RE: An interesting essay for evangelicals

From: John Burgeson (
Date: Thu Jan 23 2003 - 12:35:17 EST

  • Next message: "Re: An interesting essay for evangelicals"

    Moorad, instead of accepting my challenge to you to do some tough studying
    (yes -- it is tough -- I came to my present position from yours only after
    burning a lot of midnight oil, reading both sides of the issue, etc.) you
    instead tossed off the following:

    "I believe Jesus does address the issue of homosexuality in Mark 10:6-8
    “But from the beginning of creation, God MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE. FOR
    BECOME ONE FLESH; so they are no longer two, but one flesh.” Jesus
    certainly defines what Christian marriage is. So much for homosexual

    No need to shout. Jesus likely did not when he said that.

    To say "Jesus defined what Christian marriage is" from those verses is quite
    a stretch. The fundementalist "proof text" approach almost never works,
    except perhaps to a biblical literalist.

    I accept that heterosexual marriages are both a norm and a desired goal.
    What I do not accept (because scripture does not ask me to accept) is that
    homosexual unions are necessarily a sin.

    John W. Burgeson (Burgy)

    >From: "Alexanian, Moorad" <>
    >To: "Robert Schneider" <>, <>
    >Subject: RE: An interesting essay for evangelicals
    >Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 20:09:19 -0500
    >I believe Jesus does address the issue of homosexuality in Mark 10:6-8
    >“But from the beginning of creation, God MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE. FOR
    >BECOME ONE FLESH; so they are no longer two, but one flesh.” Jesus
    >certainly defines what Christian marriage is. So much for homosexual
    >marriages! Also in the epistle to the Ephesians 5:22-33, Paul uses
    >Christian marriage to teach the relationship of Christ to the Church, where
    >Paul quotes the above verses, which are actually found in the Old
    >Testament. Moorad
    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: Robert Schneider []
    > Sent: Wed 1/22/2003 4:23 PM
    > To:
    > Cc:
    > Subject: Re: An interesting essay for evangelicals
    > Burgy may wish to answer Moorad directly (there comments are below).
    > Here I would like to comment on these and the other few passages in
    > Scripture often cited. First, to the meaning of the word "abomination" in
    > the context of the Levitican prohibitions in chapter 18, 20. According to
    > John Boswell, the word translated as "abomination" here is the Hebrew
    > "toevah," which usually signifies something ritually unclean, and is used
    > throughout the OT to signify acts which involve ethnic contamination or
    > idolatry. As this prohibition is set within a series of prohibitions
    > regarding sexual behavior, in which the Israelites are exhorted to not
    > behave as the Egyptians they have fled or the Canaanites they are going to
    > be living among, they all have something to do with maintaining purity by
    > not engaging in practices found among these two peoples. One could argue
    > that Canaanite practice was especially a concern, since they were leaving
    > Egypt and had years in the desert to develop social habits rooted in the
    > Covenant. I recall that some commentators have claimed that Lev. 18:22
    > refers to male temple prostitution in Canaanite cult, and the prohibition
    > was intended to deter Israelites from taking part in idolatrous worship.
    > is interesting to note that women are not mentioned with men in this
    > prohibition. If this interpretation has any merit, then one should not
    > understand it as a general prohibition, especially since it does not
    > female-female sexual acts. I would add that all of the prohibitions in
    > section of the Levitican code would be "abominations" to the Lord, not
    > simply men lying with men. I think it is important to understand this
    > context, since the word "abomination" in English simply means "greatly
    > hateful and disgusting" and and does not convey the notions of idolatry
    > impurity that the Hebrew word it translates does.
    > It also ought to be pointed out that outside of the Levitican
    > prohibitions, there is a thundering silence throughout the OT about
    > sexual acts. They do not seem to have been a concern that called for
    > comment. They do not show up in the prophetic writings; there are no
    > stories of such relationships in the historical writings; there are no
    > proverbial statements about them. Some reflection on this fact ought to
    > form part of the conversation on where the Bible stands on the issue of
    > "homosexuality" (using the term to convey both sexual orientation, which
    > Bible says nothing whatever about, and homosexual acts, of which there are
    > only these two references in Leviticus, and the threat of homosexual rape
    > Gen. 19).
    > As for Rom. 1:26-27, commentators are divided on how to interpret this
    > passage. One group insists that it describes the actions of heterosexual
    > men and women who engage in homosexual acts, contrary to their nature;
    > it should not be interpreted to include homosexuals, especially when they
    > are in committed and non-promisuous relationships. Other commentators
    > dispute this and claim that it is describing any homosexual act or
    > relationship. It should be pointed out that Paul is writing to a
    > community in Rome, the heart of a Hellenized Roman Empire. Neither the
    > ancient Greeks or Romans would recognize the word "homosexuality." First,
    > it is a modern word, coined in the nineteenth century, in fact a
    > hybrid word. Neither ancient Greek or Latin could provide a word that
    > conveyed the concept because the ancients didn't have such a concept.
    > Second, people didn't identify themselves as exclusively homosexual or
    > heterosexual. Men and women were expected to marry and have families, and
    > almost all of them did. Among the Greek upper classes men did engage in
    > erotic (emotional, and often physical) relationships for often an extended
    > period of time before they entered into arranged marriages with women
    > the age of thirty. Since they married women half their age, and found it
    > difficult to form peer relationships with their young wives (who might as
    > well have been their younger sisters), they often continued such
    > relationships with their male lovers for a time after marriage. But they
    > didn't conceive of themselves as not marrying or as forming life-long
    > homosexual physical attachments. The same was true of the Romans.
    > Homosexual acts tended to be even more passing affairs than the alliances
    > among Greek men. Long-time committed loving relationships between two
    > or two women outside a heterosexual marriage, such as homosexual couples
    > claim today, were not a feature of either ancient culture. The Jewish and
    > Gentile Christians in Rome were probably in a better position to
    > what Paul meant than we are.
    > In the NT there are only a couple other passages that refers persons
    > engage in same-sex sexual acts, I Corinthians 6:9 and I Timothy 1:10. The
    > first contains the words "malakoi" and "arsenokoitais." The first is
    > sometimes wrongly translated as "effeminate," but it does not refer to
    > homosexuals. It is a word with a wide variety of meanings. Elsewhere in
    > the NT it refers to someone who is ill; Aristotle uses it to refers to
    > someone wanting in self-control. The other word, "arsenokoitas,"
    > also in I Tim. is a very rare word, after an extended study of which
    > concluded that the word refers to male sexual agents, i.e., the male
    > prostitutes common in the Greco-Roman cities of his day. The latter
    > commented that Paul surely would have viewed such activity with the same
    > horror he viewed female prostitution. He also points out that nowhere in
    > Greek literature of Paul's time (including Philo) is this word used to
    > denote homoexual activity generally.
    > Otherwise, the NT is silent. Nowhere in the gospels is Jesus recorded
    > as addressing the matter of same sex relations, and there is no hint of
    > relationship in the gospels. (The interpretation of Luke 7 that the
    > centurion's slave boy was his lover is without merit, in my view.)
    > else outside of Rom. 1:26-27 is there any clear and disapproving reference
    > to homosexual acts in general (i.e., not bought and sold). Putting both
    > OT and the NT record together, I question where there is sufficient
    > to base a moral position on the whole gamut of homosexual
    > and "homosexuality" on these few verses. It seems to me that one has to
    > to more general and broader scriptural dicta having to do with moral
    > attitudes and acts in order to present a cogent biblical position.
    > Something like this was done in the USA during the nineteenth century, by
    > those crusading against the evils of liquor and drunkenness. One would
    > nowhere seeking Bible verses against drinking, and enough to argue for its
    > approval. The advocates of prohibition had to get around Jesus' changing
    > water into wine by basing their biblical argument on other teachings under
    > which, they could argue, the prohibition of alchoholic beverages should
    > obtain. Whether one can make such an argument regarding homosexual
    > remains to be demonstrated, it seems to me, though I would be glad to
    > if anyone has attempted it.
    > Finally, while it's on my mind, I should like to comment on claims
    > there is scientific evidence that genetically, some persons are gay or
    > predisposed to homosexual behavior. Restricting my comments simply to the
    > scientific question, the claims that I have read and examined I have to
    > are unconvincing. Some of the studies made and published several years
    > included very small samples; and were carried out by researchers who were
    > themselves gay. The degree of caution in interpreting results expressed
    > these published reports has been largely ignored (as we know so often
    > happens), since there is a general claim floating around out there that a
    > biological basis has been established.
    > Grace and peace,
    > Bob Schneider
    > ----- Original Message -----
    > From: "Alexanian, Moorad" <>
    > To: "John Burgeson" <>; <>
    > Sent: Wednesday, January 22, 2003 1:43 PM
    > Subject: RE: An interesting essay for evangelicals
    > > Perhaps you can explain these verses to me. "You shall not lie with a
    > as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. " Lev. 18:22. Also,
    > this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women
    > exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the
    > way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in
    > their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and
    > receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error." Rom.
    > 1:26-27.
    > >
    > > Moorad
    > >
    > > -----Original Message-----
    > > From: John Burgeson []
    > > Sent: Wednesday, January 22, 2003 11:30 AM
    > > To: Alexanian, Moorad;
    > > Subject: RE: An interesting essay for evangelicals
    > >
    > >
    > > >>Erotic love is limited to different sex partners; anything else is an
    > > >>abomination to God. >>
    > >
    > > That's a claim, of course. And it is that claim which is in question.
    > it
    > > is that claim that Roy Clements asked to be debated with civility and
    > > reasoning.
    > >
    > > Stating the claim without addressing the issue is simply stating an
    > opinion.
    > > As such, simply not interesting.
    > >
    > >
    > > John W. Burgeson (Burgy)
    > >
    > >
    > >

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