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Biblical overview of Homosexuality


Different Generations are approaching basic questions differently. 40% of adults ... Issues of the Church's discernment of the Spirit's guidance. F. So what? ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Biblical overview of Homosexuality

Biblical overview of Homosexuality
  • Dr. Douglas C. Mohrmann
  • Assistant Professor of Religion

Biblical overview of Homosexuality
  • I. Introduction
  • II. The waning voice of Scripture in Sexual
  • III. Struggle over the intent of the Bible
  • IV. Summary and Conclusions

I. Introduction
  • The Sexual Revolution
  • The Textual Revolution
  • Deconstruction a Way of Life

II. The Waning voice of Scripture in Sexual Ethics
  • A. Changing Demographics and Values
  • (source Barna Research)
  • Different Generations are approaching basic
    questions differently
  • 40 of adults are single
  • 75 million adults do not attend church
  • 92 increase since 1991
  • Median Age of the Unchurched 38 cf. to overall
  • B. Future of Leadership will change
  • See Douglas C. Mohrmann, Is Anyone Listening?
    The Waning Voice of the Bible in Sexual Ethics,
    in Religion and Sexuality Passionate Debates,
    ed. C.K. Robertson 2006.

C. Use of Scripture in Ethical Decisions
  • Overall
  • 82 pray regularly cf. 38 read Scripture
  • Basis of Ethical decisions
  • Whatever feels right 30
  • Taught by parents 15
  • Bible 13
  • Self interest 10
  • Other considerations 32

C. Use of Scripture in Ethical Decisions
  • Younger people (teenagers)
  • Basis of Ethical decisions
  • Whatever feels right 38
  • Serves personal outcome 16
  • Taught by parents 10
  • Makes others happy 10
  • Expectations of others 10
  • Bible 7
  • Other factors 9

D. Sexual ethics
  • Christian sentiments vary little from the overall
  • Among those claiming to be Born Again
  • 50 co-habitation see as acceptable
  • 28 find no moral objection to pornography
  • 20 think homosexuality is okay

Why is Scripture being marginalized in these
III. The Struggle over the intent of the Bible
  • A. Genesis 19 ( Judges 19)
  • They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came
    to you tonight? Bring them out to us, so that we
    may know them. (v.5)
  • Violent sexual assaults
  • Earliest commentaries do not emphasize the
    homoerotic element rather, they see it as a
    violation of codes of hospitality.
  • Ezek 1648-49 Isa 110-17 Jer 2314 Zeph
    28-11 Wisdom of Solomon 1913 Matt 1015
  • Jude 7 unnatural? The selfishness or the

B. Lev 18 ( 20)
  • You a man will not lie with a man, as in the
    lying with a woman this is an abomination
  • When a man lies with a man, as in the lying with
    a woman, the two of these have committed an
    abomination they will surely be put to death
    their blood is on themselves (2013)
  • Interpreting the priestly laws, e.g. food and
    sex Mary Douglas (Purity and Danger, 1966 to
    Leviticus as Literature, 1999)

Making Sense of Sex A Study of Leviticus 18,
in Journal for the Study of the Old Testament,
29.1 (2004) 57-79.
B. Lev 18 ( 20)
  • Vv.21-23 For the nation
  • with Child Sacrifice and Bestiality
  • These interfere with procreation
  • Male homoerotic behavior an abomination
  • Used in serious cultic and social contexts for
    potential damage to relationships e.g. Deut
    238 2516 Amos 510 Isa 497 Micah 39
  • Here both cultic and social contexts are evident
    in relating to God and being strong among
    cultural competitors.

B. Lev 18 ( 20)
  • No mention of Lesbianism in Hebrew Bible
  • CD 59-11
  • Homoerotic Acts vs. Homosexuality
  • John Boswell, Christianity, social tolerance, and
    homosexuality gay people in Western Europe from
    the beginning of the Christian era to the
    fourteenth century

C. 1-2 Samuel (David Jonathan)
  • He David bowed three times, and they kissed
    each other, and wept with each other David wept
    the more. (1 Sam 2041)
  • I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan
    greatly beloved were you to me your love to me
    was wonderful, passing the love of women. (2 Sam
  • Kissing as greetings and good-bys (cf. 1 Sam
  • What if it is homoerotic behaviour?
  • (Ruth and Naomi)

D. 1 Corintians 69-10 ( 1 Timothy 110)
  • Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit
    the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived!
    Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male
    prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy,
    drunkards, revilers, robbers--none of these will
    inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Cor 69-10)
  • This means understanding that the law is laid
    down not for the innocent but for the lawless and
    disobedient, for the godless and sinful, for the
    unholy and profane, for those who kill their
    father or mother, for murderers, fornicators,
    sodomites, slave traders, liars, perjurers, and
    whatever else is contrary to the sound teaching
    that conforms to the glorious gospel of the
    blessed God, which he entrusted to me. (1 Tim

D. 1 Corintians 69-10 ( 1 Timothy 110)
  • Greek terms
  • malakos, (soft, effeminate)
  • arsenokoites (from LXX Lev 1822 one who has
    sex with a man)
  • Paul is against sexual union with prostitutes,
    female (v.16) or male.

E. Rom 126-27
  • For this reason God gave them up to degrading
    passions. Their women exchanged natural
    intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way
    also the men, giving up natural intercourse with
    women, were consumed with passion for one
    another. Men committed shameless acts with men
    and received in their own persons the due penalty
    for their error. (vv.26-27)
  • Listed among other vices vv.29-31 wickedness,
    evil, covetousness, malice. Full of envy, murder,
    strife, deceit, craftiness, they are gossips,
    slanderers, God-haters, insolent, haughty,
    boastful, inventors of evil, rebellious toward
    parents, foolish, faithless, heartless,

E. Rom 126-27
  • Pederasty only?
  • Greek terms
  • phusiken chresin (natural intimacy)
  • arsenes en arsesin (men with men)
  • aschemosunen katergazomenoi (acting unseemly)
  • Not specific language, meant for general

F. So what? The messiness of Hermeneutics
  • Times have changed.
  • How can believers apply a Biblically informed
    ethic to the 21st Century?
  • Issues of Liberty (racism and sexism)
  • Issues of the Churchs discernment of the
    Spirits guidance.

F. So what? The messiness of Hermeneutics
  • A Redemptive Hermeneutic?
  • When ideals collide with pragmatism
  • Criteria (William Webb Slaves , Woman,
    Homosexuals Exploring the Hermeneutics of
    Cultural Analysis, 2001)
  • Improvements from the Biblical culture
  • Seed Ideas
  • Breakouts
  • Purpose Statements
  • Basis in Fall/Curse
  • Basis in Original Creation (Adam and Eve)
  • Scientific and Social Evidence (APA)

IV. Summary and Conclusions
  • A. Several texts at first glance look to be very
    helpful, but in fact are of only secondary
  • B. Leviticus 18 and Romans 1 generally condemned
    homoerotic behavior (not homosexuality per se).
  • C. Although the need to spread love and liberty
    is grounded in the Bible, it does not appear that
    this must be extended to legitimating homoerotic

IV. Summary and Conclusions
  • D. While covenantal homosexual relations are
    improvements on pederasty and promiscuous
    homosexual relations, the overall negative view
    of the Bible for homoerotic behavior brings great
    caution to an acceptance of this practice.
  • E. Churches must assess their witness to Gods
    Spirit that could potentially overturn this
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