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Old 06-22-2006, 08:34 AM   #16
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If you are TRULY motivated by love of God and of others, then you will be fulfilling the Law. That is what Jesus is teaching here. (and I think Bono mentions that love is the Higher Law somehwere in a song..oh whats that song???..oh yeah...ONE)
I am not certain weather to laugh or cry at this......

If love is the higher law, then love calls me to move beyond the traditions set forth thousands of years ago.

If love is the higher law, I cross boundaries to reach out to my brothers and show love to them.

There is no LOVE in the letter of the law....None....
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:01 AM   #17
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The definition of "the law" was generally the defining reason for the split amongst early Christians. Jewish Christians, led by Sts. Peter and James in the Church of Jerusalem, believed that "the law" referred to the entirety of Mosaic Law, down to every last dietary and mixed clothing fiber prohibition. The original Gospel of Matthew was written by them:

"Don't think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I didn't come to destroy, but to fulfill. For most certainly, I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not even one smallest letter or one tiny pen stroke shall in any way pass away from the law, until all things are accomplished." -- Matthew 5:17-18

This stance was vehemently opposed by Gentile Christians, led by St. Paul and his Church of Antioch. He rejected all forms of Jewish law, and believed that when Jesus arrived, Mosaic Law (and the Old Testament, for that matter) was fulfilled through Jesus--and, subsequently, obsolete.

"Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,' and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, (namely) You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law." -- Romans 13:8-10

Such a defined and sometimes violent split between the two churches led to the Council of Jerusalem, which decided on the following compromise in Acts 15:28-29:

"'It is the decision of the holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities, namely, to abstain from meat sacrificed to idols, from blood, from meats of strangled animals, and from "unlawful marriage" (Greek: "porneia," a reference to Jewish prohibitions against blood mixing / incest in Leviticus; an obsolete word that is often poorly translated)."

However, this compromise was in name only. The two churches never reconciled, and neither church upheld this compromise. This passage is the general example of how St. Paul thought of the law:

"For freedom, Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Now I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who receives circumcision that he is bound to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we can wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love." -- Galatians 5:1-6

And, likewise, in response to the Acts compromise, St. Paul still instructed his followers to do the contrary:

"There are some who have been so used to idolatry up until now that, when they eat meat sacrificed to idols, their conscience, which is weak, is defiled. Now food will not bring us closer to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, nor are we better off if we do. But make sure that this liberty of yours in no way becomes a stumbling block to the weak." -- 1 Corinthians 8:7-9

In the end, neither church reconciled, and the Jewish Christian "Church of Jerusalem" was wiped out by followers of St. Paul by the second century A.D. As such, all Christians today are descendents of Gentile Christianity, and if it weren't for sloppy Protestant revisionism over the last 500 years, the theology of the Church of Jerusalem would be dead and buried. We are not bound to any law, but to love God and to love one another.

Now as for whether homosexuals are sinners, I have dealt with this issue repeatedly here. If translated properly, the Bible would show that it rather explicitly condemns prostitution; most words translated as "homosexuals" are really references to "male temple prostitutes," who, in both in Greco-Roman and Semitic paganism, organized mass temple orgies. It was believed that sex would bring one closer to the gods. As such, both Jews and Christians would have been forbidden to engage in such blatant idolatry. St. Paul also makes a mention of the Greco-Roman practice of "pederasty," where it was highly common for an older man to have sex with a teenage boy until he reached a certain age, whereupon he would get married to a woman. St. Paul likely saw this in a similar way in which we are disgusted by pedophilia today.

In other words, the Bible really addresses three rather specific topics that we would all still condemn today: idolatry, prostitution, and pedophilia. The way these concepts have been terribly translated over the years would be equivalent to taking the story of Gibeah (Judges 20), where a group of men gang rape and kill a female concubine (the heterosexual analog to Sodom and Gomorrah), and then extrapolate God's destruction of Gibeah as a pronouncement against all heterosexual sex. This is precisely the sloppy Biblical scholarship that we are dealing with today.

Now as for the Episcopal Church, I am ashamed that the did not have the courage to stand up for what they believed in. They are cowards.

Melon
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Old 06-22-2006, 10:05 AM   #18
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Melon, you seem to have a good knowledge of Christian history. I love that you quoted Paul here: ""For freedom, Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Now I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who receives circumcision that he is bound to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we can wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love." -- Galatians 5:1-6.

I find interesting that you didn't quote Paul a few sentences later in Galatians 5:13: "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature"

And what does the very same Paul write are the acts of the sinful nature? Thank the Lord he answers this question in the very same chapter in Galatians 5:19- "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God."

Christian freedom is about being free from the bondage of the sinful nature, bot about doing what you want.
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Old 06-22-2006, 10:53 AM   #19
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So where does homosexuality fall in your world? Which of the things have you quoted does homosexuality fall for you?
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Old 06-22-2006, 11:19 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON


If you are TRULY motivated by love of God and of others, then you will be fulfilling the Law. That is what Jesus is teaching here. (and I think Bono mentions that love is the Higher Law somehwere in a song..oh whats that song???..oh yeah...ONE)
Not to rain on your homophobic parade, but the "Law" of the Old Testament was God's convenant law. Jesus fulfilled/nullified these covenants. OT law is a thing of the very long past past. If you want to know how to behave and treat people as a Christian, just look at Jesus. If you are truly motived by love of God, then you will follow JESUS, not OT covenant law.
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Old 06-22-2006, 11:58 AM   #21
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Originally posted by Dreadsox
So where does homosexuality fall in your world? Which of the things have you quoted does homosexuality fall for you?
I am quite certain this is a setup question meant to box me in as homophobic. Nonetheless, I'll risk answering.

God designed each of us with a genetic disposition to fulfill are fleshly desires. Only through faith in Him can we be rescued from this trap.

It doesn't matter what your particular fleshly desire is, whether it be homosexual affairs, heterosexual affairs, pornography, lust for power..etc, it all keeps the focus on what WE want and not what God wants.

I understand that many homosexuals feel that they were "born that way." This is quite possibly true. But I was also born with a desire to sleep with any woman I find attractive. That doesn't mean I am entitiled to ACT on that desire. I may not know all the reasons why God says it's wrong, but He still says it's wrong.

The ultimate point is this - I have learned to lean not on my own understanding, but on God's. God is not ambiguos about His stance on homosexual activity. It is in BOTH the Old and New testament. One is not a "Pharisee" because they point to what the Bible tells them.

I do not have a particular problem with homosexual behavior as compared to other behaviors. The only reason I posted is to correct the fallacy that the Bible doesn't teach that homosexual activity is a sin. It clearly does.

I am just curious about one thing: Why is there no debate about allowing openly promiscous, womanizing male pastors to lead churches?
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Old 06-22-2006, 12:13 PM   #22
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Originally posted by AEON
I understand that many homosexuals feel that they were "born that way." This is quite possibly true. But I was also born with a desire to sleep with any woman I find attractive. That doesn't mean I am entitiled to ACT on that desire. I may not know all the reasons why God says it's wrong, but He still says it's wrong.


yes, but you can get married and have all the sex you want.

i can't. you're telling me that i have to be celibate for the rest of my life, that this is some sort of challenge by god.

so have your cake and eat it too.
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Old 06-22-2006, 12:20 PM   #23
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Originally posted by AEON

I am just curious about one thing: Why is there no debate about allowing openly promiscous, womanizing male pastors to lead churches?
There is. At least to me. Read my journal. But that's not the topic of THIS thread. If you want to start that debate, please make a new thread and I'm sure you'll get plenty of informed discussion.

Question: So you're OK with the Church not allowing homosexuals to be leaders? Now, you've said that it's a "desire of the flesh". So, in your opinion, who is left to lead our churches? Because in my very humblest of opinions, cheating on a spouse, alcoholism, gambling, and pornography are all VERY common "desires of the flesh", but yet, it's only when homosexuals are denied their right to lead the church that the term "desires of the flesh" is used. Please help me understand....
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Old 06-22-2006, 01:36 PM   #24
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Originally posted by AEON

I understand that many homosexuals feel that they were "born that way." This is quite possibly true. But I was also born with a desire to sleep with any woman I find attractive. That doesn't mean I am entitiled to ACT on that desire. I may not know all the reasons why God says it's wrong, but He still says it's wrong.

This is exactly why I do not attend church anymore. The fact that someone admittingly would believe that God would make someone one way and then say that way is a sin. This goes back to the days when "Christians" used the Bible to justify racism and slavery.

It sickens me.
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Old 06-22-2006, 01:52 PM   #25
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Originally posted by LivLuvAndBootlegMusic



Question: So you're OK with the Church not allowing homosexuals to be leaders? Now, you've said that it's a "desire of the flesh". So, in your opinion, who is left to lead our churches? Because in my very humblest of opinions, cheating on a spouse, alcoholism, gambling, and pornography are all VERY common "desires of the flesh", but yet, it's only when homosexuals are denied their right to lead the church that the term "desires of the flesh" is used. Please help me understand....
The difference is not about the behavior, but about the attitude regarding the behavior. Meaning, most of the homosexual church leaders that are openly gay are trying to convince their congregation that homosexual activity is not a sin. The Bible teaches otherwise.

If a pastor went in front of the church and admitted that he had a gambling problem - and that he will continue to gamble because the Bible doesn't say anything against it - he would probably be removed from his position for two reasons: 1) he is not trying to change his problem and 2) he is theologically wrong. If that same pastor went in front of the congregation and asked for forgiveness for gambling in Vegas, and that he is relying on prayer and love to put the incident behind him- then he is more likely to be permitted stay on as a leader (although that is not guaranteed because leaders are held up to a higher standard, rightly or wrongly). This is not because gambling is a lesser sin than homosexual activity - it is not, but because he is ADMITTING an error in judgement and seeking forgiveness. The openly homosexual priests and leaders are not admitting an error in judgement nor are they seeking forgiveness. They are dealing with the sin by saying it is no longer a sin. That's what I take issue with.

Nobody expects their church leaders to be perfect, but they do expect them to call sin what is - sin.

Again, you are free to disagree with the Bible. If you do not like what it says, then you are not obligated to adhere to it. Choose another text as your guideline through life or write your own. However, as a part-time Bible geek, I will point out when somone is misrepresenting Scripture on ANY issue, not only the homosexual church leader issue.

Is my interpretation the be all and end all? Of course not. Although I am not in the minority regarding my interpreation of the Bible on this issue. As I said before, do your own HONEST research and seek the Truth. In the end, this is between you and God. But I am free to share my thoughts just as you are. I have not called anyone names nor have I insulted anyone's character. I should be able post my thoughts about the issue without being derided as a homophobe, bigot, racist, Nazi..etc. I assure you, I am none of those things.

I hear a lot of talk about tolerance these days. Where is tolerance for those who don't have the same opinion as you?
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Old 06-22-2006, 01:55 PM   #26
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Again, you are free to disagree with the Bible.
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Old 06-22-2006, 02:02 PM   #27
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Originally posted by BonoVoxSupastar

This goes back to the days when "Christians" used the Bible to justify racism and slavery.

It sickens me.
The Bible can be used to justify anything if used out of context. Don't confuse the messengers with the message. I challenge you to read the New Testament over the next few months and post a reply stating that Bible actually justifies racism and slavery.
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Old 06-22-2006, 02:23 PM   #28
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The Bible can be used to justify anything if used out of context. Don't confuse the messengers with the message. I challenge you to read the New Testament over the next few months and post a reply stating that Bible actually justifies racism and slavery.
Excuse me, please refrain from your self righteousness.

I've studied the Bible extensively. I know you can't use it to justify slavery or racism, that was my point. You also can't use it to justify discrimination towards homosexuals.
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Old 06-22-2006, 02:25 PM   #29
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This is exactly why I do not attend church anymore. The fact that someone admittingly would believe that God would make someone one way and then say that way is a sin. This goes back to the days when "Christians" used the Bible to justify racism and slavery.
Couldn't we all say that our own sin is due to the way God made us? (and there are those who find freedom in this idea)
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Old 06-22-2006, 02:35 PM   #30
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Couldn't we all say that our own sin is due to the way God made us? (and there are those who find freedom in this idea)
We are all sinners.

But to say someone is born black or gay, and being black or gay is a sin, is completely different.
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