If you enjoy reading The Bible here is something to meditate on from William Webb (pretty much my NEW hero)…

First of all I want to encourage you to purchase this book by William Webb…
Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis

“As one might suspect from its name, a key component of a redemptive-movement hermeneutic is the idea of movement. The Christian seeking to apply Scripture today should examine the movement between the biblical text and its surrounding social context. Once that movement has been discovered, there needs to be an assessment of whether the movement is preliminary or absolute (see criterion 1). If it is preliminary and further movement in the direction set by the text would produce a more fully realized ethic, then that is the course of action one must pursue. The interpreter extrapolates the biblical movement toward a more just, more equitable and more loving form. If a better ethic than the one expressed in the isolated words of the text is possible, and the biblical and canonical spirit is headed that direction, then that is where one ultimately wants to end up. The alternative, of course, is to work with an understanding of Scripture that is static.
A static hermeneutic does not interest itself in discovering movement. It is primarily interested in exegeting the text as an isolated entity and finding comparable or equivalent expressions (alternative forms) of how that text may be lived out in another culture. In the case of slavery, a static hermeneutic would not condemn biblical-type slavery, if that social order were to reappear in society today. Proponents of a static hermeneutic are generally willing to condemn American slavery, which was often worse than the biblical form, but they will not speak in a negative manner about the kind of slavery presented in the Bible. In the meantime, the household codes concerning masters and slaves are transferred to the modern context of employer/employee relationships. Equivalent admonitions of “obey” and “submit” are popped in like sure-fit items. This type of application process amounts to a rather wooden swapping of ancient-world and modern-world equivalents. When a static hermeneutic is pressed with the actual words of the slavery texts, however, it produces grotesque, mutation-like applications. Imagine taking the words of Peter and advising modem employees to accept physical beatings by their employers for the sake of the gospel (1 Pet 2:18-25). Or, think about instructing contemporary employers from the Pentateuch that, should they limit beating employees to within a hairbreadth of their life, they would not be guilty of legal reprisal (Ex 21:20-21). Or, maybe our modem world should consider handing out lesser penalties for sexual violation against an employee (= slave) than in the case of sexual violation against an employer or self-employed person (= free) (Deut 22:25-27; cf. Lev 19:20-22). These examples, of course, show the utterly ridiculous nature of a static hermeneutic. Even a static application utilizes a redemptive-movement hermeneutic of sorts, on a lesser scale, by its selective choice of that which can and cannot be carried over to our context.
One might be able to persuade a modern congregation into believing that employees should “obey” and “submit to” their employers based upon the slavery texts. This happens all the time. But the outcome reflects a tragic misunderstanding of Scripture. The rest of the slavery material, beyond the obey/submit instructions, is often left at arm’s length and simply not applied.  This kind of static approach to the slavery texts is not persuasive. In fact, the wooden nature of a static hermeneutic becomes a liability to any Christian seeking to live out their commitment to God’s will, as revealed through Scripture. Having discovered the movement of the biblical texts on slavery relative to the original social context, an extrapolation of that movement today leads to the abolition of slavery altogether. On this issue our culture is much closer to an ultimate ethic than it is to the unrealized ethic reflected in the isolated words of the Bible.

In addition to the complete removal of slavery, a redemptive-movement hermeneutic proposes quite a different way of applying the household codes in our modern context. A redemptive-movement hermeneutic does not argue that modem Christians apply the household codes through submitting to and obeying their employers. Such an application not only neglects the element of movement to a more fully realized ethic but overlooks fundamental differences between slavery and modem employee-employer relations. The most crucial difference is that of ownership compared to a contractual basis for working relationships. In the modern contractual setting we should not preach obedience and submission, but that Christian employees should fulfill the terms of their contract to the best of their ability in order to bring glory to God and enhance their gospel witness. In addition, a redemptive-movement hermeneutic seeks to reapply the spirit or movement component of the slavery texts relative to the surrounding cultures. Scripture sides heavily with the plight of the slave, the poor and the oppressed. This life-breathing spirit, which bettered the conditions for slaves in the ancient world, should also influence the application process today. Contemporary Christian employers, then, should not abuse their power in pursuit of bottom-line production but advance their businesses in ways that value their employees as people and encourage their productive contribution in humane and just ways. Working conditions, levels of income, and disparity between the rich and poor are all issues that the redemptive spirit, evidenced in scriptural movement, ought to impact as we bring these texts to bear on our modem world.”

William J. Webb. Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis (Kindle Locations 319-339). Kindle Edition.

What are your thoughts?

1. “A static hermeneutic does not interest itself in discovering movement.” What do you think about the idea that scripture is not static?

2. As we read scripture are we able to see the trajectory of a text not just the shooter or the place where the text is being shot from?

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Theologically dehumanizing people….

“Homophobia is LIKE racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to DEHUMANIZE a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood.” Coretta Scott King

Wow I just came across a profound quote by Coretta Scott King. It really puts into perspective how we can attempt to “dehumanize” an issue in order to avoid dealing with our fears or phobias.  I do this all the time with other cultures and people that I am afraid of or not familiar with. It is the easy way to deal with the human condition… to dehumanize it. I have been taught how to theologically dehumanize people. I am learning how to be more Christlike… now when I disagree with a person, don’t understand them or don’t sin like them…  I need to remember that I should not deny them their , humanity, dignity or personhood.  In that sense we both bear the image of God… our humanity.

Profound. I am thankful Jesus died for my phobias. I don’t want to reduce people to theological problems anymore in the name of Christ.

“A chicken sandwich, a chicken sandwich! The Kingdom for a chicken sandwich!”

This is what the whole “Chick-Fil-A Stand” looks like to me. 😦

“Gay Is Not the New Black” says Voddie

Below I have placed some quotes from Voddie Baucham’s article @ The Gospel Coalition along with a link to the article and three responses from some of the comments generated by his article. I welcome your thoughts as well. However,before leaving any comments I would only ask that you read the whole article by Voddie Bauchman not just my snippets from it.

“And while it’s difficult to watch a coordinated, well-funded, well-connected propaganda strategy undermine thousands of years of human history, it’s especially disconcerting to witness the use of the civil rights struggle as the vehicle for the strategy.”

“The first problem with the idea of conflating “sexual orientation” and race is the fact that homosexuality is undetectable apart from self-identification. Determining whether or not a person is black, Native American, or female usually involves no more than visual verification. However, should doubt remain, blood tests, genetics, or a quick trip up the family tree would suffice. Not so with homosexuality. There is no evidence that can confirm or deny a person’s claims regarding sexual orientation.”

“An additional problem with the “gay is the new black” argument is the complete disconnect between same-sex “marriage” and anti-miscegenation laws. First, there is a categorical disconnect. Miscegenation literally means “the interbreeding of people considered to be of different racial types.” Ironically, the fact that homosexuals cannot “interbreed” shines a spotlight on the problem inherent in their logic. How can forbidding people who actually have the ability to interbreed be the same thing as acknowledging the fact that two people categorically lack that ability?”

“Homosexuals haven’t been deprived of any right.”

“There is no legal, logical, moral, biblical, or historical reason to support same-sex “marriage.””

The Article

http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2012/07/19/gay-is-not-the-new-black/

The following are two of the 200 plus comments that have been generated so far from Voddie’s article.

A man named Ben Respond…

Voddie,  having read your article I feel that a response is necessary both as a born again Christian and a gay man. Although I’m sure you are well-intentioned, there are numerous holes, omissions, and logical flaws in your argument–not to mention some extremely immoral arguments/viewpoints that you perpetuate. I would like to highlight some of the more erroneous points you make in your article:

1)You claim that homosexuality should not be conflated with race due to the fact that homosexuality cannot be detected other than by self-identification where race is unquestionably self-evident. Clearly you lack historical and legal insight in making this assertion. The Plessy vs. Ferguson case of 1896 is a case in point. Homer Plessy was 7/8 White and 1/8 Black. By all appearances he was white yet he was denied equal opportunity under the law because of the “one-drop rule.” Historically speaking, anyone who was known to have any black ancestor (regardless of how white they appeared) was considered black and denied the basic rights afforded all people. Further, nowhere in any law or legal ruling does racial identification require one’s appearance to match any racial criteria (because there is none). So racial identity is as much a matter of self-identification as homosexuality is.

2) You state: “Moreover, the homosexual community itself has made this identification even more complicated in an effort to distance itself from those whose same-sex behavior they find undesirable. The Jerry Sandusky case is a prime example.” First of all, this is an extremely immoral and untenable argument and you should be ashamed for inflaming the argument with vitriolic rhetoric. First, the VAST MAJORITY of pedophiles are HETEROSEXUAL!!! This has been proven over and over again. If there is an argument to make here, it is that heterosexuals are more of a danger to society than homosexuals are because heterosexuals are FAR MORE LIKELY to abuse children. Further, your immoral attempt at conflating homosexuality with pedophilia (which you are undoubtedly doing) has nothing to do with relationships of consenting adults who are committed to each other as faithfully and with as much integrity as any heterosexual couple. To make matters worse, you cite NAMBLA later in your article as part of your “slippery slope” argument with the erroneous assertion that “Homosexual advocates are loath to answer this question. In fact, they are adept at avoiding it (and are rarely pressed on the point).” No, Voddie, we do not avoid this question–we answer it repeatedly. The issue of gay marriage is based on the 14th amendment providing ALL AMERICANS “full and equal benefit of all laws.” This is about loving and consenting ADULTS desiring the legal benefits of marriage. This has nothing to do with the abuse of children! Marriage is about 2 consenting adults PERIOD!

3) You seem to take issue with the fact that some have likened the Gay Rights movement to the Civil Rights movement. It should be noted, however, that the Gay Rights movement could also be equated with the Woman’s Liberation movement. Why? Because this is about justice and equal rights for all Americans. It is rather ironic that in principle we have the “Separation of Church and State,” but in practice there is less separation than we are willing to recognize. The issue of Gay Rights and Gay Marriage is a legal issue. Now, as a Gay Christian I can also say it is a theological issue, but the issue is first and foremost a legal matter–not a religious one. If you doubt this, please read the 1st amendment which states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Now that we have moved the discussion to the public/legal arena we can see how the Gay Rights movement has the same basis as the Civil Rights and Women’s Liberation movement: the 14th Amendment which states that every American has “full and equal benefit of all laws.” No amendment has garnered more lawsuits than the 14th amendment. This is also why the Gay Rights movement will ultimately succeed. Neither you or anyone else should deprive me of the same right that is afforded to you and everyone else–whether you disagree with it based on your own personal opinion. The LGBT community continues to suffer injustices not only in America but throughout the whole world. And as Dr. King stated in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” What we are seeking is justice for all.

4) Further, it is clear that your position is based on how you interpret the bible which in turn leads you to want to impose your interpretation on all Americans. Let me respond by saying there are many, many, many Christians who disagree with you about homosexuality. Further, there are many Christian theologians who have written in defense of the LGBT community (and the vast majority of them are heterosexual!!!). Thus the question is why are you so intent on trying to impose your interpretation on all Americans? As a side note, you mention this powerful “homosexual lobby”, but it should be noted that LGBT advocates are grossly outspent and outmatched by the anti-gay lobby. But in spite of this I affirm Dr. King’s belief that “the arc of history bends toward justice.” I would recommend you read Walter Wink’s “Homosexuality and the Bible.” I believe the vast majority of Christians haven’t really taken the time to think about the issue or to develop a well-thought theological viewpoint on the matter. I would encourage you and your readers to read some of these Christian writers and to listen to the stories of LGBT Christians. The important point is that dialogue is essential, yet your article does more to inflame the argument and incite divisiveness than it does promote healthy dialogue.

A man named David Dressel responds…

Of course, gay is not the new black. But same-sex marriage is one of the most pressing civil rights issues of our day. Simple-minded folks and associated religious fanatics (of all colors) in America may think that gay rights supporters are claiming that race and sexual orientation are the same thing. But that’s a gross oversimplification. Rather, we are simply saying that the same civil rights laws that protect people from discrimination due to race, ethnicity, gender, religion, disability, age, creed, etc., should also protect people due to their sexual orientation. We are simply saying that the same constitutional precedent (Loving v. Virginia) that struck down bans on interracial marriage in 1967, is applicable to bans on same-sex marriage today. It’s a matter of civil rights and civil liberties, as guaranteed in the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution.

The author of this article fails to note one very telling example of an “unidentifiable minority” – religious minorities. People certainly have a “choice” when it comes to their religious affiliation and sectarian identity. Does that mean that Muslim is the new black? Or that Catholicism or Pentecostalism is the new black? Of course not. But Muslims and Catholics and Pentecostals and Baptists and Methodists are not readily identifiable. Even Muslims come in all colors, despite popular stereotypes to the contrary. But should there be laws banning interfaith marriages? Of course not, though it is true that some religious denominations condemn or set up barriers to such (religious) marriages.

Besides, the issue of same-sex marriage is not primarily an issue of sexual orientation – at least not under the law. The issue is one of gender (or sex) discrimination. If indeed sex discrimination is illegal, then there must be a compelling reason for allowing such discrimination against marriage license applicants. After all, we are not talking here about religious marriage, but civil marriage and marriage licenses issued by the state. If the state is not legally permitted to deny a marriage license based on religion, race, ethnicity, disability, national origin, creed, etc., then why should it be permitted to deny a marriage license based on gender? The argument that same-sex couples cannot “breed” ignores the fact that marriage licenses are not based on proof of procreative ability. Indeed, marriage licenses are issued all of the time to infertile opposite-sex couples, including senior citizens.

What is interesting is that the 1967 US Supreme Court case that struck down bans on interracial marriage (Loving v. Virginia) was not a decision simply based on the race of the defendants. Rather, the case was based on the equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th Amendment. After all, one of the defendants – the husband – was white. It was not simply his race that was the legal basis of the Court’s decision, but rather the denial of equal protection under law for him and his (black) wife in Virginia.

It is interesting that Mildred Loving – the female defendant in the case that overturned bans on interracial marriage nationwide – came out in favor of same sex marriage in 2007, shortly before her death. Here is what she said in her public statement:

“Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don’t think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the ‘wrong kind of person’ for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.

“I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard’s and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That’s what Loving, and loving, are all about.”

Mark responds (to the article and to some of his previous comments)

Call me a false teacher if you like. I believe the Pharisees had similar views of Jesus and I’m not afraid to speak the truth. Nor am I afraid to hear your interpretations of God’s word. While Jesus didn’t hand out gift baskets, he didn’t seem to hold contempt for anyone except those who were using God’s law to opress his children.
I have read my bible and continue to do so. Looking at the OT and NT together paints a pretty clear picture for me. What I see is a commandment to love God and our neighbor (first in the OT and emphasized again by Jesus in the NT). I also see a law that NONE of US can ever live up to (no letter of the law removed by Jesus, he came to fulfill, not abolish). And, most importantly, I see a grace that forgives ALL of US anyway. If that is false teaching then I have surely misunderstood something.

I understand the point of the article and I pray that all of us spend at least as much time figuring out how to demonstrate compassion for each other as we do trying to find ways to point out each others sin and prove we are justified in doing so. Have you heard the song “Jesus Friend Of Sinners” by Casting Crowns? One line says, “nobody knows what we’re for, only what we’re against”. I am ashamed everytime I hear that because it is true.

When I face my maker in judgement, I would rather say that I erred in showing love to my brothers and sisters when I should have been reproachful instead of the other way around.

You don’t have to agree with me and I’m thankful that you at least read my point of view as I have read yours. I would expect that most here won’t agree. There was a time when I thought this way as well but I reached a point where I felt I had become purely legalistic and had missed the point of the gospel.

If you’re wondering, I am not homosexual. But I have several friends who are, many of whom I have known since childhood. These are intelligent people who are also professing Christians. Some of you may say that you cannot be gay and Christian but if being sinless is the prerequisite, then we are all lost.

Brothers and sisters, I implore you to think of this issue not as a thing called homosexuality but as people. People who are just like you and me in far more ways than they are different. Be Jesus to them and be amazed at what God can do.

I applaud Voddie’s article for sparking conversation and thought. Even the original twelve disciples din’t always agree and neither will we. I love you anyway.

Homosexuality and Scripture

Excellent presentation by a very well respected scholar! Thank you Ben Witherington.

I am in complete agreement with what Witherington presents here from scripture but i do have some questions and a small rant that has been rolling around in my mind for awhile now concerning homosexuality and the Christian response…

1. In light of the Gospel (The person and work of Jesus The Christ) why do we sound like moralists concerning this issue but not on many other sin issues? [By moralists I mean a people who follow a system of moral principles]

2. Why does behavioral modification seem to be a means of grace for homosexuals and not everyone else? (It seems like we are picking and choosing based on the “yucky factor”)

3. Is repent simply an evangelical synonym for behavioral modification?

4.  If our response to hearing the Good News is to turn and follow. What exactly does this look like?

Who doesn’t  hate the thought of being audited come tax season.  I remember talking with an acquaintance about taxes and after I told him how stressful it was he pulled his cigarette out of his mouth and looked at me for a minute with all seriousness and said… “really do you have something to hide? Is that why your worried?”  I remember walking off and thinking to my self  “you @$%!@#& jerk, NO! I’m stressed because taxes are complicated and I am afraid I could have made a mistake… were you born on another planet?… Mr. Perfect Man?

Anyways… when issues like homosexuality come up for some reason some pretty understanding, peaceful, loving and kind Christian’s begin to look (in my opinion) a lot like tax accountants and their churches must look a lot like the department of the IRS or CRA. Full of people who smoke just ready to try to figure out what you have done wrong.  I could imagine being a fall ridden (Rom 3:23), law broken (2 Cor 3:6) sexually confused person (which every honest person is as a result of the fall and the law) looking for grace and being really confused by some “Christians” who seem to have this whole “tax thing” figured out and love to make people feel unconformable who don’t.

Some people ACT like they will hold up well come audit day. Those people might laugh, mock or over simplify the complexities of this fallen world full of fallen people doing and thinking fallen things but in the end I won’t be putting my money on behavior modification when I stand before the great tax agent in the sky… I will be thankful for his Son Jesus just like I am thankful for H&R Block (well that is until H&R Block messes up, LOL).