I came to your site following a question about the word pharmakiea, or pharmakon. I had seen some claims that this was the word translated to witchcraft in the New Testament Greek, but that it had an additional meaning of using drugs. At least one source was arguing that drug use of any kind was a kind of witchcraft.
I felt in my heart that the word has been translated by God in such a way that the meaning is clear. Where it says witchcraft it means witchcraft as we understand it, magic and spells. If you say potions where do you draw the distinction between a witch and a perfumer, the manner after which was made the incense for the temple, and if you say drugs then where do you draw the distinction between a witch and pharmacist? Maybe modern medicine is a deception in the grand scheme of things, being that it is God who heals, but I don't think the herbalist is a witch.
The other thing I was looking at was your article on whether homosexuality is compatible with a biblical worldview. To start let me say I have lived much of my adult life as a gay man. There is no argument from me that the gay lifestyle as the modern world understands it is counter to the word of God. It is promiscuous, it is filled with all kinds of perversion and defilement, and disease is the consequence prescribed in several places in the Bible. I am thankful that the Lord has walked me through that fire and I have escaped the negative consequences in terms of my health, but I think I have been chastised for my disobedience in other ways. I believe he has delivered me from the trap that is the gay lifestyle.
Let me also say that my KJV Bible translates the word homosexual in I Corinthians 6:9 as effeminate. I don't think that quite means homosexuality, I don't know what the Greek is.
But here is the problem I have with the statement that there is something wrong with the love that the two men share. Yes, it says that a man shall not lie with a man as a woman, but what does that really mean?
There are two examples in the Bible of two men sharing a deep and intimate love with one another. The first was David and Jonathan in 1 and 2 Samuel. Their relationship begins in chapter 18. These two were said to be "knit at the soul" on their first meeting. I don't think that it is a mistake or a coincidence that the term used to describe their bond, knit at the soul, is parallel to the bond between a man and wife that they are twain in the flesh. They made a covenant with each other because they loved each other as their own soul, which is repeated again in 20:17. Johnathan's father apparently thought their bond was uncommonly close as Saul tells Jonathan, "do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jessie to your own shame". Close enough that he believed they were doing something shameful. Then on parting, they have a deeply intimate moment, kissing each other and weeping with each other, and they restate their oath to one another.
Now the typical argument is that David and Johnathan were simply very close friends and their love was platonic. But, almost like God knows the reader is thinking that, he has David say in 2 Samuel 1, after Jonathan's death, that his love was greater than that of women. I think, without being obscene, that statement is a clear expression of what kind of love the two men shared. If it was not physical and the two men were not lovers then why go out of the way to make the comparison between the love of women and the love the two men shared? Why make the obvious point of comparing their bond to a marriage, knit at the soul, twain in the flesh.
So why was this not counted as a sin against the two men? It is obvious that the love they shared, and even the intimacy they shared was not an affront to God, they made oaths to God to cement their relationship. What they did not do was lie with each other as men and women do. Obviously, the statement that a man shall not lie with a man as he does a woman is not an absolute prohibition against two men sharing intimacy. Rather it is a prohibition from simulating the creative act in the anus of another man. It is a prohibition against that act which is unnatural, and degrading, and is a defilement to both men. Their love was not unnatural. God even had a special word for it, they were knit at the soul, they fell in love with each other.
I don't think I have missed anything in my interpretation, and I cannot interpret that relationship, and the prohibition from Leviticus any other way in light of what I read. What a shame! How many gay men have been driven away from God, into a lifestyle of bondage because they could not reconcile their desires to be close to another man with the Bible? They were told they were an abomination. So it was easier to not believe at all. And if anyone would have had the courage to make an honest assessment of that relationship between David and Jonathan then many of us would have never given up on God in the first place.
So that the church could maintain the delusion that there is a biblical mandate that love exists only between and man and a woman in marriage. Which nowhere in the Old Testament is marriage ever between one man and one woman. In the New Testament, there is some suggestion that it is seemly and proper to have one wife. Tell Solomon that marriage is between one man and one woman, and he was the apple of God's eye if I am not mistaken.
But like I said, there were two relationships in the Bible between men. The second relationship was between Jesus Christ, and John, the disciple whom Jesus loved. It goes into less detail but in John 13 at the last supper, John is found reclining with Jesus, resting his head on Jesus's chest. Which I can attest is an extremely intimate position for one man to find himself in with another man. The other disciples yielded to John's special position with Christ, suggesting that John should ask Jesus who was going to betray him.
The only other telling mention of their relationship is when Jesus is on the cross, and he sees his mother standing near John and he says, mother, behold your son, and then he says to John, Behold your mother! John 19:26-27. One might say it was brotherly, and it was, but it was more than brothers, it was a marriage.
Paul says in Romans to "be kindly affectionate to one another, in honor preferring one another". Jesus says, "by this will all men know that you are my disciples, that you will have love one to another". If brotherly love were so common, then why would Christ need to make that special command? And is it not the love between men that you decried was against God in that article? It has never been against God for men to abide in love with one another.
I think the church, in general, Christianity has made a grievous oversight in their dealings with men who love men and their interpretation of what the Bible says about those men. It has failed to see that the capacity for one man to love another man deeply is actually representative of a special calling and a special anointing to discipleship, of which Jesus Christ was trying to provide an example to those men at the last supper table and upon the cross. Instead, the church has tried to deny those men a place at the Lord's table, and rather than give them sensible Bible-based guidance for what not to do, it has driven them into the world's trap for them, that they should never realize that anointing.
[Note: this note was left unedited because the author claims to be inspired. I had already edited the first note, or I would have left that one with its grammar errors to also show that this man is delusional.]
Hi, I wrote your church a few weeks ago concerning an article about the morality of homosexuality. I was hoping I might receive a Bible based response about the things that I pointed out. I have no church, and noone really takes my inquiry seriously. It is an unorthodox view on the subject but not without biblical foundation. I do seek the Lord in his word, and I seek to understand things based on what the word says about them, not what the world or men say about them.
In reference to a recent entry in your answers column, I believe the word of God is true, I believe it shows us the truth about the world we live in today, and I believe that Jesus Christ is the truth, and I believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, and I believe that Jesus Christ is Lord. I get alot of mistrust because of the thing that I wrote you before. I'm told I am of the devil, but I know that he who is sent by God comes speaking the words of God, and the Lord has given the spirit to me in no small measure, and it is not but by the Holy Spirit that one can confess that which I have confessed.
So then it should be evident to one who hears that my inquiry is genuine. It is by no means to justify the debasment and defilement that is practiced among those who identify as gay or homosexual, but it is to call into question the conventional wisdom that men loving each other is the sin. For that equates an emotional bond with a filthy act, and there is no reason, biblical or other wise, to make them equal. In fact as I pointed out the word twice paints a very different picture of the love between men than what the world and men try to picture.
So there is this conflation of two different things, the love between men, and a filthy act, that are called homosexuality and it is said this is a sin. But the word of God separates these two things, and calls one holy and the other perverse. That's a big deal to someone who experiences that love bond, the being knit at the soul, with other men, but who also seeks to please God. They are told there is no reconciliation, but the word of God seems to indicate differently. And it would seem that what men say is a sin, two men loving each other, is not a sin at all.
I have read several analyses about what men interpret as "homosexuality" in the Bible, almost always the terms used are best understood to be a prohibition from men engaging in intercourse with each other and other defiling and perverse acts with the anus. And that is sensible, lest a man receive in himself the recompense for his error that is due. But one cannot read the relationship between David and Johnathan and say that the prohibition is between men loving each other and having an emotional and physical bond in general.
So why do they pick out the love between men and call it a sin but not make issue of the filthy act (not you in particular I am sure you do, but so do you also say that love between men is the sin, in the article I mentioned). Because that filthy act is a sin and temptation that is common to all men. There would be no special status for gay men as the damned of the damned then, nothing to set them apart as being particularly or specially unworthy of God, as they are set apart in the eyes of man. All manner of fornication that the homosexual has engaged in, so has the non-homosexual. The only thing to distinguish him as being particularly abhorred by God is his love for another man, which isn't a sin at all. God even gave it a special name, knit at the soul. Sounds like twain in the flesh.
Yes, the world and men set the gay man aside as being particularly unworthy of God. Even as I have repented from my past errors I am still mocked that nothing I say should be trusted. He is unqualified to say anything to me about God, is the general response i get. I turn it around on them, telling them their conservative political views, that we should build a wall to keep our immigrants, their callousness toward the poor, are just as abhorrent to God, going against his statutes of how we should treat the poor and sojourner, yet they feel qualified and justified to hold my sins over my head while they live in sin themselves. Now they have no cover their sins, I have let them know.
Words are the way two people communicate ideas with each other. If you spoke to me in Chinese and I didn't understand Chinese, then there would be no communication. I might know that you are talking to me, I might even guess something of the nature of what you are saying from your tone and facial expressions, but in the end, I would have no clue what you said. For the same reason, if you used words in a common language to both of us, but you applied different meanings to those words than what is generally understood, communication would again break down.
The words in the Old Testament were written in Hebrew and some of the later sections were written in Aramaic. The New Testament was written in Koine Greek (Common Greek as opposed to Classical Greek). The meaning of words is determined by how the people used the words in the time the Bible was written. Nowhere are people defining words by what they feel is being meant.
In Your explanation of pharmakeia is poor, I was challenged regarding the connection between witchcraft and drug abuse. I laid out the dictionary definitions of the various words being used in the Greek text of the New Testament. None of them involve my opinion. This is how people who spoke Koine Greek communicated. The word usage is clear, whether you want to accept them or not.
What you are doing is trying to find a place where you believe the definition of words is not clear in order to claim that the definition of homosexuality should also be not clear. It is a false premise that leads to false conclusions.
I Corinthians 6:9 uses two words to describe two aspects of homosexuality. The two words are malakos and arsenokoites. From The Complete Biblical Library Greek / English Dictionary: "Like a number of other languages, Greek has different words to distinguish between the active and passive roles in a homosexual relationship. Arsenokoites expresses active homosexuality; a related term, malakos, connotes effeminate, passive homosexuality, in which a man allows others to exploit him sexually." Notice that you admit that you didn't bother to look up the Greek words, even though they are readily available on the Internet; yet, you want to tell me that they are being defined wrongly. I'm not impressed by lazy argumentation of opinions.
You then try to change the point of this verse, which is talking about sinful actions, and try to say that intent changes whether these actions are sins. "Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10). Your argument is no different than an unmarried man and woman arguing that because they are deeply in love, then fornication is not a sin in their case. However, the argument falls flat. Paul said the actions are wrong. Fornication is defined as sex between an unmarried man and woman. How they feel about each other doesn't change the fact that when they engage in sex, they are committing the sin of fornication. Homosexuality, whether actively engaged or passively allowed, is sex between two people of the same gender. It is the action that is wrong, and how they feel about each other doesn't change the fact that the action is a sin.
Regarding Jonathan and David, I dealt with most of your arguments in Is same-gender love wrong? I won't be repeating them here. The basic flaw is that you assume that "love" implies physical acts of sex, which it doesn't. The reason Saul saw Jonathan's love for David as shameful is that Jonathan was technically Saul's heir to the throne, but Saul knows that God is going to give the throne to David. Saul sees that as an embarrassment to his family. Jonathan is best friends with the man Saul thinks should be his mortal enemy.
Interestingly, you dismiss "If there 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. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them" (Leviticus 20:13) as being too difficult to determine what is meant, while at the same time building an elaborate argument that David and Jonathan had sex from passages that don't necessarily refer to sexual acts. This shows me that you are not being honest in your treatment of the Scriptures.
Then there is the matter of your building an even more ridiculous, flimsy argument by claiming that Jesus and John were not only involved in homosexual acts but were married. You take passages that show that they were close and loved each other and immediately jump to the conclusion that they had to have been sexually involved with each other. Clearly, you are unable to understand how people can and do love. Your idea of love revolves completely around sexual stimulation. "For speaking out arrogant words of vanity they entice by fleshly desires, by sensuality, those who barely escape from the ones who live in error, promising them freedom while they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved. For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first" (II Peter 2:18-20). Your words are blasphemy against the Lord Jesus Christ.
No, the church has not driven homosexuals, such as yourself, into the world. You are already in the world. The church calls for people to leave their sins, become converted, and leave the world. You know God teaches against homosexuality, so you desperately try to twist the statements to allow the homosexual acts that you accept. But it is only your imagination. As Peter warned, "and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction" (II Peter 3:15-17). The sad thing is that you are not twisting Paul's hard statements but his easy ones.
Finally, in your second note, you claim to be guided by the Holy Spirit. Instead of proving that claim, you gave more than sufficient evidence that you are not. One simple proof is that an inspired writer does not make grammatical errors. A second is that a person guided by the Holy Spirit does not contradict what God has said, but you have done that in abundance.
"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep" (II Peter 2:1-3).