The Flawed Interpretation of Scripture by Pro-Homosexuals
Throughout the public debate on homosexual marriage, people who endorse the Biblical definition of marriage as a covenant between a man and a woman have asked the question, “How can a person take the Bible and defend homosexual (i.e., same sex) marriage?”
Even after the SCOTUS 5-4 ruling, headlines of the Huffington Post have declared that some “evangelicals” support the decision:
- Meet the Evangelicals who cheered the SCOTUS gay marriage ruling (June 29);
- An Evangelical at his first Pride Parade (June 29);
- An Evangelical minister explains marriage to Rick Santorum, Dr. Moore, and Mike Huckabee.
Danny Cortez, pastor of New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, California, wrote this statement in a post to John Shore on May 29, 2014: “I pray that you would be encouraged that a conservative, evangelical church like ours has embraced the LGBT community.”
So just how does a person interpret the Bible to legitimize homosexual marriage?
To be straightforward, pro-homosexual religious persons who claim to be orthodox in their beliefs, and yet declare the Bible supports homosexuality, display a type of hermeneutical schizophrenia. Here is their confusion:
- They interpret non-homosexual passages in the Bible along the orthodox position. Hence, even some of these persons claim to be evangelicals, just as the above headlines read.
- They interpret homosexual passages along the line of radical theology. In other words, they reinterpret these verses.
So, just what is radical theology? Let me share a brief sketch.
In 1919, Karl Barth released his groundbreaking commentary, The Epistle to the Romans. In his work, he rejected the literal view of the Bible espoused by the fundamentalists on the right, yet also rejected the destructive German higher criticism on the left.
Barth actually launched a movement that he referenced as “a theology of the Word.” Others titled his theology as “Neo Orthodoxy.” In essence, he began a new theological movement called Radical Theology.
Barth initiated a reinterpretation of Holy Scripture, including a reinterpretation of the Calvinistic doctrine of…
- The sinfulness of humanity;
- The doctrine of election;
- And the “infinite qualitative distinction between GOD and humankind.”
This emphasis of re-interpretation provided a foundation for other avant-garde theological schools of thought.
Gustavo Gutiérrez, a Peruvian theologian and Dominican priest, initiated a new theological school of thought know as Liberation Theology. In reinterpreting the Bible, he declared the Gospels provide a call to free people from political, social, and material oppression.
Another theologian, Jurgen Moltmann, developed his own form of liberation theology, based on the view that GOD suffers with humanity, but also promises humanity a better future. Moltmann was heavily influenced by Karl Barth.
Following on the heels of Liberation Theology was yet another school of thought, titled Process Theology. This movement arose from Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy. The two most prominent theologians include Charles Hartshorne and John Cobb.
Process theology, in its reinterpretation of Holy Scripture, teaches GOD is not totally eternal, nor immutable, and is not impassible (unchanged by the world). In other words, GOD and culture constantly change – they are both in process. So proponents of process theology reinterpret Scripture to align a changing GOD with a changing culture.
The endorsement of homosexuality and support for homosexual marriage reflect a Scriptural hermeneutic of reinterpretation.
These persons embrace liberation theology, claiming homosexuals are oppressed and marginalized, and must be liberated so they can be valued in their personhood and they can also enjoy a better quality of life.
These persons embrace process theology, aligning culture’s adoption of homosexuality with the reinterpretation of GOD’s Word. In other words, they engage in eisegesis in the place of exegesis.
Here are some examples:
Proponents reinterpret the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Instead of GOD destroying civilization because of homosexuality, He did so because of the sin of homosexual rape.
Proponents for homosexual marriage reinterpret I Corinthians 6: 9-10, I Timothy 1: 9-10, and Romans 1: 26-27. In these verses, they declare the issue is not homosexuality, but the sin is non-consensual homosexual acts. They state Roman conquerors engaged in sexual activity with older men and also boys, as well as men and their male slaves. These were considered morally and socially acceptable. But, according to their radical theological hermeneutic, they claim Paul was repulsed by this activity, and denounced it in his writings.
The homosexual marriage debate is not just about homosexuality: it is about the collision of 2 separate hermeneutical approaches: orthodox and radical, i.e., the interpretation versus the reinterpretation of the Bible.
For those of us who interpret the Bible from an orthodox position, homosexuality is exactly what the Scriptures say that it is – sin – an act of rebellion against GOD.
As followers of JESUS, we must be reminded of Jude 2: “Contend for the faith that was once entrusted to the saints.”
As authentic evangelical Christians, we will continue to embrace Holy Scripture’s condemnation of homosexuality as an act of rebellion against GOD. Yet, we must also be reminded that we have “all sinned and fallen short of the glory of GOD.” Indeed, “For GOD so loved the world…” includes every human being – not one person is excluded.
Let us love all people, including homosexuals, and demonstrate it by “speaking the truth in love.”