Re: Reply to Dick Fischer

Bill Frix (
Mon, 26 Aug 1996 05:41:23 GMT-5


On 24 Aug 96 John W. Burgeson wrote:

> Dick writes, in part: "My church considers the Bible to be God's Word. The
> Bible we use calls homosexual acts an "abomination." What book does your church
> use as its authority?"
> Our church uses the same Scriptures as yours, Dick.
> The word you chose in the above has also the meaning "taboo." It is connected to
> the Jewish purity laws, and the arguments around it are well explored in the two
> books I reviewed. It is the case where Christian scholars do not all agree on
> the arguments. However, most scholars do agree that the arguments (on both
> sides) are such as to be taken seriously.

Whoa, John! The Hebrew word for "abomination" in Leviticus 18:22 and
20:13 does NOT mean taboo! From Strong's Dictionary of Hebrew words:
8441 tow` ebah (to-ay-baw'); or to` ebah (to-ay-baw'); feminine
active participle of 8581; properly, something disgusting (morally),
i.e. (as noun) an abhorrence; especially idolatry or (concretely) an
idol: KJV-- abominable (custom, thing), abomination.

Your other passage from Leviticus: "BTW -- many things were taboo in
the time Leviticus addresses. Try this one. Your wife has just given
birth to your first child. Do not rush into the room and embrace her
& the babe, she is taboo!" This passage (Leviticus 12:2) uses an
entirely different word for "taboo", 2930 tame' (taw-may'); a
primitive root; to be foul, especially in a ceremial or moral sense
(contaminated): KJV-- defile (self), pollute (self), be (make,
makeself, pronounce) unclean, X utterly.

As you can tell, the word for taboo is much milder than the word for
abominable. They are different words, from different roots, hence
the prohibition against homosexuality is NOT the same as embracing
your wife after she gives birth. In fact, by Leviticus 20:13,
homosexual activity was punishable by death but having sexual
activity with a woman in her "impurity" did not result in death but
banishment (this says nothing about embracing her!). Hence,
homosexuality was considered a more severe prohibition than the
situation you cited. By the way, Leviticus 20:13 is extremely clear
about the prohibition against homosexuality, even in the English
translation. By its context, it lumps homosexual acts in the same
category with adultery, incest and beastiality. If your church
accepts homosexual partners by the reasons you have cited, your
church must openly accept all forms of sexual sin for consistency and
avoid the label of hypocrisy.

William M. Frix
Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering
Box 3021
John Brown University
Siloam Springs, AR 72761
Phone: (501) 524-7466
FAX: (501) 524-9548