Seeds of Hope

Jesus or My Boyfriend?


[Posted on July 28, 2001]

Rev. Turner:

My name is Adam. I'm 22 years old. I come from Poland. Since September 2001 I live in Germany and study here.

I'm an ex-gay who is actually fighting with his identity, and looking for the truth in God's words. I've been bisexual all my life, but now I met somebody, who realized me what the Lord God thinks about being homosexual. I'm really confused at the moment. I don't know what to do. I have my past. This is a man. I've been with this guy for 2 months. Now he's not here, and when in two weeks he's back, I will finally have to decide between Jesus and him. This is so crazy. Why can't I be with somebody I love?

I will stay with Jesus. That's for sure. But I want to know before I make the step, and tell my friend I can't be with him anymore - if it's a good decision. If there's anyone who could help me I would be very thankful. Please try to understand me.

Well, the best help I think would be, if you could tell me whether there is anything else in the Bible that says about being homosexual. I found this chapter:

ROMANS 1:18-32: "From heaven God shows how angry he is all wicked and evil things that sinful people do to crush the truth. They know everything that can be known about God, because God has shown it all to them. God's eternal power and character cannot be seen. But from the beginning of creation, God has shown what these are like by all he has made. That's why those people don't have any excuse. They know about God, but they don't honor him or even thank him. Their thoughts are useless, and their stupid minds are in the dark. They claim to be wise, but they are fools. They don't worship the glorious and eternal God. Instead they worship idols that are made to look like humans who cannot live forever, and like birds, animals, and reptiles.

So God let these people go their own way. They did what they wanted to do, and their filthy thoughts made them do shameful things with their bodies. They gave up the truth about God for a lie, and they worshiped God's creation instead of God, who will be praised forever. Amen. God let them follow their own evil desires. Women no longer wanted to have sex in a natural way, and they did things with each other that were not natural. Men behaved in the same way. They stopped wanting to have sex with women and had strong desires for sex with other men. They did shameful things with each other, and what has happened to them is punishment for their foolish deeds.

Since these people refused even to think about God, he let their useless minds rule over them. That's why they do all sorts indecent things. They are evil, wicked, and greedy, as well as mean in every possible way. They want what others have, and they murder, argue, cheat, and are hard to get along with. They gossip, say cruel things about others, and hate God. They are proud, conceited, and boastful, always thinking up new ways to do evil. These people don't respect their parents. They are stupid, unreliable, and don't have any love or pity for others. They know God has said that anyone who acts this way deserves to die. But they keep on doing evil things, and they even encourage others to do them."

And because of these words I'm going to break up with my boyfriend? Can somebody help me? Please...

Adam


Dear Adam,

First let me say that you DO NOT have to choose between Jesus and this man you have been seeing for the last 2 months. There is no reason for you not to be with someone you love. The whole point of Jesus' ministry was for us to be open and have a personal relationship with God. Unfortunately for you and many others there are those who have taken verses of the Bible and used them out of context to be condemn and control of other people's lives. Before you make this decision about leaving this man for Jesus I would encourage you to go back to the Bible and read the words of Jesus (Matthew, Mark, Luke and even John). You will find him saying nothing against a person being gay. Jesus taught that the kingdom of God was near and that folks should live a life that was about doing justice, acting mercifully and walking humbly with God. Jesus was about inclusion not exclusion.

The particular verses that you seem to think is condemning of your love for another man needs to be read in context with what St. Paul was critical of. Rev. Buddy Truluck a former Southern Baptist ministry states it far better then I ever could when he writes:

"The theme of the first 3 chapters of Romans is expressed in 1:16: "The gospel is the power of God for spiritual freedom (salvation) for all who believe." Paul showed that all people equally need and can have Jesus in their lives. Paul's gospel is inclusive, as expressed in Galatians 3:28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."

Romans 1:26-27 is part of Paul's vigorous denunciation of idolatrous religious worship and rituals. Read all of Romans 1:18 to 2:4 for the context of the verses.

Romans 1:26-27 contains some words used only here by Paul. Familiar words are used here in unusual ways. The passage is very difficult to translate. The argument is directed against some form of idolatry that would have been known to Paul's readers. To us, 2,000 years later and in a totally different culture, the argument is vague and indirect.

Verse 25 is clearly a denunciation of idol worship, "For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature and not the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen."." Paul at no point in his writing dealt with same-sex orientation or the expression of love and affection between two people of the same sex who love each other.

Paul wrote Romans from Corinth, the second largest city in the empire and the crossroads of world trade and culture. Pausanius observed at about the same time as Paul that there were over 1,000 religions in Corinth. The most prominent were the fertility cult of Aphrodite, worship of Apollo, and the Delphi Oracle, which was across the bay from Corinth. Paul's readers would have been aware of the religious climate from which he wrote Romans and would have understood Paul a lot better than we do.

The word "passions" in 1:26 is the same word used to speak of the suffering and death of Jesus in Acts 1:3 and does not mean what we mean by "passion" today. Eros is the Greek word for romantic love, but eros is never used even once in the New Testament. "Passions" in 1:26 probably refers to the frenzied state of mind that many ancient mystery cults induced in worshipers by means of wine, drugs and music.

We do not know the meaning of "burn" in 1:27, because Paul never used this particular word anywhere else, and it's origin is uncertain. The term "against nature" is also strange here, since exactly the same term is used by Paul in Romans 11:21-24 to speak of God acting "against nature" by including the Gentiles with the Jews in the family of God. "Against nature" was used to speak of something that was not done in the usual way, but did not necessarily mean that something "against nature" was evil, since God also "acted against nature."

One more word needs special attention. "Committing indecent acts" in 1:27 is translated by King James Version as "working that which is unseemly." Phillips goes far beyond the evidence and renders it as "Shameful horrors!" The Greek word is askemosunen and is formed of the word for "outer appearance" plus the negative particle. It speaks of the inner or hidden part or parts of the individual that are not ordinarily seen or known in public. "Indecent" in 1 Corinthians 12:23 referred to the parts of the body that remain hidden but are necessary and receive honor. 1 Corinthians 13:5 used the word to say that love does not behave "indecently."

This word for "indecency" was used to translate Deuteronomy 24:1 into Greek to say that a man could divorce his wife if he "found some indecency in her." The religious teachers argued endlessly about what "some indecency" meant. Some said it was anything that displeased the husband. Others were more strict and said it could only refer to adultery. In Matthew 19:1-12, Jesus commented on Deuteronomy 24:1-4, but he did not define the term.

Paul was certainly aware of the variety of ways that the teachers interpreted the word "indecency," and he used it in a variety of ways himself. To read into "indecent acts" a whole world of homosexual ideas is to abandon the realities of objective academic study and to embark on useless and damaging speculation that cannot be supported by the meaning of the word or by Paul's use of it elsewhere.

If Paul had intended to condemn homosexuals as the worst of all sinners, he certainly had the language skills to do a clearer job of it than emerges from Romans 1:26-27. The fact is that Paul nowhere condemned or mentioned romantic love and sexual relations between people of the same sex who love each other. Paul never commented on sexual orientation. As in the rest of the Bible, Paul nowhere even hinted that Lesbians and Gay men can or should change their sexual orientation."

I would strongly recommend you visit Rev. Truluck's site for further study concerning biblical issues and homosexuality.

Remember, Adam, you are reading text that was written 1,500-2,000 years ago in a different culture and a different set of circumstances from today. When reading the scriptures it is VERY important to keep that in your mind.

If you want to measure your life, sexual orientation and love by scripture, why not use the words of Jesus as the measuring stick. Try Matthew 25:31-40, Luke 12:22-34, Luke 15:11-32, John 3:16, Mark 12:38, John 6:35-37, Matthew 7:1-2, Matthew 22:37-40, and for fun try Isaiah 40:28-31

God is not so concerned about what your sexual orientation is but rather what you do with it. Our sexuality is a gift from God. To turn away this man whom you love would be turning away a gift of God to you. My dear child of God I would be more concerned about turning away a gift from God than being worried about what the gift is and other people's opinion of it.

Finally, you want to serve Jesus, and want live like Jesus then do not deny who you are or who God created you to be. Instead, be proud of God's creation in you, proud that you can feel and demonstrate love in a beautiful and unconditional way. My advice? Don't break up with your boyfriend - instead love and treat him as the gift of God he is.

God Bless,

Pastor Paul



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Rev. Turner is Sr. Pastor at Gentle Spirit Christian Church in Atlanta, Georgia.

If you are seeking guidance and pastoral care on your journey to fullness as a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered person, please contact Pastor Paul directly at pastorpaul@whosoever.org.