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The Campolos on Homosexuality

In this post, I am continuing a discussion on Homosexuality which was begun with the post, “The Homosexuality issue as a litmus test of orthodoxy,” continued through Sin Lists and Why We (Should) Love Them,” “Reflections on the Interview, where Jennifer Knapp “Comes out of the closet”

In previous discussions with Don, I said I would take in more of “the other side,” and, although time is limited I have done so by listening to the Campolo’s take on the homosexuality issue, (available here). There are a few more resources here I would like to listen to, but I will respond to this one while it is fresh.

When I saw the Campolos’ audio available on this topic, I was instantly interested. It was Tony Campolo who has influenced my beliefs on this topic several years ago. In one of the first “emergent” books which I read  (entitled, “Letters to a Young Evangelical”), Tony spends a lot of time encouraging the next generation to not get on the political band-wagon of their parents. Older Evangelicals, he complains, are concerned about nothing other than abortion and homosexuality. Are they unaware that there is more to Christianity than this? In this book, I thought Tony provided a good and probably needed counter-point to the over-emphasis on these topics, and especially how they are pursued in politics. However, the application which I took away from this book was, “Homosexuality and abortion are not important. Don’t think about them or focus on them at all.” Was this what he was saying? No. Was this his intended result? I don’t know. However, this is the impact it had on me. (Note: the post “My Stand On Abortion” represents my pendulum-swing back, away from Campolo’s influence on abortion).

In Letters to a Young Evangelical, (a book which I would, overall, recommend) Campolo mentions that although he holds a traditional Christian view of homosexuality, his wife does not. At the time they were attending separate churches due to this issue, although he claimed it did not affect their marriage. I had since heard that Tony now affirms homosexuality and was saddened to hear that. I was saddened because the overall impression I got was that this was an example of a man convinced in his conscience on an issue, who was then swayed against his better judgment to hold something different. Such an inconsistency would have been tragic. I brightened considerably, then, when the audio here was advertised as representing both sides of the debate – Tony still on the conservative side, Peggy on the liberal side.

When I actually got into the content, however, it sure sounded for all the world like the two believe and were teaching the same thing, and operated like a tag-team, to convince their audience of their one belief: that homosexuality should be accepted as an ethical option, and that Christians should not “condemn” (aka. state the conservative Biblical teaching) those who practice homosexuality.

SUMMARY OF CONTENT

Note: This is a series of talks delivered at a gay-Christian event.

Tony begins his talk by mentioning hours and hours spent interviewing gay men. After over a hundred interviews, he concluded – in harmony with the prevailing scientific consensus on the issue – that homosexuality is not a choice. Some people do not “choose” to be homosexuals, while others choose to be straight. Later, Peggy mentions that Christians often teach that people “choose” homosexuality (in opposition to “the facts”) simply because that lends credence to their idea that homosexuality is a sin.

I will freely admit that my experience is limited. I have very close relationships with two men who struggled for a time with homosexual urges, which they overcame and became heterosexual. I know of another person (as I mentioned, a fellow-class-mate) who was a functioning heterosextual, before becoming homosexual. In school I heard several taped testimonies from homosexual men (including “the Sy Rogers Story“), and I sat in on a lengthy in-person interview with one person who had come out of homosexuality and now assisted in a gay-recovery program out in Vancouver BC. All of the people whom I have known well, or seen interviewed had “chosen” homosexuality: some “chose” to get out of it, although not all have “chosen” to enter into heterosexual relationships. Granted I have not done all of the research which Tony has, but I just have a hard time believing him when he says, “it is a scientific fact that nobody chooses to become homosexual” – especially when the Bible so clearly seems to imply that homosexuality is a choice.

1. Dismissing the Old Testament (Levitucus 18:22: “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination.”)

Using phrases we are all familiar with, such as “I don’t think many of us eat kosher in here, do we? And look – I see you there wearing clothes with mixed threads!” Tony draws attention to the fact that we do not follow all of the Old Testament laws. He explains (following Calvin) that some of the laws in the Old Testament are ceremonial, some are legal, and some are ethical. He then places homosexuality into the “legal” category, and dismisses it along with excommunication of lepers., and other legal teachings

My response: 1) why would Tony remove homosexuality from the list of “ethical” teachings? Isn’t ethics about basic human morality? And is there anything more basic than human sexuality? Tony’s choice to call homosexuality a “legal” commandment seems arbitrary and exceedingly strange. Laws change with technology, philosophy, politics, education and the shifting sands of time: however, the human body has always “worked” the same way.

Furthermore, my Old Testament professor – as well as some other recent sources I have read – have rejected Calvin’s “legal, ceremonial, ethical” distinction. Rather, they state that we do not dismiss any of the Old Testament. All of the laws – including the Kosher laws, and the laws about not mixing the threads in one’s clothes – teach us something about God’s character. For example, many of these laws spoke of keeping God’s people clean from sin and separate from the gentiles. The principles of Kosher and separation live on in passages such as James 4:8, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded,” and 2 Corinthians 6:14, “14Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?” We follow the spirit of the law, if not the literal manifestations of it. But how can one be “spiritually” heterosexual, while being in practice homosexual? This just doesn’t make sense.

2. Dismissing 1 Corinthians 6:9: “Do not be deceived, neither fornicators, nor adulterers…nor homosexuals shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

Tony: the Greek word here translated “homosexual” is an exceedingly obscure word, occurring only once in the entire Bible. During the middle ages, the Roman Catholic church interpreted this verse as “masturbators,” making masturbation an unpardonable sin. Because this word has been abused and, at any rate, is confusing, this verse should not be used.

Answer: okay, granted – this is not the strongest verse. However, it is far from the only verse on this topic. Because: 1) Scriptures interpret Scriptures, and 2) neither Leviticus 18:22, nor Romans 1 have adequately been cast into doubt, shouldn’t “homosexuality” be at least one acceptable option for this word? More importantly, however, all of the major translations (NIV, NASB, NKJV, CEV, ESV, etc.) agree on this translation. Should we accept the translation of one very vocal sociologist, against the combined intellectual resources of the best linguists the past century of scholarship has to offer?

3. Unable to get around Romans 1

Tony admits defeat when it comes to Romans 1. Although he admits that he would like to dispense with the teaching in Romans 1 that homosexuality is condemned by God, he says that he believes it is very important to honor the traditions of the church. From ancient times, no Christian has ever interpreted Romans 1 in such a way as to allow homosexuality as a possible lifestyle for Christians. Still desperate for some ambiguity, however, Tony told his research assistants to re-read the early church fathers entirely – scouring it for any signs of weakening on this point. They drew a blank.

Tony concludes hopefully, however: the Early Church Fathers did not speak very much on this point. Tony concludes by saying that he is weakening on this point, towards allowing homosexuality.

Answer: Does this one even need an answer? Tony just said that, 1) Scriptures are clear, 2) tradition is iron-clad, and yet 3) he desperately, against the evidence, is “weakening” in favor of endorsing homosexuality. Where does the pressure towards ambiguity on this one come from? From his wife? From culture? From some unseen spiritual force? At any rate, it obviously does not come from Scriptures themselves, or tradition.

4. Peggy on Romans 1

Having thus admitted defeat in regards to Romans 1, Tony sits down and lets his wife say what he cannot in good conscience say. She speaks of an ancient shrine to a certain deity (who was a hermaphrodite) in which the worshipers engaged in all manner of sodomy, homosexuality and self-mutilation. She notes the many ways in which the worship of this deity very closely fits the words in Romans 1. Therefore, she concludes, this passage is referring to worship of an ancient deity, and doesn’t apply to monogamous homosexuality, as practiced today.

Answer: For one thing, one wonders why Tony is silent on this point? In his words and actions, he has implied that he finds Peggy’s arguments unsatisfactory. If he doesn’t think his wife’s words are correct, why does he encourage her to follow up his arguments with arguments which he knows are false? Why does he not even mention his reservations on this topic when it is again his turn to speak? Don’t his actions prove that he is just getting his wife to say that which he wishes he could say, but is unable to due to conscience and right reason? But the line seems incredibly small between saying a thing one’s self, and encouraging one’s wife to say it.

In regards to Peggy herself, I would offer these points of argument: 1) the other passages of Scripture, which Tony was unable to silence, provide a good context for this passage, 2) just because Paul may have had a certain temple especially in mind, this does not mean that he did not condemn the actions themselves. In addition to homosexuality, Paul also here condemns, “greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful;” (Romans 1:29-31). Let’s just say that everyone who participated in the worship of this certain temple had all of these spiritual characteristics. Would that then mean that disobedience and boastfulness (etc.) is acceptable for Christians? Would it not be better to say that Paul may have been holding up a certain temple as an example of the extremes to which lawlessness can go? In this case, even much lesser forms of these evils would be condemned.

4. Personal Experiences.

The Campolos relate numerous experiences of real-life homosexual men who were very cruelly treated. Both of them had formative events in their childhood when a homosexual man close to them was treated very cruelly (in one case, he was so degraded by his abuse that he went home and hung himself.) They also relate frustration at the “Evangelical right” which rails against homosexuality as a “plague” and “sign of the times” without realizing that these are real people who have hearts, and who are hurting.

Answer: This was one portion which I really benefited from. My wife often reminds me that I have somewhat of a sheltered perspective which I need to work against: this was one instance of that. As a Canadian in a small town, I have never witnessed any form of homophobia. I have never heard a sermon “condemning homosexuality as a sign of the times,” and on the government-sponsored radio (which I listen to fairly often), homosexuality is a sign of the times in a positive way – our acceptance of it (is everyone aware that Canada allows same-gendered marriage?) proves our forward-thinking and liberal values. Growing up in public school, there was one very prominent class-mate who came out of the closet. I was not aware of any sort of abuse towards him, and he seemed to be a very popular kid who – if anything – got preferential treatment from teachers and staff. And so when I speak out against this topic, I am (in my own context) a tiny squirt-gun shooting against the mighty torrent of Canadian culture. I think there is actually a law on the books which could get me into legal trouble for even posting on this issue – although I am not sure whether that motion has passed yet, or is still in deliberations.

However, I need to recognize that my post may be read by people who are living in a very different contexts. Many homosexual people are very cruelly treated and discriminated against. Although I feel like the minority when I hold the conservative position on this topic, I need to recognize that many of my readers may feel like they are the minority. There needs to be a delicate line walked here. Also, since so many homosexuals have lived almost their entire lives with insults hurled at them, I need to be careful because even stating the truth in a not very loving way can be hurtful.

5. An Offensive Remark

Near the end of their talk, Tony made a remark which drew applause from his audience, but which I found very offensive. He said, “Most homosexual people feel that evangelicals despise them. And this is because most evangelicals despise them.”

What? REALLY? Tony, do you really believe this? I have listened to several sermons on this topic, and I know quite a few Evangelicals. None of them “despise” homosexuals. They all – as the saying goes – do their best to “hate the sin, love the sinner.” As I said in a previous post, it is very similar to fornication. In our day and age everybody sleeps together before they get married. The Bible says this is wrong. Does that mean that we Christians hate anybody who doesn’t live God’s way? No! Certainly not! We love and we do our best to serve, even while standing up for truth on certain issues.

Tony here makes the great mistake which secular culture has been making against us Christians: equating our non-acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle with our condemnation of individual homosexual persons, or hatred of anybody who is not “straight.” Maybe this is an acceptable misunderstanding for someone who is unfamiliar with our beliefs. But from someone who claims to be a Christian leader? Even someone who claims to believe as we do?

This comment is just very much out of place and not right.

6. A few interesting remarks

In another place, Tony again makes a comparison between divorce and homosexuality. He cites the well-known statistic that divorce rates among Christians are slightly higher than among non-Christians. He they asks why the churches can disregard such a clear teaching of Jesus on the point of heterosexual divorce, while emphasizing a teaching which Jesus did not address directly, on homosexual marriage? I would agree wholeheartedly with Tony that there needs to be more emphasis on the permanence of marriage in our churches. However, does two wrongs make a right? Does the fact that many churches fail to teach truth on one issue mean that we should be deliberately lax on another topic? I may be unfair in saying this, but it seems like Tony just likes to point out where Evangelicals are “wrong,” whether it is helpful or not. If the tables were turned – say, for example, the Evangelical church embraced homosexuality, but condemned divorce and remarriage – would Tony be going on record as saying, “The Evangelical church embraces homosexuality – which is clearly condemned in Scriptures – but then they condemn those who remarry. How can they be so cruel!? Why, take the highly emotional case of my third cousin once removed, who not allowed to remarry….” With his treatment of this topic, one wonders whether Tony is trying to push the church back to center, or whether he just likes “pushing”?

Tony recalls speaking to a group of Episcopalians/Anglicans. He said (something to the effect of), “I don’t understand you Anglicans. You have a pastor over in Ohio (or somewhere) that denies the virgin birth, and you say, ‘we have to be accommodating.’ You have a pastor over in California that denies the authority of Scriptures, and you say, ‘we need to be pluralistic.’ You have a pastor over in Seattle (or somewhere – don’t remember the details) who doesn’t even believe in God anymore, and you say, ‘we need to accept people where they are.’ But then when you have a pastor who decides they are gay, you all rise up and say, ‘we’ve got to draw the line somewhere!'” In response I would say, “Yes, we do need to draw the line somewhere. The line should have been drawn long ago in that denomination – but the fact that they have gone that far down the slippery slope does not mean that they should go on indefinitely without taking a stand.” Christianity is about a certain set of beliefs: it is not a sin to state one’s beliefs and even to cause divisions because of faithfulness to one’s conscience. That is, after all, how we got the Reformation and – if we had but memory to recall it – how we preserved the Christian doctrine from the great in-flooding of heresy in the second and third centuries, and all through the ages.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, I did learn some things from listening to this audio. For one thing, as I mentioned, I realized again that this is one point where being a Canadian versus being an American is a very significant difference in context. I need to be conscious of that in the future. Furthermore, I heard some very heart-wrenching stories about homosexual people being hurt, hated-on and abused. This makes me think that I need to be super-careful about this issue at times, so that I do not sound like I secretly have those same desires to, for example, spit on someone in a gay pride parade and call them names.

I don’t hate anybody, least of all somebody who has such a hard lot in life as a homosexual. However, I do believe that Scriptures have the answers for the thorny questions of life. I believe it is love to present truth to people hurt and struggling with sin and its effects.

The other thing that I learned was that I was basically right, in my thesis “homosexuality is a good litmus test of orthodoxy.” That thesis should have been explained better in my previous post. I was not saying that a Christian endorsing homosexuality could not be a Christian. What I meant was that when a Christian leader, church, denomination or seminary publicly declares that they endorse homosexuality, it is a very telling sign. I said this in my previous post simply because Scriptures are so very clear on the topic, that I assumed people would have to do exegetical gymnastics to get around them. After listening to the Campolo’s, I would consider my thesis “confirmed” – at least in their case.

66 Comments »

  1. Had to skim through this since reading it is taking time from finishing my study this morning. so may come back later with more input.

    I mostly agree with you in your perspective. Having lived in Palm Springs many years and having relatives who I visited there frequently, I have become somewhat aware of the content of the lives of homosexuals. It is a lifestyle of much pain. And I do empathize with their pain.

    However, I’ve come to believe that homosexuality is a spiritual issue much like addictions, drugs and alcohol. There is an element of no choice after having initially investigated. Homosexuality has a quick hook. It is really difficult to get out of and IMO it is complicated as to why and how people get into it. Bottom line is that its a gross and ugly sin that deeply hooks the soul and eventually damages the body as well, especially in men.

    • I think you have really hit the nail on the head. “There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end is destruction.” Sin is always destructive, always painful. We all live with many hidden sins which are killing us and stealing our joy. It is the role of the Christian community to expose and root out all of those sins, to shine the light into the darkness, so that people can have real freedom. As David said, “search me, oh God, and see if there is any untrue way in me..” It is a great blessing to know which things are sin, and which are not, so that we can live in freedom.

      When the Christian community is silent or confused on this, it sends the message to our young people that God can’t make up his mind. Then, when they have a confusing sexual encounter, or experience confusing sexual impulses, they go through this season of doubt and questioning, which has become the new right of passage in our culture: deciding whether one is “gay” or not. If one decides they are, they will pursue actions which further incline their sex drive to find gratification in homosexual activity, rather than heterosexual activity. As with all sins, there are lasting consequences, and there may be a “point of no return,” where someone in this lifestyle for a long time may never be able to be a functioning heterosexual – although celibacy in Christ is a high calling, which many find fulfilment in.

      It really is about speaking the truth in love, isn’t it? Speaking the truth without love is mean, but at least it is “true”: but speaking love without truth is neither kind nor true, and doesn’t help anybody.

      • “It really is about speaking the truth in love, isn’t it? Speaking the truth without love is mean, but at least it is “true”: but speaking love without truth is neither kind nor true, and doesn’t help anybody.”

        Was reading this again, and I really like this statement about speaking the truth in love. In the end all love without truth is a diminished love. Only God knows what constitutes real love.

      • “Only God knows what true love is”

        Love is the most abused word in Christianity today. It has been misunderstood to mean:

        1) a denial of justice, especially on the part of God
        2) allowing people to continue in sin (this is actually “judgment”, in the terms of Romans 1)
        3) allowing teachers/pastors to get away with intellectual dishonesty and unfaithfulness to scriptures

        Misunderstood, “love” destroys the gospel. A “loving” god wouldn’t send anyone to hell, would He? Also, a loving God wouldn’t kill His own son for any reason – least of all the sins of other people. And what sort of a “loving” God would demand that people worship Him? Finally, since the only “work” which God requires is love, aren’t we all good enough to get into heaven? After all, I bet you couldn’t find one single person on the planet (okay, maybe you could find a few) who don’t consider themselves to be “loving people.” But what does this mean? Usually, it only means that in their own deluded self-appraisals, they are generally kind and generous people who do the best they can. But such people are “lost” in the opinion of historic Christianity. Pop-spirituality Christianity gives such people false hope: it’s all about love. So long as you are “loving,” you are in.

        Yes, the word is very misunderstood, but: “it is the glory of God to conceal a matter. It is the glory of kings to seek it out.” (Prov. 25:2)

        Sorry if my words come across as combative in this post. I just had too much coffee, and I am wound tight. Nothing personal against you! 😉

  2. FWIIW, I see each covenant in the Bible as a unity, it is either accepted as a unit or not. One can study it and partition it into parts for study, but NOT for assigning some parts to different status. If one is IN a covenant, then one needs to meet ALL stipulations of it, and if one is NOT in a specific covenant, one does not need to meet ANY stipulations of it. The teaching of the 3 fold partition of the Sinai covenant such that some aspects remain and some do not is unBiblical.

    As I believe each of us owns our own faith, I see it as possible for Tony to believe X and his wife to believe Y on something. We need to be respectful of differences in understanding something, but yes, we also need to assess if the difference is such that we assess whether they are even Christian, or what. As I have said in other places, before I would assess this drastic conclusion, I would let them have their say, their explanation of how they see things.

    • …so, the ten commandments don’t apply to us today? Do you find ANY value in the Old Testament? Surely we have all those books in there for some reason, right? But if you find some “value,” but reject other parts, how do YOU differentiate between the good and bad?

    • The 10C (as the 10C) apply to those in the Sinai covenant, to those not in the Sinai covenant the 10C do not apply. The explanation of the details how the 10C work are in the Sinai covenant.

      The “buffalo” that the gentile Sabbatarians use is to point out that 9 of the 10C are generally accepted, and they ask where is the Sabbath commandment abrogated? This is a big mistake in their thinking, instead they should ask whether the 10C apply to gentiles and they do not, so there is no abrogation and no need to any abrogation. Sabbath keeping is the SIGN of being in the Sinai covenant.

      Now gentiles are free to choose to keep some aspects of the Sinai covenant, it is not wrong for a gentile to celebrate a Biblical festival, for example, as long as they meet the reqs. Or they are free to keep kosher or whatever. No harm, no foul.

      So does that mean gentiles get off scot free? Nope. There are reqs for everyone that are in the Torah, the so-called Noachide laws, that apply to gentiles. The Sinai laws are a superset of the Noachide laws, so if one keeps Sinai laws then one automatically keeps Noachide laws. That is, it is not true that they apply to gentiles only, but one can consider them to be that way, as a simplification.

      • Okay, I think I follow you. Let’s go to some specific commandments; “Thou shalt have no God before me/thou shalt not make an image/thou shalt not commit adultery/thou shalt not covet.” So….we pick and choose what we want to keep out of this? Please explain. Picking and chosing (your words) denotes some criterion of choice. Do we choose what fits best, what suits our culture, or does the NT play some role?

      • A gentile can choose to follow things in the Sinai covenant (or any other covenant) as a choice. For example, a gentile might believe that eating kosher is healthier (it might be) and they are allowed to choose this.

        But there are things specified in the Bible that are for anyone, not just for those in the Sinai covenant, if one wants to obey God and seek God’s best. For example, ONE of the ways to understand Gen 1 in its cultural context is as a anti-polytheistic polemic, the things that pagans treated as “gods” at the time it was written are stated in Gen 1 to be created by Elohim and therefore these created things are not “gods” they are (merely) created things. Going a little deeper, the sun and the moon are not to be served BY humans but actually serve humans by acting as signs for the passing of time, the day, the month (or moonth), the year, etc.

        Gen 2 is foundational in discussing marriage between a man and a woman. Before the forming of the woman, the human saw that no animal was a suitable companion, from this one can see that beastiality is not a suitable way to express one’s sexuality, yet marriage is. This divides things into sexually appropriate and sexually inappropriate categories and then a natural question is what is in each category, that is, what is God’s design for human sexuality, regardless of whether one is in the Sinai covenant or not. Now the Sinai covenant might call for additional constraints (and it does), but one can ask the question about what is appropriate for humans in general?

        There is a lot more but this shows the basic idea.

      • So yes, you find transferrable truth in the Old Testament. You also find non-transferrable truth. How do you differentiate? How can you prove you are not simply being random in your selection of what you take and what you leave?

      • I do not use the term “transferable truth” as I do not think it is helpful.

        The basic idea is simple, if one is IN a berith (covenant, emotional contract, treaty, etc.) one needs to keep all the stipulations of the covenant or else the penalty clauses can be invoked, including the possibility of ending the covenant. It is the false teachings about what a covenant is that appear to make this so complex along with the false idea that a covenant can be split up.

        I suppose your marriage vows included something about being faithful and providing support to your wife. If you tried to claim you wanted to divide the covenant into just providing support and did not need to be faithful anymore, people would rightly think you had gone off your bean. Why does anyone think otherwise for the Sinai covenant? Just because some smart people said it? That is not good enough, they were wrong and this idea of dividing a covenant up needs to be repudiated.

        So one needs to keep the stipulations of all the Biblical covenants that one is in and may CHOOSE to keep the stipulations of others, if you meet the reqs and think it is a good thing to do.

        P.S. Not all Biblical covenants have stipulations, some are promises by God.

      • I am not sure what “smart people” you are referring to. It is just you and me talking. Why the need to create a caricature to react against?

        I believe I was asking YOU, Don, to answer this simple question: Do we learn ANYTHING from the Sinai covenant? You have already stated that there are some things which do not apply to our lives today: we are agreed on this. Are there some things which do? That is one question. If you answer yes, please very clearly and simply answer this question: how do you draw the line between what still applies, and what does not?

      • On Gen 2, we see beastiality as not appropriate and man and woman in marriage as appropriate expressions of one’s sexuality. There is a lot more in the Bible but from Gen 2 one might perhaps expect additional things to be put into the inappropriate category and more perhaps into the appropriate category, but one would need to see what other Scripture says. It is important to NOT go beyond Scripture and also not to subtract from it.

      • Yes, of course there are things IN the Sinai covenant that apply to those not in it, but not because they are IN the Sinai covenant.

        As a simple example, Noah sacrificed some clean animals after the flood. How did he know which were clean? The answer is in the Sinai covenant.

        Gen 8:20 Then Noah built an altar to the LORD and took some of every clean animal and some of every clean bird and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

        That is, the definition of what a clean animal IS is found in the Sinai covenant.

        What about whom one can marry? We see that a man is to leave father and mother, this implies a man is not to marry one’s mother! (This may be obvious to us today, but think back before it was obvious) But are there more restrictions? Yes, and the Sinai covenant discusses them.

        Marriage is a covenant, what does that mean? The Sinai covenant discusses this, as well as the Prophets, the NT, etc. So there are lots of things in the Sinai covenant that (potentially) can be very useful to know in terms of how to follow God’s instructions, even if one is not IN the Sinai covenant.

        In the new covenant, every believer is a priest and Jesus is high priest. It can help us understand what this means by looking at what it meant to be a priest and a high priest in the Sinai covenant. Perhaps some of the things a Aaronic priest did are things we as NC priests are to do and some we are not to do. But if you do not know what they did, you cannot even ask the question.

      • Don: you make a lot of very interesting commentary-comments on the Old Testament. These are very interesting, but I am getting tangled up and confused as to where our actual debate is.

        You accused me at one point of “proof-texting” from the OT. I take the homosexuality verses, but leave the kosher laws. You told me that the Sinai covenant is not binding on us, and that I was wrong to take just some of it and leave the rest.

        I was trying to turn this question back on you, but somehow the conversation wandered elsewhere.

        My point is this: we all take some of the OT and not other points. It is inconsistent to accuse me of doing this, when you do it yourself. I have described my basic methodology (we accept all of the OT, but take some of it spiritually/metaphorically: also, some of it pertains to sacrifices and rituals which were for times and seasons, and signified Christ, but, now that the fulness has come these can be done away with, as Hebrews says…) I am asking you: what is YOUR method?

        As I have asked already: taking some things and leaving others implies SOME CRITERIA of selection. How can you prove that your criteria is not just your own subjective preferences?

        So, Don, what is your criteria for taking some teachings but not others from the OT?

      • In my studies, I figured out that covenants were the backbone of the Bible and other things hung off of them. And so covenants became a focus study area.

        Another thing I realized is that if I only read commentary by people I already agreed with, they would only confirm my beliefs. So I chose to read things by people that I already knew I did not agree with on some basic things and yet what they said rang true in some cases. For example, it is very useful to read non-Messianic Jews on how they understand the Tanakh, but I already know they do not accept Jesus as Messiah. Karaite Jews in particular do not use the traditions of the Pharisees to “help” them interpret Scripture and in some cases are right on.

        And Messianic Jews/Gentiles can have incredible insights into the meaning of both the OT and NT, which is not so surprising when you think about it as the NT authors were all Messianic Jews, except perhaps for Luke.

        And there is a stream of study among prots/MJs called the Hebrew Roots of Christianity, which can also find nuggets. And of course there are kooks in any group, so one needs to use filters.

        And even skeptics and atheists can be useful, they are great at taking the “plain meaning” of some Bible text and trying to make believers look foolish and inconsistent. So one needs to figure out WHY they are wrong when they do this.

        I mention one might get a right answer using a wrong method and that this can be a buffalo as then one can think it is a correct method, after all it produced some right answers or at least answers others agree with.

        So one thing I do is try to identify wrong methods and then not use them. One wrong method is to divide the Sinai covenant (or any covenant) into different parts and claim some parts apply and others do not, this is NOT the way covenants work in the Bible. A covenant is a unity.

        Another example, a famous scholar (I forget who) wrote a book on the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven and pointed out differences between the 2. The only problem is that these 2 terms refer to the same thing (as Jews used the term Heaven as an evasive synonym for God to avoid saying God, so Matthew being the most Jewish gospel used Heaven instead of God for the same idea), so his fundamental premise was flawed from the start. Because he lacked one crucial piece of information, he wrote a whole book based on a flawed premise.

        In other words, if you miss a Hebraism and think something means X when it means Y, you can go off into space in your analysis. And the NT is FILLED with Hebraisms and Semeticisms even tho it is written in Greek.

        Another teacher in my Sunday school class is going thru 1 John. This book is an anti-Gnostic polemic, so it sure helps to know what Gnostics taught to understand what this letter is saying in cultural context.

      • Don, I hope you don’t get offended by this, but sometimes I feel like I am talking to an ADD kid, who is constantly being distracted by the birds outside, the pictures on the wall, etc., etc., and I keep asking, “Johnny, what is 2 + 2? Yes, I know there is a bird. That is nice. Johnny, what is 2 + 2? Yes, nice car. Johnny…”

        You are getting closer. You mentioned some more approaches that you don’t use. Now, can you please answer my question: Don, what is YOUR criteria for taking some teachings but not others from the OT?

      • You think YOU are dealing with an ADD kid, this is ironic as I keep explaining and you keep not getting it.

        I think I have figured out that I am giving you my answer in a way you do not expect, so you do not see it as an answer at all, so you keep asking.

        My method is actually very straightforward, here it is:

        One is to obey the stipulations of all the covenants one is in.

        That is it in its simple form and it is very easy to understand.

        The only wrinkle is that what some words mean might be fould elsewhere in the Bible, and perhaps confusingly, in another covenant that one is not in. But this is fine for a Hebrew mind, so think like a Hebrew, not a Greek.

        In more detail, one needs to discern exactly WHICH covenants one is in, examine the stipulations of each of them (if any), and keep all the stipulations.

        This includes covenants with God and humans, including a marriage covenant for example.

        If one is in the Sinai covenant, then keep ALL the stipulations in it to the best of one’s ability, if not, then one does not need to do so.

      • Sorry for the insult. That was out of line.

        Okay, so I am NOT in the Sinai covenant. So what does that mean?

        Let me try breaking this down into bite-sized questions:

        1) By “sinai covenant,” do you refer to the entire OT? Does this include Genesis?
        2) If the sinai covenant (whether that includes the entire OT or not) does not apply to me, why do I bother reading it at all?

      • What is often called the Mosaic covenant is in Ex, Lev, Num, Deu. However, it is in parts with narratives.

        The Sinai covenant starts in Exodus and goes thru Lev. and Numbers. It is what was given to Israel by Moses at Sinai. This is the first mention of the 10C. There is also narrative in the text, besides the stipulations.

        There is a plains of Moab land covenant at the end of Deu.

        Jesus in the sermon on the mount and the sermon on the plain is referring back to these and to a Hebrew mind claiming he is correctly interpreting them.

      • Genesis had a bunch of covenants in it, there is Noah’s covenant and 3 covenants with Abraham which are renewed with the later Patriarchs. But it does not have the Mosaic covenant, as Moses was not yet born.

        One reason to read it is it is a part of Scripture, and ALL Scripture is given to us for instruction. There are types and shadows of the reality in the new covenant.

        Another reason to read it is to find the definitions or clarifications about terms used in other covenants. The Bible gets to be its own dictionary for some terms, when it does so, we are to use the Bible’s def. or refinement.

  3. Josiah wrote: “In my own defense, the reason which I have not spent time looking at the other side of the discussion is because Scriptures seem absolutely clear, as I mentioned previously. Unlike others, I actually think that you can really find truth just by reading the Bible in your own language. You don’t need to debate for hours, read all the scholars in the world and throughout history, and learn the original languages to know about sin and hell and righteousness. You can also know that some things are sins, and some things are not. If you did, what would the point of the Bible be? Of course, additional research is helpful and even essential for obscure and difficult passages. However, when the Bible is very clear and plain, and people go to the original languages, or bring out some obscure ancient fact which supposedly changes everything, one cannot help but wonder if they are really just trying to avoid God’s revealed intentions…?”

    My take are there are MANY verses that might seem clear, depending on one’s translation, but upon examination are more complex. I have found this in my studies time and again. Salvation by an active trust in Jesus is fairly straightforward and even a child can do this. But the more I study the more I see that I do not know and that I will NEVER know; but I need to act in faith based on my current understanding, being willing to learn more and change as I learn more.

    Context is king in terms of figuring out what some text means, but this includes the cultural context which means I might always learn more and understand better something.

    I do have examples of thinking a verse means X when it really means Y in my own faith and they were very insightful to me to show that I might think 100% that it was plain obvious what something meant, only to be shown to be wrong. I think everyone should have this experience.

  4. I think the word picture of the water pistol is inaccurate.You wield a sword- the Canadian culture has a plastic butter knife.

    • At any rate, my pride in being a Canadian is fleeting by the moment. Did you know that we are three weeks away from legalizing brothels!? Have you heard of any ways to petition this one, or are the high-mucky-mucks just going to slide this one on past us too, just like they did with gay-marriage?

      • That is shocking, but not surprising. I’m sorry for the future you will see if they manage to get that one through. 😦

      • I am sickened, just sickened to hear so many of the people – mostly men – who get on the radio and go on and on about how this is a wonderful, progressive move and blah blah blah. I was very glad to hear they gave some air time to a former prostitute (now a social worker) who was able to provide the other side of it (aka – “this is horrible! My body was violated repeatedly. It was a recepticle for the lusts of countless men. Is this what you would want for your daughter? Would you want your son doing this to a woman? Don’t you understand that if you make this legal, you are in effect FORCING the poorest women in our nation to turn to this when they have no other options!??!). She was a little too emotional and some of the force of her arguments may have been blunted by this. But then, one can certainly see why she would be emotional…

        John Piper somewhere said that when a nation rejects God as the ultimate authority, all you have is personal opinion. Ultimately, the opinion with the most power wins: and so without God, might makes right. The powers that be in our nation forced gay marriage on a population which was not in favor of it by all of the stats I heard. I fear that this will be another one of those things….but we can always pray there is some way to have our voices heard…

      • “The powers that be in our nation forced gay marriage on a population which was not in favor of it by all of the stats I heard.”

        Heard that too. Don’t understand how they can justify going against the populace in that but maybe they are taking the view that only the educated and leaders know what’s best. In some cases that could be true, but not where the question is what people should have to live with in their personal lives. Gay marriage brings this sin into the open and people are going to be asked to do a lot of other things regarding gays that they wouldn’t have had it been not acceptable. And the facts are that most people are shocked and put off by the abnormal activities of gay people.

  5. “If genesis 2 can be used to forbid bestiality, can it also be used to forbid homosexuality?”

    I’ve thought so. God only created two humans (one of each gender), not three or four. Perhaps, it’s not a strong argument against, but seems enough to me.

  6. Don wrote:
    ”The 10C (as the 10C) apply to those in the Sinai covenant, to those not in the Sinai covenant the 10C do not apply. The explanation of the details how the 10C work are in the Sinai covenant. ……
    One is to obey the stipulations of all the covenants one is in.”

    I’m in agreement with Don on this. However, being fully bound to one covenant does not mean one cannot glean truths from the other covenant. God said He would write truths on our hearts in this covenant. Being in a covenant means one is bound to obey all aspects of it or the covenant is broken. As believers in the Messiah we are bound to the covenant He established in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. The old covenant was for before The Messiah and did not fulfill what the new covenant does.

    Yet we can still glean wisdom for truth, health, morality and sin from the old covenant. We are just not bound to it and as gentiles in this era never were bound to it as an avenue to reach God’s throne.

    So back to the discussion on homosexuality, there are indeed things in the OC that pertain and should be considered. I’m not sure where the idea came that we shouldn’t use what is in the OC.

    Hopefully this isn’t confusing the discussion any. ☺

    • (To don and TL)

      First, I just need to ask you two: by “sinai covenant,” are you including the entire OT, or portions of it? If portions, where would you draw the lines of differentiation? Just gotta get that clear…

      ***

      A woman walked along through the mall. She chose a red scarf, a blue dress and a green purse. Now, why did she do that? Because of her tastes, her preferences, her culture, her context, etc., etc., In short: because she “felt” like it. She chose what she wanted to choose for reasons and criteria withinherself. The mall did not exercise authority over her. The mall did not communicate truth to her. She had some pre-conceived idea of what she wanted, and she went in and got it.

      Now, Don has accused me of being a casual shopper of the OT: I chose the homosexuality verses, but left the kosher laws. I explained my reasons for doing so. I think that the NT gives lessons on how to read the OT: some of it pertains to symbols and rituals of cleansing and propitiation, which were fulfilled in Christ. Some things pertained to seperation from the world, etc., in which we see God’s heartfor His people, and we still follow the spirit of the law in regards to these laws, if not the letter. Other things pertain to God’s idea of a “holy” versus a “profane” lifestyle, and these we still follow and apply, especially when they are re-emphasized in the NT.

      I am still shaky on my doctrines here, so Don has been right to challenge me to think clearly here. However, the challenge which I think it is fitting for you two to answer is “how do YOU differentiate”? If some things apply, and some do not, you need to prove that there is some standard external to yourselves which you are using to make these decisions. Otherwise you will just be another shopper in the mall, if you follow me.

      • “Some things pertained to seperation from the world, etc., in which we see God’s heartfor His people, and we still follow the spirit of the law in regards to these laws, if not the letter. Other things pertain to God’s idea of a “holy” versus a “profane” lifestyle, and these we still follow and apply, especially when they are re-emphasized in the NT.”

        Josiah, What in your estimation was the purpose for the various covenants including the new covenant with the Messiah? And what IYO is the purpose of the history of God’s people and God’s instructions to them?

      • God works in covenants because His creatures by nature have no rights before Him. A relationship cannot function without some sort of rights: therefore, God gives His creatures rights, by making covenant relationships with them.

        Throughout history, God has instituted basically two dispensations (bc, ad) and I suppose you can make subdivisions in the different covenants. People have gone to great lengths to differentiate between the noaic, and abrahamic, and etc. The basic gist of it, though, is that God selected a certain person, and a certain race to show His character and nature through, in the OT. He gave many laws including 1) high ideals, in which He was showing them His character and nature, and 2) some concessions to their weakness and “the hardness of their hearts”. Then, in the “fullness of time” Jesus came to initiate the new covenant. Through His sacrifice and the work of the Holy Spirit, we have a new law written on our hearts.

        The old covenant looks forwards, the new looks back, and Jesus is the center of it all.

  7. Don and TL:

    I still haven’t heard an answer to my question, of how one is to apply parts of the OT to our lives, but not others. Like I said: if we have no real criterium for selecting which passages we take and which we leave, we must admit that we are not approaching Scriptures like an authority source, but like a buffet table. Another way to put this would be that we are approaching the Bible like we would the Koran, Aesop’s Fables, or a movie: we take what good parts we like, and reject the rest. But in doing so, we proclaim that these do not contain real absolute truth: as judges over the truth-claims within these mediums, we proclaim that we hold ourselves to be superior to them.

    I take it that TL is still thinking about this question, while Don likely thinks he has answered it already.

    At any rate, while I wait I thought I would rephrase the question in a more simple way. Don has said that he believes (based on Genesis 2) that the Bible condemns bestiality. I take it that TL would agree? However, you also both deny that the ten commandments (let’s specifically choose the sabbath) do NOT apply to us.

    So, why do you think that bestiality is wrong, but working on the sabbath is okay? I don’t think you can support this view from the NT, because as far as I know, bestiality is not mentioned in the New Testament.

    It’s a tough question, but to be fair I have taken a very imperfect crack at it (above) and I am just curious to know how to two would answer this question.

    • ”Like I said: if we have no real criterium for selecting which passages we take and which we leave, we must admit that we are not approaching Scriptures like an authority source, but like a buffet table. “

      I cannot agree with this. Scripture is authoritative for learning and direction. However, it cannot be said that all Scriptures are laws for righteousness. Some are directive for all time and some are directive for the times they were given in. If we think we must obey OT Scriptures of legal things (Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Numbers) in order to be righteous to God, then we place ourselves under the Old Covenants and must obey ALL the rules pertaining.

      The New Covenant replaces the Old Covenant in which we are made righteous by. The Old Covenant was never able to make us righteous. Only in Jesus are we able to be made righteous.

      ”However, you also both deny that the ten commandments (let’s specifically choose the sabbath) do NOT apply to us.”

      Hebrews clearly tells us that we have a new Sabbath, Today. And we rest in Jesus. Also, Jesus explained that the Sabbath was made for humans, not humans for the Sabbath. Thus, righteousness cannot be claimed by religiously worshiping on the Sabbath.

      IMO we have the Old Covenant that points us in the right direction. And that direction is the New Covenant with the Messiah and to seek to be holy like Jesus. Only IN Christ can we achieve that.

      • Yeah – well said. I definitely agree that we need to be VERY cautious about thinking that following a list of laws – any laws, even the excellent and perfect laws in the Bible – will make us holy. They will not: they will only reveal our fallenness and sin, taking opportunity through the law will kill us (Romans..5 I believe?).

        If I may venture one more question: how do you distinguish between “directives for the time they were given” and “directives for all time”? I only ask because if you allow ambiguity on this, some (e.g. the campolos) will quickly say, “Okay, well then homosexuality (or whatever) is only a directive for ‘back then.’ It doesn’t apply today.” How would you argue against this?

        (Note: I am asking you because I don’t have a very good answer myself – help me out!)

      • “If I may venture one more question: how do you distinguish between “directives for the time they were given” and “directives for all time”?”

        Well, God does not change His mind on morality issues. So, we will see morals distinguished throughout all the covenants including the NC. Considering how morals were dealt with in all of them helps us better deal with moral issues today.

        But there are a lot of laws that really had nothing to do with morality and yet still were supposed to be obeyed to be righteous before God under the Old Covenants. They covered everything from hygiene to money, to war booty, to slaves and so forth. Do we need to pack a shovel and go outside the gate to go to the bathroom. Do we need to tithe to the priesthood that doesn’t exist any more.

      • The Mosaic covenants were NEVER a way to be made righteous in the sight of God. The ONLY way to do that is to actively believe the promises of God as they have been revealed to you, the primary one being Jesus is Messiah. This is how Abraham got into the Kingdom of God, this is how David got in, and is how WE get into the Kingdom of God, but we have an advantage as we have more revelation.

        This is why Paul can use Abraham as an example of (active) faith for us believers in the new covenant.

        And do not try to separate the parts of a covenant into moral parts and non-moral parts. It is a unity. Someone was killed for gathering wood on a Sabbath in the Pentateuch, but that does not mean that I as a gentile need to be concerned about this.

        P.S. A Judaizer is someone who tries to import part of the Mosaic covenant so that it applies to gentiles and Paul opposed this emphatically. So we are not to do this.

      • “And do not try to separate the parts of a covenant into moral parts and non-moral parts. It is a unity. Someone was killed for gathering wood on a Sabbath in the Pentateuch, but that does not mean that I as a gentile need to be concerned about this.”

        I’m not sure that I am separating the covenants into moral and non-moral parts. But I am saying that the moral parts are addressed in all the covenants or morality is addressed in all the covenants. Thus by viewing what all of the covenants say about morality which is an issue in all eras, we can get a better picture of how God views moral issues.

        Does that clarify better?

        The Mosaic covenants were NEVER a way to be made righteous in the sight of God.”

        You are correct that faith in God is the way we are made righteous in spite of our sin. However, the law was also the justifier and to break the covenant law was to dishonor God. Only in the NT was it understood that the law brought knowledge of sin and could not justify anyone. But before Christ they didn’t know that. So before Christ they did think that they were made righteous by obeying the law, which is what spurred them to create the Mishnah. They forgot that Abraham believed and was made righteous by his belief in God.

      • Here is how I see it.

        No one is made righteous by following the stipulations in Torah, gentiles have fewer rules to follow, but they still broke what they had or even if they did not have Torah; jews had more rules and they still broke what they had, so none are righteous. This is all per Paul in Romans.

        The problem is when one tries to figure out it some stipulation is a moral stipulation or not. So I see it as valid to figure out that sexual immorality is not allowed for everyone, and then to use the whole Bible to try to figure out what that means, it is not valid to find someone forbidden in some covenant that one is not in and try to apply it to those outside the covenant, that would be Judaizing. One first needs to find where it applies to everyone. This is why gentiles do not need to obey Sabbath restrictions, or kosher restrictions, for example.

    • Yes, you have heard an answer, but since you did not even know what the Sinai covenant referred to, my words were not making sense to you.

      1. There are various covenants in the Bible (both the OT and the NT), some involving God and some just humans.
      2. A human needs to figure out which Biblical covenants they belong to (or want to belong to) and keep all the stipulations (if any) of each covenant they are in.

      Since most of the covenants are discussed in the OT, the OT is needed, one cannot just use to NT to try to figure out what God wants, as the NT builds on the OT and assumes everything in it. This also solves the concern that Jesus did not discuss some things, that some might wish he did, he did not need to discuss things that are already true for everyone to obey, that is, the OT provides the unstated but assumed background info for what Jesus said.

      So when you come across some stipulation in the Bible you need to figure out what covenant it belongs to and if you are a part of that covenant. If it is a part of covenant X and you are not in covenant X, then you can ignore it or perhaps choose to do it without it being a requirement.

      As I understand it, there is one tricky thing, if one is Jewish then one is freed from being in the Mosaic covenant unless one wants to be in it. The reason anyone might want to be in a covenant is for the benefits.

      But it is simply not correct to keep claiming I am not answering your question.

      • Don: I know I am frustrating you with my repeatedly asking the same question. I am not purposely rubbing you the wrong way. I am only being honest, in stating that from my perspective, you have not answered satisfactorily my question. If this is due to dull-wittedness on my part, I will accept the blame. Only let us continue in love, while we continue to pursue truth together. I am praying for you, beloved brother.

        I agree with what you said here, Don, (although I am still confused as you have not clearly distinguished between “sinai covenant” and “the whole Old Testament). The problem, as far as this debate is concerned, is that you are now sounding very much like myself, at the beginning of this discussion:

        “Since most of the covenants are discussed in the OT, the OT is needed, one cannot just use to NT to try to figure out what God wants, as the NT builds on the OT and assumes everything in it. This also solves the concern that Jesus did not discuss some things, that some might wish he did, he did not need to discuss things that are already true for everyone to obey, that is, the OT provides the unstated but assumed background info for what Jesus said.”

        Building on the OT, you believe that God did not feel the need to mention bestiality in the NT, since it was already covered in the Old. Is this correct? This is what I would believe. Likewise, God also builds on the Old Testament in his commandments on homosexuality. Thus, the New Testament verses – even if they weren’t very clear – have a clear context in the unambiguous language of the Old Testament.

        When I used the method you are now endorsing, however, you accused me of proof-texting. You said that I needed to take all of the “sinai covenant” (not sure whether this includes the “ademic covenant,” the “Noaic covenant,” the “abrahamic covenant” and the “davidic covenant” or not…it’d be nice if you would clear that up) or leave all of it. Now you seem to be taking some of it (e.g. bestiality) and leaving the rest of it (kosher, sabbath, etc.).

        If you believe that some things (e.g. bestiality) are not covered in the NT, because they are assumed from the OT, why wouldn’t you say this is true for homosexuality?

      • Beastiality is already discussed in Genesis and applies to everyone. Homosexuality is discussed in Lev and applies to Jews. This is the fundamental difference.

        If one wants to get technical, anti-beastiality is part of the so-called Edenic covenant, but some do not know that there even IS a covenant here, so they may not see this at first. And anti-homosexuality acts is in Lev. which is part of the Mosaic Sinai covenant, while applies to Jews. And God calls it an abomination. But he also tells Jews that mixing different fibers in cloth is an abomination. S

        keptics point this out and ask how one can pick and choose? So a consistent hermeneutic is required. If you want to avoid all abominations, then avoid all abominations; if not, not. But mixing and matching is not a consistent hermeneutic.

      • Don, bestiality is not mentioned in Genesis 2. You infer that it is forbidden because the ideal picture which God paints of humanity is one man, one woman married for life. Fair enough. Let’s continue with this: this would also forbid polygamy, adultery, promisquity and…uh oh. Wouldn’t it forbid homosexuality?

        I think you are genuinely stuck here. If you make a loop-hole for homosexuality, I think that consistency would force you to drag bestiality right along with you. I know this is absurd, and nobody would believe this: but you are calling me to the high standard of consistency, so I turn that back to you.

      • …so stuff written before the Sinai covenant (aka. genesis) applies to everybody, stuff after only to Jews? Careful now – circumcision came before Sinai…

      • The Abrahamic covenants start with Abram in Gen 12, so the general ones are before that. And covenants get renewed with new people or different times. But it is able to be figured out once you understand the basic idea.

      • The word beastiality is not used in Gen 2.

        Gen 2:18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
        Gen 2:19 Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.
        Gen 2:20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.
        Gen 2:21 So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh.
        Gen 2:22 And the rib that the LORD God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man.

        There was no helper/ezer corresponding to the human in all the animals, no partner found. And when the partner is built, they get married. I do not think this is too difficult to figure out.

      • touche’ So much for my super-question.

        However, when Jesus commented on Genesis 1 & 2 he really seemed to make it clear that the intention for human sexuality was one man and one woman for life:

        4And He answered and said, “Have you not read (E)that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE,

        5and said, ‘(F)FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND (G)THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’?

        6″So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”

        7They said to Him, “(H)Why then did Moses command to GIVE HER A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY?”

        8He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; but from the beginning it has not been this way.

        There are two ways of giving a command. One is to say all the things one cannot do. The other is to say “the one thing you CAN do is x.” Genesis 2 seems to be the latter, while the rest of the Bible seems to be the former.

        I am still unconvinced about your saying that the Sinai covenant does not speak to us at all. In Leviticus 18, God calls incest (in all forms), adultery, and child-sacrifice “abominations.” I take it you would still think these things are “wrong” today? How do you pick these out and not the others?

      • I am NOT saying the Sinai covenant does not speak to us! I am saying it does not speak to us DIRECTLY unless one is IN it.

        It can certainly speak to us indirectly, but one first needs to find something outside of it that references something inside it. Othewise the inconsistent hermeneutic charge applies when one wears clothing of mixed fibers.

        There are certainly positive commands (do this) and negative commands (do not do this) in covenants.

        Jesus goes back to Genesis as this provides the fundamental rules and he wants to correct some of the other Pharisee’s teachings that are incorrect (and are unmentioned except in the Mishnah).

        Also, the Mat 19 teaching unit and more generally the gospels on divorce shows Jesus being egal when understood in cultural context.

      • Okay. Then we agree then…? This is how I would read the Sinai covenant. We don’t steal, kill, murder, etc., because these “rules” are re-inforced in the New Testament. Other rules are referenced in the New Testament as pointing to a spiritual principle, for example God’s people being seperate from unbelievers, not yoked together, etc. Also, Paul mentions one of the rules about oxen really having a “higher, spiritual” meaning which applies to paying people who work hard in the church (1 Cor. 9:9).

        So yes, this is how I would “apply” the Sinai covenant to our lives. Are you saying you do the same thing?

      • In a nutshell, yes.

        One cannot apply something directly unless it directly applies to you by you being in the covenant somehow. One can apply it indirectly by finding a ref. in a covenant one is in. THIS method, at least, is a consistent hermeneutic. One that does not chop up a covenant and picks and chooses to avoid some abominations while doing others, etc. (All the dinks that skeptics use, but see that they are actually providing a service in showing possible logic errors in applying the Bible text.)

        Note there ARE a few things in the Sinai covenant that apply to Hebrew ger/aliens. But it always says so when it does.

      • what do you mean by “dinks”?

        Don: it is precisely because I read the OT in this way that when I see the NT referring back on the topic of homosexuality, I see that this is an issue which applies to us today.

      • A dink is shorthand for an attack that is to be expected. Skeptics do not believe the Bible and so look for ways to dismiss it and dismiss those who try to use it. So a believer might just want to ignore them, but in this case, they provide a service in showing a potential logical flaw. And it is one that many do not know how to answer.

        There is still a small puzzle, in that Jesus, Paul, etc. were Torah observant Jews. So how did Paul KNOW that something was forbidden? It was because it was in the Torah.

        That is, the Bible books build on previous ones to present a coherent teaching.

      • Your case would be very much strengthened if you could find a torah-observant Jew who allowed homosexuality. Building on all of their holy books, I think the ancient Jews were opposed to homosexuality in all of the forms which it took in Greek culture.

        I have never heard “dink” before. It’s a crude name for “penus” that we used to call one another when I was 8…sorry, but it strikes me as a very odd short-form to use, but I suppose I’m just not as widely read. 🙂 What is it short for?

      • So I look dink up in an online dict. and slang dict. and it confirms your possible meaning and not mine! I guess it is used in too small a circle in the way I said.

        In my world, anyway, one can “take a dink” (an insult, for example) and keep going, but I can see if you heard it might be meaning something else it would be a huh? moment.

        Orthodox jews are against homosexuality for themselves; how some rabbis say that a gentile can do many things that are abominations to God, so why pick on one of them. That is, a Jew almost expects a gentile to do such things that are prohibited to them.

  8. “I am still unconvinced about your saying that the Sinai covenant does not speak to us at all.”

    Are you sure that is what Don said?

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