Doing No Harm

Is doing no harm a sufficient moral principle? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Often today, we don’t hear about if an action is good or evil. We hear about if it is harmful or not. Now, causing harm is one aspect to consider in morality, but it is not the only. When it comes to the idea of redefining marriage, part of the question asked is “Well who is it hurting?”

For one thing, changing the meaning of marriage for anyone changes it for everyone. Everyone’s marriage is shifted to not a union designed to bring about children for the prolonging of civilization, but rather to a sort of union from two people who are committed to one another. By this standard, we could say that two roommates could be married or a brother and sister who choose to live together are married or a son who brings his mother who is a new widow into his home are married.

However, while those are important situations to bring up, why not go back and question this principle about not harming anyone. Consider the scenario of a peeping Tom for example. he has found a peephole outside of a showering area where he can stand and watch naked women shower. He is never caught and the women never have any idea they are being watched? Are any of them being harmed? If not, then can we say this is wrong?

Consider also a dentist who has a private practice. To keep costs down, he doesn’t even have a secretary. He works alone and makes all his appointments. From time to time, beautiful women come in and he has to put them under for surgical operations. What they don’t know is that sometimes when they are unconscious, he undresses them and fondles them. The women never get pregnant and so never find out about what he’s done. Has he done any harm?

If you’re a Christian or even most any other kind of theist, you could say this man has damaged his standing before God in each case and so he has done harm at least to himself. He has lowered himself from being what a human being ought to be to being something less. If you are a secularist though, you do not have this option.

Not only that, but we know that there are times that causing harm is the good thing to do. I have a friend who just had a quadruple bypass operation. Right now, he is still in a lot of pain. I have told him some about my having scoliosis surgery and how I too was in a lot of pain and understood what that was like. In both cases, our doctors harmed us and left us with tremendous pain. The thing is, we knew this would happen and we went through it willingly and even paid our doctors for it. Why? Because we were not being harmed to be harmed. We were being given some degree of harm in order to get a greater good.

Another example is telling a loved one a hard truth. Sometimes, this is very harmful to the person for the immediate and short-term, but it is good in the long run. Again, consequences are not all that is to be considered, but they are a part of this. Consequences alone are insufficient. We need to look at the action, who is doing it, and why they are doing it.

No one being harmed by itself is insufficient. By this standard, the Peeping Tom and the dentist are both okay. By a Christian standard, they are in the wrong because they are lowering themselves as human beings and actually in the long run making themselves more likely to be the people who will take further steps to do actual visible harm to others.

Our moral thinking needs to go deeper than just utilitarianism. We need to look at who we are and why we do what we do.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

But They’re So Nice

Should you change your mind because your neighbor is nice? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

My parents are part of the Methodist Church which just underwent a huge split over the issue of the definition of marriage. Naturally, my folks want to talk to me about what’s going on and my thoughts on the matter. One comment I have heard from them is that they have friends who know someone who’s same-sex attracted and they’ll say “But they’re so nice….”

I don’t have any reason to question that. There are several who are nice people. However, how does that become an argument to say “Therefore, I should vote to redefine marriage.”?

The issue when it comes to what the Methodist Church wants to do is “What is the nature of marriage?” Now if you think nature is fluid, meaning that a man and a woman is not the essence of marriage, meaning something essential to marriage, it’s up to you to define what is.  You can say marriage is fluid, but if there is nothing essential to marriage, as in marriage has no real characteristic of it, then marriage is essentially nothing.

I have written about this in several other places, so I don’t want to make this blog on the nature of marriage. I do want to discuss the question about people being nice. I really don’t understand why this is so persuasive, aside from the fact that people think with their emotions more than they do with their heads.

For one thing, if every same-sex attracted person was among the nicest people on the planet, that would say nothing about the nature of marriage itself. I regularly hear, and have experienced, that Mormons are usually incredibly kind people. If someone is willing to grant that, does that mean that they should rush down to the Mormon Church to convert?

Of course not, and even if they did, how many contradictions would you have in your mindset on the same issue? If you met a really nice Muslim after that, would you determine that Mormonism is false and Islam is true? If you encountered a nice atheist then, would you conclude that God doesn’t exist? If every atheist was practically a saint, that would say nothing about the arguments for or against theism.

Contrary, suppose Christians you met were jerks, and sadly, this could be true. Christians shouldn’t be, but if one encounters a Christian who is a jerk, that doesn’t say anything about whether Christianity is true or false. Christianity could have the best ethical system in the world and yet if people fail to live up to it, that says nothing about the system of ethics. It just says a lot about the followers.

We could say that people who vote to redefine marriage are implicitly saying then that everyone who holds to marriage as has always been understood is a jerk. Do they really want to say that? If you vote because person A of this persuasion is nice, does that mean the person opposed is mean?

When you look at the nature of marriage in the church situation, only one question needs to be asked. What is marriage? If you see it as fluid and changeable, then act accordingly. If you hold to a reality that says the man-woman unit is essential to marriage, then do the same.

Give a real reason. Even if you support the redefining of marriage, I hope this is something that can be agreed to. People should strive to be moral, but that doesn’t mean their position is true.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

I Was Not Assigned

What is at stake with our words? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last week, there was an announcement made at the chapel service here at NOBTS about free flu shots being given out for students. All we had to do was go to the student center and there would be some nurses there ready to give us our shots. Being one without health insurance now (Financial realities of being a seminary student), I decided to go and get one.

Now this was a Christian hospital organization that was giving out the shots and so they had to ask me several questions, which I understand. I get the legal requirements. I don’t blame them and I realize the sad reality of what many businesses are going through, but as an individual, I did take a firm stand.

So in the middle of the usual questions that I expect, I get the one of “What is your gender identity?” I consider this to really be a nonsense question. Identity has no purpose here. How I feel about myself does not affect what I am at all. I can feel like I’m a cat and it’s not going to change I’m a human. For a more realistic example, as one going through a divorce, I can feel numerous negative things many times. Those things are not true. Many Christians can struggle with feeling God doesn’t love them. Doesn’t make it true. The reason many people commit suicide is often connected with a negative feeling about them or their future that just isn’t true.

I am a man. That is it. I can take a look at my body and the way that I came out and realize that yes, I am a man.

My next question I was asked was “Were you assigned that at birth?”

At this I think my eyes glare, not in anger at the nurses. They have to do their job. It’s in anger that this question is on here. I gave a direct answer. “No. I was born a man.” I realize we could say I was born a boy who grew into a man, but the sex that I was born as was not something that was just decided. It was known when I was born.

I also realize some people can bring up people who are intersex, but intersex and transgender are two very different things. One is a very physical condition and we have never sought to change our laws and society based on this condition. The other, transgenderism, is a psychological delusion and we are changing our society and laws to play along and real people are being the victims.

Friends. This is a hill we cannot budge any on. This is about a battle for reality itself. I consider the far-left movement in our society to be in a war against reality and trying to eliminate any idea of male and female. It’s as if we are being pushed into a political monism.

The biggest aspect of this battle to watch is our words. I will use longer and clunkier terminology to avoid granting any grounds to the other side. I will not speak of a “same-sex marriage.” A marriage by definition is the unity of a man and a woman. No. Something like polygamy doesn’t change this, though it is wrong, as it is just one man with several women, but the man-woman aspect is there. The same would be for one woman with many men.

When you say “same-sex marriage” you are speaking of a contradiction. You are speaking of a man-woman unit that is not man-woman. If we also make the definition of marriage fluid, we can make it to mean anything and then it means nothing. Why limit it to two people? Why make it consensual? Why make it lifelong? The word marriage has to mean something specific.

I prefer to not even speak of a homosexual anymore. It makes homosexual more often an aspect of the person’s identity and surely that won’t change. It becomes something innate. I will easily instead speak of a person with same-sex attraction. What is central here is that this is a person.

We must absolutely watch people who want to control our words and tell us there are things we cannot say. We have seen part of this when any monitoring is done of questions about vaccines or the 2020 election. Even if you think both of those are crazy conspiracy theories, it would be better to have them talked about and the ideas discussed. Shutting down discussion on any topic convinces more often people who think there is a cover-up.

Keep in mind that in 1984, the goal of the editing of the language was not to come up with new words. It was to eliminate as many words as possible. Control the words people say and you can control the ideas that they are allowed to think about.

The language war is essential.

No. I was not assigned male at birth. I was born that way. I could jack up my body with as many hormones as doctors say and mutilate it with surgical procedures, and I will look like I am playing a part, but it won’t change reality. Barring the return of Jesus Christ, I will die a male. Nothing will change that.

There is too much at stake. Whenever you encounter language that is meant to shape what you think, do not give an inch to it. If you have to use long and clunkier phrases, that’s fine. I would rather do that and be minorly inconvenienced than give in to fake reality and be majorly inconvenienced.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

Can A Same-Sex Attracted Person Be In Ministry?

If you struggle with same-sex attraction, can you serve in ministry? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

“Yes, Mom. If they have same-sex attraction, I believe 100% they can still be a pastor.”

I tend to reach out to my parents every night. Before I left for seminary, I got them an Echo Show. I use mine and call them and we can see one another and they can see Shiro and sometimes they show me their cat, Reagan. Neither of the cats really care for seeing one another and Shiro has never cared for seeing my parents and usually just keeps giving me kitty kisses while we’re talking.

Naturally, religious conversations come up and we were talking about the Methodist Church which they belong to. Their church is not budging on issues of sexual morality and does uphold the biblical view of marriage. However, my Mom was quite surprised to hear what I said.

“But isn’t that why our denomination is breaking away from the rest of it?”

No. It’s not. This is something that is a common misconception, but we definitely need to define our terms. For one thing, the more liberal churches are encouraging homosexual behavior and supporting that directly from the pulpit. If you have someone who is living a lifestyle and approving of it, then that is a problem.

I would say the same about a pastor who was involved in pornography or having a heterosexual affair or any other number of these types of sins. We need to treat it seriously. If a pastor struggles with porn, he should step down and get help and not return to the pulpit until he has his addiction under control and is no longer participating.

Keep in mind though, he could always in some ways be an addict to porn. That might not change, but what can change is what he has done with it. He is at the point where he knows that it is wrong and he is not participating and making excuses and likely has accountability software. (Actually, I think all pastors regardless should have that before taking a pulpit so their church can know.)

So what about someone with same-sex attraction? If they know that this is something wrong that the Bible condemns and they do not engage, then having the attraction and temptation is no sin. It is a problem for them to work on, but they are not doing anything wrong by having a temptation. They are still upholding biblical morality and Christian orthodoxy.

There are a number of Christians who do have this cross that they bear and I support. Sam Allberry, Christopher Yuan, and Wesley Hill come to mind. I would encourage Christians interested in this issue to also read Preston Sprinkle’s book People To Be Loved. Those who have this attraction and are living a celibate lifestyle should really be seen as examples exposing the myth that you have to be in a physically sexual relationship to be happy and the sufficiency of Jesus in all things.

So yes, I welcome them in ministry. They are my brothers and sisters.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

The Failure of Bros

Is this due to “homophobia”? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I’ve seen on YouTube today a lot of talk about the failure of a movie called Bros. If you haven’t heard of this movie, it’s supposed to be a romantic comedy, but the lovers in this are a pair of men. This was the first of its kind and its fail was tremendous.

Billy Eichner, who is behind the movie, has sadly taken the lower path in handling this. Instead of looking at himself and looking at his movie and seeing why it is no one went to see it, he is instead blaming the audience. Why did it fail? It is because YOU must be a homophobe.

However, if that is the case, then even assuming everyone who saw the movie in America is gay, a lot of them even didn’t see it, so does that mean someone in the homosexual community is a homophobe? Eichner has also been on Twitter sending out regular tweets about this. Little tip here. If you want your audience to listen to you, it’s probably not a good idea to call them homophobes and anything else at the same time.

Well here are a lot of reasons most people didn’t go see this movie.

First, romcoms are normally meant for women. For the most part, men do not go to see romcoms unless their girlfriends or wives insist on it. Men would rather see an action flick of some kind. They want to see some fights, car chases, shootings, and something getting blown up. If they do go see a romcom, they want to at least see a beautiful woman in that movie.

A gay romcom has neither. No straight guy I know of wants to see two dudes getting it on together. Add in there are supposedly multiple orgies in this and we’re even less interested.

While men will go see action flicks wanting to be the man in the films, women go see romcoms because for the most part, they want to be romanced. They like the love story and it’s their kind of fairy tale. They are not interested in seeing two dudes either.

If you’re wanting men to go see your film, don’t make it a romcom.

Second, people don’t want to see something if they think they’re being preached to. Most people do not go to church for entertainment value and there’s a reason we’ve called a long message we don’t want to hear a sermon. There’s a reason we refer to a negative onslaught of what we ought to do as preaching. When people see a system they don’t want regularly put in their face, they lose interest. It’s the whole “Go woke, go broke.”

Consider how it is in superhero comics. Most people I know wouldn’t really care too much if someone wanted to make a gay superhero. What they don’t want is to take a traditional superhero who has never shown any inkling of being gay and then turning them gay to appeal to diversity. People go to comics for entertainment. They don’t go for politics.

Third, yes, a lot of people don’t agree with homosexuality, including myself, but it doesn’t do anything to call us all homophobes any more than calling non-Christians Christophobes is going to get them to repent or seriously examine Christianity. Instead of having any debate on the topic, instead, it is easier to just shout an insult at someone. It doesn’t help your side any.

That means when we go see a movie, we don’t want to see an orgy with a bunch of guys in it. That might appeal to the homosexual community, but not to heterosexual community. We also don’t care for a movie that tells us that we had a good run. You don’t tell us our time is done and then respond negatively when we choose to not show interest in you.

Ultimately, if people don’t like your work, no matter how passionate you are about it, you need to look to yourself. You will never have something that pleases everyone, but I have to do the same thing here. If people aren’t interacting with my content or taking it seriously, I have to look at myself mostly. Now there’s no harm in looking at my audience and asking what they want. I wrote about divorce for quite awhile, for instance, because I saw views were up on my blog when I did that. Give the people what they want.

If someone isn’t interested in my content, I can ask what I can do to make it interesting to them. I could look at my writing style or website presentation or anything else. The first place to start if someone doesn’t like my work is always with me. It is not with the audience.

So Billy, take a look at yourself. How passionate you are about the work doesn’t matter a bit. I can be super-passionate about selling overcoats, but it won’t work if I’m talking to people in the Middle East most likely. I can be super passionate about pork products, but it won’t work with Muslims or Orthodox Jews. Passion doesn’t equal success. Having a good product or service and then knowing your audience well and what they want does.

We just don’t want Bros. Time to accept that and move on.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Of Marriages And Diets

Is this a valid reason to abandon marriage? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

As I was writing yesterday’s blogpost, I had a number of people tag me on Facebook and ask “What do you think of this?” and this was the very picture I was writing about. Today, I’d like to tackle another one that has been making the rounds. It’s another one that sadly convinces me those on the left in this debate really don’t bother to listen to what their opponents say.

First off, the opening claim is just false. Even if you are a skeptic, it should be easy to accept that a redefined marriage of two men or two women is against someone else’s religion is a fact. That doesn’t say anything about the emotional state of the person who holds that religion. The anger is already imposed. (This happens all too often as those of us who are conservative are often accused of having hate towards the other side.)

I don’t go to bed at night steaming about homosexual couples. The issue matters to me, but I have many other things to think about. It’s on the other side unfortunately that if we are told we don’t agree, well here come the hounds out to shut down our businesses and demand our freedom to operate be taken away.

That’s only the start of the problem.

The majority of the real argumentation on the right is not going “The Bible says X, therefore Y should be forbidden.” Most of us are making arguments based on the nature of marriage and a natural law understanding of marriage. Yes. I am sure Pastor Bob down at the local Southern Baptist Church is getting up in the pulpit screaming about what the Bible says and doesn’t have a clue about these natural law arguments, but note I stated the real argumentation. I am not against the Bible, but if one side doesn’t believe it, it has no authority for them, at least in the sense that it doesn’t change their thinking.

Ultimately, when I have seen this debated online, it comes down to what a marriage is. It has always before been understood as two adults of the opposite sex coming together in a union generally with the goal of bringing about and raising children. Now we are told that it doesn’t matter what two consenting adults do.

But why should this be the case?

First off, consider the case of Armin Meiwes. He was a cannibal who was convicted for eating someone. Here’s the relevant part. This person wanted to be eaten. He fully consented to everything. Thus, we have an action between two consenting adults. To make this wrong, you will need another qualifier then. Two consenting adults is not sufficient.

Second, what exactly is an adult? In Biblical times, as was much of the world back then, as soon as the kids hit puberty, it was time to marry them off to someone else. Teenagers in the past would be forming families. Today, having a relationship with a teenager can get you hit with a statutory rape charge. There is nothing magical about the age of 18 that makes someone an adult. We’ve all known adults well over 18 who are essentially children and we’ve all known children younger than 18 who have been forced through circumstances to grow up early and practically function as adults. Also, consider how many children who commit crimes can be tried as adults.

Consent is also not good enough. This is supposed to protect it from applying to children as well, but we constantly make children do things without their consent that is for their good. They go to school, do chores, go to bed, eat healthy, and get vaccinations and medical treatment they don’t like, without their consent. Loving parents who genuinely love their children do this.

Third, we might as well ask about the number two. Why should marriage be limited to two people? The Mormons held to polygamy for some time and were brought before the government for that one. If we are removing the requirement that the people be of the opposite sex, it would be far easier to remove the number. Not only that, there is a much greater historical basis for polygamy than for the redefinition of marriage.

What is being asked is what marriage is and what is the purpose of it. It is not just a union for the happiness of two adults. It is a nation building institution in the sense that these people are the ones capable of bringing about the next generation. The state has all reason to want to promote that as it kind of needs new people to survive. Hypothetically, imagine how much damage we could do to China and Russia if we could launch a biological attack somehow over those entire nations that would sterilize everyone in those nations.

And if marriage is about the continuing of the species, then the state has an interest in promoting the type of union that can do that job. The state has no interest in promoting a same-sex couple as they can never do that. Marriage is not to be meant about the affirming of the people involved, but why the people are coming together in the first place.

Now suppose someone says “Well, Christians can really say that these are the reasons, but we know the real reason is what the Bible says!” Let’s suppose 100% that that’s true for the sake of argument. That doesn’t change the fact that the natural law based arguments are on the table. Those still have to be addressed.

Suppose someone makes a powerful argument to me for atheism and I don’t know how to answer it. It does not work to say, “You only make that argument because you want to be free to live your life sexually however you want.” That could even be 100% true. I am sure there are Christians who hold to Christianity just for the benefits they want to receive and I am sure there are some atheists who hold to atheism because of the sexual freedom.

The argument still has to be addressed.

This meme is not addressing any real arguments. It is not even making one. It is just pointing to motives and trying to read emotions into the other side.

It’s a shame so much has to be written to deal with something because so many do take it seriously.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

 

On The Military on Pride Month

What is the purpose of a military? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

“And when the SJW mob passes through your area, when they see the rainbow flag on your house or business, they will pass over, but if they do not see the rainbow flag on your house and business, they will unleash their fury to get you cancelled and they will show no mercy.”

Such is what I have on my wall for what a friend of mine calls “Liberal Passover.” I get up and pretty much everywhere I go I see Pride flags. I didn’t even see this much for Black History Month or for Women’s History or Asian History or even for my own Autism Awareness Month. Mine is the one I least expect to see it for. After all, we don’t go and form mobs and shut down people that refuse to endorse us.

However, this is the first year I have seen the U.S. Military take this route and put up a statement for Pride Month on the first of the month.

So I did a search. Maybe I just missed something. I looked for Autism Awareness Month and the U.S. military. Nothing was coming up showing they celebrated it. I then replaced Autism Awareness with Pride Month and boom, it was right there immediately. Well, maybe people on the spectrum can’t serve. That was false also. There have been and are people on the spectrum in the military.

Now in a sense, I don’t really want the military to get involved. The military is not about raising awareness for causes necessarily. The military just needs to purely be America first. That is no longer happening.

My great concern with this? If the military can’t stand up to the SJW front, how on Earth can I expect them to stand up to our enemies? I can definitely assure you that the Russian and Chinese militaries are not spending their time making sure they’re supporting Pride Month or using proper pronouns or anything like that.

It’s also disappointing to see that if this is the case with Pride, then apparently the military is saying that the cause of Pride matters more than all those other causes, and this is part of the danger when it becomes political. Many of us on the right are very concerned that our military is becoming weaker because SJW causes are more important than the real point of the military, that of winning wars.

Do I still support the military? At the time, yes, but I am concerned about our future with this. I am more and more concerned that we are becoming a nation that is focusing on feelings instead of focusing on reality. I’m especially thinking about this after a great recommendation from someone that I read the book Strange New World. I have just recently started it and I am reading it on Audible and I definitely plan to review it as I am concerned about the Strange New World we find ourselves in.

I really hope the military returns to winning wars instead of political acceptance.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Sexuality and Shrimp

How do we handle the law today? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

This is not an easy topic as thousands of pages have been written on the topic of the role of the law in the life of the Christian. Much of the epistles in the New Testament is all about this problem really as Paul and others have to quote the Old Testament often to establish their points. Jesus Himself in the Gospels had to explain how the Old Testament was being misunderstood so it is not a shock that we today can struggle with it at times.

For instance, we have all these rules on sexuality, but then we have rules on not eating shrimp. What’s going on with that? Shrimp is an abomination and so are two men sleeping together. Why do we forbid the latter and yet happily go to a place like Red Lobster and dine our hearts out?

As I’ve said, I should not be expected to be the final word and answer all questions, but I do want to give some general guidelines.

First, we must always remember that the Law was given to Jews in a specific time and a specific place. The Law was never given to the church in the sense that God directly covenanted with the church through the Law. The covenant with the church is done through Jesus.

However, this does not mean that we dispense with the Law entirely. Paul tells us in the New Testament that everything that was written was written for our benefit. Even if we are not bound by it, we can still learn from it.

Second, the Law often had meanings behind the surface level. Paul uses this in 1 Cor. 9 where he quotes about not muzzling an ox while it’s treading the grain. God’s principle concern is not with the ox, but with the idea that one who works should get to partake in some fruit of the work.

Let’s consider another idea. What about building something on the roof of your house to serve as a barrier? In this case, this was done because the roof was often treated as a separate room and people would regularly go up there. You build a barrier to make sure no one falls off and suffers injury or death. We don’t do this today because we don’t use our roofs this way, but if you have an apartment complex with a balcony of some sort, there will be a barrier to prevent falling.

So what about mixed fabrics and clean and unclean animals? The animals could be because some of them contained a mixture of different locales in that they were creatures of earth and water or water and air or air and earth. We might not know the reason entirely, but they did. Mixed fabrics were to avoid a similar mixture and remind the Israelites of purity. We are to take this as having moral purity.

Third, most all of us follow the Law to some extent. Last I saw, many atheists are not going out and championing murder since the Bible says “Do not murder.”You can be an atheist and think the idea of “Love your neighbor as yourself” is a beautiful command and should be followed, but it comes right between Leviticus 18 and 20 with its sexual rules. Atheists accusing Christians of picking and choosing can be just as guilty. Both sides can easily use prooftexts for their own benefit.

Fourth, we can see how the New Testament handles this. While John 8 with the woman caught in adultery was not likely written by the author of John, I do think it shows a real event in the life of Jesus. In it, Jesus never questions the statement of the law that an adulterous woman should be stoned, but he does say that if you want to play that game, how many of you deserve a punishment as well?

In 1 Cor. 5, we have a man sleeping with his stepmother. The couple could have had a similar punishment, but this time Paul says to remove the man from the church. It’s worth noting in that day the man could not just go down the block to another church. The exclusion was to make him come to his senses.

Paul as a good Pharisee knows the law, but while he still upholds that sleeping with your stepmther is wrong, he doesn’t uphold the punishment of the Old Testament. It’s not because he’s opposed to the Old Testament. It’s because he sees things through the lens of Christ now instead.

Several times in the epistles, homosexual practice and sex outside of marriage is condemned. There’s no hint that these have changed. Yes. I have read some of the revisionists trying to say otherwise and I just find their cases extremely weak.

Let’s also return to Leviticus 18. In the final section, God tells the people that for these kinds of practices, the people are being driven out. This means that they should have known better.

In the same way, in Romans 1, Paul speaks about general revelation and says “Because of that, people should have known idolatry was wrong.” Why? Looking at the universe, you should be able to tell that it was made by something greater than something like an animal.

After a vertical error, he then moves to a horizontal one. Just like people got the nature of God wrong, they got the nature of God wrong and same-sex relations were his prime example. We should be able to look and tell that male and female go together and no other combination does.

These are just some general guidelines. Does this answer everything? Of course not. There are many books on these subjects. For homosexuality in particular, I recommend Robert Gagnon and books where he does take part in a counterpoint discussion are some of the best.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

Homosexuality in Leviticus

What does the Bible say about this topic? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Now we get to this verse:

“Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.”

For some reason in our culture, this is always a hard topic. My personal suspicion on this is that we live in a culture that wants to move away as far as possible from the Christian understanding of sex and in actuality, just make sex more meaningless and more of a hobby that people do together. If we give any essential qualities to sex, then we also have to have proper rules and morality for sex. It’s why I am sure bestiality and pedophilia is just around the corner. Time will tell if I am right.

Let’s state something upright. There are several works out there that are tempting to make the Bible not condemn homosexual behavior. They really don’t work well at all. This has been the standard interpretation for thousands of years and there is no new data around the text to have it say something different.

Now we could debate if some people are born with homosexual tendencies or not, but that’s not my purpose here. Even if we did grant that, many of us men are born with the tendency to pursue women and we have to control that impulse just as much. If any desire we have is condemned by Scripture, no matter how much it seems innate to us, we have to curtail it.

Also, contrary to what some people think, there are a number of people who struggle with same-sex attraction and yet marry someone of the opposite sex and it still works. Does it require a lot of work to make a marriage like that succeed? I am sure, but at the same time, that is the case with every marriage. All of them take work and that includes in sexual practice even with two people who are heterosexual.

One of the reasons is that gender really matters in the Bible. It’s not a social construct. At the same time, the Bible never says what makes a man a man or a woman a woman. Going back to Sam Andreades who I referred to yesterday, he does state that gender is best found in relationship. Women are the best at bringing out masculinity in a man and vice-versa.

Our bodies are different for a reason and come together the way that they do for a reason. Who we are is not an accident. The way we come together and reproduce is not an accident either. If anyone should have a thorough understanding of sexuality, it should be a Christian. Sex is not something that is outside of a Christian worldview and must be somehow grafted in. It is the idea of our creator and His invention. We have the Song of Songs in our book after all.

FInally, none of this is hatred of people who have homosexual tendencies anymore than speaking against adultery is hatred of people with heterosexual tendencies. On this end, I recommend Preston Sprinkle’s People To Be Loved.

And yes, we definitely need to show love to the homosexual community. We don’t approve of all they do, but we should celebrate their personhood. They too bear the image of God.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

The Sin of Sodom

What was the sin of Sodom? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

So we’re going back a bit because I was mentally going through Genesis recently and realized I had skipped this story and the next one. This starts in Genesis 13 which tells us that these cities wlil be destroyed and assumes its readers already know that. (Which tells you this had to be a most memorable destruction meant to stay in the minds of the audience.) We could picture it as if a person was telling about the history of New York City and said “This was before the World Trade Center towers were destroyed.”

When the story begins for Lot, he pitches his tent near Sodom. We don’t hear from him again until lo and behold, now he is living in Sodom. Lot’s first mistake here was not keeping his distance from a city that had a wicked reputation. How often do we fail to keep our proper distance from something or someone wicked when we should?

Now move forward to Genesis 18 where God reveals that He is about to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah to Abraham. God gets to the point of saying that if he can find ten righteous people in that city, he will spare it. Unfortunately, those ten righteous people cannot be found.

So what was Sodom being judged for?

We go over to Ezekiel 16 and what do we see?

49 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.

Well, here you have it! They were prideful and thought only of themselves and didn’t help the poor and needy. That fully backs the inhospitable reading that we often see. Their sin wasn’t homosexual behavior obviously! It was not being kind to others.

Before we just dismiss this, let’s consider some matters. They definitely were inhospitable and that in the ancient world was a great sin. Also, all Christians should definitely agree that pride is a great sin. Lewis called it the greatest sin actually.

Yet if we stopped reading at that verse, we would miss out.

50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.

The word for detestable is the same as used for the abominations in Leviticus 18 and 20 and does refer to homosexuality. We can then say that if it wasn’t the only reason for destruction, it was a big reason. Perhaps we could say pride was the main reason and this pride led to the inhospitality and to homosexual practice.

Such an idea might seem shocking to modern readers. Aren’t homosexual relationships all about love? In the ancient world, not necessarily. They were often a way of showing social dominance. We say the same today in some cases. We often say rape is not primarily about sex. Rape is about power and showing the dominance a rapist has over their victim, whatever sex the criminal and the victim are. Anyone could easily find someone willing to have sex with them, even if they had to pay money, but rape is not about that.

In these cases, a man would often be seen as feminizing another man by having homosexual intercourse with him. Such was the case going on with Sodom. There was no reason to think that strangers showing up in town were showing up to have sex with other men. Instead, the men want the men who visited Lot to come out so they can “know” them.

And yes, while know can sometimes refer to knowledge, in this and many other cases in the Old Testament, it’s clear it refers to sexual intercourse. This is clear when we see that Lot says his daughters have never known a man. Their Dad is there with them and they are engaged, so surely they know men, but they have never had sex with men.

By the way, there is also no defending Lot’s offer to them. Good guys in Scripture don’t always act like good guys. People make stupid mistakes in stressful situations, and your house being besieged by a personal army of angry men does count as such a situation.

Fortunately, Lot’s angelic visitors save the day. Everyone is given a chance to flee the town as destruction starts. Lot’s wife is the one who suffers since she looks back to the city as she was told to not do.

So why was Sodom destroyed?

Pride?
Inhospitality?
Immoral sexual behavior?

Yes.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

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