Ware Farms

Speaking truth to prejudice

Thursday, April 06, 2006

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Pharisees Rebuked

Mercy me! I just can't resist responding to the fine folks at the Charisma forum.

First:

I was taught to look at the Bible as a whole, focusing on the New Testament, and in particular the Gospels. What did Jesus do? What did Jesus say?

So many times we read that Jesus started out, "Ye have heard it said by men of old... this, yet I say unto you...that," where this and that are opposite things.

Look, I was told, at Jesus' words and His actions. Find in these instructions the principles to live by. If some verse here or there, even those written by Moses or Paul, is in conflict with Christ's teachings, then it is an error committed by these human beings who are just as fallible as we are.

Those today who quote this verse and that one to condemn others, whom they disagree with, are no difference the those Pharisees in His day who upheld every jot and tittle of the law, yet lacked human compassion for others.

Second:

Brian,

Thanks for the heads up about the Pharisees. However, I think we are on parallel tracks. When I wrote about the jots and tittles, I was referring to the nit-picky details like the 4000 steps you mentioned. The Pharisees got on Jesus' case about healing the sick on the Sabbath. He asked them about the ox in the ditch and rebuked them for thinking it more important to keep the Sabbath than to cure someone's illness.

When I asked the question about the lesbian couple and their two young children moving in down the block, I noticed that those who responded would tell them how they were living in sin according to your understanding of the Bible passages you have been citing. I also noticed that no one suggested how you might give them a hand. Yet their family, like God's family, is a concern we all ought to share.

Jesus asked the young lawyer, "who was the neighbor to this man who had fallen among thieves?" So I ask you, "Who is the neighbor to this new family of four down the block?" Is it the one who chastises the couple for being gay? Or is it the one who welcomes them to the neighborhood and helps them move in? This is what Jesus was suggesting when He said that some are so intent on some point of law that they neglect being charitable to others.

Jesus advised us to gather up our treasures in heaven. So far as I can tell, being kind to our neighbors is the best way to do it.

1 Comments:

At 4/11/2006 11:55 AM, Blogger GaryDavisonJr. said...

How dare God tell us who or what we are suppose to do sexually (or otherwise for that matter)... right--? That seems to be the most prevalent problem for mankind.


The author of the article is talking about Romans 1:26-28. Anyway here is the text from the article, again I hope it is read and I hope it helps.

" What in the text allows us to distinguish between constitutional homosexuals and others? Only one word: "natural." A close look at this word and what it modifies, though, leads to the most devastating critique of all.

Paul was not unclear about what he meant by "natural." Homosexuals do not abandon natural desires; they abandon natural functions: "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another..." (1:26-27)

The Greek word kreesis, translated "function" in this text, is used only these two times in the New Testament, but is found frequently in other literature of the time. According to the standard Greek language reference A Greek/English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature,[4] the word means "use, relations, function, especially of sexual intercourse."

Paul is not talking about natural desires here, but natural functions. He is not talking about what one wants sexually, but how one is built to operate sexually. The body is built to function in a specific way. Men were not built to function sexually with men, but with women.

This conclusion becomes unmistakable when one notes what men abandon in verse 27, according to Paul. The modern argument depends on the text teaching that men abandoned their own natural desire for woman and burned toward one another. Men whose natural desire was for other men would then be exempted from Paul's condemnation. Paul says nothing of the kind, though.

Paul says men forsake not their own natural desire (their constitutional make-up), but rather the "natural function of the woman.." They abandoned the female, who was built by God to be man's sexual compliment.

The error has nothing to do with anything in the male's own constitution that he's denying. It is in the rejection of the proper sexual companion God has made for him--a woman: "The men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts...." (v. 27)

Natural desires go with natural functions. The passion that exchanges the natural function of sex between a man and a woman for the unnatural function of sex between a man and a man is what Paul calls a degrading passion.

Jesus clarified the natural, normal relationship: "Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female and said 'For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh [sexual intercourse].'?" (Matthew 19:4-5)

Homosexual desire is unnatural because it causes a man to abandon the natural sexual compliment God has ordained for him: a woman. That was Paul's view. If it was Paul's view recorded in the inspired text, then it is God's view. And if it is God's view, it should be ours if we call ourselves Christian."

[4]Bauer, Arndt and Gingrich (University of Chicago Press)

 

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