Rebuilding the Foundations
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I am going to answer common arguments that Homosexuality and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual) are acceptable, or even endorsed, biblically. It seems appropriate, though, first to show that the Bible counts all homosexual activity as sin.
With this you can just jump around the article if you want. There are return links at the end of each section.
A friend of a friend wrote an insightful, brilliant, uncompromising, compassionate, practical article on sexuality that addresses the current mood in society. I cannot praise it enough. The link will take you off site, so it opens in another window or tab, depending on your settings.
Here is a defense of the position that the Bible condemns homosexual activity, in any form, as sin. It needs no explanation or interpretation.
The verses, as usual in my posts, are taken from the King James Bible, updated to modern English, and translated better in places where I know how to translate the words better.
The Bible has one message about homosexuality: it is sin, and none who practice it will inherit God's kingdom. In fact, God considers it an abomination.
There are no alternate verses that speak favorably of homosexuality or that suggest that God might be okay with it. It's always addressed as wrong. In fact, every sexual act except between a husband and wife is condemned, whether homosexual or heterosexual.
The Bible condemns homosexual activity, not homosexual desires. The Bible also condemns heterosexual activity if it is not between a husband and wife, but it does not condemn sexual desires.
Jesus said that giving place to sexual desire, even in thought, is wrong (Matt. 5:28). This is extremely difficult for men, whether heterosexual or homosexual. (It's probably difficult for women, too, but I am not going to take a poll.) It is nonetheless commanded by Jesus, and we should do our best to help one another with this problem.
Most people have encountered a watered-down version of Christianity. The wine of Jesus' teachings is barely noticeable in the water of modern human traditions and excuses.
I have a page with advice for overcoming sexual desire, whether same-sex or heterosexual.
It is important to say right here that most Christians have barely tapped into the power of God (called "grace" in Scripture) that delivers us from sin. This is the reason some Christians don't look for help and other Christians don't stand up for sexual purity. They don't know it is possible.
If a Christian with homosexual desires cannot change their sexual orientation, then they need to remain celibate. The Christian church has never had a different solution, but in the past churches had a much better idea of the power of God and much more ability to share it.
The solution to this problem is to restore the knowledge of the power and grace of God, not to gloss over sin because we are powerless to overcome it. (See below for more on this topic.)
In order to answer the arguments being raised by those who defend homosexuality as acceptable to God, I chose those used by the "Hope Remains" web site (which was hoperemains.webs.com, but is now http://hoperemainsonline.com/). The attempts to silence God on the subject of homosexuality are, for the most part, consistent from person to person and site to site. "Hope Remains" seems to me like a thorough site, so hopefully it will allow me to address all or almost all of the arguments of those distressed by the will of God.
"Hope Remains" has each of their arguments on separate pages. I will use their page names as my section headings.
Note: "Hope Remains" has now written to me, objecting to this post. They were kind in their address to me, and their further arguments were complicated. I address their response to me in the last section.
"One argument against homosexuality," says Hope Remains, "suggests that because the first couple was heterosexual, then all future couples were also intended to be heterosexual."
That sounds reasonable enough, especially since Jesus said, "Have you not read that the One who made them in the beginning made them male and female and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, join himself to his wife, and they shall be one flesh'?" Hope Remains, however, does not find this reasonable. Instead, they argue that if we are going to say one man and one woman is a standard, then we must, "following the same logic," conclude that a person with different skin or eye color is against God's will.
If you agree with that, then you don't know how to reason, so I don't know what to say to you. Saying that God has a standard for marriage, one man and one woman, an action which can be controlled by choice, does not logically suggest that God has a standard for the color of a person's skin or eyes, physical characteristics that cannot be controlled by choice.
The site goes on to talk about a masculine use of the word "meet" (which means "suitable" in modern English). It also argues that if the woman was taken from man's rib, then the woman had to be a clone of man. What are they saying here? That Eve was not a woman, but a man? Both of these arguments are just silly word-play, irrelevant to the subject.
We are not going to discuss this because I agree with them. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah has nothing to do with homosexuality. Everything about what the men of Sodom did, or rather tried to do, was not only sin, but abominable to God and to any human being with a shred of compassion. Pulling homosexuality out of that horrific mess and making the story proof that all homosexuality is sin ... well, that doesn't seem feasible to me.
I didn't read that page on their site because there are enough arguments to answer without trying to answer arguments on a subject I agree with them about.
Here Hope Remains focuses on the Hebrew and tries to retranslate the verse to say, "And with a male, thou shalt not lie down in a woman's bed, it is an abomination."
I don't read Hebrew. I know some Greek, and I know how to use Greek helps. Much more importantly, I know how to consult the best experts on translating any particular verse or word. I can argue Greek translation, and I can argue it well. But Hebrew? Not a word.
Because I do so much with Christian history, where there is conflict between Roman Catholics and Protestants, and because I have debated evolution a lot in the past, I am an expert at evaluating the sources others use and at finding unique ways to verify claims with which I am not familiar.
In this case, while I cannot personally critique their translation, I can compare their translation to translations done before the popularity of the LGBT issue in the USA. Here's what I found.
You can imagine that I can search anything before, say, 1970, and I will find the same thing. Every translation of Leviticus 18:22 from the Hebrew will match the one we know best: "You shall not lie down with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination." You are welcome to pursue it further if you want. Let me know if you find an exception.
I will add one more proof that no scholar except those biased by the LGBT movement would translate Leviticus 18:22 any other way: the Septuagint.
Note: In their email to me after I wrote this page, Hope Remains said, "We also do not care what ANY translation of those verses say, even if published by Chabad or other Jewish source, if those translations don't match what the Hebrew says." I responded to them by calling that a special kind of arrogance, borrowing the phrase from the quote I put in my response to their email at the bottom of the page.
The Septuagint (or LXX) is a Greek translation of the Hebrew Scriptures. The Torah (the first five books of the Bible) was translated before 200 BC. It became the common-use Bible of Jews outside Israel and of early Christians as well. Orthodox Christians still use it.
The Septuagint was ordered by Pharaoh Ptolemy Philadelphius of Egypt and translated by 70 Jewish scholars. It renders Leviticus 18:22 as "και μετα αρσενοσ ου κοιμηθηση κοιτην γυναικειαν." As you can probably guess, the English translation of this is "And thou shalt not lie down sexually with a man as with a woman." ("Lie down" and "sexually" are two words in the Greek, so the meaning is not questionable.)
In the 3rd century, Origen, the most prominent Christian scholar of his time, made a "parallel Bible" now known as the Hexapla. It is called "Hexapla" because he lined up six translations in columns. He had a Hebrew version, a Hebrew version written in Greek letters, three separate Greek translations, and finally the LXX, which he revised.
We already know how the LXX renders Leviticus 18:22. I'm not sure we have Leviticus 18:22 in the Hexapla anymore, but we can be sure that if any of the other translations that he distributed with the Septuagint had rendered Leviticus 18:22 differently, there would have been an outcry in the church. Origen himself, while never directly discussing our verse, does discuss homosexuality. In response to a book written against Christians, he compared the lives of Christians to those of Romans and Greek philosophers.
Even in regard to those [Christians] who ... have not gone into deep questions, we find ... they often exhibit in their character a high degree of gravity, purity, and integrity, while those who call themselves wise [Greek philosophers] have despised these virtues, and have wallowed in the filth of sodomy, in lawless lust, men with men working what is unseemly. (Against Celsus; Bk.7, Ch. 49)
That last phrase ("men with men working what is unseemly") is a direct quote from Romans 1:27 (which "Hope Remains" contests below). Origen apparently believes that homosexuality (sodomy) is the meaning of Romans 1:27.
In the fifth century, Jerome made a translation of the Hebrew directly into Latin, now known as the Vulgate. It was used by the churches of Europe for a thousand years. Jerome thought the Hebrew should be translated in Latin as "cum masculo non commisceberis coitu femineo."
The best I could get out of an online Latin translator, and then only if I tried word by word was "with male not commingle lying female." Not very helpful. I assume the Vulgate's Latin is too old for automatic internet translators. English translations of the Latin Vulgate abound, however, so we can find a translation. Vulgate.com renders it as "Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind."
I think it's obvious that no one in history agrees with the "Hope Remains" web site on the translation of this verse. As said, it takes a special kind of arrogance to assume you know Hebrew better than anyone in history.
Finally, let's discuss the "Hope Remains'" translation itself. They want to render Leviticus 18:22 as "And with a male, thou shalt not lie down in a woman's bed."
So are they saying that God, through Moses, thought it was important to tell Jewish men not to lay down with another man in a woman's bed? Was this a common problem? And if a man did lay down with another man in a woman's bed, what was he doing with that other man?
Despite all the Hebrew heroics on the "Hope Remains" web site, the translation they came up with makes no sense in the real world.
That should not surprise us. For three thousand years, God spoke one thing through Moses, and everyone knew what that one thing was. A change in morality in the modern era is not going to change what a three-thousand-year-old document says.
The "Hope Remains" translation of this verse is just like their translation of Leviticus 18:22: "And a man who will lie down with a male in a woman's bed, both of them have made an abomination. Dying they will be put to death; their blood is on them."
Again, do they really want us to try to make sense of their translation? All the same questions apply. What are these two men doing in a woman's bed? Why are they there? If what is obvious applies, which is that they are having sex with each other, then "Hope Remains" hasn't changed the prohibition at all. If something else is happening, then we need some sort of historical explanation for why two men lying in a woman's bed just sleeping is so common that the Law of Moses had to prohibit it.
I am not going to repeat all the research I did for the last section since the two verses are so similar. If you find out that there is an ancient translation by a Hebrew scholar that renders this verse the way "Hope Remains" does, please let me know. You will also have to let me know what such a translation is trying to prohibit.
"Hope Remains" begins this page by suggesting that David and Jonathon had a covenant homosexual marriage. If that thought is brand new to you, it is based primarily on this passage (though they use several others):
It happened, when Saul was done speaking to David, that the soul of Jonathan was bound with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. Saul took him that day [the day he killed Goliath], and would not let him go home to his father's house anymore. Then Jonathan and David made a covenant because he loved him as his own soul. Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David. He also gave him his garments, even to his sword, and his bow, and his girdle. (1 Samuel 18:1-4)
As you can imagine, those who want to allow homosexual marriage love this passage.
What we need to remember, however, is that if this passage did describe a same-sex marriage between Jonathan and David, it would not justify homosexuality any more than David's fling with Bathsheba justifies adultery.
Of course, the speculation of the pro-homosexual movement turns out to be falsifiable. As it turns out, there is relevant historical precedent. If they had cared, they could have found this, too, but they don't. If the facts are against them, they are not going to let you know. They have an agenda, and that agenda has nothing to with the truth of God.
The Keil-Delitzsch commentary is perhaps the most respected biblical commentary available. They say this about David and Jonathan's covenant:
As a sign and pledge of his friendship, Jonathan gave David his clothes and his armour. Meil, the upper coat or cloak. Maddim is probably the armour coat. This is implied in the word ad (OT:5704), which is repeated three times, and by which the different arms were attached more closely to madaayw (OT:4055). For the act itself, compare the exchange of armour made by Glaucus and Diomedes (Hom. Il. vi. 230). This seems to have been a common custom in very ancient times, as we meet with it also among the early Celts (see Macpherson's Ossian). [cited by Cold-Case Christianity. Accessed 11/6/2015. Parentheses in original.]
Says Keil and Delitzsch, "This seems to have been a common custom in very ancient times."
The idea is that a sovereign—Jonathan, son of King Saul—is bestowing the highest honor on a subject. In this case, it is a sign of intimate (but not sexual) friendship.
The Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, in reference to 1 Samuel 18:4, says:
To receive any part of the dress which had been worn by a sovereign, or his oldest son and heir, is deemed in the East the highest honour which can be conferred on a subject. The girdle, being connected with the sword and the bow, may be considered as being part of the military dress, and great value is attached to it in the East.
The Keil-Delitzsch Commentary is from the 19th century, and the Jamieson, Faussett, and Brown Commentary was published in 1961. Both pre-dated the modern LGBT movement and are not a response to it. They have no reason to be biased in their interpretation. I suspect the idea that Jonathan and David were homosexual lovers never crossed their minds.
"Hope Remains" does not agree with this, of course. They write:
Had this not been the start of a physical, sexual relationship, Jonathan's actions would have been considered bizarre indeed, by the standards of their day, or ours.
Again, there is no historical reference. When we do look at historical authorities, they say it was not "bizarre indeed" by the standards of that day. It was in fact "a common custom in very ancient times."
From there, the pro-homosexual blog tries to turn things around on us. They write:
From that day, David moved in with Saul and Jonathan (verse 2) and did not live at home with his parents anymore, further indicative of the type of covenant they had made.
The problem with this statement is that verse 2 precedes the covenant made between Jonathan and David in verses 3 and 4. David moved into the house of Saul on the day he killed Goliath and right after a discussion with Saul as David was holding the head of Goliath in his hand (1 Sam. 17:57-58). The covenant with Jonathan happened after Saul ordered David not to go home anymore, not before.
As you write a web page like Hope Remains' web page, you cannot miss the fact that you are switching verses around to make the story sound different. That is simple deceit.
Note: Hope Remains email to me accuses me of misrepresenting what their site says. They gave me one example, in which they simply misunderstood what I was saying. I will point that out and change my wording below. There are no misrepresentations on this page. They think they know how to translate Hebrew better than anyone in history, including the Jews from whom the Hebrew Scriptures came. They also think they know history better than the commentators I cited, but they gave no references or citations for their better history. They obviously read this page before they wrote me, yet they still have no references for the history they think is better than that of Keil-Delitzsch and Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown.
Let me pause here to point out that there is a big difference between the authors of "Hope Remains" and the people deceived by them. Yes, I know "deceived" is a sharp word. The reason I use it is because Hope Remains presents itself as an authority on the subject, appealing to Hebrew and Greek translations as though they actually understood them. (In fact, their email to me says their lead translator "taught both Hebrew and Greek, published in Hebrew and done [sic] translation into English from biblical Greek.")
I don't doubt the translators' ability. I doubt their intellectual honesty. When a supposed authority misses the fact that David moving into the king's house preceded his covenant with Jonathan, that is not an accident. They had to have noticed that in preparing their web page. They noticed it, but they chose to ignore it. That is not error or ignorance; that is deception.
It is easy to have compassion for those marginalized by society and fighting to make sense of God's will in the light of their personal struggles and desires. I roomed, by choice, with a homosexual man while I was in the military because he could no longer bear the torment he got from others for his effeminate personality. He lived with me for about six months. We remained friends for two years before a horrible set of circumstances, unrelated to his homosexual bent, put him out of the military. When he left, he told me I had been the only person to stand by him through all his difficulties.
I am not indifferent to the struggle.
It is a different story with those who would change the word of God to fit the behavior of man, especially when it is apparent they have done so purposely. In fact, such deception infuriates me. A friend asked me to tone this page down a bit, which I have done. I did that for those who have been tricked by deceivers like "Hope Remains." I cannot apologize, however, for taking a harsh tone with deceivers.
One day we will all be judged by God. When we make something God calls an abomination acceptable, we are not doing anyone a favor. We all struggle with sin, but if we give up and make disobedience to God a habit, we put ourselves in grave danger on that last day.
We all struggle with sin, but we are not supposed to be overcome by it. We are supposed to overcome and present our members to God for righteousness' sake (Rom. 6). See the page on Help for Sexual Addiction and its links for more information.
As a final note on David and Jonathan, "Hope Remains" makes the bizarre suggestion that 1 Samuel 20:41 says that the two men kissed until David had an erection. They base this on a Hebrew word that means to increase, grow, or become large, even though David's private parts are not mentioned.
I know very little about Hebrew, but I can consult those who do.
The Keil-Delitzsch Commentary translates the passage as saying that David wept greatly. Other translations, like the New International Version, say that David wept more than Jonathan. Other modern translations agree with the NIV. Since I do speak some German, I even consulted Luther's translation from the 1500's and the modern Elberfelder translation. Both translate the passage as reading that David wept the most (more than Jonathan).
The Septuagint, which was translated before Jesus was born (as I point out above), renders the verse as saying that they wept for each other for a great while.
As you can see, real translators of the Hebrew take the word "great" to apply to a noun already in the verse. They don't suddenly focus on David's genitals, which have not been mentioned at all.
If you are going to suggest a new and extremely unusual translation, you really should get some authoritative support. If you have no support, as my mother would say, you should at least keep your mind out of the gutter.
Let's address one more thing that "Hope Remains" suggests on their "Same-Sex Marriage" page:
"Then Saul's anger burned toward Jonathan, and he said to him, you son of the perversion of rebelliousness! Don't I know that you are choosing the son of Jesse to your own shame and the shame of your mother's ______*?"
*_____ There is no polite English word for the one King Saul used. He used a graphic and vulgar term for genitalia.
It's odd that "Hope Remains" should suggest there is "no polite English word for the one King Saul used." The Hebrew word ervahis used 50 times in the Hebrew Scriptures, and it is rendered "nakedness" almost every time.
I find "nakedness" polite enough.
I'm sure "Hope Remains" does, too. I'm also sure "Hope Remains" knows that the Hebrew word is used many times and has a common translation. They don't mention it because they're hoping you don't know. They want to be able to whisper to you about a "graphic, vulgar" term.
Note: Again, see the deception here. I don't know Hebrew, and the Hope Remain's translators do, so they tried to deceive me and you. My simple use of a concordance was enough to expose their deception in this case, however.
When Saul charged Jonathan with shaming his mother's nakedness, he was not talking about Jonathan being homosexual. In fact, he wasn't bringing up Jonathan's sexual activities at all. He was bringing up Jonathan's mother's efforts in childbirth. Saul accused Jonathan of making nothing of the work that produced him.
In this passage, Jonathan has just told his father that David asked permission to be with his family rather than at the King's residence. How could this have anything to do with sexuality or sex at all? Only those who are part of the modern homosexual movement would have sex on their mind when they are reading that passage.
In case it seems odd that Saul would bring up his wife's "nakedness" in a non-sexual context, let me tell you a personal, modern story I heard. An Egyptian mother was having problems with her teenage son. When he wouldn't listen, she pulled up the front of her dress (in public), pointed at her private parts, and shouted, "This is where you came from!"
Apparently, the idea that by misbehavior a son was shaming his mother's nakedness has continued to the modern day.
Finally, let's add that there are several non-sexual uses of ervah in the Hebrew Scriptures. For example, in Isaiah 20:4, Assyria leads away Egyptian prisoners away naked to the "ervah" of Egypt. In this verse, the King James Version translates ervah as "shame." In Genesis 42:9 and 12, Joseph accused his brothers of coming down to spy out the ervah of the land of Egypt. Because "Hope Remains" is wrong about ervah being a "vulgar" word, Joseph uses it figuratively to mean the exposed parts of the land. The New American Standard Bible translates it as "undefended" parts.
It is worth pointing out here that Hope Remains did not address this huge problem in their email to me.
"Hope Remains" goes on to make the same wild accusations concerning Daniel and his three companions in Babylon. Their defense of their accusations is worse than their misconstruing of the relationship between David and Jonathan, so we will forego responding and keep our minds off the things that fascinate the LGBT community
This is the spot I mentioned earlier in which Hope Remains claims I misrepresented their web site. They reminded me that they said Daniel's three companions were eunuchs, which the Bible says. The Bible doesn't say that they were eunuchs, but I do not want to get into some new claim with them.
The point is that when I said "concerning Daniel and his three companions," I was referring in general to the whole section they titled "Daniel and the Three Hebrew Children." I couldn't find that section on their new site, so I can't comment further.
"Hope Remains" begins this section by suggesting that "any man or women who had relations with only one gender in Roman society would have been thought odd or even abnormal." Once again, though, they give no source for their assertion, so I am forced to do their research for them.
In this case, an internet search indicates they may be correct, though exaggerating. I saw references that indicate homosexuality, especially with servants, was common. I saw nothing that indicated a person would be considered odd or abnormal for not abusing his servants in this way.
Paul ties idol worship to degrading sexual passions, primarily homosexuality (vv. 25-27). It seems entirely possible that he addressed the sin of homosexuality first and most extensively because it was common in Rome.
The "Hope Remains" defense against Romans 1 is that Paul only opposes homosexuality if a person's normal orientation was heterosexual. They claim Paul has no problem with homosexuality if that is the inclination people are born with.
Really? Can you find that meaning in Romans 1:26-27?
For this reason, God gave them up to to dishonorable passions, for even their women changed their natural use into that which is against nature. In the same way men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another, men doing with men what is inappropriate, and receiving in themselves the repayment that was suitable.
If there were nothing here but "women changed their natural use into that which is against nature," then there might be a distant, unlikely possibility that Paul is talking about a woman's "natural bent." However, a lot more is said than that one phrase. Homosexuality is "against nature," "dishonorable," and "inappropriate" whether it is women with women or men with men.
"Hope Remains" then suggests that because homosexuality was common in Rome, then the servant of the Roman centurion who approached Jesus for healing for his "boy" (Matt. 8:5) must have been using that boy for sexual purposes. They appeal to the use of pais, which can mean "child" or "servant," in Matthew 8:6 to justify their assertion.
Their first mistake is that they have chosen to define a word in a very specific way that is used in several ways in the New Testament. Pais is found in the New Testament 24 times. Sometimes it means child, and sometimes it is a general word for a servant.
Jesus, for example, is God's Pais in Matthew 12:18. In Luke 12:45, Jesus tells a parable about his return and speaks of the retaliation that will come to any servant (diakonos) who begins to beat the other male servants (pais).
The second mistake is that it is an unbased (and insulting) assumption that just because the centurion is Roman, he must therefore be sexually abusing his boy servant (though the word, as we see above, does not necessarily imply a child). This centurion was not in Rome. He was in Israel, and he was approaching a Jewish prophet. He would have known the Jewish prohibitions against homosexuality (which we discussed above from the Talmud). In fact, the more common that the sexual abuse of male servats was in Rome, the more likely that a centurion consulting a Jewish prophet would be aware of Jewish mores concerning sexuality.
"Hope Remains" draws the conclusion that Jesus—who was a Jew as well as being the Son of God who gave the Jews their law—approved of the centurion's supposed homosexuality because he didn't say anything about it. It seems much wiser to conclude that Jesus did not mention the centurion's homosexuality with his servant because it was not happening.
"Hope Remains" indulges in some more fantastical Greek interpretation in this section of their web site. They suggest that malaki in 1 Timothy 1:10 (translated "effeminate" in most translations) is referring to rich people because the word usually means "soft."
Why do they do this? Because Jesus said that people who wear soft clothing live in palaces (Matt. 11:8; Luke 7:25).
It's hard to know how to respond to this kind of unfounded speculation.
Ironically, the speculation is unnecessary. Real translators suggest that Paul is talking about male prostitutes when he uses malaki. Since "Hope Remains" agrees that prostitution, whether homosexual or heterosexual, is sin, they have no reason to spend time exposing their inability to translate Greek. The real translation does their argument no harm.
The real issue is arsenokoitais, found in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10. There, ironically enough, we agree on the meaning of the Greek word.
As "Hope Remains" points out, the word means "lying with a male," but they then go on to unintentionally expose their ignorance of the Greek language.
In their email, Hope Remains says, "Our lead translator taught both Hebrew and Greek, published in Hebrew and done translation into English from biblical Greek." Okay, then maybe they can also explain why he is ignorant of the simple facts that follow, which I learned in my first-year Greek class.
For some reason, they wrestle with the gender of the word. They suggest that if the word is feminine, then it refers to females, and it would be talking about women lying with men. They can't seem to determine, however, whether the word is male or female. "[T]he word used in these two verses," they say, "presents a small challenge to us, because in ancient literature, it never appears with a definite article."
That statement is a confession that they do not actually know how to translate Greek.
"Hope Remains" wants arsenokaoitais to be feminine, but they say we can't know whether it is feminine or not because it has no definite article (no "the"). Yet even I, as a second-year Greek student, can glance at the word and tell you it is feminine. The ending -ais is a feminine plural ending.
"Hope Remains" could have determined the gender of the noun in a second way. In a compound word, like arsenokoitais, the second half of the word decides the gender of the word. The second half is "koite," which is a feminine Greek word.
"Hope Remains" is wrong, though, in thinking that if the word arsenokoitais is feminine, then it is referring to women. In this case, koite refers to a bed in which one would normally lie with a woman for the purpose of "coitus." (I chose that word over "sex" because "coitus," which means the act of sex, comes from the Greek word koite.)
In case it's not clear, let me pause to explain that languages other than English assign gender to everything. In German (and, coincidentally, in Spanish as well), coffee is masculine, and a coffee cup is feminine even though both are objects with no physical gender. In most languages, gender is primarily used to distinguish nouns, pronouns, and the definite article, allowing for clearer communication. Gender only secondarily refers to the sex of a human.
Therefore, because the gender of arsenokoitais is based on the gender of an inanimate object (a bed), it doesn't matter whether the person lying on that bed is male or female, the noun will always be feminine.
That said, is "Hope Remains" really suggesting to us that 1 Corinthians 6:9 is referring to women having sex with men when Paul has already denounced fornication and adultery? There is a reason that every lexicon defines the word as men lying with men. Besides the fact that lexicons are written by Greek experts who know what the word means, women lying with men has already been covered by "fornication" and "adultery."
The fact that the word follows "malakos," generally a reference to male prostitution, makes it even more clear that Paul is denouncing homosexuality as a sin that will keep those who practice it out of the kingdom of God.
I should mention again that the issue is not desire or inclination. The issue is the actual performance of the act. Heterosexuals, by definition, have an inclination just like homosexuals, but for both the inclination only becomes sin when it results in actual sex. As James, the Lord's brother, says:
Each person is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desire and enticed, but when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, which, when it is completed, gives birth to death. (1:14-15, emphasis added)
Whether desire is homosexual or heterosexual, it is just temptation when we are enticed. It becomes sin when we give place to our desire and turn it into action.
This page is just a continuation of 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10. It deals with the definition of arsenokoitais. Because the word literally means "lying with a man in a sexual bed," scholars make the obvious connection to Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, which say the same thing.
"Hope Remains" goes through some more Greek gyrations, surely as unreliable as anything they have previously done. In this case, we are not going to address their Greek because this page is irrelevant. We have already seen what arsenokoitais means, so whether or not the word is based on the passages in Leviticus is irrelevant.
A friend told me that he has homosexual friends who have asked him why Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 are enforced upon them, but the commands of Leviticus 19 (and much of the rest of the Law of Moses) are not.
There are two answers to this question.
First, the commands of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 are not being enforced as though we were Jews keeping the Law. God says that men lying with men as with women is an abomination. Something that is an abomination to God does not suddenly become pure just because Jesus died and rose again.
Second, for Christians all the Mosaic laws have a spiritual aspect as well as a physical aspect. The physical aspect was for the Jews because they were God's earthly nation. The Church is God's spiritual nation. Jews are physically circumcised; Christians are spiritually circumcised (Rom. 2:28-29). Israel constantly fought wars with swords, but Jesus said that because his kingdom is from heaven, his servants do not fight physical wars (Jn. 18:36).
So my second point is that all the laws of Moses have a spiritual aspect that we must obey. Some become even stricter when they become spiritual. Jesus gave multiple examples of this in Matthew 5:21-48. Others just become different, such as the law concerning oxen treading out corn (1 Cor. 9:8-10).
I have more information on the spiritual law of Jesus on my Christian history site.
We are revisiting Romans 1 because after this article was done, a friend sent me a different article addressing it. It was a long treatise insisting that the degrading sexual worship occurring in pagan temples is the context of Paul's admonitions at the end of Romans 1.
I won't go into all the details of what he said because whether he is correct or not is irrelevant. What is relevant is that he ended by saying that Romans 1 does not address homosexuality at all.
My answer is that 50 words or 10,000 words will not change the fact that Paul included "men burning in their lust for one another" and called it a depraved passion that people wind up in when they forget God and serve creatures instead. Thus, whether Paul's words are directly about homosexuality or not, he makes it clear that homosexuality is a depraved passion.
I had a discussion about this subject on a web forum years ago. The person I was debating with had the annoying habit of beginning his answers with "Wrong!" or "False!" It was annoying, but I was astonished at the effectiveness of these interjections. Somehow, the one-word exclamations communicated an aura of authority.
Those who were reading (mostly atheist and left-wing politically) sided with my opponent whenever they jumped in to comment. Because I knew some of the readers, I sent private messages to them, asking what was so appealing about my opponent's arguments, which I found not just false but ridiculous. (We were discussing only Romans 1, and his interpretations required moving entire sentences around, changing their order, and then giving the same kind of unfounded and unreferenced interpretations that "Hope Remains" gives.) I gave them a summation of the discussion, then asked what it was that could make such an illogical argument seem valid.
The responses I got were enlightening. A couple were simply not that interested, and they hadn't paid much attention to the arguments (despite jumping in occasionally to offer their opinion). A couple, though, were able to admit that his arguments seemed much more reasonable in the context of the debate.
I say this because my demeanor, especially in writing, is much more logical than emotional. Especially online, my arguments sometimes fall on deaf ears no matter how accurate they are because I don't know how to touch the reader's emotions. Please don't let the truth be lost because of my inability to present it emotionally.
I hope, too, that the truth won't be lost because of your inability to get past your own emotion. If you are going to reject what the Bible says because you disagree with it in the context of our current culture, then you should admit it. Trying to change what the Bible says into something it doesn't is just dishonest.
There is a little work involved if you are going to analyze what I said compared to the things alleged on "Hope Remains." If you are a Christian, I hope you will do so.
Finally, as I have said above more than once, I am not condemning those who have homosexual desires. Heterosexuals like myself face the same temptations.
I am aware of the crucial difference here. Heterosexual Christians have the option of marrying. Homosexual Christians do not have that option. Instead, they must choose to be celibate for life for the sake of the kingdom of God.
I know that some people will find this so hard it seems impossible, just as some heterosexuals find abstaining from pre-marital or extra-marital sex impossible. I submit to you that this is because we have a watered-down Christianity today. Many of you have never experienced the power of God's grace, a power so great that it raised Jesus from the dead.
Overcoming sexual sin, whether homosexual or heterosexual, requires understanding that we are delivered from the power of sin by the grace of God (Rom. 6:14), being able to appropriate that grace (Rom. 6:11; 8:5-8; Col. 3:1-4), and having the help of real fellowship and instruction (Heb. 3:12-13; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). I have added a page on help for sexual addicts to give you further advice.
If you jumped here from above, click here to return to the beginning of the article.
"Hope Remains" sent an email to me with strong objections to this article. It was a very kind email considering how slighted they felt. They were angry that I did not contact them directly when I wrote this.
Let me say first that the reason I did not contact them directly is that I consider this subject to be a public debate being discussed all over the internet. "Hope Remains" was simply an example site. They were not my audience. I was addressing those who had read sites like theirs and then asked me about it.
Secondly, having gone through this page again, I am stunned they wrote me. I realize now that there are really no new arguments in their email. They did complain that I never addressed something they said about David becoming Saul's son-in-law twice. I am sure that is on their site and not addressed on this site, but why would I go hunt down one more of their arguments when every other one has either been wrong or outright dishonest?
My final thought is expressed well by "Shimon BM" on a hermeutics board on Stack Exchange in answer to the question: "Is this translation of Leviticus 18:22 accurate: 'And with a male, thou shalt not lie down in a woman's bed; it is an abomination'?"
Ultimately, if this is what you want the Hebrew passage to mean, you can make the words mean that, however incongruous or absurd that might make the passage, and however bereft of historical precedent such a reading is. The fact that nobody has ever suggested this in the past is not because "the Jewish people consider the text of the Hebrew Bible so sacred, that they will not alter even simple grammatical errors", but because it takes a special type of arrogance to think that untold generations of people failed to recognise a simple grammatical error that you, yourself, can see. (Shimon BM (user name). Feb. 22, 2014. Stack Exchange, Inc. "Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange" (beta). Retrieved August 27, 2017. Emphasis added.)
If that is not enough, then this page by "Mennoknight" does a great job of addressing arsenokoites. "Hope Remains" will have to rest their case, as I am resting mine. I will respond to their email and give them a link to this update.
If you are looking for help in controlling your sexual appetite, then go to Help for Sexual Addiction.