Martyn Iles of the Australian Christian Lobby and Israel Folau like to discuss the Bible. Although neither is a minister of religion, they are two of the most prominent Christians in Australia today. When they discuss the Bible or the teachings of Jesus Christ, they both invariably mention homosexuality. So one might assume a preoccupation on the part of Jesus and the Bible with homosexuality.
One might assume wrong.
(This article assumes both Jesus Christ and Paul of Tarsus were true historical figures and that they each authored the words attributed to them in the Bible.)
How many times does the Bible mention homosexuality?
The Bible mentions homosexuality seven times – SEVEN!
Not 700, 70 or even 17. The Bible mentions homosexuality SEVEN times.
Let’s repeat that because in order to construct a sermon on homosexuality directly from biblical references that’s what you must do.
Repeat, not repent, repeat.
The Australian Christian Lobby website contains many more references to homosexuality than the Bible.
So too does their Facebook page.
How many times did Jesus Christ mention homosexuality?
Unlike Martyn Iles and Israel Folau, Jesus Christ made NO recorded mention of homosexuality.
If he did mention it, his Apostles never thought it of sufficient importance to include in their gospels.
Every time Martyn Iles or Israel Folau mentions homosexuality, it’s once more than their Messiah.
No one, after Jesus Christ, matters as much to Christianity as Saul of Tarsus, later better known as St Paul.
Christ taught a small band of followers that God would triumph over evil and establish heaven on Earth.
Paul adapted Christianity to focus on Jesus rather than Christ’s own message of repentance of sin.
Then, as both a Jew and a Roman citizen, Paul took what could easily have remained the faith of a small Jewish sect and set it on the path to global influence by his missionary activity.
He and his followers wrote thirteen of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, while his thinking is a major influence on others.
Without Paul, Christianity would be a very different thing to what we witness today.
The Israel Folau Biblical ‘quote’
The Israel Folau meme did not ‘quote’ Paul writing in 1 Corinthians.
Instead, it paraphrased 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10.
Here are those two verses in the Good News Translation.
1 Corinthians 6:9
“Surely you know that the wicked will not possess God’s Kingdom. Do not fool yourselves; people who are immoral or who worship idols or are adulterers or homosexual perverts.”
1 Corinthians 6:10
“Or who steal or are greedy or are drunkards or who slander others or are thieves — none of these will possess God’s Kingdom.”
Paul never mentions Hell
Paul, in his letter to the troubled parishioners of the church at Corinth, makes no mention of hell.
He merely states that the wicked will not inherit God’s Kingdom.
In fact, nowhere in Paul’s writings, does he ever use the Greek word for ‘hell’.
He speaks in a number of passages about condemnation, trouble and distress but never explicitly mentions hell.
Perhaps the closest he comes to threatening anything like hell is in Thessalonians when he speaks of those who do not obey the Gospels.
He says they will suffer punishment “with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.”
A life ban, by the sound of it.
Paul on Homosexuality
As the word ‘homosexual’ never existed before the 1860s, it obviously snuck into bibles in recent years.
Bible historians trace the first use of it in bibles to the 1950s.
So what did Paul actually write?
Paul, a Jew, wrote his letters to the Gentiles in Greek while referring back to the teachings of the Old Testament, originally written in Hebrew.
A well-educated man, Paul had access to over a dozen words which the Greeks used to describe persons indulging in homosexual activity.
Yet, he used none of them.
He made up his own word.
Some believe he coined the word from a phrase used in Leviticus ‘arsenos koiten‘. That phrase appears in the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament.
However, there and elsewhere, the phrase referred to temple prostitution.
Alternatively, some turn to the two components of the Paul’s invented word for clues.
Arseno meant ‘adult male’ and koitos was used in various ways to mean ‘lying in a bed’ so some take arsenokoites to mean lying in a bed with a man.
However, one of those previously referenced Greek words used for homosexual activity, androkoites, already meant intercourse with a man.
Woolsey Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University, Dale Martin said, “I am not claiming to know what arsenokoites meant, I am claiming that no one knows what it meant.”
Paul may have meant homosexual. He may have meant temple prostitution. As Martin Luther assumed in his translation, Paul perhaps meant child molestation.
We simply don’t know. The only people sure they know are those Christians whose main devotional activity is sticking their noses into the sex lives of other people in a manner that their Saviour never did.
*Compound words often have a meaning of no relevance to their component parts, Understanding, for example, has nothing to do with being under anything or standing.
The Bible and Christianity.
The Bible is a very important book to those who believe in it.
It promises an unbelievable gift to those who obey its tenets – everlasting life.
It offers a guide to obtaining that eternal life.
And yet, while it makes numerous, indeed countless references to the proper use of wealth and even more on caring for the poor and working for justice, it makes scant mention of homosexuality.
So, with the Bible’s focus on helping the poor, how much does the Australian Christian Lobby website address that subject?
Sweet fuck all, really.
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