Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Not Even By Scripture

Everyone finds 4-year-old boys just so cute- especially when they're singing, and especially in church.    This video, from Apostolic Truth Tabernacle in Greensburg, Indiana via Crooks and Liars, may change your mind:

The boy sings "The Bible is right, somebody's wrong.    Romans 1 and 27, ain't no homo gonna make it to heaven."

That might be a bit harsh.... or perhaps viciously nasty.      David Badash of The New Civil Rights Movement, capturing the sentiments of most Americans, tweeted "They are teaching hate to an entire new generation. This makes more (sic) more sad than angry. I fear for these children's future."     One of his followers had a similar, common reaction, sarcastically remarking "another example of true christian love."

But the song not only reflects hostility; it is factually incorrect, even by its own standards.

The young fellow is no doubt referring to verse 27 of chapter 1 of the Romans, especially because there are only 16 chapters in Romans.   Chapter 1, verse 27 reads, according to the English Standard Version

and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

What would that "due penalty" be?    An evangelical (Zondervan) publisher argues "the 'gay' face is a thin veil for deep-seated frustration.    The folly of homosexuality is proclaimed in its inability to reproduce the human species in keeping with the divine commandment" as Zondervan interprets Genesis 1:28.    A "reformed" (overlapping, but not synonymous with,"evangelical") publisher, Ligonier Ministries,  remarks only "the harvest reaped is related to the crop sown" as inferred in Galations 6:7-8. (These verses appear related to general benevolence rather than sexual deviance.)

Paul, who wrote the Book of Romans, mentions neither heaven, hell, nor salvation in the context of homosexuality.   But he does, in that portion of the Bible itself, write

For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.   For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, "The righteous shall live by faith."   (1:16-17

But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it- the righteousness of 
God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe.     For there is no distinction, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.    (3:21-24)

For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.   For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.    (10:3-4)

... because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.    (10:9)

.... and on and on and on.      Put aside, for a few seconds,the mean words in the short song. Neither the state of homosexuality nor the sexual behavior that flows from it gives one a pass to hell according to the standards (Paul's words in Romans and elsewhere) of the Apostolic Truth Tabernacle itself.    Nor do the gospel authors, Jesus, or any authoritative New Testament figure maintain that being gay dooms one to eternal fire and damnation.

Paul, whose words are thought to be divinely inspired (and whom a few revisionists have claimed himself may have been gay) did disapprove of homosexuality.     But it is up to each individual to determine for himself/herself the veracity of the Bible.  And if a person cites Scripture as the ultimate authority, the latter shouldn't be grossly manipulated.     One suspects God would not be amused.

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