Homosexuality, Bible Interpretation, and Authority
Paul DeanDr. Paul J. Dean's Weblog
- 2008 Aug 27
There is yet another defection from the authority of Scripture in the evangelical communion in the form of invoking Scripture to defend homosexuality. The Archbishop of Armagh asserted not too long ago that “reason” may be applied to Scripture texts that seem to condemn homosexuality so that a different interpretation may be gleaned. Such a notion is flawed on a number of counts.
First, while reason must be applied in bible interpretation,
what is meant by the Archbishop’s assertion is that human reason apart from
God’s presuppositions trumps God’s word. Such is a logical impossibility if
God’s word is God’s word in that it would necessarily be grounded in God’s
Second, the reason to be applied comes from contemporary
notions of whether or not homosexuality is deemed natural or unnatural. Human
reason apart from God’s revelation is fatally flawed in that it is affected by
sin. Man apart from God has been given over to a darkened understanding. That
does not mean that man cannot understand anything. It does mean that he cannot
understand spiritual truth apart from a new nature.
Third, to say that homosexuality is natural and therefore
cannot be viewed as sinful is a rejection of the moral character God Himself
has ascribed to homosexuality. Human sophistry may be used to define
homosexuality as natural but it cannot get around God’s moral pronouncements.
Fourth, as always, the problem lies in attempting to sit in
judgment on God’s word. Attempting to find answers to moral questions apart
from God is not only flawed and impossible, but essentially sinful.
Fifth, authority is the issue. What is our source of
authority when it comes to the question of whether or not homosexuality is
sinful? Is it God’s word or something else? Will we allow scientists who
presuppose the naturalness of homosexuality to simply explain away God’s word with
the imposition of their worldview upon the interpretation process? Or, will we
affirm the presupposition that God’s word is true and leave it there in terms
of whether or not homosexuality is sinful? Even if homosexuality were due in
part to certain genetic factors, understanding that a so-called “homosexual
gene” is a scientific impossibility, does that negate its sinfulness? Are not
all sins and the propensities of all men affected by genetics? And yet, God
holds us accountable for sin.
Sixth, certainly, the Archbishop’s argument is that those
who commit homosexual acts who are not naturally homosexual are in sin but
those who are naturally homosexual and commit homosexual acts are not in sin
because they are not going against nature. Again, this position cannot be
sustained from the text but must be imposed upon the text.
Unfortunately, the Archbishop is in spiritual danger. Bible
teachers are charged to rightly divide the word of truth and are admonished to
be careful in the handling of Scripture for they will receive a stricter
Let us love the homosexual enough to tell him the truth that
he might be saved. And, let us do ourselves and the world a favor by not
getting things backwards. It is not worldly reason that must be applied to Scripture
but Scripture that must be applied to worldly reason. We don’t understand in
order to believe. We believe in order to understand.
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