Moriel Missions Southern Africa April 2007
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Yeshua the Messiah.
First of all with the lines being down and being away I have misplaced some of your emails especially those who don”t want to receive the newsletter. Please forgive me if that is you and yet you receive this email. Could you just return it again with a note saying take me off the list. Thank you and God Bless.
We were really overjoyed though at the fantastic response to our last newsletter and already our lives have been enriched by your friendship and cooperation in the ministry. In fact I am now aware of people and ministries that I never new before and my hope is that we will be able to network together effectively for the glory of God.
I have just arrived home from a preaching tour of Ireland and England that went beyond our expectations. As usual it was a chance to preach Jesus, share about the work and meet new friends. But back in South Africa, things were not going so smooth with our phone cables being stolen. We were 5 weeks without a land line and so thanks to Alan and Sue Wells for the use of their internet. We even found out that on the 26th of March new cables were laid and as they were connecting them some people on the other end of the cable began to steal them again. Anyway thank the Lord on my arrival home the lines were up and running again.
Other news is that a new office for Moriel SA is under construction as we speak. This will be the place were CD’s and DVD’s are produced. Manning the office will be Chris who will take orders etc.
The new four bedroom house for other children is also complete; we now have to go through the process of health registration. Other good news is that a group of business men from Springs are busy raising funds for the next home so please pray for this.
So thank you for your participation in the ministry. Your prayers and practical giving have enabled us to preach the gospel, give out tracts and reach little ones for Christ.
The children have had a mixed month. Jo has had shingles which manifested in blisters around his tummy and back. This is a very painful time for him and so we pray that he will be over it soon.
S’phiwe has also had a difficult month. He has a slight relapse with his neurological problems and has not wanted to mix with any of the other children for too long and of course this affects his school work.
Prudence has now been placed on Anti-retroviral drugs for two months and has settled down quiet well as initially they can make you poorly as the body adapts and your immune system kicks in.
Paulina needs a scooter so she can keep up with the other children. We have priced one at R10,200 and we hope that through Gods grace we will be able to purchase one in the near future.
Carlos is doing very well and is enjoying his schooling plus the new missionaries. Its nice to report on a healthy child for a change. Deven had not been sleeping well, in fact when Deven doesn’t sleep nether do Lyn and I. So this month we started him on a course of medication that seems to have done the trick, so please pray for this little one.
N’tombi is very chesty at the moment, which inhibits her recreation. Her CD4 levels and viral load are still OK, lets pray that her ashma clears up.
Luke and Baden are fine, I was amazed at their growth and development in just three weeks of being away in the UK. Luke though is behind in his speech development and although he listens and understands he cannot communicate what he wants, so please pray for him.
Jacobs Visit to South Africa
Jacob will be conducting meetings from the 23rd August to the 10th September. This month should see the finalization of his itinerary and I will be sending out a special newsletter highlighting the venues, times etc. Meanwhile it is important that people understand the heart of Moriel and realize the broader context tin which Jacob ministers. Moriel desires to be servants in these heavy last days and I think the following letter from Jacob highlights our heart perfectly.
Greetings in Jesus
Pressures on pastors are mounting these days. Godly men who strive to feed and care for The Lord’s sheep are surrounded by challenges as post modernism invades the church eroding fundamental biblical doctrine, as the general decline of Christianity in the Western world is replaced by Neo paganism and New Age beliefs, and to stop the decline pastors are bombarded with one quick fix solution that doesn’t work after another, usually in the form of programs and marketing strategies. So often anointing is substituted with hype and increasingly exposition of God’s Word is replaced by motivational speaking using Christian jargon. ‚ Worship becomes entertainment . And pastors are often coerced into feeling that if they do not compromise with these trends despite their own reservations and convictions they will loose people, and revenue needed for the ministry.
This is compounded by the fact that the ” ˜Political Correctness’ of the fallen world has now permeated the church. Although Jesus, the Apostles and Hebrew prophets openly withstood unbiblical trends and their proponents that spiritually threatened God’s people today pastors are afraid to warn the people for whose welfare Peter’s epistles says they will one day give account about these unbiblical trends. Somehow love has been redefined as allowing wolves to devour the sheep. The ecumenical movement demands we compromise with those preaching another gospel or even another Christ. Church politics demand pastors stand by and watch one television money preacher after another exploit God’s people, discredit the gospel, and prostitute the Word of God even in the face of internationally televised scandals that damage The Body of Christ. Pastors are expected to forget that in John chapter 10 Jesus told us however that there is a distinction between a ” ˜shepherd’ and ” ˜hireling’. Hirelings being identified as pastors refusing to protect the sheep from the wolves because the ministry has become their career and business, not their vocation and calling. Just as the secular world now wrongly defines ” ˜tolerance’ as not accepting someone’s right to believe something, but we must endorse it, so much of the church goes down the same road. Had the Apostles not tackled difficult and controversial issues, much of The New Testament never would have been written and the church would have died in The 1st century. Now the failure to speak out threatens the church in the 21st century. Meanwhile, pastors are under personal attack as never before from backslidden children to troubled marriages. We must not forget the devil attacks the shepherds to make the sheep an easy prey.
We live in perilous times, just as the Apostles did. Yet, just as The Apostles we also live in tremendous times of opportunity as biblical prophecy is fulfilled daily, as Middle East events set the stage for the return of Christ, and as the tumultuous events surrounding and challenging us are precisely what The Lord told us to expect prior to His return.
Being a pastor today can not only entail a burden but a sense of loneliness, ‚ even of isolation and uncertainty that others can not easily understand or relate to. Our ministry plants churches and operates Third World missions and orphanages for AIDS children in impoverished areas and we operate in countries where the church is persecuted where we evangelize those most resistant to the gospel, especially Moslems and Jews. Yet our experience persuades us that the growing kinds of pressures on pastors even in the developed world today can be almost as demanding the very difficult circumstances we grapple with in other regions of the planet.
Our ministry Moriel tries to understand these things. One of the things we have learned and seen repeatedly is that there are pastoral issues that only a pastor who knows his flock can effectively address. They do not need outsiders coming in with what are usually imagined “prophetic words” for people, usurping the place of local pastoral leadership. The Lord calls the shepherds who have an ongoing relationship with their people to know well the condition of their flocks (Proverbs 27:23), not itinerate preachers. It is the pastors God calls to nurture the sheep without resorting to the abuses of ” ˜heavy shepherding’ described in Ezekiel Chapter 34. We have also learned however that just as in the epistles, there are other vital issues that require addressing by someone with a wider, instead of local perspective. Many pastors ask us to address these inescapable complex issues confronting today’s church. We are not ” ˜hired guns’ and we do not like to shoot up the church and leave the pastor to clean up the aftermath. But we do like to “strengthen the pastors hand” and to help the church to address contemporary issues scripturally and effectively.
When our ministry is invited to a church we come as servants. Sometimes it is to expound the scriptures from the original Judeo-Christian perspective of The First Century church. Sometimes it is to demonstrate the Hebrew origins of biblical Christianity showing how Jesus fulfils The Law of Moses and the Levitical Feasts. Other times it is to evangelize people of other faiths or conduct day seminars how to do it (Jews, Moslems, Mormons, Roman Catholics). Sometimes it is to deal with matters of apologetics and discernment. Our focus is always on Jesus and our basis is always His Word.
J. Jacob Prasch
First of all I would like to thank God for the fellowship with Him. Lord, thank you for your grace and mercy in our lives. Praise God that He sent Jesus Christ and we can have a relationship with Him in which He guides our paths, moulds us, and sanctifies us from unrighteousness to righteousness.
Secondly I thank God for the relationship I have with my wife. We celebrated our first wedding anniversary this month and had a lovely few days rest.
Thirdly I thank God for the fellowship we have with each other as believers and for the doors that have been opened this month. We have recently struck up a friendship with Calvary Chapel in Stockport who’s Pastor spent 3 years out in Rome alongside Pastor Brent at Calvary Chapel Rome. Pastor Kirk Crager and his team came and did an outreach in Llandudno and took the service at our church in Colwyn Bay. It was truly a blessing. Pastor Kirk is considering coming out to Rome with us in November on our short-term mission.
I am looking forward to be going out to Rome from 15th-22nd May and evangelizing in Rome and planning Novembers missions trip. This month we are also moving house on the 26th and will give you our new address next month. However our phone number and e-mail address will still be the same.
TEL: +004 (0)1492 874 523
God Bless and Shalom
- Liz and the pregnancy. Both her health and the babies.
- Rome trip in May and the planning of Novembers mission trip.
- Calvary Chapel Stockport and their mission trip in North West UK.
- Calvary Chapel Rome and their outreaches.
- For our move into the new house.
- For wisdom and guidance for Anthony.
Aletheia Community Church
Being a New Testament Church is tough. There was a day when I would rock up to church when I wanted, it was almost like clocking on at the factory. The cup of tea at the end of the service wasn’t compulsory and was all the fellowship I wanted. Midweek meetings were for the completely zealous. O’ it was an easy time being involved with a modern easy going seeker friendly church.
Trouble is God desires for us something different. Something challenging, something that causes us to grow and of course with growth comes growing pains. Let me tell you its not easy being accountable, its not easy sharing your life with real meaning, its not easy being a piece of iron sharpened by another piece of iron. Its not easy but its worth it. Fellowship means happy times, when the joy of Jesus overflows in our hearts. It can also be a tearful time as we share the burden of a brother or sister. We in particular pray for Dorret and her family who lost their father. You see real fellowship allows our lives to touch one another as we have the life of God in Jesus through the power of His Holy Spirit touch us.
Well if your sick of what has become the traditional church or your stuck in a place where you have no fellowship but long for fellowship with meaning? Then why not give us a try? We meet Sundays at 10:30am and 7:00pm and Wednesdays for Bible study, plus we have a gospel team that goes out during the week.
WEC missionary Steef van ” ˜t Slot, in his book, World Evangelisation, commented on the differences between westernized way of doing things and the African way. One of this differences lies in the view of time. A western person is, generally speaking, time orientated in that an event has to start at a certain time and end at a certain time but an African person, generally speaking, sees the event as more important than time and every part of the event as being important. Thus it doesn’t matter when an event starts or finishes so long as all the items are covered. Thus, not only the start of the outreach has been overdue in happening because of trying to get everything sorted out but also of an evening where as people are told that the next meeting will start at 5.30 pm the next meeting won’t be ready till about maybe 6.00 because of setting up and people won’t show up till about 6.30 or 7 after the music has been going for a few choruses. This is not to say that the western or the African way is superior but that differences of procedure has to be recognized if a person wants to cross culturally mission. Other differences are that Africans like to dance, where as we are not used to doing so in our meetings. I first met John in Springs where myself and my friend Mike where handing out tracts and he approached us and wanted to find out if he could work with us in any way. John is a pastor in this township called Tsakane which is at the moment having a huge influx of people moving there from an area called Germiston because the ground there has been deemed unsafe because of huge mining activity and ground falling as far down as 5 kms as told to me by one of the people who had moved from there.
What has followed is the formation of a new community of people living in tin shacks starting new lives and having new neighbours. There is an infancy of spirit and so when we have done open air outreaches we have found a great openness to discuss Gospel issues. It is amazing to see that many shacks act as tuck shops and liquor stores set up by people who obviously are making most of the opportunity to create a living. John has been wanting to do a series of tent outreach meetings and on finding out that Moriel Missions SA has a tent asked if he could use it for a short while. Once he had found a piece of land and got the necessary permission I took the tent down a couple of Sundays ago. Last week John managed to get some guys to put it up and last Saturday we had our first meeting. I have been there on Saturday, Monday, Tuesday and last night which was Thursday but the meetings are going on every night and evening with today being Good Friday, they are having an extra meeting this morning. On Saturday there was a small group of people and my friend, Tony came and shared his testimony. About three people came forward for prayer, one that was especially for salvation. On Tuesday a friend of John’s shared the Gospel and his message, from what I understood of his Zulu was ok. One person came forward in response to the message. But the negative aspect of that meeting was another person that John knew was praying but was binding Satan in his prayer. I went up to the guy and questioned him to see if my suspicions were right because these people pray fast in Zulu. He acknowledged that what I thought was correct and so I proceeded to argue with him concerning this issue of spiritual warfare. I upheld and agreed with points that were scriptural and disputed other areas with the use of scripture. In the end he said he could see what I was saying. But the poor guy got it again before we parted ways because he mentioned TD Jakes and I had to contradict the whole teachings about having making a success in this life saying that we needed to have a mindset for eternity. I then proceeded in the rest of the evening to chat with John about Spiritual warfare which John seemed quite na ƒ ¯ve about.
Yesterday I was a feeling down but the meeting was good medicine and I was asked to share the Gospel. I basically shared concerning the reason why we follow God, being because he is true. I shared the fact of Him being creator means that He sets the rules and not us but our problem is that we have broken His rules. I shared about hell and judgment, the fact that we deserve it and that God has to punish sin. Then after presenting the dilemma between God’s judgment and His desire to forgive, the answer was given in the Cross. Though there was a very small group there 5 people came forward wanting to commit themselves to Jesus. I challenged them to respond after John had prayed. There was no pressure applied. I questioned them in twos if they had understood the message and they were adamant that they had, then I asked if they were leaving their old life behind and they were confident in their assertion that they were. I asked them to repeat a prayer after me and then challenged them to get to know the Pastor because they would have to be baptized and start fellowship and to read the bible. They said they would. But people have started to ask if there will be permanent meetings at that site. The trouble being that they don’t have their own means to hold services there. So among the list of things to pray for would be for the discipleship of these new Christians, for the ongoing going witness in Tsakane, for some kind of big tin shack, tent or other kind of simple structure to be provided, for our relationship with John to continue and that we would walk in love and truth.
This month we have a teaching from DR Calvin Smith, a long term friend of Moriel, Jacob and I. Calvin is a true academic and fearlessly tackles subjects that most in evangelical circles are afraid to touch due to our modern era of political correctness. In this article presented at the Tyndale fellowship in the UK, Calvin opens the discussion on the issue of homosexuality. Here in South Africa, as with most western democracies, homosexuality has been accepted to the point where same sex marriage is commonly accepted. But what should be the attitude of the body of Christ?
DR Calvin Smith will be visiting South Africa at te invitation of Aletheia Community Church from the 7th to the 17th September. Venues will be announced soon and these times will include a question and answer session.
So if you desire to look at difficult issues ‚ that challenge the church today then attending one of our conferences will be the place for you. Watch this space for more details.
Homosexuality Revisited in Light of the Current Climate
Conference paper presented to the Tyndale Fellowship (Triennial Conference, 3-6 July 2006, Regents Park Conference Centre, Nantwich, England) on 5 July 2006.
Last December, an elderly Christian couple complained to Wyre Borough Council for promoting gay awareness by distributing gay lifestyle magazines in staff areas. In their letter, they wrote: –
If gay people made the decision not to think gay, they would not act gay” ¦ Whatever they are giving their attention to will eventually mould them into its image.
They suggested the Council was “pandering” to minorities and asked for Christian literature to be displayed also. The Council reported the matter to the police, who interviewed the couple. Although no further action was taken, a police spokesman told the press that “words of suitable advice were given” , adding: –
Hate crime is a very serious matter and all allegations must be investigated thoroughly.2
This is not an isolated incident. During a debate on BBC Radio Five Live last year, the author and broadcaster Lynette Burrows suggested homosexuals should not be allowed to adopt, arguing that placing a small boy in the care of two homosexual men was as much a risk as placing a young girl with two heterosexual men. A listener complained and Mrs Burrows was interviewed by the police. She later stated: –
They were leaning on me, letting me know that the police had an interest in my views. I think it is sinister and completely unacceptable. 3
Earlier this year, the Muslim leader Sir Iqbal Sacranie was investigated by police after saying homosexuality was “harmful” , both medically and morally, during a radio debate.4 Leaving aside the irony that Sacranie himself seeks hate law protection for Islam, nevertheless it is disturbing that simply expressing one’s views on homosexuality (even during a political debate) can lead to police investigation.
Some police action has bordered on the hysterical. Earlier this year, an Oxford student out celebrating after graduating (and perhaps a little drunk), approached a mounted police officer and asked if his horse was `gay’. Within minutes, several police cars arrived, the student was arrested, kept overnight in a cell, and issued a fixed penalty.5
This issue is not going to go away. Consider, for example, the Sexual Orientation (Provision of Goods and Services) Regulations back from public consultation. Conceivably, it could criminalise Christian retreat centres or churches refusing to rent their facilities to gay and lesbian groups, or churches that refused to bless same-sex partnerships.6
Quite clearly, the past 30-40 years have witnessed a massive shift in perceptions of homosexuality. For some police forces hate crimes such as homophobia and racism now take precedence over other crimes,7 and we have reached a stage where simply to express views on homosexuality can easily be misconstrued and lead to police investigation.
In short, Evangelicals can no longer ignore the political ramifications of holding a traditional view of homosexuality. Not only will this issue not go away, a collision with the authorities appears inevitable. The situation is exacerbated by some denominations and movements who take a pro-homosexual stance, including some Evangelicals, which further isolates traditionalist.
So why are the majority of Evangelicals so out of tune with society and others within Christendom? Could we possibly have it badly wrong, appealing to an interpretation of Scripture that is simplistic and fundamentally flawed? Also, in light of the current political climate, how do we respond to homosexuality, both ethically or pastorally?
These questions originally led me to offer this paper. I must state from the outset that this is not my field. Yet as a Theology generalist and interdisciplinarian with a special interest in Christianity and politics, I wanted to explore this issue further. Offering to present this paper provided me with an opportunity to do so. My aim here is simply to survey the nature of the current biblical debate on homosexuality, as well as make several observations in light of the current cultural and political climate. Given the interdisciplinary nature of the topic and the various specialisms represented here today, I have sought to present the material simply and avoid technical language wherever possible.
The material is presented in three parts. The first (largest) section surveys some of the main revisionist (i.e. pro-homosexual) exegetical arguments, together with traditionalist responses. Part two looks briefly at and comments on the view that homosexuality is biologically inherited. I conclude with some philosophical and political comments, together with some practical suggestions for Evangelicals concerning how to deal with this thorny issue.
This is an ambitious agenda for such a short paper, so it is important to realise we are only really scratching the surface. But if the paper helps to clarify the main issues for some, and encourages us all to consider the topic in greater depth, then it has accomplished what it set out to do.
1. REVISIONIST EXEGESIS AND COUNTER-ARGUMENTS
Thomas Schmidt’s useful study of the homosexuality debate identifies two broad revisionist approaches.8 The first takes the biblical passages traditionally believed to condemn homosexuality (Gen 19 & Judg 19, Lev 18:22 & 20:13, Rom 1:26-27, 1 Cor 6:9-10, and 1 Tim 1:10), offering alternative exegetical outcomes, and arguing the Bible does not, in fact, condemn homosexuality. A second revisionist approach concedes the Bible does prohibit homosexuality, but argues it is plain wrong. Instead, this approach focuses on wider biblical themes (eg an ethic of love), or draws on liberationist and feminist approaches to reject the Bible’s prohibition of homosexuality.
This second approach need not concern us today. Not only is there insufficient time, but given our commitment to the Bible as the final authority in doctrine and practice, we will focus instead on revisionist exegesis and traditionalist responses in a bid to understand the Bible’s view on homosexuality.
Genesis 19 and Judges 19
Both these narratives are very similar. In Genesis 19, Lot shelters the two angels who visit Sodom, while in Judges 19 a man offers shelter to a Levite visiting Gibeah. In both cases, the men of the city demand that the hosts give up the visitors to them, that they might `know them’ (Gen 19:5), or `have intercourse with him’ (Judg 19:22). The traditional view understands both passages to refer to male rape, thus associating the sin of Sodom with homosexuality (hence the term `sodomy’).
In 1955 D. Sherwin Bailey, an Anglican whose work helped to decriminalise homosexuality in Britain, challenged this understanding of the Sodom narrative.9 He said the Hebrew word `know’ (Heb. y ƒ ¢da) in Genesis 19:5 appears in the Old Testament 943 times, yet in only a dozen or so does it mean `to have intercourse with’. Thus, y ƒ ¢da is better translated `to get acquainted with’.
Bailey points out how in both narratives Lot and the man offering the Levite hospitality were aliens in Sodom and Gibeah. Therefore, in an age when cities relied on their defences, the male inhabitants of both cities were suspicious of these visitors being harboured by aliens. So they wanted to get to know them to determine whether or not they were spies sent to reconnoitre their city. In other words, they did not wish to know them sexually, but rather, interrogate them and verify their credentials. In a culture that greatly valued providing hospitality to strangers, the forcible interrogation of Lot’s guests represented a most inhospitable act. Thus, Lot offered his daughters as a tempting bribe to help protect his guests and ensure hospitality conventions were maintained.
To support his view, Bailey points out how other Bible passages alluding to Sodom’s sins (eg Jer 23:14, Ez 16:46ff) never mention homosexuality, while Ezekiel 16:49 seems to suggest Sodom’s sin was indeed inhospitality: –
This was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.
One passage supporting the notion that Sodom’s sin was homosexuality is Jude 7, which describes how the inhabitants went after `strange flesh’. But Bailey rejects this, suggesting the verse is drawing on traditions describing humans having sexual relations with angels, rather than males with males (cf Gen 6:1ff, also Book of Jubilees). An alternative rendering, supported by revisionists John Boswell and Robin Scroggs, argues that Sodom’s sin only became associated with homosexuality in late intertestamental Jewish writings, in response to encroaching Greek culture and its widespread practice of pederasty (sex between men and boys). Thus, Jude relies on later traditions that inaccurately describe Sodom’s sin, and as such cannot be used to reject Bailey’s inhospitality theory.
Traditionalists are not impressed with these arguments.10 Firstly, concerning Bailey’s statistical data about the word y ƒ ¢da,, Derek Kidner points out how statistics are no substitute for contextual evidence (“otherwise the rarer sense of a word would never seem probable)” .11 Others also point out how context takes precedence over statistical usage. P. Michael Ukleja observes how y ƒ ¢da is used twelve times in Genesis, ten of which clearly denote sexual intercourse.12 Also, what of the fact that y ƒ ¢da is used again just three verses later, in Genesis 19:8, in the context of Lot’s daughters never having `known’ (i.e. had sexual relations with) a man? As Schmidt points out: –
No scholarly interpreter of Genesis has ever suggested a shift in meaning of y ƒ ¢da between verses 5 and 8.13
Thus, if indeed y ƒ ¢da means `to interrogate’, one wonders what Lot hoped to gain by offering his daughters to the men of Sodom for interrogation!
Concerning the view that Sodom’s sin became associated with homosexuality in the late intertestamental period, James B. De Young demonstrates how this link is made in much earlier Jewish intertestamental writings, which pushes the tradition back.14 Meanwhile, Schmidt argues that if indeed the Judges account is a reworking of the Sodom narrative (as Bailey believes), this makes the tradition linking Sodom with homosexuality even older. Schmidt also points out how revisionists citations of Ezekiel 16:46-49 in support of the hospitality theory rarely venture on to verse 50, where the references to Sodom’s `abominations’ offers a linguistic echo of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 (which condemn same-sex relations).15
These counter-arguments lead Guenther Haas to observe how even some revisionists concede there is a sexual element in both narratives.16 Thus, Letha Scanzoni and Virginia Mollenkott suggest Sodom’s sin was heterosexual perverts abandoning their natural sexual instincts to engage in homosexual activity (rather than homosexual inverts involved in monogamous relationships).17 Yet as Richard Lovelace observes, if 4+% of the population may be regarded as homosexual (some claim a higher figure), and all of the men of Sodom sought to rape the angels (cf Gen 19:4), then at least some homosexual `inverts’ were preparing to engage in sexual depravity, which discounts Scanzoni’s and Mollenkott’s theory.18
Bailey’s approach is a useful corrective against the view that Sodom’s only sin was homosexuality. Clearly the city was guilty of depravity expressed through a range of sins, epitomised by its sexual perversion, including a desire to rape the angels. Perhaps, as some suggest, male rape was practiced in parts of the ancient world to express dominance over strangers, or else to humiliate your defeated enemy. Either way, this passage clearly refers to homosexuality, which is portrayed as sexual perversion (especially in light of other texts and greater themes in the Bible, discussed later).
Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13
Some revisionists argue that these passages refer to rape or non-consensual homosexuality, and therefore cannot be used to condemn modern homosexual practices. Yet Schmidt declares such claims as “dubious” and “a purely modern imposition on the text.” 19 He rightly points out that the onus is on the revisionists to supply evidence to justify a change in the common understanding of these texts.
Two other interrelated revisionist suggestions are more subtle and deserve closer attention. One view argues these texts, found in the Leviticus Holiness Code, are not so much moral declarations as calls for ritual purity.20 As such, they are no different than instructions not to cut one’s beard in a certain way (Lev 19:27), or to mix different textiles or seeds together (Lev 19:19). If the ceremonial laws have been abrogated in the New Testament, the revisionists ask, why should we impose them on homosexuals today? Thus it is argued that these texts cannot be used to prohibit modern-day loving relationships between homosexuals. Revisionist John Boswell even appeals to history, claiming the early church did not draw on the Leviticus verses.
Yet traditionalists point out that even if the Leviticus Holiness Code is about ritual purity, this does not do away with a moral element. Consider, for example, adultery, child sacrifice, or bestiality, all listed in the section prohibiting homosexuality. Few would argue these are not immoral acts, and Ukleja concludes: “Ceremonial purity and moral purity often coincide.” 21 Moreover, David Wright rejects Boswell’s claim that the early church did not draw on these verses, explaining how the early church did often cited or appealed to these verses often.22
A related revisionist approach claims Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 are injunctions against cultic practices associated with the Canaanites, which involved male temple prostitution.23 Therefore, these ceremonial laws were aimed at separating Israel from the Canaanites, nothing more, and so cannot be used to condemn homosexuality.24
Yet Gunther Haas argues there is no evidence to suggest these texts refer to Canaanite cultic practices.25 Schmidt agrees, pointing out that cultic prostitution is dealt with elsewhere in the Mosaic law (Deut 22:22-29, 23:17-18).26 Robert Johnston even goes so far as to suggest there is no clear evidence that male prostitution formed part of the Canaanite cultic rituals.27 (His is an older work, and I would be interested to learn of more recent research that might challenge this assertion). Moreover, bestiality is discussed in the Leviticus passages but I am not aware of anyone who suggests this was a Canaanite cultic ritual. Finally, one struggles to determine how, exactly, same-sex relations might be employed in Canaanite fertility rituals.28
Here, revisionists take a variety of approaches. Boswell suggests Paul is speaking about heterosexuals who set aside their natural desires towards the opposite sex and practice homosexuality.29 Thus, Paul condemns heterosexuals for seeking thrills by experimenting with homosexuality. (D. Sherwin Bailey also differentiates between inversion ” “ those who by nature have homosexual tendencies – and perversion, i.e. those who lay aside their natural sexual orientation). Yet commentators point out how Boswell’s claim of perverted heterosexuality simply does not hold up linguistically.30 There is no evidence for it, and Boswell is reading something in the text which is simply not there.
Paul’s reference to `nature’ in Romans 1:26-27 is picked up by several other revisionists. They reject the suggestion that homosexuality is unnatural, arguing the word `nature’ can simply mean convention, a typical cultural practice, or fashion. Thus, they claim Paul is merely arguing from a Jewish cultural perspective which condemned homosexuality, which he is seeking to impose upon his Jewish readers. But that is not to say homosexuality is unnatural. To bolster such claims, 1 Corinthians 11:14 is often cited (“Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair, it is degrading to him?” ).
Yet in Romans 1 Paul quite clearly is arguing from nature, rather than drawing on cultural baggage. He appeals all the way back to creation (cf Romans 1:20, 25), and his discussion of sin is rooted in the Fall. (It is worth noting that several of Paul’s contemporaries, Philo and Josephus, also appeal to nature when discussing homosexual acts.)31
Another approach suggests Paul is not condemning all same-sex relationships, but rather, pederasty, which it is argued is a perversion most homosexuals today would also reject as immoral.32 But Malick asks if this is indeed what Paul had in mind, why does he refer to `males with males’ when Plato, actually referring to pederasty, spoke of `males with boys’?33 Various commentators also point out that there are no records in the ancient world of a female version of pederasty. So why does Paul refer to same-sex female relationships in the same vein, if indeed he had pederasty in mind?34 In fact, there is arguably no linguistic evidence to suggest Paul is limiting his discussion in Romans 1 to pederasty.
Several other points ought to be mentioned in passing here. It is suggested Romans 1:18-32 is a single unit in which Paul does not set out his own views. Rather, his diatribe describes the view of Hellenised Jewry (who condemn the Greeks for their behaviour) in order to attack them (the Jews) in the very next section. In other words, Paul is setting up the Jews in Romans 1 by highlighting what they regarded as vile Gentile practices, before going on to condemn them in chapter 2 for their own sinful actions. Thus, homosexuality is not sinful at all; it was merely perceived to be so by the Jews. But again, this argument totally ignores the fact that Paul appeals to nature (and not Jewish baggage), tracing his argument all the way back to the Fall to condemn all sinful behaviour.
Some see homosexuality as a punishment for idolatry, as described in Romans 1. Thus, homosexuality is regarded as incidental, rather than sinful.35 It is true that Paul’s argument describes how idolatry led God to give humanity over to depraved behaviour, including sexual perversion. But it is also essential to note that Paul’s discussion revolves around the Fall and man’s rebellion towards God. The Fall marked the beginning of the inversion of God’s created order: men worshipping the creature rather than the Creator, and eventually men with men, and women with women.36 Thus, homosexuality is presented in Romans 1 as a perversion arising out of the Fall, a degrading inversion of God’s natural order, and any attempt to change Paul’s argument so as to suggest it is not a sinful activity is disingenuous and appeals more to linguistic gymnastics than sound exegesis. At least those who recognise Paul’s arguments, say he was plain wrong, and look elsewhere to justify homosexual activity, are more honest.
1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:10
9 ‚ Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, malakoi, arsenokoitai, 10thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers – none of these will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor 6:9-10. NRSV)
10 ” ¦fornicators, arsenokoitais, slave-traders, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching” ¦ (1 Tim 1:10. NRSV)
Arsenokoitai (`homosexuals’) is a compound of two words, arseno (male) and koit ƒ ª (intercourse, from which we get the word coitus). But as Schmidt points out “a compound word does not denote the sum of its parts (for example, `understand’ does not mean `stand under’)” , thus a word “denotes what people use it to denote” .37 Malakoi is similarly problematic, which is translated in various ways (effeminate, KJV, NASB; sexual perverts, NRV; male prostitutes, NRSV, NIV; catamites, JB).
In Paul’s day (or even in the patristic period) there was no word for homosexuality. Rather, homosexuality was described.38 This, and the fact that arsenokoitai does not appear in this form prior to 1 Corinthians 6, leads some to claim we cannot be sure what it means. Hence, the definition of both words represents an important battleground for revisionists arguing that the Bible does not condemn loving and stable same-sex unions. Boswell even believes these passages do not refer to homosexuality at all. Because malakos means `soft’, he translates 1 Corinthians 6:9 as `loose’, that is, `licentious’, or lacking self-control, and draws on a medieval church view that this was, in fact, a condemnation of masturbation (not homosexuality. Meanwhile, he suggests arsenokoitai could mean male prostitutes.
For non-Greek or linguists specialists the arguments are complex. It suffices to point out that David Wright’s rebuttal of Boswell’s position is thorough and scathing.39 Wright questions not only Boswell’s arguments, but also his linguistic abilities, and Wright notes Boswell is almost alone in taking this position.
Ralph Blair believes Paul’s condemnation in 1 Corinthians 6 and 1 Timothy 1 concerns same-sex abuses, much like sexual abuse within heterosexual relationships (hence these verses do not condemn homosexuality in itself).40 However, Malick asks if this is so, why does Paul not specifically list those abuses, like he lists several heterosexual abuses (eg adultery, fornication)? Any attempt to suggest otherwise is pure presuppositionalism.41 Meanwhile, Turner points out how Paul uses the word pornoi earlier in verse 9, translated as `fornication’ and referring to any form of heterosexual depravity except adultery, for which Paul always uses a different word. So if `fornication’ and `adultery’ indeed cover all forms of heterosexual depravity, then malakoi and aresenokotai must surely refer to homosexuality.42
Robin Scroggs suggests Paul merely took over “a conventional vice list” and is condemning a very specific form pederasty. But Wright has highlighted a major problem here. If Paul simply borrowed an existing vice list referring to very general sexual vices, including widespread and very general forms of pederasty, how can Scroggs then suggest Paul is identifying a very precise form of this vice?43 A number of other exegetes concur.
Concerning this suggestion that Paul is only referring to pederasty, Malick concedes both words could be alluding to pederasty, which was so common in the ancient Greek world. For example, malakos could mean `call-boy’, or something similar, and both words together could be referring to the active and passive roles in the homosexual act (thus malakos would be the male performing the female role during sex). But Malick argues the terms clearly mean more than this, that linguistically they cannot be limited to this understanding alone (other traditionalists agree). Thus he criticises John Stott for limiting his definition to rent boys and those who used them. (Malick: “This allows for the conclusion that Pauline condemnations are not relevant to homosexual adults who are both consenting and committed to each other.” )44
It is David Wright who provides us with a way of reconciling the views that Paul is referring both to pederasty and also something much more. He observes that so widespread was pederasty, that this is how homosexuality came to be known (this is even the case today, where we refer to `rent boys’, even though they are adults).45
Far more importantly, though, is Wright’s rebuttal of the view that malakoi and arsenokoitai do not appear elsewhere in ancient literature. In the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament), Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 echo very similar language to that used by Paul. Wright argues convincingly that Paul, a devout Jew who undoubtedly knew the Septuagint, draws on the Septuagint in 1 Corinthians 6 and 1 Timothy 1 to condemn homosexuality.46 He also points out how most revisionists (with the exception of Scroggs) are completely unaware of the Septuagint terminology in Leviticus. The final nail in the revisionist coffin is this: if Paul is drawing on the Septuagint in 1 Corinthians 6 and 1 Timothy 1, then he simply cannot have pederasty in mind, as Leviticus is not concerned with this at all.47 Thus, in these two texts Paul may well be drawing upon a Greek obsession with pederasty, but we simply cannot limit his meaning to that.48
In summary, then, despite an unceasing revisionist onslaught which seeks to change the meaning of the proof texts condemning homosexuality, the traditional remains convincingly firm.
2. RESPONDING TO THE BIOLOGICAL ARGUMENT
We often hear of scientific studies suggesting our sexuality is biologically inherited. This so-called Nurture versus Nurture debate (i.e. whether our sexuality is biologically inherited or socially conditioned) is problematic for Evangelicals. If homosexuals are “born that way” they cannot be held responsible for a practice the Bible condemns as sinful. Thus many Evangelicals expend much time and energy challenging the biological argument.
I want to make several comments about this issue. Firstly, we should not reject science out of hand. Fundamentalists are often very suspicious of, even hostile towards, scientific enquiry, which they regard as an enemy of Christianity. However, it appears biology may indeed contribute towards our sexuality. What first led me to consider this might be a factor were several Dutch brain studies which demonstrated similarities between transexuals’ and females’ brains.49
This made me think about other inherited aspects of our person. For example, I have five children, all raised in the same environment in the same way. But one of them ” “ Dominiq ” “ is quite unlike the others. In short, he is mischievous and at times, downright exasperating! He constantly pushes the boundaries, gets in to trouble all the time, and is nothing like the other children. Relatives have told me how he is exactly like my father when he was a boy.
Note that I am not arguing for arguing for biological reductionism here, but it does appear that more than environment is responsible for our make-up, including shaping behaviour we consider sinful. For example, scientists believe alcoholism may have a genetic basis. Some people are born with hormonal imbalances. Sex drives differ from person to person, while some people struggle to control their sexual desires (so-called sex maniacs). Some are born with schizophrenia, which may lead to violent behaviour. What of those diagnosed with Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy who desire to hurt those closest to them? Meanwhile, some people are far angrier than others.
I have certainly oversimplified things by not wishing to trawl through various dry medical papers. But I believe the point is made, that biology may play some role in shaping us. And one need only consider hermaphrodites (children born with both sets of sex organs) to see that biology can get it wrong. So we should take care not to dismiss science out of hand simply because we are uneasy with the theological ramifications. Of course, neither am I suggesting we embrace all science uncritically. I recognise that science, like any other discipline, has its own agendas and research is often politicised. Furthermore, study samples can be compromised or so small as to render a study useless. Consider A.C. Kinsey’s landmark 1948 study, which suggested homosexuality was far more widespread than originally believed (Kinsey said between 10-15%).50 Yet his interview sample included a many former prison inmates, where we know there is a disproportionate amount of homosexual activity.
While biology may be a factor, it appears some homosexuals, though happy that such studies are publicised by the media as they help secure their acceptance in society, are not convinced about the biological argument. Others see a genetic basis for homosexuality as dangerous, as it could eventually lead to abortions for prospective homosexuals. Thus, Schmidt speculates on the paradoxical situation whereby gays and pro-lifers lobby to stop abortions!51
Despite all I have said, it is very important not to overplay the biological argument. It remains a controversial issue, and the various scientific studies have not reached a consensus. We know that upbringing, culture, and environment also play a major role in shaping a person. In fact, Evangelicals who worry that biological arguments exonerate people for their sinful behaviour should note that social conditioning could similarly do likewise. Why else are we so concerned about children being adopted by homosexuals, or seeing Section 28 repealed, if not over concern about moral brainwashing? But leaving this aside, it appears that our sexuality is attributable to a range of factors: biological, social, moral, and Thomas Schmidt has produced a useful table, which encompasses these various factors, to suggest where we get our sexuality from (handout).
So what are the theological ramifications of the great nurture versus nature debate? Actually, I think very little. It is a complete red herring.52 The fact is (as already discussed in Romans 1) we are all a product of the Fall, which resulted in an inversion of God’s created order. Consequently, we all have defficiencies – physical diseases, psychological disorders, or sexual disorders and depravity. We all have a propensity to sin. But that in no way exonerates us as sinful creatures before God who need forgiveness.
Thus, the whole thrust of Galatians 4 and 5 makes sense: that despite being products of the Fall, Sonship through Christ leads God to give us His Spirit, through whom we can lay aside the deeds of the flesh and live the sanctified life God wants for us. When Paul lists the various vices in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, he goes on to say (verse 11) “and so were some of you, but you have been washed, sanctified” ¦” . For this reason, Paul’s call in Galatians is that we walk by the Spirit, so that we do not carry out the desires of the flesh.
The biggest theological problem with homosexuality within the church is not people who have homosexual thoughts. (We all struggle with the old nature, Paul, and there will be people within our congregations who daily struggle to crucify the flesh). Rather, the problem in the church is that some deny they are committing a sin. How, then, can God forgive unless we recognise and confess that our behaviour is contrary to His will?
3. CONCLUDING REMARKS
When I first explored this issue, I did so with an open mind and wanted to let the facts speak for themselves. Yet the weak revisionist exegetical arguments, together with far more convincing traditionalist rebuttals, have led me to affirm the traditional view more firmly than ever. As some traditionalists have pointed out, the exegetical argument has been won and it is time to move on. I agree, and am convinced the political arena will increasingly become the place where this battle is fought out.
Starting with Kinsey’s 1948 study, Bailey’s work leading to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in the UK, the gay movement successfully attaching itself to the civil rights movement – the pace of change has been dizzying and attitudes have changed massively.53 Moreover, the issue has found a home within a western liberal society intent on deconstructing its Christian past and relativising morality. Tolerance is today’s buzzword, except of course when some in society (mainly Christians) challenge society’s core values. Thus, a `tolerant’ society is paradoxically most intolerant of intolerance. We are at a moment in time where morality is determined by what is legal, so that what is illegal is immoral. Consider, for example, how it is fast becoming illegal to express a view of homosexuality openly, while such views are deemed immoral! No wonder Thomas Schmidt believes homosexuality can no longer be ignored, and that it “increasingly appears to be the battleground for all the forces seeking to give shape to the world of the next [ie 21st] century.” 54
Meanwhile, society has successfully shaped the way we now think. If nothing else, we think very carefully about whether and how to express our views on homosexuality, while in the background hover society’s sentinels ” “ the police ” “ who zealously investigate anyone who expresses a view contrary to society’s values. At present, we may find protection in the courts, where the law is interpreted somewhat less zealously. But what happens when the current philosophy trickles down to a new generation of liberal elites, judges who interpret the laws somewhat differently? I do not think it is particularly hysterical to suggest that Christians in Europe face real political challenges ” “ even dangers of being criminalised – in the foreseeable future, as we grapple with the issue of homosexuality (less so in the `States, where society holds the same values, but arguably where free speech is championed more).
Aside from the political arena, we Evangelicals also face a massive pastoral challenge in our treatment of homosexuality. Too often, we come across as cold, heartless, demoting homosexuality to the most heinous of sins (despite what Paul says in 1 Cor 6:11). Whatever one thinks of their theology, at least some revisionists were motivated by genuine pastoral concerns, seeking to deal with some decent, respectable, gay people they knew. When it comes to homosexuality, we Evangelicals sometimes lack this compassion.
So our attitudes as Christians must reflect a real compassion for homosexuals, to help them be set free in Christ. That is not to dismiss their behaviour as acceptable or harmless. (The medical consequences are particularly startling, but these are rarely discussed).55 Our survey of Scripture has demonstrates this is far from so. But perhaps we do need to change the way we deal with the issue. After all, why do we tell the sinner to come to Christ so that He can help you with your sin, but almost appear to say to the homosexual, give up your sin then you can come to Christ? It is also important not to minimise our own sexual sins by singling out homosexuality. We remove the speck in some else’s eye while stumbling over the log in our own.
Pastoral approaches must also include meaningful counselling and advice providing genuine and constructive ways forward. We counsel the alcoholic within our churches, so why not the homosexual? Many pastors feel woefully ill-equipped to deal with this issue and perhaps ministries that reach out to gays have something to teach us here. Neither must we assume that all homosexuals, once converted, will never have such thoughts again. We all struggle to crucify the flesh, and it might be appropriate to differentiate between orientation (the thought) and practice (the deed). In light of Scripture we should never condone the latter, but we should seek to counsel and pray for the person struggling with the former. Also, `cures’ (not exactly a politically correct term in this context; alternatively, perhaps sexual orientation realignment, or sexual re-orientation?), though massively controversial, surely have a role, especially as success rates are slightly higher than treating alcoholism.
Finally, we need to establish and clarify in our minds a theology of sexuality, rather than engage in simple proof-texting against homosexuality. Yes, revisionist attempts to change what the Bible says have failed. But proof texts alone are not the basis for any theological argument. These texts must be utilised as part of a far wider biblical discussion of sexuality as whole. In fact, the traditional view is further greatly strengthened (and the revisionist argument weakened yet more) when we take these proof texts together with Paul’s appeal to nature and creation, the teaching in Genesis 1 and 2 that God’s intended order was male and female (and not male and male, or female and female), and also Jesus’ affirmation of the male-female union in His teaching.56 Such a metanarrative is, of course, the basis of biblical theology.
On a related point, it is important for us to get our biblical theology straight when we discuss this issue. Too often, I have seen someone on television ask a Christian why we use the Old Testament to condemn homosexuality, but do not observe other aspects of the Mosaic law. We need to be able to explain our position concerning the law and these prohibitions concisely and with clarity.
It might also be a good idea for Evangelicals in each country to set up working groups to draft statement on the issue of sexuality-homosexuality, that are thoughtful, theologically sound, and pastorally relevant. Such approaches should involve scholars (eg Tyndale, Kirby Laing Institute for Christian Ethics), and pastoral practitioners and representatives (eg Evangelical Alliance representatives, denominational leaders). At the very least, such statements might accord Evangelicals some legal protection when accused of hate crime.
There are many, many issues I could have discussed today. Moreover, I fear we have only scratched the surface and perhaps even oversimplified the issue.57 The issue is also highly politicised, and as such many issues often cited as fact actually deserve closer scrutiny.58 Yet time here simply does not permit. Nonetheless. I sincerely hope this brief presentation has helped to clarify some of the main issues and given us cause to go away and consider more fully some of the political and pastoral challenges we as Evangelicals face.
Handout: Multiple Variable Model For Homosexual Identity
From Schmidt, Thomas. Straight and Narrow: Compassion and Clarity in the Homosexuality Debate (Leicester: IVP, 1995).
1. Conference paper originally presented to the Tyndale Fellowship (Triennial Conference, 3-6 July 2006, Regents Park Conference Centre, Nantwich, England) on 5 July 2006, and entitled A Re-examination of the Biblical View of Homosexuality in Light of the Current Climate.
2. BBC News website, 23 December 2005. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/lancashire/4555406.stm.
3. Daily Telegraph (online edition), 10 December 2005. URL: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/12/10/ngay10.xml
4 Daily Telegraph (online edition), 12 January 2006. URL: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/01/12/nsacr12.xml.
5 Daily Telegraph (online edition), 12 June 2005 (URL: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2005/06/12/nhorse12.xml ).
6 Also, teachers might have to promote gay and lesbian month, while homosexual sex education could be put on a par with heterosexuality.
7 For example, Humberside Police (see Daily Telegraph, 10 December 2005 (op. cit.), and 9 April 2004 URL: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/04/09/ncctv09.xml).
8 From Thomas Schmidt, Straight and Narrow: Compassion and Clarity in the Homosexuality Debate (Leicester: IVP, 1995).
9 D. Sherwin Bailey, Homosexuality and the Western Christian Tradition (London: Longmans, 1955)
10 David F. Wright notes that Bailey, “(borrowed, often slavishly, by a number of later writers) has had a far longer innings than it deserves, and is now rarely put in to bat” , `Homosexuality: The Relevance of the Bible’ in Evangelical Quarterly 61:4 (1989), 292.
11 Derek Kidner, Genesis: An Introduction and Commentary. Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries (Leicester: IVP, 1967, reprinted 1999), 137.
12 P. Michael Ukleja, `Homosexuality and the Old Testament’ in Bibliotheca Sacra 140 (1983), 261.
13 Schmidt (op. cit), 87.
14 James B. De Young, `A Critique of Prohomosexual Interpretations of the Old Testament Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha’ in Bibliotheca Sacra 147 (1990), 437-54.
15 Schimdt (op. cit), 88.
16 Guenther Haas, `Hermeneutical Issues in the Use of the Bible to Justify the Acceptance of Homosexual Practice’ in Global Journal of Classical Theology Vol 1 No 2 (1999). Available online at http://www.trinitysem.edu/journal/journalmain.html.
17 Letha Scanzoni and Virginia R. Mollenkott. Is The Homosexual My Neighbour? (New York: Harper & Row, 1978).
18 Richard F. Lovelace, Homosexuality and the Church (London: Lamp Press, 1978), 101.
19 Schmidt (op. cit.), 90.
20 See, for example, Scanzoni and Mollenkott, and also Ralph Blair, An Evangelical Look at Homosexuality (Chicago: Moody Press, 1963).
21. Ukleja (op. cit.), 263.
22. Wright (op. cit.), 294. See also David F. Wright, `Homosexuals or Prostitutes? The Meaning of arsenokoitai (1 Cor. 6:9, 1 Tim. 1:10)’ in Vigiliae Cristianae 38 (1984), 125-152.
23. For example, G.A. Edwards, Gay/Lesbian Liberation: A Biblical Perspective (New York: Pilgrim Press, 1984).
24. For example, Scanzoni and Mollenkott (op. cit.).
25. Guenther Haas (op. cit.).
26. Schmidt (op. cit.), 90.
27. Robert K. Johnson, Evangelicals at an Impasse: Biblical Authority in Practice (Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1979), see chapter 5.
28. Several traditionalists make this point.
29. Letha Scanzoni and Virginia Mollenkott make a similar suggestion about the inhabitants of Sodom.
30. See, for example, David F. Wright, `Homosexuality’ in Gerald Hawthorne and Ralph Martin (eds.). Dictionary of Paul and His Letters (Leicester: IVP, 1993), 413.
31. Various commentators make this same point.
35. John T. McNeill, The Church and the Homosexual (Kansas City: Sheed, Andrews, McMeel, 1976); James B. Nelson, Embodiment: An Approach to Sexuality and Christian Theology (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1978).
36. Lovelace (op. cit.), 92.
37. Schmidt (op. cit.), 33.
38. Guidel (op. cit.), 7.
39. Wright, `Translating arsenokoitai’ (op. cit.) and `Homosexuality: The Relevance of the Bible’ (op. cit.).
40. Blair (op. cit.).
41. David E. Malick, “The Condemnation of Homosexuality in 1 Corinthians 6:9’ in Bibliotheca Sacra 150 (1993), 479-492.
42. P.D.M. Turner, Biblical Texts Relevant to Homosexual Orientation and Practice. A paper prepared for the June 1997 issue of Christian Scholars Review with additions and emendations. Available online at the New Westminster Diocese website: http://www.nwnet.org/~prisca/HomotextUnicode.htm.
43. Wright, `Homosexuality: The Relevance of the Bible’ (op. cit.), 296.
44. Malick,`The Condemnation of Homosexuality in 1 Corinthians 6:9’ (op. cit.), 482 (footnote 10).
45. Wright, `Homosexuality: The Relevance of the Bible’ (op. cit.), 298.
46. Other concur. See, for example, Malick, `The Condemnation of Homosexuality in 1 Corinthians 6:9’ and Gundel (op. cit.).
47. Wright, `Homosexuality: The Relevance of the Bible’ (op. cit.), 298.
48. As Gudel (op. cit.) points out, “Virtually every Greek lexicon” translate these words in the traditional sense.” Meanwhile, Ukleja also identifies these terms in several examples of classical Greek literature, which clearly refer to homosexuals. See also P. Michael Ukleja, `Homosexuality in the New Testament’ in Bibliotheca Sacra 140 (1983).
49. For example, see Frank P. M. Kruijver, Jiang-Ning Zhou, Chris W. Pool, Michel A. Hofman, Louis J. G. Gooren and Dick F. Swaab, ` Male-to-Female Transsexuals Have Female Neuron Numbers in a Limbic Nucleus’ in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism Vol. 85, No. 5 (2000), 2034-2041; J.N. Zhou, M.A. Hofman, L.J. Gooren and D.F. Swaab, `A Sex Difference in the Human Brain and Its Relation to Transexuality’ Nature 378 (1995), 68-70.
50. A.C. Kinsey et al., Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male (Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders, 1948).
51. Schmidt (op. cit), 141.
I reached my conclusions, as set out here, some time before I came across Thomas Schmidt’s work, together with another useful piece which similarly echoes the position that the biological debate, which might have some foundation, is nonetheless irrelevant from a theological perspective (see Sherwood O. Cole, `Biology, Homosexuality, and the Biblical Doctrine of Sin’ in Bibliotheca Sacra 157 (200), 348-61). These studies express the position far more eloquently than I ever could.
53. For details of the history of the gay movement since the mid twentieth century see, for example, Guidel (op. cit.), Lovelace (op. cit.), and James Beck, `Evangelicals, Homosexuality, and Social Science’ in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 40/1 (March 1997), 83-97.
54. Schmidt (op. cit.), 11.
55. Schmidt devotes a whole (graphic) chapter to this issue in a medically sourced essay that details a range of psychological, emotional and physical consequences of homosexuality (apart from AIDS). He believes this issue is too often ignored. See also Ronald Sider, `AIDS: An Evangelical Perspective’ in Christian Century 105:1 (2006), 11-14.
A point made by several traditionalists. Consider, for example, Brian Edgar, The Sexuality of God: Thinking About Theology and Sexuality (Forum Booklet No. 8, 1996); John C. Yates, `Towards a Theology of Homosexuality’ in Evangelical Quarterly 67:1 (1995), 71-87.
57. The body of literature on this issue is vast. For a recent survey of some of the latest studies, see Guenther Haas, `Perspectives on Homosexuality: A Review Article’ in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 45/2 (June 2002), 497-512.
58. See, for example, a discussion by Joseph P. Gudel, `Homosexuality: Fact and Fiction’ in Christian Research Journal (1992), 20-23, 30-33. This article, while brief, raises some important issues anyone exploring the topic should bear in mind.
Dr Calvin L. Smith
Editor, Evangelical Review of Society and Politics
Course Director and Lecturer in Theology
The Midlands Bible College and Divinity School
P.O. Box 2143, Stone
Staffordshire ST15 9WQ
Tel. +44 (0)8700 421 704
Website: ‚ www.midbible.ac.uk
Blog: ‚ http://collegeblog.midbible.ac.uk/
I will be in Australia from the 10th of May. When I am away the office will be open and run by Christopher who will try to answer any query you may have. The full itinerary will be published at the beginning of May
Our visitors have been settling in very well. Its good to have my son Aaron back home again from a work stint in the UK, just pray for him at the moment as he considers his long term future.
Aaron’s girl friend Erin is here for two years and is finding her feet once again although a recent tummy bug and sinus problem has knocked the wind out of her a little. (no pun intended)
Dianne from New Zealand who is here for a year as really settled to be a mature member of the team and has thrown herself into the work with great enthusiasm. Her main project is Bethesda and she has been overseeing the construction of a building for the use of mums and would be mums from the Kwazinzele settlement across the road.
Becca and Suzi from Starbeck mission felt at home right from the beginning. We have seen them roll their sleeves up and get stuck in with their tasks of working with the children and assorted jobs around the plot. Please pray that their visas can be extended.
Next month sees the return of Suzanne Lim from Singaore and later in the year we welcome three people from Sweden.
Maybe short term or even long term mission is a thing you are able to consider? Then why not contact us and sign up for next year?
- The health department visit to our new home
- For our children’s day to day health
- Our missionaries from the UK and New Zealand
- Our entire family who have every member involved with mission
- Salvador , that God may continue to give him strength and wisdom
- Our day to day needs spiritually and physically
- Allen, Sue and the children at Bezaleel
- Jacobs visit in August
- Calvin Smiths visit in September
- The mission at Tsakane
- The Church in Kwazulu
- Pray for the start of a new church in Cape Town
- For Bezaleel
- For Moriel Kenya and Tanzania
- Pastor Chanti and Lilly in India
Moriel has a whole catalogue of teaching material by Jacob, yours truly and a whole bunch of great bible teachers. If you want to browse our catalogue just email us and we can send it to you on excel
How can you help?
Prayer is important, but also the helping hands and the finances that enable us to do what we do. So please consider the following.
Receive a regular News update either by email or hard copy. Just send your address to us and we will pop one in the post for you or email it to you. (although email to save mail size will be without pictures)
Secondly you can apply to be a short or long term missionary. ‚ If the Lord burdens you and you want to investigate more please contact us.
Finally you can give a one off gift or a regular monthly amount to cover the costs of mission. This is simple to do. Just contact the following people or you can contact any Moriel office and they will assist you.
For the UK contact:
MR & MRS B Royle
2 Cressington Close
Off Cedric Street
Salford M5 5JS
Tel: +44 (0) 161 737 2996
Email: ‚ firstname.lastname@example.org
Po Box 10807
Phone:+27 (0)11 730 1719
Fax: +27 (0)11 730 1719