The New Testament and Homosexuality by Robin ScroggsRecently Ive been editing a dissertation on eschatological and ecotheological themes in the Pauline corpus. The dissertation has nothing to do with homosexuality, but it has reminded me of this Scroggsian book because both works treat Pauls words with a fascinating concern for the context of the time and for how Paul might be seen as an interrogator of other literature, biblical and otherwise.
I jumped into this book, the one with the nonsensically futuristic chess board cover, with no sense of where the writer would land on the matter of homosexuality, but Ill admit that I was hoping--I was hoping that when I cracked into the arguments and the interpretations I would find a centrist perspective that neither portrayed Paul as a closeted advocate for gay rights nor as a hateful agent of Westboro Baptist. I was hoping these things because I couldnt imagine either perspective passing the historical sniff test. I couldnt imagine that when Paul said Dudes, dont have sex with other dudes, he simply forgot the unless youre married clause or that Paul was subtly making up for all of Jesuss missed opportunities to preach about homosexuality by rarely mentioning it himself and in the company of other things, slyly hiding his emphasis so that we would somehow know we were to sweep the land, campaigning and picketing against the rights of gays. Instead, I wanted something convincing. But beyond that, I was hoping to find a word of love for my gay Christian friends, some evidence that would point toward the possibility of an interpretive path where monogamous homosexuality was not simply a sin.
Im not sure that a close reading of Paul leads to such a path, but THE NEW TESTAMENT AND HOMOSEXUALITY makes it clear that what some of us take for obvious ammunition against, say, gay marriage is nothing of the sort for Paul. Scroggs demonstrates that when biblical writers like Paul speak of homosexuality, they are most likely speaking of pederasty, of older men loving young boys, whereas when we speak of gay marriage, we are presumably speaking of committed, monogamous relationships based on consensual love.
Perhaps Paul would still have railed against such relationships or perhaps he would have interpreted the incarnation and resurrection and the thread of hope and love in the Bible as consistent with such marriages. Perhaps the Holy Spirit directed Paul to write those words in that way and the differing contexts of today and yesterday dont matter, or perhaps the Holy Spirit is talking to us now, whispering of Christ the radical, the one who loved sinners and turned away from legalistic traditions. Im not sure we can know such things with certainty. But I do think that Scroggss book, an old one that I picked at random from a friends give-away pile, gives a helpful primer on some things that we might know if we care to look.
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Homosexuality in the New Testament
In the New Testament NT , there are at least three passages that refer to homosexual activity : Romans —27, 1 Corinthians —10, and 1 Timothy — A fourth passage, Jude , is often interpreted as referring to homosexuality. Jesus discusses marriage only in a heterosexual context when he cites the Book of Genesis during a discussion of marriage Matthew —6 and Mark —9. The context is Paul's mission to the gentiles, the gospel being "to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" , followed by a description of pagan idolatry in verses — The authenticity of the passage is in doubt; several scholars since the midth century have proposed its being part of a larger non-Pauline interpolation.
There are very few references to homosexuality—that is, being sexually oriented to people of the same sex—in the New Testament. References are to be found only in writings associated with Paul. Matt ? Was the disciple whom Jesus loved an erotic lover so John and elsewhere? No such indication. When Jesus refers to eunuchs and eunuchs for the kingdom, did he mean gays Matt ?
Outline of Bible-related topics. Passages in the Hebrew Bible and New Testament that have been interpreted as involving same-sex sexual acts and desires. Chapters 18 and 20 of Leviticus form part of the Holiness code and list prohibited forms of intercourse , including the following verses:. These two verses have historically been interpreted by Jews and Christians as clear overall prohibitions against homosexual acts in general. More recent interpretations focus more on its context as part of the Holiness Code , a code of purity meant to distinguish the behavior of Israelites from the polytheistic Canaanites. This is shown in Leviticus Chapters 18 and 20 by three specific scripture passages Leviticus , and that state that the Israelites should never do what the Egyptians and Canaanites did.
He has engaged them in private conversations, in public talks and through the organization he founded, the Reformation Project. He was recently invited by the Rev. Caleb Kaltenbach, lead pastor of Discovery Church in Simi Valley, Calif,, to talk privately with a small group of evangelical leaders to discuss what the Bible says about gay relationships. After the session , they were each asked to interpret some of the most cited verses relating to homosexuality in the Bible. Text from the New International Version, edition. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.