The Bible and Homosexuality
|The Bible: Do We Really Need It?|
By Jagannatha Prakasa (© Mar 1, 1998; last updated August 8, 2006)
The Bible is said to be the foundation stone upon which the Church of God rests. It is often quoted to encourage and build up faith in God. Sometimes however, it is used to condemn and destroy faith. Indeed, seemingly one can prove (or disprove) anything by quoting from the Bible. Likewise, there was a time not so long ago when if you spoke English your Bible translation was almost certainly the King James Authorized Version. Today however there are almost as many Bibles as there are Christian denominations! It all seems very confusing at times!
So I ask you, do we really need the Bible? Would we perhaps do better to forget the ancient book?
Before offering my understandings on this, I'd like to take a look at a few scriptural ways in which people can have communion with God.
The first thing to remember is that if you're a Christian, the Bible did not save you, Jesus did! People tend to forget this sometimes.
May I repeat this? The Bible didn't save me, Jesus did!
Friends, don't get out the stakes for my crucifixion just yet, I'm not denying the importance of the Holy Scriptures, God forbid! But the Bible tells us about Jesus, it leads us to salvation by sharing a written record of God's dealings with the people of this planet. That glorious Book declares to us that salvation is the free gift of God and is not attainable through any book, even the Bible.
No, the Bible has never saved a single soul.
In Acts 10 we find one method of uncovering the heart of God:9 On the next day, as they were on their way and approaching the city, Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray.
10 But he became hungry and was desiring to eat; but while they were making preparations, he fell into a trance;
11 and he saw the sky opened up, and an object like a great sheet coming down, lowered by four corners to the ground,
12 and there were in it all kinds of four-footed animals and crawling creatures of the earth and birds of the air.
13 A voice came to him, "Get up, Peter, kill and eat!"
14 But Peter said, "By no means, Lord, for I have never eaten anything unholy and unclean."
15 Again a voice came to him a second time, "What God has cleansed, no longer consider unholy."
16 This happened three times, and immediately the object was taken up into the sky.
17 Now while Peter was greatly perplexed in mind as to what the vision which he had seen might be, behold, the men who had been sent by Cornelius, having asked directions for Simon's house, appeared at the gate;
18 and calling out, they were asking whether Simon, who was also called Peter, was staying there.
19 While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, "Behold, three men are looking for you.
20 "But get up, go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings, for I have sent them Myself."
Peter was a good Jew. He knew the Law of Moses, the Torah. He knew that it was a sin for him to eat the creatures on that blanket. He also knew it was a sin for him to preach the Jewish Messiah to Gentiles. He could quote the Scriptures back to God to prove it!
"Sorry God, no can do," he could have answered. "I'm a good Jew and Leviticus says..."
But what did God say. God didn't reply that there were older, more reliable manuscripts that said it was all right. God didn't go to Strong's Concordance and break down the literal meanings of the words, No!
God said, "What I have called clean do not you call unclean!"
God knew the Law better than Peter did, and God said, "Kill and eat these un-kosher foods"! The Levitical Law was superceded by the sovereign Will of God! God had said these animals, and hence the Gentiles being alluded to, were now to be considered as pure, so they were pure no matter what the Bible said!
Now, these Gentiles that soon showed up weren't dummies either! No doubt those sent to Peter's house knew they were asking Peter to violate the Levitical law by their request, but God had told them to go so they went.
And what happened? Peter violated the letter of the Law, preached the Gospel to non-Jews, and, beginning at verse 44:While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message.
45 All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.
46 For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered,
47 "Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?"
48 And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.
The Holy Ghost fell on the Gentiles!
God told these Gentiles to go, they went. God told Peter to go, he went. Then the Holy Ghost came!
Peter could look at these people and see that God had made them pure! Remember what Jesus said? By their fruits you can know his disciples.
There are those today who say that God doesn't love certain groups of people, like gays and lesbians, that they are outcasts, abominations according to Leviticus, but friend, who are we to judge? Surely only God can determine anyone's standing. And besides:Acts 5:39: "...but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it--lest you even be found to fight against God."
What God has called holy, do not dare to call unholy! By the Spirit of God we can know the truth of a thing by its fruits and by the witness of our spirits. Yet even so, our own cultural and religious belief systems come into play. The best advice is to leave the judging of other to God (1 Corinthians 4:3).
Now, some will argue at this point that we must have the Bible to teach us!
However scripture says clearly at I John 2:27:"As for you, the anointing which you received from God abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as God's anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in God."
For those who surrender their will and ego to God, the indwelling Spirit of Truth will teach us all things and, in harmony with that sweet Spirit, we may peaceably abide in God.
But you may say, the heart is vile, you can't trust it!
Well, the Bible says, at I John 3:18: "Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.
19 We will know by this that we are of the truth, and will assure our heart before God
20 in whatever our heart condemns us; for God is greater than our heart and knows all things.
21 Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God...
The question is will we trust God?
The Christian mystic Thomas Merton (1919-68) wrote in Seeds of Contemplation:"Contemplation is the highest expression of one's intellectual and spiritual life. It is that life itself, fully awake, fully active, fully aware that it is alive. It is spiritual wonder. It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being."
It is by searching our hearts that we know the mysteries and the will of God.
So, what about the Bible?
We read at II Tim. 2: 15:Study to show yourself approved unto God, a worker that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
And what is that word of truth? Why, it is the Bible. Paul continues to tell Timothy:2 Timothy 3:16: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17: That the person of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Please understand, we love the Bible here at AllFaith.com, we read it and honor it, but my friends, we must "rightly divide this word of Truth," not just take it out of context for our own purposes as is too often done.
So, what's the central issue then? How are we saved? How do we draw closer and closer to God?
Romans 3:19 Now we know that whatever the Law says, it speaks to those who are under the Law, so that every mouth may be closed and all the world may become accountable to God;
20 because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in God's sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.
21 But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets
22 even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction;
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 being justified as a gift by God's grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;
25 whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in Jesus' blood through faith. This was to demonstrate Jesus' righteousness, because in the forbearance of God God passed over the sins previously committed;
26 for the demonstration, I say, of God's righteousness at the present time, so that God would be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
27 Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith.
28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.
29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is God not the God of Gentiles also? Yes, of Gentiles also,
30 since indeed God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith is one.
31 Do we then nullify the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
We establish and confirm the legitimacy of the written Law by acknowledging that we can't possibly fulfill it! Its only by God's Grace that any of us are saved, whoever we are and that Grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9).
So then, while the Bible truly is the Word of God and is conducive to our spiritual development and salvation, it is God who saves, not the Bible. It is God who instructs us, not the Bible. We should not become like the Bible-thumpers who use the Word of Love as a tool for bigotry and hatred. We must use it for love and peace, to draw ever closer to God.
Those who abuse the blessed Word of God through their hatred and spiritual darkness would do well to heed these words of John the Beloved. He sounds a stern warning in Third John:I wrote something to the church; but Diotrephes, who loves to be first among them, does not accept what we say.
10 For this reason, if I come, I will call attention to his deeds which he does, unjustly accusing us with wicked words; and not satisfied with this, he himself does not receive the brethren, either, and he forbids those who desire to do so and puts them out of the church.
11 Beloved, do not imitate what is evil, but what is good. The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God.
Far too many people have "been put out of the churches" and told that God does not love them, that God made a mistake in their design, that it takes money or knowledge to be a Believer, that they must play politics or deny what they inwardly know to be true, but friend the Bible tells me differently! The Bible, as well as my personal experiences with God, tells me that God so loves us ALL that Jesus came to set us ALL free. I'm free today! We are free today and one day we'll all know the Truth! I bet we will ALL be surprised by it! (Phil. 4:8,9)
Peace, Love, and Light!