Clobber Passage: Romans 1:18-27

Romans 1:18-27 may be the most-used Clobber Passage of all. Virtually all North American gay and lesbian believers, once their orientation is known, have received it in a cut-and-paste email from concerned friends and acquaintances. If you’ve spent much time in the blogs you have probably seen the passage pasted into a thread, as though it actually constituted communication, ministry, witnessing or something.

Evangelicals don’t realize they are using Romans 1 for the exact opposite purpose that Paul wrote it.  But they continue this egregious perversion of the text without ceasing. Paul’s intention for writing Romans 1 is easily demonstrated, but I’m sure they will somehow manage to avoid using the passage for the purpose Paul intended.

For the typical conservative minister, the primary use for Romans 1 is to prove that homosexuality is a vile sin, which proves to them that they must under no circumstance tolerate unrepentant gays and lesbians in their churches or, for some, in their families.

In fairness I must acknowledge that some evangelicals do struggle with the position their denominations and congregations expect them to uphold. One example of a conservative denomination beginning to grapple with their addiction to intolerance and judgmentalism is the Church of the Nazarene. While their recently published Pastoral Perspectives on Homosexuality is woefully inadequate, it is a beginning, It is evidence that God is speaking to them, and some number of them are beginning to listen.

Evangelicals use this passage to prove that non-celibate homosexuals are condemned by God and should not be tolerated in the church. Using Romans 1 as a pretext to pronounce God’s condemnation on homosexuals is like using a trowel as though it were an axe. They use the passage to do the exact opposite for which Paul intended it. Quite simply, they completely ignore the immediate context.

Repeat after me: “You’re taking the passage out of context.”

Any summarizing discussion of Romans 1 takes the passage out of context when there is no mention of Romans 2:1-4, which actually continues to verse 11. In Romans 2:1 Paul gives the “therefore” which explains the purpose for everything in the previous chapter. The word “therefore” tells you the reason Paul wrote everything that came before it. Everything leading up to Romans 2:1 is foundational to this main point.

Whereas…Whereas…Whereas…Therefore

Romans 2:1ff is what Paul wanted you to walk away with when you were finished. The first verse of Romans 2 is actually the conclusion of Romans 1.

Paul wrote Romans 1:18–2:1 to urge us to stop judging one another, but we manage to use it as the basis for judging people big time.. Here is Romans 2:1 in three translations:

Therefore, you have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. (NIV)

Therefore you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. (RSV)

Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. (KJV)

  • Whereas all human beings are idolaters, and
  • Whereas [most] human beings are fornicators, and
  • Whereas [a few] human beings are homosexuals, and
  • Whereas all human beings have a depraved mind,
  • Therefore, stop judging one another.

So you see, in context, Paul was telling us that we are without excuse if, for example, we condemn homosexuals. because we are foolish gossips and heartless braggers, which are sins of the depraved, or useless. mind. (Interesting, the Greek word translated with the horrible sounding words “reprobate” and “depraved” means “useless.”)

Paul did NOT write Romans 1 to prove how wicked gays and lesbians are. He wrote it to urge us all to stop all the judging and condemnation. If you insist on using Romans 1 to prove how evil homosexuals are, then “You are without excuse,” because your judgment is “inexcusable” (KJV). There is no excuse for judging one another. We have been warned.

All of us must stop judging one another. And I really do mean all of us.

Repeat after me, “You’re taking the passage out of context. Paul wrote that to teach us that judging one another is inexcusable–Romans 2:1.”

And if they go off on a tangent to justify their judging, simply repeat:

“That’s an interesting question, but you are taking the passage out of context. Paul wrote that to teach us that judging one another is inexcusable–Romans 2:1.”

“That may be, but you are taking the passage out of context. Paul wrote that to teach us that judging one another is inexcusable–Romans 2:1.”

Repeat as needed. If they remember nothing else you’ve said, they will remember that.

Romans 1 concludes with one of Paul’s famous sin lists. As you read the list, make a mental note of how many may apply to you.

Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.  They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents;  they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.  Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them. (Romans 1:28:32)

Romans 2:1 says that the person who judges another person, homosexuals for example, condemns himself because he who judges does the same thing. An evangelical asks, “So how does that work? I have never had sex with a man, but Paul says that I’ve done the same things gays and lesbians have done. What’s with that?”

That is fairly easy to explain. Look at the long list of “sins of the depraved mind.” There’s quite a variety there. I’m guilty of about half of them. I’m sure my friends would say I’m being too hard on myself, but I know my own heart.  If I’m going to be brutally honest, I experience at various times 1) greed, 2) envy, 3) strife, 4) deceit, 5) malice, 6) gossip, 7) insolence, 8) arrogant, 9) boastful, 10) inventing evil, 11) foolishness, and 12) heartlessness, not to mention the 13) lust mentioned in Romans 1.

These are all sins of the mind that is reprobate, depraved, and useless. And why exactly do I have a reprobate mind, the mind that makes me a gossip and a fool? Paul says it is because I “did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God.”

Frankly this strikes me as a little odd, since I feel I do retain the knowledge of God, I do acknowledge God. It may mean that I am not consciously aware of God at all times, and those times when I am unaware of God cause me to slip back into my useless mind. There may be other explanations that work for other people.

What I have in common with murderers and liberals, rapists and fundamentalists, clergy and Jehovah’s Witnesses, is a depraved and useless mind.

It’s interesting. I’ve never had anyone say, “Ron, I’m concerned about you. You’re a gossip. Did you know that this is a sin of the depraved mind? Don’t you realize that because you gossip you deserve to die?”

“Ron, don’t you realize that your heartlessness toward that person is the product of a depraved and useless mind, and that because of it you deserve to die?”

“Ron, don’t you realize that the strife you cause is the product of a depraved and uesless mind, and that because of it you deserve to die?”

“Ron, don’t you realize that your foolishness is the product of a depraved and useless mind, and that because of it you deserve to die?”

But we are willing to mete out this logic of condemnation on others.

I know some of this sounds silly, but these sins of the depraved and useless mind really are the basis for Paul’s assertion that “you who pass judgment do the same things.”

And we all take turns forgetting to acknowledge God.

[Note: I know that many of you will find this discussion inadequate because it leave gays and lesbians as “sinners,” and this is not acceptable to you. Well, it’s not acceptable to me either. I don’t believe that same-sex relationships are sinful, any more than heterosexual ones, which is why I am demonstrating the falsity of the Clobber Passages.  

I may be wrong, and I’m sure many of you are certain that I am, but my suspicion is that Paul himself did believe that same-sex relationships were wrong, but he also believed that women were to keep silent in the church with their heads covered. If I am wrong, so be it, and please continue to share your understanding of what Paul is talking about with all that difficult language of his in your various venues.

I am also convinced that most gay males do not go through universal descent into sin described in Romans 1.  I am persuaded that genetic, prenatal, and environmental factors are at work. But you know what? The why doesn’t even matter to me. The overwhelming testimony in the gospels and epistles tell me not to judge and condemn. The topic of this post is to demonstrate the perverse misuse of Romans 1.  

I have not analyzed the passage itself, but rather have refuted the use made of the passage by means of it’s context.

What I think we agree on is that Christians are to refrain from judging and condemning one another. I am certain, from the passage’s subsequent context, that Paul did not want us judging and condemning gays and lesbians.

[For more posts on the Clobber Passages, click here.] 

[For posts on Gays and Lesbians in Luke, click here.]

[To return to Main Page, click here.]

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About Ron Goetz

Author, Widower, Grandpa, Son.
This entry was posted in Clobber Passages, Gay Christians, Gay Marriage, Homosexual Marriage, Homosexuality, Homosexuality and the Bible, Paul Gays, Paul Homosexuality, Romans Gays, Romans Homosexuality, Same Sex Marriage and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

47 Responses to Clobber Passage: Romans 1:18-27

  1. Lizzie says:

    Thanks, Ron! I really like this post. Some of us seem naturally inclined to think in analogies.
    I picked up Love Wins via the BookPerk autographed copy offer. The interior format is a bit odd looking. I want to read one other book first (about fungus lol) and then I mean to read LW straightaway. I’m a little nervous that it will read like a TV infomercial. The format is spooking me. Please say something encouraging. Thanks.

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  2. Actually, Paul wrote Romans to the Gentile and Jewish church in Rome which was in inner revolt over who was in charge. Anything else we add to the text is our own doing, and out of context. I site two important books, What Paul Meant by Gary Wills, and In Search of Paul by John Dominic Crossan who states that Paul’s message, and that of Jesus was more an affront against imperial Roman Theology. In the 21st century, with all the scholarship available, its time to remove the “clobber” status, and no longer give it power.

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  3. Hill says:

    Again, I have to admit I like that you are trying to defend homosexuality. But your explanation of this text is too off base for me to ignore and it is unfair to those who use it in good faith. Paul wrote many letters and said many things – and they’re often quite contradictory. In 1st Corinthians 5:1-8, Paul admonishes the Corinthians for not throwing a sexually immoral person out of the “church.” Is Paul judging? Or, in his mind, is he trying to keep fellow believers in right relationship? There is a difference between the radical judgement that Romans 1 is used for and those who, in good faith, use it to help their homosexual brothers and sisters see their lifestyle is not the right way. Romans 1 may not be able to be used as condemnation for a sin, but it is clear that it is used to clarify sexual immoralities as sins. Now, I disagree wholeheartedly with Romans 1 view of homosexuality since I believe it is based on a “Law” God had no part of, but the Christians who quote this are not all homophobic hatemongerers and using Romans 1 is not inherently homophobic or judgmental. If you are true to the text – not just Romans 1 or 2, but all of it as it is supposedly meant to be combined – you cannot just dismiss the implications it has against homosexuality.

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    • Ron Goetz says:

      I agree with much of your comment. I would like to reply to a couple of things.

      First, I avoid rhetorical name-calling as much as possible. I don’t use the words “homophobic,” “homophobes” or their derivatives, I dont’ call people “haters” or “bigots.” I know for a fact that the vast majority of evangelicals feel no hatred, but have not reflected on the hatred communicated by their actions at the ballot box and the statements of their leaders. Name calling is destructive and only promotes shouting across the barriers.

      Second, the focus of my post was to establish the illegitimate use to which Romans 1 is put. Unless I’m mistaken, I don’t think I dismissed the implications of Paul’s beliefs about homosexuality. There is, however, only so much you can do in the space of a single, 600-1200 word post!

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  4. John Rutledge says:

    If we acknowledge facts as we know them today, and start from a given that homosexuality is a natural part of God’s creation, we must read this verse of Romans in light of Paul’s knowledge and the customs of that day. We now know that homosexuality occurs naturally throughout nature and across all cultures in similar proportions. We now know psychological and social sciences all consider it as naturally occuring and do not look at it as deviant behavior. We can therefore only look at men giving up ‘natural relations’ as being unnatural for straight men . Homosexual men who have been attracted to the same sex since childhood have no such straight relations to give up. To use this verse of Romans as evidence that homosexualtiy is unnatural must start from that proposition itself, and is therefore projecting and preserving a prejudged position which has no basis in fact and knowledge we have today, which Paul did not have. He was likely not witness to commited, monogamous, loving same sex relations. He would have been aware of pagan practices where ‘natural relations’ were given up and men, women, and even children participated in communal orgies, giving themselves up to their passions, and of course he would have spoken against that. These people turned their back on God and wallowed in lust, so to speak. What is unnatural is for someone who was created differently than the majority, to act in a way that is contrary to their own nature. Orientation is no more a choice than is lefthandedness, whether you are gay or straight. Either choosing to act against their own nature is what is unnatural. That choice, going against who God made you to be, dishonors God’s own work, which is truly what those who use this passage and other clobber passages are doing when they use His word against His beloved creation. Who knows why God made ‘the gay’? The reality is that He did, for His wonderful purposes, which we can all see many of when we look with love. Gays bring love, mercy, care, nurture, creativity, balance, spice, all the living colors of the rainbow to a straight-jacketed, emotionally stilted, black and white thinking world. We are all the body just as we were made. Just imagine life without the richness of His diversity.

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  5. Fred Conwell says:

    Romans 1:27 is a condemnation of bisexuality and, at it’s worst, forced prison sex. I’m sure we will see much more of Romans later.

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  6. Hill says:

    @Ron – Fair enough, but I worry that your argument isn’t sound enough to liberate our gay brethren from Christian “clobbery.” At best, it just makes those who think it’s wrong realize they need to be a little nicer about it. Which, to the gay people I know, can be worse since the nicer ones can become self righteous and even more convinced they’re right because they’re supposedly correcting their fallen and unrepentant sinning gay friends in the same Christian love that Jesus would use. #barf

    @John – a lot of what you say is assumed and unfounded. Plus, if you take Paul (or the Bible in general) in proper context, you would find certain liberal talking points to be irrelevant. First off, incest is “natural” across all species. Murder (or killing) is “natural” across all species. I question your use of the term natural because as you use it, tons of things are natural but that would never make them okay in a civilized society. I doubt you would even consider murder okay to God even though it is clearly “natural.” You are making bold, yet completely unproven claims about human nature. I would submit that sexuality (even the kind we find “deviant” like pedophilia) is nothing “natural” at all, but learned, and it just so happens certain kinds have already been pre-judged by society before we can even think about doing anything about what we “are.” Therefore, I think sexualities should be judged by their impact i.e. if two consenting adults make a decision, let them be. Scientists have not proven that homosexuality is “natural” from birth, so let’s not make arguments that potentially mislead people. And even if you didn’t explicitly say that, it is quite obvious that people listening to you will assume science backs up your comments, when it, as of today, does not.

    Impulses are not the concern of the Hebrew text – tangible acts are. As such, I doubt that Paul fits your description – to say nothing of the fact that you have no idea whether or not Paul observed monogamous gay relationships. And, if we were to stay true to the information we actually have about Paul, we’d see it becomes highly more unlikely Paul would care about homosexual monogamy if he has (or hasn’t) seen it. Again, in 1st Corinthians 5:1-8, he urges the congregation to remove a man who is sleeping with his mother. Paul shares no concern about “love.” The act itself is disgusting to him, and the reason is irrelevant. He wants it to stop. Let’s not misuse Paul’s possible ignorance to give him a position we know, in good faith, Paul would never condone.

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    • Ron Goetz says:

      All of us have a remarkable capacity to shield ourselves from self truth. So I understand what you’re saying about “enlightened” fundamentalists and their “loving correction.” I have to agree with another poster that some of them (what percentage only God knows) make their declarations in good faith. Solomon might have thrown up his hands and said, “What is crooked cannot be straightened, what is lacking cannot be counted” (Ecclesiastes 1:15), that’s how complicated this mess is. Sometimes I’m tempted to, but so far I’ve managed to resist fatalistic resignation. Everyone is created in the Image of God, so God always has an inner witness, no matter what people are hearing from the pulpit.

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    • Christopher Christian says:

      It is not about what you think. Or even what I think. Or our host Ron. The enemy whispers lies to us all and I pray daily for wisdom and discernment.

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      • Ron Goetz says:

        Christopher, our God is living and powerful, and is able to speak to our hearts and minds through his Holy Spirit as we habitually live in love toward one another. Be cautious, my brother, and do not ascribe to Satan the work of the Holy Spirit. That is the one unforgivable sin.

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  7. Grant says:

    You are absolutely right about not being judgmental. But your advice still overlooks the fact that homosexuality is list as an abomination (in Romans 1 and elsewhere). You are arming those who do not wish to deal with this particular sin.

    Although homosexuality is listed as an abomination, there is nowhere that heterosexual marriage is ever listed in the same context. Brother, I think that alone speaks volumes. If it does not sound a shofur then maybe you need to revisit Genesis where male and female are created and are specifically instructed to form a bond of one flesh. There is no similar instruction to two males or two females.

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    • Ron Goetz says:

      Grant, you are absolutely correct about me arming people with scripture. When Satan the Accuser used scripture to dominate and intimidate Jesus, he responded with scripture. Young gay and lesbian believers often don’t know their Bible as well as those who make a hobby of attacking them from the pulpit, in political campaigns, and on the internet. The scripture tells me to speak up for these young people, the hapless gay and lesbian teenagers who sit in anti-homosexual churches and stakes.

      Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;
      ensure justice for those being crushed.
      Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,
      and see that they get justice. (Proverbs 31:8-9)

      Conservative Christians closed ranks against my son when he came out in high school. He then attempted suicide three times. And he had never had sex–he was a virgin–but was eliminated from ministry in his high school Bible Club and in our church. He had not sinned by anyone’s standards, Grant, but these responsible Christians assumed he had, condemned him as guilty, and removed him from leadership.

      Grant, I think you need to take another look at the Torah. Of course there are heterosexual marriages that are called abominations. I’m surprised that someone who seems to base his attacks on scripture would say such a thing. I have to assume you wouldn’t have made this sweeping misrepresentation of scripture if you had read the Torah for yourself. I could, of course, be mistaken. If you are going to use the Bible to falsely accuse gay and lesbian believers, please at least read the book you claim to base your accusations on.

      (And if abominations bother you that much, please consider organizing a boycot of Red Lobster and Long John Silvers. Be real.)

      Jesus is our Advocate, our Defense Attorney. “But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous.”

      Satan, on the other hand, is the Accuser of the Brethren, the Prosecutor.

      Grant, if you are really interested in being Christ-like, then you should consider taking part in his ministry of advocacy and intercession. Like Jesus our Defense Attorney, start advocating for the people who, in your judgment, are so sinful, instead of siding with Satan and preparing the prosecution’s case.

      And while you’re at it, ask yourself what it is that is so attractive to you about this accusing ministry, instead of the more Christ-like ministry of advocating for those who are being crushed, and are unable to speak for themselves. My son nearly died because of people who prefer this accusing ministry, relying on the testimony of false witnesses

      I’ll address the anti-homosexualist addition of Genesis 1 to the Accuser’s case later.

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  8. juan says:

    THE OLD TESTAMENT SAYS “CURSED BE THE MAN WHO SLEEPS WITH ANOTHER MAN” ARE YOU SLEEPING WITH ANOTHER MAN?

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    • Ron Goetz says:

      Sorry Juan, but there is no verse in the Bible that says that in the OT or the NT. Is that something a friend or pastor quoted to you? He or she does not correctly handle the word of truth. Either that or you’re making things up.

      I can tell you who is under a curse, however.

      But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law.”

      You are no longer under the Law, so don’t put other people under the Law either. The Law brings sin and death. Where there is no Law, sin is not taken into account–there is no transgression. Read Romans and Galatians, my friend.

      Please follow this link: https://biblethumpingliberal.com/?p=457&preview=true

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  9. Christopher Christian says:

    Sad to see such rationalizations and distortions.

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  10. Ron Goetz says:

    Christopher, it’s easy to make general accusations, but far less easy to explain what you object to, and why you describe those things as rationalizations and distortions. It’s really quite impossible to reply to you..

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  11. Chris says:

    Ron You speak of Roman 2 contextualizing the “clobber verses of chapter 1, but you conveniently stopped at vs 4 Gods word however continues
    Rom 2:[5] But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

    So while Yes Some Judge, Some also Treasure up Wrath from their hard and UNREPENTANT, hearts.
    God is Just however and
    [6] Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
    [7] To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:
    Which is the good news.

    [8] But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath,
    [9] Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;
    [10] But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile:
    [11] For there is no respect of persons with God.

    the scriptures are clear, If one is willing to read them with a Contrite and humble state of mind.
    We are all sinners, I am, you are, and yes Homosexuals are in fact sinners. You seem to have spent a great deal of time explaining away leviticus, by telling Christians to not go to red lobster, but yet you don’t spend any time at all liberating other sinners besides homosexuals from the list of sins in romans chapter 1 or other sections of the bible as well. Why is it Homosexuals get a pass? What about heterosexual fornicators? That should be a much easier, sin for you to argue is not sin. based on numbers alone. What about the Covetous, we all want what our neighbors have after all. If God is not a respecter of persons, then why does Homosexual sin get a white stone? It is still fornication, unless you are also going to argue that a marriage can be anything that we as men define it to be.

    I know many have wrongfully placed homosexual sin on a pedestal, as if it outranks any and all other sin. But Just because they have wronged homosexual sinners, doesn’t mean Gods word is wrong about it being a sin.

    Back to Romans
    [12] For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;
    [13] (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
    The scriptures tell us that those who have sinned without even knowing the law will perish, And that those who sin in it will be judged by it. I suggest you reread the scriptures Brother. These people are perishing, and you are not giving them the life of the word, but the teachings of the world instead. It is spiritual poison, no matter how sweet and comforting it may seem to you. Remember we are told to not rely on our own understanding.

    and yet again back to Gods Precious and Holy word for our instruction.

    [14] For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
    [15] Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

    You and many others are going to all this trouble to minimize and dismiss Gods word on this one particular sin, in excuse of it, out of some sort of retaliation of the accusations you seem to have heard from Christians who are not rightly dividing the word of truth.

    You need to be aware God will judge us all, Especially the teachers. You claim to hear from the spirit, but have you actually tested that spirit in comparison to Gods word? They should not be in conflict with each other.

    Romans 2: [16] In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.
    [17] Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God,
    [18] And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law;
    [19] And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness,
    [20] An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law.
    [21] Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
    [22] Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?
    [23] Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?
    [24] For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
    [25] For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.
    [26] Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?
    [27] And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?

    Are you really sure, in your soul, that you want to be teaching what your teaching? We are called to be holy. I know we are all miserable failures at it, but, Justifying sin , calling it good, when God calls it evil. Well, I am suggesting you take real inventory of what your doing. I know you love your son, But We are to place God above all others, even our family and children.

    Unfortunately Satan has deceived these people into believing that their sin is their very Identity. When in fact it is merely a part of them, a singular aspect, out of multitudes, A sinful one make no mistake, but NOT their very core being, as so many are falsely led to believe.

    Just as we are told spiritually in the following verses
    [28] For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
    [29] But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.:

    We have to remember to not worry about the praise, or accusations of men, but be only concerned with the will of God. Just this one single chapter of Romans alone contains so much Meat, it is only superficially touched on, by most readings. We should remember to read well into any verse we see hear or quote, and remember to keep reading The Bible provides so much meat we can never become full in our limited lifetimes. I do not say these things out of hate brother, but out of concern. We are in a spiritual war, and this is one hostage situation that the enemy has taken that unfortunately causes many of the hostages to take their own lives, out of a lie. We all struggle with sin, but the key is to remember it is not our defining characteristic, and also that contrary to many who believe otherwise, not something we should seek to grasp onto with life and limb as if it were a form of sustenance. We are called to repentance, not self justification.

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    • Ron Goetz says:

      Chris, thank you for your reply, although it is a bit lengthy.

      I did not “conveniently” stop with verse 4. If you will notice, Romans 2:1-6 are all addressed to “you,” not someone in the third person. Verses 1-6 are still addressed to those who judge others. It is “you, whoever you are, who is without excuse when you judge another.” It is “you,” who think that you will somehow escape the judgment that you take such delight in pronouncing upon others. It is those who “show contempt for the riches of God’s kindness.” It is “you” who judge others, who “are storing up wrath for yourselves” “because of your stubbornness and your your unrepentant heart.”

      Paul wrote, “All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who live under the law will be judged by the law.” If you measure people according to the Law, you will be measured by the Law–Jesus said so. “For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

      You can measure others by the Law if you wish, but just know in ahead of time that, accordint to your Lord, you will be measured by that same Law.

      If it is your duty to make sure that no one “gets a pass” on obedience to the Law, remember that it applies to you, too. In verse 27 Paul says that you will be condemned if you continue on your present path.

      Like

  12. Chris says:

    I love how you again stopped short in Romans. Point is we have to take the good with the bad. You can’t just take all the lovey dovey verses in the bible. And then stick your head in the ground when it speaks about Gods judgement. We are ALL guilty and apart from Christ none would be saved. But we are called to CONFESSION and REPENTANCE of our sins. I know I’m guilty and fully, completely through an through deserving of Gods wrath. But he gives us his forgiveness IF we acknowledge the fact we are sinners and in desperate need of the forgiveness only he can offer. By picking one sin among many and frankly you are picking and choosing their are numerous verses listing it as well as other sins. I have to ask you again why is it you choose this one sin amongst many to give absolution for. Those verses speak of many sins, not just homosexuality. Yet you convienently gloss over that fact and do yourself and the homosexuals who are still dead in their sins a false sense of security. I know what I am guilty of. You are telling them they have no sin when the bible clearly does. Part of the process of salvation itself is the realization that one is a sinner something we are all guilty of hence the numerous sins listed in the scriptures, to in effect keep one from becoming too high minded of themselves. If you start whitewashing your sin of choice, exactly where do you think it will stop? Your lying to them and yourself.

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  13. Chris says:

    I thought my reply from my ipod posted a couple of days ago, but apparently not,

    My point was that Romans speaks of many points, you truncated it, and in effect turned it in to your own version of a clobber passage. When the message is far more than merely not to judge others.
    You just barely scratched the surface with that.

    I know I am a sinner, you missed my point, it was not ” judge the sinners” as you seem to presume, but rather, That we are all sinners, and that none are righteous. You are diminishing that by adding justifications of a particular sin, that for whatever reason, you have become a respecter of persons for having.

    As for being under the Law , we are not under the Law, BUT
    Gal 5:[10] I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.
    [11] And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.

    [12] I would they were even cut off which trouble you.
    [13] For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh,
    Brother you are telling others that are weak in the faith to give occasion to the flesh, as stated below more clearly in verses 19-21

    but by love serve one another.
    [14] For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
    [15] But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
    [16] This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.
    [17] For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
    [18] But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
    [19] Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
    [20] Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
    [21] Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

    The last part Paul reiterates, to be clear brother, they shall not inherit the kingdom of God, even though we are no longer under the law, these works of the flesh are still sins.

    [22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
    [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
    [24] And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
    [25] If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
    [26] Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
    Gal.6
    [1] Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.
    [2] Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.

    Brother Gods word is Clear. I highly suggest you prayerfully re-read it, with an open Mind, and Believe it, not what mankind has hoisted upon it, or even your own potential leanings.

    I came from a place of spiritual of doubt about the scriptures truth, to Learning that the word is pure, and that It, Gods word to us, is right and not My own understanding. It totally changed my world view. I used to believe all people were basically good, but I now know the truth that we are all at our core corrupt, and that it is only through the Grace of God that we can be saved. We are hopeless apart from him. As for judging others, I know what a rotten sinful hopeless man I am of myself, and that It is Only through Jesus that I could ever even dream of being saved, much less being righteous. Hopefully this will shed more light on where I come from brother.

    Like

  14. Jon-Paul says:

    I would have to say that public discourse of this type over the issue of homosexuality is some of the most refreshing I have seen in years. It makes me thankful to live in a place of freedom of expression and gives me some hope beyond what our political “leaders” from either party provide. I truly appreciate how you have all shown respect for one another and just worked with the scripture. With all humility, I will offer Mark 2:17 where Jesus tells the self-righteous who condemned him for eating with sinners that he is physician for the sick and not the whole. And further, that he comes to call sinners to repentance. I don’t worry about homosexuality being a bigger sin than the ones i have in my life. I only worry that the gay person doesn’t see it as sin and keeps them from seeking God’s forgiveness. The Lord Jesus loves gay people like he loves straight people, but he won’t forgive either unless they turn from their sin and seek him.

    Like

    • Ron Goetz says:

      Jon-Paul, I also appreciate the civility the readers here generally show one another.

      In response to your final few lines, I would simply say that I don’t know the mind of God well enough to say for certain who God forgives, why, and under what circumstances. From the cross God forgave those who surrounded him with no sign of their repentance. And Jeremiah 31:31-34 indicates that God will forgive their sin, and again there is no mention of repentance. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

      Different Christian traditions and different individuals interpret the Bible differently, and emphasize some themes over others. I know that I will die with unconfessed sin, much of it never recognized as sin, for whatever reason. God is gracious.

      Like

  15. Troy says:

    Sorry I have to disagree!
    Verse 32 of Romans 1 says who knowing the judgement of God, they which commit such things are worthy of death not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. The next verse is Romans 2:1 which speaks about the people that “judge others” while doing the same things secretly. God clearly does not approve of homosexual behavior. All one has to do is look to the story of Sodom and Gomora to see this. As well as the story found in Judges 19.
    Read verse Romans 2:3 “And thinkest thou this, O man that judegest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgement of God? And verse 4 states the Goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? Verse 5 talks about God’s wrath on those that do repent and Verse 6 emphasizes this! WHO WILL RENDER TO EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS. Please read Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13

    I realize this is not what most here wish to hear. I will not be well received: Please keep in mind I did not condemn the person: I just pointed out that the Bible clearly condemns the act as sin.
    thanks for reading

    Like

    • Ron Goetz says:

      First, the word “secretly” does not appear in Romans 2, and is not implied anywhere in the chapter.

      Second, comparing scripture with scripture, Ezekiel tells us what the sins of Sodom were:

      Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.

      Please reevaluate what you believe and write. It it’s this easy to disprove your confident assertions, then I wonder what else you believe is in error.

      Like

    • Maybe you don’t really get this passage. Look at it this way: Those that know the RIGHTS of God (the right God has to punish is for our sins, whether he will or won’t is up to HIM), namely, that those who do these things (all stated above, are DESERVING of death, by God,) and who don’t just do this but also take pleasure or advance themselves somehow from that sin is also a sinner. That includes , punishment, act on the right of Godand enjoy doing this (that is, enjoy punishing or being self righteous, and not leaving things to God) is a sinner himself. 1:32 is a prelude to 2, and clearly brands the fingerpointers as specific sinners, akin to al the sinners mentioned before. That’s how I read it.

      Like

  16. Ron May says:

    Hi Ron,

    I agree with some of your article, but mostly not.

    “Evangelicals don’t realize they are using Romans 1 for the exact opposite purpose that Paul wrote it. But they continue this egregious perversion of the text without ceasing.”

    I find it strange that while urging Christians to refrain from judging and condemning one another, one of your opening statements starts by judging Evangelicals. Then you follow by judging conservative ministers.

    “For the typical conservative minister, the primary use for Romans 1 is to prove that homosexuality is a vile sin, which proves to them that they must under no circumstance tolerate unrepentant gays and lesbians in their churches or, for some, in their families.”

    I am not sure of your use of “Evangelicals” but it seems like a blanket statement that could encompass millions and that’s a pretty big group for you to judge. Perhaps “some Christians” might be a little more accurate, the same for “conservative ministers.”

    I think you are right in that we ought not judge others as if we are speaking for the Lord. You seem to use the words “judge” and “condemn” interchangeably and that may be confusing. Paul is writing about “passing judgement” and condemning others for sinning and I agree, we should absolutely not try to act in God’s place.

    Then you seem say the “therefore” in Romans 2:1 reverses what Paul wrote before and then you go on and expand that idea until your statement “I don’t believe that same-sex relationships are sinful.”

    Just to clarify, does that mean that you believe this part… “Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men”… Is NOT a statement describing sin?

    Question: Is men committing shameful acts with other men a sin or not?
    Question: Is women exchanging natural sexual relations for unnatural ones a sin or not?

    If you say no… Then how about the other sins listed in the same verses?

    Should we forget the knowledge of God? Be filled with wickedness, evil, greed and depravity? Can we be full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice? Can we freely be slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant, boastful, and disobey our parents? Can we ignore fidelity, have no love, and no mercy.

    And last, Can we approve of those who practice these things?

    Ron May

    Like

    • Ron Goetz says:

      Ron, I’m called to love and forgive, if forgiveness is needed. Others may be called to warn and condemn–I am not responsible for how others understand their callings. God bless you in your life and ministry.

      Like

  17. Kate says:

    I find this all very interesting and it’s a topic I’m exploring… I have a few questions, though…

    I agree with you that we are not in any position to judge (take the log out of your own eye before removing your neighbor’s splinter, et all). But what about simply recognizing homosexual activity as a sin, since it’s included in the company of other “sinful activities”? Isn’t there a difference between acknowledging and judging?

    What if I was a known gossiper? What if I was PROUD of my gossip? Or demanded that my gossiping be accepted? Certainly no one would be in a position to JUDGE me for that, but I think it’s safe for others to simply ACKNOWLEDGE that I was unrepentantly taking part in “sinful” activity. And once that is acknowledged, my friends in Christ should have the freedom to encourage me to work out my faith and choose to stop it, right?

    Isn’t it also ok for my friends to say, “I love you, but I don’t accept your gossiping as ‘ok’. It’s sin, therefore it’s in the way of your growth in the Lord. As your friend, it is most loving for me to stand up for your intimacy with Jesus above all.” ??

    I actually don’t have an opinion yet on homosexuality and the Bible, but I like to play both sides of the fence until I arrive at a conclusion that resonates with me most deeply.

    Please respond when you can, I’m really interested in this topic. Thank you!

    Like

    • Ron Goetz says:

      Kate, there are a number of activities in the Bible which the writers apparently believed were sins, but the church is comfortable with ignoring. Gathering sticks on the Sabbath, for example: one man was stoned to death for that, but we would never do that today. Having sex with your wife during her period was once considered a sin. Having the entire village execute your incorrigible son was once endorsed (as it still is in mountainous tribal areas of Afghanistan, etc). Men caught having sex are required to be killed, but no church executes practicing gay men today.

      In the New Testament, women are commanded to wear head coverings when gathered together with the church. This is ignored. Women are forbidden to speak in church, yet they do. Women are forbidden to lead men, yet women are ordained in conservative places like pentecostal churches and the Salvation Army churches, and mainline places like the United Methodists, the Episcopal Church, etc.

      I would not argue about these issues with others at this point in my life. I have other projects I’m working on.

      Kate, I’ve discussed this elsewhere on my blog, and there’s a lot on the net regarding whether or not same-sex relations are sinful — or not. I don’t believe they are. If your congregation teaches that same-sex relations are sinful, that’s something you’ll need to eventually settle for yourself.

      Take care and God bless.

      Like

      • “Men caught having sex are required to be killed,”But it doesn’t even say that. It says, shal surely be kiled. I.e. We think God wil punish when he perceives as sin. Not : Feel fre to kil in Gods’name when discovering. Not at al. That in itself is a sin!!

        Like

    • Have you considered that homosexual activity in the sense described (wanton lust) is only mentioned to be complete ? To be sure, that it’s not the case that you would be somehow exempt from being seen as sinful because you have sex with the same sex instead of the other? As in Leviticus, I can only see it as an acknowledgement of it’s existance in the first place, and that having empty sex for sex sake (outside of love and communicy and advancement) it is one of the many things humans wil do. If you are proud of your prominscuous lifestyle which is based on nothing but empty pleasures, you are a sinner. Straight or gay. If you are pround of your backstabbing and feel justified in your slanderous tongue (lashon hara in the Tora) then you are a sinner. Anyud God wil judge you, and God wil punish you. But He doesn’t need any other mortal to do that for him, is stil the very base of these passages. Akin to Jesus words about the first to cast stones.

      Like

      • Troy says:

        I am not pointing fingers at anyone. God’s holy word expressly says homosexual activity is a sin. Right along with adultery, fornication, steeling, murder or any other sin man can think up. I am not judging anyone or condemning anyone to hell. Again the bible expressly states what happens to the un-repented. The bible once again tells us to; But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. Hebrews 3:13 KJV

        We clearly have a responsibility to encourage and correct fellow saints. As far as taking the verses in Romans out of context. This is incorrect. In verse 24 if chapter one Paul clearly says God gave them up to their own lust. Verse 32 says not only do the same but have pleasure in those that do. We all have our own sins to deal with. and Judgment is reserved to God but to condone any of the works of the flesh knowingly, would be to “have pleasure in those that do these things.” An example would be a person that is committing adultery usually tries to hide this sin. But if he/she was to tell you about this activity would, you act as though everything was ok? or Normal?

        Like

      • Ron Goetz says:

        Troy, I have dealt with many of the Scripture passages which, allegedly, so clearly condemn gays and lesbian relationships. I invite you to peruse them at your convenience: click on https://biblethumpingliberal.com/clobber-passages/ for a partial list of what I have previously posted.

        In terms of repentance, I generally leave the content and timing of people’s repentance to God. In other words, I don’t tell people what to repent of and when. If God has given you, or your Christian tradition, the sense that the content and timing of people’s repentence is up to you, then you need to minister as you have been led.

        I wish God’s blessing on you, your ministry, and the ministry of your congregation. Yes, even though we may differ on important issues. Not everyone is given the same ministry, or has to speak the identical message. Please allow for differences in gift and ministries as described in I Corinthians 12.

        Like

  18. ShmuwAL says:

    “women were to keep silent in the church with their heads covered ” A woman conveys a BODY which is kept quiet in subjection to the VOICE of the Spirit that lies within. The use of the term, by Rabbi Shaul, follows the idiomatic language of Hebrew in which the Woman is the House of the Man/Bread, and does apply to gender. We are all of WOMEN/Bodies to carry our Lights.

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  19. You don’t really need to proceed to Romans 2. It is already in the sin list. Namely in 1:32, he already writes that the person who has the arrogance to sit in God’s chair and judge another sinner, is a siner himself. Spoken of is of God’s right to retribution not being the same as a mortal thinking he is justified in enforcing it. It’s the ‘last but not least’ of sins, and totaly ignored. Fits with Paul admonishing the Efezer’s for not taking action on a sinner! Not contradictary at all. If someone is a member of a church structure, and judging other sinners but sinning himself (even if in this context) then action can be taken upon him: They should speak out and tell him he has not right, they should not keep schtumm. Doesn’t mean they have to put the guy to death. God wil put you to death if He sees fit is the whole of the law.

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  20. Troy Dempsey says:

    This argument your making isn’t hermeneutically sound. The point of the beginning is Romans 2 is certainly prohibiting judging those listed in the latter half of Romans 1, but it doesn’t dismiss those acts as sins.

    I’m sorry your son was treated with fear and hate by the church instead of with love, but how he was treated doesn’t dismiss the sin. Sin + Sin = no sin? That seams to be your argument here, and that doesn’t add up.

    Like

    • Ron Goetz says:

      Troy, if God has called you to a ministry of announcing people’s sins to them, and of binding their sins to them until they “fully repent” of them, then I wish you God’s speed in the fulfillment of your ministry.

      Based on I Cor. 12: 4-27, I know that God gives to the church a variety of gifts, and a variety of ministries. I don’t expect everyone to agree with my interpretation of scriptures. I know those expectations are not always reciprocated, but we really have no option than to operate by the light given to us individually so far.

      Like

      • Troy Dempsey says:

        I think you missed my point. It isn’t the job of Christians to point out or convict people of sins. I agree with you totally on this point. We shouldn’t judge people for sinning, but we should judge what is a sin and what is not. The fact that we shouldn’t judge people for sinning isn’t a logical excuse for people to sin. Chapter two doesn’t excuse or allow what is discussed in chapter one.
        You have the right to believe what you want, but if you’re going to use the Bible to publically present a position then it should make sense logically. If I’m misunderstanding your position I apologize.

        Like

      • Ron Goetz says:

        Troy, logic has its limits in the interpretation and application of the scriptures. We’re told that the Hebrew scriptures were written as an example for us. Yet we use logic and reasoning to explain why we can avoid the less palatable portions, like the requirement to burn to death a priest’s daughter who becomes a sex worker. Our “theological” reasons for denying the applicability of such demands for today are simply rationales, or excuses, for not applying the death penalty willy nilly. We use reason, and rightly so, to ignore what really needs to be ignored. And we are understandably selective in what we “explain away” and what we retain.

        I doubt that your congregations has stoned to death any “practicing homosexuals” recently, even though Leviticus says to.

        Like

    • Sansi says:

      What was his sin then? His feelings? The Bible Doesn’t deal with feelings, only with actions. Which were not there at that point. There was nothing to condemn from a biblical point of view because he hadn’t lain with any man.

      Like

  21. Anonymous says:

    “So you see, in context, Paul was telling us that we are without excuse if, for example, we condemn homosexuals. because we are foolish [sinners]”

    We are without excuse if “we” judge other sinners because we ourselves are sinners? Actually…

    (English Standard Version) Romans 2:2 “We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things.”
    Romans 2:3 “Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God?”

    It’s rather plainly written. God is the one who judges and condemns them. Practicing any of the aforementioned means you will be punished by God. Judging others becomes a moot point, because you’re practicing along with them. It does not say “If you judge a thief/liar/murderer/adulterer you too become guilty of the same sin.” Judging someone generally means you disapprove.

    And in case it’s not clear, Romans 1:32 “Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.”

    Thus doing or approving of/defending = guilty, and “deserves to die” according to this scripture. Envy, quarreling, gossip, slander, arrogant and disobedient to parents “deserve to die.” While that sounds incredibly harsh, the same “crimes” are listed together in other areas of the bible. Even if there are different degrees of sin, sin is still judged as wrong by God. And ALL of these acts are considered sins.

    A sin is a sin, degree is irrelevant when establishing what is and is not a sin. Thus homosexuality is a sin.

    To reiterate: “you are taking the passage out of context. Paul wrote that to teach us that judging one another is inexcusable” is ignoring where it says God rightly judges these people. Thus you are taking it out of context. Whether we judge or not, God does. If Paul is incorrect to assume God condemns these acts, why do other writers of the bible also condemn it and say God condemns it (old and new testament)? Why would they even equate it with other sins if God didn’t have a problem with it?

    Like

    • Ron Goetz says:

      Please read on to Romans 2, my dear Anonymous. You’ll find that people who delight in judging others are guilty of the exact same sin that they judge. The measure you mete out against gays and lesbians will be meted out to you. I have the “gift of mercy,” of forgiving people, the people in whose judgment you apparently take such delight.

      Father, forgive our sins as we forgive the sins of others. Take heed. If you hold people’s sins against them, yours will be held against you.

      Good luck with that.

      Like

  22. billkowalski2014 says:

    Well argued, although I question if this would stir anyone but those who are already skeptical. To many people who self-identify as religious, the Bible is a document not to read personally and considered, but to be left up to the interpretations of various trusted gurus who carefully sidestep the more ridiculous elements and cherry-pick the sections which support their generally right-wing, anti-gay and jingoistic world views. I encourage you to add balance to the discussion although you are greatly outnumbered by less thoughtful people who likely will prefer to continue to be unkind in the name of their God.

    Like

  23. billkowalski2014 says:

    Knowing numerous gay people, among them there is a common backstory of realizing they were gay well before they understood what sexuality was. I find it hard to believe the Biblical version of God is ignorant enough to make gay people and then condemn them to either going to hell or to a life of trying to undo their unborn sexuality. Then again, I’ve read the Boble through numerous times, and find it no more credible than any other magic book.

    Like

    • Ron Goetz says:

      No argument about anti-homosexuality here.

      However, while there may be magical thinking in the Bible, to consider it no more than a magic book is reductionist thinking. It covers military tactics, governmental intrigues, geopolitical politics, prophetic witness against government, social change, small group dynamics, daily wisdom, love poetry, etc.

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