Thursday, August 13, 2015

What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality? [Book Notes]

After reading a book I often try to capture some of the notes made on the back page for later here for more about my system). Strength coach Charles Paloquin said in an interview, when asked how he can remember so much of what he reads, that his system is primarily to credit, which is as follows: he highlights as he reads (primarily on Kindle), after finishing a book he re-reads the highlights (according to him this increases retention by 75%). And finally at the end of the week he will re-read his highlights from all his books (increasing retention by 95%). Though he does have a strong memory, he also places a great importance on his method. Capturing book notes is part of my method for remembering what I have read.

Below are my notes from Kevin DeYoung's book What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality. You can listen to a three part interview with KD on the book here.

40 - "Holy" or "holiness" occurs 87x in Leviticus
41 - "That Lev 18 spends so much time carefully delineating which sexual relationships are sinfully too 'close' and therefore incestuous (vv.6-17) suggests that no such parsing is necessary with respect to homsexuality because the condemnation is absolute."
"the key consideration (really the only one mentioned in the text) is the gender of those engaged in sexual activity. Whether the participants were willing or of age does not come into play."
43 - "There's no indication in the NT that Lev. should be treated as particularly obscure or peripheral. Quite the contrary. Jesus referred to Leviticus 19:18 ('Love your neighbor as yourself.') more than any other verse in the OT, and the NT refers to it 10 times."
44 - BOOK Robert A. Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 2001).
45 - "All the sexual sins in Lev 18 are lumped together under the term 'abominations,' but only male-with-male sex is singled out by itself as an abomination. In fact, it is the only forbidden act given this label in the entire Holiness Code."
46 - "Ritual impurity and moral impurity are two analogous yet distinct categories. Cleanness still matters in the NT, but it becomes an exclusively moral category instead of a ritual one."
52 - "In Pauls mind, same-sex sexual intimacy is an especially clear illustrion of the idolatrous human impusl to turn away from God's order and design."
53 - "Romans 1:27 does not speak to the state of our desires, but to the state of our design."
54 - BOOK: Thomas K Hubbard, ed., Homosexuality in Greece and Rome: A sourcebook of Basic Documents (Berkely, CA: University of California Press, 2003).
72 - "The reason the Bible says comparatively little about homosexuality is because it was a comparatively uncontroversial sin among ancient Jews and Christians."
74 - Bible is never indifferent about sexual sin: "It cannot be overstated how seriously the Bible treats the sin of sexual immorality. Sexual sin is never considered adiaphora, a matter of indifference, an agree-to-disagree issue like food laws or holy days (Rom 14:1-15:7). To the contrary, sexual immortality is precisely the sort of sin that characterizes those who will not enter the kingdom of heaven.".... "You will be hard-pressed to find a sin more frequently, more uniformly, and more seriously condemned in the NT than sexual sin."
75 - Jesus condemned the sin of Porneai: Mark 7:21, a "broad word encompassing every kind of sexual sin." - "Jesus didn't have to give a special sermon on homsexuality because all of his listeners understood that same-sex behavior was prohibited in the Pentateuch and reckoned as one of the many expressions of sexual sin (porneia) off limits for the Jews."
"He [Jesus] affirmed the abiding authority of the OT (Matt 5:17-18)."
76 - "...shouldn't we keep talking to each other? Talking is not the problem. The problem is when incessant talking becomes a cover for indecision or even cowardice... It's death by dialogue."
77 - "Scripture often warns us - and in the severest terms-against finding our sexual identity apart from Christ and against pursuing sexual practice inconsistent with being in Christ... The same is not true when it comes to sorting out the millennium or deciding which instruments to use in worship."
scholars of note on page: Hubbard, William Loader, Bernadette Brooten.
85 - NT Wright on Plato's Symposium, "I have to say that... it seems to me they knew just as much about [homosexuality] as we do... they knew a great deal about what people today would regard as longer-term, reasonably stable relations between two people of the same gender."
90 - [a response to the question of "what about gluttony and divorce?"] "Do we really want to suggest that one sin is no big deal because we've been lax about a different sin? If Christians are wrongly tolerant of unrepentant gluttony, this is a matter of extreme importance."
91 - "The Catholic catechism does not call them seven 'Deadly sins,' but 'capital sins,' because they engender other sings and other vices."
94 - "there are important differences between divorce and homosexuality. For starters, the biblical prohibition against divorce explicitly allow for exceptions; the prohibition against homosexuality does not."
98 - "If we preach a 'gospel' with no call to repentance, we are preaching something other than the apostolic gospel."
99 - Regret is common; repentance is rare. Metanoia means a change of mind that results in a change of life:
  • You change your mind about yourself: "I am not fundamentally a good person deep down. I am not the center of the universe. I am not the king of the world or even my life."
  • You change your mind about sin. "I am responsible for my actions. My past hurts do not excuse my present failings. My offenses against God and against others are not trivial. I do not live or think or feel as I should."
  • You change your mind about God: "He is trustworthy. His word is sure. He is able to forgive and to save. I believe in his Son, Jesus Christ. I owe him my life and my allegiance. he is my King and my Sovereign, and he wants what is best for me. I will follow him no matter the cost."
  • And then you change as God works in you to work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12-13).
100 - D.Bonhoeffer quote: Free Grace is Not Cheap: "[Cheap grace is] the grace which amounts to the justification of sin without the justification of the repentant sinner who departs from sin and from whom sin departs. Cheap grace is not the kind of forgiveness of sin which frees us from the toils of sin. Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate."(from Cost of Discipleship, p.47).
103 - The phrase, 'you're on the wrong side of history,' seeks to win an argument by not having one.
104-105 - [section titles] the phrase assumes a progressive view of history that is empirically false and as a methodology has ben thoroughly discredited.
The phrase... also forgets that progressive ideas can prove just as disastrous as traditional ones.
The phrase... usually perpetuates half-truths and misinformation about Christian history. (i.e. Every educated person in Columbus's day one the earth was round.)
106 - "the view that the sun revolved around the earth was not the product of theological and moral reflection."
107 - "To make it sound like the word of God is plainly for slavery in the same way it is plainly against homosexual practice is biblically indefensible."
111 - logic: "If the 'is-ness' of personal experience and desire determines the 'ought-ness' of embracing these desires and acting upon them, there is no logical reason why other sexual 'orientations' (say, toward children, or animals, or promiscuity, or bisexuality, or multiple partners) should be stigmatized."
112 - "No matter how we think we might have been born one way, Christ insists that we must be born again a different way (John 3:3-7; Eph. 2:1-10).
114 - "Resisting sexual desire is a part of discipleship for every Christian, no matter our marital status... Intense longing does not turn sinful wrongs into civil rights."
"if chastity is too much to ask of the person with same-sex sexual desires, then it is too much to ask of the person with heterosexual desires. What about the single Christian woman who never finds a husband?"
117 - "We must base our ethical decision on something more than our subjective sense of what feels right."
122 - "God is love... but God is light (I John 1:5), Spirit (John 4:24), and a 'consuming fire' (heb. 12:29).
"no halfway responsible parent would ever think that loving her child means affirming his every desire and finding ways to fulfill whatever wishes he deems important."
123 - In revelation, to thyatira, jesus says, "you're lving in many ways, but your tolerance is not love. It's unfaithfulness."
126 - Bereans, Acts 17:11
127 - "The God we worship is indeed a God of love. Which does not, according to any verse in the Bible, make sexual sin acceptable."
131 - STATS - "According to one study by a sociologist at the University of Texas, churchgoing Christians who support same-sex marriage were much more likely than churchgoing Christians who oppose same-sex marriage to agree or strongly agree that viewing pornography is OK (33.4% to 4.6%), that premarital cohabitation is good (37.2% to 10.9%), that no-strings attached sex is OK (33.0% to 5.1%), and that it's OK for three or more adults to live in a sexual relationship (15.5% to 1.2%). Those in favor of same-sex marriage were also more likely to support abortion rights (39.1% to 6.5%). And each of these percentages was even higher when polling those who self-identify as gay and lesbian Christians-57% thought viewing pornography was permissible, 49.7% agreed that cohabitation before marriage was good, 49.0% believed no-stirngs-attached sex was OK, 31.9% were fine with polyamorous relationships, and 57.5% support abortion rights (Mark Regnerus, "Tracking Christian Morality in a Same-Sex Marriage Future, Public Discourse, August 11, 2014"
132 - Two important (but sad) QUOTES
Luke Timothy Johnson "A well respected NT scholar who supports homosexual behavior, speaks to the issue with refreshing candor....
I think it important to state clearly that we do, in fact, reject the straightforward commands of Scripture, and appeal instead to another authority when we declare that same-sex unions can be holy and good. And what exactly is that authority? We appeal explicitly to the weight of our own experience and the experience thousands of others have witnessed to, which tells us that to claim our own sexual orientation is in fact to accept the way in which God has created us.
[footnote at bottom of page...]
"Similarly, Diarmaid MacCulloch, a decorated historian and gay man wo left the church over the issue of homosexuality, has written: "This is an issue of biblical authority. Despite much well-intentioned theological fancy footwork to the contrary, it is difficult to see the Bible as expressing anything else but disapproval of homosexual activity, let alone having any conception of a homosexual identity. The only alternatives are either to try to cleave to patterns of life and assumptions set out in the Bible, or to say that in this, as in much else, the Bible is simply wrong." (The Reformation: A History [New York: Penguin, 2003], 705)."
133 - "The path which leads to the affirmation of homosexual behavior is a journey which inevitably leaves behind a clear, inerrant Bible, and picks up from liberalism a number of assumptions about the importance of individual authority and cultural credibility."
134 - "The support for homosexual behavior almost always goes hand in hand with the diluting of robust, 100-proof orthodoxy, either as the cause or the effect."
139 - "Marriage... is a pre political institution.... It is a sad irony that those who support same-sex marriage on libertarian grounds are actually ceding to the state a vast amount of heretofore unknown power.... Now the state defines marriage and authorizes its existence (rather than recognizing marriage)."
140-141 "Having the right to marry is not the same as having a right to the state's validation that each and every sexual relationship is marriage.... the Pacifist has a right to join the army, but he does not have the right to inist tha the army create a nonviolent branch of the military for him to join."
actually, he can request/insist if he wants. Doesn't mean the army has to comply.
"Same-sex unions cannot be accepted as marriage without devaluing all marriages, because the only way to embrace same-sex partnerships as marriage is by chaining what marriage means altogether."
-cultural defn of marriage: "a demonstration of commitment sexually expressed."

This next section I found to be one of the most helpful parts of the book for helping churches move forward.

149-150: The Church and Homosxuality: Ten Commitments

  1. We will encourage our leaders to preach through the Bible verse by verse and chapter by chapter that they might teach the whole counsel of God (even the unpopular parts) and avoid riding hobby horses (Even popular ones).
  2. We will tell the truth about all sins, including homosexuality, but especially the sins most prevalent in our communities.
  3. We will guard the truth of God's Word, protect God's people from error, and confront the world when it tries to press us into its mold.
  4. We will call all people to faith in christ as the only way to the Father and the only way to have eternal life.
  5. We will speak to all people about the good news that jesus died in our place and rose again so that we might be set free from the curse of the law, saved from the wrath of God, and welcomed into the holy city at the restoration of all rings.
  6. We will treat all Christians as new creations in Christ, reminding each other that our true identity is not based on sexuality or self-expression but on our union with christ.
  7. We will extend God's forgiveness to all those who come in brokenhearted repentance, everyone from homosexual sinners to heterosexual sinners, from the proud to the greedy, from the people pleaser to the self-righteous.
  8. We will ask for forgiveness when we are rude or thoughtless or joke about those who experience same-sex attraction.
  9. We will strive to be a community that welcomes all those who hate their sin and struggle against it, even she that struggle involves failures and setbacks.
  10. We will seek to love all in our midst, regardless of their particle vices or virtues, by preaching the bible, recognizing evidences of God's grace, pointing out behaviors that dishonor the Lord, taking church membership seriously, exercising church discipline, announcing the free offer of the gospel, striving for holiness together, practicing the "one anthers" of Christian discipleship, and exulting in Christ above all things.

Key verses to memorize:
Jude 7
Lev 18:22
Lev 20:13
Matt 5:17-18
Lev 19:18
Rom 1:18-32
Mk 1:15
Lk 3:8
Acts 17:11 (Bereans)
Jn 15:18-25
Job 31:1

1 comment:

John and Pam Majors said...

Thank you. I especially like the "wrong side of history" comment. What a shallow argument. And the divorce comment, there is justification for divorce, but none for homosexuality. I appreciate being able to have Scripture to lead us to the truth on all of this.