by Rev. Mel White, co-founder of Soulforce
LIKE YOU, I TAKE THE BIBLE SERIOUSLY!
Many good people build their case against homosexuality almost entirely on the Bible. These folks value Scripture, and are serious about seeking its guidance in their lives. Unfortunately, many of them have never really studied what the Bible does and doesn’t say about homosexuality.
We gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Christians take the Bible seriously, too. Personally, I’ve spent more than 50 years reading, studying, memorizing, preaching, and teaching from the sacred texts. I earned my master’s and doctoral degrees at a conservative biblical seminary to better equip myself to “rightly divide the word of truth.” I learned Hebrew and Greek to gain a better understanding of the original words of the biblical texts. I studied the lives and times of the biblical authors to help me know what they were saying in their day so I could better apply it to my own. I’m convinced the Bible has a powerful message for gay and lesbian Christians — as well as straight Christians. But it’s not the message of condemnation we so often hear.
I’m not expecting you to take my word for it, though. I ask only that you’d consider what my research has taught me about the passages used by some people to condemn God’s gay and lesbian children. Then decide for yourself…
MY FIRST PREMISE:
Most people have not carefully and prayerfully researched the biblical texts often used to condemn God’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender children.
As you may know, biblical ignorance is an epidemic in the United States. A recent study quoted by Dr. Peter Gomes in The Good Book found that 38 percent of Americans polled were certain the Old Testament was written a few years after Jesus’ death. Ten percent believed Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife. Many even thought the epistles were the wives of the apostles.
This same kind of biblical ignorance is all too present around the topic of homosexuality. Often people who love and trust God’s Word have never given careful and prayerful attention to what the Bible does or doesn’t say about homosexuality.
For example, many Christians don’t know that:
- Jesus says nothing about same-sex behavior.
- The Jewish prophets are silent about homosexuality.
- Only six or seven of the Bible’s one million verses refer to same-sex behavior in any way — and none of these verses refer to homosexual orientation as it’s understood today.
Most people who are certain they know what the Bible says about homosexuality don’t know where the verses that reference same-sex behavior can be found. They haven’t read them, let alone studied them carefully. They don’t know the original meaning of the words in Hebrew or Greek. And they haven’t tried to understand the historical context in which those words were written. Yet the assumption that the Bible condemns homosexuality is passed down from generation to generation with very little personal study or research. The consequences of this misinformation are disastrous, not only for God’s gay and lesbian children, but for the entire church. The apostle Paul says, “Test all things and hold fast to that which is good.” By reading this little pamphlet, you are taking Paul seriously. >>More