– A Biblical Response
In April 2005, an anonymous website appeared on the internet, headed “Gay Christadelpians – Come, inherit the kingdom” promoting Homosexual sex as an acceptable practice for believers in Christ.
On the afternoon of 4th May 2005, the site was amended to contain a name of the author – a certain "Gareth Chambers" (a Pseudonym - his real identity is known. Compare (Ga)reth (Ch)ambers with (Ga)y (Ch)ristadelphians - Chamber's banner). "GC", as we shall call him, dishonestly purports to be a member of the Christadelphian body - but is in fact, an ex-Christadelphian. Our purpose is to provide a Biblical response to "GC", in order that the Christadelphian position on the matter be shown to be entirely based on Scripture – the infallible Word of Yahweh.
One of the difficulties of addressing this issue is that it is a very emotive topic which many, especially those with Homosexual desires, feel very strongly about. As a consequence, to suggest that the practice is in some way sinful in the sight of Almighty God, is to leave One open to the charge of being Homophobic. But we wish to emphasise that this is not the case. The Bible plainly teaches that many practices which men engage in to fulfil their desires are sinful – fornication, adultery, bestiality, lying, coveteousness, to name but a few. We firmly believe, and propose to irrefutably demonstrate, that Homosexual sex is not a practice which Yahweh considers to be an acceptable practice amongst believers in Christ. However that does not mean that we are Homophobic – to be “phobic” is to have an irrational fear of something or someone. We are not afraid in the slightest of men and women who indulge in these practices. Neither do we wish to target them as a group – our objective is merely to set forward the Bible view on the subject, and allow those who desire to follow the way of Christ to see the mind of Yahweh on the matter.
THE TEACHING OF THE BIBLE
Christadelphians accept the Bible to be the Word of God. It testifies of itself: “all Scripture is breathed by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for setting straight, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God might be fitted, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Bible then, is profitable for teaching, for reproof, and for setting straight. Believers in Christ must look to the Bible as an authority for moral teaching, to reprove their behaviour, and to set them straight in their journey to the coming kingdom of God. The teaching of the Bible must be the end word. Being the word of God, it is authoritative, and it is absolute Truth (John 17:17). Once a matter has been settled by reference to the Bible, there should be no further scope for argument, or debate – Yahweh has spoken.
The Bible is specific and unambiguous in its position concerning homosexual practices:
From these two passages, it is plain that homosexual practices are not approved by the God who wrote the Bible. So far as He is concerned, the practice is punishable by death.
But these passages, of course, form part of the Law of Moses. In his website, "GC" glibly dismisses the teaching of the Law:
It is, of course, true that the Law of Moses, in its ritual concerning clean and unclean foods, the ceremonial uncleannesses, the offering of animal sacrifices and so on is not binding upon believers in Christ. However, it’s teaching concerning morality does not change in the New Testament. As we have seen, “all Scripture … is profitable for teaching, for reproof” – and that includes the Old Testament. The Apostle Paul, speaking of the things recorded in the Old Testament tells us: “whatever was written before was written for our instruction, that through endurance and encouragement of the Scriptures we might have the expectation” (Romans 15:4). The principles of the Law then, were “written for our instruction” as well as those who lived under it – and these words are addressed to the Romans, an ecclesia made up of Gentiles as well as Jews.
The Law of Moses was designed to be a Schoolmaster, or Tutor, which taught about the Master, Jesus Christ: “the law is become our tutor to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Gal 3:24). Although it is true then, that when the system of faith in Christ came, we are no longer under the Law (as the next verse goes on to say), the principles of the Law – including it’s principles of sexual morality – teach a pattern of righteousness, which was to be seen in Christ. Hetrosexual marriage – the only form of sexual relationship permitted by the Law - is an enacted parable, which reflects the relationship which exists between Christ and his Bride, the ecclesia (Ephesians 5:26-33). We examine this aspect of things more fully here. It teaches things to do with Christ, and his relationship with those who he came to save. Conversely, Homosexual relationships – being forbidden under the law – do not teach those things.
And here is a fundamental weakness in GC's position. Hetrosexual Marriage is a union which symbolizes spiritual principles. But what principles do the Scriptures draw out from Homosexual relationships? None! The Scriptures make no spiritual applications regarding this type of relationship! "GC" offers no explanation as to why Homosexual relationships were held to be “abomination” to Yahweh in the Old Testament, but now it suddenly becomes acceptable for believers in Christ.
The Old Testament also prohibits Bestiality i.e. lying with animals:
Being that believers in Christ are no longer under the Law of Moses, are we to conclude that Yahweh’s morality has changed? That to lie with beasts is now acceptable also? That would be the logic of GC’s argument – that we are no longer under the law, so this is now acceptable behaviour as well! Would "GC" like to have “loving same sex partnerships” with an animal?! We very much doubt it, but we do not know – we wouldn’t put anything past some. But what we do know is that his argument is fatally flawed. His argument requires that Yahweh’s morality has changed - that whereas previously Homosexual relationships were condemned by death, now they are approved by Him! Consider this – that He who changes not (Mal 3:6) has changed His morality - according to "GC"!
THE NEW TESTAMENT
Leaving such absurdities aside, we find that in any case, New Testament teaching concerning the matter in question is in total harmony with the Old. Yahweh’s morality does not change. Many of the moral principles of the Old Testament are reaffirmed by the old – for instance marrying outside of the Household of Faith (Deuteronomy 7:1-5 cp 1 Corinthians 7:39) and Adultery (Exodus 20:14 cp 1 Corinthians 6:9) to give just two examples. Where an Old Testament stance on a particular behaviour is re-affirmed in the New Testament, we are left with no argument that the principles apply to believers today.
Consider the following passage:
Notice the language used here: - quite plainly, this is talking about homosexual relations on the part of both men and women. The Apostle describes homosexual desires as “degrading passions”, or as the King James translation has it, “vile affections”. He also describes the practice as being “against nature”, and those who participate in it as “burning in their lust” and “committing indecency”. Quite plainly, the New Testament does not sanction Homosexual relationships – rather, it’s sexual morality is identical with the Old Testament. However, speaking of this passage, "GC" writes:
"GC" here admits that this passage “is clearly about same sex relationships.” (Strictly speaking though, it is not, it is about Homosexual relationships. To see the difference, see our study: “Same Sex Relationships as Distinct from Homosexual Relationships” )
Interestingly, "GC" himself, whilst supporting Homosexual practices, describes them as being “depravity”. He also uses the term “straight” to describe Hetrosexuals … a term which itself implies that others are not “straight” – in other words, they are crooked – the meaning of the Hebrew word for “iniquity”. Even in advocating the practice, "GC" is himself compelled to use terms which condemn it.
What "GC" admits is a “depravity” is depicted in Romans 1 as being a consequence of God leaving rebellious men to their own devices, or turning them over to their own lusts and desires. Therefore, he claims that “it does not describe same sex relationships among Christadelphians. Why would Christadelphians, gay or straight, reap the consequences of idolatry when we are not idolaters?” But he misses the point that whatever the cause of the Homosexual behaviour as described in Romans 1, the behaviour itself is described as being the consequence of “degrading passions,” and the strongest of terms is used to condemn it.
"GC" may claim: “I have not failed to glorify God. I have not worshiped idols. I have not exchanged the truth of God for a lie.” But think of this: his sexual activities are a) condemned by the Bible which even he admits in the case of the Old Testament, b) they are “against nature” c) they are out of marital bonds d) they are designed only for personal gratification and not procreation. Each of these makes him guilty of failing to glorify God. Each of these makes his body and his personal pleasure an idol. Each of these exchange the truth of God for a lie. The truth is that God created man and woman for His own purposes. "GC" ignores this and says effectively says: “I have been created for my own pleasure”. He justifies his “shameful lusts” and perverts the Word of God for his own purposes. Can there be any worse of an idol than this? And this is exactly what the text indicates: “and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever.”
1 CORINTHIANS CHAPTER 6
The Apostle again speaks of Homosexual relationships in 1 Corinthians chapter 6:
Notice several points here: Firstly, there is the exhortation “do not be deceived”, which implies that somebody would try to deceive the disciples into thinking that the behaviours listed here are in some way acceptable. Secondly, those who are guilty of the behaviours listed, it is stated, will not inherit the kingdom of God. And thirdly, listed amongst those behaviours, are Homosexuality and effeminacy.
"GC" fulfils this verse, as he attempts to deceive us into thinking that these behaviours can form part of the acceptable conduct of a disciple of Christ. He claims, in connection with this passage of Scripture:
Notice his claim: “Arsenokoites cannot be translated by ‘homosexuals, or any similar word”. He further states that: "If 1st Corinthians 6:9-10 could be translated as "... homosexuals ... will not inherit the Kingdom of God", or anything like that, then this debate would be over, for the Christadelphians at least”.
Well then, the debate must be over, for it can be so translated!!
First, the BDAG notes that ‘arsenokoites’ is defined as “a male who engages in sexual activity with a person of his own sex”.
Next, this is an incomplete list of translations that render the word ‘arsenokoites’ as “homosexual” or similar:
So there is no "IF" about it. It can be translated as such, and it has been translated as such by mutiple versions, a fact which can’t be disputed by anyone honest. But there is further proof which is detailed below:
“The New Thayer’s Greek English Lexicon Of The New Testament”, (1889) edited by Jay P.Green 1979, 1981, published by Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts:
Strong’s Concordance: Greek
Moreover, the word translated “effeminate” is the Greek word malakos. The word, as the .NET Bible notes, means “being passive in a same-sex relationship”. We refer to an indisputable source: “A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature”, third edition which catalogues the use of early Greek use of words. There we read, “being passive in a same-sex relationship”.
"GC" refers us to an article by Dale Martin, whose studies are located at “The Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies in Religion and Ministry”. Martin here argues that the translation of these two words as associated with homosexuality is a modern invention and not in the Greek text. Is this true?
The Geneva Bible translates 1 Corinthians 6:9 as:
The old English word buggerers meant homosexuality in all its forms. Apparently it isn't so modern after all.
Then we refer again to an indisputable source: “A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature”. In looking at the catalog of early Greek literature we find the word means “one who has intercourse with a man as with a woman” and “a male who engages in sexual activity with a person of his own sex”. So much for Gay and Lesbian apologists and those who use them as sources.
Finally, notice the company that homosexuals are put in, in 1st Timothy 1:
"GC" claims that these are “concerned with idolatry, not loving same sex partnerships.” We can only leave the reader to ponder how such a contorted view of the Scriptures can be arrived at. Hunger and sex drive some to the greatest crimes and absurdities.