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Stories to Think About

Archaeology:  All stories taken from- https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/biblehistorydaily/

#1. August 2017: An Eclipse of Biblical Proportions

A total solar eclipse (when the moon completely blocks the sun, casting the earth in temporary darkness) will be visible across the United States on August 21, 2017 (see map for visibility). When the solar eclipse works its eerie wonders, shadows will behave strangely. Pin-hole openings in tree leaf cover will project tiny eclipses on the ground. Some people will see shadow waves—bands of shade moving across the ground. Viewers in the path of the eclipse will experience about 2 minutes of total darkness.

#2. First Person: Should These Looters Go to Jail?

Imagine a young Bedouin looter exploring one of the hundreds of complicated and dangerous caves in the Judean Desert by the Dead Sea. He discovers an extraordinary ancient gold artifact with a Hebrew inscription referring to King Solomon.

One of the Israeli antiquities dealers who sees it reports it to the authorities, who quickly trace it to the young Bedouin and seize it from him. It is displayed in the Israel Museum, which has to remain open until midnight to accommodate the crowds. It is an international sensation. The New York Timessends two of its most knowledgeable reporters to write the story.

#3. Biblical History at What Cost?

On July 5, 2017, the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York issued a press release stating that a civil complaint was filed to forfeit thousands of cuneiform tablets and clay bullae originating from modern Iraq and smuggled into the United States through the United Arab Emirates and Israel. As explained in the complaint available online, these artifacts (over 3,500 items) were purchased in the context of amassing what is known as the Green collection—around 40,000 objects of various kinds, from ancient papyri to modern prints of the Bible, assembled by the Green family, owners of the Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. This collection was meant to form the core of what is nowadays known as the Museum of the Bible, which opens in Washington, D.C. in November.

#4. Huqoq 2017: Mosaics of Jonah and the Whale, the Tower of Babel and More

Archaeologist Jodi Magness and her team have discovered more stunning mosaics during the seventh season of excavations at a Late Roman synagogue at Huqoq, Israel. This new mosaic pavement, which depicts Greco-Roman and Biblical scenes, joins several other mosaics unearthed at Huqoq since 2012, including scenes fromthe Samson cycle, Exodus, the Noah’s ark story and what may be a meeting between Alexander the Great and a Jewish high priest. The Huqoq excavations are led by Magness, the Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Assistant Director Shua Kisilevitz of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

#5. 5,000-Year-Old Egyptian Billboard Discovered

What do you call a team of Yale Egyptologists who just discovered the oldest known monumental Egyptian hieroglyphs? “Absolutely flabbergasted,” according to Professor John Coleman Darnell, codirector of the Elkab Desert Survey Project.As reported by YaleNews, Darnell and his team came across the hieroglyphs during their study of road networks around the ancient Egyptian city of Nekheb (modern Elkab) on the east bank of the Nile. At the site of El-Khawy, about four miles north of Elkab, they discovered two sets of ancient carvings: a section of rock art portraying a herd of elephants (dated c. 4000–3500 B.C.E.) and a large hieroglyphic panel containing four signs (c. 3250 B.C.E.). These inscriptions excited Darnell and his team because of their monumental size, their symbolism and their impact on our knowledge of ancient Egyptian writing and culture.

Theology: all stories taken from- http://www.christianpost.com/

#1. Perry Noble Registered New Church Week Before NewSpring Leaders Called Him Biblically Unfit to Be Pastor

Exactly one week after Perry Noble filed paperwork with the South Carolina Secretary of State to register a new spiritual venture called the Second Chance Church last month, former colleagues of the ousted NewSpring Church founder declared him biblically unfit to be a pastor.

It is unclear if this was a coincidence or a strategic move on the part of NewSpring leadership to stop Noble’s controversial comeback to ministry, which began earlier this year just months after he was removed as lead pastor of NewSpring for alcohol addiction and other issues.

#2. Multisite Churches Are a ‘Uniquely Better Approach,’ Says Andy Stanley

North Point Community Church founder and Lead Pastor Andy Stanley has stated that congregations with multiple campuses have a “uniquely better approach” to church growth.

Speaking at Willow Creek Community Church’s annual Global Leadership Summit on Thursday afternoon, Stanley talked about the success of his church since its founding over 20 years ago.

His speech was one of many shown to approximately 600 sites in the United States alone, among them West End Assembly of God in Richmond, Virginia.

#3. 12-Y-O Boy Allegedly Told to ‘Turn the Other Cheek’ After Reporting Rape at Elite Christian School

Brentwood Academy, an elite private Christian school in Tennessee where annual tuition is nearly $25,000 is now facing a $30 million lawsuit alleging that school officials failed to report the repeated rape of a 12-year-old boy by older male students. Headmaster Curtis G. Masters is also accused of telling the victim to “turn the other cheek” when he reported the abuse.

#4. Can Volunteering Replace Tithing? Pastors and Church Members Disagree: Barna

Can a church member substitute volunteering for financial giving? Pastor and church members disagree whether these two forms of generosity are interchangeable, according to a Barna study.

More than 80 percent of pastors disagree strongly or somewhat that “it is okay for a member who volunteers extensively not to give financially,” says the report, “The Generosity Gap,” produced by Barna in partnership with Thrivent Financial, a Fortune 500 not-for-profit financial services organization headquartered in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

However, only about 20 percent of Christians are on the same page with pastors on this question, the study shows.

#5. Transgender High School Grads Awarded $20K Each After Suing District Over Bathroom Policy

Three transgender teenagers have been awarded $20,000 each from their Pennsylvania school district as part of a legal settlement to a lawsuit challenging the school district over its bathroom and locker room policies.

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Elissa Ridenour, Juliet Evancho and a third unidentified transgender student, all of whom have since graduated from Pine-Richland High School in Allegheny County, each received $20,000 from the Pine-Richland School District as a result of a lawsuit they filed last year

 

A New Discovery 2

http://www.christianpost.com/news/new-archaeological-find-confirms-biblical-account-of-the-babylonian-conquest-of-jerusalem-194119/

A newly discovered archaeological find confirms the Old Testament’s account of the taking of Jerusalem by the Babylonian Empire in the sixth century BC.

Excavations conducted by the Israel Antiquities Authority at the Jerusalem Walls National Park, as funded by the City of David Foundation, discovered strong evidence of fire damage from around the time when the city was conquered by the Babylonians.

The IAA explained in a YouTube video from late July that various findings recently unearthed included “charred wood, grape seeds, pottery, fish scales and bones, and unique, rare artifacts.”

“These findings depict the affluence and character of Jerusalem, capital of the Judean Kingdom, and are mesmerizing proof of the city’s demise at the hands of the Babylonians,” explained the YouTube video.

“Among the excavation’s salient findings were dozens of storage jars which served to store both grain and liquids, several of which had stamped handles. Several of the seals discovered depict a rosette — a petalled rose.”

IAA excavation directors Ortal Chalaf and Dr. Joe Uziel noted that this seal was typical for the end of the First Temple Period and were used by Judean royal administrators.

The findings came just before the national commemoration of the anniversary of the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem, which was observed on Tuesday.

“At the dig site, the rampant destruction caused by a fiery inferno is clearly seen. Burnt charcoal layers of destruction preserved flooring and utensils in situ, giving a stark picture of the immediacy of the blaze,” reported the Times of Israel.

 

Another Media Mistake

Again we are sure you have heard of this fiasco. We haven’t said anything because we have been a little busy lately.

http://www.christianpost.com/news/media-get-it-wrong-on-bible-account-of-canaanites-only-1-issues-correction-193983/

At least a dozen headlines declared that a recently released human genetics study disproves a biblical account found in the Old Testament. But Christians are pointing out that the media got it wrong and only one has issued a correction.

“The Bible got it wrong: Ancient Canaanites survived and their DNA lives in modern-day Lebanese,” says a Pulse headline published last week. Meanwhile, U.K.’s the Daily Mail wrote, “Bronze Age DNA disproves the Bible’s claim that the Canaanites were wiped out.”

The Telegraph also declared that the study that was published in the American Journal of Human Genetics disproved the Bible but it was the only publication among the 12 examined that issued a correction and modified its headline. The correction reads: “The original version of this story erroneously said the Bible claimed the Canaanites were wiped. However, elsewhere in the Bible, it says the elimination was not successful.”

http://www.christianpost.com/news/missing-canaanites-in-plain-sight-media-need-read-bibles-194637/

New archaeological discovery contradicts the Bible.” I’ll tell you why headlines like this are worth double-checking.

We’ve heard a lot about “fake news” this year, and last week we were treated to a flurry of fake news aimed at the reliability of the Bible. A study published in the American Journal of Human Genetics reported that DNA from 3,700-year-old Canaanite remains closely matches that of the modern Lebanese. In other words, a major biblical people are alive and well, still living in the region!

It was an exciting confirmation of the Bible’s history. But for a dozen or so major media outlets, it was precisely the opposite.

“Study disproves the Bible’s suggestion that the ancient Canaanites were wiped out,” trumpeted the UK Telegraph.

The Independent declared, “The Bible says Canaanites were wiped out by Israelites but scientists just found their descendants living in Lebanon.”

And ABC Online reported: “Canaanites survived Biblical ‘slaughter,’ ancient DNA shows.”

Even the journal, Science, joined the debacle with the headline, “Ancient DNA counters biblical account of the mysterious Canaanites.” Science soon issued a casual correction, saying, “The story and its headline have been updated to reflect that in the Bible, God ordered the destruction of the Canaanites, but that some cities and people may have survived.”

http://www.christianpost.com/news/new-dna-discoveries-prove-the-bible-accurate-despite-what-headlines-claim-193830/

There was a spate of headlines last week claiming that new scientific discoveries disproved the historical narrative of the Bible. Headlines included, “DNA vs the Bible: Israelites did not wipe out the Canaanites” and “Study disproves the Bible’s suggestion that the ancient Canaanites were wiped out.” The problem is that the reverse is actually true: The discoveries confirm what the Scriptures explicitly state.

Not surprisingly, these headlines didn’t come from obscure, Bible-bashing websites. Instead, they came from Cosmos Magazine, Yahoo.com, New Scientist (claiming that the discovery helped unravel the “true fate” of the Canaanites), and others. As stated in the New York Times, “There is a story in the Hebrew Bible that tells of God’s call for the annihilation of the Canaanites, a people who lived in what are now Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Israel and the Palestinian territories thousands of years ago.

“‘You shall not leave alive anything that breathes,’ God said in the passage. ‘But you shall utterly destroy them.’

“But a genetic analysis published on Thursday has found that the ancient population survived that divine call for their extinction, and their descendants live in modern Lebanon.”

 

A New Discovery

You may have heard about it but we will put it here anyways

http://www.christianpost.com/news/archaeological-discovery-home-of-3-of-jesus-disciples-possibly-found-194627/

A team of archaeologists may have located the home of three of Jesus’ disciples, found in a lost Roman imperial city off of the Sea of Galilee.

Researchers from Kinneret College believe they have found the Roman city of Julias, which was built as part of the town of Bethsaida, which is identified in John 1:44 as the hometown of Philip, Andrew, and Peter.

“A multi-layered site discovered on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, in the Bethsaida Valley Nature Reserve, is the spot, the team believes,” reported Haaretz on Sunday.

“The key discovery is of an advanced Roman-style bathhouse. That in and of itself indicates that there had been a city there, not just a fishing village …”

Haaretz cautioned that there are “three candidates for Julias.” There are two earlier discovered sites by Galilee in addition to the recently unearthed one, named el-Araj.

“What the archaeologists found at el-Araj is an older layer dating from the late Roman period, the 1st to 3rd centuries C.E., two meters below the Byzantine level. That Roman layer contained pottery sherds from the 1st to the 3rd centuries B.C.E., a mosaic, and the remains of the bathhouse,” continued Haaretz.

“And has a major missing church been found too? The excavators found walls with gilded glass tesserae for a mosaic, an indication of a wealthy and important church.”

Kinneret College said in a statement that it is widely believed that a church used to be on the former site of the Apostles’ home, thus adding evidence that the recent find is legitimate.

“The discovery of dozens of golden glass mosaics in the previous season and the present season attests to the fact that the church was an important and magnificent place,” stated the college, as reported by i24news.com.

 

The Christian Witness

http://www.christianpost.com/news/sc-supreme-court-rules-that-breakaway-dioceses-properties-belong-to-episcopal-church-194127/

South Carolina’s highest court has ruled that at least 29 of the 36 properties of a diocese that left The Episcopal Church belong to the national denomination

In a concurring opinion, Justice Kaye G. Hearn wrote that The Episcopal Church’s hierarchical structure meant that the diocesan properties were theirs.

It sounds more like a money grab than a Christian act. Most denominations have similar clauses in their operating procedures and it is a provision that does not belong n the church in general. The denomination is not usually paying the bills of the church nor the building costs thus according to common sense they have no right to own the church buildings.Sometimes denominations make loans to local congregations but that money is paid back. This act does not entitled the denomination title to the property if the congregation decides to leave the fold.

Denominations certainly need to be more Christian in these issues. They should not be seen as grabbing for money and these type of decisions do exactly that. They give the world the wrong impression about the Christian church.  The Christian witness extends beyond giving a gospel message or reciting your testimony to an individual. The Christian witness is in everything believers and the church in general does including these lawsuits over church property.  If the church wants to make an impact for Christ then they need to review, honestly, what the biblical instructions say and how they apply to specific situations. Being honest is important if the believer wants to produce a great Christian Witness.

The Christian Witness is not about using the Bible to justify one’s actions or defend questionable activities like suing each other.

 

Controversial Issues 8

8. Ms. Evans Homosexual Discussion- 5

As a reminder I have been banned from participating in the discussion on Ms. Evans website so I offer my contribution here. You can read her side at the following link:

http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/god-and-the-gay-christian-discussion-part-5-i-corinthians-6

#1. Matthew points out that the two terms consider here are malakoi [sometimes translated “effeminate”] and arsenokoitai [sometimes translated “abusers of themselves with mankind” or, more recently, “homosexuals” or “men who practice homosexuality”]…New Testament scholar David Frederickson has argued that, given the context, malakoi in 1 Corinthians 6:9 is best translated, “those who lack self-control.”

We did this when we were young, and I am talking about my undergrad classmates. It became sort of a fad as once we learned Greek we started using greek words in our sermons.  The statement would go something like this– ‘The original Greek word means…’ But over the years God has shown me that we really do not have to go back to the original languages to get to his meaning. Why are we spending millions of dollars translating God’s word into different languages when all we have to do is teach the new converts of different nations Greek and Hebrew?

Seems like a waste of time, money and resources to do things the difficult way. We have to learn to trust God that he guided earlier translators and that the words used in certain versions carry correct form of the original languages.  We just have to make sure we follow the HS to the correct versions. The other thing that needs to be considered when reading other people’s translation efforts is ‘how do we know they got it right?’  How do we know that God is speaking through them to alter the meaning of the text that has been unchanged for 100s if not thousands of years? Why wasn’t the change made sooner?

Other questions we can ask are: ‘What bias do these people have? Do they have an ulterior motive for translating certain words the way they do? Why is this change taking place now? Is God actually leading them and confirming their correction? I do not care how many years a person has studied an original language, if God is not behind them in their work then their conclusions are all suspect. We should also ask, does the person believe God or are they an unbeliever or alternative believer?

Then we must, ask as it is an important question, ‘why would God use them to correct his word?’ I disagree with that guy’s translation above because it does not conform to God’s attitude about homosexuality. If you take a close look at both the OT & NT, you will not find one contradiction between them especially when it comes to God’s feelings and definitions about sin. So why that particular verse is there a supposed contradiction? Because homosexuals do not want to go to hell and want to get to heaven while practicing their sin.

When it comes to translation work, be confident God has led you to the correct version to use to find his words and do not let anyone fool you with ‘well the original language says..’ because they may be very wrong. God said he would preserve his word but he didn’t say it would only be in the original languages.

#2. While there are very few uses of arsenokoitai in Greek literature after Paul, some of the few uses that have survived indicate it referred to economic exploitation, not same-sex behavior. It’s also important to remember that the most common forms of same-sex behavior in the ancient world were pederasty and sex between masters and slaves. (Pederasty was so common that Philo described it simply as the union of “males with males.”)

This is a desperation move by those who so want to justify their decision to practice sin and be considered a Christian. They are trying to change history to justify their desire to make homosexuality appealable to God. To tell you the truth, it does not matter how Greek literature uses the word, they do not believe God so they can use it any way they like. We need to discover how God used the word, that is what matters. I will state that the author of the quote is wrong about ancient same-sex behavior and they are misinterpreting what they have read because of their bias.

Again, it does not matter how the ancient world viewed or practiced same-sex behavior for the Bible is not recording the ancient attitude BUT GOD’s. God does not look upon same-sex acts the way secular people do. Their saying that the biblical authors took the secular idea and wrote against that is just pure blasphemy. The ramifications of their position are immense, too long to put here. So far all they are doing here is using the secular world’s ideas to justify their position, there is no biblical teaching to do that.

#3. Matthew points to an ancient text known as the Sibylline Oracles in which the word arsenokoites is used to describe injustice:

My answer to that is ‘so’. In English we have countless words which have several legitimate meanings and uses but those alternate definitions/uses do not disqualify the original definition/use from being valid. We also have cultural slang influences on many English words but that perversion does not over-rule or omit the legitimate definitions or uses of a word. It doesn’t matter how the word was used in ancient daily life for God’s use of the legitimate definition is not disqualified or changed. It just means that ancient Greek words had alternative definitions and uses.

To apply an alternative definition to God’s word without permission from him is violating God’s warnings in both Deut. and Rev.

18 I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and [a]from the holy city, which are written in this book. (Rev. 22 NASB)

This is the trouble such people like Vines and others face when they try to alter the biblical text to justify their desire to practice sin. Too many people ignore this warning because they do not want to obey God and God does give people the freedom to choose

15 “See, I have set before you today life and [t]prosperity, and death and [u]adversity;16 in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. 17 But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. (Deut. 30 NASB)

Sadly, people like Vine choose to disobey.

#4. But here’s the key point to remember,” writes Matthew. “Even if Paul had intended his words to be a condemnation of all forms of same-sex relations, the context in which he would have been making that statement would still differ significantly from our context today.”
That’s because same-sex behavior in the first century was not understood to be the expression of an exclusive sexual orientation but rather it was understood as excess on the part of those who could easily be content with heterosexual relationships, but who went beyond them in search of more exotic pleasures

This is splitting the sin in good and bad practices. Their reasoning is because some people in the ancient world viewed same-sex behavior in this manner then all people did and our version of that preference is not as bad as what they did so we are okay. Uhm… no.it doesn’t matter how many versions of same-sex behavior there are or how people viewed them, GOD did not separate same-sex behavior into unacceptable and acceptable practices. He put them altogether into one category. We do not have the authority to divide the sin into different categories and then claim God said this style was good. God covered all varieties and styles with his words

You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. (Lev. 18:22 NASB)

His words are quite clear on this matter. Notice that even monogamous, committed, loving same-sex relationships are covered by those words.

#5. So when the translation of malakoi and arsenokoites shifted in the 20th century to refer to people with same-sex orientation, “it fostered the mistaken belief that Paul was condemning a minority group with a different sexual orientation” when “in fact, he was condemning excessive and exploitive sexual conduct.”

This is just not true.

#6. The concept of same-sex orientation did not exist in the ancient world. Prior to recent generations, same-sex behavior was widely understood to be the product of sexual excess, not the expression of a sexual orientation. The issue we face today—gay Christians and their committed relationships—has not been an issue for the church in past eras…”  

As is this. For both quotes the words in Lev. 18 make it very clear that they were talking about all forms of same-sex sexual expression and were well aware of the concept of orientation. Vines & Evans’ mistake is that they are taking the views of the secular world and applying them to God, God’s people and scripture. That is very wrong. They also ignore Solomon’s words ‘nothing is new under the sun’. The issue today that those two speak of was well-known in the ancient world.

It may not have been an issue for the early church only because the homosexuals knew they were not allowed to be part of the church so they did not force their views upon others like the modern homosexual is doing today. It is not because the early Christians did not know the difference between orientation and excess.

#7. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah is about a threatened gang rape, not an intimate companionship. Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 were grounded in cultural concerns about patriarchal gender roles and religious ritual purity. Romans 1:26-27 refers to excessive sexual desire and lust and uses “natural” and “unnatural” to refer to customary gender roles, just as those words are used to describe men with long hair and women who cover their heads

Both Vines and Evans distort history and biblical events to fit their sinful desires. Just because the story of Sodom does not contain the words ‘committed intimate, monogamous, loving, relationships, doesn’t mean that they were not taking place in those cities or that they were excused from judgment. In fact we read nothing of that style of homosexuality being excluded from judgment, approved of for the church, or accepted by any biblical author. You would think God would have mentioned that exclusion if it were true.

Their argument from silence doesn’t work because they have no scriptural reference supporting their point of view. This division of same-sex sexual practice is important enough for God to mention in the Bible if it were okay but he doesn’t do it. He just lumps all styles together and calls them all ‘an abomination’.

#8. The bottom line is this,” writes Matthew.  “The Bible does not directly address the issue of same-sex orientation—or the expression of that orientation. While its six references to same-sex behavior are negative, the concept of same-sex behavior in the Bible is sexual excess, not sexual orientation. What’s more, the main reason tat non-affirming Christians believe the Bible’s statements should apply to all same-sex relationships—men and women’s anatomical complementarity—is not mentioned in any of the passages.”

He deludes himself.  That is about the only thing I can say here except he lies. The Bible has spoken directly on the issue of same-sex orientation but he refuses to listen to its words

9. Ms. Evans’ Homosexual Discussion- 6

You can breathe a sigh of relief because she says it is her last discussion on Matthew Vines’ book so that would mean this will be my last post on that work as well. I did this because she banned me from contributing to her discussion  not to be an activist. I do not believe same-sex unions are of God nor I agree with civil unions for same-sex couples. Marriage is between one man and one woman but the arguments of those who disagree with me still need to be exposed for how wrong the are.

All quotes are taken from the following link:

http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/god-and-the-gay-christian-discussion-week-6-conclusion

#1. Our question is not whether the Bible addresses the modern concepts of sexual orientation and same-sex marriage,” he writes. “We know it doesn’t. Instead, our question is: can we translate basic biblical principles about marriage to this new situation without losing something essential in the process?”

Actually he is very wrong. The bible does address the modern concepts of sexual orientation and same-sex marriage. Leviticus covers it all in one short verse:

Ifthere is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death (20;13 NASB)

That covers every possible variation a homosexual couple can invent or think of. A man lies with a woman in monogamous loving, committed relationships thus that covers Vine’s protest in the quote above. He lies with her according to his sexual orientation thus that aspect is addressed as well. We do not need to transfer anything because there is no new principle. Vines is just looking for a loophole and God did not provide him with one.

#2. “In marriage,” writes Matthew, “we are called to reflect God’s love for us through our self-giving love for our spouse.” This is something same-sex couples can do just as well as heterosexual couples, he says

Except same-sex couples are not reflecting God’s love for us because they are practicing sin and God does not sin. You will notice that Vines ignores an important part of the passage he refers to;

30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she [r]respects her husband. (Eph 5 NASB)

The bold words are the key part he leaves out. Paul did not say that a man will leave his mother and father for another man, or a woman will leave her parents for another woman. This is a glaring error on Vines’ part. he is being very selective in his use of scripture in order to get his own way and not God’s.

#3. One of the most common reasons for opposing same-sex marriage cited by non-affirming Christians is that only a man and woman can biologically procreate. Appealing to Genesis 1:28 as a direct command rather than a creative blessing, they argue that the capacity to procreate is critical to a God-honoring union.

Pro-creation is an important part of marriage. Now some heterosexual couples may choose to not have children for spiritual reasons, they may not be able to have children but that doesn’t make same-sex unions correct.  The couple can still become one with each other, something same-sex couples cannot do. What Vines’ fails to realize is that the blessing does not include same-sex couples, in fact there is no blessing found anywhere in the Bible for same-sex couples.it really isn’t the procreation part that is important here. it is God’s  definition of what marriage is and the absence of his approval for same-sex unions.

#4. To support this, Matthew points to Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in John 3, as well as his statement in Matthew 12:46-50 that “whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.” This new emphasis on being “grafted in” to the family of God brought those who had traditionally been left out—eunuchs, for example—in.

What Vines is missing here are the words I put in bold print. A person who practices same-sex preferences or other alternatives are not doing the will of God. God’s will is clearly stated in Lev. 20:13 yet Vines’ ignores that and hopes to confuse people with the words ‘will of my Father.’ He hopes people do not realize that God’s will extends to sexual preference.

#5. From a theological perspective,” Matthew concludes, “marriage primarily involves a covenant-keeping relationship of mutual self-giving that reflects God’s love for us….Marriage is only secondarily—and not necessarily at all—about having biological children.”

He doesn’t understand marriage at all as he continues to look for excuses to justify his refusal to repent from his sinful same-sex practice.He tries to redefine marriage to fit his ideology. I will grant him that procreation is not the best argument for defending traditional marriage but it is an important aspect to keep in the discussion. I am going to leave this point with what I originally said, he doesn’t know what marriage means.

#6. This, in my opinion, is the big one. Because some Christians interpret the New Testament household codes as prescribing hierarchal gender roles wherein wives function as subordinates to their husbands, their challenge to same-sex couples is, who’s in charge? 

It isn’t that some Christians have interpreted the NT after their own ideas, it is that God has defined who i sin charge of the family and union. we return to Eph 5:

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. (NASB)

God is very clear here who is in charge and you will notice that there is no additional words to include same-sex partners. There is no biblical instruction telling alternative people to discuss between them who takes which role. No matter how you slice it, those advocating for same-sex marriage have no biblical leg to stand upon. he continues:

Just as the New Testament household codes assume a hierarchy between master and slave, they assume a hierarchy between men and women.

There is no assumption of a hierarchy. The Bible makes it very clear who is the head and who submits to whom. Only those desiring an alternative will miss this very obvious point.

#7. Matthew points out that in his letter to the Galatians, Paul wrote that three types of hierarchies would fade away in Christ. One was that of male and female. The others were distinctions between Jew and Gentile and distinctions between slave and free

Vines will abuse scripture to get his own way. He i snot even close to correct in his application of that passage of scripture. If he is upset about other people interpreting Eph. 5 why does he think his interpretation of Gal.3. is going to be accepted? What makes his act of interpreting greater than other people’s? What spiritual support does he have for his twist on scripture? he says:

In other words, “neither slave nor free, Jew nor Greek, male nor female” has to mean something more than shared access to salvation. It has to mean something radical about how relationships among Christians in this patriarchal culture were to change. 

Why does it have to mean more? Just because he wants it to? Why does it have to mean something radical? Again, just because he wants it to? This twisting of scripture shows that God does not support what Vines’ and others are advocating.

#8. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it a million times more: What makes a marriage holy and sacred isn’t the degree to which it reflects a rigid hierarchy, but rather the degree to which it reflects the self-giving, self-sacrificing love of Jesus.

He is wrong, of course, as what makes marriage holy and sacred is that it obeys God and follows his rules. But what can you expect from someone who is trying desperately to justify his disobedience of God’s will?  He redefines marriage to make it look like he wants it to look then he tries to bend scripture around that newly invented definition and it just won’t work. God defined marriage in the beginning and every attempt to alter that act is just wrong, sin and disobedience. His actions tell us that Vines does not want to give up sin to and wants marriage to be his way not God’s.

#9. A final argument against same-sex marriage is that two people cannot become “one flesh” if they do exhibit anatomical complementarity. Here Matthew cites Jim Brownson’s Bible, Gender Sexuality, where the Bible scholar argues that such an interpretation of Genesis 2:24 over-sexualizes the phrase “one flesh,” which in the Bible is used metaphorically to describe ties of kinship between all sorts of people.

Yet another appeal to an outside fallible source to support his unbiblical premise. Being anatomically correct is an important part of being ‘one-flesh’. The opposition to this fact is astounding as the sexual organs were made to fit together one way only. There is no alternative to this procedure. Physical oneness is as important as emotional, psychological, intellectual oneness between a man and a woman.Again, Vines abuses scripture to support his unsupportable argument. Homosexuals cannot be one with the other

#10. But for those who do not sense a calling to celibacy, God’s gift of sexual love in marriage should be affirmed. There is no biblical reason to exclude the covenantal bonds of gay Christians from that affirmation.” (bold mine)

I guess he hasn’t read the Bible then for there is one great biblical reason excluding homosexuals from same-sex unions. God is against it. Does he need any other reason? Obviously he is ignoring those passages of scripture to try to get his selfish way.

#11. In Chapter 9, Matthew makes a strong case that being created in the image of God cannot uniquely be tied to heterosexuality and points to the Trinity to show that part of being created in the image of God is longing for intimacy and relationship.

Is he saying that God is homosexual now? The feminist has said God is a female so I guess it stands to reason that the homosexual will make God after their image instead of their being made in God’s image. He doesn’t grasp what being made in the image of God is all about and distorts that teaching to justify his pursuit of what is not his to have. But that is the way it is with those who do not want to follow God’s rules–they have to distort biblical teaching to support and justify their disobedience.

#12. When we tell people that their every desire for intimate, sexual bonding is shameful and disordered,” he writes, “we encourage them to hate a core part of who they are. And when we reject the desires of gay Christians to express their sexuality within a lifelong covenant, we separate them from our covenantal God, and we tarnish their ability to bear his image.”

Hatred for a sinful desire is not reason enough to alter the definition of marriage and allow people to disobey God. All his arguments boil down to is that he and other homosexuals refuse to obey God’s rules. Instead of obeying, they want to change them in order to keep practicing their sinful desires. The reason homosexual unions are rejected by Christians is because they are sin and not of God. This is something that doesn’t seem to be getting through to his brain. He can twist scriptures all day long to justify his position but when the rubber meets the road, same-sex marriage or unions remain the same–an abomination to God.

Vines may pull the wool over some religious people’s eyes but he can’t do that to God. God knows what he detests and that position does not change.

Conclusion: Then Matthew concludes with this little truth bomb:  “Instead of asking whether it’s acceptable for the church to deny gay Christians the possibility of sexual fulfillment in marriage, we should ask a different question. Is it acceptable to deny gay Christians the opportunity to sanctify their sexual desires through a God-reflecting covenant.”

Yes it is acceptable to deny homosexuals any same-sex expression or desire through a ‘God-reflecting covenant’. Why? because same-sex unions are not God-reflecting. God did not create same-sex marriage or unions. Those come from evil. God created marriage to be between a man and a woman and that union is good.

Vines and Evans have NO argument. Their position is unbiblical and straight from evil.  Same-sex unions cannot be allowed in the church nor can unrepentant  homosexuals. We do not allow sin in the church.


 

Controversial Issues 7

6. Ms. Evans Homosexual Discussion- 2

Today’s topic is about the Bible and the verses condemning homosexual behavior. Right at the top a comment is made by Vines which is very disturbing and shows how little regard homosexuals have for God and his word. But first the link to the discussion

http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/god-gay-christian-old-testament

#1. Drawing from the work of biblical scholars, most notably James Brownson, Matthew looks at the context, language, and historical background of these passages to conclude that the Bible does not directly address the issue of same-sex orientation or the expression of that orientation. “While is six references to same-sex behavior are negative,” writes Matthew, “the concept of same-sex behavior in the Bible is sexual excess, not sexual orientation” and so these passages do not apply to gay, lesbian, or bisexual Christians in committed same-sex relationships.

The bold is mine as it highlights the disturbing words from Vines.  The very first question that comes to mind is, ‘Who is Vines that he gets to dictate which passages of scripture apply to homosexuality or any other part of life and which ones do not?

We do not see him acting on God’s behalf trying to straighten out a doctrinal error or misguided people. In fact we do not see him invoking God at all in his ‘crusade’. We do not see anything from God at all in Vines or his work.

There is no holiness, humbleness, no recognition of the work of the spirit or anything else that would tell people Vines’ words are of God or God approved. What we do see is a wild, reckless and desperate attempt from one homosexual to justify his continual participation in sin even though God has said it was abominable to him.

His logic fails because there is NO biblical support for same-sex orientation, let alone any escape clause allowing homosexuality to be good if it is done in a monogamous, committed relationship. Where are the scriptures that allow this splitting of hairs?

What is the difference between abnormal sexual preferences if they are done as a one night stand or a fling, an affair or just for fun, and their being done with one person for years on end?

For heterosexuality we have biblical teaching telling us that pre-marital sex in any form is wrong and sin. We have NO such teaching separating the practice of homosexuality into good and bad practices.  What Vines does is import his own desires into the biblical texts in order to justify his failure to obey God and the Bible.

#2.Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me…” (Ezekiel 16:49-50, ).

I took out his emphasis here and also have skipped over his example of Sodom  for now. This passage is refered to a lot by homosexuals as they seek to feel good about their sexual preference. But of course they skip over the key words to make their distorted point:

If Sodom’s sin had indeed been homosexuality,” writes Matthew, “it is highly unlikely that every written discussion of the city for centuries following its destruction would fail to mention that fact.”  This is true for other ancient Jewish literature as well, he argues, where Sodom’s sins are identified as arrogance, indulgence, and lack of hospitality.

Of course, Vines forgets that many writings do mention homosexuality as one of the sins Sodom and company were destroyed for practicing. He also ignores the last line in that passage he quotes and which provide the key words that tells us the sin of homosexuality is included in the list of reasons for Sodom’s and company’s destruction.

The words ‘did other detestable things before me..’ seem to escape his attention. Does God have to list each sin individually before the homosexual gets the message that they are wrong? Are not the other verses in the Bible enough of a warning for them? apparently not as Vines thinks the lack of mentioning homosexuality in that passage is justification enough to conclude that homosexuality is good if it is done like a real marriage.

#3. So what about the men of Sodom’s threats to gang rape Lot’s guests?

As Matthew points out, this has nothing to do with sexual orientation or an expression of sexual desire. In the ancient world, for a man to be raped was considered the ultimate degradation, a sign of total defeat. Warriors who wanted to shame their conquered foes often raped them in order to humiliate them

Really? Homosexual gang rape has nothing to do with sexual orientation or expressing sexual desire? I have yet to hear or see any heterosexual man, whether as a conqueror or in meeting new men in their city express any desire to gang rape men.

The gymnastics it takes Vines to get to this weird conclusion makes Olympic athletes jealous. In quick research the raping of men is not mentioned anywhere but even some took place, Sodom, Gomorrah and the others were not at war, these men were not warriors who vanquished a foe nor even come close to overcoming them.

Their words were straight on lust and evil desire and nothing else was considered. it boggles the mind how homosexuals distort past events to eke out even a minute excuse to justify their decision to practice their sexual preference.

Then appealing to a subjective subject like history is always a dangerous thing to do because even if such practices took place it doesn’t mean it was condoned, legal or even encouraged. It also doesn’t mean that any male rape of another male came from any other desire than homosexual lusts.

As usual, you will notice that neither vines or Ms. Evans offers even one link to a credible and legitimate historical document supporting this reasoning. They take the generalization route and are dishonest about the whole issue.

#4. Notes Matthew: “Neither Lot nor the old man of Gibeah said, ‘Don’t do anything to these men, because that would be a same-sex act.’ Instead, they both expressed concern that the visitors had come under the protection of their homes. The men were their guests and the ‘sacred duty’ of hospitality…was paramount.”

So according to Vines the man was for same-sex relations if it were done outside of his home? That makes no sense at all. The host most likely knew what was going to happen to the men if he did not bring them into his home for protection. he wa snot for same-sex relations anywhere it took place.

Vines distorts scripture for his own selfish purpose. here is a verse that supports my position and not Vines;

20 The old man said, “Peace to you. Only let me take care of all your needs; however, do not spend the night in the open square.” (Jud. 19 NASB)

Clearly the words indicate that the old man had knowledge of the behavior of the inhabitants and took the unknowing men out of harm’s way. He wasn’t for same-sex relations, he was protecting these men from them. The ‘sacred duty of hospitality’ had nothing to do with it.

#5. Only the latter two passages make reference to Sodom’s sexual sins. Jude 7 says the people of Sodom and Gomorrah “indulged in gross immorality and went after stranger flesh.” But rather than referring to same-sex relationships, the phrase “strange flesh” seems to refer to the attempts to rape angels instead of humans

I think these are Ms. Evans’ words but it is hard to tell at points because there is such a co-mingling of thoughts in her article. Just what do both Ms. Evans and Vines consider to be ‘gross immorality’? Do they not think that homosexual preferences and actions are not immoral?

The words stranger flesh do not apply to rape of angels as no human is capable of over-powering any angel. That reference is a figment of their imaginations as they hasten to conclude that monogamous same-sex relationships are biblical and approved by God.

They reference Mt. 10 but that passage has nothing to do with the validity of same-sex unions or the reasons for the destruction of those cities. Same for the passage in Luke.

It was the Jewish philosopher Philo who first explicitly linked Sodom’s sins to same-sex behavior, and his idea caught on

No it was the Bible who did it first and we cannot say Philo was the origin of that reference because of the lack of extant ancient writings on the topic. Vines’ and Ms. Evans attempt to make the connection to Philo, means they are trying to make the condemnation solely human instead of divine. In so doing they then can claim that God does not disprove of monogamous committed same-sex relationships, even though the connection provides no  support for that claim.

They blame the human in order to escape divine condemnation.

#6. Even though it was decided in the Council of Jerusalem that Gentile Christians are not bound to Scripture’s Levitical law, discussions continue to this day regarding how those texts apply to followers of Jesus.

That is not true. The book of Acts records the topic to be circumcision not all of the Levitical laws. Acts 15 lays out the decision of the council and the people were not given a pass on all of the law.  The main issue of course was circumcision not homosexuality and you will see that no permission was given to have same-sex relations.

Of course, Ms. Evans and Vines ignore the word ‘fornication’ as it applies to the same-sex issue. I would imagine that some homosexuals want to have same-sex marriage legitimized and legalized in order to avoid thinking they are fornicating.  Here is a link to one discussion on fornication

http://bibleresources.org/fornication/

In the Bible, the Greek definition of the word “fornication” means to commit illicit sexual intercourse.

The issue of course is did the council have authority to change what God said was an abomination to him? They did not thus their decision did not nullify God’s unacceptance of homosexuality.

#7. It’s easy to forget just how many of these laws are disregarded by Christians without much thought. Leviticus 3 and 11, for example, forbid eating animal fat or blood, shellfish, and animals that walk on all fours and have paws—all of which are denounced as “abominations,” along with having sexual relations during a woman’s period, and charging interest on loans.

Just because other people may sin or break the law doesn’t mean that you can break the law  or that homosexuality is suddenly deemed okay. The logic used by both Ms. Evans and Vines is astoundingly bad as we see in the next quote.

#8. As Matthew points out, in the vast majority of cases, the word “abomination” (typically the Hebrew, toevah, which is used in Leviticus 18 and 20) refers to what the Israelites associated with the idolatrous practices of the Gentiles, leading Old Testament scholar Phyllis Bird to conclude that “it is not an ethical term, but a term for boundary making,” with “a basic sense of taboo.”

The last line provides the key words. God used the word ‘abomination’ to make a taboo boundary for sexual practices yet Vines and others ignore that fact. God said heterosexuality is good and everything else is taboo.

But their illogical thinking continues:

Many other biblical scholars share this view, which helps make sense out of why eating shellfish and charing interest on loans might have been considered taboo to the ancient Israelites, but not Christians today. So while ‘abomination’ is a negative word,” Matthew says, “it doesn’t necessarily correspond to Christian views of sin.”

So he appeals to the practices of misguided people or misinformed people to justify his practice of what God said was sin.  Why not appeal to God and the truth and use his application of the word ‘sin’ instead?

But they do not stop with their lack of logic

In addition, there are no condemnations of either polygamy or concubinage, which are in fact assumed within the text.

So because there is no direct condemnation of other relationship practices, this nullifies and over-rules the direct condemnation of same-sex relationships? Then they go on and say that because there were other sins subject to the death penalty, same-sex sin was not serious. It is hard to describe how illogical that makes their point of view.

#9. So as we read these ancient texts, we need to keep this question in mind: Do these writings suggest that same-sex unions are wrong because of the anatomical ‘sameness’ of the partners involved? Or is the primary concern a different issue?”

The desperation of both Vines and Evans is very evident as now they look to secular ideas about same-sex relations and try to apply those views to God’s holy perspective. It doesn’t matter how the secular world views homosexuality. They do not decide what is or isn’t sin or how God defines what is an abomination to him.

That is like appealing to a rapist who claims that rape is not sin or wrong and that he should be allowed to continue raping. If these people are going to make a biblical argument about a biblical sin then they need to stick to those who believe the Bible and not appeal to those who live in sin and have no desire to do what is right.

Sinful cultures and people are in need of a savior and they are not an authority to determine who can practice what in the church or Christian faith.

“If the issue were anatomical complementarity,” Matthew argues, “female same-sex relations should be condemned on an equal basis. And yet, the text is silent on this matter…The entire question of how bodies fit together doesn’t seem to be on the radar. The concern we see is centered around the proper ordering of gender roles in a patriarchal society.”

The text is not silent on female to female relationships. They are considered homosexuals as well even though today they prefer the word lesbian. Female homosexuals go to hell just like the male homosexual will.

It has nothing to do with a society being patriarchal or not. That is just another phony argument to attack God’s order of things.

#10. Frankly, I’ve never found arguments against same-sex relationships from these Old Testament texts particularly persuasive,

They do not have to be persuasive, the OT texts just need to be obeyed. The main failure of most of these arguments is that both Vines and Evans use only 1 incident to make their case. On top of that, they do not know all the details involved in that situation and it seems they do not want to know yet they try to twist the scriptures to fit their point of view.

If any argument is not persuasive it is Vines’ and Evans’. They cannot point to one biblical incident or situation that confirms their point of view. There is not one monogamous, committed homosexual relationship recorded in the Bible and shown to be approved by God.

Their only resort is to twist what God has written in order to make God say something he did not say. They are not presenting a biblical argument against an unbiblical stance. They are trying to justify and legitimize an unbiblical stance and support of sin by attacking, twisting, redesigning, ignoring biblical words.

We do not even see the Holy Spirit behind their words. We just see people who disagree with God doing everything they can to practice sin and call it good.

——————————————————-

Here is a link to a review of Brownson’s book on homosexuality that may be one of Vines’ resources

http://thebiblicalworld.blogspot.kr/2013/04/bible-gender-sexuality-review-of-james.html

P.S. Ms. Evans is invited at ay time to write a rebuttal to anything I have said here in this article and in the article #1 as well as future articles addressing the information she puts on her blog.

Her contact information states that any contact via wrong channels will be ignored and I am sure I would pick a wrong channel to invite her. So if any of you know the right channels feel free to pass this invite along.

i won’t edit her remarks and will give her a separate page to place her response so she is not lost in the crowd. for that matter Michael Vines has the same invitation.

7. Ms. Evans & Her Homosexual Discussion- 3

I wasn’t planning on using my 900th post on this topic but I had forgotten that this discussion was still ongoing and I had trouble accessing her website on a different computer. The lengths that people go to find some sort of justification to practice their sin is a sign of how wrong the practice really is. Today’s installment demonstrates the extremes Vines and Ms. Evans go in order to support sin and call it good.

#1. Perhaps the most significant passage in the debate regarding the Bible and same-sex relationships is Romans 1: 26-27, which opponents to same sex relationships often point to as a “clear” statement on the matter

These opening words set the tone for the rest of the article.  They tell us that Ms. Evans and Vines do not have a high regard for God’s word and think that opponents of same-sex relationships have it all wrong.

#2. According to Paul, the sins of the Gentiles are rooted in their worship of idols, which led them to indulge in vices like envy, slander, gossip, murder, arrogance, and “shameful lusts.” Here he notes: “Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones” and the men “abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another

In other words Vines and Evans are trying to separate what God has called sin into different categories and saying that if sin were practiced in another way then it is not really sin at all. They are desperately looking for a loophole for their personal beliefs about homosexuality. I wonder how they view pedophilia if it were conducted in a loving and monogamous manner? Would they make the same arguments, have the same type of discussions or rearranging scriptures to support such a sexual alternative?

Why do they target only homosexuality? The answer to that question is because that is what they favor. I highly doubt they would defend a loving, monogamous pedophilic relationship with the same drive and perseverance. The hypocrisy involved in their side of the argument undermines any point they raise. We must ask, why is it that they ignore all other alternative forms of sexual practice? Are not those practitioners favored by God as well as the monogamous, loving homosexual couple?

#3. Pau’s depiction of same-sex behavior in this passage in indisputably negative,” acknowledges Matthew. “But he also explicitly describes the behavior he condemns as lustful. He makes no mention of love, fidelity, monogamy, or commitment. So should we understand Paul’s words to apply to all same-sex relationships, or only to lustful, fleeting ones?”

Here is where the separation of sinful behavior really takes root. Evans and Vines try to divide sin according to Paul’s words refusing to accept the fact that what they advocate cannot be divided by the apostle’s words. The refuse to see that their style of  same-sex relations is exactly what Paul was talking about. Vines fails to see that even supposedly committed, et al, relationships can be done lustfully. To answer his question, Yes Paul’s words apply to all same-sex relationships because God did not separate the alternative practice into two parts like he did for heterosexual relations.

The biblical context for homosexuality is carried forward throughout the bible.There is no form of homosexuality that God calls good or gives permission for it to be practiced. Paul does not have to be word specific because the context is already known. All forms of same-sex relations are lustful and wrong. What Vine forgets to mention is that Paul does not make a word specific point separating loving, committed, monogamous same-sex unions as an exception to his words. Without that exception, Vines has no argument because Paul has not said homosexuality was good in certain forms.

#4. To make a case for abolition, Christians had to look beyond what appears on the surface to be an endorsement of slavery to examine why the New Testament authors wrote what they did. While Matthew doesn’t spend much time on this particular issue, this is what ultimately changed my mind about LGBT people and the Bible. The moment I realized I couldn’t win a “proof text” war with a slave-owner was the moment I realized that in discussions like these, we can’t rely on a few Bible verses pulled from their context—not when lives are at stake. But more on that at a later date…]

These are Evans’ words and her problem is that there has never been even a surface endorsement for slavery in the Bible. There are instructions on how to treat slaves but there is no verse stating that owning other humans is good and of God.  God has directed the people of Israel at specific times to take slaves but he did not tell them to establish a slave trade or have sexual slaves. God also did not have a word specific verse stating that owning another human was abomination to him.

Her argument is a clear case of comparing apples with oranges. What God and readers of the Bible said about slavery has absolutely no bearing on God’s view about homosexuality. The verses speaking against homosexuality are not pulled from their context, it is just people like Vines and Evans who want to alter their context to fit their desires.  They cannot point to one passage of scripture that declares certain practices of same-sex behavior are okay. The context for this issue is consistent and continuous–homosexuality in all forms is wrong and sin. They cannot be pulled out of context.

#5. .As has already been shown, same-sex relations in the first century were not thought to be the expression of an exclusive sexual orientation but were widely understood to be the product of excessive sexual desire wherein the one engaging in same-sex behavior did so out of an excess of lust that could not be satisfied.

The problem for Evans and Vines here is that how the secular ancient cultures viewed and practiced homosexuality has no bearing on God’s word or God’s opinion on the issue. The pair appeal to the cultural argument here and t won’t work. They are saying that culture influences God’s word thus biblical teaching on homosexuality is not God’s teaching but human thinking. Oh, and they are wrong about how the ancients viewed same-sex relations.

#6. The most common forms of same-sex behavior in the Greco-Roman world, Matthew notes, were pederasty and sex between masters and their slaves, and the majority of men who indulged in those practices also engaged in heterosexual behavior with their wives. So we’re not talking about committed, monogamous, sacrificial relationships here. Not by a long shot

Even if it were the most common form practiced, that doesn’t make same-sex relationships that are monogamous,loving,committed, etc. good or right. it means that same-sex marriage was illegal in ancient times and those ancient people opting for alternatives could not marry their supposed loved one. They cannot say the word ‘majority’ because they do not know and we do not have specific records informing us of that statistic.BUT how does that supposed practice differ from today when we have one partner in a heterosexual relationship cheating on their partner with a same-sex lover?

Their view of the past and its sexual practices are skewed. How does being promiscuous in a heterosexual relationship make same-sex relationships loving, monogamous or committed? You will notice that neither Evans or Vines point to one ancient law allowing those same-sex behaviors or make them legal. They are making an argument without revealing all the facts surrounding the ancient behavior. That is dishonest and if it is dishonest then it is not of God. That means then, Paul was not speaking from secular culture but from God’s instruction and all forms of homosexuality are included in Paul’s words.

The pair try to make it look like same-sex practices were acceptable to the society in general when that is not the case. They certainly do not quote from any ancient wives and stunned husbands to provide a complete picture of the ancient view of homosexuality.

#7. Citing the writings of Philo, Plato, and Dio Chyrysostom, Matthew notes that same-sex relations were not considered objectionable to these writers because partners shared the same anatomy, but “because they stemmed from hedonistic self-indulgence.”

Vines and Evans are reading into the words of those ancient authors and making them say something they did not say. I wish Evans would cite actual references so we could double-check Vines’ conclusions but that is part of the dishonesty of those who advocate for acceptance of sinful behavior. I am not willing to buy the book just to get references.The pair complain about opponents to homosexuality taking verses out of context, yet have no problem in taking ancient writers’ words out of context when it suits them.

I am also kind of curious as to how Vines is capable of determining the intent of long dead authors and how he can see that they were siding with him on this issue. He says that they were condemning the practice because of lusts yet he points to NO ancient authors’ words that have them approving of monogamous, loving, committed, et al same-sex relationships. This failure only exposes their esigetical work and their failure to be truthful.

#8. The concept of same-sex orientation and the notion of committed same-sex relationships was simply not part of Pauls’—or these other writers’— worldview.

Really?  So Paul’s extensive and elite education left him void of any answers or conception to same-sex unions? This quoted thought is really hard to accept as a credible, though it is a laughable one, point.  Does Vines think that Paul’s rabbinic training would not have covered this topic or that his teachers who were well versed in the Hebrew Bible would simply ignore God’s revelation about what homosexuality means to him and take a secular view and apply it to scripture? Vines really has a low view of Paul and his teachers.

Vines also forgets Solomon’s words that there is nothing new under the sun so if Vine’s is arguing for the view that monogamous, committed, et al, same-sex relations are okay was not mentioned in ancient times then he is off the mark. Paul and his teachers would be well aware of this issue. We need to ask, how many of those people who came to Lot’s door asking for homosexual relations with his visitors were in monogamous, committed, et al, same-sex relationships? Vine doesn’t say but he can’t for no one knows for sure what their practices were.

For all we know, the inhabitants set up those cities in order to practice monogamous, committed, loving same-sex unions and just wanted to have lustful fun that night with the strangers. God didn’t make the distinction between one night same-sex stands and long-term unions. For Vines and Evans to be honest, they need to factor this point in with their arguments and re-think their stance.

#9. In Paul’s day, same-sex relations were a potent symbol of sexual excess,” writes Matthew, and so “they offered an effective illustration of Paul’s argument: We lose control when we are left to our own devices.”

As far as I know, we have no ancient testimony to this idea. I will welcome anyone to provide me credible links to legitimate historical websites that provide actual ancient testimony on this idea.

#10. The context in which Paul discussed same-sex relations differs so much from our own that it cannot reasonably be called the same issue.

Uhm…no.  Again we must turn to Solomon’s words ‘there is nothing new under the sun to show how wrong Vines is. Do both Evans and Vines think that no one discussed Sodom and Gomorrah after their destruction or the reasons for it? He must think that the ancients lived in a vacuum if he thinks no one talked about it or used those cities as examples to support their points of view. Does he think that Paul was absent the day Sodom and Gomorrah were discussed in class? The justifications made by Vines and Evans are just ludicrous.

#11. Homosexuality condemned as excess does not translate to homosexuality condemned as an orientation—or as a loving expression of that orientation.”

This is the pairs’ own spin to biblical views and ancient ideas. Homosexuality condemned means that all forms of homosexuality are included in the condemnation. There is no splitting of hairs. Again, we see that Vines and Evans are not arguing out of honesty but from the point of personal perspective and desires. There is just no open-minded attitude on their part. Everyone else is wrong and they are right. 5000 years of saying homosexuality is wrong and sin are over-turned because two people, who cannot accept the answer, say otherwise.

#12. The gay, lesbian, and bisexual Christians I know tell me they have experienced same-sex attractions for many years, often since childhood, and simply want to be in a committed, sacrificial relationship with someone to whom they are attracted

Yet no thought is given to the fact that evil was tempting, deceiving them as children. It is automatically assumed that those feelings were right and not sinful. If Evans and Vines want to use the Bible to justify their point of view then they need to be honest and use all of the Bible and all it addresses as they construct their arguments. They conveniently left out evil and its desire to destroy God’s creation just to make their sinful desires biblical.

#13. Matthew again returns to what no good biblical scholar would dispute: that many of the gender roles alluded to in Scripture are rooted in patriarchy.

But Evans and Vines cannot stop when they have made themselves and their arguments look ridiculous. The second part to her post takes them into the realm of utter foolishness. They are blaming God’s order for life on earth as the problem for what is natural or unnatural and are completely ignoring God’s feelings on the subject? I am sure they feel that straight males wrote those passages on the Bible opposing homosexuality and if women were in charge, the Bible would look completely different.

If patriarchy was the problem why are Vines and Evans trying to change the Bible to fit their desires? Why are they not producing God’s real words showing his approval for loving, et al, same-sex relationships? Why do we not have a manuscript track record of these alternative words? They can only make these foolish claims and accusations but they can’t prove they have valid point because they do not have any replacement scriptures to back them up.  They are not really attacking patriarchy, they are attacking God because they do not like his order of life nor his views on their desires.

To be honest, the rest of this section is so foolish that I can only respond to one more point. Their logic and reasoning is just off the charts and it would not be wise or prudent to go against Solomon’s words concerning answering a fool.

#14. Concludes Matthew: “For Paul, same-sex desire did not characterize a small minority of people who were subject to special classification—and condemnation—on that basis. Rather, it represented an innate potential for excess within all of fall humanity.”

Yet there is no biblical teaching to support Vine’s conclusion.  Both Vines and Evans appeal to dishonest research, dishonest biblical reading & study, and dishonest analyzation of historical times to make their point. Their failure to be inclusive of all sexual alternatives just shows how dishonest they really are. Why is it only committed, et al, type of homosexual unions that they are arguing for in their personal agenda? Why do they not make a case for polygamists since there is less biblical opposition to that marital practice than homosexuality? God certainly does not call that alternative an abomination.

We can see that God does not like committed, loving, monogamous homosexual unions any more than he likes lustful same-sex practices just by witnessing the dishonesty, they hypocrisy and the untruthfulness of those who argue for that particular style of homosexual relationships.  All the advocates of that style are doing is copying the thinking of those who used the Bible to legitimize the slave trade and owning other humans.

 
 
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