Is there “Recovery” for the homosexual?

26 Replies

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In the living room of my in-laws’ home I watched an episode of Law and Order that I haven’t seen before, and it bothered me quite a bit.

The victim was a young man who had tried unsuccessfully to “recover” from homosexuality through the counseling and support of a religious group called Regenesis. One of the supporters of the organization was a local doctor who had been promoting research that homosexuality was a reversible condition.

Along the way, the show took a few cheap shots at moral conservatives. Here are the two things that offended me the most:

  1. They connected the concepts of “Regenesis” and homosexual “recovery” to the attitudes of the vicious anti-gay religious protesters such as the infamous “God Hates Fags” pastor Fred Phelps. In so doing, they were trying to say that whether your methods are “acceptable” or not, a negative perspective of homosexuality in any sense is “unacceptable.” It’s the basic TV belief that tolerance is paramount (of course, the exception to this rule is that we must be intolerant of the intolerant).
  2. They directly attacked the efforts (not the research or the results as much) of the homosexual recovery agencies. In fact, they basically said that it was stupid for anyone to think a homosexual could “change.” I think they presented the “Regenesis” group in a good light but then quickly tore them down as being just as unaccepting, bigoted, and irrational as the Fred Phelps types.

I’m offended by these things because I feel they are dealing with a religious / moral issue as if it were a rational one. They are downplaying the heart of love many Christians have for homosexuals if it is ever combined with a belief that homosexuality is, as the Bible claims, an unnatural behavior. They are basically saying that people have to be idiots, bigots, or something worse to think that homosexuals can change or even control themselves.

I for one, have a higher view of both God and people than that. Yes, I unashamedly believe that people can change. I am a sin-aholic. My body is addicted to so many sins that I can’t even get into it all here. But I am undoubtedly addicted to sin. However, an amazing thing is true for me. My love for God oftens outpaces my desire to sin. There have been times in my life when I have been strongly tempted to sin but have instead resisted and claimed the promise God gives me—resist the devil and he will flee from you!

My point is simply this: We are all sinners. Each of us struggles with different sins with different levels of consequences in this present world. So what if the jury is still out on the present-day consequences of homosexual behavior? The jury is still out on the present-day consequences of coveting too! But that’s why God didn’t tell us to decide these things based on a jury. He’s simply told us what he wants, and we need to find our place in his will as we are set free from sin by the power of the cross and bound to righteousness by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

I’d love to hear your comments on this one. Is there recovery for homosexual people? Do you know anyone? Have you experienced it yourself? Please write some thoughts and help me make this blog entry a helpful one for others too.

26 comments

  1. Larry Faus

    Jeff,
    I have nothing of value to add. I consider you to be “dead on,” in your views and observations. Even the guy, and I do not at this point recaal his name, who originally claimed to have found a genetic marker that made homosexuality an unescapable characteristic rather than a choice has since admitted that his research was flawed.

  2. chuck

    For me, the bottom line is simply, “I don’t know.” What I do know is that I am required to love everyone, regardless of what God may consider to be their sins because I am no better. The only real solution I see in the scenario you’ve presented is to avoid watching television.

  3. Jonathan

    My personal belief is that homosexuals have no choice in their sexual orientation but they do have a choice in whether they act on it or not. Homosexual sex, especially anal sex between men is unnatural and unhealthy and shouldn’t be practiced. I know of several people who have had issues relating to it, those being loss of continence and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Unfortunately, peer pressure among gays is very strong and we live in a society that seems to put the sexual act, in whatever form, above love and that can never be a good thing.

  4. John

    The American Psychological Association has long studied this issue. It has consistently found that converting homosexuals to heterosexuals not only cannot be done through any common method, but also that the methods employed often cause great damage, distress and unhealth. There simply isn’t any compelling evidence out there for success on this matter. Yes people can struggle to live without love, but have yet to change who they love. To be able to chose who we fall in love with would be convenient, but this is not the nature of the human condition. And I very much feel that making someone think their love is invalid or sinful would be a keen trick of the devil if anyone.

    I would suggest studying the Bible, before translation, using the original words. Many different words are translated to read homosexual, but this word has not even existed for more than 150 years. So what words are translated and from what context to read this way?

    People often point to Leviticus when arguing their case and the Bible’s condemnation of homosexuality. But what does the rest of Leviticus say? What people was Leviticus intended to apply to?

    This to me is a starting point about educating oneself regarding the Bible. We have done so much damage to ourselves with our assumptions and judgements regarding how we believe things should be. I think because so many have been caused so much pain by groups who seek to reform homosexuals, some people push against this. In the end, whether you are Fred Phelps or a Christian trying to help someone change (whether their orientation or just whether they act on their orientation) you share one thing in common: having taken it upon yourself to judge something is wrong with being a homosexual in the first place.

    If you want to take things that far, I would hope for a serious study of what the Bible says about it–including and back to the original words and cultures.

    – John

  5. Jeff Post author

    Responding to John:

    Thanks for your comments, John. I’m in total agreement with you that to try to get people to “change who they love” is a very difficult thing to do. Just ask any parent of any teenager and you’ll find that who they love is who they love and that’s about it.

    I think the same goes for all of us. There are very many environmental, biological, and sociological factors that figure into who we love. However, we all are aware of the huge human propensity to fall in love with someone who isn’t good for us! Companies like eHarmony exist because falling in love is easy, but finding the right person to fall in love with is very difficult. I hope that makes sense.

    To be more clear, I don’t mean to communicate that people should endeavor to deny their feelings or try to change their love propensities, but I do advocate two clear things for both heterosexuals and those who claim to be homosexual:

    1. If the person you love isn’t beneficial to you, your life, and your relationship to God and others, then you must sever that relationship even if it hurts. Many have done this and later rejoiced. Many have failed to do this and later regretted it.
    2. No matter how strong your feelings are for a person, as a human being, you have the power to choose how you will act on those feelings. We could all agree that it is wrong for a man to pursue a woman married to another even if his feelings for her are stronger than any love he has ever known. Pursuing someone who is married to another is just wrong. That man needs to suck it up, be a man, control his impulses and do something about it to change the situation. In the same way, I believe a man who has sexual desires for another man can make the same decision to suck it up, be a man, control his impulses, and make some positive choices.

    Finally, there is one more thing I’d like to say to clarify my position. The Bible never condemns love in any fashion. A man who loves his horse is biblically ok. A man who loves his steak is ok. A man who loves other men is ok. There is no provision or prohibition about love other than the blanket statement that we should all love God more than anything else and then love others as ourselves. However, the Bible is very clear that there are morals surrounding sexual practices. To get into the original languages is something I am certainly qualified to do, and would happily engage in that if there was interest for it. However, I can summarize that study by simply saying that God in both the Old and New Testaments puts restrictions on particular sexual activities:

    * No intercourse with an animal.
    * No intercourse with a close relative by marriage or by blood.
    * No intercourse with a woman during menstruation.
    * No intercourse with an unwilling person.
    * No intercourse with another person’s spouse.
    * No intercourse with someone of the same sex.

    Other than these specific requirements, the Bible is silent on specific forms of sexual activity such as masturbation and oral sex; however where there are prohibitions, they are very clear, and the only prohibitions explicitly shared by both Old and New Testaments are the last two: not with another’s spouse and not with another of the same gender.

    Yes, the contexts are different, the language is different, and the circumstances are different from ours today, but what remains is a clear depiction that homosexual practices are outside the scope of allowed sexual expression.

    I’m convinced that humans aren’t animals and that love doesn’t of necessity imply sex. We all have burdens to bear, and removing those burdens isn’t always an option, but carrying them can make us stronger.

  6. John

    I appreciate your response to my post. Rather than just stating the Bible says bullet point, bullet point, bullet point about intercourse; again, I would get into the actual texts and the original words and how they are translated and where they come from.

    If the study and word of the Bible is so important, I find it troubling that so few know anyting about the original words or the process how the Church decided what would be in the Bible and what would be out. I find it more troubling how few have even sat by themselves and read parts of the Bible that wasn’t just a popular segment.

    Thanks,
    John

  7. Tyson

    Hey pastor Jeff, Im sorry if this article is too long, you can delete it if you find it of no use. But i think it may be relevant. It sounds a bit like preaching but it was just me going through my own thoughts and experiences as i wrote it. I wrote it before i read this page here, and i actually found this page after becuase i wanted to see if i could get more input on this subject. Ok, hope it helps, and that would be great to have more input.

    Confronting my bias ideas, I found that I have a lot of views about gay people that don’t seem to stand up to sound theology.
    I believe that Gods love and mercy is for everyone. I don’t believe that if you are of a certain race, or even have a certain sin relevant in your life you are beyond his help. Most people would agree with this statement. But then we are confronted with something like, can you live a life with Gods love and grace if you continue in your sin? For example, we know as Christians, that it is against Gods will that a man have sexual relations with another man, or for a woman to have sexual relations with another woman. So what about gay people? People who claim that they were born gay and it’s just the way God created them. What about them? Are they exempted from Gods grace? They are obviously living a life of sin, but would you and I still call them Christians?
    Here is where I encountered a problem with my preconceived ideas about gay people and my theology. In my mind, I would think; Of course these people aren’t Christians, if they knew the love of God and what he did for them, they would stop living in this sin. They most definitely are not saved because they don’t live by what God said. Basically they are screwed, no pun intended, if they don’t come out of this sin.
    That was what I thought, that God cannot touch these people and be relevant in their lives because they don’t let him. But if you stop and think about it, is not that view hypocritical because of what we believe in scripture to be true? “Everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.”
    It did not say, “Everyone who believes in him has eternal life, except gay people.” It said “everyone”. That means Jew and Gentile, the righteous and the unrighteous, the tax collectors and the prostitutes, the heterosexual and homosexual.
    What is the difference between the sin of being a compulsive liar versus the sin of being a homosexual? Is not the wage of all sin death? It becomes hypocritical when we exclude certain people because of their sin, when at the same time we know we all sin. If we exclude people from Gods “Saved List” because of their sin, whatever that may be, we are in fact being hypocritical, whether our judgment is on the mark or not. John 8:3-11. We are not to take part in Gods judgment; that is his job. He tells us quiet clearly to stay away from judging attitudes, that he is the judge and to judge others is dangerous and we should avoid it. None of us are without sin, so we lack the qualifications to throw the first stone, so to speak.
    So if homosexuality is against the will of God than it is a form of sexual brokenness. Also, if lust is against the will of God, than it is also a form of sexual brokenness or a perversion of what God originally created. I would guess (under no particular authority), that 95% of males have some sort of problem with lust in one part of their lives or another. Maybe a smaller percent of that have a problem with homosexuality but either or, the point is, most people have some sort of sexual brokenness. We don’t deal with our natural sexuality as God had originally intended. This may be partly due to the fall, and is further impacted by societies constant attention to the subject in unhealthy ways. But sex sells, so it is only natural that it will be everywhere we look. There are different kinds of sexual brokenness that are brought out in our society. Some are accepted easily, some are not. The symptoms for the different kinds of sexual brokenness are different and each person deals with them in a different way. Some of the most predominant ones are addiction to pornography and homosexuality. Both are sexual perversions but we tend to be more socially accepting of one more than the other. Are not both of these just a sign of how broken our relationship with God really is? Are not all our sins signs of our brokenness, even ones so small as a simple lie? So at the end of the day, whether you’re a homosexual or a lair we’re all in need of Gods grace.
    God works on each of us. I believe that when you accept Jesus as the Son of God and that he died for your sins you will have salvation. If you truly believe this with all your heart then your salvation is complete, and instant. But becoming a disciple of God is a process. The process is called sanctification, or to make holy. This process is life long, and as we give our lives to God he starts and continues this process in us. We already know that once you become a Christian you are not suddenly transformed into this amazing person who doesn’t sin anymore because change takes time. Unlike salvation, sanctification is a process, and our broken relationship with God is slowly mended back together. So to say that someone is not a Christian because they are a homosexual is extremely judgmental and hypocritical. We all have some sort of brokenness in our relationship with God, and homosexuality is just one example among many. Just because I have lustful thoughts sometimes doesn’t mean I’m not a Christian, it just means that there is a part of me that I need to surrender to God, and try my hardest to repent. I heard a speaker in Vancouver who helps and prays for homosexuals. He said that he has met many homosexuals who desire to know God. One story he recounted was of one man who wanted to come to Christ but had much guilt about being a homosexual. The man nevertheless gave his life to God and the most amazing thing happened. As he gave his life to God, God began working through his issues and his homosexuality was NOT the first thing that God attended to. There were many other relevant sins in his life that God led him to repent of before he started working on his sexual brokenness. After some time, as he prayed to God, he began to realize that he no longer had much attraction to men, and even found himself one day lusting after a women. I’m not going to say that this lusting after a women was from God but it was definitely a change that God had started. So does God have the power to change a person’s sexual preference? My answer is of course! Since when have we known God’s arm to be too short. I love it when God says that over and over again in the Old Testament, It reminds me of how faithless I actually am.
    I do think that for man to change his sexual preference may be impossible, but for God, all things are possible. Homosexuality I now realize, as I have realized about all sin, is just another barrier between us and God that can be removed. Homosexuality is a form of brokenness that if given over to God can be reconciled because all sin can be forgiven by the grace of God. We are called to love people, not to change or even save them, That is Gods job. Today it seems, alot of our veiws and ideas about sin and people ressemble those of the pharisees. But Jesus was furious not with the tax collectors and prostitutes, but with the hypocracy of the teachers of the law and the pharisees.

  8. Jeff Post author

    Wow. Tyson, you make a number of good points but they are jumbled together and hidden in one gigantic paragraph. I’m not sure how to respond except to say this. Early in your comment you make reference to “gay people” as being a category of human being like “black” or “asian” is a category of human being. Frankly, I believe such distinctions are artificial and unhelpful, but the homosexual lobbyists are banking on the fact that they can carve out “homosexual” as a category of human. You have fallen into that mode of thinking when you say:

    > I believe that Gods love and mercy is for everyone. I don’t believe that if you are of a certain race, or even have a certain sin relevant in your life you are beyond his help…. So what about gay people? People who claim that they were born gay and it’s just the way God created them. What about them? Are they exempted from Gods grace? … if you stop and think about it, is not that view hypocritical because of what we believe in scripture to be true? “Everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” It did not say, “Everyone who believes in him has eternal life, except gay people.” It said “everyone”. That means Jew and Gentile, the righteous and the unrighteous, the tax collectors and the prostitutes, the heterosexual and homosexual.

    You are mixing apples and oranges here. Yes, God’s salvation is for Jew, Gentile, tax collectors, prostitutes, heterosexual, and homosexual. But there is a category difference between “Gentile” and “tax collectors.” Gentile is DNA. Tax Collector is a profession. However, the science is still divided on how much homosexuality is DNA, how much is socialization, how much is traumatization, and how much is personal choice.

    A person who is black, is going to be accountable to God for his life. A person who is Gentile is going to be accountable to God for his life. A person who claims to be gay is going to be accountable to God for his life. The accountability will be by the same standard for every human being.

    So can a gay person be saved? The answer is yes! He can be saved in the same way that an idol worshipping pagan or an shoplifter can be saved. God by grace offers forgiveness and cleansing (1 John 1:9) in addition to the Holy Spirit to overcome temptation (Galatians 5, Romans 8).

    Here’s a key point: God’s love is available to everyone, but receiving God’s grace is always associated in the New Testament with a desire to live according to God’s will. In other words…

    > If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. — James 1:26

    > Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. — 1 John 2:9

    Therefore, if anyone claims to be a believer and continues to willfully live in sin, there should be serious doubt placed on whether that person has truly experienced the restoring power of the Holy Spirit.

    If you claim to have a relationship with God, I would assume that you are growing increasingly aware of and disgusted by the sinful desires of your heart—whatever those desires might currently be.

  9. Tyson

    Oh, haha im sorry about the huge paragraph, i had it paragraphed but it melted together i guess when i copied it in.

    I understand your point about categorizing humans, and I think ill have to change my wording in the article becuase you drew to my attention a possible misconception that someone might have if they read it. My point was to bring all humans to the same level before God, and not to categorize. Im not a very skilled writer, haha.

    Also about recieving Gods grace, I agree with everything that was written. Another misconception i think can be produced here from my article, haha ill work on it some more. My point was that when you truly give your life to God, then God will bring conviction, but usually to one or only a few areas of your life at a time. And like you said, you would grow increasingly aware of your sin as you walked with God. But to put it blatenly, you could still be a homosexual and be a christian, but you would be convicted of it eventually and it would be a huge struggle with God.

    So i guess for the original question “Is there recovery for the Homosexual?”, the answer is Yes, But there will always be a long process of struggling with God and the change will not be instant. But when God convicts us of our sin how often does our lifestyle change instantly? It is almost always a struggle. I have learned alot through this, thank you pastor Jeff for your input.I love constructive criticism and I’d love to talk about it more. If you have more input on the matter I’d love to hear it.

  10. Jeff Post author

    > My point was that when you truly give your life to God, then God will bring conviction, but usually to one or only a few areas of your life at a time.

    Tyson, I think you have recognized something rather profound here. I totally agree with you, but I can’t honestly say I’ve ever heard anyone or actually thought about it in this manner. I’ve often thought about “progressive sanctification” or the process of becoming more like Jesus, but I’ve never associated it with a person’s awareness or conviction of sin. However, the Bible is clear that such conviction of sin comes only from the Holy Spirit, and he often has his own sense of timing!

    Thanks for your posts.

  11. John

    Jeff,

    I know it’s been a long time since I posted here and you asked where I would like to start about the Bible and translation issues. First, my limited understanding of the Bible is in Hebrew and a very specific ancient Greek which was not even believed to have been a commonly spoken form of the language until several business and personal documents were discovered written with this form of Greek.

    In Corinthians 6:9 “malakoi” is translated to “effeminate”. The same word is used in Matthew 11:8 and Luke 7:2 for “soft” in reference to clothing. Then it is used as “illness” in Matthew 4:23 and 9:35.

    The term Sodomite is used in the King James Version of Deuteronomy 23:17 and I Kings 14:24. Surely a Sodomite is someone from Sodom, which would have included. My understanding is that the word in the original text was “temple prostitute”, which was quite a common occurrence of the day. A known family issue of the time was men who would lose themselves in the temple with the men of the temple that had sex with it members. Certainly, from the writings Sodom was no picnic, but not a city destroyed because men were having homosexual relations. The stories talk of assault, unkindness to strangers, abuses, and mostly rape–be it men on men or men on women. Everyone knows a female dog will hump to exert dominance. This translation and even the association of the behavior common among the residents of Sodom seems inappropriate to modern day gay men.

    Leviticus is widely used to condemn homosexuality as an abomination. During the time, fertility rights were a bloody and sexual ordeal. Often men lay with men, and it can easily be argued that this entire passage is specific to a certain local rituals of baal to ensure good crops where lying with another man was common.

    Leviticus 11:1-12 talks about what not to eat. I haven’t seen any great religious campaigns against oyster fishermen, nor barbeque restaurants to curb these abominations. Certainly touching the skin of a pig is forbidden, which ought to preclude football. Passages here also condone slavery and the ownership of other people, apparently directly from God’s mouth.

    Even if the original texts were directly delivered by God, unflawed and completely correctly written; there were never any presses. Over thousands of years these documents have passed and been copied and translated. In each new version, as we have seen in English, new words have been introduced. No Bible before the 1940’s ever used the word homosexual. Not one. But now, here it appears. If this shift has occurred in 50 years, what then of thousands? And if what is said is true, why the diversity in translations between so many Bibles that are modern even now?
    Men bend things and most certainly dark things have passed through all history that come close to creating hell here on earth. Most by our own hands.
    The Bible most certainly justifies the killing of those who worship others, and in fact commands it (Deuteronomy 17). But other parts say that salvation and God’s love is for all. Which is it? God shall give salvation, but we are commanded to kill them so that he may sort them out. Or is it that we must give up on stoning strangers of other faiths?

    I know of no place in the Bible that talks of loving relationships between men and men or women and women in a clear way. There are many parts that speak to distraction, respect, cleanliness and keeping clear of things which tend to upset one’s life.
    I know what I feel within me. I know what love is. I know that love is never wrong. I know that some people think some things are goodness and love that are not. This is the path of a man. To judge in such certainty and to place our focus haphazardly is our nature. The Bible warns against judgment and misinterpretation heavily and through.

    I would very much like to have the time to understand more of these translations and the original texts than I already do. Any study you might undertake and post here would be read with great curiosity. I do not believe the “canned” this is what the Bible says approach is appropriate for anyone who is really serious about the Bible’s study. One must examine all the texts over time and know the culture in which they were written and know the lives of the men who wrote the lines.

  12. Jeff Post author

    Hi John,

    I’m assuming you are the same as the previous “John,” so thanks for coming back.

    I’m not able to respond in detail now to all of your points because I just don’t have the time right now. However, I hope to make at least a few responses in the coming days.

  13. Debi

    I found this site doing a search for recovery stories. I have been curious to know how many homosexuals out there have repented and overcome their lifestyles. There are alot of interesting posts here! I don’t have alot to offer in the debate but I thought that I would add that I do actually know of one guy here where I live that did actually get saved and turned from his lifestyle and is now very happily married with children. So, yes, homosexuals CAN change. I don’t know this guy well or I would ask him about his change in life, maybe God will present me with that opportunity at some point. I myself would like to know more about what is key in helping someone to turn their life around.

  14. Jeff Post author

    John, here’s my response.

    You said…

    In Corinthians 6:9 “malakoi” is translated to “effeminate”. The same word is used in Matthew 11:8 and Luke 7:2 for “soft” in reference to clothing. Then it is used as “illness” in Matthew 4:23 and 9:35.

    According to the NIV…

    Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders — 1 Corinthians 6:9

    If not, what did you go out to see? A man dressed in fine clothes? No, those who wear fine clothes are in kings’ palaces. — Matthew 11:8

    There a centurion’s servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. — Luke 7:2

    Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. — Matthew 4:23

    malakos in koine Greek (the Greek used in the New Testament) is used in two ways. It refers primarily to something soft as in “fine clothes.” However, it was also used idiomatically to refer to “soft” or “weak” people (sick) and, in a more technical sense, to refer to the “catamites” who were men who allowed themselves to be used for homosexual sex often in religious contexts but not exclusively.

    In a town like Corinth, (where ritual prostitution and catamite practices were common) the term malakoi would have been as well understood as the words “gay” or “straight” would be in San Fransico. Neither of these two words have any primary sexual meaning. Gay means happy, and straight means something has no bends or curves. However, these terms have become technical terms in our society therefore “gay” means homosexual and “straight” means heterosexual, and nearly everyone in the USA would recognize the new meanings of those words.

    My point is that Paul is talking about the specific sexual practice of homosexual intercourse when speaking of the malakoi he was not condemning those people who have a softer personality. I’m familiar with the argument that Paul was speaking only of the abusive kind of homosexuality here and not the “loving homosexuality” we find in our society today. My response is that he is referring to a number of different sexual activities to bring out that it is the act of inappropriate intercourse which is in question, and for Paul appropriate intercourse would have had nothing to do with “love” in our modern sense of the word. Intercourse was something that went along with a marriage commitment (see 1 Corinthians 7).

    Biblically speaking, love does not legitimize sexual activity, marriage does, and there is no biblical precedent for homosexual marriage.

    The term Sodomite is used in the King James Version of Deuteronomy 23:17 and I Kings 14:24.

    I don’t put much weight on any ancient English translations based on lower quality Greek texts especially the KJV, but for comparison, here you go…

    No Israelite man or woman is to become a shrine prostitute. — Deuteronomy 23:17 (NIV)

    There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel. — Deuteronomy 23:17 KJV

    This is one of the reasons I teach from the NIV in our church. It’s not only easier to understand, but it’s often more accurate than the KJV.

    Certainly, from the writings Sodom was no picnic, but not a city destroyed because men were having homosexual relations. The stories talk of assault, unkindness to strangers, abuses, and mostly rape—be it men on men or men on women. Everyone knows a female dog will hump to exert dominance. This translation and even the association of the behavior common among the residents of Sodom seems inappropriate to modern day gay men.

    Sure, modern gay men are in no way similar to the men of Sodom except for the whole desire to have intercourse with men. The violence, inhospitality, and rape are not directly analogous. That’s why I don’t base my argument on the account of Sodom.

    Leviticus 11:1-12 talks about what not to eat. I haven’t seen any great religious campaigns against oyster fishermen, nor barbeque restaurants to curb these abominations.

    We read the Old Testament in light of the teaching of Jesus who taught us that in the New Covenant relationship with God, the dietary codes and much of the holiness codes were reinterpreted.

    As an example…

    “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”) — Mark 7:18-19

    However, the majority of OT restrictions on sexuality are reinforced in the NT implicitly while the injunctions against homosexuality are referenced explicitly.

    Even if the original texts were directly delivered by God, unflawed and completely correctly written; there were never any presses. Over thousands of years these documents have passed and been copied and translated. In each new version, as we have seen in English, new words have been introduced. No Bible before the 1940’s ever used the word homosexual. Not one. But now, here it appears. If this shift has occurred in 50 years, what then of thousands? And if what is said is true, why the diversity in translations between so many Bibles that are modern even now?

    With each new advance of archaeological research we get closer and closer to knowing what the original texts of the OT and NT actually were. The Bibles that were translated in the last few years are based upon texts that stand among the most reliable texts of antiquity religious or not. If you want to know more about the reliability of the Bible, take a look at these posts:

    I know what I feel within me. I know what love is. I know that love is never wrong. I know that some people think some things are goodness and love that are not. This is the path of a man. To judge in such certainty and to place our focus haphazardly is our nature. The Bible warns against judgment…

    There are two problems with this comment.

    • None of us really understand love. God himself shows us love by sending his son to die for us, but few human beings have ever sacrificed their lives for another. That’s true love. Whatever emotions you and I have felt for people are different from real love. The Bible teaches about love. I just don’t think we can trust our erotically biased amygdyla on this point!
    • The Bible warns against the judgment that condemns people. However, the Bible encourages the judgment that wisely evaluates people. Doing the latter without slipping into the former is our challenge.

    I would very much like to have the time to understand more of these translations and the original texts than I already do. Any study you might undertake and post here would be read with great curiosity. I do not believe the “canned” this is what the Bible says approach is appropriate for anyone who is really serious about the Bible’s study. One must examine all the texts over time and know the culture in which they were written and know the lives of the men who wrote the lines.

    If you are serious about this, I advise you to do three things:

    • Find yourself a book dealing with issues of Biblical authenticity, authority, and accuracy. Some suggestions are The Historical Reliability of the Gospels by Craig Blomberg, The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel.
    • Read the Bible starting with Jesus. The center point of the Christian faith is Jesus himself. Get to know him, who he is, and what he really stood for. If you get to a point of trusting him, then see what he has to say about the rest of the Bible.
    • Find someone you can have a good face to face dialog with. If you are seriously seeking God, you need to explore these questions in relationship with someone wiser than you. I don’t think Internet communications are the best way to go about taking this seriously.
  15. John

    Jeff,
    I appreciate your taking the time to give a response. I also appreciate the differences in translation being presented. Much of the point of my post is that people don’t even know that there is more than 1 translation of the Bible. They know there are different versions, but they do not fully understand the significance of the differences, where those differences came from and why scholars cannot agree on the proper translation.

    Unfortunately much of the comments given are again interpretive of modern translations and again not looking at your case for believing homosexuality is wrong laid out from the original Greek. You point to more interpretations and other books laying more layers over the original.

    From your example, which is a most interesting one:
    … “Are you so dull?” he asked. “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a man from the outside can make him ‘unclean’? For it doesn’t go into his heart but into his stomach, and then out of his body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods “clean.”) — Mark 7:18-19 …
    Certainly the example of Jesus reinterpreting the dietary codes of Leviticus is not a reinterpretation at all. In the context you put, that would be Jesus saying point blank this direction in the Bible is ridiculous. Beyond that, saying “Are you so dull?” is a statement of surprise that any person could be so unintelligent as to not understand how ridiculous such a statement was. That is not a reinterpretation at all. It’s a direct rebuke. Not only a rebuke of the dietary code, but also of the person being addressed for not using their mind to understand what is in their heart and what may change it away from that which is connected with God’s goodness.

    How can it be that something was written as the exact word and intention of God only to have Jesus say, “What are you stupid believing that nonsense?” To be sure, much of the Bible and religion has high value and holds truths as steady as a rock. But we should be most cautious when our interpretations of teachings of God and heart lead us to condemn others. Such condemnation is a great threat that spreads so much pain and destroys so many lives, and to be frank is not the work of God.

    To be sure, what is in my heart is in my heart. Laying with men in a sexual sense will not change that any more than food in the stomach. The experience of love and the denial of love most certainly can however. Sex and love are not the same and these lines seem blurry in your comments. I don’t think we’ll get anywhere trying to argue about my amygdyla. I’m not sure straight men’s amygdyla’s or other parts of their physical body react quite the same. It certainly isn’t as though being intimate with men is something that looks incredibly appealing to every man and some just resist it better than others and the morally weak ones end up as “the gays”.

    I would also like to address your statements about the term malakos. The Greek of the Bible is not well known due to the few resources that remain in that form of Greek. Making statements about the idiomatic use of these words does not rate as the most reliable course. The word may have had a meaning as clear as gay or straight today, but we don’t agree on what that meaning was.

    The statement that malakos has anything to do with men who had relationships and love with other men and softness in the Greek culture is fragile at best. There are so many examples that show this, but we can start with The Sacred Band of Thebes. This was a band of 300 soldiers that were one of the most respected and powerful fighting forces of their time. Two young men who were in no uncertain terms committed lovers would join together. The power of the band came from the ferocious desire to protect one’s lover in battle. They were a legendary band which held the highest of honor. Alexander the Great defeated them, who was also gay, though married to two wives. We could also get into Alexander’s great hero, Achilles whose lover was Patroclus (the word is philos in Greek, which is not in much debate for lack of context as are the Biblical terms).

    The mixing of soft, sick, homosexual, prostitute, and catamite in the context which you have done here demands much more consideration.

    You mention, ” ‘soft’ and ‘weak’ people (sick) and, in a more technical sense refer to the ‘catamites’ who were men who allowed themselves to be used for homosexual sex often in religious contexts but not exclusively.”

    Many catamites were slaves, captured as boys or bred. Mostly it was imposed violently with the intention of selling the boy’s body as a prostitute keeping them from roughing into men so quickly. That you say these men “allowed” themselves to be used is illustrative of the blurry line dark line around politics, sex, power and money. The presence of these elements should not be viewed lightly, but I believe it is almost disregarded. The Catholic Church itself has a rich history of creating catamites for the purpose of singing during centuries not long past.

    Catamites were often discussed as “soft” and many in age would “corrupt” their bodies by becoming passive and letting them fall to the shape of a rundown “woman”. This was a popularly held stereotype of catamites, which even many catamites resented. Particularly those who kept up their exercise and activity to keep their body from falling into that “weak” and “sickly” form, which the Greeks were thoroughly disgusted by.

    In Greece catamites were much less usual than in Persian culture from the time. They were often discriminated against and judged harshly by the Greeks. Often catamites held positions of persuasion in the royal households and saw to many affairs of state in the Persian lands which during periods ruled over Mediterranean Greek cities. Aside from the physical differences and obvious issues over “manhood” which persist today, the prejudices against Persian culture are well documented and we are in murky water. We are circling around issues of prejudice, judgment and social issues from a time long past.

    I doubt there is much I can say or share on my insides without disbelief. I fortunately can believe myself and know myself. I may not be able to truly understand love, but I can recognize it. I also can recognize what can change my own heart. I also recognize pain. I also recognize many efforts that work to keep us every day from health and love.

    I hope you find these words well and take consideration from them.

    • John
  16. Jeff Post author

    Greetings again John, I’m glad you have come back.

    It is clear to me from your last comment that you personally are dealing with homosexual desires, that you have done a lot of reading into ancient Greek culture, and that you also have a misunderstanding of basic biblical interpretation.

    The first point is one that I will not judge you for. As I have said numerous times, we all have our own temptations, and frankly none of us would know that any of our temptations are wrong unless some authority told us they were wrong. Paul himself said that he would not have known what coveting was if it weren’t for the law saying, “Do not covet.” (Romans 7:7). Your desires are your desires, and you understand them far better than anyone else, but never allow your desires to be your guide. It just may be that eating a case of ice cream is not the best thing for your body. It just may be that homosexual activity is not the best thing for your soul.

    To settle the issue for yourself, you have studied a lot of Greek culture to find out the context of the comments in the New Testament regarding the practice of homosexuality. I want to honor your efforts at searching for the truth, but in your study so far, you haven’t really addressed what Paul himself might have been thinking as he wrote the words he wrote. You discuss Greek culture as if that by itself can explain Paul’s terminology, but you have not addressed Paul’s own culture—the culture of Rabbinic Judaism and the school of the Pharisees.

    Just as it is dangerous to let your desires guide your life, it is likewise dangerous to let cultural practices interpret our understanding of God’s Word.

    Finally, I will come right out and say that you have some big misunderstandings on how to interpret the Bible. I’m personally more shocked at your statement that Jesus was calling someone stupid than I am about anything you have said about homosexuality because Jesus was neither condemning the Old Testament dietary code nor the people who followed them. He was instead drawing their attention to the deeper and more important issue behind the behavior of those who focused too much on the dietary laws.

    We could probably talk about that issue for a while, and I could probably go through your last comment step by step and give my own response to each of your statements, but I don’t think that will actually get us anywhere.

    If you are still out there paying attention to this and you still want to engage this conversation then let me ask you to be specific about what issues you’d like to address. Are you concerned about the original languages, the modern interpretation, or something else? If we can tackle these things one issue at a time, it might be beneficial conversation.

    If you don’t want to continue the conversation, I’ll understand. Frankly, I’m far more interested in your soul and your commitment to Christ than I am with any of your behaviors or temptations. If I had the choice of topic, I’d talk about the issues of salvation with you, but I’ll let you decide.

  17. ben

    “They are basically saying that people have to be idiots, bigots, or something worse to think that homosexuals can change or even control themselves.”

    YES! This is 100% accurate, aside from the “control themselves” portion, unless you are referring to the fact that they cannot control who they are attracted to. Then yes, it is 100% accurate.

    Also, I read the previous statements of John, and it wasn’t “clear to me” that he is “personally dealing with homosexual desires.”

    Why must people who stand up for the rights of the oppressed be dealing with the same desires they are? Why must people who engage Christians in these types of conversations be standing up for who THEY ARE instead of merely standing up against you and your bigotry?

    I realize it’s hard to be a Christian and not be a complete and total judgmental moron, but you could at least make an effort, Jeff.

  18. Derren

    Hey Jeff, Do you still post on here?

    Do you have a email where I can reach you?
    I have some questions I would like to ask you.

  19. Sandra

    There was an enormous amount of research done by Neil Whitehead in New Zealand(Phd. Biochemisty), that is well worth looking at http://www.mygenes.co.nz . He reviewed approx. 10,000 scientific research papers and publication from all sides of the debate. His conclusions are that YES change is possible from homosexual to heterosexual. Some of the change is through therapy but in most cases “life” can bring along the factors that make the difference. 3% of the heterosexual community claim to have been exclusively homosexual at one time in their life. Why is this group so hidden? It is actually very simple.

    1. They are embarrassed about their previous life.
    2. Life has moved on for them and they prefer not to talk about it.
    3. They don’t want to jeopardise a present relationship.
    4. There are often hostile, public, and relentless attacks by the gay community.
    5. Still in process of change, and the remaining SSA makes them insecure.

    Not sure if I have ever met anyone in my daily life who succesfully changed, but in light of above…I probably have.
    There are boundless testimonies on the interenet, and I have corresponded by e-mail with ex-gays. I have no doubt…it does happen.

  20. Scott W.

    Dear Jeff,

    My name is Scott and I struggled with homosexuality for many many years. I read your information on the site and what you say is VERY true. It was like there was a battle going on inside. I struggled with this for years and years and now I am free. In fact, I have written a book, although self-published, that speaks to the struggle and my ultimate solution. It’s not all that bazarre but when first stated, it sounds like I turned myself into some freak. I did not….I am, what I think, a pretty normal male—happily married with children. Faith in Jesus Christ led me to use the combination of the powerful mixture of “faith” and “works” which took me to the surgical procedure known as bilateral orchiectomy (castration). This may sound crazy because I too couldn’t believe it when the Spirit of God spoke directly to me as to this being the solution. I even remember saying, “No way. This can’t be.” Since that operation many years ago, I have discovered a peace and the cessation of the constant battle I once experienced. Although I am not trying to advocate this solution, I am advocating that people struggling with this issue or any other issue should NEVER stop seeking solutions with God’s help. My journey within my dark tunnel has become like a puzzle nicely put together to make a beautiful picture.

    I would love to become involved in ministries to help others realize that they do not need to turn away from God, family or turn to the ultimate escape of suicide in order to find peace with this monster. Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated.

    God bless,
    Scott

    1. Jeff Post author

      Wow, Scott!

      I agree that your solution appears at first to be extreme, but Jesus would seem to support removing a body part if it would give relief from temptation. Your solution, though extreme, sounds like it has brought you exactly that kind of peace and relief. I would love to know more about your journey. Please send me a link to your book.

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