Reflect and Renew

The Blog of Pastor Alan Cassady of Navarre United Methodsit Church

Archive for the tag “Scripture”

Homosexuality and Hermeunitics

I have taken a long break from posting, but I am ready to begin again.

One of the things that has been quite disturbing to watch in my beloved UMC is the way Scripture has been handled in the debate over the issue of homosexual behavior.

People who know better often throw out scriptural red herrings in an effort to cloud the point. For example I have hear people say things like, “Well if you are going to take Leviticus literally, you will have to kill your teenager when they back talk you.”

Many of the people who make such statements ought to know better. For the most part, these people have theological Master’s degrees and have had training in biblical interpretation and yet they make statements which clearly demonstrate they lack even a basic understanding biblical hermeneutics.

The same people point out that Jesus never said anything about homosexual behavior and use that to justify that behavior. then when Paul explicitly forbids that behavior they claim he was not referring to committed same sex relationships.

Here are the problems I see with such arguments:

  1. Leviticus speaks to a particular context. In this context, God is attempting to bring a people a little further down the road than they were. God wanted them to be a holy people – not like the people around them. In the chapter which forbids homosexual behavior, God also forbids incest, bestiality and child sacrifice. In addition, the admonition to stone a son who curses his parents refers not to profanity, but to invoke a foreign god’s name to curse his parents.
  2. Jesus, indeed, never said anything specifically about homosexual behavior – he didn’t have to! he was a Jew speaking primarily to Jews. They had a common morality. When Jesus opponents tried to circumvent that morality with elaborate legal schemes he called them on it. By the way, Jesus never said anything about incest, bestiality or child sacrifice, does that mean these are acceptable?
  3. Paul mentions homosexual behavior, because as he spread the gospel to the Gentiles, he needed to talk about it because this behavior was acceptable and even celebrated in the Roman world. So, just has God had tell the people, “don’t be like the nations around you,” Paul had to say the same things to the Gentiles who were responding to the message of the gospel.

The gospel – the good news of Jesus Christ – is open to “whosoever will” but for those who accept the invitation a commitment is required. Commitment is to align their lives with the life of Jesus Christ. That means that sinner – liars, gossips, adulterers, murders, those involved with pornography, slanderers, those who practice pre-marital sex and homosexual sex have a choice to make: do I choose to follow my own desires or those of my Lord and Savior?

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 (ESV)

Do people struggle with behaviors which lead to sin? Of course, we all do. but the answer to that struggle is not to baptize it and call it acceptable, but to speak the truth and support those who are trying to align their lives with the life of Jesus Christ. Except, perhaps those who are struggling with rape and murder.

Dr. Ben Witherington, III has an excellent video which addresses the biblical material on this matter.

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Lenten Devotions 9

Prayer

imageMay God the Father, and the Eternal High Priest Jesus Christ, build us up in faith and truth and love, and grant to us our portion among the saints with all those who believe on our Lord Jesus Christ. We pray for all saints, for kings and rulers, for the enemies of the Cross of Christ, and for ourselves we pray that our fruit may abound and we may be made perfect in Christ Jesus our Lord. AMEN.
– Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna

Born 69AD, Martyred 156 AD (a disciple of St. John)

Scripture

Monday, April 04, 2011         Luke 13

Tuesday, April 05, 2011        Luke 14

Wednesday, April 06, 2011    Luke 15

Thursday, April 07, 2011        Luke 16

Friday, April 08, 2011            Luke 17

Lenten Devotions 7

Prayer

image

Lord, make ame an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy. O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen.

St. Francis of Assisi – 13th century

Scripture

Monday, March 28           Luke 9:28–62

Tuesday, March 29           Luke 10

Wednesday, March 30,     Luke 11:1–28

Thursday, March 31          Luke 11:29–54

Lenten Devotions 6

 

Prayer

imageAlmighty God, you alone can bring into order the unruly wills and affections of sinners: Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise; that, among the swift and varied changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

1979 Book of Common Prayer

Scripture

Wednesday, March 23, 2011     Luke 7:18–50

Thursday, March 24, 2011         Luke 8

Friday, March 25, 2011             Luke 9:1–27

Monday, March 28, 2011          Luke 9:28–62

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