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Gay Christians: An Oxymoron?
Have you ever noticed that at least every other time you go into a Christian Chat Room the topic is about how God hates homosexuals? These "Christians" seem to talk more about homosexuality than lesbians and gays do! So what's the truth? Does God condemn homosexuality? Are homosexuals who claim to be Christians, merely spiritually deluded? We know what the "Christian" chat rooms say, but now let's take a serious look at what the Bible does and does not say. Is "Gay Christian" an oxymoron?
Just What Does The Bible Really Say About
Gays, Lesbians, and Bisexuals?
Here's an informative reply from the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches.
A brief look at the Bible and homosexuality
"You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." John 8:32
Metropolitan Community Church proclaims the Good News of Jesus Christ that every person is loved by God. There is no condemnation because one is gay or lesbian.
Perhaps you are gay or lesbian. Perhaps one of your loved ones or friends is. You undoubtedly know persons who are, whether you are aware of it or not. It may be that the traditional attitude of church and society toward gay and lesbian people causes you concern or pain. You may have become convinced that gay and lesbian
people are shut out of Christ's realm and out of the Church.
Many people have been taught that the Bible condemns homosexuality. Metropolitan Community Church believes that this is not the truth. We believe that gay and lesbian people are completely loved and accepted by God.
How can there be such a difference between parts of the Christian Church over this issue? Largely because unproven ideas have been taught for centuries about some Scripture passages. In recent times, scholars have finally begun to study these passages in depth, with the support of historical and archaeological information about biblical times.
Metropolitan Community Church asserts the authority of Scripture. We know that there are some things that the Bible does NOT say. We are far more concerned with those things the Bible DOES teach us about God and ourselves. We are free to be ourselves and God will guide us in that. We are committed as Christians, to lives which follow the teachings and principles of the Bible.
There is no factual support for an anti-gay interpretation of Scripture, the facts are only quickly summarized here. Such brief statements cannot do justice to an interpretation of Scripture. There is a
continuing and searching endeavor. But this summary is a starting place. It is an assurance that clear authority points to acceptance of gay and lesbian Christians.
Tracts which claim to give "simple" answers on this subject do a great injustice to the depths of God's Word. We hope that this brochure will begin to build your knowledge and understanding. we hope that it will inspire you to look at the subject in more detail. The book on which this brochure is based, "The Bible and Homosexuality", is available from our Church. Our staff will be happy to discuss the issues with you and to suggest further reading. Contact them at UFmccHq@aol.com
These verses have been applied to homosexual behavior because of a mistranslation of the Hebrew. The King James Version reads "whore" and "sodomite". The Hebrew actually uses the same noun in its masculine and feminine forms, the words are best translated "temple (or cult) prostitute". These verses have nothing directly to do with homosexual behavior.
Cult prostitution flourished throughout the ancient world and this fact sheds important light on the other passages in this brochure. Fertility cult worship involved sexual activity in the temple, often with a sacred prostitute who was like a priest or priestess. This sacred sexual activity was believed to encourage the god(so to bestow fertility on the earth and its creatures.
The sin of Sodom is clearly explained in Ezekiel 16:49-50. It was not homosexual behavior, but for its deep and general sinfulness, the men in the story may have intended sexual abuse of the divine visitors (the translation of the verb "know" here is not clear). The issue is not that the objects may have been homosexual but that it was to be abuse. This was in character with the whole of their uncaring, greedy and Godless lives.
Leviticus 18:22; 20:13-14
These verses are found in the "Holiness Code" which emphasized to the Israelites that they were to be set apart to God. The context is prohibition of practices found in the nearby fertility cult of Molech. "Abomination" is a translation of the Hebrew word which specifically means idolatrous practices (not necessarily sexual). The condemnation here is a reference to the fertility worship which the Israelites were to shun.
The seriousness of this idolatry in Hebrew eyes was compounded by the belief that "to lie with a man as with a woman" violated the dignity of the male sex. Women were property but men were the direct image of God. To treat a man the way a woman was treated was to reduce him to property and, thereby, to violate the image of God. The issue was idolatrous activity which failed to acknowledge God's creation
1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10
At issue are two words: malakee (found only in 1 Corinthians) and arsenokeeteh, which is in both verses. Tradition assumes a homosexual meaning of the words. Actual study reveals that in its use there, malakee means "morally weak" or, perhaps, "immoral persons". (The translation "effeminate" in the King James Version was an archaic one and, in any case, did not imply homosexuality in Greek--as it does not today.)
Arsenokeeteh means to refer directly to cult prostitution, again. Such practices were common both in Corinth and Ephesus (where Timothy was). It clearly refers, in this use and later uses in other writings, to prostitutes who engaged in both homosexual and heterosexual cult practice. Neither of these words can possible be translated to mean "homosexual" or any similar distortion of their meaning.
This is the only passage in Scripture which, apparently, talks about homosexual behavior among women as well as men. The dangerous, traditional interpretation come from failure to relate it to the whole chapter. Paul talks about idolatrous people who put things or concerns before their devotion to God. As an example, he refers to fertility cult worship prevalent in Rome. The homosexual activity to which he refers is idolatrous. He implies that all of the cult worshipers engaged in it. (The interpretation that he is writing about homosexual behavior in general would force this to say that all idolatrous people become homosexual--an obviously spurious interpretation.) The final sentence referring to their just reward is a reference to the venereal disease which was epidemic among such cults. This specific reference to fertility cult worship cannot be construed to condemn homosexual behavior in general. \par
Some argue that God created male and female, as recorded in Genesis, only as a means of procreation. Homosexual behavior is condemned on the assumption that it does not produce offspring. Since gender difference exists, they say, heterosexual contact is the only way god meant sexuality to be expressed.
Procreation was only one of God's purposes in creation of humanity as recorded in Genesis. The other, equally important, was that God did not wish us to be alone. God gave us relationship with one another. It is dangerous to argue from simple biology when talking about ourselves as the image of God. Jesus told us that "God is Spirit" and we are created in the image of God. Human beings differ from animals in our spiritual nature. We are capable of relationship and this is the context of our sexuality. Our "natural" capacity for sexual expression, homosexual or heterosexual, is given meaning
by our capacity for loving relationship.
UFMCC: The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches
UFMCC is a Christian church which directs a special ministry within, and on behalf of, the homosexual community. Founded in 1968 in Los Angeles by the Reverend Troy D. Perry, the UFMCC has member congregations in most countries. Theologically, the Metropolitan Community Churches stand within the mainstream of Christian doctrine, being "ecumenical" or "interdenominational" in stance (albeit a "denomination" in their own right).
The Metropolitan Community Churches are characterized by their belief that: a) the love of God is a gift, freely offered to all people, regardless of "sexual orientation" or any other dimensions of human variation, and that b) no incompatibility exists between human sexuality and the Christian faith.
The Metropolitan Community Church welcomes inquiries and has an E-mail address for just this purpose.
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