Revisiting Romans

The below is my response some years ago to an article that seems to have been removed, concerning the old Duck Dynasty’s commentary on homosexuality, after some children had killed themselves over the issue.  I do not fully remember the premise of that article, nor of the old man’s point of view, but it was something along the lines of one’s beliefs about the issue not mattering.  I had responded to the issue, because I have seen believers go way too far one way, and make themselves hypocrites, simply opposing unbelievers who do the same.  Here is my reply to the article, from back in 2013:

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I think public debate about belief on any topic is healthy, and necessary.
What one believes about sexuality is entirely relevant, and this article proves it. Because it is the “belief” of some that caused these children we all want to defend after the fact to kill themselves in the first place. What they themselves believed, and what others believed, affected them very much.
Basically, what many are saying is that this is a ‘sin’. But, there is a belief, a perception of what sin is that is erroneous. Many people think ‘sin’ is something reserved for a certain “other” crowd, when in fact the whole of mankind is riddled with it, including christians. But again, hear me out. Sin is simply “error” against the instructions God gave to mankind to make them ‘holy’ and bless them, and mankind is indeed born with a propensity to err against that. First and foremost, we err against God, and then we err against Him again when we err against our fellow man. This is the foundation of what the Messiah taught. The God of Israel said of Himself: “ יהוה , יהוה , El [God], merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in compassion and truth; guardian of compassion unto the thousandth generation; forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin, and pardoning;” Understanding THAT should be the goal of every worshipper who claims to love God. Why it is that this one error gets so much attention publicly, then, I have pondered for many years. And I think it is because this particular “error” is not as common among men as other errors. However, it is more common than some are willing to admit.
But, since it is perceived as uncommon, it is easy to target those who choose this way as “other.” I think that’s the basic reason this is the “big one,” but then I think this is compounded beyond belief by other things added to that perception. Nonetheless, “belief” is so intertwined in the social discussion we have over this issue, that to say that what we believe about it doesn’t matter is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. What we, society, believe about it IS precisely the problem, and I think we as a society are trying to hammer out a public redefinition of this issue. Until we get a common understanding, this will continue to be a point of contention in society, and it will continue to harm children.
What our society has “believed” about this issue, by and large, has been an over-interpretation of the scriptures for years, but now our society is swinging so far the other way that it is just as dangerous as the former “norm.” Theologians past and present have played “Let’s Make a Deal” with defining what acts are erroneous and what are not. And the laity take their words, and the words of scripture, without having studied them with the intent of learning of God’s heart toward man, and they become the defacto enforcers of bad “belief.” This, I believe, is where the Duck Dynasty star is wrong. When a great swath of evangelicals turn to a duck-hunter-turned-week-end-theologian as the spokesperson of faith, something is amiss. But, on the other side, we have those who think that everyone who is gay wants to be that way, should be that way, must be that way, and are wrong NOT to be that way. This should be left up to the individual. The sheer fact of it is that many who ‘feel’ gay do not want to be. The reason is moot, and many times is not religious. It is the militant on this side of the argument that are JUST as self-righteous as erroneous christians. Society, as a whole, needs a ‘belief’ in the fore that is not so narrow minded and destructive as BOTH these positions are, and we will not get there if we ignore belief.
So, in former days, and even now for many evangelicals, the belief is that because of about three passages in the scriptures, this people group we’ve sequestered out of “normal” society is especially egregious in their “sin.” This is where I differ strongly with them. But I want to explain why it is I think they think this way. It is largely because of one word: תּוֹעֵבָה. This Hebrew word is “to’evah,” and in most translations is rendered as “abomination.” And this English word has subsequently been given a particular tone in society’s perception of what that is, and unfortunately, it has been wielded by the self-righteous to produce a certain “we-they” mentality, and as a weapon used to deflect attention off of one’s own errors. What they fail to recognize, or even consider, perhaps, is that this word is used of many, many things God expressed were “to’evah” to Him. Among those things are: eating shrimp, eating catfish, pork, shellfish, snake, gators, rats, buzzards, etc, and not only those, but also adultery [cheating on one’s spouse], fornication [sex before marriage], and then also forms of idolatry, especially idolatry that is mixed with worshipping God, such as decorating trees and bringing them into homes as focal points, etc. ALL of these things were seen as errors of a particular kind: to’evah. Suddenly, the “we-they” mentality has to be tabled for a moment if we are going to stand on this stump of righteousness, but ONLY IF we are HONEST with what the text is saying! This is where suddenly everyone becomes gymnastic in their scriptural interpretations, waxing philosophical, demonstrating lofty hermeneutical prowess, or simply deciding that their current perception of it is right no matter what, and not wanting to learn the heart of God on any matter of error, but only the one.

To’evah simply means that it is displeasing because it was not part of the design.  A better English word would probably be ‘perversion.’  Each of the things listed as ‘to’evah’ is a perversion of the design of God, and using things He designed for one purpose for another purpose is what He is displeased with. But, His displeasure is with the act, not the person’s ‘soul.’ And, if He has dealt with one erroneous act by surrendering the Messiah to execution, then He has dealt with the other.
The next over-interpretation is of the first chapter of Romans, where people ‘think’ that it is about those in Sodom and Amorrah who were “gay,” that this is why they were destroyed. This is not what the text says, and this is not why they were destroyed in the first place. It is because they had forgotten God. Paul is not writing about Sodom and Amorrah, but of Rome and Greece and the rest of the nations in his day. They, too, had forgotten the Creator. Forgetting Him produced ALL MANNER of behaviors, and most importantly that of not caring about their human neighbors. The big “error” was forgetting God, the rest of what he expresses here is the RESULT of that. The first result of their having forgotten the Creator was idolatry, worshipping created things and not the Creator. For that reason, God gave them up to their passions. So, the BIGGER ISSUE is forgetting the Creator. And readers of this passage always seem to leave off the first verse of the next chapter, which says DO NOT PASS JUDGMENT, because you do the same things! Most people in this country are committing some sort of biblical “abomination!” And every one of us err against Him in some way, forgetting the creator and His desire for man on one issue or another during the day.
What tickles me about this is the duality on both sides. The doublespeak. On the one side, we have those who want everyone to tolerate everyone else and every behavior, EXCEPT those who disagree with their particular level of “toleration.” On the other side, we have those who want to quote the “old testament,” while at the same time disavowing it as irrelevant and ignoring the Sabbath that the Creator made for all mankind! “Let God be true, and every man a liar.” Getting honest with Him means facing the fact that our understanding of things is wrong.
God loves every human being on the face of the earth. He gave us some boundaries on a path, that if we would follow that path, we would be blessed beyond measure, protected from our own tendency to self-destruct . NO ONE is going to be perfect in following that path, so the Messiah was sent, to save us from our errors, and return us to that path. That path is very narrow, and christians are not the gatekeeper, nor are Jews, but only the Messiah Yeshua. Not every person who deals with the notion of sexual ‘divergence’ has forgotten the creator. They simply are wandering through this life without a guide, and if they do find Him, morons from both sides of the fence confuse them about this one error, making them feel as if they are never going to please God because they deal with this one thing, which no one else seems to deal with. Or, making them feel that they do not have to be concerned about pleasing Him. Both are wrong. I think this sensation is true of many other things people deal with, too, such as alcoholism and drug addiction. People get a sense of defeatism because of what SOCIETY BELIEVES: right now, that is in flux on many of these issues: on the one hand, some ‘say’ that God does not love them, OR on the other hand, that what they do is irrelevant to God. What some are unwilling to admit on the one side is that there are indeed many who are ‘struggling’ with homosexuality precisely because they do not want to be gay, and it has nothing to do with religion! They just do not understand how they got there, and they want out in a different way, and they are not offered hope by the side of society that tells them to “come out.” Some Christians believe that God hates gays, and they spew hatred. Some do not, but they still ‘reject’ them as people, deride them, talk ugly about them, and drive many of them into the grave, or into a life of deviance in more than one way. Many, however, who hate homosexuality, are not christian, and hate them for other reasons. But, the media never seem to point out those haters, and this is a legitimate gripe on the part of christians. So, there are many “beliefs” about this issue, and the public forum needs to open up the discussion more. Because of the two polar opposites, which are both wrong in their conclusions in some way, there are those within the ‘struggle’ who want help coping with their issue, but the vitriol on BOTH sides causes these tragedies. Belief is VERY MUCH a part of this issue, and public debate is necessary in order to STOP the tragedy. But, the public debate is not CIVIL, and THAT is the problem.
The word for “hate” in the scriptures is “saneh”, and these are things God hates, which are also “to’evah” to Him: [Mishlim 6]
Haughty [proud] eyes (we call it ‘looking down’ on someone)
A lying tongue
Shedding innocent blood
Those who are quick to do evil
A lying talebearer [running someone down, character assassination]
Those who sow strife
When those who are having this discussion publicly can curb their vitriol, we might be better able to help those who struggle in this situation. Our ‘belief” about it, then, should be public, and it should be a public message of acceptance and love, and one that offers help to those who want it. And some in this situation do want help, for their OWN reasons. And that usually stems from their belief about it. It does matter.

One thought on “Revisiting Romans

  1. 1Cor 6:9 Don’t you know that unrighteous people will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don’t delude yourselves – people who engage in sex before marriage, who worship idols, who engage in sex after marriage with someone other than their spouse, who engage in active or passive homosexuality, 10 who steal, who are greedy, who get drunk, who assail people with contemptuous language, who rob – none of them will share in the Kingdom of God. 11 Some of you USED to do these things. But you have cleansed yourselves, you have been set apart for God, you have come to be counted righteous through the power of the Lord Yeshua the Messiah and the Spirit of our God.

    I can count on one hand, with fingers left over, the times that I have heard verse 9 & 10 quoted and no mention of verse 11.
    Yes, God considers homosexuality an abomination (perversion), but no other “abomination” in Scripture seeks to turn creation on it’s ear like this one.
    Dr. Laura got herself in trouble some years ago for daring to define “normal” by calling homosexuality deviant behavior.
    HaSatan has been more militant, calculative and patient in this area of rebellion to Elohim than I dare say that believers have been in furthering the kingdom of Elohim in His righteousness.
    Over decades, they have infiltrated schools, libraries, adoption centers, government and even the military. Patient to take low paying jobs in the hope of advancement and the ability to change rules and regulations to further their cause.
    Sure, the folks who have done (and are still doing so) these things are just pawns for HaSatan, but their zeal makes them a prime target for this Scripture in Romans 1: 32
    They know well enough God’s righteous decree that people who do such things deserve to die; yet not only do they keep doing them, but they applaud others who do the same.
    Nature, apart from humans, has a natural tendacy towards self-preservation and propagation shunning the sexually confused from their pack. Some humans, on the other hand seem to be bent on extinction.
    Some years ago at the San Francisco Zoo, the architects of the “gay penguin propaganda” suffered a setback when female peguins were introduced and the formally “gay” penguins had a radical conversion.
    We believers cannot allow the waters to get muddied by the world, every life is just too precious to Abba.

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