No Christian has any excuse for asserting that the Bible condemns gay people or gay relationships. The scholarship has been done.
My concern is more to defend the Bible from those who think it outdated, violent and ridiculous rather than to defend gay people from Evangelicals who hate them, whom I find ridiculous. But I understand in America, real harm is done by Evangelicals who hate gay people, and rich Republicans get poor people to vote for them by spouting hatred. Therefore it is good to know that the Bible does not condemn us. Here are some useful links:
Matthew Vines gives a long discussion of the six passages taken out of context to condemn us. He looks at the Greek words and their uses in the Bible and elsewhere. This is all you need to know. The video is one hour long.
Would Jesus Discriminate? has accessible scholarly articles, explaining the Greek and the real meaning of the clobber passages, and also same-sex love affirmed in the Bible.
Steve Chalke writes about the application of the Bible to today, and other questions such as whether women could be heard in Church. There is no condemnation of faithful gay relationships in the New Testament.
Hope Remains has pages on each text, quoting and transliterating as well as translating the original languages.
Justin Lee of the Gay Christian Network.
Genesis 2:24 This is the reason that a man leaves his father and mother and embraces his wife, and they become one flesh. This shows the power of Love. It does not prescribe heterosexual, or monogamous, marriage. See here.
The Sodom story, Gen 19: 1-29. The city-dwellers want to rape the angels. Gay bars can be a bit rowdy, but this is as far from the experience of most gay men as from straight men. The passage is about hospitality, as Ezekiel 16:49 confirms: Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.
Then again, if they were all gay, the “Righteous man” Lot lived among them quite happily.
We ignore most of Leviticus, no longer sacrificing animals or abstaining from “unclean” food. Why keep one verse? I expand on this argument here.
Leviticus 20:13 says If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads. Oh my God they want to kill us! Who could think citing this appropriate?
Hope Remains goes into the Hebrew, and finds that a literal translation is “a man who will lie down in a woman’s bed” which does not necessarily refer to having sex.
Dt 22:5 is the verse against trannies: wearing the clothes of the opposite sex is Abominable. Except, why would it start with women? Because priests, soldiers and judges all wore particular clothes, thought of as men’s clothes. It is about roles, not clothing.
That chapter also calls for the stoning of a woman who is not a virgin when she gets married. It is obsolete. More here. For a more nuanced interpretation, valuing the Torah, here is Trans Christians.
Exodus 28:40, KJV: And for Aaron’s sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty.
Ruth married a man. However the whole book indicates that Naomi was her partner, Boaz the man they had to have for protection.
Naomi and her husband and sons, Ephrathites from Bethelehem, went to live in Moab because of a famine, and there her sons married Ruth and Orpah. When the three women were widowed, Naomi decided to return to Judah, and told her daughters in law that they should return to their families. Orpah did, but Ruth made this beautiful declaration of Love:
‘Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely, if even death separates you and me.’ 18 When Naomi realised that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped urging her.
After, Ruth married Boaz, and had a son; but some argue that such great love that she would leave her home and her people, and go to another country with Naomi, not even to be separated by death, is lesbian. See Valley Ministries, Would Jesus Discriminate, Trevor Dennis.
David loved Jonathan more than women. 2 Samuel 1:26- I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; you were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, more wonderful than that of women. Some homophobes still cannot accept that this was a loving relationship.
Would Jesus Discriminate shows the nature of this love.
Jesus never condemns gay people. His woes apply more to homophobes, who load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them.
Jesus healed the Centurion’s pais. There were other meanings for that word, but in context it is clear that it means male lover. See also the Huffington Post, and Gay Christian 101. If you want the raw evidence, I discuss the 24 uses of the word in the NT in this comment.
Jesus said, ‘Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. 12 For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others – and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.’ (Matthew 19). Here is a lengthy and detailed argument that “eunuchs who were born that way”, mentioned by Jesus without condemnation, were gay men. Here is Michelle Krabill. Hidden Meanings delves into use of the word “eunuch” in other texts and 1st century culture.
Romans 1. Paul writes about worship in pagan temples. 1:21-23, though people could perceive there was a God, they worshipped idols. Therefore God gave them over to shameful lusts. But Paul’s main concern is his congregation, not the outsiders: And such were some of you. That is, judge not.
1 Corinthians and 1 Timothy
The Greek words used here are the same.
1 Corinthians 6. Even the NIV footnote is wrong: the two words do not refer to the “active and passive” partners, but to slaves used as rent-boys and their abusers. 1 Timothy 1: 9-10 The words translated “for those practising homosexuality” are mistranslated.
Again, context is relevant. 6 And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their proper dwelling – these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgment on the great Day. 7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
In a similar way: the writer first refers to Genesis 6:1-4, where angels lusted after human women, and then to Genesis 19:1-29, where humans demanded to rape angels. The clue is “in a similar way”. The passage is better used against obsession with or worship of angels.
Bad people, according to pseudo-Paul. One of Crete’s own prophets has said it: ‘Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.’13 This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith.
Do not take verses out of context, to condemn a particular group of people. People from Crete are no worse than gay people. Oddly enough, this is Epimenides the Cretan’s paradox: “All Cretans are liars”, he said. But if he was telling the truth, he was lying. Was the writer fooling with us?
Oh, and can you really be saved, if you are left-handed?
The church’s response
There is hope all over the Church that its wicked persecution of gay people is coming to an end:
Quakers in Britain celebrate gay marriages in the same way we celebrate straight marriages- see minute 23 at page 14. My meeting held a wedding in May 2014.
The Presbyterian Church of the USA marries “two people, The interim wording, “traditionally a man and a woman”, has now been removed.
The Heartland Proclamation proclaims gay rights and apologises for past silence.
Reconciling Works advocates for the full inclusion of LGBT folk in Lutheran churches.
Catholics for Equality represents the majority Catholic view on equal marriage, which will not be silenced by the hierarchy.
The Episcopal Church of the USA has promulgated resolution A049 allowing same sex blessing services in their churches.
Accepting Evangelicals in the Church of England move towards the acceptance of faithful, loving, same sex partnerships at every level of church life.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America admits there is still a dispute: this church has begun to understand in new ways the need of same-gender oriented individuals to seek relationships of lifelong companionship and commitment as well as public accountability and legal support for those commitments. However better to admit a dispute than to insist that gay people be celibate.
The United Church of Christ supports equal marriage.
Not All Like That has videos of Christians affirming gay people.
The Pilling Report gives a chance for the Church of England to become accepting.
The Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists does exactly that.
Methodists in New Directions towards welcoming LGBT.
The Church of Scotland allows ministers to be in civil partnerships.
The Anglican Church of Canada has voted to celebrate same sex marriages.
Arguably, Biblical arguments in favour of slavery are stronger than those against homosexuality, and they were still being made by preachers in the late 19th century.
You may not be able to stomach it, but here is “Doctor” Thornton Stringfellow, D.D., his work Scriptural and Statistical views in favor of Slavery, the fourth edition of 1856, made available by the University of North Carolina. Dr Stringfellow shows how St Paul’s epistles clearly condemn the Abolitionist cause. At p58 he refutes a divine arguing a biblical case for abolition, and then proceeds to his statistical arguments: for example, that though the population was similar, the five slave states erected nearly twice as many churches as New England, and therefore must be more moral.
Here is an article on the distress of the privileged: Christians who believe the Bible and their faith condemn homosexuality get upset when told this view is ridiculous and disgusting (which it is). That distress is not equivalent to the distress of the oppressed. The hater is the homophobe, not the gay person who reacts to the homophobe. Here is a simple analogy: if you pass a person lying in the street, and kick him in the neck, are you surprised when he yells abuse at you? “What a hater he is!” the aggrieved Christian homophobe says, affecting surprise.
Other sites and organisations: The Reformation Project, seeks to reform Church teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Unfundamentalist Christians: Heterosexual Christians are being unbiblical by using the clobber passages as justification for applying absolute standards of morality to homosexual “sins” that they themselves are not tempted to commit, while at the same time accepting for themselves a standard of relative morality for those sins listed in the clobber passages that they do routinely commit.
Here are my own posts on the Bible and gay matters, including equal marriage: Witnesses of Hell, Arguing the Bible, Poor Christians, Gay marriage, David and Jonathan; an argument that a good Bible-believing Christian should support Slavery, Words of encouragement on using the Bible to support us, Jesus and Hell, Gospels, A better “Normal“, Saying Nothing on the option of just shutting up about homosexuality for a bit, Jellie-babies, Empathy on how difficult some straights find it to empathise with gay people, The Word of God on how it is difficult even to know what the Bible says, how the Bible is full of Contradictions, The Hell people on an unhealthy obsession with Hell, Conversation on seeing the World in black and white, Sibboleth on the undue weight given to the issue of homosexuality, a further loss on how everyone loses because of the persecution of gays; tolerating intolerance on forgiveness, Evidence on how beliefs affect assessment of scientific fact, Agree to disagree? on tolerating homophobic “Christians”, Moral objections to gay sex, on how there are none, Christian hate.
Here, a Southern Baptist pastor shares why his church is now a “Third way” church, while gay affirming and anti-gay congregants can worship together and pay attention to each other: