Was sagt die Bibel?
The Lord wants us to obey Him not because "the Bible says so", but because He loves us and He knows where it will lead to if we turn our face away from Him and yield to temptation. If we sin and thus "miss the goal" (literal meaning of sin). He can see things we cannot see - so we better trust Him...
Altes Testament: Genesis: 19:1-29 (Sodom), 1:27-28 und 2:18-24 (als Standard für Heterosexualität. Dies ist der wesentliche Teil, auf den sich auch das Neue Testament beruft). Levitikus: 18:22, 20:13. Deuteronomium: 22:5.
Neues Testament: Römer 1:24-27, 1 Korinther 6:9-11, (1 Timotheus 1:8-10)
"Two children were playing on a hillside, when they noticed the hour was nearing sunset, and one said wonderingly: 'See how far the sun has gone! A little while ago it was right over that tree, and now it is low down in the sky.' 'Only it isn't the sun that moves; it's the earth. You know, Father told us,' said the other. The first one shook his head. The sun did move, for he had seen it, and the earth did not move for he had been standing on it all the time. 'I know what I see,' he said triumphantly. 'And I believe Father,' said his brother. So mankind divides today--some accepting only what their senses reveal to them, the others believing the Word of God."
[Walter B. Knight, Knight's Master Book of New Illustrations, p. 184]
(Quelle für unten stehendes Material: u.a. Joe Dallas. Go and get his books!!)
And just as you might be able to operate your car for quite a while without an oil change and not discern any appreciable difference..., further down the road the internal damage caused by your neglect will reveal itself.... Look where you are now. Look at your gay friends. Are they anywhere close to where you want to be? Just as the car whose buyer neglects to heed the owner's manual will eventually fall apart, so will the person who neglects the wisdom in the Word of God." [J. A. Konrad, You Don't Have To Be Gay, p. 170-171
Was sagt die Bibel II
Can the homosexual scripturally or logically suggest why a just Father would genetically program His children to engage in inappropriate sexual activity that is clearly not compatible with their God-created anatomical design? I think not! If God is to be charged with such a "genetic" program, He must also then be charged with developing a plan involving opposing and contradictory design; a plan of confusion and disorderliness; a plan wherein (His) "genetic" design is incompatible with the (His) "anatomical" design of man and woman! Who, but the ungodly, would so foolishly charge their Creator (I Corinthians 14:33)?
This heretical rationalization (that genes dictate and change that which God has condemned into righteousness) has been advanced in print by many homosexual and lesbian groups: none of which can be reputably supported, scripturally, scientifically, or medically. It is interesting to note that many similar genetic studies and claims have also been advanced by worldly heterosexuals in order to justify their own involvement in adultery, divorce, thievery, drunkenness, lying, and spousal abuse! Where does it end? Is there no such thing as sin? Does our genetic make-up absolve us of all unrighteousness? What need of such passages as Galatians 5 and I Corinthians 6? What need of the blood of Christ? What logic or scripture justifies the claims and sin of the homosexual, while he or she condemns the claims of the heterosexual" The truth is that both are wrong! Both are seeking imaginary loopholes in God's Word and proposing rationalization designed to ease consciences in order to whitewash sinful activities that satisfy unlawful lusts!
Further foolishness promoted by homosexuals holds that the Bible does not condemn the physical act itself, but only the act in connection with pagan ceremonial worship involving religious prostitution! Nowhere in scripture (nor in the original language) does God limit prohibition of homosexual conduct in anyway for any reason! The passages that explicitly condemn such, e.g., Leviticus 18; Leviticus 20; Romans 1; I Corinthians 6; et al, also catalog other kinds of sin, non-sexual and sexual, i.e., fornication, adultery, incest, bestiality, etc. The rationalization of the homosexual points to the insane conclusion that these sexual sins, as well, are only prohibited by God when engaged in during pagan religious ceremonies! What nonsense!
Some homosexuals have now further taken the position that as long as they remain true to one partner of the same sex and avoid "debauchery" as justified in other's genetic studies, i.e., adultery (multiple partners), drunkenness, thievery, lying, etc., that they are accepted and approved of God in their practices. This is rationalization and loophole seeking to the nth degree! What perverted rationale does the homosexual use to justify his or her activity, while condemning ungodliness in others which has been allegedly justified on the same genetic basis? The truth is that all of these activities are sinful and, unless repented of, will cause the participants (whether homosexual or heterosexual) to be lost eternally! I Corinthians 6:11 presents clearly the "only" way of justification and redemption, "And such 'were' some of you: but ye have been washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." Acts 18:8 tell us exactly when and how these Corinthians were washed, "and many of the Corinthians hearing believed and were baptized." It is highly significant that the Holy Spirit did not direct the apostle Paul to isolate the homosexual and justify his ungodliness on the basis of genetic design! The Corinthians homosexual needed washing, sanctification, and justification just as much as the Corinthians fornicator, idolater, adulterer, thief, covetous, drunkard, reviler, and extortioner. Just as that washing was needed then, it is needed now! There is no difference! Certainly, we all sin and, at least, occasionally experience certain unlawful desires. Nonetheless, all (homosexuals and heterosexuals) are expected to overcome those desires, to truly repent upon falling, and to live righteously (in accordance with His will) before Him! Pardon the expression, but whatever "hand is dealt" us in this life, we are expected to play with according to the rules. A baby may be born with alcoholic tendencies because his or her mother was a practicing alcoholic during pregnancy. This certainly does not justify drunkenness in the offspring later in life! The offspring is not justified in saying, "but I was born this way!" He or she must play the hand dealt (as unfair as it may seem to be) and overcome the desire for alcohol or be in violation of God's will. So it is with the homosexual! No matter what speculative, causative factors are presumed to exist in either homosexual or heterosexual, and no matter what the sin, none can or will be justified upon continual violation of God's Word. All must repent! All must be washed! God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). If homosexual practice is sin for one, it is sin for all! Whatever is required of one is required of all!
How sad it is that many practicing homosexuals have opted to forsake the truths of the Gospel of Christ to continue in their ungodliness, and then, sometimes, to turn to the denominations for approval and justification. And how easy it then becomes for such a one to further rationalize and, in turn, accept and practice the perverted wisdom and doctrines of apostate man, denying the very Lord who bought them (II Peter 2:1)! In so doing, clearly, the wisdom and will of God is rejected (I Corinthians 1:25-31).
It is true that many sins, including homosexuality, are difficult to overcome, but that it can be done and must be done is without doubt (I Corinthians 6:11). For some to overcome it may even be necessary to give serious consideration to the "principle" of celibacy in Matthew 19:12, "and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake." But whatever is required of any to overcome (no matter what or how great the sin), it is certain and sure that God forgives (though man may not) and that heaven will surely be worth it all!
Just as is the case with all sinners, a practicing homosexual must repent (be sorry for, and stop practicing homosexuality) and be washed in baptism in order to enter the church (Acts 2:37-47). One who begins practicing homosexuality after having become a member of the church has fallen from grace and likewise needs to repent (Acts 8:22).
David M. Amos
Aber Jesus hat doch Homosexualität niemals erwähnt! Wenn dieses Thema so wichtig gewesen wäre, hätte Er doch dazu etwas sagen müssen!
Als Jesus gefragt wurde, ob Ehescheidung unter bestimmten Umständen erlaubt sei, antwortete Er nicht einfach nur mit "Ja" oder "Nein", sondern zitierte den bekannten Standard aus Genesis: die heterosexuelle, monogame und lebenslange Ehe. Ein Mann und eine Frau, die zusammen eins werden. Ein Bund, der Gottes Bund mit den Menschen widerspiegelt. Es reicht vollkommen aus, dass Jesus diesen Standard bekräftigt - muss Er da wirklich noch eine Liste verschiedenster Sex-Praktiken anhängen, die damit logischerweise verboten sind, da sie dem widersprechen? Wohl kaum.
Außerdem war das Verbot homosexueller Aktivitäten unter den Juden damals eine Selbstverständlichkeit, die niemand angezweifelt hätte. Ein zusätzliches Verbot war hier also überhaupt nicht nötig. Hier muss eher anders herum gefragt werden: nachdem ein Verbot homosexueller Aktivitäten derart offensichtlich war, hätte Jesus es da nicht ausdrücklich sagen müssen, wenn Er davon abweichen und derartiges erlauben wollte?
Hätte Er. Hat Er aber nicht.
Church Pew Bar Stool - A CALL FOR LOVE
Warum fühlst du dich von Homosexuellen bedroht und begründest das mit der Bibel? Du isst doch auch Blutwurst, was laut Apostelgeschichte verboten ist.
Derartiges las ich kürzlich auf www.kath.net. Das Zitat kommt von Pastorin Hanne Köhler anlässlich des Evangelischen Kirchentags in Bremen.
Weiter im Text von kath.net:
Bei Diskussionen sei es nützlich, ein paar Bibelstellen parat zu haben. Ein reiner Schlagabtausch mit Bibelstellen sei aber nicht erstrebenswert. Auch Kenntnisse zum geschichtlichen Umfeld seien hilfreich. Dem Gegenüber sollte man mit Barmherzigkeit und Verständnis begegnen. "Oft haben fundamentale Christen einfach Angst vor Sex, vor Gott, vor der eigenen Schuld", sagte Pfarrer Christian Reiser (Stuttgart). Wer kein offenes Ohr für kritische Bibelauslegung habe, traue seinem eigenen Glauben an Gott nicht: "Denn wo Gottes Geist wirkt, da herrscht Freiheit!"
Leider drückt dieses Zitat die - wenn auch wohl gutgemeinte - Meinung so mancher moderner Theologinnen und Theologen bzw. Pastorinnen und Pastoren aus.
Es ist fast peinlich, dass hier unterstellt wird, biblische Argumente gegen das Ausleben gleichgeschlechtlicher Neigungen seien nur vorgeschoben. Tatsächlich sei die versteckte Angst vor Homosexuellen oder ein Sich-Bedrohtfühlen die Ursache der Ablehnung. Dies grenzt schon an Hobby-Psychologie und hat eigentlich in theologischen Diskussionen nichts zu suchen. Mit solchen "Argumenten" sagt man unfreiwillig mehr über sich selbst aus als dass man hier irgend etwas Konstruktives zur Diskussion beiträgt.
Wir m?ssen uns nicht von Homosexuellen "bedroht" fühlen. Schließlich haben wir selbst gleichgeschlechtliche Neigungen. Auch lässt sich mit derartigen Unterstellungen nicht einfach jedes biblische Argument vom Tisch wischen. Fakt ist, dass die Bibel in mehreren Büchern und in verschiedenen Kulturen homosexuelle Aktivitäten klar verurteilt hat. Ebenso wurde der Standard einer heterosexuellen monogamen Ehe von Genesis bis zu Jesus und die Apostel immer wieder bestätigt.
Hier mit der "Blutwurst" zu kommen, disqualifiziert die eigenen Aussagen. Jüdische Essens-Vorschriften mit dem Standard aus Genesis sowie mit eindeutigen Aussagen bis zu Jesus hin vergleichen zu wollen, entbehrt jeden Kommentars. Solche Einwürfe machen einen eher traurig, da sie ein Ausdruck eines Teils moderner Theologie - durch alle Kirchen hindurch! - zu sein scheinen.
Das Ganze lief unter der ?berschrift "Wie wehrt man sich gegen Fundamentalisten?". Biblische Argumente gegen das Ausleben von gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen als religiösen Fundamentalismus zu sehen, betrachte ich als unehrenhaft. Damit versucht man, der eigenen Position mehr Gewicht zu geben, indem man die Gegenposition in ein radikales Lager drängt. Das ist für Christen unakzeptabel.
Ein reiner Schlagabtausch mit Bibelstellen sei also nicht erstrebenswert. Das wundert mich auch nicht, da man sich hier schwer tun würde. An keiner einzigen Stelle im Alten oder Neuen Testament wird ein Praktizieren gleichgeschlechtlicher Akte als positiv gewertet.
Da man nun die Bibel nicht als Argumentationshilfe verwenden kann, soll man dem Gegenüber mit "Barmherzigkeit und Verständnis" begegnen. "Oft haben fundamentale Christen einfach Angst vor Sex, vor Gott, vor der eigenen Schuld", so Pfarrer Christian Reiser (Stuttgart).
So einfach ist das also. Nochmals: ich unterstelle diesen Pfarrern keineswegs eine böse Absicht - ganz im Gegenteil. Aber macht man es sich mit einer derartig einfach gestrickten Psychologie nicht etwas zu leicht? Kann es nicht sein, dass der Grund für Argumente gegen das Ausleben homosexueller Neigungen sehr wohl ein biblischer sein kann und mit irgendwelchen Ängsten oder Schuldgefühlen nicht das Geringste zu tun hat? Drückt man sich da nicht vor einer eigenen theologischen Auseinandersetzung mit dem Thema und macht sich das Ganze etwas zu leicht?
Ich selbst hatte oft genug Sex, um sagen zu können, ich habe keine Angst davor. Auch hat mir Gott vergeben, ich habe also keine Schuldgefühle. Und bedroht fühle ich mich von meinesgleichen schon gar nicht.
Trotzdem lehne ich als Christ das Ausleben meiner Neigungen aus Glaubensgründen ab und möchte dafür auch nicht irgendwelche Möchtegern-Theorien als Ursache unterstellt bekommen. Ja, auch das kann diskriminierend sein.
Menschen in leitender Funktion in Gemeinden sollten sich ihrer besonderen Verantwortung bewusst sein. Deshalb rufe ich diese Menschen auf, doch einmal mit "Menschen wie uns" zu reden und auch die Kirchengeschichte wie die Bibel selbst nochmals daraufhin zu prüfen, ob hieraus irgendwo eine positive Bewertung homosexueller Akte herauszulesen ist.
"Verständnis" gegenüber unserer Position sehe ich hier allerdings nicht. Schon gar nicht, wenn wir in eine radikale Ecke gedrängt werden.
Wir sehen jedoch diese Pastorinnen und Pastoren auch weiter als unsere Brüder und Schwestern in Christus an und als solche möchten auch wir gesehen werden.
Die Bibel stellt doch die Liebe zwischen Menschen desselben Geschlechts mit der von Mann und Frau gleich! Seht euch mal David und Jonathan oder Ruth und Naomi an!
Ja, in der Bibel ist die Rede von der Liebe zwischen Menschen desselben Geschlechts. Das hat aber rein gar nichts mit einer "homosexuellen" Liebe zu tun. Wir sollten uns sehr davor hüten, unsere eigene Wunschvorstellungen in die Bibel hinein zu lesen! "Liebe" so wie Gott sie versteht ist nicht gleichzusetzen mit "Liebe" wie sie gefallene Menschen verstehen.
Wir helfen Menschen mit gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen nicht, wenn wir biblische Positionen aufweichen und ihnen - wenn auch mit den besten Abischten - ein Hintertürchen offen halten. Ganz im Gegenteil: hier versagen wir sogar in unser Funktion als lehrende und ermahnende Kirche und werden vielleicht noch zum Stolperstein für den, der sündigt, da er oder sie dann unsere offizielle "Freigabe" (wenn auch mit wenn und aber) hat.
An keiner einzigen Stelle befürwortete die Bibel Homosexualität - und die Bibel erstreckt sich über Tausende von Jahren quer durch verschiedene Kulturen, sodass das "kulturell geprägte" Argument hinfällig ist.
Über 2.000 hat die Kirche Homosexualität abgelehnt.
Was gibt uns das Recht, am christlichen Menschenbild, an der Lehre und Tradtition der Kirche sowie an der Bibel selbst, eigenmächtige Änderungen vorzunehmen?
Diese mögen ja mit den besten Absichten geschehen - gleichwohl ist das Resultat dasselbe.
Sünde darf nicht Einzug in die Kirche halten - was allerdings für andere Bereiche ebenso gelten muss. Sünde ist wie ein Geschwür, das sich schnell im Leib Christi - Seiner Kirche - ausbreitet.
Wer aber klar und deutlich Sünde beim Namen nennt, muss auch Menschen mit gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen eine helfende Hand anbieten und ihnen mit Verständnis und Liebe begegnen. Sie haben sich diese Neigungen nicht ausgesucht. Aus welchen Gründen auch immer, diese Empfindungen sind nun mal da.
Die Gründe hierfür sind aus christlicher Sicht letztlich zweitrangig. Natürlich macht es einen Unterschied in der ethischen Bewertung, wie die Begleitumstände sowie die Faktoren sich zusammen setzen, die menschliche Sexualität prägen. Am biblischen Menschenbild sowie an der Ehe als heterosexuellen, monogamen und lebenslangen Bund, der den Bund widerspiegelt, den Gott in Jesus Christus mit den Menschen eingegangen ist, ändert das nichts.
Auch wenn aufrichtige Liebe im Spiel ist, wird die Situation dadurch nicht anders. Ich kann auch als Mann eine Frau aufrichtig lieben und mit ihr ein Leben lang glücklich sein, aber trotzdem Ehebruch damit begehen, weil ich vielleicht Frau und Kinder verlasse.
Ebenso ist das Argument mit der "Unumkehrbarkeit" oder "genetischen Bedingtheit" für Christen nicht akzeptabel. Wo sollte das aufhören? Was, wenn morgen auch in anderen Fällen eine "Unumkehrbarkeit" oder "genetische Bedingtheit" festgestellt wird - etwa bei Pädophilen (ohne hiermit Homosexualität mit Pädophilie gleichsetzen zu wollen).
Menschen mit gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen brauchen unsere volle Liebe - in Wort und Tat. Wahre Liebe heißt aber auch, den anderen zu ermahnen, sollte er vom Weg abkommen.
Eine "Unumkehrbarkeit" von Homosexualität anzunehmen, ist gleichzeitig aber auch ein Schlag ins Gesicht derer, die Freiheit gesucht und gefunden haben. Das bedeutet nichts anderes, als zu behaupten, diese Menschen würden nicht exisiteren - oder lügen. Freiheit heißt dabei nicht unbedingt zwangsweise, keinerlei Emfpindungen in dieser Richtung mehr zu verspüren, sie heißt vor allem, dass diese Menschen ein Leben in der Nachfolge Jesu Christi führen - ohne sich von ihren Neigungen diktieren zu lassen, wie sie ihr Leben zu führen haben.
Zeigen wir Menschen mit gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen, dass wir sie als Brüder und Schwestern lieben und ihnen beistehen, wenn sie ebenfalls diesen Weg der Freiheit beschreiten möchten!
In der Bibel steht nichts von liebenden und verantwortungsvollen gleichgeschlechtlichen Beziehungen und Empfindungen. Das war den Autoren der Bibel wohl unbekannt. Allein das homosexuelle Verhalten wurde abgelehnt und das nur im Kontext der damalig
Der Autor der Bibel ist Gott. Dem Schöpfer des Universums aber unterstellen zu wollen, Er hätte keine Ahnung von dem gehabt, grenzt an Gotteslästerung. Meist wird nun gebetsmühlenartig angeführt, die Bibel sei zwar von Gott inspiriert, aber von unzulänglichen Menschen mit begrenztem Hintergrund geschrieben worden und anderslautende Meinungen seien fundamentalistisch (allein diese Argumentation ist schon selbst fundamentalistisch da sie von vorneherein Widerspruch ausschließt und andere Meinungen nicht gelten lässt!), dies ist aber beinahe willkürliche Argumentationsgrundlage für beinahe ebenso willkürliche Auslegungen. Der Standard der heterosexuellen monogamen Ehe wurde in Genesis begründet und über die Jahrtausende aufrecht erhalten und von Jesus selbst bekräftigt. Und all diese Menschen hätten keine Ahnung von dem gehabt, was wir in unserer unendlichen Weisheit heute wissen? Aus unserer eigenen Erfahrung können wir euch sagen, dass Menschen wie wir zu allen Zeiten existierten und uns auch durchaus bewusst ist, was in uns vorgeht. Menschen wie etwa Paulus, dem Schüler des größten Rabbi aller Zeiten und einem weitgereisten Mann, der unzählige Menschen getroffen hat, unterstellen zu wollen, er hätte keine Ahnung gehabt, was gleichgeschlechtliche Neigungen ausmacht bzw. dass diese auch verantwortungsvoll gelebt werden können, ist ein theologisches Armutszeugnis. Ohne hier Vergleiche anstrengen zu wollen, jedoch hinweisend auf die Gefahr solcher Argumentationen: Pädophilie kommen heute mit genau derselben Argumentation: früher hätte man gar nicht gewusst, was wir heute wissen nämlich dass Beziehungen zwischen jungen Menschen und Erwachsenen durchaus auch liebevoll und verantwortungsbewusst gestaltet werden können usw. Heißt das nun, dass aus theologischer Sicht irgendwann auch pädophilie Beziehungen mit dem christlichen Glauben vereinbar sind?
Schließlich werden wir in der Bibel mehrmals nicht zuletzt von Jesus selbst! darauf hingewiesen, dass jedes Verhalten im Herzen beginnt und das Herz trügerisch ist...
Wer nun behauptet, kein ernstzunehmender Bibelwissenschaftler würde die eigenen Aussagen bestreiten, will entweder eine eigene schwache Position damit stärken, indem er andere schlecht macht, oder er beleidigt all die Bibelwissenschaftler, die anderer Meinung sind, als nicht ernstzunehmend. Hier ließe sich eine endlose Reihe von Theologen bzw. Geistlichen anführen, die das nicht so sehen. Einige wenige Beispiele: Prof. Dr. Scott Hahn, Weihbischof Dr. Andreas Laun und nicht zuletzt Papst Benedikt XVI. Soll man all diese Menschen nicht ernst nehmen? Gleichwohl scheuen sich die Autoren derartiger Thesen nicht, die eigene Position zu verabsolutieren eine Praxis, die sie bei anderen als fundamentalistisch oder gar Gehirnwäsche bezeichnen. Hier kann man nur das kirchliche Lehramt bitten, endlich einzuschreiten. Es kann nicht angehen, dass Menschen mit kirchlichem Lehrauftrag wenn auch mit den besten absichten derartiges verbreiten bzw. dass in offiziellen Lehrmaterialien derartige Thesen zu finden sind.
Mit dem historischen oder kulturellen Argument, dass alles nur im Lichte der damaligen Zeit sieht, ist dem Missbrauch und der Willkür Tür und Tor geöffnet. Wer leugnet, dass bestimmte christliche Grundsätze (etwa die heterosexuelle Ehe zwischen Mann und Frau) über alle Zeiten hinweg als Standard gelten müssen (!!), widerspricht nicht nur kirchlichem Lehramt und der Bibel selbst, er entwertet beide, indem genau diese Willkür zum allgemeinen Prinzip erhoben wird. Dann kann man nämlich die Bibel gleich vergessen, da schließlich jedeR dann eine eigene Auffassung von dem hat, was man wohl damals damit gemeint und was heute nicht mehr zu gelten hat. Dann wäre die Bibel irgendwann nur mehr ein komisches altes Buch, das keiner mehr braucht. Schließlich haben wir ja die moderne Wissenschaft und unsere Theologinnen und Theologen.
Nein, wir sind nicht wissenschaftsfeindlich. Glaube und Vernunft sind eine Einheit. Wir vertrauen aber den klaren Aussagen der Bibel und des kirchlichen Lehramts mehr als den Privatmeinungen diverser Theologen. Manches ihrer Thesen mag sogar in offiziellen Lehrmaterialien zu finden sein, für uns ist aber nur das bindend, was die Bibel bzw. das kirchliche Lehramt selbst als verbindlich erklärt. Und damit sind wir bisher sehr gut gefahren.
Wer nun behauptet, dass bestimmte Bibelstellen Homosexualität bzw. homosexuelles Verhalten nur angeblich verurteilen, widerspricht nun nicht nur der Bibel selbst wie auch bereits vielzitiertem kirchlichem Lehramt, er muss außerdem schon gymnastische Verrenkungen antreten, um dies zu begründen. Uns sind solche Verrenkungen nicht unbekannt und wir sind uns auch bewusst, dass diese zumeist mit den besten Absichten geschehen und im tiefen Bewusstsein, recht zu haben. Gleichwohl sind solche Behauptungen abzulehnen und höchst gefährlich für die Autoren dieser Thesen selbst, aber auch für diejenigen, die das zu hören bekommen und dem sogar Glauben schenken. Wer lehrt, hat eine größere Verantwortung und aus eigener Erfahrung können wir euch sagen, dass ihr damit niemandem helft, selbst wenn das eure Absicht ist.
Manch einer mag nun anführen, warum sollten nur bestimmte Verse zeitlos gültig sein, andere aber nicht. Dies hört sich aber schon fast nach einem verzweifelten rhetorischen Trick an, der eigenen Position mangels schlüssiger Argumente mehr Gewicht geben zu wollen. Der Standard der heterosexuellen monogamen Ehe sowie die Ablehnung homosexuellen Verhaltens (und damit einschlussweise auch allem anderen, was sich außerhalb der heterosexuellen Ehe bzw. in unangemessener Art und Weise innerhalb dieser vollzieht) zieht sich wie ein roter Faden durch das gesamte Alte und Neue Testament, sowie durch die gesamte jüdische wie christliche Geschichte. Andere Bestrebungen und Tendenzen haben erst in jüngster Zeit ernstzunehmendes Gewicht bekommen. Drehen wir den Spieß doch einmal um: all die Verse, die Homosexualität bzw. homosexuelles Verhalten verurteilen, sollen abzulehnen sein bzw. im Licht der heutigen Zeit nicht mehr gültig sein (wobei sie gemäß dieser Definition dann auch damals nicht gültig waren, da sie auf dem Unwissen der Autoren berufen. Dann ist aber die ganze Bibel ungültig!), bei anderen Bibelversen sieht man dieses Problem aber offenbar nicht (abgesehen von denen vielleicht, die sämtliche biblischen und kirchenrechtlichen Aussagen relativieren wollen und ihre eigene Weisheit bzw. die der Wissenschaft zum Maß aller Dinge erheben). Das ist unlogisch.
Vor Gott sind doch alle gleich! Es zählt der Glaube, nicht die Veranlagung (Gal 3,26-28; Gal 5,6)!
Dann sehen wir uns doch einmal diese Bibelstellen an:
"Ihr seid alle durch den Glauben Söhne Gottes in Christus Jesus. Denn ihr alle, die ihr auf Christus getauft seid, habt Christus (als Gewand) angelegt. Es gibt nicht mehr Juden und Griechen, nicht Sklaven und Freie, nicht Mann und Frau; denn ihr alle seid «einer» in Christus Jesus." Gal 3,26-28
"Denn in Christus Jesus kommt es nicht darauf an, beschnitten oder unbeschnitten zu sein, sondern darauf, den Glauben zu haben, der in der Liebe wirksam ist." Gal 5,6
In der ersten Stelle geht es darum, dass Paulus anerkennt, dass Jesus "ein für allemal" (Röm 6,10) für die Sünde gestorben ist und alle Menschen gerechtfertigt hat. In diesem Zusammenhang gibt es auch keine Juden oder Griechen, keine Sklaven oder Freie, keine Männer oder Frauen mehr - alle sind gerechtfertigt. Das heißt aber NICHT, dass es Gott egal wäre, ob sich nun ein Mann und eine Frau oder zwei Männer lieben. Das ist Wunschdenken, dass in die Bibel hinein gelesen wird und hat mit Bibelstudium oder seriöser Bibelinterpretation nichts zu tun.
Im letzten Vers lehrt uns Paulus, dass der Glaube, der uns rettet, ein Glaube ist, "der in der Liebe wirksam ist". Im Kontext ist hier vom mosaischen Gesetz (etwa der Beschneidung) die Rede. Durch das Gesetz können wir jedoch nicht gerettet werden. Dies nun aber auf eine Hippie-ähnliche Form des Glaubens zu reduzieren, in dem wir alle "frei" sind und nur "glauben" und mit einem Gefühl der "Liebe" durch die Gegend laufen müssen, hat mit seriöser Theologie nichts zu tun. Liebe, so wie Gott sie versteht, ist nicht ein Gefühl (Gefühle kommen und gehen!), sondern ein Lebens-spendender Bund, der den Bund Jesu mit seiner Braut der Kirche widerspiegelt. Ein Bund, bei dem ein Partner sich ganz dem anderen hingibt (im Gegensatz zum Vertrag, wo Eigentumsrechte vereinbart werden). Ein Bund, bei dem beide so sehr ein Fleisch werden, dass man dem "Eins-Werden" neun Monate später einen Namen geben muss (ein Bezug auf die Dreifaltigkeit). "Glaube" heißt auch nicht einfach intellektuell oder gefühlsmäßig zu glauben, dass es einen Gott gibt.
"Du glaubst: Es gibt nur den einen Gott. Damit hast du Recht; das glauben auch die Dämonen und sie zittern." (Jak 2,19. Einheitsübersetzung)
Glaube und Liebe in der Bibel sowie in der Tradition der Kirche stehen nicht im luftleeren Raum und werden auch nicht von subjektiven Gefühlen und Einstellungen von Menschen definiert, sondern sind immer in Bezug auf Gottes Gebote zu sehen.
"Als sich Jesus wieder auf den Weg machte, lief ein Mann auf ihn zu, fiel vor ihm auf die Knie und fragte ihn: Guter Meister, was muss ich tun, um das ewige Leben zu gewinnen? Jesus antwortete: Warum nennst du mich gut? Niemand ist gut außer Gott, dem Einen. Du kennst doch die Gebote: Du sollst nicht töten, du sollst nicht die Ehe brechen, du sollst nicht stehlen, du sollst nicht falsch aussagen, du sollst keinen Raub begehen; ehre deinen Vater und deine Mutter! Er erwiderte ihm: Meister, alle diese Gebote habe ich von Jugend an befolgt. Da sah ihn Jesus an, und weil er ihn liebte, sagte er: Eines fehlt dir noch: Geh, verkaufe, was du hast, gib das Geld den Armen, und du wirst einen bleibenden Schatz im Himmel haben; dann komm und folge mir nach!" (Mk 10,17-21. Einheitsübersetzung)
Was diese "Ehe" betrifft, von der Jesus hier spricht, hat Er sie genau definiert:
"Da kamen Pharisäer zu ihm, die ihm eine Falle stellen wollten, und fragten: Darf man seine Frau aus jedem beliebigen Grund aus der Ehe entlassen? Er antwortete: Habt ihr nicht gelesen, dass der Schöpfer die Menschen am Anfang als Mann und Frau geschaffen hat und dass er gesagt hat: Darum wird der Mann Vater und Mutter verlassen und sich an seine Frau binden und die zwei werden ein Fleisch sein? Sie sind also nicht mehr zwei, sondern eins. Was aber Gott verbunden hat, das darf der Mensch nicht trennen." (Mt 19,3-6. Einheitsübersetzung)
Er hat also auf die Frage nach der Möglichkeit der Ehescheidung nicht einfach mit "ja" oder "nein" geantwortet, sondern den Standard aus Genesis wiederholt: Ein Mann, eine Frau, ein Fleisch. Deutlicher konnte Er wohl kaum werden. Es steht uns somit nicht frei, diesen Standard eigenmächtig zu ändern, wenn wir uns Jünger Jesu nennen wollen.
Müssen wir Homosexualität heute anders sehen und gleichgeschlechtliche Beziehungen vielleicht sogar anerkennen?
Homosexuelle Beziehungen müssen anerkannt werden, da Homosexualität nicht unnatürlich und nicht gegen die Schöpfungsordnung gerichtet ist. Natur im wissenschaftlichen Sinn ist das, was ohne das Zutun des Menschen existiert. Natur im ethischen Sinn ist die Bestimmung des Menschen. Beides darf nicht verwechselt werden. Nur weil etwas z.B. bei der Mehrheit der Menschen so ist, muss es nicht auch eine ethische Norm sein. Jeder Mensch hat innerhalb der Grenzen zu handeln, die ihm von der Natur vorgegeben sind. Diese Natur aber ist von der Wissenschaft zu definieren und nicht von der Theologie. Man darf nicht einfach von der wissenschaftlichen Natur des Menschen auf das schließen, was sein soll, da man damit dem Menschen Unrecht tut. Der Mensch aber ist frei und darf nicht zum Instrument anderer gemacht werden. Seine Natur ist genau diese Freiheit und Selbstbestimmung. So gehört etwa zur Sexualität sowohl die Fortpflanzung als auch die menschliche Gemeinschaft und Zuneigung. Das kirchliche Lehramt ist hier nicht konsequent, da es die Fortpflanzung der Tiere einfach auf die Menschen überträgt und letztere nicht als freie Personen sieht. Sexualität ist aber Ausdruck der freien menschlichen Persönlichkeit. Somit muss sexuelles Verhalten akzeptiert werden, wenn sich dadurch die Liebe zweier freier Menschen ausdrückt. Wer also die liebende Paarbeziehung in einer Ehe akzeptiert, kann nicht gleichzeitig sexuelle Akte in einer gleichgeschlechtlichen Beziehung verwerfen, weil ihnen die Fortpflanzung fehlt. Wer Homosexuelle als Personen anerkennt, muss also auch ihre Beziehungen anerkennen.
Ähnliches haben wir nicht etwa frei erfunden, es wurde uns als Zusammenfassung eines Artikels aus dem offenbar für katholische Theologen verbindlichen Lexikon für Theologie und Kirche zugemailt, verbunden mit dem Hinweis, unsere Standpunkte seien theologisch nicht fundiert und damit auch nicht christlich.
Wir wollen an dieser Stelle nicht ausschließlich auf den katholischen Hintergrund eingehen. Das offizielle kirchliche Lehramt und nicht zuletzt Papst Benedikt XVI. in seiner Zeit als Kardinal Ratzinger wie als Papst hat in letzter Zeit aber auch in den letzten 2.000 Jahren! hierzu klar und deutlich Stellung genommen. Die Katholische Kirche bietet zwar Menschen mit gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen ihr Mitgefühl und ihre Unterstützung und Seelsorge an, verurteilt aber eindeutig und unzweifelhaft homosexuelle Akte und Beziehungen. Wer also etwa für diese Kirche arbeitet und lehrt oder ihr einfach nur angehört, sollte auch der Verpflichtung folgen, das vom offiziellen kirchlichen Lehramt als verbindlich Vorgelegte zu glauben und zu befolgen. Wer aber anderen Christen, die diese haarsträubenden Thesen nicht vertreten, abspricht, christliche Überzeugungen zu verbreiten, sagt damit gewollt oder ungewollt nichts anderes, als dass er sein eigenes Lehramt unchristlicher Thesen bezichtigt. Sollte dem so sein, dann wäre es vielleicht auch angebracht, Konsequenzen für sich selbst daraus zu ziehen.
Die JASON Ministries maßen sich nicht an, beurteilen zu können, ob andere Gläubige Christen sind oder nicht auch nicht im vorliegenden Fall. Wir sind uns auch bewusst, dass die Vertreter dieser Thesen bestimmt mit den besten Absichten und im guten Glauben handeln, hier das Richtige zu tun und möchten niemandem unterstellen, böswillige oder schlechte Motivationen zu haben.
Wir sind es gewohnt, dass uns unterstellt wird, wir würden keine christlichen Überzeugungen verbreiten oder Bibelverse sowie das kirchliche Lehramt falsch zu interpretieren. Wir sind es auch gewohnt, dass die Autoren solcher Meinungen selbstverständlich meinen, sie selbst lägen mit ihrer Überzeugung richtig, selbst wenn diese dem eigenen Lehramt sowie einer 2.000 jährigen christlichen Tradition und letztlich auch der Bibel widerspricht. Das aber ist das Drama der Christenheit seit ihrem Beginn und vielleicht einer der Gründe, warum Jesus dem Petrus die Schlüsselgewalt gegeben hat: damit nicht jeder selbst Papst spielen und die Bibel und kirchliche Lehraussagen nach eigenem Gutdünken auslegen muss, sondern jemand die Autorität hat, das Schiff der Gläubigen zu steuern.
So weit, so gut.
Zusammengefasst sagt diese Theorie etwa folgendes: Die Natur des Menschen ist nicht das, was wir für richtig erachten, weil es die naturwissenschaftliche Norm ist: etwa Heterosexualität, sondern das, was die freie Persönlichkeit ausmacht. Manche Menschen empfinden eben homosexuell und da die freie Persönlichkeit und nicht die Naturwissenschaft oder theologische Dogmen im Mittelpunkt stehen müssen, muss man auch anerkennen, dass Homosexuelle nur innerhalb ihrer eigenen Grenzen liebende Beziehungen eingehen können.
Hört sich ja zunächst ganz gut und logisch an. Schließlich ist ja ein heterosexuelles Paar auch nicht nur auf Fortpflanzung fixiert.
Ist es aber wirklich so oder begibt man sich hier wenn auch im guten Glauben - auf einen höchst gefährlichen Irrweg, dessen Ende man heute noch gar nicht abzuschätzen vermag?
Uns wird ja manchmal unterstellt, unsere fundamentalistischen Positionen würde kein ernstzunehmender Theologe mehr vertreten. Tatsächlich scheint dies aber eher ein Problem deutscher Theologinnen und Theologen zu sein, die ihre eigenen Ansichten verabsolutieren und zum weltweiten Dogma erheben. International wie national finden sich unzählige katholische oder allgemein christliche Theologinnen und Theologen sowie Geistliche und PastorInnen, aber auch Wissenschaftler, die dem entschieden widersprechen würden. Will man all diesen Menschen absprechen, Christen oder Wissenschaftler zu sein? Will man seine eigene Meinung wirklich zum Maß aller Dinge machen?
Konsequent zu Ende gedacht, würden solche Gedankenexperimente letztlich dazu führen, dass man die Bibel sowie kirchliche Lehramtsaussagen nach Belieben und nach eigenem Gutdünken, dem Zeitgeist oder der neuesten Forschung uminterpretieren kann, bis ein gewünschtes Ergebnis herauskommt. Moralischer Relativismus kann man das auch nennen: jeder definiert für sich selbst, was richtig, wahr und moralisch akzeptabel ist. Einen gesellschaftlichen Konsens gibt es nicht mehr. Es trägt aber auch Züge des Auswahlchristentums: man sucht sich von biblischen und lehramtlichen Aussagen das heraus, was einem zusagt. Alles andere lässt man entweder beiseite oder man interpretiert es so lange, bis es wieder passt.
Und genau dies geschieht heute auch wenn die wenigsten dies bewusst tun.
Wir können den Theologinnen und Theologen, die derartige Thesen verbreiten, nur empfehlen, unvoreingenommen folgende christliche Bücher zum Thema Homosexualität (bzw. Geschlechtsidentität) aus christlicher (bzw. jüdischer) Sicht zu lesen:
1) Weihbischof Dr. Andreas Laun (Hg.): Homosexualität aus katholischer Sicht (Franz Sales Verlag, ISBN 3-7721-0239-5)
2) Fr. John F. Harvey, O.S.F.S.: Homosexuality and the Catholic Church. Clear Answers to Difficult Questions (Ascension Press. ISBN: 978-1-932927-62-7)
3) David Morrison: Beyond Gay (Our Sunday Visitor, ISBN: 0-87973-690-9)
4) Joe Dallas: The Gay Gospel? How Pro-Gay Advocates Misread the Bible (Harvest House Publishers, ISBN-13: 978-0-7369-1834-3. ISBN-10: 0-7369-1834-5). Besonders zu empfehlen ebenso wie die übrigen Werke von Joe Dallas!
5) Thomas E. Schmidt: Straight & Narrow? Compassion and Clarity in the Homosexual Debate (InterVarsity Press. ISBN 0-8308-1858-8)
6) Arthur Goldberg: Light in the Closet. Torah, Homosexuality and the Power to Change (Red Heifer Press. ISBN: 978-09631478-9-9)
7) John Piper & Wayne Grudem: Recovering Biblical Manhood & Womanhood. A Response to Evangelical Feminism. (Crossway Books. ISBN 13: 978-1-58134-806-4. ISBN 10: 1-58134-806-1)
8) Robert Lewis: Raising a Modern-Day Knight. A Fathers Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood (Tyndale House Publishers. ISBN-13: 978-1-58997-309-1. ISBN-10: 1-58997-309-7)
Oder auch die Arbeiten von Dr. Robert Gagnon, Michael L. Brown (siehe Links auf unserer Homepage).
Natürlich gibt es auch eine Reihe wissenschaftlicher Fachliteratur. Wir verweisen hierfür ebenso auf unsere Homepage (www.freewebs.com/jason-online).
Argumente über die genetischen oder soziologischen Ursprünge der Homosexualität, über wahrhaft liebende homosexuelle Beziehungen nichts davon würde Paulus beeindrucken. Er würde ganz einfach die Verwendung derartiger Informationen in Argumenten für die Akzeptanz homosexuellen Verhaltens als weiteren Beweis der menschlichen Blindheit hinsichtlich der Versklavung durch die Sünde verstehen.
Marion Soards, Scripture and Homosexuality.
Paulus war es, der Homosexualität ausdrücklich verurteilt hat: im Römerbrief verweist er sowohl auf das Verhalten wie die inneren Anziehungen, im 1. Korinther- und im 1. Timotheusbrief sieht er das Verhalten getrennt von der Neigung. Er verschwendet auch keine Zeit darauf, weiter darüber zu argumentieren, da er ganz selbstverständlich davon ausging, dass seine Leser ebenso als falsch erkennen würden, was er verurteilte (womit er wohl auch richtig lag !). Bei anderen Punkten verbringt er ganze Kapitel damit, seine Verurteilung zu begründen. Warum? Weil er hier offensichtlich seine Leser noch von seiner Verurteilung überzeugen will. Homosexuelle Sünde hingegen fällt für Paulus in dieselbe Kategorie wie etwa Ehebruch und bedarf somit keiner weiteren Erklärung mehr. Eine Auffassung, die uns zu denken geben sollte.
Es kann also keinen Zweifel daran geben, dass Paulus Homosexualität als etwas Falsches und Unnatürliches ansah, auch wenn das heute einigen nicht passt und sie es gerne im Licht der damaligen Zeit sehen und auf Basis neuer Erkenntnisse eigenmächtig uminterpretieren wollen. Er setzte diese Überzeugung durchaus auch bei seinen Lesern voraus, beschrieb diese Sünde aber nicht als schlimmer als etwa andere Sünden. Er sah sie als Symptom der gefallenen Natur der Menschen an, als etwas, dass nie innerhalb der Christen geschehen durfte aber auch als etwas, in das zumindest einige seiner Leser einst verwickelt waren (vgl. 1 Kor 6,9-11). Diese Menschen haben aber auch Freiheit in Christus gefunden!
Sehen wir uns doch das Verständnis des Paulus von natürlich und unnatürlich etwas genauer an und lesen hierfür Röm 1,26-27:
Darum lieferte Gott sie entehrenden Leidenschaften aus: Ihre Frauen vertauschten den natürlichen Verkehr mit dem widernatürlichen; ebenso gaben die Männer den natürlichen Verkehr mit der Frau auf und entbrannten in Begierde zueinander; Männer trieben mit Männern Unzucht und erhielten den ihnen gebührenden Lohn für ihre Verirrung.
Wie hat man dies bisher gesehen?
Paulus beginnt den Römerbrief damit, dass er die Menschheit in ihrem noch nicht erlösten und rebellischen Zustand beschreibt. Er will hier nicht etwa einzelne Sünden hervorheben, sondern aufzeigen, dass alle Juden oder Christen ohne die Erlösung Jesu Christi verloren sind. Zunächst spricht er allgemein über die menschliche Rasse. Alle Menschen wissen, dass es Gott gibt, aber in ihrem gefallenen Zustand interessiert sie das nicht und sie machen, was sie wollen (1,18-21). Klingt das einigen vertraut? Die Herzen der Menschen wurden verfinstert und sie verfielen dem Götzendienst (Verse 21-23). Dann spricht Paulus über Homosexualität als Symptom dieses Problems und beschreibt diese als etwas Unnatürliches. Er war also nicht gerade politisch korrekt. Schließlich beschreibt er noch weitere Sünden, die ebenfallsdamals üblich waren. Von all diesen Sünden wird aber nur Homosexualität als widernatürlich bezeichnet. Heute würde man Paulus dafür wohl wegen Diskriminierung vor Gericht bringen.
Schließlich heißt es am Ende des ersten Kapitels, dass jeder Mensch, der diese Sünden begeht, den Tod verdient. Ein hartes Urteil, dass uns ebenfalls zu denken geben sollte.
Paulus behauptet dabei keineswegs, dass jeder Mensch all diese Sünden begeht, die in diesem Kapitel aufgezählt werden. Er geht aber sehr wohl davon aus, dass diese Sünden weithin praktiziert werden und dass niemand, der dies liest nicht zumindest eine seiner eigenen Sünden auf dieser Liste wiederfindet. Ein zeitloses Statement wie es scheint.
Im zweiten Kapitel wendet sich Paulus dann an die Juden im Besonderen und sagt ihnen, sie können keineswegs davon ausgehen, dass sie von der Todesstrafe ausgenommen sind. Sünde findet sich überall unabhängig von Nation oder Religion. Gleichzeitig aber ruft er zum Vertrauen in Christus anstatt auf die eigene Gerechtigkeit auf. Ebenfalls ein Statement, das uns zu denken geben sollte.
Nun meinen manche, Paulus würde hier nicht wahre Homosexuelle beschreiben, sondern Heterosexuelle, die homosexuelle Akte vollziehen, die gegen ihre eigene Natur sind. Heterosexuelle, die dies tun, würden ja gleichsam gegen ihre eigene Natur verstoßen und das verurteilt Gott.
Die Sünde hierbei wäre also, etwas zu verändern, was für den Einzelnen (!) natürlich ist. Wenn es für jemand natürlich wwäre, homosexuell zu sein und er/sie dies auch auslebt, wäre das keine Sünde, da er/sie sich gemäß seiner/ihrer Natur verhält.
Nach dieser Auffassung verurteilt Paulus hier also Heterosexuelle, die wider ihre eigene Natur handelten, indem sie homosexuelle Akte begingen. Ähnlich wäre es wohl mit Homosexuellen, die heterosexuelleAkte zu tun versuchen.
All das hätte überhaupt nichts zu tun mit liebevollen homosexuellen Beziehungen, so wie wir sie heute kennen. Diese würden ja nur gemäß ihrer wahren Natur handeln und wären deshalb nicht das Ziel der Aussagen des Paulus. Paulus hätte von etwas ganz anderem gesprochen.
Ist das wirklich so?
Leider verfallen auch immer mehr TheologInnen dieser schwulen Ideologie wenn auch mit den besten Absichten. Eine Ideologie, die äußerst geschickt geplant und vorbereitet wurde.
Gehen wir also näher auf die Aussagen von Paulus ein. Er spricht nämlich keineswegs so subjektiv über Homosexualität, wie ihm das manche unterstellen wollen. Nichts in seinen Versen weist darauf hin, dass er einen wahren Homosexuellen von einem falschen unterscheidet. Er beschreibt homosexuelles Verhalten (!) als unnatürlich egal, wer es tut und warum er es tut. Ebenso gleichgültig ist für ihn, ob jemand es tut, weil er/sie so geboren wurde.
Paulus wird in diesen Versen auch ungewöhnlich deutlich. Er verwendet für Männer und Frauen die griechischen Wörter, die am meisten das körperliche Geschlecht ausdrücken (das Geschlecht also, das man entgegen politisch korrekter Meinung nicht verändern kann!): arsenes und theleias. Diese Wörter finden sich nur selten im Neuen Testament. Wenn man sie denn antrifft, bezeichnen sie in besonderer Art und Weise das körperliche Geschlecht wie etwa in männliches (arsenes) Kind. Sie werden also dann verwendet, wenn man besonders auf dieTatsacvhe eingehen will, dass jemand ein Mann (bzw. alternativ eine Frau) ist.
Paulus sagt demnach, dass das homosexuelle Verhalten für diese Menschen als Männer und Frauen (arsenes und theleias) unnatürlich war, nicht etwa weil es nicht ihrer sexuellen Orientierung entsprach. Mit anderen Worten: Paulus sagt, dass Homosexualität aus biologischer Sicht (!) unnatürlich ist und das nicht nur für Heterosexuelle, sondern für jeden, egal, ob er/sie so empfindet oder nicht.
Ein anderer Gesichtspunkt: Die Männer, die Paulus beschreibt, entbrannten in Begierde zueinander es ist also höchst unwahrscheinlich, dass sie Heterosexuelle waren, die einfach mal Homosexualität ausprobieren wollten. Oder wann hast du zuletzt einen Heterosexuellen gesehen, der in Begierde zu einem Menschen desselben Geschlechts entbrannte?
Diese von Paulus beschriebenen Menschen hatten eine sehr starke innere Sehnsucht. Behaupten zu wollen, sie wären Heterosexuelle und würden wider ihre Natur handeln, widerspricht offensichtlich diesen Versen und man muss nicht Theologie studiert haben, um das zu erkennen.
Wenn die Verse 26 und 27 außerdem Menschen beschreiben würden, die nicht von Natur aus homosexuell empfinden, nicht aber für Menschen gelten sollten, die von Natur aus gleichgeschlechtlich fühlen, müssten wir dann nicht konsequent sein und diesen Grundsatz für all die Handlungen, die in diesem Kapitel erwähnt werden, anwenden? Muss dann nicht bei allen aufgeführten Sünden so verfahren werden?
Sehen wir uns also die Sünden an, die Paulus in den Versen 20 bis 31 erwähnt:
Die Menschen haben Gott erkannt, aber nicht geehrt und Ihm nicht gedankt.
Sie verfielen in ihrem Denken der Nichtigkeit und ihr unverständiges Herz wurde verfinstert.
Sie behaupteten, weise zu sein, und wurden zu Toren.
Weigerung, Gott anzuerkennen
Verworfenes Denken: Tun, was sich nicht gehört
Hass auf Gott
Erfinderischsein im Bösen
Ungehorsam gegenüber Eltern
Manche sagen nun also, Homosexualität sei nur eine Sünde, wenn sie von Menschen begangen wird, die nicht natürlich so empfinden (siehe oben genannte Argumentation). Sehen wir uns doch einmal diese ganze lange Liste an Sünden an, die im selben Kapitel wie Homosexualität erwähnt werden. Sünden, für die logischerweise derselbe Grundsatz angewendet werden müsste. Dies jedoch führt offensichtlich zu absurden Ergebnissen. Die einzig annehmbare Schlussfolgerung ist also, dass homosexuelle Handlungen unabhängig von dem, wie Menschen von Natur aus empfinden Sünde sind. Dies allein aufgrund der Tatsache, dass Gott für Männer und Frauen eine bestimmte Vorstellung hatte, was die Sexualität und das Zusammenleben anging. Sexualität im Rahmen einer lebenslangen, monogamen und heterosexuellen Ehe dient sowohl der Fortpflanzung als auch dem Wohl der Ehepartner. Dies darf nicht getrennt werden (etwa auch im Falle der Empfängnisverhütung, wo man die Fortpflanzung ausschließt, oder im Falle der Abtreibung).
Oder würde jemand ernsthaft dieselben Argumente für die Sünden aus oben genannter Liste verwenden? Gibt es eine liebende oder liebevolle Art von List und Tücke? Oder von übler Nachrede? Das ist absurd. Man kann eben nicht beides haben. Die Versuche, hier anders zu argumentieren, klingen schon beinahe wie ein verzweifelter Versuch, das eigene Verhalten um dessen Unangemessenheit aus christlicher Sicht man tief im Inneren sehr wohl weiß nachträglich theologisch zu rechtfertigen.
Es gibt nun auch Menschen, die argumentieren, diese Verse würden sich nur auf Menschen beziehen, die sich dem Götzendienst verschrieben haben und nicht aber auf schwule Christen, die den wahren Gott anbeten.
In Vers 23 schreibt Paulus: Sie vertauschten die Herrlichkeit des unvergänglichen Gottes mit Bildern, die einen vergänglichen Menschen und fliegende, vierfüßige und kriechende Tiere darstellen. (Einheitsübersetzung). Aufgrund dieses Verses meinen manche, die Aussagen von Paulus würden sich nur auf die Menschen beziehen, die Götzen oder falsche Götter anbeten und nicht auf Schwule oder Lesben in liebenden und verantwortungsvollen homosexuellen Beziehungen. Letztere hätten ja nichts mit Götzendienst zu tun.
Natürlich spielt der Götzendienst eine wichtige Rolle in diesem Kapitel. Paulus beginnt, indem er die allgemeine Rebellion der Menschen beschreibt, die das Geschöpf eher als den Schöpfer anbeten. Hier setzen nun schwule Theologen bzw.deren Anhänger an: Das würde nicht für sie gelten, da sie keine Götzen anbeten, sondern den wahren Gott.
Paulus beschreibt aber hier vielmehr wie bereits erwähnt die allgemeine Rebellion, die die Rebellion im Besonderen erst möglich macht. Man muss sich nicht erst vor dem goldenen Kalb verneigen oder um es herumtanzen, um an einem allgemeinen Leugnen Gottes teilzunehmen oder um diesem Leugnen durch bestimmte Taten Ausdruck zu verleihen. Dies hat nicht zwangsweise etwas mit Götzendienst zu tun.
Man muss nur einmal mit gesundem Menschenverstand dieses Kapitel durchlesen. Denken wir doch noch einmal an all die Sünden, die hier aufgezählt werden. Wenn man nun das Argument, hier würde nicht Homosexualität verurteilt, wie wir sie kennen, sondern Götzendienst, auch auf die anderen Sünden anwendet, ergeben sich absurde Ergebnisse. Oder würde jemand ernsthaft behaupten, all diese Sunden wären nur abzulehnen, wenn sie im Kontext des Götzendienstes begangen werden, aber akzeptabel, wenn sie in einer verantwortungs- und liebevollen Art und Weise begangen werden? Wohl kaum.
Das ist Unsinn und jeder Mensch kann das auch ohne theologische Ausbildung erkennen. Hier werden nicht Sünden verurteilt, die im Zusammenhang eines Götzendienstes begangen werden, sondern all diese aufgezählten Sünden sind Symptome eines gefallenen Zustands.
Nun führen einige wiederum an, Paulus würde hier übertriebenes und unverantwortliches sexuelles Verhalten ansprechen, das aus reiner Lust geschieht und Sex mit mehreren bzw. wechselnden Partnern umfasst. Das aber hat nichts zu tun mit einer liebevollen, verantwortungsbewussten homosexuellen Beziehung mit nur einem Partner.
Die Menschen, die Paulus in diesem Kapitel beschreibt, entbrannten aus Begierde zueinander, empfanden also Lustgefühle für Angehörige des eigenen Geschlechts und hatten auch Sex miteinander. Eine klare Angelegenheit. Weder die Art und Weise, wie er dies ausdrückte noch die Wahl seiner Worte weist jedoch darauf hin, dass hier mit vielen Menschen des eigenen Geschlechts Sex praktiziert wurde oder dass hier oft oder wahllos sexuelle Akte vollzogen wurden. Das aber heißt nichts anderes als dass Paulus homosexuelle Akte an sich verurteilte und diese Verurteilung nicht einschränkte oder begrenzte (etwa auf die, die Homosexualität nicht verantwortungs- bzw. liebevoll oder mit vielen Partnern praktizieren). Diese Sünde wird nicht geringer, wenn sie nur einmal im Leben mit nur einem einzigen Menschen begangen wird. Das mag zwar manchem nicht passen, aber Paulus war hierzu eindeutig.
Gehen wir nun darauf ein, wie Paulus bestimmte griechische Wörter verwendet.
Oder wisst ihr nicht, dass die Ungerechten Gottes Königtum nicht erben werden? Lasst euch nicht beirren. Weder Unzüchtige, noch Götzendiener, noch Ehebrecher, noch Lustknaben [griech.: malakos] , noch Männerliebhaber [griech.: arsenokoite], noch Diebe, noch Ausbeuter, nicht Säufer, nicht Schmähmäuler und auch nicht Räuber werden das Königtum Gottes erben. (1 Kor 6,9-11. Übersetzung von Fridolin Stier. Kösel-Verlag München und Patmos-Verlag Düsseldorf. Sehr zu empfehlen!!)
und bedenkt, dass das Gesetz nicht für den Gerechten bestimmt ist, sondern für Gesetzlose und Ungehorsame, für Gottlose und Sünder, für Menschen ohne Glauben und Ehrfurcht, für solche, die Vater oder Mutter töten, für Mörder, Unzüchtige, Knabenschänder [griech.: arsenokoite], Menschenhändler, für Leute, die lügen und Meineide schwören und all das tun, was gegen die gesunde Lehre verstößt. (1 Tim 1,9-11 Einheitsübersetzung).
Im Römerbrief beschreibt Paulus Homosexualität im Detail. Bei oben genannten Versen aber erwähnt er sie nur und führt sie zusammen mit anderen Verhaltensweisen auf. Warum?
Im 1. Korintherbrief will er, dass das Verhalten von Christen sich völlig von dem von Nichtchristen unterscheidet (hört, hört ). Christen müssen in einer Art und Weise leben, die sie vom Rest der Welt abtrennt bzw. unterscheidet ähnlich wie in Levitikus 18 und 20 sich die Israeliten von anderen Völkern unterscheiden sollen, was sexuelles Verhalten angeht. Sollte das nicht auch für uns heute gelten?
Im 1. Timotheusbrief (Vers 8) hingegen weist Paulus auf den rechten Gebrauch des Gesetzes des Alten Testaments hin und führt viele der Sünden auf, die dieses Gesetz verurteilt. Menschen, die diese Sünden begehen, werden vom Gesetz überführt. In beiden Abschnitten verwendet Paulus das griechische Wort arsenokoite für männliche Homosexualität (lesbische Homosexualität kommt in der Bibel nur einmal vor, nämlich in Roem 1,26). Was hat es mit diesem Wort auf sich?
Im 1. Korintherbrief wird dieses Wort mit Männerliebhaber übersetzt, im 1. Timotheusbrief mit Knabenschänder. Im 1. Korintherbrief verwendet Paulus außerdem das Wort malakos (Lustknaben). Er sagt also, dass homosexuelle Akte, Akte zwischen erwachsenen Männern und Knaben sowie homosexuelle Prostitution Sünden sind, die diejenigen, die sie begehen, vom Königreich Gottes ausschließen. Dies neu interpretieren und aus einem klaren Nein ein Ja machen zu wollen, selbst wenn es mit den besten Absichten geschieht, bedeutet nichts anderes, als die Aussagen der Bibel und des kirchlichen Lehramts zu verdrehen.
Es gibt nun Menschen, die behaupten, Paulus hätte mit dem Wort arsenokoite nur männliche homosexuelle Prostitution gemeint (also nicht normale Homosexuelle) und das Wort malakos würde sich nur auf Männer beziehen, die sich verkaufen (wahrscheinlich damals als Frauen verkleidet) oder die beim Sex zumindest den weiblichen Part übernehmen. Arsenokoite sei ein Wort, das von Paulus geprägt wurde und noch nie zuvor in der griechischen Literatur aufgetaucht ist. Zur damaligen Zeit gab es aber sehr wohl andere griechische Wörter für homosexuell. Wenn Paulus also wirklich über Homosexualität hätte reden wollen, hätte er doch eines der bereits existierenden Wörter dafür verwendet. Da er das nicht tat, könne man auch nicht sagen, er habe homosexuelle Akte an sich und für alle Menschen verurteilt.
Beim Wort malakos gibt es weniger Einwände es kommt etwa auch in Mt 11,8 und Lk 7,25 vor, wo Jesus die beschreibt, die im Luxus leben. Es ist in diesen Versen aber nicht ganz klar, ob hier von eher schwachen Männern die Rede ist oder von Männern, die den Königen als Prostituierte zur Verfügung standen. Männern, die unter anderem als Frauen verkleidet waren.
Was jedoch klar ist, ist, dass diese Männer, nicht unbedingt Homosexuelle waren, obwohl sowohl Jesus als auch Paulus kritisch von ihnen sprachen. Ob sie nun aber homo- oder heterosexuell empfanden, es handelte sich höchstwahrscheinlich um Männer, die gleichgeschlechtlichen Sex für Geld praktizierten (also ihren Körper verkaiuften), also nicht um typische Homosexuelle. Insofern stimmt es also, dass malakos kein Begriff ist, der alle Formen von Homosexualität verurteilt. Der Begriff arsenokoite tut das aber sehr wohl. Hier wird nun manchmal eingewendet, arsenokoite wurde sich nur auf männliche Prostituierte beziehen, und zwar auf männliche Prostituierte, die sowohl bei Frauen wie bei Männern den aktiven Part übernehmen konnten (Boswell argumentiert etwa so). Alternativ heißt es, Paulus würde allgemein Immoralität verurteilen, nicht aber Homosexualität im Besonderen. Dieser Begriff würde sich also auf in irgendeiner Art und Weise unmoralische Männer beziehen, nicht aber auf Homosexuelle.
Was ist also an diesen Einwänden dran? Ist das wirklich so?
Paulus hat mit arsenokoite einen neuen Begriff geprägt. Und? Er hat 179 neue Begriffe im Neuen Testament geprägt! Diese neu geprägten Wörter verändern aber keineswegs entscheidend den Kontext, in dem sie vorkommen.
Sehen wir uns aber dieses Wort etwas näher an:
Arsenokoite ist eine Kombination der Wörter arsenos und koite. Beide Wörter tauchen nur selten im Neuen Testament auf. Arsenos bezeichnet einen Mann, mit besonderer Hervorhebung des Geschlechts. Koite kommt nur zweimal im Neuen Testament vor und bedeutet Bett mit einem sexuellen Beigeschmack:
lasst uns wohlfällig den Weg gehen, (...) nicht in Beischläfereien [koite] (Röm 13,13. Übersetzung von Fridolin Stier. Kösel-Verlag München und Patmos-Verlag Düsseldorf. Sehr zu empfehlen!)
Die Ehe soll von allen in Ehren gehalten werden und das Ehebett [koite] bleibe unbefleckt (Heb 13,4 Einheitsübersetzung)
Die Art undWeise, wie Paulus diese beiden Wörter verwendet, macht deutlich, dass keines dieser Begriffe einen Verkauf oder Handel beinhaltet (etwa im Sinne von Prostitution). Er setzt die Begriffe männlich und Bett mit sexuellem Bezug zusammen ohne jeglichen Hinweis auf Prostitution. Das Wort arsenokoite mag zwar von späteren Autoren auch im übertragenen Sinne gebraucht worden sein, die Bedeutung, die Paulus dem beimaß, war jedoch eindeutig und enthielt keinen Hinweis darauf.
Nun ein interessanter Punkt:
Arsenokoite hat auch eine hebräische Entsprechung: mishkab zakur. Mishkab bedeutet Bett mit einer sexuellen Bedeutung - und zakur bedeutet männlich oder Männer. Kann es noch klarer werden?
Mishkab zakur findet sich etwa in Lev 18,22 und 20,13, die homosexuelle Akte zwischen Männern ausdrücklich verbieten. Hierüber gibt es keine Zweifel. In der Septuaginta, der griechischen Übersetzung der Bibel, werden genau diese Begriffe arsenos und koite zur Übersetzung dieser alttestamentlichen Verse verwendet! Als Paulus also den Begriff arsenokoite prägte, nahm er ihn also nicht aus dem luftleeren Raum, sondern direkt vom Verbot homosexueller Akte in Levitikus. Auch wenn der Begriff für Paulus neu war, war seine Bedeutung und Absicht jedoch unzweifelhaft.
Wenn sich aber gleichgeschlechtliche Empfindungen als sehr intensiv und natürlich für den Einzelnen darstellen? Ist dann nicht alles anders? Auch hierfür hat Paulus eine Antwort:
Daher soll die Sünde euren sterblichen Leib nicht mehr beherrschen, und seinen Begierden sollt ihr nicht gehorchen. Stellt eure Glieder nicht der Sünde zur Verfügung als Waffen der Ungerechtigkeit, sondern stellt euch Gott zur Verfügung als Menschen, die vom Tod zum Leben gekommen sind, und stellt eure Glieder als Waffen der Gerechtigkeit in den Dienst Gottes. (Roem 6,12-13. Einheitsübersetzung)
Angesichts des Erbarmen Gottes ermahne ich euch, meine Brüder, euch selbst als lebendiges und heiliges Opfer darzubringen, das Gott gefällt; das ist für euch der wahre und angemessene Gottesdienst. (Röm 12,1 Einheitsübersetzung)
Gott sagt nicht, dass es keinerlei Versuchungen mehr geben wird. Er will Gehorsam unabhängig etwa von den Ursachen von Homosexualität. Menschen mit gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen haben sich diese nicht ausgesucht, aber Gott fordert von uns klar und deutlich, das, was uns als natürlich erscheint und möglicherweise bis zu einem gewissen Grad auch nicht zu verändern ist, beiseite zu legen und Ihm als lebendige Opfer hinzugeben. Nur dann können und werden wir wahren Frieden finden. Man hilft niemandem, wenn man ihm oder ihr ein theologisches Hintertürchen öffnet, um solch klaren Aussagen zu entgehen.
Vielleicht mag sich der eine oder andere Mensch mit gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen nun denken, Paulus hatte doch keine Ahnung, wie es ist, schwul zu sein. Das mag durchaus so sein, aber Paulus hatte sehr wohl eine Ahnung davon, wie es ist, gegen die Sünde zu kämpfen. Es ist auch gar nicht wichtig, ob er das nachvollziehen konnte oder nicht. Er verurteilte homosexuelles Verhalten unabhängig von dessen Ursachen.
Hatte Paulus nun keine Ahnung von Homosexualität, so wie wir sie heute kennen? So wird ja heute häufig argumentiert.
Die Vorstellung einer Homosexualität zwischen Erwachsenen, die dies mit vollem Einverständnis taten, war damals aber keineswegs so fremd, wie das manche heute denken mögen. Auch die Vorstellung, Menschen könnten homosexuell geboren sein, war in hellenistischen Zeiten durchaus bekannt. Aristoteles etwa kannte die homosexuelle Orientierung sehr wohl und befürwortete sie ausdrücklich! Man kann also durchaus davon ausgehen, dass Paulus dies auch bekannt war. Außerdem ist die Bibel ja vom Heiligen Geist inspiriert und man kann doch annehmen, dass Gott ebensoviel über gleichgeschlechtliche Neigungen wusste wie wir heute.
Eine Theologie, die die Argumente der Schwulenbewegung aufgreift und unterstützt, mag zwar aus menschlicher Sicht nachvollziehbar und für Menschen mit gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen eine große Versuchung sein, jedoch entspricht sie nicht den biblischen Aussagen oder der Lehre der Kirche in den letzten 2.000 Jahren. Gerade Menschen mit gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen sollten einmal im Gebet in sich gehen und sich fragen, ob es wirklich Überzeugung ist, die sie dazu bringt, den Argumenten der Schwulenbewegung hinsichtlich der Bibel zu glauben oder passt es nicht vielmehr in ihre persönliche Lebensvorstellung? Stützen wir uns auf die Aussagen der Bibel und der Kirche oder auf unsere persönlichen Gedanken, Gefühle, Empfindungen und Erfahrungen oder aktuellen wissenschaftlichen Entdeckungen, die uns vergessen lassen, was Gott uns gesagt hat?
Vor einem jedoch hat uns die Bibel gewarnt: unser Herz kann sehr trügerisch sein...
(Quellen: u.a. Joe Dallas: The Gay Gospel? How Pro-Gay Advocates Misread the Bible (Harvest House Publishers, ISBN-13: 978-0-7369-1834-3. ISBN-10: 0-7369-1834-5), Thomas E. Schmidt: Straight & Narrow? Compassion and Clarity in the Homosexual Debate (InterVarsity Press. ISBN 0-8308-1858-8). Beides sehr zu empfehlen!! Eine weitere Quelle, ebenso empfehlenswert: Jason Evert).
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When Jesus told the woman to "go sin no more'., what did He mean? Did He mean that she would not sin? I don't think so. I think that Jesus was saying don't sin wilfully like you did before. We have sins of omission, we forget to worship god and sins of comission, we cmit sin and know it's wrong. Jesus sets us free from our past sins and asks us as Christians to follow Him .. how often we fail to do this.
Yet to sin and induce another to sin as well compounds the sin (makes the sin worse). To know how to do right and then do wrong is sin. And we fall short of the glory of God, God calls us to be 'holy' as He is holy. Our sin takes us away from God and we break our fellowship with God. Sion destroys our union with God. Of course we can confess our sins to God abd He will forgive us and bleanse us, isan;t that great to know. But we should as the Bible tells us to, "avoid sin", as God understands the ramification of sin in our life.
We must practice our Christian faith. Going to church will do noone any good, unless they are 'born again'. Reading many books may give us knowledge but unless we apply the knowledge gained our reading is in vain, much like our Christianity, ubless we practice it we arestill "without hope and without God' in this world.
Believe me I know that sin is powerful, yet I have founda power greater than sin that has set me free. You also can attain freedom by reading and doing and avoiding all places where you may find sin.
"That's My King "
By Tim Wilkins
Tucked away in Philippians chapter four is a verse replete with truth for gays and all other sinners. Yes, we're all in the same boat; the ground is level at the foot of the cross AND the deck of the boat.
At the most personal level, the Apostle Paul knew God's provision through shipwreck, snakebite, stoning and his notorious thorn in the flesh. He was warming a prison cell when he wrote "And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (verse 19)
The fact is all of us are sinners who have been in or are currently in a sinking boat called sin. Face the inevitable if you have not done so. You are a passenger on a spiritual Titanic that is sinking. That's the bad news; the good news is a Lifeguard is nearby who rescues and forgives.
First, we see in this verse the Certainty of God's Provision. Paul wrote that God shall supply. In Jesus' sermon on the mount, He said "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted"; "...the meek: for they shall inherit the earth"; "...those who hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled"; "...the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy"; and "...the pure in heart: for they shall see God." (Matthew 5:4-8)
Our Heavenly Father is the ultimate promise keeper and when I recognized many years ago a distinct and un-chosen attraction to the same sex, I also recognized a need for help that was certain and sure. I found that certainty in the God who created me in His image. But I learned that His image in me had been marred by sin when, as Vance Havner used to say, "Adam and Eve ate us out of house and home." (Genesis 3:6, 23, 24)
But even with God's certain provision, I needed to know the Sufficiency of God's Provision. Was this God sufficient to supply all my needs as Paul wrote?
My needs could have filled a google of legal pads. I needed wholeness, comfort, protection, purpose, strength, wisdom, joy, patience, forgiveness and the list could go on. One of my early felt-needs was to be loved-which I had not found in homosexuality.
Indeed, God loves me. He loves me with an everlasting love, as Jeremiah 31:3 records and "everlasting" was superior to the half dozen homosexual relationships I had had over a ten year period.
I learned that God's provision was certain and sufficient, but was there a Surplus of God's Provision? I mistakenly believed that my needs were so great as to deplete God's supply in no time flat. I did not want to be gay, but did not know how not to be gay. Those of you who have never experienced same-sex attractions will, most likely, not understand the previous sentence. You may think "just don't act out homosexually", which is the argument of a moralist-and not bad advice. For years I followed that advice thinking "if that's all I have to look forward to, this earthly life is going to be considerably less than what Jesus called 'abundant'." (John 10:10)
And yet the text said "And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Other translations say "glorious riches." I had noted in Genesis that not only had God created Mankind, He created them "male and female"-He differentiated between the sexes. (Genesis 1:27) I thought "Maybe that means He wants me to become personally what He has created me to be biologically."
I can not and neither can you exhaust God's provision. Though the burning bush burned on, it did not burn out. (Exodus 3:2) The widow, whom Elijah commanded to make some banana bread, lived to learn she had a bottomless bottle of Canola oil. (1 Kings 17:16) The Israelites had a ready supply of French toast every morning when they did as God told them. (Exodus 16:35)
Though Jesus started with five hoecakes and two wide-mouth bass to feed a multitude, He finished with twelve baskets of food-one basket for each of His twelve disciples. (Matthew 14:20) (OK-I took some liberties for humor's sake)
When referring to the woman who emptied an entire jar of perfume on Jesus' feet, at a cost of a year's salary, Vance Havner called her act "Sanctified Extravagance." (Luke 7:37-39)
By the way, have you ever noticed the Pharisee in whose house this extravagance took place? He thought to himself, "If (Jesus) were a prophet, he would know who is touching him...that she is a sinner." Duh You don't have to be Karnac The Magnificent to know she was a sinner; one hundred percent of the world's population are sinners.
Take every man, woman, boy and girl on the face of the earth. Pile all their needs into a heap-if it were possible. Point the all-knowing,
all-powerful, all-you-name-it God at that heap and He will meet each need as the need arises.
The hymn says "For out of His infinite riches in Jesus, He giveth and giveth and giveth again." Psalm 121:4 says God neither slumbers nor sleeps
To know God never sleeps may be useful during a game of Trivial Pursuit, but a question remained unanswered. Has all this come down to behavior modification? I found this a divine dilemma
But this verse had more to say. "And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus."
Aha! Everything God has to offer me is found in Jesus Christ- the Source of God's Provision.
Colossians 1:19 reads that all God's fullness dwells in Christ Jesus Christ is the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
Mind you, Jesus is not a means to an end. For years I unknowingly used Jesus as such-demanding that Jesus give me my "opposite sex attractions" until I realized, as Oswald Chambers so poignantly wrote, "Getting in a right relationship with God is the easiest thing in the world-unless it's not God you want, but only what he gives." Ouch
John Eldridge writes "Healing does not happen apart from intimacy with Jesus." So there you have it. My Lifeguard, Jesus, loved me so much He died on the cross for my sins.
You want to know a secret? I still find myself attracted to men occasionally. To those of you with the puzzled looks on your faces, let me say it a different way. I have found that God's provision is not necessarily eradicating the same-sex attractions; His ways, which are not my ways, include strengthening the shoulder that bears the burden. And as Dr. S. M. Lockridge used to say "That's my King! "
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Als die Bibel geschrieben wurde, hatten die Menschen doch nicht die wissenschaftlichen Erkenntisse, die wir heute haben!
Der Standard der Heterosexualität wurde durch alle Bücher der Bibel über mehrere Jahrtausende und in verschiedensten Kulturen aufrechterhalten - unter anderem wie bereits erwähnt von Jesus Christus selbst. Und der hatte bestimmt mehr Erkenntnisse darüber als wir jemals haben werden.
Haben nicht alle Männer früher oder später homosexuelle Neigungen? Sollte deshalb die Kirche dem Thema nicht aufgeschlossener gegenüber stehen?
Solche Fragen hört man tatsächlich manchmal von Christen und sie sind auch ernst zu nehmen. "Neigungen" ist ein dehnbarer Begriffe. Männer werden gerade in jungen Jahren sehr leicht sexuell erregt - manchmal genügt hierfür bereits ein Blick auf die eigenen Geschlechtsorgane. Einmal vom Anblick eines anderen Mannes sexuell erregt worden zu sein, bedeutet also noch lange nicht, man hätte homosexuelle "Neigungen" (oft werden hier noch durch nichts belegte Statistiken aufgeführt). Und selbst wenn dem so wäre: als Christ sind wir Gottes Geboten verpflichtet. Wir wissen, dass uns Gott liebt. Wenn Er uns also Gebote erlässt, dann nicht, um uns herum zu kommandieren, sondern eben weil Er uns liebt und vor den Konsequenzen unserer Handlungen bewahren will.
Die Bibel darf man doch nicht wörtlich nehmen! Sie wurde zwar von Gott inspiriert, aber von Menschen geschrieben. Und Paulus hatte keine Ahnung von homosexuellen Neigungen, so wie wir sie heute kennen!
Hier begibt man sich auf gefährliches Glatteis. Zu sagen, die Bibel sei zwar inspiriert, aber gleichzeitig auch von Menschen - mit all ihren Fehlern - geschrieben, würde dem Missbrauch und der Willkür Tür und Tor öffnen. Wann auch immer uns etwas an der Bibel nicht passt, muss man es dann eben im Licht der damaligen Zeit oder mit dem Hintergrund des Schreibers sehen, der damals noch nicht das Hintergrundwissen hatte, das wir heute haben. Was gibt uns das Recht, so von der Bibel zu reden? Und wer bestimmt dann, was gilt und was zu verwerfen oder "umzuinterpretieren" ist? Dann kann man aus jedem A ein B machen - je nach Beleiben und "neuen wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnissen". Gott ist der Schöpfer des Universums. Zu behaupten, die von Gott inspirierte Bibel und deren Schreiber hätten keine Ahnung von der Homosexualität gehabt, so wie wir sie heute können, würde nicht nur bedeuten, Gott hätte keine Ahnung gehabt, was Er da eigentlich schuf, es würde uns mehr noch über Gott stellen. Abgesehen davon dürfte auch der Mensch Paulus, der hier oft angesprochen wird und der sehr weit herumgereist ist und unzählige Menschen getroffen haben dürfte, sehr wohl eine Ahnung von Homosexualität gehabt haben. Und es ist ja auch nicht so, dass sich Homosexualität im Laufe der Jahrtausende groß verändert hat - von äußerlichen Praktiken vielleicht einmal abgesehen. Gerade die, die hier immer mit der Genetik argumentieren, würden sich damit ja ein Eigentor schießen! Selbst wenn man aber dieses Argument gelten lässt, muss doch auch gesehen werden, dass Homosexualität in mehreren Büchern des Alten und Neuen Testaments, in mehreren Kulturen und über eine sehr, sehr lange Zeit verurteilt wurde. Und KEIN EINZIGES MAL wurde sie befürwortet!! Das sollte uns doch zu denken geben...
Noch ist doch gar nicht geklärt, was Homosexualität verursacht. Es könnte doch auch genetisch bedingt sein! Kann denn etwas Sünde sein, dass in unseren Genen ist?
Es ist erstaunlich, wie sich selbst Christen hier so leicht in die Irre führen lassen. Bleiben wir doch um der Diskussion willen bei dem Argument. Wo hört das dann auf? Was, wenn morgen genetische Mitursachen für Pädophilie, Alkoholismus, bestimmte Formen kriminellen Verhaltens entdeckt werden (hier soll keineswegs Homosexualität mit diesen Begriffen in eine Reihe gestellt werden, aber dieses Argument führt unweigerlich zu derartigen Konsequenzen!)? Ist dann all dies nicht mehr Sünde? Müssen wir dann die Bibel umschreiben? Nirgends in der Bibel finden wir einen Hinweis darauf, dass wir dieses oder jenes nicht tun dürfen, ausser wir hätten es in den Genen. Wenn ich genetisch bedingte Diabetes habe, darf ich auch nicht jedes Stück Torte essen, das auf dem Tisch steht - ich muss vielmehr lernen, damit zu leben (auch hier gilt: hiermit soll nicht Homosexualität mit Krankheiten gleichgesetzt werden. Es geht hier vielmehr um die irrige Annahme, dass etwas, was in irgendeiner Form Mitursachen in unserem Gencode hat, gleichzeitig deshalb moralisch akzeptabel sein muss). Es steht uns nicht zu, nach Gutdünken und mit unserer begrenzten menschlichen "Weisheit" Wahrheiten der Bibel umzuschreiben und am christlichen Menschenbild zu rütteln. An dieser Stelle soll auch noch auf etwas anderes hingewiesen werden: Was, wenn man mit dieser Überzeugung falsch liegt? Die Bibel warnt uns ausdrücklich davor, andere Menschen in die Irre zu führen und zur Sünde zu verleiten... Ausserdem vergisst man dabei auch oft die Tradtition und Lehrmeinung seiner eigenen Kirche - und dies in manchen Fällen über Jahrhunderte. Schließlich sind wir nicht Sklaven unseres Gencodes. Zu behaupten, es wäre genetisch bedingt und damit zu unterstellen, diese Menschen können ja gra nicht anders, zeugt von einem Menschenbild, das uns zu willenlosen Sklaven unserer Gene macht.
Wenn die Kirche das Ausleben von Homosexualität verbietet, werden solche Menschen doch nie sexuelle Erfüllung finden!
Also ist es besser, "sexuelle Erfüllung" in einem Kontext zu finden, der klar den biblischen Vorgaben widerspricht? Was für eine Theologie wäre denn das? Nein, wir ziehen den Hut vor all denen, die gleichgeschlechtliche Neigungen empfinden, aber für sich entschieden haben, dass sie Jesus mehr lieben als alles andere. Die ihr Kreuz auf sich nehmen und Jesus nachfolgen - auch wenn es nicht leicht wird. Aus eigenen Erfahrungen können wir Ihnen sagen: es lässt sich durchaus auch ein erfülltes Leben als Mensch mit gleichgeschlechtlichen Neigungen finden, ohne dabei Sex mit demselben Geschlecht haben zu müssen! Eine sexuelle "Erfüllung", die nicht den biblischen Vorgaben der monogamen und heterosexuellen, lebenslangen Ehe entspricht, ist keine "Erfüllung", sondern ein Bruch von Gottes Geboten und kann nie wahre Erfüllung bedeuten!
Eine Bekehrung von Homosexualität ist doch gar nicht möglich!
Die Frage ist, was man hiermit eigentlich sagen will. Der wissenschaftliche Hintergrund dieser Aussage sei mal dahingestellt (wir verweisen auf die este Langzeitstudie zu diesem Thema, die besonders auch auf den religiösen Hintergrund eingeht). Es geht aber hier nicht um "Bekehrung" im Sinne von "Umpolung". Es geht darum, ein Leben nach christlichen und biblisch begründeten Grundsätzen zu leben, und das schließt ein Ausleben von Homosexualität unserer Auffassung nach eindeutig aus. Es lässt sich aber durchaus ein Leben führen, ohne dies tun zu müssen. Ein Leben, das erfüllt und reichhaltig ist.
Es ist doch besser, Homosexuelle führen eine verantwortungsvolle Partnerschaft als dass sie sich in der Szene herum treiben und mit mehreren Männern (bzw. Frauen) Sex haben! Zumindest ist es das kleinere Übel!
Also sollen wir den biblischen Grundsatz der monogamen, heterosexuellen und lebenslangen Ehe mal so einfach über Bord werfen? Als Christ mit dem "kleineren Übel" zu argumentieren, ist schon fast armselig. Es geht ja auch nicht nur darum, Menschen etwas zu "verbieten", sondern ihnen die positive Alternative hierzu zu zeigen: ein Leben in der Nachfolge Jesu Christi! Derartige "Argumente" zeugen von einem Menschenbild, das die Betroffenen zu ärmlichen, willensschwachen, triebgesteurten und hilflosen Individuen macht! Vielmehr sollte man Homosexuellen mit Liebe und Verständnis begegnen - vor allem, wenn sie sich entschlossen haben, ihre Neigungen nicht auszuleben, sondern ein Leben mit und für Jesus zu führen! Wir ziehen den Hut vor all denen, die dies auf sich nehmen und dafür neben ihren eigenen Versuchungen oft auf Spott, Angriffe und Unverständnis stoßen.
Es kommt doch nur darauf an, wie sich die Menschen lieben! Wenn sich zwei Männer mit einer selbstlosen Liebe lieben, ist das doch genauso in Ordnung wie wenn das ein Mann und eine Frau tun! Es ist doch nicht das Geschlecht, sondern nur die Liebesbeziehung wichtig!
Das würde bedeuten, wir würden unsere persönliche Liebe über die Liebe zu Christus stellen - und davor hat Er uns ausdrücklich gewarnt! Auch Spencer Tracey und Katherine Hepburn haben sich unsterblich geliebt, aber Spencer Tracey war verheiratet - und das nicht mit Katherine. Ehebruch bleibt Ehebruch, egal wie man das Kind nennt. Liebe macht nicht alles automatisch richtig und moralisch akzeptabel. Natürlich gibt es Homosexuelle, die sich sehr lieben und das soll hier gar nicht lächerlich gemacht werden. Aber als Christen vertrauen wir eben doch mehr dem, was uns unser Vater im Himmel gesagt hat - und eine Liebe, die nicht Seinen Vorgaben entspricht, ist für uns einfach nicht akzeptabel. Mal ganz abgesehen davon fragt man sich, warum im Durchschnitt homosexuelle Beziehungen so viel kurzlebiger als heterosexuelle sind, wenn die Liebe doch dieselbe ist. Und betrachtet man die vielen Faktoren, die zur Homosexualität beitragen, spielen da sehr oft noch ganz andere Sachen eine Rolle, die mit Liebe wie wir sie als Christen kennen, nicht zu tun haben (und das ist absolut wertneutral gemeint). Das soll Homosexuelle nun keineswegs schlecht machen oder ihre Gefühle verletzen, aber als Christen können wir einfach nicht allem nachgeben, auch wenn wir uns noch so sehr danach sehnen mögen...
Im 1 Kor 7,1-9 lesen wir doch, es sei besser, zu heiraten, als sich in Begierde zu verzehren. Muss nun etwa für Homosexuelle - gerade für die, die eine echte Neigung haben - das Ganze umgedreht werden: lieber sich in Begierde verzehren als seine Homosexualität auszuleben? Mir ist schon klar, dass dies die tradtionelle Lehre der meisten christlichen Gemeinden ist, aber läuft das nicht völlig an der Lage von Homosexuellen vorbei?
Uns ist durchaus das Bedürfnis klar, das hinter dieser Aussage steht. Und auf den ersten Blick hört sich das Ganze ja auch logisch und vernünftig an. Nur gibt es damit einige Probleme: zum einen würde eine derartige Position bedeuten, die Bibel zu verdrehen bzw. sich völlig von deren eindeutigen Aussagen abzuwenden und das glatte Gegenteil zu vertreten - im wahrsten Sinn des Wortes. Und davor warnt uns die Heilige Schrift ausdrücklich. Zum anderen wird man der besonderen Lage Homosexueller auch nicht gerecht, wenn man ihnen erlaubt, zu sündigen bzw. ihre Homosexualität auszuleben. Betrachtet man die vielen verschiedenen Faktoren, die Einfluss auf die (homo-)sexuelle Entwicklung haben, ist es fast naiv, anzunehmen, mit dem Ausleben homosexueller Neigungen würde alles "besser" werden. Ein Blick in die homosexuelle Szene dürfte hier schnell ernüchternd wirken. Ganz abgesehen davon ist die Alternative zu homosexuellen Neigungen bzw. deren "Ausweg" keineswegs, sich "in Begierde zu verzehren". Dann müsste sich auch jeder nicht verheiratete Mensch in Begierde verzehren. Wer meint, ein erfülltes Leben nur erfahren zu dürfen, wenn er/sie Sex hat, hat nicht ein Problem mit dem Sex, sondern mit sich selbst bzw. seinem/ihrem Leben. Eine Politik des "kleineren Übels" ist für Christen auch nicht akzeptabel. Was für eine Religion wäre das denn! Hingegen ist es ratsam, auf die Bedürfnisse zu achten, die hinter der "Begierde" stecken und zu sehen, wie sich diese auf eine andere - vielleicht bessere - Art und Weise befriedigen lassen. Etwa eine Entdeckung seiner wahren Identität imBlick auf den, der uns alle in Seinem Ebenbild geschaffen hat, das Aufbauen gesunder gleichgeschlechtlicher Beziehungen, das Aufarbeiten seiner Sichtweise hinsichtlich der Vergangenheit, die Wiederherstellung möglicherweise gebrochener Familien- und Freundesbeziehungen usw. Ein Aufweichen der biblisch gegründeten und über Jahrhunderte gewachsenen christlichen Familienwerte kann nicht die Lösung sein. Die Konsequenzen davon haben wir ja seit der sexuellen Revolution zu sehen bekommen: eine wachsende Zahl vaterloser Familien, ebenso ein Ansteigen der Scheidungen, ungewollter Schwangerschaften, Geschlechtskrankheiten, kaputter Familien, ein moralischer Relativismus, ein Verlust des Rollenverständnisses von Mann und Frau usw. Nein, Gott hat schon gewusst, was Er tat, als er die Schreiber der Bibel zu Aussagen wie der oben genannten inspirierte.
Wenn Homosexualität angeboren bzw. unveränderbar ist, kann sie doch auch keine Sünde sein und homosexuelle Partnerschaften somit auch nicht verboten werden! Und aktive Homosexuelle darf man dann auch nicht aus der Kirche oder aus kirchlichen Ämtern ausschließen!
Mal abgesehen davon, dass es bisher noch nicht einen einzigen Beweis für die Behauptung gibt, Homosexualität sei "angeboren", wird hier angeboren mit moralisch richtig gleichgesetzt - und das ist schlichtweg nicht zulässig. Vieles kann "angeboren" sein, ohne damit gleich "richtig" zu werden. Mit diesem Argument begibt man sich schnell auf ein gefährliches Glatteis, da dann alle möglichen gesellschaftlichen Gruppen oder Privatmenschen eben dieses auch für sich beanspruchen könnten. Hier wird auch der christliche Familien- und Ehebegriff in nicht akzeptabler Weise aufgeweicht. Auch dies ist ein Glatteis - wo und wann hört das dann auf, wenn einmal die Definitonen für Ehe und Familie gefallen sind? Dann ist der Weg zur Ehe mit mehreren Partnern oder zu noch weitaus Schlimmeren nicht mehr weit. Für uns ist die heterosexuelle, monogame und lebenslange Ehe aber für alle Beteiligten die beste Lösung - und außerdem das, was Gott uns aufgetragen hat. Und im Zweifelsfall halten wir uns lieber an Ihn. Ja, Homosexuelle verdienen Liebe, Respekt & Seelsorge. Für sie gilt aber, was für alle Christen in der Kirche - dem Leib Christi - gilt: wenn sich jemand strikt weigert, den Geboten Gottes zu folgen und hierzu auch noch die Bibel zu seinen Gunsten (wenn auch mit den besten Absichten) uminterpretieren will, darf - und muss! - man die Frage stellen, ob eine Gemeinde in ihrem Leib so etwas tolerieren darf. Sünde ist wie ein Geschwür - einmal toleriert, breitet sie sich schnell und unkontrolliert aus. Es kann deshalb nicht angehen, dass man alles "tolerieren" muss. Sünde muss um Sinne der Gemeinde - und der Betroffenen! - beim Namen genannt werden (auch wenn dies heute nicht mehr populär ist, aber um Popoläre Aussagen hat sich auch Jesus nicht immer gekümmert). Hier gibt es auch für Homosexuelle keine Ausnahme, auch wenn wir durchaus Verständnis für den Wunsch haben, der dahinter steht. Wir dürfen Menschen einfach kein Hintertürchen öffnen (etwa, indem wir ihnen "Schlupflöcher" für eigentlich eindeutige biblische Aussagen öffnen) und sie so noch in ihrer Sünde bestätigen! Es muss für alle gültige Werte geben. Vieles davon wurde in Genesis definiert und auch Jesus hat darauf Bezug genommen: Die Ehe als Beziehung zwischen Mann und Frau (monogam, heterosexuell und lebenslang), das christliche Menschenbild (Was ist ein Mann? Was eine Frau? Welche Rollen und Aufgaben haben beide? Wir sind zwar beide gleich viel wert - aber keineswegs dasselbe - und das wird heute oft verwechselt!), Sexualität usw. Woher nehmen wir uns eigentlich das Recht, biblische Wahrheiten einfach je nach "modernen wissenschaftlichen Erkenntnissen" oder einfach nach unserem eigenen - wenn auch gut gemeintem - Belieben umzuinterpretieren? Woher nehmen wir uns das Recht, der von Gott inspirierten Bibel zu unterstellen, sie wisse nichts von unseren Erkenntissen heute? Gott, der Schöpfer des Universums solle nichts von unserem heutigen Wissen geahnt haben, als er die Welt geschaffen hat?? Nein, wir vertrauen in all dem lieber auf das, was uns unser himmlischer Vater gesagt hat!
Dr. Michael Brown - Leviticus Laws & Homosexuality
What Did the Church Fathers Say?
Early Teachings on Homosexuality
Some argue that neither the Bible nor apostolic tradition condemns the practice of homosexuality. Passages such as Leviticus 18:2230, Romans 1:2627, 1 Corinthians 6:9, and Jude 7 serve as ample proof that Scripture indeed condemns homosexuality. Below is ample proof from tradition. The Fathers are especially harsh against the practice of pederasty, the homosexual corruption of boys by men.
"You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill one that has been born" (Didache 2:2 [A.D. 70]).
"[W]e have been taught that to expose newly-born children is the part of wicked men; and this we have been taught lest we should do anyone harm and lest we should sin against God, first, because we see that almost all so exposed (not only the girls, but also the males) are brought up to prostitution. And for this pollution a multitude of females and hermaphrodites, and those who commit unmentionable iniquities, are found in every nation. And you receive the hire of these, and duty and taxes from them, whom you ought to exterminate from your realm. And anyone who uses such persons, besides the godless and infamous and impure intercourse, may possibly be having intercourse with his own child, or relative, or brother. And there are some who prostitute even their own children and wives, and some are openly mutilated for the purpose of sodomy; and they refer these mysteries to the mother of the gods" (First Apology 27 [A.D. 151]).
Clement of Alexandria
"All honor to that king of the Scythians, whoever Anacharsis was, who shot with an arrow one of his subjects who imitated among the Scythians the mystery of the mother of the gods . . . condemning him as having become effeminate among the Greeks, and a teacher of the disease of effeminacy to the rest of the Scythians" (Exhortation to the Greeks 2 [A.D. 190]).
"[According to Greek myth] Baubo [a female native of Eleusis] having received [the goddess] Demeter hospitably, reached to her a refreshing draught; and on her refusing it, not having any inclination to drink (for she was very sad), and Baubo having become annoyed, thinking herself slighted, uncovered her shame, and exhibited her nudity to the goddess. Demeter is delighted with the sightpleased, I repeat, at the spectacle. These are the secret mysteries of the Athenians; these Orpheus records" (ibid.).
"It is not, then, without reason that the poets call him [Hercules] a cruel wretch and a nefarious scoundrel. It were tedious to recount his adulteries of all sorts, and debauching of boys. For your gods did not even abstain from boys, one having loved Hylas, another Hyacinthus, another Pelops, another Chrysippus, another Ganymede. Let such gods as these be worshipped by your wives, and let them pray that their husbands be such as theseso temperate; that, emulating them in the same practices, they may be like the gods. Such gods let your boys be trained to worship, that they may grow up to be men with the accursed likeness of fornication on them received from the gods" (ibid.).
"In accordance with these remarks, conversation about deeds of wickedness is appropriately termed filthy [shameful] speaking, as talk about adultery and pederasty and the like" (The Instructor 6, ca. A.D. 193).
"The fate of the Sodomites was judgment to those who had done wrong, instruction to those who hear. The Sodomites having, through much luxury, fallen into uncleanness, practicing adultery shamelessly, and burning with insane love for boys; the All-seeing Word, whose notice those who commit impieties cannot escape, cast his eye on them. Nor did the sleepless guard of humanity observe their licentiousness in silence; but dissuading us from the imitation of them, and training us up to his own temperance, and falling on some sinners, lest lust being unavenged, should break loose from all the restraints of fear, ordered Sodom to be burned,
pouring forth a little of the sagacious fire on licentiousness; lest lust, through want of punishment, should throw wide the gates to those that were rushing into voluptuousness. Accordingly, the just punishment of the Sodomites became to men an image of the salvation which is well calculated for men. For those who have not committed like sins with those who are punished, will never receive a like punishment" (ibid., 8).
"[A]ll other frenzies of the lusts which exceed the laws of nature, and are impious toward both [human] bodies and the sexes, we banish, not only from the threshold but also from all shelter of the Church, for they are not sins so much as monstrosities" (Modesty 4 [A.D. 220]).
"[God forbade the Jews to eat certain foods for symbolic reasons:] For that in fishes the roughness of scales is regarded as constituting their cleanness; rough, and rugged, and unpolished, and substantial, and grave manners are approved in men; while those that are without scales are unclean, because trifling, and fickle, and faithless, and effeminate manners are disapproved. Moreover, what does the law mean when it . . . forbids the swine to be taken for food? It assuredly reproves a life filthy and dirty, and delighting in the garbage of vice. . . . Or when it forbids the hare? It rebukes men deformed into women" (The Jewish Foods 3 [A.D. 250]).
Cyprian of Carthage
"[T]urn your looks to the abominations, not less to be deplored, of another kind of spectacle. . . . Men are emasculated, and all the pride and vigor of their sex is effeminated in the disgrace of their enervated body; and he is more pleasing there who has most completely broken down the man into the woman. He grows into praise by virtue of his crime; and the more he is degraded, the more skillful he is considered to be. Such a one is looked uponoh shame!and looked upon with pleasure. . . . Nor is there wanting authority for the enticing abomination . . . that Jupiter of theirs [is] not more supreme in dominion than in vice, inflamed with earthly love in the midst of his own thunders . . . now breaking forth by the help of birds to violate the purity of boys. And now put the question: Can he who looks upon such things be healthy-minded or modest? Men imitate the gods whom they adore, and to such miserable beings their crimes become their religion" (Letters 1:8 [A.D. 253]).
"Oh, if placed on that lofty watchtower, you could gaze into the secret placesif you could open the closed doors of sleeping chambers and recall their dark recesses to the perception of sightyou would behold things done by immodest persons which no chaste eye could look upon; you would see what even to see is a crime; you would see what people embruted with the madness of vice deny that they have done, and yet hasten to domen with frenzied lusts rushing upon men, doing things which afford no gratification even to those who do them" (ibid., 1:9).
"[T]he mother of the gods loved [the boy Attis] exceedingly, because he was of most surpassing beauty; and Acdestis [the son of Jupiter] who was his companion, as he grew up fondling him, and bound to him by wicked compliance with his lust. . . . Afterwards, under the influence of wine, he [Attis] admits that he is . . . loved by Acdestis. . . . Then Midas, king of Pessinus, wishing to withdraw the youth from so disgraceful an intimacy, resolves to give him his own daughter in marriage. . . . Acdestis, bursting with rage because of the boys being torn from himself and brought to seek a wife, fills all the guests with frenzied madness; the Phrygians shriek, panic-stricken at the appearance of the gods. . . . [Attis] too, now filled with furious passion, raving frantically and tossed about, throws himself down at last, and under a pine tree mutilates himself, saying, Take these, Acdestis, for which you have stirred up so great and terribly perilous commotions" (Against the Pagans 5:67 [A.D. 305]).
Eusebius of Caesarea
"[H]aving forbidden all unlawful marriage, and all unseemly practice, and the union of women with women and men with men, he [God] adds: Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for in all these things the nations were defiled, which I will drive out before you. And the land was polluted, and I have recompensed [their] iniquity upon it, and the land is grieved with them that dwell upon it [Lev. 18:2425]" (Proof of the Gospel 4:10 [A.D. 319]).
Basil the Great
"He who is guilty of unseemliness with males will be under discipline for the same time as adulterers" (Letters 217:62 [A.D. 367]).
"If you [O, monk] are young in either body or mind, shun the companionship of other young men and avoid them as you would a flame. For through them the enemy has kindled the desires of many and then handed them over to eternal fire, hurling them into the vile pit of the five cities under the pretense of spiritual love. . . . At meals take a seat far from other young men. In lying down to sleep let not their clothes be near yours, but rather have an old man between you. When a young man converses with you, or sings psalms facing you, answer him with eyes cast down, lest perhaps by gazing at his face you receive a seed of desire sown by the enemy and reap sheaves of corruption and ruin. Whether in the house or in a place where there is no one to see your actions, be not found in his company under the pretense either of studying the divine oracles or of any other business whatsoever, however necessary" (The Renunciation of the World [A.D. 373]).
"[The pagans] were addicted to the love of boys, and one of their wise men made a law that pederasty . . . should not be allowed to slaves, as if it was an honorable thing; and they had houses for this purpose, in which it was openly practiced. And if all that was done among them was related, it would be seen that they openly outraged nature, and there was none to restrain them. . . . As for their passion for boys, whom they called their paedica, it is not fit to be named" (Homilies on Titus 5 [A.D. 390]).
"[Certain men in church] come in gazing about at the beauty of women; others curious about the blooming youth of boys. After this, do you not marvel that [lightning] bolts are not launched [from heaven], and all these things are not plucked up from their foundations? For worthy both of thunderbolts and hell are the things that are done; but God, who is long-suffering, and of great mercy, forbears awhile his wrath, calling you to repentance and amendment" (Homilies on Matthew 3:3 [A.D. 391]).
"All of these affections [in Rom. 1:2627] . . . were vile, but chiefly the mad lust after males; for the soul is more the sufferer in sins, and more dishonored than the body in diseases" (Homilies on Romans 4 [A.D. 391]).
"[The men] have done an insult to nature itself. And a yet more disgraceful thing than these is it, when even the women seek after these intercourses, who ought to have more shame than men" (ibid.).
"And sundry other books of the philosophers one may see full of this disease. But we do not therefore say that the thing was made lawful, but that they who received this law were pitiable, and objects for many tears. For these are treated in the same way as women that play the whore. Or rather their plight is more miserable. For in the case of the one the intercourse, even if lawless, is yet according to nature; but this is contrary both to law and nature. For even if there were no hell, and no punishment had been threatened, this would be worse than any punishment" (ibid.).
"[T]hose shameful acts against nature, such as were committed in Sodom, ought everywhere and always to be detested and punished. If all nations were to do such things, they would be held guilty of the same crime by the law of God, which has not made men so that they should use one another in this way" (Confessions 3:8:15 [A.D. 400]).
The Apostolic Constitutions
"[Christians] abhor all unlawful mixtures, and that which is practiced by some contrary to nature, as wicked and impious" (Apostolic Constitutions 6:11 [A.D. 400]).
NIHIL OBSTAT: I have concluded that the materials
presented in this work are free of doctrinal or moral errors.
Bernadeane Carr, STL, Censor Librorum, August 10, 2004
IMPRIMATUR: In accord with 1983 CIC 827
permission to publish this work is hereby granted.
+Robert H. Brom, Bishop of San Diego, August 10, 2004
Gen. 1 & 2 - we see from the beginning that the complimentarity of the sexes reflects God's inner unity and His creative power and Fatherhood. God created man and woman to become one flesh which is consummated in the act of marital love.
Gen. 2:18 throughout the creation story, God says it is good seven times. But when God pointed out that man was alone, God says it is not good. God then created woman. Man and woman therefore belong together by Gods design, according to His natural and supernatural law.
Gen. 2:24 God created man and woman so that they could share communion. This communion is consummated in the marital act (which must be between a man and a woman). This communion is also a reflection of the eternal communion of the Blessed Trinity, who created man in His own image and likeness.
Gen. 19:24-28 - the Lord rained fire and brimstone on Sodom and Gomorrah as punishment for the sin of homosexuality. Homosexuality perverts Gods covenant with humanity.
Gen 13:13; 18:20: while homosexuals argue that the sin in Genesis 19 was the sin of inhospitality, these verses show that the Sodomites were evil and wicked people before the alleged sin of inhospitality. That is because the Sodomites were guilty of homosexuality, not inhospitality. In fact, 2 Pet 2:6:8 says that Lot witnessed their evil sexual practices day after day. The Sodomites sin was daily and pervasive.
Gen 19:5: this confirms that the Sodomites sin is homosexuality. Here, the Sodomites mistaken the two angels for men and, surrounding Lots house, ask to have sex with them. When the yell to Lot bring them out that we may know them, the Hebrew for to know (yadah) in Gen 19:5 means having sexual relations. See, for example, Gen 4:25 where yadah refers to sexual relations between Adam and Eve.
2 Pet 2:6-10: Peter also proves that the Sodomites were guilty of homosexuality. He says God condemned them for licentiousness and lust of defiling passion, which is where we get the title Sodomite for a homosexual. The Greek aselgeia anastrophes for lustful behavior is also found in Rom 13:13; Gal 5:19; Eph 4:19 and Jude 4.
Jude 7: Jude also confirms the Sodomites sin is homosexuality. Jude says they indulged in unnatural lust (Greek, ekporneusasai) and went after strange flesh (Greek, sarkos heteras) in reference to their homosexual sins.
2 Peter 2:4-6: Peter also reveals that the Sodomites are suffering in hell for their sins by comparing the Sodomites punishment to the eternal punishment of the evil angels. Just as God did not spare the angels when they sinned but cast them into hell, so He did the same with the Sodomites when He condemned them to extinction and made them an example to those who were to be ungodly.
Jude 5-7: Like Peter, Jude confirms that the Sodomites are in hell by saying that they had the same fate as the evil angels. Jude says just as the evil angels were condemned to hell, the Sodomites likewise (Greek, hos) acted immorally and are undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. Undergoing (Greek, upechousai) is a present participle which means their suffering is ongoing. See also the clear polarity between those who are saved (v.5) and those who are condemned (vv. 6-7,11,13).
Lev. 18:22, 29 - God commands a man never to lie with a male as with a female, or he will be cut off. This refers to supernatural death which is eternal separation from God. While the Old Covenant laws have been abrogated by the New Covenant, the Church has adopted their moral principles. Thus, the moral prohibitions on homosexuality still apply in the New Covenant, as Peter, Paul and Jude demonstrate.
Lev. 20:13 - God says that if a man lies with another man, he shall be put to death. From the very beginning, God has revealed that homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered, unhealthy, and mortally sinful.
Deut. 22:5 - cross-dressing is also considered an abomination before God.
Matt. 19:6 - after referring to God's divine plan for man and woman, Jesus says a husband and wife become one flesh, which ultimately reflects God's union with humanity through the Church. Homosexual unions pervert this divine truth of Gods love for and union with the human race.
Rom. 1:26 - also, when a woman lies with another women (lesbianism), this is unnatural and a perversion. God wants His children to be pure and holy as He is holy. Paul condemns all homosexual acts, whether committed by men or women.
Rom. 1:27 Paul calls the practice of homosexuality shameless, unnatural and a perversity. It is contrary to the natural law, as it eviscerates the life-giving aspect of human sexuality and reduces it to a selfish, pleasure-seeking end.
1 Cor 6:9: Paul teaches that sodomites will not enter into the kingdom of God. The Greek word for sodomite (arsenokoites) literally means male copulation or male sexual relations. The Greek arsen means male and koites means coitus or sexual relations. Paul uses the same word in 1 Tim 1:10.
1 Tim. 1:10 - sodomites are called ungodly and sinners, unholy and profane, lawless and disobedient. They are called by God to chastity. It is important to note that homosexual attractions and inclinations, while disordered and dangerous, are not by themselves sinful per se. It is the acting out on homosexual attraction that is sinful. Those with homosexual desires can still live a life worthy of Christ by remaining chaste and pure as they abstain from acting out on their desires.
Tradition / Church Fathers
"You shall not commit fornication; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not be a corrupter of youth." Letter of Barnabas 10 (A.D. 74).
"You shall not be a corrupter of boys, nor like unto such." Letter of Barnabas 10 (A.D. 74).
"You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill one that has been born." Didache 2:2 (A.D. 90).
"[W]e have been taught that to expose newly-born children is the part of wicked men; and this we have been taught lest we should do anyone harm and lest we should sin against God, first, because we see that almost all so exposed (not only the girls, but also the males) are brought up to prostitution. And for this pollution a multitude of females and hermaphrodites, and those who commit unmentionable iniquities, are found in every nation. And you receive the hire of these, and duty and taxes from them, whom you ought to exterminate from your realm. And any one who uses such persons, besides the godless and infamous and impure intercourse, may possibly be having intercourse with his own child, or relative, or brother. And there are some who prostitute even their own children and wives, and some are openly mutilated for the purpose of sodomy; and they refer these mysteries to the mother of the gods." Justin Martyr, First Apology 27 (A.D. 151).
"All honor to that king of the Scythians, whoever Anacharsis was, who shot with an arrow one of his subjects who imitated among the Scythians the mystery of the mother of the gods . . . condemning him as having become effeminate among the Greeks, and a teacher of the disease of effeminacy to the rest of the Scythians." Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Greeks 2 (A.D. 190).
"[According to Greek myth] Baubo [a female native of Elusis] having received [the goddess] Demeter hospitably, reached to her a refreshing draught; and on her refusing it, not having any inclination to drink (for she was very sad), and Baubo having become annoyed, thinking herself slighted, uncovered her shame, and exhibited her nudity to the goddess. Demeter is delighted with the sight--pleased, I repeat, at the spectacle. These are the secret mysteries of the Athenians; these Orpheus records." Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Greeks 2 (A.D. 190).
"It is not, then, without reason that the poets call him [Hercules] a cruel wretch and a nefarious scoundrel. It were tedious to recount his adulteries of all sorts, and debauching of boys. For your gods did not even abstain from boys, one having loved Hylas, another Hyacinthus, another Pelops, another Chrysippus, another Ganymede. Let such gods as these be worshipped by your wives, and let them pray that their husbands be such as these--so temperate; that, emulating them in the same practices, they may be like the gods. Such gods let your boys be trained to worship, that they may grow up to be men with the accursed likeness of fornication on them received from the gods." Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Greeks 2 (A.D. 190).
"[A]ll other frenzies of the lusts which exceed the laws of nature, and are impious toward both [human] bodies and the sexes, we banish, not only from the threshold but also from all shelter of the Church, for they are not sins so much as monstrosities." Tertullian, Modesty 4 (A.D. 220).
"[God forbid the Jews to eat certain foods for symbolic reasons:] For that in fishes the roughness of scales is regarded as constituting their cleanness; rough, and rugged, and unpolished, and substantial, and grave manners are approved in men; while those that are without scales are unclean, because trifling, and fickle, and faithless, and effeminate manners are disapproved. Moreover, what does the Law mean when it forbids the swine to be taken for food? It assuredly reproves a life filthy and dirty, and delighting in the garbage of vice Or when it forbids the hare? It rebukes men deformed into women." Novatian, The Jewish Foods 3 (A.D. 250).
"[T]urn your looks to the abominations, not less to be deplored, of another kind of spectacle Men are emasculated, and all the pride and vigor of their sex is effeminated in the disgrace of their enervated body; and he is more pleasing there who has most completely broken down the man into the woman. He grows into praise by virtue of his crime; and the more he is degraded, the more skillful he is considered to be. Such a one is looked upon--oh shame!--and looked upon with pleasure nor is there wanting authority for the enticing abomination that Jupiter of theirs [is] not more supreme in dominion than in vice, inflamed with earthly love in the midst of his own thunders now breaking forth by the help of birds to violate the purity of boys. And now put the question: Can he who looks upon such things be healthy-minded or modest? Men imitate the gods whom they adore, and to such miserable beings their crimes become their religion." Cyprian of Carthage, Letters 1:8 (A.D. 253).
"Oh, if placed on that lofty watch-tower, you could gaze into the secret places--if you could open the closed doors of sleeping chambers and recall their dark recesses to the perception of sight--you would behold things done by immodest persons which no chaste eye could look upon; you would see what even to see is a crime; you would see what people embruted with the madness of vice deny that they have done, and yet hasten to do--men with frenzied lusts rushing upon men, doing things which afford no gratification even to those who do them." Cyprian of Carthage, Letters 1:9 (A.D. 253).
"[T]he mother of the gods loved [the boy Attis] exceedingly, because he was of most surpassing beauty; and Acdestis [the son of Jupiter] who was his companion, as he grew up fondling him, and bound to him by wicked compliance with his lust Afterwards, under the influence of wine, he [Attis] admits that he is loved by Acdestis Then Midas, king of Pessinus, wishing to withdraw the youth from so disgraceful an intimacy, resolves to give him his own daughter in marriage Acdestis, bursting with rage because of the boy's being torn from himself and brought to seek a wife, fills all the guests with frenzied madness; the Phrygians shriek, panic-stricken at the appearance of the gods . . . [Attis] too, now filled with furious passion, raving frantically and tossed about, throws himself down at last, and under a pine tree mutilates himself, saying, `Take these, Acdestis, for which you have stirred up so great and terribly perilous commotions.'" Arnobius, Against the Pagans 5:6-7 (A.D. 305).
"[H]aving forbidden all unlawful marriage, and all unseemly practice, and the union of women with women and men with men, he [God] adds: `Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for in all these things the nations were defiled, which I will drive out before you. And the land was polluted, and I have recompensed [their] iniquity upon it, and the land is grieved with them that dwell upon it' [Lev. 18:24-25]." Eusebius of Caesarea, Proof of the Gospel 4:10 (A.D. 319).
"He who is guilty of unseemliness with males will be under discipline for the same time as adulterers." Basil the Great, Letters 217:62 (A.D. 367).
"If you [O, monk] are young in either body or mind, shun the companionship of other young men and avoid them as you would a flame. For through them the enemy has kindled the desires of many and then handed them over to eternal fire, hurling them into the vile pit of the five cities under the pretense of spiritual love. At meals take a seat far from other young men. In lying down to sleep let not their clothes be near yours, but rather have an old man between you. When a young man converses with you, or sings psalms facing you, answer him with eyes cast down, lest perhaps by gazing at his face you receive a seed of desire sown by the enemy and reap sheaves of corruption and ruin. Whether in the house or in a place where there is no one to see your actions, be not found in his company under the pretense either of studying the divine oracles or of any other business whatsoever, however necessary." Basil the Great, The Renunciation of the World (A.D. 373).
"[The pagans] were addicted to the love of boys, and one of their wise men made a law that pederasty should not be allowed to slaves, as if it was an honorable thing; and they had houses for this purpose, in which it was openly practiced. And if all that was done among them was related, it would be seen that they openly outraged nature, and there was none to restrain them As for their passion for boys, whom they called their 'paedica,' it is not fit to be named." John Chrysostom, Homilies on Titus 5 (A.D. 390]).
"[Certain men in church] come in gazing about at the beauty of women; others curious about the blooming youth of boys. After this, do you not marvel that [lightning] bolts are not launched [from heaven], and all these things are not plucked up from their foundations? For worthy both of thunderbolts and hell are the things that are done; but God, who is long-suffering, and of great mercy, forbears awhile his wrath, calling you to repentance and amendment." John Chrysostom, Homilies on Matthew 3:3 (A.D. 391).
"All of these affections [in Rom. 1:26-27] were vile, but chiefly the mad lust after males; for the soul is more the sufferer in sins, and more dishonored than the body in diseases." John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans 4 (A.D. 391).
"[The men] have done an insult to nature itself. And a yet more disgraceful thing than these is it, when even the women seek after these intercourses, who ought to have more shame than men." John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans 4 (A.D. 391).
"And sundry other books of the philosophers one may see full of this disease. But we do not therefore say that the thing was made lawful, but that they who received this law were pitiable, and objects for many tears. For these are treated in the same way as women that play the whore. Or rather their plight is more miserable. For in the case of the one the intercourse, even if lawless, is yet according to nature; but this is contrary both to law and nature. For even if there were no hell, and no punishment had been threatened, this would be worse than any punishment." John Chrysostom, Homilies on Romans 4 (A.D. 391).
"[T]hose shameful acts against nature, such as were committed in Sodom, ought everywhere and always to be detested and punished. If all nations were to do such things, they would be held guilty of the same crime by the law of God, which has not made men so that they should use one another in this way." Augustine, Confessions 3:8:15 (A.D. 400).
"[Christians] abhor all unlawful mixtures, and that which is practiced by some contrary to nature, as wicked and impious." Apostolic Constitutions 6:11 (A.D. 400).
(taken from: http://www.scripturecatholic.com/homosexuality.html)
Tick Tick Tick Tick - Part I & II
I often ponder one of the most important questions, that we as individuals will ever need to ask ourselves on this side of eternity. And that question is; "What is it precisely that gets me into the portals of heaven, and not into the doors of hell.?" I recall watching a play many years ago at a church in Kelowna British Columbia Canada. It was called Heavens Gates, Hells Bells, or something like that. The play was about how two different groups of teens spent their Saturday night, and the consequences of what they did that night. One group did what many of us have done in the past on the weekend. They partied hardy, got thoroughly liquored up and then left the party Foolishly the driver of the car was drunk and as can be expected the car was involved in a crash, killing the driver and a few of the other passengers. Before crashing, none of them had ever given much thought or consideration as to their eternal destiny, or of God.
Before or after this sequence, we see a different group of youths who belonged to a youth group in a church . This group of kids spent the night studying scripture, playing games etc at church. They to were involved in a car crash in which some of them were killed.
Within this same play we see the eternal destiny of these two different groups of youths. The church group were led to heavens gates. On the other hand, the partiers, who were drinking and whom had died in a car crash were received into the welcoming arms of Satans demons through the portals of hell, forever in pain, forever in thirst.
So, hat or whom determines the direction of ones eternal destination? Why should some fun loving, party hardy kids be destined for the dark pits of hell, while the other group of kids, who were not partying, be destined and welcomed into the arms of Gods angels in heaven? Is it fate, is it the luck of the draw, the roll of cosmic dice that determines our eternal home after we flat-line, drawing our last breath? What is the separating factor, or question that will put us in one place or the other for all eternity?
Many have pondered and asked these same questions over the centuries. Many have written books. Many have different ideas and theories. Can there be many different answers that are true? Is there an absolute truth to this most important question? Or does our may different beliefs really matter, do they differ as to what one book says is true as compared to another? Is ones truth equally right as another? Or is there only one true answer?
Part of the Holy Bible was written hundreds of years before any other faiths of man were ever thought of. Do these ancient writing explain and tell us who or what determines our eternal destiny, if indeed there is one? If I believe another answer, does that negate the scriptures of God? Is my different belief more true or just the plain truth, as compared to the Words of the Holy Bible? If I believe one thing, does it mean that what I believe is right and all other beliefs are wrong?
If Bob is nearly completely blind, and colour blind on top of that, and if he says that the sky is green, does that mean that the truth of the matter mean that the sky is indeed green, and not blue? If I say that 2+2=4, but Tom says that 2+2= 9, is Toms answer right, or as equally right as mine? Is my answer wrong? Can there be more than right answer to the same questions as these?
It would be absurd to believe that the answer to 2+2=4 is anything but 4. And yet many would have us to believe that just because they believe that God does not exist , He therefore does not exist, He therefore is not ! That is just as absurd as to believe that 2+2=5. And that anyone elses belief is also wrong.
God has proven Himself in Scripture quite thoroughly. Rom. 1:19-23. Ps. 14:1;3:1 says "The fool says in his heart, There is no God.." New International Version, ©2010 (NIV)
Therefore if scripture is true, and if the words written with are true, and if the Bible says that there is only one way to heaven and God, then it must be so. And if that is correct then what God says is true about who or what determines our eternal destiny, if there is one, then that also must be true. So what does the Bible say?
Eph. 2:8-9 and Titus 3:5 is a good starting place to search out this most important question. Please read them.
Hmmm, well I see through these verses that nothing I can do on my own will get me to heaven. Being good or good enough will not se me through the portals of heaven. Attending church will not get me there, giving all my money to charity will get me there, or any other thing which I can conceive in my mind will ever get me through those heavenly portals.
Hmmmmmmmmmmm. Then what is the standard to get me there? Rom. 3:23 tells me ; "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." (King James Version). We all miss the standard, we all miss the mark that God alone has set as the way to Him. Oh My! Paul tells us in Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (King James Version). Again going by the words of Eph. 2:8-9, there is nothing I can do on my own to get me into heavens gates. Oh Ohhhhhhhhhhh!
So How then can I ever get there? Is there any way? Am I eternally doomed to the darkness of hell eternally?
If we were to take time to study further into scripture, we will find that like it is here on earth, God also has laws by which He wants us to live. So, perhaps if I were to simply obey Gods laws, I would be ushered into heaven. Rom. 3:19-20 says: Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in Gods sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin." (New International Version, ©2010)
So therefore, it is by the knowledge of the Law that I can know what sin is. His laws tell me what sin is and that if I do not obey them, I am a sinner, still outside of heavens portals, knocking unable to get in. 1 John 3:4 clearly confirms what sin is. Again Rom. 7:7 tells me that I can know what sin is because of Gods Laws.
We are given in the Old Testament 10 Basic commandments (Laws), revealing exactly what is right and what is wrong by way of these 10 Commandments in Exodus 20:1-7 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21.
And if we read elsewhere, we learn that we can be free if mwe follow and obey Gods Laws. Free that is, because if we obey them, then we find that Gods Laws protect us from harm in many ways. But if we disobey them, then we find that our obstinate behavior will lead us to harm, perhaps to sickness or maybe even death.
For example we are told not to commit adultery. That is that we are to have sex only within the confines of marriage between one man and one woman only. To do otherwise is to face the possibility of getting sexual diseases and perhaps even death. So if we stay within the parameters of Gods Laws, we are free to live a life free of harm. Gods Laws therefore keep us safe and free to enjoy life without harmful consequences. Traffic laws do the same for us.
As I read through all 10 commandments, I must admit that I have broken nearly all, if not all of them at least once in my life and therefore according to these laws, I am a sinner, not worthy of entering into the eternal joy of heaven.
We can try to hide our sins, but God who knows all and sees all is not fooled. Numbers 32:23; Heb. 4:13. All of our sins to God are as a stench in His nostrils. Isaiah 64:6
Perhaps you think that I am okay, I am pretty good because I have maybe only broken one law ever. Therefore I am good enough to get into heaven. NOT !!!!!!!!!! James 2:10 tells us otherwise: For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." (King James Version)
Oh Myyyyyyyyyy !!!!!!!!! It seems like I will never get to heaven because I cannot abide and obey His laws on my own.
Be good, religious etc. doesnt cut it neither. Matt. 7:21-23 It does not get us into heaven.
How surprised many will be on judgment day when Jesus judges them and condemns them to enter the gates of hell. We have learned that being good, nor our good deeds will get us into heaven. Nothing we can do on our own merit will get us there no matter how good we think we are. Is. 64:6 tells us that all our righteous deeds are as filthy rags to God. They just dont cut the mustar.
A pair of street evangelists in the U.S. have a unique way pointing out that we are all sinners, and that not one of us, including myself is worthy according to Gods standards, of entering into Gods rest, into the eternal gates of heaven. They approach folks in big city U.S.A. on the street, and engage them in to conversations regarding this question as to where does one go on the other side of eternity. How do I get there, am I good enough, does my good works out weigh my bad deeds? Am I good enough to get into heaven by being good/
They eventually bring their questioners to the 10 commandments. And then they will have them state categorically whether they are a thief, a liar, adulterer etc. by stating the 10 commandments alone. By these standards each individual if being honest, will yes I have lied, stolen committed adultery etc. And by Gods written word, we also have to admit that if we have committed any of these sins even once, we are guilty as charged and are therefore not worthy of entering into heaven. Each one of us has at one time or another committed each and every one of these sins. I myself would have to admit, that according to Gods standards, that I too have at one time or another committed each and everyone of these sins at least once in my life. Therefore I to am a liar, a thief, adulterer etc. Sorry guys, I too am a sinner, not worthy of entering into Gods glory. Thats a fact. For all have sinned . Rom.3:23 KJV
So am I doomed for all of eternity into the pits of hell? Is there a way out? Is there a loophole I can use, a lawyers trick I can use to wham-doozle the Lord with?
Please allow me to suggest that God has made a way of escape Himself.
It is purported that W.C. Fields, just before he died, was found by a friend to be flipping through the Bible. This friend asked him what he was doing. W.C. Fields answered "I am looking for loopholes." He knew full well Gods standards, because God has placed His laws within all of our hearts. We all know truthfully that we are all sinners worthy of being sent to hell. Yet, so many think that they can find a way out, a way to by-pass Gods judgment and making it safely to heaven, just like the runner who rounds 2nd basement on the way to home base as he slides in on his belly, stretching out his fingers and touches home plate just in time from being tagged out.
Sorry Pal, it ain't gonna work.There is one way and only one way to heaven. No loopholes. Well what then? Is. 45:22 begins to put the final piece in the puzzle.
God tells us there is only one name by which we may be saved. Acts 4:12 "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." (King James Version) And what is that name ? 1 Tim. 2:5 tells us. "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." (King James Version). Those who reject Jesus Christ as the only way will not be known by the Father God, but they that accept and acknowledge Him, the same will see the Fathers face. 1 John 2:23
The life is found in no other but the Son. 1 John 5:11-12
Them that believe are not condemned to hell, but them that do not believe are already condemned. John 3:18
We are told explicitly that , if we do not believe we shall die in our sins. John 5:24:b
There is only one way to the Father and that through Jesus John 14:16
What makes Jesus, and Jesus alone the only way to the Father into heavens glorious gates? It all boils down to something that sounds detestable to our 20th century minds. It is by way of a blood sacrifice that Jesus and Jesus alone is the only way.
God used in Old Testament times the blood of animals to atone, to cover, to pay the penalty for the sins of the people of the day. An animalsmshed blood was the replacement for the payment of sins. God has determined that by the shedding blood and by blood alone sins can be forgiven. Lev. 17:11
Remember the Exodus, when God told the people to paint their door posts with the blood of an animal to cover for the sins of the people. Because He was going to pass over Egypt that night and pass judgment on the Egyptian people, especialy on Pharoh, for not obey His command to let His people go and go to worship out in the wilderness. This was a foreshadow of what Jesus would do by the shedding of His blood on the cross in the New Testament, to atone for the sins of the people of all time. This is the reason that Jewish people celebrate The Day of Atonment ( Yom Kippur) once a year. This celebration looks back to the exodus when God freed His people from Egyptian bondage. It looks back to God showing that freedom from sins is only gained mby the shedding of blood. It is sad that many Jews today do not see the connection between the exodus and what Jesus has done.
John upon seeing Jesus approach the Sea of Galilee, knew whom Jesus was when he said ; "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" John 1:29 (New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.)
Jesus is the perfect blood sacrifice for the atonement of sins.
This is confirmed by Peter 1 Pet. 1:18,19; "knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." (New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.)
The writer of Hebrews attests to this, that it is by the shedding of blood, that without out, there is no remission, no atonement, no payment of sins.
Peter again points to Jesus as the Lamb of God paying the penalty of sins with His shed blood. 1 Pet. 2:24-25
God demanded a perfect sacrifice. If Jesus were but a sinful man, like us, His blood would not have been good enough to pay the penalty of our sins, and therefore if that had been the case, He too would have been sent permanently to the grave with no possibility of having His sins forgiven, and we to would none to have paid for our sins, thus we to would be forever condemned to hell.
Yes, He to was tempted to sin, as we all are, Yet, He did not sin. Heb. 4:15; 1 Pet. 2:22,23
Jesus was the perfect, sinless Lamb of God. He never sinned, not once. This is how He could be the perfect, blameless Lamb of God. He alone is the perfect atonement, paying the price for our sins.
Several Old Testament passages written hundreds of years before Jesus was born in a manger, pointed ahead to this testimony. Read for yourselves Ps. 22; Jer. 31;31-34; Daniel 9:24-27; Prov. 30:4 and many more.
Knowing this truth, and believing it fully in your heart and mind Jesus said would set you free.
There is only one truthand He is the Truth. That is Truth. John 14:6. There is no other way by which we can be received into the Fathers loving arms after we draw our last breath.
Jesus, and Jesus alone is the only pathway to heaven. Any other attempted way is fruitless. Matt. 7:13-14 There is only one truth, and only one truth. There is no ther, no matter what any other may say, or believe.
There are a lot of wrong answers and beliefs, but only one true path, only one true Messiah, only one true Jesus, only one way of salvation, only one true way to the Fathersom in heaven. Jesus and Jesus alone is the one and only true way. He paid and paved the way for you and me.
If we wish to get there, we must walk in His light. 1 John 1:7
Only His blood and His blood alone can cleanse us from all of our sins.
Stop now and consider all of this. Stop and reason says God, and see if you will not also believe and allow Him to cleanse you from all of your sins. Is. 1:18
Charles Spurgeon said; "The heart of Christ became like a reservoir in the midst of the moutains. All tributary streams of iniquity and every drop of the sins of his people, ran down and gathered into one vast lake, deep as hell and shoreless as eternity. All these met, as it were, in Christ dear heart and He endured them all."
Again Charles Spurgeon said; "The marvel of heaven and earth, of time and eternity, is the atoning death of Jesus Christ. This is the mystery that brings more glory to God than all creation.
That my friends deserves a BIG KING SIZED AMEN.
Again there is nothing, nothing at all that we can do, to be good enough to make our own way to heaven.
Read the account of the crucifiction and see if this not fit and fill in the last piece of the puzzle. Luke 23:33-49
Each one of us is like one of the thieves on either side of Him o the cross. Which one are you? One threw insults and was condemneed that day. The other asked to be remebered that day. He entered into paradise that day.
Repentance and placing our faith and trust in the works of Jesus Christ on the cross is the only way to get to heaven. These are not my words. These are the words of scripture.
We each have a choice to make before we draw our last breath. No one can make that choice for you. However, whatever you choose to do with Jesus will determine where you will spend eternity.
Once you choose to believe and accept His shed blood as the only way to have your sins forgiven, then your sins are forever blotted out as if they never were. Your sins debt then is once and forever paid for, in full by the precious blood of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ.
This is a free choice, a free gift with no strings attached. It's yours to accept or reject.
By believing and accepting this wonderful free gift, we have the promise, that as He was raised from the grave to glory, we to have the promise of resurrection to life eternal because of what He has done for us. 1 Cor. 15:1-19
Blaise Pascal, the great mathematician and philosopher suggested that if we live as if as if there is am God, it ia s better wager than living as if there is no God. Here is the full written statement.
If you live as if God doesn't exist and you are right, you just die and go to the grave. But if you live as if God doesn't exist and you are wrong, you go into eternity in hell and misery. Conversely, if you live as if God does exist and you are wrong, then you would die and go to the grave. But if you live as if God does exist and you are right, you have just hit the jackpot for an eternity in heaven.
That's a wager worth pondering on. It's a gamble perhaps wrth betting on. Think about it!
So, gamble if you wish and behave as if God does not exist, and live a hellion life and see if you a winner or not. It will take only your very last breath to know forsure if you are wrong or right. Take a chance if like on this most important lottery.
It is said that 100 % of people die. Thus far to this date it has never been proven false. We all die. What is your choice? Will you take a chance by rolling the dice, by playing Russian Roulette?
We never know for sure when we will die and draw our last breath. It could happen right now, 10 seconds from now, tonight, tomorrow, next week, next year. Will you wait and gamble mthat perhaps God does not exist and live as if He does not? Will you not at least taste and see?
One of my brothers once said that he will wait and check it later. Well, he died a few years later in a car crash. Whether he accepted Jesus's free gift or not I will not know until Christ takes us home. But my guess is he gambled and lost. Will you?
So gamble if you wish. What is your decision? Hells gate are wide open awaiting for you to come on down. But the only other alternative is heavens gates and the waitng arms of Jesus in heaven.
Your last breath awaits your answer! What will you do with that most important question? What will you do with Jesus.
Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick,-------------------------------------------!
P.S. John 3:16 is a short version containing the Gospel message. Look at it, study it out Word for Word and see.
Now the time is running out. You have just used up several more minutes of you life. Your last breath is amfew more minutes closer than it was a little while ago.
The time is running down towards eternity.
TICK, TICK, TICK, TICK, TICK, ---------------------------------------------------------------
CK, TICK, TICK, TICK, TICK, ------------------------------------------------------------------
Importance of the Resurrection 1 Cor. 15
(Will I Live Again)
Once again the Christian world looks to the Cross as this is the time we celebrate Easter, or the resurrection of Christ. The secular world also celebrates Easter, but only for the fun of it. There is no other appeal to them to celebrate Easter other than for the fun in eating Easter eggs, chocolate bunnies etc. It offers them no satisfaction beyond the here and now. It offers them absolutely nothing for the future, nor for eternity.
But the Christian world looks to Easter for much more than the here and now. We look and celebrate Easter because it offers us hope for eternity. Life eternal and new resurrected bodies, and to live with Christ our God forever.
The attachment is a sermon I shared with my congregation several years ago, It asks the question, "What or why is the resurrection important?" I trust the answer will bless you and that you will be inspired to look at Easter perhaps anew and seek a closer fellowship with Christ today.
There are few guarantees in this world.
But there is one thing that we can be certain of.
And that is that we all die.
Why must we all die?
The answer is given in Rom. 3:23 & 6:23
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Rom 3:23 (King James Version)
For the wages of sin is death . Rom. 6:23 (King James Version)
There is no way around it. We all have an appointment with death.
Heb. 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment (King James Version)
So what then?
Is there nothing more then after death?
Do we just live a few years and then die into eternal oblivion with no trace left behind as if we had never lived?
If this is the case then, we might as well live, as we want, do what we want, enjoy life to the fullest and then die.
As some say, Party on, for tomorrow we die.
Or is there more?
Is there more to life after death?
Will we live again?
Thats the question we are looking at today.
Will we live again?
Read 1 Cor. 15
From what I gather after reading this chapter, there is more to life after death.
But there still remains one question.
On what can I base the fact that I will live again?
Scripture tells us that Jesus was the Messiah, the one who came to save us from our sins.
We are also told that He was God and that He died on a wooden cross and was raised to life again.
For who else but God could raise oneself from the dead.
From this fact we can base the truth that there is life after death, because He claims that He can & will raise us up from the dead again to live forever.
But now we have to come to a conclusion on whether indeed this was an actual historic event, or was it just a myth?
Was Jesus resurrected from the dead? True or false.
To answer this question we have to turn and find some acts to prove one way or the other that Jesus was raised from the dead as scripture claims He was.
So what proofs do we have that He was raised from the dead.
1 Cor. 15:4 tells us that on the 3rd day after He was buried He rose again.
This is corroborated by we are told by many eyewitnesses.
How many claim to have seen Him?
He was seen by some of the disciples and then by over 500 witnesses and by Paul himself, as well as by James the half brother of Jesus and all the apostles. V:5-8
Is there any other evidence that Christ was raised from the dead?
There are indeed several evidences to prove that Christ was raised from the dead.
What are they?
Lets look at the facts.
Fact #1 -The Broken Roman Seal
A seal was placed on the tomb after the tomb was sealed by the Roman soldiers.
A seal was a mark of authenticity, which was used and is still used today in many parts of the world.
A seal is used mostly on legal documents.
The seal was found to be broken which means that the tomb had to have been opened.
Fact # 2 The Empty Tomb
Several people went to the empty tomb and saw that the tomb was empty of all but the linen in which the body was wrapped in.
What they observed was that the linen lay exactly where it was placed in the tomb, undisturbed as if the body was still within.
Yet there was no body within.
It was as if Jesus had just vaporized out of the wrapping or somehow slithered out of the linen without disturbing one fold.
Remember that the Jewish custom was to wrap a body in linen which was a foot wide laden with about 100 pounds of spices within the folded layers.
Rather than running to Rome or to far away cities like Athens, the people whom saw the empty tomb went straight to Jerusalem.
By staying near by it would have been impossible for enough time to have lapsed which would have made it impossible for their story to have been corroborated.
In this way others could have gone straight away to see for themselves, which both Peter and John did. Luke 24:12; John 20:3-6
Fact # 3 The Stone Rolled Away
In those days a tomb was sealed with a stone weighing in at about 2 tons, which is 4,000 pounds.
This stone was also laid within a groove, which was carved into the rock so that it would be impossible to roll the stone away, nor to be able to fall away.
It would have been impossible for the disciples or any other to creep up and roll the stone away and steal the body of Jesus, especially with a crew of Roman guards watching over it with strict orders to protect it from any would be robbers.
The stone would also have to have been rolled uphill.
Fact # 4 The Roman Guard
It was surmised by the skeptics that the entire Roman squadron had fallen asleep and the disciples had stolen the body of Christ.
Did you know that any soldier caught sleeping on duty was put to death?
The Roman legion was likely the most disciplined army ever.
They paid strict attention to every detail of their command.
To not fulfill a command meant certain death by being burned alive with their clothes still on them.
So it is not likely that one soldier fell asleep, let alone an entire squadron of soldiers.
Fact # 5 Jesus was seen by many
Again we have the witness of well over 500 people those including disciples, apostles, and followers, both Marys, James the half brother of Jesus and more.
Many of these could have been questioned even at the time of Pauls writing to the Corinthians, as many of the witnesses were still alive.
For this many to have reported to be truth we can well believe to be so, especially since many died a martyrs death for their belief.
Many will die for the truth, but no one will die for a lie.
Again Christ appeared to Paul before he was converted on the road to Emmaus.
Up to this time Paul was actively persecuting any who claimed that Jesus was the Messiah.
Fact # 6 The Bold witness of the Disciples
When Jesus died on the cross all the disciples ran off and shrank into the woodwork.
They were a defeated lot.
They no longer felt that they had the truth when Jesus died.
But when they all witnessed Him alive again, thy became bold witnesses of the Gospel truth, many dying a martyrs death for what they knew to be true.
They laid down their lives willingly.
Look what many went through to proclaim the truth.
Many were stoned to death, fed to the lions, tortured, crucified and many other hideous things all to stop them from proclaiming the truth.
All they had to do to save their lives was to say that Jesus was dead.
But not one did, and many today are going through the same and dying a martyrs death for what the world believes to be a lie.
There are many more proofs, but let these suffice to prove the resurrection of Christ.
So now we have proof of Christs resurrection.
And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain. 1 Corinthians 15:17 (King James Version)
So Why Is Resurrection so Important?
The fact of His resurrection and our hope in also being raised from the dead is tied together.
For if not for the first, then there would be hope for the second.
Because Christ was raised from the dead we can now have confidence that we to would rise from the dead to be with Him some day eternally.
For whatever reason would there be for Jesus to come and die to save us from our sins, to rise again, if we to were not raised from the dead?
These two facts are two inseparable truths.
One without the other is pointless.
Paul gave us 7 arguments to prove this point.
The first being already given that if we are not raised then all our preaching is in vain, and Christ Himself would not have been raised from the dead.
And our faith would be useless. V:13,14
There would be no joy to living this life without the hope of being raised again.
If these facts are not true then the witnessing of the apostles, disciples and even our own would be a lie. V:15
All would be guilty of deceit.
And if this were true then all authority of the Bible can be thrown out the window.
We would not be able to believe one thing written in scripture.
If there is no resurrection Paul argues, then Christ Himself is also not risen. V:16
And if Christ is not risen, then our faith is futile, & we are not forgiven for our sins. V:17
And if this be true, the Christs death had no atoning value, and all who have trusted in Him, did so in vain.
Thus to reject the resurrection is to also reject the value of Christs wok on the cross.
And if there is no resurrection then all those who died living a life of hope In Christ have also died hopelessly and do not rise again. V:18
And lastly, if Christ be not risen & there is no resurrection, then we who are alive today are also living a hopeless life and are to be pitied. V:19
We would be no better off than those whom have a false outlook on scriptures like the J.W., Mormons etc.
Is that it, are we done for? Have we no hope?
If that is all to life then we might as well eat and drink; for to morrow we die 1 Corinthians 15:32 (King James Version)
Or another way to put it, Party on for tomorrow we are going to die anyways.
-But that is not the end of it all.
We have the affirmation that we will indeed live again. V: 20-23
Paul goes on to give the order of the resurrection.
What is it?
1. The first to rise was Christ Himself. He is listed in this passage as the first fruit v: 20, 23
the first fruit in Lev. 23:9-14 was a type of Christ in that at the beginning of the harvest a sheaf of wheat was picked and waved before the Lord as an offering.
Christ was also our first fruit in that he was given as an offering and the first to rise.
2. Then all believers shall rise. V:23 (b) 1 Thes. 4:13-18
All who have died trusting in Christ shall be raised first.
But wait a minute! What about the rest of us? Are we also not to be raised with Christ?
Paul stops there with the dead in Christ. He does not mention those of us who will be still alive when Jesus comes to gather His children.
Do not fret. To find the answer we must turn to 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17
We read v:15b we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.
16: For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
17: After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
(New International Version, ©2011)
So there we have it.
All who are Christs will be raised up to be with Him
Those of us who die before His coming have assurance of being raised from the dead and to be made alive forever more, and those of us who are alive at His coming will be raised from the earth to meet up with those who preceded us.
What will our bodies be like when we are raised?
Paul does not leave us completely in the dark regarding this issue. V:35-49
Paul gives us the illustration of a seed to answer this question. V:36-38
Just as a seed from a plant must first die, then when it is planted into the ground it produces another plant, which is of the same kind as what it came from.
Likewise when our bodies die and fall into the ground, our bodies when raised up will also be raised to be the same kind as before.
That is they will be human and we will look exactly as we did while still alive on earth.
We will recognize one another.
We will still have our individuality.
But there will be certain changes.
The moment we are born the body has already begun the process of deteriorating leading to death.
But with our new bodies that will change.
Our new bodies will be made incorruptible v:42 no longer susceptible to disease and death
Our new resurrected bodies will no longer be subject to weakness, nor any need to be replenished, like as Christ we will not need to eat or drink, though we probably could. V:43
Nor will sleep be a necessity.
Like Christ we will be able to pass though material things.
We will have spiritual bodies
It is difficult to know exactly what our bodies will be like, but we do know that Christ has promised us new bodies that will not die.
We will be immortal no longer subject to death.
And one last thing.
Because flesh and bones cannot enter into heaven (15:50) our bodies will be changed but in the twinkling of an eye, (52) our bodies will be changed
This is the promise of the rapture, the promise of our bodies being changed in preparation for heaven to live forever with Christ.
This is the promise that yes; we shall live again after death.
Can we be certain all of this is true?
Yes we can, because we have the Word of God Himself in the form of Jesus Christ who told us all these things.
If He says they are so, then they are so.
If but one thing He ever said is untrue, then we cannot trust anything ever written in the Bible.
But we know that all is true.
Because Christ liveth in me testifying all that He said is true.
The Israelites Escape Egypt -The last Plague
Last week you looked at the plagues that God inflicted on Egypt to demonstrate His power and show them that He is God.
What were the Plagues God sent to the people of Egypt?
-Turned the water (Nile River) into blood
-sent swarms of frogs, lice and flies
-all the Egyptians cattle, horses, sheep, camels and donkeys died
-The Egyptians plagued with Boils
-and then a hail storm
-a swarm of locuts who would eat the crops ( vegetables)
- and three days of darkness
This week we will look at the last Plague.
In all of the plagues thus far, were the people required to do anything to keep safe from the plagues?
No, they were not.
God sent the plagues only to the Egyptians\
Up to this point the people of Israel were protected from the plagues and the Israelites were not required to do anything or to have any faith that God would take care of them.
All they had to do was sit back and watch.
They watched and saw the awesome power of God at work.
It was now time for the Israelites to show that they had faith in God to free them from the bondage of slavery.
What is Faith?
Faith is trust something that you can not see with your eyes.
It is to believe that someone or God can or will do something that is normally unusual, or nor expected.
In the past I illustrated faith when I told you about people who would not walk on the glass floor at the top of the C.N. Tower, and how a guy could walk across a cable with a wheel barrel across Niagara Falls.
Today God asked them to do something very unusual.
And they were expected to obey and do it in faith, expecting God to free them from the bondage of slavery in a very spectacular way.
God told them through Moses to kill an innocent lamb, one that was in perfect shape physically.
They were to paint the spilled blood from the lamb on both sides of the door at the front of the homes and also on top of the door as well.
God was going to send His Holy Spirit to pass over all the homes of all the Egyptians and all the Israelites.
And he was was going to kill all the first born of every family home that did not have the blood of the lamb pinted around the doors of their homes.
The innocent lamb was a symbol of the first born in the Israeli homes.
This sacrifice was a symbol which the people of Israel understood.
An innocent life had to be taken to spare them from death.
They did not undertsand at the time that this was also a symbol looking far ahead into time when Jesus would be offered as a sacrificial lamb to save the world from the punishment of their sins.
Romans 6:23 tells us the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.
Or has John 3:16 says; "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (King James Version)
The people had lived in the land of Egypt for 400 years and they must have been very failiar with the gods of Egypt.
Did you know that the Egyptians had a god for almost everything? They had a god for the water, a gof for the cattle, a good for the sun, moon and stars and on and on.
God showed the people of Egypt that there is no God like Himself.
Their god had no power, they were useless.
Through the plaugues God demonstrated His power to the people of Israel.
He showed them that He was powerful enough to free them from the bondage of slavery from the Egyptians.
When it came time for the people of Israel to step out in faith, they were ready.
With this last plague it seemed like the pharoh and the people of Egypt finally got the message.
They finally believed that the God of Israel was the real God and that He was more powerful than their own gods.
At this point they were anxious for the people of Israel to leave because they feared that God would kill them all if they did not leave.
That evening before the Plague began, God instructed the people again through Moses to bake a loaf of unleaven bread.
Unleaven bread simply means a bread that does not rise. It is flat bread.
They were instructed from that time onward to eat unleaven bread every year and to celebrate celebrate the feast of the Passover every year as a reminder of how He, God had freed them and delivered the people of Israel out of the bondage of slavery from Egypt.
Just like God was watching over the people of Israel that night, God is always watching over you to.
He is always watching over you, to protect you from harm.
And just as he promised to free them from the bondage of slavery, God also promises us, that He will and wants to free us from the bondage of sin.
Jesus is always watching over you and He wants to help you to keep away from sin.
To be in bondage to sin is like this.
Call a Volunteer.
As I wrap a single thread once around the wrists with gloves on say:
Everyone of us has lied at one time or another, and most of us tell lies often.
Many people think it is okay if they tell just one lie.
They think that there is no harm in that.
No one gets hurts.
It's no big deal.
Tell volunteer to break the thread.
They think that if I only do it once, I will have no problem stopping and never telling another lie.
It's the same thing with kids who think that having one cigarette or one beer is okay.
They can stop and never do it again.
Then later on, they get together with friends who offer them another cigarette or another bottle of booze.
Again, just like lying, it's no big deal.
I can quit whenever I want.
Continue wrapping thread around the wrist several times
Ask volunteer to try break the thread.
It gets harder doesn't it.
Once again, you get together with friends and again they offer you cigarettes or booze, but you say, no, I really shouldn't.
But they keep coaxing you and finally you give in and you have another cigarette or another beer.
Continue wrapping the thread
And it happens again and again and each time you think you can stop whwenever you want, but each time you find that it is harder and harder to resist.
Every sin is like that!
Just like the thread, the more I wrap around ( ) wrists, the harder and harder it gets to break it.
Sin is just like that.
The first time you do it, it is no big deal.
The next time does not seem so bad, no one is getting hurt, so why not, do it again.
Soon you find that you are doing the same sins over and over again, and like the thread wrapped around ( ) wrists, it gets too hard to quit.
You just can quit it on your own
So what's the solution? How do you quit?
The answer is Jesus.
When a sin becomes a habit, you need to turn to jesus and pray and ask him to help you get free of that sin.
He will come and help you to be free of that certain sin if you are serious about wanting to quit, and if you are serious about wanting Him to help you.
On your own, you'll never be able to quit.
But with God, all thyings are possible and he will set you Free1!!!!
CUT THE THREAD
Just like God wanted to free the Israelites from the bondage of slavery in Egypt,
God also wants yo set you free from the bondage of sin, if you will let Him.
Will You Let Him?
What are some sins that have you in Bondage?
Worries, fears, lying, stealing, cheating - all these things can keep you in bondage. All these things and any other sin can keep you from being free
They keep us from being happy.
They keep us from praising and worshipping and spending time with God.
They make us sad.
They also separate us from the love of God
So Again, who and what can set you from from your sins?
God can set you from from your sins.
What's the best way to not get involved in any sin?
Answer, to always obey God and do what is right.
If you alway obey Him, and do what is right, you will not have to worry about
getting involved in sins and becoming a slave to it.
When you obey and do what is right, God will lead you to a happy life and then in the final victory over sin, He will take you to heaven to be with Him Forever.
Praise God !!!
Everyone sitting quiet
Think now for a few moments of some sins that you might be a slave to like lying, cheating, worrying etc.
God wants to set you free from those sins right now, today.
So close your eyes and pray for a minute asking first that He will forgive you of those sins and then ask Him to help you to break free and to be free forever from those sins.
When God sets you free you will have joy in your heart that you never knew.
It helps us to be more happy and to love Him more.
God we thank you that you love us so much that you sent Jesus to set us free from the burdens of our sins.
We give you our lives today and ask that you would work in our hearts to set us free.
We love you and thank you because the freedom you give us lasts forever.
In Jesus name.
When I think of the word "Hope", I think of the word :Maybe." Why, because the word hope paints the desire for something wished for, but may not happen. My dictionary defines the word hope as; " to want or wish for something with a feeling of confident expectation." Synonyms for the word hope are expectation, optimism. All of the words give me a slight negative connotation, like "Maybe"
Do you see what I mean? When I think of the word hope, I thing of an expectation of something that may happen, but may not. Which brings me back to the word maybe. Maybes synonyms include the words feasibly, perchance, and possibly. All of these words give me the feeling of a 50-50 chance, or a 25-75 chance etc. If I were a betting man, which I am not, those kinds of odds dont exactly leave me with a feeling confident of expectancy. These odds are like the weather forecast often. The weather report may say there is a 50 or maybe a 45 % chance of rain. Well, if I am planning on going fishing with my nephew, I dont care for those odds, no more than I would like a 50-50 chance of winning the lottery.
So why do I bring this up? The Bible uses the word hope a lot. In connection with things of the Lord. For example, in Acts 22:6 Paul says to the council and high priest; " I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead." Here Paul is telling these folks that he is placing a high expectation, that Jesus promise of the resurrection of the dead will be met.
Upon looking closer, and looking up the word hope in a concordance, it changes my understanding of what the word hope means and gives a more positive outlook when I think of hope. The Greek Dictionary of New Testament describes the word hope as :" to anticipate, usually with pleasure, expectation, or confident faith." The Christian speaker and author Joseph Stowell says the word hope means Therefore I now look at the word hope with a better outlook. In the context of Biblical Scripture it gives me a more sure fire expectation that what is hoped for is a certainty, and not a "maybe."
In our English language another dictionary gives the word the following description. " a feeling that what is wanted will happen; desire accompanied by expectation." Joseph Stowell says that in this description, it does not necessarily mean that the hope, the expectancy is necessarily grounded in reality. For example, and this is a laugh for Canadians. Bob may hope that the Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey team will the Stanley Cup this year. That really is a laugh because they are so far behind in the standings, they would pretty much have to win every game from here to the end, into the playoffs and finally win the last game. GIGGLE ! (pardon me if I stepped on some Leaf fans toes)
In another context I may hope that the weather will be sunny next weekend, so that when my nephew and niece come out to visit, they will be able to play outside some. That is a hope, but not necessarily a reality, for we know that the weather is rather unpredictable, you just never know for sure what is going to happen. Hope here is a desire, not necessarily a real expectation, or a reality.
Turning back to Biblical hope, these hopes are a trusted reality, that we not only desire, but that we may know for sure that a hope in the Bible is a certainty, that it will come to pass. We can know that these hopes will come to pass because the Words in the Bible are inspired and inscribed by God Himself. And since we know that God cannot lie, (Titus 1:2) we can know for a certainty that what God has promised, will come to pass.
Some of these hopes in the Bible which we can be assured of are; we can hope in a new heaven and a new earth, in a heaven beyond which we look forward to and the fact that Jesus said that He would come back again to take the redeemed home with Him before mankind completely destroys himself.
The greatest hope we have is found in the fact of the empty tomb. of , whom promised that the grave would not hold Him. He also promised that He would rise from the grave in three days. These truths have been corroborated by many witness and written of by some who were not necessarily believers in a Messiah. If not for His resurrection, we would have no hope of eternity in heaven with Him. For as the apostle Paul wrote;" Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, thenis Christ not risen? And if Christ be not risen; then is our preaching in vain, and your faith is also vain, " 1 Cor. 15:12-26. Please read the entire section.
Take a few minutes if you will and have a closer look at the many promises and even prophecies that are written in this section. For example it was written in ages past that Christ would be raised from the dead. This section also tells us that all power and authority will be given unto Him And it tells us that as His last feat He will defeat death, for death will forever be put to rest. In eternity no one will ever die. What an awesome promise is that?
Knowing that Christ was raised from the dead, it also gives us the hope, the promise as He has said that we to will all be raised from the dead and be with Him in heaven. Now, that is a promise I want to hold on to. If God has promised to redeem us and to raise us with new glorified bodies fit for heaven, do you think that He will? For sure! So we can also hope and trust that, that will happen indeed.
Another word we could use in exchange for the word hope and trust is faith. Faith is putting our trust, our hope in something that we cannot see. For example, at the top of the CN tower in Niagara Falls Ontario, is a section of thick clear glass which is several feet thick. When you go up there you will see that there is no barrier around the glass at all. Therefore it must be deemed to be safe. Yet, some will venture to walk on it, while others will not. Those who walk on it are showing that they have faith that they will be supported to walk on it. When you step out onto the front steps of your house, you are placing faith that these steps will support you.
Here is a statement of faith which I believe we can place our faith on, hope in, trust in, believe in with all of our hearts. Paul wrote ;" Being confident in this very that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. : Phil. 1:6
What is Paul saying here? He is saying that God has begun the redemptive work of changing us, who are believers. Once we were lost in our sins, walking about daily in sin, with no thought or concern for the things of God. But once you told God that you believe that Jesus paid the penalty for your sins on the cross, God then begins a cleansing process that lasts for your whole life time here on earth. This is a process that will continue until Jesus takes us home to be with Him in heaven. God is working on you daily, changing you, molding you, more and more daily in the very image of His Son .
In this Paul says we can be confident, hoping, trusting that the cleansing work that God has begun in you will continue, and not stop until the fullness of time is come when Jesus will shout and call us home to be with Him. 1 Thess. 4:16-18
That is an awesome promise He has given us. It is something which we can put our hope, trust and faith in. We can know for a certainty that the work which He has begun in us, will be completed one day.
Hebrews says;" Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." The 11th chapter of Hebrews is a listing of many men and women who gave their hope, their faith, believing that the things which God had promised would come to pass. Even though many did not see with their physical eye these promises come to pass, they still kept the faith, believing that what had He had promised would eventually be brought to pass.
Many of these folks were martyred for what the believed in, dying horrible cruel deaths, because they would not give up believing in faith the promises of God. Please read this chapter carefully and see how strong was their hope, their faith. Hebrews chapter 11 is known as the "Faith" chapter for good reason. Read and see for yourselves why.
Biblical faith seen here gives substance to that which we hope for It is a faith that we can bank on, a faith so strong that we can place our hope in a certain future event so completely that it preoccupies our entire perception of life and radically alters our behavior in the process. Do you have that kind of life altering faith in a hope of things not yet seen?
Treasures in Heaven, Hell or Earth
(All scripture passages unless otherwise stated are from the NKJ version)
In ancient Egypt it is told that the Kings would be buried with their treasures in the pyramids, with the belief that when the king got to the other side of life on earth, he would have his treasure there with him.
Even today we read of some whom desire to be buried with their money as if that would be any good to them on the other side of eternity.
Many who are rich today are never satisfied with the wealth they already have. They greedily desire to accumulate even more money.
The 80s have been described as the most materialistic age in North America ever. Kids are taught that the more you have, the more you are a somebody. In other words the more possessions you have and the more money you have, the more you are deemed to be a success.
There is nothing wrong with being wealthy, or have having lots of possessions. After all it is God who establishes whom will be wealthy, and whom will own what and how much. Deut. 8:18; 1 Sam. 2:7; Prov. 10:22; Eccl. 5:19; And it is God Himself whom actually owns all the riches in the world. The world is His after all. He created the world and all that is it. Hagai 2:8. Therefore it is His to share and give to whomever He wants.
The issue here is not whether one is wealthy or not, but what one does with their wealth, or lack of wealth. Greed is a symptom of ones lack of love for God and his fellow man. One does not have to be wealthy to be greedy. Just look at young children who own nothing and see how they want what others have as they go across the room to take possessions from their peers.
In Luke 12:13-21 Jesus tells a parable which causes us to look at what and where our treasures are. Before Jesus begins the telling of this parable of the rich fool, He is confronted by a man who wants Jesus to intervene in a family dispute. He wants Jesus to tell his brother to split up the family inheritance. This is somewhat reminiscent of the prodigal son who demanded his share of his inheritance even before father had died. To settle family disputes was not Christs mandate, so He ignored the man and told this parable of Luke 12: According to Jewish Law, the elder brother would have been in control of the inheritance. The elder brother would receive the larger portion of the inheritance. Like the prodigal son, this boy likely wanted his inheritance now to blow it living a wild riotous living.
Jesus says: "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for ones life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." (Luke 12:15)
Greed as we know is very prevalent in todays society. We have dictators who steal away a countries wealth. Wall street investors steal hordes of money from trusted investors. Bank workers pilfer little by little from bank depositors, insurance frauds etc. are also prevalent. So many are in a take, take, take mode, taking by fraudulent gain.
Jesus gave us a stern warning, He said: "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for ones life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses." Well excuse me ! According to the teachings in our schools and universities today a mans life does indeed consist of the things he posses. A man is measured by how much money is in his bank account, how big his credit rating is, how big his house is, how big the swimming pool is in his big house, how big his boat is etc. A mans possession today is an indicator of how successful he is.
Did Jesus go to a different school? No He is God and His is the author of morality, of what is what and wrong. So therefore if He says: "Take heed and beware of covetousness, for ones life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.", it is so.
So then what does a mans life consist of? "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'" (New International Version (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica). This is what a man's life consists of. However, God if He wills it will grant a man others possessions and wealth as He deems fit.
Do you think I jest? Scripture tells us first of all that; "And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." (Gen 2:7) God is the creator of all life on earth. He breathed into the nostrils of the man and man became a living being. God is in control of our being. "for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, For we are also His offspring' Acts 17:28
Job asks the rhetorical question: "In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind." (Job 12:10) God does of course. The writer of the Psalms also asks; "Who keeps our soul among the living, And does not allow our feet to be moved" Ps. 66:9
Which one of us can say for certain that I will go to this place or to that place, or to do this or do that? Do you not know that God controls where you go, and what you will do?
Do Not Boast About Tomorrow
13 Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell, and make a profit"; 14 whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. 15 Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that."
Is this not enough to convince you that your life is not your own and that you are not in control of it? You are not even in control of when you will draw your last breath. But God said to him, "Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; " Luke 12:20
When God says now is your last breath, guess what, you got no choice about it. There is nothing you can do about it. When He says stop, you stop.
The story of the rich fool mirrors well many rich people today. In this parable the man sees his wealth in the abundance of his crops. In those days a mans wealth was not measured so much in monetary wealth but in the amount of his crops and animal and land possessions. Read the story of Job and see how he was wealthy this way, lost it all, and then regained it all back x 2 plus because God willed it.
So this dude sees that he has a huge crop, so he decides to build bigger and better barns to store it all in for future use. Again, there is nothing wrong with being wealthy, but what is wrong is when we do not use what we have to benefit others, not just ourselves. Those who store all the money in banks, rather than spreading it out to help feed the poor and needy are the same as this rich man with his abundance of crops. Rather than spreading out the wealth which God bestowed upon him, he was planning to hoard it all for himself rather than helping to feed the poor.
I am reminded of the passage in James where James talks about faith and good works. James says here in essence, where is your faith if you are able to feed and clothes others, but do not.
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
18 But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believeand tremble! 20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? 21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? 22 Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? 23 And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of James God. 24 You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only.
25 Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?
26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. James 2:14-26
What eternal value is there if you hoard your wealth by storing it away for yourselves your possessions, or if you build useless things This does not aid those in need.
I am always appalled likewise when our governments waste big money on projects the profits no one at all. For example during this past summers Commonwealth gathering of the commonwealth countries in Ontario, the Canadian government spent literally millions of dollars to build a man made lake just to impress the gathering dignitaries. They also spent tons of money having the meeting at different venues rather than at one. Why, they could have saved all that money by simply having a conference call instead of spending tons of money accomplishing nothing at all of any value. The man made lake was a total waste of money when the country side around Ontario is dotted with many gorgeous lakes. Why build on top of Gods creation?
Getting back to the rich fool, he exposes his self centered greed, much like Satan did in Isaiah 14:13-14 where Satan said 5 times "I will" He said:
I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.
Satan is so self centered, that all he can think about, is how good he is. His strongest desire has always been to usurp God Himself and set himself up to be god, to rule all the world. During the Tribulation period he will for a time appear to have that power and worship he has craved all the millennia, but even then he will still be on a chain. God will only let him do so much, and no more.
Well the rich fool likewise says six times: I will." He like Satan is so stuck on himself, that he cannot see that there are others out there. His whole attitude is like the Yuppies today which is; I deserve, I owe it to myself, and like the Frank Sinatra song long time ago: "I did it my way."
This guy is stuck on materialism like the "Me" generation of today. His main goal is to get more, get more, get more for himself. His attitude says: Ill store up for myself today for the future." There is a name for this attitude. It is called hedonism. It is a looking after myself, take it easy, eat drink and be merry, storing up treasures to last through his long perceived life attitude.
But, as we know, God is in control. He says you will, if He allows it. He says you will get if I allow it. He says your days will last as long as I say it does, and no longer. You cannot bargain with God on any of this.
And so one night God calls in His loan. He says;" This night I am taking your soul." Game over.
For all his hoarding and greed, it didnt matter at all. For when you die, all your material possessions and wealth dont add up to nothing when you die, because you cannot take any of it with you. What you take to the grave is: n-o-t-h-i-n-g!
In the eyes of the world, he was a great success. But in the eyes of the Lord, he was a fool. A man to be pitied. A fool is one who chooses to live his life without God, as if He does not exist.
This guy thought that he had control over his possessions and his treasures into the future. But God says; " then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? KJV" No man has any control over his possession once he has entered the grave.
One who stores up treasures for himself on earth is not rich towards God. One who stores up treasures for himself on earth loses it all in the end and also loses all opportunity of the riches of God in eternity. Luke 12:21:b to paraphrase.
Jesus gives us the alternative to storing up your treasure here on earth in Luke 12: 22-34
What is the alternative? Jesus tells us to ; "seek ye first the kingdom of God." Matt. 6:33 KJV For when you; "Ask and it shall be given unto you. " Matt 7:7 KJV "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added unto you." Luke 12:31 KJV
In this section of scripture Jesus describes how God looks after the natural world. He cares for and provides for the birds of the air, the flowers and the trees, the fields, and of course of the animals.
So therefore if God cares for and provides for all these, would He likewise also not take care of and provide for you? Does He not love you more than the natural world? Of course He does. So why then waste your time, energy and resources storing up for yourselves things and treasures here on earth; "where moth and rust destroy." Matt. 6:19,20 KJV Things of the earth will eventaully all be gone, but the kingdom of God is eternal.
Again, there is nothing wrong with having possession, but what is it you are doing with your treasures? Are you using them for the glory of God? "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Luke 12:34 KJV)
Where is your heart? Is your heart fixed on the treasures of earth, or on the things of God? What are you doing with your treasures? Are you them using for yourself, or for Him?
If God says He will provide for you, why are so many anxious, worried about tomorrow? Does He not care and provide for you?
If you are lacking, is it possible that you are trust and waiting on Him? Prov. 12:25 says: "An anxious heart weighs a man down." (NIV 1984) In other words it is like ulcers. People get worried, get themselves so wound up that they develop ulcers.
To be a worrier is an illustration of where your trust is. If you place your trust in Him, you should not be a worrier. But if you place your trust in your possessions, then your focus and trust are not on God and thus you become a worrier, and also you are not a child of God and are destined for the pit of hell, and not with Him into a glorious eternity.To worry is futile, it avails nothing. I have been known to say;" If you worry you are going to die. If you dont worry, you are still going to die. So why worry." Think about it.
What is there to worry about after all? Most worries are either of things of the past, which you cant change anyway and cannot be controlled. Or they may be about things in the here and now that also cannot be controlled, or they may about things in the future, which may or may not happen. Would it not be better to put your trust in God who is in control of the past, present and future? Your lack of trust in God shows your lack of faith in Him.
The best place to store your treasures is in heaven. Some godly treasures you have now include such things as your love for others, especially the down trodden, the meek, the poor, the crippled. Jesus said when you take care of the least of these, you have done it unto Him. And these are the ones whom shall see Him as He is if they have placed their hope and trust in Jesus to take their sins upon Himself. Matt. 31-46 NKJ
So search your heart and see where your treasures lie. Are they in the here and now on earth, then is time to change your priorities and seek ye first the kingdom of God. For where your treasures are, there also will your heart be. Seek God!
New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
I attended a Conservative Bible College. And I believe that most conservative theologians also agree, that read to Bible for what is says. Take it at face value. Do not squeeze fuzzy interpretations into what it says. And the second rule of thumb is that let the Bible interpret the Bible. As you study scripture nearly 100 % of the time, what the scriptures say in one place can be found in another place or more. Granted there are some passages which are difficult to understand. Pray the Lord to give you understanding in those areas.
God the Father
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Phil. 4:6-7 (King James Version)
The Lord's Day
How will you spend the day?
Will you lay it to waste in fun and games?
Will you play and commit adultery?
Will you sit in front of the T.V.?
Will you go to His house of worship and wish you weren't?
Will you sit and contemplate the game this afternoon?
Will you be at the lake catching a pan fry?
Will you be out kicking a ball?
Will you be planting a shrub for your darling dear?
Will you be watching the horses ride by with a bet you hope will pay?
Will you be a sloth, and sleep it away?
The Lord has commanded us to put aside one day of rest for Him.
What will you do?
Will you honour this day, and give Him praise?
Will you bow your head and pray?
Will you read His Word and hide it in your heart?
Will you drink His cup of suffering?
Will you eat of the bread?
Will you abide with fellow believers?
Will you sing praises to His name?
Tell me when I ask, what will you do?
Open now while you may, the door.
Knock and let Him open.
Seek and you shall find.
Kneel down and seek Him in prayer.
Ask and you shall find.
Open your heart to the one who loves.
Repent and Obey!
Tell me now when I ask!
What will you do?
Now is the day of salvation.
Now is the day of redemption.
Now is the day to seek and to find Him.
Now is the day to kneel and to pray.
What will you do with this Jesus?
Tell me now when I ask!
ESV Audio Widget
God is Always Listening
Dig Into God's Word
The Main Message of Scripture
Just a Passing Thought...
More often than not, when we as Christians and also largely non believers, come to the end of our rope, when we can take no more, when we can se no end in sight, then we and they call upon God.
Scripture is full of the many whom tried to go it all on their own without God. He allowed them all to try it on their own, only to come to failure. Then when they finally gave up, they turned to God and He blessed them.
Isn't it interesting that professed atheists whom deny even the very existence of God, will on the death bed cry unto God!
ESV Audio Widget
An exercise I try to do now and again. It is hurtful but at the same time beneficial.
What I do, is I pray and ask God to show me if there be any sins in me. No doubt there are always some. But some are in need of immediate acknowledgement. For example, there maybe someone I need to forgive. Others may not be so immediate, but never-the-less need working on.
It is in these times that we acknowledge and agree with Him these sins, and ask for help and strength to overcome and be rid of these certain sins.
For sure it hurts, but to ignore these truths is more painful than the cure, which is acknowledging the sins and asking and praying to be forgiven and freed of these sins through the Holy Spirit.
Have a good and Godly week.
We Are All Without Excuse
No matter what our situation, there is always an answer in Jesus Christ. There is no other final solution by which we may be saved, by which our deepest concerns and situations can be fixed, but by and through Jesus Christ.
There is no sin which we cannot be saved from except the denial of the work on the cross by Jesus Christ whom died on the cross to save us from our sins.
Take the Scriptures to Heart!
The Instruction Book
Why did God give us the Bible?
Go for it. Study, learn and meditate and pray.
The Word of God
Easter - The Resurrection - Fact or Fiction
Suppose I said that I knew nothing about Jesus Christ. Explain to me what Easter is about, so that I may want to look deeply into it and maybe become a Christian. Again I received another strange look, like: Say what? About all they were able to tell me, was that Easter was about the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Well, thats true, but that is not all.
The fact of Christs death and resurrection is the basis for our Christian faith, for without it our faith would be in vain, and the lives of millions of people would be nothing but misery. In 1 Cor. 15:14, Paul writes if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. (KJV) Furthermore he adds in verse 17: if Christ be not raised ye are yet in your sins, and verse 18 They also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." (both KJV)
Therefore the whole of the Christian faith is based on the fact of Christs resurrection, for if He did not rise from the dead then we have no hope of eternal salvation, and we may as well live as the rest of the world and party on, for today we live, and tomorrow we die.
It is important to note that all four gospels deal with the fact of His death and burial, because if there were no death, there could be no resurrection, and again, if there be no resurrection, our hope is still in vain, because we worship a living Lord.
Many throughout history have tried to discount the fact of Christs resurrection by suggesting that Christ feigned His death, or simply fell into unconsciousness, thus the Swoon Theory.
Again, all four gospels writers agree to the fact of His death. Mark says: he gave up the ghost. (Luke 23:46 KJV) Matthew says He yielded up His Spirit. Luke says He gave up the ghost, and John says He gave up His Spirit. Numerous other scriptural passages also confirm the fact of His death.
Within the gospels themselves we are given several reliable testimonies to the fact that Christ died and that He did not simply fake His death, or slip into a coma. The very first witness we have is the centurion soldier who had commanded the execution squad. Would he not have had to have been a reasonably intelligent man to have commanded a legion of soldiers? Would this soldier not have not known for certain if Jesus had died or not? After all, he would have been given the order to put Jesus to death from someone higher up. To have not made sure that Jesus was dead would have meant his own death under Roman law. By his own words, using the past tense of the verb was, as recorded in Mark 15:39, shows that by his judgment, Christ was indeed dead, when he said : Truly this man was the Son of God. (KJV)
In Johns Epistle, he does not concentrate on the centurion, but upon the Piercing of the side of Christ. Forthwith came there out blood and water. John 19:34 (KJV). According to medical journals, the flow of both water and blood is the result of a ruptured heart, because the heart is protected by a sac of water. Therefore Jesus was dead even before the spear was thrust in to His side.
Another reliable eye witness as to the fact that Jesus was indeed dead was the woman who followed behind as the body of Jesus was being carried to the garden for burial. All four gospels record that this same woman went to the garden on the first day to prepare the body for burial with spices. Had she not been certain that Jesus was dead; she certainly would not have gone there with the spices to complete the burial, which was the custom of the day.
And lastly there is the silent testimony of Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus, both members of the Sanhedrin, and both silent followers of Christ. Again, if they had any inkling of an idea that Jesus might actually still be alive, they certainly would not have continued with the burial.
The evidence therefore seems intact that Jesus had indeed died, and had neither faked His death, nor fallen unconscious.
The next thing that we must consider is the evidence of the missing body. If anyone could have produced the body, then the resurrection theory would have been proven to be false, and there would be no hope of salvation. Nor, for that matter would there be any need for the church as we know it today.
Some however, would have you believe that the disciples stole the body from the tomb where he was supposedly buried. How could that possibly be with the presence of an entire squadron of trained professional Roman soldiers on guard who would certainly know if anyone was approaching the tomb.
Some even argue that the guards were all sleeping. But, did you know that death was the penalty for any soldier caught sleeping on the job? Today if you are caught sleeping on the job, the worst that can happen to you is you might lose your job or get time docked off your pay check with a reprimand. But a Roman soldier was not getting paid by the clock, nor would he dare to be caught sleeping on the job knowing that to do that is a certain death.
But just suppose that they were all sleeping. How would it be possible for them to be sleeping through the noise of the huge stone being rolled away from the tomb? The chances of not one soldier waking up while being right there beside the stone would be astronomically impossible. Just think about that for yourself for a moment. To just roll a large stone on the ground is fairly noisy. But to roll a huge stone on rock would be even noisier still, let alone that the disciples would have had to step over top a whole legion of soldiers.
And one last thought to keep in mind is, if indeed the disciples had been successful in removing the body of Christ from the tomb without waking anyone up, certainly the alarm would have been raised before very long. And when they caught up with the perpetrators, they would have been imprisoned and the body replaced which of course did not happen. Because, for one, there was no body to be found anywhere.
Since there never was a body produced, and since the disciples were never arrested for stealing the body out of the tomb, we can safely assume that Christ had indeed died, been buried in the tomb, and was raised again on the third day just as He said He would do.
So now that proof has been given that Christ was indeed crucified to the point of death, and since proof has also been given that the body disappeared out of the tomb, and since proof has been given that no one stole the body, we must ascertain with proof positive that He was resurrected.
What evidence of proof exists of the bodily resurrection of Christ? There are at least three areas of proof of the bodily resurrection of Jesus. These three include 1) the material evidence of the displaced stone 2) the empty tomb 3) the grave clothes laying there.
Besides those three things, we also have the physical appearance of Jesus by many witnesses in many different places at different times. And there is also the historical results which include the personal transformation of the disciples, the advent of the Holy Spirit, and the origin and growth of the Church.
Please allow me to touch briefly on some of these evidences. All material evidences by the way were available and apparent to the contemporary witnesses of the day.
First of all we have the misplaced stone. The tombs in those days were carved out of soft limestone with access through a low doorway. It was low enough that one had to stoop to go through. Parallel and adjacent to the outside wall there was a narrow groove cut in, in which a large circular door was set, which weighed just less than a ton. Before a body could be placed within the tomb, a cleat, like a door stopper was placed in front of the door to keep the door open, otherwise the door would have rolled back into placed and be closed. The cleat then would have been removed once the body was inside, and several strong men would then roll the rock back into place making a strong barrier against vandalism and robbery.
Matthew 27:60 offers proof that Joseph sealed the tomb properly. Once sealed, it would have been impossible for the disciples and certainly the woman to have removed the door from its place without having caused a great commotion before the Roman guards.
Pilate himself also ordered the tomb to be sealed which would have been promptly done as is recorded in Matthew 27:66. This would have included the sealing with wax and imprinted with a ring.
And yet the door was rolled away on the third day as was witnessed by the soldiers themselves, who ran with their tails between their legs after having been confronted by an angel. The soldiers also reported this incident to the chief priest. This in itself is a testimony as to the resurrection of Christ.
The next witness we have, that the stone was rolled away, was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, who were walking towards the sepulchre on the first day of the week. Upon arrival they were confronted by an angel of the Lord who told them to go see the place where the Lord has lain, and then to go and tell the disciples that Christ had risen.
Notice the word HAD. The angel did not say: Go see the place where the Lord IS lying." How could he if the body was not there? No, he said go see where the body HAD lain. The body of Jesus was no longer there. And if the angel told them to go see where the body had lain, the tomb then would have had to be opened. Therefore since it was impossible for the disciples or for the woman to have removed the stone, and since logic would dictate that the soldiers certainly would not, the only plausible explanation is that the stone was rolled away by the power of God, by an angel, or by Jesus Himself.
This then is one of many material proofs of the resurrection of Jesus Christ whom we worship. For, we do not worship a dead Saviour.
A second material evidence for the resurrection of Christ is the fact of the empty tomb. Again, all the four gospels agree to this. We already have the witness of the two women and the angel of the Lord testifying to the fact of the empty tomb. Added to this are the eye witnesses of both Peter and John who saw for themselves the empty tomb after Mary Magdalene had reported the truth of the empty tomb to the disciples. We have the record of John who after having heard this went and bent down before entering the tomb and seeing that the grave clothes were still there on top of the grave stone where the body had lain. Apparently John thought that the body was still there in the grave clothes while he awaited the arrival of Peter before going in himself. Peter, the skeptic , was not satisfied to just peer inside. He went in and gazed at the clothes. What is significant about Peters observation of the grave clothes is the fact of where the clothes were. The face linen we read in John 20:7 was placed separately away from the other linen and wrapped in a different place. And of course he saw that the body was not there at all. And while Peter was still inside, John came in, saw and believed. John 20:8 Although we have no written record, it is quite likely that some of the other disciples also went and seen the empty tomb.
This account shows without a shadow of a doubt that the body had indeed vanished, not only from within the grave clothes, but also out from the tomb itself. Jesus therefore had risen from the dead as He had predicted and was not held by death or by the bonds of grave clothes. There is no scientific proof to logically prove otherwise the sudden disappearance of the body of Christ.
The third and most verifiable material evidences as to the bodily resurrection of Christ are the many eye witness accounts of His physical appearance. Without these physical appearances it would have been impossible to prove and to believe in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ. There are eleven recorded manifestations of Christs appearance to substantiate His resurrection. Although they all differ widely in time, place, persons involved and results, all four of the gospels agree unanimously to His physical presence which have been attested to by reliable witnesses.
The first witness we have is Mary Magdalene, who after witnessing the empty tomb went and told the disciples about it. She then retraced her steps back to the tomb. There she spied the two angels who enquired of her sorrows. She then became aware of a body standing behind her and thought at first that it was the gardener. It was not until Jesus called her by name, that she realized who it was, and thereby flung herself at the feet of Jesus. He said to her, do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father.
Her companions also who had been present with her this second time to the tomb also saw Jesus standing there. The synoptic gospels agree that these persons recognised that it was Jesus standing there. They also fell at the feet of Jesus and worshiped Him as recorded in Matthew 28:9
There is also the record of the two lesser known disciples who met Jesus while travelling down the road on their way to Damascus. We are told that they did not know whom it was to whom they were talking to right away. Scripture tells us: their eyes were holden that they should not know Him. Luke 24:16 KJV The Lord Himself temporarily blinded them in a sense so that they would not recognise Him. As these two disciples were walking along, they were in a deep discussion about all the things that had transpired since the arrest of Jesus to the present time. At this point in time they did not yet know that Jesus had been resurrected.
Out of the blue Jesus began walking beside these two disciples. Jesus we are told began to question them about the events of which they were discussing. He then began to teach them the prophecies about Himself from the Old Testament.
An invitation was given to Jesus to join these two disciples for an evening meal. It was while Jesus sat and broke the bread, giving thanks that the eyes of the disciples eyes were opened, so that they finally recognised whom Jesus was, at which time Jesus vanished from their presence. These two guys were so overjoyed by this experience that they forgot their meals and ran back to Jerusalem.
The next sighting we have of Jesus was by the disciple whom had shut themselves up into an upper room in fear of being arrested by the Jewish leaders. Suddenly Jesus materialises before them without having walked through the door. To assure them that He was not a ghost, He proceeded to show them His hands and the side bearing the scars of the cross convincing them thoroughly of His resurrection. This of course turned their sorrows into great joy. And to further convince them of His real presence, He ate some food.
Thomas, from whom we get the phrase; A Doubting Thomas; was not present with the disciples when Jesus made His first appearance into the upper room. And when he heard of this event he said : Except I shall see in His hands the prints of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe. John 20:25 KJV
Thomas was able to witness and see for himself these very things the very next week in the very same chamber. Thomas indeed did not only see, but he also touched the prints and the scars of the cross where he is recorded as saying: My Lord and my God. John 20:28 KJV All the disciples were now totally convinced of the bodily resurrection Of Jesus, for they would not believe otherwise without the actual physical appearance of Christ as proof positive.
Another major appearance of Jesus according to 1 Cor. 15:6 was to more than 500 people at the same time gathered outside the city. It is quite likely that at the time of Paul having written this epistle, that the majority of those whom were present at this gathering were still alive. Many converts of Pentecost were also like still alive at the time of Pauls writing this epistle. This would have been about 25 years after the resurrection.
A third appearance of Jesus before His disciples was at the Sea of Tiberas as recorded in John Chapter 21 with seven of His disciples. This occurred after they had had an evening of fishing with no luck, so they went out again in the morning, but they still were not having any luck.
While they were dragging their nets Jesus called out to them to cast their nets on the right side of the boat. When the tried to pull in the nets after this attempt, to the amazement they were unable to because of the abundance of fish. It was then that John recognised that it was Jesus standing on the shore, and then Peter jumped into the water and began swimming to shore. Upon arriving to shore the disciples found that Jesus had already prepared some fish on a fire. Again, they had no doubt that this was Jesus.
Jesus appeared yet once more to 11 disciples on a mountain in Galilee where Mark records the final words of Jesus to His disciples to go out to the entire world and preach the gospel. Mark 15:15
A special appearance was granted to Stephen who was boldly preaching the Word, when he looked up to the heavens and said; Behold I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. (Acts 7:56 KJV) This, just before he was stoned to death.
There were probably more sightings of Jesus that we have no recordings of, but for all of His recorded appearances, none were purposed for the sheer experience of amazement. All of His appearances had objectives behind them. It is true that at His first appearance to His disciples, they did not believe at first that it was Jesus, but in the end they all truly believed.
The variety and times and places which Jesus appeared made it difficult to refute the truth of His resurrection. All of these appearances occurred in broad daylight, so there could be no confusion as to the possibility of hallucinations or discrepancies due to darkness.
The reality of Jesus is indisputable. He is well documented to having taught many people, to have performed certain miracles, to having been hung on the cross and died, to having been placed within the tomb for burial, and to having been witnessed by too many people alive after His resurrection. The historicity of these events is too well documented and witnessed to have been a pure myth, or a combination of fact and fiction.
What other evidences exist of the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.
How about the miraculous transformation of the disciples themselves? When they were all gathered together after His death on the cross in the upper room, they were hiding from more than just the Jewish leaders. At this time they were a disgruntled bunch. As far as they were concerned, they had lost everything in their cause of following the one who would take them out of their misery of being led by a foreign nation. His kingdom had not arrived as they had hoped and Christs many promises seemed empty. At this point they were about to fold up and return to their former jobs. Disunity itself was threatening to break up this motley crew.
Each disciple carried with him a temper which was out of harmony with Christs final words to them to love one another. Peters brusqueness, John with his nasty temper, Thomas and his pessimism, and Philip with his materialism would eventually cause a clash if they were to remain together.
Jesus knew this of course.
But, between the time of Christs crucifixion and the day of Pentecost a remarkable transformation occurred within these same disciples. This disgruntled bunch was to become the nucleus which would cause a stir in the world like none had seen before. They would soon defy the leaders which had killed their Messiah, be imprisoned and some martyred for the cause of proclaiming the gospel to the world.
Peter who had cowardly denied Christ three times a week earlier would now stand up boldly accusing the Jewish leaders of having killed the Messiah and affirm that God had restored Him to life. James the half-brother of Christ, who had earlier rejected Jesus as the messiah, became the leader of the church in Jerusalem. Thomas the skeptic changed his attitude to that of worship.
The most remarkable change was that of Paul who believed the principal of resurrection, but rejected the Messiah. This same Paul whose main goal was to destroy and eliminate Christianity was found one day riding a horse down the road to Damascus with the sole intent of taking to court and persecuting believers. Oh his way he was intercepted by a manifestation of Jesus, and from here on took on an about face with a totally different attitude and was strong in the cause in proclaiming the gospel Of Jesus Christ. This change was so dramatic that those who had known him before were confused about his complete turnaround.
It could have only been the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the empowering of the Holy Spirit which caused such a great transformation within the lives of these men. There is no other explanation for the sudden change of heart, and change of attitudes to stand boldly and fight and persecute the very ones who had previously been their enemies, where they simply cowered before.
Just look at the change within your own lives since you were saved. Some of you, like myself have come from a course background of bars, drugs, sex and booze, where every second word coming out of your mouth was foul with its origins from the depths of hell.
Now look at yourselves. Where you once turned your backs on those who tried to profess the Word of God to you, you are now yourselves boldly proclaiming the gospel. What could have caused such a remarkable transformation where the words that now pour from your lips are a sweet melody in the ears of God? What could have caused such a transformation where once booze and drugs gushed through your veins, and now the rich beautiful blood of Jesus flows?
What I ask again could have caused such a remarkable change in you and me? Shout it out loud from the roof tops and from the mountain tops.
Only the resurrection of Jesus Christ from death to life could have caused the remarkable transformation in the lives of you and me and many millions as well. A dead man could not have caused such a change. Only a living resurrected Saviour could have caused this awesome remarkable transformation that we see in the lives of so many.
So my friends, kids, and neighbours, the next time someone asks you what Easter is about, dont just tell them that Easter is about Jesus Christ who rose from the dead. Tell them with boldness and power that Easter to me is about God who came to earth in the form of a man, and died a cruel horrible death on the cross to save your souls from the sure fiery pit of hell. Tell them he paid the penalty of death for your sins, which you so richly deserve.
Tell them this very same Jesus Christ, who is God, arose from the dead on the third day after being crucified on a cross, is now up in heaven and one day soon He is coming again to take us who believe on the work He did on the cross home to be with Him forever.
Tell them, that if this were not so, then you to would be going to hell, not to heaven, because if all this were not true, then there would be no heaven, no hope of eternal glory. If Jesus had not risen from the grave, then all of our preaching and teaching is in vain, and we all would die a sinners death.
TELL THEM, I BELIEVE IN THE BODILY RESURRECTION OF JESUS CHRIST.
TELL THEM, THATS WHAT EASTER MEANS TO ME.
The Blessings of the Spirit Filled Life
Please put yourself in a courtroom setting. You have just heard the final arguments of prosecution. In this case God has laid out His case against the ungodly people of the time of the apostle Paul. He has finished His condemnation of the heathen Gentiles for their lack of acknowledging His existence and giving Him the honour He deserves. They have also turned their backs on Him, and gone back to their immoral ways.
On the same docket, God has laid out His credentials and proof for judging the Jews who were complacent of the very same sins of which they were judging the heathen Gentiles.
The verdict of their sins is death. And suddenly, someone comes forward pleading on the behalf of both parties, and offers Himself as a scapegoat to take the punishment for their sins.
The guilty parties are offered a way of escape from the punishment which they so richly deserve, if they would only acknowledge and honour Him for the free gift of salvation. And they are to live in faith according to His masterful plan and respect the laws of the court. That is, they are to obey the laws without making it their religion, and to live by faith in hope that one day if they follow along with His plan, they will see the fulfillment of salvation as ordered by the judge.
And now in summary of the previous proceedings there is laid out for them the Blessings that will befall them now and future as they are Justified, that is, declared righteous before God judicially, as if they had never sinned, because He, Jesus Christ, has borne and paid the penalty of death for their sins.
Romans Chapter 8 lists several blessings of leading a Spirit filled life. The first blessing is given immediately in first part of verse 1. It reads, There is now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. NKJV This, may perhaps may be understood in two ways. Firstly, there is no divine condemnation as far as our sins are concerned because when you become a Christian, you are now in Christ. That means, that just as when you were born into a family, you take on the family name and traits that are within the family. Likewise, when you become a Christian, you are born in a sense anew, into His family, taking on within yourself His righteous traits.
Before Christ paid the penalty of our sins, we were under condemnation of death because of our first federal head, (first father), Adam.
But now we are in Christ, and are therefore now free from condemnation as He is now our Heavenly Father. And, there is now no longer self-condemnation which we felt being under the law before Christ came. Under the law, we were unable to fulfill the requirements of the law by our own power.
A brief summary is necessitated to understand the above statement; being under the law.
The law originally signifies the revealed will of God with respect to human conduct, including all the divine commandants like we have in the Ten Commandments, and precepts which regulate mans moral life without and within. An analogy is seen in our day to day lives where we must obey laws enacted by the government and enforced by the police. Or if you will, as a child of a family, you are required to abide by rules as laid out by your parents. And likewise we must obey by the rules in work, school etc. God originated laws for people to live by when He created man. The penalty for disobeying as we know is death.
However more importantly in relation to the law of which we were under before Christ came, we must go back to the days of Moses when God gave Moses laws, instituted rules of life mediated through Moses to govern Gods covenanted people, Israel, in Canaan. This law regulated their everyday conduct and was a covenant of works. (Ex. 19:5-6) This covenant was not meant to be a permanent covenant. It is now superseded by what we refer to as the New Testament, if you like, the New Covenant. (Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:8-13) The Ten Commandments as part, in a sense of the Old Covenant was done away with by the death of Christ. (John 1:17; Rom. 10:4) The Mosaic Law (age) was pre-existed (Ex. 19:4 You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles wings and brought you to myself. NKJV) and followed by grace (John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. NKJV) Grace came as a result of the atonement made by Christ by the payment of sins, by the shedding of His blood on the cross. The Mosaic Law was a temporary divine administration in effect only until Christ should come and complete His work of atonement on the cross.
The Law of Grace was indoctrinated after the death of Christ on the cross. A renewed child of God is now no longer under the Old Testament Law, but under grace. However, that does not mean that a redeemed child is free to go ahead and live like the world, and live in sin. We are now living under grace. (John 1:16; Rom. 5:1-2; 8:1-2; Col. 2:9-10) Though we no longer live under the old law we are still under the law of Christ. (1 Cor. 9:20-21) And we also still have Gods natural laws written on our hearts to help us to live according to His will. ( For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another." Rom. 2:14-15 KJV)
In other words, we all have an innate knowledge of what is right and what is wrong. We know without being told it is wrong to lie, steal, cheat etc. Gods moral laws are written within our hearts. Our conscience serves like a monitor instinctively telling us what is right and what is wrong.
Rom. 8:2 continues to explain why there is no condemnation. It says, For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. NKJV
In this verse there are two opposing laws or principles. The characteristic principle of the Holy Spirit empowers the believer into holy living. And the characteristic principle of indwelling sin drags one down to death.
Likewise is the law of gravity. If you throw a rock into the air, it comes back down with a thud because it is heavier than the air which it displaces. A bird is heavier than air, but when you throw it up into the air, it flies away. The law of life within the bird overcomes the law of gravity. And so likewise the Holy Spirit supplies the believer with the risen life of Christ making the believer free from the law of sin and death.
Verse three of Romans Chapter 8 goes on to say that the law could never get people to fulfill its sacred requirements. The law was weak, unable to produce holy living. It was weak though the flesh. The weakness was not the law itself, but with the fallen human nature. The law spoke to men who were already sinners, but had not the strength to obey the law. Therefore by grace, God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and condemned sin in the flesh.
Notice however, that Christ did not come in sinful flesh, but in the likeness of sinful flesh. We are told in 1 Peter 2:22 that He, (Christ) did no sin. He knew no sin. 2 Cor. 5:21 and there was no sin in Him. 1 John 3:5 He resembled sinful humanity, and by His sacrifice for our sins, Christ condemned sin in the flesh.
He died not only for the sins which we have committed 1 Pet. 3:18, but also for our sin nature. Nowhere does it say that our sin nature is forgiven, for it is condemned. However, it is the sins which we have and will commit which are forgiven.
Romans 8:4 tell us that the righteous requirements of the law are fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Therefore when we turn our lives over to the Holy Spirit, He empowers us to love God and to love our neighbour which is after all the basis of what the law is and requires.
Paul has pieced together in these first four verses his arguments from chapters 5-7 where he discussed the federal headships of Adam and Christ. Now here in chapter 8 he shows us that our condemnation inherited to us by Adam is removed because of our identification with Christ. Chapters 6 & 7 list the horrible problems of our sin nature. Now he triumphantly announces that the Spirits law of life in Christ Jesus has made us free from the law of sin and death. So we now understand that the requirements of the law are met by a Spirit led (controlled) life.
Notice what verse 5 says about those who live according to the flesh. That is, non-believers, who are concerned only with the things of the flesh. They live only to gratify the desires of the flesh. But, those living according to the Spirit, true believers rise above the flesh and live for eternal things. They are occupied with the Word of the Lord, prayers, worship and service for God.
Catch this in verse 6. To be carnally minded, that is to be mentally inclined to follow after the things of the flesh (the fallen nature), is death. The wages of sin, for those whose intent is to follow the ways of the world and not the ways of God is death. For the wages of sin is death. Rom. 6:23 KJV
It is death for the present and also and ultimately eternally, alive, but eternally separated from God, with no chance of ever again being in His presence in heaven.
But Paul reminds us on the opposite side of the coin to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (Rom. 8:6 KJV) The second half of Rom. 6:23 affirms this saying but the gift of God is eternal life though Jesus Christ our Lord. (KJV) This is a guarantee. Eternal life and peace is a promise from God for those who follow after Him, obeying the prompting of the Holy Spirit, doing the will of God. What a blessing that will be to live with God eternally in peace.
What does Paul say about whose side you are on if you live in the flesh? Verse 7 gives the answer. It is "enmity against God. (KJV) Enmity against God is a deep rooted hatred of Him. It is an irreconcilable hostility towards God. Friendship with the world is said by James 4:4 to be "enmity with God. (KJV) It is a conflict, being at odds with the plans of God for the promotion of righteousness. Do not love the world or the things in the world; if anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world." 1 John 2:15, 16 NKJV The carnal mind is said to be hostile toward God. Rom. 8:7-8. Those who love the world and the things in it are opposed to His nature and will. The sinner living in the flesh is an outlaw. He is a rebel in active hostility against God. We see this clearly when Jesus was crucified. The law to the rebel is one of its own will, not the will of God. The sinner wants to be his own master, not willing to bow to the will and rule of God. He cannot therefore be subject to Gods law.
Is it therefore no wonder that those living in the flesh are unable to please God, verse 8? Just think of it for a moment. There is not a thing in the entire world that the carnally minded spirit can do to please God. He can do no good works to please Him. He can perform no religious observance, nor offer any sacrifice to please the Lord. He can do nothing, nothing at all to please God. It is only by accepting the work of Christ on the cross in faith and believing it that puts a smile on the face of God.
You are no longer living in the flesh but in the Spirit when you are born again, accepting the work of Christ on the cross in faith and trusting Him to be Lord and master of your life. (Verse #9) You are living in a totally different sphere, just like a fish lives in the water, not in the air when you are born again. A believer lives in the Spirit, not in the flesh when he/she is born again. He not only lives in the Spirit, but the Spirit lives in him.
If you have not the Spirit of God living within you, we are told in verse 9, you do not belong to Christ at all. You are disowned by Him as if you belong to another family as we are told in John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of the father you want to do (NKJV) Those who do not obey the words of Christ are of the devil, doing the lusts of him.
Now, in verse 10, Paul gives us the next benefit of A Spirit Filled life. Paul says that if Christ be in you, the body is dead. (KJV)
Oh my! This doesnt really sound like a blessing to me. But, wait now. Note, our mortal bodies from the moment they are born, have already begun to die because of sin. Did you catch that? Your body was born to die. But, the Spirit led life is life, because of righteousness. Because of the righteous work of Christ in His death and resurrection, the believers body is made alive. The life of the saint lies in his soul, while the life of the sinner goes on no further than the body. When the body of a believer dies the spirit of that believer is yet still alive. Death to the saint is but the freeing in a sense, of the heaven born spirit from the clog and load of this body, so that it may be fit to partake in eternal life.
What am I talking about you may say? Even though this mortal body that you and I possess is subject to death, yet it will live again with the Lord.
There is yet another great promise given to the Spirit led life. And what is that? Verse 11 tells us. Just as the Holy Spirit raised up Jesus from the dead, this very same Holy Spirit which lives within you will likewise also give life to our mortal bodies, raising us up and providing us with glorified bodies like that of our Saviour Jesus Christ. This is the final act of our redemption from sin. We will no longer be living with a body indwelt with a sinful nature; we will no longer war within ourselves, warring between doing what is right and what is wrong.
Now we are given a stark contrast between the flesh and the spirit. Verse 12 Now, that you a believer you are indwelt by the Holy Spirit. You are no longer in debt to do the will of the flesh. The evil corrupt nature living within us has been nothing but a bummer. It has never done us once ounce of good. If Christ had not saved us, the flesh would have dragged us down to the pit of hell. Why should you feel obliged to obey the whims of such an enemy?
Therefore the apostle Paul tells us that by living the ways of the flesh, we shall die. This is like self-examination. Are you truly saved? In contrast the true believer, by the power of the Holy Spirit is given another blessing. And that is that by the enabling of the Holy Spirit, the deeds of the body the flesh, are put to death. And you, the true believer even now are free to begin living an eternal life to its fullest, especially when we are joined with our glorified bodies in heaven.
Yet still another blessing is given to us in verse 14 for the Spirit led Life. Many people today think it would be awesome to be born or adopted into a wealthy family, living in a mansion, owning the best cars etc. But far better still is the promise and gift of the Spirit Led Life. All believers, the moment they are saved, whether they be man, woman, boy or girl are automatically adopted into the family of God, who promised to prepare a place in heaven where there are many mansions. (John 14:2) The implication in verse 14 is a promise that we shall all enjoy all the privileges of living in His family. Just as you enjoy all the privileges given you with your earthly families, you will likewise enjoy the inheritance granted you to enjoy living in the family of God.
Furthermore, according to the promise of being adopted into the family of God, we are also given the awesome privilege of addressing God as Abba Father. This is no less different than your calling your earthly father, dad or father.
According to verse 16, another blessing is that the Holy Spirit Himself makes our own spirit aware of the special relationship we have with God the Father as sons of God.
Verse 17 again reminds us that we are heirs of God, inheritors of His estate. All that our Father has is also ours. Though we do not have that inheritance yet, it will be ours one day after we are taken home to be with Him.
Just as Christ Himself has a special relationship with God the father, we to will also one day enjoy that very same relationship, being as close to the father as an earthly son should have with ones father. Yet this relationship will be perfect with no flaws at all.
And like Jesus, we may also suffer persecution. Though we may not suffer as wickedly as He did, God looks upon us as if we had incurred all the same hostility as He did, with all the shame and disapproval.
Yet, on the more positive side, like Jesus and as heirs of Gods kingdom, we shall one day inherit a glorified body perfected with no more earthly pains, sickness or sufferings of any kind. Verse 18 explains further the special blessing we shall enjoy in our relationship to our suffering with Christ. We are told, that although we may suffer for Christ in our present state, it will seem a trifle in comparison to the glory which will be revealed to us when we are joined together with him in heaven. In other words, on a balance scale, the glory to be revealed to us will far outweigh our present sufferings to such an extent that, it will seem as if there was nothing in the plate of our sufferings. As we read in 2 Cor. 4:17 the apostle Paul says it thus; For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. KJV
And it is not just ourselves who look forward to the end of these present sufferings. But, also all of creation is waiting the day when Christ shall return and renew them to the state which all creation once enjoyed. That is, that at this time all of creation is groaning because of the judgement of sin passed on to mankind because of Adams first sin. All of creation looks forward, or looks back if you will to the ideal conditions that existed in Eden, when all was as God said; Is Good Soon all of creation will be delivered from the bondage of corruption to enjoy the freedom of the day when Gods children will be revealed in glory.
In comparison, we to groan within our mortal bodies for that day of deliverance verse 23, from this present bondage of corruption. We as Spirit Led Lives, have that guarantee of the coming adoption, the redemption of the body. Although in the one sense we have already been adopted and redeemed, we await the full complete redemption of our bodies and spirits when we will be redeemed at the time of the Rapture. (1 Thess. 4:13-18)
We are also saved by hope verse 24. Even though we do not receive all the benefits of our salvation at the moment of conversion, we look forward to a full and final deliverance from sin, suffering, disease and death.
So Paul urges us verse 25 to eagerly await our deliverance with perseverance for this promised blessing. Our happiness is not with this present possession, but with what is unseen. By faith we await the full deliverance of His promise. We do well to await this hope of glory with patience.
Briefly, verses 26 & 27; likewise as the Holy Spirit sustains us with the Blessed Hope of our final deliverance into glory, He likewise sustains us in our weakness. That is, in times of prayer we know not what to ask for, so he intercedes for us in prayer smoothing out our requests to God. As God searches the minds of believers, He likewise interprets the mind of the Holy Spirit who is interceding for us according to the will of God.
The next few verses declare another amazing blessing. First of all in verse 28 we read, All things work together for good " (KJV) This at times can be a very difficult verse to understand. What good people may wonder may come from sufferings, or heartbreaks, or tragedy? We all know someone who has been suffering in one manner or another. Perhaps you yourself are going through some sort of trials and tribulation. What possible good can come from this?
The following verse gives the answer. Verse 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn of many brethren. KJV Whatever God has permitted to come into our lives is designed to conform us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.
It is not by chance or luck that things happen to us whether good or bad. Our lives are controlled by Him who has a plan for each individual life. We may not understand why some things are allowed to happen. But when we are raptured and begin our eternal lives with Him, then perhaps we will understand.
Now Paul traces the majestic sweep of the divine program designed to bring many sons to glory. Verses 29-30
Firstly, God foreknew us in eternity past. This was not mere intellectual knowledge as far as knowledge is concerned. But His foreknowledge embraced only those whom He foreordained or predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son. It is not enough to say God foreknew those whom He realized would one day repent and believe. Actually it is His foreknowledge that ensures eventual belief and repentance.
It is an amazing truth that ungodly sinners should one day be transformed into the image of Christ, to be morally like Him, free from sin and have glorified bodies like His.
Now this verse is outstanding among many in the Bible. Verse 30 tells us that everyone whom God predestined in eternity past is also called in time. That is, he, the believer not only hears, but responds to the gospel. It is therefore an effectual call. All are called, but only a few respond, or to put it another way, all are given the gift, but few keep it. And all who do respond, who keep His gift, are justified, given a righteous standing before God, made to stand sinless before Him. And being justified, we will also be glorified one day to be in the same image of Him.
Verses 31-39 I might call The Holy Triumph of a Spirit Led Life. These verse are the likely the strongest verses in all of scripture which attest to eternal security, once saved always saved.
What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.
Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. KJV
When we consider the unbreakable links in the golden chain of redemption, the conclusion is inevitable. If God is for us, marked us out for His own, then, no one can be successful against us. V: 31 if an Omnipotent God is working on our behalf, there is no less power that can defeat His program.
Listen again to the argument proving this point, verse 32: He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (KJV)
When a world lost in sin needed to be saved from its sin, God did not hold back His greatest gift, a substitute to pay for the sins of the world. Instead He gave His son over to a death of shame on our behalf. If therefore God has given His greatest gift, would He also not hold back any lesser gift? If he has paid the highest price,
would He hesitate at any lower price? If He has gone to such lengths to procure our salvation, will He ever let us go? Will He ever renege on His promise of eternal life if we are given and receive His gift? Will He ever take back His gift?
If God has already justified His elect, who can bring a charge against them? No one can!
Another challenge sounds out in the court room, verse 34, to separate Gods love for His people. Is there anyone present to condemn if God loves His justified elect enough to pay the penalty Himself? No because Christ Himself has paid the penalty of death. Rom 6:23 And He is now raised from the dead and now sits at the right hand of God interceding for the accused. If Christ to whom all judgement has been given does not pass sentence, then who will?
Now, there yet remains one final challenge to be flung forward. Is there anyone or anything that can separate us from the love of Christ and ultimately from the promised fulfillment of our salvation? A thorough search is made verses 38- 39 for all possible circumstances. But none is found. Nothing! Nothing in all the heavens or the earth can separate you from the love of Christ if you are His child. Nothing!
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
By faith in Christ therefore we are conquerors in this life as followers of Christ. We cannot be defeated. With the enabling power of the Holy Spirit we are led to walk a Spirit led Life. Although we may stumble at times, nothing in all the world can separate us from the love of Christ and ultimately from eternal life.
Is it no wonder then that many a martyr has died singing and a smile on his lips?
The Blessings of a Spirit Led Life are many. The destiny of one following after the flesh is death.
So my challenge to everyone is this. Choose to die, or to be blessed.
I am reminded of the song by Michael Card Immanuel (click here)
(Some scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Other quotations from the King James Version)
Moralistic Therapeutic Deism
Are You Prepared?
WHAT A DAY, THAT WILL BE
WHEN MY JESUS, I SHALL SEE
O' WHAT A GLORIOUS DAY THAT WILL BE
[Words & Music: Jim Hill, Ben Speer Music ICG]
These words from the Hymn have played many a time in my mind as of of late. I sing these words over and over, never tiring of them, because I long indeed for the day, when my Jesus I shall see.
The world is a stage Elvis Presley once said in a song many years ago. The chess board is set, the pieces are moving, it is only time before the things of this world will fall, as does the king and queen on the board. All the things in the political, and economic world are pointing to a collapse of this worlds system. Most of the world is aligning itself against Israel as prophesied in scripture. When this happens, a one world government along with a one world religion and a one world currency will be put in place by the Anti-Christ empowered by Satan himself. All this also is prophesied in scripture. Whether you believe it or not, it is not hard to see this is true. It is coming and it would appear that the Lord will come to call His own home to Him soon. Whether, 2 to 5 to ten years we know not for sure. But, the writing is on the wall.
All this inspires me more than ever to be forever prepared for His coming. like the story of the ten virgins in scripture.
1Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
2And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
3They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
4But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
5While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
6And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
7Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
8And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
9But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
10And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
11Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
12But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
13Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
(King James Version)
Some were prepared for the Lord's coming, and some were not.
This gives me and inspires me more than ever to live a more justly and godly life, so that when He comes, I will be prepared and welcomed and not ashamed.
So so as I often do allow me to encourage you again with these words:
Luk 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
Mat 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
(Both King James Version)
The day is coming, are you prepared?
The Skin of a Snake
Recently while working in my garden I came across what I thought at first was the skin of a snake. Thinking upon how snakes shed their skin reminded me of how we as sinners are to put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts Eph. 4:22 (King James Version) and are to be renewed in the spirit of your mind . And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Eph. 4:23,24 (King James Version)
You see, a snake in essence sheds off its old life, its old skin, and puts on a new life, a new skin. What was our old life like, our old man, our old skin. The following verses again from Ephesians tell us what we were like.
Ephesians 4:25-31 King James Version (KJV)
25Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
26Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
27Neither give place to the devil.
28Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
29Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
30And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
31Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
Ephesians 2:3 King James Version (KJV)
3Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
1 Peter 4:3 King James Version (KJV)
3For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:
Galatians 5:21 King James Version (KJV)
21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
These are but a few examples of how we used to be, and how some of us still behave.
To the contrary as I have already said we are to shed off the old ways of life and put on the new skin, the new life How?
Ephesians 4:23-24 King James Version (KJV)
23And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
We can do this because:
Romans 6:4 King James Version (KJV)
4Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Just as the snake in one sense died, it now lives, thus we to, now are dead to sins past and now are alive because:
Romans 6:5-14 King James Version (KJV)
5For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:
6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.
7For he that is dead is freed from sin.
8Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:
9Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.
10For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.
11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
14For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
Do you see that? You who were once alive unto sins, to obey its lust are no longer under the power of sin once you become a child of God.
Jesus, who now lives in you, has the power to conquer sin in you. You on your own cannot overcome sin in yourself.
So now, Romans 6:11 King James Version (KJV)
11Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.
You no longer need to let sin rule over you, because you now have Jesus in you, living in you who has the power to live the life in you that He wants you to live.
The lusts of the flesh, no longer need be in control of your body. Let Christ who is in you LIVE so that you are no longer under the control of sin. Do not try to do on your own, you cannot. Hand over your life to be controlled by Him.
Romans 6:16-23 King James Version (KJV)
16Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
17But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
19I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
20For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
21What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
22But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
So now if you obey no longer the fruit and lust of the sins the promises of God are:
Galatians 5:22-25 King James Version (KJV)
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
24And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
So This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
Galatians 5:17-18 King James Version (KJV)
17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
18But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Now recall at the beginning, I said: I thought at first was the skin of a snake. I realized after having a closer look that this snake had not shed its skin, but was a dead snake. And that will be the end result of you who continue to lust after the things of the flesh and do not seek after God to do His will.
Therefore do not seek to fulfil the lusts of the flesh, but rather seek to fulfill the lust of the Spirit of God.
Romans 6:12-13 King James Version (KJV)
12Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
13Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.
Because Romans 6:23 King James Version (KJV)
23For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
So, make a stand right this very moment, choose this day as Joshua did when he said:
Joshua 24:15 King James Version (KJV)
15And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
Serve ye therefore, whether you will serve the lusts of the flesh or the Lord!
Statement of Rabbis
Declaration on the Torah Approach to Homosexuality
December 26, 2011
For Immediate Release
Therapy to Help Homosexuals Change Orientation:
Hundreds of Rabbis Say Its the Only Torah-Approved Way
A coalition of more than 150 Orthodox rabbis, community organizers and leaders, and respected mental-health professionals have released a statement declaring that, political correctness notwithstanding, the only Torah-approved course of action with regard to homosexuality is psychological therapy coupled with teshuva, or repentance.
The document, entitled Declaration on the Torah Approach to Homosexuality, seeks to clarify the theological understanding of the Biblically mandated prohibition. It also presents what the authors and signators see as a practical and achievable solution for those faced with same-sex attractions. Its position is that same-sex attractions can be modified and healed.
The concept that G-d created a human being who is unable to find happiness in a loving relationship unless he violates a biblical prohibition is neither plausible nor acceptable, says the Declaration, which views same-sex attractions as any other behavior that can be controlled and altered, such as addictions or weight control.
The signators represent the broad spectrum of the Torah-observant world, including Modern Orthodox rabbis, ultra-Orthodox roshei yeshivas as well as some from Yeshiva University, pulpit rabbis, yeshivish and chassidish rabbis, organizational rabbis, Sephardic rabbis, rebbetzins, community organizers, and mental-health professionals.
The timing of the Declaration to coincide with Chanukah, which celebrates the Jews resistance to forced Hellenization, was not coincidental. Homosexuality was one of the hallmarks of ancient Greek culture.
The timeless and immutable Torah-based conviction regarding the unacceptability of homosexual behavior motivated the authors and signators of the Declaration.
Dismissing the modern trend, even in some religious circles, to view homosexuality as a permanent, unchangeable characteristic or trait, the statement emphatically rejects the notion that a homosexually inclined person cannot overcome his or her inclination and desire.
Behaviors are changeable. The Torah does not forbid something which is impossible to avoid, says the statement.
The Declaration, which was written by a 25-member committee consisting of rabbis, parents, strugglers (those still undergoing therapy), and success stories (those who underwent therapy and today are living heterosexual lives, many with spouses and children), rejects efforts by secularists and some in the religious community to downplay or deny totally the possibility of change. Further, the Declaration recognizes that those who dismiss the possibility of change are forcing individuals with same-sex attractions to live their lives as either homosexuals or celibates.
Abandoning people to lifelong loneliness and despair by denying all hope of overcoming and healing their same-sex attraction is heartlessly cruel, says the statement.
The treatment recommended in the statement is reparative or gender-affirming therapy, which the Declaration defines as reinforcing the natural gender-identity of the individual by helping him or her understand and repair the emotional wounds that led to its disorientation and weakening, thus enabling the resumption and completion of the individuals emotional development.
Teshuva, which the statement sees as a necessary component, is the Torah-mandated self-motivated process of turning away from any transgression or sin and returning to G-d and ones spiritual essence.
These processes are typically facilitated and coordinated with the help of a specially trained counselor or therapist working in conjunction with a qualified spiritual teacher or guide. There is no other practical, Torah-sanctioned solution for this issue, says the statement.
The statement goes out of its way to caution against castigation of the individual suffering from an unwanted same-sex attraction. The key point to remember is that these individuals are primarily innocent victims of childhood emotional wounds. They deserve our full love, support, and encouragement in their striving towards healing, says the Declaration.
Because so many of the committees members have either formerly dealt with the issue or are still undergoing therapy, the entire committee decided to keep its membership anonymous.
Our identity isnt important; our message is, said one of the members.
According to the member, the purpose of the Torah Declaration is to help Jews who have become confused on this issue and have become accepting of some false notions, including the concept that a person cannot control his nature and, therefore, should accept his prohibited inclination as something natural and normal that does not need to be worked on and healed.
The member said that many of the committees success stories are now married to women who are fully aware of their husbands backgrounds and are living family-oriented lives in the mainstream Orthodox community.
While the members of the committee have requested anonymity, the signators, many of them world-renowned, have gone public with the Declaration. Their names and affiliations, as well as the full Declaration on the Torah Approach to Homosexuality and other pertinent information, can be accessed at www.TorahDec.org.
For more information, members of the press can contact our press representative, who has agreed to field questions from the press, act as a liaison between members of the committee and the press, and, when possible, facilitate interviews with signators. Our press representative can be reached at [email protected]
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We must not believe the Evil One when he tells us that there is nothing we can do in the face of violence, injustice and sin.— Pope Francis (@Pontifex) March 24, 2013