Category Archives: Bible

ALLin Podcast Episode 12: A Community of Radical Inclusion

A Community of Radical Inclusion is a sermon preached by Graeme Codrington at the Melrose Campus of Gracepoint Methodist church in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2016. It lays out both a Biblical and historical case for including LGBTQI in our churches, and affirming them as made in God’s image. 

Resources:

ALLin Podcast Episode 10: Did God create only two genders?

Genesis 1 and 2 tell two different creation stories, both culminating with the creation and marriage of two people. This was a Middle Eastern, black haired, brown eyed, cisgender man and woman. But does that mean all people have to Middle Eastern, black haired, brown eyed and cisgender? And does it mean all marriages must be between only a man and a woman? If not, how should we be reading Genesis 1? 

This is another one hour long episode, and you should ensure you’ve listened to Episode 9 before you listen to this.

Once you’ve listened to it, please let me know your thoughts and questions.

ALLin Podcast Episode 09: There Are More Than Two Genders

ALLin Pod is back after a short break with a two episode mini-series on “God made them male and female”. In this episode we look at the question: “How do you know if you’re male or female?” The answer will surprise you, because it is not nearly as simple as you think it is.

This episode looks at the science, biology and creation facts around gender, sex biology, sexual orientation and a number of other factors that determine male and female. We’ll see that all of these exist on a spectrum, and between 7 and 20% of the population exhibit some mixture of genders based on these factors. In addition to our longest episode yet (at just on an 1 hour), there is a list of highly recommended readings below, and a PDF slide deck to download and follow along.

RESOURCES:

ALLin Podcast: Episode 08: Abomination!

Our study of the Old Testament verses dealing with homosexuality concludes with a detailed word study of the concept of toebah ( תּוֹעֵבָה), translated as “abomination” or “detestable”. This word is used 117 times in the Bible, and it is very clear what it is referring to… and it is NOT sexual sin. 

Resources:

ALLin Podcast: Episode 07: Leviticus 18 & 20

The ALLin podcast provides resources and insights for Christians who affirm the LGBTQI community. In this episode we look at the two Old Testament Laws that talk about male gay sexual activity. We look at the context, the Holiness Code and ancient Israel’s sexual ethics.

Summary: The commands against gay sex in Leviticus 18 and 20 were given to the Israelites before they entered the Promised Land, and they were about the people who already lived there. Look at the first few verses of Lev 18 and 20 and you’ll see clearly that these Laws were about what the pagan nations did in their temples. These temple rituals included tattooing your body, shaving your head and having gay sex with teenage boys. They also included child sacrifice. And God said to the Israelites: don’t do any of these things in MY temple. These chapters in Leviticus are not meant to be a code of sexual ethics for all time, but a specific set of restrictions related to temple Worship in the pagan nations that surrounded Israel. They do NOT apply to gay people today. And they have nothing to say about gay marriage.

Resources:

ALLin podcast: Episode 6: The Old Testament Laws

Episode 6 of ALLin pod looks at how we should interpret Old Testament Laws. Do they still apply to us, as Christians today? If so, how we do distinguish between those laws that do apply and those that don’t? And what does this mean for the two verses in Leviticus that prohibit “men sleeping with men as they would with a woman”? It’s a longer episode than normal (44 minutes), but well worth this deep dive into how to apply Old Testaments laws in our modern world.

ALLin Podcast Episode 5: Ten Affirming Scriptures

The Bible is not meant to be used as a legal textbook. On many issues, we are required to look for principles in the Bible, rather than direct instructions. This includes issues such as slavery, women leaders, and democracy. On these issues, we need to identify principles from the Bible that help us understand how God would have us live. In this episode of the ALLin podcast, we look at ten passages in the Bible that provide principles for affirming gay marriage and LGBTQI people.

Or listen and subscribe on your favourite podcast platform.

Resource and recommended reading:
* https://sojo.net/articles/10-bible-passages-teach-christian-perspective-homosexuality

Video: The Bible and Homosexuality: A nuanced approach

Justin Lee wrote a very important book on the issue of the Bible and homosexuality. It’s called “Torn” (or in the UK, “Unconditional”).

His main thesis is that as Christians dealing with the issue of homosexuality we have fixated on sex – and he means those both for and against LGBTQI inclusion in the church. He has a point. Most of the debate is about who can have sex with whom. His book, and his work, is a request to go further than this – to talk about more than sex. We should talk about what it means to be an LGBTQI Christian, because there is a lot more to life than sex.

Justin has a really good online presence with great resources. This video is a good introduction to his thinking, and I think you’ll find it valuable. I don’t agree completely with his approach to interpreting the Bible, but I think its worth considering and talking about, and his overall point of the conversations we should be having are vital.

Ten Bible Passages that point to a positive view of homosexuality

Right now – and for the rest of our lifetimes – one of the biggest and most important discussions in the Christian church centres around the issue of the inclusion and affirmation of LGBTQI people in the church.

Progressive Christians do not see that God is opposed to gay marriage and LGBTQI people. They see the negative Biblical chapters as talking about sexual abuse, rape and idolatry. But the biggest problem they have with attempting to show a positive Biblical witness towards LGBTQI people is that the Bible never directly addresses the issue. There are no LGBTQI role models in the Bible (positive or negative, as it happens).

But if we use the Bible as a legal textbook or Constitution, looking for a subparagraph clause somewhere to proof text our position, we will always be disappointed – on multiple issues, not just this one. That’s just not how the Bible works.

The Bible is best interpreted when we use it to see – and show – the character of God, and our relationship with the divine.

A few years ago, Layton Williams, wrote in Sojourners about the Ten Bible Passages that Teach a Christian Perspective on Homosexuality. This is well worth reading (here at Sojourners or an extract below):

… In his book God and the Gay Christian, Christian LGBTQ activist Matthew Vines challenges LGBTQ-condemning interpretations of these Scriptures — sometimes referred to as “clobber passages.” But these clobber-texts aren’t the only Scriptures that can guide faithful Christians as we seek a godly understanding of sexual and gender identity.

Here are 10 Bible verses that emphasize the value of love over the law, the God-belovedness of all people, and the special affirmation of those who have been historically rejected as unclean or unholy.

Continue reading Ten Bible Passages that point to a positive view of homosexuality

16 Ways Progressive Christians Interpret the Bible

A few years ago, I came across a blog post on Patheos that did a really great job of overviewing how progressive Christians (including myself) approach the Bible. I think it is worth revisiting.

I’d also highly recommend Peter Enns’ latest book, “How the Bible Actually Works“.

The article on Patheos, but Roger Wolsey is available here, or read an extract below:

16 Ways Progressive Christians Interpret the Bible

JANUARY 21, 2014 BY ROGER WOLSEY

I’ve long stated that atheists and fundamentalists each tend to read the Bible in the same wooden, overly literalistic manner. The difference is that atheists reject what they read in that manner, while fundamentalists believe it.

There’s a lot of truth to that – enough that it tends to piss off members of both of those groups off when they come across what I said.

However, I’ve also said that all Christians pick and choose which portions of the Bible they interpret literally, progressive Christians simply admit this and share how we discern.

That observation has resonated with many people – including many fundamentalists who are honest with themselves and who rightly contend that they don’t read “all of the Bible literally.” Some of these more self-reflective fundamentalists have asked me, “So, how do you progressives ‘discern’ and interpret the Bible? Seems like you just read into it what you want it to say; twist it; and don’t take it seriously.” I generally respond by reminding them that – that which we criticize most in others, is often that which we struggle with most ourselves.

While no doubt true, and I fully stand by holding that mirror up to them, they deserve an actual response.

I can’t speak for all progressive Christians, but here’s how many progressive Christians approach, discern, and interpret the Bible:

1. We embrace the many variations of the view expressed by many great Christian thinkers that “We take the Bible too seriously, to read it all literally.”

2. We don’t think that God wrote the Bible. We think it was written by fallible human beings who were inspired by (not dictated to by) the Holy Spirit. Hence, we don’t consider it to be infallible or inerrant. [My comment: This does not deny the divine and God-inspired nature of the Bible – see below for more detail.]

Continue reading 16 Ways Progressive Christians Interpret the Bible