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Church Tradition Only Condemn Homosexuality Not The Bible

Overview

How does the Bible address homosexuality - the word didn't even exist until 1869? The word first appeared in Germany to describe the theory that from birth some people are predisposed toward persons of the same sex. Since the biblical languages (Hebrew and Greek) had no words for heterosexual or homosexual, it is anachronistic and misleading when homosexual is used to translate a biblical text. It is wrong to proclaim the biblical view of homosexuality since there is none. This violates the integrity of the individual texts and the biblical witness as a whole. Each reference to what is today homosexuality must be read in the light of the particular literary, cultural, and historic contexts of any particular passage.

If Jesus ever said anything about homosexuality, it is not recorded in the Bible, even mistranslated. He did, however, speak extensively on God's unconditional love. Yet instead of dwelling on biblical love, Christians have historically been more concerned with obscure passages of Levitical cleanliness codes and Paul's misunderstood comments in Romans. Instead of focusing on the incredible injustice and hatred demonstrated by Christians and others, tying to deny homosexuals even basic civil rights, people appear more concerned with the specific homosexual acts between consenting adults who are naturally have a homosexual orientation. As James B. Nelson notes, the Bible more clearly advocates a "love ethic" rather than a "sex ethic."

Detailed Biblical Study Of Homosexuality

Traditional Church teaching falsely misuses the Bible to judge the homosexual lifestyle. True Biblical theology begins not with Church tradition and dogma but with the biblical texts themselves. Biblical theology seeks to understand how the biblical authors expressed themselves in the Koine Greek of the time (not expanded by later modern greek meanings), in terms of their culture. Only with this understanding is it legitimate to define biblical sexual ethics of the NT and find implications for today.

There is little said in the bible about homosexuality because it was no big deal! It occupied a prominent and respected position in most Greek and Roman cities at all levels of society and among a substantial part of the population. There are only 4 scriptures that are taken to say anything about homosexuality; the Leviticus laws, I Cor 6:9, Romans 1:26-27, and the story of Sodom and Gomorrah - and none address loving, consenting homosexual acts as we know them today.

There are over 600 individual "laws" in the Levitical code, the breaking of anyone of which would make the sinner unclean and unacceptable to God. It is an abomination to eat pork, etc. The law is no longer in effect and its purpose was to show that man could never follow it. The sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, likewise have nothing to do with homosexuality.

I Cor 6:9, no way refers to homosexuality. The original Greek word often quoted as sexual immorality, Paul used was "porneia" which means "a harlot for hire". In Corinth in the temples of Venus, the principal deity of Corinth, where Christians went to worship, a thousand public prostitutes were kept at public expense to glorify and act as surrogates for the fertility Gods. This sex with the pagan Gods is what Paul was talking about - fornication is an admitted mistranslation and has nothing to do with gays or singles sex. This rendering reflected the bias of the translators rather than an accurate translation of Paul's words to a culture of 2000 years ago worshipping pagan sex gods.

Romans 1:26-27 mentions homosexual acts performed by people who are clearly described as heterosexual. The men in the NT patriarchal culture exerted dominance not only over women, but over younger males as well. The nature of homosexual acts in the Bible are so very different from what we know as homosexuality today that the passages have no application to today's homosexuality. Such practices as in NT times simply no longer exist. Alleged references to homosexuality in I Corinthians and I Timothy are the inventions of anti-gay translators. They are not in the original Greek texts.

For Serious Biblical Research - Resources

"Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality"

John Boswell is professor of history at Yale and the winner of the 1981 American Book Award For History among other things. Boswell's 400 page book is renowned as being the most comprehensive study and is the result of ten years of research. Boswell's extensive study cites from over 100 other scholars works. Paul Robinson of The New York Times Book Review, says of the book "John Boswell restores one's faith in scholarship...His knowledge of the relevant scholarly literature is remarkable, and his book displays the sweep and control that one finds only in the work of a major historian. Newsweek in its review said "An astonishing work of scholarship that ranges with ease over fourteen centuries, almost as many languages..." Boswell goes on for 60 pages just on lexicography, texts and translations. He takes the biblical language very seriously. Boswell is a prize winning, respected historian.

"The New Testament and Homosexuality"

Robin Scroggs, Prof of New Testament at Union Theological Seminary is a serious theologian and is favorable reviewed by many theologians. He is a married heterosexual. He also cites other theological professors that read his manuscripts and the final book is a combination of much insight from many Christian theologians. Scroggs, includes cites from Boswell and expands even further.

"Body Theology"

James B. Nelson, Professor of Christian Ethics, United Theological Seminary, New Brighton, MN. Deals with both heterosexual and homosexual issues. William Coffin, Pastor Emeritus, Riverside Church of New York, says "For all pastors, counselors, and especially Church members who are silent, timid, or negative about sexuality "Body Theology" is a godsend." Nelson calls Christian Homophobia a sin from Jewish through Christian times due to the false understandings. What the Bible forbids is acts of lust, rape, idolatry, violation of religious purity obligations, or pederasty, but no condemnation of homosexuality in relationships of mutual respect and love. "On the other hand, the Bible pointedly celebrates instances of same-sex emotional intimacy, a fact often overlooked by fearful homophobic readers.

"What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality"

Daniel Helminiask, PH.D., was ordained as a Catholic priest in 1967 and is incardinated in the Diocese of Pittsburgh. From 1981-1985 was Assoc. Prof for Systematic Theology at Oblate School of Theology and earlier completed his Ph.D. in systematic theology at Boston College and Andover Newton Theological School. He currently is a pastoral counselor and a Fellow of the Amer Assn of Pastoral Counselors and has authored many books and articles. He concludes the Bible says absolutely nothing about homosexuality being sinful when you examine the actual Hebrew/Greek texts.

"In God's Image - Christian Witness to the Need For Gay/Lesbian Equality in the Eyes of the Church" By Robert Warren Cromey, Rector, Trinity Episcopal Church

"In The Courts Of The Lord" by James Ferry (Crossroad $22.95)

This is the account of a gay priest and the incredible journey his life took.

"Stranger At The Gate" by Mel White (Simon & Schuster $23.00)

Mel While, one of the most respected evangelical writers coming out of the gay closet. Mel was ghost writer for many of the books and speeches of Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and Billy Graham. This book details the authors attempts to hide from his natural homosexuality and his own journey as well as examine the religious rights agenda. White is Dean of Dallas's Cathedral of Hope, the largest gay church in the world.

"Is The Homosexual My Neighbor?" by Latha Dawson Scanzoni (Harper $12.00)

This is the revised edition of the classic book that calls for Christians to reexamine their beliefs and attitudes toward homosexuals. The authors look at homosexuality from biblical, scientific and psychological perspectives. An excellent resource.

"But Lord, They're Gay" By Rev. Sylvia Pennington.

Author was a straight women who went to San Francisco was a "missionary" to "save" Gay people and found God in The Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) like she had never experienced God before.


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