The pro-LGBTQ faction minimizes the importance of Scripture that addresses homosexual conduct. They appear to do this in a number of ways.
First, the pro-LGBTQ agenda downplays the Scriptures that speak to homosexual practice by characterizing them as a “few passages” that are “insignificant” and “misunderstood.” Rev. Hamilton downplays Scripture by the statement “the handful of passages in the Bible that seem to speak to some form of same-sex sexual activity.” As is apparent from even a plain reading of the relevant texts, these passages do not “seem” to speak to homosexual sex, but do, in fact, clearly address homosexual sex.
There are not just a “few passages” that condemn homosexual practice. There are many passages as the listing below taken from the topic “Homosexuality” in Swanson, J., & Nave, O. (1994). New Nave’s Topical Bible. Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems reveals:
Gen. 19:5–8; Genesis 19:5–8 (ESV) – 5 And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” 6 Lot went out to the men at the entrance, shut the door after him, 7 and said, “I beg you, my brothers, do not act so wickedly. 8 Behold, I have two daughters who have not known any man. Let me bring them out to you, and do to them as you please. Only do nothing to these men, for they have come under the shelter of my roof.”
Leviticus 18:22 (ESV) – 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.
Leviticus 20:13 (ESV) – 13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.
Rom. 1:24, 26, 27; Romans 1:24, 26-27 (ESV) – 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, … 26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
1 Corinthians 6:9 (ESV) 9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,
1 Timothy 1:9–10 (ESV) 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine,
As I can best ascertain, not one passage in the Bible speaks favorably about homosexual practice.
To downplay the importance and clarity of Scripture that clearly condemns homosexual practice is wrong. This is especially the case when male-male homosexual sex was a capital offense for both participants. It is a serious error to downplay a sin, i.e., the practice of homosexual sex, that results in a person not inheriting the kingdom of God. See 1 Corinthians 6:9.
Second, the pro-LGBTQ agenda uses an invalid hermeneutical approach that pigeonholes Scripture into one of three buckets; namely, (1) Scriptures that express God’s heart, character, and timeless will for human beings, (2) Scriptures that expressed God’s will in a particular time, but are no longer binding, and (3) Scriptures that never fully expressed the heart, character or will of God.
This “bucket approach,” especially bucket 3, ignores biblical mandates like those in 2 Timothy 3:16–17 (ESV), which reads:
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
2 Peter 1:20–21 (ESV) teaches along the same line:
20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Per Hamilton #2, the pro-LGBTQ faction does not adopt an evangelical hermeneutical approach:
But in truth, I don’t believe that we are picking and choosing. I think we’re appropriately interpreting; we’re asking the question, “What was the historical and cultural setting of these words, and do they appropriately express the heart of God for us today?” And how do Christians make that determination? We consider the words and actions of Jesus, we think of what he described as the great commandments, and we consider the major themes of Scripture. Then we bring our intellect and experience of the Spirit to bear on our reading of Scripture.
Overall, the pro-LGBTQ faction adopts a hermeneutical approach that is along the lines of “if I like it, I’ll adopt it; if I don’t like it, I’ll reject it.” Correlating this approach to the bucket approach, “if I like it, I’ll put it in the first bucket, and if I don’t like it, I’ll put it in the third bucket.”
The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy and the Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics set out very basic principles that must guide one’s biblical analysis. The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy sets out these basic principles:
Article I. WE AFFIRM that the Holy Scriptures are to be received as the authoritative Word of God. WE DENY that the Scriptures receive their authority from the Church, tradition, or any other human source.
Article III. WE AFFIRM that the written Word in its entirety is revelation given by God. WE DENY that the Bible is merely a witness to revelation, or only becomes revelation in encounter, or depends on the responses of men for its validit
Article VI. WE AFFIRM that the whole of Scripture and all its parts, down to the very words of the original, were given by divine inspiration. WE DENY that the inspiration of Scripture can rightly be affirmed of the whole without the parts, or of some parts but not the whole.
Article XI. WE AFFIRM that Scripture, having been given by divine inspiration, is infallible, so that, far from misleading us, it is true and reliable in all the matters it addresses. WE DENY that it is possible for the Bible to be at the same time infallible and errant in its assertions. Infallibility and inerrancy may be distinguished, but not separated.
Article XII. WE AFFIRM that Scripture in its entirety is inerrant, being free from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit. WE DENY that Biblical infallibility and inerrancy are limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes, exclusive of assertions in the fields of history and science. We further deny that scientific hypotheses about earth history may properly be used to overturn the teaching of Scripture on creation and the flood.
Article XVIII. WE AFFIRM that the text of Scripture is to be interpreted by grammatico-historical exegesis, taking account of its literary forms and devices, and that Scripture is to interpret Scripture. WE DENY the legitimacy of any treatment of the text or quest for sources lying behind it that leads to relativizing, dehistoricizing, or discounting its teaching, or rejecting its claims to authorship.
The Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics reads [in part]:
Article VII. WE AFFIRM that the meaning expressed in each biblical text is single, definite and fixed. WE DENY that the recognition of this single meaning eliminates the variety of its application.
Article VIII. WE AFFIRM that the Bible contains teachings and mandates which apply to all cultural and situational contexts and other mandates which the Bible itself shows apply only to particular situations. WE DENY that the distinction between the universal and particular mandates of Scripture can be determined by cultural and situational factors. We further deny that universal mandates may ever be treated as culturally or situationally relative.
Article IX. WE AFFIRM that the term hermeneutics, which historically signified the rules of exegesis, may properly be extended to cover all that is involved in the process of perceiving what the biblical revelation means and how it bears on our lives. WE DENY that the message of Scripture derives from, or is dictated by, the interpreter’s understanding. Thus we deny that the “horizons” of the biblical writer and the interpreter may rightly “fuse” in such a way that what the text communicates to the interpreter is not ultimately controlled by the expressed meaning of the Scripture.
Article XIV. WE AFFIRM that the biblical record of events, discourses and sayings, though presented in a variety of appropriate literary forms, corresponds to historical fact. WE DENY that any event, discourse or saying reported in Scripture was invented by the biblical writers or by the traditions they incorporated.
Article XV. WE AFFIRM the necessity of interpreting the Bible according to its literal, or normal, sense. The literal sense is the grammatical-historical sense, that is, the meaning which the writer expressed. Interpretation according to the literal sense will take account of all figures of speech and literary forms found in the text. WE DENY the legitimacy of any approach to Scripture that attributes to it meaning which the literal sense does not support.
Article XVII. WE AFFIRM the unity, harmony and consistency of Scripture and declare that it is its own best interpreter. WE DENY that Scripture may be interpreted in such a way as to suggest that one passage corrects or militates against another. WE DENY that later writers of Scripture misinterpreted earlier passages of Scripture when quoting from or referring to them.
Article XVIII. WE AFFIRM that the Bible’s own interpretation of itself is always correct, never deviating from, but rather elucidating, the single meaning of the inspired text. The single meaning of a prophet’s words includes, but is not restricted to, the understanding of those words by the prophet and necessarily involves the intention of God evidenced in the fulfillment of those words. WE DENY that the writers of Scripture always understood the full implications of their own words.
A comparison of these articles from the Chicago statements reveals that the “bucket approach” is sufficiently amorphous so that a person can classify most any Scripture into any one of the three buckets. Enough isogetical gymnastics can distort most passages to fit into the bucket of choice.
Third, in an effort to validate discarding the prohibition against homosexual practice, Rev. Hamilton points out that the early church decided, “that circumcision was no longer required of Christians, or that Christians were no longer bound by much that is found in the Law of Moses.” As an initial comment, whatever the “early church” did is not Scripture. It comprises actions taken by men that may or may not have been consistent with a correct interpretation of Scripture.
In reference to circumcision, the purpose was to not require circumcision of Gentiles in order to be saved. Acts 15 makes that clear. To add circumcision would add works and thereby run counter to the basic principle that salvation is by grace through faith and not by works per Ephesians 2:8-9.
In reference to the “Law of Moses,” the New Testament does not set aside biblical principles of morality as set forth in the Levitical Holiness Code. I will address that issue in a later article.
Fourth, the pro-LGBTQ faction adds emotion to the analysis. One example is Bishop Wilke’s approach to the bible in his effort, “to reconcile my commitment to scriptural authority with loving and accepting my daughter.” Emotion has no business in a valid analysis of Scripture.
Fifth, the pro-LGBTQ faction argues that cultural changes should nullify hard and fast Scriptural prohibitions. This is shown by the statement that iven time, the homosexual issue should become “a non-issue, as even most evangelical young adults in the United Methodist Church see this issue differently from their 40- and 50- and 60-year-old parents and grandparents.” The cultural norm or trend has no influence on a valid exegetical analysis. To add popular opinion to an analysis of Scripture removes any certainty from Scripture, and takes God out of the equation. Scripture without God is not God’s Word.
Sixth, to advocate a “genuine compromise” on a issue so clear as the condemnation of homosexual practice diminishes the authority of Scripture. It is a call to compromise biblical morality to argue that the church should take the “middle way.” The “middle way” is defined as, “a church that values and holds together in tension ideas and impulses that seem like opposites.”
Overall, the pro-LGBTQ faction treats Scripture as a “nose of wax” which they can bend whichever way they want to in an effort to support their agenda. The way the pro-LGBTQ faction interprets Scripture ignores the authority of Scripture.
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