Our youngest son and his wife are avid Duck Dynasty fans. I have not yet joined the company of those who consider themselves to be loyal subjects of the dynasty. I find the shows funny and clever, and I certainly appreciate the overtly Christian testimony the members of the Robertson family put forth on the show. That said, while I enjoy the show, I don’t go out of my way to watch it, record episodes, or keep up with the chronological storyline (if there is one). Part of my non-excitement has to do with a basic skepticism with regard to reality shows in general—wondering just how much contrivance there might be, and whether the cast of “characters” really are displaying their true “character.”
And then this controversy comes along with the comments that the patriarch of the Robertson family made regarding homosexuality during an interview with GQ magazine. I, personally, wish that Phil Robertson had been a bit less crude in the way he expressed himself, though I also recognize that it is this homespun crudeness which has, in large part, been the very thing behind the success of the show. With this disclaimer, I find myself fairly sympathetic with the views which Robertson expressed, and more than just annoyed with A&E for suspending Robertson from further shows.
What has really caught my interest in this affair is the comments of one particular respondent on a CNN news show. His name is Wilson Cruz, National Spokesperson for GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation). Here is one section of his response to the CNN news host, Brooke Baldwin, where she notes the shift that has taken place with regard to how homosexuality is regarded, and whether we are now seeing an old controversy through a new lens. He responds:
Yes, it is a new lens, and the lens is that this country has changed and that most Americans support LGBT people and our loving and committed relationships. You know, it is not a Christian thing to compare or to include homosexuality in a list that includes bestiality or slanderers. That is not what Americans think. That’s not who we are. If you know us, you know that’s not true. So, yes, this is an old argument that we’ve been having. But now more and more Americans know who we actually are and they will not put up with anyone speaking ill about us. And here’s the other thing. There was a time in our history when we couldn’t actually speak up and say something about how we were being characterized. That is no longer today. When someone speaks about us in these ways, we will rise up, we will speak out. And the problem with some of these people on the other side is that they don’t like that anymore. They want us to stay quiet, but we won’t stay quiet. When someone makes misogynist statements, when they make racist statements, the way that Mr. Robertson did, that’s not American, that’s not Christian.
There are lots of things Cruz gets wrong in this reply to Baldwin’s query. Contrary to Cruz’s assertion, it is a Christian thing to include homosexuality in a list that includes slander and other like sins (Romans 1:21-32; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; 1 Timothy 1:9-10). Despite saying that “this is not what Americans think,” the large outpouring of support for Robertson suggests that there is a significant number of Americans who do think this way.
But Cruz also gets a lot of things right. I don’t know if it is accurate to say that “most Americans” support the LGBT community, but there are surely many more people who do than was the case only a few decades ago. And the growth has been very steady and not so terribly slow. Over the course of less than half a century, the attitude of large portions of the population has grown from disapproval, to tolerance, to acceptance, to outright approval, even to the point of ridiculing and booing those who hold a more biblical and traditional view of homosexuality. He is certainly correct to note that there has been a major development in societal tolerance, acceptance, and even enthusiastic approval of the LGBT community.
And this brings me to quote a passage found in Roman 1:18-32. After having talked about, in the first half of the chapter, a righteousness of God that brings salvation, Paul turns his attention to a righteousness of God that brings wrath:
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.
28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.
Without giving anything like a full-blown exegesis of this passage, here a few things I want to note:
(1) The whole passage is an unfolding and explication of how the “wrath of God is being revealed.”
(2) The truth of God being suppressed is the initial stage of that against which God’s wrath is being revealed, the “godlessness and wickedness of men.”
(3) A great exchange takes place: the truth of God is exchanged for a lie, for a new set of gods which are not gods.
(4) Symbolic of this exchange of the true God for false gods, is the exchange that takes place of natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.
(5) Those who make this exchange think they are wise for doing so, but they are really only foolish.
(6) They perform this exchange because, in some sense, God gives them over to do it.
(7) This then leads to a whole host of other perversions.
(8) The icing on the cake is the approval they express when others are engaged in the same shameful perversions.
Based on this look at Romans 1, I’d like to make four observations.
(1) When the AIDS crisis first became major news in North America, many in the evangelical church saw the disease as God’s judgment on homosexuals for the transgression they committed within their “alternative” lifestyle. While I would not want to categorically deny this as a possibility, I have never really thought this is the case. What I do see the Romans passage teaching, however, is that homosexuality, run rampant throughout a society, is a visitation of the wrath of God on a society that has already turned its back on God. That is, homosexuality, according to the Apostle Paul, is not so much a sin to be judged (though it is that), as it is a judgment of God on an already wicked and corrupt society. So, on the one hand, when we see our society, in a relatively short period of time, go all the way from considering homosexuality as wicked and criminal, to the place where now society not only tolerates it, but promotes it, and even glories in it (e.g., gay pride parades), we should, I suppose, be rightly distressed. On the other hand, however, we, as Christians, should also recognize that when we see this happening, we are, in fact, seeing the righteousness of God in action. “The wrath of God is being revealed.” This, too, will turn out to be for the glory of God. Or, as the saints, the angels, even the altar itself, declare in the book of Revelation, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come” (14:7), “You are just in these judgments, you who are and who were, the Holy One, because you have so judged” (16:5), “Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments” (16:7).
(2) Homosexual activity, though perhaps no worse a sin than any of the others in the lists where it is mentioned in the New Testament, is, at least in the Romans passage, a sin to be singled out because it is most symbolic of idolatry. As an exchange of the natural for the unnatural, homosexuality most closely resembles the sin of exchanging the true God for things which are not God. In fact, this sin is one that most exemplifies the concept of the punishment fitting the crime. When a society changes the identity tags on the true God and false gods, God then delivers that society over to further identity tag changes, particularly in the area of sexuality.
(3) It is interesting that this Duck Dynasty/A&E/homosexual thing comes just before our celebration of Christmas. Without by any means wanting to suggest that this is necessarily purposely providential, I think it is also interesting to note that in the very same chapter where Paul discusses homosexuality in relation to idolatry, he also mentions the incarnation of Jesus Christ. While, in the latter half of this chapter, Paul focuses on how the righteousness of God is revealed by his wrath, in the first half of the chapter, he focuses on how the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel of salvation, specifically
the gospel he promised beforehand through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures regarding his Son, who as to his human nature was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of Holiness was declared with power to be Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord. (Roman 1:1-4)
If the wrath of God is revealed by his deliverance of human society over to sins of perversion, his salvation is revealed by the incarnation of Jesus Christ. If the sin of homosexuality is a punishment of God on a society that does not “image”-ine God correctly, and exchanges the truth of God for a lie, then the incarnation is that act in which God, in Jesus Christ, has “image”d himself in the person of his Son, the only human being who has ever been able to say, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). In other words, the act of the incarnation stands diametrically opposed to the sin of idolatry and its most outstanding societal representative, the act of homosexuality. As opposed to what Wilson Cruz has suggested, that Christianity does not put homosexuality on a list of sins, in fact, that which is absolutely essential to Christianity, the incarnation of Jesus Christ, does, indeed, mark homosexuality out as the premier representative sin of a society which has exchanged the true God for idols. Christianity is, by its very essence, opposed to homosexual activity. Christmas, the incarnation, is a direct attack against everything which homosexual acts represent.
(4) Finally, I call your attention to a thought which comes from Irenaeus, the second dedicatee of this blog. In my last post, “Irenaeus on the Incarnation (5),” one of the things readers might have noticed (or missed) is a line from his Proof of the Apostolic Preaching, chap. 38, where Irenaeus states that the coming of Jesus Christ in real flesh, in a real body, has “sanctified our birth.” Perhaps this is a puzzling thought. But what Irenaeus means by this is that, in the incarnation, an act whereby Christ took on real flesh, a real body, and lived in the real world, a kind of sanctification of this world, our flesh, our bodies, indeed all of creation, takes place. To put that another way, the incarnation is an affirmation that God’s creation was, in fact, a good creation. It is an affirmation that matter is not evil, our bodies are not evil, our flesh is not evil. They have all been marred by sin, but the sin is not the materiality; rather their materiality is something that God originally declared good, and has now set out in the incarnation of his Son to redeem. It is interesting, then, that Paul specifically names homosexual acts as being against nature, as being “unnatural.” In other words, Paul makes the claim here that homosexual acts are anti-creation: they are violations of the created order which God originally declared to be good, and which God has now set out to redeem in the incarnation of his Son. There’s this old cliché line, “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.” Despite its cliché-ness, its triteness, perhaps even its crudeness, the line actually captures, at least to some extent, Paul’s thought in Romans 1. Homosexual acts are against nature, against the good creation as God originally made it, and are opposed to the reclamation project which God set out to perform in the incarnation of Jesus Christ.
No wonder Irenaeus was fixated on the incarnation. The incarnation sets everything in its proper perspective.
So, if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation! The old has gone. Behold, the new has come! This is all from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given to us the ministry of reconciliation: that is, that God was in Christ [read: incarnation!], reconciling the world to himself. (2 Corinthians 5:17-19a)
December 20, 2013
Nice–have you opened up pandora’s box?!!
As far as I’m concerned this argument is a Patriot missle to A & E’s Scud.
Appreciate the wisdom of those I sat under. Thanks for being willing to address a controversial topic.
Thanks, Butch, for the kind words.
Thank you for commenting on a difficult subject. I appreciate the fact that you describe western society as being under judgement. I have often said that Canada is likely not far from the most evil civilizations descrubed in the Old Testament (I bas this view primarily on the government sanctioned slaughter of the unborn on a level never seen even in the heyday of child sacrifice). Yet, we think of ourselves as good. We describe Canada in glowing terms compared to the rest of the world. We truely are foolish! I think that the Christian Community has to look inwards, get ourselves in a right place with God and then need to pray for and act towards revival.
Good thoughts, Dave.
While everything you said is correct & shoul be shared with “Cristians” you left one part out…
Who did God send Jesus to save?
Blacks, whites, gays, straights, rich, poor, presidents, heads of states, even those who profess to hate him.
When Jesus was on earth he was always with the people that were looked at as the scum of the earth. He new that calling out their sin would turn people away, so he loves them & shows them a new way.
Is Gods wrath being poured out on North America? Yeah probably. But don’t forget gay marage has been a norm in Europe for a lot longer than here. Why do we in North America think we are the center of the universe??
All sin is bad, equally bad! I seem to recall a couple of passages that talk about disobeying parents, gossip & lying with murder & the really bad one of homosexuality.
Let’s get back to loving sinners because God first loved us…
Mark, some good reflection here. Just a few quick points in reply.
(1) Actually, I think the post is about people, and the article certainly assumes that people are the objects of God’s redemption.
(2) Jesus did, indeed engage in “calling out” people’s sins. For sure, he does love them and show them a new way; but he is also very clear about people’s sins.
(3) Yes, in no way is North America the center of the universe. Europe, of course, is now experiencing the results of turning away from God.
(4) You are correct that all sin is bad; however, not all sin is equally bad. The Scriptures are pretty clear about some sins being worse than others.
(5) For sure, we must love sinners because God first loved us. But part of that love is, indeed, a call to repentance and acknowledgement of sin. Love does not overlook sin, but deals with it honestly and forthrightly, and, as you said, lovingly.
I never thought of the sin of homosexuality as a reprentative sin of turning one back (or, more accurately, one’s society back) on God. Noticing the context of Romans was interesting and informative.
One comment on judgement generally, not on homosexuality in specific. In Romans, anyway, the judgement is for God’s to take his hand of blessing away. ie. the threefold phrase of ‘God gave them up’ in verse 24, 26, 28. (Jerry, do you see that phrase somewhat differently?)
Good question, and I don’t think the answer is black and white, but exists on a continuum of degrees. But I do see the phrase, “gave them up,” as being more active than passive. The same verb (paradidomi) and similar grammatical constructions are used, to note just a few examples, to refer to John being put in prison (Matt 4:12), Judas’s betrayal of Jesus (Matt 10:4); being arrested (Matt 10:19), delivering property (Matt 25:14), and God delivering up his Son in the crucifixion. Here’s how Doug Moo, in his shorter commentary on Romans in the NIVAC series puts it:
“As a punishment for this idolatry, ‘God gave them over.’ What Paul means by this language is not clear. Some give it a passive sense, as Godet illustrates: ‘He [God] ceased to hold the boat as it was dragged by the current of the river.’ But the language suggests a more active involvement of God. He does not simply let go of the boat; rather, he confirms its disastrous course downstream. God reacts to the human decision to turn from him by consigning people to the consequences of their action.”
Moo is careful in the rest of his discussion to distinguish between a simple deed-consequence scheme, versus one where God is more actively involved. He refers to C. H. Dodd, who argued that God’s wrath was nothing more than ‘an inevitable process of cause and effect in a moral universe.” and argues that this view is more in keeping with a deistic conception of God, versus one where God is much more actively involved in revealing his righteous wrath.
Feel free to reply again with your thoughts on this.
I hesitate to weigh in on a subject treated by a professor of hermeneutics, but it seems to me that an important piece of the hermeneutical process is missing in this treatment of the Romans passage. That is the question: does this interpretation ring true in our missional context? The passage in question certainly rings true to Paul’s original context. Paul’s exposure to homosexuality would have been primarily in the context of pagan worship in which male prostitutes were engaged as part of the rituals. Wealthy men in the first century were also known to have boys as sex slaves providing sexual gratification even while these same men had a wife and children. It seems, from my understanding, that the first century knew little of committed, loving relationships between people who were born with a same-sex attraction. Paul’s condemnation of homosexuality as an outcome of idolatry and all kinds of other perversions makes complete sense when read in his context. It does not immediately transfer to ours or our missional context. I worship and share bread and wine with committed Christians who are homosexuals. They have not exchanged their natural affections for unnatural ones because they have never been heterosexual, though many of them wish they had been born so because of all the pain and suffering they have endured as gay people (especially by the church). I have never met a homosexual who was once straight and decided to become gay. My few gay friends love God, seek him with all their hearts and set an example of generosity, hospitality and spiritual sensitivity. They are not idol worshipers, but serve the same God as I. While I too deplore the way homosexual lifestyles sometimes are promoted and showcased in our land, I am proud to live in a country where sexual minorities are protected by the law. Will God judge us for our compassion and tolerance for people who happen to have a different sexual orientation than the majority? Nations that have criminalized homosexual activity – such as Iran, Zambia, Saudi Arabia – hardly represent kingdom of God values of justice and mercy for marginalized peoples.
I am very glad to see that my colleague, good friend, and brother, Dr. Allan Effa, Professor of Intercultural Studies at Taylor Seminary, has overcome his hesitation and gone ahead and weighed in on this post. He has made some excellent points, (all of which I think are refutable 🙂 ), and I’ll be replying to his response in the next day or two. But I thought I would go and ahead and express my appreciation for Allan’s weighing in; and I want to encourage anyone who’d like to push back at me to feel free to do so–indeed one of the reasons I started this blog was to encourage hermeneutical dialogue. So thanks, Allan.
Thanks for the points you raised in your comment on the article. And I really appreciate your chiming in. Here are my replies.
(1) The old idea about Paul primarily focusing on cultic of pederastic homosexuality has not been demonstrated, and really remains quite unlikely. So also does the idea that Paul would have known next to nothing about loving relationships between people with same-sex attractions. This is true for several reasons: (A) Paul’s language in Romans 1 does not lend itself to this revisionist interpretation. Paul talks about female/female and male/male sexual relationships. There is nothing in the passage to imply that he is talking about relationships between master/slave or superior/subordinate. There is really no hint of this. Though Paul would certainly have known about the arrangements you mention, there is no suggestion in the passage that he is limiting himself to them. Rather, (B) as almost all commentators acknowledge, Paul’s concern is not with one particular expression of homosexual behavior, but with all forms of homosexuality in general. (C) This opposition to homosexuality is not rooted so much in observation of Hellenistic culture, but in his own Hebrew tradition and reading of the Scriptures, which considered homosexual acts to be abominations. (D) Further, Paul is not talking about a person’s individual “nature,” but about the natural order of things as ordained by God in creation. Paul would have regarded a person with a so-called natural same-sex orientation as still acting against nature, against creational intent and purpose, if they lived out that orientation. And Paul would certainly have known of people with same-sex orientation. The list of commentators who deny the revisionist interpretation of what Paul is saying is really quite impressive: N. T. Wright, C.E.B. Cranfield, Colin Kruse, Douglas Moo, James Dunn, Joseph Fitzmeyer, F. F. Bruce, Thomas Schreiner, John Stott, Robert Mounce, John Murray, Robert Jewett, Craig Keener, Charles Talbert, Everett Harrison, Donald Hagner, Grant Osborne, Frank Matera, Ben Witherington. Not only do they deny this interpretation in their commentaries, but also in additional articles and monographs. I would add to this list a couple of people who have not written commentaries on Romans, but for whom we both have a lot of respect, Christopher Wright and Kenneth Bailey. Major articles and monographs defending the traditional understanding have also been published by Richard Hays, William Webb, James De Young, and Robert Gagnon.
(2) In light of the foregoing, I really don’t think any acrobatic hermeneutical moves need to be employed to bring Paul’s teaching into either “our context,” or “our missional context.” Paul’s probable inclusion of pederasty in homosexual behavior certainly applies to a number of issues in our context: child pornography, child sexual abuse, child sex trade, NAMBLA, etc. But his overall category of homosexuality would include same-sex relationships, including same-sex marriage. As far as “our missional context” is concerned, it seems to me that in light of the mission mandate supplied by our Lord himself, to “teach them to obey everything I have commanded you,” that setting out a clear understanding of the anti-creation, anti-Christian character of homosexual behavior is part of what it means to be missional. It certainly does not have to be, indeed, should not by any means be, the lead story. But it should not be dismissed either.
(3) I basically agree with Stan’s Grenz’s formulation (I don’t know that it was original with him), “welcoming, but not affirming.” So, with regard to your gay friends, I wouldn’t be in any position to be a judge regarding their love for God, the sincerity of their Christian faith, their commitment to their same-sex partners, or their sexual orientation journey. But I am also not convinced that they are not culpable for their homosexual acts. I am certainly no expert on the biology and science, but it is my understanding that the genetic explanation for homosexuality has never been demonstrated. But, for the sake of argument, granting that it could be genetic, it does not mean that same-sex urges have to be actualized. I do not consider homosexuality to be a sin; but I do consider homosexual acts to be sins. And all human beings have inclinations, genetic and otherwise, to do things which they should not do. In the sexual area this includes: adultery, sado-masochism, the desire for multiple sexual partners, etc. But these inclinations should not be acted on. And they should not be encouraged to act on them: “Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt 5:19 NIV). So I think it would be wrong to communicate to Christian gays that their homosexual activity can be overlooked if their relationship with their homosexual partner is a loving and committed one.
(4) I do not think individual homosexuals have necessarily followed a narrative in which their idolatry turned into a homosexual lifestyle. In this regard, I believe Paul’s statements to this effect in Romans 1 are societal rather than individual, and probably relate to a longer societal history that one just generation; rather, this societal degeneration is probably the result of a much longer process. However, individual homosexuals should be admonished to break this pattern, and conform to Christ rather than to the spirit of the age.
I think I’ll stop there and bring a close to an already overly long reply. But, again, thanks for chiming in. I don’t know how many people will see either of our comments, but who knows? And feel free to fire back at me. Blessings.
You offer a well-informed response and I am quick to acknowledge that you have researched the treatment of the Romans passage in much greater detail than I have. It sure would be nice to know with certainty what Paul had in mind and how he would respond to such a controversial issue today. I stand by the statement that we do need to read all scripture with discernment in terms of how it is to be applied to our missional context. Of course, there are a number of things that Paul has written in his epistles that do not ring true in our missional context. 1 Corinthians 11:14 comes to mind, “Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him.” Clearly Paul’s understanding of the “very nature of things” is very different from our understanding of the nature of things today. Where and how far we can extend that distinction is controversial. And, despite the long list of respected commentators (some of whom are my favourites) who weigh in against a revisionist interpretation of Romans, there are, of course many Bible-believing people who have wrestled with passages such as these and come to different conclusions. While my denomination has taken a stand to be “welcoming, but not affirming” there is an association of Baptist churches that are both welcoming and affirming and, of course entire denominations have come to similar conclusions. I don’t think it is fair to dismiss them as being completely sold out to culture nor that they are sloppy exegetes. (I am not suggesting you have labeled them as such, but just making the point that they have done so with integrity and a sincere pursuit of truth).
While geneticists have not been able to identify a precise gene responsible for sexual orientation, studies of twins and hereditary patterns have pointed to some kind of genetic link. Should the day come that we are faced with absolute evidence of this fact (or of a hormonal link, which is also substantiated by some studies) we could be faced with some rather challenging theological acrobatics.
Meanwhile I prefer to hold my convictions tentatively and to be suspicious of certitude, and refrain from words of condemnation on a group of people who live under considerable oppression, even in our liberal democratic society. Suicide rates among teen gays is triple that of their heterosexual peers. How can the church be a redemptive and healing force toward these “sons and daughters of Abraham”? We have not done a credible job of this. We prefer to mouth words of condemnation and shame than offer hospitality and friendship.
Allan, a number of excellent things you say here that I very much agree with and are quite important. But also a couple of things I’d still like to challenge just a bit. Now, hmmm, which statements fall in which category? Well, it’s Christmas Eve, and I’m going to focus my attention on other things for the next couple of days. So, maybe Friday or Saturday I’ll come back to them. For now, blessings, and Merry Christmas.
I only today read your reply to Jerry’s blog post on homosexuality in light of the so-called Christmas ‘2013 controversy around Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty. Have you had an opportunity to read this book on the subject, and if so what are your thoughts? http://www.christianbook.com/homosexuality-christian-guide-parents-pastors-friends/mark-yarhouse/9780764207310/pd/207310?kw=21440761692&mt=b&dv=c&event=PPCSRC&p=1018818&gclid=CIqjy56xg8YCFRSEfgod2nwApg
Very much appreciate this discussion as it is a difficult issue. Just to add my thoughts:
1. As I was reading it, the thought occurred to me that perhaps Ro 1 was not just theological in its thrust regarding the righteousness of God, but also prophetic in that it was a statement of what sinful part of society would come out first, and thus open the door to other parts. I just read an article on CNN talking about whether pedophilia is a sexual orientation.
2. “Speaking Truth in love” just seems to be lost on the Church. We think it’s our obligation to speak the truth to an audience without ever having demonstrated love for that audience. So, there are very, very few who I think would “qualify” to be able to make such statements to such wide audiences. Also, the Christian standard we’re talking about is just that – for Christians. To the extent that a society generally embraces Christianity, it either aligns with God’s standard of righteousness or it doesn’t and it reaps the resulting consequences. But for those who are not Christians, there is no way to be welcoming by starting with “except homosexuals” or any other sin. We simply accept them based on the idea that we’re all sinful. So, to bring this back to Phil Robertson, while I may agree with him on the basis of the truth of what he said, I don’t see any wisdom in doing so on a national stage without any evidence in his life that is recognized on that same stage backing up his claim that he “loves all humanity”. That’s what makes Christians look so bad in this conversation.
Just my thoughts.
Jeff, thanks for joining in the discussion. You may well be right on your first point. Actually, I would say a trio of things: historical, theological, and prophetic. But by prophetic, I don’t believe Paul necessarily had some revelation about any one future society in particular; but, rather, that this pattern is going to repeat itself to the end of the age.
On your second point, there are a couple of nuances I’d quibble on, which, if you’d like me to, I’d be glad to comment on after Christmas. But I think, overall, you’re pretty much right. The problem for me, in Robertson’s comments, was the tone, and not the content as such.
By the way, have we met before? Blessings, and Merry Christmas.
I’d love to continue the dialogue so please feel free to comment further.
At the moment, I would have to agree with your response on point #1. I have no proof that this was a special revelation but there is something deeper to his understanding of the sequence of events he describes.
No, we haven’t met before.
Have a very blessed Christmas.
Hello again, Jeff. By now, perhaps you have read my sequel article, “Christanity versus Practicing Homosexuality.” I believe some of the things I suggested I might quibble on in your reply are addressed in that article. You can let me know if they are or not. The only thing I think I may not have addressed is your statement, “Also, the Christian standard we’re talking about is just that – for Christians.” While I believe this is true to a large extent, it must also be remembered that in Romans 1 Paul is also talking about how God set things up at creation, and how about, in large measure, there isn’t a certain innateness that informs people in their inner persons that certain practices are against “nature.” Paul, therefore, would argue that these are standards for all people, not just for Christians. Thanks again for joining in the conversation.
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