Pesky Verses…or the Power of God?
Romans 1: a re-enactment of the original Fall
Distorted use of “pesky verses” to condemn homosexuality?
Romans 1:26–28 “pesky verses” or part of a reasoned argument?
The Book of Romans in History
Rebellion against the Creator
Keystone to Gospel Understanding.
Overarching Picture of Creation, Fall, Redemption
A Recap of Creation
The relation of sexuality to the Creation and the Fall
A Recap of the Fall
Texts concerning homosexuality—“pesky verses,” “clobber texts.”
An integral part of Paul’s argument
Romans develops the Gospel
Martin Luther’s discovery in Romans: “the just shall live by faith.”
Romans not a human invention, but the power of God
The Authority of Romans: Paul
Called to be an apostle by Jesus
Set apart for the gospel of God
Given a unique role in history
Likens himself to the Old Testament prophets
Jeremiah (Jer 1:5)
Moses (2 Cor 3:11–13)
Apostolic authority supersedes that of Moses.
The Gospel in Romans 1
Paul’s goal: to preach the power of God for salvation
No other power can change this fallen world.
Sin needs a solution from the outside.
In the Gospel, God’s righteousness becomes a gift, rather than a threat.
The Fall: An Essential Doctrine
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” (Rom 1:18)
Paul still on his gospel theme in this verse!
No righteous God of Creation
The world began with chaos.
The gods in constant conflict with one another
The Myth of Creation
The True God
God is not a projection of human beings.
God exists from all eternity, before anything else.
God is righteous and determines good and evil. Morality is not relative.
Creation and Fall
The original creation is good, reflecting God’s goodness.
In the Fall, man suppresses this truth. (Rom 1:19–20)
Old Testament Statements
Jeremiah (Jer 27:5)
Job (Job 40:6–9)
Evidence of Creation Theme
- “They” is Adam and Eve and mankind.
- The Lie is the original Lie in Eden.
- The original Fall exchanges the Truth for the Lie.
- Men worship animals instead of having dominion over them.
A Strong Argument
God Gave them Over
- Theology (18–22)
- Spirituality (23–25)
- Sexuality (26–28, 29–32)
Theology: The Truth
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” Gen 1:1
“ You shall have no other gods before me…Him only shall you serve.” Ex 20:3
“For God’s 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.” Rom 1:20–21
Theology: The Rejection/Exchange
“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.” (Rom 1:20–21).
“They exchanged the truth of God for the lie.” (1:25)
“They did not like to retain God in their knowledge.” (1:28)
Spirituality: The Truth
“You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them”
“[they] exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things” (Rom 1:23)
Just as Israel did:
“They made a calf in Horeb and worshiped a metal image. They exchanged the glory of God for the image of an ox that eats grass…” (Psalm 106:12‒20)
Sexuality: The Truth
“Natural” sexuality: “since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things he has made.”
Implies that the “natural” is good and the “unnatural” is unrighteous.
Paul cites God’s creational pattern (male/female) “a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (Eph 5:31, Gen 2:24).
Sexuality: The Exchange
“For this reason…(the rejection of God as Creator) their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature (1:26); and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men…” (1:27)
Passion for Homosexuality
They not only do these acts but approve of those who do them.
Three “Givings Over”
God gave them over to:
uncleanness, in the lust of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves
A debased (undiscerning) mind
God’s judgment on the post-Jesus era. Another “Fall.”
Three “givings over” until the final Judgment Day.
Paul: A Homophobe?
Homosexuality is iconic.
The exchange of the natural for the unnatural is expressed vividly in its physical, sexual outworking.
June Singer: homosexuality the “sacrament of monism.”
Toby Johnson: perfect expression of “non-duality.”
Physical expression of “All is One”: Creator and creature are not distinct.
Contemporary Refusal of the Fall
Rejection of the Fall parallels acceptance of homosexuality.
Disinvitation of Louie Giglio, inaugural prayer of 2013
Becky Garrison: Clobber Texts
Include many who are not evangelical
Should embrace incarnational theology—all men created good
Should not call homosexuality a sin
Should abandon the clobber texts
Richard Rohr teaches “non-dual spirituality”: “At the core of each life is true, eternal goodness.” (David Crum’s evaluation of Rohr)
We should realize that we are as good as God
We can find our true self, which is good.
No absolute morality
New values and norms fit interfaith religion
We don’t need an antiquated Gospel
An Example: God vs. Gay
Author Jay Michaelson, Jewish homosexual
Selects morals from the Bible
Uses these to approve homosexuality
The Argument of God vs. Gay
These values are endorsed by the Bible.
These values are accepted by most people.
Homosexuals share these values.
These values should be extended to all minorities.
The six biblical texts are “ambiguous and limited.”
They don’t match with the rest of the Bible.
Michaelson only appears to be biblical.
He adds material from many other religions.
He stitches verses together out of context.
He fails to see his own rigidity.
His Spiritual Oneism is a form of pagan syncretism.
Gay Spirituality in History
Greek myths & homosexual gods
The Hindu “Hijra”
The Sufi pedophile, Rumi
Homosexuality in Buddhism &Kabbalah
Homosexual American Indian shamans — a “third way.”
“…gay attraction to and development of emotional relationships with members of the same sex results in seeing the world with the harmonious, non-dualistic vision that is the traditional goal of mystical religion.”
The Message of God vs. Gay?
There is no Fall
There is no Sin
Human beings share with “god” the same divine being.
God is an impersonal spirit , a power at our disposal.
We must transgress boundaries, especially the Creator/creature boundary.
God vs. Gay? on Homosexuality
Leviticus and Romans—only “bad” homosexuality, but ours is good.
Homosexuals judged by Paul had abandoned monotheism.
Michaelson has abandoned monotheism.
Michaelson admires spirituality that transgresses boundaries and busts binaries!
What is “Holy”?
“set apart” for a distinct function by God
Sexuality is set apart by God as holy in one man/one woman marriage.
All other sexual acts are unholy fornication or adultery.
LGBTQQIAAP (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, Queer, Inetersex, Asexual, Allies and Pansexual)
BDSM (Bondage, Discipline, Sadism, Masochism)
Polygamists, polyamorists, incestuous siblings, homosexual shamans, bestiality
Sexuality and Spirituality
“Sexual diversity is also spiritual diversity.” Michaelson, 16.
Polytheism leads to polysexuality and vice versa;
No one can live long with beliefs and actions that don’t match. One changes the other inevitably, as Paul argues in Romans 1.
Metropolitan Christian Churches: Sadomasochists and polyamorous groups encouraged to seek God’s blessing on their activities.
Blessing on “sexual encounters with strangers” or “unexpected intimacy”
Gay Pride Parades
“The galli would wander in the streets in full cross-dress regalia: amulets, flowing robes, make-up, depilated bodies and long hair dyed blond. They would dance in a Bacchalic frenzy with tambourines and flutes…”
Transgendered teachers in grade schools
Politicians folding on homosexuality
Leading homosexuals desire to destroy marriage
Third gender people who “manage the frontiers between the seen and the unseen.” (Harry Hay)
North American Man Boy Love Association
Need for Clarity: Oneism or Twoism?
Only two worldviews
Worship the Creator (Twoism) or worship creation (Oneism)
We cannot be silent. Certain “values” will try to silence the Gospel of God.
“I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”
One More Giving Over
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up (paredoken) for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? (Rom 8:32)
See also the use of this verb in: “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up” (paredoken) for her.” (Eph 5:25)
A Pagan Sees the Beauty of the Gospel
Easter has a resonance which remains, even if you have long moved away from the faith (as I have). In the Christian view of the world, Man is fallen, yet because of Christ’s self-sacrifice on the cross on Good Friday, Man can be redeemed. In the Christian worldview, humankind is not basically benign. People are not good. But they can be redeemed.
Mccarthy, “Man is fallen…”
God gave his Son over to our sin as a sin offering in our place.
To know the Gospel, we must understand the Fall.