It is time to call it — Gay is. That is all.


The previous two generations have been feverishly rewriting passages in the bible since 1950, in an obvious attempt to demonize homosexuality. The result is horrific. We have everything from anti-gay sermons being delivered from otherwise reasonable pastors, like Louie Giglio, all the way down to Fred Phelps of the WBC [intentionally not linked].

It is time to call it. The modern English bibles we are using have been tampered with by people ignorant of homosexuality and fearful of anything and anyone identified as homosexual.

I wrote about how cultural fears have influenced translation before. In that post, I point out the discovery that we traveled from the 1611 King James Version, that admonishes the religious practice of young male temple prostitution, to the 1958 Amplified/1966 Good News/1971 NASV, that each admonish homosexual behavior in a gender neutral manner (i.e., including, however quietly, lesbians). This represents an incredible leap and a blatantly obvious addition to the bible. So much so, that the NIV in 1973 removed the gender neutrality but kept it about homosexual male relationships. In 1994, the New KJV returns to the original KJV words. In 2005, the NCV put male prostitution caveat back in.

So we’re just about full circle on 1 Corinthians 6:9. It was never admonishing homosexual relationships. Future translations should limit their words to something more accurate like: admonishing child sex slave trade, pedophilia, statutory rape, and/or child prostitution.

However, the damage by these fear-based translations has be done. Even Louie Giglio references 1 Corinthians 6:9 in his now infamous anti-gay sermon.

It’s time to call it. We have been duped.

Moving on to Romans 1:26. This verse, we’re taught, admonishes female homosexuality. If we look at translations like the modern New Living Translation, it seems to be pretty clear:

Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other.

But wait, is that what it really says? Returning to the KJV of 1611, we read something very different:

…for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature

There is no mention of what makes up the use which is “against nature.” This is yet another blatantly obvious addition. To be fair, most other translations do not add the admonishment of female homosexuality. However, most pastors and teachers for the last 50 years have done so, within their sermons, regardless. This needs to stop. It’s time to call it.

All we can say about this verse is that “unnatural” sex is sinful. This passage is most likely Paul admonishing the practice of Roman orgies. To focus on or imply that this is admonishing female homosexuality paints Paul and God as homophobic.

It’s time to call it. We have been duped.

This Romans 1:26 revelation ended for me the belief that the bible admonishes homosexuality as a sin. This is the only verse pointed to by conservative Christianity that “clearly” admonishes female homosexuality. So once this falls, we’re left with either God’s a sexist, who coincidentally resembles a typical straight-male point-of-view (where girl-on-girl is okay but not man-on-man), or the prior generation has completely misunderstood and mistranslated God’s word on homosexuality thereby successfully recasting God into their own image.

Given the rather egregious mistranslations cited here, I’m going for door number two. It’s time to call it.

19 Responses

  1. While I certainly agree that clearly some translations have gone out of their way to add some things that may not have been in the original mindset of the authors, I don’t know if the KJV is necessarily the most reliable of translations to compare against. It relied on scholarship/manuscripts which were not as good as later discoveries.

    Translation is hard work–it’s hard to know exactly what Paul would have thought of or condemned in regards to homosexual practice. The NRSV is a more reliable translation in regards to scholarship. The CEV (a new translation that’s been out for just over a year), may have a better approach to all this. There are scholars who disagree on what the greek words here exactly mean (temple prostitution? or the practice of taking young boys as lovers? or even consensual relationships?).

    But for me, the challenge of understanding Paul in this particular area is understanding his whole worldview in regards to sin and God. For me, it’s not these particular verses that are that significant, but rather an understanding of creation, brokenness, and what God has in mind for people.

    • I agree with you on the KJV, Brian. I include it to shine the light on how the sexual revolution, which began in the 50′s, clearly started a trend towards anti-gay translations. The fact that this trend appears to now be reversing is also telling.

      For me, logically speaking, for women to get a complete bye in scripture on homosexuality, while gay men are condemned, creates a god in the image of straight men.

  2. Greek texts are available. An accurate study of the text, using Greek study helps, if you don’t actually know Greek, will bring out the original intent. NASB and RSV are so close to the original texts that they are used by Greek students to “cheat” on their translation assignments. You can argue with many translations. Go to the original, it can be deciphered.

    Here’s a great link, just scroll down to find Greek meanings…
    http://classic.net.bible.org/verse.php?book=Rom&chapter=1&verse=27

    • Thanks Michelle. I’m pretty confident the Greek has nothing in it about female homosexuality. Most translations simply state “unnatural relations”, which covers a lot of territory. The fact that the bible is missing any explicit, clear prohibitions on female homosexuality is really my only point here. That finding/fact/reality is very telling.

  3. Sorry, that wasn’t the verse you mentioned:
    http://classic.net.bible.org/verse.php?book=Rom&chapter=1&verse=26

    Awww…you can figure it out…can get the whole chapter if you desire.

  4. I get that you’re talking about female homosexuality. “Most translations” isn’t the point if you want to know what was originally written. Proper exegesis is the only way to come to an understanding of the original texts. Digging deep is necessary for correct theology.

    Looking at the verse, alone, gives the understanding that natural sexual relations were given up for unnatural or dishonorable passions. It could mean beastiality, since that is the definitive command from Lev.20.

    However, looking at the passage, Paul says the unnatural state is same-sex relations…

    For this reason God gave them over to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, 1 (Romans 1:26; New English Translation)

    1 tn Grk “for their females exchanged the natural function for that which is contrary to nature.” The term χρῆσις (crhsi”) has the force of “sexual relations” here (L&N 23.65).

    Contextually… “and likewise the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed in their passions for one another…

    This is the link for “likewise.” It means “equally” or “in the same way”
    http://classic.net.bible.org/strong.php?id=3668

    There is no mention of what makes up the use which is “against nature.” This is yet another blatantly obvious addition. To be fair, most other translations do not add the admonishment of female homosexuality. However, most pastors and teachers for the last 50 years have done so, within their sermons, regardless. This needs to stop. It’s time to call it.

    “All we can say about this verse is that “unnatural” sex is sinful. This passage is most likely Paul admonishing the practice of Roman orgies.”

    It’s not a “blatant obvious addition.” It’s in the original manuscripts.

    I’m surprised at your conclusions, Ric. It seems you haven’t looked at the original texts, but have drawn your opinion from other sources.

    I know it’s old-fashioned and politically incorrect to say, but the Bible teaches clearly that holy sexual relations are to be between a man and a woman who are married. It is the natural state of things if babies are to be born… which is always the Creator’s work.

    Sincerely…

  5. Hey Michelle, I’ve wanted to respond to your comment all morning but work actually wanted me to do work. Sigh.

    I’m not trying to do a proper exegesis here in this post. We can find an exegesis that comes to either conclusion and each would argue they are ‘proper.’

    I am looking at the current translation set much like a detective looks at evidence. I’m summarizing what I see. Conflicting translations with most translations leave the “unnatural” undefined and vague. I see one particular translation (the NLT, which is not considered the most scholarly) narrow the translation to a very specific interpretation.

    So now what is a lay Christian to do with this. A detective would assemble the most likely scenario. The questions in my mind are: if the best reliable Greek text is clearly saying “unnatural” = “homosexual” why did scores of translators (who do proper exegesis) choose the vague word “unnatural” rather than the clear word “homosexual”? Why are they being vague? Why is the NLT being specific? Which camp is trying to mislead us?

    You claim it is clear in the Greek. I’m challenging that based on the evidence that many Greek scholars / translators intentionally chose wording that is unclear.

    I’m not a new testament scholar (and I have no desire to become one). However, I can see contradictions, disagreements, and confusion pretty clearly.

    I’m not trying to convince you of any of this. There are far better biblical studies that can make the case on their own. I’m relaying only what I witness. So my conclusion could be more accurate if I say: Either this is a blatant addition (on the part of the NLT) OR a blatant omission on the part of 9 other translations. I chose the most likely scenario of the two.

    • Wow Nor… I read about half of that post. I couldn’t continue. It is pretty scathing. Do you really mean to equate people like myself with Fred Phelps? Or were you just really angry at the time you wrote this? I guess I’m hoping for the latter but you did just post a link back to it so …

      If you have questions for me, I’ll be glad to respond to the best of ability.

      • Since I do not know precisely what it is you do believe, the most accurate answer as to whether or not the Essay was deliberately directed you would, of course, be a most resounding, No.

        I have no comptence to discuss, much less argue, translations, but I thought, having written about the subject matter yet again, I might offer my voice to the chorus. And while I certainly cannot speak for anyone else, I see The Gospel as a message of hope, one meant for a murderer just as much as it is the man whose life he took.

        You may recall another Essay I wrote — “A Dark & Stormy Night” — about my losing a precious friend to suicide after her lifelong struggle she endured because of being sexually abused as a child. I obviously do not know how far you got into that Essay, Ric, but I’d like to suggest that you read the rest of it. Because what you probably don’t know is that all that sexual abuse Britany endured as a child — aside from causing her multiple personality disorder — also led her to have questions about her sexuality.

        I never mentioned this when I wrote Britany the first time, in “A Dark & Stormy Night,” of course, because I knew the Fred Phelpses of the world would have no problem pointing out that she was, “roasting in hell.” Honestly, I just didn’t want to deal with it.

        Now, you — or someone, anyone– just might be thinking, “Specs and planks, Nor! Specs and planks!” Granted. But, I already know I am an evil man. So much so, that no rational man would dare insist otherwise, even if such a man understood the grace of God. And I made this all quite clear before I even published “Lions & Lambs.” Even made it easy for people to find — just click the goat widget in my sidebar; I know “When the Mountain Goats Give Birth.”

        But, I’m certain you might yet imagine just how insanely infuriated I was when John Shore so sweepingly, albeit indirectly, condemned me for having Britany’s blood on my hands simply because I believe she was a confused sinner in need of grace and mercy and compassion and love — and in need of God. The link I have to Shore’s post in “Lions & Lambs” proves just how “guilty” I am in his eyes: if Jamie Rodomeyer’s blood is on my hands because I believe sinners require grace, then is not the blood of Britany — whom I have loved so dearly and so deeply, still I grieve her loss — on my hands as well? By Shore’s own reasoning, which his own words have made quite clear in his post about Rodomeyer, it most certainly is on my hands. And that is a lie I will not allow to stand.

        Wounded lions do not make for gentle lambs. They are, in fact, very vicious beasts. And that is precisely why, if you care to check the dates, you’ll probably discover that I published “Lions & Lambs” just about a year after Shore made his own sweeping condemnation of people like me, the ones who believe The Gospel is only good news to bad people. And I waited a year to write it simply because it took me that long to calm down. So, really, if that Essay does seem scathing, be glad you didn’t see the fire in my eyes melting galaxies when I had first read that post by Shore. But, I never bullied Britany. I never judged her. I certainly never condemned her. Nor did I ever spiritually abuse her. I was her friend. I was gracious. And, so help me, God — I loved her the best I could.

  6. Thanks for getting back to me, Nor. I believe you here. I also believe you probably don’t know what you’ve written in that essay back in September. Here’s is just a couple of items:

    It is absurd. And I am convinced that the people who are so enamored and so enraged about such foolish matters are only concerned with this world, and know nothing of the next.

    I am very passionate (enamored and enraged) about how we as a church and a culture have systematically oppressed members of the LGBT community over the centuries. There are still laws in 29 states that permit any employer to fire someone based on their sexual orientation alone. There used to be several more laws in all states that oppressed the LGBT community far beyond that. Progress towards justice and dignity has been made. Much more is required before we can say this is behind us.

    I do, of course, believe that standing with the marginalized and the oppressed is exactly where we belong. I don’t consider it foolish. And I believe standing with the oppressed in this world has next world ramifications.

    So there are millions of people who are enamored and enraged for all the right reasons.

    Fred Phelps publicly demands that homosexuals cannot be redeemed because his false god hates them, but John Shore openly insists that homosexuality is not a sin so, of course, the homosexual has no need to be redeemed.

    Here, and in the surrounding context, you equate the ‘god-hates-fags’ Christians with the ‘homosexuality-is-not-sin’ Christians. I am in the latter group, as are millions (10 of millions in the United States). Among these millions who believe homosexuality is not a sin, there are about half who believe that homosexual acts are sinful. I’ve reject this as well, by the way. But that is kind of a side point. The main point here is, you’re equating people to a hate-group leader. It’s like equating people to Hitler. It’s a good conversation terminator.

    But if homosexuality is not a sin then there is no need for redemption, so there is no need for Christ.

    This is just false logic that says that since I and millions others say homosexuality is not a sin, Christ died for nothing. If I and millions more were claiming there were no such thing as sin, then yes, that would be a reasonable conclusion. No one is making that claim.

    Over the centuries, we’ve rejected the Church’s condoning of slavery, the Church’s definition of wives as property, the Church’s definition of left-handedness as evil/sinister, etc. etc. etc. With each rejected false interpretation, we stood with the marginalized and said that was a false teaching. Through it all we’ve never thrown out the cross. There are plenty of real sins to go around that everyone still desperately needs a savior.

    • You can find my “definitve opinion” of homosexuality here:

      http://thenoreaster.wordpress.com/2010/04/04/a-great-awakening/

      The catalyst for “Lions & Lambs” was discovering that Shore proclaimed that I’ve got Britany’s blood on my hands simply because I believe homosexuality is a sin. I have since stopped buying large quantities of Advil.

      As to the rest, Let’s wait and see. Let’s just wait and see. I figure we’ve only got a couple decades left until we meet our Maker, if that. He’ll certainly tell me if I’ve got Britany’s blood on my hands and I suppose He’ll tell you what “real sins” are. So, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what God has to say about all this…

  7. You write long essays, Nor. I’ll try to read it when I have some time.

    As far as the blood on our hands post of John’s goes, it is raw and he is pushing the envelop earlier than most. I would not and did not write it. Yet. I am coming to see our (the Church’s) hand in the oppression of the LGBT community. Not just here in the states but globally as well.

    It’s not simply a matter of gay marriage. It’s centuries of imprisonment, executions, and insane asylums. The remnants of this theologically-rooted oppression are still with us.

    In the movie of Wilberforce one character commented that buying sugar meant that you had the blood of the slaves on your hands. An old-fashioned boycott, I suppose. People who loved sugar and hated slavery probably did not like hearing that sentiment.

    So yes, you and I and all will find out when we get to heaven. Until then I will stand with the outcast, misfits, and oppressed.

  8. So, I read your linked post. I do not see the ‘definitive opinion’ of anything related to this post of mine. I’m left to guess that your trying to say something like: ‘homosexuality is a sin but so are so many other things. Christ can overcome it and anything else.’

    If that is your point, I, of course, would have to disagree.

    So I like your Great Awakening post.

    I disagree with your Lions and Lambs post and have already commented about that.

    Although I don’t know what your are trying to say, thank you for trying to explain your opinion (beliefs?).

  9. I don’t what Mn means. Initials?

  10. Hello Brotha Ric!

    I’m just now reading this so please forgive my tardiness in commenting.

    I don’t agree nor disagree with every single thing in this post/comments but what I did feel led to share is a perspective irrespective of whether or not homosexuality is a sin.

    My landlords are lesbians. They live below us in a duplex. After a year of being here, one of my landlords (I love her, she loves and takes care of my kids, and has a beautiful heart) said to me “You’re the nicest person I know.” At first I thought that was just absurd. I mean how could I be the nicest person she knows in her 40 years of being alive?! Then after a few conversations, I realized she meant I was the “nicest Christian” she knows. That absolutely broke my heart because regardless of whether or not homosexuality is a sin, hatred/bigotry/rejection/oppression IS. And we cannot debate as to whether or not homosexuality is a sin without acknowledging and repenting about how our failure to love all people exists and that is absolutely sin. The greatest commandment isn’t to not be a homosexual, it’s to love God and people on which hangs ALL the laws and prophets.

    Which leads me to my point; I’m not concerned about my landlords’ homosexuality as much as I’m concerned with their salvation. And no I’m not assuming they’re not saved because they’re gay (which is where I believe many in the body go wrong) but because of their own spiritual admissions. I want to love them well and lead them to Jesus who loves them too. When they have an active relationship with the Savior, HE through the Holy Spirit can convict and transform and say “Go and sin no more” to whatever sin HE sees them committing. When I look at my own journey to salvation, never once in God pursuing me did He focus on my sins. He focused on loving me until I trusted Him. Then He dealt with what HE (I’m emphasizing the He because Lord have mercy if I allow my sin to be judged by faulted, fleshly, natural minded, selfish human beings that have their own biased filters based on their experiences) believes to be sin in my life and even those that I thought were sin because of my old religion that in fact weren’t.

    And as far as how the Church should respond to any specific “kind of Christians”? I just haven’t been able to wrap my head around this yet and that is just me being completely honest. I’m still seeking and asking for understanding/wisdom concerning several of these “controversial” issues in the church and I acknowledge that I may never get understanding in this lifetime. Until then though, what I do know is to love, love, love because ultimately God is love. Period.

    Love and blessings!

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