What?!? He said the word “Immoral”?!?

Kudos to Marine General Peter Pace.  After commenting yesterday that he thought homosexual behavior was “immoral” his aides say that he refuses to apologize.

And note that his comment was not made during some sort of rant or froth-mouthed speech.  Rather, he was simply asked his opinion about whether or not the military should abandon its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy concerning homosexuals serving in the military in light of troop level challenges.  Here is the AP’s summary of the “offensive” statements (article here):

Pace said he supports the policy, which became law in 1994 and prohibits commanders from asking about a person’s sexual orientation.

“I believe homosexual acts between two individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts,” Pace was quoted as saying in the newspaper interview. “I do not believe the United States is well served by a policy that says it is OK to be immoral in any way.”

Pace, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., and a 1967 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, said he based his views on his upbringing.

“As an individual, I would not want (acceptance of gay behavior) to be our policy, just like I would not want it to be our policy that if we were to find out that so-and-so was sleeping with somebody else’s wife, that we would just look the other way, which we do not. We prosecute that kind of immoral behavior,” he said.

There has been, of course, a good bit of “outrage” so far by predictable parties.

It’s really amazing.  To think that we live in a day when hearing someone calling homosexual activity immoral is a newsworthy event.  The outrage probably doesn’t seem as surprising as it should, if only because many of us don’t realize the extent to which our sensibilities have been diluted over the last few decades.

The Bible declares in Isaiah 5:20, “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”  Who can doubt that such a declaration applies to our time and to our society?

America’s lax view of God’s law and the role it plays in preserving a society will continue to haunt the nation.  As Ezekiel prophesied of our religious leaders, “Her priests have violated My law and profaned My holy things; they have not distinguished between the holy and unholy, nor have they made known the difference between the unclean and the clean; and they have hidden their eyes from My Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them” (Ezekiel 22:26).  We have created a society in which we can no longer say, “God says so,” and be taken seriously.  Even a reference to the less pointed notion of “immorality” raises hackles, as if such concepts are no longer permitted.

General Pace’s breed is sadly on the endangered species list.  I don’t know what sort of man he is otherwise, but I appreciate the courage he has shown in his willingness to use such a dangerous word.  I hope he will stick to his guns.

13 thoughts on “What?!? He said the word “Immoral”?!?

  1. I’m going to ask something here, and I hope I don’t get chewed out for it. It seems when I ask this question, I get angry and irritated responses…but I’m hoping you’re different and will finally give me a straight answer. (Please be aware that, if your answer confuses me further, or in any way doesn’t enlighten me, I will ask more questions so that I can understand. Usually, this is where the issue lies – people think I’m trying to be difficult when I do this, and get angry with me instead of trying to clarify. Why? I don’t know.)

    Okay, so here’s the thing. Can someone *please* tell me where in the Bible it says that homosexuality is wrong? I even asked my mother this question – she is a devout Christian who actually raised me to ask questions – and she couldn’t even point out a definitive answer for me.

    I hear people say all the time that homosexuality is wrong and immoral, but I have yet to see an actual passage that says this. I’ve seen several passages that are *interpreted* as saying this, some of them are way out there in trying to get to that interpretation, but I still don’t understand *why* it’s wrong.

    So could I get an explanation as to why it is? And please, for once, one without being angry for my asking?

  2. Greetings, Shelly, and thanks for your question.

    Honest questions, honestly asked, deserve honest answers! So you won’t get chewed out here for asking about what the Bible says on the matter. And if others get upset at you for asking what the Bible says about a matter as opposed to simply taking the word of men they should not, as that is the Biblical model. We are told the Bereans did this very thing and “searched the scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).

    (However, it is important to note that the Bible also says in the same verse that they “received the word with all readiness,” which is sometimes the problem. Sometimes, people say they want to be shown something from the Bible, but in their heart of hearts (Jeremiah 17:9), they are already set in their opinion about the matter and meet the Word of God with only objection and an appeal to a “Well, that’s just what you think” mentality. Such people can find themselves “always learning and never able to come to a knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7). But if you avoid this trap, then you will do well by always looking to God’s word for justification for your beliefs — and you will be far ahead of the vast majority of so-called “Christians” in today’s world, to boot!)

    In answer to your question about where in the Bible homosexuality is condemned as immoral, there are a number of verses that we could turn to — including, perhaps, some of those that your mother may have shown you. I would rather give you the basic answer: homosexual behavior transgresses God’s law, and according to 1 John 3:4, “sin is the transgression of the law.” It is the law (what is commonly called the “Old Testament” or the “Hebrew Scriptures”) that gave the writers of the New Testament their guide to what is sin and not sin, and it is the law that Jesus upheld during His three-and-a-half year ministry (e.g., Matthew 5:17-19).

    The law in question, here, is expressed in Leviticus 18, which is a chapter setting out laws concerning sexual morality. In that chapter, we are told “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination” (Leviticus 18:22). Abomination is a rather strong word, and its use should make God’s opinion about the matter very clear.

    (The legalistically-minded amongst us might argue that male homosexual relationships are here forbidden, but not female homosexual relationships. However, this goes against the manner in which God expressed many of His laws in a patriarchal society. Also, Jesus condemned such an approach to the law when He answered the lawyer’s question, “Who is my neighbor?” in Luke 10:29-37, and Paul — an expert in the law, himself — makes it clear that the principle covers both sexes in Romans 1:26-27.)

    I hope this is helpful! More could be said, but I like to stick to the fundamentals when I can. 🙂

    Thanks for your question, and I hope your day is a good one!

    Best regards,
    Wallace Smith

  3. Deano

    Howdy Mr. Smith,

    I caught an article on this just before heading out of the office today. I was rather shocked. It seems no one has the intestinal fortitude, to borrow a phrase, to stand up for what is right and speak out on these matters anymore.

    I am very impressed with General Pace as well – and also hope that he sticks with his guns.

    ————————————————————

    Hi Shelly,

    I would add to Mr Smith’s comments that you might look at Romans 1:26-27 & 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. Both of these passages in the New Testament very clearly condemn homosexuality leaving no room for reasoning around the matter outside of flat denial of what it plainly states.

    Indeed, if Christians are not to even look at a woman to lust for her as Jesus Christ tells us in Matthew 5:28, then how could it be possible that homosexuality is not immoral? It just wouldn’t add up.

    Anyway, I hope this was helpful as well.

    Deano

  4. gls

    “It’s really amazing. To think that we live in a day when hearing someone calling homosexual activity immoral is a newsworthy event.”

    I agree. It’s only newsworthy when everyone is so hung up on the idea that what consenting adults do is anyone else’s business.

    As for the Biblical injunctions against homosexuality, I’ve always been amused at how Christians pick and choose from the OT. Do you forgive your debts according to Biblical principles? Do you destroy your house if you’re unable to get mildew out? Do you wear clothes of mixed fiber?

  5. Greetings, and thanks for your comment. And I am glad that, at the very least, I have provided you some amusement (I do what I can).

    The “consenting adults” thing is a bit of a red herring and distracts from the real issues – namely, what is “immorality” and is it allowable anymore for anyone to label anything “immoral”? God – who is the ultimate Authority on morality – certainly is within His “rights” to declare behavior immoral, whether the adults participating are “consenting” or not. While I agree that legislating morality is a dangerous endeavor that mankind generally does very poorly, I also agree that to at least some extent it is a necessary endeavor. And in the military, I would think that the “extent” of that “necessity” has an even greater reach.

    And I’m glad that you find the “picking and choosing” amusing. I must admit that for many nominal “Christians” (e.g., those who believe that a New Testament, alone, is a sufficient “Bible”) a good deal of cherry picking does, indeed, on, and I would find it amusing, too, if it weren’t so sad.

    However, I gather that you are applying the “pick and choose” argument to imply that we should not base our morality on the Old Testament at all. It is a common argument – common, unfortunately, due more to its convenience than to its rationality. Yes, I do strive to apply God’s laws (including those, thank you very much). I don’t do it with the success I would like, but – seeking to allow Christ to live in me a lá Galatians 2:20 more and more fully as the days go by – I do strive.

    However I don’t do so in ignorance. I try to be “a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). And to go from “Many so-called ‘Christians’ pick and choose from the Old Testament” all the way to “We should ignore God’s injunctions against homosexuality”… well, it’s a frivolous statement at best, and horrible reasoning at worst. Whatever it is, it isn’t rightly dividing the word of truth.

    Thankfully there is a time coming when rather than excoriating others for pointing out true immorality, all nations will seek to understand and apply God’s laws better (Isa. 2:3).

    Thanks, again —
    Wallace Smith

  6. Michael

    You are absolutely right about this being a necessary topic for the military to deal with. More than just a morality issue, it’s a behavoral issue. In talking about this policy, Colin Powell said, “…sexual orientation is one of the most profound human behavoral characteristics.” The military, of all organizations, needs to be on top of this. Then we can begin dealing with the fun of morality legislation on a broad scale (which is always a fun topic of its own). Also, thank you for the entire post, I’ve been ranting today about this and a couple other public incidents like it (mostly to myself, because I’m home on spring break), but it’s nice to see someone else make the same argument I’m making in my head.

  7. In addition to Mr. Smith’s answer, let me say this. Christians have no choice but to set aside certain Old Testament laws because the observance of those laws depend on other conditions being in force — conditions which (at least for the present) are not applicable under the New Covenant. The national forgiveness of debts as outlined in the Old Testament depends on a particular kind of civil society being in force. The law dealing with mildew in a private home depends on a particular kind of priesthood being in force (and a particular technological level being extant as well). Neither is the case, anywhere in the world that Christians live. God is directly responsible for this, and He makes very clear that He is. You can’t “cherry-pick” among cherries that are no longer on the tree.

    By contrast, the law against wearing garments made of mixed fibers is not dependent on either a civil society or on a priesthood. It is still applicable today. Every garment manufacturer that has the least bit of common sense follows it in principle. Incompatible fibers (like linen and wool, or cotton and some incompatible synthetic fiber) do not make for good-quality garments; they wear out quickly. One reason probably has to do with the electrostatic charges that the different fibers collect to themselves — no doubt there are others. But the best person to ask on that would be someone that actually manufactures clothing.

  8. Deano

    Hello gls,

    Sorry you feel that way about things. As to your questions; it is rather difficult to answer those things in the affirmative, or even defending ones self against them, without sounding extremely self righteous.

    Personally I am what you would call a 1 Corinthians 1:26-28 kinda guy … LOL. Any truly good thing that my life has produced was done through Christ living His obedient life through me by the power of the Holy Spirit. I think Mr. Smith pointed out Galatians 2:20 – that is truly the key.

    Do I fully live by every Word of God as yet? No, but I am striving to do so with God’s help. Does this mean that, because I haven’t mastered God’s whole entire Way of life yet, I should condone the blatantly and obviously vile – and society destroying – behavior of homosexuality?

    What about traffic laws? Lets see …. Okay, because I haven’t gotten around to fixing my head light that burned out yet – I guess it’s okay to go ahead and go to the bar and get smashed drunk and then go sight seeing around town afterwards – driving myself, and a car load of people, at a high rate of speed in my car with the burned out head light. Why pick and choose as to which traffic laws I should keep?

    No, you have to not get drunk, and if you do most certainly do not drive, and get the light fixed as soon as possible. Especially if you’re going to be driving at night. That is most likely what an officer of the law would say.

    Aye, indeed – thankfully the time IS coming when everyone will keep God’s Law in spirit and in Truth.

    Take care, Deano

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  10. Okay – sorry it took a while to get back to this. I’m reading this with some interest – I’m just glad someone has finally taken the time to try and answer my questions rather than blow up at me over them. A few years ago, my grandmother had me sit down and read the Bible, and she was having me write down questions I had so she could explain them to me – I had 3 legal pages filled (front and back) before I finished Genesis LOL Unfortunately, she died before I could pass on my questions…so I’ve been trying to find a way to get answers so I can better understand.

    I guess I should say I’m reading and writing at the same time – so if my responses/further questions are a bit weird and I backtrack – that’s why – I’m just going through and responding to what I see.

    I will say this (and I may have said it before), my mother raised me to have an open mind on things. I should say that the fundamental part of my belief is that the Old Testament is the history, and the way things were when God was vengeful (“young”, as mom called Him, and “hotheaded”), but the New Testament is actually the way we are supposed to live, in the path of Jesus. I’ve always believed her on that part, and the Golden Rule has been the way I’ve always tried to live my life.

    I do know that the Old Testament has an effect on our lives, but I do not believe that the rules it dictated overrule those words of Jesus – that the words of Jesus overrule those in the Old Testament, should anything overlap.

    I just thought I would mention this, because it seems to be an important key in how I think, I guess. It’s also probably why I’m so inquisitive on the subject of religion – and I mean ALL religion. (I ask these questions of anyone I can find – Christian or not! I want to know.) I hope that doesn’t taint further questions I have, because it’s not meant to. I just want to understand.

    Okay, so that being said – Mr. Smith – you bring up Leviticus – which I have heard is the key passage that homosexuality is immoral. Now, just that one passage is taken out of context, and bringing up the one passage makes me wonder about others (and other things that are constituted as “immoral” in the Christian faith).

    Now, as I understand it, Leviticus is actually the book in the Old Testament that is applied to the “holy men” – priests, pastors and the like. It was the part that, although if you *could* apply it to your won life as a member of the general population, it was really only meant as strict rules for those of the preisthood. So, if a *priest* can’t marry a woman, that doesn’t necessarily apply to the general population. If I’m wrong in this, please correct me – but that has always been my understanding (Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Exodus, I’ve always been told those are the “Holiness codes” and meant for those men of the cloth – which is probably why they don’t mention “women on women” because women couldn’t *be* of the cloth back in those days.)

    Also, if you were to apply Leviticus to other parts of “immorality” – would you not also have to bend the rules a bit on abortion? (Leviticus 17:11 “For the life of the flash is in the blood”…and we know that blood isn’t even conceived of in a fetus until the 6th week of pregnancy.) So I guess I’m wondering where the line is drawn? Because it doesn’t feel right to me that you can fully support one and not support the other – I’m not trying to sound argumentative here, but it touches on hypocrisy and what someone else mentioned as “picking and choosing from the OT”.

    Luke 10:29-37 speaks on what I mentioned before (reference Luke 10:27: :Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as himself.”) and Romans 1:26-27 speaks of changing God’s law and how *that* is wrong – however the question is, *what* is God’s law? Which brings me back to the previous Leviticus question – is *that* meant for all, or is it (as I was told growing up) meant only for those of the cloth? And if it’s meant for all, then why are we only taking parts of it into account to – what seems to be – suit our own needs for whatever side of the argument we are on? Isn’t the Bible just a translation of the original text, and the translators pressed their own opinions of the day on what they were reading? If that’s so (as I’ve heard of the King James version) then what *are* we supposed to be reading to actually garner the truth?

    1 Corinthians 6-9 speaks of the vile kind of life you can live – theives, rapists – that kind of thing. But I gather you’re referring to the word “effeminate”? Isn’t there some argument over the use of that word? It’s my understanding that the actual words used were “malokois” and “arsenokoitai”…which, to this day, we still aren’t sure what the actual translation of those words are. “Malokois” is supposed to mean “male prostitutes” according to ancient greek texts, but the other word is still a mystery, and no one *really* knows what it means. *Supposedly* (since it was used in conjunction with the other word) it was supposed to refer to the clients of the male prostitute – be they male or female, the point was that paying for sex is wrong in the eyes of God – but somewhere along the line, someone translated it to mean “effeminate” and to which people have applied to mean “gay” – which leads me back to the question of the translator himself.

    Man, I hope all of that didn’t sound like I’m trying to pick a fight – I just don’t understand how we can pretend to *know* what the word of God actually is, when some of the actual words used haven’t even been translated properly. Why do we keep reciting from a version of the Bible that is *known* to have errors in it (I remember reading a news article on how King James himself would read the translation, and if he didn’t like something, he’d make the translator change it to suit him.)

    I’d feel more comfortable knowing what the actual words are derived from, and to get an actual translation of each of those words, rather than rely on someone else’s opinion of them, no matter how popular they are.

    I know, I know, I’ve brought a lot to chew on, and I know I sound like I’ve already made up my mind. But in all honesty, I’m just trying to figure out what the truth is…and on the fact that the King Jame’s translation is the basis for most of these arguments I *have* made up my mind, because I know the history of that translation. I’m sure a lot of it is right on – but trying to determine *what* is right on, and what was changed to make a king happy is what unsettles me. The evidence is tainted, I should say. I want to know what the *untainted* stuff says.

    I await comments on this – as I’m sure there are some! (please keep in mind I am not flaming anything – I’m asking for educational purposes only!)

  11. Howdy, Shelly, and thanks for your follow up. I do appreciate the opportunity to explain this further.

    It seems that there is a fundamental point at which we would need to agree for any discussion about the immorality of homosexual behavior (or the immorality of anything, for that matter). That point is what our relationship to the Scriptures should be. [And it is a vital matter if one is to have any relationship with God, at all. God says that He looks on those who fear Him and tremble before His word (Isa. 66:1-2), and He warns us that His word cannot be understood without His help (1 Cor. 2:14).] So, allow me to use your recent response to address some of the issues related to this.

    First, let me say that your understanding of what we tend to call the Old Testament, and apparently your mother’s, is incorrect. Consider, for example, that when “Scripture” is mentioned in the New Testament, the word refers to the Old Testament, as the New Testament did not yet exist. The New Testament tells us that the Old Testament can “make you wise for salvation” (2 Timothy 3:15), and Jesus tells us that the Scriptures cannot be broken (John 10:35). Jesus also said in the New Testament (Matthew 4:4 and Luke 4:4) that we are to “live by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,” which – in His day – was the Old Testament. Paul said that the Old Testament examples were written for our benefit (1 Cor. 10:6-11). All of these verses, as well as so many others, affirm that the Old Testament is just as much our guide to the life Christ would have us live as the New Testament is. Anyone living by only the New Testament is living by only half of the Bible and is ignoring the teachings of Jesus Christ.

    In fact, the New Testament cannot even be understood without the Old Testament. The writers CONSTANTLY pointed to the Old Testament as both a source of explanation concerning right living and a source of authority behind their teachings. A helpful way to view the Bible is as a house, with the Old Testament as its walls and with the New testament as its roof and ceiling. One without the other would be an incomplete and – honestly – useless structure. Only together do they provide the complete word of God, and we are told in the New Testament that we should diligently study the Old Testament (without ignoring the New) for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:14-17, noting the word “all” in verse 16). No part of the Bible is to be ignored (noting Christ says “every word” in Matthew 4:4 & Luke 4:4), and saying it is inapplicable or written when God was “young and hotheaded” is the practical equivalent of ignoring it.

    (Actually, you may be surprised to learn that the God of the Old Testament who spoke to and dealt with ancient Israel actually was the being we now call Jesus Christ. Most “Christians” are completely confused by this! It is not that the God of the OT was mean and angry and the God of the NT is soft and kind – the books are completely consistent in how they present God. For a detailed explanation of this, you might want to read our magazine article, “Who Was the God of the Old Testament?”)

    Jesus did not take away God’s law – in fact in the Sermon on the Mount He made it all the more binding, saying that we must fulfill the law spiritually and not just physically. (Matthew 5:25… 27… etc.) That’s why not only is physical sexual immorality wrong, but also He says that even lusting in your heart is wrong. Not only is murder wrong, but also He says that even hating someone in your heart is wrong. Jesus did not do away with God’s commandments and He actually warned us not to think that (Matthew 5:17-20).

    As for the passage in Leviticus being taken out of context, I would have to disagree and I would invite you to read the entire context of that chapter. God is describing principles of sexual morality, so it is exactly the right context for a discussion of the moral status of homosexuality.

    If you mean out of context with respect to your belief that Leviticus was intended only for the priests, I will take you up on your offer to correct you. 🙂 Leviticus doe shave some instructions that were specific to the priests, but it also contains a large number of things that were meant for Israel as a whole, which Moses and the priests were to teach the people. For example, the chapter in which sexual morality is discussed begins, “Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Again, you shall say to the children of Israel…’” These principles of sexual morality were for everyone, not just the priests. And they were not “voluntary.” We see judgments being made about non-priests based on these principles in the Old Testament AND in the New Testament (e.g., 1 Cor. 5:1, et al.).

    I agree with you (and the previous commenter) that “picking and choosing” from the OT touches on hypocrisy, and that is why I preach against it. Jesus Christ said “man shall live by every word of God,” not “man shall live by those words that do not offend his sensibilities.”

    (As a side issue, your comment about abortion is interesting, but technically inaccurate. For one thing, the baby must have blood very early on, which is why it is vital that the new baby implant within the wall of the mother’s womb within days of fertilization. Otherwise, the cells will go unnourished and it will die. Regardless, there are many other verses that speak to the issue than the one you quote, and one should get the entire teaching of the Bible on a matter to understand it. It’s a lot more work, but it does pay off!)

    As for 1 Corinthians 6:9 being hard to understand, sadly this is a relatively modern “invention” of scholars, and the supposed ambiguity tends to be pushed by those scholars with an agenda behind their interpretations. (Please understand, I am not speaking of those who are honestly seeking to understand, but about those who should know better.) These words are only confusing and mysteriously impossible to understand ONLY if we reject the teachings of Jesus Christ and His apostles and throw out the Old Testament (or treat it as useless in such matters, which is the same as throwing it out). Everything in Paul’s list there is described as immoral and unwise in the Old Testament, and it is to the Old Testament (to which Paul CONSTANTLY referred in his writings) that we should look. (And Romans 1:26-27 does not speak of “changing God’s law,” so I’m not sure what you mean there. Paul’s words are painfully clear in those verses, and he does not use the supposedly “confusing” Greek words of 1 Corinthians 6 in that passage.)

    One Jesus instructions are ignored by disregarding the Old Testament (or other New Testament writings that one wishes to minimize), then all sorts of points of view can be “justified.” But they will not be God’s point of view. The whole Bible must be considered to determine that.

    To say that “we just can’t understand what was being talked about here” means that Jesus was wrong in Matt. 24:35 and that some of His words (including the words He later inspired after His resurrection) would pass away – since if we can’t understand them they are useless to us. God and Jesus have to be bigger than that to us, else there is not much point in believing in them at all.

    Rather, He promised that His words would not pass away, and so they must be accessible for us. We either believe Him or we don’t. On the matter of the faithful transmission of the Bible through the ages and the authority of what it says (Old and New Testaments), I highly recommend our free booklet, “The Bible: Fact or Fiction.” You can read it online here or you can order a free copy from our website here.

    As for the translation of the King James Version, I would say your “news article” is a bit biased – however, I commend you for not looking to only one Bible translation. As hard as they may strive, even when translators are struggling to be honest and unbiased with God’s word, they are not perfect. That’s why we recommend considering multiple translations to get other scholar’s perspectives at times. Personally, I like the New King James translation from the 1980s, which corrects many of the errors of the “old” King James you refer to. I have studied the translation methodology of the NKJV scholars, and I have found it to be a very faithful and highly accurate translation. It is not perfect, to be sure, and I do refer to other (quality) translations at times to get the perspectives of other language experts. Still, it is one of the best in my opinion.

    There is much more that we could say, but honestly you’ve already got your work cut out for you! You mentioned that you have written for educational purposes, Shelly, so let me set out for you what lies ahead – and it is a challenge, to be sure!

    You need to come to terms with the question of whether or not God has faithfully made sure that we do, indeed, have access to His thoughts and His mind and His instructions on how to live, or whether it is lost and hidden behind languages and words we can no longer understand. This should cause you to confront some of God’s promises and to question what kind of God He is if He has not been able to give us understanding of His words.

    You also need to come to terms with the teachings of Jesus Christ and His apostles, and the fact that they upheld what we call the “Old Testament” (and which they simply called the “Scriptures” and the “word of God”) as a standard for us today. Yes, some who call themselves “Christians” do pick and choose among the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Scriptures He loved, but you need to decide if their hypocrisy is going to influence you to toss out His instruction to live by every word of God, or to act as hypocritically as they do by obeying some of Jesus’ teachings and rationalizing away others.

    If, after you come to terms with these things, you agree that the entirety of God’s word is truth (Psalm 119:160, John 17:17) and that none of it is to be ignored, AND if you decide that God truly has fulfilled His promises and that none of His instructions to us is lost or undecipherable, regardless of what modern proponents of certain lifestyles may say, then we can continue our discussion about the immoralilty of homosexual behavior.

    But if you come to disagree with us on those two points, then there is not much point in discussing it further, since we will not have any common ground to stand upon. As Amos 3:3 rhetorically asks, “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” The answer is, “No, they cannot.”

    But I do not want to rush you in your deliberations! Deciding on your relationship to God’s Word is to important to rush. Take your time. Consider ordering the booklet I mentioned, “The Bible: Fact or Fiction.”

    I earnestly wish you well in your search for the truth, Shelly! And I pray that your search is rewarded in direct proportion to the extent to which it is sincere, conducted in humility, devoid of self-justification, and accompanied by a deep willingness and desire to obey that which you are shown.

    Thanks, again, for writing!

    Take care,
    Wallace Smith

  12. Hi Mr. Smith –

    I just wanted to clear up a few things (and thanks for responding).

    First off, I didn’t say I was taught to *ignore* the Old Testament. I was taught that, when anything crossed over between the Old and New, then we were supposed to take the New Testament over the old (if anything was “off” between the two.) Of course the Old Testament is important, but I was taught to live by the New – Love thy neighbor, do unto others…all that stuff. Maybe my attempt at brevity (for what it was worth) made me come off as wrong.

    I also wanted to address the comment about the news article I had read as being biased. I will say that – although this may have been true from the original article I had read (again, for the sake of brevity), it was not the *only* article or news piece that I had heard this. In fact – one thing I note often is that I *LOVE* watching the History channel, which is funny, because stuff like that bored me to tears when I was in high school. now I can’t get enough of it. But they’ve actually done several programs on the history of the Bible, Dead Sea Scrolls, Christianity (as well as other religions). The most recent argument about King James was actually on this program. But by far, these two are not the only places I’ve heard this statement being made. So I cannot believe, out of all places I’ve heard this piece of information, that all sources are biased – especially in the latter case when they have scholars of the texts explaining things as well.

    I do appreciate your responses to my questions, and I’ll be looking into things further. (And for the record, I am aware that the Old Testament God and Jesus are one and the same. 😉 ) But I’m beginning to wonder if I’m looking at this from a more “scholarly” point of view – not solely taking the English translation of the Bible just as it is, but wanting to know more of the history behind it, and therefore being able to grasp a better understanding of what it truly says.

    I suppose that is my problem here – because I can’t seem, in good conscience, take the one translation of the Bible at face value. I’m more of a “dig deeper” kind of gal.

    Thanks again!

  13. Greetings, Shelly, and thanks for writing one more time.

    And thanks for clearing up your feelings about the Old Testament, and I hope you will continue looking into it, as what you say indicates that you have some exciting things to learn ahead of you. (Here’s a teaser: The “New Testament” principle you mentioned “Love thy neighbor” is a quote from the Old Testament, and it not a New Testament “original” 🙂 .) Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13:8), so the OT & the NT are consistent — one virtually never need “override” the other, as they each mutually explain and uphold the other. No need to ignore one to live by the other: live by them both, as Jesus told us (Matt. 4:4, Luke 4:4). That the NT contradicts or goes against the OT is a lie that has infected so-called Christianity for centuries — a lie which the church Jesus Christ, Himself, founded has never taught.

    I’m glad that you like the History Channel — it’s a lot better than most of the drivel that passes for entertainment these days! I am a great History Channel fan, as well, and I have watched more than enough to know that the “scholars” they show are often quite biased themselves. Whatever your opinion, you will be able to find a scholar who agrees with it and has written fourteen papers “proving” it to be “true”. I assure you there are “scholars” who defend the KJV and who virulently disagree with the other “scholars” who attack it. Paul warns of those who are “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Timothy 3:7), and many fall into this category. (In your “digging,” I pray that you will avoid this trap, yourself.)

    A mastery of the original languages is not the key to understanding the scriptures and the truth of God they carry — God’s word is only understood through humility (Isa. 66:1-2), the direct help of God’s spirit (1 Cor. 2:14), and — a vital ingredient — obedience (Psalm 111:10). That is one reason why God does not reveal His truth to the mighty and the “wise” — but, rather, to the weak, base, and “foolish” (1 Cor. 1:26-29). Sadly, most scholars are quite devoted to the idols they have created of their own intellect. God has not left us at the mercy of athiestic scholars, just as Jesus prayed in Matthew 11:25 — “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and have revealed them to babes.”

    Not that I am anti-scholarship — quite the opposite! And I encourage you to look at other translations, just as we do. Again, we do not only use one translation of the Bible. I would only recommend that you stick with versions that lean toward literal translation as opposed to “paraphrases” in which the translators try to interpret the “meaning” for you. Just this past week I wrote extensively to someone concerning a passage in Matthew and how it reads in many Egyptian Greek-language texts from the sixth century, as well as other fragments and codices and the evidence they present, in comparison to the Byzantine and “received” texts of the West. So don’t think that our teaching is limited to a potentially faulty English translation. It isn’t. And the spin of a few “scholars” cannot obscure the plain truth of God’s word: homosexuality is immoral, and God — because He loves them — wants those who live that lifestyle to repent and live.

    I have appreciated the exchange, Shelly, and the respectful way in which you made your comments. I understand that you want to look into it further. If you would like to ask me any further questions in the future, you can use this blog comment mechanism to do so. Rather than post your comment, I will respond to you privately in an e-mail. And I wish you well in your “digging” — and I pray that your efforts become a sincere hunt for the truth rather than an unconscious effort to avoid it.

    Thanks, again, and take care!

    Best regards,
    Wallace Smith

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