On September 23, the Omaha World Herald ran a story in the Midlands section about a couple Creighton professors who wrote a book with alternative views of sex. The book is called The Sexual Person: Toward a Renewed Catholic Anthropology. Their views differ vastly from traditional Catholic teachings, and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops call the book “harmful.” Here’s the gist of the book according to the article:
The volume says, for instance, that while many theologians feel the Bible speaks clearly on the issue of homosexuality, the Bible is in fact “far from clear and unambiguous” on the topic.”
I’m not a Roman Catholic, and I’m not here to talk about Roman Catholicism. What I’d like to talk about what two “theologians” think about the Scriptures. I haven’t read the book, but Todd Salzman and Michael G. Lawler, have it wrong. Very wrong.
Contrary to popular belief, the Bible is clear on most subjects — and homosexuality is certainly one of them. Here’s a few verses to ponder (space limits us from going into the whole context):
You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination (Lev. 18:22).
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 (Lev. 20:13).
And lest you think this is only an Old Testament thing:
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 Cor. 6:9).
Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire (Jude 1:7).
The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 1:21-27 that one of the tragic results of exchanging the glory of God for created things is giving in to the dishonorable passion of homosexuality. Read what he says (emphasis added):
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 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.
You can argue that all you want until you are blue in the face, but it doesn’t get much more clear and unambiguous than these passages. The key to proper and faithful exegesis (the work of interpreting a text) is to get to the bottom of what the author said, not what you want it to mean. If you want to disagree and say that homosexuality is not wrong, go ahead. But you cannot argue from the Bible that the Bible says homosexuality is not a big deal.
If I say, “This book is red and heavy,” and you interpret it as, “This book is blue and light as a feather,” you are incorrectly interpreting my words. This happens everyday with Scripture interpretation. God says something is wrong and others say, “Well, he doesn’t really mean that.”
One day, the Last Day, Jesus will judge the world. He will judge us for every action and every careless word they speak. Oh LORD, have mercy on me and on those who incorrectly interpret your word. Help me — and them — to know what your word means so that we might joyfully obey it and proclaim it to the world.