2 thoughts on “Jesus, Paul, and Sex”

  1. Sadly I think maybe the Trinity is what is leading so many Christians to accept homosexuality as Ok. A three person God whose Grandson proceeds from the Father and Son. Its all so pervy.

  2. I recently ready your post on the Baker site. Ultimately it seems to me that you take the position that the Christian interpretation of Scripture and tradition on homosexuality is ambiguous and that no moral statement can be made currenty on the act given the changing sexual mores of our modern times.

    I found your post thought provoking. Initially I find it interesting that the claim to re-evaluate the morality of homosexuality is based first on the fact that God sometimes shakes things up, so to speak, and in light of that, further based on advanced understanding of equality. However, if one is honest, one sees that the Pauline moral scheme already makes the assertion that we have equal standing before Christ (in Christ there is neither male nor female, slave nor free), and that somehow this equal standing was also synonymous with the exclusive appointment of males to the priesthood for example. The different roles allotted to the male and the female traditionally, beginning with the early church serve as icons for the roles of Christ and the Church (at least this is the Orthodox understanding). But your assertion means that before the modern protestant enlightenment (with clear political overtones), females were not really equal – just as homosexuals were not really equal in Christ until they are afforded all the trappings of heterosexuals (which to me is a political not a religious questions). You argue in essence that neither group can really be equal unless there is a great leveling of roles and rights.

    But if we begin to understand the nature of man as the Orthodox holy fathers have taught in their diverse unity, we can begin to understand that sexuality plays only a secondary role in our nature, and also in our place before Christ. Though we are body and spirit, our bodily, material appetites, including sexual appetites, are secondary to our spiritual calling to focus on “things above” and not on earthly things that are passing. This is obviously not a teaching against sex! But sex is a material appetite from which springs legitimate and illegitimate acts. So our restored Christian nature is not to be “heterosexual” or “homosexual” but to be a restored human, partakers of the divine nature, walking in Christ’s glory as Paul says, from “glory to glory”. Truly there are perverse and incorrect heterosexual acts that will lead your soul downward, just as any homosexual act, because in both cases they fall short of the nature that Christ calls our soul to occupy. If a man looks at a woman with lust in his eyes, he has already committed sin. The same goes for the man and a man or a woman and a woman. The Church would further say that the homosexual act violates the body (as Paul says, “they receive in themselves the penalty for their sin”). And St. John Chrysostom among other holy fathers speaks clearly against homosexuality. There is no basis upon which a Christian can affirm homosexuality as moral and okay. We can properly affirm, however, the love and a deep love of two men for each other or two women for each other.

    Those who live outside of the truth live in a time of anchorless Christianity. In the evangelical church ultimately there can be no authoritative view on what the Bible says, and to what other authority can you really appeal? How do you determine when God is “shaking things up” other than by appeals to a political correctness and secular equality, which is at the root of your thesis. In the end, the protestants put the “me” in the seat of the final arbiter of moral correctness and right living, and once enough “me’s” get together and think something, it becomes religion. But the Church preceded Scripture, just as Love precedes and is higher than Faith, and the Church affirmed and keeps affirming the truth, which remains unchanged. It is the quiet, narrow and unchanged path to salvation that Christ calls us on. Not on the noisy, clamerous, political, loud-mouthing path of protestant disunity.

    As Christ says, when Christians are divided they do not stand. The moral decay, and the massive splintering among evangelical Christians that is occurring today, and which is particularly advanced in the West, is rooted in the notion of individualism that underlies your entire thesis (i.e. that the individual decides which church is right, what sin is and is not, what the correct understanding of Scripture is, etc.) all under the guise of new “reimaginings” our moral state. We can reimagine lots of things, but if they are not rooted in the love of God (which will in the end is a love that separates sheep from goats), they are harmful and will lead many astray.

    The conversation that is going on today about the morality of homosexuals is a distraction from the true cross of Christ, which is to love our neighbor, particularly the widows, the orphans, the powerless and those who have no one to defend them (and yes, including homosexuals, who are indeed equal before Christ).

    Truly following Christ has everything to do with understanding our nature and calling in Christ, keeping a pure heart before God, and striving towards the eternal as opposed to the temporal. The irony is that those who chose to redefine morality are aligning themselves with the “world” and become part of the divisive problem and are in fact acting anti-Christ, not taking up the cross of Christ. St. Paul in fact would say to avoid people who are false teachers. Is this a judgment? It is a judgment of the act and the teaching, but not the person. There is a huge difference, and certainly I would not presume to ever have a statement about any such person’s salvation or whether such person is a Christian.

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