CultureWatch

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Elton John Is a Super-Unintelligent Gay Man (And Jesus Wasn’t)

Feb 19, 2010

It seems the higher up one climbs on the ladder to superstardom, the more license one has to being a complete twit. Of course there is nothing new about brain-dead celebrities who do and say idiotic things. There have always been plenty of entertainers who make complete fools of themselves whenever they open their mouths.

Thus the latest outburst by Elton John is perhaps to be expected. But given that he has managed to offend and insult the deeply held beliefs of hundreds of millions of people, this just shows how out of touch these guys can be.

In an interview with the American magazine Parade John said, “I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems”. All that tells us is how super-unintelligent John is. It is yet another case of a homosexual trying to justify his lifestyle by seeking to drag historical figures into the world of homosexuality.

But as noted, we expect as much from silly celebrities who have too much time on their hands. And of course John was not the first to make such reckless and inflammatory remarks about Jesus. Others have tried to do similar things in the past. Consider an example found in the Australian some seven years ago.

It came in the form of a letter to the editor written by a man with the title, “Research Associate, Department of Modern Greek, University of Sydney”. His letter was an attempt to show that Jesus was a homosexual, and that the four gospels “implicitly approve” of homosexuality.

The academic informs us that when Jesus said we are to “love one another as I have loved you”, this is clear proof of his approval of homosexuality. He claims Jesus uses the Greek word agapeo, and that this word can mean physical love. He even insists that this term does not mean “spiritual love”. He then asserts that Greek was the spoken language of the Jews back then, and that Greek customs did not prohibit homosexuality.

Considering that this fellow is meant to be a research associate in Modern Greek, one is appalled at his misleading and/or uninformed claims. Firstly, as this man should know, there are major differences between Modern Greek and Koine, or New Testament, Greek. Greek of today has experienced many changes and gone through a gradual evolution over the past two millennia. Secondly, as any layman knows, Jesus mainly spoke Aramaic, not Greek. More sophisticated (better educated) Jews of Jesus’ day may have spoken Latin and Greek as well, but Aramaic was the lingua franca (common language) of the day.

The assertion that agapeo can mean physical love and really does not mean spiritual love is just plain wrong. There are a number of Greek words for love, of course, and eros was the common term for passionate, physical love. If Jesus had meant physical love, that is the term he would have chosen.

Back then agapeo almost always referred to the love of God. Any standard lexicon of New Testament Greek will make this clear. If he wanted to speak of another kind of love, he could have used either eros or philos (these are the nouns; the verbal forms are erao and phileo). The latter means more of a brotherly love, or love between friends. Not that this term is always clearly distinguished from agapeo, but there were nonetheless differences.

But not only the terminology, but the context of the passage in question (John 15:12) makes it quite clear that physical love is nowhere to be found in the thinking of Jesus. The context is the impending death of Jesus, and the need of the disciples to be willing to lay their lives down one for another. To cheapen this injunction to mean carnal relationships is not only to do injustice to both New Testament Greek and the Gospel writer’s clear intention, but it is to speak sacrilegiously of the atoning work of Christ.

Jesus here was hours away from going to a horrible death on our behalf. He was not making a pro-homosexual speech. Such an interpretation indicates confused thinking at best, or a deliberate misreading of the text in order to push a foreign (and quite recent) agenda onto the Biblical text.

This academic then seeks to further strengthen his case by telling us that Jesus reclined on the disciple whom he loved. Well that must prove the case, mustn’t it! One is amazed at either the academic’s woeful ignorance of the cultural world of first century Palestine or his incredible attempt to twist Scripture. It was of course the custom of the day to recline at table while sharing a meal together. And as God incarnate, of course Jesus loved his disciple. Indeed, he loved all his disciples, even the whole world. But by the academic’s perverted logic, perhaps he had (or desired) sex with all mankind (and womankind as well?)

Actually, that may in fact be on his mind as well, since he also speaks of the “close relationship with his mother”. It seems a son cannot even have love for his own mother, without this bizarre academic putting a kinky spin on things.

If someone claiming to be an academic can make such outrageous howlers, then I guess we should not be too surprised when less than scholarly fading rock stars stick their noses into such affairs. By all means we need to keep such people in prayer, but when they deliberately go out of their way to offend huge segments of the population, they had better be ready to deal with the expected public backlash.

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1252081/Elton-John-claims-Jesus-super-intelligent-gay-man-U-S-magazine-interview.html

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28 Responses to Elton John Is a Super-Unintelligent Gay Man (And Jesus Wasn’t)

  • Well, Bill, one would have to come to the conclusion that this academic, “educated” person from the Uni of Sydney must be gay and is trying to justify its lifestyle, and I would say Elton John is trying too. “If its okay for Jesus then its okay for me”. All that comes to mind is that evil will be seen as good and good will be seen as evil. But gee, Bill, how we can twist the Word of God to suit us amazes me.
    Francesca Collard

  • Er?s is the main word for sexual love in Classical and Koin? Greek. The words philos and agap? are not used for sexual love, despite ridiculous assertions to the contrary. They are clearly distinct from er?s. However, they are not as distinct from each other as many preachers claim; Paul denounced Demos for having loved (agap?san) the present world (2 Tim. 4:10).

    There’s a very interesting book called Jesus Spoke Hebrew (2001) by a Brisbane Baptist Pastor, Brenton Minge, which makes a very good case that the Greeks words for Hebrew (Hebrais, Hebraios, Hebraikos) in the NT and early Patristic writings really do mean Hebrew. The NIV puts “Aramaic” in those places, but this is reading this Aramaic theory into the text (eisegesis).

    The NT writers had an enormous regard for the OT as the very Word of God, and the OT took great care to distinguish the two, e.g. Daniel having to learn Aramaic (Dan. 1:4) and the Jewish leaders begging Rabshakeh to speak Aramaic rather than Hebrew so the people would not understand his mocking (Is. 36:11). So it’s reasonable to assume that the NT writers also would not have called Aramaic “Hebrew”.

    Josephus, who lived not long after Christ, also took much care to differentiate Hebrew and Aramaic, and says that Hebrew was spoken in 1st century Israel. Minge documents that Hebrew was widely spoken in that area at that time, while Aramaic did not become popular till much later. For example, the Jerusalem Talmud declares: “Four languages are of value: Greek for song, Latin for war, Aramaic for dirges, and Hebrew for speaking.”

    Minge’s thesis is that Jesus spoke Hebrew with a Galilean accent (cf. Mt. 26:73b, where a woman picked Peter as a Galilean because of his speech) as opposed to a Judean accent. Just compare the proper English we speak in Australia with the American butchered variety 😉 E.g. Jesus read from the temple scroll and referred to Hebrew letters in the expression rendered “jot and tittle”.

    Some of the alleged Aramaisms can be attributed to features like the Galilean accent or loan words. I mean, if I say “After a sauna, I went to a restaurant and ordered pizza” the Finnish, French and Italian loan words in English would not prove that I was speaking any of those languages. Other alleged Aramaisms are really Hebraisms, sometimes Mishnaic Hebrew. E.g. Talitha koumi is normal Hebrew for “arise” (qûm) with the feminine ending -i. Hakeldamach comes from normal Hebrew dam (blood), and cheleq (allotted portion, including of land). Cephas can be explained by a Hebrew word for rock keph found in Job 30:6 and Jeremiah 4:29.

    Paul L. Maier, the Russell H. Siebert Professor of Ancient History at Western Michigan University and expert on Josephus, and commentator on the complete works of Josephus, wrote on the back cover:

    [This issue] has for too long been subject to crowd following in what was supposed to be an airtight case for Aramaic. You have surely blasted this wide open, and I herewith raise the white flag in my die-hard attempts to salvage Aramaic … this is really excellent reseearch.”

    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • This idea that the ancient Greeks simply approved of homosexuality without qualification needs to be questioned. If you read Bruce Thornton you’ll find that at times the Greeks were ambivalent on the matter. Some of them disapproved of the homosexual practice of cottaging and homosexual prostitution was definitely low-status. Masculine, dominant homosexuals seem to have had more status than the effeminate type. As with other peoples, the accusation of “pansy” could be a slur. Greek anatomical idiom also points to public distaste for one homosexual practice carried to excess. Roman attitudes also seem to have been variable. Juvenal for example mentions the homosexual “marriage” of some upper-class twits but does not rush to approve. The fact that this idea did not catch on suggests the presence of countervailing social forces. The Romans also banned a transvestite cult that publicly engaged in self-mutilation, an odd inconsistency for authorities enjoying the sight of mutilation in the Coliseum.

    As for Elton John, I think it is pretty evident by now that homosexuals will grasp at straws to rationalise their condition.

    John Snowden

  • I would tend to ignore the theological intricacis of language, Jesus said my sheep know me and I know them. The Jewish leaders asking him to speak Aramaic instead of Hebrew is indeed no different from many of today’s academics who belittle the lay man by their deluded educated terminology. How many times have we seen scientists struggle for years to determine something that a layman/woman knew before they even started. Look at the latest conclusions on globgal warming after all these years they have come to the conclusion that temperature rise figures have been corrupted by the spread of urbanisation. Dah. Any fool could have told them that a thermometer standing in the middle of a prairie is going to read a lot different once you urbanise the area.
    Jesus Died and at the same time the veil of the temple (that which the priests of the day hid behind to amplify their position and exclude the people) was rent. A clear indication that that days of Bull dust and secrecy were over. Arameic was a method (as is Latin) by which the priests exercised there deluded verbosity over the people. The same can be seen in most religions whereby the hieracy used this same method atop puramids to cut out hearts in their offerings to what ever God of the day, in what was nothing more than a charade of dramatic proportions.
    This is also why many of us hate political correctness it is yet even more gobbledgook put on us by another deluded elite.
    However some will say that Jesus also confused by his use of parables (albeit most were relevant even at that time).
    But Haven’t we been blessed that these examples showing the prinicples of God and the likeness of heaven are a atill ageless and “timeless” and are, even today a clear example of the principles we must adopt to find a place beside Jesus.
    How would most understand that unless you were re-formatted and the program re-booted (born again). And unless Nortons was kept up to date to inhibit spam and trojans you were still likely to be corrupted, require a de-frag and and a removal of all cookies (nasty bites) and “temp” files that you might be “tempted” to refer too later. Err Save AS? Or delete? Well that really depends on your content.
    I think I know which language gives the clearest and divine instruction.
    Say what you mean and Mean what you say.
    Thank you Jesus
    Dennis Newland

  • Thanks Dennis

    But we should not be too dismissive of either theology or language. Both are important and both need to be dealt with in these sorts of debates. When Peter said we should be ready to answer those who question us (1 Peter 3:15), I take that to include even academics and those who might make silly and reckless charges.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Hi Bill,
    In classical Greek agapeo can be used as to treat someone with affection and even to caress. In exceptional cases even for sexual love. Plutarch, a contemporary of the apostles uses is for to caress or pet.
    Generally, however, there is no such physical sexual connotation. Its specific use in New Testament Greek usually employs the word to express affection towards God, family or fellow Christians. No sexual elements whatsoever. It is a disgrace that an Australian university employs someone who proclaims such abject nonsense. It is St John as an effiminate homosexual lover of Jesus in the Da Vinci code all over or the old sexual revolution theology that David and Jonathan were homosexual lovers. You are right: these people go to great length to justify themselves and pressurising others to approve of their lifestyle. Seems that somewhere inside their conscience it not quite comfortable as they insist on the constant approval of men for what used to be generally considered quite unnatural behaviour only forty years ago.
    Prof Benno Zuiddam

  • He is not really correct in saying that Greek customs did not prohibit homosexuality. The notion that homosexuality was condoned and rampant throughout ancient Greece is a bit of a myth that was dealt with by Bruce Thornton in “The Myth of Ancient Greek Sexuality” (1997);

    “Thornton offers two chapters on Greek homosexuality which, hopefully, should demolish these myths once and for all. He shows convincingly that there is no evidence in their literature for the supposition that the Greeks viewed the sexual penetration of men and women in the same light. Sex between males was an offence against the laws of hubris and of sexual outrage. The passive homosexual, the male who allowed himself to be anally penetrated, was viewed with “shame” and “outrage”. Plato and Xenophon both viewed sex between males as a depravity that all right-thinking men should abhor as much as they would incest. Aristotle saw homosexuality as a deformed condition brought about either by natural disorder or by habit, but something that was decidedly “abnormal”. There are homosexual characters in some of Aristophanes’ plays but they are associated with corruption and decadence. In Knights, Aristophanes is saying that corruption in Athens has reached the stage where the shameless pursuit of all appetites, including active and passive homosexuality, is the most important qualification for a politician.

    On the one hand, Thornton argues, the Greek philosophers saw homosexuality as an historical innovation, one that was “contrary to nature”, a result of the depraved human imagination and vulnerability to pleasure. On the other hand, dramatists like Euripides saw it as a “product of nature” which those afflicted found hard to control. But even in the latter cases, homosexuality is portrayed as a crime that unleashes destructive forces that overthrow reason and law. For instance, in Euripides’ play Chrysippus , Laius, the father of Oedipus, kidnaps and rapes the son of Pelops and thereby initiates a chain reaction of erotic disorder culminating in the incest and parricide of Oedipus and the blight of Thebes that destroys the life of humans, herds and crops alike.”

    http://www.sydneyline.com/Myths%20of%20Eros.htm

    Actually, unlike today’s anything goes approach to sexual morality the Greeks recognised the destructive power of unbridled sexuality and its ability to wreck chaos in people’s lives. This is the way uncontrolled passions are depicted in some of their famous stories such as Homer’s Iliad and dramas such as Sophocles’ Electra.

    Damien Spillane

  • Great article Bill, I loved your much needed frank choice in words!
    It is truly amazing and unfortunate to see how people manipulate the bible for their own good. They need to understand, all of them – the Jesus Seminar people, homosexual christians etc. – that we DO NOT negotiate the terms with God.
    They want to twist Scripture so that conveniently every single verse in the bible that condems homosexualaity actually has nothing to do with homosexuality, and verses that have nothing do to with sexuality are actually about homosexuality.

    I’ve even seen people use Matthew 19:11-12 as a means to condone homosexuality: “But He said to them, ‘All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: 12 For there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it’.”

    What do you think Bill? The argument is that the born Eunuchs are actualy Homosexuals.

    Anthony Lichoudaris

  • Thanks Anthony

    The passage, following on from a section about marriage and divorce, has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with homosexuality. Homosexuality was everywhere seen as abhorrent in first century Judaism – indeed, in all of ancient Judaism. This text is about those who have the gift of celibacy and do not follow the norm of heterosexual marriage. That is the idea as set out in vv. 4-9.

    Two of the groups of eunuchs are those who are so literally (those born incapable of having kids, and those castrated). The third is most likely a metaphorical sense, of making oneself celibate for the sake of the kingdom. They have renounced marriage to better serve God. Even if one took it in a literal way (castrating oneself) it still has absolutely nothing to do with homosexuality.

    John the Baptist, Jesus and Paul were all single and celibate, for the sake of the kingdom. To refrain from sexual relations with a woman does not in the least imply that having sex with another male is in mind.

    All Jesus is teaching here is two paths for the disciples: marriage without the option of divorce, or celibacy. So we need not waste time on this reckless accusation. One might as well say Jesus was an alien from Mars. This is just another lame attempt by the homosexual activists to engage in theological revisionism.

    But for those who want to look at this text in more detail, I have actually written an entire article on it: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2009/10/30/difficult-bible-passages-matthew-1912/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • And of course John was not the first to make such reckless and inflammatory remarks about Jesus.

    I’m not really sure why it should be considered ‘inflammatory’. He did describe Jesus as compassionate and super-intelligent. There’s no evidence to support his suggestion that Jesus was gay, but I liken it to an unsupported assertion that Jesus had bright red hair. Hardly insulting. I also doubt that ‘hundreds of millions’ would be offended and insulted by such a remark – I expect most would just think he’s wrong.

    Heather Bates

  • Thanks Heather

    Given your particular worldview, we are of course not surprised at all that you find nothing offensive about his remarks. However, given that hundreds of millions of people do not share your radical secular left ideology, they certainly would be offended that a silly rock star can say something so sacrilegious about their precious Lord and Saviour who died so that we might have life. They – and I – will not stand for Jesus to be reduced to mere fodder in the militant homosexual lobby’s campaign to subvert society, rewrite history, and trample truth.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • With due respect (an overworked phrase) while debating what language Jesus spoke is relevant, it pales into insignificance, compared with the fact that Jesus was God, the second person of the Blessed Trinity. He committed no sin. Sexual intercourse outside genuine marriage, whether hetrosexual or homosexual is a serious sin. Also, I’m becoming very tired of hearing weak debaters calling on the name of Jesus in a futile attempt to win an argument. How many times have we heard the ‘argument’ “What would Jesus say?”. I heard one registered dunce, who was speaking in support of abortion make that remark. If I’d been part of that debate, I would have said: “There is no way Jesus would support the illegal killing of one of his creation”
    Frank Bellet, Petrie Qld

  • Also, you can’t compare a sinful act with having “bright red hair”. We might also say Jesus was left-handed but that’s light years removed to suggesting he was a homosexual. I also recall the offense caused by the movie The Last Temptation where it was suggested Jesus entertained lustful thoughts.

    Ewan McDonald, Victoria.

  • I don’t agree with Sir Elton’s Christology (his assertion that Jesus was gay, that is) but I’m not particularly offended either and I won’t be burning the one CD of his I own. In the Bible I read, Jesus was crucified and rose from the tomb showing to those that insulted, betrayed, abandoned and/or ultimately murdered him that he was above all the evil nonsense human beings get themselves caught up in. Unlike some groups of Muslims who feel they have a duty to defend the name of Allah or the prophet when they’re insulted in some way (often to the point of bloodshed), I’ve never felt the same way about Jesus, who said in John 15 such things were a fact of life in this fallen world…his point clearly proven at Calvary and his ultimate victory not seen in throwing insults back at his persecutors or getting all huffy about such things, but in the new life we have in Him. (Can you see Jesus saying “That’s outrageous! I’m not gay”? Which raises another question for me: just what do we mean when we call Jesus “precious”?)
    By all means correct error as we see it – and I agree, a gay celebrity in this instance is reading into scripture what he wants – but to be frank I’m not sure phrases like “Elton John Is a Super-Unintelligent Gay Man” is a particularly appropriate application of 1 Peter 3:15.
    I’m also sure Elton didn’t throw such a statement out to contribute to some theological discourse about it (what’s the bet Elton doesn’t give a hoot what language Jesus spoke?) Whatever you think of him morally or musically, one thing that I would say for Elton is contrary to what Bill says, he is a very wily fellow. I’m sure his primary aim was to elicit the sort of reaction Bill has provided and he succeeded.
    Rest assured, I’m not expecting to change anyone’s opinions on this matter here but it’s just my take on the issue.

    Sam Hol

  • PS: And just a qualification on my last post so no one takes it personally – I’m not implying anyone has mentioned burning Elton John CDs. Nor am I making like for like comparisons between the various responses on this page and Muslim responses.
    Thanks,
    Sam Hol

  • Dear Bill, A brilliant, scholarly, and uplifting article as usual. It is a wonder the media hasn’t fawned over Elton John’s statements confusing the confused even more. It is Satan of course that takes possession of the sinner and convinces them that what they are doing is not wrong. That is why they strive so hard to justify it. It is the work of Satan! Thank God we Catholics can shake ourselves free from the evil one by the regular use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We can fall on our knees and admit the real cause of our sin is our human weakness which offends God who is full of love and mercy.Yes! we do have to pray for sinners and do so every time we pray the Hail Mary. God Bless and thankyou.
    Patricia Halligan

  • Elton’s ignorance is of course his own bliss!
    Praise be to you Lord Jesus Christ true GOD & true MAN!
    We cannot & should not associate our God with sodomy or depraved sexual activity of anykind! We should seek the Kingdom of Heaven at all times & by doing so show great reverence! Fear the Lord and your rewards will be great! Eternal and everlasting!Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ KING of endless glory!Most Holy God the Father we ask you to forgive those who abuse the most Holy name of Jesus to promote their own agenda.
    Jane Byrne

  • Jesus the Son of God, True god and true man. Came into the world as an infant to bring and spread his message of the gospel. Die then to rise from the dead into heavan, for us his children to be born into internal life. The reason and fact behind that he wasnt gay was that we are all his children created in his image and likeness. So he saw us in a brilliant light and loved the world he made.
    God bless u all.
    Jesus is a ruthless champion.
    Jim Byrnes

  • Thanks Sam

    Yes it is a good thing you did not try to pull some foolish moral equivalence on us here regarding Muslim and Christian reactions to these things. Yes, Elton can rest assured there will be no airplanes flying into one of his mansions, at least not by true disciples of Jesus.

    But I find the blasé attitudes of some believers to be of concern, and an indication of a growing blasé Christianity. So now that you have stirred me to action, allow me a brief sermon here!

    I reject the impression that some people give of Jesus, that he was some wimpy hippie who went around flashing the peace sign. Jesus in fact did get outraged at things. Sin and death for example outraged him. When we read that Jesus was “deeply moved in spirit and troubled” in John 11:33 (also in v. 38), concerning the death of Lazarus, the English versions can be a bit weak. The actual Greek offers the sense of “he bristled”. As Keener comments, the term here “depicts his emotion in the strongest possible terms: he was ‘moved’ (embrimaomai, 11:33, 38), an unusually strong term, usually denoting anger, agitation, and typically some physical expression accompanying it”.

    “To snort with anger like a horse” is how various commentators render the term. As one remarks, “It was used by Greek playwrights to describe stallions before battle, rearing up on their hind legs, pawing at the air and snorting before they charged.” This is something B.B. Warfield wrote about one hundred years ago in his wonderful essay, “The Emotional Life of Our Lord”. In it he said:

    “The margin of our Revised Version at Jno. xi. 33, 38, therefore, very properly proposes that we should for ‘groaned’ in these passages, substitute ‘moved with indignation,’ although that phrase too is scarcely strong enough. What John tells us, in point of fact, is that Jesus approached the grave of Lazarus, in a state, not of uncontrollable grief, but of irrepressible anger.”

    Jesus was certainly outraged at the activities going on in the temple, as evidenced by his quite fierce cleansing and denunciation. And he is certainly provoked big time when we read in the book of Revelation about his coming back to administer judgment with sword in hand.

    I don’t know if you are married Sam, but would you be equally blasé and carefree if your wife was insulted and treated like dirt? It seems clear that the more a person loves someone, the more righteous indignation will rise up when the beloved is attacked and derided.

    But one has to ask just how much love for our Lord there is in the church today. Is it more the lukewarm condition that Jesus himself condemns in Rev. 3:16?

    And I would have thought that simply having concern for the third commandment (“You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.”) would result in Christians showing a bit of concern here. To deride one’s name is to deride one’s character. Jesus was the pure, spotless and holy Son of God, not a sodomite. The cavalier attitude of many who claim to be his followers worries me greatly. But in an age of relativism, easy-believe-ism and the worship of ‘tolerance, it seems that the only offensive thing now is for a Christian to actually show a little bit of concern about his faith and his Lord.

    And all this is not merely a case of “getting all huffy about such things” as you put in such a derogatory and condescending fashion. And actually Jesus did throw insults at his critics more than once. So I find little in your remarks that I can agree with.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • This isn’t exactly the first time something from Elton doesn’t quite add up…

    http://scottthong.wordpress.com/2009/03/01/the-circle-of-life-and-sir-elton-john/

    Mark Rabich

  • Bill, interesting you should say that:
    I am married and on one occasion I was in a situation like the one you describe (it was verbal, not physical thankfully). And I was extremely conflicted about how I should respond but I was outnumbered physically to do much about it…the most appropriate thing in this situation was to walk on.
    I later asked my wife (girlfriend at the time) if in future something like that happened she’d like me to take action and stand up for her name in a situation like that. I told her if that was what she saw as loving, then I’d do it, even if it meant I’d likely get my butt whipped. She told me they’re just words…move on, get over it and don’t dwell on such silly things as what people in the street say. What on earth could be achieved in a situation like that? Believe me, there is nothing blase or carefree about having to surrender such feelings to God. But it’s what the Bible commands and it is an extremely liberating thing to grab hold of the fact that vengeance is the Lord’s, not ours.
    Jesus was furious on many occasions but his anger was not triggered by people calling him gay (he was arguably called much worse by his persecutors). He was angered by things like human greed, deception and religious hypocrisy and rightly so. And even as humans were deriding him on the cross with what were essentially blasphemous, cynical slurs, he asked his Father to forgive them.
    “Jesus was the pure, spotless and holy Son of God, not a sodomite.” So by all means say as much and I’ll d be there to cry out “amen” (though you probably will need to cue me).
    Anger is a fact of human life that Jesus had to deal with just as he did with hunger, fatigue and temptation. Anger is almost always triggered when we see some code we hold dear violated (whether our codes are the right ones is another another matter…for Jesus, his anger was justified.) I’m sure you know what Eph 4:26 says about anger. Anger is not a sin but nor is it something that should be cherished and sowed. I think Christians who equate a lack of anger with apathy have missed the point completely.
    You’re right in all you indirectly imply in your post, Bill: I can be a pretty easy going guy at times and it’s not always a good thing. And I do appreciate the indignation you feel on this matter is a personal emotional response you have to deal with. But to be frank I don’t share it and there are personal reasons for that. When I was younger I used to froth at the mouth when I read the ignorant things atheists would say about the existence of God. Even John Lennon’s “imagine there’s no religion” line would make me see red. I had to learn through God’s grace that such anger wasn’t going to change a single thing in this regard. So forgive me but where no storm brews in me, I will not be looking to stir one up. There is a much better way to deal with this stuff.
    I do agree with what others have said. If the Rocket Man won’t respect the third commandment then we need to pray for him and in the process learn to love him as Christ does (I think the Bible says something along those lines, right?)

    Sam Hol

  • Thanks Sam

    But in a number of areas you seem to miss the point or misrepresent my case. For example, the attack on your wife that I had in mind was not of course an attack – even if just verbal – involving a menacing group of thugs standing two feet away from you. I was referring to what your response would be if the one you love is verbally abused or in other ways ridiculed or denigrated, but as in this case, by someone from another place or even another time. That is the point I was trying to make.

    The more you love someone, the more you seek to share the hurt and shield the beloved from the pain, and defend, where possible, the reputation and integrity of the beloved who is being maligned and traduced. And sorry, but this has nothing to do with vengeance as you incorrectly state.

    Nor is all this merely about getting angry as you wrongly suggest. I would have thought that every follower of Jesus would care passionately about his reputation and how he is viewed by the world. After all, if our chief end in life is indeed to glorify God, then that has something to do with being concerned about his reputation. Indeed, all the great characters found in the Bible had an overwhelming concern for the reputation of God. Do we have the same concern?

    And I don’t accept the false dilemma you propose: either we get angry or we stay apathetic. Are those really the only two options available to us in this regard? I don’t think so. One can be deeply concerned about something and act on it, with or without anger. And the whole concept of righteous indignation – which I think is in fact profoundly biblical – does not even seem to be considered here by you.

    As to how “easy going” you might be, I leave that for you to decide. But I do know that far too many Christians are far too easy going and laid back – they don’t really seem to care about anything. Regarding such people the words of Dorothy Sayers come to mind:

    “In the world it is called Tolerance, but in hell it is called Despair, the sin that believes in nothing, cares for nothing, seeks to know nothing, interferes with nothing, enjoys nothing, hates nothing, finds purpose in nothing, lives for nothing, and remains alive because there is nothing for which it will die.”

    The words of Jesus also come to mind here: “Because you are lukewarm – neither hot nor cold – I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” And no, this has nothing to do with my – or anyone else’s – “personal emotional response” as you claim. So please stop suggesting that all my concerns are simply the product of anger and emotion, and therefore can just be dismissed.

    As to praying for John I of course suggested that very thing in my article. But it was not just your response but the responses of others that has got me in a thinking and writing mood. Thus I may well have an article in the near future discussing all this in a much more general fashion. But thanks for your thoughts.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Dear Bill, Sam says ‘there is a much better way to deal with this stuff’ than speaking out. However, unpleasant as it is sometimes, it is not right to keep silent as silence can be taken to mean assent. This was perfectly illustrated one day when I found an old man I knew wandering about the town on a very hot day. I knew he had dementia and I was unable to persuade him to come with me so as I didn’t have a mobile phone I decided to go into a nearby op shop to ask if I could phone the nursing home and let them know where he was. The volunteer I explained the situation to immediately said ‘If he was a dog he would be put down’. Was I supposed to remain silent in the face of such blatant ignorance? If I had remained silent she might have thought I agreed with the idea of humans being put down like dogs. I knew she wasn’t going to turn on me but that was not the reason I spoke up. I spoke up because it was my Christian duty to speak up. I was obliged to at try least try and dispel some of her ignorance so I said ‘But Madam he isn’t a dog. He is a precious human being and deserves the best care everyone of us can give him.’ The sad part was that here was a generous old woman prepared to volunteer her time for the less fortunate who had obviously not been reminded for a long time that human beings are not on a level with animals. It was, therefore my Christian duty to remind her. These situations crop up sometimes on a daily basis and it is often ‘words’ that can make a difference. Words convey meaning and understanding and are not ‘just words’ as you think Sam. They have an important function. Admittedly we often fail to choose the right words and the words we use often do not convey the meaning and understanding we hope to but we have to keep trying. Language is a precious gift. I have learned how important it is through having an autistic grandson who is unable to speak. As I said in my other post we have to pray for these people too. Hope my comments are useful.
    Patricia Halligan

  • Many thanks Patricia

    Yes I think you are quite right here. Failure to speak out – whether due to fear, or PC, or not wanting to cause offence, or wanting to appear ‘tolerant’ – can often be the most unloving and un-Christlike thing we can do. We are told to speak the truth in love. If you love someone, you will tell them the truth of where they are at, and not leave them unchallenged as they destroy themselves and others. What sort of love is that to remain silent in these sorts of situations?

    Your words reminded me of a wonderful testimony I had read by a former homosexual. He entitled his story, “Thank you for offending me”. What a great title! He speaks of friends and family members who loved him enough to confront him and tell him the truth. He says this:

    “Each of them offended me. Each of them made me angry. I viewed them as bigoted, and unenlightened, and ignorant, and prejudiced, and hateful. If they truly loved me, I told them, they would accept my homosexuality and affirm me in the lifestyle I was living. I ignored their calls and I viewed them with skepticism. I did my best to sever my relationships with those who were offending me. But they would not let me go. They did not coddle me, but they refused to give up on me.”

    His thoughts about Jesus are quite interesting as well: Referring to the book You Don’t Have to be Gay he says, “that book showed me more than the sentimental, saccharine love of Jesus that gay theology had sold me. It showed me the powerful love of the risen Savior.”

    He concludes, “THANK YOU, dear friends, for your offense to me. At the time, the Truth you shared was the aroma of death to me (II Cor. 2:15) but today it is the sweet fragrance of LIFE.”

    Just as this man needed to be “offended” by the truth before he could be set free, so too does Elton John and so many others. Yet far too many believers are so fearful, and cringe at any form of controversy or confrontation. They just want to live a quiet and peaceful life and not rock any boats, regardless of how many of those boats may be carrying large numbers of people heading to a lost eternity.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks again Patricia

    Your comment so inspired me that I wrote an entire article on this theme of being willing to offend people if we really love them: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2010/02/22/caring-enough-to-offend/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Sometimes I ask the question why have we picked up the language of ‘gay’ etc? I like to use the Biblical term of ‘Sodomy’. I think this is particularly relevant as at times I have seen some Christians discussing issues of homosexuality in front of children without giving it a second thought. Why should children have to be confronted with this degrading lifestyle? If it is going to be discussed in front of children, use of the term ‘sodomy’ would be much more appropriate – if they ask their parents what it is, the parent’s response only needs to be ‘people who practiced such wickedness as the people of Sodom and Gomorrah and God deal with accordingly’.

    Often the way society tries to cover for immoral living is to introduce new terminology, or redefine other terms.
    Abortion, murder – now termination.
    Euthanasia – dying with dignity
    Fornication – de facto
    Husband, wife – partner etc.

    I believe it would be good for Christians to once again adopt this clear biblical language (in such a way that it is understood at the same time) to emphasize the seriousness of these moral failures.

    Once again, thank you Bill for your clear and confronting articles!

    David Clay, Hamilton

  • Hi Bill, how stupid and ignorant is this supposed scholar, It’s not only blasphemy, that this so called scholars’ comment on Jesus ‘supposed’ sexual orientation, but outright anathema, and worthy of God’s severe judgement. Oh yea, the so-called singer, what is his name? O that one! Yea, well….’some mothers do ave them’, yes we must pray for the foolish ignorant ones, but I think it’s time for the Christians of the world, to stand together in one voice against such filthy comments and blasphemy made against our LORD Jesus Christ and Christianity in general.
    Jesse Machaneh

  • Hey Bill,

    Heathers post reminded me of just how much Christians at times can undervalue Jesus. I know for certain that if someone was saying ridiculous things about my wife It wouldn’t take long for my blood to boil, yet for someone to ridicule Jesus it’s almost like a ‘well Jesus is big enough He can look after himself.’ I am reminded of a comment I once heard about racism that related. The person who sits backs and says nothing is just as responsible as the person saying the offensive words. I wonder how much our lack of courage to truly stand up for Jesus, is costing our credible Christian witness.

    Ray Mitchell

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