CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

A Review of Can You Be Gay and Christian? By Michael Brown.

Jun 30, 2014

FrontLine, 2014.

Imagine a book written to defend the practice of breathing. Yep, lately people are slamming the idea of breathing and saying it is unnecessary, so we now actually have to write a book defending it. Idiotic? Of course it is. But the situation we find ourselves here is much the same. A guy has to write a book defending what the Bible says about homosexuality. Lately people are slamming the idea that Scripture unequivocally condemns homosexuality. So now we have to write books defending the obvious.

For 4000 years Jews have known that homosexuality is sinful – end of story. And for 2000 years Christians have known the same truth. Yet incredibly, in the past few decades we actually have those claiming to be Christian telling us that homosexuality is just peachy, and God and the Bible are simply wrong on this issue.

Other good volumes tackling the theological revisionists can be mentioned, such as the superb 2002 volume by Robert Gagnon, The Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics. The second half of my own 2011 volume Strained Relations also dealt with this.

But with the activists becoming more brazen in their attempts to justify their lifestyles and to rewrite Scripture, we need more solid defences of what the Judeo-Christian worldview has always affirmed about this issue. And Michael Brown is the man for the job. Rationally, biblically, lovingly and firmly he takes on all the foolishness from the revisionists, and proves that they have no successful arguments whatsoever.

All the usual objections, distortions, Scripture-twisting, blustering, red herrings, straw men, and other logical fallacies are ably tackled and dismantled by Brown. So let’s start with a common one: the dopey argument that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality.

Arguing from silence is always risky, and there was of course no need for Jesus to declare the obvious here. “He didn’t have to condemn it any more than he had to condemn sins like bestiality, since every God-fearing Jew in the nation knew these things were wrong according to God’s holy Torah.”

And in three ways he did deal with it: one, he made it clear in the Sermon on the Mount that he came to fulfil the law; two, in his teachings about sexual immorality, which excludes everything but heterosexual marriage, it is covered; and three, in his affirmation of the original divine plan for human sexuality made back in Genesis 2 he addresses it.

Then again there is all sorts of nonsense dished out by the revisionists over the Levitical laws. As an Old Testament scholar and specialist in Hebrew and Near Eastern languages, they really don’t want to tangle with Brown on this. He sets them straight thoroughly and convincingly.

He reminds us that the dietary laws to keep Israel a distinct people were meant for them only. Jesus made it clear such laws are no longer binding on all peoples. But the prohibition against homosexuality is of course a universal law never revoked by Jesus or the New Testament.

This is made perfectly clear from Scripture when we read about God judging Israel – but not the pagan nations – for eating unclean animals. However, Jew and Gentile alike are roundly condemned for in any way promoting or practicing homosexuality.

Homosexuality is the only sin in the book of Leviticus to be condemned as an abomination, and one of the few sins requiring the death penalty. This tells us perfectly clearly how God looks at the issue. Never in the entire Bible is it once spoken of in a positive light.

The New Testament is the same in its condemnation. Brown carefully deals with Paul on the issue, showing how the revisionist theology is completely without warrant. All the Greek lexicons and dictionaries affirm the view that Paul used terms unequivocally referring to actual homosexual acts, not mere temple prostitution, pederasty, and so on.

“His condemnation of homosexual acts – both male and female – is so comprehensive that under no circumstances could anyone fairly imagine that he would countenance these acts (or relationships) in any setting, even if he recognized such a thing as ‘gay identity’.”

Indeed, these new readings of Paul “do not arise from the biblical text; instead, they have been read back into the text by gay theologians against the backdrop of the moral deterioration of our society.” The revisionists for example try to weasel their way around the clear meaning of the two Greek terms found in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.

After offering a careful and detailed examination of the words in question, Brown says this: “It is totally clear, then, that while there may be minor differences in the rendering of these Greek words, there is absolutely no question that they speak categorically against homosexual practice, despite what some gay theologians claim. And Paul says those who practice these things will not inherit God’s kingdom.”

The truth is, the revisionists do not have a leg to stand on. There is nothing about their “theology” or “scholarship” which is even remotely convincing, plausible, or biblical. This attempt to produce a homosexual theology is all about one thing: people trapped in their lifestyle demanding that God and the Bible conform to their experiences.

Instead of an inerrant Word of God, what we have here is an inerrant personal experience. Their experience becomes the arbiter of what is right and wrong, true and false. It sits in judgment even over God and his revealed truth. Instead of letting God and His Word determine what is true here, they set up their own lives as the fount of absolute truth.

And this is the root problem, as Brown argues. Their theology is “based on the false premise that your identity is defined by your sexual desires and romantic experiences and God is somehow obligated to affirm that identity.” We instead need to find our identity in Jesus Christ and let him set us free from sin and self.

There can be no other way, and many thousands of ex-homosexuals can testify to this reality. And this book is so important in this regard: it offers genuine hope and genuine truth. Homosexuals can change, and so very many have. This is what homosexuals really need to hear, not the lies and deception of the revisionists.

Thus this is a very important book indeed, and deserves a very wide circulation and reading. It demonstrates so clearly the words of Jesus: “The truth shall set you free.”

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8 Responses to A Review of Can You Be Gay and Christian? By Michael Brown.

  • Thank you – very useful to know all the facts.

  • As you say there should be no need to defend the Scriptures and their affirmation that Homosexuality is a Sin. Any Man or Woman with an honest Soul would not need any affirmation that Homosexuality is a Sin and an Abomination in the sight of God as their Consciences would tell them that.

    At the risk of sounding like a Cracked Record my Affirmation is that Homosexuality is a Sin, Sin, Sin, Sinnnnnnnnn.

  • Dr Michael Brown recently debated a gay christian, Matthew Vines on radio

    You can watch/listen on the link below.

  • Well, Mr David Cameron PM has today released a video saying how proud he is that he introduced gay marriage into the United Kingdom.
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=MbXWxPs6Psg
    ….and how he wants the rest of the world to follow his lead.
    (This link from the Christian Concern newsletter).

    It just goes on…and on…and on…maybe someone should send him a copy of Michaels’ book; sadly though, Cameron is too full of his own importance to take any notice….water off a duck’s back.
    How long will it be before the light dawns in people’s brains how crazy all this hideous stuff is?

  • Matthew, I am sorry, I couldn’t find a link attached to your comment?
    Many blessings
    Ursula Bennett

  • Thanks Ursula – it is embedded in his comment. A picture of the video with a play button is there.

  • Michael’s great in debate!
    Seen him on Christian TV, and back when he was a pastor in the Brownsville revival in 90’s (where they had some fabulous testimonies of homosexuals that got saved)…
    Like this…

  • Hi Bill:
    Great!
    This longer video is better quality… (I linked in at 13 minutes and 35 secs)

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