February 14, 2007

Walter Wink and the New Testament

I think I want to explore Walter Wink. I never heard of him before WonderCafe. Here he is quoted by Rev. James Murray to explore homosexuality in the New Testament. Often when Leviticus is quoted, it is easy to counter those quotes as many of the beliefs found in it are dismissable - stoning rebellious teenagers, preventing women from leaving their homes during their menstral cycle, etc. I find wrestling with the translations of Paul not as effective, but do like the story of the baptism of the Eunuch as helpful.

Rev. Murray wrote:

Walter Wink makes this point about how we all interpret the Bible's injunctions about sexuality.

"For example, virtually all modern readers would agree with the Bible in rejecting: incest, rape, adultery, and intercourse with animals. But we disagree with the Bible on most other sexual mores. The Bible condemned the following behaviors which we generally allow: intercourse during menstruation, celibacy, exogamy (marriage with non-Jews), naming sexual organs, nudity (under certain conditions), masturbation (some Christians still condemn this), birth control (some Christians still forbid this).

And the Bible regarded semen and menstrual blood as unclean, which most of us do not. Likewise, the Bible permitted behaviors that we today condemn: prostitution, polygamy, levirate marriage, sex with slaves, concubinage, treatment of women as property, and very early marriage (for the girl, age 11-13).

And while the Old Testament accepted divorce, Jesus forbade it. In short, of the sexual mores mentioned here, we only agree with the Bible on four of them, and disagree with it on sixteen!"

I could respect the opinion of someone who spoke against homosexuality if they abided by all of these Biblical standards. Homosexuality is no better or worse than any of these other sexual issues. By how we are abiding by the commandments on this list, we are all either A) condemned to hell or B) part of an ever-evolving process of learning how to live together in an ethical manner.


Only Look said...

There is Romans 1:27. There is hope for all of us sinners though if we would but look and find the healing of our depravity in Christ. I may not be a homosexual but I have committed some sins that grieved me far worse and I only found my healing for them at the cross. It is a blessed place to relieve our guilts and find new hope.

Tim R said...

Thank you "Only Look" for taking a moment to comment. Romans 1:27 is the most frequently quoted bible passage used by religious people who are against Gay marriage and homosexual practices in general. It seems to be the only "clear" interpretation that God hates homosexuals.

This forum, however, is not the place to discuss this debate. As you are probably aware, 1000's of discussions on the interpretation of this single passage are splattered all over the Internet. While there is doubt on what this passage means, there is NO doubt that it cannot be definitively resolved by one side or the other.

The moderators of the WonderMill are interested in newer, more inclusive interpretations that do not judge individuals for their sexual preferences. It is, of course, God who will judge us in the end.


MonAsksIt said...

I love this version of Romans 1:27(The Message!!): "Worse followed. Refusing to know God, they soon didn't know how to be human either—women didn't know how to be women, men didn't know how to be men. Sexually confused, they abused and defiled one another, women with women, men with men—all lust, no love. And then they paid for it, oh, how they paid for it—emptied of God and love, godless and loveless wretches."
I know several couples who are gay, and others who are lesbian. They are not in a relationship to abuse and defile each other. They are monogamous and in love. They are not 'all lust and no love'. They asked God to be a part of their relationship, and if the fruit of their hearts is what we are to judge them on (which is biblical), God has indeed blessed them with love, compassion, gentleness, and a thirst for bible study and justice. This passage has been used to condemn them but let us not forget that there are passages which were used to condemn mixed race marrages and condemn emancipation from slavery too. Just because it is in the Bible doesn't mean that it is what God wants - God surely does not want child slaves, for example. My two cents worth anyway.