Sunday, August 06, 2006

Leviticus 20:13

I have a question for the literalists/fundamentalists visiting here.

A priest friend of mine has asked this question again and again, among Bishops, priests, deacons, and lay people on a nation-wide Episcopal listserv. So far, no one has been willing to answer the question.

Maybe you will.

Here is the question:

“We still have not received a response concerning how one decides what in Scripture to take literally and what not to take literally ... including, for example, why the first half of Lev 20:13 must be obeyed but the second half doesn't have to be obeyed.”

Here’s the text my friend has referenced:

Leviticus 20:13 --If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall be put to death; their blood is upon them.
My friend asks a valid question: If the literalists want to declare “homosexual activity” an “abomination,” how come they don’t do their God-given duty and stone us?

Is the Bible a literal guide? or is it not? If it is, why don’t you stone all the homosexuals you know??? I’ve heard of “proof-texting.” But this is half-proof-texting. Either you take this verse literally, or you do not. You take it seriously, or you do not. This mystifies me. And I would appreciate your comments.

[08.07.06 addition]: Among the comments below is one from MadPriest (a blogger whose work I've just discovered this week), in which he says he has posted further thoughts on his own blog. In his typically modest style, MadPriest has refrained from posting a hyperlink to his blog posting. But I'm proud to do so here: Of course, I could be wrong...: ALL SORTED. Go there. Read that. And, while you're there, check out his whole blog. It's a marvelous blend of erudite British wit and a generous helping of wisdom. One of my friends urges me to warn you: Don't look at MadPriest's site while drinking a beverage in front of your computer. Otherwise, you're likely to have a big clean-up job as your explosive laughter causes you to spew said beverage onto monitor and keyboard.

18 Comments:

Blogger jamesAMDG said...

We cannot stone someone for sinning because we are sinners ourselves. Remeber what the Lord said to save the woman caught in adultery... He told the crowd that whoever had no sin could cast the first stone. Of course no one did. However, He also told the woman that she should go and SIN NO MORE.

Therefore, what she did was wrong, he forgave her and they couldn't kill her, but as her part of the deal she still had to stop her sinful behaviour.

The situation is very similar for those trapped in a homosexual life. Serious Christians do not advocate stoning because they take Our Lord's advice to heart. It is now time for those in these lifestyles to leave them and pick up their end of the Lord's bargain.

8/07/2006 12:50 AM  
Blogger MadPriest said...

Fundamentalists and literalists tend not to be very good with narrative, they do not see the big picture.
The story goes: There was an old covenant, the covenant of the law. This was replaced, through Jesus, by a new covenant, the covenant of love. Under the new covenant you don't stone people because such an act is hateful. Our church is deciding at the moment if two people of the same gender having a monogamous, faithful, physical relationship with each other is hateful or loving. This is a question for the people of the new covenant. The ideas of the people of the old covenant are about as relevant to the situation as the thoughts of people who think the earth is flat are relevant in contemporary debates about cosmology.

8/07/2006 2:50 AM  
Blogger Freedom Bound said...

"It is now time for those in these lifestyles to leave them and pick up their end of the Lord's bargain. "

Which bargain was that? A proof-text for me to take literally if you will...... (FYI I am not a woman abusing another human being through a secret adulterous relationship, I am a man in a monogomous, faithful one......not trapped at last check btw!)

How does the "sin no more" for her apply to me if I am not committing her sin?......

Of course - if not being a sinner was the issue here, why didn't Jesus stone her? Unless he thought the Law's demand to stone her was wrong perse - as he must have done or he would have done it himself. Jesus - disagreeing with the Law???? How that?

8/07/2006 7:16 AM  
Blogger Freedom Bound said...

Or was Jesus also sinful? surely it's one or the other......Jesus thought the law was wrong and didn't stone the woman. Or he was sinful......


I'm guessing also that jamesamdg also holds:

"You must not eat any blood whatever, either or bird or of animal, in any of your settlements. Any one of you who eats any blood shall be cut off from your kin." (Lev 7. 26-7)

Of course you won't cut your family members off, in the spirit of your comment - but you do proclaim that rare steaks are a sin and a lifestyle to be left - however "trapped" your family are eating rare meat - I hope? Otherwise such hypocrisy would be terrible.......After all they should SIN NO MORE - or is that to take a text out of context???

8/07/2006 7:29 AM  
Blogger ... said...

My thoughts are slightly off-topic, but I firmly believe that the Bible, properly read sans proof-texting, says nothing about homosexuality as we understand the concept today.

8/07/2006 9:15 AM  
Blogger KJ said...

You may find further assistance in this theological discussion at godhatesshrimp.com.

8/07/2006 9:42 AM  
Blogger ... said...

kj: TOO funny!

Lisa, be sure to check out the site that kj recommends.

8/07/2006 10:06 AM  
Blogger Penny said...

Perhaps it is time to turn those negative t-shirts and slogans around to the positive, such as:
I'm here, I'm queer.
Let’s start working on the reign of God stuff;
all are fed, housed, clothed, the sick are healed,
and people live together in peace.

8/07/2006 12:26 PM  
Blogger MadPriest said...

Up to now we've been using our own theological method to win the argument. I have just donned the hat of fundamentalism and looked at your text using their methodology.

I think I've either come up with something mildly amusing or beaten the enemy at their own game.

It's on my site under "All Sorted."

I just won't have them ganging up and picking on my friends.

8/07/2006 5:26 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

In his typically modest style, MadPriest has refrained from posting a hyperlink to his blog posting. But I'm proud to do so here: Of course, I could be wrong...: ALL SORTED. Go there. Read that. And, while you're there, check out his whole blog. It's a marvelous blend of erudite British wit and a generous helping of wisdom.

One of my friends urges me to warn you: Don't look at MadPriest's site while drinking a beverage in front of your computer. Otherwise, you're likely to have a big clean-up job as your explosive laughter causes you to spew said beverage onto monitor and keyboard.

Thanks for furthering our understanding, MadPriest.

Beyond that, you all have offered many thoughtful comments. I'll try to get back here with some thoughtful responses of my own.

8/07/2006 6:25 PM  
Blogger Cranmer49 said...

From Lisa's priest friend:

Still no answer to the question.

Is it possible that no answer exists? That's what I'm beginning to think. If that's the case, what does that tell us about literalists and fundamentalists and plain readers and all the others who seem to know what text to follow and what text not to follow?

8/08/2006 1:42 AM  
Blogger Wandering Pilgrim said...

Stonings of the first century: rocks and stones. Stonings of the 21st: internet flames and really nasty words. Still hurts, and it can kill the spirit if not the body.

8/08/2006 7:54 AM  
Blogger ... said...

Homosexuals are not "trapped in a homosexual life" any more than heterosexuals are trapped in a heterosexual life. Homosexuality is a naturally occurring variation in human sexual orientation and -- in and of itself -- is not disordered, sinful or deviant (except perhaps in a statistical sense).

There is no "lifestyle" for homosexuals to leave because there is no "homosexual lifestyle." If, by using the term "homosexual lifestyle", one means "engaged in same-gender sexual activity", then they should say so. It is disingenuous to try and cloak this in terms that create a broad (and incorrect) overgeneralization that is then applied to all homosexuals. Not all homosexuals are sexually active. Sexual activity is not a requirement for identification of one's sexual orientation, whether it be heterosexual or homosexual.

But I digress.

The poster, in his comments regarding stoning as a punishment for sinful behavior, also mentions that "Serious Christians do not advocate stoning because they take Our Lord's advice to heart." I think that this points to where our focus really should be. That is, taking Our Lord's advice to heart. And by that, I am referring to his commandment to love.

Is it an act of loving your neighbor as yourself when someone reduces someone to a "lifestyle" in order to admonish them to leave the lifestyle? I think the use of an overgeneralization like this prevents the doing the admonishing from seeing the target of his (or her) admonishment as a complete person with a soul, with the capacity to feel love as well as pain, and with the very human need for companionship that we all have.

Those who would admonish a homosexual to "leave the lifestyle" need to first reflect deeply and prayerfully on what such an admonishment would mean to them if they were the target of such an admonission. I have yet to see the results of someone's deel and prayerful meditation on this leave them unchanged. Apparently, when someone does open themself to the voice of the Spirit on this topic, the Spirit answers.

Most do not undertake this deep and prayerful reflection because they do not wish to hear what the Spirit is poised to tell them.

Yours in faith,
Jeffrey

8/08/2006 9:27 AM  
Blogger Eva Voda said...

You got the answer.

Homosexual under Old Testament is sin, punished with stones. Homosexual under New Testament is also sin, but punished unto Jesus on the cross.

Is this simple enough for you or do I need to simplify or explain it?

8/20/2006 5:31 PM  
Blogger Eva Voda said...

Actually I read the question again and so decide to write the answer to the problem and not to the question. For my answer in the previous comment is the correct answer but does not address the “abomination”.

There is no 2 ways about it in the Bible. Plainly it is written, plainly it will be so. What homosexuals did is described well in Lev 20:13. If they happen to be living 2000+ years ago and are Jews, they will be stoned and that’s for sure. For the law is perfect and good. Imagine the world 2000 years ago with all homos, humans won’t exist and that is not God’s Will. All those are Old Testament.

New Testament is where we belong now. Yet most of God’s people now are still stuck in between Old and New Testament. And that is where the confusion starts. For most could not get out of the old and fully into the new.

New Testament we don’t condemn (neither stone) anyone! The law is perfect, but it is neither up to us nor the Church to condemn Homosexuals anymore. Yet many churches do condemn people. They are blinded by the craftiness of the devil. Churches which use the law cursed themselves and their people (Romans 3 – 8). Blessed are Churches which know the truth and do not use the law.

I just happened to finish writing a post on Condemnation and the only verse to know is John 8 Jesus said, Neither do I condemn you. For the genius who wrote the first comment got it half right but do not understand the second part on sin no more.

What the genius did was to stress sin no more for homosexuals. Because he and Churches did that, their good intention (because they have yet to understand the context of New Testament) became that of condemning the poor fellas (trust me, it is as good as already stoning his heart and soul). Homosexuals are born like this because the world bore of sin and condemnation since Adam fell. They did not choose to be like that so all people who are not born like this would not understand. (I’m straight by the way, and not a preacher). And for that, they can hardly get out of their flesh to sin no more can they? And since they are condemned, and thus self condemned, what more do they need to care? They cannot jump out of their flesh tomorrow right? It is impossible! But all things are possible with God!

New Testament, we don’t condemn or stone people anymore. All sins are forgiven in Christ. Jesus bore all sins. Homosexuals are not condemned in Jesus anymore! Churches don’t dare to preach this for fear they will sin more. Paradox, but their worries and fear are from the devil and not of Jesus. Please quickly help tell your priest friend and Madpriest of his church that homosexuals are not condemned anymore! Better still, go directly to homosexuals and tell them Jesus no longer condemns them!!!

And for the verse of sin no more, Jesus did not disagree with the law, the law is perfect and good. Jesus came to fulfill all laws, and He loved all and do not condemn all for He knows condemnation is the root for death. Jesus came to give life and not death. Homosexuals by means of act is a sin and punishable by stoning right? But the purpose Jesus came was to fulfill all laws and take all our infirmities and sins to the cross!!!!

When any person on earth know they receive the “NO CONDEMNATION FROM JESUS” they will then naturally sin no more with their holy spirit. Not self righteous acts but righteousness of our Holy Spirit in Jesus Christ. I have sins in my life too, and the whole world condemns me. And by trying to be righteous on my own to fulfill all laws is impossible for me (please read Romans 3 – 8). In Jesus, all laws are fulfilled for me! I have peace, and know Jesus don’t condemn me. Only when homosexuals know they are not condemned in Christ will they have complete peace. And complete peace when they walk in the Holy Spirit, can they slowly know who they are truly made of. If anyone is to condemn homosexuals using the law, they should digest Romans 3-8 in their heart, for the letter kills but the spirit gives life. Asking anyone to sin no more improperly is using the law to condemn people.

Oh Lord, this is getting too long which can be a post instead of a comment. My spirit has too much goodness to share with you. I am tired now and need to rest. I’d try to mail you more on this if time permits.

So is the answer clear enough? Homosexual under Old Testament is sin, punished with stones. Homosexual under New Testament is also sin, but punished unto Jesus on the cross. And since it is already punished, why be punished again for then, it only means you’ve never believed Jesus on the cross. And why condemn people when you are not without sin? Church people do not need to hate homosexuals and their doing, neither do you need to love their activities. But if you see the world with Jesus in your heart and know the Truth, you will love homosexuals and yet not curse or engage their doings. For you’ll be able to see beyond the flesh of them and know who they are really made of.

I firmly repeat! Homosexuals are not condemned in Jesus anymore! Please quickly help tell your priest friend and Madpriest of his church they are not condemned anymore! Better still, go directly to homosexuals and tell them Jesus no longer condemns them!!!

Praise the Lord!

NO CONDEMNATION FROM JESUS!!!

8/20/2006 6:28 PM  
Blogger Eva Voda said...

So, I came back here for my comments to post on my blog.

To save you the trouble of trying to figure out the essence of my first comment., you can take the Bible as it is. It is the breath of God. Every word is true, perfect and flawless.

Yet we read not totally literally. But in context. i.e. you don't read "turn stone to bread" and believe the devil right? Or quote "All men shall die" and let it be the Gospel right? There are quotes and scriptures in context for all the explanation I gave, and will probably appear in my post.

May you be Blessed my dear sister and receive the gift of "NO CONDEMNATION" from Jesus for yourself also.

8/20/2006 9:55 PM  
Blogger Eva Voda said...

Oops, and also, you don't decide with your mind what to take literally or what not to take of the Bible. Not self righteousness but the righteousness of the Holy Spirit will answer you. You do need to seek, and thus find.

Just remember, always read in context, and if you still don't understand, please don't try to find some loophole like jamming the backside is not written. Even a kid can understand what is wrong so don't find excuses. If don't understand, you invest time with your spirit and it will definitely answer when total peace from Jesus rest in you.

8/20/2006 10:31 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Eva, have you taken your medications today? This is my blog. Not yours. You have so much to say that you might want to get your own blog.

[exits left, chuckling]

8/20/2006 10:41 PM  

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