April 29, 2013

Cultural Crossroad V: Homosexuality In Sodom & Gomorrah

So I will now begin my biblical interpretation and draw out of Scripture what is said about homosexuality in a run of posts that will last the majority of this series as Scripture is the main focus of this series.

The Benchmark of Scripture

Now that I have provided a point of contrast in my previous posts to bounce homosexuality off of in the righteous and unrighteous sexuality section, let me move on to defend the premise for my thesis and to make other pertinent points. I will begin with a thorough explanation of the Scripture’s (therefore God’s) position on homosexuality. For a Bible believing Christian, it should be the only position that matters. All other positions, opinions and mindsets become irrelevant next to a holy God and His commands.

Scriptural Support: Old Testament
Since there are many Scripture passages I will pick the ones most prominent, strongest and conclusive in their argument against homosexuality rather than scour Scripture ad nauseum to capture every reference to homosexuality and same-sex sexual immorality.

Genesis 19:4-11 - Sodom and Gomorrah
“Before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter; and they called to Lot and said to him, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may have relations with them.” But Lot went out to them at the doorway, and shut the door behind him, and said, “Please, my brothers, do not act wickedly. Now behold, I have two daughters who have not had relations with man; please let me bring them out to you, and do to them whatever you like; only do nothing to these men, inasmuch as they have come under the shelter of my roof.” But they said, “Stand aside.” Furthermore, they said, “This one came in as an alien, and already he is acting like a judge; now we will treat you worse than them.” So they pressed hard against Lot and came near to break the door. But the men reached out their hands and brought Lot into the house with them, and shut the door. They struck the men who were at the doorway of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves trying to find the doorway.

We are on the eve of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in this scene. In this context we see the two angels arriving at Lot’s household and we read that the “men of Sodom” arrived at Lot’s house surrounding it and demanded that he bring out the men so they, “could have relations with them.” Being a very hospitable host to the men/angels and sinfully warped by the surrounding influence of the city, Lot offers his virgin daughters instead. The men then begin to threaten Lot by pressing “hard against Lot” to get past him so they can force themselves on the “men.” It is at this point the angels intervene by dragging Lot back into the house and slamming the door shut. These townspeople were then supernaturally stuck by the angels with blindness. What is then even more disturbing is that these men wearied themselves trying to find the doorway in pursuit of their sin(s). It was as if the blindness had virtually no effect. It is here we see the depravity and entrenched nature of their sin. They are lost or given over to their sin (Romans 1) to the point that they blindly grope for the doorway in pursuit of it (Isaiah 59:10) (White et al-Kindle location 323-324).

In terms of homosexuality it should be noted immediately that the townspeople are referred to as, “the men of Sodom” and were, “both young and old, all the people from every quarter.” Furthermore, they (men) were there to have relations with men or וְנֵדְעָ֖ה  we shall know” in Hebrew. Within the term to “know” here is the use of yada which we will see again in reference to sexual relations both heterosexual (Genesis 4:1) and homosexual as here (Feinberg et al-Homosexuality 313-314). In this context, the men of Sodom wanted to know/have sexual relations with the men/angels. This is a clear allusion to male-on-male sexuality or homosexuality or at least this is the pretense from the human viewpoint who did not know these "men" were angels. We then see Lot offer his virgin daughters and the response from the crowd of men was clearly not heterosexual. They paid no mind to Lot’s offer and make for the doorway to get to the men/angels. There is a clear display of homosexual desire for men and not heterosexual desire for the females of the opposite sex. It is at this point the angels intervene and their true purpose for being in Sodom begins to unfold. They are there to rescue Lot and his family and to carry out retribution against the wickedness of the city (Genesis 19:12-13) (Sailhamer-Genesis 154). The antecedent of the passage on judgment (v.13) is this passage on the men of Sodom wanting to know the angels in Lot’s home.

This episode is intended to give the justification for the doom that will visit Sodom which is immorality (Sailhamer - Genesis 154). What is even more telling is Lot’s behavior. It is clear Lot’s judgment is tainted by residing in Sodom as evidenced by his offering a mob of depraved men his virgin daughters. These are the very daughters that Lot will “know” sexually in a drunken stupor a few verses later (Genesis 19:33-34). Lot had been in Sodom so long that not only he but also his daughters (family) had become contaminated by Sodom’s sin and corrupting influence.

When it comes to the pro-homosexual view of this passage, it is viewed not from the view point that Sodom and Gomorrah were being condemned due to sexual immorality but rather inhospitality. This argument in particular comes from Dr. Daniel A Helminiak a Roman Catholic priest and John Boswell. Unlike Helminiak, Boswell uncharacteristically fails to provide any sources for this claim (Boswell-Kindle location 3005-3009, DeYoung 36). Helminiak on the other hand makes his claim directly from Scripture and claims that a majority of the remainder of Scripture does not identify the sin of Sodom as homosexuality through silence, but instead speaks of inhospitality, mistreatment of the poor, and other general sins of behavior as the basis of God’s judgment. Helminiak therefore makes a fallacious argument from silence (argumentum a silentio). He states that it is this silence of Scripture regarding homosexuality after Sodom that proves the traditional reading is in error. He then cites primarily Ezekiel 16:48–49 as his case-in-point (Helminiak 48).

Ezekiel 16:48–49 “This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, surfeit of food and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.”

Therefore, according to Helminiak, the sin of the Sodomites was that they refused to take in the needy travelers not involved themselves with homosexuality. The problem with Helminiak’s interpretation of Ezekiel’s view of Sodom is that he does not pull the entire pericope. He uses improper hermeneutics that requires that a person takes the entire limit of the passage. He leaves out Ezekiel 16:50 which states:

Ezekiel 16:50 Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it.

By stopping short one verse he completely changes the character of this passage. Instead of a sin against another person these sins mentioned by Ezekiel are sins against God and are an abomination, just as they were in Sodom. The judgment of God is therefore linked directly to the later commissioning of the Law in Leviticus and the associated abominations stated there which would entail a death penalty (White-Kindle location 381). So not only were the inhabitants of Sodom inhospitable, they were also guilty of offenses that were moral abominations to God that warranted punishment. So the real question is: Do these penalties still apply today? I will cover that in coming posts as there is no short explanation. Do these penalties still apply in the literal immediate sense as we understand a litigious death penalty today as it is posed and framed in a sensational manner by opponents to Biblical Christianity? No. More on this later. 

Cultural Crossroad IV: Righteous Sexuality vs. Unrighteous Sexuality

To be able to see why homosexuality (and other sexual immorality) is unacceptable behavior as compared to Scripture it is incumbent upon us to get a generalized picture of what the Bible considers righteous or moral sexuality. Please understand that this is comprehensive in scope and is meant only to provide a launching board for the remainder of this paper which is meant to focus on the sexually immoral nature of homosexuality. This portion will give us a point of contrast.

Proverbs 5:15-20 ~ Drink water from your own cistern and fresh water from your own well. Should your springs be dispersed abroad, streams of water in the streets? Let them be yours alone and not for strangers with you.  Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth. As a loving hind and a graceful doe, let her breasts satisfy you at all times; be exhilarated always with her love. For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress and embrace the bosom of a foreigner?

This teaching in Proverbs 5:15-20 is applicable to us today and is extremely relevant to this paper. It is advice being given from Solomon to another male (probably his son). In a secondary sense it is being written to all believers. Just like today, some cultures in the past dwelt in/on power and geopolitical expansion and that is what drove that society. Some cultures were driven and controlled by class warfare, some by military warfare or militancy alone. Our modern culture appears to be driven by sexual impulse and is highly sexualized (Holtam 593). Our morally ambivalent society is about making the individual happy and comfortable. We can now have unsolicited soft core pornography send directly to our mailboxes in the form of lingerie catalogs and our children can get their hands on it before we even know it’s there...and its legal. We can no longer turn anywhere without constantly being barraged with some type of sexually questionable material.

We cannot just focus on the “wife or my youth” as Solomon advised in his God-given wisdom in Proverbs 5. More often than not many men and women in this day and age (culture) are focused on immediate need gratification and self-need. These impulsive, lustful, sexually oriented factors are just as damaging to marriage and proper sexuality as open warfare. When they bridge the chasm to same-sex lust and homosexuality the damage becomes twofold as there is a compounding of sin as we will see in Romans 1. Self-focused people whether they are heterosexual or homosexual care nothing for other’s needs and this type of mindset is not conducive to heterosexual monogamous relationships or heterosexual monogamous marriages.

There are two overall ideas in this Solomon’s Proverbs 5:15-20 passage: (1) is water/fluid and (2) sexual desires. More specifically it is water “control” and “moral” or properly controlled sexual desires. It is referring to chastity or restraint of some form. All the analogies of water alluded to here are allusions to control the water. There are cisterns, wells, springs, streams and fountains. These are the preferred methods to control water and keeping it from “scattering abroad” or creating “streams in the streets” (not preferred). These water metaphors are placed adjacent to the passages on proper or improper sexual desires. The verse implies that proper sexual relations are in a “control/constraint” of marriage because of the terms “wife of your youth.” We see in this small passage in Proverbs in Solomon’s God given wisdom that true sexual desire is properly (and best) fulfilled in a marriage setting as God ordained in Genesis 2:24 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.”

The proper control itself for sexuality is the marriage. Without the marriage the constraints are torn off. The marriage itself therefore is the boundary or control in this passage. Move outside this boundary and things become sinful, messy and uninhibited like, “streams in the streets.” Instead of clean, pure “unadulterated” water, your water becomes muddled, dirty, confused. It just runs freely or wildly in the streets. The terms parallels and metaphors here are rich and I see them all over this short passage. Simple juxtaposing of words and a clever use of words essentially tells us proper sexuality is within the confines of marriage. If we put the sex in lieu of the water references in this passage like water, springs and fountains the meaning of this passage becomes obvious (Ross 929-930, Wiersbe-Wisdom and Poetry 408-409).

Verse 20 asks us why we should be intoxicated with forbidden woman and the bosom of an adulteress. These are predominately sensual or physical allurements that draw people in, mostly for selfish and self-gratifying reasons. The truth is they can be heterosexual or homosexual allurements as all desire and lusts outside of marriage are unbiblical. Marriages are not selfish relationships governed by selfish motives as Ephesians 5:22-33 clearly illustrates. The mindset to needed to engage in proper sexual relations in marriage and the mindset needed to engage in extramarital or homosexual relations are diametrically opposed.

We are now in Generation “I” or “Me” and it has pervaded all of society simultaneously except for a small remnant or holdouts (Christians) that refuse to be assimilated into the culture like a mindless horde of sexually over-stimulated drones. There is still small remnant that holds moral values (sexual included) in high esteem and honor God not only with their mouths but their actions also. With these thoughts in mind from Solomon, I will begin to move into what the Scriptures have to say about homosexuality in my next post. This is where the tires will meet the road on this topic and it is where this entire introduction (in the first four posts have lead to).

April 28, 2013

Cultural Crossroad III - Shifting Cultural Norms & Homosexuality

What we are now seeing is that the culture is accepting homosexuality and other sexual immoralities as alternative lifestyles. These very same behaviors are described as a sexual sin in Scripture when viewed through a conservative interpretive lens. This conservative or traditional point of view has put Bible believing Christians at odds with a majority of the modern culture. This includes those that have a liberal theological perspective that is decidedly pro-homosexual or prone to other types of liberal presuppositions. This of course has earned Christians (conservative) not only the ire of activist and militant homosexuals but also the ire those that approve of that lifestyle. Christians are increasingly viewed as intolerant, hateful or are considered anti-homosexual “haters” for not accepting this fast-growing cultural norm.

Due to the environment that is growing increasingly hostile to obedient Christians, it is conceivable that Christians may begin to enter a phase of persecution for the belief because their anti-sin viewpoint is often viewed as anti-homosexual. People that wish to live a moral upright and biblical life are going to come under mounting pressure to conform to a homosexual schema that is driven by a litigious and politicized atmosphere as we will see below in the Canadian court system’s case of Lund v. Boissoin elaborated on below. We also see it in incidents of gay marriage being placed on voting ballots in in as many as 31 states, most recently four states: Maine, Minnesota, Maryland and Washington. This is followed by the fact that it has been legalized in six states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa, New York, New Hampshire, Vermont; and the District of Columbia as of November 2012 (Baylon).

If Christians do not conform to this shifting cultural norm they will eventually be pushed to the margins of society just as the early Christians were for their “radical” views in relation to the cultural norms of their day. This pro-homosexual view in the culture that surrounded the early church is no better exemplified than through quote(s) of some of the Church fathers. Athenagoras who was a 2nd century apologist mentioned the vast difference in morals between the Christians and their accusers in his A Plea for the Christians. He state in defense against the culture that they had set up a market for fornication and established infamous resorts for the young for every kind of vile pleasure and…

“They do not abstain even from males, males with males committing shocking abominations, outraging all the noblest and comeliest bodies in all sorts of ways” ~Athenagoras (c.175, E), 2.143. (Bercot 347)

Tertullian never being one for mincing of words was more direct and to the point…

[In contrast to the surrounding culture] The Christian man confines himself to the female sex ~ Tertullian (c.197, W) 3.51. (Bercot 347)

It has often been the case that what is accepted by the culture is not accepted or approved of in the Bible. So what we end up getting is controversy and conflict over ideologies. One ideology is worldly and usually ignorant of Christian viewpoints. The other is biblical viewpoint that understands the world but for reasons of obedience to God, refuse to conform to the culture. We see a pro-homosexual view that is deemed acceptable and even encouraged and reinforced by gay marriage being placed on ballots nationwide in American culture. Any view opposed to this cultural trend comes under the criticism of not only people that are pro-homosexual but now are even coming under the gaze of those that have power to influence the lex terrae  or the laws of the land in westernized nations like Canada (Craine).

Based on aforementioned observations, it seems that true Christianity founded in proper biblical exegesis that views homosexuality as sin is falling out of favor in the culture at-large. In a cultural manner Christianity may be starting to be viewed as a modern form of de facto religio illicita as opposed to religio licita. It is commonly understood that the United States has no official State sponsored religion and its Constitution even forbids the US Government form making any law, “respecting an establishment of religion” (US Constitution-First Amendment).

The first amendment also prevents government from stopping a Christian from stating their views against the sin of homosexuality. Conversely, this does not prevent a culture within a nation from alienating and marginalizing a religion it deems as “backwards” or out of step with what is currently culturally acceptable. In this way I believe Christianity is de facto (in reality) becoming religio illicta (an illegitimate religion) in the eyes of the culture that often times has more power over people than the government because the culture affects those in government.

Religio Illicita

As a point of reference it should be stated that religio licita was an idea to describe the special status given to Judaism and other religions to practice their beliefs under Roman Imperial rule and Christians should’ve been given the same freedom to practice their religion as any other religion in the Roman Empire.  As we know from history, the early Church was riddled with persecution because Christianity was inevitably not viewed as religio licita. At first Rome was at least tolerant of Christianity because it was viewed as a sect of Judaism and as long as it did not interfere with the interests of the State it was tolerated (Scaff 64-65). Religio licita therefore afforded some protection under Roman rule. After the hostilities of the Jewish revolt with the Roman Tenth Legion this protection faded. Being outside of religio licita, Christianity ended up being relegated to a status of religio illicita by the beginning of the second century and therefore did not fall under state protection and were susceptible to persecution (Longenecker 35).

To carry this idea forward we now see similar litigious events beginning to take place to make it illegal or at least undesirable to teach the truth of the Bible about homosexuality. If any court cases or legal precedents ever manages to stand or stay legal and is spoken out against in public by the Church, there is possible legal recourse to turn against Christianity or the Christian that espouses that view. If further legal case can be made in light of that fact and silence these Christian truths, Christianity and Christian beliefs have then become religio illicita (at least in a de facto manner) in the United States or a modern sovereign nation, not Ancient Rome.

Before one dismisses this as improbable, one may want to consider recent decision in the court case Lund v. Boissoin in Canada. It featured a Christian pastor who wrote an editorial to the Alberta newspaper Red Deer Advocate in 2002 on his biblical views against homosexuality. The case brought against him by homosexual activist Dr. Darren Lund reached Canada’s highest court level in an attempt to silence his “hate speech.” The letters to the editor were eventually deemed to be not hate speech and the lower court’s ruling that silenced Pastor Boissoin were overturned. Unfortunately, a precedent was established in a modern westernized court for future cases to be brought against Christians (Craine).

When combining all of these aforementioned aspects it is not hard to see that the issue of homosexuality will be one of the main battlefronts the Church will face and are facing early in the twenty-first century not only in the United States but also worldwide (Holtam 592). It is an issue that will not just go away. It will need be confronted head-on and dealt with in a biblical manner. To be able to do this we as Christians need to define not only exactly where we stand on the issue of homosexuality but how to prevent this sin from infiltrating the church, watering down its doctrine and orthodoxy as to essentially force the acceptance of homosexuality as an suitable lifestyle to be practiced within the Church body so that it fits in better with the culture. We are to engage the culture and converse with it; we are not to embrace it and conform to it (Romans 12:2). We are to obey the lex terrae or the laws of the land only as long as they do not go against what we are told in Scripture. Essentially, we are to render to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s (Mark 12:13-17).

April 27, 2013

Cultural Crossroad II - Social Relevance: The DSM II and Gay Liberation

Why It's Important to Write About This Topic

Next...I will make a small snapshot of the interplay of homosexuality and the culture and its interplay with the church. I will demonstrate how sexual immorality in general is forcing itself on or into the culture. Because of this fact, by default it is slowly forcing itself into the church as the church has a symbiotic relationship with the culture. 

Contrary to the idea that I am trying to single out homosexuality from other sins and demonize it, one of the main underlying threads that will work its way through this paper and form in my synopsis/conclusion is that homosexuality is indeed just like other sins (especially sexual ones) and should not be looked at any differently (1 Cor 6). I actually will go through great pains to show that I am not deliberately singling out homosexuality in this paper or demonizing it, merely accentuating how it is become a cultural juggernaut by force of will. Conversely, I will inevitably show the fact that homosexuality and proponents of it are "singling themselves out" by forceful if not outright militant behavior by forcing themselves on the culture and subsequently the church that is the issue. Tolerating the sin(s) in the culture is now not enough, it has to be approved of (which many in the church are doing en masse). Unlike adultery, to speak out against homosexuality is now becoming a cultural taboo where speaking out against other sins is not (yet). This is biased or preferential treatment. So much so that the lex terrae (law of the land) is now beginning to be shaped to prevent people from speaking negatively of homosexuality. To speak against this sin is now being framed as illegal in some cases if not officially, definitely in a informal or de facto (default) situation. It is the fact that it is being accepted into the church without repentance is what makes this issue a theological problem and is primarily why I write on it.

Based on observations and studies of media like the Internet and television it has become very evident that the modern culture has become nurturing environment for the acceptance of the sin of homosexuality as an “alternative lifestyle.” So much so that the American Psychiatric Association gave in to cultural pressure by eliminating homosexuality per se as a mental disorder and replaced it with a “sexual orientation disturbance” section in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Version II (DSM-II) in December 1973 (Spitzer 380). There had been considerable controversy on whether or not homosexuality should be classified as a mental disorder. In 1973 the Board of Trustees of the American Psychiatric Association voted to eliminate homosexuality and substitute a new category Sexual Orientation Disturbance.
The rationale behind this move was that homosexuals were able to function socially and occupationally with no impairment or disturbance nor did they manifest any obvious signs of psychopathology, therefore it was reasoned that their condition could not be viewed as a disorder. Furthermore, the definition of the category used to diagnose homosexuality required that it be compared to a normal sexuality to act as a known benchmark or norm. The benchmark previously used for normal was heterosexuality. Because homosexuality was now considered an independent functional norm and not a disorder, it no longer needed to be compared to the heterosexuality and a deviation from it. Homosexuality had therefore been totally reclassified as an acceptable sexual practice that did not create social or occupational impairment (Spitzer 380).
It should also be noted that these changes happened not long after/during the Gay Liberation Front movements of the culture in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s that were instigated by incidents like the Stonewall Riots of 1969 in New York City. The motives behind the Gay Liberation Front are clear spelled out in the Gay Liberation Front: Manifesto. The manifesto is a document reciting instances within the culture that they claim have oppressed homosexuals. Within this manifesto are blatant statements about how organizations like the church and psychiatric community in general are hostile towards homosexuality.
It follows that if homosexuals wish to be liberated from this societal "oppression", it was/is the stated long term aim of Gay Liberation to…
“…rid society of the gender-role system which is at the root of our oppression. This can only be achieved by eliminating the social pressures on men and women to conform to narrowly defined gender roles.” (Halsall-Gay Liberation Front: Manifesto)
They also stated a list of demands and drew up what amounts to a campaign to achieve the ends stated within their manifesto. It includes actions such as a desire…
“…that psychiatrists stop treating homosexuality as though it were a sickness, thereby giving gay people senseless guilt complexes.” (Halsall-Gay Liberation Front: Manifesto)
“…that all discrimination against gay people, male and female, by the law, by employers, and by society at large, should end.” (Halsall-Gay Liberation Front: Manifesto)
“...that sex education in schools stop being exclusively heterosexual” (Halsall-Gay Liberation Front: Manifesto)
It is quite possible that some of these social pressures would be not only be brought to bear on the church but also the psychiatric establishment (noted above) and even the educational system which gay people have clearly stated has oppressed them in some manner. It is not hard to conclude that some of the reasoning behind removing homosexuality from psychiatric diagnostic manuals finds some of its impetus in the culture and the homosexual community and pressure that was brought to bear on the medical establishment in the decade before and after its decision to change in 1973.
Subsequent editions of the DSM like the DSM-IV have since completely discarded what were considered “sexual orientation disturbances” that had previously been in the DSM-III (1986) version (Spitzer 380). The most recent version DSM-IV is utterly devoid of reference to homosexuality as a disorder so I have not even cited it because I have no purpose for doing so. The “sexual orientation disturbance” section in the DSM-III contained the last known mention of homosexuality as a mental disorder (Spitzer-Appendix C). 

Without getting into the nuances of why, it will suffice to say that this is documented systemic evidence that the modern culture of the last few generations is leaning away from considering homosexuality a sexual psychological/physical anomaly or as a Christian would say: a sexual immorality or sin. Sin which like all others sin will invariably keep us from holiness and the Kingdom of God.

April 26, 2013

Catching Fire

Whoa! The resistance just from the introduction of my thesis on Christianity and Homosexuality is staggering. I have posted back links to so-called Christian groups on Facebook and my posts are getting censored, pulled or I am getting openly rebuked for being divisive and un-Christian ??? These people do not understand their Bible and are taking a side against the Lord. I am stunned by the vitriol and viciousness of some of the attacks on just my introduction from "fellow Christians". I am cautious about the coming posts. Something makes me believe I am in for a bumpy ride on this series. I'm being hammered before I even present my Biblical argument. It's as if no one wants to hear this.

The system of the world and the powers and principalities in this world have a serious upper-hand right now. I feel like I'm cutting against the grain and fighting the tide on this one.Sorry folks, I'm seeing this through, think what you will. The more people fight me on this the more I am determined to post this stuff. It's biblical and it is air-tight in its reasoning and polemic. If you want fluffy feel-good half truths that tickle ears you'll need to either go somewhere else or tune me out for about the next month.

If you don't want to hear it or read it, unfriend me or cancel your subscription to SoulJournaler. The venom in the attacks from 'Christians' is baffling (but expected). They persecuted my Lord, I can expect no less when I go against the cultural expectations and those that have been given over to it.

April 25, 2013

Cultural Crossroad I - Christianity & Homosexuality

I will state outright that this series of posts is timely in light of the groundswell to legalize gay marriage and the push by modern culture to normalize homosexual behavior. So forceful is this push that even many within the Christian Church are beginning to abandon long-held doctrines, beliefs, convictions and Scriptural truths to morph or merge to the culture rather than engage it with the intent to teach it, correct it and stay distinct from it.

This will be the first post of approximately two dozen on the topic of Christians and homosexuality. I anticipate at some point I will be censored or shut down as this is a firebrand issue that draws the ire of people on both sides of the debate. This is an abridged presentation of my thesis from college. Had I not abbreviated this it would've been twice as long. If it appears as if some research is missing it is because I had to curtail some content. This being said, if something looks weakly debated please understand there is probably more research behind it. I've cited nearly 60 sources. If pressed hard enough I will bring it into the comments section to validate points further.

This series of posts is as balanced as my conscience would allow so not to be horribly biased or intellectually arrogant. Many conservative evangelical Christians will say that I shouldn't have helped argue the homosexual point-of-view or given this ideology any ground to stand on. For me this is untenable and in the end would be counterproductive for the purposes of teaching and maintaining an academic balance (i.e.: fairness). This would just validate the accusations that Christians are ignorant of homosexuality or ignorant in general. In an attempt to not give the pro-homosexual movement any ire to aim back at me I have actually included many of their views. This was done primarily as antithesis to the biblical view in a form of dialectic so we can arrive at an acceptable biblical apologetic that incorporates as many arguments of the culture as possible.

Additionally, centuries of church abuses, double-standards, hypocrisy and true hateful intolerance (like the people at Westboro Baptist and those of their ilk) has already given homosexual advocates too much fuel for a fire that is already raging out of control. In this series I would like to build the homosexual views as clearly as possible alongside orthodox Christian views. The difference being that I will also systematically dismantle those claims biblically, theologically and through plain logic. I will do this to show why homosexuality's arguments are either Scripturally, morally, ethically, or logically flawed. I intend to show exactly why acceptance of homosexuality in church leadership or as unrepentant sin is unacceptable in a Christian church and by extension why it is damaging to society through forced litigious marriages. Consequently, in my defense of this thesis I will inadvertently show why homosexual marriage is not biblical also and should not be done by Bible believing pastors/ministers even under threat of being ostracized or other penalties.

Regardless, this series of posts will most likely have half the people that read it nodding their head in agreement and the other half will turn a decidedly unfavorable eye towards it. I expect that it will maligned by some, perhaps vehemently and aggressively at times. Unfortunately, I suspect this will divide my readership...but it won't be because of bad theology or poor interpretation/hermeneutics. It will be because those that reject a biblical argument are not as versed in biblical truth or worse, they are not biblical. It will be because of emotion or how they feel about the topic and what presuppositions that they bring to it and also to the Scriptures.

Thesis & Introductory Statements

The intent writing this thesis is to describe the Scriptural position on homosexuality which is adamantly and strongly against the sin of homosexuality as it is against all sin. A predominately conservative, traditional or orthodox Christian viewpoint will be presented. At times though I will also view the debate from a non-orthodox or liberal theological viewpoints where there is no biblical parallel or where a liberal/non-orthodox view exemplifies, establishes or helps accentuate a point being made. To conclude, I will offer a theological response and biblical reactions to the sin of homosexuality. Furthermore, homosexuality being a sin which is an affront to a Holy God should not be an acceptable practice or “alternative lifestyle” tolerated within the Body of Christ/Church regardless of the unyielding cultural pressure to accept it which is decidedly homosexual friendly. In the end I will offer suggestion(s) on how the Church can better address this issue based on what can be learned from this analysis.

Liberal Theology

When I say liberal or Liberal Theology, what I am referring to is those in the theological realm that lean mostly towards more radical criticisms or unbiblical higher criticisms, man’s reasoning and the findings of modern academia and modern scholarship. A liberal viewpoint usually takes elements of the Bible and Scripture that do not align with modern precepts and discards many of them. As such many of their theories or precepts either reject the supernatural or consider much within the Bible as dubious as a reliable source (Enns 587). In an attempt to save Christianity from becoming irrelevant, liberal scholars try to rescue Christianity from irrelevance by putting it on a Procrustean bed and proceed to amputate the Faith until it becomes invalid theologically. They end up abandoning many historical Christian doctrines along the way (Enns 593). What remains is a syncretistic Christian blend that mostly relies on reason, rationalism and is devoid of virtually all of its metaphysical/supernatural elements. 

Because of these anthropocentric views, liberalism (generally) believes that a person (being the source of reason) is basically good and through education can be improved (Enns 593). Additionally, there is a desire in the liberal theological viewpoint to modernize the understanding of Scriptures and to include modern cultural phenomenon such as Liberation Theology which seems to be a catch-all for theologies that unite sociological or economic concerns (Enns 630). The socio/economic theologies that would fall under this category include feminist theology, black theology, social justice/socialist theology and gay (GLBT) theology. Their presuppositions and methods of interpretation therefore fall along these lines.

Conservative Theology (Traditional)
When I say conservative or traditional view I am referring to a theological view that stands opposed to Liberal Theology/Christianity and holds to historic doctrines of Christian faith (Enns 648). Specifically, I speak of an approach to theological issues that are historically linked to reform movements, especially the Reformation and the backlash against liberal theology of the late 19th and early 20th century (Enns 648). Generally, the conservatives to whom I refer also adhere to verbal plenary inspiration of the Bible, the inerrancy of Scripture, historic and time honored hermeneutic methods, and a triune sovereign God that includes the full deity and full humanity of the Son. The conservative view also believes that humanity was originally created holy but chose to sin in Adam and fell in Adam also, therefore all of humanity has this sinfulness imputed to them through Adam. Because of this Fall, humanity is totally corrupted and depraved by their nature. Because of this wickedness, God being perfectly righteous must eventually judge it (Enns 648, Erickson 100).
I will revisit certain passages repeatedly to draw out a proper defense or apologia to support Christians and Christian belief versus homosexuality (or sexual immorality in general). It was especially hard to find credible scholarly resources to defend some of the more unconventional homosexual philosophies so I was relegated in some cases to pulling resources from the popular culture on the Internet as a point of reference. Where it was possible to use strictly scholarly resources I did. Additionally, all Scripture passages are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted directly in the text.

Christ-like Behavior

For those that will say that I am not following in the footsteps of Jesus by not loving these sinners in their sin I respond this way. If I love people in their sin and do not expect them to repent and turn from their sin, I am actually hating them in reality. How you say? Because as unrepentant sinners I am allowing them to accrue judgment against themselves which is accumulating God's wrath on the day of judgment. People that truly love God obey His commands (John 14:15). Conversely, people that do not love God disobey His commands and continue willfully in their sin (Romans 1). The truth is that I do have a heart for the lost and the sinners of this world but the culture has so twisted what is considered love and hate that they literally have been turned on their head in an illogical manner. 

To continue to do things that are clearly shown and described as sin in the Bible is to willfully disobey Scripture and this can only accumulate the wrath of God. I would truly hate you if I would allow this to happen without informing you and warning you of the error against God. Only a twisted mind would say that I was "hating" you for telling you that you are in sin when you are sexually immoral whether it be adultery or otherwise. To continue in these sins unabated is to be unrepentant therefore you are condemned to eternal separation from the love of God. Hell awaits you down that path, yet the world will have you believe that I do not love you for not letting drowned in that very sin. Sin that the Bible clearly condemns.

Just so people know, it is not as if I take some warped pleasure in always confronting the confused cultural zeitgeist head-on in issues such as homosexuality, women in ministry and other hot button topics. It is just the way society is going. The farther afield the culture and society drifts from God and Scripture the more I find myself either in conflict with the culture and society or the more I as a Biblical teacher need to confront it with Scriptural truth. When I bring a correct exegesis and study of the text I realize it is not those people that hate me but it is their sin confronting God and the truth of Scripture. I will admit there are even some truths of Scripture that I find difficult to accept and assimilate but as a sinner it is my sinful nature that rejects those hard to stomach truths, just as it is other's sinful nature that causes them to reject the truths I will put forth in these posts.

[Please understand that deliberate flames in the comment section will be deleted by the moderator. Illogical, philosophically flawed or theologically unsound comments will be corrected. Responses may not be immediate but they will be forthcoming.]

April 21, 2013

Revealing Christ In The Old Testament XXIII: Breathe Easy


It is ironic (and somewhat confusing) but I will open this post on Jonah with a verse from the New Testament from the mouth of the Lord Himself.

Matthew 12:39 ~ “He answered, “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.”

Our Lord declared that no sign would be given to the people of His generation, except for the sign of Jonah. It is that sign that continues to stare down a Jew to this very day. Our Lord gave a promise, the rising from the dead, and He has kept it.

Jonah was the son of Amittai a native of Gath-hepher which was a Galilean village a little north of Nazareth. Jonah was the replacement of Elijah and Elisha in terms of the prophets. It is probable that he knew them both. He also appears to have been the link between these famous prophets and the likes of Hosea, Amos, and Isaiah. Jonah’s name is "the dove," and his first prophetic utterance was one in keeping with his name. It was a message of comfort to Israel, that the Lord had seen the affliction of His people, and that He would save them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash. God would restore to them the border lands which they had lost through the invasion of the Syrians.

The fact that Jonah was a historic character that can be dated to the reign of certain kings tells us that this book is more than just a parable as some assert. The writer of a parable most likely would not have invented an imaginary story about a real man, this makes no sense. The fact that this is a candid record of Jonah including his faults makes the validity of this story all the more plausible just like the stories of the Apostles in the Gospels show flawed men (warts and all). It is also extremely telling that the Jews would readily accept this book into their canon even though it spoke of their national prejudices because is exhibited God's mercy to another nation.

So why did Jonah disobey? What was the reason of the prophet's deliberate disobedience? It was not cowardice, as we see from his bold attitude in the storm. Jonah’s recalcitrance or resistance is probably partly due to the fact that other nations were outside of God's mercy. What’s more is that Assyria was the dreaded foe of Israel. Generation after generation, Assyria had been making fierce attacks and raids on the lands bordering the Mediterranean, and the punishments which she inflicted upon their captives were cruel beyond the already horrible cruelties of that age and they were even known to have flayed their victims alive.

In the proclamation of God's judgment to Nineveh, Jonah sees the possibility of mercy for them and this is just unacceptable to Jonah because Jonah knows God’s character enough to know that if He promises mercy…He will give it. This is too much for Jonah to stomach considering how much he despises the Assyrians.

God will give mercy and grace to the worst of sinners but Jonah being a man and a sinner would not. Meh.

Jonah being God's prophet to Israel was bound up in the salvation of his own people, and it is his intense patriotism and national identity which made him question the prudence of God's command. It made Jonah willing to incur God’s wrath for disobedience by abandoning is responsibility as prophet rather than risk the welfare of his beloved country of Israel. By sparing Nineveh, Jonah fears that Assyria will trounce and destroy his people so he literally and figuratively abandons ship and forsakes his responsibility as prophet.

The truth is that Jonah being a prophet was perfectly aware that he could not really flee from an omnipresent God's presence. I suggest he may have been trying to change or manipulate the outcome to more favorable circumstances. There is then a graphic narrative of the voyage that follows the initial disobedience. There is a violent storm and efforts by the pagan mariners, the righteous anger of the shipmaster at finding Jonah carelessly asleep at such a juncture, when even the heathen sailors were crying out to each of their individual pagan gods. They cast lots to discover who was answerable for such an ridiculously harsh storm. The lot being controlled by God fell directly on the severely guilty prophet. I can visualize even now the entirety of the crew circling Jonah ready to strangle him for being such a negligent disobedient imbecile.

Jonah 1:8 “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?”

They ask his advice, but are mortified when he tells them to cast him into the sea. As Jonah was cast forth into the sea it ceased its raging, and these heathen men were turned to the Lord offering sacrifices. It is at this juncture we see an image of Christ. We see a shadow of when Christ will say…

John 10:18 ~ “No one takes it from me [His life], but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."

We then see that God arranges for the arrival of a great fish…not whale per se. We see the arrival of great fish is no accident, it’s appointed or prepared for Jonah. We will also see other preparations by God involving Jonah. God will also prepare a great wind into the sea, He will prepare a gourd and He will prepare a worm. We see deliberate acts of sovereignty and grace.

We will later see in the Gospels that none other than Jesus Himself refers to Jonah as stated in Matthew 12. It is the context that should be of the most importance to us. Jesus uses it to refer to the most solemn sign foreshadowing the most solemn event of His life on earth…His death and resurrection. Jesus tells those that will listen and even some that will not.

For those of us who believe in the most spectacular miracle of all which is the incarnation of God in a human body, a crucifixion and resurrection of Him—it is of small consequence for us to believe that God saved Jonah in in the innards of a great fish to be a foreshadowing of Jesus’ death and resurrection. It is indeed supernatural or a miracle for Jonah to be somehow preserved alive some thirty-two to thirty-four hours, at least part of the time in a state of consciousness (praying). When one believes in miracles such as the Resurrection, the story then takes on the possibility of being not only plausible, but expected from a God that can raise the dead.

Obviously the Creator who creates the great fish and prepares a fish makes this possible. So much so that this very Creator will then, not only believe the narrative of Jonah’s story but He will also use it as an analogous illustration that prefigured what will end up being God’s greatest miracle in the span of history: The Mighty Resurrection. It is a miracle greater than any story of any fish swallowing any man.

In Jonah’s temporary watery grave, "The engulfing waters threatened,” and seaweed was wrapped around his head. Jonah prays in this condition somewhere between life and death…like waiting in the grave, ready to surface and come out. Jonah's prays from the Psalms and he quoted fragments and appears to adapts them to meet his own case just as Christ will do with Psalm 22.

What is particularly striking and interesting about the Psalms Jonah quotes is that they’re allusions to Psalm 22 and Psalm 16. What is truly striking is the application of Psalm 16:10.

Psalm 16:10 “For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol; nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.

Jonah 2:1-2 “Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the stomach of the fish, and he said, “I called out of my distress to the Lord, and He answered me. I cried for help from the depth of Sheol…

The Men of Nineveh repented. In the process of carrying the message of grace and mercy to them, Jonah's own soul had been so stripped and prepared by God that his message came with the power of the Spirit. I personally see this as a parallel of the modern believer carrying the message of the Gospel per the Great Commission to the unbelievers in this world. We are to take the message of the Gospel to the wicked unrepentant masses like those at Nineveh getting a message of mercy and grace (The Gospel of Jesus Christ) from somewhat reluctant messengers. Messengers that know there are risks involved delivering the message that we carry within us. A message we have been commanded to take out to the entire world. A message about One who was in the grave for three days only to miraculously rise again from the clutches of death. Jonah himself became the sign, just as we the believer become the embodiment of what it is to be Christian.

God's Spirit works so mightily in Jonah and us that at the end of one day's preaching the city repents. Just as some repent when we carry the message of the Gospel to people prepared to receive the message of the Cross. Just as God saw that the repentance of Nineveh was sincere, so to He will see if the repentance is sincere when someone turns to God and the Gospel and is saved. They must first hear the message since faith comes by hearing.

In the end we see God’s merciful loving-kindness on His rebellious prophet, rebellious unbelieving pagans and on us sinners. We see God’s immutable and eternal merciful nature. He is never changing and always constant. What He promises He follows through on. This is reassuring to those that will have faith. We like Jonah may compromise our character and change on a whim, but God does not. His promises are assured to us who will believe. We do not need to stand around holding our breath hoping what He promised comes to pass, we know our salvation is assured…and we can breathe easy because of it.

April 20, 2013

The Bible and Homosexuality - Annotated Bibliography

Baker, David W. Cornerstone Biblical Commentary-Leviticus, Numbers & Deuteronomy. Ed. Philip W. Comfort. Carol Stream, Ill.: Tyndale House Publishers, 2008. Print.

[A surprisingly good commentary that says it is based on the NIV but in reality is in parallel to the NIV but does excellent job or referencing source material in it research (in the Hebrew language).] Multi-Author Book

[A surprisingly good commentary that says it is based on the NIV but in reality is in parallel to the NIV but does excellent job or referencing source material in it research (in the Hebrew language).] Multi-Author Book

Baylon, Jacqueline. "Same-sex Marriage on the Ballot in Four States." Home-YDR-The York Daily Record. Associated Press, 6 Nov. 2012. Web. 21 Feb. 2013. <http://www.ydr.com/rss/ci_21939713>.

            [A website source showing relevant statistics on gay marriage as portrayed by a secular/cultural news source: Associated Press. This website offered real world cultural examples in contrast to biblical view.] Website

Bellinger, William H. New International Biblical Commentary: Leviticus and Numbers. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson , 2001. Print.

[A brief and mostly  thorough conservative commentary on Leviticus and Numbers. Thorough enough to warrant citing. Lacked in some aspects such as describing the New Testament relevance of the Jewish Feasts and relevance of the Old Testament Laws in relation to the New Testament. Was especially evident concerning passages on homosexuality.] Single Author Book

Bercot, David W. A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs. 1998. Reprint. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 2008. Print.

[A rather large and robust compendium of historical quotes starting with the Bible until the medieval church. A very thorough source. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen this density of quotes from early church fathers except in their own writings. Thoroughness of actual quotes is at times dubious as I referenced other sources and found that some quotes were decontextualized or only printed in part] Dictionary

Block, Daniel Isaac. The New American Commentary: Judges, Ruth. Nashville, Tenn.: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1999. Print.

[Very thorough conservative commentary on both Judges (less so on Ruth). Examines the implications language interpretations on overall hermeneutic.] Single Author Book

"Bill of Rights Transcript Text." National Archives and Records Administration. The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration , n.d. Web. 1 Feb. 2013. <http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/bill_of_rights_transcript.html>.

[Government funded and maintained website on the US Constitution. I’ve cited it before when referencing the laws of the land or the lex terrae.] Website

Boswell, John. Christianity, Social Tolerance, and Homosexuality: Gay People in Western Europe from the Beginning of the Christian Era to the Fourteenth Century. 1980. University Of Chicago Press, 2009. Kindle Edition.

            [This work by Boswell was my primary pro-homosexual source. It was the most scholarly and articulate of all the pro-homosexual sources I used. Boswell argued well for his point of view but in the end, failure to cite some key statements and produce clear biblical evidence (as in the case of arsenokoitai meaning prostitutes) or precedents muted many of his arguments or invalidated them. In the end having perused much of the work I am now convinced he was attempting to reconcile his sexuality with his faith. In the end I believe he failed but not for lack of trying] Single Author eBook

Brand, Chad Owen, Charles W. Draper, and Archie W. England. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Nashville, Tenn.: Holman Bible Publishers, 2003. Print.

[Standard Bible dictionary in my personal library. I reference it often for obscure biblical items.] Bible Dictionary

Brenton, Sir Lancelot C.L. The Septuagint With Apocrypha: Greek and English. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1971.

[An older translation of the Greek Septuagint that finds its source in Sir Lancelot Brenton of the 19th Century. A tried and true version of the Old Testament and the only one I keep on my bookshelf] Bible/Greek Old Testament

Brown, Colin. "ἀρσενοs, ἀρσενοκοῖται."The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Vol. 2). Ed. Colin Brown. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House, 1975. 569-572. Print.

[This Greek dictionary is my primary source for translations outside of the Linguistic Key and Nestle /Aland New Testament. It is a massive three volume set that I use constantly in my studies. It has a traditional/conservative inclination on translations] Theological Dictionary

Bruce, F. F. Romans - The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2007. Print.

[One of the standby Romans commentaries that all aspiring theologians and pastors should have in their personal library because of the accuracy and depth of Bruce’s insight. I have the entire commentary series as it is affordable and accurate without being overbearing and too scholarly] Single Author Book/Commentary

Champlin, Edward. Nero. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003. Print.

[A thorough biography on one of the sickest and demented leaders in history. At times the books prose was dense and hard to follow. It was successful in providing the information I needed on Nero and his relation with Sporus.] Single Author Book

Craine, Patrick. "Homosexual Activist Appeals Exoneration of Canadian Pastor Boissoin | LifeSiteNews.com."LifeSiteNews.com. LifeSiteNews , 30 Mar. 2010. Web. 2 Feb. 2013. http://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archive/ldn/2010/mar/10033008

[A web site news article concerning the Canadian Court of Appeals and the case against a Canadian pastor who wrote editorial condemning homosexuality. He was subsequently arrested and tried in the Canadian Court system for “hate speech” because of his sound biblical views. Lower court rulings were overturned by the Canadian Supreme Court.]  Website News Article

Cundall, Arthur Ernest, and Leon Morris.Judges & Ruth. Ed. D.J. Wiseman. Downers Grove: Inter-Varsity Press, 1981. Print.

[A volume from a large set of commentaries known for conciseness and accuracy of research. It was an easy read and zeroed in quickly on textual, grammatical and theological fine points. I use these commentaries often for sermon research] Multi-Author Book

DeYoung, James B. Homosexuality: Contemporary Claims Examined in Light of the Bible and Other Ancient Literature and Law. Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 2000. Print.

            [Conservative theology and traditional hermeneutics abounds in this book. It is semi-technical and a general understanding of theological principles and elementary Greek is helpful when reading it.] Single Author Book

Enns, Paul. The Moody Handbook of Theology. Revised ed. Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2008. Print. [A compilation/handbook with relevant and contemporary application and examples. Deals with complex subjects in simplistic and easy to understand manner. Deals with many separate theological presuppositions including errant ones. When dealing with errant theology it gives synopsis and correction or point at which errant theology diverges from correct theology.] Single author book.

Erickson, Millard J. Introducing Christian Doctrine. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2001. Print.

            [One of three primary theology books used to reference/cite theological concepts to keep paper as scholarly was possible. This is a book was smallest of the three theology books reference and as such was not as thorough as Grudem and Enns. Author was more concise with definitions and explanations due to limitations of space. The book was still lacking in bringing out ideas involved with sin] Single Author Book

Evans, Craig A. The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Acts-Philemon. Colorado Springs, Colo.: Victor, 2004. Print.

[A solid conservative and scholarly background commentary. I prefer this over the Inter Varsity Press Craig Keener/John Walton Background Commentaries as it does a better job contextualizing and is a little less biased towards evangelicals in its approach.] Single Author Book

Feinberg, John S., and Paul D. Feinberg. "Homosexuality." Ethics For A Brave New World. 2nd ed. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2010. 307-344. Print.

[Solid reference on confusing or thorny issues as related to the modern culture. Appears to have been meticulously ordered and arranged to present the most coherent outline and discussion on topic of ethical issues that included two chapters alone on homosexuality.] Multi-Author Book.

Feinberg, John S., and Paul D. Feinberg. "Homosexuality (II)." Ethics For A Brave New World. 2nd ed. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2010. 345-385. Print.

[Solid reference on confusing or thorny issues as related to the modern culture. Appears to have been meticulously ordered and arranged to present the most coherent outline and discussion on topic of ethical issues that included two chapters alone on homosexuality.] Multi-Author Book. 

France, R. T. Matthew: The Tyndale New Testament Commentaries. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2007. Print.

            [Part of a good commentary series, but Matthew seems a bit weak. Some portions are poignant and others seem like they are filler attempting to meet the demands of publisher for page count. Portion cited for this book was apropos and suitable for my needs. Due to what appears sporadic accuracy and thoroughness I cannot recommend this particular book to people that do not have a biblical discerning eye for accuracy and ability to see an author’s obvious inclination towards particular biases.] Single Author Book

Furnish, Victor Paul. The Harper Collins Bible Dictionary. Ed. Mark Allan Powell, Barry L. Bandstra. Revised and Updated ; 3rd ed. New York, NY: HarperOne, 2011. Print.

            [Dictionary with a short passage on homosexuality. It was good enough to warrant using in this paper for what it said briefly about 1 Timothy] Dictionary

Gagnon, Robert. "Sexuality." Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible. Ed. Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Daniel J. Treier, N. T. Wright, and Craig G. Bartholomew. London: SPCK , 2005. Print.

            [A mainly conservative dictionary on theological issues and topics. NT Wright has some very liberal ideas but past bias does not seem to bleed over into this dictionary too badly. A brief perusal outside of my topic revealed some neutral positions where authors and editors should’ve been more vocally against the unbiblical view but seemed to remain silent.] Dictionary

Gagnon, Robert A. J. The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2001. Print.

            [A book from a conservative viewpoint. Was helpful in understanding the flaws in Boswell’s arguments when I could not discern them myself] Single Author Book

Grudem, Wayne A. Systematic Theology: An Introduction the Biblical Doctrine. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994. Print.

            [One of three primary theology books used to reference/cite theological concepts to keep paper as scholarly was possible. This is a rather large book that covers theology extensively. Book has a mostly conservative viewpoint. Author appears to lean Pentecostal/charismatic in issues relating to gifts and other similar topics] Single Author Book

Halperin, David M. "Homosexuality." The Oxford Classical Dictionary. Ed. Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996. 720-723. Print.

            [Oxford standard tome on the Classical world and its culture. Topics range from mini-biographies on obscure historical people to nuanced detailed explanations of sexual preferences and behaviors of pedophilia and pederasty. The dictionary is extraordinarily thorough but occasionally prone to intellectual liberal bias. As such it may at times lean liberal in its views. I was fortunate enough to have gotten this dictionary second-hand for a negligible cost. Only complaint is that the text is 7 or 8 font and is difficult to read without a magnifying glass.] Multi-Author Dictionary

Halsall, Paul. "Gay Liberation Front: Manifesto London, 1971, Revised1978. "Fordham.edu. Fordham University, n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2013. <http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/pwh/glf-london.asp>.

            [Fordham University’s republishing of the Gay Liberation Front’s manifesto from the early 1970’s. This document shows the underlying modus operandi to put their agenda or plans into action. It also shows a direct correlation not only between the activist/militant homosexual movements but also their intent to affect a change not only in the church but also in the psychiatric community and even the culture at large by changing sex education.] Website

Harder, G. "φύσις."The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Vol. 3). Ed. Colin Brown. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House, 1975. 656-662. Print.

[This Greek dictionary is my primary source for translations outside of the Linguistic Key and Nestle /Aland New Testament. It is a massive three volume set that I use constantly in my studies. It has a traditional/conservative inclination on translations] Theological Dictionary

Harris, R. Laird. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament. Chicago: Moody Press, 1980. Print.

            [One of the standard Hebrew dictionary/lexicons. Has its own numbering system and also cross-references Strong’s numbering system for those weak in the Hebrew language (like myself.) Next to Kittel’s Theological Dictionary and Colin Brown’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament its thoroughness is second to none. If there is a potential for linguistic or grammatical overload it resides here in this book. It is the first dictionary/lexicon I draw on when dealing with Old Testament passages.  A majority of the citing for the Old Testament in this paper came from these two volumes. This is a monumental work that needs to be in everyone’s library.] Two Volume, Multi-Author Theological Dictionary/Lexicon

Harrison, R.K. "μαλακὶα."The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (Vol. 3). Ed. Colin Brown. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House, 1975. 999. Print.

            [This Greek dictionary is my primary source for translations outside of the Linguistic Key and Nestle /Aland New Testament. It is a massive three volume set that I use constantly in my studies. It has a traditional/conservative inclination on translations] Theological Dictionary

Helminiak, Daniel A. What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality. Millennium ed. Tajique, NM: Alamo Square Press, 2000. Print.

            [An extremely bias pro-homosexual tome. I used it specifically to balance the abundance of conservative scholarship in this paper. It is clear there was a motive to promote homosexuality in this book. Assertions were made and in many cases they were not backed with citation as noted in the text of this paper. I cannot recommend this book to anyone as its biblical interpretation is horribly flawed.] Single Author Book

Hester, J. David. "Eunuchs And The Postgender Jesus: Matthew 19:12 And Transgressive Sexualities." Journal for The Study Of The New Testament 28.1 (2005): 13-40. Academic Search Complete. Web. 14 Feb. 2013

            [Extremely liberal and biased work essentially promoting alternative lifestyles in antiquity. By doing so there is then a hermeneutical bridge created to attempt to justify the same types of modern behavior such as anal sex and other unnatural acts by eunuchs. I am personally not sure how the author can consider himself Christian and still advocate and approve of such unbiblical views. Author uses fallacies of logic and misunderstanding of Scripture to force ideas in this journal] Journal Article

Nicholas, Holtam. "Homosexuality." Encyclopedia of Christianity. Ed. John S. Bowden. New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 2005. 592-594. Print.

            [Christian encyclopedia that seems to have a neutral stance. It neither condoned conservative views not liberal ones in the bulk of its definitions. Although it presents a relatively balanced view, it is not until one reads the conclusion that the liberal bias becomes evident. Therefore I would have to say that some of what was within its covers was subject to close scrutiny in terms of orthodoxy] Encyclopedia

Jenni, Ernst, and Claus Westermann. Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1997. Print.

            [A more recent version of the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament by another and publisher. Not nearly as thorough as the Workbook on the Old Testament. It is missing quite a few words that it should probably contain. Didn’t research this fact completely but it looks as it if only contains the highest usage of Hebrew words or relevant hapax legomenon that would fit into a three volume work.] Three Volume Multi-Author Lexicon/Dictionary

Kistemaker, Simon. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the First Epistle to the Corinthians. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 2002. Print.

            [This commentary is part of the Hendriksen/Kistemaker New Testament Commentary series. Series is exceptionally conservative and reformed in its approach. This is my primary source for preaching and teaching as this series approaches all avenues of intellectual thought when exegeting Scripture. Interprets and integrates Greek both grammatically and linguistically. Also integrates 1st century geo-political/historical context so reader will be completely immersed in the 1st century context when attempting to understand what was written in Scripture] Single Author Book

Longenecker, Richard N. Acts: Expositor's Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House, 1995. Print.

[I used this as a scholarly cross-reference to gain dates. Helped pinpoint date of Nero’s persecution and Roman Tenth legions active dates during Jewish revolt] Single Author Book

Merrill, Eugene H. "1 Samuel." The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures. Ed. John Walvoord, Roy Zuck. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1985. 431-455. Print.

            [Classic reference from Walwoord and Zuck. I have used this since beginning of college to help summarize and capture and essence of a passage in the least amount of words as possible. In its brevity of words it allows for quick and broad interpretation. In other words, it gives and excellent high level view.] Multi-Author Book Anthology

Mounce, Robert H. Matthew: New International Biblical Commentary. 1991. Reprint. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 2002. Print.

            [An accurate but apparently abbreviated commentary on Matthew. Author is primary known for his work along with his brother writing Greek textbooks and teaching Koine Greek in general. Knowing this about the author led to high expectations of this before reading it. I ended up rather disappointed that he did not focus or emphasize the nuances of language that could’ve been gleaned from the Gospel of Matthew. Adequate but sub-par for a scholar of Mounce’s caliber.] Single Author Book

Nestle, Eberhard, Erwin Nestle, Kurt Aland, and Barbara Aland. "1 Corinthians." Greek-English New Testament. 8th rev. ed. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1994. 449-450. Print.

            [My standard-bearer when it comes to Greek Bibles. I will do no Greek study without this Bible version. This is my primary source text for interpreting the Greek of the New Testament. All other Greek texts are secondary.] Bible/Greek New Testament

Rienecker, Fritz, and Cleon L. Rogers. "1 Corinthians." A Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1980. 385-449. Print.

            [This linguistic lexicon is second only to the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament when it come s to my Greek studies. It is an invaluable resources for getting to the heart of Greek meanings and parsing] Multi-Author Lexicon

Robinson, B.A. "Same-Sex Relationships in the Bible: Conservative and Liberal Viewpoints." Religious Tolerance.org . Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, 29 Feb. 2012. Web. 16 Feb. 2013. < http://www.religioustolerance.org/hom_bmar.htm#dan>

            [A heavily pluralistic and postmodern website that passes itself off as unbiased on any religion but is clearly anti-religion and particularly anti-Christian. Maligning and undercutting of Christianity is at times so subtle as to be indiscernible. Reader having read enough will come away with a negative or jaded attitude towards Christianity and the Bible even though the site passes itself off as “religiously tolerant” or accepting of all religions. It is nothing of the sort.] Website

Rogers, Jack Bartlett. Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality: Explode the Myths, Heal the Church. Rev. and expanded ed. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009. Print.

            [A blatantly pro-homosexual book. Author seemed to pass himself off as an authority on interpreting Scripture but is quickly became evident reading it that he lacked even fundamental hermeneutical skills. The book was clearly written with an agenda to promote the idea that the Bible is either pro-homosexual or is virtually silent on homosexuality after the Old Testament prohibitions.] Single Author Book

Ross, Allen P. "Proverbs." The Expositor's Bible Commentary: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiates, Song of Songs. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1991. 883-1134. Print.

            [A brilliant well-researched and well-cited commentary. I would have to recommend this as the first stop in studying the Proverbs. This is part of a series of commentaries that approaches Scripture from a conservative viewpoint. It is accurate and through in its handling of Scripture. I can easily recommend this entire series to those in need of references for Bible study] Multi-Author Book/Anthology/Commentary

Sailhamer, John H. The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Vol. 2-Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers. 1. 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1990. Print.

            [This is another line of conservative evangelical commentaries that are part of my home library. Both the Old and New Testament series are indispensible for preaching and teaching. It breaks Scripture down to the language, grammar and linguistic characteristics. It is my personal favorite commentary] Single Author Book

Sailhamer, John. The Pentateuch as Narrative: A Biblical-Theological Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1992. Print.

            [Narrative commentary that attempts to explain Pentateuch in its narrative/theological context. Have referenced often when studying the Old Testament Law.] Single Author Book

Scaff, Philip. "Martyrs Under the Roman Empire (1)." The New Encyclopedia of Christian Martyrs. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 2001. 63-73. Print.

            [Helped zeroing in on ideas pertaining to religio illicita and persecution of the early church. Included Foxes Book or Martyrs and other modern accounts of persecution] Multi-Author anthology

Seow, Choon-Leong. "Textual Orientation." Biblical Ethics & Homosexuality: Listening to Scripture. Ed. Robert L. Brawley. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 1996. 17-34. Print.

            [Chapter 2 from Seow did a good job of contextualizing the differences in the Levitical laws: moral, civil and ceremonial. Help explain the judgments or punishments metered for offenses also.] Multi-Author Anthology

Spitzer, Robert L. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: (DSM III). 3. ed. Cambridge: University of Cambridge, 1986. Print.

            [Classic scientific psychological reference used in the diagnosis of mental disorders. This is an outdate version as it is the last version to contain homosexuality as a disorder.  Subsequent versions are absent homosexual references of any kind. It appears to be heavily influence by the culture and not so much science. I base this on the fact that at one time it contained homosexuality as a sexual/mental disorder/dysfunction but due to the unrelenting pressure of society it has acquiesced and given into the culture by removing homosexuality from its pages as of its most recent version DSM IV.] Appears to be multi-author medical/clinical diagnostic manual.

The MacArthur Study Bible-New American Standard Bible. La Habra, CA: Thomas Nelson, 2006. Print.  

[My personal preference for single volume study resource. Excellent study notes. Calvinist] Study Bible.

Underwood,  Carrie. "Westboro Baptist Church Home Page." Westboro Baptist Church Home Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Feb. 2013. <http://www.godhatesfags.com/>.

            [An unbiblical website of Westboro Baptist Church pastored by Fred Phelps. This church and its members are infamous for protesting funerals of servicemen and woman with derogatory and defaming signs and chanting slanderous and unbiblical slogans such as “God Hates Fags.” I needed to include this group as a point of contrast to true Christianity so that I could teach those that would read this paper how broad generalizations about Christians are not fair and nor are they true. As Westboro is so far outside the norm and mainstream church it aids me in showing what Christianity is not.] Website/Blog

Wenham, Gordon J. The Book of Leviticus. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans, 1979. Print.

            [The archtype commentary about a portion of Jewish Law by a commentary writer. Wenham offers insight in this work that can be found nowhere else. This work has no peers and the nearest depth of insight in my opinion that would vie with the excellence of this work would be the work of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.] Single Author Book

White, James; Niell, Jeff. Same Sex Controversy, The: Defending and Clarifying the Bible's Message About Homosexuality. Baker Publishing Group, 2002. Kindle Edition.

            [This book was conservative/traditional defense against homosexuality. It was useful for cross-referencing modern pro-homosexual arguments against a conservative viewpoint. The authors mention within the text included Boswell, Helminiak among other conservative authors such as DeYoung and Gagnon] Multi-Author eBook

Wiersbe, Warren W. The Bible Exposition Commentary-New Testament, Vol. 1. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1989. Print.

            [A broad conservative commentary that offers a quick glance high level overview of New Testament theology, doctrine and the like. Good commentary for beginners to interpretation but deep enough to be of value to experienced exegetes.] Single Author Book

Wiersbe, Warren W. The Bible Exposition Commentary-New Testament, Vol. 2. Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1989. Print.

[A broad conservative commentary that offers a quick glance high level overview of New Testament theology, doctrine and the like. Good commentary for beginners to interpretation but deep enough to be of value to experienced exegetes.] Single Author Book

Wiersbe, Warren W. The Bible Exposition Commentary: Wisdom and Poetry. Colorado Springs, Colo.: Victor/Cook Communications, 2004. Print.

[Another volume in a broad conservative commentary that offers a quick glance high level overview of New Testament theology, doctrine and the like. Good commentary for beginners to interpretation but deep enough to be of value to experienced exegetes.] Single Author Book

Witherington, Ben. Conflict and Community in Corinth: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on 1 and 2 Corinthians. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans, 1995. Print.

            [An excellent commentary on the Corinthians epistles. As title implies it focuses heavily on the sociological aspects and wordage aspects of these writings from Paul. I personally used this as my extra-biblical reading source for my 1 and 2 Corinthians class with Dr. David Dippold per his suggestion and I was not disappointed.] Single Author Book

Wolf, Herbert. "Judges." The Expositor's Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy -2 Samuel. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1992. 375-508. Print.

            [A brilliant well-researched and well-cited commentary. I would have to recommend this as the first stop in studying the Book of Judges. This is part of a series of commentaries that approaches Scripture from a conservative viewpoint. It is accurate and through in its handling of Scripture. I can easily recommend this entire series to those in need of references for Bible study] Multi-Author Book/Anthology/Commentary

"Would Jesus Discriminate? - Jesus Said Some Are Born Gay." Would Jesus Discriminate?. Jesus Metropolitan Community Church, n.d. Web. 14 Feb. 2013. http://www.wouldjesusdiscriminate.org/biblical_evidence/born_gay.htm

            [A pro-homosexual website that aggressively promotes the homosexual lifestyle even through the means of poor exegesis and improper understanding of Scripture, theology and orthodox Christian doctrine. It is heavily biased towards normalizing homosexual behavior even within the Church whenever possible judging by the content of the website. In other words, they have a clear modus operandi to make homosexuality the culture norm by trying to show that the Bible approves of it (which it clearly does not).] Website

"Would Jesus Discriminate? - Ruth loved Naomi as Adam loved Eve." Would Jesus Discriminate?. Jesus Metropolitan Community Church, n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2013. <http://www.wouldjesusdiscriminate.org/biblical_evidence/ruth_naomi.html>

[A pro-homosexual website that aggressively promotes the homosexual lifestyle even through the means of poor exegesis and improper understanding of Scripture, theology and orthodox Christian doctrine. It is heavily biased towards normalizing homosexual behavior even within the Church whenever possible judging by the content of the website. In other words, they have a clear modus operandi to make homosexuality the culture norm by trying to show that the Bible approves of it (which it clearly does not).] Website

Wuest, Kenneth Samuel. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament. 1973. Reprint. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1998. Print.

            [Dated word studies from a master of the Greek language in the 20th century. This man has few peers in terms of understanding Koine Greek (and Attic). This is a must for all pastors and teachers due to its insight into the subtleties of the Greek grammar and syntax. Other than the Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament I believe it may be par excellence in terms of Greek word study.] Single Author Lexicon/Dictionary

Young, Edward J. The Prophecy of Daniel: A Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1977. Print.

            [A dated but useful commentary. Appears to have a Dispensational bias also.] Single Author Book

Youngblood, Ronald F. "1 & 2 Samuel." The Expositor's Bible Commentary: Deuteronomy-2 Samuel. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1992. 553-1104. Print.

            [This is part of a series of commentaries that approaches Scripture from a conservative viewpoint. It is accurate and through in its handling of Scripture. I can easily recommend this entire series to those in need of references for Bible study] Multi-Author Book/Anthology/Commentary

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