What in the World is the Church Doing?

Posted Monday, 02 September 2019 00:49
What in the World is the Church Doing?

From Bermuda Source:

The following opinion piece was submitted merely as an observation and subsequent query of church practice regarding its position against LGBTQ. It is not intended to be a defense of any social agenda, organization or group

Question:

Where in the bible did “God” instruct his followers in any epoch historically to fight specifically against what is referenced today as the “Sin of homosexuality”?

To be clear and accurate with both the text of scripture and history, the reference is specifically, “lying with mankind as with womankind”  (Leviticus 18:22) historically, the word, “homosexual”, which is today defined loosely as, sexual activity between members of the same sex, did not exist as a word form in ancient times.

Today, the biblical reference, of lying with mankind as with womankind, is what Christians equate with the more modern term, Homosexuality, which is to say that two people of the same sex (gender) , engage in sexual activity with each other.

To be sure that we are on the right train of thought. Let’s consult the correct language used in ancient times to describe what “mankind”’ would have been referred to as it relates strictly to Leviticus 18:22.

Since the O.T. was translated from ancient Hebrew into English, we will use the Hebrew word for mankind, which is Zakar, which indeed means, a man, or male. The Hebrew word for womankind is Ishshah which can be translated as female or woman. The Hebrew word for lie, as it is used in Leviticus 18:22 is Shakab, which can be translated as sexual activity.

A base understanding (interpretation) of the passage does appear to indicate that God did warn his people that any act of sexual intercourse performed by a man on another man, as would normally be performed on a woman, is an abomination, Tow’ebah, which is interpreted as something disgusting or morally detestable.

Even though most sects in modern-day Christianity consider old testament theology as obsolete, it is still apparently quite useful to consult, since these loosely affiliated assemblies are confronted today with what they perceive as a pervasive and persistent display of “sinful” practices, which manifest in contemporary society.

And since Leviticus 18:22 is the “go to” text to justify Christian disdain for same-sex relationships, it is more than fair to say that the entire passage should be utilized to encourage obedience, where the text fits contemporary society. Should it not?

On this single point alone, there is honestly and clearly no wrong on behalf of the Christian church (however way that is defined) today, if it will simply regard same-sex activity as a sin. If on this rare occasion that the church must allow ancient Jewish theology to be applicable, in that it defines modern day sexual practices between the same-sex as immoral, then the Church, on religious grounds, has the literary basis to voice that belief. After all, “it is written”.

However, is the Church today (specifically referencing those assemblies that collectively disagree with the workings of same-sex relationships) aware of the actual command given by God in the ancient Jewish text? In other words, what did God actually, completely and explicitly command the ancient Israelites to adhere too, regarding the text of Leviticus 18?

This is where the Church has thrown itself into an abyss of controversy; and in so doing, caused for itself more damage to its image (of Christ?) and its reputation within the various communities wherein it is lodged. For the power of God is wrought in exact and complete obedience to his commands.

God himself commanded that there is no turning to the left nor right of his expressed commands. And so, if the Church today insist that Leviticus 18:22 is certainly applicable to the “scourge” of homosexuality in modern times, then not only has the church “missed the mark” of complete obedience to God, it may also be guilty of harassment, hypocrisy and conveniently cherry-picking  portions of an ancient text as grounds to instigate an all-out war (in the name of religion, not God) against one segment of the population, for which it has no mandate of God to declare. 

How so?

Without indulging in a drawn-out theological exposition, Leviticus 18:22 is not the only verse in that chapter. Chapter 18 is loaded with other practices that God condemns, such as sleeping with close relatives, (v6) incest, (v7) sex with in-laws, (v16) sex with the wife of a neighbor, (v20) and sex with animals, (v23)

Granted these practices are not on the radar of awareness and are therefore not as prevalent as the proliferation of same-sex relationships; but they are indulged nonetheless – albeit under the radar. The only difference being that those involved in same-sex relationships have opted to “come out of the closet” as it were, and straight into the cross-hairs of militant Christian sects.

Why Christians don’t examine and root out some of these same practices, including same-sex relationships, within their own assemblies, as well as within the wider community, would seem a good question to ask. But it still would not be the right question, for this argument was had and was either explained away or simply ignored.    

The right question was posed at the top of this article:

Where in the bible did “God” instruct his followers in any epoch historically to fight specifically against what is referenced today as the “Sin of homosexuality”? 

The answer is nowhere found in the ancient text; but there is a very pivotal decree that is found in the ancient text that Christians have either ignored, disobeyed or overlooked; and it immediately renders all religious protests, rallies and lobbying/pandering to secular authorities, null and void.

What is it?

When God spoke to Moses, he commanded him to speak to the children of Israel, regarding the prohibition of sexual practices; (all of Leviticus 18) but in verse 3, 28 and verse 30, Yahweh (that’s “God’s” name by the way) makes this statement that modern Christians miss:

“After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, where I will bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances”. (v3)

“That the land spue you not out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you”. (V28)

“Therefore, shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein”.

Did you get that? Israel was surrounded by other nations that did not practice Yahweh’s commands. They had their own customs, gods and sexual practices. Explicit in Yahweh’s ordinance was this warning:

“Therefore, shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein”.

As a Christian, are you not still a child of “God” (as you call him) the same Yahweh of Israel? If some will so boldly declare that “Bermuda is a Christian nation”, then are you not also surrounded, as it were, by other nations or people groups, within the land, who do not practice Yahweh’s commands? Of course, you are.

Are the ordinances of scripture written for the children of God or for “heathens”? (someone who does not recognize biblical authority) Who is God expecting to be obedient to his ordinances, his children or heathens?

Regardless of the sexual practices observed in other people groups, for which Christians label as “sin”, the Christian God in ancient times was far less concerned with how heathen nations behaved and more aggressively concerned with how his children behaved while surrounded by heathen nations. This much is obvious from the plain reading of the text.

Is he not the same God, yesterday, today and forever – according to Christian theology? Then the message to his children, especially as it regards those same sexual practices, with the same focus is this: Don’t YOU do it! That is all.

By no means are Christians compelled to march, protest, lobby secular governments, demanding legislative prohibitions, or any other “new thing” that will supposedly “honor” the Christian God. God did not command Israel to deploy any of these methods against heathen nations, neither does he command Christians today to do it. These are but secular (worldly) mechanisms, designed to win concessions, not souls.

Is there some concern that God is "asleep at the wheel" that Christians must take matters into their own hands? If the church truly believes in the righteous judgments of a soon-coming King, then it should be completely about the business of ministering life through example or leave people alone and simply stay out of their affairs. 

It is completely contrary to the Gospel and the “work of the Spirit” to engage secular means to force others to change or withdraw from a course of life or behavior, which is believed to be against “God’s will”. God did not command, nor does he require the Church to become involved in crusades to abolish or curtail the “sexual sins” of other people. But he DID command especially that his people DO NOT engage in those practices.

Becoming the “light of the world” and the “salt of the earth” can only be accomplished through prescribed biblical conduct for living. Souls are won through the power of the Spirit manifest in obedient servants, not through worldly provocation and political partisanship.  

There are some in the church that have awakened to this understanding

Just as soon as Church leaders turn their focus inward, they will discover that the “wrong-doing” being perpetrated outside the church, is also occurring within the church to a larger degree than they know.

Whom do you believe “God” will judge first?

 

 

 

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