Monday, September 14, 2015
"Gregg Easterbrook Needs to Read the Bible Again!"
While I do not support Kim Davis’ refusal to sign marriage licenses, it is my belief that Gregg Easterbrook is wrong in his interpretation and application of the verses that prohibit gay marriage. The bible is unequivocally forthright about homosexuality. My task is to show how he has quoted the bible amok and applied it amiss.
The author tries to give his article more credibility by stating that he is merely going to cite from the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). If anyone knows about translations and the history thereof, they will agree that the reason the NRSV is widely acclaimed is mainly because it is more ecumenical than any other version since it is much more dynamically equivalent than any other version out there. Those for ecumenism outnumber those against, so it is proper to have an ecumenical tool as the flag bearer. That does not diminish the quality of the translation. It is no doubt a very good translation because it accommodates almost all denominations. Notwithstanding, the NRSV does not surpass the King James Version; it rather actualizes it.
He correctly points out the prohibition of homosexuality in the Old Testament (OT), but then asked, “Why don’t today’s Judeo-Christians believe in slavery and filicide?” The reason why some of these things prohibited in the OT would not be carried over is simply because some of them were ceremonial and civil laws of the people in the days. Only moral laws transcend cultures and people; ceremonial and civil laws do not, albeit, new societies could borrow their concepts to build upon. The society nowadays has its own decency laws.
He falters greatly in his attempt to interpret and apply these verses, “Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.” He quibbles from these verses which clearly prohibit a man from having intercourse with another man and a woman having intercourse with another woman by arguing that, “many church-married, monogamous, man-woman, devout Christian couples engage in acts once thought perversion.” That does not eliminate the crux of this passage. It is almost as if he was saying, “I know that the Bible prohibits homosexuality, but there are other people who are doing bad things too. I know I was speeding, but there were other people driving on the HOV lane too, officer.” Two wrongs do not a right make, Easterbrook!
The author said that “Beyond this, Paul frowned on all sexual interaction, including by men and women married to each other. (I Corinthians 7:29.)” Indeed, Paul did as his personal opinion. Paul was speaking about the encumbrance of marriage to the accomplishment of the work of God and not on the type or nature of sex. In homosexuality, we are dealing with the type of sex, which is prohibited. Therefore, Easterbrook has once again misused the bible in his application.
He gets it again wrong that sex was absent from the New Testament. Sex didn’t seem very important to Jesus’ followers because the glory of heaven outweighed a million coituses, but their heathen compatriots basked themselves in orgies and all sorts of debaucheries because in this world only, they had hope. Carpe Diem was their devilry, so they subconsciously muttered, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” Thus, sex is not absent from the New Testament (NT).
It is true that the key word in Romans 1:26-27 is “natural,” but it is in usage rather than in nature. It says clearly, “Their women exchanged natural intercourse for unnatural, and in the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse…”
The word “natural” describes the noun “intercourse.” It is not dealing with one’s sexuality; it is dealing with one’s proclivity. Jesus said, “But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’” (Mark 10:6). That is their sexuality; it is natural. That is the way they were made. The Bible reads, “Therefore, a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh.” People are naturally born male or female, except in cases of anomalies, and they are expected to have intercourse with the opposite sex. That is the natural way. This should settle the preference issue because the prescription is clear; a man should have sexual intercourse with a female and a female should have sexual intercourse with a male. If people decide to do the contrary, they operate in the realm of the unnatural. In so doing, they will receive due penalty for their error.
The author again goes back to false analogies by alluding to Christians who divorce despite Matthew 5:32 and the impossibility of the rich entering into heaven (Matthew 19:24). Look, impossible things to men are possible to God (Luke 18:27), especially when God is the one calling men unto salvation (2 Thessalonians 2:13). Although in both situations there is great difficulty in achieving the kingdom, they do not upgrade homosexuality to righteousness. No matter what the evil the Christian right or liberals commit, their acts do not upgrade homosexuality to a God-approved practice. It was so in the beginning, it is so now, so shall it be till the end.
However, I do agree with Easterbrook that “Jesus summed up Christian theology in one sentence: ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.’” Nevertheless, love does not exempt admonishment. Paul told the Colossians, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God.” (Colossians 3:16), and Ezekiel told the Israelites:
Mortal, I have made you a sentinel for the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from my mouth, you shall give them warning from me. 18If I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die’, and you give them no warning, and do not speak to warn the wicked from their wicked way, in order to save their life, those wicked persons shall die for their iniquity; but their blood I will require at your hand. 19 But if you warn the wicked, and they do not turn from their wickedness, or from their wicked way, they shall die for their iniquity; but you will have saved your life. 20Again, if the righteous turn from their righteousness and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling-block before them, they shall die; because you have not warned them, they shall die for their sin, and their righteous deeds that they have done shall not be remembered; but their blood I will require at your hand. (Ezekiel 3:17-20).
Easterbrook and co, if you hear the word of the Lord, you should not harden your heart. Homosexuality was an evil practice then, it is now, and it will be forever.
Until then, Kim Davis and Easterbrook are both wrong.
St Arrey of Ntenako.
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