Newsweek Mangles the Truth

Next week, Newsweek Magazine will feature this brilliant piece by renowned theologian Lisa Miller. Let the below excerpt from this precious gem of truth be a blessing in your life:

Let’s try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. “It is better to marry than to burn with passion,” says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?

Sorry Ms. Miller, you are really going to have to do better than that. No one who reads Scripture at face value (you know, how you’re supposed to read it) is going to be taken in by cherry picked, out-of-context Bible verses and fuzzy feelings.

Despite three pages of faulty arguments, the author ultimately fails to address one critical point: the Bible very clearly and plainly condemns homosexuality in numerous places. There is no way to negate this straightforward fact. Even if one disregards the Old Testament, which many theological liberals like to do, the New Testament warns its readers that those who practice the sin of homosexuality will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

The truths contained in Scripture can’t be sugarcoated to make them go down easier. God tells us that a person who practices sin of any kind is worthy of death in eternal Hell. This includes not only homosexuality, but also lust, hatred, adultery, fornication, murder, thievery, lying, cheating, blasphemy, idolatry, and many others. These are God’s laws given from Him to us, and the person who breaks even one of them will have to stand before Him in righteous and holy judgement. The only hope that person will have lies in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross. Repentance and faith in Jesus Christ will allow one be considered righteous in the sight of the God, worthy of His Kingdom. Only with Jesus Christ as an advocate before the Father can a condemned criminal go free.

HT: WorldNetDaily

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2 Responses

  1. Hey Richie-

    I am going to take a wild guess and so I bet you pulled this right off my Facebook page, and that’s fine.

    I actually found this article very insightful and a wonderful, respectful and extemely thorough treatise on the subject, addressing all the critical points you claim she neglected. I can imagine that it must be difficult for you–you clearly want what is good and care for people, but your teachings and beliefs conflict with that because to you, they say you must consider it sin and gay marriage would therefore be, well, “sinful.”

    I started to compose a much more lengthy response, full of great examples and textual references supporting my argument and all that–but as we don’t really know each other very well, and in the interest of family unity 🙂 I thought better of it. However, if you ever want to lay down your sarcastic pen, I would be happy to engage in an open, respectful dialogue. If not, no worries.

    Take care-

    Nick

  2. Hi Nick!

    I sometimes forget that my family reads my blog. 🙂 That’s a bit scary. I actually pulled this story off of one of my news sites I regularly peruse, but I did notice that you had posted a link to it in Facebook after I wrote this post. The “HT” at the bottom of my blog is my hat tip to the source that pointed me to the article.

    I honestly figured that what I said might ruffle a few feathers, especially because I was very purposely sarcastic about it. Certainly, I can lay aside the sarcasm and talk this over with you. I would be happy to do that.

    Before we do that, however, I want to stress that as a Christian, I am really against all sin, not just homosexuality. Homosexuality is just talked about frequently, because so many of its supporters have brought it to the forefront of American culture and life. The issue is discussed all the time. To Christians, all sin is an affront to God, not just homosexuality. That’s why every human being needs the forgiveness of Jesus Christ.

    What makes so many of us upset is when clear and simple Scripture is twisted into saying something that it does not say. This is the case with the issue of homosexuality.

    Biblically, homosexuality is a type of sexual immorality. Sexual immorality is a blanket Biblical term encompassing everything from sex before marriage to adultery to incest. Included in this broad definition is obviously homosexuality. So anywhere the Bible speaks out about generalized sexual sin (Mark 7:20-23, Ephesians 5:3-5, Galatians 5:19-21, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, 1 Corinthians 7:2, 1 Corinthians 7:2, to name a few), homosexuality is also being referenced. This can shown to be the case since homosexuality is more than once included in the list of sins that bars one from the Kingdom of God (see 1 Corinthians 6:9, for instance). Additionally, the first century Jew would have understood it this way, given that Leviticus 18:22 lies in the middle of a lengthy diatribe leveled against sexual sins.

    Actually the Greek word transliterated as sexual immorality is porneia, from where we get our word pornography. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon describes the word as meaning “illicit sexual intercourse”. In both the Septuagint (an ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament) and the original Greek New Testament, porneia is used as a term for adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals, prostitution, incest, and etc.. Essentially, the word categorically describes any kind of sexually deviant behavior.

    Given that much of what the Bible says on homosexuality is written by the Apostle Paul, it makes sense that Lisa Miller would try to address that. She writes:

    In his book “The Arrogance of Nations,” the scholar Neil Elliott argues that Paul is referring in this famous passage to the depravity of the Roman emperors, the craven habits of Nero and Caligula, a reference his audience would have grasped instantly. “Paul is not talking about what we call homosexuality at all,” Elliott says.

    There’s just one problem with this interpretation of Romans 1:27, however. Romans 1:18 plainly states that the wrath of God is “revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth” (ESV). Did you catch that? The context shows the reader that Paul had in mind all men, not just Roman emperors. Here’s the full text documenting the extent of God’s wrath against mankind:

    18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

    26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

    28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. 29 They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (ESV)

    Entire sermons have been given on these few verses, but what is essentially being described here is how God deals with nations and people who turn away from Him: He gives them into further sin, thus incurring even greater judgement from Him. Because of this, reading Romans 1:27 in its proper context lends to the understanding that Paul is universally addressing the sins of mankind.

    Besides offering a dubious interpretation of Romans 1:27, Miller also feels compelled to put forth the idea that Paul was somehow lukewarm towards marriage. This wasn’t the case at all. See Ephesians 5 for Paul’s views on marriage. Paul wasn’t in any way arguing that celibacy was somehow superior or more spiritual than marriage (I know, tell that to those Catholic monks!); each merely comes with a different set of benefits and risks. And as a likely widower himself, Paul probably understood both sides of this firsthand.

    I suppose before this plods on even more I wanted to take on one of Miller’s final points. She argues that Christian inclusiveness and the act of reaching out to the outcasts is an argument for gay marriage. She describes how Jesus interacted with the adulterous woman at the well, described in John 4. A little bit about this – yes, Jesus did reach out to her, but notice what He didn’t do – comfort her in her sin. He brought her adultery into the light, thus exposing her sin. Christian inclusiveness does not tolerate unrepentant sin. Would it not be loving to warn the blind man who is about to walk off a bridge about the terrible state he is in? In the same way, it is loving to warn someone about their sin.

    If anything, Christianity is actually exclusive. Not on the basis of race, ethnicity, sex, or anything so trivial, but because of the inherent sinfulness of mankind and the uncompromising perfection that God requires. Jesus says it is hard to enter the Kingdom, and there are few who find it (Matthew 7). In His own words: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14, ESB). These aren’t exactly words of tolerance and inclusiveness, at least not how they have modernly been defined.

    Anyway, I suppose I’ll start with that first. Sorry for the length! 🙂

    Have a good day,
    Rich

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