Penal Substitutionary Atonement a Lie? Part 3

[1756 words = 7 minute read]

Last week, I ended my post with a plethora of biblical texts refuting Ericksen’s statement that penal substitutionary atonement is a lie. Ericksen’s diminutive perspective of God’s holiness demonstrates he doesn’t understand the depravity of man and the deserved wrath stored up for him because of sin.

I continue on.

He writes,

“The whole premise of penal substitutionary atonement is a lie. God didn’t respond to Adam and Eve by mimicking them. God didn’t turn from them. In fact, God went in search for them. “Where are you?” God asked Adam and Eve. That’s the truth of the Adam and Eve story, it’s the truth of the biblical story, and it’s our truth. When we abandon God, God doesn’t abandon us. God doesn’t respond with wrathful anger. Rather, God responds with grace and compassion that seeks to be in relationship with us.”

Ericksen is right on this point. Though Adam and Eve disobeyed God, incurring death for their sin, God came for them and extended grace to them in the shedding of the blood of another animal to cover their sin. We see before a theology of the atonement is fully developed an exchange being made. While God spared their lives at this moment, God told them that they would surely die if they ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and they most definitely will, returning to the dust that they came from (Genesis 3:19).

But he spared them.

After God made “garments of skin and clothed them” (3:21), “he drove out the man” (v.24), cleansing the temple-garden and closing it off from sin and death in placing the cherubim and a flaming sword as guards at the east end of it.

God did not respond with the wrathful anger they deserved; if he did, there would be no Christ, the one to come in whom God fully manifests his nature and character in—demonstrating wrath and love through. So, while we see God’s demonstration of grace, his wrath still has to come. A just judge cannot let lawlessness go unpunished. If God overlooked the sins of mankind, he would not be righteous; he would be unjust and a liar (Ps. 9:8).

Adam’s sin brought death into the world (Romans 5:12), and “the judgment following one trespass [Adam’s sin] brought condemnation” (5:16). So while Adam’s sin brought condemnation, Paul tells us that God in his divine forbearance “passed over former sins” (Romans 3:25). Beginning with Adam and Eve, his provision through sacrificial substitution allowed them to live for a while, along with God’s covenant people, Israel. But it did not remove man from his deserved condemnation, reconciling man and God. But in Christ, God put forward a propitiation that demonstrates his righteousness, so that he might be just and the justifier” (Romans 3:24, italics mine), by exacting justice for the sins of the world but also showing his love and mercy in reconciling the world to himself (2 Corinthians 5:18).

The Bible makes it clear—“Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him” (John 3:36, italics mine). God’s wrath remains on those who have transgressed the law. Christ or no Christ, God’s wrath remains. Paul says to the Ephesians, “you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world . . . carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature, children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (2:1-3).

Just because the wicked are still living, it doesn’t mean their just condemnation through God’s wrath won’t be displayed. God will respond with wrathful anger; he already did for those who are his in Christ’s first coming and will do so for the children of Satan at Christ’s second coming.

Ericksen continues, quoting from a . . . Rabbi?

As the great 20th century Rabbi Abraham Heschel explained, the primary point is not our search for God, but rather God’s search for us.

“All of human history as described in the Bible,” wrote Heschel, “may be summarized in one phrase: God is in search of [humans].” 

Now, I will have to give him credit here because Heschel shares a glorious truth of the Christian faith: God entering into his own creation coming to man through Christ to restore what was lost. However, I just find it ironic (and sad) that he is quoting a Rabbi who, while making this profound point, ultimately misses it.

Ericksen writes,

“For Christians, Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God’s search for humanity. In this particular human being we see that atonement has nothing to do with God’s pent up wrath or violence, but everything to do with the truth of God’s grace and forgiveness. The Gospel of John tells us, “’The Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth … From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace.'”

Yes, Christ is the ultimate revelation of God’s search for humanity, but Ericksen doesn’t demonstrate how what Christ did was not part of God’s wrath. The grace given is that Christ comes to bear our penalty taking the wrath of God for us. Galatians 3:13 says “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law becoming a curse for us.”

What is grace? It is getting something we don’t deserve. Christ came to give his life as a ransom for many, paying the debt we could never repay.

I think Colossians 2:13-14 most succinctly captures this legal exchange:

“And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.”

Why do you think we have the earthly example of the Levitical priesthood and the sacrificial system? (Read Hebrews 9-10)

Why is Christ referred to as the spotless Lamb (John 1:29)?

Peter speaks of “the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:19), which finds its origin in Exodus 12:5, in God’s instruction to Israel regarding Passover, “Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old.”

Ericksen writes,

“In each Gospel we discover that God didn’t need the cross in order to forgive. The truth of God’s “grace upon grace” is that God forgives sinners, tax collectors, and cowardly disciples, in other words, everyone, before Jesus even went to the cross. God has never atoned for sins through wrathful violence. God doesn’t respond to us mimetically. When we abandon God, God doesn’t abandon us. Jesus is the particular revelation of what the Bible generally reveals — God makes atonement, God became at-one with us, not through wrathful violence, but through nonviolent love and forgiveness. It was human wrath that hung Jesus on a cross, not God’s. How does God respond to our wrath? As John wrote, with “grace upon grace.” Jesus revealed that grace as he hung on the cross and prayed, “’Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'”

God did not need the cross to forgive? One needs to look at the statements in the Gospels Jesus makes regarding his purpose and reason for coming (Matthew 16:21; 20:18-19, 22, 28; Mark 8:31; 10:33-34, 45; Luke 11:42; 22:22, 37, 46; John 6:38; 10:17; 12:27) to see the cross was not just needed, it was planned to be used to show his glory. So, whatever God purposes is needed.

Another key element that Ericksen fails to see is what the cup represents that Christ is to drink. In the Old Testament, the cup normally signifies God’s judgment in the outpouring of his wrath (Ps. 75:8; Isa. 51:17, 22; Jer. 25:15, 16). This means intense suffering for those who drink of it. Christ demonstrated great fear in the moments prior to his crucifixion where he prayed to the Father, asking to not drink this cup (Matthew 26:42; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42). He was fearful because it was one thing that the Son never experienced: the wrath and separation from his Father as only those under judgment experience.

In those six hours on the cross the Father abandoned the Son (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34).

His abandonment led to our adoption.

And then Ericksen uses wrath in a way I have never seen in theological discussion; he says, “It was human wrath that hung Jesus on a cross.” Where in the Bible do we see human wrath? What we do see is that our sin is what hung him up on the cross.

Ericksen concludes saying that we don’t need to feel guilty if we find ourselves abandoning God; God doesn’t respond to human sin with wrathful anger. Now, that is true for those in Christ, for nothing can separate them from his love (Romans 8:38-39). But God responds with wrath, judgment, and fury to those who are still enemies (Romans 2:8; cf. 5:10)

I am not sure if Ericksen assumed that the woman was a Christian who strayed from the faith. I wasn’t there but from what he said about her upbringing and experience in church, I assume that she is not a Christian; rather, she is one coming to the end of her life, feeling guilt wrought about by the Spirit, opening her eyes to the condemnation she is under. She should feel anxious and fearful. Christ says, “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

Ericksen’s experience tells him that when he “channels God’s nonviolent and nonjudgmental love,” anxiety and fear go away. And that is what manifested in this lady’s demeanor.

Now, maybe he shared more than what he wrote about in his experience, which led to a further discussion about the gospel.

But, maybe his unbiblical understanding of God’s holiness, the atonement, wrath, and judgment only affirmed her in her sin.

There was no discussion here of repentance and faith in Christ for what he did on the cross to save sinners. If she truly saw how amazing it is that God saves wretches, then I would think her fear and anxiety would turn into weeping.

If Ericksen shifted the conversation toward the gospel of Jesus Christ, in which those elements were mentioned, which demonstrated the work of conversion by the Holy Spirit, then amen!

But if demonstrating “God’s nonviolent and nonjudgmental love” only made her feel justified in her own deeds, then that is a pity. Her blood is on his hands.

 

—Romans 11:36

 

Penal Substitutionary Atonement a Lie? Part 2

In this post I am continuing my response to pastor Adam Ericksen’s article on the ‘Nonviolent Atonement.’ If you just got here, click here for part 1.

In the end of last week’s post, it clear that Mr. Ericksen’s emotively prompted response to the woman who felt guilty for abandoning God is misplaced, according to Scripture. As I stated, he should have been expressing joy that a sinner who has abandoned God, feels guilty for doing so.

Ericksen says this turning away from God, which God reciprocates toward us, is a “pernicious theological claim . . . that’s a lie. Don’t believe it.” But what do the Scriptures teach about fallen man’s relationship with God?

Isaiah 59:1-2, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear (italics mine).” So, while we see that God can save, man’s sin has separated him from God.

Isaiah 53:6, “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all (italics mine).”

Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”

Romans 3:12, “All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one (italics mine).”

Romans 5:10a, “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son (italics mine).”

Does it sound like there is a separation between God and man? The amazing thing is that for those who are his, there will never be separation or a time of God turning his back on us, as Paul writes:

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

After saying that God turns his back on us is lie, Ericksen clarifies his point further:

Sure, the Bible can be interpreted in that way. People often point to the Adam and Eve story as evidence. Adam and Eve turned their back on God by eating the forbidden fruit, so God turned God’s back on them. Many claim that God has been angry at Adam, Eve, and their children (that’s everyone!) ever since. Strangely, these people continue, God had no other way of dealing with his pent up anger than to inflict violence upon God’s own son.

You’ve heard that story before. It’s called penal substitutionary atonement. Again, don’t believe. It’s a lie.

Wow! I think the most flabbergasting statement is Ericksen attributing God’s holiness and disgust of sin to be nothing but pent up anger. He doesn’t say it, but that is exactly what the implication is.

Has he read Leviticus?

Does he understand the sacrificial system is what made it possible for Israel to be God’s people?

If God did not make provision through the sacrificial system, which only cleaned the outside of the cup (Hebrews 9:1-10), Israel would have been further separated from God; Israel would have been (to use a New Testament expression) as a Gentile and a tax collector to God.

So, did God inflict violence on his Son? “It was his will to crush him” (Isaiah 53:10). He decreed from before the foundation of the world that the Lamb would be slain for the sins of the world. It was violence that God decreed, but it wasn’t the violence Ericksen presumes it to be; it was a righteous giving of oneself for the unrighteous . . . the most honorable of actions. “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay his life down for his friends” (John 15:13). It was what Christ came to do (Matthew 20:28; John 10:15, 17; 12:27).

I won’t post the entire foretelling of the Lord as the Suffering Servant from Isaiah 53:1-12, but a few choice verses are needed to demonstrate Ericksen’s error.

Verses 4-5 – “Surely has borne our grief’s and carried our sorrows; yet we esteem him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed (italics mine).”

Verse 6b — “and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all (italics mine).”

Verse 10 —“Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him (italics mine).”

And all of this speaks in regards to Jesus, the Son of God, who was “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, [and was] crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men” (Acts 2:23).

And what was the reason for this?

Because “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins” (Hebrews 9:22). His own blood secured an eternal redemption (9:12b).

His death reconciled fallen man to a Holy God:

“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself ” (2 Corinthians 5:18a)

I leave you with what Peter says regarding Christ’s death:

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).

So, is penal substitutionary atonement a lie?

Did Christ not die for us, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God?

Well, I am not going to be able to finish responding to his article. My word count is getting up there; however, there is just too much that needs to be said regarding this truly precious doctrine, which our faith hinges on, so I don’t want to give it a light treatment.

I will pick up on where I left off next week.

 

—Romans 11:36

Let the Scriptures Speak: What God’s Word Says Regarding Homosexuality—Leviticus 18:22

(If you have not read the introduction to this series, please do so: Let the Scriptures Speak: What God’s Word Says Regarding Homosexuality—Introduction)

I hope the first article truly represented what the Bible has to say regarding homosexuality in the context of Genesis 19 (again, I know I have presuppositions, as we all do). Emotional tensions can rise when it comes to this topic of discussion, and so I hope the last post helped you see that you don’t need to be on guard for the Bible’s sake, for it, being the sword of truth, can defend itself. As you hear and read those pro-homosexual arguments against what Scripture teaches, remember this:

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” — 2 Timothy 3:16

We have all we need in God’s Word.

Now, I should not have jumped the gun in the previous post, stating that Genesis 19 will probably be my longest post, for the passage we are to examine, Leviticus 18:22, depends on the entire chapter to properly understand it and has a few arguments that need to be examined. However, I will do my best to keep my commentary short, for I think after one just reads the chapter in its entirety, the common homosexual objections and interpretations advanced against this verse will lose its footing. Again, If we let the Scriptures do the talking, recognizing that the Bible is from the very mouth of God, his truth will set you free (I know. . . kind of a corny cliché; nevertheless true though)

Leviticus 18:22 — The Homosexual Argument:

The Levitical law prohibits male same-sex relations, which occurs solely in the Holiness Code of Leviticus, a ritual manual for Israel’s priests. Levitical law also prohibited other behaviors, activities, and foods, which are now disregarded by Christians today. Furthermore, the author of the text had male sacred prostitutes specifically in mind in composing this verse.”(1)

Leviticus 18:22 — The Scriptures (Chapter 18:1-30 [18:22 is in bold]):

18 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the Lord your God. 3 You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. 4 You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the Lord your God. 5 You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.

6 “None of you shall approach any one of his close relatives to uncover nakedness. I am the Lord. 7 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father, which is the nakedness of your mother; she is your mother, you shall not uncover her nakedness. 8 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is your father’s nakedness. 9 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your sister, your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether brought up in the family or in another home. 10 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your son’s daughter or of your daughter’s daughter, for their nakedness is your own nakedness. 11 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife’s daughter, brought up in your father’s family, since she is your sister. 12 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s sister; she is your father’s relative. 13 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister, for she is your mother’s relative. 14 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your father’s brother, that is, you shall not approach his wife; she is your aunt. 15 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your daughter-in-law; she is your son’s wife, you shall not uncover her nakedness. 16 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your brother’s wife; it is your brother’s nakedness. 17 You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and of her daughter, and you shall not take her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter to uncover her nakedness; they are relatives; it is depravity. 18 And you shall not take a woman as a rival wife to her sister, uncovering her nakedness while her sister is still alive.

19 “You shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness while she is in her menstrual uncleanness. 20 And you shall not lie sexually with your neighbor’s wife and so make yourself unclean with her. 21 You shall not give any of your children to offer them to Molech, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord. 22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination. 23 And you shall not lie with any animal and so make yourself unclean with it, neither shall any woman give herself to an animal to lie with it: it is perversion.

24 “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean, 25 and the land became unclean, so that I punished its iniquity, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. 26 But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you 27 (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean), 28 lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you. 29 For everyone who does any of these abominations, the persons who do them shall be cut off from among their people. 30 So keep my charge never to practice any of these abominable customs that were practiced before you, and never to make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God. (ESV)

(Did reading it answer the objections for you?)

This chapter should be overly clear regarding God’s expectations and design for sexual relationships between a man and a woman, married that is ☺.

The best thing for me to do is address the arguments, point-by-point, with the verses of chapter 18. This will help us see the context of the chapter as we work our way up to 18:22.

First argument:

“The Levitical law prohibits male same-sex relations, which occurs solely in the Holiness Code of Leviticus, a ritual manual for Israel’s priests.”

I want to point out that there is red-herring that will immediately draw one away from what the Scriptures say in this chapter. Do you see it? I underlined it for you. While this statement is not entirely wrong, the points pertaining to the roles and practices of the Levitical priesthood are not in this chapter. So that idea needs to be stricken from your mind. Chapter 18 is addressed to the people of Israel—everyone:

(18:1-5) “And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2Speak to the people of Israel and say to them, I am the Lord your God. 3 You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you. You shall not walk in their statutes. 4 You shall follow my rules and keep my statutes and walk in them. I am the Lord your God. 5 You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord (emphasis mine).’”

Notice the pronouns to follow from verse 2. They continue all the way through the entire chapter. In fact, the plural pronoun you in this chapter referring to the people of Israel is used 28 times, mostly in the phrase, you shall not. So, it is pretty clear that this chapter is directed at the people of Israel.

The first part of the argument we are responding to does agree with the Levitical Law prohibiting same-sex relations, so at least we don’t have to spend time trying to establish that. Furthermore, the fact that this law “solely occurs in the Holiness Code of Leviticus,” as they contend, only helps us to prove our point.

In looking at the first few verses of this chapter, we see God’s purpose for issuing this sexual prohibitions: “I am the Lord your God” (v.2) (That sounds good enough for me!)

But why does he say that?

Israel is God’s people (Exodus 3). He rescued them from their enslavement in Egypt (Exodus 6:6; 15). He called them out from all other peoples to be his people (Deuteronomy 7). He entered into covenant with them, promising to provide, protect, and care for them (Exodus 2:23-25). And because he called them and chose them specifically to be his people, they were not to act sinfully like the rest of the nations: “You shall not do as they do in the land of Egypt, where you lived, and you shall not do as they do in the land of Canaan, to which I am bringing you” (18:3).

Those other nations worshiped idols, which is exactly what the Lord did not want them to do (what are the 1st and 2nd commandments?). So, he wants to make clear that he is their Lord but also establishes the importance of his lordship leading into his you-shall-not ¬commands regarding sexual practices. And the list begins . . .

So, why do you think that the Lord listed all of these prohibitions directly after his reference to the sinful practices of other nations? It’s quite clear that he is listing these because the other nations were less restrained in their sexual practices (common among pagan nations), so the Lord had to expressly state to his people, in detail, that these practices are sinful. For example, if I were to say to my daughter, I am your father; you will not act like all the other kids at school; therefore, you shall not . . . . Wouldn’t you think that the list of you shall nots are going to consist of the actions and behaviors of the other kids at school do that I disapprove of?

Furthermore, verse 24 demonstrates that very point. Moses writes,

24 “Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these things, for by all these the nations I am driving out before you have become unclean (emphasis added).”

And also verses 27-28,

27 (for the people of the land, who were before you, did all of these abominations, so that the land became unclean), 28 lest the land vomit you out when you make it unclean, as it vomited out the nation that was before you” (emphasis added).

What we see is that all of these sexual practices were not specific for Israel in the sense that they were only sinful specifically for Israel; rather, they were considered sinful for all peoples, which is why God commanded them not to engage in those sinful practices. He called them out of the world—the fallen, sinful world.

Remember Genesis 19 and Judges 19? The point that the owners of the homes in both narratives knew that the vile, wicked, and (in Leviticus 18:22), abominable sexual practice of men lying with men as with women was so grievous that they chose to put forth their own daughters to be raped demonstrates the level of depravity that homosexual relations falls under according to the Lord and his Word.

One of the important aspects of the Christian faith thus demonstrating the truthfulness and coherency of the authors of Scripture is that God’s Word does not contradict itself. In last week’s post on Genesis 19, homosexuality, not just in the context of temple prostitution, was clearly demonstrated to be sinful, worthy of judgment, and God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, only saving one righteous family, because of the vileness of the people. God does not change his Word regarding the sinfulness of homosexuality anywhere in Scripture.

Second argument:

“Levitical law also prohibited other behaviors, activities, and foods, which are now disregarded by Christians today.”

That is true. But that is beside the point. There were specific ceremonial laws and dietary laws Israel had to follow. However, the moral code, of which this issue falls under, existed prior to the Mosaic covenant with Israel and the giving of the Law. Furthermore, Jesus fulfilled those laws and are no longer required to be observed under the new covenant (Mark 7:19; Acts 10:10-15). But, sinful, sexual practices have always fallen under the moral law, and the New Testament actually reinforces that sexual immorality and homosexuality are sinful, keeping one from entering the Kingdom (1 Corinthians 6:9; Cf. Romans 1:26-27) and deserving of judgment.

It has already been established that the moral law, which sexual immorality and homosexuality fall under, is required of all people. That is one way to recognize what is moral and what is ceremonial, specific for Israel only: if people outside Israel were held in judgment for transgressing a particular law, which we see clearly that homosexuality was a sin God judged other nations for.

Where in Scripture do we see God judging those outside Israel for failing to keep ceremonial laws? No one outside Israel was required to keep dietary laws or any other ceremonial law. The reason for the ceremonial law was to distinguish Israel as a people from Gentiles.
Execution was not the punishment for failing to keep those types of laws, only those pertaining to the moral law were.

God’s law is never altered in the New Testament as it pertains to the moral law, specifically homosexuality, but the ceremonial law is abrogated in the New Covenant, for Christ has fulfilled those requirements (Hebrews 10:1-18).

Third Argument:

“Furthermore, the author of the text had male sacred prostitutes specifically in mind in composing this verse.”

One of the angles pro-homosexual advocates try to take when interpreting this verse is in stating the author of Leviticus had same-sex relations in the context of temple prostitution in mind. Now, while temple prostitution was an abominable practice, occurring in Gentile nations and in Israel’s syncretistic practices, to say that this verse specifically speaks to that type of same-sexual relations, has no bearing on the matter and is a red herring to the argument.

What is key for us to see in Leviticus 18:22 is that Moses was sure to describe the action taking place, not just a word referring to homosexuality. He did not say, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination [, except in the case that it is a committed, monogamous relationship.]” He stated the physical act alone, excluding any reason to make it permissible.

The pro-homosexual advocates want to stress that God did not intend to include homosexuals in committed, monogamous relationships when prohibiting homosexuality. If that is the case, then are we to think that there was not a single monogamous, homosexual relationship in Sodom and Gomorra that was righteous? If there were, there should have been more people than just Lot and his family escaping the judgment the people of Sodom and Gomorrah experienced. After all, God spared those who were righteous, so clearly there should have been some faithful, committed homosexual couples in the mix, right?

If Leviticus 18:22 only referred a specific type of homosexuality in temple prostitution, then what is the difference between that practice and that of Sodom? The verses that surround this text speak of adultery and bestiality, which also took place in temple-cult practices, so are we to think that those practices are acceptable outside of these pagan practices? No. We don’t see any advocates of bestiality or adultery trying to justify their actions using the same argumentation. Homosexuality activity, regardless of one’s motives, is an abomination just like bestiality and adultery.

Conclusion

Looking at the fuller context of Scripture, using the Bible to support itself, is paramount in understanding and interpreting God’s Word. There is not a single context in Scripture teaching that certain expressions of homosexual behavior are acceptable to the Lord. The Bible is a heterosexual book, which applies biblical principles, mandates, prohibitions, and guidance within that heterosexual context. The red herring of temple-cult prostitution only adds confusion to those struggling with this sin. When one attempts to justify a particular moral sin, one robs the one struggling with that sin from eternal life in Christ.

—Romans 11:36

Entire series below:

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1.This quote is not a direct quote; rather, it is a summation statement of this common argument advanced by the gay scholars and those advancing the pro-homosexual agenda against Scripture. See, “Transcript – Matthew Vines,” accessed November 14, 2014, http://www.matthewvines.com/transcript/. “The Metropolitan Community Church of San Diego / Listen, Look, Learn / Homosexuality & The Bible,” accessed November 14, 2014, http://themetchurch.org/#/listen-look-learn/homosexuality-the-bible. “Why do you say Leviticus 18:22 is about goddess worship?” accessed November 14, 2014, http://www.gaychristian101.com/why-do-you-say-leviticus-1822-is-about-goddess-worship.html