Context & Hope

Here’s another guest post from the anonymous writer. It has some excellent points:

I believe that many of the New Testament verses used by the church to condemn homosexuality as a sin are not being used with their full context and message. I actually believe this radical statement I have just made; which hopefully by the end of this post, you will not find to be as radical as you do now.

Before I continue, let me first make a quick disclaimer; I am not a historian, nor a Bible scholar. I am simply a student who enjoys research, and I try my best to purse God’s truth in the research that I do. I would encourage you not to simply take my word, but to take what I say and investigate and research the claims I make for yourself.

I will begin with a brief, broad overview of the letters. They were written by Paul to the early church in different cities regarding Christian ethics and theology. In these letters, there are many verses on sexual purity; in which Paul warns and rebukes members of those churches (1 Corinthians 7:2, 1 Timothy 1:10, 1 Corinthians 6:9, etc.). Homosexuality is a sin; it is laid out pretty clearly in those verses. The evangelical right has this part down pretty well; not many people would say we a problem with not rebuking people for homosexual behaviors. This analysis, while correct on this facet, falls short of capturing the bigger picture though.

Now this is where it gets interesting; I will examine the historical context present when Paul’s epistles were written. In the Greco-Roman culture he was writing to, homosexual practices were rampant. Homosexual relationships in that time were much different than they are now however. In the cities Paul was writing to most homosexual encounters were between an autonomous adult and someone who “worked” as a prostitute. When I say worked, they didn’t have a choice in the matter; they were slaves essentially.

Sexual slavery, not an overly popular topic in the church now is it? (But given that it still has a presence in our world today, maybe it should be). Those in the church to whom Paul was writing to weren’t looking to marry a partner of the same sex, but rather they were seeking fleeting sinful acts to satisfy their lust.

So where do we miss the mark? I believe we miss the implicit message of hope contained in the verses condemning homosexual behavior. Hope? Hope for whom? Hope for those living as slaves to the lustful whims of these societies. Through the spreading of the gospel and the disciplining of new believers, it would be inevitable that these slaves would be set free as Christianity spread.

How is this relevant to today? The homosexual practices and debates in America today do not involve one party in a state of slavery to the temple of a false religion, but the underlying concepts of hope for the lost still apply.

“Love the sinner, but hate the sin,” is just our nicer way of saying, “Come to Jesus and renounce homosexuality.” Don’t get me wrong, this statement is correct, but I believe it is incomplete. When you apply the implicit message of hope, the message also includes; “Come to Jesus and renounce despair,” and, “Come to Jesus and renounce loneliness.”

Let’s stop using legislation as our primary offensive against homosexuality, and start using Christ’s love. John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”(ESV)

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5 thoughts on “Context & Hope

  1. Interesting. Too often we seem to seperate ourselves from homosexual people, labeling them as ‘bad sinners’ as though we are not. It’s sinful, we can’t deny that, but the fact is we have ALL fallen short of the Glory of God, and we all need the blood of Jesus to cover us. We need to call sin sin, but we can’t ignore that we were slaves to it as well before God saved us.

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