August 2, 2012

Shellfish, Mixed Fabrics, and Homosexuality: Picking and Choosing?

by Mike Riccardi

Eat More PorkOnce again, a brilliant post of Jesse’s has stimulated a lot of discussion. Yesterday’s post, in which Jesse shared four thoughts regarding Chick-Fil-A Day, sparked a ton of discussion in the comment thread.

Among other issues, a couple of commenters listed a number of popular arguments for why homosexuality is reconcilable with Christianity. For today and tomorrow, I’d like to address a couple of those arguments that I encounter most often. My hope is that I might serve those who erroneously believe that faith in Jesus and His Word can be reconciled with attempts to legitimize homosexuality.

The objection I want to address today basically boils down to this: “There are plenty other commands in Scripture that Christians don’t follow today, like the prohibition against mixing fabrics (Lev 19:19) or eating shellfish (Lev 11:10–12) and pork (Lev 11:7–8). So why not one more?”

Unbiblical Reasoning

First, I just want to observe that this kind of reasoning is patently unbiblical. The argument concedes that the Bible does indeed condemn homosexuality. We’re not getting an argument from these folks on that. They’re just giving a reason for why we should ignore more of what the Bible clearly says. “We disobey God’s Word all over the place. Why should disobeying His commands against homosexuality be any different?”

If you find yourself thinking this way, I just want to plead with you to realize that this is just not the way a Christian thinks about God’s Word. Someone who loves God in the Person of Jesus Christ does not look for ways to legitimize their disobedience or to free themselves from what He’s actually said. The one who loves God loves His Word. The Word of God is the delight of the child of God (see Psalm 119; Job 23:12; Jer 15:16). If God’s Word is something you feel you have to get around or escape, please examine whether you’re truly a Christian at all.

The Purpose of the Law

But aside from the fact that a Christian simply doesn’t reason this way, this objection fails to understand the purposes of the Mosaic Law, and how the Christian under the New Covenant is to relate to the Law given under the Sinaitic Covenant. This isn’t an easy theological issue, and so to some degree I understand the confusion over this issue. But Scripture gives a clear answer, so try to stick with me.

Law Scroll

To Set God’s People Apart

For one thing, these civil and ceremonial regulations functioned to set Israel apart from all the other nations. No other nation cared about eating animals that didn’t chew cud or wearing clothes woven with two different fabrics. No other nation let a perfectly good day of work (and profits) slip through their fingers by resting on Saturday. In all these restrictions, God’s design was for Israel—His people—to be different than all the nations. And He wanted them to be different from the nations because He was different than the gods of the nations.

But God’s people are no longer confined to a particular nation. They are no longer bound by physical, national, or even cultural boundaries (Eph 2:12). The Church is not a civil government or a theocracy, but a spiritual building (Eph 2:21–22). Because of that, we’re not set apart by obeying laws about fabrics, foods, lengths of beards, and days of rest, but by our moral purity and holiness. We are to come out from all moral impurity and uncleanness, and are to be separate, for the Holy God walks in our midst (2 Cor 6:14–7:1).

To Point God’s People to a Savior

So, one function of the Mosaic Law was to set God’s people—the nation of Israel—apart in tangible, physical ways in order to show His own uniqueness.

But the Law was also given to Israel for another purpose: to illustrate God’s standard of righteousness, to show how far short of that standard His people fall, and ultimately to point them to a Savior to provide that righteousness.

Under the Mosaic Covenant, a right relationship with God depended on compliance with all of what He had said. If someone broke God’s Law, that was sin, and sin demanded a punishment. God made a provision to punish His people’s sin in a substitute, and so the sacrificial system was instituted. The consistent bloody exercise of animal sacrifice was designed to make clear to Israel that God was infinitely holy and that He took sin seriously. Day after day, year after year, all of Israel would offer sacrifices for their sins. And one thing they were supposed to come away with after doing that was that they could not live the way God required. God was holy. And they were hopelessly unholy.

Because of this, in Galatians 3 Paul calls the Law a tutor or a schoolmaster.

But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed. Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith (Gal 3:22–24).

So the Law was designed to teach Israel that they could never meet God’s standard of holiness themselves, and that they needed to look outside of themselves—to Him—for the gracious provision of that righteousness. And God provided that righteousness in the Person of His Son, Jesus Christ. The Law was designed to point to Him!

That’s why when Jesus shows up, He can declare that all foods are clean (Mark 7:19) and work on the Sabbath (Luke 6:2, 5). It’s why God’s people no longer have to offer sacrifices in a temple—why when Jesus was crucified the veil of the temple was torn in two (Matt 27:51): because in Jesus, something greater than the temple is here (Matt 12:8)! A Better CovenantAccess to God would no longer be mediated by the regulations of the Mosaic Covenant, but by those of the New Covenant (Jer 31:31–34; Luke 22:20), whose mediator is Christ Himself (Heb 9:15).

That’s also why the Book of Hebrews declares that the Mosaic Covenant has been made “obsolete” (Heb 8:13): because the purpose for which that Covenant was given—namely, to set Israel apart and to point them to a need for a Savior—is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Jesus is the point of the dietary laws. God’s people are no longer set apart by not mixing fabrics, they are set apart by being united to Jesus by faith.

No Longer Under a Tutor

So, the reason that Christians don’t have a problem mixing fabrics or eating pork is not because we’re picking and choosing which biblical commands we follow. Neither were the commands culturally conditioned. Rather, they were covenantally conditioned. It’s actually because those commands, which belonged to the Mosaic Covenant, have been fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ, who is the Mediator of a new and better covenant. We actually obey the commands of the Law not by carrying them out ourselves, but by looking to Jesus as their fulfillment and trusting Him to provide the righteousness that those commands couldn’t produce. That’s why Paul says in that same passage in Galatians 3:

Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor (Gal 3:24–25).

We are no longer under that Law which functioned for us as a tutor! To attempt to keep the dietary laws and other aspects of ceremonial worship would actually be to deny that Jesus’ righteous life and substitutionary sacrifice on the cross was sufficient to achieve God’s righteousness on our behalf. So when Christians exercise their freedom to mix fabrics or to eat shellfish and pork, we are not breaking the Mosaic Law. Rather, we are living obediently in light of its fulfillment in Christ (cf. Matt 5:17).

Why Homosexuality is Different

However, the commandments against homosexuality do not belong to the ceremonial or civil stipulations of an obsolete covenant from a bygone era. Yes, a prohibition of homosexuality is given in Leviticus 18:22. But that prohibition is repeated in the New Testament—God’s revelation for those living under the New Covenant.

  • Romans 1:26–27 – For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9–10 – Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.
  • 1 Timothy 1:9–10 – …those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching…

Whereas the New Testament declares the fulfillment (and thus the end) of certain civil and ceremonial laws of the Mosaic Covenant, these New Covenant Scriptures only reaffirm the Old Testament prohibition against homosexuality. This shows us that such a prohibition wasn’t applicable only to national Israel, but is also binding upon the New Testament people of God. And the reason for that is because the prohibition against homosexuality wasn’t designed to teach a temporary lesson, like the food laws and civil regulations were; rather, homosexuality in all ages tragically distorts the picture of the Gospel that marriage is designed to be. According to God’s own Word to His people, you cannot be in a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ while living an unrepentant homosexual lifestyle.

You Can Be Washed

But you certainly can be restored to a saving relationship with God through Jesus Christ by repenting from the sin of homosexuality. 1 Corinthians 6:11 says that some in the Corinthian church were homosexuals (cf. 1 Cor 6:10–11). “But,” Paul says, “you were washed.” They had been cleansed! Their sins were forgiven, not by pretending it wasn’t sin but by owning it and confessing it as sin, and by turning from it—forsaking it as something that dishonors God—and by trusting in Christ’s righteousness alone for acceptance with God. My prayer is that those of you reading this would be washed by the blood of the Lamb shed for the forgiveness of sins.

Mike Riccardi

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Mike is the Pastor of Local Outreach Ministries at Grace Community Church in Los Angeles. He also teaches Evangelism at The Master's Seminary.
  • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

    One might also consider this post on the subject.

  • http://www.clintarcher.com/ Clint

    Excellent post Mike. I’m preaching through Leviticus at the moment, and have had to reiterate this lesson repeatedly in the sermons. A pithy way to say it is: “The Law is not binding on New Covenant believers, but it does apply.” It takes wisdom to apply that which is not binding, but we do it all the time. For example, the command for wives to submit to their husbands is not *binding* on single women or men for that matter. But it certainly *applies* to all believers, as it helps us when finding a spouse, or teaching others about marriage, etc…

    • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

      Thanks Clint. I love that you’re preaching through Leviticus. Are you going chapter by chapter, or dividing it up some other way? How is the congregation doing with it? I’m sure you’re doing a wonderful job.

      And yeah, I think your pithy saying is extremely helpful. I thought of your post on this issue when I was writing this. The binding vs. applies distinction is key.

  • MM

    Are the ten commandments still binding?

    • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

      Thanks for your question, MM. But I want to make sure I answer the question you’re actually asking, and not what I think you might be asking. So could you tell me what you mean by “binding?”

  • Mrs.M.

    So, speaking of homosexual marriage and the post you wrote on why the definition of marriage is important – mainly to share the Gospel, I have a question. If marriage is to show leadership of Christ by the husband and submission of the wife by the church, as well as covenanat keeping love and sacrifice, why couldn’t we still see these things in a marriage where two men or two women have this type of relationship with one another? Thank you for clarifying.

    • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

      Hi Mrs. M.

      That’s a really good question. Thanks so much for reading both posts!

      The reason we couldn’t see marital headship and submission as a parable of the Gospel-relationship between Christ and His Church with two men or two women is because God has designed humanity such that headship in marriage relates fundamentally to maleness, and that submission in marriage relates fundamentally to femaleness.

      One of the places in Scripture where we see that is 1 Corinthians 11:3, where Paul says, “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ.” Apparently, according to Scripture (also Ephesians 5:22-33), there is something very foundational, very essential, between the relationship of man as the loving head of the woman, and the relationship of woman as the one who joyfully submits to her head. God has designed man to lovingly lead his wife, and He has designed woman to joyfully submit to her husband. 

      In fact, there is no way that man can be the head of man and adequately paint this picture that marriage paints. The beautiful unity in diversity — the complementarity that reflects God’s own Trinitarian character (cf. “God is the head of Christ”) — is lost when two of the same sex try to fulfill these roles.

      Beyond this, if marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church think about what homosexual marriage would communicate about the Gospel. With two men: we have Christ lovingly leading… Himself? There is no Gospel, because the Church is left out, not led, and not saved. With two women: we have the Church submitting to… herself? There’s no Gospel there either, that’s just self-willed autonomy. No loving dependence upon a Savior, but self-trust and self-righteousness.

      So, to sort of summarize: we couldn’t see these things in a marriage between two men or two women because they can’t, by definition and because of the way God has designed us, have this kind of relationship with each other. Genesis 2, 1 Corinthians 11, and Ephesians 5 teach us that there is something so woven into the fabric of maleness that pictures our Savior’s loving headship over us. And there is something so woven into the fabric of femaleness that pictures the Church’s joyful submission to her Head. To try to force submission into maleness and headship into femaleness distorts who God says He created male and female to be, and, ultimately, lies about the Gospel.

      Does that help?

      • Michael

        And also because it’s sin. You can’t try to show any glory to God by sinning.

  • http://almostreadytogoamish.blogspot.com/ Rational νεόφυτος

    I’m in agreement on this, but I do think that even in new covenant, New Testament Christianity, we can still play fast-and-loose and pick and choose what we want to follow (with a little bit of hermeneutical tap-dancing, generally.)  For instance, I Cor. 11 clearly establishes the practice of head coverings for women during worship, not just as a ‘this would be a nice thing to do, folks’ but as an ordinace that Paul ties to the creation order, an instruction given additionally “on account of the angels” present.  Why is this ordnance, laregly followed for most of church histor, almost universally ignored today?  Instead churches are filled with many women with short hair, adorned with gold and jewelry, and more frequently it’s no big deal if they get up to speak and teach…

    I’m stepping on taboo.  I’ll stop.

    • http://thecripplegate.com Jesse Johnson

      You’re stepping on taboos, I’m stepping on Mike’s comment thread. My take on 1 cor 11 is that it DOES apply to day. But what Paul ties to the creative order is not head coverings, but submission–or, more particularly, a sign of submission. In our culture, that would be wedding rings. If a woman takes of her wedding ring in church, because after all, she has no husband but Jesus, she is violating 1 cor 11. And that is exactly what some scholars, such as Grudem, Kistemaker, Schriener, Piper, etc., say was happening in Corinth. Women were taking off their head coverings (worn by married women) in church, to demonstrate that in God’s kingdom there is no submission. Paul shuts that down, saying that it even in nature it is recognized that wives should be submissive to their husbands. The command is after the heart, not the cloth.  

      • Eric Ellis

         Could we also say that the taking of the husband’s last name is another sign of submission? Most of the women I know (anecdotal, I know) who don’t take their husband’s last name are clearly motivated by a desire to distance themselves from the whole headship/submission issue.

        • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

          I totally think this is legit. In fact, I might think it’s more of a relevant application than wedding rings (since guys wear wedding rings too).

      • http://twitter.com/GradeBMaple Nerys Maclay

        Paul is a misogynist. Many Christians don’t follow his teachings on women because, frankly, people want to have their religion that has actually evolved since the year 50 CE.

    • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

      Thanks, Rational neophutos.

      When you say we can still play fast and loose, do you mean you, or do you mean others? If you mean you, I think the section on “Unbiblical Reasoning” should sting you a little bit. If you believe that head coverings are grounded in the created order and that Evangelicals just kinda skip that command, your conscience should really bother you (unless, I suppose, your wife wears head coverings).

      In regards to the actual issue, I think Jesse hits it in on the head (heh). Paul doesn’t tie head coverings themselves to the created order. He ties them to male-female headship and submission (1 Cor 11:7: a man shouldn’t cover his head since he is the glory of God and woman is the glory of man). And then he ties headship and submission to the created order (1 Cor 11:8; for, giving the reason that man is the glory of God and woman is the glory of man, man doesn’t originate from woman, and the woman was created for the man’s sake).

      So, creation is the ground, headship and submission is the principle that is rooted in creation, head coverings and the lack thereof are the application of the principle.

      Now, you may say that’s hermeneutical tap-dancing, but I assure you I have nothing against head coverings themselves. I’m just trying to be faithful to what the text actually says, and I think it’s clear that what we’re seeing is “creation-principle-application” rather than “creation-principle.”

      So, no picking and choosing.

      • http://almostreadytogoamish.blogspot.com/ Rational νεόφυτος

        (tappety-tappity-tap)….. jk….. :)
        Sproul changed my mind on this issue on this in one of his books, when he more or less illustrated how the ordinance still stands, and incidentally I can’t help but notice how the covering sort of fell out of vogue, coincidentally, when feminism started to rise around the ’50’s. The ordinance had stood more or less untested until about 50 some years ago, and is it any surprise that around the same time the covering started to vanish was also when women started to take the pulipt?
        It’s refreshing to me when I visit churches in the south where the older women still wear hats to worship…. maybe more as rote tradition vs. obedience to the apostle’s words to Corinth, but all the same, I think the angels still appreciate it (v. 10)… :)

        • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

          Oh! You mean R. C. Sproul said head coverings are still binding? Why didn’t you tell me?! That changes everything!

          :-)

      • http://twitter.com/occupy_xnty Occupy Christianity

        OK…I think you’ve got a bit of a problem here. At first blush I don’t buy the idea that somehow the women-head-covering part is culturally-specific and symbolic, whereas other parts must be taken literally and as valid for all time and cultures.

        I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know enough about the Greek translation of the New Testament to know if this is true, but I’ve heard it argued that the Greek word in I Corinthians (as well as Timothy) is “arsenokoites”, which specifically refers to a male temple prostitute in non-Christian religions and not to a person living as a homosexual. Feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

        If there is any hermaneutical tap-dancing going on, it seems to me like it is happening with the head-covering debate more than the passage you cite here on homosexuality.

        • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

          I don’t buy the idea that somehow the women-head-covering part is culturally-specific and symbolic, whereas other parts must be taken literally and as valid for all time and cultures.

          OK, but “I don’t buy it” isn’t a biblical argument.

          I see three steps pretty clearly in 1 Cor 11:7-8:

          (a) the application (v. 7a – no coverings for man, but coverings for women [cf. vv. 5-6])
          (b) of the principle of headship and submission (v. 7b – since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man)
          (c) grounded in the created order (v. 8 – for [i.e., this is the reason for headship and submission] man doesn’t originate from woman, and the woman was created for the man’s sake).

          “Since” means that (b) gives the reason for (a), and “for” means that (c) gives the reason for (b). If head coverings are universally binding, (b) would have to be skipped and (c) would give the reason for (a). But that’s not the case.

          It’s a difficult passage, so it’s going to require a close look. But just because we’ve got to read it closely doesn’t mean that we’re tap dancing. It means we’re laboring to cut a straight course in the word of truth.

          Feel free to correct me if I am wrong.

          Here ya go.

        • Get Real

          The term arsenokoites has traditionally been translated “homosexual” until John Boswell, a Yale historian–not exegete or lexicographer–deconstructed the word based on some obscure sources that have been easily refuted. The Septuagint (Greek Translation of the Old Testament) actually uses arsenos and koites in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 to refer to men laying with men. The compound was formed later by the rabbis or Paul himself, as he reflected upon the Leviticus passages in the Septuagint. Paul clearly is using arsenokoites as an overarching term to proscribe all forms of homosexual activity, just like the plural of pornos refers to any sexual deviancy that distorts marital intimacy and violates the 7th Commandment. Boswell believes that arsenokoites refers to pederasty–young teenage boys with older men, but the Greeks had a specific term for that pederastos. Clearly, Paul had the levitical texts in mind in his employment of the term.

          • http://twitter.com/sorikku Brandon Acorn

            First, arsenos and koites never appear in the Old Testament because the Old Testament was not written in Greek. The *Hebrew* words used were tishkav (‘to lie’, a vulgar word for sex) and mishkevei ishah (‘lyings of a woman,’ that is, to be penetrated). The only thing prohibited in Leviticus is anal sex. There is no mention of woman-on-woman action, either, so you can’t say Leviticus has some kind of blanket prohibition on homosexuality. It’s just not there in the original text.

      • Wimcottage

        The problem I see with using Paul’s letters as a guide is that these words are the work of a man who is establishing the Church, they are not the words or actions of Christ

        • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

          I’m not sure why that’s a problem, Wimcottage. But actually, while the man Jesus Himself did not speak the words that Paul wrote, the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus sent to speak His words (John 16:12-14), superintended what Paul wrote so that he wrote exactly what God desired to be written (2 Tim 3:16-17; 2 Pet 1:20-21).

          See, strictly speaking, Jesus did not stop speaking when Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John finished their Gospel accounts. While Jesus was still on earth, He told the disciples that He had much to say to them, things which they could not bear at that time (John 16:12). But He promised that the Holy Spirit would come to the disciples and would guide them into all truth. This is a promise from Jesus Himself that the word that the Holy Spirit would speak through the disciples would be Christ’s own words (John 16:13). In this way, the Spirit would glorify Jesus (John 16:14).

          And the Holy Spirit did just that. As the church was being built, the Spirit spoke Jesus’ words to the writers of the New Testament. So the Book of Acts, the epistles of Paul, Peter, John, James, and Jude, the letter to the Hebrews, and the Revelation given to the Apostle John are all the word of God Himself. All of the New Testament (and the Old as well) is the Lord of the church speaking to His church by means of the Holy Spirit through the agency of human writers.

          So, if the Lord Jesus is to be heard in His church, we must give attention to all the words of Holy Scripture, even Paul’s words, and even if those words offend our modern cultural sensibilities and condemn our lifestyles.

    • Michael

      So a passage that is hard to interpret means easy passages should be dismissed too? Imagine what we could do with that. “Well, 1 Cor. 11 isn’t applied consistently so neither should the doctrine of the Trinity, or propitiation, or election, or creatoin…”

      1Cor. 11 is difficult to apply because it takes quite a bit of work to interpret it, and many godly men have disagreed on its meaning. But the verses Mike cited in his post are crystal clear!

  • Renaeludrick

    I pray that God will bless you and show you love and guidance.  It is harder to love somebody and to open your eyes, rather than be stuck in your own bias and judgements.  
    Good luck to you.  

    • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

       And, I suppose it’s easier to dismiss a 1700-word presentation without dealing with a single biblical argument that was made, and just label someone unloving, according to your own bias and judgments.

      Stick around for tomorrow, Renae, when we address the notions of love and hate as they relate to this discussion.

      • Lew Miller

         I really appreciate the way you guys handle issues. To me it is the perfect balance of truth and love.

      • Jon

        Everything you claim is true, can not in fact EVER be proven true. The Bible is a 3rd party story book that has been brain washing people for years. You preach love, yet you can’t love because you are too full of saying well see see this says no. Who cares!! Christians don’t rule the world. You can’t say just because us how many ever Christians there are believe this it is true. For this I turn to Scientology… It was created by a science fiction writer. It’s like reading the Wizard of Oz and saying that everyone who believes in the Wiccan religion should have a house dropped on them. The Bible also says wearing gold is a no no , so to anyone who is married drop that wedding ring! The problem in this world is everyone wants to always be right. You’re no more right than any other person. Let he who is with out sin cast the first stone. to me that means shut you’re mouth on my personal business and what you think is right because yours is no where near perfect. Christianity has only been around in the grand scheme of things for a hot minute.

        • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

          Jon, everything you claim is true, cannot in fact ever be proven true.

          See what I did there? :-) Relativism and epistemological humility are both self-defeating and self-refuting.

          The bottom line is that this comes back to an issue of authority. I accept the Bible’s authority because the presentation of Christ revealed therein is self-authenticatingly glorious. You reject it, and call it a storybook. But who are you to say such things? Why should I accept your assertion that it is such? You have no authority. In fact, who are you to say that I can’t love? How very hateful, arrogant, and judgmental of you.

          Nobody is arguing that Christians rule the world, or that majority vote makes something true. Also, I’m not sure what the origins of Scientology or Wicca have to do with anything.

          Regarding the Bible’s prohibiting wearing gold, it actually doesn’t. That kind of misunderstanding comes from reading the Bible like it was a Hallmark card or a rule book, instead of the collection of history, poetry, letters, etc. that it is. In the passages you’re referring to (1 Tim 2:9 and 1 Pet 3:3), the Apostles are simply teaching that one’s identity must not be placed in externals, as if adorning your exterior made you important or worthy or acceptable in God’s sight. The point is, beautify the inner person by repenting of sin and pursuing Christlikeness.

          Besides, even if there was a prohibition against gold, you’re employing the exact kind of unbiblical reasoning that I mention in the original post. Basically, “We disobey the ‘no-gold’ rule, so we should also disobey these other rules here too.” No Christian, who by definition loves God’s word, argues that way.

          You’re no more right than any other person.

          If that’s true, then that statement is no more right than any other statement (including, “The Bible is God’s Word, and He’s more right than you.”), and is thus invalid. There’s relativism refuting itself again.

          Let he who is with out sin cast the first stone. to me that means shut you’re mouth on my personal business and what you think is right because yours is no where near perfect.

          It may mean that to you, but you’re no more right than any other person. :-) This is fun. … But I agree wholeheartedly with John 8:7, which is why my article didn’t cast stones, but invited all those pursuing a sinful lifestyle to repent, confess their sin as sin, and freely receive forgiveness! I mean, how awesome is that! Surely a loving invitation to free salvation is not casting stones! It’s the opposite of casting stones! It’s acknowledging that I’m just as much a sinner (probably worse) as anyone reading this. And I know the grace of God that comes from repentance from a sinful lifestyle and faith in Christ as my Lord and Master, and I want other sinners to abandon that dead-end, joyless road to destruction and taste of the sweetness of the living water, of Christ Himself.

          I want that for you too, Jon. You’re just as much a sinner as I am, and just as accountable to God as I am. You’ve refused to submit your mind to God’s truth — truth that He’s plainly revealed to you both in creation and in the Bible that you mock. But even that kind of prideful, high-handed scoffing is forgiveable because of the magnitude of what Christ did on the cross. So I invite you to repent of your own desires to be lord of your life, and to submit yourself to the Lord Jesus.

  • Pingback: Shellfish, Mixed Fabrics, and Homosexuality: Picking and Choosing? | Stand Up for the Truth()

  • Austin Davies

    I think an important part of this discussion is to even define what is meant by homosexuals. There are people who have no heterosexual desires. When they are tempted to sin sexually, they are only tempted homosexually.
    The fact that they are tempted this way does not give them the identity of a homosexual, or make them “gay.” Our culture wants us to believe this but it’s not true. One cannot be “born this way.”
    Whether because of aspects of upbringing, abuse, cultural suggestions, lack of peer acceptance, or any number of other factors, there may be a vulnerability or tendency in certain persons to have homosexual desires rather than heterosexual.
    For Christians who take the Word of God seriously, they know that acting on those desires, just like acting on any other sinful desires, is wrong. No matter how engrained those desires are in the psyche.

    In a sense I feel like there is no such thing as a homosexual, but only people who engage in homosexual sin. It is a false identity made by our culture in an attempt put it on a par with other identities such as racial identities or gender identities.
    All people sin. Christians sin. But when a Christian chooses to reject the biblical definition of sin and choose a lifestyle (whether secretly or publicly) of unrepentantly acting on their sinful desires, they fall under the judgement of the passages in 1 Cor. 6:9-10 and 1 Tim. 1:9-10 that are mentioned in the article.
    If you read the list of sins in those passages, you will probably realize that you have at some point in your Christian walk, committed at least one of them. Praise God for His grace mercy and forgiveness!

    The vulnerability or tendency to having homosexual desires is almost a different thing entirely. And God has healing for that too!

    My story is that I entered adolescence and found that my sexual desires were homosexual and not heterosexual. Throughout my teen years I acted on those desires by gratuitous viewing of gay pornography. When I was about 16, by God’s grace, I realized that I needed help and reached out to a pastor. To make a long story short, after many extended relapses into sin, God has enabled me to walk in freedom from my sexual brokenness and addiction. I am now 29, I am married, have four kids, and have a wonderful intimate relationship with my wife that I once thought impossible. God has changed my desires and healed me, forgiven me, and freed me.

    Sorry for the long post.

    • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

      Austin, what a wonderful testimony of God’s grace. Thanks so much for sharing that with us.

  • elainebitt

    Off-topic: for the life of me I cannot find out how to subscribe to the comment section as I used to before you guys switched to this new comment section system. Can you help? thanks!
    E.

    • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

      I’m getting used to the new format, too, Elaine. :-) I think you can subscribe if you go to the top of the thread on the right-hand side where it talks about “Stars.” Click the “down” arrow and there are options for subscription.

      • elainebitt

        Thank you Mike!

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  • http://twitter.com/GradeBMaple Nerys Maclay

    Okay so one thing I do not and have never understand, at least not since I started critically thinking about the faith I was following (and no longer follow), is how you can possibly believe and subscribe to a faith that actually regards you, a human, as bad, sinful, and weak. A faith in which God apparently made up stupid rules to beat you down and show you how pathetic you are, how you can’t ever live up to his expectations. The worst part is he (AND THAT. MEN MEN MEN. ALWAYS MEN AND ESPECIALLY CISMEN. I hate the misogyny ingrained in Christian society. But I digress) actually MADE you, and he made you this way…so he could tell you that you are sinful and unworthy and you need a savior?

    Why would you follow that guy? He sounds like a narcissistic jerk.

    • http://mriccardi.blogspot.com Mike Riccardi

      You’re right, Nerys. That doesn’t sound like anything human beings would make up, does it?

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