Christianity and LBGT: Tradition

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, December 11, 2015 2 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

[This post is part of a series. The previous one is here, and the next one is here.]

Last week, I opened up a series addressing ten arguments that suggest the Bible and homosexuality can actually go together. Today, I move onto the second argument: sexual orientation is a new concept, one the church tradition hasn’t addressed. This claim is that sexual orientation is a brand new thing and that the church never dealt with this issue.

Now to be fair, you could talk to a large number of church leaders, pastors, and Bible scholars and they would not know how to address this claim, even among the more conservative circles. To be honest, even a few months ago I might have been caught off guard with this claim without much of an answer. But Scripture does tells that such a claim actually has no weight.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 tell us there is nothing new under the sun. What does that mean in this context? Simple: that the homosexual orientation issue is NOT new. It just has a fancy new wrapping. This is a very common tactic: take something old, redress it, and bring it out as something brand new. The idea of sexual orientation is by no means a new concept. It’s just a new label to the same thing that’s been going on for many years. How can I say this? The answer is to address his other point: that the church tradition never addressed this. So let us examine that claim. Matthew Vines claims he spent two years away of college to study for this. I’m curious as to what he found or how hard he looked.

A friend of mine gave a talk about homosexuality right after the Supreme Court made its decision in late June 2015. He exposed me to Matthew Vines for the first time and the line of thinking that I am addressing in this series. He also exposed me to a number of sources of the early church leaders and what they were thinking about homosexuality. Now, to be absolutely clear, what I am about to share is not directly in Scripture but it most certainly illustrates some of what church leaders, Jewish leaders, and others were thinking.

First is James DeYoung from Dallas Seminary who wrote a critique about the current pro-homosexual interpretations. Let me point out in pages 446-448 several of the OT Pseudepigripha books (non-canonized, non-apocrypha, but recognized Jewish books) directly address this issue. 2 Enoch and 3 Maccabees (quotes are in the cited pages) not only address homosexuality but also pedophilia. 2 Enoch and 3 Maccabees (quotes are in the cited pages) not only address homosexuality but also pedophilia. In any culture where homosexuality was widely practices, pedophilia was right there with is. The point of this reference is that the homosexual agenda was addressed years ago, not just today.

The Roman Catholic Church has an interesting collection of quotes dealing with how the church addresses homosexual behavior. I am NOT endorsing Roman Catholic doctrine by citing this, but they just have a good collection of these writings. Here is one that stands out.

Basil the Great: "If you [O, monk] are young in either body or mind, shun the companionship of other young men and avoid them as you would a flame. For through them the enemy has kindled the desires of many and then handed them over to eternal fire, hurling them into the vile pit of the five cities under the pretense of spiritual love…”

Does that not sound exactly like what Matthew Vines is talking about? Basil is saying the enemy has kindled the desires (lust for the same sex) of many under the pretense of spiritual love. These church leaders and the church tradition has always held there was no such thing as “romantic homosexual love” and the whole idea is just a façade for something much darker and sinister. Do take note again that pedophilia, particularly the lust for boys, is frequently addressed in the same context as homosexual “relationships.” Now, before I go further, I am NOT accusing Matthew Vines or this project in particular to be pedophiles and seeking to get after children. But it is clear that there are many in the homosexual agenda who are.

There is still more. Gail Labovitz at the “Feminist Sexual Ethics Project” notes that a number of Jewish rabbis greatly detested homosexual marriage and even considered that when societies embraced such actions, divine judgment would soon follow. Look at this quote from her opening paragraph:
“There are several rabbinic passages which take up, or very likely take up, the subject of same-sex marital unions – always negatively. In each case, homosexual marriage (particularly male homosexual marriage) is rhetorically stigmatized as the practice of non-Jewish (or pre-Israelite) societies, and is presented as an outstanding marker of the depravity of those societies; homosexual marriage is thus clearly associated with the other. The first three of the four rabbinic texts presented here also associate homosexual marriage with bestiality. These texts also employ a rhetoric of fear: societal recognition of such homosexual relationships will bring upon that society extreme forms of Divine punishment – the destruction of the generation of the Flood, the utter defeat of the Egyptians at the Exodus, the wiping out of native Canaanite peoples in favor of the Israelites.”

Labovitz is strongly indicating here that the Jewish rabbis considered societal embrace of homosexual marriage to be the final straws that brought about God’s judgment, including prior to the Flood, the destruction of Egypt with the Exodus, and the Canaanite Conquest. In Jewish tradition, according to Labovitz, homosexual activity was the straw that broke the camel’s back. That was the final thing that made God say, “Enough is enough.”

I’ll get into that more when I address the fourth argument about Sodom and Gomorrah itself in a few weeks. The point here is that the Jewish and Church tradition most certainly understood what Matthew Vines is calling “a committed, loving, homosexual relationship” that only differs (according to him) from traditional marriage by the spouses being the same gender. These writings and teachings show that it was never accepted, always looked down upon, and always met with judgment. It would be good if Matthew Vines were to see these writings and understand that he does not understand what he is getting himself into and helping to lead others into. He is very young (only 21 when he released his talk) and appears to be very naïve. He deceived and he is deceiving others in it. The more I dig into this and his way of thinking, I can’t help but pity him. The deception is great and Matthew Vines has fallen deep into it. Be praying for me as I continue addressing these ten arguments, and be praying for Matthew Vines that God will break him free from the blinders he has on.

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Bobby said...

Charlie, another point to make about the sexual orientation issue is that sexual orientation really involves attraction or desire, and the Bible clearly tells us that our desires have been corrupted by the Fall. James 1:14-15 states that "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death." Paul makes no exception for loving same-sex relationships because he even calls the same-sex attraction vile and defines such sexual desire as lust. Romans 1:26-27 says "For this reason God gave them up to vile passions [Greek pathē – also means emotions, desires]. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due." The whole idea of taking up our crosses is that we are called to war against our desires, including sexual ones, that are contrary to God’s commands for our lives, not embrace them (see Romans 7). For example, I am married. If I have desire for another woman, it is a vile desire that causes me to commit adultery in my heart. (Matthew 5:28). So whether we struggle with homosexual desires or desires to commit adultery or fornication, they are all desires to be battled in accordance with Romans 7, not embraced.

Charlie said...

Thanks for the comment, Bobby. One of the arguments coming up is how Paul supposedly condemns lust, not love and this will help me approach that one.