Revisionist Gay Theology

Male and female, together, are the fullest picture of the image of God in creation. That’s why they need each other. Adam wasn’t complete without Eve. In everyday terms, this means that only the difference and the complementary interplay of male and female uniquely reflect the image and likeness of the persons of the Trinity in creation. As a result, sexual love between married man and woman is a life-giving act of mutual giving and receiving that mirrors the Trinity like nothing else on earth.
– Glenn Stanton, director of global family formation studies at Focus on the Family
The Christian idea of marriage is based on Christ’s words that a man and wife are to be regarded as a single organism—for that is what the words “one flesh” would be in modern English. And the Christians believe that when He said this He was not expressing a sentiment but stating a fact—just as one is stating a fact when one says that a lock and its key are one mechanism, or that a violin and a bow are one musical instrument. The inventor of the human machine was telling us that its two halves, the male and the female, were made to be combined together in pairs, not simply on a sexual level, but totally combined.
– C.S. Lewis
Because this relationship is so central to creation and humanity, God’s heart for marriage is woven throughout the Old and New Testaments. Marriage is the most important picture in Scripture of our own relationship with God. God is portrayed as a husband, and His wife is the nation of Israel. She is unfaithful, but still His own, and He lovingly pursues her. And the Church is the Bride of Christ, who sacrificed himself for her. 
– Focus on The Family – What does the Bible say about Homosexuality

Revisionist Gay Theology – A Christian Response

The Genesis Account of Male and Female

Genesis 2:20-24
The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Revisionist Argument:
The Genesis account does not forbid homosexuality; it simply does not refer to it.
Christian Response:
While it is true this passage does not forbid homosexual relations, it does provide the model, the standard, for human sexuality. The male-female marriage union, introduced in Genesis, is the only type of sexual behavior consistently praised in both Old and New Testaments. Moses, Jesus and Paul each point to Genesis as the primary text for understanding God’s design in creation.
We must look at all forms of sexual expression through the lens of marriage and the male/female complementarity of God’s design in Genesis. Dr. Robert Gagnon, one of the world’s foremost scholars on homosexuality, writes about how God brings forth the woman from the man, creating a longing within them to reunite through marriage and sexual intercourse. “The woman is not just ‘like himself’ but ‘from himself’ and thereby a complementary fit to himself. She is a complementary sexual ‘other.’”
Gagnon explains how this teaching from Genesis permeates Scripture. All through the Bible, men and women are presented as biologically complementary for the purposes of sexual activity and reproduction. This complementarity is “clear and convincing proof of God’s will for sexual unions.” Echoing Paul in the book of Romans, he continues by saying that even those who don’t believe the Bible should be able to figure out God’s design because of the physical structure of created humanity.

The Destruction of Sodom

Genesis 19:4-9
[T]he men of the city, the men of Sodom, both young and old, all the people to the last man, surrounded the house. And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so
wickedly. Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.” But they said, “Stand back!” And they said, “This fellow came to sojourn, and he has become the judge! Now we will deal worse with you than with them.” Then they pressed hard against the man Lot, and drew near to break the door down.
Revisionist Argument #1:
Sodom was destroyed because of the inhospitality of its citizens, not because of homosexuality.
Christian Response:
The argument makes no sense in light of Lot’s words and actions. His first response, “Don’t do this wicked thing,” could hardly apply to a simple request to “get to know” his guests. The second thing Lot does is especially telling: He answered the demands of the men of the city by offering his two virgin daughters—another senseless gesture if the men wanted only a social knowledge of his guests. Surely the people of the town were acquainted with Lot’s daughters, and Lot’s response makes clear that he and the townsmen are talking about sexual activity.
Revisionist Argument #2:
Sodom was destroyed for attempted rape, not homosexuality.
Christian Response:
The argument is partially true; the men of Sodom certainly were proposing rape. But for such an event to include “all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old,” homosexuality must have been commonly practiced.
Professor Thomas Schmidt, in his book, Straight and Narrow? Compassion and Clarity in the Homosexuality Debate , cites evidence in early literature connecting Sodom with more general homosexual practices. The literature says the people of Sodom were “sexually promiscuous” and “departed from the order of nature.” Here “the order of nature” is a reference to male-female complementarity.
Revisionist Argument #3:
The real sins of Sodom, according to Ezekiel 16:49, were “pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.” These have nothing to do with homosexuality.
Christian Response:
Again, the argument is partially true. When Sodom was destroyed, homosexuality was one aspect of its wickedness. But Ezekiel also says of the city: “They were haughty and did an abomination before me” (16:50). When we read 2 Peter 2:6-7 and Jude 7, we learn that this “abomination” included sexual immorality and homosexual conduct.

The Holiness Code

Leviticus 18:2b-3, 22; 20:13
I am the Lord your God. You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. … You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination [abhorrence]. If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.
Revisionist Argument #1:
The practices mentioned in these chapters of Leviticus have to do with idolatry, not homosexuality.
Christian Response:
The prohibitions against homosexuality in Leviticus 18 and 20 appear within lists of other sexual sins—adultery and incest, for example—which are forbidden in both Old and New Testaments. If the practices in Leviticus 18 and 20 are condemned only because of their association with idolatry, then it logically follows they would be permissible if they were committed apart from idolatry. That would mean incest, adultery, bestiality, and child sacrifice (all of which are listed in these chapters) are only condemned when associated with idolatry; otherwise, they are allowable. No serious reader of these passages could accept such a premise.
Revisionist Argument #2:
The Holiness Code’s injunction against homosexual acts is not an ethical but rather a ceremonial prohibition. It focuses on Jewish ritual cleanness, not Christian behavior.
Christian Response:
This argument, too, is based on a partial truth. New Testament scholar Stanley Grenz says:
This theory is a helpful reminder that the Holiness Code arose partly out of a concern for ritual purity. However, it is not completely clear that the injunctions against sex acts such as bestiality and same-sex intercourse fall in this category. … Further, by claiming that the Holiness Code prohibition of homosexual acts arises merely out of concern for ceremonial purity and not for morality, the argument assumes a disjunction between ethics and ritual uncleanness that is foreign to Leviticus. … Considerations such as these make it difficult to get around the conclusion that the Holiness Code prohibits homosexual acts in general and that it did so on the basis of concerns that were at least in part moral.
Revisionist Argument #3:
You don’t follow all of Leviticus, you eat shellfish and wear mixed threads, don’t you? Those are prohibited in the same passages as the verses on homosexuality.
Christian Response:
Of course, sexual activity is a much bigger deal than eating shrimp or wearing a polyester-cotton blend shirt. They are not equivalent. In addition, we don’t throw out other sexual ethics in Leviticus 18 and 20 such as the prohibitions against incest or adultery
Dr. Michael Brown, author and theologian, helps explain the difference between dietary laws that applied to Israel and ethical laws that apply to everyone: Within the Torah (God’s Teaching and Law), there were many laws given to Israel to keep them separate from the nations (like Leviticus 19:19). That’s why the Torah said that certain foods, like shellfish, were unclean for the Israelites but not for all people (see Deuteronomy 14:7, 19). On the other hand, there were laws given to Israel that were universal in scope, like the command not to murder.
When it comes to homosexual practice, not only is it the only sinful action singled out in Leviticus as an abomination, but it is part of a list of universal moral prohibitions, including incest and other forbidden sexual acts. We know this because the chapter states that the Lord judged the pagan nations for these very acts, and if acts were wrong for idol-worshiping pagans, they were wrong for the people of Israel (see Leviticus  18:24-30). And when we see that the prohibition against homosexual practice is reiterated in the New Testament, the case is settled for those who accept the Bible as God’s Word.

David and Jonathan

1 Samuel 19:1
And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they
should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted much in David.
2 Samuel 1:25-26
[David is lamenting the deaths of Saul and Jonathan.]
Jonathan lies slain on your high places.
I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan;
very pleasant have you been to me;
your love to me was extraordinary,
surpassing the love of women.
Revisionist Argument:
David and Jonathan were obviously homosexual lovers.
Christian Response:
Given the evidence of the biblical text, the conclusion is anything but obvious. Instead, this interpretation reflects a set of cultural assumptions—in particular, a highly sexualized interpretation of the word “love”—which is more characteristic of modern Western society than of the ancient Near East. Contrary to the implications of contemporary movie plots and song lyrics, “love” and “sex” are not mutually interchangeable terms. They certainly weren’t in biblical times, and we shouldn’t impose our worldview on ancient times.
Demonstrative, emotionally charged same-sex friendships were common in David and Jonathan’s cultural context. Theologian Stanley Grenz notes that the language of David’s lament is typical of that used in treaties. In this case, it’s as if David were describing or establishing a treaty between himself and Jonathan’s family. Grenz also notes that both David and Jonathan married women and fathered children.
The Bible does not avoid David’s sins—including pointing out his orchestration of the murder of Uriah and his adultery with Bathsheba (II Samuel 11-12). If David had sinned homosexually, certainly Scripture would have noted it, and he might have incurred the penalty for such activity.

Plural Marriage in Scripture

Revisionist Argument:
Many in the Bible, including Abraham and David, practiced polygamy. Why aren’t you open to practicing polygamy and other types of sexual relationships?
Christian Response:
The Bible is honest about sexual sin in a fallen world and describes many kinds of sexual activity, including polygamy, incest, prostitution, rape and homosexuality, all of which are rejected as God’s design. But the only kind of sexual behavior the Bible prescribes is marriage between one man and one woman.

Jesus and the Subject of Homosexuality

Revisionist Argument:
Jesus never taught against homosexuality or lesbianism. In fact, He was silent on the issue.
Christian Response #1:
As Grenz writes:
{A}rguments from silence are notoriously difficult to substantiate. We might just as easily conclude that other acts about which Jesus was silent were equally unimportant to the Master. For example, does His silence about incest mean that we are no longer bound to the Old Testament prohibitions in this area?
There is a much simpler and more obvious explanation for Jesus’ silence. It was not a controversial issue of that period. It was a settled issue in Israel that homosexual behavior was a sin, so Jesus was not asked about it.
Christian Response #2:
Jesus is the Son of God; He is the living Word, God made flesh. The revisionist argument assumes that Jesus somehow might have had a different view of homosexuality from that which was made clear to God’s people in the Old Testament. Jesus is one with the Father, and the Spirit, and the same Holy Spirit inspired all the authors of Scripture. Jesus kept and affirmed all that the Law and the Prophets taught (Matthew 5:17-19).
Christian Response #3:
Jesus said everything that needed to be said on the subject of sexual ethics when He quoted Genesis in response to the Pharisees’ question about divorce: He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” (Matthew 19:4-6)
In other words, Jesus explicitly endorsed the Christian sexual ethic outlined Genesis, Mark and Matthew.
As Grenz affirms:
But nowhere did [Jesus] condone genital sexual activity outside the context of a lifelong heterosexual commitment. In fact, the only option He mentioned other than marriage was celibacy (Matthew 19:11-12). Moreover, whenever Jesus engaged with questions involving human sexual conduct, he appealed to God’s intention in creation (e.g., Mark 10:11-12; Matthew 19:4-9).

Paul – Natural and Unnatural

Romans 1:18-27
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
Revisionist Argument #1:
Paul is not describing true homosexuals; rather, he is referring to heterosexuals who, as he says, “exchanged natural relations.” The real sin here is in changing what is natural to the individual.
Christian Response:
There is nothing in Paul’s wording to suggest he even recognized such a thing as a “true” homosexual versus a “false” one. The idea of gay as an identity, of someone “being gay” or “being homosexual” is a modern construct, rooted in ideology and a particular worldview. Paul simply describes homosexual behavior as against nature—unnatural.
Paul’s wording, in fact, is unusually specific. He chooses the Greek words that most emphasize biology. He is not considering any such thing as sexual orientation. He is saying that homosexuality is biologically unnatural—not just unnatural to “heterosexuals,” but unnatural to anyone. As Grenz puts it, “The verse does not
speak of natural and unnatural feelings, but natural and unnatural function.”

Paul is speaking of how we are created—male and female.

Revisionist Argument #2:
This Scripture describes people given over to idolatry, not gay Christians who worship the true God.
Christian Response:
Idolatry plays a major role in Romans 1. Paul begins his writing by describing humanity’s rebellion and decision to worship creation rather than the Creator. But Paul is also talking about sins that arise when humanity stops worshiping the true God, including the sin of homosexual sexual activity. Professor Schmidt explains:
Paul is not suggesting that a person worships an idol and decides therefore to engage in same-sex relations. Rather, he is suggesting that the general rebellion created the environment for the specific rebellion: “For this reason God gave them up to,” not “As a result of this they did.”

Paul: The Rejection of the Same-sex Acts

1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
1 Timothy 1:9-10
Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine. …
Revisionist Argument:
Arsenokoite, the word used for homosexuality by Paul in his letters to the Corinthians and to Timothy, is apparently a word he coined. It never appeared in Greek literature before he used it in these Scriptures. At that time there were other words for “homosexual.” Had he meant to refer to homosexuality, he would have used one of the words already in existence. Most likely, he was referring to male prostitution, which was common at the time.
Christian Response:
Whether Paul coined the term arsenokoite or not, there can be no doubt about its meaning. It is simply a literal translation of the Hebrew phrase mishkav zakur, “lying with a male,” which is “… the usual way of referring to homosexual intercourse in early rabbinic literature.” As such, it clearly refers back to the prescriptions of the Holiness Code, especially Leviticus 20:13 which, in the Greek Septuagint version reads, “…hos an koimethe meta aresnos koiten gynaikos.”
As Dr. Grenz concludes:
We must remind ourselves that Paul’s list in the Corinthian epistle occurs in the wider context of matters related to proper sexual conduct and the believing community (1 Corinthians 5-8). As his subsequent discussion indicates, Paul was convinced that the only proper context for sexual intercourse was heterosexual marriage. The apostle apparently did not see any reason to elaborate further why homosexual behavior violated this basic view.
Interestingly, this term arsenokoite or “men-who-bed-men” is close to the term used by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “men who have sex with men” or MSM. Like Paul, the CDC places the emphasis on the behavior, rather than on identity or attractions. And the good news, stated clearly in the letter to Corinth, is that people come out of homosexuality—they are washed, made holy and their sin is paid for by the work of Jesus on the cross. From the early Church until today, people have left homosexual behavior.
In his book, Is God anti-gay?,
Sam Allberry explains how Paul’s list of sins should bring us to acknowledge our deep need for a savior: These forms of behavior characterize those who are not “just” and for whom the law was given, in order to bring conviction of sin and the need for mercy. All these practices contradict “sound doctrine” and the gospel. They do not conform to the life Christians are now to lead. They go against the grain of the new identity we have in Christ.

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