Same-sex complementarity

A theology of marriage

A year ago the bishops of the Episcopal Church received a 95-page report by eight theologians to provide the church with a "theology of same-sex relationships." (The report was published in the Winter 2011 issue of the Anglican Theological Review.) As you might expect, the panel split into two parties, "traditionalist" and "liberal."

What you might not expect—if you follow such debates in mainline Protestant bodies—was how the sides began to meet. Certain familiar arguments disappeared. New arguments took their place. And some of the new arguments converged in ways their authors perhaps had not intended.

For example, the traditionalist report avoided sociological arguments about the sexual practices of gay men, nor did it offer an exegetical argument from the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Nor did it focus on Romans 1, arguably the one biblical passage that still carries weight on the issue. Antigay arguments, that is, had disappeared. Instead, the traditionalists chose a positive focus on Genesis 1—"male and female created he them." Officially, their argument stressed the conditions for procreation. Yet it also made room for aged or infertile heterosexual couples to marry, giving others to think that being able to procreate supported rather than defined that vision of marriage. The primary issue for traditionalists, one might conclude, boiled down to male-female as an icon of creation. The case rested on two genders conceived as complementary, as fitting together.

On the liberal side, references to "rights" remained historical. The word equality appeared not at all, except in a reference to the Philippians hymn about how Jesus "counted equality not a thing to be grasped." And appeals to individual experience ("As a gay man, I . . .") disappeared as well. Rather—as the conservative Presbyterian Thomas Gillespie wrote afterward—"the genius of the liberal proposal" lay "in its definition of marriage as both a 'discipline' and a 'means of grace' modeled on 'the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church'" and "its expansion of this 'sacrament' to include same-sex couples." That is, these "liberals" treated marriage as a discipline of sanctification rather than a means of satisfaction. They made a lex orandi argument from the marriage rite of the Book of Common Prayer—a rite that draws on the gendered language of Ephesians 5 about Christ and the church.

Because the language is gendered, it might hardly seem a promising passage for liberals. But as I hope to show (as a member of the committee that drafted that part of the report), it leads to a rich biblical understanding of how same-sex couples can image the faithfulness of God.

Despite the dismissals of bishops and others who thought that the divide between the panel's theologians meant that nothing had changed, the two sides had unwittingly converged. "The mystery of male and female is a profound one," the author of Ephesians writes, commenting on the passage in Genesis, "and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church." It appears that, for both sides, their new disagreement turns on the mystery of Christ and the church, what icons can image them and what "male and female" means for Christians.

In both Galatians and Ephesians, the New Testament writer subjects "male and female" to what Stanley Hauerwas has called christological discipline. "In Christ there is no 'male and female,'" says Galatians 3:28, interpreting Genesis. Ephesians too subordinates Genesis to Christ in describing how a man leaves his mother and father and is joined to his wife: "This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying it refers to Christ and the church" (5:32). Ephesians makes Christ and the church the realities referred to, husband and wife the signs that refer. It interprets male-and-female typologically, as an icon or symbol, even if the symbol participates in what it represents. In the words of the wedding rite, the covenant of marriage "signifies to us the mystery of the union between Christ and his church." The analogy recognizes Christ and the church as the realities, not male and female gender. Male and female point to something else.

In this light, same-sex marriage raises the question whether two women or two men can signify the relationship of Christ and the church. Ephesians presents that as a typological and a moral matter. As types, the spouses represent the love of God and God's people. In morals, they practice love of neighbor. Ephesians frames the mystery of Christ and the church with paraphrases of "love your neighbor as yourself": "He who loves his wife loves himself, for no man ever hates his own flesh, but nourishes it and cherishes it, as Christ does the church, because we are members of one body. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is a profound one, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church; however, let each one of you love his wife as himself." The mystery opens and closes with neighbor love. "Marriage," the panel wrote, "bears witness to both of the great commandments: it signifies the love of God and it teaches love of neighbor."

That's even more important if, following Ephesians, we take marriage as an ascetic discipline, a particular way of practicing love of neighbor. The vows do this: "for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part." Those ascetic vows—which Russian theologians compare to the vows of monastics—commit the couple to carry forward the solidarity of God and God's people. Marriage makes a school for virtue, where God prepares the couple for life with himself by binding them for life to each other.

Marriage, in this view, is for sanctification, a means by which God can bring a couple to himself by turning their limits to their good. And no conservative I know has seriously argued that same-sex couples need sanctification any less than opposite-sex couples do. (Hauerwas has argued it jocularly.)

Assume for the sake of argument that two men or two women can represent Christ and the church morally, as trainees in neighbor love: can they represent it sacramentally? Does it take a man to represent Christ and a woman to represent the church?

Something about symbols resists change, because they carry the social meanings by which members of societies think. Anthropologists of religion find it naive to imagine that we can change our symbols at will. In Natural Symbols, Mary Douglas observes that societies regularly conceptualize the world in binary oppositions—day and night, sun and moon, male and female—even if each society constructs those oppositions in its own way. Gender may vary with body shape, psychosexual identity and sexual orientation—and the queer theorist Judith Butler can still insist that we cannot "freeze, banish, render useless or deplete of meaning" terms like male and female. We can only "continue to use them . . . to displace them from contexts where they have become instruments of oppressive power." Otherwise they sink underground, where they continue to exercise power in hidden ways.

Liberals have argued that gay and lesbian people are not going away. Conservatives might agree with queer theorists that male and female are not going away either. But Christian traditions still have surprising things to teach us about how to expand the terms male and female—how to displace them from contexts in which they confine the realities of Christ and the church.

Though Christian typology has long gendered the church as female—as in Ephesians 5—this has never restricted the church to women. The church has always admitted male and female members. The history of male leadership only seals the case that the church, though gendered as female, may permit men to represent it. It does not take a woman to represent the church. The church is always Christ's bride, but her members are female and male.

As for Christ, orthodox theology makes him fully human and fully divine. As God, Christ occupies neither gender, since God is the source of it all. As the medieval axiom goes, God is not in a category, Deus non est in genere. The corollary reads like a translation: "God is not in a gender." Thus the seventh-century Council of Toledo could insist that the first person of the Trinity "gave birth" to the preexistent, heavenly Christ "from the womb of the Father."

Graham Ward has noticed that the maleness of Jesus is a curious thing. Lacking a human father, Jesus received no humanly produced Y chromosome, and yet he is circumcised. The Middle Ages has much to teach us about the maleness of Jesus as well. The language of Cistercian piety called Jesus the mother of monks. Male priests invited male monks to suck milk from Jesus' breasts. They urged them to crawl into the wound in his side, the better to enter his womb. That was how to be born again in the Middle Ages—from the womb of Jesus. Medieval authors never wavered from using masculine pronouns for Jesus, nor did they confine him to masculine images. Christ could be all to all. Christ was the bridegroom to women and to men. Indeed Christ's body, if male in Jesus, was female in the church.

Although the church has often used typology to enforce gender roles, the logic of typology opens roles up—because any gender can represent a type. This is part of the mystery: Christ has never been the bridegroom for women alone and the church has never been a bride composed only of men.

Consider that in the Middle Ages an abbot could be gendered male, as a physical man; female, as a member of the church; male again, as a priest; female again, as a mother of monks; and female at prayer, as a soul before God. The complementarity theory of male and female turns out to be distinctively modern in confining a person to one gender—and to that extent untraditional. In the Middle Ages, gender could vary according to the greater reality represented.

Granted, medieval gender had features that no one would want to retain. It treated women as defective, and it allowed them to suffer disproportionately from men's sometimes self-serving suggestion that they regard their suffering as Christlike (whereas Christ overturned hierarchy in giving his life for his bride—the opposite of suttee). In the question at issue—does gender confine Christ?—the answer must be no. Christ, as God, is source and consummator of all gender. Christ, as human, assumes humanity, not maleness. Otherwise, he leaves women out of salvation—if "what is not assumed is not redeemed." Or else Jesus needed a woman to complete himself.

To sum up: Ephesians does not require heterosexual complementarity, even if it uses gendered language. A critic has called this interpretation "a refusal to see the obvious." But that's true only if gendered language requires gendered representation. And it doesn't. Otherwise, only women could lead a church gendered as female, and only men could be children of God on the pattern of God's Son. But that's absurd. We do permit men to represent the church, and we do admit women as children of God. An inflexible interpretation of gender confines the reading of scripture, restricts the resources of tradition, ignores the data of creation and reduces salvation to absurdity.

The mystery of Ephesians reaches deeper than that, into the mystery (rather than the superficial obviousness) of creation: the mystery that I am made for God, an Other not my own, a Good that exceeds my grasp, a Beauty beyond my control. "Male and female" exemplifies but does not exhaust that mystery—it images it. "Marriage," the panel wrote, "becomes a means by which God may bring a couple to himself, by exposing them to each other: They may grow into the love of God, by practicing the love of nearest neighbor." Same-sex spouses find this other—their moral complement—in someone of the same sex. They find in someone of the same sex the right spur to moral growth. For some men, to leave father and mother and cleave to a wife would evade that challenge. Some women, conversely, must leave father and mother and cleave to a wife, to find themselves signs of Christ and the church. They fit together as those who make each other better, to exemplify the love of God and God's people. This is no rigid complementarity. It is a christologically disciplined complementarity.

Galatians states the underlying principle: "In Christ there is no longer 'male and female.'" It's worth noticing Paul's conjunctions. "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no longer 'male and female': for you are all one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28). Paul links the first two pairs of the series with nor (oude). He links the final pair, "male and female," with and (kai). That's because Paul preserves the wording of Genesis ("male and female") with care. It is not gender as such that Paul denies. He does not deny that in Christ there are women and men. Paul denies that gender is final. Precisely because Christ is the all, the omega, there can also be "no 'male and female,"' where that means a final, compulsory, exhaustive ending of one in the other. It is only Christ who satisfies the desire of every living thing (Ps. 145:16). Christ trains—or orients—all desire to God. Saying there is "no 'male and female'" denies, therefore, strong forms of the complementarity theory, according to which a woman remains in­complete without a man or a man incomplete without a woman. That theory, taken to its logical conclusion, effectively denies the Christ in whom all things are "summed up" (Eph. 1:10).

"No 'male and female'" also reminded the early church of the examples of Jesus and Paul. They both kept mixed company without needing completion by someone of the opposite sex. Their recorded words never connected marriage with procreation. Jesus was born from a woman alone (as God made Eve from a man alone). The early church used such examples to de­fend Christianity's most shocking departure from Late Antique morals—the founding of monasteries. Chrysostom noted that the command to "be fruitful and multiply" continued with another clause, "and fill the earth"—from which he concluded, already in the fourth century, that the commandment had been fulfilled.

All this presses the question: Do bodies still matter? Same-sex couples know that bodies matter, because they find themselves committed to someone of the apposite (if not the opposite) sex. Transgender people know that bodies matter, because they find themselves choosing hormones and surgery. Parents know that bodies matter, because they find themselves with child. The sexuality debates do not teach us that bodies don't matter. They teach us that bodies matter in more ways than one. A christological account of gender gives bodies more, not fewer, ways to matter. Because the body of the medieval Christ both retains his circumcision and gains a womb, Christ resembles an intersex person. Because the body of Christ is male in the history of Jesus and female in the history of the church, Christ resembles a transsexual person. Because Christ can be the bridegroom to a male believer, he resembles the same-sex spouse. Gender does not limit Christ, because he is its Lord.

If Christ orients all desire to himself to satisfy every living thing, then it finally becomes clear what a sexual orientation must be. "Like other natural aptitudes," the panel wrote, "a sexual orientation is a christological condition; it shapes our ways of participating in the body of Christ." In sexual orientation, Christ trains "desire Godward through various capacities to desire others." The Spirit hovers over the waters of the womb "to prepare us for particular patterns of invitation to put our bodies on the line for others." Sexual orientation (gay or straight) names an aptitude for turning a limit to the good in our sexual lives, for practicing the love of Christ and the church through commitment to an embodied neighbor. Sexual orientation (gay or straight) provides a condition for turning eros into agape. It allows us to follow the incarnation in putting our bodies on the line for others as Christ did for his bride when he said, "This is my body, given for you." That was the bodily commitment that Christ did not abandon but fulfilled when he refused to climb down from the cross. He remained in solidarity with the one who would have to remain aloft, the thief. In fidelity to the thief, Christ kept faith with his bride.

The cross calls to mind the blood of the atonement—another topic that hardly seems promising in this context. Theologies of Christ's blood look bad for women, since men often invoke them to impose sacrifice on others, and bad for people in same-sex relationships, who are sometimes told that their sex lives impugn the blood of Christ. Despite such abuses, blood makes another natural symbol that we dare not force underground but must reclaim, precisely in the context of marriage. For the words, "This is my body, given for you," tell us what bodies are for. They are for commitment in gift.

When Jesus says, "This is my body, given for you," it is among other things a marital remark: he commits himself to be where his body is, to put his body on the line for his bride. It is this commitment that Christian spouses undertake to imitate when they make promises for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and adversity, till death do them part. Both same- and opposite-sex couples aspire to such commitment, to which the church needs all the witnesses she can find.

A Proper Preface to the Eucharist connects marriage and the Eucharist this way: "In the love of wife and husband you have given us an image of the heavenly Jerusalem, adorned as a bride for her bridegroom, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord; who loves her and gave himself for her, that he might make the whole creation new." Karl Barth put it more briefly: "Because God loves Israel, there is such a thing as love and marriage."

This then is the answer to the question of the "natural symbols" of male and female: they stretch out to accommodate Christ and the church—in all the genders they include—because the Eucharist is their wedding feast.

And so, because "in Christ there is no longer 'male and female,'" gendered language in the marriage rite should be understood to include same-sex couples.

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Comments

The mental gymnastics of marriage re-definition

Some interesting comments here, along with a lot of psycho-babble.  What the author of this article fails to realize is that this "binary concept," this maleness and femaleness, this complementarity, has a basis in reality, in real observable things.  It's not the result of some conspiracy on the part of traditionalists.  It's not the result of some centuries-old misreading of the Bible that modern, self-styled illuminati have been anointed to correct.

My question is this:  since when have all these liberals "gotten religion" with respect to marriage?  Since when has it become so important to them?  Aren't they the same ones who have been telling us for years that marriage is little more than an outdated social institution, that a "piece of paper" is not needed to keep two people together? 

If he (if the writer doesn't mind the gendered reference) thinks marriage should be approached with such a degree of reverence, then I would love to hear more from him about his past actions with respect to marriage...that is, before homosexual marriage was an overriding cultural issue.  Or is marriage re-definition simply a convenient, current tool being used to push a larger agenda?

this type of mental gymnastics once made sense to me

However, after degrees in biology and theology, living life as a husband and father, studying scripture... all by His grace... anything other then marrage between between a man and a woman (who are utterly "other" to each other) makes no sense at any level.

Male/female binary is indeed socially constructed

A binary conception of gender is socially, not physiologically, constructed. 1 out of every 1000 births are intersex, meaning the child is neither XY "male" nor XX "female." Intersex births are more common than down syndrome and cystic fibrosis combined. People across cultures have longed observed the reality of intersexuality through such social categories as "eunchs," for example. Furthermore, while the majority of the world fit neatly into "female" and "male" categories, these categories reveal very little about a person besides anatomy. For example, females often embody traits categorized as "masculine," such as being assertive and competitive, and males often embody traits categorized as "feminine," such as being sensitive and gentle. Assigning character trait and sexuality assumptions to a male/female binary that is already socially constructed dismisses the reality of not only persons who are intersex, but of what it means to participate fully in the body of Jesus Christ, the world's Savior, or liberator, who reconfigures human relationships by creating new possibilities for joining in agape love to one another.

From whence does the ostensible social construction come??

The preceding is a classic example of turning exceptions into the rule.  The real concern should be the greater good...

What is an exception???

I am not sure what is meant by "exception". Are these folks (intersex individuals) exceptions to God's creative intentions/will and ultimately creation itself? It would seem less than approprite or even realistic to exclude them as "outliers" just because the don't fit the "model" (rule). It would seem well to remember that in the observational desciplines the existance of outliers is often an indication that one's model is insufficient or limited. Such an approach can be seen in the difference between the Deutronomical treatment of eunuchs (banned from the congregation of the righteous -- a vague or rather broad description that could mean anything from gathering for worship to entering heven (one might argue that a ban of congregating for worship in its ultimate extrapolation is also a ban from heven) ) and the "Christian" treatment beginning with Jesus comments on the eunuchism (clearly contrary to the prior scriptural tradition) and Philip's encounter with the Ethiopian Eunuch.

The Christian ethic is very sensative and deferential towards those outside the norm -- orphans, widows, lepers, sojourners, etc).

One would typically classify the intersex condition as a birth defect. More properly in the cases of X/Y abnormalities it would be classified as a conception error -- but whose/what conception? God's intent/plan as mentioned in the Psalms, the childs birthright (for want of a better term) as granted by God, our perhaps our own in the gaps and errors on our conception of the worth of these people and their place in congregation of those beings bearing the image of God.

No one is excluding the exceptions

No one is suggesting the exceptions or outliers be excluded or ostracised or considered of lesser worth. Recognizing reality is not necessarily an attempt to exclude or demean. Does calling a cow a cow rather than a horse exclude the cow from horsedom?

With respect to marriage re-definition one of the more relevant questions to ask is this: do we base social/cultural/political/theological/judicial/legislative policy on the perceived needs of a few or the demonstrated needs of the many?

(As an aside, since you recognize a child's birthright as granted by God, I assume you are opposed to abortion, in which case you may want to comment on several other articles appearing on this website)

excluding the exceptions???

I think you missed the point. I was responding to the statement about using exceptions to redefine the rule and was merely pointing that when there are "outliers" (perhaps you are not familiar with the term) are typically not accounted for or outside the model being applied to a certain collection of items. My point specificly is that traditionally intersex individuals lie outside what is often considered to be the "normal" model for sexuality/gender being bi-modal, either male or female. The fact that there are "outliers" those who do not fit that model, but are considered to be part of over collection (in this case humans) strongly suggests that the traditional bi-modal definition of sexuality/gender is not a sufficient model for the variety or uniqueness of those within in the over all collection.

Having said that, I do think that "exceptions" or "outliers" do tend to be excluded in a variety of ways because they do not fit wthin the operating model.

Consider for a moment a child born with a normal chromosonal x/y componant (male), whose external genital configuration is closest to the traditional female configuration. Which gender is that child (by the classic determination he/she would be considered female. How should that child be raised (which bathroom and locker room should she/he use at school). Which gender should they date (some might add if any)?, What would/should be the model for the expression/experience of their sexuality (some might add if at all)? It seems to me that none of these are adaquately addressed by a model in which there are only traditional males and traditional females and so on a variety of levels they become excluded. Does such an individual lack sexuality, or a sexual nature?

You seem to have (reasonably) misconstrued my use of the term "birthright". I was refering to the common\traditional definition (typically found in dictionaries, (American Heritage Collegiate Edition, Wiktionary -- sorry but I don't have a Websters Collegiate at my desk) of the rights granted at birth or as a consequence of having been born. I did not mean to imply the right to birth, which is a different matter than was being discussed in this thread. The manner in which I used it is also fraught with its own set of moral/ethical issues.

Off hand, the horse/cow argument strikes me a specious but I am, at the moment, not sure why. Perhaps part of the issue is that I am having difficulty formulating a model in which a cow is an outlier for a horse or vice versa. Outliers are generally considered to be individuals or collections of individuals that are apart/separate/different from the body/group /system/set to which they belong. For example which might the life of an illiterate isolated Christian say about what it means to be a Christian in a model that presumes being a Christian means relating to other Christians in the context of a Christian community, and reading/studying scripture.

I think you are the one missing the point.

Your knowledge of science is just enough to make you dangerous (I have a doctorate degree in a biological discipline, so don't lecture me about "outliers").

Allow me to try and spell this out for you.

I was not suggesting that we try to shoehorn everyone into what you term "the traditional bi-modal definition of sexuality/gender." My point was that this model--which is not as simplistic as you seem to think and which does, admittedly, not adequately describe all sexuality expressions since it is only a model and therefore subject to the limitations of any model--DOES accurately characterize the vast majority of cases, and, contrary to the opinion being promulgated for political reasons in certain politically-correct sectors, is NOT the result of some conspiracy on the part of anti-homosexual/bisexual/transgender activists, it is the result of real, observable, historical things, things which have had a number of good results (not the least of which includes procreation and societal stability).

Your problem appears to be not so much with the model, even in the simplistic, semi-straw man way that you describe it, but with reality itself.

Your further problem seems to also involve having the unadulterated hubris to think that the so-called "outliers" should be the ones dictating the rules.

The horse/cow illustration had nothing to do with outliers but with definitions. Because something does not logically fit in a category, despite the best efforts of misguided, agenda-driven people to place in that category, does not make it an excluded entity, it simply makes it a different entity.

For example, "marriage" has heretofore been understood, based on reason, biology, history, the religious understandings of all major faiths, etc. to be a heterosexual enterprise. Therefore, trying to turn it into something other than that is simply an effort to incorrectly define it. But, to those who think they've been anointed to do whatever they like in the narcissistic service of self, such arguments are flippantly, arrogantly and ignorantly swept aside.

Wow, a bit of emotion there.

> (I have a doctorate degree in a biological discipline, so don't lecture me about "outliers").

I was not attempting to lecture you, meerly trying to state a point of view. Obviously considered by you worthy of deprecation based on perceived difference in educational status/background, as opposed to fact and example (classicly refered to an ad hominum argument).

I was under the impression that folks participated in this blog to share their thinking and view on a difficult subject. I was meerly trying to clarify my statement in relationship to comments from an other who to me seemed by the nature of their reply seemed not to have understood me.

If I had not responded I would not now that I had misunderstood your use of the horse/cow model. It might surprise you to know that I have paid more than passing attention to trying to interpret the horse/cow example in the context of this discussion.

Hither to fore, my comments have not focused specificly on issues of homosexuality or marriage, but on the limitations of trying to define sexuality in terms of a two type model for gender especially in the face of the fact that God seems to give us examples of individuals who do not fit that model from birth and even conception.

With all due respect, I understand that there are areas for the application of statitics which focus on the elimination of outliers as statistical flukes or errors in observation and those have their application.

In my line of work, I can't ignore or eliminate the outliers. In fact they are mostly the point of keen interest. In my experience these often tell me valuable information relavant to the general experience.

In a general statement, in my experience one often learns more from encounters with the "other" than with the "similar". I am often in the situation of asking "what don't I understand about this situation", "what am I missing". Those elements that don't fit the traditional pattern, or the conventional wisdon usually provide a key insight.

I appreciate your point of view, but

you need to work harder to understand the points I've made here. (By the way, "ad hominem" attacks are directed at someone personally, and nothing I've said should be interpreted in that fashion...my comments are directed at your arguments and tone).

Again, in contrast to what you seem to think, I have not said that we should eliminate or dismiss what you characterize as "outliers," I have said that we should keep them in proper perspective, not letting the tail wag the dog (so to speak).

Outliers, Dogs and Scripture...

Probably too late to join this discussion, but all the talk of outliers and "tails wagging the dog" made me think of this passage from Matthew.

"Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is demon-possessed and suffering terribly.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.” “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.” Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment."

Even Jesus recognized a great argument from "outliers"

Peace,
Richard Carr
Pastor

As I read this article,

As I read this article, several thoughts and reflections came to mind.

In the second decade of the Twenty-first Century we are beginning to deal with the issues of gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and trans-gendered children of God. But it is only a beginning.

The recent majority vote in our beloved Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) restores the power to ordain deacons, elders and ministers to the appropriate bodies based on their “willingness to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life.” But will our sisters and brothers who voted in the minority accept that we operate on majority vote. We have not, as long as Presbyterians have been on the North American continent, made decisions based on unanimous consent.

Two sermons I preached in the 1980s drew stiff criticism. The sermons said, in short:
• If we all are created in the image of God, then what must God look like? If I can limit God in any manner, God is no longer God.
• Some claim that AIDS is a judgment by God against the gay community because they are gay. If someone finds a cure, not just life sustaining treatment for AIDS, are they in league with the “devil” or God.

More and more, it seems to me that the anti-gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, trans-gendered rhetoric is really a direct reflection of the American society’s lack of understanding of our own sexuality. What does it mean to be male or female?

This article challenges us to understand sexuality based on Biblical standards, particularly New Testament standards, without 2000 years of the church rewriting those standards to meet human standards, such as,
• The king is chosen by God, through the church, to rule the people.
• Ministry as deacons, elders and ministers is gender specific – male only.

Remember when it was stated that those with black skin could not fly airplanes (Tuskegee Airmen) or women would not be airline pilots?

Remember when it was stated that women were unable to be company CEOs because they could not possibly understand the corporate world?

When are we going to able to say: “Remember when we discriminated against people of their sexual orientation?”

Dr. Ron Patton, H.R.
Presbyterian Church (USA)

We haven't suddenly become enlightened on the issue of sexuality

Here are the words of Donald Fortson:

"...I believe it is a mistake to focus our attention on how the church has dealt with this issue over the past three or four decades. The long view that church history offers is often the clearest perspective of all.

And church history is crystal clear: Homosexual practice has been affirmed nowhere, never, by no one in the history of Christianity. The church fathers insisted that doctrine and practice must be tested by Holy Scripture. In addition to careful exegesis, another test was catholicity, that is, what has been the universally accepted scriptural interpretation passed down in the church. When novel teachings were shown to fail both the careful scrutiny of Scripture and the consensus of the orthodox Fathers, heretical ideas were doubly condemned. In the 400s, Vincent of Lerins expressed it this way:

… if anyone wishes, to detect the deceits of heretics that arise and to avoid their snares and to keep healthy and sound in a healthy faith, we ought, with the Lord's help, to fortify our faith in a twofold manner, firstly that is, by the authority of God's Law [Scripture], then by the tradition of the Catholic [universal] Church. …[W]e take the greatest care to hold that which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all.
Christianity is a tradition; it is a faith with a particular ethos, set of beliefs and practices handed on from generation to generation. The Christian tradition may be understood as the history of what God's people have believed and how they have lived based upon the Word of God. This tradition is not only a collection of accepted doctrines but also a set of lifestyle expectations for a follower of Christ. One of the primary things handed down in the Christian church over the centuries is a consistent set of lifestyle ethics including specific directives about sexual behavior. The church of every generation from the time of the apostles has condemned sexual sin as unbecoming a disciple of Christ. At no point have any orthodox Christian teachers ever suggested that one's sexual practices may deviate from biblical standards.

Concerning homosexuality there has been absolute unanimity in church history; sexual intimacy between persons of the same gender has never been recognized as legitimate behavior for a Christian. One finds no examples of orthodox teachers who suggested that homosexual activity could be acceptable in God's sight under any circumstances. Revisionist biblical interpretations that purport to support homosexual practice are typically rooted in novel hermeneutical principles applied to Scripture, which produce bizarre interpretations of the Bible held nowhere, never, by no one.

Most famous words in Church life?

"But we've never done it that way before"

This is not a good enough theology for anything. Sorry.

Combine it with all the other supporting reasons

and it's darned good theology. It's pure arrogance to think that we are the most enlightened generation on this issue.

The what about the advent of Christianity

Following this line of reasoning, it can be argued (and was to some extent) that Christianity or more pointedly the teachings of Jesus were outside scriptural and traditional teaching and practive. For example Jesus' teachings concerning salvation/righteousness/works/faith/grace.

The early church struggled with its practices relative to traditional practice relative to such practices and teachings relative to Parve and circumcision, for example.

It can be argued that Jesus' teachings were a hemanutical shift from that of traditional Judism. The Paraisees clearly had that view. It is easy for us Christians to overlook this from our postion of having large portions of Christian doctrine and practice an accomplished fact. I am not trying to justify a particular stance relative to homosexuality, but rather trying to point that there have been other shifts in doctrine/practice which for their time were equally troubling and we need to look at them for how they might enlighten out current position.

Consider if you will the shift which occured relative to eunuchs from Old Testament to New. Biblical teachng relative to eunuchs are particularly interesting as the represent a change in perspective/teaching/practice relatime to an those with an altered state/form of sexuality.

Jesus was fullfillment of properly understood Judaic prophecy

Jesus did not say He came to do away with the law (Judaic understandings) but to complete it. Therefore, it is not correct to suggest that His teachings were "...outside scriptural and traditional teaching and practice."

Some of the Jewish practices (circumcision, sacrifices, etc.) were jettisoned because Christ represented a new covenant, not a total disregard of the old one.

The understandings of sexuality being presented today, particularly in the case of marriage re-definition, represent a much bigger cataclysmic shift in doctrine that anything relating to eunuchs.

Marriage

ORIGINAL SIN

When the peoples of earth do not understand the third chapter of Genesis, the story of Adam and Eve, and the sin that was forbidden for each and every one of us we cannot understand God, goodness, holiness, or the rest of the Bible.

Departing from God and following the ways of Satan is established in Genesis and revisited throughout every story in Scripture. In the Garden there are only two powers available for man to serve. And today, as it has been since Eden, there are only two powers. This truth is restated in the story of Noah and those in the flood – the population of the earth divided into two groups. If Adam and Eve were placed in the story of Noah, they would not be in the Ark with righteous Noah. Adam and Eve would be in the water for they were deceived by Satan. Their sin was sexual for it was a sexually perverse generation in the water at that time and so it is today. And the land was filled with violence as our land is today.

If placed in the story of just and righteous Lot, the first couple would not have been delivered with righteous Lot. Adam and Eve would have been citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah. An understanding of this first sin that spread so rapidly is critical for the salvation and well being of mankind, for all sorrows ultimately come from the continuation of original sin.

I believe oral sex was the sin in Eden. Adam and Eve had no one to sin with except each other. Romans 1:28-31 describes men with men and all those who give up the natural use of the body to do that which is not natural. This includes all the sexually perverse: same-sex partners and heterosexual partners married or unmarred who engage in oral and anal sex.

This Scripture goes on to tell us what comes out of the minds of those given to the sex forbidden by God. “Being filled with” means their minds are filled with the list of evils that is then listed. Below is the list of what fills the minds of those given to unnatural sex.
All unrighteousness: (If no one had sinned this first sin in Eden, the earth would still be an Eden with no need for ten more commandments.)
Fornication: (The name of the sexual activities of Sodom and Gomorrah, the Gentiles, the mount of Esau, and Babylon.)
Wickedness: (The opposite of righteousness.)
Covetousness: (Greed)
Maliciousness: (Spiteful and cruel.)
Full of envy: (Greedy, jealous, full of malice, and resentful.)
Murder: (All murder comes from the minds of the sexually perverse. If no one had committed original sin, oral sex, we would still be in a paradise without pain and suffering. When sin ends murder will also end. War will end. Original sin is the root of all that is wrong, all the evils that are committed. It is the root of society’s problems, and until the root of all sin is acknowledged and removed these atrocities will continue. I am not saying all sexually perverse people will commit murder. But all murders come from the minds of those who commit unnatural sexual acts.)
Debate: (Their main debate is with God, rebellion against God. They debate truth, leading to all the religions and divisions in religions. The lie they fell for is the opposite of truth, therefore, they change truth. Jesus is just and they would debate with and oppose Jesus.)
Deceit: (Lying, injustice, corruption. All corruption in the church, in the business world, and at every level of government comes from those who have disregarded this first law for all mankind.)
Haters of God: (Regardless of what they claim; they hate God. To hate God is to break the greatest commandment - to love God.)
Proud: (This is the pride God hates. God never walks in a gay pride parade. He never attends a same-sex marriage.)
Boasters: (We have all seen this demonstrated.)
Inventors of evil things: (This would include pornography, sex gadgets, group sex, etc.)
Without natural affection: (Today, many are given to unnatural affection as was the perverse generation in the days of Noah as demonstrated in the molestation of children, incest, rape, same-sex relationships, pornography, prostitution, the high divorce rate, gangs, physical and verbal abusiveness, and the demeaning of women, etc.)
Unmerciful: (In the darkness original sin creates those captured by Satan cannot see that they do not care about others. When the Bible says “woe to you,” that does not mean “God will get you.” It means we will have woes: sorry, pain, sickness, injustice, and unhappiness if we as a people choose to sin. Yet, those given to unnatural sex prefer to please their own desires even if it brings all the evils listed above. The greatest commandment is to love God and one another. But those given to the forbidden sex of Eden actually are showing hate for God, self, and also for others. They have little mercy for their fellow brothers and sisters.

Read the list again and analyze how a nation could put an end to every evil on that list. Isn't the answer simply by putting an end to all unnatural sex? Wouldn’t it be much more advantageous to begin a campaign of actions designed to end this so very popular sin rather than to condone, defend, practice, bless, and spread it as many organizations, churches, and our government are doing? However, it is the responsibility of Christianity and not the government to bring an end to sin. A holy Christianity will bring an end to sin. The end of sin will bring heaven to earth.

As stated, there are only two powers available for man to serve, God or Satan. Everyone on earth stands with one or the other and so it will be at the end of this age. In Isaiah 1:9, that truth is stated this way, “Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom and like unto Gomorrah.” There is no fence to sit on, no other group to claim to be a member of, and no place to hide. A remnant is left at the end and at that time almost everyone will have been deceived just as the couple in the garden was. In this darkness many will believe oral sex is not sinful.

The Remnant:
A few
The undeceived
Believe in God
Upright
The narrow way
No unnatural sex
Truth
Wheat
Lambs
Good
God
Christ
The Just

Sodom and Gomorrah
The masses
Deceived by Satan
The fallen
The broad way
Unnatural sex
Lies
Tares
Goats
Evil
Antichrist
The unjust

Adam and Eve were the first to be deceived by Satan and if placed in this illustration they would be part of Sodom and Gomorrah. They would not stand with the remnant who believe in the ways of God. There is no other explanation for the sin in Eden. By removing original sin (the root of all other sins) from the earth all other evils will eventually come to an end.

I can understand why many heterosexual couples who engage in oral sex believe two people of the same sex can marry. After all, the heterosexual and the homosexual couple are committing the same acts. I believe this is why so many heterosexual couples are in favor of same-sex relationships, marriage, and ordination of the homosexual. One major problem is that our society does not see oral sex as sin for each and every one of us.

Three verses speaking of marriage.
Mark 10:6-9, “But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” From the beginning marriage was designed to be between a male and a female. To disagree with this is to disagree with God. The following two verses give a man and his wife instructions not to sin.

Ephesians 5:21, “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.” The fear of the Lord is to hate evil as simply stated in Proverbs 8:13, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil.” A man and his wife are capable of committing evil when submitting in a sexual way. However, they should not commit evil with each other. They should hate evil.

Colossians 3:18, “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as ® it is fit in the Lord.” This verse means that husbands and wives can do what is unfit. And the cross reference to “as it is unfit in the Lord” sends me to Ephesians 5:3, to explain what is unfit. ®“But fornication, and all uncleanness or covetousness, let it not be once named among you.” Oral and anal sex is forbidden and unfit for husbands and wives for it is stated in Jude 7 that the sex of Sodom and Gomorrah is called fornication, “Sodom and Gomorrah giving themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh are set forth for an example.” So we can see that God forbids all men and women, all husbands and wives, to use their bodies for fornication, the sex of Sodom and Gomorrah. This truth is reinforced and made clear in 1 Corinthians 6:13 where it declares, “The body if not made for fornication, but for the Lord.”

The purpose of Jesus.
1 John 3:8, “He that committeth sin is of the devil. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” The purpose of Christianity should be the same as the purpose of Jesus. And that is to put an end to the sin that began in Eden. The end of sin will bring heaven on earth. My prayer is that Christianity will some day unite, require all members to be holy, and then speak with one voice to put an end to sin.

Written by: Marilyn Taplin
Author of: A Law from Eden,
Solving the Mystery of Original Sin.
My book may be read without charge at
www.jordanriverpress.com
Phone:360-428-8535

Oral Sex, the sin of Adam and Eve?????

> I believe oral sex was the sin in Eden.

Must be a different version that the Bibles I am used to.

I believe the classical description is that they ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

From this one might infer that THE original sin, might be disobediance of God, choosing to listen to/follow the serpant instead of God, knowingly choosing to experience evil (first hand knowledge of evil).

But oral sex seems to be a very big leap.

How might one make this inference that this is about oral sex?

It would also seem that the exact nature of the sin is largely beside the point, The point being that a choice of disobediance/defiance/opposition was chosen.

The Sin of Adam and Eve

The tree was the knowledge of good and evil. Adam and Eve committed evil. They chose to experience evil. Their God changed from God to Satan. They were deceived, believed a lie, thought they were wise, and followed the ways of Satan. The sin was much more than simple disobedience. A sin was committed.

When Jesus separates the just from the unjust that will be everyone on earth. If Adam and Eve were present at the end they would not stand with the just who believe in God. They would stand with the unjust - those deceived by Satan. The unjust are like those in Sodom and Gomorrah for Lot was just. If there had been any other just ones they would have been delivered but there were no other just ones except his daughters. All the sexually perverse people in Sodom and Gomorrah were unjust. Today there are only just and unjust people. The just do not commit oral and or anal sex. The unjust do.

When the Catholic Church began they argued over what was sin. They decided to call this first sin disobedience. Why? Why did they not consider oral sex? God has told us that the body is not made for fornication and fornication is the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah. Fornication is the unnatural sex of S&G. God tells us that if you call yourself a saint do not commit fornication even once. Fornication is sin for all people including husband and wives.

1 Thess. 4:3, "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication." Holy people do not commit the sex of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Oral Sex, the sin of Adam and Eve!

One extremely important fact must be understood. The body is not made for fornication. This truth is simply stated in 1 Corinthians 6:13, “The body is not for fornication, but for the Lord and the Lord for the body.” It is either fornication and no God or God and no fornication.

When we use the Greek definition for fornication which is illicit sex, the sex of homosexuals and lesbians, oral and anal sex, we can understand what the body is not made for. The fact that God did not make the body for fornication emphasizes the fact that a man and his wife are not to use their bodies for unnatural sex. Fornication, this forbidden sex, can be committed between a male and a female (married or unmarried to one another) a male and a male, a female and a female.

Jude 7 makes clear that the sex of Sodom and Gomorrah is called fornication. “Sodom and Gomorrah giving themselves over to fornication..." The cities of Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities were not populated solely by homosexuals but by all those given to fornication including heterosexual married and unmarried couples. This activity is forbidden by God.

Fornication

I believe it is misleading to say Romans is the only reference to homosexuality in the New Testament. When the correct definition of the word fornication is understood you will find the sin of unnatural sex throughout the Bible. And the Book of Jude is only one of the many references to this sin.

THE BOOK OF JUDE

JUDE IS EXCLUSIVELY ABOUT THOSE GIVEN TO UNNATURAL SEX.

Jude 7, “Sodom and Gomorrah giving
themselves over to *fornication.”

Verse 1, “Jude the brother of James.”
Verse 2, “Mercy, peace, and love to you.”
Verse 3, “I write to you of a common salvation.”
In the book of Jude, we are given a serious look at those who broke the law given to Adam and Eve in Eden. Jude begins with “mercy and love to you” as I give you knowledge of a common salvation.
Jude writes of a universal salvation. There is one sin that has beset (plagued, overwhelmed) the human race. Original sin is the same for all people and almost everyone but a few have committed the first sin of oral sex. Hebrews 12:1 states it like this, “let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us.” And so this mutual salvation is deliverance from, victory over, and freedom from that one most common sin, the unnatural act of oral sex. Even though the forbidden sex of Sodom and Gomorrah (fornication) includes more than oral sex the fall of man began with this first sin. Fornication is the biblical word describing the sex of Sodom and Gomorrah, oral and anal. Throughout the Bible fornicators are never God’s people. They need salvation.

Verse 4, “Ungodly men crept in, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness.”
Lasciviousness means: lustfulness, lewdness, sexually loose and unrestrained. All those given to lasciviousness are called the ungodly. These ungodly men and women turn the grace of God into lasciviousness meaning these wicked people said Jesus came to earth to allow them to be ungodly. God is so good he gave them permission or has allowed them to act in this manner. God welcomes them into the church. Many churches believe a man and his wife are free to commit unnatural sexual acts and others are all inclusive and welcome homosexuals. Some have ordained homosexuals. They must believe the grace of God covers the sexually perverse in some way. They do not understand that the goodness and grace of God is deliverance from sin.

Verse 7, “Sodom and Gomorrah giving themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh are set forth for an example suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” Fornication is the sex of Sodom and Gomorrah and today you could say these two ungodly cities have grown to cover the earth. Their own ungodly lifestyle puts them into a hell fire. Keep in mind, in Scripture, “fire” is seldom literal. Sin makes a hell on earth. All other evils ultimately come from the sin of oral sex which began in the Garden. Even war comes from perverseness for in James 4:1, we learn, “From whence come wars…come they not…of your lusts that war in your members?” The lust of the flesh is the devil’s groundwork for all wars. If humans are interested in peace then we must end this lustful sin.

The human body is not made for fornication.
1 Corinthians 6:13, “The body is not for fornication, but for the Lord.” God never intended for mankind to use the body for the sex of Sodom and Gomorrah--oral and anal sex. This includes everyone, even the bodies of husbands and wives. The human body is not to be used in this manner. The body is made for vaginal intercourse and there are laws which govern that activity.

Verse 8, “Filthy dreamers who defile the flesh.”
The sexually perverse are the defiled and their imaginations have carried them to act out unnatural sex. Pornography is a result of filthy dreams and wicked imaginations as is rape, incest, prostitution, child molestation, etc. Our word pornography comes from the Greek word porneia as does the word fornication. Many of their filthy dreams are played out in movies, books, and on television as well as in real life. Fornication is the root sin from where all our societies’ ills originate.

Verse 11, “Woe unto them, they have gone in the way of Cain-Balaam-Core.”
Those in Sodom and Gomorrah took the same path as Cain. This means Cain, the wicked one, was the same as those in Sodom and Gomorrah. Cain, Balaam, and Core all sinned the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah which is fornication, forbidden sex. The men of Core stood against Moses, and today those who commit the unnatural sex of fornication stand against God and against Jesus. Collectively they make up the body of the Antichrist. We are told that the Antichrist will come first. And we are also promised that the wicked will not inherit the earth. They will not always be in control, for their reign on earth will come to an end.

Verse 12, “They are spots…feeding themselves without fear.”
And verse 23, “hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.”
The word “spot” is referring to the spots of leprosy. Those deceived by Satan have spiritual leprosy. When fornicators are in the church, then spots are in the church. The Bible tells us that Jesus offers himself to God without spot. And He will build a church without spot as described in Ephesians 5:26,27, “Jesus will sanctify and cleanse the church that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle…;but that it should be holy and without blemish.” This means there will be no fornicators in the Church when Jesus, a person without spots, builds a spotless church. Because Jesus is without spot that means all the spotted people are not like Jesus. To become like Jesus or to become a Christian, Christ like, one must be spotless. Pure religion is to keep one’s self unspotted from the world.

Verse 12, “They are clouds without water.”
Water is the symbol of the Holy Spirit (truth) and fornicators do not have the Holy Spirit. They are the unholy, for it is fornication that blasphemes the Holy Ghost and makes a person unholy/profane. Esau was a fornicator and he was profane as Hebrews 12:16 tell us, “Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.” Those given to unnatural sex are unholy/profane. The unholy are also said to be carnal.

The Holy Spirit is truth and the sexually perverse have no truth in them. Symbolically or you could say in parable form “clouds without water” are people without truth. It is illogical to put those who practice the sin of Eden, oral sex, heterosexual or homosexual behind the pulpit to preach truth for they have no truth in them – they are clouds without water, people without truth.

Verse 12, “Carried about of winds.”
Their wind of doctrine is not the doctrine of Jesus. In Ephesians 4:14, we are advised not to be carried about by every wind of doctrine, “Be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.” But the fornicators have been tossed to and fro by a wrong doctrine. Their belief is a wrong set of guidelines for mankind and they will deceive and lead others astray. In Scripture, many times, an East wind is referring to the doctrine of Satan and his followers, the fornicators.

Verse 12, “Trees without fruit.”
Here they are likened to trees that bare no fruit. The fruits of the spirit are: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance as stated in Galatians 5:22, 23.” Fornicators do not have the fruits of the Spirit. They have been deceived by Satan and the way of Satan is hate. Sin is hateful. Anyone who sins and then wants sin to continue has no love for their fellow humans.

It is said in Matthew 3:10, “Therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into a fire.” In Scripture fire is seldom literal. God tells us Jesus comes to kindle a fire to burn up the wicked. When Moses led the people out of the Wilderness of Sin a fiery law went out. In the last days, when Jesus puts an end to sin, a fiery law will go forth. The law given in Eden is a fire. When this law is rejected and disobeyed one dies in a fire. That is why those who give themselves to the sex God forbids need to be pulled out of the fire. The law from Eden will be a fiery law to burn up the wicked. Obedience to this law will end wickedness. This law is the only fire the wicked will be burned by. The fire is not literal. No physical harm or death occurs.

Verse 12, “Twice dead.”
Not just dead, not just once dead, but twice dead. They have broken the weightiest of the laws of God. One act of original sin breaks all ten of the Commandments at once. Take for example David and Esau and study the difference God made between the two. Their sins were not equal. David repented directly to God. Esau said, “I will kill my brother.” Today the fornicators still have not repented and they are still killing their brothers. They need a Jesus.
The just The unjust
David Esau
Once dead Twice dead
Adultery Fornication
When the just and the unjust are raised from the dead there will be no adultery or fornication on earth. David, the adulterer, disobeyed one of the Ten Commandments. Esau, the fornicator, violated the law, all ten at once. Jesus will command all men everywhere to repent. When they repent, they will be raised from the dead. The resurrection of the dead will not be those in the graveyards, but the resurrection of those who are once dead and twice dead.

Verse 12, “Plucked up by the roots.”
When vegetation is plucked up by the roots there is no possibility for more growth. Spiritually speaking those given to original sin never grow in maturity at the spiritual level. They act like children and God considers them to be children even if they are old in years. He tells us when you were children you walked according to the course of “this world.” Come out of “the world” and you will grow up spiritually. “The world” is the world the sexually perverse have made. The end of “the world” is the end of fornication on earth.

Verse 13, “Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame.” Those who live a sexually immoral life like those in Sodom and Gomorrah are said to be raging waves of the sea. On the sea of life these individuals create a storm. They rage. Life is not peaceful because of them. The sea of life is not calm and peace will not come until original sin has ended.

Yes, those who practice the forbidden and unnatural sex God forbids are called the “raging waves of the sea.” Today the sea is raging. The gays seem to be the most active, creating a storm, causing mayhem, making waves.
Some waves I see:
Uncompromising over gay rights.
Unrelenting in pursuit of gay marriage.
Persistent in wanting to be ordained as ministers.
Insisting on membership in many denominations.
Wanting entrance into the Boy Scouts.
Teaching homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle in our public schools. An unbelievable deadly, selfish thing to do. How did America come to use our public schools to teach our children how to sin?
Disney Land Gay Day.
Gay parades.
Public television programs.
X rated Movies.
Prostitution.
Pornography.
Group sex.
Expecting a spouse to join in the sin of oral and/or anal sex.
Unfaithfulness in marriage.
Redefining marriage.
Child abuse in the home and in the church.
Incest.
A high divorce rate.
Child molestation.
Deceit/lying.
Corruption at all levels of leadership.
Murder.

All evils ultimately are a result of original sin. There are many waves in this environment that was originally designed to be peaceful without pain or sorrow. End sin and the sea of life will become calm and peaceful again.
Verse 19, “These be they who separate themselves sensual, having not the spirit.” They are separated from God because of their sexual choices as Adam and Eve were. “Having not the spirit,” means they have no holiness, no truth, and are without God. Their sin is against God, against truth -- against the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, which is truth, has left. Adam and Eve were the first to be separated from God. God has left all those who commit oral sex. When God leaves, truth leaves. They fell for a lie. They got burned.

Verse 23, “Save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.” All those who sin the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah are in a fire. The flesh that has been spotted is often referred to as the spots of leprosy in both the Old and the New Testaments. We are instructed to save these people and to pull them out of the fire. When you see a gay parade, a gay wedding, a homosexual, or a heterosexual who commits unnatural sex do you see flames of fire? Put on your spiritual glasses, look again and you will see that they have fallen dead, are spotted, profane, without truth, tossed to and fro by a false doctrine, separated from God, and in a fire.
Speaking of spots? Several times I have heard a gay person accuse Jesus of being gay. There are many scriptures that would prove those words to be slander, primarily the truth that Jesus is a just person and would have been delivered with just Lot if placed in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. And the fact that in Hebrew 9 Verse 14 we are informed that Jesus will offer himself to God without spot. “Christ who offered himself without spot to God.” Jesus has no spots. Those given to unnatural sex have spots. Not only is Jesus without spot, He will build a church without spot or wrinkle as confirmed in Ephesians 5:27, “That he [Jesus] might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle…but that it should be holy and without blemish.” There will be no sexually perverse people in the church when the God of Jacob builds His church. To believe Jesus will include everyone is not true. He will include all those who turn from their wicked ways and make themselves clean and holy, but will not include the ones who remain wicked. Holy Christians are without spot. Holy Christians are without fornication.

We are instructed to pull them out of this fire right here on earth. When there are only a few humans left who were not deceived and the majority of the population of earth has been deceived, fire is everywhere. The human race got burned in our bargain with Satan. We received pain, sorrows, and spiritual death because of our spiritual rebellion. “The earth is defiled…because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore hath the curse devoured the earth…therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burned, and few men left, Isaiah 24:5, 6.” Only a few escaped this fire.

World wide salvation will come from the God of Jacob. “And it shall come to pass in the last days, the Lord’s house will be established, and many people will say, come let us go to the house of the God of Jacob, and he will teach us of his ways, Isaiah 1:2.” From this house built by the God of Jacob all people will learn the ways of God. Fornication will end.

The end of evil sex is the end of “the world.” “And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau (the fornicators); and the kingdom shall be the LORD’S, Obadiah 1:21.” Judgment Day is for the correction of the fornicators (not for punishment) for they will see the advantage of not sinning. Jesus will command all men everywhere to repent. God overthrows Satan, for God comes to take back what belongs to him, the earth and all those who dwell on the earth. It will be a peaceful takeover of the mind. No violence. No literal fire. No physical death. No atomic war to demolish the earth. No one left behind.

*Word origin for the word fornication (porneioa).
The New Testament Greek Lexicon may be found at
http://www.studylight.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=4202

This lexicon has been developed to aid the user in understanding the original text of the Greek Old and New Testaments. By using the Strong’s version of the King James Bible a deeper knowledge, of the passage being studied, can be gained.

Strong's Number: 4202 porneiða
Original Word Word Origin
porneiða from (4203)
Transliterated Word Phonetic Spelling
Porneia por-ni'-ah
Parts of Speech TDNT
Noun Feminine 6:579,918
Definition includes:
Illicit (forbidden) sex, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals, etc.

Written by: Marilyn Taplin
Jordanriverpress.com

Misusing metaphor

Jesus is not a transexual. The author is purposefully mixing metaphors, confusing the metaphor for the thing itself.

Jesus Christ is a first-century, male Jewish messiah, who, in one metaphor takes on the Church as his bride. In this metaphor, Jesus is a man (male), and the Church is a woman (female). The purpose of this metaphor is show the unity of the Christ and his Church, which is analogous to the unity between the first man and the first woman. The analogy has its limits, obviously, since there is no sexual union between Christ and the Church - she is his Bride, not his Wife.

In another completely different metaphor, Jesus is said to be the head of a human body, and the Church is said to be that body. No gender is mentioned at all, anywhere, in this metaphor. This metaphor is used to express that the concept that Christ equips the body to work properly, making the body grow up into full maturity in love. Here, the image has nothing to do with gender, but on how a body works together with its various parts to keep itself healthy and and strong.

The only way for Jesus to be "transexual" is to mix up these two completely different metaphors. Obviously, this is not something I think he or anyone else should do. And, Jesus wouldn't be a transexual, even in this mixed metaphor. It would just look like a strange body - with a masculine face and women parts.

It is irresponsible and destructive to mix metaphors like this.

People are getting lost playing semantic word games

Leviticus 18:22, "Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable."

It is extremely clear how God feels on this issue and it is not negotiable.

extremely clear ... with exceptions

Leviticus 25:44 "“‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves."
Ephesians 6:5, "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ."

At one point, not so long ago, most people in our country also thought that it was "extremely clear" that God accepted and endorsed the practice of slavery, and they used the above and other verses to justify that belief. Yet over the past three hundred years, faithful Christians have penetrated to deeper meanings of Biblical texts, choosing instead to emphasize fealty to Christ and not literal slavery. Are these mental gymnastics?

There are also numerous Old Testament accounts of righteous women who engage in extramarital sex in order to save or provide for those they love (Ruth and Esther come to mind). David commits adultery and murder, and he is reckoned righteous before God, despite his disobedience to Levitical Law.

I'm also left to wonder how many other Levitical purity laws we Christians consider to be so definitive for our daily lives.

We might have to think and pray more carefully about the real messages contained in scripture before we can simply declare what is "God feels" is "extremely clear."

The article which we're responding to attempts to open a space for queer persons which the author shows (I feel quite convincingly) to be both alien to our modern context and simultaneously traditional. I've read very few comments here which actually confront the issues he brings up.

Slavery and homosexual behavior: apples and oranges

There has always been debate about what the Bible really teaches about slavery. The entire book of Philemon has been seen by many as an argument against slavery. This is simply not the case with homosexual behavior or extramarital affairs.

the beauty of over-simplification

It's true, there are a large number of Biblical sanctions against sex acts which take place between members of the same sex. But then, that wasn't my point at all.

My point was that the sexuality envisioned in the Bible is not the sexuality which any of us share today. We do not, for instance, own women as property; we do not even share the same beliefs about how conception occurs (in fact, we know them to be patently incorrect); we also don't advocate for abstinence over and against the institution of marriage (which the Apostle Paul clearly does).

The texts which make up the Bible are specific and occasional, and as such, are written by and for specific, occasioned people. The messages which underlie these texts, however, we have known for centuries to be more important than the legal letter of their words.

My original post simply highlights the fact that on one hand, we are perfectly willing to reject the institution of slavery despite the fact that the matter is far from settled within the Biblical texts themselves. We chalk it up to cultural difference. On the other hand, we seem unwilling to make this same allowance in light of sexual ethics, despite the fact that when we speak about sex, we are speaking about something which would be completely alien to Biblical authors.

Letter from Dan Orfield

The strengths, weaknesses and juxtaposition of the insightful yet very different articles in the May 17 issue—“Same-

sex complementarity,” by Eugene F. Rogers, and “Episcopal future,” by Ron­ald A. Wells—suggest a significant failing on both sides of the gay bishop and gay mar­riage debate: they fail to articulate a deep and constructive theology of the Holy Spirit. 

Rogers’s reference to the sanctification of individuals through the discipline of marriage suggests that the Holy Spirit may be a more fruitful grounding of marriage than the relationship of Christ to the church as expressed in Galatians and Ephe­sians. If, as Augustine posited, the Spirit is the person of the Trinity who is also the loving relationship between the Father and Son, then the Spirit is the ground of all faithful, committed and reciprocal relationships, sanctifying individuals in such relationships toward participation in God’s trinitarian relationship of com­munion. Whether we are heterosexual or homosexual, our faithful relationships will be intimately related to our male or female bodies, but neither of the same nor of complementary gender to them; our relationships are truly transgender. 

In support of Wells, such a constructive theology of the Spirit might help avoid the tendency of liberals to fall back on the Spirit when they lack other biblically based or theological grounding. Although the Spirit “goes whence it will,” the Spirit is inappropriately used by Christians as an excuse for us to do so. 

Dan Orfield

Houston, Tex.

A reflection on your article

Dr. Rogers, I really appreciate the Christology approach you take here. Respectfully, I must disagree with your conclusions. Here's why: http://www.thewordfrommysterion.com/2013/08/a-reflective-response-to-eugene-rogers.html

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