Thursday Links: ‘The Bible does not condemn homosexuality’ (Adam Phillips)


I need to start this post by stating clearly: I do not agree with the article that I am linking to today. I think the author offers a gross misinterpretation of the texts that he addresses.

Nevertheless, I find the article interesting because it is a clear example of what the Church faces in talking about homosexuality and the Bible with the current and next generation. Let me try to explain what I mean.

There are those who believe that homosexuality is acceptable and could care less what the Bible has to say about it. You can quote them passages and talk with them about what they say but they are just not interested.

There are also those who believe that the Bible clearly condemns homosexuality along with all other forms of sex outside of marriage (you can put me in this group). They are not really going to be that swayed by Phillips’ article.

Yet, there is another group that is somewhere in between. Maybe they have friends or family members who are gay. Maybe they struggle to see what is wrong with their relationships. Maybe their committments to their partners seem more faithful and loving than the heterosexuals they know. Maybe they are just struggling with condemning homosexual behavior for a different reason. Yet, they want to believe in the Bible. They are not ready to throw out the Scriptures. They know there is some good stuff in there so they don’t know what to do with what the Bible says about homosexuality.

Enter Adam Phillips, author of the article below and pastor of Christ Church: Portland. And here’s what he says: ‘The Bible does not condemn homosexuality.’ He writes an article that quotes historical references and talks about greek words. He reiterates again and again how he wants to take the Bible seriously. He mentions several books and offers links to other authors who agree with him. He walks you through the texts that mention homosexuality and explains how they are actually not talking about homosexuality but something totally different (and totally more heinous). And he says to that third group: “You can have it all! You can believe in the Bible and not condemn your homosexual friends and family members. In fact, you should do both if you really want to honor God. People have been wrong about the Bible and homosexuality and now we can fixt that.”

I wish I could tell you to just dismiss it. Just pretend like pastor Phillips and others like him have no influence. Pretend like no one is paying attention to their arguments. But that is a mistake.

Rather, we need to understand what he is claiming. We need to think about his arguments. And we need to be able to refute his interpretations of the text. Not because we are going to convince him that he is wrong (although I pray for that), but simply so we can help others see the errors in this approach to the Bible. I have no doubt that Adam Phillips genuinely loves homosexuals and genuinely wants to help and serve them. I just believe that his approach is wrong. Unfortunately, many will continue to be persuaded by his arguments about the Bible.

So I cautiously encourage you to read the article. See if you can catch what leads to his questionable conclusions about the passages he discusses. Think through how you would respond to these arguments (always focus on context). Not because you want to win, but because you want to love those who are truly struggling with what the Bible says about homosexuality for whatever reason. We must study to show ourselves approved and rightly handle the word of truth, which implies there is a wrong way to handle it (2 Timothy 2:15). May the Lord give us grace as we seek to love on those who struggle with same-sex attraction by pointing them to forgiveness and victory through Christ. May we be faithful to His Word, and to helping others understand it, by His grace.

Here is the article:

The Bible does not condemn homosexuality

wm

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