What the Bible Says about Homosexuality

Zeus Kisses Ganymede

Zeus Kisses Ganymede

An Internet search on this subject reveals that widespread disinformation about what the Bible actually says is being disseminated by advocates, most often non-experts, such that an unbiased exegetical review is made necessary.

God’s Intent in Creation

From the start, Scripture describes God’s intent in terms of procreation, in which not only humans but animals naturally pair up, male with female.

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

Genesis 5:1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him; 2 Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.

Genesis 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Natural Pairing Continued for Procreation

As Noah received commandments regarding the Ark, species or “families” (“kind”), including humans, were still perceived in terms of complementary pairs of animals, one of each gender, able to produce offspring.

Genesis 6:18 But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons’ wives with thee. 19 And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. 20 Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.

Genesis 7:15 And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life. 16 And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.

Christ’s Teaching on God’s Original Intent for Marriage

In speaking of marriage and divorce, Jesus framed the subject in terms of God’s original intent:  one man and one woman, for life.

Matthew 19:3 (parallel Mark 10:2-9.)  The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

Sexual Conduct Established by Law

The Law of Moses codified acceptable behavior in order to establish God’s people as a Godly nation, his representatives among Pagans, outlining rules of conduct and punishments for transgressions.  Some of the most grievous infractions included sorcery, necromancy, adultery, prostitution, incest, homosexuality, and bestiality.  Scholars theorize that male homosexual prostitutes were sometimes referred to as “dogs,” possibly including Revelation 22:15 and Philippians 3:2 (which obviously do not refer literally to canines).

Leviticus 18:22 Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination. 23 Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion. 24 Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: 25 And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. 26 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: 27 (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled;) 28 That the land spew not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spewed out the nations that were before you. 29 For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people. 30 Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.

Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Deuteronomy 23:17 There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. 18 Thou shalt not bring the hire of a whore, or the price of a dog, into the house of the LORD thy God for any vow: for even both these are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

Revelation 22:15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

Philippians 3:2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.

Sexual Conduct Laws Periodically Enforced and Idolatry Banished

Homosexuality recurred within Israel in spite of the Law, due to lax enforcement and the outside influence of Pagan peoples, sometimes prompting reforming kings of Israel to crack down on this behavior.

1 Kings 14:24 And there were also sodomites in the land: and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.

1 Kings 15:12 And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.

2 Kings 23:7 And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove [Pagan shrine].

Two Notorious Instances of Intended Homosexual Rape and Their Outcome

Neither of these attempts were successful, as such, the first averted by divine intervention, the second unfortunately leading to a woman’s death so brutal that the offending tribe, Benjamin, was nearly annihilated by the other tribes in retribution.  (It is hard today to understand how the laws of the time regarding hospitality could be so compelling that a householder would protect a guest even at the expense of his own womenfolk, but such seems to be the case.)  The Hebrew term “know” (YADA) is used not only in terms of cognizance but also to describe intimate relations, e.g., “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived . . .” (Genesis 4:1).

Genesis 19:4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: 5 And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them. 6 And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him, 7 And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly. 8 Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as is good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof. 9 And they said, Stand back. And they said again, This one fellow came in to sojourn, and he will needs be a judge: now will we deal worse with thee, than with them.

Judges 19:22 Now as they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, certain sons of Belial, beset the house round about, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, the old man, saying, Bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him. 23 And the man, the master of the house, went out unto them, and said unto them, Nay, my brethren, nay, I pray you, do not so wickedly; seeing that this man is come into mine house, do not this folly. 24 Behold, here is my daughter a maiden, and his concubine; them I will bring out now, and humble ye them, and do with them what seemeth good unto you: but unto this man do not so vile a thing. 25 But the men would not hearken to him: so the man took his concubine, and brought her forth unto them; and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning: and when the day began to spring, they let her go. 26 Then came the woman in the dawning of the day, and fell down at the door of the man’s house where her lord was, till it was light. 27 And her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way: and, behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, and her hands were upon the threshold. 28 And he said unto her, Up, and let us be going. But none answered.

Sodom and Gomorrah became a Byword for Sexual Sin and Its Judgment

More than that, comparison to Sodom and Gomorrah became a metaphor for any place whose people are deserving of God’s especial wrath (the list below is not exhaustive).

Isaiah 13:19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.

Jeremiah 23:14 I have seen also in the prophets of Jerusalem an horrible thing: they commit adultery, and walk in lies: they strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none doth return from his wickedness: they are all of them unto me as Sodom, and the inhabitants thereof as Gomorrah.

Jude 1:7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

2 Peter 2:6 And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an example unto those that after should live ungodly;

According to Jesus, Sodom and Gomorrah Have but One Mitigating Virtue

Since those cities and certain others had not known God, heard the Gospel, or received God’s witness, their punishment would not be as great as those who hear the Gospel and still reject Jesus Christ.

Matthew 10:14 (par. Mark 6:11) And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

Luke 10:12 (par. Matthew 11:23-24) But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city. 13 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. 14 But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you. 15 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell. 16 He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.

“They Are without Excuse,” Romans 1:26-32

Paul the Apostle was born in Tarsus of Cilicia and traveled widely in the Greco-Roman world, hence was well-versed in the activities of Pagan cultures and uniquely qualfied to evaluate them.  Here Paul clearly singles out Lesbianism as well as male Homosexuality as behaviors for which “the wrath of God is revealed from heaven” (Rom 1:18), and for which, since “the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made . . . they are without excuse” (1:20).

Romans 1:26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: 27 And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 29 Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, 30 Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Persons Involved in Certain Behaviors “Shall Not Inherit the Kingdom,” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11

The words that are challenged by advocates are “effeminate” (fr. μαλακός, malakos) and “abusers of themselves with mankind” (fr. ἀρσενοκοίτης, arsenokoitēs).

1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

The advocates are correct that malakos means “soft” and does not always refer to persons.  In Matthew 11:8 (par. Luke 7:25), Jesus asks rhetorically in regard to John the Baptist, “What went ye out for to see?  A man clothed in soft raiment?” and indeed malakos is used of things such as clothing that are delicate or “dainty.”  Here Jesus expresses irony, since John was known to have worn camel’s hair and a leather belt, a marked contrast to dainty clothing.

So far, one might surmise that Paul is saying that people who wear delicate clothing are sinners.  But in contemporary literature, as well as Paul’s usage, “dainty” becomes a substantive for persons who dress in a feminized manner, and in fact it is the term of choice for men who take on the feminized, passive, submissive role in a homosexual encounter or relationship (also a catamite or “beloved” in a pederastic relationship).  Any doubt that such is the case is dispelled by the word that follows.

Arsenokoitēs is, according to Bauer’s Lexicon and other sources, a compound of arsēn, “male,” and koitē, “bed.”  In addition to the obvious connotation of the combination of these terms, in contemporary Greek as in modern English, a reference to “bed” served as a euphemism for sexual activity.  It was the arsenokoitēs who undertook the active or dominant role in the homosexual act.  Polycarp (A.D. 80–167) echoed Paul’s sentiments in the same words, saying,

Polycarp 5:3 …. For it is a good thing to refrain from lusts in the world, for every lust warreth against the Spirit, and neither whoremongers nor effeminate persons nor defilers of themselves with men shall inherit the kingdom of God, neither they that do untoward things. ….

“Such Were Some of You”

Paul reminds the Corinthians that “such were some of you” (1 Corinthians 6:11), until their repentance and conversion, having afterward laid aside participation in all such activities.  While it remains that “the soul that sins shall die” (Ezekiel 18:4, 20) and “the recompense of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), Jesus ushered in a new era of grace and deferred (rather than immediate and final) judgment for sin.  In John 8:3 ff., Jesus forced those who had arrested a woman caught in the act of adultery, intent on her execution, to acknowledge that they had all sinned and needed grace themselves.  In Matthew 5:27 ff. he asserted that entertaining sinful thoughts makes people as guilty as following through with sinful acts; or more specifically, a man who lusted after a woman had “already committed adultery with her in his heart.”  Hence one concludes, first, that everyone is tempted, which is not in itself a sin, but one must “flee” from it (1 Corinthians 6:18, 2 Timothy 2:22) rather than entertaining it; and second, that conquering temptation through faith, with a will, anyone can be saved and restored to communion with God.  Jesus bestowed forgiveness upon the adulterous woman for past sins, but admonished her to “Go, and sin no more.”  Likewise, Jesus told a certain man, “Sin no more, lest something worse come upon you” (John 5:14).

John 8:3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

Matthew 5:27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. 31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

Law Is Necessary for the Lawless, 1 Timothy 1:9-10

Arsenokoitēs appears again as “them that defile themselves with mankind,” situated just after pornē (“whoremonger,” “fornicator”).

1 Timothy 1:9 Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, 10 For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

Parallel Lists of Condemned Activities

Paul provides other parallel lists of grievous sins to be abandoned, but which do not include the specific terms for homosexual activity described above.  Note that all sexual activity outside the bounds of lawful matrimony is classed as adultery, fornication, or some more specific variation.

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

Ephesians 5:5 For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. 6 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.

Copyright © 2015 Paul A. Hughes


Scriptures to Vote by: Voting Christian in a Secular World

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Compiled by Paul A. Hughes, M.Div

Note: This collection of scriptures was first published during the 1992 presidential election.  A few additions have been made.  If only these warnings from Scripture had been more heeded back then, and since, by Christians of all types who decided to vote their own preference instead of God’s!  Think, in particular, what better appointments would have been made to the Supreme Court, had truly Christian presidents and other leaders been elected.

As another crucial election approaches, it is important to emphasize the need for Christians to vote according to their Christian convictions.

Some Christians think it is somehow “unspiritual” to participate in molding and influencing our nation through politics.  Others have bought the secular line that Christians should keep their religion separate from their politics.

However, it is not only the right but the solemn responsibility of all Christians to exploit every means to influence the world, including electing men of truth, justice, and character to their government, calling all their leaders to accountability, and punishing those who violate the public trust.

Now I cannot tell anyone else for whom to vote [though perhaps I ought to have done so, in retrospect], but I would like to offer a selection of scriptures we should all ponder before we vote.  These scriptures speak for themselves [or so I had hoped].

Seek the Nation’s Welfare

“Seek the peace of the city to which I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it; for in its peace shall ye have peace” (Jeremiah 29:7).

“Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way” (1 Samuel 12:23).

“I exhort, therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Timothy 2:1-2).

Seek Freedom of Worship

“Moses said, Behold, I go out from thee, and I will entreat the LORD. . . but let not Pharaoh deal deceitfully any more in not letting the people go to sacrifice to the LORD” (Exodus 8:29).

“For we were bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem” (Ezra 9:9).

“Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you; and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men; for not all have faith” (2 Thessalonians 3:1).

“Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds” (Colossians 4:3).

The World is Ignorant of God’s Truth

“The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them who believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

“We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).

“Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).

Choose God, Not Self-Interest

“No man can serve two masters . . . . Ye cannot serve God and mammon (i.e., money)” (Matthew 6:24).

“If it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served . . . or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

“See I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil. . . . I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore, choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deuteronomy 30:15, 19).

“Seek not what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Luke 12:29-31).

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death” (Revelation 12:11).

Declare a Public Testimony

“Ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles” (Matthew 10:18).

“This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Matthew 24:14).

“For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publicly, showing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ” (Acts 18:28).

“For a long time, then, they abode there, speaking boldly in the Lord, who gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands” (Acts 14:3).

“Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2).

“And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word . . . And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:29, 31).

“And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region” (Acts 13:49).

Do Not Aid Sinners in Their Cause

“Shouldest thou help the ungodly, and love them who hate the Lord? Therefore, there is wrath upon thee from before the Lord” (2 Chronicles 19:2).

“If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds” (2 John 1:10-11).

“Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4).

“He that is not with me is against me, and he that gathereth not with me scattereth” (Luke 11:23).

Stand Against Evil

“Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him” (Luke 17:3).

“Them that sin, rebuke before all, that others also may fear” (1 Timothy 5:20).

“This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith” (Titus 1:13).

“These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee” (Titus 2:15).

Beware of Deceivers

“Let no man deceive you with vain words; for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:6, see also 4:14).

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15).

“For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect” (Mark 13:22).

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

Distrust Human Counsel

“For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly toward you” (2 Corinthians 1:12).

“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness” (1 Corinthians 3:19).

“My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water” (Jeremiah 2:13).

“Woe to the rebellious children, saith the lord, who take counsel, but not of me; and who cover with a covering, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin” (Isaiah 30:1).

“We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and behold, trouble!” (Jeremiah 8:15).

“They say still unto those who despise me, The Lord hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you” (Jeremiah 23:17, see also Ezekiel 13:10, 16).

Seek God for Guidance

“Thus saith the Lord, Stand in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk in it, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk in it” (Jeremiah 6:16).

“Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

“If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8).

©2015 Paul A. Hughes

 


“Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?”

The rancor we see in online Christian discussion groups these days is just a reflection of the ideological, cultural, geographic, political, and generational mega-split we see in America lately.

There are those who want to take the ideological “ball” and run away with it, meanwhile showing the very intolerance of contrary ideas of which they accuse Conservatives, unable to support their own views and wishes with facts or reason, and unable to handle debate, emotionally or procedurally.

Such individuals then blame those of contrary views for the rancor that they themselves have usually created, and like petulant schoolyard children, take their “ball,” and go home.

© 2014 Paul A. Hughes


Paul the Apostle, Law, and Sin, Parts 7 & 8

The Pauline Concept of Law and Sin

The Pauline Concept of Law and Sin

Civil Law

During Paul’s ministry, Roman government represented a stabilizing and equalizing element which afforded Paul, as a Roman citizen, ample opportunities to travel freely, and a certain amount of protection from abuse.  Caesar, as well, he saw as “not a terror to good works, but to the evil” (Rom. 13:3), ready to punish the lawless and unruly.  At the same time, Paul bridled at abuse of his rights, under Jewish as well as Roman law.  One may only speculate that he might have professed, with Peter, the mandate to “obey God rather than men” if it suited his purpose.  Nevertheless, Paul did not perceive the government, apart from the Jewish authorities, as an obstacle to the furtherance of the Gospel and growth of the Church.

Obey civil authorities, with qualifications

  • Paul objects to violation of his rights (but yielded to Exodus 22:28), Acts 23:2-5
  • Paul asserted his citizenship rights, Acts 21:39, 22:25-29, 23:27, 25:1-26:32, 28:17-19
  • Earthly rulers are allowed by God to keep order and punish wrongdoing, Romans 13:1-8
  • Pray for rulers and conduct yourself honorably, 1 Timothy 2:1-3
  • See also 1 Peter 4:15, do not commit crimes and improprieties that incur just punishment
  • Compare:  Acts 4:19-20, 5:29 (Peter), “obey God rather than men”

Cultural Mores & Customs

The Apostle Paul was not in favor of license or Libertinism which in the name of grace flaunted the customs and mores of societies in which he ministered, see Romans 6:1, 1 Corinthians 8:9, Galatians 5:13.  Rather, he upheld the best conservative moral ideals and traditions of the Jews as well as Gentiles.  His views on the rights and comportment of women, while informed by the principles of Original Creation and Moses’ Law, also appear to reflect the influence of strongly patriarchal societies, especially that of observant Jews of the day.

Matrimony is holy and honorable

  • One is bound in marriage till released by death, Romans 7:1-4
  • Marital bonds, cares, and obligations, 1 Corinthians 7:1-40
  • Those who wish or need to marry are free to do so, 1 Corinthians 7:1-40, see also Matthew 19:10-12
  • Marriage ought not be forbidden, 1 Timothy 4:1

Marital faithfulness demonstrates worthiness of honor and responsibility

  • “Espoused to one husband,” 1 Corinthians 11:2
  • “Husband of one wife,” 1 Timothy 3:2, 12; Titus 1:6
  • “Wife of one man,” 1 Timothy 5:9

Families are responsible to care for their own elderly and destitute

  • 1 Timothy 5:4-8, 16

Men chosen for leadership should be faithful husbands and fathers

  • 1 Timothy 3:1-13
  • Titus 1:5-9

The deportment of women compared to men

  • It is seemly and comely for women to wear their hair long, and to cover their heads during worship; but unnatural for men to wear long hair, and inappropriate for them to cover their heads in worship, 1 Corinthians 11:1-16
  • Women are not allowed to speak publicly in church, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35
  • Women are not allowed to teach publicly, or oversee a man, 1 Timothy 2:11-12
  • Women are admonished to dress and act modestly, 1 Timothy 2:8-11
  • Only elderly widows of good report deserve church financial support, younger widows should remarry, raise children, and work in the home, 1 Timothy 5:4-15

Incest disreputable even to the Gentiles

  • 1 Corinthians 5:1-13

Summary Conclusions

Referring to the diagram, as supported by Scripture passages, one sees that God’s eternal will and plan for man, as created, falls within God’s moral and natural law, represented by the large yellow circle.  Elements of Moses’ Law, and cultural mores and customs, are overlapped by God’s eternal will, to the extent that those spheres ratify, or rather are ratified by, God’s plan.  Noahide Law, originally limited to a symbolic reverence for blood as life, remains valid in principle, though not in letter of the law.  Later additions regarding fornication and idolatry, besides being integral with Moses’ Law, can be said as well to be valid as part of God’s original, revealed will.  (Therefore, those circles partly overlap.)  The Abrahamic Covenant, which featured only one law, that of circumcision, has been transcended by the Law of Faith, which was the effective element all along (circumcision being the seal and testimony of the Covenant, the theological equivalent to Christian water baptism—as is, arguably, the Lord’s Supper).  Moses’ Law, which incorporated in totality the laws given to Noah and Abraham, was “fulfilled” by the work of Christ by several standards, including the fulfillment of Law’s overall prophetic, moral, and salvific purpose.  Therefore, those who by faith have entered “into Christ,” while bound to God’s eternal moral law, are free not only from the letter of Moses’ Law (the temporal rituals, ordinances, observances, and strictures external to God’s eternal law), but from the “Law of Sin and Death” that Moses’ Law actuates (Rom. 7:1‒8:4, 10:4, Gal. 3:19-26, et al.).

Therefore, the elements of Moses’ Law, apart from God’s moral and natural law, are rendered irrelevant and non-binding to the Christian, just as they remain ineffectual to observant Jews, who are unable to “keep the whole law” (Rom. 2:12-29, Gal. 5:3, 6:13, see also James 2:10).  Thus the Christian reverences life, but is not forbidden from eating meat containing blood.  The Christian honors the Creator for the Sabbath, as suggested in Genesis 2, but is not prohibited from work or travel on the Sabbath, a commandment added by Moses’ Law.  The Christian is forbidden no food, “for every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving” (1 Tim. 4:4).

Those elements of civil law and culture which do not violate Biblical faith or a pure conscience are acceptable to the Christian.  Governments in general “are not a terror to good works, but to bad ones” (Rom. 13:3), though just rights can be claimed and abuse of rights disputed.  Christians must not participate in ungodly pagan practices, though innocuous differences may be overlooked if not made an issue.

One concludes that the laws for which Christians are responsible are those which make for peace and godliness, and which edify the brethren (Rom. 14:19, 1 Tim. 2:2, et al.), all of which surely fall within the sphere of God’s moral and natural law.  Christians are saved, like Abraham, by the Law of Faith, not by external laws or rituals.  All that is not done in faith being sin, a Christian ought to do nothing which cannot be done in faith, in the sight of God—not in unbelief, by which some imagine that they will escape judgment.  The ultimate criterion for all we do must be the Law of Christ, which is love and gratitude for Christ’s work displayed not in self-actualization or self-motivation, but in serving to edify, profit, and benefit others.

© 2013 Paul A. Hughes

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Christianity Can Only Be Conservative

Crowd Culture by Bernard Iddings Bell

Crowd Culture

by Paul A. Hughes, M.Div

In a retrospect on Crowd Culture: An Examination of the American Way of Life by Bernard Iddings Bell, W. Winston Elliott III (“Tyranny of the Herd”) concludes that

Bell believed that America’s obsession with egalitarianism had impoverished education, the arts, politics, and religion.  He did not write against the Common Man’s advancement, but against a society that seemed interested in advancing only on narrowly economic, materialist grounds.

Elliott further summarizes,

Schools had abandoned a foundational curriculum, failed to impart proper manners and civility, and left high achievers, the leaders of tomorrow, to fend for themselves in favor of an all-encompassing focus on equality.  Churches, too, increasingly instructed their congregations not in the timeless articles of the faith but watered-down, feckless accommodations to the latest trends.

Bell’s answer was Conservative nonconformity:

     … Bell urged rebels to challenge the cultural rot, but he warned these conservative iconoclasts that they should be prepared to suffer—whether in financial deprivation or personal scorn.  “We need such nonconformists,” he wrote, “if democracy is not to become absurd”….

A dated but still relevant video, “The Culture of Critique,” exposes the conspiracy begun by the Marxist “Frankfurt School” to undermine the roots and values of Western society.  Its method was to be so-called Critical Theory, which “criticizes basically every pillar of Western Civilization, promoting the leftist, liberal, multicultural, feminist viewpoint.”  Today, no one can credibly dispute its success.

Those of us who are Conservative and preach revealed truth, Biblical authority, and absolute values find that an increasing number of people question everything we say, not out of curiosity or to find answers, but to undermine the entire basis for truth.  The video reveals that such is the plan behind Political Correctness in universities and elsewhere.  Moreover, no proof, no explanation, no documentation ever satisfies them; they ignore proof and keep probing for weaknesses, or to wear down their opposition.

Such people have been likened to “playing chess with a pigeon“:  no matter how well you play, they just knock over the pieces, poop all over the board, and strut around like they think they are winning.

Conservatives are accused of being polarizing in their absolutes and intractability.  The polarization, on the contrary, comes from the Left.  It comes down to the basis of truth and the definition of good.  The world is moving away from the church and Christian revelation, and not in a way that can be countenanced by any believer.  For example, when a million healthy babies are aborted every year as birth-control-after-the-fact, a believer not only cannot in good conscience support the perpetrators of this crime, but is compelled to speak out against it.  When mood- and mind-altering drugs are legalized and mainstreamed, the Christian cannot be silent, and must not be moved.

Even many Christians try to make the principle of “love,” by some amorphous and facile definition, the overriding rule for Christian ideology.  But read your New Testament:  love is to be the Christian’s motivation for actions toward brethren, but never, ever, does love trump principle; else the Apostles, Paul in particular (who wrote the “love chapter,” 1 Corinthians 13), would not expend so much time and ink chastening those who stray, rebuking those who sin, and denouncing false doctrine wherever it is found.

Make no mistake, challenging sin that is increasingly acceptable to a callous world, and worldview, will not be taken as love:  it will be called crazy, “looney-tunes,” mean-spirited, oppressive, and all the other catchwords Lefties use.  However far Left the world shifts, the Christian must stand firm.  As the true Christian refuses to move, he/she will be increasingly marginalized by the Left.  Hence the divergence will not be academic, a matter of perspective, but ever more clearly becomes a choice between good and evil.

One term often used to nuke Conservative Christians is the Fundamentalist label.  This came about largely due to criticism of conservative Evangelicals, notably by James Barr in his book, Fundamentalism (1977); and was further applied by Western intelligentsia in order to link Conservatives to the Muslim perpetrators of the Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979-80 (as a phenomenon or even pathology).  Those who lean Left go around pointing out people as Fundamentalist, stereotypically and pejoratively, in order to marginalize them.  Typically, the term does not strictly apply, certainly not to all Conservatives.

Earlier, I posted what I described as the Apostle Paul’s “Carnality Index.”  The chart is based upon exegesis from the New Testament, and is not overtly political:  thus is draws not from worldly categories, but the Apostle Paul’s categories of carnal versus spiritual, and licentious/Libertine (Left) compared to Near-Right spiritual and Ultra-Right Legalist.  Those categories just happen to correspond rather closely, relationally, to common socio-political conceptions of today’s Western society.

The Pauline Carnality Index

The Pauline Carnality Index

In the linked chart, those who are stereotyped as Fundamentalist would generally fall in the Legalistic Religionist category, though many Left-leaning pundits would throw anyone to the right of themselves into the same stereotypical, marginalizing ashcan.

Conversely, the Legalistic Religionists would tend to “label[…] those who disagree as liberal unbelieving people who think the Bible isn’t true” (to quote a commentator) — the other side of the same coin.  The Legalistic Religionists are just as carnal as Carnal Christians, maybe even the Carnal Unsaved, and fall just as much into the “question mark” area in terms of their salvation.  Paul’s writings make it clear that both are “at risk,” being motivated by the “flesh” (SARX, PSUCHE), not the Spirit of God.

Those who are Spiritual Christians are, of course, those who “walk in the Spirit,” not “in the flesh”; and I do believe that truly spiritual Christians fall to the right of Center (Conservative-leaning), especially since “perceived” Center gets shifted ever more Left as society and many professing Christians continue to apostasize.

As intimated above, true Christians believe an eternal, absolute message which does not shift Left any more than to the Far Right, and cannot be compromised, for neither our Lord nor his intent changes.

And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, saith the LORD of hosts.  For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. ~Malachi 3:5 f., KJV

But from now on, in the eyes of the world, the rebellious, Nonconformist underclass is Conservatives who stand for traditional values and propositional truth.  Even within the Church, Conservatives will be excoriated as evildoers and “troublemakers”:

When Godly troublemakers act, we can expect many in the Church to denounce them as such.  If they bring hardship and persecution upon us, many will ask, as they questioned Moses, “Who put you in charge of us?  You have made us look bad in the eyes of the world!  It is your fault that we suffer!”  It will require great courage and self-sacrifice to stand in the face of bitter criticism, even that of our own brethren.  But if in obedience to God, how can we withhold? ~Paul A. Hughes, “God’s Troublemakers”

Meanwhile, America and the West are sinking precipitously into Barbarism in our frenzy to gratify and glorify self, and surrendering to Totalitarianism in our myopic quest for solutions and meaning.

© 2013 Paul A. Hughes