Let me begin by saying that I have started up posting again on this topic not in order to throw a grenade and then ease back into derelict non-posting. Yes, I think the public debate, and the debate I am witnessing within the evangelical church, has inspired this as the next post, but I do not want to ignite, confuse, and divide. I desire to teach God’s will on this matter for the good of his church, and for the greater good of all peoples. I offer this as a means for some of you to see some resources that have been helpful for me recently on the issue of homosexuality itself and also the issue of the legality of gay marriage. I will link to some articles, and one section on The Gospel Coalition site where many of these articles can be found, regarding these issues.
Let me be upfront. I support the historic and evangelical interpretation of the Bible regarding homosexual behavior. I have not found any argument, theological or exegetical, compelling enough to re-understand the Bible and the world God has made regarding homosexual behavior. No new lexical, grammatical, historical, theological, scientific, or other data has come to the fore that radically changes what I believe to be the clear Biblical teaching on sexual purity and sexual sin. But, I acknowledge many Christians, even evangelicals, are confused, are torn between the poles of compassion and conviction, and some brothers and sisters seem open to new arguments being levied that might make a case that sexual boundaries are wider than we once thought. How come? Why do Jesus-loving people disagree on something as significant as what defines sexual purity and sin? Let me suggest that all interpretation is a result of how one approaches the Bible in the first place. So, before I list some helpful web articles on this issue, let me list out some of the assumptions I bring with me to the table, that set the trajectory of my interpretations. I hold the historic interpretation, because I hold to a historic approach to Biblical interpretation.
1. I believe the Bible is verbally, plenarily, and inerrantly inspired. I believe the move from original manuscripts to our modern manuscripts was so stable that what we have now in terms of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek is a text I can, with integrity, call God’s Word – free of error in what the author was affirming as true.
2. I believe that while some of the Bible was mechanically inspired (God simply used the human author as a stylus to convey direct revelation apart from the experience, training, and gifting of the writer), most of the Bible was not mechanically inspired. I take that to mean that the assumptions, cultural perspective, values, theological vision, and biases of the human author that directly shaped the text were part of the process of revelation and are to be respected as true along with the final product of the text itself.
3. Whatever the Bible affirms in principle form is the only truth that text can ever have. The Bible’s meaning and relevance do not evolve. Application can evolve and vary from situation to situation, but the meaning cannot. One must decipher what is the principle and what is a possible application when studying Scripture, but once the principle is ascertained, that is the eternal truth of that passage.
4. Given the above, the Bible’s teaching on volitional homosexual behavior is as clear as incest and adultery. In fact, if one were to try and make a case for the widening of sexual purity laws, it would be a much easier case to make for polygamy and pedophelia. Both are unthinkable by the vast majority of westerners. But, that is the social response. In terms of exegesis, they are less clear as boundaries in Scripture. Homosexual behavior is much more directly addressed in the Bible, certainly as clear as incest and adultery. Yes, the issues, contingencies, and results might differ from incest and adultery, but the clarity of the boundary marker is the same. Different sins have different realities within them, but we must respect the clarity of the boundary, nonetheless.
Now, some resources: