Matthew R. Perry

Has Religion Lost Its Credibility?

In Culture, Homosexuality, Religious Liberties, Religious Organizations, Theology on November 20, 2006 at 11:19 am

Oliver “Buzz” Thomas wrote an article in the USA Today Opinion section about whether religion has lost its credibility by condemning homosexuality in today’s culture. Thomas is no ordinary journalist — he is a “Baptist minister.” He notes that he is “a former ‘the Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it’ kind of guy, I am sympathetic with any Christian who accepts the Bible at face value.” The operative word in that sentence is the word “former.” Apparently, as the article implies, he has moved on and evolved from that position.

His premise is as follows:

Despite what you might have read, heard or been taught throughout your churchgoing life, homosexuality is, in fact, determined at birth and is not to be condemned by God’s followers.

For someone who is a former biblical literalist who seems to turn away from Christian exclusivism, he has now turned to another type of exclusivism. Homosexuality “is not to be condemned by God’s followers.” Direct, to the point — a the phraseology is that of a rule one must follow!

So we have now come to the point in 2006 where we are now enlightened to this? What a privileged age we must be in to now, after 3500 years of obeying biblical law that’s found in both Old and New Testaments and has been understood by civilizations all across this world for all times, whether they adhered to the Bible of not, that this is something one is born with and is not a choice.

Sarcasm aside, they call us arrogant for purporting this truth. How arrogant of them to think that after all this time they have now been enlightened when they have 3,000 years of history who says otherwise.

He goes on:

As a former “the Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it” kind of guy, I am sympathetic with any Christian who accepts the Bible at face value. But here’s the catch. Leviticus is filled with laws imposing the death penalty for everything from eating catfish to sassing your parents. If you accept one as the absolute, unequivocal word of God, you must accept them all.

What scares me most is not his logic, but that he is a Baptist minister preaching in a pulpit to people who actually believe he understands the Scriptures. Read the Old Testament in light of the new and you will see that those dietary and ceremonial rituals and laws were fulfilled in Christ who is the end of the law (Romans 10:4) and the fulfillment of the law (Matthew 5:17-18). Now, the moral law is still in place, which I will address in a moment. But Christ has set Christians free from the tedious and laborious nature of trying to appeal and be accepted by God by doing good things. Christ came and said, “By faith in me, you are accepted — now go and obey.”

As for the moral laws, specifically pertaining to homosexuality in the Scriptures, listen/read Thomas’ logic:

What would Jesus do?

For those who have lingering doubts, dust off your Bibles and take a few hours to reacquaint yourself with the teachings of Jesus. You won’t find a single reference to homosexuality. There are teachings on money, lust, revenge, divorce, fasting and a thousand other subjects, but there is nothing on homosexuality. Strange, don’t you think, if being gay were such a moral threat?

Mr. Thomas’ examination of the Scriptures seems to lie in the fact that Jesus never used the word ‘homosexual’ in a negative way — when in fact Jesus never used the word ‘homosexual’ in any way! So Mr. Thomas’ logic is,

A: Jesus said a lot of things that we should and shouldn’t do.
B: Jesus never addressed homosexuality.
Therefore, Jesus did not have a problem with homosexuality, or he would have addressed it.

But he did! He did, he did, he did! Jesus did address the homosexuality issue, folks. He also addressed the adultery and fornication issue in one verse.

Matthew 5:27-28
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ [28] But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Some say, “He’s talking about adultery, not homosexuality!” The issue is, he’s talking about lusting after someone who is not their spouse in a God-ordained way. Jesus also said in Matthew 19:1-6:

Now when Jesus had finished these sayings, he went away from Galilee and entered the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. [2] And large crowds followed him, and he healed them there. [3] And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause?” [4] He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, [5] and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’? [6] So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”

God created them male and female — not male and male or female and female. A man shall be joined to his female wife. That’s the order. So when Thomas elsewhere in the article notes that sexual promiscuity is the sin in the Scriptures, not sexual fidelity, he moves God’s boundaries between man and woman. God’s boundaries are not simply between two people who love each other regardless. God provided the anatomical equipment as well as the spiritual foreordained way of connecting two people physically and spiritually.

How sad that so many in our country are turning this into a civil rights issue. It’s more than that. The Bible calls this a sin in the likes of other heinous sins listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. It cannot be dismissed —

. . . unless you are like Buzz Thomas who seems to have evolved from Scripture.

May God have mercy on those who are entrusted to his pastoral care.

(I wonder if USA Today would take time to print a conservative, biblical, evangelical Op/Ed on this topic! Something tells me that will not be the case. Stay tuned!)

So Jesus addresses homosexuality and every other sexual encounter outside of one man-one woman marriage. He doesn’t have to use the word to address it.

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  1. Don’t ya love it? I’m starting to believe the Catholic church had/has it right stating, “the common man cannot interpret scripture.” Now of course the papal-succession reasoning we wouldn’t agree with, but seriously.. This kind of individualistic anti-authoritarian (what? I have to do research??) thought will only get worse. I really hope all you first year Greekers out there don’t ignore it with the “I’ll never be a scholar” attitude, cuz that’s this guy’s approach.

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