Can the Bible Be Wrong?

“Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence.” — 1 Peter 3:15

Note: All letters are posted as they were received. No spelling or grammar errors have been corrected. Links to responses are at the end of the letter.

Editor:

Hello Brother or Sister in Christ!

I found you website soon after I found Jesus and would like to take issue on some points. I know it’s been said before, but I think you really can’t pick and choose what you like in the bible. If Romans is wrong that homosexuality is a sin, then can Romans not also be wrong about God’s love? By eliminating a part of Romans which disagrees with your worldview do you not see that logically it is possible to eliminate the parts which DO agree with your world view? The passages in the bible concerning sexual immorality condemn homosexuality, beastiality, and incest as sins. Are then beastiality and incest acceptable? And how about murder? If the bible is wrong that homosexuality is a sin, maybe it’s wrong about murder being a sin… Do you see how you can follow your logic down any road you want?

The problem with your site is that it changes God to fit society’s view. God is unchanging. God is eternal. Jesus came to lay down the law for us to follow to get into heaven. We cannot change it as we choose!

On another note I would like to say that this isn’t pointless hate mail. I don’t hate homosexuals, and I certainly don’t hate fellow Christians. Homosexuality is just another sin, like atheism, gluttony, adultery – yet preachers today hype it up to be the worst possible sin. It isn’t the worst sin possible! I also speak from the perspective of an ex-fetishist. I struggle everyday to overcome my un-natural desires – and praise Jesus that when I felt they were right he told me in my heart that they were wrong.

So sorry about the long letter. Hope I haven’t offended anybody, and excuse the spelling! I hope Jesus moves your heart and works in you –

Love you, and Praise HIM!!!

Schumacher


Rev. Vera I. Bourne responds: Dear Schumacher,

I disagree with your conclusion that this site attempts to change God to fit society’s view. Rather I believe this site portrays God accurately as eternal, unchangeable and totally loving of every created being. Jesus himself proclaimed that he had come to seek and save those who were lost (Matthew 18: 11), rather than coming to judge any person (John 12: 47). His every action speaks of the love with which he encompassed all he met, this is surely not laying down the law. In the early part of John 12: 47 Jesus states that he does not come to judge even those who hear his word and turn from it. Jesus woos us with love, not rules, regulations or threats.

Homosexuality is not a sin. Where in Scripture is homosexuality mentioned? Homosexuality is not even mentioned in Scripture, thus it is never referred to as a sin. The passage from Romans to which I believe your letter refers, speaks of the habits of Temple prostitution of the various cults which flourished in Paul’s days. These cults encouraged sexual licentiousness and sexual acts, which were as abnormal to heterosexuals as would be heterosexuality to those of us who were created homosexual or asexual. I encourage you to study this passage carefully with the assistance offered by modern theologians who are attempting to clarify those texts which have previously been subject to doubtful translation.

We do not try to justify any sin, nor do we judge any person, for it is the sole prerogative of God to judge each and every person. Only God can decide whether our thoughts, words and willingness is centred on our own pleasures or on obedience to God’s command to live lives which reflect our love for God and for all humanity. Sin is sin, there are no big sins neither are there small sins. Sin is lack of obedience to God’s law of love. I do not believe this site attempts to promote any other definition of sin, nor do we encourage any to sin. Instead we offer God’s love to those who have been damaged and fragmented by the words and actions of well-meaning self-professed Christians. God love each of us, and each includes all homosexuals.

Shalom, my brother in Christ,
Vera


Maarten van den Driest responds: Greetings,

I found you website soon after I found Jesus and would like to take issue on some points. I know it’s been said before, but I think you really can’t pick and choose what you like in the bible. If Romans is wrong that homosexuality is a sin, then can Romans not also be wrong about God’s love? By eliminating a part of Romans which disagrees with your worldview do you not see that logically it is possible to eliminate the parts which DO agree with your world view? The passages in the bible concerning sexual immorality condemn homosexuality, beastiality, and incest as sins. Are then beastiality and incest acceptable? And how about murder? If the bible is wrong that homosexuality is a sin, maybe it’s wrong about murder being a sin… Do you see how you can follow your logic down any road you want?

You are quite right. If Romans is wrong then just about any piece of text from the Bible could be wrong. However, this is a complicated matter. What do you mean by ‘wrong’? And does Romans actually say homosexuality is a sin? I will deal with the first question now and leave the rest for later.

It isn’t necessary to believe in so-called ‘literal truth’ of the Bible. One can believe in God and Jesus Christ very well without that. Many texts certainly weren’t meant to be taken literally – look at the psalms or the many stories Jesus tells us – and a whole lot cannot be taken literally. There are many examples.

Do you take Leviticus 11:5-6 literally? Then you believe an untruth. Rabbits do not chew the cud.

How did king Saul die? The Bible gives three different accounts.

Here is a rather unknown problem but the literal text is hard to accept: Matthew 2:1-2. Wise men come ‘from the east to Jerusalem’. This is perfectly acceptable but then they state in verse 2 that they ‘have seen his star in the east’. If they did see a star in the east then they would have traveled eastwards. Jerusalem is westwards.

Now, many verses can be explained very well but the point is that they have to be explained. I find the whole concept of a literal reading of the Bible functionally useless. It may in some, holy (read: other), way be true but we are human. We struggle with explanations and once we touch the Bible, the question of what it means is everybody’s guess.

The problem with your site is that it changes God to fit society’s view. God is unchanging. God is eternal. Jesus came to lay down the law for us to follow to get into heaven. We cannot change it as we choose!

On the contrary — ‘society’s view’ depends, of course on your society. The view of most societies is that homosexuality is completely unacceptable and against God’s will. So, actually we would only be changing God to not fit society’s view!

I am unconcerned by what society wants. The team members of Whosoever come from totally different backgrounds. We are all pretty different, yet find each other in our joint belief that Christ is Lord. Also, Christ certainly didn’t come to lay down any law. He came to fulfill the existing law.

I’ll now come to whether homosexuality is actually forbidden or not. Obviously we believe this is not the case. Do we need to change God for our purposes? No, and we don’t. We read the same texts as everybody else and some of us have studied them for years. I myself have researched the texts concerned for over four years. We interpret the texts differently than you do. Most of us do not exactly agree on the details anyway, we don’t have some ‘block opinion’.

Romans talks about loads of things and the primary idea that I digested from the text is that everyone is doomed from someone’s point of view. The lists of sins that will cost you heaven covers everybody ever born! Anyone who ever lies, holds a grudge, etc. The whole point, in my humble opinion, is that we cannot make ourselves righteous by trying to uphold some law. We always falter in some way and if we break one minute part of the law, we are guilty of breaking all of it. The point is that we can only find salvation by seeking Christ.

I don’t know if I have addressed the text(s) you have in mind. There are about six ‘anti-gay’ Bible texts that people habitually use. You will find explanations of almost all of them in the section on Bible and Homosexuality or elsewhere on the Internet.

On another note I would like to say that this isn’t pointless hate mail. I don’t hate homosexuals, and I certainly don’t hate fellow Christians.

I thank you for your polite, respectful letter. I have tried to be respectful to you as well. At Whosoever, we do not force people to change their opinions. We only ask them to rethink their positions with the thoughts we have amassed on our site.

Homosexuality is just another sin, like atheism, gluttony, adultery – yet preachers today hype it up to be the worst possible sin. It isn’t the worst sin possible!

It’s strange. I myself wonder why I don’t hear people shout that much about child abuse. Untold numbers of children are taken out of their ancestral homes each year because of violent abuse. Most abuse is by straight people, of course. (We don’t have that many children.) Still, you don’t hear anyone complaining that straight people are enemies of God.

Of course I don’t believe homosexuality is a sin at all. I believe homosexual sex can be a sin if practised adulterously or as an instrument of violence or suppression. Heterosexual sex can be used for the same purposes (the Bible is actually pretty clear on that!) and is just as sinful then. I believe hetero- or homosexuality aren’t sinful in themselves.

I also speak from the perspective of an ex-fetishist. I struggle everyday to overcome my un-natural desires – and praise Jesus that when I felt they were right he told me in my heart that they were wrong.

Fetishism is actually a good example of something inherently good that turns bad. If you find that certain things enhance sexual experience for you then I think there is nothing wrong adding them to the repertoire every once in a while. However, when it gets out of hand and you become slave to a certain passion, this is a sin. I congratulate you on turning back and practising a healthier lifestyle now. God is still in the world.

So sorry about the long letter. Hope I haven’t offended anybody, and excuse the spelling! I hope Jesus moves your heart and works in you –

Love you, and Praise HIM!!!

It wasn’t that long. There is no offence where none is taken. Your spelling isn’t that bad either. I hope the same for you.

Praise the Lord in your actions and thoughts.

Blessings beyond measure,
Maarten


Rev. Dr. Jean Orost responds: Dear Mr. Schumacher,

Welcome to the Family of God! I am so glad to hear that you have found Jesus as your Lord and Savior. May God richly bless you as you grow in your faith. Thank you for expressing your concerns, for they do indicate some definite points of difference between us.

I agree that you need to take the whole Gospel into account, and not just pick and choose which verses you want and which ones you don’t. In that, you demonstrate wisdom. Since you seem most concerned with the book of Romans, let’s look at that first. Paul wrote this book to the Gentile and Jewish Christians in Rome in anticipation of a mission trip there. Little did he know that he would arrive in chains as a prisoner. It would help if you considered this book as a whole, as you suggested, and a good Bible commentary would help you to better understand its organization. In the first chapter Paul lists many of the traditional rumored practices of the Gentiles. Then, before the Jewish Christians get haughty thinking they are above such things, he turns to them in Chapter 2 to show them that they fall short, too. Romans 3:23 summarizes the first three chapters with the conclusion “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” I’m sure that you can find yourself and your sins somewhere in there, or if not, surely in Chapter 7. Then Paul goes on to explain the wonders of salvation in Jesus Christ, the wonders of God’s grace in forgiving us from sin, washing away all of our transgressions, and removing us from condemnation (Rom. 8:1). So you see, your comment about Jesus coming to lay down the law is wrong. People had been trying to live by the law for thousands of years, and all the law did was lead to death and more condemnation. Jesus came to set us free from all that by offering up his life for our sins and offering us the free gift of cleansing for the ways we fall short, if only we ask Him. I suggest you read the whole book of Romans, and then go back to one of the Gospels to read how Jesus treated all peoples.

With respect to your comment about how we have changed God, I think it is rather that society has changed the gospel. We find the concept of grace hard to accept. Moreover, Paul did not say that homosexuality was a sin, since that concept didn’t even exist in his day. PEOPLE changed the Bible translations to put in words for those they wanted to condemn. The Bible does have some things to say about some sexual practices in which people do not treat one another as those made in God’s image. A few of those verses refer to some specific same sex practices, like forced humiliation and temple prostitution, and hundreds of those verses refer to heterosexual practices, like the adultery, incest, rape, etc. that you mention. God loves each of us and Jesus did command us to love God and one another. Any practice in which we turn away from God or from respect for our fellow human beings is sinful in God’s eyes. So, it seems we do agree about some things.

I’m glad to hear that the Holy Spirit is dwelling within you and that Jesus speaks to your heart. I pray that you continue to listen to Him as He speaks to you on your journey of faith. I have found, in 50 years of walking with the Lord, that He rarely speaks to me concerning what others ought to do (see John 21:21). So, may you walk in the joy of your salvation, knowing that He who knows all about you has made you and has claimed you for His own. His love and acceptance of you are abiding. He will lead the way.

God bless you,
Rev. Dr. Jean Orost