lives the best they can without hurting anyone on the same level as sexual predators? That’s not even rational. It seems that you may have personal issues that are in the mix on this subject. Perhaps someone victimized you at some point in your life. If so I urge you to get professional help. Psychotherapy can truly help to reduce emotional pain. I wish you the best in your life journey.

  163. Larry Cheek says:

    Gary,
    Is this also part of the (Golden Rule, which is just a paraphrase of teaching in scripture), these directives that Jesus spoke? The Rule that you site only projects your actions towards others. These messages are concerning actions within you that you cannot control. Jesus explains an alternative, which will ensure successful avoidance of sin, avoiding his own judgement consequences.
    (Mat 5:29 NIV) If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
    (Mark 9:43 NIV) If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. 44, 45 And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. 46, 47 And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, 48 where “‘their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.’

  164. Gary says:

    Larry, your comment assumes that committed, loving homosexual relationships are inherently sinful. Obviously we disagree.

  165. Grace says:

    Not only must you not commit adultery (Exodus 20:14), you can’t even the look at someone and have lust in your heart (Matthew 5:27-29).

    The greatest commandment is to love God, not only are you to love God you are to love your neighbor (Matthew 22:39).

    Not only must you not murder, you cannot have anger in your heart toward someone else (Matthew 5:22).

    Not only must you not steal (Exodus 20:15), you cannot even envy or covet what others have (Exodus 20:17) (Romans 1:29).

    You cannot ever have earthly possessions (Matthew 6:19-21).

    Not only must we not give false witness (Exodus 20:16), you cannot ever have any kind of evil thoughts or speech (Matthew 12:35-37).

    Not only must you always give to the poor and the sick, but you also have to always give to strangers and people in prison (Deuteronomy 15:7-8), you always have to treat them as you would treat Jesus, Himself. You have to always take in strangers and give them food clothes (Matthew 25:31-46).

    You can’t just say you love your enemy, you have to always bless them doing good to them (Matthew 5:44).

    A married person cannot get a divorce, even if a woman’s husband horribly beats her and her children (Mark 10:9).

    You cannot ever have any kind of hate in your heart toward others (1 John 3:15).

    The standard we have to meet is perfection. Matthew 5:48 “You must be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

    Jesus spoke to a man who actually thought he had done everything perfect in his life. Jesus responds that he wasn’t so perfect as he thought.

    Luke 18:18-23 Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.

    Jesus’ response to the man’s question who thought he was perfect, Jesus said, you have to sell all that you have and give it to the poor.

    So, don’t leave anything out or you won’t go to heaven.

    Jesus went to the cross not just to save us temporarily, but to pay the entire debt of all our sins. Jesus said from the cross, “tetelestai”, meaning “it is finished” (John 19:30). The word “tetelestai” was used when a debt was paid in full. Jesus gave His perfect life and shed His atoning blood and declared the debt is paid in full.

    The sin debt I owe to God is paid in full by my Lord and Savior, my King, Jesus Christ! Praise God!!

  166. Grace says:

    Jesus was not teaching works salvation. He put the bar of perfection even higher.

    Jesus was not teaching that salvation is earned by good behavior. If He was then Christians would be going from saved to damned throughout their week. If you think your good can outweigh your bad to get you to heaven then you and everyone else is in big trouble. The standard we have to meet is perfection.

  167. Larry Cheek says:

    Grace,
    Are you attempting to verify that we can willingly commit any or all of the items that you have mentioned and Christ will still continue his forgiveness to you from his grace without you repenting, repenting without exerting effort to master control over those sins, is not repentance at all. If you cheat on your husband and it becomes known to him, a repentance on your part and asking for forgiveness demands that you do not continue in cheating. Same concepts are totally demanded by our Lord. There are many communications in NT that display that anyone who continues in sin or does not practice an effort to avoid the sins they formerly committed are promised that they will not remain in the Lord’s Kingdom after judgement. If that is not true there is no meaning to Jesus’s sermon, in Matt 13:18- 23, verses 20 through 22 describes exactly that the individual accepted Christ, but drifted or fell away.
    Verses 24-30 He describes individuals already in the Kingdom but will not be accepted in his harvest. Acceptable stored in his barn, unacceptable burnt with fire.
    Men attempt to make God responsible for not saving any man, by attempting to apply a term man calls work to any thing that Christ demands that we obey. In man’s concept of work, he deny’s that God states that even the very first ingredient that man must have to commit his life to God’s work is faith. No one can show an example of a servant of God in the scriptures who did not have faith and belief, both are actions which originate in the individual through either nature or hearing of the messages provided by God. If God placed those into any man and did not place them into all me he would be guilty of being a respecter of persons, valuing one over another.

  168. Dwight says:

    Paul’s argument in Rom.5-6 was that it is not right to sin, even with grace present. vs. 16 says, “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?” So even though grace is there, sin still leads to death as righteousness leads to life. Faith is not enough, which is what James is all about, but faith works by its nature that faith is itself a work. The faith that works within man produces works externally, but works as you noted is not enough, because works can be done without faith and just as tradition.

  169. Grace says:

    In the Parable of the Sower, Jesus taught about the kind of ground the gospel falls on. He distinguishes who the tares are and who the wheat is. God will separate the true believers (the seed planted in good soil) from the unbelievers (the seed that never took root in bad soil) the tares. And Jesus will send His angels to gather the tares to be burned.

    The seed that was planted in good soil are His true children.

    The Parable of the Sower

    Matthew 13:1-9 “That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat beside the sea. And great crowds gathered about him, so that he got into a boat and sat down. And the whole crowd stood on the beach. And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears, let him hear.”

    The Parable of the Sower Explained

    Matthew 13:18-23 “Hear then the parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”

    The Parable of the Weeds

    Matthew 13:24-30 “He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. And the servants of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
    The Parable of the Weeds Explained

    Matthew 13:36-43 “Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.” He answered, “The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”

  170. Grace says:

    I don’t believe anyone can make a list of all the sins they have done and do. We commit sins and don’t even realize that we have sinned.

    Unintentional sin is any disobedience to a command unknowingly. Unintentional sin is an unplanned or unintended disobedience to a command.

    Leviticus 4:1-3 Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, Speak to the children of Israel, saying: If a person sins unintentionally against any of the commandments of the LORD in anything which ought not to be done, and does any of them, if the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, then let him offer to the LORD for his sin which he has sinned a young bull without blemish as a sin offering.

    Leviticus 5:14 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: If a person commits a trespass, and sins unintentionally in regard to the holy things of the LORD, then he shall bring to the LORD as his trespass offering a ram without blemish from the flocks, with your valuation in shekels of silver according to the shekel of the sanctuary, as a trespass offering.

    Unintentional sin is an undeliberate transgression. Either the person does not know it is wrong, they forgot, or they are such a creature of habit that they did not think before they behaved sinfully. They were careless and inadvertent, but no less a sinner that behaves impulsively. Sin is any imperfection that doesn’t measure up to God’s perfection.

    Should we still ask God to forgive us when we sin after we are saved, absolutely, that doesn’t mean we are not saved, we are acknowledging that we’re not perfect and that we need God’s guidance every day.

    God isn’t on a “work for wages” system. Jesus paid the price for all our sins, the ones we are aware of, and the ones we are not.

  171. Alabama John says:

    The more educated we get and better at debating, the more confused being a christian becomes.

    Simple love for Jesus and following simple examples we have in the bible are made so hard and confusing.

    Can you imagine a unit of Marines trying to follow specific orders without the knowledge that they can and are expected to adjust with any change of the enemy required in order to win?

    We have put orders and examples written to others as law to us, not for encouragement but for reward or damnation if not followed, reward for winning souls be damned.

    Keep in mind, we are not Corinthians, Ephesians, Romans, but Americans!

  172. Gary says:

    I highly recommend the April 9, 2012 post of the Word of a Woman blog which highlights the scholarship of Justin R. Cannon on the meaning of pornoi, malakoi and arsenokoitai in 1 Corinthians 6:9ff. Cannon shows how the offenses mentioned fall naturally into pairs or triads and suggests what would seem to be the root offense Paul was referring to in these three sexual words. His work is a hypothesis of course but so is any other explanation or interpretation of these words. His approach is quite interesting and would have to be considered as a possible explanation in my opinion. I’m sorry but I don’t know how to post a link.

  173. Larry Cheek says:

    Grace,
    I see that you did comprehend some of the message that I was attempting to convey. But, the portion that portrayed if there were those who were in the church kingdom who had accepted Christ’s Gospel who would not enter the promised reward of heaven you left undone. You see as we are discussing works, we must identify that the lack of works is do nothing, and what I was trying to establish is that one who accepts Christ’s teachings and commits to being his follower cannot enter into the rewards of the harvest time if they have not worked for the master. There is no safety just inside the kingdom doors. Jesus addressed that in the following, “Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away.” They were born again into the kingdom, (the seed sprouted and became alive), but lack of food and nourishment they died again. Seeds not only have to be fed they have to act or work to continue growth. When that happens it is like we have seen many new converts who would not continue to grow because of their own desires. You could say they died at the entry gate of the kingdom, just as the seed which did not produce their abundance. Many inside the kingdom will find their reward exactly like the unprofitable servant wasting their talents. All of the servants were already inside the masters employ (kingdom). Part of our work inside the kingdom is to display Christ to the world by the way we live our lives, and that will take work, because our human nature is not Christ like. We also understand that we can never be perfect, but we have a powerful aide to help us to live a life that is different than the world. I say aide because we still have the choice to remain faithful with that help or to you might say jump ship and go back into a life which does not display us as Christ’s followers.

  174. Grace says:

    Larry, you do realize the seed that was planted only on the good soil are His true children. Matthew 13:23 “As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and UNDERSTANDS it.”

    If you knew about wheat you would know that wheat has no life at all without root. Jesus said the seed that fell on the stony ground never had root in them.

    The seed that was planted in the good soil are the only ones who are born again children of God, Matthew 13:38 “the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom”. These are the only ones that UNDERSTOOD the gospel. None of the others understood the gospel, you can’t be born again when you don’t understand what the gospel is.

    And I really do appreciate your comments in our dialogue about this. You have totally proven that many in the CofC denomination ultimately are teaching people they have to earn salvation. Other religions believe they have to be good enough to go to heaven too.

    What Jesus did going through the torture of being severely whipped and the horrific suffering He went through being crucified on the cross wasn’t enough to pay the debt of your sins. Wow! To me it takes a pretty arrogant person to even suggest that Jesus only half way saves people, that His sacrifice wasn’t enough payment for your sins.

    You certainly don’t have to accept His sacrifice as the full payment of your sin debt. You can think Jesus only paid half price.

    But that’s not my God.

    Jesus gave His perfect life and shed His atoning blood and declared that my debt is paid in full.

    And you nor the CofC denomination can ever make me think Jesus didn’t do enough. To me He did Way more than enough!

  175. Larry Cheek says:

    Grace,
    If you truly believed that there is nothing you could do that would cause you to fall from the security that Christ has given you, then you are very different than the majority of all mankind that has been communicated about in the scriptures. As we understand Paul considered himself as the chief of sinners. Of course we all know that he was cleansed of those sins. Yet, he talks about running a race in comparison to the life that he presently lives and by running a race poorly could lose the reward.
    (1 Cor 9:26 KJV) I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
    27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
    Castaway? In the context here could he possibly mean the there was no way possible that he might miss the reward (heaven) because of a lifestyle that he chose?
    (1 Cor 10:12 KJV) Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
    Fall? Fall from what? What would falling into temptation take away from a Christian?
    (1 Cor 10:14 KJV) Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.
    Evidently, practicing idolatry would be a act that would produce a (falling).
    While discussing the qualification of Elders, Paul identified an action which would allow a man to be captured by the devil. If you were captured in a snare of the devil would as discussed in this setting would you still be considered a faithful servant to Christ?
    (1 Tim 3:6 KJV) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

    There are many pictures within the OT and NT that portray Godly men who abandoned the faith and will not be in the redeemed on Judgement Day. Revelation tells of many who did not remain faithful. I believe that you know many people in your near vicinity who have abandoned the faith, do you conclude that they will receive that same reward that you will?

  176. Grace says:

    Good works will not get us into heaven, Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

    There will be crowns given to people in heaven for doing work for the Lord.

    1 Corinthians 9:24 “God will give crowns to people in heaven for their accomplishments doing work for the Lord.”

    Doing good works for the Lord on earth will bring us certain rewards when we are in heaven.

    2 Corinthians 3:8 “There is no difference between the one who plants and the one who waters; God will reward each one according to the work each has done.”

    John says all who have come to Jesus will never be cast out from Him.

    John 6:37 “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.”

    John 10:26-30 “But you do not believe, because you are not of My sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”

    Romans 8:31-39 “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    Paul says God keeps all who belong to Him strong.

    2 Corinthians 1:21-22 “God is the One Who makes our faith and your faith strong in Christ. He has set us apart for Himself. He has put His mark on us to show we belong to Him. His Spirit is in our hearts to prove this.”

    Paul says we have confidence that God completes the work He has started in us.

    Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

    Paul says God’s power in us is greater than any other power, there isn’t any evil power greater than Him that can turn those who are His away. Paul said he knew the Lord would deliver him from every evil work and preserve him.

    2 Timothy 4:18 “And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen!”

  177. Monty says:

    2 Peter 3:17- Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard, so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.

    Peter tells us two things here.1. That our position is secure. 2. That you can fall from it. Sounds sort of contradictory doesn’t it? Our position in the vine is secure,” if you remain in me, you will bear much fruit.” We must remain in Christ, where there is grace to be found.

    There is a responsibility with remaining in our secure position. It’s not works, it’s not performance, but it is being faithful to the one who called us. The Hebrew writer said, “See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.” Hebrews 3:12. It’s our responsibility to “see to it”. To not harden our hearts. Evidently believing hearts can and do sometimes harden and turn away from the Living God. That’s why we are forewarned.

  178. Dwight says:

    Simon the soceror was warned to correct himself or else and Simon had just underr gone conversion. Obvioulsy Simon believed in Christ, but on other things his heart wasn’t right and put him in condemnation. Heb.6:6 and II Peter 3:17 talk of man falling from thier saved state by not doing the will of God. Grace I think you have the misconception that while God holds on to man that man must therefore hold on to God, but that is not the case as man can leave God and walk his own way from the presence of God. In fact their is a sin that cannot be forgiven…it is unpardonable…walking away from God after having been with God and never coming back. Walking is an action.God may be with us, but we have to stay with God. God has never forces us to be saved and will not force us to be saved.

  179. Grace says:

    2 Peter 3:17 is not referring that Christians lose salvation, that is eternally secure and cannot be reversed. Peter is speaking of the beliver’s confidence in God. Their security is not in their own strength. Peter reminds them as has Paul that salvarion is of the Lord.

    Peter doesn’t want them to lose confidence in God. If we lose confidence in God doesn’t mean believer’s lose salvation, but our spiritual walk won’t be as healthy for us in growth.

  180. Grace says:

    Posting from my phone at the moment.

  181. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Gary cited to the article: http://wordofawoman.com/2012/04/09/homosexuality-and-god-parts-5-and-6-pornoi-arsenokoitai-and-malakoi/.

    The argument hinges on the assumption that the young men who were the homosexual sex partners of adult men were necessarily prostitutes. And yet my reading of the actual sources indicates that such relationships were generally consensual — and approved by the boys’ fathers. Homosexual prostitution was certainly a feature of the ancient world, but it was not all that common in Corinth.

    The passive role was acceptable only for inferiors, such as women, slaves, or male youths who were not yet citizens. Hence the cultural ideal of a same-sex relationship was between an older man, probably in his 20’s or 30’s, known as the erastes, and a boy whose beard had not yet begun to grow, the eromenos or paidika. In this relationship there was courtship ritual, involving gifts (such as a rooster), and other norms. The erastes had to show that he had nobler interests in the boy, rather than a purely sexual concern. The boy was not to submit too easily, and if pursued by more than one man, was to show discretion and pick the more noble one. There is also evidence that penetration was often avoided by having the erastes face his beloved and place his penis between the thighs of the eromenos, which is known as intercrural sex. The relationship was to be temporary and should end upon the boy reaching adulthood (Dover, 1989). To continue in a submissive role even while one should be an equal citizen was considered troubling, although there certainly were many adult male same-sex relationships that were noted and not strongly stigmatized. While the passive role was thus seen as problematic, to be attracted to men was often taken as a sign of masculinity.

    Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/homosexuality/

  182. Dwight says:

    II Ptere 3:17-18 “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked; 18 but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” This verse reflects that one can be led away with the error of the wicked. vs. 14 “be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;” So if one isn’t diligent, then one might become spotted and blamful. Then again we have Heb.6:6.
    I know that God stayed with Israel, but think about how many times God killed those Israelites who disobeyed Him. Many. Christianity will remain intact, but that doesn’t mean that those that sin will be kept from destruction. Again Simon who had been converted was charged with sin and destruction if he did not turn from it. If once saved always saved is true, then once lost always lost should be true too. The fact is that niether one is true. The lost can become saved and even the saved can turn from God.

  183. Dwight says:

    Gary, your focus on Roman culture has little to do with the Hebrew culture that did not have homosexuality due to the fact that they understood it to be sin.

  184. Grace says:

    The writer of Hebrews was speaking to different people. There were true believers whose hope was only in the Lord, and there were unbelievers whose hope wasn’t in the Lord alone but continued under the sacrificial system depending instead on the blood of bulls and goats.

    The writer of Hebrews tells them that if the life, death, resurrection, and High Priestly ministry of Jesus is not sufficient, then we have no hope, no forgiveness, no grace, no mercy, and no eternal life.

    Hebrews 7:22-25 Because of God’s oath, Christ can guarantee forever the success of this new and better arrangement. Under the old arrangement there had to be many priests so that when the older ones died off, the system could still be carried on by others who took their places. But Jesus lives forever and continues to be a Priest so that no one else is needed. He is able to save completely all who come to God through him. Since he will live forever, he will always be there to remind God that he has paid for their sins with his blood.

    Hebrews 10:11 Every day the priests stand and do their religious service. Again and again they offer the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins.

    We aren’t perfect by our good works, we aren’t blameless of ourselves. God sees us blameless as His perfect children by the life Jesus lived and gave for us taking the place of sinners who trust in Him to be our salvation.

    Hebrews 10:10 Jesus Christ did the things God wanted him to do. And because of that, we are made holy through the sacrifice of Christ’s body. Christ made that sacrifice one time enough for all time.

    A true believer’s confidence is in God alone.

    Psalm 62:5-7 My soul is quiet and waits for God alone. My hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and the One Who saves me. He is my strong place. I will not be shaken. My being safe and my honor rest with God. My safe place is in God, the rock of my strength.

    Proverbs 3:25-26 Don’t fear sudden terror or the ruin that comes to the wicked. The LORD will be your confidence; He will guard your feet from being snared.

    1 Corinthians 1:8-9 Christ will keep you strong until He comes again. No blame will be held against you. God is faithful. He chose you to be joined together with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Philippians 3:3 But we are the ones who have the true circumcision we who worship God through His Spirit. We don’t trust in ourselves or anything we can do. We take pride only in Christ Jesus..

  185. Buckeye Chuck says:

    Grace said, “The writer of Hebrews was speaking to different people.” The writer of Hebrews is speaking to the HEBREW CHURCH. The Hebrew church alone. What evidence would you have that this letter is addressed to a different listener than each of the other letters? This letter is no different than the letter to the church of Rome, or Corinth, or Galatia or any of the other letters. It is written to the called out believers who are part of the body of Christ. Not another group. To say otherwise places a Biblicly indefensible position as your base.

    There was a problem within the Jewish believers where some taught that in order to be a Christian in good standing (see the book of Galatians), you first had to obey the entire Old Testament Law of Moses. The Letter to the Hebrews was written to refute that argument. Christ is better than angels. Christ is better than Moses. Jesus is the High Priest. It isn’t addressed to two different groups. The context of the entire book demands this interpretation and I think you may find it difficult to find Biblical scholars who think otherwise.

    This is followed by the warning issued by the writer at the end of chapter 5 and the beginning of 6 warning BELIEVERS against falling away. It is possible for Christians to choose to no longer receive the grace of God because those once believers now no longer believe or have willfully chosen to reject obedience of God’s authority in Scripture.

    Jesus taught the very same message in the parable of the Sower in Mark 4. “13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

  186. Grace says:

    If you think everyone who goes to church looking all religious is saved, well, the Pharisees were religious fundamentalists who focused on strict observance of the Jewish laws, ceremonies and traditions and Jesus denounced them. They often lived moral lives, full of good deeds, but without Jesus they could not be saved.

    Jesus spoke to a man who actually thought he had done everything perfect in his life. Jesus responds that he wasn’t so perfect as he thought.

    Luke 18:18-23 Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.

    Jesus’ response to the man’s question who thought he was perfect, Jesus said, you have to sell all that you have and give it to the poor.

    Don’t leave anything out or you won’t go to heaven.

    If a person attended church for a month or even 5 or more years but then walks away they did not have salvation, going to church doesn’t make a person a Christian anymore than going to a garage makes a person a car. People who continue to trust in anything except Christ alone, who is the light that scatters all shadows, it is said to be tantamount to “trampling under foot the Son of God” believing that His once of all sacrifice is insufficient in itself to save. If something in place of or in addition to Jesus is trusted in, it is no different than a denial of Him.

    So, you want me to trust in myself and not in God alone to have salvation. Sorry, that’s absolutely not even to be considered. You nor the CofC denomination’s theology can ever make me think Jesus didn’t do enough, that His sacrifice and blood isn’t sufficient.

    You certainly don’t have to accept His sacrifice as the full payment of your sin debt.

    The sin debt I owe to God is paid in full by my Lord and Savior, my King, Jesus Christ! Praise God!!

  187. Monty says:

    Grace,

    No one on here says going to church makes you a Christian, you are always bringing up straw men to aide you in your arguments.. Paul told the church in Galatia that “if they let themselves be circumcised they are fallen from grace”, Grace. What does that mean? They lose their confidence? Really? Can Christians quit trusting in Jesus for salvation and instead turn to ritualistic law keeping? Obviously so, or Paul wouldn’t be so concerned. One of Paul’s greatest concerns was for the daily care of the churches he planted, he knew Satan could come in and make shipwreck of their faith. I think Paul prayed daily, that wouldn’t happen. We would do well to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters that they remain in the faith, especially baby believers. The wrongs you keep harping on by some in the CofC don’t make what you propose right. It just means that they are wrong. Believers have security in Christ that he is faithful, he will always be more faithful to us than we are to him, his grace and love cover our sins but that doesn’t mean we can’t abandon the faith. We must walk in the light to receive fellowship and forgiveness. When we abandon light for darkness we do err greatly and run the risk of being lost.

  188. Gary says:

    Jay, Dale B. Martin is a Yale professor and has degrees from Abilene Christian University, Princeton and Yale. Regarding 1 Corinthians 6:9 Martin has argued that arsenokoitai may have referred to “some kind of economic exploitation by means of sex, perhaps, but not necessarily homosexual sex.” He has also written the following, “I am not claiming to know what arsenokoites meant; I am claiming that no one knows [now] what it meant [then]. I freely admit that it could have been taken as a reference to homosexual sex. But given the scarcity of evidence and the several contexts just analyzed, in which arsenokoites appears to refer to some economic exploitation, no one should be allowed to get away with claiming that ‘of course’ the term refers to ‘men who have sex with other men.”

  189. Larry Cheek says:

    Gary,
    Sounds to me like he is kinda on the fence and will not declare a definite answer. With his credentials, he is not able to be positive. How can that be a benefit to anyone’s cause?

  190. Gary says:

    Larry, the point of scholarship is truth and accuracy not benefiting a cause. The overall point is that there is no concensus on the interpretation of malakoi and arsenokoitai in 1 Corinthians 6:9.

  191. Gary says:

    Jay, I’m interested in any sources you may have for homosexual prostitution not being common in Roman Corinth. ( I’m not relying at all on Strabo’s account of cult male prostitution in pre-Roman Corinth.) In the Roman Empire we would both agree I think that Corinth was much like 1960’s San Francisco in our country. It epitomized sexual libertinism. If male homosexuality was uncommon in Corinth it was about the only form of sex that was uncommon there!

  192. Gary says:

    What I meant to say in that last sentence was: if male homosexual prostitution was uncommon in Corinth it was about the only form of sex that was uncommon there!

  193. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Gary wrote,

    What I meant to say in that last sentence was: if male homosexual prostitution was uncommon in Corinth it was about the only form of sex that was uncommon there!

    Idolatrous homosexual prostitution was unusual. It was not a big part of the cults popular in the city. Therefore, it’s a mistake to assume that “prostitution” was idolatrous — that is, part of the ritual worship of a pagan god.

    Moreover, later in chapter 6, Paul refers to prostitution in terms of men being joined to women, meaning that female prostitution was the dominant form of prostitution.

    Hence, references to male homosexuality cannot be easily tied to either prostitution (as in Paul’s mind, prostitution was sufficiently heterosexual that he did not need to mention the male/male form) or to idolatry (no evidence that Corinthian temples made significant use of gay sex in their rituals).

    See this description of temple prostitution in Corinth — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_ancient_Greece#Temple_prostitution_in_Corinth — in which the sources are exclusively referring to heterosexual sex.

    In short, there is no evidence regarding Corinthian culture in the First Century that would make a reference to malakos by Paul, for example, naturally a reference to prostitution or to idolatry. Other cities had other preferred temples, gods, and practices. But Corinth seems to have preferred their idolatry and prostitutes heterosexual. Maybe gay sex was too easily obtained for free.

  194. Gary says:

    Jay, the matter of sacred male prostitution in Roman Corinth is pretty much irrelevant to the extent of secular male prostitution there. The only relevance I can see is that if there was no cult male prostitution in Corinth it would have increased the demand for regular male prostitution. Thayer does give male prostitute as one of the meanings of malakos.

  195. Grace says:

    Many churches for years have taught that we must live up to a certain standard of behavior in order to maintain our acceptance by God. They teach salvation is dependent on how well we keep laws, the do’s and don’ts to stay a Christian.

    To fall from grace does not mean that we lose our righteousness before God.

    Paul was motivated to write this letter due to the fact that the believers in Galatia were beginning to become theologically confused.

    Paul is talking about how we relate to God. He does not mean we fall from salvation, but from a way of relating to God by grace (there’s nothing I can do to make up for my sins) to that of the law or works (I must keep some rules in order to still be considered for heaven). When he says that a believer has “fallen from grace”, he is saying that the believer has fallen from how we are to seek God’s will in our life. It does not mean someone had salvation and has now lost it. Paul addresses the believers’ walk.

    Christians who fall from grace are not people who have premarital sex or are addicted to alcohol or drugs that the church so frequently condemns and points their finger at.

    God’s grace isn’t something you get because of your great performance. He lovingly bestowed His grace upon us that we rest in.

    When we attempt to depend upon our ability to maintain our righteous standing we have in our minds fallen from the grace.

    It is foolishness that we all have fallen into at one time or another. Peter himself began to withdraw and hold himself aloof from the Gentiles fearing the party of the circumcision and what he will face from them for enjoying his freedom. (Galatians 2:12).

    If we think that righteousness is earned by following law then in our minds we have fallen from the grace that has set us free. We’re not standing confidently in the finished work of our Savior.

    And falling to that mindset we can’t have peace and joy, we instead have feelings of fear, anxiety, and condemnation day after day.

    The freedom which Paul talks about refers not to salvation, but to the Christian’s daily enjoyment of that freedom in grace which God has given us.

    Peter was undoubtedly a true believer who was allowing bad theology to influence his actions and therefore not acting in line with the gospel and the believers in Galatia were doing same thing.

    Paul challenges them, as believers, to not allow themselves to get confused and act like unbelievers by being unnecessarily burdened by the law. He is saying, “Stop allowing yourselves to be confused by false teaching. You have the Spirit by faith so start acting like it.”

    Christians can get confused, especially new believer’s as were the Galatians, Christians can stumble and fall from their confidence in Christ. That doesn’t mean they lose their salvation. Christians don’t stay down they get back up. Proverbs 24:16 “The righteous may fall seven times but still get up, but the wicked will stumble into trouble.”

    Paul wasn’t saying in Galatians 5:10 “I am confident in you”, he was saying, “I am confident in the Lord concerning you who belong to Him”.

    Galatians 5:10 “I’m convinced about you in the Lord that you won’t think any other way. But the one who is confusing you will pay the penalty, whoever that may be.”

    Galatians 3:29 “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”

    He confirmed his confidence in Jesus’ promise, “I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” (John 10:28-29). Knowing Jesus’ promise Paul could state with certainty, “I have confidence in you in the Lord.”

    When people hear the gospel truth and never stop thinking God’s grace is earned by doing works of the law, the soil was bad and the gospel never took root in them. They were never heirs of the freewoman.

    Galatians 4:30 “But what does Scripture say? “Get rid of the slave woman and her son, because the son of the slave woman must never share the inheritance with the son of the free woman.”

  196. Grace says:

    A friend of mine at church was raised in a very legalistic environment. She has for years thought she had to be good enough to get to heaven, for God to accept her.

    She was miserable, she has suffered from anxiety and she had times of fear that she isn’t good enough. Along with her anxiety she smokes cigarettes and had many thoughts that since she smokes she wouldn’t be able to go to heaven.

    When she didn’t do something exactly right she thought she had lost her salvation. She has gotten much better over the past few years though. And when she would fall from grace we reminded her that it’s by the work Jesus did on the cross she is saved. When she would fall from grace she didn’t lose salvation then get salvation back and then lose salvation again then get salvation back again, no, she is saved but she was missing the huge blessing there is when we have confidence in Christ. And as she has grown so much now than from the beginning the huge blessings of peace and joy overflow in her life, and that’s all God!

  197. Monty says:

    Grace,

    There you go again arguing from a straw man, worse case scenario. Of course many hold to a teaching of once saved, never saved. That you do “pop in and out of grace” whenever you sin and then you repent and you are reinstated again. That’s not grace, and it’s not Biblical. But it’s also not Biblical to take every instance of warnings for falling away(falling from grace) and interpret it as some gobbly-gook about just losing the way we approach God. Huh? Jesus told his disciples on the night he would be betrayed to “remain in me”, he was the vine, they were the branches. They were to remain in him by obeying his commandments. “If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”

    What if the disciples didn’t remain in Jesus by keeping his commands? The analogy Jesus uses is that of taking unproductive branches from the grapevine and cutting them off and throwing them into the fire. Jesus said they could keep themselves in his love by obeying his commands. That sounds like a responsibility they had(we have). Who was supposed to obey? They were. Jesus would be there for them in Spirit. He would send the Comforter who would guide them into all truth. They would have every needed grace from heaven’s side in order to be successful(fruitful). But it was still incumbent upon the 11 (now) to be faithfully obedient to Jesus’ instructions. That is, they were not robbed of freewill. They had to remain in him.

    It’s not, “once saved, never saved,’ and it not – “once saved,you cannot fall,’ either. People have to respond to the Good News in order to be saved, even though it’s still being saved by grace through faith. And once saved by grace, we must still respond by living obediently, not perfectly. To deny such is to mock Paul’s warnings to the church in Galatians 5:21 ‘ I warn you as I did before that those who lives like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. Paul says this is my 2nd warning (as I said before) you (Christians) cannot live by serving the flesh and inherit the kingdom of God.

    I’m sure your reasoning for this will be that “true Christians” won’t ever serve the flesh. But that just makes Paul’s second warning even more absurd(since it can’t happen) than the 1st one. Poor “ole Paul.” He didn’t understand that you could serve the flesh and still receive your inheritance.

  198. Dwight says:

    Grace the prson you are describing is a person who has been raised in the Catholicism where if you sin you must do something to account for that sin and are caught in a sin-work cycle, but the fact that God speak heavily of forgivness means that sin must be recognized & asked of God by the saved, this is grace. The scripture constantly also says, “If you do forgive your brother, then I will not forgive you” means that there is a condition that must be met. If we cannot & will not forgive our brother, even if we believe in God, then God will not forgive us and show us mercy in the finality. We must have faith and we must do according to our ability to have faith and do.
    It seems as though there is a perpetual battle by you to so strongly apply grace or faith as to deny that man has any responsibilty in what path he chooses or the fact that if he chooses the path that he cannot depart from it. However the scriptures never put one thing above another as all things work to the good. Faith & works are partners not enemies according to James.

  199. Grace says:

    So,we are saved by grace through faith, but after that what Jesus did on the cross doesn’t save us anymore, we have to stay saved by doing good works, and if we don’t do enough we can’t go to heaven.

    If you think your good can outweigh your bad to get you to heaven then you and everyone else is in big trouble. The standard we have to meet is perfection.

    Not only must you not commit adultery (Exodus 20:14), you can’t even the look at someone and have lust in your heart (Matthew 5:27-29).

    The greatest commandment is to love God, not only are you to love God you are to love your neighbor (Matthew 22:39).

    Not only must you not murder, you cannot have anger in your heart toward someone else (Matthew 5:22).

    Not only must you not steal (Exodus 20:15), you cannot even envy or covet what others have (Exodus 20:17) (Romans 1:29).

    You cannot ever have earthly possessions (Matthew 6:19-21).

    Not only must we not give false witness (Exodus 20:16), you cannot ever have any kind of evil thoughts or speech (Matthew 12:35-37).

    Not only must you always give to the poor and the sick, but you also have to always give to strangers and people in prison (Deuteronomy 15:7-8), you always have to treat them as you would treat Jesus, Himself. You have to always take in strangers and give them food and clothes (Matthew 25:31-46).

    You can’t just say you love your enemy, you have to always bless them doing good to them (Matthew 5:44).

    A married person cannot get a divorce, even if a woman’s husband horribly beats her and her children (Mark 10:9).

    You cannot ever have any kind of hate in your heart toward others (1 John 3:15).

    The standard we have to meet is perfection. Matthew 5:48 “You must be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

    Jesus spoke to a man who actually thought he had done everything perfect in his life. Jesus responds that he wasn’t so perfect as he thought.

    Luke 18:18-23 Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.” So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.

    Jesus’ response to the man’s question who thought he was perfect, Jesus said, you have to sell all that you have and give it to the poor.

    So, don’t leave anything out or you won’t go to heaven.

    Jesus went to the cross not just to save us temporarily, but to pay the entire debt of all our sins. Jesus said from the cross, “tetelestai”, meaning “it is finished” (John 19:30). The word “tetelestai” was used when a debt was paid in full. Jesus gave His perfect life and shed His atoning blood and declared the debt is paid in full.

    You certainly don’t have to accept His sacrifice as the full payment of your sin debt. You can think Jesus only paid half price.

    But that’s not my God.

    Jesus gave His perfect life and shed His atoning blood and declared that my debt is paid in full.

    What Jesus did going through the torture of being severely whipped and the horrific suffering He went through being crucified on the cross wasn’t enough to pay the debt of your sins. To me it takes a pretty arrogant person to even suggest that Jesus only half way saves people, that His sacrifice wasn’t enough payment for your sins.

    You want me to trust in myself and not in God alone to have salvation. Sorry, that’s absolutely not even to be considered. You nor the CofC denomination’s theology can ever make me think Jesus didn’t do enough, that His sacrifice and blood isn’t sufficient.

    You nor the CofC denomination can ever make me think Jesus didn’t do enough. To me He did Way more than enough!

    The sin debt I owe to God is paid in full by my Lord and Savior, my King, Jesus Christ! It is Jesus Christ and what He did to pay for my sins that gets me into heaven. Praise God!!

    And btw, my friend wasn’t taught by Catholics, it was the CofC denomination (Ooops).

  200. Monty says:

    Grace,

    No one is saved by works, no one on here is saying that, and you don’t praise and thank God anymore than I do, I assure you. If you are married Grace you made a covenant with your husband to be faithful to him and to him alone, I assume. As long as you both keep your vows to each other you will always be married, until death do you part. Another way of saying that would be as long as you remain in each other’s love. You have to work at it if yours is like most marriages. There are moments or days when it takes forgiveness, it takes grace, it takes submitting to each other in love for it to work. It takes confession and an admittance of wrongs. It’s a relationship built on grace and not perfect legal actions on your part or your husbands. He’s not going to divorce you because of some minor infraction or irritation, or even over some more egregious error. But what if you left him and fell in love with another. You say, impossible! But it happens every day to some.

    God is the perfect faithful husband, and our relationship with him is built on the foundation of grace. We can’t earn a marriage with him. He extended his marriage proposal to us according to his goodness, not ours. But, we do have an obligation once accepted, a responsibility, a burning desire, a faith betrothal that we made at our salvation that he would always be our Lord(spiritual husband) . And he will always be, if, we remain faithful(not perfect) but that we would always desire him and not forsake him for another. We don’t have to worry about how well we made the bed up or how well we swept the kitchen floor, as you assert. We just have to be HIs, and not flee to the arms of another. HIs grace is always there for us. Where our sin abounds, his grace abounds all the more. Even if we left him temporarily for some other, he would take us back upon our repentance, but if we choose to go away and stay away, then what hope does that person have? When you leave God for the far country and remain in it, til death? “But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned.” That’s a chilling warning from Hebrews 6:8. And I assure you he’s not talking about losing our confidence in how we talk to God.

  201. Dwight says:

    There is even traces of Cathlocism in the coC, unfortunately Grace. My goal and the goal of most people that have written here isn’t to debate that grace and faith aren’t important, but that they don’t stand alone. It is not faith or works, but faith and works. I want you to trust in God and not trust in yourself, because if you do trust in yourself you will be dissapointed. But that doens’t mean that we can’t do what we can for the God that we love and God will see us and account our faith and works to us. Paul conatantly talked of running the race and then saying hence forth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness. Paul talked of being the least of the apostles and yet working harder than any of them. James 2 makes the point that “a man is justified by works and not by faith only” and then offers examples of this in Abraham. See here Paul is linking faith and works and Paul himself was a great example of this.

  202. Dwight says:

    I would have to admit that I fully believe that God paid the ultimate price and is a redeemer, but He redeemed us from being bound by sin, but that doess’t mean we can’t go back into it. I think the Bible can be summed in two words “Deliverance” and “Atonement”. We were delivered from sin and brought to God, but we are involved in this too and we either go willingly or we don’t. As seen in the Israelites, they were delivered and brought under God in covenant and yet they murmured about returning to Egypt and would have done so unless they were punished and they often left the covenant relationship and were punished. God is great, God is love, God is patient, but God is also rightoeus and just.

  203. Alabama John says:

    I like to hear about the mansions you will give, but the sweetest words I’ve ever heard is “I forgive”!
    Great song we sing often.

    Chances we have it all right, any of us, is pretty small so we all need a lot of I forgives thrown our way.

    Good thing is God knows this better than we do and is throwing to us all.

  204. Larry Cheek says:

    Grace,
    You really need to read again 1 Peter chapter 1 & 2 if you have ever read them previously. In chapter 1, you should notice that Peter is directing or commanding us to perform, notice.
    (2 Pet 1:4 NIV) Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. 10 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
    To (make every effort) sure does sound like something that God is not given us which we must work at.
    Verse 8 explains some qualities that are not given, we must supply.
    Verse 9 Notice if God was supposed to give these, then how could the individual be held responsible if he doesn’t have it, (he is nearsighted and blind), and the next portion really gives that individual a back set (and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins).
    How could you interpret Peter’s message in the 10 verse to conclude that, (you will never fail if you DON’T do these things)?
    Is it possible that Peter misunderstood God while directing that, following all this action then you will participate in the (welcome) of verse 11.
    As you continue to read Chapter 2, explain how those who are identified as false teachers will not be some of the very individuals whom you have had great faith in within the body? We have been warned that some will look like Angels of Light. Referring to their ability to conceal their true identity. It has even been explained that they will be able to deceive some of the very elect (very strong obedient Christians).
    We all have understood you claiming that individuals such as these were never saved therefore they cannot lose their salvation, but read carefully what Peter says. You cannot be (again entangled) unless you had been loosed from entanglement previously, and verse 21 seals it solid that they had known the way of righteousness, (The Lord).
    (2 Pet 2:20 NIV) If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. 22 Of them the proverbs are true: “A dog returns to its vomit,” and, “A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.”
    Are you going to proclaim that these individuals who knew the Lord will go to Heaven, the reward of the faithful?

  205. Dwight says:

    One thing we hjave a tendency to do is take positions based on earlier positions and many of them are extreme. In response to the Catholic teaching that works redeemed Calvin took the polar opposite where nothing man can do has any merit at all. The truth is in the middle of those two arguments. Larry, points out that salvation isn’t secure on our end, no matter how secure God makes it. We can be willful and rebellious, even when we have seen everything God has given us. Adam and Eve snubbed paradise for a single peice of fruit because they wanted it, despite what they knew God told them and what they had.

  206. Grace says:

    “Knowing” in 2 Peter 2:20 is not gnosis (relational knowledge), but epignosis (knowing about something). A pig is one who comes to church for a season, tries to tidy themselves up, yet being a pig they have the nature of a pig, their desire is to return to the mud from which they came and that is exactly what they do. A child of God may stupidly wander off for a season, but in their heart they will never find rest and will long for their home and repent. Where as a pig comes to church, but in their heart they don’t find rest, the nature of a pig just loves mud and given time will always return.

    Peter says we are to have godly attributes of kindness and love toward others (2 Peter 2:7). A true believer can have seasons where they lack growth in grace and wander. That doesn’t mean we lose salvation. We can have many times throughout our life that we lack having aspects of godly love for others, our focus is on everything else other than God. God doesn’t leave His children hanging by a thread, God is always with His children, we aren’t saved by our great performance, God gives us all grace and picks us back up.

    God keeps His children, not just temporally, but to the end.

    1 Corinthians 1:8-9 Christ will keep you strong until He comes again. No blame will be held against you. God is faithful. He chose you to be joined together with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

    2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

  207. Grace says:

    Peter says we are to have godly attributes of kindness and love toward others (2 Peter 1:7). A true believer can have seasons where they lack growth in grace and wander. That doesn’t mean we lose salvation. We can have many times throughout our life that we lack having aspects of godly love for others, our focus is on everything else other than God. God doesn’t leave His children hanging by a thread, God is always with His children, we aren’t saved by our great performance, God gives us all grace and picks us back up.

  208. Dwight says:

    Grace I do believe you are a Calvinist, where man has no say in his salvation and once taken by God they are his even if they reject God later. This is not backed up by scripture. The lost can be saved and the saved can be lost. The lost will not be saved despite thier objections and the saved will not be saved despite thier rejections. God will reject, in final judgment, those he deems not worthy. Your pig analogy isn’t found in the scriptures anywhere. Simon the soceror was warned to turn his heart back to God after having been newly converted but offering money for gifts. He knew he needed God and responded to God in the right way, but had the flaw of greed which would doom him if he didn’t change his heart.

  209. Larry Cheek says:

    Grace,
    Now you are actually explaining that Peter was not intelligent enough to understand the intentions of those that he was teaching. You are trying to judge those whom Peter said were departing from the knowledge, those whom he had taught, and you are making his words fit your interpretation of his message. That is not what I understand is the purpose of listening to God’s Word encompasses. As you continue into his message you then have to deny the message that has given, in order to allow your interpretation to reign.

  210. Grace says:

    You can call me a Calvinist all you want, that doesn’t bother me, and I’ve never said that those who reject God are His. If it makes you feel good to call people who disagree with you Calvinist that doesn’t bother me at all, there are all kinds of people in the world that resort to name calling for a ego trip, they think they are belittling someone when they haven’t done anything but make themselves look bad. And btw, I’m a Christian, my faith is in Jesus. You can say my analogy isn’t Scriptural though the Scriptures speak that the wicked end in trouble while the righteous always get back up. And you tell plenty of fables that aren’t in the Bible with your name by it. If it bothers you that my faith is in God alone, you don’t have to accept Jesus’ sacrifice as the full payment of your sin debt. The sin debt I owe to God is paid in full by my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

  211. Dwight says:

    Grace, calling you a Calvinist isn’t name calling, but it is saying that many of the things if not all of the things you are saying are Calvinistic and follow the Calvinist teaching to a T. When we sin we reject God, even for a little, but there is a difference in rejecting God and turning from Him and you are stating that once you are a Christian you cannot turn from him or rejeuct him as you are His and He will keep you. As others have pointed out and example of Simon the soceror points out is that being a Christian doesn’t make you infallable or not able to fall from God’s grace by your own inclination. Adam and Eve started out under grace and were sinless and perfect and yet they fell to thier own tempations and desires and God allowed that to happen. He could have stopped it or even not put the tree there, but he tested man and man failed even while knowing the consequences. Now having said that Jesus showed that man can derail his passions when he was tempted by Satan and overcome, but Jesus had to overcome his own passions and God didn’t force Him to do it and Jesus was perfect. I don’t beleive we are ganging up on you and are not accusing you of sin, but rather pointing out that scripture allows for man to make decisions good or bad, which is why I say that The lost can be saved and the saved can be lost. The lost will not be saved despite thier objections and the saved will not be saved despite thier rejections.

  212. Larry Cheek says:

    Grace,
    By your communications not being modified as we have given you Christ’s and Peter’s communications which were in direct opposition to your comments, reflects that you will not accept Christ’s or Peter’s instructions in the scriptures. How can you possibly convince us or Jesus that you love Jesus Christ while not accepting his teachings? You have consistently pitted several favorite scriptures to over rule other scriptures that display that thee are two different sides of the story. It’s like driving down a highway, as long as you obey the rules and remain in your lane you can reach your destination, but if you don’t obey the rules and don’t pay attention to where you are you can easily run off the road in such a way to possibly never reach the destination.

  213. Gary says:

    It is instructive to consider the range of meanings of the contemporary Greek word malakas which descends from the word malakos that Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 6:9. Malakas today can convey several sexual meanings including masturbator. It can also be used as an insult or as an affectionate term indicating friendship or brotherhood between men. That’s a very wide range of meanings for one word. Of course this tells us nothing about the meaning of malakos in 1 Corinthians 6:9. But if a word used in 2014 has such a wide range of meanings we should be careful in being adamant about our understanding today of a Greek word used 2,000 years ago. Of the three NIV translations two have translated malakos in 1 Corinthians 6:9 as “male prostitute.” Yet conservatives now insist that malakos in 1 Corinthians 6:9 cannot mean male prostitute but absolutely refers (along with arsenokoitai) beyond all doubt to all male homosexual activity including consensual committed relationships between two persons of the same sex. There is no concensus today about the meaning of malakos and arsenokoitai in 1 Corinthians 6:9. To claim otherwise is simply not credible.

  214. Larry Cheek says:

    Gary,
    Addressing your statement, “It is instructive to consider the range of meanings of the contemporary Greek word malakas which descends from the word malakos that Paul uses in 1 Corinthians”.
    Are you attempting to state that the word that Paul used (malakos) is no longer a part of the Greek language? That it has been replaced by a derivative word (malakas) which you have shown to have a different meaning? How could you authenticate that, a different word with also a different meaning. I would see that to be like comparing an the name of a fruit (Apple) to what we understand to be an Apple, but I don’t like Apples so I will substitute the named fruit (Orange) for what we know as an Orange where the word Apple is found, and I will use an Orange there because I like Oranges.
    If you had contended that the meaning of the word (malakos) had changed and meant something else now, then it would have been necessary to locate another word which now has the same meaning that (malakos) had previously.
    You are attempting to eliminate the word and its meaning. Replacing it with an supposed action which does not fit into the message being delivered in scripture, the surrounding story does not support the concept that you are applying.
    Here you are again attempting to distort one portion of scripture which has many linking comparisons in scripture to disconnect it from those links, to change the message to something that supports the lifestyle which you have chosen.
    Again I must exclaim does not your god agree with The Messengers of The Word of God? There are multiple messengers who covered the subject from many different angles (directives) who all taught with unison upon the subject of males preferring males and of females preferring females. By their unison they left no entry into changing their concepts unblocked as long as the authority is derived through the scripture.

  215. Gary says:

    Larry, you’re missing my point. My point is that there is no consensus regarding the meaning of malokos and arsenokoitai in 1 Corinthians 6:9. Regarding the contemporary Greek word malakas many words change their meaning over time. The word conversation, for example, in the KJV refers to the kind of life one leads. Today conversation refers to the words used when people talk to each other.

  216. Gary says:

    Jay writes, “But Corinth seems to have preferred their idolatry and prostitution heterosexual.” Jay we agree that sacred male prostitution was either absent in Corinth or scarce. Can you cite any scholar, however, who has stated that secular male prostitution was uncommon or rare in Corinth? Even one? The Oxford Classical Dictionary (p. 1227) describes how common male prostitutes and brothels were in ancient Roman and Greek societies. The burden of proof is on you if you contend that Roman Corinth was somehow an exception to the ubiquity of male prostitution in the ancient world.

  217. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Gary,

    In 1 Cor 6 Paul deals with prostitution as a sin within the congregation. He speaks only of female prostitutes. Hence, for Paul’s audience, prostitution was heterosexual.

  218. Gary says:

    Jay, your answer assumes that Paul has not already addressed male prostitution in 1 Corinthians 6:9. That’s the question. When two out of three NIV translations have translated malokos as “male prostitute” how can you be sure that that was not Paul’s meaning? You’ve indicated that secular male prostitution was uncommon in Corinth. Is that your own conclusion or does any scholar back you up?

  219. Gary says:

    The relatively recently discovered Argive Petition gives us a rare window into life in Corinth in the middle of the first century- perhaps even the very decade of Paul’s establishment of the Corinthian church. Corinth was Roman through and through- to the point that other nearby cities in Greece considered it to be like a foreign country. The prevalence of secular male prostitution in the Roman Empire is undisputed to my knowledge. Anyone claiming that secular male prostitution was uncommon in Roman Corinth has a heavy burden of proof when everything else seems to point to Corinth as a little Rome.

  220. Grace says:

    So you believe it’s Jesus plus doing good works that gets people to heaven. To you Jesus’ work on the cross is only temporary and we have to complete what He could not. Anyone who is not good enough won’t make it.

    Well, I know I’m not deserving to go to heaven, the good I do doesn’t make up for my wrongs and things that I don’t do, I know I need a Savior. I fall short everyday in something and am grateful for the grace and mercy He bestows on me that I can rest in.

    We all fall short of the glory of God revealed in the face of Jesus Christ. We all fall short of the standard of sinless perfection that God requires.

    There are many religions in the world with people who have a zeal for God who think they are saved by doing enough good works.

    We don’t keep salvation through our own righteousness. The only way we are righteous before God is through Jesus’ work on the cross.

    Romans 4:5 But you cannot make God accept you because of something you do. God accepts sinners only because they have faith in Him.

    Romans 5:1 By faith we have been made acceptable to God. And now, because of our Lord Jesus Christ, we live at peace with God.

    Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

    There is only one Way to be right with God and that is by the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone. It’s only by the righteousness of Christ alone we are declared not guilty.

    We don’t preach any other gospel than Christ. For those of us who are saved it is the power of God. Simple trust in Christ alone makes perfect sense. This sounds so simple that many people refuse to accept it. Man’s plan of salvation comes down to nothing but works and pride. It’s called religion. And God will expose how foolish man’s wisdom is. The power of God doesn’t make any sense to those who do not understand the grace of God. But to us, who are saved, it is everything, it is the power of God.

    1 Corinthians 1:23-25 When we preach about Christ dying to save them, the Jews are offended and the Gentiles say it’s all nonsense. But God has opened the eyes of those called to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, to see that Christ is the mighty power of God to save them; Christ himself is the center of God’s wise plan for their salvation. This so-called “foolish” plan of God is far wiser than the wisest plan of the wisest man, and God in his weakness—Christ dying on the cross—is far stronger than any man.

    Jesus didn’t suffer the cross for nothing, not if your salvation could have been accomplished any other way.

    His perfect life gives us righteous standing before God and entitles us to have eternity in Heaven.

  221. Grace says:

    Our good deeds are out of love and gratitude for what our Lord Jesus Christ has done. We all struggle with doing wrong things. In fact, if it was not for God working through us, every attempt by us would be blameworthy. Every time you do something good, you can know and believe that God is working in you. The Creator of all the universe sees Jesus reflected in you.

    We do good deeds, not for fear of hell, or because we want to go to heaven (Either one is selfishness, no matter which way you slice it). We do good because it benefits others and gives God all the glory. Our good deeds point to Christ, it’s not about self it’s always about Him. The kindness, love and grace He has given to us we want to pour out on others. It has nothing to do with fear it’s about loving Him and loving others.

    John 4:14 But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.

    John 7:38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.

    A true believer’s confidence is in God’s power alone.

    Psalm 27:1 On God my salvation and my glory rest; The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.

    Psalm 37:39 But the Salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: He is their Strength in the time of trouble.

    Psalm 62:5-7 My soul is quiet and waits for God alone. My hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and the One Who saves me. He is my strong place. I will not be shaken. My being safe and my honor rest with God. My safe place is in God, the rock of my strength.

    Psalm 66:9 For He holds our lives in His hands, and He holds our feet to the path.

    Psalm 73:26 My flesh and my heart fail; But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

    Psalm 94:14 The LORD won’t leave His people nor give up His children.

    Proverbs 3:25-26 Don’t fear sudden terror or the ruin that comes to the wicked. The LORD will be your confidence; He will guard your feet from being snared.

    Isaiah 41:10 So don’t worry, because I am with you.Don’t be afraid, because I am your God. I will make you strong and will help you; I will support you with my right hand that saves you.

    1 Corinthians 1:8-9 Christ will keep you strong until He comes again. No blame will be held against you. God is faithful. He chose you to be joined together with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

    1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of The Cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the Power of God.

    2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

    Philippians 3:3 But we are the ones who have the true circumcision we who worship God through His Spirit. We don’t trust in ourselves or anything we can do. We take pride only in Christ Jesus.

    God keeps His children, not temporally, but to the end. God does not lose anything that belongs to Him!

  222. Alabama John says:

    Matthew 25;31-46 is what we should be doing. Its so simple we might miss it for that very reason.

    Talk about works and how we interpret the laws required for salvation and follow them is what comes up to be debated and argued over. No wonder today there are over a thousand different denominations.

    How we live our daily life, according to Jesus, is what really matters and doing so will get us all the eternal reward we want so much.

    Notice how many verses we can quote and all the other stuff so many see as the main thing to DO or NOT DO is not mentioned as required. Simply good fellowship is.

    Once again love for our fellow man and sharing with him, filling needs and God is what Jesus says is most important. We must forget the teaching of the church of Christ that said people like sister Teresa and so many others we knew were all going to hell.

    Anyone visit a prison lately?

  223. Gary says:

    AJ, I agree so much.The Sermon on the Mount and Matthew 25 are the foundation for my faith. It’s strange that Jesus’ words about the Judgment in Matthew 25 are treated as optional for Christians today but disputed words in sin lists are treated as do or die issues.

  224. Larry Cheek says:

    Grace,
    You have posted the same information several times on this blog, attempting to declare that a human is not bound by the Gospel to work, that Christ did it all. Many have directed you to Words of Christ and of his messengers that without works you cannot even have faith. Paul states workout your own salvation. There is a balance between these messages which commands us to perform work knowing that no man can perform an abundance of work that will be great enough to pay Christ back, or to redeem ourselves from being indebted to Christ. Other than that you seem to have removed the information that I supplied from Christ and Paul from you Bible. You have never discussed any portion of those in the explanations you have given. Show us how these messages are not applicable, they are just as authoritative as those you supply, but you refuse to even acknowledge them.

  225. grace says:

    To work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Paul can hardly be encouraging believers to live in a continuous condition of nervousness and anxiety. That would contradict his many other exhortations to peace of mind, courage, and confidence in the God who authors our salvation.

    Paul himself came to the Corinthian church in “weakness and fear, and with much trembling” 1 Corinthians 2:3, mindful of the great and awesome nature of the work in which he was engaged.

    The God we revere and respect is our hope and brings us great joy.

    Psalm 33 Rejoice in the LORD, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful. Praise the LORD with the harp; Make melody to Him with an instrument of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy. For the word of the LORD is right, And all His work is done in truth. He loves righteousness and justice; The earth is full of the goodness of the LORD. By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deep in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast. The LORD brings the counsel of the nations to nothing; He makes the plans of the peoples of no effect. The counsel of the LORD stands forever, The plans of His heart to all generations. Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people He has chosen as His own inheritance. The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks On all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works. No king is saved by the multitude of an army; A mighty man is not delivered by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety; Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength. Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy, To deliver their soul from death, And to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield. For our heart shall rejoice in Him, Because we have trusted in His holy name. Let Your mercy, O LORD, be upon us, Just as we hope in You.

    We work out our salvation by going to the very source of our salvation, the Lord our God, with reverence and awe.

    I have discussed the balance between faith and doing works.

    Now, when it comes to the messages I have supplied, you have not discussed nor ever acknowledged any of the Scriptures I have supplied. So show us how those messages are not applicable.

  226. I find too often that this argument takes place in the absence of one side trying to understand the other side. Perhaps there is a deep-seated fear that if I actually came to understand your view instead of trying to make a charicature of it, I might find something of value in what I have so repeatedly derided. What could be worse than learning that I have been wrong about something? I would dearly love to hear someone sincerely try to understand another’s view. Not for the sake of more effective rebuttal, but with the basic assumption that the other person is also a disciple of Jesus and is seeking to know Him and the gospel.

    Then, experience and cynicism creep in and I lose hope in seeing this happening among my tribe.

  227. Dwight says:

    This is hardly an interesting conversation between Grace and others. Grace is arguing faith only and the others are arguing faith and works and not works alone. Grace what you don’t see is that the arguments against works had to do with the works of the Law without faith in that is what the Jews were doing and it is argued that works do not justify, but James obviously sees people pressing this point in the same way you are and thus argues that faith and works complete each other are each are worthless alone. Working out your own salvation means you cannot work out others and that salvation requires a work of control and faith and effort. Paul who is referenced expressed that it was his faith and effort that qualified and gave him confidence to gain the crown of life and he is the biggest example of God’s grace in the scriptures.

  228. Dwight says:

    I actually understand Grace’s view, in that it is a swing view, meaning that in an effort to get away from one position we take the polar opposite position, even while the truth lies in the middle. Jesus expressed command to His aposltes “Go into all the world and make disciples, those that believe and are baptized will gain salvation, those that do not believe will be damned.” Jesus required them to do an action, but what if they didn’t, would it still be fine with Jesus? Jesus also stated that those that are disciples had to have faith and be baptized for salvation and anything short of that was not salvation. While there are indeed many who follow the Catholic thought that works save, there are those that follow the Calvinistic thought that you are saved by grace and faith, but the scripture makes it pretty clear that both of those propostions are wrong.

  229. Grace says:

    Dwight knows, as we’ve already had this discussion many times, I don’t believe we receive salvation by being baptized, I see it pointing to the One who saved us. And I always expect someone among the CofC camp to bring up their theology about baptism.

    But it’s those pesky Gentiles that don’t fit their theology and so they try to get around it by saying they were exceptions to the rules.

    We can go through yet another thread about the Gentiles at Cornelius’ house and the council at Jerusalem as Peter told them about the Gentiles receiving the Holy Spirit when they believed and declaring that it’s by grace through faith we all are saved, Acts 15:11 “But our Lord Jesus was kind to us, and we are saved by faith in Him, just as the Gentiles are.”

    John 6:35 And Jesus said to them, I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

    John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.

    John 6:47 I tell you for certain that everyone who has faith in me has eternal life.

    John 7:38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.

    John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.

    Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.

    Romans 3:22 Even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.

    Romans 3:28 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

    Romans 4:3 For what does the Scripture say? Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

    Romans 4:5 But you cannot make God accept you because of something you do. God accepts sinners only because they have faith in Him.

    Romans 5:1 By faith we have been made acceptable to God. And now, because of our Lord Jesus Christ, we live at peace with God.

    Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.

    What I see most on here is that there are still many among the CofC camp who really have not come so far as what they think they have, to have a debate day after day is top priority, and I think that’s a pity. There are so many other things that are so much more important that we should be doing. And I did say we because I already knew that it’s nothing different to anyone who has been around people from the CofC denomination of how much they love to have debates. And that’s all this is, just a day after day debate, it’s not to inspire or encourage people, it’s to try to prove your denomination has it all correct and everyone else is so wrong. That’s all this is, a debating blog.

    If you want to know if you’ve inspired me over to your theology, no you haven’t.

  230. Dwight says:

    Grace, I believe thata you are debating us as well and we would not be here if not for you. We don’t claim this to be CoC theology as again the scriptures are pretty specific about faith and grace not being the only things that save. It is hard to argue with James or even Mark 16:16 and yet you seem to not see them because they do not fit with your view. We or least I do understand that faith and grace are vitaly important, but we also understand that works are part of it. Even the scriptures you give above are tainted with works. John 6:35 “HE WHO COMES to me…”, vs.36 “HE WHO BElIEVES…”, John 6:47 “WHO HAS FAITH…”, etc. all of these show action on the part of the person in response. In I Thess.1:3 faith is called a work, because we produce faith in God.
    The question is do you believe all of the scriptures or do you exclude James and Mark 16:16 and not beleive that we do anything even if the scriptues you yourself put above show we do? Faith is an action.

  231. Grace says:

    I did include myself in my comment for coming on here and if you notice I am taking more time off of here because there are more important things than debating day after day. I serve with several ministries at church and I know there are people who need to have us there in real time, not staring at a blog debating.

    And I’ve never said that I don’t agree with James or Mark. I never said we shouldn’t be doing good works. I don’t agree with your interpretation that we do good works to get salvation.

    I help at the prison nearby telling the inmates about Jesus. I also help at the nursing homes, praying with them letting them know we haven’t forgotten them. I recently had someone staying at my home for free while they were going through a hard time. They are now on their feet doing well and they are attending church and are also serving with several of the ministries we have there.

    Do I do these things to try to merit salvation? No, I do them because I want to, I do them because I love them and care for them just as Jesus loves and cares for me. The kindness, love and grace Jesus has given me I want to pour out on others.

    We don’t have faith to merit our salvation, our faith is in what Jesus did for us on the cross. Faith is us knowing Jesus, that He is our Lord and Savior, we understand who Jesus is and what He did for us.

    James wasn’t saying we do works to merit salvation, he is saying the good deeds we do are evidence of our faith. Jay even teaches that is the point James was making, not that our great performance earns salvation.

    And James also says if you ever fail at one single rule you are guilty of breaking every rule.

    James 2:8-10 You do well when you really fulfill the royal law found in scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself. But when you show favoritism, you are committing a sin, and by that same law you are exposed as a lawbreaker. Anyone who tries to keep all of the law but fails at one point is guilty of failing to keep all of it.

    The standard we have to meet is perfection.

    I fall short everyday in something and am grateful for the grace and mercy He bestows on me that I can rest in.

    I know I need God’s grace and mercy, I need the atoning blood of Jesus to declare me not guilty. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is the only Way any of us will get to heaven.

  232. Larry Cheek says:

    Grace,
    The factor in your communications that caused me to continue to debate with you is the projection that an individual could profess their belief in Christ and be saved then neglect to perform any works to support their faith/belief. This was how I understand the direction of your comments, no one who believes will never loose their salvation.
    What I have learned through the studies in scriptures there has never been an individual in OT or NT who was called righteous or had a relationship with God who never (worked) at obtaining and keeping that relationship. As we look at that concept exactly what was the message to the rich young Ruler that he could not obey. He believed but would not obey the actions (work) that Jesus demanded. Was he saved because he believed?
    I noticed all of the good works that you are performing in the kingdom, and believe that you are doing them because they are your desire to please the Lord, so could you actually just sit down one day and say, I am tired and will not put forth the effort any more and still feel the closeness to the Savior that you do now? Would not that compare with Christ’s parable about the Talents? What was the message to the unprofitable servant? Do you suppose that Jesus gave us this parable just to magnify the good and profitable servants (workers) which we as Christians should be? Did not the unprofitable servant claim to have a good understanding of his master? Did the master treat him with grace or justice? Our Lord taught many lessons while on earth concerning the amount of effort we will have to exert or endure in order to follow him and receive is blessings.

  233. Grace says:

    Larry, I always expect you to have commented when I come on here, that is one thing you never fail at. It seems it’s a top priority that you have the last word on here.

    I’ve took time off here several times, and when I’ve taken days off of here I had no problem letting Dwight have the last word. We are just saying the same things over and over, and that’s both of us.

    It’s when you come on here to comment at me, to me your comments tend to be pretty arrogant. Dwight said he wouldn’t still be here commenting if it weren’t for me, well, the same applies to you. I don’t believe you’ve ever learned you don’t always have to have the last word, that it’s okay not to. Enough has been said, the charade has been over many comments ago and is now nothing more than adults who want to argue, and I think most mature adults can see that.

    The rich young ruler did not believe in Jesus as the Lord, he came to Jesus as a teacher, many believed Jesus was a prophet but nothing more than that. That’s why Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” (Luke 18:19) Jesus was trying to tell the man that He is God.

    The man thought he had done everything perfect in his life, he thought had done good enough. Jesus responds that he wasn’t so perfect as he thought telling him he had to sell all that he had and give it to the poor.

    So, you can think you’ve done everything good enough, but there are many things all of us have not done, sin isn’t just the things we do wrong, we sin we don’t do what we should have.

    Since you think we have to do good works to keep salvation, please tell us what are all the works that you think we have to do to get to heaven.

    I’ve already listed many things we should be doing and shouldn’t be doing:

    Not only must you not commit adultery (Exodus 20:14), you can’t even the look at someone and have lust in your heart (Matthew 5:27-29).

    The greatest commandment is to love God, not only are you to love God you are to love your neighbor (Matthew 22:39).

    Not only must you not murder, you cannot have anger in your heart toward someone else (Matthew 5:22).

    Not only must you not steal (Exodus 20:15), you cannot even envy or covet what others have (Exodus 20:17) (Romans 1:29).

    You cannot ever have earthly possessions (Matthew 6:19-21).

    Not only must we not give false witness (Exodus 20:16), you cannot ever have any kind of evil thoughts or speech (Matthew 12:35-37).

    Not only must you always give to the poor and the sick, but you also have to always give to strangers and people in prison (Deuteronomy 15:7-8), you always have to treat them as you would treat Jesus, Himself. You have to always take in strangers and give them food clothes (Matthew 25:31-46).

    You can’t just say you love your enemy, you have to always bless them doing good to them (Matthew 5:44).

    A married person cannot get a divorce, even if a woman’s husband horribly beats her and her children (Mark 10:9).

    You cannot ever have any kind of hate in your heart toward others (1 John 3:15).

    The standard we have to meet is perfection. Matthew 5:48 “You must be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.”

    James says if you ever fail at one single rule you are guilty of breaking every rule.

    James 2:8-10 You do well when you really fulfill the royal law found in scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself. But when you show favoritism, you are committing a sin, and by that same law you are exposed as a lawbreaker. Anyone who tries to keep all of the law but fails at one point is guilty of failing to keep all of it.

    The standard we have to meet is perfection.

    I’ve never said we shouldn’t be doing good works. What I don’t agree with is your interpretation that we do good works to get salvation.

    Now since we’ve talked about the rich young ruler and about things we should be doing, the same discussion over and over that we’ve already had on here, I would like to know when are you going to discuss all of the Scriptures I have given on this thread?

  234. Dwight says:

    Grace you seem to be in a defense mode as if you are protecting something and fighting for something that we do not believe in also, which is the saving grace and that we must believe, but there is work involved in even that. When Peter stepped out of the boat he did fine, up until the point he saw the waves and then he started to sink, because as Jesus state he had “little faith”, faith varies and it is not all on one plane all of the time. Therefore we must put effort into building it and effort is work. People that sit at a computer desk all day long crunching numbers would be upset if you said that they were not doing work even if what they did wasn’t really tangible to all of us, because they are putting thought into it.
    But works don’t get us to heaven, But faith alone doesn’t either. This is the point of James.

  235. Dwight says:

    As I pointed out all of the scriptures that you put forth require of us effort. You gave Rom.4:3 “Abraham believe and it was accounted to him for righteousness”, but James 2 “But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.”

    James provides context for Abraham in saying that yes Abraham believed God, but without the works God wouldn’t have accepted him. Abrahams faith was made perfect or complete by his actions, otherwise they were incomplete.
    IT was Abrahams faith & works that God wanted to see from man.

  236. Dwight says:

    Grace I’m nost sure anyone here believes they have the last word as this is a thread and anybody can comment. This is a discussion page afterall and not a debate circle as it has seem to become. I am at work right now with a little time in between so I discuss. I also write articles that many of my brethern would not agree with and I go to a coC. Not all people no matter who they associate with believe everything that is taught as doctrine and not all coC’s have exactly the same doctrine. There has been a notable change brought by people like me that have pulled and are pulling people from works based faith salvation to grace based salvation, but that still doesn’t mean that faith and works are built upon the base. Jesus came as the word, but if we relugate Jesus to just being the messenger and that is all, then we will not see that He was also a priest and King & a sacrifice. My point is that when we laser beam focus on one thing we lose sight of alot of other points that are good and valid as well.The scripture has a lot of good valid points that we should use.

  237. Grace says:

    Dwight said, “But works don’t get us to heaven”

    I absolutely agree!

    Abraham already knew God would let Isaac live, Genesis 22:5 “Stay here with the donkey, Abraham told the servants. The boy and I will travel a little farther. We will worship there, and then WE will come right back.” he already understood that Isaac would come back with him. His trust was in the Lord, not in himself.

    Abraham already had faith in God any good he did was evidence of his faith. Genuine believers will always show their faith in action. That doesn’t mean that when we fail we lose our salvation. Believers mess up all the time, the only One who never missed the mark of perfection was Jesus.

  238. Larry Cheek says:

    Grace,
    You have mentioned that I have not addressed any of the scriptural evidence which you have quoted to me. In reality every thing that I have discussed has contained a discussion of those scriptures, they are also a portion of the picture being painted of the message Christ wants us to understand, but they are not to be used out of context and in opposition to the scriptures I have displayed for you. That is why I have attempted to show you action stories in scripture which contain the blending of the ideas we have obtained from scripture into tools of visible understanding.
    You have constantly modified my messages to suit your purpose. I have never believed that through works anyone can obtain salvation, yet that is exactly what you are accusing me of teaching. Without God’s grace no one would be saved, but God’s grace is not applied to every human on earth. If it was than all mankind would be saved without even belief or faith. So does God just deposit faith/belief into some of mankind so he can save them? Or is faith/belief something that we must develop from hearing the Words of God? We have just looked at the rich ruler and the text states that he would not obey the instructions of the man he thought was a good teacher or master (did that comment not convey honor from the ruler to Christ)? Notice the communication.
    (Luke 18:18 KJV) And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
    You said that he did not believe in Jesus as Lord, but the text says that he expected Jesus to give him instructions what he should do to inherit eternal life. The ruler believed in God’s Words that had been given to him, he even said to Jesus the Savior, that he had obeyed all, and Jesus did not deny that he had told the truth. I believe there would be very few if any of mankind living today that could stand before Christ and make that claim without being exposed by Jesus as not being truthful. Jesus approved of all the ruler had said, then told him in order to obtain eternal life he needed to do more (which he had never been instructed to do before). Can we say that his heart was not right with God prior to these instructions, how much faith and belief in God would it take for an individual to have obeyed the instructions in the Law so fully that Jesus did not call him a liar when he claimed his record to be that obedient?
    Since none of us today could claim to be that sinless, that Jesus did not identify a sin which he had overlooked, today we would expect Jesus to say, you have enough faith and belief to inherit salvation. We have anticipated that the ruler had by his actions been using his goods as an idol, we would say he was in love with his goods. Then we should question, why did he commit to such a dedicated obedience to God’s Law?
    But, with all of the obedience and faith that the ruler had in God,s Law and the honor he bestowed upon Christ (allowing him to be a judge of what more should he do) to receive eternal life, Christ demanded of him more work (something that Christ or no other man could do for him). Did he lose his entry into eternal life from lack of performing Jesus instructions?

    To clarify the message that I believe that Christ expects of us, he expects all our goods and works that we are capable of performing, not as payment for our indebtedness, because the price is greater than we could ever repay, but as a willing and profitable servant to him. No man can be a servant to anyone without performing actions of a servant.

  239. Dwight says:

    Grace, you seem to like to twist things around to your way of thinking. I said, “Works don’t get us to heave, but faith alone doens’t either.” meaning that works and faith work together. You totally ripped it from its context, which is faith and works, together.
    You seem to miss the point of Abraham in James. Abraham in Heb. 11:19 believed that God could raise Isaac up from the dead, so he was prepared to kill him. This was faith and action. God didn’t stop Abraham until Abrahams hand was raised with the knife, which showed Abrahams faith. If Abraham wouldn’t have done what God wanted it wouldn’t have shown his faith in God.
    It is your argument that works get us no where, but all through the Bible God accepted people who did what he wanted and not just believed. Now what if Jesus, who had total faith said, “Well I am diety so I don’t really have to die” and failed to do so, do we think God would have accepted that? I doubt it. It was his action that put him into total compliance with His father’s will.

  240. Dwight says:

    Your words are exactly dead on Larry. Servants serve and if not, then they are worthless to the master. Grace might have allowed the servant into the household, but it was faith and works that allowed the servant to be recognized by the master.

  241. Grace says:

    Larry said, “I have never believed that through works anyone can obtain salvation”

    I certainly don’t claim to know what’s in your heart, only God knows what’s deep in your heart. And I don’t question your love for our Lord even though you suggested that others on here should question my love for Him not knowing me or the intent of my heart.

    To me your comments do tend to be pretty arrogant. It could be that your language is like we are still in the King James era 🙂

    It could be how your comments come off to be a lot like what Mormon theology teaches.

    Mormonism is based on earning righteousness for salvation by doing works. 2 Nephi 25:23 is a verse in the Book of Mormon, they are told “it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.”

    Though it does seem a bit painful for you to say you don’t believe works get us to heaven, my prayer for anyone coming out of legalism is for them to come to know that it’s by Christ’s sacrifice alone any of us can be declared not guilty.

  242. Larry Cheek says:

    Grace,
    You are attempting to place me into the equation as if I am the one who is identifying your messages not correctly showing the message of God’s Word.
    I show you how you have misinterpreted the intent of the rich young ruler, as not seeing Jesus as God and following him. You said, “The rich young ruler did not believe in Jesus as the Lord, he came to Jesus as a teacher, many believed Jesus was a prophet but nothing more than that. That’s why Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.” (Luke 18:19) Jesus was trying to tell the man that He is God.”
    You used a translation which used the phrase (good teacher) as the ruler addressed Jesus, then you mentioned that Jesus tried to explain that he was God. Can you clarify how this message from Christ says what you claim?
    (Luke 18:19 NIV) “Why do you call me good?” Jesus answered. “No one is good–except God alone.

    There are other translations which render the communication as.
    (Luke 18:18 KJV) And a certain ruler asked him, saying, Good Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 19 And Jesus said unto him, Why callest thou me good? none is good, save one, that is, God.
    The ruler addressed Jesus here as Master. Jesus and his disciples also referred to Jesus as Master many times in scripture. Just a few of Jesus’s Words.
    (Mat 23:8 KJV) But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
    (Mat 23:10 KJV) Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
    (Mat 26:18 KJV) And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.

    But, the most convincing part of the rulers communication that shows his honor and faith/belief in Jesus was when he allowed Jesus to give him instructions about eternal life which were not located in The Law which he had been obeying all of his life and was sorrowful that he thought that price was too great for him pay. He fully understood that unless he obeyed the instructions he would not receive eternal life. He believed the message so powerfully that he did not offer any response like asking if there was any other way.

    You create the thought that the Ruler thought he had done everything perfect. Jesus asked him about certain Laws, and he told Jesus he had obeyed them. If he had truly thought he had done everything perfect he would not have asked Jesus, what more must he do to inherit eternal life. The question was an admission that he thought that he lacked something. Exactly the opposite of your thoughts.
    The man thought he had done everything perfect in his life, he thought had done good enough. Jesus responds that he wasn’t so perfect as he thought telling him he had to sell all that he had and give it to the poor.

    All I am trying to do here is to get you to read the word, I have no authority to tell you what you have to believe, and I would not want that authority, but I am advocating that some of the comments that you are presenting do not match the scriptural messages. If you really want to blame me for showing you what I have seen, you can be assured that I understand that God will hold me responsible for neglecting informing you of what I see. Just as I am sure he will hold you responsible to analyze what I have attempted to explain. You do realize these go both ways, you become responsible to interact with my messages to better inform me if the scriptures are not supporting my comments.

  243. Dwight says:

    Jesus made a point here. When asked, whether he be called a teacher or master,by the ruler, “What must I do to inherit eternal life”, Jesus did not say, “Well you have done enough and clearly you beleive in me and eternal life and you have faith.” Jesus said, “Sell all that you have and give it to the poor” and then follow Him, but he went away because he was rich. The ruler might have done many things perfectly or at least what Jesus told him to do, but he couldn’t bring himself to do the one thing that required sacrifice for another. This was a reflection of his heart, even though in many other things his heart was in the right place. But Jesus required action of the ruler from his heart. He even said “follow me”, which required response and action. This should be our response too. Act for God, because He says to and don’t overthink it. This shows our ultimate faith.

  244. Gary says:

    Before this thread becomes history I want to revisit N.T. Wright. He is a great scholar but he seems to have misfigured in his approach to the historical settings for Paul’s writings regarding homosexuality in Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6. He relies heavily on Plato who wrote over four centuries before Paul and who of course knew nothing of Roman Corinth or the Roman Empire. Bruce W. Winter writes the following in After Paul Left Corinth: The Influence of Secular Ethics and Social Change (pp.19-20):

    “[The Argive Petition] provides important information which substantiates Corinth’s adherence to Roman law and customs in the time of Paul, and indicates that neither the laws nor the customs of ancient Greece were those which Roman Corinth followed…. It is clear that the Argive petition provides nonliterary confirmation of Corinth’s loyalty, preference for, and adherence to Roman customs and laws at the end of the Julio-Claudian Principates….It would be inappropriate to search for ethics, customs, etc. in ancient Greece or Hellenistic eras rather than the late Republic and early Roman period.”

    Clearly, much of what N.T. Wright has written on this entire subject must be discounted. As for Nero, he was married to three women and had affairs with other women before marrying a man whom he had castrated. Gay men today may be married to a woman but, believe me, they don’t have extramarital affairs with women. Nero was not a homosexual and his case is no argument against gay marriage today. Nero is an example of what Paul condemns in Romans 1- those who are heterosexual and who subsequently exchange or give up their heterosexuality for homosexuality. I think the days of N.T. Wright’s writings bring used against gays today are numbered. What happened in pre-Roman Greece or what was written in pre-Roman Greece simply is not relevant in helping Christians understand the application of New Testament passages on homosexuality.

  245. Larry Cheek says:

    Gary,
    Your comments, “I think the days of N.T. Wright’s writings bring used against gays today are numbered. What happened in pre-Roman Greece or what was written in pre-Roman Greece simply is not relevant in helping Christians understand the application of New Testament passages on homosexuality.”. I am not surprised at all, but why would you even give N. T. Wright a reading, did you think he would somehow open some understanding as to how the scriptures were not correctly addressing the subject? Well, I guess he did not support your conclusion either. I guess you will have to keep searching.

  246. Grace says:

    So, you want to tell me I need to read and study God’s word as much as you do. Have we met, do you know the depth which I study His word? Do you have the supernatural power to walk through walls and see what I am doing?

    RABBI ( “my master”)
    a rabbi (pron.: /ˈræbaɪ/) is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רַבִּי rabi [ˈʁäbi], meaning “My Master” which is the way any young student of the Torah would address a master of Torah. The word “master” רב rav [ˈʁäv] literally means “great one”.

    The ruler comes to Jesus as a man he respected, he sees Jesus as a good man and a good teacher at that, but not as God. He doesn’t refer to Jesus as the Lord God. There is no evidence that he regarded Jesus as the Son of God. The young ruler thought of Jesus as just another human Rabbi or Teacher, and a moral one, nothing more.

    Peter addressed Jesus much different than the young ruler did. To Peter Jesus was more than just a Rabbi or Teacher and Jesus told Peter he was exactly right. Jesus responded much different to Peter than he did to the ruler.

    John 13:13 You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.

    Jesus didn’t tell the man no one is good but God saying to him “I’m not God” as many carnal minded people interpret him saying. Jesus’ response was to tell the man that He’s not just another human Rabbi, but that He is God.

    The word “ruler” translated in Greek is “archon”, is one who has administrative authority, leader, official or magistrate. It is used of various Jewish leaders, of those in charge of a synagogue and members of the Sanhedrin.

    The young ruler sides with the Pharisees rather than the Sadducees, the Sadducees didn’t believe in life after death.

    Jesus cites commands from the sacred and moral law pointing the ruler to the Ten Commandments, all of which any temple authority would know.

    The young ruler’s response is, “All these I have kept since I was a boy” (Luke 18:21). The rulers of the Temple held that they indeed kept the law in its entirety. Their view of the commandments were different than God’s.

    Jesus’ view of keeping the commandments goes far beyond the legalistic interpretations of His time, He relates murder to anger.

    Jesus said the ruler lacked one thing, He wasn’t saying the man had lived a perfect life. Jesus was meeting the ruler where he was in his mind to help him face his real condition.

    The young man can’t understand anything Jesus tells him unless he grasps that our relative standards of goodness are much, much different than God’s absolute goodness and God’s standards of righteousness.

    Ask people in other world religions how we get to heaven and they will say, “You go to heaven if you do good. You go to hell if you do bad things.” The man was thinking carnally that eternal life is something that one earns or merits by what he does.

    Jesus wasn’t telling the young ruler to keep the commandments to be saved. Jesus wanted to get him to realize that he couldn’t keep every single commandment. The ruler already thought his law keeping would save him, what he couldn’t get was that he needed a Savior.

  247. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Gary,

    The allegation often made in support of accepting homosexual marriage within the church is that the idea of some men being innately gay was unknown in the ancient world and that the idea of a long-term committed homosexual relationship (marriage) was unknown in the ancient world. Since we Modern people are so much more knowledgeable about such things, we should rethink Paul’s conclusions based on our superior understanding.

    There are reasons this logic fails.

    First, it takes a low view of the Holy Spirit’s role in inspiration. Even if Paul were horribly ignorant regarding such things (not so, but if so …), the Spirit is not.

    Second, the Romans actually engaged in homosexual marriages during Paul’s lifetime.

    Third, as you note, the Greeks had been aware of men who are innately homosexual going back at least to Plato. And all first century Greeks read Plato. Therefore, while their culture might have changed, they were aware of Plato’s teachings on the subject. And educated Romans read Plato, too. More generally, see http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/1367/gay_marriagenothing_new_under_the_sun.aspx.

    The fact that Nero had heterosexual extramarital affairs may be unthinkable to a gay man today, but marrying homosexual men would be just as unthinkable to a straight man. He doesn’t fit the modern argument that one must be one or the other. He seems to have clearly been as bisexual as one could be. It’s hard to argue that he was necessarily acting contrary to his innate nature in engaging in homosexual marriage.

    Fourth, the whole notion that we are much more astute observers of human nature than the ancients is sheer presumption. The ancient Jews and Greeks were obviously keenly intelligent and under no Victorian illusions about human nature. And they lived in an age where there were few cultural restraints against any form of sexual activity one might care to engage in, so that there was ample opportunity to see the true nature of homosexuality.

    Thus, the arguments of NT Wright and many others that the ancients were thoroughly aware of human sexual nature seems very sound. We cannot dismiss Paul as writing out of relative ignorance.

  248. Gary says:

    Jay, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that the ancients understood sexual orientation the same as we do today. I don’t at all think that that’s the case but let’s go with that assumption. The question would still remain of how to interpret Paul’s actual words about homosexuality in Romans 1 and 1 Corinthians 6. You are so locked in to the traditional interpretation of these passages that you continue to assume that the traditional interpretation is the only interpretation possible. I don’t believe you could find a single church father who would agree with you on divorce and remarriage and that’s ok with you.But on homosexuality you will not even admit the possibility of other credible interpretations. Paul’s admitted abhorrence of all things homosexual is irrelevant today. All that matters today for Christians is how to interpret his actual words on homosexuality in the canon of Scripture. In Romans 1 Paul’s own words limit his condemnation to those who exchange or give up their heterosexuality for homosexuality. That’s right there in the text. Again let’s assume Paul understood sexual orientation the same as we would today. That wouldn’t change a thing except it might strengthen the case for committed gay relationships today. Whatever way you go on sexual orientation with Paul his actual words in Romans 1 limit his condemnation to those who exchange or give up their heterosexuality for homosexuality.

    In 1 Corinthians 6:9 you simply are not credible in refusing to admit that the meaning of malokos and arsenokoitai is uncertain today. It is the first recorded use by anyone of arsenokoitai so no one can rationally be adamant about it’s meaning in 1 Corinthians 6:9. Gordon Fee obviously leans strongly in your direction but even Gordon Fee states that the interpretation of these two words is uncertain. Two out of three NIV translations have translated malokos as “male prostitutes.” Yet you refuse to concede even the slightest possibility that that may be a correct translation. Dale Martin apparently has a CoC background with an Abilene degree. He’s a Yale professor. I quoted him verbatim on this thread that no one gets a pass in claiming that of course arsenokoitai and malokos refer to all male homosexual activity. We all agree that arsenokoitai and malokos refer to homosexuality but the question which you refuse to acknowledge is: in what context? There are many possible contexts including male prostitution. Simply acting as if the meaning of malokos and arsenokoitai is settled does not make it so. I admit that you could be right. I doubt that you are but you might be. You will not admit the barest possiblity that you could be wrong. None of us is an infallible interpreter of Scripture. I have no problem with you advocating your position on 1 Corinthians 6:9 but I have to admit I’m frustrated that you refuse to admit any general uncertainty on arsenokoitai and malokos. How is it Gordon Fee admits uncertainty but you will not?

    I will respond to your other points in separate comments.

  249. Gary says:

    For anyone who is interested, I recommend the Wikipedia article on Ancient Rome and Homosexuality. Read it and judge for yourself whether the Romans viewed homosexuality the same as we do today and whether gays today practice homosexuality the same as homosexuality was practiced in the Roman Empire. Remember that Corinth was culturally a Roman city not a Greek one. The main difference I see is that only the active or dominant homosexual role was allowed for free mature male citizens. Mature free men who took the passive or submissive role were not unknown but were believed to be sick in having that desire. The submissive/passive role was socially acceptable only for adolescents, slaves, entertainers and such. Entertainers were on one of the lowest social rungs. (Fans of Downton Abbey may remember the episode in which a controversy arises over whether to have a female singer eat with the family or eat separately in her bedroom.) Since a male homosexual relationship today generally has one or both partners/spouses taking the passive/submissive role on occasion (whether anally or intercrurally) without any special social opprobrium this is a significant difference with the situation for gays in the Roman Empire. A gay male couple such as we know today in the Western world would not have been accepted in the Roman Empire because at least one of them would have been considered socially unacceptable and mentally ill for taking the submissive/passive role in sex.

    Whether any of this matters in biblical interpretation or not will vary from person to person. Overall I base my position on the reasons I laid forth in my previous comment and on the foundation principles set forth in the early chapters of Genesis. God has created us in such a way that it is not good for us to be alone. God wants each of us to have the opportunity to have a suitable or appropriate life companion. For Adam that was Eve. For gays it is necessarily a person of the same sex. Not one person in all of Scripture was ever directed to live a life of celibacy. The sole option of celibacy offered by conservatives today to gays is without any biblical foundation. A recent government survey in Iran of all places revealed that 17% of Iranian young adults self-identify as gay. Celibacy is simply not natural. It won’t work any better for gays today than it did a generation ago for heterosexuals in “unscriptural” second marriages. The premises conservatives are basing their advocacy of celibacy on are fundamentally flawed.

  250. Gary says:

    Jay, I have no problem in considering Nero to have been bisexual but he definitely wasn’t gay. His marriage to a castrated man was of course by definition a homosexual act. (Many non-gay men in prison also reportedly engage in homosexual acts.) There is nothing to suggest Paul had Nero in mind in his comments about homosexuality. But, let’s assume that Paul did have Nero in mind. That would only strengthen the argument that Paul’s position on homosexuality is not applicable today. Nero as emperor had the power of life and death over all his subjects. His having his male “wife” castrated made that relationship a coercive one. I can’t remember the man’s name but I think you would agree that he was in no position to say no to Nero. That’s the definition of a coercive relationship. When one removes prostitution, pederasty, promiscuity and coercion from homosexuality in the Roman Empire there’s not much left. There were some voluntary, committed homosexual relationships between mature, social equals but they would have been few and far between. They also would not have been accepted socially because of the strong opprobrium attached to the one who took the passive/submissive role in sex. Trying to hide from the public who took that role would have only caused both of them to be rejected and considered to be mentally ill.

    By the way, homosexual marriages in the Roman Empire were never recognized legally. It could be argued that Nero’s was due to his being the sovereign but Roman law was never rewritten to recognize homosexual marriages. They did take place but they had no legal standing or recognition.

  251. Larry Cheek says:

    Gary,
    I believe that you are intelligent enough to realize that your communications will never convince any Bible student who allows the Bible to be the complete authority, to accept that God is willing to condone any kind of homosexual activity today. First, he did not condone the activity that has been named homosexual activity in the OT scriptures.
    (Lev 18:22 KJV) Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. 23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion. 24 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: 25 And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. 26 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: 27 (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) 28 That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you. 29 For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people. 30 Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.

    Second, He gave a direct command of what discipline to be used if anyone was found engaged or participating in that action.
    (Lev 20:13 KJV) If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
    (Lev 20:13 NIV) “‘If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.
    (Lev 20:13 NRSV) If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.

    Thirdly, No place in any of God’s Word can you find God or any of his messengers reversing this command to allow this act to be committed without being punished.

    Fourthly, In the NT there is a message that some who were (past tense) homosexuals became Christians. There is no mentioning of the public being aware that they were homosexuals. There is no communication that expresses through scripture that any homosexuals (men with men or women with women) that were living in that lifestyle who were accepted as a part of the nation of Israel or any other nation which God accepted.

    Fiftly, You can be assured that what was done by men and nations outside of God’s chosen nation and the Kingdom of Christ, cannot alter the commands of God to accept what God has classified as detestable or an abomination.

    The only hope that you could have in promoting the lifestyle you have chosen, would be to identify where God has resended his classification of the acts pertaining to his description in Lev 18:22 and Lev 20:13.

  252. Gary says:

    Larry, The Bible’s Yes to Same-sex Marriage: An Evangelical’s Change of Heart by Mark Achtemeier is an account of how even biblical conservatives are considering and accepting new interpretations of Scripture on the subject of homosexuality. That may be unthinkable to you now but new interpretations of Scripture on divorce and remarriage were also unthinkable to most members of Churches of Christ forty years ago. Evangelicals like Rob Bell and Brian McLaren have already changed their views and endorsed same-sex marriage. Within ten to twenty years it is likely that many reading this thread will have changed their interpretation of Scripture on homosexuality and will be supportive of same-sex marriage. What’s at stake for Churches of Christ is not only gay people but the majority of straight people who will increasingly want nothing to do with churches perceived to be anti-gay.

  253. Gary says:

    I imagine that many readers of this blog have loved and appreciated Leroy Garrett. I highly recommend his 1989 essay “A Church for Gays and Lesbians.” It is available online. In it Garrett states his agreement with the traditional Christian understanding of homosexuality while at the same time advocating that gays and lesbians in committed relationships be accepted in fellowship in local congregations. As always Leroy Garrett was ahead of his time.

  254. Larry Cheek says:

    Gary,
    I see you have again placed your faith in what men think. But, you have not attempted to identify any place in scriptures where God reversed the message in Lev. It is of no value how many men endorse or accept the act that God identified in Lev. as an act that God will not punish for again. We all respect God as being fair and just to all men. God told us exactly how he punished even those who lived before he gave the Law to Moses which we are reading in Lev. Can you ever accuse God of not being fair and just? The Bible explains to us that God is not a liar and he is not prejudiced. He did exactly as he stated in scripture, since he did that he would be unjust if he did not do the same to those who perform those same acts today.
    Some will say but Christ changed things and gave us a new standard, a different set of rules which contain grace to cover our disobedience, and that is true but remember his grace only covers those who have committed their lives to him and removed themselves from many of the ways in which they lived before.
    So what about those who have not became Christians (believers and followers of Christ), will God not render the exact same judgement upon those that he did on all mankind from Adam to Christ? If he does not then he would be guilty of a double standard, not being fair and just to all mankind, those whom he punished for the abominations described would (you might say have a grievance against God for not being just) with the balance of mankind.
    So now can we advocate that, because someone committed their life to Christ and entered into his grace, that he now has the liberty to continue living a lifestyle that God will punish anyone outside of Christ for committing?
    I could interject here, how many of you would believe that Jesus would live in the lifestyle that Gary is promoting? If he did would you be a follower of him or consider him to be your Lord?
    Gary, there is absolutely no way you can restructure the relationship (as you are advocating a committed relationship) to allow the interaction of two men to be different then God explained it in the Lev. account.
    The only avenue left for you, is to be able to prove that God retracted his definition of the abominable act between same sex partners, men or women.

  255. Gary says:

    Larry, please read Galatians 3. We are not under the Law of Moses. But if you insist on trying to bind the abominations on us today please make it equal opportunity. In Deuteronomy 24:1-4 we find that it is an abomination for a divorced couple to remarry each other if the wife had subsequently married another man- even if her second husband died or divorced her. Please ask Jay if he thinks this abomination is binding on Christians today. If you’re going to try to bind one abomination to be consistent you must bind them all. If Deuteronomy 24:1-4 is not binding on us today neither is Leviticus 18:22.

  256. Larry Cheek says:

    Gary,
    You would like to overlook that I pointed you to, that God said that he passed judgement and punishment on mankind, for mankind lying with mankind, as with a woman prior to the Law of Moses. Then he commanded Moses to administer the same judgement and punishment as he had previously. Notice carefully, God did not explain that he had administered judgement or punishment prior to his commands to Moses on the relationship of marriage that you are attempting to compare to the event of a man lying with a man, as with a woman. This was a new command just as there were many commands which were given to Moses which were not recorded as binding on mankind prior.
    (Lev 18:22 KJV) Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. 24 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: 25 And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. 26 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: 27 (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) 28 That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you. 29 For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people. 30 Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.
    that
    You will have to find another example, that one just does not fit. Actually, in my observance, I believe that is the only detestable, abomination that God applied to all mankind other than a total disbelief in God, from the era prior to the Law.
    If you think God will deal lightly with anyone who commits actions which he has labeled as (detestable or abomination) or plural forms of those words, just use a search engine to find all uses of those words and observe his actions in the surrounding text.
    Then explain why you might think Jesus will cover (continue to forgive) these actions while being performed willingly, through his grace.

  257. Gary says:

    Larry, what kind of hermeneutic allows you to choose one abomination from the many in the Law of Moses and make that one applicable for all time?

  258. Gary says:

    Marilyn Bowens on pp.13ff in her book Ready to Answer has an excellent treatment of the nature of biblical abominations and the question of their application today. It can be read online.

  259. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Gary,

    The Leroy Garrett article you reference is from 1989 and may be found at http://www.leroygarrett.org/restorationreview/article.htm?rr31_07/rr31_07d.htm&31&7&1989. He says,

    I consider my own position as liberating: I do not have to serve as judge over other people’s lives. I am committed to being like Jesus Christ, who said he came into the world not to condemn people but to make them whole. I will accept and associate with all those that Jesus accepted and associated with, and I know of no class of humanity, however scorned and despised by society, that he rejected. This does not mean that he always approved of their lifestyle.

    That is where I am, I can love and accept people without approving of all they do. And since Christ’s church is to be a haven for sinful humanity, I believe that my church and your church should accept all people who show any inclination at all to follow him whom we all love, having never seen. — the Editor

    He followed this article with a 1991 post found at http://www.leroygarrett.org/restorationreview/article.htm?rr33_07/rr33_07ocw.htm&33&7&1991

    Mainline churches have a way of shooting themselves in the foot over the issue of homosexuality. First it was the Presbyterians who brought the recommendation for a new sexual ethic, which included approval of same-gender sex, all the way to the General Assembly for a vote. While it was overwhelmingly voted down, it left the denomination bruised and battered by the ordeal. Now it is the Disciples of Christ in the throes of controversy over the issue, sparked by the fact that their nominee for the new general minister has acknowledged membership in and approval of GLAD, a gay-lesbian support organization among the Disciples. Like the Presbyterian study committee that called for a new sexual ethic, Dr. Michael Kinnamon, the nominee to be the next general minister, believes that since gays-lesbians do not choose their sexual orientation, the church can accept homosexuality as God-approved. The Disciple, an official publication for the denomination, is to be commended for publishing essays on both sides of the issue. But it is evident that the church catholic is not going to accept the thesis that same-gender sex is according to the will of God, and churches are making a mistake when they press the issue. It is one thing to show love and acceptance toward homosexuals, which we should all support, but it is another thing to say that homosexual behavior is ordained of God. Neither is the church at large going to be indifferent to what it has always understood the Bible to teach on the subject.

    In 2006, Garrett commented on the visit of SoulForce, a gay/lesbian activist group, at Abilene Christian (http://www.leroygarrett.org/soldieron/number115.htm), which was reposted by Edward Fudge. Garrett wrote,

    You will notice the way I put that – we are all sinners before God, only in different ways. Paul’s lethal list of sins in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 has some interesting inclusions. He lists adultery and fornication, but also name-calling or reviling. He includes homosexuality and sodomy, but also covetousness and greed.

    And I suspect the apostle would see these sins as fairly equal in the eyes of God. He would not likely make a big deal of any one of them to the neglect of the others. It is altogether possible that pride, arrogance, selfishness, and greed are as offensive to a holy God as sexual sins, whether heterosexual or homosexual.

    But with that said, it should nevertheless get our attention that of the ten sins listed by the apostle in 1 Corinthians 6 four are sexual in nature, two of which have to do with homosexual behavior – fornication or sexual impurity; adultery or breaking of marriage vows; homosexuality or effeminacy; sodomy or intercourse between two males.

    It is remarkably informing that Paul the apostle, inspired by the Holy Spirit, would include both homosexuality and sodomy in his list of ten sins. If they are sins for which one is responsible and must give an account, then they can’t be natural or innate. If one is “born that way,” then it could not be a sin, and the apostle would not have listed it. This conforms to findings of modern science. There is no more of a “gay gene” than there is a “greed gene.” Sin is always by choice or it is not sin.

    That is not all. The apostle saw these ten sins as redemptive – people can turn from them and be changed. He goes on in verse 11 to give remarkably good news: “Such were some of you, but you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” Some in the Corinthian church had been homosexuals and sodomites, but they had turned from such sins by the power of the gospel.

    Pray tell me, how could it be any plainer than the apostle makes it?

  260. Gary says:

    Jay, I was not aware of Leroy Garrett’s later writings on homosexuality. Thank you for bringing them to my attention. What was remarkable to me in the 1989 essay was his openness to having non-celibate gays in fellowship in local congregations. Perhaps he had changed his thinking on that by 2006. I can’t tell for sure. I agree with his 1991 assessment of the mistake mainline denominations made, at least in a strategic sense, of trying to make changes on the acceptance of gays long before the bulk of their members were ready to even consider change in that area. Michael Kinnaman was defeated in the early 90’s in his nomination for General Minister President (GMP) of the Disciples of Christ because as a scholar he had published writings advocating a progressive position on Christianity and homosexuality. Richard Hamm was elected instead but Richard Hamm’s position on the subject was substantially the same as Kinnaman’s. So the controversy made little difference in the Disciples of Christ in the long run. Disciples churches, in any event, are just as autonomous as Churches of Christ so it is still up to each congregation what their stance on homosexuality will be.

    The landscape has changed drastically since Brother Garrett’s 1991 comments. The church catholic is now well on its way in accepting practicing homosexuals first as members and then as ministers. Just since our first discussions on this subject the Church of England has made a 180 degree change on the acceptance of gay clergy the considerable influence of N.T. Wright notwithstanding.

    Of course I must disagree with Brother Garrett in his 2006 rhetorical question about the biblical position on homosexuality being so plain. Is it really so plain? Is everyone who takes a progressive stance on Christianity and homosexuality either stupid or determined to spread lies on this subject? Seriously Jay how would you answer that? From Walter Brueggemann’s name coming up so often speaking at our CoC universities and colleges he seems to be highly regarded in Churches of Christ. He has come out strongly in favor of gay marriage. Should he be dismissed from CoC favor now? The Christian Chronicle has featured Congresswoman Janice Hahn of California before who is a member of a famous CoC family. She is a strong supporter of the LGBT community and of gay marriage. Greg Sterling is a wellknown CoC scholar and the Dean of Yale Divinity School. He has strongly supported Professor Ogletree of Yale in his fight to keep his ordination in the United Methodist Church after presiding over his son’s same-sex marriage. Should Hahn and Sterling be thrown out of the CoC because of their ignorance or malevolence on the issue of homosexuality? I mean if it’s so clear cut why tolerate any dissent? It’s one thing to strongly advocate for one’s position. It’s quite another thing to imply that no knowledgeable, faithful Christian can take a contrary view. I’m not at all sure that Brother Garrett meant to make that implication but his 2006 words could be interpreted in that way.

    You have not stated Jay to my knowledge your position on Christian fellowship and the issue of homosexuality. I have taken that to mean that you are still thinking it through. When you are ready to speak publicly about it I’ll be very interested in what you have to say. If Christian unity cannot extend to differences over homosexuality then we are facing another major schism in the Christian faith. The traditional position on divorce and remarriage was just as entrenched a half century ago as was the traditional interpretation on homosexuality. Differences over divorce and remarriage are no longer a fellowship issue for many Christians even though the traditional position makes many married heterosexuals into adulterers. I honestly can’t see how differences over divorce and remarriage are so unimportant now but differences over homosexuality are the new boundary between the orthodox and the apostates.

  261. Gary says:

    Jay, I responded at length to you but my comment seems to have been lost somehow. I will probably respond now in several comments because it’s too frustrating to lose a longer comment. I was not aware of Leroy Garrett’s later writings on homosexuality. Thank you for sharing them. I suppose there is no direct contradiction between his 1989 and later writings but his emphasis certainly seems to have significantly changed. What was remarkable to me in his 1989 essay was his openness to having non-celibate gays in fellowship in local congregations. I’m not sure now if he still would feel that way. He seems open certainly to gays as visitors and inquirers but I’m not so sure he would welcome a married gay couple as members of the congregation he holds membership in.

    I was struck by his statement that homosexuality cannot be genetic or natural or else it would not be a sin. I have never based any of my arguments here on a genetic basis for homosexuality because there doesn’t appear to be any. That’s not to say however that there is not a biological cause for homosexuality in addition to developmental causes. Many studies now point to an epigenetic cause of homosexuality involving chemical processes that take place in the womb. This would have no effect on DNA so that it is true that there is not a gay gene. It has been proven now, for example, that the more older biological brothers a man has the more likely he is to be gay- even if they don’t know each other while growing up. Almost all gay men will tell you that they have known they are homosexual since puberty. That is clearly a biological componet of homosexuality. By the way I don’t at all discount developmental causes of homosexuality or the effect of early sexual experiences. As I’ve said on here before I believe the causes of male homosexuality are myriad.

    I would not at all claim that Brother Garrett agrees with me about homosexuality but by his own words it cannot be a sin.

  262. Gary says:

    I do agree with Brother Garrett that homosexuality does not seem to be ordained by God but I don’t see how that settles the issue. Divorce and remarriage are certainly not ordained by God; yet persons who are divorced and remarried exist in this fallen world and most of us reading this would strongly affirm their right to live out their lives in a sexual companionship with their second (or later) spouse- even though few Christians would have affirmed such a right before the last century. Christianity has evolved and rejected the historic near unanimity of Church tradition on divorce and remarriage of almost two millennia.

    The same evolution is now taking place regarding homosexual persons. We exist in this fallen world. There is no exception noted in Genesis when God says that it is not good for humankind to be alone. An emerging majority of the church catholic now supports the right of gay persons to have a help meet or life companion so that we don’t have to live out our lives in a state that God says is not good. The landscape has changed drastically since Brother Garrett’s 1991 comments. Just since my first involvement in these discussions the Church of England has made a 180 degree change on the acceptance of gays even as ministers. What was a unanimous stance on homosexuality through 2,000 years of church history is now rapidly retreating. The question for conservatives is whether there will be another church schism, this time over whether celibacy must be enforced on gays as a condition of Christian fellowship

  263. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Gary,

    Long comments get trapped by the spam filter. I will dig them out. No need to repost. I have no control over this and don’t know where the filter draws the line. I suspect it’s experience-based.

  264. Larry Cheek says:

    Gary,
    The church was not given the same instructions about what to do with men in the relationship that God described in Lev. 18 and 20. as his instructions to Moses. God’s message is very clear in Lev what constitutes the actions he labeled abomination, his own declaration placed that action onto all mankind from Adam to the fulfillment of the OT Law Now that the New Covenant has been empowered by Christ, he became the rule maker do you really believe that Christ would endorse sin that his father had condemned through all history?
    It is really amazing that anyone who is supposed to hold God as the authority would rely so heavily on finding men and women who write articles restating God’s message in such a way to reverse God’s message concerning what God counted as sin.
    But, Christ did teach in the parable of the tares that there will be those within the kingdom that will not inherit heaven.. It appears that you are confident that Christ will make an exception for those who chose to live a lifestyle which God had judged in the past and punished with annihilation. I would consider that to be a great risk to lose my soul, in comparison to the benefits that you consider so dear for this short life.

  265. Dwight says:

    Gary, God doesn’t change and God is not vague concerning his will. One of the reasons why many in the conserv. coC is against intrumental music is that they believe that God changed his mind from the OT to the NT in regards to it. What once He condoned and accepted and commanded, now He doesn’t so that means He is against it. But if God doesn’t change, then this too should not have changed or at least meant that He wasn’t against it.
    This should apply to homosexuality as well. God was vehemently against it (there was a death penalty) and the Hebrews understood this which is why even into the OT there was no accepted homosexual sub culture within the Jewish culture, like there was within the Roman. The Jews understood God was against it.
    And then you have the apostles comment on it as well as being sinful, so then you should have no doubt that God was agianst it. The only way to not accept God’s unchanging word on it is to reject God’s unchanging word on it and then you reject God as well.

  266. Gary says:

    Dwight, as long as we know the gospel of Jesus Christ we can know enough to be saved even if we had no New Testaments. The NT greatly enriches our faith but is not essential to it.

  267. laymond says:

    Larry, and Dwight, if God never changes most of us are bound for “HELL”

    Exo 31:15 Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.

  268. Dwight says:

    Laymond there are differences between what we would call laws in the OT, some being moral Laws, which Jesus time and again defended, and others being ceremonial laws which Jesus did not defend. The moral laws are those which were carried forth by the apostles, even though they did not carry forth the ceremonial laws…at least in physical forms. Most of the ceremonial laws were placed into the people. As the Temple was done away with, the saints were now the temple of God and so forth. The cerominal things were allowed, but not commanded, but most of what we would consider moral laws were enforced in the NT. the sin of homosexuality was one of them. It was no longer punishable by stoning, but was punishible by judgment.
    Gary, The NT is the gospel of Christ. If you look up the word gospel you will find it not only in the four gospels, but in the letters as well as the apostles carried the word of Jesus with them. Even with the core belief of Jesus as the Son of God, sin will still doom us. Look at Simon the sorceror.

  269. Monty says:

    Unsaid in all of the above comments is the role that media plays in the growth of homosexuality and also in divorce and adultery in heterosexual couples. With the advent of xxx rated movies in the late 60’s to free love popularized in songs of that day, concerts(Woodstock), magazines(what heterosexual adolescent male hasn’t experienced the allure of coming across a Playboy maybe dad had stuffed away somewhere or being at a friend’s house and out from underneath his bed it comes, or playing around in a wooded area and running across one?) Then with the advent of cable TV and your Showtimes and HBO’S, sex was the great seller of those pay per views and still is today. That brings us to modern TV with comic shows like Will and Grace, and shows like Modern Family where the gay lifestyle is pictured as totally normative as straight sex. Men are kissing men on soap operas today.Something unimaginable 20 years ago. Everything is sexualized today. Hardee’s sells hamburgers by showing a scantily clad sexually suggestive woman devouring one of their burgers. Click twice on the Internet and you can see whatever you desire to see. The genie is out of the bottle and there is no going back to Andy Griffith type TV.

    These things affect every aspect of our culture negatively, even the Christian home(Cialis commercials while watching a Braves game with a mixed company of friends). As I understand it(having done some reading on it) that a lot of adolescent boys and girls are exposed to pornographic material in an effort to seduce them into that lifestyle, or at least put the idea into their minds to let stew, usually by someone 5-10 years older. Like all brainwashing propaganda type material you want to get them while they are at an impressionable age. I’m not saying this is how it is with everyone who is gay, but it does happen often. Young teens are introduced to materials, movies, TV shows. What else can account for the sharp rise in the numbers who are experimenting with gay sex?

    If it is something people are born with, then what has happened? Is the straight gene morphing into a gay gene? Of course not. But if that is what you believe,that in and of itself implies that it is not normal, it is a defective gene like some disease, if you roll with that idea. Is there an adultery gene for straight men and women? How do we account for 50% of people today saying they have cheated on their spouse? Is there a gene that makes teens unable to wait for marriage, like( in general) they did for hundreds of years up until just recently? Or are we just becoming the product of our lax morals? Men and women have always struggled with sexual purity, but what happens when the struggle is not only given up on by culture, but culture becomes the proponent and the antagonist against sexual purity. I hear parents of young teens today talking about how they put their daughter on birth control because, “kids today are just going to do it’. It’s just understood! Parents by in large have thrown up their hands in teaching their kids to wait. The propaganda machine is too strong. It’s a fight they don’t feel they can win. Who doesn’t know of a 12-13 year old getting pregnant? That was basically unheard of when I was in high school. It’s commonplace today. In my Jr. and Sr. High days, I could count on one hand those who were suspected of being “sissies.’ Sure there were more closet ones, but not like today when your daughter comes home and says 3-4 girls in her class have girl friends, and we’re talking 10-11th grade girls. Something has to account for this increase and I don’t believe that somewhere 30-40 years ago, our genetics mutated. But I do know that our societal values changed, what many believed about sex changed, and not for the better. We are on a downward spiral without any hope of pulling up and leveling off again without a reliance on God and on the scriptures. We need Truth, not lies.

  270. If one is –in the absence of any genetic evidence– indeed “born gay”, and God is pleased with both that man’s sexual attraction and his sexual behaviors, why this burning need for affirmation of these behaviors from other Christians? Clearly, Gary is convinced of the rightness of his actions and of the idea that God has ordained them. More clearly, he has no intention of changing his behaviors nor of seeking change in his desires. If God has indeed blessed all this, what difference does it make what I think or any other believer thinks? The matter is settled, for all practical purposes, and the position set in stone. What is the point of discussion? There appears to be something deeply personal here, a need not for being loved in spite of one’s homosexual practices, but for having those practices themselves accepted as just as ordinary and godly as heterosexuality. “Love me, love my actions.” The arguments made always fall short, as one will always struggle to displace beliefs based on plain scripture with elaborate and abstruse attempts to discredit such simplicity. The complaint is usually about feeling unloved by other believers, but what is really being sought here is a universal redefinition of sin, one which redacts homosexual acts from the list of ungodly behaviors, and replaces it with “intolerance of homosexual acts” as a sin instead. Love is not enough.

  271. Gary says:

    Charles, divorce followed by remarriage has been redefined to no longer be sin despite almost two millennia of near unanimous church tradition supporting the now old traditional interpretations.As I’ve said before I don’t believe Jay could find a single church father who would agree with his position on divorce and remarriage. Why can’t committed, lifetime same-sex marriages likewise be redefined as no longer being considered sinful? The common denominator for both is a new way of interpreting the relevant scriptures. By the way, this new way of interpreting scripture is suppported by an increasing number of biblical scolars and Christian leaders. I’m not seeking universal affirmation of gay marriage. I’m hoping conservatives will eventually leave homosexuality as a disputable matter and committed homosexual relationships as a personal matter between the individual and God. That is where Foy Wallace, Jr. advocated leaving divorce and remarriage. The same solution is available to Churches of Christ today regarding same-sex relationships.

  272. Gary says:

    Monty, I’m with you in sentiment on the sorry state of popular culture and television today. So many popular tv shows are just trash and I would gladly ban them were I emperor! Even though I’m gay I am still strongly committed to decency and proper public decorum. I depore the crudeness of so much of our public discourse and culture.

    I am sceptical, however, that media has any significant effect on sexuality today. It is estimated that over one third of brides in 18th century colonial America were pregnant when they married. There were male brothels in London during the Victorian era. Male homosexuality is rampant today in Muslim countries despite it being a capital crime. Occasionally someone is caught and executed but nothing changes overall. Google gay Riyadh and you may be surprised how common male homosexuality is there. Attractive, young men are frequently propsitioned by older men there and even followed by men in automobiles when they are out walking. It’s beyond anything I’ve ever heard of in the US. Yet public media is pretty much G rated in Saudi Arabia.

  273. R.J. says:

    “DIVORCE followed by remarriage has been redefined to no longer be sin despite almost two millennia of near unanimous church tradition supporting the now old traditional interpretations“.

    Actually, the traditional doctrine of MDR comes from the Council of Trent(or at least it matured by then). Well removed from the New Testament era. We are just seeking to restore true authorial intent. The scriptures on the other hand are clear regarding homosexuality. Please stop comparing apples to oranges and calling evil good.

    Although malakos might be controversial(does it signify pedophilia? Or the feminine partner of homosexuality?), most scholars are united to say arsenokoites refers back to the Levitical ban of two men going to bed(as a man and a woman does). Yes, committed same-sex couples are not like their darker counterparts, yet it is no more justified than committed consensual beastiality of white witchery. Sex-before-marriage comes in all flavors too. But that doesn’t mean God will continue to approve of my actions just because I’m not like those rapists or unreliable one-night-stands. God is just and will judge each person according to what they have done.

  274. Joe Baggett says:

    The key word in this passage is “were” as some of you were. If you put this together with the rest of Paul’s epistles to the church in Corinth it makes more sense. IT is Paul speaking that if God is at work within you will continually be transformed. We will never be perfect but if we have an active faith we will always be leaving some kind of sin in our lives. The semantic arguments over what sins or homosexuality and prostitutes are not the point. What is the point is that God’s Spirit is powerful enough to overcome the worst sin in anyone’s life. But another point should be that any unrepentant sin could jeopardize ones soul period now which they are is a legal question not a biblical question. If we really are interested in that then we don’t understand God’s grace. Because he will ultimately decide and judge which ones do or do not. All we need to understand is that if we constantly letting the Holy Spirit transform us from inside out no matter how big or small the sin seems to us then God’s grace is at work in us sanctifying us as Paul concludes with in the passage. Now here is the more concerning part. Study after study show that the average person in pews is not going through a regular transformative process. In fact only about 15% regularly confess and repent to another Christian. Only 9% can specify a sin that they have overcome in the last year and only 5% can specify which sin they are struggling with at the present. I think Paul would write the same word to our churches today and just list some of the same and some other sins. Because we have a problem with continual confession, repentance and transformation in our own churches.

  275. Dwight says:

    Joe, I think you are largely correct. We talk of renewal, but don’t know how to carry it out or do it.We talk of sin, but of course it is someone esles sin. We talk of converting the lost, while in a congregation of the saved and then preach to the saved how they should be saved. Our lessons from the pulpti lack any actual application and the preacher fails to do this because it might upset someone and if it can be applied it is applied to those outside of the congregation. We hear talk of how we should be and then leave and not be with little expectations that we should change or alter our lifestyle. Often we don’t apply the scriptures to ourselves, but justify ourselves by what others are doing or are not doing.

  276. Gary says:

    RJ, I highly recommend an article in the Winter 2008 (Vol. 36, No. 1) issue of Spectrum Magazine, a Seventh Day Adventist publication. The entire publication can be downloaded as a pdf. This particular article is an excellent treatment of Paul. (I’m sorry. The name of the article just slipped my mind.) The author discusses what we can know about arsenokoitai from its use in the second century on pp. 32 and 33. One such example uses arsenokoitai to mean “obsessive corruptor of young boys.” Not once does it mean all homosexual activity. It is always used in an exploitative or predatory context. Of course these examples come a century after Paul wrote 1 Corinthians. Paul’s use of arsenokoitai in 1 Corinthians 6:9 is the very first use of the word ever so no one can be sure today what Paul intended the word to mean. The best anyone can do is to make an educated guess. But nothing in the second century use of the word gives any indication that arsenokoitai could refer to committed lifelong same-sex relationships such as we now have in the Western world. Wishful thinking cannot establish a concensus on the meaning of arsenokoitai in 1 Corinthians 6:9. The truth is that its meaning is disputed. I am not able to see how anyone who says otherwise is being objective.

  277. Gary says:

    “Examining the Biblical Texts About Homosexuality” by John R. Jones (beginning on p. 28) is the article I’ve refered to in my last comment.

  278. Larry Cheek says:

    Charles,
    Very good comment, this concept has been on my mind, and have not been able to express it as you have, great.
    I was even pondering of the intent being applied in the manner of the comments. Maybe, I can express it this way, we Christ followers are not obsessed in trying to conform the balance of the world to living a lifestyle that we see to be Christlike, regardless how much better the world would be to have those traits. On the other hand Gary’s input in that he is prophesying how he believes the Christian followers will modify their outlook on those who live the lifestyle he lives without any reference to it being a deviation from Christ’s will, is very comparable to the changes that Islam, Mohammedanism or the factions in the east are forcing their views upon others. The whole movement on Homosexuality is hell bent on modifying the whole of Christianity. Christianity and the Lord God on the other hand, is not laboring to bring those who chose not to believe, under the rule of The Savior.
    In other words more easily understood, this looks very much like the same message Satan offered to Eve. The pattern is easily seen. God has nothing to gain by allowing man to change his words to allow what he classified as sin from the creation, but notice who will gain.

  279. Gary says:

    I just came across the use of arsenokoitai by Eusebius of Caesarea, a Christian bishop who lived in the late third and early fourth centuries. He uses it to refer to what we would call gigolos- male prostitutes for women. So apparently arsenokoitai was not even always used in a context of homosexuality.

  280. Gary says:

    Larry, I have two questions.

    First, how am I or anyone else forcing my beliefs about homosexuality on you? I understand that it can be distressing to be confronted with new interpretations of scriptures that were previously thought to be unambiguous. But how is anything being forced on you?

    Second, how would all of Christianity be changed by the acceptance of committed same-sex couples? It used to be commonly said in Churches of Christ that accepting all those adulterers in unscriptural remarriages would destroy the church but that hasn’t happened. I still believe practically everything I’ve ever believed in my Christian faith with the exception of changing my views on the passages regarding homosexuality. My Disciples congregation stands for the gospel of Jesus Christ just as much I would imagine as your church. So exactly what will change when gay couples are accepted?

  281. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Gary,

    Citations would be helpful when you say things like “I just came across the use of arsenokoitai by Eusebius.” Am I supposed to read all of Eusebius in the Greek to find this? And what translation are you using? What is your source?

  282. Gary says:

    Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality by Boswell, p.351, is the source Jay. I have not used Boswell before here because of controversy over this book but I’m assuming he at least was accurate in citing Eusebius of Caesarea. Sorry for the frustration.

  283. Larry Cheek says:

    Gary,
    You readily admit that all homosexuality is sin except the position that you identify as a life committed dedication between you and your partner. You have never been able to come up with any shred of documentation from scripture conveying that, your arrangement is accepted by God. On the other hand all scripture does identify that the very basic actions that must be performed for you to be able to claim a relationship that you in, has been punished by God directly and commanded by him for all of His chosen nation to punish in the same manner. The sections of scripture that you use as a proof text to validate your conclusions, do not remotely convey the thoughts that you are applying to them. As you use them you have to interject your supplied meaning to arrive to your conclusions, the text left in it’s context is not discussing what you are implying. The majority of your conclusions hinge on the usage of one or two Greek words, which you would like all of the translators to be in error in their translations. Well there are multiple directions to that can be used to verify the intended message in those passages especially 1 Cor. 6:9 which I have not seen used. I have not had the time yet to investigate the understanding that I see, but briefly that is the comparing of the named sins to all of the listed sins identified in the Gospel in a check off list to identify what sin listed in history should fill the void if (your chosen sin is removed) so far your suggestions for the meaning of those Greek words would not have been an issue in the time that Paul wrote the message, and probably would not fit int any time frame as you suggest. There would remain one (least common denominator so to speak) that would fulfill and complete the overall message comparable to all other written messages of the scriptures. Your conclusion does not complete the equation. At this point in time I believe that the translators have grasp the concept perfectly.

  284. Gary says:

    Larry, in my wildest dreams I have never thought that I could sway you to agree with me on homosexuality. The most I would hope for is that you can see that progressive Christians have a side in this debate and that our arguments are not so easily dismissed. Homosexuality is a disputable matter that falls into the Romans 14 category. It took decades for Churches of Christ to put divorce and remarriage in that category. I feel sure the same will eventually happen for gay marriage.

  285. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Gary wrote,

    Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality by Boswell, p.351, is the source

    Yeesh. Still a secondary source. I need to check Eusebius. Does Boswell not footnote to the book, chapter, and verse? I mean, it’s just hard to be convinced by second- and third-hand citations. Who knows whether he has interpreted correctly?

    But I think I found it — and this is the last time I’m looking up this sort of thing without a primary source citation. It’s from the Life of Constantine by Eusebius, chapter LV (55) in Schaff’s translation. There are several copies on the Internet.

    It was a school of
    wickedness for all the votaries of impurity, and such as destroyed their
    bodies with effeminacy. Here men undeserving of the name forgot the
    dignity of their sex, and propitiated the demon by their effeminate
    conduct; here too unlawful commerce of women and adulterous
    intercourse, with other horrible and infamous practices, were perpetrated
    in this temple as in a place beyond the scope and restraint of law.

    I don’t have the Greek text, but the word translated “effeminacy” is likely arsenokoites.

    Yes, Eusebius is discussing temple male prostitution in the worship of Venus. But he doesn’t use arsenokoites to mean “male-male temple prostitution.” Rather, it means “homosexual sex” and we learn that the discussion is about homosexual prostitution from the context.

    The text does not justify re-defining the word. Yes, it is true that Eusebius uses a word meaning “homosexual sex” in the context of temple homosexual prostitution. It proves nothing.

  286. Larry Cheek says:

    Jay,
    Doesn’t this give an example of the exact opposite that Gary was intending? I mean his own reference material supports the view that all homosexual activity is just as condemning as Paul states in 1 Cor 6:9. Guilty = no entry into the kingdom.

  287. Gary says:

    Jay, thank you for your spade work. The point, however, was that arsenokoitai is used here in a heterosexual context. Obviously here it is also used in the context of cultic prostitution. The overall point is that whenever context is given for arsenokoitai it is used in an exploitative or predatory context or in the context of prostitution. It does not appear to have been used for committed homosexual relationships of mature social equals. No one example proves anything of course. The absence of examples of arsenokoitai being used to refer to all homosexual activity in any and every context however speaks loudly.

  288. Gary says:

    Jay, honestly, the more I delve into the possible meanings of arsenokoitai and malokos the weaker the conservative position on them becomes. When arsenokoitai is used in 1 Timothy malokos is not used with it. Why would the author there only condemn the active/dominant homosexual partner? Also I’ve come to realize through Dale Martin that malokos is not used to refer to homosexuality outside of the assumption that Paul uses it in a homosexual context in his sin lists. Dale Martin notes that the conservative interpretation of 1 Corinthians 6:9 uses an obsure word (arsenokoitai) to define a very wellknown word (malokos) except in a way it is never used anywhere else.

    Even if the conservative interpretation of 1 Corinthians 6:9 could be proven beyond all doubt its meaning would still be circumscribed by Paul’s understanding of homosexuality in Romans 1. There Paul plainly describes those he condemns as having exchanged or given up their heterosexuality for homosexuality.

  289. Larry Cheek says:

    Gary,
    There is a very good analogy in the references from Eusebius in the prior post of Jay’s, describing what males have done. “Here men undeserving of the name forgot the dignity of their sex.” Your whole theory depends on this statement you have claimed does not fit all mankind. “There Paul plainly describes those he condemns as having exchanged or given up their heterosexuality for homosexuality.” For this statement to be only affecting those whom you please, then it must be proven that some men were born as homosexual rather than heterosexual, no one has provided scripture references for that action, in fact scripture has never condoned any homosexual actions. Notice even Eusebus did not seem to have a clue that there could have been a man other than heterosexual. Also notice that the activity he is communicating about was not limited to the grossness seen in the temple. The descriptive words he used in applying the criticism to those within the temple suggests that he would not have accepted those actions as acceptable outside the temple either.
    So is there some kind of scriptural proof that you can guide us to that will confirm that God recognizes that mankind was also created with homosexual rather than heterosexual drives. Remember if that is true then why would he have given the instructions to Moses and told us what he did to those who had performed those acts prior to Moses Law?

  290. Gary says:

    Larry, why would God through Moses in Deuteronomy 24:1-4 call the remarriage of a divorced couple an abomination even if the woman’s second husband had died or divorced her? How would that be fine today but an abomination then? How could eating shrimp then be an abomination but be ok today? You tell me Larry.

  291. Gary says:

    I just became aware in my reading today that Sporus, according to the Wikipedia article on him, was only 19 or 20 when he died. Sporus outlived Nero and so was a juvenile when Nero had him castrated and married him. In addition then to their marriage being a coercive relationship it was also pederasty with Nero being the abuser and Sporus the helpless victim. Yet conservatives cite this “marriage” as an example of same-sex marriage in the Roman Empire being comparable to gay marriage today. Who today, gay or straight, would endorse a marriage like that of Nero and Sporus? There is no rational comparison between their coercive, pederastic relationship and gay marriage today. As I’ve said before on here when you remove from homosexuality in the Roman Empire prostitution, promiscuity, pederasty and coercion of socially inferior partners who were not in a position to resist there’s just not much left. That conservatives resort to using Nero and Sporus as an example of ancient same-sex marriage being comparable to gay marriage today shows how difficult it is to document concensual, committed same-sex relationships of mature social equals in the Roman Empire. Surely there were some but they seem to have been quite rare. It is a real stretch to contend that Paul could possibly have had in mind gay marriages such as we know today in his comments on homosexuality. To the extent that he had Nero and Sporus in mind, as conservatives have suggested, only makes his statements about homosexuality that much less applicable to gay marriage today.

  292. Larry Cheek says:

    Gary,
    You are still attempting to divert answering the question of where God anywhere from Adam to Christ ever suggested that male to male relationships were accepted.
    There is absolutely no comparison between the acts of 2 men being sexually active with each other and the remarriage of a prior heterosexual marriage partner, God did not identify that as a condemnation from the creation which he had rendered punishment upon. You are seeking validation by using totally unrelated subject matter. Tying both acts together solely upon the term abomination, is not a valid comparison.

    Where is God’s standard in your use of Nero and his partner? This is nothing but hot air, without even a container.

  293. Years from now, when we look back on Bill Clinton’s presidency, its defining moment may well be Clinton’s rationalization to the grand jury about why he wasn’t lying when he said to his top aides that with respect to Monica Lewinsky, “there’s nothing going on between us.” How can this be? Here’s what Clinton told the grand jury (according to footnote 1,128 in Starr’s report):

    “It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If the–if he–if ‘is’ means is and never has been, that is not–that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement….Now, if someone had asked me on that day, are you having any kind of sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky, that is, asked me a question in the present tense, I would have said no. And it would have been completely true.”

    NOW, I remember where I heard the line of reasoning which continues to present itself on this thread… from the master.

  294. Gary says:

    Charles, I take it you have a CoC background but are now in another denomination or an independent church perhaps. If so your church probably does some things that wouldn’t fly in a conservative CoC (instrumental music? expanded role for women?). Anyone to your right could caricature your present beliefs the same way you like to do with those to your left. You’re a smart guy with an intellect I respect but being cynical is not becoming to you. If you have substantive contributions to make to the discussion please make them. But please don’t charge those with whom you disagree with being duplicitous. You don’t pull off very well trying to be the wise one who sits above the fray and who can discern the hearts of others.

  295. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Gary,

    The facts re Nero as not so simple. He also married Pythagoras, and I know of nothing suggesting it was abusive. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pythagoras_(freedman) He was evidently Nero’s wine steward (and hence an adult) and was the “groom” in the ceremony. In the Roman world, the wife was often a teenager, but the groom was always an adult.

    Roman male homosexual marriage was practiced until Christianity became the official state religion and the practice was banned. The fact that a ban was required shows the practice to have been well established. I have no doubt that the practice was sometimes abusive, but the case cannot be made that it was always abusive, and the practice predates Paul. Paul was therefore aware of homosexual marriage as a possibility and he made no exception for it.

    More importantly, the question is more one of marriage but of committed male-male homosexual relationships, and these were known by the Greeks going back to Plato at least. (And surely by anyone in nearly any society who pays attention. Homosexuality is not a new invention.)

    Finally, if we take inspiration seriously, we have to figure that God has always been aware of committed homosexual relationships and always has been — and yet he makes no allowance for them nor do we see a trend toward acceptance in the NT. While NT Christianity changes attitudes toward women and slaves, for example, there is no “neither straight nor gay” nor anything remotely approximating it.

    As to the argument that society is changing in its attitudes and so must the church, well, that’s just wrong. Society approves many things that the church does not and cannot. And that is the nature of things. We are not called to be like the world or to surrender principle for the sake of church growth.

    I am in fact very open minded on the topic, and willing to be persuaded. But I can’t get past the many clear scriptural statements, not just Rom 1 and 1 Cor 6, but Jesus’ condemnation of “porneia”, which any First Century Jew would have heard as a rejection of, among other things, homosexuality. And the early church certainly read the scriptures as I do.

    I’ve read arguments from various pro-homosexual marriage theologians, and all that I’ve seen are rationalized. “Sophistry” the lawyers say.

    So the traditional position is, to me, better established today than when I began this blog. The more I read the challenges, the more convinced I am that the traditional view is right. The challenges are simply not convincing.

    On the other hand, the church has much to repent of. Homosexual activity is sin, but not having homosexual feelings. We far too quick to condemn the temptation rather than the sin. Indeed, the church’s treatment of gay men and women has been a great shame and has brought reproach on Jesus. We really need change our hearts.

    God loves the gay and the straight, but God has a purpose for sexuality that only approves sexual conduct within heterosexual marriage. And as always been true, there is grace for those who try to live this way and fail — but not for those who rebel against the known will of God.

    It’s not an easy teaching, but neither in today’s society is the church’s teaching against premarital sex and many other teachings.

    In fact, I think one reason this seems so difficult is the softness of our teaching in so many other areas, whereas we’ve been called to a difficult life. If church were less country club and more missio dei, it would all fit together much better for us.

  296. Gary says:

    Jay, regarding Nero it looks like we’re both offbase. I Corinthians was written around 55AD give or take a year or two. Nero’s marriages to Pythagoras and Nero took place in the 60’s. So in any event it does not seem that Paul could possibly have had Nero in mind regarding homosexuality when he wrote 1 Corinthians.

  297. Gary says:

    Jay, I’m open to new information but I don’t believe you can find any evidence in the early centuries of church history of remarriage of Christians being sanctioned after divorce for any reason. Your position on divorce and remarriage is based entirely on a new interpretation of Paul that was rejected by the church at large until well into the last century. I know you don’t care for this comparison and try to ignore it but it is a valid and telling comparison. My position on committed gay relationships/marriage is likewise based on a new interpretation of Paul that was rejected by the church at large until recent years. Your new interpretation of Paul on divorce and remarriage has become the defacto primary position at least in American Protestantism. Likewise the position I take on committed gay relationships is in the process of becoming the defacto primary position in American Protestantism. You may disagree with my interpretation of the relevant scriptures in all fairness but you cannot with any consistency dismiss my position because it has no historical foundation in the church. Your understanding of Paul on divorce and remarriage is not exactly obvious. On its face it seems to contradict Jesus’ plain words on divorce and remarriage in Matthew 5. Nothing in my interpretation of Paul on homosexuality contradicts Jesus. If it weren’t for our strong cultural biases against homosexuality your position on divorce and remarriage would be a much harder argument to make than would mine on homosexuality. Jesus never spoke on homosexuality but he sure seems to have spoken clearly on divorce and remarriage.

  298. Gary says:

    Jay, Genesis 2:18 is all the warrant that is needed for committed same-sex relationships/marriages. God said that it is not good for us to be alone and that he wants us to have a help meet for us, suitable or appropriate for us. For heterosexual Adam that was Eve. For gays that necessarily means a person of the same sex. The fatal flaw in the conservative position on homosexuality is that its centerpiece is celibacy even though there is never any biblical connection between the two. Evangelicals today prescribe celibacy for gays but it never occurred to Paul (whom you insist understood sexual orientation just as we do) to recommend celibacy for homosexuals in particular. The only other alternative is mixed gay-straight marriages. Jay, I don’t think you have ever said whether you recommend them or not. If you do you should say so plainly all the time considering whether you would want your daughter or sister to marry a gay man. It’s either celibacy for homosexuals, which never occurred to any Bible writer, or it’s mixed gay-straight marriages with all the suffering they produce sooner or later for all concerned. These are the options conservatives are left with. The closet that exists because of the shaming of gays results in a world of promiscuity. How much better for gays to live openly and unashamedly and follow Paul’s counsel that it is better to marry than to burn.

    Also Jay, you still have not spoken on differences over homosexuality and Christian unity. Can you, for example, be in fellowship with another congregation that includes married gay couples? How far will you follow N.T. Wright’s example?

  299. Gary says:

    I believe Abraham Malherbe taught 1 Corinthians at Yale Divinity School. I would like to know his thinking on the meaning of malokos and arsenokoitai in 1 Corinthians 6:9 but I have not been able to find it online. If anyone reading this knows of an online source for Malherbe’s notes on 1 Corinthians 6:9 please share it with us. Malherbe of course was one of the most renowned CoC scholars of the 20th century.

  300. Larry Cheek says:

    Gary,
    I have not seen one shred of evidence that you have presented that will convince me that God will condone Gay marriages which are still homosexual. That is two males conducting sexual activity together. That activity is not changed (suddenly made ok) just because the two partners make an agreement. No more than a man and a woman could agree to and make a life commitment to committing adultery (either one already having a mate). Does that ever happen, of course it has and when the church finds that some of their members have done that they would be rebellious to God if they did not attempt to discipline those.
    Gary, you are using God’s Words as he was creating man and woman in your proof text, about the help meet, and you want to apply them with your understanding today. Now I believe that it is very important that you notice what the outcome was for those who thought the same way that you are thinking. God’s instructions are very clear in Lev how he dealt with men and women that performed the exact same actions that you are doing. You think that you can re-label that act and God will honor your design. If we use the years accounted for in the scriptures there will be over 4000 years where you would not have been able to practice the relationship the you are in now. God and his leaders of Israel would have sought you out and inflicted the punishment God prescribed. Even the balance of the humans on the earth were punished by God for their participation in those acts. Without any regard for them for you or any other crying out about loneliness, my o my this mate that you gave me cannot fulfill my desires, isn’t that what you said as you divorced your heterosexual wife to replace her with a man. Search the scriptures as I have suggested and prove that this is not truth. You don’t because you can’t.
    You may not find many who will commit to stating what actions they would take if the congregation which they were attending committed to accepting practicing homosexuals as being in full fellowship with them, but I fully believe there is no writer of scriptures, and no Apostle who would condone that, as I read some of the messages in Revelation to the Churches, I find that it is very important how closely they adhere to scripture and therefore I could not continue to be in fellowship with a congregation which allowed practicing homosexuals to continue the actions and would not warn them of the consequences recorded in scripture. If the congregation continued down the path after being made aware of what I believe then they would see me no more. If anyone reading thinks that is not a Biblical action I would like to be informed with scriptural messages.

  301. Buckeye Chuck says:

    Jay, I believe that my post here will be the 300th post in this string. Clearly the topic of homosexuality is one that brings much discussion to the table. However, it’s interesting to note that Gary wrote 94 of those 300 posts in this string. Gary certainly has the right or privilege to state his case in attempting to justify a Biblical basis for gay marriage. However, that is only one facet of the broader discussion of the church’s response to homosexuality. It seems unfortunate to me that the majority of this discussion has focused solely on this one issue as to whether gay marriage for the Christian should be acceptable. Would it be fair to state that Gary has certainly made his case in minute detail? And after all his posts, I’m no more convinced since the start of the discussion because there has been no valid Scriptural basis made to support his position. Are any of the other participants in this discussion convinced?

    From a Scriptural understanding of gay marriage for the Christian, it matters not one tiny bit who Nero married or didn’t marry or when it was. If the entire case of gay marriage for the Christian depends on unrelated issues such as eating shellfish, the modern church’s acceptance of marriage, divorce and remarriage, or women’s participation in the assembly, or even the correct “modern” definition of “malokos and arsenokoitai” from I Cor. 6:9, then it’s a very thin defense indeed. Gary’s statement that “Genesis 2:18 is all the warrant that is needed for committed same-sex relationships/marriages” fails to validate his argument. It is a conclusion by inference only and an illogical one at that. It’s absolutely clear that no people of God have ever believed that at any time in the history of the world. The NT Scriptures plainly teach that ANY sexual relationship outside the marriage of a man and a woman is sin. That includes unmarried heterosexual and any unmarried (by definition) homosexual relationships.

    American society has turned the page and it seems clear that gay marriage is here to stay. Secular law will likely soon be universal throughout the country. So is legal abortion. But, what will be the teaching of the church on these matters? I’m convinced that the Scriptures teach that the Christian cannot participate in either if they wish to submit to Scripture and remain in God’s grace. I believe that Jay’s summary from his 8/31 post @ 6:54 pm makes a very effective and correct statement of Scriptural teaching for the church. Could we please focus our discussion on the following comments made by Jay?

    “On the other hand, the church has much to repent of. Homosexual activity is sin, but not having homosexual feelings. We far too quick to condemn the temptation rather than the sin. Indeed, the church’s treatment of gay men and women has been a great shame and has brought reproach on Jesus. We really need change our hearts.

    “God loves the gay and the straight, but God has a purpose for sexuality that only approves sexual conduct within heterosexual marriage. And as always been true, there is grace for those who try to live this way and fail — but not for those who rebel against the known will of God.”

  302. Gary says:

    Chuck, for most of my life I believed as you and Jay believe about homosexuality. Even after hearing the progressive Christian understanding of homosexuality I did not change my understanding for well over a decade. I’ve never expected to change anyone’s mind here by sharing my understandings. The most I have hoped for here is to let conservative Christians know that there is another perspective than the traditional one. Change on this issue will come slowly for conservatives but it will come for many given enough time. In ten or twenty years it is likely that many reading this will have come to agree with the progressive understanding of God’s blessing of committed same-sex relationships just as they did in the past on divorce and remarriage. Oh, and by the way, Jay introduced Nero into the discussion not me. Let’s give credit where credit is due!

  303. baltimoreguy99 says:

    Torah/Pentateuch/Law of Moses came up a number of times in this thread. I just reread today “The Messianic Torah,” a section of Jurgen Moltmann’s book The Way of Jesus Christ (pp.122-127). Nothing in it is about homosexuality. But it is an intriguing essay on the relationship between the Gospel of Christ and the Torah. Moltmann explores some possibilities and then puts forth his understanding that the Gospel is the Messianic interpretation of the Torah for the Gentile nations. His treatment of the Sermon on the Mount from this perspective is especially attractive. Any student of Scripture would benefit from Moltmann’s thoughts here on how to view Gospel and Torah in relation to each other.

  304. Gary says:

    Anyone still interested in this subject would benefit from reading “How I Evolved on Gay Marriage” by Matthew Schmitz in the August, 2014 issue of the staunchly conservative publication First Things.

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