Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ben Corey, John MacArthur, and A Gay Thing

In my last post I wrote about Ben Corey’s issue with John MacArthur’s perspective on how Christians should deal with the professing Christians that also claim to be gay. I wanted to return to this issue briefly to point out a couple of things that I did not mention in my most recent post.

Returning to 1 Corinthians 5 where we have the case of what I think is a man that has married his former stepmother. The Jewish and Greco-Roman cultures prohibit such an act in the strongest of language. Paul uses a word that I think is vital to this discussion. It is translated immoral in the English translations of our Bible but in the Greek the word is pronounced PORNEIA. This is very broad Greek word that means any kind of illicit sex whatsoever. In other words, in sex outside of the context of marriage as defined by God would be classified as PORNEIA. Adultery, fornication, pedophilia, bestiality, homosexuality, and so forth would all be included in this definition.

Now, the interesting thing is that this word is used to describe an illegitimate marriage. It was immoral in Jewish culture as well as Greco-Roman culture for this sort of arrangement to occur. The sin was no less serious than if the two were carrying on an affair. However, an affair is highly unlikely because of the public nature of this incident. What man would allow his son to humiliate him by having sexual relations with his wife? It is much more plausible to think that these two were in a relationship and that the father had either died or was no longer in the picture. Paul called the arrangement immoral and ordered that the man be removed from the community immediately and without hesitation.

Now, I want to draw your attention to this word PORNEIA as another biblical author uses it. Jude 7 uses a form of PORNEIA, specifically, EKPORNEUW, which means debauchery. THE NAS translates it “gross immorality.” What does Jude mean by gross immorality? How can we get a glimpse into some of the behavior that is classed as gross immorality? It is really quite simple; Jude references Sodom and Gomorrah as his example. Our next step then is to understand the sin of these two cities so that we can understand Jude’s characterization of this behavior he is referencing.

We get a glimpse of God’s attitude toward Sodom and Gomorrah in Gen. 18:20, And the Lord said, “The outcry of Sodom and Gomorrah is indeed great, and their sin is exceedingly grave.” For those who wish to take a casual approach to this issue, I suggest you read the story in Genesis 18-19 very carefully. So far we have recognized that Jude was inspired by God to classify the behavior of Sodom and Gomorrah as immoral. Second, God has said to Abraham that their sin is exceedingly grave.
As the messengers of the Lord arrive in the city, Lot recognizes their uniqueness and compels them to spend the night in his home with his family. The men of Sodom, all of them, surround Lot’s home and demand that Lot send the men out to them so that they may have sexual intercourse with them. Now, some modern scholars have attempted to recast this story in an attempt to defend homosexual behavior. Perhaps the most developed is Morschauser’s contention that when the men say they want to “know” the visitors, they are expressing distrust in Lot’s ability to protect the city from spies and they want to “interrogate” the men.[1] The problem with this view is that the Hebrew word “to know” always connotes sexual relations when used with a personal direct object. In fact, when Lot offers his daughters, Morchauser argues that he offered them as hostages just in case the men were spying out the city. The problem again is that Lot uses the same word “to know” in the context of his virgin daughters. They have never known a man! Hence, such an interpretation of Sodom and Gomorrah, while creative, has nothing to commend it and should be dismissed as modern liberal bias.

Lot referred to the act of homosexual sex as he pleaded with the men of Sodom not to do this “wicked thing.” But the men would have none of Lot’s pleading and began to force their way into his house. It was at this time that the angels smote these men with blindness and rescued Lot and his family from the wrath of God that was to be poured out on those cities.

Jude refers to the men of Sodom and Gomorrah as behaving immorally when they went after strange flesh. This is a reference to homosexual behavior. Jude actually uses the idiom πελθοσαι πίσω σαρκς τέρας, which means to engage in unnatural sexual intercourse (BDAG). There can be little doubt about the story of Sodom and Gomorrah when it is read without bias in its historical context and allowed to stand on its own two feet. Paul spoke about homosexual sex and stated plained that it was unnatural. In Rom. 1:27 Paul refers to same sex relations as indecent and shameful acts that are disgraceful and a violation of the natural function of the human body.

Wolves have existed from the very inception of the Church. In fact, wolves were here long before the Church was born. We have always had to contend with them. They have had a history of being more sneaky, more stealthy than what we are witnessing today. Today, they show up with their new ideas of what Christianity is supposed to be about, plant seeds of doubt about established doctrine, play on the dissapointments of thousands, and use their counter-Christian thinking to gain acceptance. They begin with the end in mind. Ben Corey, Rob Bell, Brian McLaren and several others have twisted, bent, rehaped, and contorted nearly every ounce of histroric Christian orthodoxy in an attempt to hi-jack Jesus and His gospel. They are not the only problem in my opinion. What is just as much a problem are the silent pastors, teachers, professors, and Christians who refuse, for whatever reason, to call these false teachers and heretics out publicly. We have a duty to honor God by standing for truth, defending the truth, proclaiming the truth living the truth, and teachers others the truth. Its about time we got on with it and stop worrying so much about how unpopular and marginalized we will become. Persecution is a way of Christian life. We need to let that settle in and get used to it.

[1] John H Walton, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary (Old Testament): Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, vol. 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2009), 93.

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