Gay Marriage/Homosexuality

From: Mike Tharp <>
Date: Tue Jun 15 2004 - 19:59:58 EDT

Hello Burgy,

I've been extremely busy and simply haven't had the time to peruse all the
information available on your website. I did read the article on the
following page, though: For now, I
will simply address some problems I perceived in this article.

First, the article makes the statement that Paul, in condemning
homosexuality, was merely "a human being with human failings. If Paul
disapproved of homosexuality, that is no proof that God did as well." There
are two problems with this statement. 1.) The Bible clearly tells us that
"all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for
doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness."
2.) Paul's message in Romans 1:27 does not contradict earlier passages from
the Old Testament, but is in harmony with them. The message that
homosexuality is a sin is consistent between the Old and New Testaments.

Second, the article is making an absolutely absurd claim that God had
changed the sexual orientation of the men and women mentioned in Romans 1:27
"as their due punishment, so that they could see for themselves just how
wrong their judgmental actions had been." But this is very misleading
because it takes the passage out of context. If one were to read verse 25,
they would realize that the reason God gave them up to vile affections was
because they "worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator."
Verse 24 also states that God "gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts
of their OWN hearts." God did NOT change them. He simply gave them over to
the lusts that were already in their hearts.

Shannonhouse goes on to claim that "no matter how hard anyone tries to twist
the words, the fact is that these people were changed by God into
homosexuals." But it is obvious to me that Shannonhouse is the one who has
tried to twist the Bible's words to accommodate his own misguided beliefs.

The author also said the following: "God does not sin. God does not lead
others into sin. God transformed people into homosexuals and compelled them
to commit homosexual acts by causing them to 'burn with lust' for other men.
Therefore homosexuality cannot be a sin, and homosexual acts cannot be a
sin." Again, this is VERY misleading! God did not "transform" people into
homosexuals, nor did He compel them to commit homosexual acts. He simply
gave them over to the sinful lusts that they already had in their hearts.

Surprisingly, Shannonhouse even had the audacity to say that "the text must
be put in context" after he himself has taken it COMPLETELY out of context!
Why leave out verses 24 and 25, which are essential to a proper
understanding of verse 26? I can only assume it is because those verses
contradict the message he wished to convey.

Shannonhouse then proceeds to claim that the proper context should be the
verses that follow in Romans chapter 2. He says, "Notice the key word
'Therefore' at the beginning of the [first verse of chapter 2], showing that
this is a continuation of the previous passage, not a totally new thought."
The problem with this is that the "Therefore" follows verse 32 of chapter 1,
not verse 26. He conveniently leaves out verses that don't accommodate his
viewpoint. Let's look at verse 32 of chapter 1: "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." So we're obviously
talking about SIN here, which is WORTHY OF DEATH! And the individuals who
are passing this judgment are also guilty of this SIN.

Shannonhouse, however, goes on to claim that these individuals "were guilty
of the sin of passing judgment on homosexuals in the name of God." But that
is not what the passage is saying when read in the proper context. The
verses prior to chapter 2, verse 1 list the sins for which these individuals
were guilty: fornication, covetousness, maliciousness, envy, murder, deceit
and pride. To suggest that chapter 2 of Romans is referring judgment
against homosexuals is very deceitful... one of the sins mentioned above!

I will continue to peruse the information on your website as I find the
time. I hope that I did not offend with any of my comments. I try to
remain open to the possibility that I am wrong on this issue as I am only "a
human being with human failings." But the Bible seems very clear on this
issue to me.

In Christ,

-----Original Message-----
From: John W Burgeson []
Sent: Monday, June 07, 2004 4:43 PM
Subject: Re: Shapes of a Wedge

>>How can any Christian advocate gay marriage when the Bible (both old
and new testament) so clearly speaks out against it? I understand that
you are not personally advocating that position, but you don't seem to
see such a position as contradictory to the Word of God. Please explain.

Lots of material on my website, page 2, section 10, on all sides of the
issue. Some people here get bent out of shape when I mention this stuff,
so I will not go over already plowed ground.

The issue (#1) of whether ALL same-gender intimacy is sin is one issue.
The issue (#2) of Gay marriage is another issue. I have a position
statement on the first issue on my website, written after a several years
study in 2001; it is still my position.

I have not (yet) taken a position on #2, Gay Marriage, although I think
the arguments for permitting it are strong ones -- yes, "conservative"
strong ones. There is at least one argument against it which still gives
me pause; it is a variation of the so-called "slippery slope" logic.
Briefly stated, if I can approve Gay Marriage, on what grounds can I
still oppose polygamy? I have not (yet) worked through this.

In any event, the Bible does not speak at all to either issue, except by
strained interpretations. The material on my site will explain why I do
not see scripture as speaking "clearly" on either issue. There are quite
a number of Christian scholars, clerics and lay people who argue this
point quite better than I can. Is Paul, in Romans 1, speaking of ALL
same-gender intimacy, or only of the kind he clearly knew about, acts
which took place in a pagan temple between men and children?

One of the neatest example of this is a debate between Tony Compolo and
his wife, who hold differing views on issue #1. A link to this debate is
on my website.

Scholars Wink and Mauser have written position papers on issue #1, each
on a different side. Worth reading them both; links on my site.

The issues are not easy. The temptation to just "believe what one has
always believed" is great. I started there; I know.



Today's quip: They told me I was gullible -- and I believed them.

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Received on Tue Jun 15 20:19:57 2004

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