The Bible and Same Sex Relationships, Part 12: What Romans 1 is Really All About


  • As we have seen, Paul’s purpose in the letter to the Romans is to encourage Jewish and Gentile Christians to be more accepting of each other, and to be careful not to judge each other based on issues that are merely cultural preferences or in built bias.
  • The purpose of Romans 1:16-32 is to outline a typical Jewish critique of Gentiles, with a progression from abandoning God and turning to idolatry, which leads to socially unacceptable behaviour, which slides downwards to sinful, wicked actions and eventually ends in complete moral collapse.
  • Romans 1 cannot be understood without Romans 2, where there is a radical shift from the third to the second person (from “them” and “they” to “you”), and a direct and specific command not to judge others on the basis of the content in chapter 1. This is a central theme of the letter, and from the context of the whole letter it’s clear that Romans 1 cannot and should not be used to condemn homosexual activity.
  • Similar writings that would have been well-known at the time of Paul’s letter help to strengthen this view that Paul is using Romans 1 to highlight the faulty thinking of the Jewish Christians in Rome.
  • Even so, the flow of this passage is clearly framed in the context of idolatry, cultic temple practices and Roman pagan activities in which same-gender sexual activity played a major part, and does not apply to loving, lifelong homosexual relationships today.
  • To add to this reading of Romans 1, it is vital to remember that the “sin of homosexuality” – if it is a sin at all – is only in the sexual activity itself. Those opposed to homosexuality can only be opposed to the actual sexual activity, rather than to any “orientation”, feelings of love, and even lifelong commitments of companionship and fidelity. Knowing this, when we read Romans 1 it’s obvious to see that Paul is concerned about sexual activities that are excessive and out of control. He’s not talking about loving, faithful gay relationships.

This is the third part of this series that looks at Romans 1 (Read the first section here, and the second here). This part of Paul’s letter to the church at Rome is the most significant set of verses used to oppose homosexuality, and so it’s worth spending some time on. Thus far, I’ve shown three problems with the traditional reading:

  1. A plain reading of the text makes it clear that Paul is talking about people who are filled with lust, sexually out of control and who are descending into moral bankruptcy. This is not relevant to God-fearing, loving gay couples.
  2. There are sins – evil and wicked actions – listed in Romans 1. But there are also certain activities that Paul calls “culturally unacceptable” – these are not wicked actions and God is not opposed to them. In Romans 2, Paul will talk about circumcision in this way, and he’ll return to this theme over and over again in this letter, using many different examples, including observance of holy days and food sacrificed at the temples. In Romans 1, he talks about male homosexuality and women who have sex for pleasure alone (“unnatural sex” in the Jewish worldview), and says that some Christians find these socially unacceptable. But they are not evil or sinful. Do not call anything unclean, when God has not called it unclean.
  3. The purpose of Romans 1 is Romans 2 – you cannot read the first without the second. It is clear when you do so that Paul’s main point is that we should NOT judge other people on the basis of the actions he listed in Romans 1.

I want to go even further in this part of the series and summarise all the points I’ve made so far by showing you that Paul has a progression in mind: These people have abandoned God, and started worshipping idols. As God abandons them to this, they slip into a lifestyle that spirals ever downward until it is characterised by “no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy” (verse 31). The progression, as we will see below, is from socially unacceptable behaviour to morally wrong actions, to complete loss of humanity. Paul is going to show the Jewish readers that they have a similar progression of issues that other people could point to as signs of them not being committed to God enough. This completely changes how we should read the verses on homosexuality, and makes the most sense of Romans 2, and, in fact, the whole letter. I will then show again – at the risk of repeating myself too much – the importance of Romans 2 (and the rest of the letter) to understanding how we interpret Romans 1. This is a vital key to identifying how we have so badly misinterpreted Romans 1 for so long.

What the sin actually is

Before we do this, though, I want to talk to those of you who still believe that God is opposed to homosexuality. Assuming you are right for just a moment, it’s still important to ask what this might mean. What part of “being homosexual” is actually sinful?
Continue reading The Bible and Same Sex Relationships, Part 12: What Romans 1 is Really All About

Is same sex marriage Biblical – a debate [Video]

On 9 October 2015, I participated in a formal public debate with Dr James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries. It was organised by TruthWalk, and the venue provided by Gracepoint church. Dr White is an accomplished debater and professional apologist (see his ministry website here), and took the traditional position against homosexuality and same sex marriage.

I took the affirming position, attempting to put in debate format the work I have been doing on this blog over the past few months.

The purpose of the debate, in this format, was to put forward the for and against views in as dispassionate a way as possible, so that each position could be given fair treatment, and the observer could understand the logic of each. I believe we achieved this, and that the debate was fair.

The full debate has now been uploaded on and is available below or on that site. The introduction has been slightly edited for length, but the debate itself is presented unedited and in full.

Watch Is Same Sex Marriage Biblical – A Debate between Graeme Codrington and James White

Additional Comments

This was my first debate, and as such, if I could do it again now, I’d change a few things. In particular, these three:

Continue reading Is same sex marriage Biblical – a debate [Video]

The Bible and Same Sex Relationships, Part 11: Shameful Acts and Going Against Nature


  • In Romans 1:18-32, Paul refers to men and women going “against nature” and committing “shameful acts”.
  • In Jewish thought, “unnatural sex” was any sexual activity that could not result in insemination. The Old Testament references Paul could have been referring to were about having sex with a woman during her menstrual period, but could also have referred to oral or anal sex, or to masturbation. Lesbian sex would also have been “unnatural”. Paul considers all of these to be cultural issues (for the Jewish readers of his letter), and are not moral judgements.
  • To add to this interpretation, Paul uses a word for “sexual activity” that specifically references the function or purpose of sex. And when he talks of same gender sex he uses the word “shameful” rather than “evil” or “wicked”.
  • For Paul, the “shameful acts” and “against nature” sexual activities were Jewish social conventions and not moral categories. In other words, Paul was saying that same-gender sexual activity of the Gentiles was something that Jews did not like. He was not saying that these activities are morally wrong.
  • Paul’s concern with male homosexual activity has to do with excess, licentiousness and being “filled with lust”. These, too, are culturally unacceptable and in some circumstances may cross the line to sinful activities too. But this does not apply to loving, homosexual couples who are not out of control in their sexual activity.
  • The point of Romans 1, and the whole letter to the Romans, was to tell Jews to stop judging Gentiles on the basis of these personal preferences; and likewise to tell Gentiles to stop judging Jews on similar cultural grounds.
  • Paul is not invoking a so-called “creation ordinance” in these verses.
  • These verses do not condemn same-gender sexual activity, let alone lifelong, monogamous, covenantal same-gender relationships.

  • NOTE: This section was significantly updated on 20 October 2015

    In the previous section of this series, we showed that the letter to the Romans only makes sense as Paul’s treatise to Jewish and Gentile Christians to accept each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, and not to let their various cultural practices get in the way of this. Paul shows the Jews that although they are God’s chosen people and believe that they have a special status in eternity, actually they have failed God just like everyone else. Paul’s intent in Romans 1 is to set the Jewish believers up a bit, by caricaturing Gentile sinners, and sucker punching Jewish readers in Romans 2.

    But this does not deal with the fact that Paul lists a lot of sins in Romans 1, and clearly indicates that these actions are evil. That Jews and Gentiles have both sinned does not reduce the impact of the list of sins in Romans 1. But does Paul really say that homosexuality is sinful? He says it is shameful. He says it is against nature. But is this the same as being sinful? And what exactly are the sins (and shameful things that are against nature) that Paul is concerned about?

    The main traditional argument against homosexuality misreads Romans 1. It sees it as Paul’s condemnation of the Gentiles on the basis of their rejection of God and especially what is often called “creation order”. The traditional view is based on the view that God created man and woman, making them suitable for each other and that this is the only form of marriage allowed in Scripture. It argues that Jesus Himself (in Matthew 19 and Mark 10) appears to affirm that issues related to marriage hinge on how God created humanity (although Jesus was actually answering a specific question about divorce – we’ll deal specifically with Jesus’ comments later in this series). Therefore, the traditional argument says, the sin of homosexuality is the giving up of natural desires and engaging in unnatural acts, which are defined as any same gender sexual activity.

    But this is not what Paul actually says. As we have to do with all Biblical passages, we need to look more closely at the words and phrases used and see if they’re as clear in the original language and context as we imagine them to be in our own. When we do this, we find immediately that they are not. “Shameful” or “degrading” practices are clearly linked to cultural preferences. And going “against nature” does not mean something that is inherently evil, but rather something that is against accepted practice. When read in the light of this understanding, we see a clear progression in Paul’s description of a descent into moral decay, from idolatry to culturally unacceptable behaviour to sinful actions to moral decay to the complete destruction of humanity (we’ll come back to this in the next section in more detail). Homosexuality falls into the culturally unacceptable category, and is not considered sinful and evil.

    But let me not get ahead of myself here. Have a look for yourself.

    Continue reading The Bible and Same Sex Relationships, Part 11: Shameful Acts and Going Against Nature

    The Bible and Same Sex Relationships, Part 10: Re-Read Romans 1


    • Romans 1 has traditionally been used to show homosexuality as a descent into immorality, and a sign of God abandoning people to sin. This is a misreading of these verses.
    • The plain reading of Romans 1 makes it clear that Paul has in mind people who have taken their sexuality to excess and gone against nature, descending into sexual depravity. This does not describe LGBT people seeking a lifelong, monogamous, covenantal relationship.
    • If a defining feature of homosexuality is indeed that God has “given them over” to depravity, then how would we explain the significant number of gay people who profess Jesus as their Lord and Saviour? We’re either misreading Romans 1 or misunderstanding Romans 10:9.
    • The flow of the letter to the Romans is such that the the list of sins in Romans 1 is used by Paul to set up his Jewish readers and create a counterpoint which he will use against them in Romans 2 and 3. The list of sins is therefore more about what Jewish people found repulsive in Gentiles than what Paul did. We cannot use this list to focus our attention today on a specific group of “sinners”.
    • A good summary of Paul’s opening chapters and, in fact, the whole letter to the Romans comes
      in Romans 14:13-14 (similar to 2:1): “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.”
    • The only issue Paul raises that can be transferred to the modern day issue of same-gender sexuality is an appeal to “the nature of things”. We will deal with this in the next section of this study.

    So, eventually we get to Romans 1. When looking at the Biblical verses that speak against homosexual practice, this is the most important. I am going to take four blog posts to deal with this passage, because it is so significant for the issue of whether God affirms same gender marriage.

    We’ve seen already that the other Biblical verses that have traditionally been used to show that God is against same gender marriage and sexual activity are actually talking about specific abusive and cultic sexual practices. If you’re just joining the conversation now, you might want to go back and catch up on the parts of the series you’ve missed. Romans 1 is important because it appears to do more than this – it seems to say that homosexuality is “against nature”, and therefore a direct affront to God. It also implies that homosexual desires are actually a curse from God and a sign of the moral degradation of society. This is what many Christians believe – and Romans 1 is where they go for Biblical proof.

    If we’re going to change the church’s traditional view on homosexuality, we’re going to have to show that Romans 1 does not actually say what most Christians have believed it says for the past 2,000 years. But that’s precisely what I am going to do.

    I’m going to do this in a few different ways.

    In this post, I want to start by actually looking at the plain reading of the text, but through the eyes of a gay person committed to living to a godly life. I want you to see – without any detailed analysis of the text – that actually the plain reading of the text is not what you think it is. It talks of people consumed by lust and sexually – and morally – out of control. This is not true of most gay couples.

    Continue reading The Bible and Same Sex Relationships, Part 10: Re-Read Romans 1

    The Bible and Same Sex Relationships, Part 9: The ‘Soft’ in 1 Corinthians – the meaning of ‘malakos’


  • Controversies in the Bible normally come down to issues of translation of certain words. Scholarship is often divided on these words, and we need to be open about the fact that we might have mistranslated and misinterpreted these words in the past.
  • In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul uses the words arsenokoitēs and malakos in a list of sinful behaviours. In the previous article in this series we saw that arsenokoitēs refers to men who paid to have sex with young boys as part of cultic temple prostitution, characterised by coercion, slavery and abuse.
  • Malakos literally means “soft”. When used metaphorically, as Paul uses it in 1 Cor. 6, it refers to any number of things, but most typically to people who are morally weak.
  • When paired with arsenokoitēs, the word may very well refer to young boys who voluntarily prostituted themselves, submitting themselves to being the passive recipient in temple sexual rituals and maintaining an effeminate, or “soft” appearance. It could similarly be applied to “catamites” – young boy sexual companions of Greek or Roman men, who deliberately kept themselves looking pre-pubescent or feminine in order to remain in the relationship.
  • Whatever the exact translation, it is clear that Paul has abusive and coercive, cultic sexual relationships in mind.
  • Neither arsenokoitēs nor malakos can in any way be made to refer to loving, consensual, monogamous same-gender sexual partners or to same-sex relationships in general. Paul knew of such relationships as they were common at the time, and says nothing about them in his letters.

  • This is part 9 of a series of blog posts looking at the issue of the Bible and how Christians should approach the issue of LGBT people and same sex relationships. You can find the full index of the series here.

    Words matter. The Bible wasn’t written in English. In fact, the languages it was written in are no longer used anywhere in the world. In order to understand the Bible, we therefore need to trust that the words we read today have been accurately translated for us, and that we understand their meaning and the meanings of idioms and phrases we find in the Bible. Sometimes the experts will argue – often at length – about the meanings of particular words and phrases. They do this so that we can be sure that we understand what God meant us to understand in the words of the Bible. They do this because words matter.

    My New Testament lecturer when I was at seminary, Prof. Jack Wiid, had written a Masters thesis of about 600 pages on the translation of just one word in the New Testament. He consulted with the NIV translation team on that particular word, convincing them of the correct interpretation. Words matter.

    Take for example two words we’re going to meet again later in this series: “helpmate” and “head”.

    Continue reading The Bible and Same Sex Relationships, Part 9: The ‘Soft’ in 1 Corinthians – the meaning of ‘malakos’

    The Bible and Same Sex Relationships, Part 8: Male-Bedders – the meaning of ‘arsenokoitai’


  • In 1 Corinthians 6 and 1 Timothy 1, the Apostle Paul lists sins, and includes a word that is difficult to translate.
  • In fact, it appears that Paul actually made this word up himself. There is no known use of it in the Greek language before he uses it.
  • When an author has a number of well-known terms to use, but chooses to create a new word instead, he must have a specific meaning in mind, and we need to take him seriously in ensuring we understand what he really wanted to say.
  • Most scholars agree that when Paul coins the term arsenokoitēs he is consciously referencing Leviticus and the Holiness Code prohibitions on cultic shrine prostitution.
  • The literary context reinforces the view that Paul has an abusive form of sexual exploitation in mind when he uses this word. This is what his original readers would have understood. And it still applies to us today.
  • It has nothing to do with lifelong, monogamous same sex relationships.
  • So far, we have seen that we cannot look to the specific Old Testament references to homosexuality nor to OT stories usually associated with homosexuality for assistance in our primary goal of discovering whether monogamous LGBT relationships are acceptable to God. As we move to the New Testament, three things immediately strike the reader: (1) none of the NT authors quote or refer to the OT laws about homosexuality; (2) there are no stories of the church dealing with homosexual individuals, even though we know it was absolutely pervasive in the prevailing culture; and (3) Jesus himself has nothing directly to say on the topic.

    There are, in fact, only three verses that refer directly to homosexuality in the New Testament: Romans 1:18-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 and 1 Timothy 1:8-11. Most scholars agree that 1 Cor. 6 and 1 Tim. 1 are ambiguous at best, and it is to these that we now turn.

    Why Did Paul Make Up a Word – and What Does It Mean?

    In both of these passages, the author, Paul, uses a particular word to describe people who engaged in activities he considers to be sinful. The Greek word is arsenokoitēs and scholars agree that Paul actually made this word up. Consider this carefully. In a cultural context where homosexuality was considered acceptable and was commonplace, Paul had a number of options for the words he could have used to describe whatever was in his mind. These included, for example, paiderastēs, pallakos, kinaidos, arrenomanēs, and paidophthoros. There are also technical terms, such as the lover (erastēs), the beloved (erōmenos, paidika), to give the body for purposes of intercourse (charis, charidzesthai), as well as slang terms that could have been used to indicate various forms of culturally accepted homosexuality, or even homosexuality in general. Paul doesn’t use any of these.

    We saw in the previous section of this study that homosexuality was referenced extensively in ancient literature. Greek and Roman writers such as Herodotus, Plato, Aristotle and Plutarch all talk about homosexuality, discussing it’s merits and demerits, and none use arsenokoitēs. First-century Jewish writers, Josephus and Philo, wrote about homosexuality, including the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, but did not use arsenokoitēs in their works. Early Christian writers like Tatian, Justin Martyr, Gregory of Nyssa and John Chrysostom all wrote negatively about homosexuality, but they used different words and phrases.

    If it was Paul’s intention to deal with general homosexuality or any of these specific activities, he would surely have selected one of the more common and less ambiguous terms available to him. Instead, he chooses to make up a word that previously did not exist in the language. He clearly had something specific in mind. We need to be clear what that is.

    Continue reading The Bible and Same Sex Relationships, Part 8: Male-Bedders – the meaning of ‘arsenokoitai’

    The Bible and Same Sex Relationships, Part 7: Graeco-Roman culture and homosexuality


  • The sexual ethics prevailing at the time of the New Testament are very different to those we accept as normal today
  • Homosexuality was legal, commonplace and considered normal.
  • In fact, male-male love was considered the highest form of human love.
  • Pederasty (an adult man taking a young boy as a lover) was the most common expression of male sexuality in Graeco-Roman culture.
  • The opposition to homosexual activity at the time was almost exclusively an opposition to exploitation of young boys in pederastic relationships.

  • We’re at part 7 of this series, and we arrive now at the New Testament. There are three verses that reference same-gender sexual activity directly, and some references by Jesus to the form of marriage (made in response to a question about divorce). Before we deal with each of these verses in turn, we need to understand the prevailing culture of the Graeco-Roman world in which the NT was written. This context is vital to our own understanding of the Biblical texts we will look at.

    Some people use this cultural context to say that Paul’s commands to us today can safely be ignored. They put these in the same category as the length of men’s hair, women wearing jewellery or the repeated commands to greet each with “a holy kiss”. While it is important to understand how Biblical instructions and principles should be applied today – and we will see when we look at Romans 1 in a few posts from now that we cannot avoid the question of applicability in one key area of Paul’s “argument against nature” – I don’t rely on this line of argument to make my point. I don’t think Paul was anti-women, and I don’t think Paul was anti-gay. I think we’ve misunderstood his instructions, and in some cases even mistranslated his words.

    So, to understand Paul – and Jesus – better, we need to get an understanding of how the world they lived in treated homosexuality and homosexuals – and dispel some myths in this regard. This will help us understand what they were saying when they talked about it.

    The Graeco-Roman world

    A few years before Jesus was born, in 27BC, Octavian became sole ruler of Rome, ended the Roman Republic and began the Roman Empire. He became Augustus Caesar, and ruled until 14AD, rapidly expanding the Roman Empire. Judaea and the Middle East were conquered in 6BC, becoming Roman provinces. In 54AD, Nero became Emperor, and he waged a brutal assault on both Jews and Christians, culminating in the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem in 70AD.

    Throughout Jesus’ lifetime and the period of the writing of the New Testament (commonly held to have been completed towards the end of the first century AD), the Roman Empire, with it’s amalgam of Greek traditions and language with Roman culture and law, was the dominant cultural backdrop. The most significant issue for the early followers of Christ, who were all Jewish, was how to take the message of Jesus – a Judaean-based Jew – and make it relevant and accessible to “the Gentiles”. Paul, a Jewish scholar, trained in Greek and a religious leader held in high esteem yet also a Roman citizen, was the ideal “Apostle to the Gentiles”. Many of his writings address this specific issue, with the books of Romans, Galatians and Hebrews (who’s author is unattributed) almost entirely devoted to this topic.

    Continue reading The Bible and Same Sex Relationships, Part 7: Graeco-Roman culture and homosexuality

    The Bible and Same Sex Relationships, Part 6: Leviticus: The Holiness Code, Ancient Sex Ethics and Abominations


  • The Laws of the Old Testament don’t apply to us today, but even if they did they say nothing about homosexuality as we know it today.
  • The laws that talk of same-gender male sexual activity in the Old Testament are embedded in the context of idolatry and male shrine prostitution.
  • The “abomination” that God detests is idolatry.
  • Leviticus 18-20 are still valuable today, as a reminder that we should not allow our worship of God to be sullied by idolatry. Paul is going to pick this theme up in Romans 1.

  • In the previous post in this series, I showed that Christians should not look to the Old Testament Law to make moral judgements today. That does not mean the Old Testament Law should be ignored. Jesus and the Apostles relied on it to show the character of God, the nature of sin and as a symbol that pointed to Christ. So, although it is not binding on us today, we should nevertheless still study and understand it.

    We therefore turn to Leviticus 18 and 20, and the two verses that talk about male same-gender sexual activity (Lev. 18:22 and 20:13). Lev. 18 – 20 form a unit, with various prohibitions laid out in Lev. 18 and 19, and then a selection of these repeated in Lev. 20 with specific punishments prescribed.

    Progressive Christians have explained why these verses do not apply to homosexuality today in a number of ways. I don’t agree with all of these, but they are worth considering briefly to show you that the interpretation is not quite as straightforward as our English translations suggest:

    • We ignore other laws in Leviticus and the Old Testament, so on what basis do we apply these laws on homosexuality? This was dealt with in depth in the previous section. Note that it is really just the laws about tattoos, having sex with a women during menstruation, cross breeding animals, planting different seeds in a field and wearing a garment made of different materials that are relevant for this discussion, as they appear in the same chapters of Leviticus. They do cause problems for the traditional interpretation, as does the death penalty punishment for homosexuality. We shouldn’t be allowed to pick and choose which parts of the Bible we apply and which we don’t without very clear principles.
    • In the NIV translation, the law says: “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman. That is detestable.” The actual translation of the Hebrew however says: “With a male you shall not lie lyings of a woman; it is taboo.” This was a strange phraseology, even in ancient Hebrew, and indicates that the author had something specific in mind. There are two additional translation problems here: the Hebrew language does not actually have a word for ‘homosexual’, and the translation of ‘abomination’ (KJV) or ‘detestable’ in many Bible versions is an incredibly bad translation of the original Hebrew word. We’ll look at these in detail below.
    • Though there are many laws in Leviticus that limit female sexual behaviour, female same-sex activity is never mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures. This seems a significant oversight if indeed the intention is to prohibit homosexuality and lesbianism in general. These verses must therefore be about some specific form of homosexual activity.
    • Jewish scholar and rabbi, Jacob Milgrom adds that the lack of female-female references could also be that the issue was the male “spilling of the seed” (see the sexual ethics section below) that was the primary motivation for this law. Uneasiness about non-procreative sexuality was a factor in Old Testament – and perhaps also the New Testament – treatments of homosexuality.
    • The prohibition in both Lev. 18:22 and 20:13 talks of not having sex with a man as one does with a woman. This extra phrase would seem to be redundant. Surely the law – written to men – could just have been “don’t have sex with a man”? “As one does with woman” adds a qualifier, which can be understood only in the context of the treatment and status of women in ancient culture. Women were property of men, and subservient to them. They had to do what the men commanded them to, and this included sexual activity. This is the reason why there is no corresponding law prohibiting women from having lesbian sex with other women – the thought that women would have sex for their own pleasure was inconceivable. These verses might therefore better be translated: “You shall not sexually use a man as property, nor may you sexually subjugate another man as you would do a woman”. This would then be a restriction on a particular form of same-gender sexuality, and not a prohibition against homosexuality in general.
    • Matthew Vines, in “God and the Gay Christian” argues that the the moral logic for the homosexual prohibitions in Lev 18:22 and 20:13 is because of a cultural, assumed male hierarchy. That is, men were valued above women, and when men have sex with other men they treat the passive partner as a mere woman, and this is unacceptable. Although this was undoubtedly true culturally, I don’t think this is a good way to interpret the meaning of these verses.
    • These prohibitions against male same-gender sexual activity have to do with temple prostitution, and not homosexuality in general. This is the most compelling view for me, and we’ll look at it in detail below.
    • These verses are only prohibiting anal sex. Homosexuals who engage in other sexual activities or who remain celibate would be free to be in lifelong, covenantal relationships.
    • Most scholars argue that some laws in the Old Testament were specifically for Israel and others were for everyone everywhere. This is obviously true of the civil laws applying to Israel’s nationhood and of dietary laws, which were for Israel only. It’s argued that since Leviticus 18:2 (the heading for this section of laws) starts with, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God'”, that the laws that follow applied only to Israel back then, and not today.

    From the above brief comments, it should be immediately obvious that “the simple reading” of the verses is not quite what they might seem. At very least, there are significant question marks over what the verses might mean and how we could apply them today, and we should therefore be very careful of building a theology which sentences homosexuals to hell on the basis of these verses.

    Continue reading The Bible and Same Sex Relationships, Part 6: Leviticus: The Holiness Code, Ancient Sex Ethics and Abominations

    Graeme Codrington's musings on a new kind of Christianity