By Dr. Albert Mohler Jr.
Evangelical Christians in the United States now face an inevitable moment of decision. While Christians in other movements and in other nations face similar questions, the question of homosexuality now presents evangelicals in the United States with a decision that cannot be avoided. Within a very short time, we will know where everyone stands on this question. There will be no place to hide, and there will be no way to remain silent. To be silent will answer the question.
The question is whether evangelicals will remain true to the teachings of Scripture and the unbroken teaching of the Christian church for over two thousand years on the morality of same-sex acts and the institution of marriage.
The world is pressing this question upon us, but so are a number of voices from within the larger evangelical circle — voices that are calling for a radical revision of the church’s understanding of the Bible, sexual morality, and the meaning of marriage. We are living in the midst of a massive revolution in morality, and sexual morality is at the center of this revolution. But the question of same-sex relationships and sexuality is at the very center of the debate over sexual morality, and our answer to this question will both determine or reveal what we understand about everything the Bible reveals and everything the church teaches — even the gospel itself.
Read more at http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/04/22/god-the-gospel-and-the-gay-challenge-a-response-to-matthew-vines/
I read the linked article, it’s excellent. An open-minded person would need to conclude that Matthew Vines’ argument is based on a wishful, but false, interpretation of Scripture. The author’s arguments are persuasive.
The problem is this: Many Christians are not interested in persuasive arguments. In shifting towards approval of same-sex marriage, they are motivated by some mixture of emotions such as fear and compassion. Fear of being called bigoted or hateful; compassion towards gay people they know.
Shorter version: Heart trumps mind; feelings trump plain Scriptural meaning. That’s why the tide has turned towards acceptance of same-sex marriage, in mainline churches as well as secular society. It’s difficult for me to imagine this momentum could be stopped and reversed.
Lev. 18:22 is clear: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” To advocate homosexuality in the face of this prohibition is the same as maintaining that the Bible is meant for the eyes of women. That, of course, is not the case; and “thou” refers to the male readership. See 1 Timothy 2:12: “But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” Women learn about the Bible from men. But if a man is reading his Bible faithfully, what difference is a small thing like homosexuality? The point is that the prohibition of coitus while studying Scripture is annulled in the case of heterosexual cohabitation. See 1 Cor. 7:5: “Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.” So the bedtime sequence is: Johnny Carson Show, a chapter of Scripture, prayer, sleep.
Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that it’s a sin for women to read the Bible. That would make nonsense of Eph 5:22 (= Col. 3:18): “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord” and 1 Peter 3:1: “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands.” “Wives” must be feminine, inasmuch as the only homosexual marriage recorded in the Bible – that of Jonathan and David – was monogamous. After David’s wife’s demise (1 Sam. 31:2) the berieved widower had only one more male consort – Hushai the Archite (2 Sam. 15:37, 16:2 and 16:17). Implicit in Lev. 18:22 is the opening “Wives” to get “Wives, thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination,” which means: “Wives hould not lie with husbands as (is the custom) with (unmarried) womankind (to drop off to sleep and not get up until the morning).” The married woman’s work is not complete upon arrival at bed, where “Be fruitful and multiply” (Gen. 1:22 etc.) enjoins her to initiate coitus with her mate. And see Prov. 31:15: “She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.”
The other verse – Lev. 20:13 – says the same thing from the opposite viewpoint – that of the male in an unproductive recumbency. While Lev. 18:22 castigates the woman for her failure to instigate coitus, Lev. 20:13 calls the husband to task for acquiescing in his wife’s sin. “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination” abbreviates “If a man lie (with his wife) as (a homosexual) lieth with a woman both of them have committed an abomination.” “Both of them” (שֽׁנֵיהֶם shneyhem) sounds like יְשֵׁנִים (yeshenim) “sleeping.” “Both of them” (the man and his wife) commit the “abomination” of “sleeping” when they should be observing the commandment to “be fruitful and multiply” by procreating. The assumption is that a homosexual is unresponsive to the sexual advances of a female.
Do you accept the scriptures as the inerrant Word of God or not?
Inerrancy of Scripture is a doctrine, John. What is “doctrine?” 1 Timothy 3:16 says: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” Scripture is inerrant, sure. But it’s like a picture puzzle. If the believer fails to put the pieces together to get the picture, all he’s got is a mess on his hands.
If your position is scripture is inerrant, would not the picture turn out to be an accurate picture of God, regardless of the ability of the puzzle builder, provided the builder perseveres and completes the puzzle? It would only turn out a mess if the builder gave up, altered or omitted a piece or two.
You’re right, John; and I’m wrong. Scripture isn’t inerrant, because if it were inerrant it wouldn’t say “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine.” That’s like your wife saying to you, “Please go out and walk the dog, honey.” And when you say, “Why?” she replies, “Because I’m asking you.” If the dog is constipated outside, your wife is errant.
Andrew, I’m not commenting to argue who is right or wrong here. I’m asking a question, seeking clarification. I believe scripture is inerrant. Do we agree upon that? OK, good.
I also agree with 1 Timothy 3:16 regarding the usefulness of scripture. What I’m uncertain about is why you pointed out to me that the inerrancy of scripture is a doctrine? I view it as an absolute truth, which means that if my doctrine is based upon and derived from the inerrant scripture, then it is true also. Do we agree upon this point?
You can’t have your pie and eat it too, John. Either Scripture is inerrant or it’s useful. Choose your weapon. ” For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4:12)