An ethical take on homosexuality in Scripture

I wanted to highlight this particular post again because I hope to raise some discussion about it. Those who believe Scripture condemns homosexuality often accuse those those who do not of theological liberalism and throwing away the Bible. Yet, that is not the case. I believe that as a Christian, Scripture is an authoritative guide; however, we must use it reasonably within the framework of our theological tradition and not simply how we desire to read it.

No doubt there would be some in this society that would suggest that the text is being incorrectly read. These verses, they would say, are not about heterosexual sex in general, but about particular problematic instances of male/female sexual acts. They would suggest that we need to read these passages more carefully in historical and cultural context. Going point by point, they would argue something like the following

So read the post and tell me what you think. His logic flawed?

Post By Joel L. Watts (10,153 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Website: → Unsettled Christianity

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9 thoughts on “An ethical take on homosexuality in Scripture

  1. This makes sense. Also the Bible is sometimes translated incorrectly appearantly yet it’s more trustworthy than Google translate. The Bible scripture can be interpreted many different ways.

  2. “No doubt”. Perhaps for him! He is attempting to prove whatever he already believes.
    It is tough to refute someone like this in an open forum because the straw man (which do not scare me as scare-crows scare the crows) and ad hominen comments will fly freely. No matter what one says about this Dr’s logic, if it is not sympathetic to his opinion about gays in particular, this person will be labeled anti-gay and the issue of his logic will be stifled. I posted some answers in the same post on FB and I will read the article perhaps multiple times and then decide if it warrants my humble response. At my first read I would say that if his logic is valid we can and should apply it to every single verse that remotely resembles a prohibition of any act…

    There were many professions in Paul’s days that were sinful and despicable such as witchcraft for pay, but I wonder why Paul chose to speak of the “soft ones” almost specifically? If we apply logic we are required to do it with reasoning and honesty.

    Why don’t we use this logic: God told us Thou Shalt Not Kill, but not only He killed but also told His people to kill and took pleasure in some of the killings (Samuel is and example). so why we don’t just kill people?; God tells us not to lie, but He said that He would lie through the mouth of some prophets (1 Kings 22:22); God blessed the lie of a prostitute… So, why don’t we just lie as well…
    My point, we can use reason and in this Luther was right that reason can be the devil’s whore (I understand that the quote is off context). With only a couple of readings of the article I can say that we either obey the Word of God or apply reason to it thus being at risk to reason it out of existence or simply ignore it to obsolescence! However what one calls “logic” is often really “questioning”, which leads me to Paul: Will the clay question the potter? That works both for liberals and fundamentalists! I am fine with questioning (so is God), but without expecting to find the answers that we already assumed as correct.

    As I said, I will read the article multiple times again, and do the same as I do when I translate: I will research and attempt to find more writings from the author to identify his overall thinking lest I be unfair to him.

  3. I will have a reasoned response via a blog post in a day or two, but i wanted to take a few lines here to say what I know scripture does say about homosexuals, liars, good church going folks, bad church going folks, and everyone. God loves us and Christ died for us. This is a delicate and sensitive topic so as we read and comment, let’s try to make our best efforts to remember those things. Thus endeth the sermon lol :)

  4. I am a theological liberal, so on this topic I merely note that the mores of the time and place appear to have been somewhat homophobic, just as they approved slavery and saw nothing unnatural about it, and regard relevant passages as therefore obsolete. And, of course, man-made rather than God-given. Particularly anything written by Paul, who I find it difficult to regard as being authoritative above and beyond your common or garden very clever preacher.

    However, you asked whether the logic was good. It’s good in parts. Sodom was about inhospitable attitudes, and gang rape was somewhat inhospitable; it wasn’t about homosexuality. Jesus’ comment about men cleaving to their wives was a reference to a cultural norm illustrating change of allegiance and can’t be taken as making a wider statement.

    On the other hand, I think Leviticus was written euphemistically and was exactly about homosexual relationships generally, and Paul was condemning particular examples of homosexual relationships which he knew about as “specimen charges”, and he probably can be taken as making a wider statement. The arguments against those interpretations didn’t work for me and seemed forced.

    I think the writer is trying too hard to shoehorn a laudable attitude into an attitude to the authority of scripture which doesn’t actually support that attitude, therefore. I would have preferred to think otherwise, but I don’t expect to see 21st century attitudes in 1st century writings, far less 6th century BCE ones.

  5. I believe the Bible is clear on this matter. Leviticus 18:22- Romans 1:26 Homosexuality is an abomination. I have had homosexuals admit to me that they know it is wrong. Its like other things people do they know is wrong but choose 2 do it anyway

    • But, Brian – the bible isn’t clear. Lev. 18.22 doesn’t speak about homosexuality. And if Romans 1.26 does, Paul isn’t the speaker here. Romans 1.26 is part of the Jewish polemic against Gentiles, something Paul is condemning.

  6. It’s funny that the copulating unmarried heterosexuals don’t get very upset about churches calling that behavior sin.

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