one last blog on Homosexuality

I read the article and it was very well written and thought provoking. The thing that is hard for me to get through is some of the context in which the scripture was reviewed and also the nature of who is writing it. With that being said, it was overall a great article. Thanks for sharing it.

I think that a homosexual comes to the text with major presuppositions about what they both want to and expect to walk away with from scripture. I think that this is true for all people if we are not careful. Even Bill Clinton found a way to support receiving oral favors using scripture. (its not sex; yeah sure.)

I do agree that although homosexuality is not the major core value of scripture nor is it the bible's ultimate theme (of course) it is still a value that God takes serious. Do I think all homosexuals go to hell. NO WAY!! God's grace surpasses more than we can comprehend and only God knows the heart, and is qualified to judge it. However, it is hard for me to get past all of the scripture on Sexual Immorality (all sexual immorality, not just homosexuality) and to walk away thinking that when God see's 2 men or 2 women (who are not married) having oral sex, anal sex, hand sex, or whatever else we can dream up; that he rejoices and dances over that act like he does when a married man and women come together as 1 like it is stated in Genesis. I just cannot find that in scripture.

Add to that the harsh words from Paul in 1 Thes 4:3-8 which says It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
Verse 3 is clearly stating that the way we deal with our sexuality has a direct impact on God's sanctifying work in us. It is also agreeing with what all of us would say, which is, "at times we will have to fight our own un-natural sexual urges for the cause of Christ in order to inherit all that Christ would desire for us to have." I want to make very clear that sexual urges are not all un-natural, but urges that I would say the bible considers un-holy or not honorable (sex before marriage, sex outside of marriage, same sex sex, sex with animals, etc) are un-natural.
Sex is a great thing created by a great God. Actually when people tell me that they believe God isn't good, I remind them who created sex (oh yeah baby); is it even possible for the creator of sex to not be good? I don't think so.

I will end with this comment. Luke 14 says that in order to be considered a disciple of Jesus we must Love him more than anything else; including our pleasures. We must be willing to carry our cross and be willing to die. Revelations 2 say that we are to be faithful even until the point of death. These scriptures point out a very hard truth and that is, more often than not, we will be faced with making decisions that go against our feelings; our gut; our pleasure; what looks right; what feels right; etc. However, in order to be able to be called one of Jesus' true disciples, we need to die to self and live for Christ. For me that means, no sleeping around regardless of how good or bad my marriage situation, no lying no matter how much the truth hurts, no cowering under the pressures of culture because it is easier; instead, now that I am a Christ Follower with a transformed heart and a renewed mind, I need to Die to Self and live for Christ.
The call is hard and although the grace of God is a free gift, it will cost us EVERYTHING.

18 comments:

bre said...

Maybe its not in the bible for a reason.. the year is 2008 and just recently homosexuals feel comfortable enough to come forward with their feelings.... homosexuality is something that people are born with.. i hate to call it a disease but it somewhat is. its a chemical imblance in your brain, a malfunction iny our body... like autism, ADD or bipolar. Its a disease that people do not choose to life with and shouldnt be discrimated for because they were born like that.

bre said...

it might also not be in the bible because someone forgot to write it down.. considering the bible wasnt written by its original "author"

Starr said...

Wow Matt... that really made me think about some things...

Matt Chewning said...

Yo Bre Bre,

Thanks for sharing. I know that we've talked a lot about this at work, but for the sake of this being my blog, I will respond. hehe

I do think that we get into some rought spots when we so easily just throw away the bible and its evidence for being the inspired Words of God. I do agree that with the translating of languages and the different translations (NIV NLT MESSAGE ESV etc), we are wrong in thinking in what we have is EXACTLY how God intended it. It is hard to translate the bible's origional lanugages (Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic) into english or any other language without some error.HOWEVER when studied (more than just reading), we can get a clear understanding of what God's origional intentions were when he inspired the writers.

I have written more about the historical evidence of scripture in another blog. http://chewningjourney.blogspot.com/2008/08/conversation-w-agnostic-part-2.html

Holla,
MC

Anonymous said...

"HOWEVER when studied (more than just reading), we can get a clear understanding of what God's origional intentions were when he inspired the writers."

If this is true, why do we have so many different interpretations and thus division within the church? In fact, I don't think it's clear at all on many issues we face. The fact that we are bold enough to think we have it figured out, and that it is clear, is what has caused such division amongst the body of Christ.

Matt Chewning said...

If you go thru the different interpretations of the bible you do not have the type of contradictions your implying. For example, you wont ever see a text say one thing and in another version see it say something opposite. Take John 3:16 the most rehearsed vs. "For God so loved the world he gave his Son." In another translation you wont see "For God hated he world he sent an angel." That is just absurd. Instead, all throught the different translations, you continue to see the same clear theme's. If you can show me different, I would like to see it.

Bottom line is whether you believe that scripture is God revealing himself to us through written word. If so and you are a Christian, than the Holy Spirit that lives inside you will illuminate the words so you can have clarity and understanding. I really do believe that. We should not feel bad that we believe that Scripture is inspired, clear, authoriive, and offensive.

Anonymous said...

Let me clarify that I am not talking about 'translation'. I am talking about 'interpretation'. For example, with the issue of homosexuality, there is great division within the church. This is not because of 'translation', but because of 'interpretation' of the scriptures.

So going back to what I wrote earlier, I don't think you can say that we get a "clear understanding of God's original intentions" on an issue such as homosexuality. If it was clear, everyone would think the same way...

I agree that God reveals himself through scripture. He does not seem to, however, take a stance on many issues that divide the church today. That is my point through this post - when we take a hard line stance as if we have it all figured out, we are telling others that their interpretations are wrong. We cause division and harm to the body. We can also cause harm to others by calling something sinful that we interpret to be sinful, that might not be sinful in God's eyes.

I think we need to be careful in our language to not come across like we have the market on the one true interpretation. There is room for multiple interpretations - again - many things are not clear.

*Chewning Momma* said...

I think we can all skirt around this issue for ever. The bottom line is this. The reason there are divisions in people and the church is that some people hold a high view of scripture, and some hold a view where they take it as they think it is being written, and there is where the division comes from. Hence the different intrepretations of the scripture.

I believe that God does give us a clear picure on homosexuality- because I hold a high view of scripture as being God breathed and there are way too many verses where God is showing us this as sin along with MANY other things. let me make one thing clear.
I DO NOT believe being a homosexual is a sin, but acting upon it would be a sin. We live in a fallen world and unfortunately- this is something we must deal with.
Anonymous, you wrote
"I think we need to be careful in our language to not come across like we have the market on the one true interpretation. There is room for multiple interpretations - again - many things are not clear."

I think this is scary to think that things are not clear in the gospel. We need to be strong in our faith and be sure in what we believe and be confident in getting that across to people. Not to say we have all the answers or know everything. But to be confident in what we beleive-


There is a video that is awesome on this issue. please take the 7 minutes to watch.
http://prodigalsmusings.wordpress.com/2008/04/15/mark-driscoll-on-homosexuality/

Matt Chewning said...

why be anonymous?

Matt Chewning said...

Good video, I liked it.

If we can't say that the bible is clear, than how can we be confident in Jesus as Savior? Forgivness of sin? or that we have salvation? All of that is mapped out in Scripture. (which is clear)

Anonymous said...

Ok...I don't think blogging is the best way to discuss this...so this will be the last post.

Some things are clear in the Bible. These are our core beliefs, for example, the virgin birth, the resurrection of Jesus, atonement for sin, Triune God, Salvation through Jesus alone, and more...

These core beliefs are common to all Christians - these are things that Bible makes clear - no Christian questions these core beliefs, it's what makes us a Christian.

However, there are also many non-core beliefs, for example, alchohol, role of women, clothes, 6 day creation, election/free will, worship style, and more...

These non-core beliefs that people hold are not made clear in the scripture (which is why many different views can be taken within the church and why we have so many different denominations etc).

Let me also say that these are just examples - some of us choose to place some of the non-core examples I gave into their core belief category.

Chewning momma, thanks for you input. I will say this in response - I don't think we are skirting around the issue - let me try and be clear with what I am saying. There are many people who hold a 'high view' of scripture (if I understand that phrase correctly) who have very different interpretations of the Bible (non-core beliefs). Role of women in church for example, or instruments within the church - you could make a list a mile long. There is not one correct way to interpret the scripture on these issues - it is ok to have an interpretation or to follow someone elses, but it is not ok to tell everyone else that they are wrong (in my opinion) and we are right - I hope that makes sense.

It seems like you place homosexuality within your core-beliefs and hold a very strong opinion of your interpretation of scripture - that's ok. I am simply trying to suggest that we must be careful by inferring to other Christians that we have a better interpretation than them of non-core beleifs - THAT, in my opinion, causes division.

Yes, it is a little scary that some things are not clear in scripture, but I think that is a role that the holy spirit plays within each of us as individuals. For example, I don't feel convicted when I play piano in church - yet our neighboring church would never dream of having an instrument in church, and they look down on us because we do - damaging.

Matt,

Jesus as Savior? Yes - core
Forgivness of sin? - yes - core
We have salvation? - yes - core
All of that is mapped out in Scripture - I agree

Homosexuality - yes or no, depending on you interpretation of scripture. And I don't think a Christ follower's salvation hangs on their interpretation of this issue. We need to separate our core-beliefs from our non-core beliefs otherwise we argue with Christian brothers and sisters about trivial issues when we should be united through our core beliefs.

Just some thoughts...thanks for your post and your insight.

Oh yeah...anonymous is just easier - less personal - more honest.

*Austin Mommy* said...

Good stuff! Matt, what a conversation this has turned into, huh?! I think I'm about done with it too, and blogging is a tough way to converse. Just wanted to say I REALLY like what the last anonymous post said. That pretty much sums it up for me - well written, thanks.

Matt Chewning said...

Thanks for all of teh comments. I really appreciate all of the conversation. In response I will close with this. I do not think that homosexuality is a core value; i think that sanctification is a core value. With that said, all sexual immorality is a brick wall for sanctification according to 1 Thes. So if any type of sexual immorality comes before God's sanctifying work in us, than I would think that Christians should be against that.

*Austin Mommy* said...

I really am done discussing this...BUT...I understand what you're saying about sexual immorality being wrong...that keeps coming up - with you and Pastor Steven and others - I'm just saying that I don't necessarily think that practicing homosexuality is sexually immoral. That's all.

*Austin Mommy* said...

Matt, just so you know, I answered your question by posting a new blog...

Isn't this fun?! :)

grateful bre said...

i dont think you can take MOST of the words in the bible and live by them in todays society.. people have evolved and living by a book that was written by other people than its intended author is difficult almost near impossible.. i mean its like trying to live by gone with the wind or a huckleberry finn.. you cant.

Jeremy D. Scott said...

Hey Matt -

No comment on this post, but I wanted to respond to your question on mine. I have a whole blog post I need to write about it, but for now, you can get some of my feelings by reading a discussion I've had with others about it:
http://www.naznet.com/community/showthread.php?t=7976

For & Through Christ,
Jeremy

Brian Hebert said...

Well, well...guess you kicked up a bit of a dust storm here, Matt!

You inspired me to create my own blog, and my response to your series is the first post.

http://mrabear.blogspot.com/

Enjoy!