The Sanctity of Scriptural Context

C. S. Pearce published an article by the above title in the Los Angeles Times December 2, 2012. One of the main arguments that Pearce uses is that in the first century historical context the passages in the New Testament refer to a special kind of homosexual practice not applicable today. She believes that the current practice of homosexuality is much different than ancient practices. She writes:

"Most New Testament Greek scholars now point out that there are only three passages that deal with homosexuality in the New Testament---Romans 1:23-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 - and 1 Timothy 1:9-10 - and those passages don't deal with homosexuality as we define it today but rather with temple prostitution and other abuses. Because of dated (and often loved) translations, many versions of the Bible imply otherwise."

The main problem is that Ms. Pearce doesn't give a shred of evidence to back up that statement! There is not any evidence in the context of the three passages she cited that indicates that they have to do with temple prostitution, rather than simply condemning homosexuality in general. Make no mistake, there is not a passage in the entire Bible that would state or imply that God everapproves of the practice of homosexuality, let alone permitting two men or two women to marry the other. While it is true that in the New Testament Jesus never directly addresses the subject of homosexuality, His inspired apostles certainly did. Ms. Pearce pontificates that Jesus by example was "loving and accepting everyone, especially the oppressed and those whom the religious establishment considered unclean." This does not agree with the truth, as an example when He dealt with the woman "taken in adultery" (John 8:1-11). Rather He told her to ". . . go, and sin no more" (John 8:11). Jesus never approved of one continuing in any sin, but rather is the source one can go to rid themselves of sin!

While it is true that various peoples including Israel in the Old Testament had many temple prostitutes the vast majority of them did not practice homosexuality. In fact there is not a single statement in the Bible concerning homosexuality being practiced as part of idol worship! Romans 1:24-32 describes the depth of degradation and licentiousness into which the Gentile world had fallen. For example in Romans 1:26 he said God had given them up to "vile affections" describing the women turning from "natural use" to the female homosexual acts, as did the men in verse 27. Two words of significance here are "vile" and "natural." In addition since they had turned away from God, he had given them up to "a reprobate mind" (Romans 1:28). The word "vile" comes from a Greek word meaning disgraceful, contemptible. "Natural" simply means agreeable to nature, or instinctive. The word "reprobate" simply means rejected, castaway, and such like. Obviously this passage gives no credence to the idea that homosexuality in any context is ever approved of God. The entire article is simply a "smoke-screen" to try to say that since society has changed to the degree that more people today are viewing "same sex marriage" in a more positive light, we must re-interpret the pronouncements of the Bible against homosexuality. From the original quotation set off above, Ms. Pearce tries to excuse the current attitudes by dismissing it with "dated" and "loved translations" and even states that many "versions of the Bible imply otherwise." There is nothing new in men trying to "slice and dice" the Bible to fit their own vices, as that has been practiced from the beginning. The facts are simple: not a single passage or thought in the Bible can be construed to approve any practice of homosexuality in any context. While it is true that God loves all, and the Christian is to love his neighbor (John 3:16; Matthew 22:39) no one can be pleasing to God while he/she practices sin. Jesus said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 7:21).

Ed Rodgers, Forney, TX