Monday, October 19, 2009

By request

Well, we're in the thick of dealing with the ELCA's schrapnel at Central. Churches have been put in a no-win position. If congregations do nothing, more conservative members will leave or at least withdraw support, because their congregation is not following the Bible. If congregations act to disagree with the ELCA, members more ingrained to accept homosexuality as an appropriate alternative will leave or at least withdraw support, because their congregation is being judgmental. Probably the hardest thing to see is the fear of division.

Two things I want to deal with in the next few days:

1. The issue of what Lutherans call God's "left hand" -- what should civil government do around the issue of homosexuality? This is an aspect of this whole controversy that has been widely ignored, partly because there is so little agreement. But also, few Lutheran theologians have seriously thought through the issues.

2. I've had a few requests to post the biblical texts that actually mention homosexuality. I'll post them here today but in the coming days I'm hoping to take time to comment on each one. I'll include some of the arguments that both sides have used to deal with the passage, and share how it fits into a biblical view of this issue.

There are certainly many other biblical texts that play into this issue -- for example, many biblical scholars start with the creation story and the creation of humans as male and female. Jesus comments very specifically on that created order in Mark 10:6-9. Those who are looking for acceptance of homosexuality in the Bible sometimes use relationships between David and Jonathan, Ruth and Naomi, or even Jesus and the beloved disciple in John's gospel, insinuating that there seems to be homosexuality of some kind in these relationships. There is absolutely no evidence to back these claims.

But there are about six (depending on how you count and what you include) Bible texts that specifically deal in some fashion with homosexual activity. They are:

New Testament texts:

Old Testament texts:

Some of these readings deal more directly with homosexual activity and others are more incidental to the current arguments. Take your time and read them, and then as I have opportunity I'll post some thoughts about each one.

Meanwhile it's time to get on the road. I'm running Erica back to college this morning, then a doctor's appointment, then check in at Central, then I get to see my niece, Shannon, as we will ride together to Pete's funeral. Why is it families don't get together until weddings or funerals? Lot of road time today -- thank God for cruise control!


  1. Thank you for doing this Jeff. It is going to be so helpful to have a concise explanation to use when called upon to share an opinion. Allison

  2. I cannot thank you enough Jeff for taking the time to do this. More then anything else...thanks for listening.