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Matthew Vines on "anti-gay" passages in the Bible


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We are still left with the issue that the word [arsenokoitos] was NOT used to described various forms of male-on-male sex in the ancient Greek world. The words they used are known because so much written documentation survives that pre dates Paul. We don't know where this word originally came from, what practices it covers, and why Paul uses it. Male-on-male sex in the ancient Greek world is mostly pederasty.

Well similarly, the word "homosexual" was not used to describe various forms of male-on-male sex in the USA before the 19th century. There are likewise varying definitions of that word, and I dont think we are certain where it came from. Some people have used 'homosexual' to mean being sexually attracted to members of the same sex. Others have used it to simply mean sex between members of the same gender. Some people have used it to mean not conforming to gender stereotypes, eg a male wearing earrings in both ears. But despite all those ambiguities, we dont throw our hands in the air and conclude that we have no grasp on the meaning of 'homosexual'. We do have a general idea of what practises are covered by the word 'homosexual' and although it's more difficult we also have some idea of what practices are covered by the Greek word 'arsenokoitos'.

The Greeks believed that being a submissive in a sexual relationship was degrading. So I'm asking, what does male-on-male sex in that world have to do with two people of the same sex in a commited relationship today?

Well my concern does not specifically lie with "two people of the same sex in a commited relationship". Im really trying to focus on what the Bible states. The only connection between "two people of the same sex in a commited relationship" and "male-on-male sex" is that for gay males the former is likely to include the latter. And the latter is portrayed in the Bible to be sinful, irrespective of whether the Greeks believed that being a submissive in a sexual relationship was degrading.

Jesus said nothing about homosexual marriage, or homosexuality period. Paul thought marriage was the lesser option to remaining celibate, and we are going to use him as the definitive source on MARRIAGE?

I'm a Christian, and I firmly believe the Bible has no place in civil law. None. You don't get to define what is and isn't unchristian for me, and you certainly do not get to impose your interpretation through legislation.

Well I would recommend using both Jesus and Paul as sources for the Christian definition of marriage, but mainly Jesus. I mean, Christianity is supposed to relate primarily to Christ, right? Christ defined Marriage in Matthew chapter 19, where he said Christians should follow the pattern of a man marrying a woman like Adam marrying Eve. But I have no intention of imposing my interpretation of the Bible through civil legislation. What the secular world does is of little concern to Christians.

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Guest Anonymous
What the secular world does is of little concern to Christians me personally as a Christian.

Fixed that for you. You really need to learn to speak for yourself and not for everyone else in a given group. I assure you there are plenty of Christians who are majorly concerned with what the secular world is doing, and there are plenty of Christians who do want to impose their religious beliefs on others. You're not one of them and that's dandy, but they still exist.

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Oh please. The Bible doesn't say anything about "erotic kissing." You are free lancing. You're totally entitled to your opinion, but don't act like this stuff is spelled out because it isn't.

That's why I said "probably". Yes, the Bible is quite specific about some things, but in other spots it's fairly general, eg Mark 7:21 says "evil thoughts" include "sexual immorality", but it doesnt define what is meant by that, so I guess it leaves it up to us to think for ourselves. It just seems logical to me that if a line exists for sexual sin, that it would include things that get people sexually excited, and surely that would include erotic kissing? Anyway, where the line might lie, is not important.

I don't personally have the energy to be so concerned with other people's sexy times. A sexually active gay couple who volunteer and care for the poor and love each other are upholding the message of Jesus a thousand times more than a rich heterosexual couple who go to church every Sunday and only donate to the building fund in my opinion.

Youre probably right about Jesus being more impressed by that.

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Well similarly, the word "homosexual" was not used to describe various forms of male-on-male sex in the USA before the 19th century. There are likewise varying definitions of that word, and I dont think we are certain where it came from. Some people have used 'homosexual' to mean being sexually attracted to members of the same sex. Others have used it to simply mean sex between members of the same gender. Some people have used it to mean not conforming to gender stereotypes, eg a male wearing earrings in both ears. But despite all those ambiguities, we dont throw our hands in the air and conclude that we have no grasp on the meaning of 'homosexual'. We do have a general idea of what practises are covered by the word 'homosexual' and although it's more difficult we also have some idea of what practices are covered by the Greek word 'arsenokoitos'.

Are you honestly comparing a defined term to an ancient Greek word that has been extensively studied and still isn't clear?

Definition of HOMOSEXUAL

1

: of, relating to, or characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex

2

: of, relating to, or involving sexual intercourse between persons of the same sex

Glad I could clear up all those ambiguities for you. And no, "homosexual" doesn't refer to gender expression and you can't have homosexual earrings. There are things that are aspects of mainstream gay culture. Those things are not "homosexual." The term "homosexual" is pretty clear. "Arsenokoites" is not.

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australian - do you join foodie forums or fashion forums where Christians post and handslap them for being gluttonous or selfish? I have a feeling that you don't. Why are you so concerned with gay sex in particular that you joined this forum specifically to scold people and call them unchristian because they disagree with you?

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Oh please. The Bible doesn't say anything about "erotic kissing." You are free lancing. You're totally entitled to your opinion, but don't act like this stuff is spelled out because it isn't.

Australian's interpretation is based on a norm of heterosexuality. When reading the Bible, Australian interprets it from her/his preunderstanding. That is quite clear here.

Australian wrote:: Yes, the Greek word arsenokoites/arsenokoitai has historically been used by different people to mean different things at times. But Nyland seems to contradict herself here? She says it does not mean homosexual, but it can mean one man anally penetrating another man? Yes, she's right, male to male anal sex is one of the meanings.

Because anal penetrator= homosexual? Vaginal penetrator = heterosexual? No, it's about the sexual act in question. Other possible interpretations are: a rapist, a murderer, or an extortionist. If God meant "man anally penetrating another man" he/she/it should have been clearer. So far, we do not know for sure what was meant.

You know what? If you want to convince me/us that the Bible is homophobic and hetero-normative, you will only distance me further from people like you. I used to hate people like you. As a frustrated teenager I blamed Christianity for all the faults in our society. I left the church, and didn't respect my little sister's choice to go through confirmation. As I grew older, I tried to understand where people like you were coming from. By trying to understand the Bible and see that it doesn't have to be so hateful that some Christians claim it to be, I learned to overcome my hate for Christians in general. I learned that the most important message in the Bible is the double commandment of love. I learned to respect my little sister's choice and I tried to support her (3 years too late) but at that point she didn't sympathize with the message in the Bible either. She left the church as well.

I have learned that there are many kind and decent Christians out there: those who actually do love their neighbor and who do not try to impose their morals on their neighbor. Nowadays I both accept and respect Christians in my country. The priests who do not wish to marry same-sex-people have been listed on a black (public) list. There are 278 people on that list. Is that like a witch-hunt? Maybe, but they can choose what to believe. A homosexual can not choose what to be. Besides, if you think the Bible states all those things you claim, then why would you believe in it (if you have developed a moral consciousness, will say)?

I'm neither Christian or homosexual. I love my neighbor, but I have no love or even respect for those who would harm my neighbor. By telling my homosexual neighbors that they can't join a marriage with the people they love, you harm them - more than you clearly understand.

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australian - do you join foodie forums or fashion forums where Christians post and handslap them for being gluttonous or selfish? I have a feeling that you don't. Why are you so concerned with gay sex in particular that you joined this forum specifically to scold people and call them unchristian because they disagree with you?

:clap:

I will be shocked if he actually comes back and answers this question.

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The real reason australian's probably concerned about it is because he thinks LGBT sex is icky. In other words, australian uses her/his preferred English translation of a type of Bible to support his emotional opinions, when the original is sometimes so unclear that it's hard to translate into modern English.

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australian, Matthew 19 has the Pharisees asking Jesus if it is lawful for a man to put away his wife just because he feels like it. Jesus then answers that men leave their parents and cleave unto their wives, and no one should get between the man and his wife. He is not defining marriage for all time, he is addressing a specific question on whether you can dump your wife just because you feel like it. There is nothing about gay marriage because the people of the time knew nothing about homosexuality as an orientation. You can't say the Bible has issues about male-on-male sex and divorce it from the reasons why. Nothing is happening in a theological and social vacuum. Greek sexual practices of the time matter, they matter A LOT. Paul isn't looking at people in commited relationships who want to get married and addressing that. He was looking at a society where men exerted dominance over other men and teenagers were forced to become lovers and calling that type of behavior sinful.

Paul thought Jesus was coming back in his lifetime. He didn't think much of the institution of marriage other than it was better than promiscuity. He actually advised people that celibacy was preferable to marriage. That is not a ringing endorsement that he had any idea about marriage and sexuality.

There is no universal Christian position on many issues, so you can't go around the net and say that Christians who don't agree with you on every point of doctrine are not Christians. Also, of course Christians need to be concerned with the secular world and secular laws. We do not live hermetically sealed from non Christians. If a non Christian's rights are trampled, I kind of figure mine will be as well sooner or later.

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Fixed that for you. You really need to learn to speak for yourself and not for everyone else in a given group. I assure you there are plenty of Christians who are majorly concerned with what the secular world is doing, and there are plenty of Christians who do want to impose their religious beliefs on others. You're not one of them and that's dandy, but they still exist.

Yes, fair point. Sorry about them.

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Are you honestly comparing a defined term to an ancient Greek word that has been extensively studied and still isn't clear?

Glad I could clear up all those ambiguities for you. And no, "homosexual" doesn't refer to gender expression and you can't have homosexual earrings. There are things that are aspects of mainstream gay culture. Those things are not "homosexual." The term "homosexual" is pretty clear. "Arsenokoites" is not.

Yes I am comparing them. Granted that one is in a language that is no longer spoken (which makes a difference), but both have ambiguities.

arsenokoites: a male engaging in same-gender sexual activity

Original Word: ἀρσενοκοίτης, ου, ὁ

Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine

Transliteration: arsenokoites

Phonetic Spelling: (ar-sen-ok-oy'-tace)

Short Definition: a male engaging in same-gender sexual activity

Definition: a male engaging in same-gender sexual activity; a sodomite, pederast.

Source: Strong's Concordance; http://biblesuite.com/greek/733.htm

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So, deary, which version of the good ol' book is the most truthful? And if you say KJV, which simply isn't true, I will give you a history lesson.

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Yes I am comparing them. Granted that one is in a language that is no longer spoken (which makes a difference), but both have ambiguities.

I don't know any gay people who seem to feel that the word "homosexual" is ambiguous. Certainly not as ambiguous as this:

Since you mentioned 1 Corinthians 6:9-10:

In these verses there are two controversial Greek words: malakos and arsenokoites/arsenokoitai. It should be noted that you can't find the word arsenokoites in the Greek translation Septuaginta of the Bible, 300 BCE. Not before a century later, various church fathers (including Polykarpus, Origenes och Johannes Chrysostomos) use the word to describe what is forbidden in 3 Gen. 18:22 and 20:13.

According to Dr. Ann Nyland, a Greek lexicographer, arsenokoites has been assumed to mean "homosexual" (2007, p. 11). However, the word does not mean "homosexual", and its range of meaning includes one who anally penetrates another (male or female), a rapist, a murderer, or an extortionist. When used in the meaning "anal penetrator", it does not apply exclusively to males as the receptors, as it was also used for female receptors. The word does not appear in any Greek literary source until the poets of the Imperial period. This late occurrence is most significant as the Greeks wrote at length on male-male sexual relationships (ibid.).

Nyland (2007) is critical to other translations for not taking into account recent (i.e. less than 150 years ago) discoveries of Greek text materials (including papyri and inscriptions) that shed new light on Greek vocabulary.

Can you explain this, then, australian? Seems like it's not quite as simple as you're trying to make it out to be, right? Why didn't you give the same one link to Effie as the ultimate definition of this word?

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By telling my homosexual neighbors that they can't join a marriage with the people they love, you harm them - more than you clearly understand.

My key point is just that it shouldnt be called Christian marriage. This thread all follows from the presentation from Matthew Vines. He would include gay marriage in his definition of Christian marriage.

But I dont believe in imposing Christianity on non-Christians.

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So, deary, which version of the good ol' book is the most truthful? And if you say KJV, which simply isn't true, I will give you a history lesson.

I agree with you that the KJV isnt the most truthful. Additional manuscripts and other insights have arisen since the KJV was created, and anyway, Old English is too hard for me! I tend to go with the NIV myself, but most of the popular translations from say... the half century seem fairly equivalent in their accuracy.

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australian - do you join foodie forums or fashion forums where Christians post and handslap them for being gluttonous or selfish? I have a feeling that you don't. Why are you so concerned with gay sex in particular that you joined this forum specifically to scold people and call them unchristian because they disagree with you?

No, I dont follow the topics of gluttony, fashion or selfishness in forums, and yes perhaps I should. But this is very time consuming, not only researching the topic, but then talking about it in forums too. So it would be simply impossible to do the same for a wide range of topics. I think God is okay with people specialising.

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Can you explain this, then, australian? Seems like it's not quite as simple as you're trying to make it out to be, right? Why didn't you give the same one link to Effie as the ultimate definition of this word?

Well Ive already responded to that post in this thread. I didnt quote Strong's Concordance to Effie, because I assume it wouldnt make much difference to the conversation. But now that you are quoting dictionary definitions, quoting Strongs becomes more relevant. Yes, there is some ambiguity with the word 'arsenokoites'. Ive already agreed about that. What I disagree with is that it could not refer homosexual sex, or "monogamous, loving" homosexual sex as claimed by Matthew Vines.

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No, I dont follow the topics of gluttony, fashion or selfishness in forums, and yes perhaps I should. But this is very time consuming, not only researching the topic, but then talking about it in forums too. So it would be simply impossible to do the same for a wide range of topics. I think God is okay with people specialising.

And why have you decided to "specialize" in gay issues?

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And why have you decided to "specialize" in gay issues?

Well more specifically, Ive kinda specialised in the presentation referred to at the start of this thread. Why? Because I watched it on Youtube and believed it, but then after thinking about it and then reading what some theologians said in response, I felt lied to, and then angry about feeling misled by it.

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And why have you decided to "specialize" in gay issues?

Well more specifically, Ive kinda specialised in the presentation referred to at the start of this thread. Why? Because I watched it on Youtube and believed it, but then after thinking about it and then reading what some theologians said in response, I felt lied to, and then angry about feeling misled.

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Well more specifically, Ive kinda specialised in the presentation referred to at the start of this thread. Why? Because I watched it on Youtube and believed it, but then after thinking about it and then reading what some theologians said in response, I felt lied to, and then angry about feeling misled by it.

Wow, except for the part about reading theology, that has got to be a perfect description of how almost every ex-christian feels about their former religion :lol:

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Guest Anonymous
Well more specifically, Ive kinda specialised in the presentation referred to at the start of this thread. Why? Because I watched it on Youtube and believed it, but then after thinking about it and then reading what some theologians said in response, I felt lied to, and then angry about feeling misled by it.

That's great for you, but other people may look at the same information and come to a different conclusion. So you've made a hobby of being butthurt about a video to the point that you seek out references to it and call people who agree with its conclusions unchristian? That's ... special.

No, I dont follow the topics of gluttony, fashion or selfishness in forums, and yes perhaps I should. But this is very time consuming, not only researching the topic, but then talking about it in forums too. So it would be simply impossible to do the same for a wide range of topics. I think God is okay with people specialising.

I don't think God is okay with you abitrarily booting people out of Christianity because you disagree with them. I would never presume to tell someone they aren't a Christian because they don't agree with me on every single point of my theology, and I think you're quite up yourself to do so. Seriously, how patronizing are you that you don't think people can study through this without you swooping down to tell them what is what?

**ETA: I don't think it's a wacky coincidence that you've latched onto "gay sex is a sin" instead of something like "lack of charity is a sin," either.

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That's great for you, but other people may look at the same information and come to a different conclusion.

Yea I suppose, but I think it's unlikely. If people just look at the video, without looking at other sources, then yes they will come to a conclusion aligned with the message of the video. But if people look at all the facts available, I dont think they would agree with the message in the video.

I don't think God is okay with you abitrarily booting people out of Christianity because you disagree with them. I would never presume to tell someone they aren't a Christian because they don't agree with me on every single point of my theology, and I think you're quite up yourself to do so.

I dont think God would be okay with anyone abitrarily booting people out of Christianity. But the Bible does indicate that he's quite harsh on false teachers, and it indicates that calling yourself a Christian doesnt cut it unless the label is matched with the right actions.

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My key point is just that it shouldnt be called Christian marriage. This thread all follows from the presentation from Matthew Vines. He would include gay marriage in his definition of Christian marriage.

What is thus a marriage? It is a union between two people who love each other. They wish to live together and together raise any children that God has given them.

What is a Christian marriage? Isn’t it simply a marriage where the spouses wish to live with God? Isn’t a Christian marriage a marriage between Christian spouses? What is it that you find in the concept of marriage that makes it impossible to expand the practice from only applying to heterosexual couples to include homosexual couples? After all, a marriage is between the spouses, and God. The spouses "left their father and mother" to live with each other. They are in fact one with another. And thus, they are joined by God.

But I dont believe in imposing Christianity on non-Christians.

I don't believe you should impose your brand of Christianity on Christians either.

I find it strange that God would focus so much on what two consenting adults are doing in their bedroom. I mean, it shouldn't be that hard for God to find other ways to get busy. :roll: God could start by watching over the starving children in Africa for example...

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Yea I suppose, but I think it's unlikely. If people just look at the video, without looking at other sources, then yes they will come to a conclusion aligned with the message of the video. But if people look at all the facts available, I dont think they would agree with the message in the video.

Because how could anyone possibly disagree with what you've decided is right? :roll:

I dont think God would be okay with anyone abitrarily booting people out of Christianity. But the Bible does indicate that he's quite harsh on false teachers, and it indicates that calling yourself a Christian doesnt cut it unless the label is matched with actions.

And the actions that are most strongly indicated and most often alluded to are caring for the poor, believing in and loving God, and loving one's neighbor as oneself. There's very, very little in the Bible about homosexuality, what there is tends to be disputed as far as its particular meaning (witness: this thread) and none of it came directly from Jesus.

Which brings us back to why you're so het up about gay people, and not uncharitable people. There's so much more content in the Bible about taking care of the poor, etc. You obviously think that gay sex is a bigger deal than a lot of other stuff that you presumably consider to be a sin, which is pretty messed up.

And frankly I think God makes people gay, and it's not a sin, and I don't believe the Bible is without contradiction or to be taken literally. You can attempt to throw me out of God's fanclub now if you like. Or you can get a clue and realize that people besides yourself have functioning brains and the ability to reason and make choices without you condescending to them. The second would be preferable but if I was a betting woman I would put my money on the first.

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