Tag Archives: Leviticus

How would the Corinthians respond to Paul if they applied pro-gay reasoning?

Note: This ceases to be much of a satire when you see how the “Christian” Left responds to things like the Nashville Statement.

People who hold to pro-gay theology* (i.e., God doesn’t consider it a sin and that He approves of “same-sex marriage”) use all sorts of fallacious arguments to make their case.  In this post I am taking the pro-gay theological reasoning out for a test drive, so to speak, to see how it applies to other passages.  After all, if their principles are sound they should work in other situations as well.

You may be familiar with Leviticus 18:22 (Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable) and some of the improper interpretations of it. But I wondered how their reasoning would apply to a verse in the same passage, such as Leviticus 18:8 –Do not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would dishonor your father. After all, the context of Leviticus 18 is abundantly clear because it starts and ends with the same admonitions: Don’t be like the pagan Canaanites and do the detestable things listed in the middle of the text, or you will be vomited out of the land like they were.  These were obviously not ceremonial laws just for the Israelites.

You can use any verse from Leviticus 18 to make the same points (bestiality, child sacrifice, etc.).  I chose this one because it happened to be addressed by Paul in 1 Corinthians 5.  Especially note how Paul chides the Corinthians for being proud and boastful about this a man sleeping with his father’s wife.  Read it once, then read it again and replace the descriptions of incest with homosexual behavior.  That is how I view the pro-gay theology community (especially the heterosexuals): Proud and boastful for ignoring God’s Word.

1 Corinthians 5 It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father’s wife. And you are proud! Shouldn’t you rather have been filled with grief and have put out of your fellowship the man who did this? Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present. When you are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus and I am with you in spirit, and the power of our Lord Jesus is present, hand this man over to Satan, so that the sinful nature may be destroyed and his spirit saved on the day of the Lord.

Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old yeast, the yeast of malice and wickedness, but with bread without yeast, the bread of sincerity and truth.

I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”

Now let’s apply the various lines of pro-gay theological reasoning to Leviticus 18:8 and 1 Corinthians 5 and see how well they work. I realize that not all pro-gay theologians hold all these views.  I tried to convey their reasoning as accurately as possible.  Using their logic, we could conclude that:

  • Even if it is a sin, we are being so inclusive by keeping him as a member!  Look at us, being open-minded and tolerant!
  • Jesus didn’t specifically say not to have sexual relations with your father’s wife, so it couldn’t have been very important and probably wasn’t even a sin (the argument from silence).  We should err on the side of saying it isn’t a sin.  We ignore the fact that Jesus, as God, authored the Old Testament and that He fully supported it.
  • The man was born that way (i.e., with the desire to have sex with females).  It was his natural desire and function.
  • He and his father’s wife love each other!  Who are you to say that is wrong?  Gene Robinson, a Bishop in the Episcopal church, left his wife and kids so he could be with his gay lover.  Pro-gay theologians usually affirm and applaud this behavior.  Living up to marriage commitments made before God isn’t nearly as important as indulging your sexual preferences.
  • How do you know he and his father’s wife didn’t pray about it?  Maybe God gave them a personal revelation permitting them to have sex and/or get married.  That would make it acceptable.
  • Maybe the couple says that Jesus told them it was OK.  Who are you to argue with Jesus?
  • Leviticus 18:8 was a ceremonial law.  It was only for the Jews.  It obviously doesn’t apply to Gentiles.  If you eat shellfish then you obviously are a hypocrite if you don’t condone incest.
  • The Bible never actually uses the word incest.
  • There are only a few verses saying not to have sexual relations with your father’s wife [probably less than there are describing homosexual behavior as sinful].Therefore, how can we be sure about it?  And they are kinda obscure as well.
  • The man or the father’s wife was a temple prostitute or this was part of some pagan temple worship, and that is what made it wrong [even though the text doesn’t even hint at that].
  • Paul was an ignorant prude.  He didn’t understand sexual behavior or have the advantage of all the knowledge we do.  [This assumes that the Holy Spirit didn’t inspire his writings, of course].
  • You are just using the “ick” factor and saying “Eeewww” because a man having sex with his father’s wife seems gross to you.  There is really nothing wrong with it, though – you were just made differently.
  • Judge not, lest ye be judged.  Paul must be sinning here because he is clearly making moral judgments.  [Please ignore the fact that I’m judging Paul for judging and that I’ve taken Matthew 7:1-5 out of context].
  • You are just an incest-o-phobe.  You need therapy for your irrational hatred.  In fact, speech like that should be prohibited because it will incite violence against those who practice incest.
  • You just don’t love the man and his father’s wife!  If you did, you’d want them to be happy.  Hater!  Hate speech!
  • Other parts of the Bible portray God acting in ways that don’t appear to be in line with his moral laws, so they obviously aren’t really from him.  Therefore, Leviticus 18:8 may not be his Word either.  When in doubt, we should ignore Scripture, because God’s revelation to my heart trumps anything in the Bible.
  • Some parts of the Bible aren’t clear to us [even though this part is] so we can ignore it.

If that sounds like an unsound line of reasoning that’s because it is an unsound line of reasoning. These principles don’t work on the passages they are designed to dismiss, and they completely self-destruct when applied to other passages.  Pro-gay theology is flawed, sinful and destructive and should be abandoned by any Christians who hold those views.

Once again, note that:

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions of any kind. There are no exceptions for “committed” relationships.
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to LGBT couples parenting children.

Remember, if homosexual behavior is a sin – and the Bible clearly identifies it as such – then affirming and encouraging that behavior is also a sin** and providing the orthodox Biblical view is the loving thing to do.  God is perfectly holy, but He is also perfectly gracious and merciful and will forgive those who repent and believe in Jesus.  Hear the Good News:

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Love LGBTQ people, be friends with them and pray for them.  If they need to develop a friendship with you so they can see what normal relationships should look like, then do so.  But don’t encourage them to participate in sinful behavior.  If you do, then you are loving yourself, not them.  Here’s an example of how to witness to them.

And remember, God catches his fish and then He cleans them.  You don’t have to convert their sexuality before sharing the Good News that God adopts, completely forgives and eternally blesses everyone who repents and trusts in Jesus.

Comments are welcome, but please stick to the topic.  We aren’t debating secular views, we aren’t demonizing anyone (pro-gay or orthodox) and we don’t need straw-man arguments (“You just don’t love them,” etc.).

* There are the three commons ways pro-gay theologians make errors, namely by believing that:

  1. The Bible is either not the Word of God, or most parts of it aren’t.
  2. The Bible is the Word of God, but it doesn’t really say homosexual behavior is wrong.
  3. The Bible is the Word of God and does clearly and emphatically describe gay behavior as sinful.  However, the Holy Spirit has given additional revelations such that this behavior is now acceptable and the “new” sin is saying that homosexual behavior is sinful.

** Romans 1:32 Though they know God’s righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

—–

The Pyromaniacs make some great points on this passage as well.

Exposing the foundational errors of postmodern / emergent Christianity in 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . .

I came across The Bible & Homosexuality: Enough with the Bible Already via the blog of a recent commenter.  The author is heavily into postmodern / emergent church thought, which is basically just theological liberalism described with fifty cent terms.  The title pretty much says it all about their worldview.  The post is a logical fallacy-fest trying to have Jesus while teaching the opposite of what He does in his word.  As usual, they downplay or even mock the importance of sound doctrine.

It was largely a straw man argument implying that Bible-believing Christians are never friendly to gays.  I know a “few” conservative Christians and that isn’t the case at all.  These critics fall prey to the truism that the truth sounds like hate to those that hate the truth.  Of course we should be friendly to them.  But you don’t express your care for people by teaching them the opposite of God’s word.

The flawed theme was the claim that there are just a few verses addressing homosexual behavior, so we should just ignore that unpopular topic.  Yes, and there are just a few about child sacrifice (don’t), bestiality (don’t), loving your enemies (do) as well.  And that proves what, exactly?

They also ignore the flip side: How many verses describe God’s ideal for marriage and parenting?  Hint: More than a few.

  • 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior denounce it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
  • 100% of the verses referencing God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
  • 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
  • 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions.

Here are sections of the post along with my comments:

But presenting a coherent biblical argument for why homosexuality is not a sin and why our gay brothers and sisters should be fully welcomed into all areas of the church and ministry is not my point here.

Well – if that’s the problem – then I say, “Enough with the Bible already!”

That’s a concession speech right there.  The provocative title says we need to ignore the Bible.  But notice how he doesn’t ignore the Bible when propping up the rest of his claims.

This issue has been on my mind a lot recently, for a variety of reasons, but most recently because Sarah and I gathered with some friends from our church and watched the documentary, “For the Bible Tells me So.” If you don’t know anything about the film, you should really watch the trailer . . .

Better yet, read about the trailer here.  It was full of all sorts of bad reasoning.

. . .  I became increasingly upset that there are people in this world (primarily Christians) who think our gay and lesbian friends should not be allowed to marry, adopt children, have the same rights as straight people or be ordained to follow calls to ministry. Rather, they should be “fixed” or changed. And for those who are Christian and believe these things, these beliefs come from a very selective reading of a very small amount of texts from the Bible.

Yes, we think that homosexuals should not be given the title of marriage (“the union of a man and a woman”) because it doesn’t apply to them and is un-biblical.  But I don’t know one single Christian trying to prevent their “loving” relationships.  We also don’t think they should adopt children, because we love children and want the best for them.  And of course they shouldn’t be ministers.

Note how he cheats by claiming that Christians use a “very selective reading of a very small amount of texts from the Bible” while he does nothing to address the texts.

If it is truly the Bible that is causing some to hold these discriminatory beliefs, then perhaps we need to set the Bible aside for awhile. Perhaps we need to not construct a belief system about LGBT folk built on the foundation of a couple verses in scripture. Perhaps that isn’t healthy, fair, just or Christian.

“Discriminatory beliefs” = question begging.  He assumes what he should be proving.  Some discrimination is quite rational.  He needs to prove that this is the bad kind.

How convenient to set the Bible aside for a while when it conflicts with your cherished views!  That is classic Dalmatian Theology, where they claim that the Bible is only inspired in spots and they they are inspired to spot the spots.

Christians have a history of using the Bible as a weapon (this is a bit of a caricature – but probably not far from the truth). Whether being used to condone slavery, oppress women or support wars, it’s clear the Bible has been misused by many [insert here accusations that I as well am misusing the Bible with my hope for acceptance of LGBT folk]. When the Bible becomes used as a weapon, as a tool for discrimination, as a way in which people can justify beliefs of hatred and injustice – one has to think and wonder if we haven’t gone horribly wrong somewhere.

Yes, and the Bible has been used to free slaves and oppose wars.  His argument proves nothing, except that the burden of proof is on those claiming support of the Bible.  But wait, I forgot — he wants to throw the Bible out of this conversation!

For some, I believe the Bible has become an idol.

That’s possible, but unproven and irrelevant here.  We tend to view the Bible as God himself does: His inspired word, carefully given and preserved for us to know what He wants us to know about him.  Does he make the Bible an idol when he quotes it, or is it just when we refer to it that it is an idol?

Some place the Bible above Jesus’ compassion and love, Jesus’ radical inclusivity, and hold steadfast onto what they believe to be the correct interpretation of a small amount of verses that speak about same-sex relations.

Straw man.  If you really love people you’ll want to tell them the truth.  Jesus’ “radical inclusivity” means including everyone who repents and believes.

To those who repeatedly start quoting Leviticus and Romans verses as soon as anyone brings up the topic of homosexuality, I’d suggest perhaps you stick your Bible back up on the shelf for awhile. Perhaps it should collect a little bit of dust. And maybe, just maybe, you need to go out and grab coffee with someone who’s gay. Maybe you need to hear their story, learn about what they’ve been through, how they’ve experienced Christians and the church.

Why not do both?  I know plenty of gays and we get along well.  I don’t try to “fix” them before sharing the Gospel any more than I try to stop anyone from being lustful, greedy, selfish, etc. before I share the Good News.  But of course I don’t encourage them to pursue those sins, either.  That wouldn’t be loving.  Here’s one encounter where I shared the Gospel with someone who was gay.

It’s recently become more and more clear to me that there is an increasing amount of fear and ignorance connected to this topic. We may be living in the 21st century, but there is still so much fear connected to gay people in our world. Fear of the unknown is strong and rampant in so many people’s assumptions about gays. Fear comes from ignorance, from a lack of knowledge. I wonder how much fear could be laid to rest if those who feared gays the most actually got to know someone who was gay.

More straw.  How will shelving your Bible make you less ignorant?  There is nothing wrong with getting to know people better, but no matter how much I like someone who is cheating on his wife I shouldn’t encourage the behavior.

The fear argument is just your basic “homophobe” accusation.  The real homophobes are those who are so politically correct and fearful of rejection by the world that they defy their (alleged) Savior and common sense and teach the opposite of what Jesus did.

. . . So I’m not arguing that we should throw out the Bible; but at least for some people, it might be more productive – and better for society – if they put the Bible aside for awhile, stopped listening to the hateful rhetoric of James Dobson & Friends, and engaged in some thoughtful reflection and conversation with the LGBT community.

Ah, the “hateful rhetoric of James Dobson and friends.”  Here’s a wild guess: This guy doesn’t listen to Focus on the Family Podcasts.  They are anything but hateful.  Again, the truth sounds like hate to those that hate the truth.  And he assumes that we haven’t given thoughtful reflection to this issue or the people involved.

Christians need to get over their infatuation with a very select few verses, and get over their infatuation with a literalistic interpretation of these texts.

Even more straw.  Nobody light a match!  Notice how he says we interpret them wrong but won’t say why.  How convenient.  And notice how he ignores that 100% of the verses describing God’s ideals for marriage and parenting involved one man / one woman marriages?

Christians need to look more to Christ than to the Bible.

LOL.  And where do we learn about Christ?  If he claims personal revelation, then after I stop laughing I’ll point out that I’m going to trust the personal revelations given to the writers of scripture before someone who wants me to ignore the Bible.

Christians need to actually live out the radical love and compassion that Jesus exemplified in the scriptures. Christians need to realize that the world will not end when gays are given the right to marry – or when we finally fully welcome LGBT brothers and sisters into pastoral ministry.

He has yet to prove why we should ordain people who come into the church shaking their fists at God and defying his clear teachings.  His love and compassion are the fake, indulgent kind that point people to Hell.

If it is the Bible that is causing us to delay accepting and celebrating LGBT persons as being fully human and fully created in the image of God, just as they are, then perhaps we need to say, “Enough with the Bible already…”

That’s the final bit of straw.  We do realize that they are fully human and created in the image of God.  We have their long term best interests at heart.  That’s biblical (agape) love.  The writer is the one who loves himself more than the gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people he claims to care about.

Also see Left Wing Pomos Comment on Bible v. Homosexuality for more false teachings, primarily where they assume that the need for “community” trumps the need to obey God.  Got any Bible verses for that?

Those posts are quite typical for the postmodern / emergent types.  Making a god in your own image is not exactly a new sin.  Run, don’t walk, from those mocking accurate references to the Bible.  Don’t love the world more than you love God.

Also see for some accurate teachings:

Favorite dish of liberal theologians & skeptics: Shellfish

shellfish.jpgAs always, this is about careful thinking and proper analysis of the Bible and not about picking on homosexuals.  We are all sinners in need of a Savior.

Many liberal theologians, skeptics and pro-gay lobbyists use the “shellfish” argument to undermine and/or dismiss parts of the Bible they disagree with, often mocking about how they love shrimp and such.  They use the same reasoning with other Old Testament restrictions such as not eating pork or mixing fibers in garments.  This video by Jack Black is a recent example.

Their argument goes like this:

  • Yes, Leviticus 18:22 says Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.
  • But Leviticus 11:10 says, And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of all the living creatures that are in the waters, they are an abomination unto you
  • Therefore, the Bible cannot be the word of God and homosexual behavior must be moral because the Bible is an undependable, contradictory book that equates shrimp eating with sexual immorality.  And people who teach that homosexual behavior is a sin are bigoted hypocrites who only follow the parts of the Bible they like.

Search for Leviticus shellfish or see sites like God Hates Shrimp for more examples.

The above exercise proves that anti-gay fundamentalists selectively quote the Bible. They enthusiastically and openly embrace those parts of the Bible which affirm and justify their own personal, pre-existing prejudice against gay people, while declining to become as enthusiastic about verses like the ones listed above.

After all, how many times have you heard a fundamentalist say that eating shellfish was an abomination? But they sure don’t hesitate to say it about gay people, do they? What does that tell you?

Actually, I find those questions to be ironic, because I think the facts will show which side is most likely to pre-judge, selectively quote the Bible and take it too literally.  I hope they take this analysis seriously and reconsider whether their premises and conclusions were sound.

On the one hand, their argument is effective because it is catchy and very few people know how to respond to it.  Many people claiming the name of Christ can’t even articulate the simple Gospel.  When was the last time anyone read Leviticus?

On the other hand, their argument is ineffective because the facts do not support it.  Also, it deliberately and unnecessarily undermines confidence in the word of God.  I expect that from skeptics and non-believers, but I am always disappointed that those claiming to be Christians use it to attack the word of God.

The argument appeals to those who take passages literally when it suits them.  Both passages say abomination (or detestable, depending on what translation you read), don’t they?  And if eating shellfish is obviously a morally neutral act, then homosexual behavior must be as well, right?

However, if you follow the basic principle of reading things in context and you attempt to understand the original languages better on difficult or controversial passages, then you’ll realize that the shellfish argument is not supported by the facts.

The short version: There were different Hebrew words translated as abomination.  They were used differently in the individual verses and were used very differently in broader contexts.  The associated sins had radically different consequences and had 100% different treatments in the New Testament.  And the claim that Christians are inconsistent if they say homosexual behavior is a sin if they don’t also avoid shellfish, mixed fibers, etc. would mean that they couldn’t complain about bestiality, child sacrifice, adultery, etc.  

The longer version

1. The words translated abomination in the original Hebrew are different.  In Lev. 11:10, it means detestable thing or idol, an unclean thing, an abomination, detestation.  This word is typically used in the Bible to describe unclean animals.

In Lev. 18:22 the Hebrew term תּוֹעֵבָה (toevah, rendered “detestable act”) refers to the repugnant practices of foreigners.  As noted below, the word is also used used to describe bestiality, child sacrifice and incest.

Therefore, the “same word!” argument self-destructs immediately.

2. Even a plain reading of the passages shows that the homosexual behavior is considered detestable to God, whereas the shellfish are to be detestable to the Israelites because it made them ceremonially unclean.  Those are key differences.  Being detestable to God is different than being detestable to a person.

3. The broader contexts show completely different types of regulations.  Read Leviticus 11 and Leviticus 18 yourself and note the contexts.  I’ll wait here.

The beginning and end of chapter 11 make it clear that this passage is about dietary rules just for the Israelites:

Leviticus 11:1-2 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “Say to the Israelites: ‘Of all the animals that live on land, these are the ones you may eat:

Leviticus 11:46-47 These are the regulations concerning animals, birds, every living thing that moves in the water and every creature that moves about on the ground. You must distinguish between the unclean and the clean, between living creatures that may be eaten and those that may not be eaten.

Now consider the beginning and end of chapter 18, where the Israelites are told not to be like the pagan Canaanites.  God expected the Canaanites to follow these moral laws and was about to vomit them out of the land for failing to do so.  Therefore, they obviously weren’t Jewish ceremonial laws.

Leviticus 18:1-3 The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices.

Leviticus 18:30 Keep my requirements and do not follow any of the detestable customs that were practiced before you came and do not defile yourselves with them. I am the Lord your God.”

4. The punishments for eating shellfish and homosexual behavior were radically different.  There were about 15 things in the Israelite theocracy that could result in capital punishment, and homosexual behavior was one of them (And no, I’m not suggesting that should be the punishment today.  The punishments were for the Israelite theocracy, which is clear when you read the context of those passages.)  But eating shellfish just made one ceremonially unclean for a period of time.

Again, note how the moral laws with their steep punishments are tied to offenses God held the pagans responsible for, yet the unclean animal passages were for the Israelites only and were brief (It could have been for health reasons and/or symbolic reasons.  Animals on the ground were like the serpent and thus symbolized sin and pagan religions often sacrificed pigs).

 Leviticus 20:13 “‘If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

Leviticus 20:22-26 Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.” I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations.

‘You must therefore make a distinction between clean and unclean animals and between unclean and clean birds. Do not defile yourselves by any animal or bird or anything that moves along the ground—those which I have set apart as unclean for you. You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.

5. The ceremonial dietary laws were clearly and emphatically overturned in the New Testament, whereas the commands against homosexual behavior (and other sexual sins) were not.   Also see Acts 15:28-29 (It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things. Farewell.)

6. The claim that Christians are inconsistent if they say homosexual behavior is a sin if they don’t also avoid shellfish, mixed fibers, etc. would mean that they couldn’t complain about bestiality, child sacrifice, adultery, etc.  After all, those things are also considered to be wrong in Leviticus 18 and elsewhere.  That is a transparently false argument.

And if someone tries to play the “Leviticus is outdated” card, remind them of this verse and ask if it still counts: Leviticus 19:18 “‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.”

Remember, anyone calling themselves a Christian should be seeking to hold the same views as Jesus.  And Jesus fully supported the Old Testament — every last letter and mark.

Here’s another answer from Tektonics, a terrific apologetics website:

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Aren’t there ‘degrees’ of abomination?

The point of this question – aside from the matter of not knowing what ritual purity is all about – is lost; if there is a sincere interest in knowing if there are “degrees” of abomination, just ask this simple question: Are there degrees to which things may be found “abominable”? Are the works of a robber baron not less abominable than those of a murderous dictator? In any event, if shellfish is a matter of ritual purity only, and homosexuality is a matter of higher morals as argued, then indeed, eating shellfish would have been a lesser abomination. (Indeed, the fact that the words used for “abomination” in both passages are different suggests that by itself.The word used for the shellfish is used only a few times in the OT, always of unclean animals, whereas the word used for homosexuality is used for things like bestiality, incest, and child sacrifice!)

So if anyone uses the shellfish argument with you, ask a few questions to see if they have really thought it through.  Everyone I have ever seen use it was either unaware of these responses or deliberately ignoring them. 

And as always, remember that the Bible couldn’t be more clear. Bible-believing Christians and even two out of the three types of pro-gay people* (religious or not) can see these truths:

– 100% of the verses addressing homosexual behavior describe it as sin in the clearest and strongest possible terms.
– 100% of the verses referring to God’s ideal for marriage involve one man and one woman.
– 100% of the verses referencing parenting involve moms and dads with unique roles (or at least a set of male and female parents guiding the children).
– 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to homosexual behavior in a positive or even benign way or even hint at the acceptability of homosexual unions of any kind. There are no exceptions for “committed” relationships.
– 0% of 31,173 Bible verses refer to LGBT couples parenting children.

* The three general types of pro-gay theology people:

1. “The Bible says homosexuality is wrong but it isn’t the word of God.” (Obviously non-Christians
2. “The Bible says it is wrong but God changed his mind and is only telling the theological Left.” (Only about 10 things wrong with that.)
3. “The Bible is the word of God but you are just misunderstanding it” (Uh, no, not really.)

Also see Problems with Pro-Gay Theology and Responding to Pro-Gay Theology.

Leviticus 25-27

Greetings!  This reading is Leviticus 25-27.

God commanded the people to give the land a sabbath every 7th year.  This was good for the land and also served as a reminder to the Israelites that God will provide. 

The Year of Jubilee was to be carried out every 50 years, though I am not sure if it ever happened.  Slaves were to be released, land was to be returned to its owners and debts were to be canceled.  God had a perfect model for how we should live together, but we want to do it our own way. 

In chapter 26, God reminds the Israelites of their conditional agreement: Things will go spectacularly well for them if they obey his commands but they will be punished if they do not. 

The commands of Leviticus may seem odd to us, but they do tell us a lot about God and his character.  We may not have to follow the ceremonial and civil laws, but we should always strive to obey his moral laws.  Sin has consequences.  Leviticus 24:15-16 Say to the Israelites: ‘If anyone curses his God, he will be held responsible; anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him. Whether an alien or native-born, when he blasphemes the Name, he must be put to death.

Reflect on what stood out to you in this reading and share your comments and questions if you like. 

Congratulations on completing the study of Leviticus!  You have accomplished something that many Christians never do.

Next up: We’ll cover Psalms 10-12 for a few days. 

Since Leviticus was about the law, I thought we would cover Galatians after that.  Galatians emphasizes the freedom and joy we have in Christ now that we have been delivered from the penalty for our sins.    

Leviticus 22-24

Greetings!  This reading is Leviticus 22-24.

This section contains further reminders that the sacrifices had to be without defect, which foreshadowed the perfect sacrifice of Jesus.  This reminds me of when King David said:

1 Chronicles 21:24 But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, or sacrifice a burnt offering that costs me nothing.”

God specified various seasons and holy days (holidays) for the Israelites.  One purpose was to help them remember all that God had done for them.  He was quite serious about having them all observe the holidays. 

Leviticus 23:29 Anyone who does not deny himself on that day must be cut off from his people.

The offerings were to be the firstfruits (the first part of their crops).  We should always give our first and best to God, not what is left over (if anything).  

They were also to leave food for the poor to pick up:

Leviticus 23:22 “‘When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Leave them for the poor and the alien. I am the Lord your God.’”

God was also quite serious about not using his name improperly. 

Leviticus 24:15-16 Say to the Israelites: ‘If anyone curses his God, he will be held responsible; anyone who blasphemes the name of the Lord must be put to death. The entire assembly must stone him. Whether an alien or native-born, when he blasphemes the Name, he must be put to death.’

Reflect on what stood out to you in this reading and share your comments and questions if you like.

Leviticus 19-21

Greetings!  This reading is Leviticus 19-21.

The chapter heading for Leviticus 19 in my Bible says, “Various laws,” and that describes it well.  There is a mix of laws from the 10 Commandments, some other moral laws and some ceremonial laws.  There is a lot here, so please read the verses closely.

Verse 1 says a lot of about what God wants from us: “Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am Holy.”  That sets the bar rather high. 

Verses 9-10 show how the Israelites were to help the poor by letting them pick up leftovers from the harvest.   This is much different from welfare, where able-bodied people can do nothing and still get money. 

God loves justice and does not want “partiality given to the poor or favoritism to the great.”  Everyone is to be judged fairly.

Note how verse 18 says, “love your neighbor as yourself.”  I used to think that was just from the New Testament.  I was surprised to find it in Leviticus.

Verse 28 says not to get tattoos.  This may be a ceremonial law, but I still think that wisdom and discernment should go into any decisions to permanently alter one’s appearance. 

We are not to mistreat aliens (though that doesn’t mean we have to have open borders). 

Chapter 20 addresses punishments for sin.  Some people like to use these passages to discredit other moral teachings in the Bible (usually 18:22 – “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”)  Their arguments are along the lines of, “Do you put your kids to death for disobeying you?  Of course not.  So these other laws don’t apply either.” (They are referring to v. 9 which says not to curse your parents).  They also point out that breaking the Sabbath could be punishable by death, as if to discount the severity of that sin for the Israelites.

These people are missing the point.  The punishments were specifically for the Israelites, who were living under a theocracy (God was their King).  In other governments the punishments are set up differently.  But that doesn’t mean that the underlying morals don’t still apply. 

There were various sins that could yield the death penalty for the Israelites.  The issue isn’t whether or not those penalties still apply (they don’t) but whether God considered those sins to be very serious (He does).  People want to downplay the sin of homosexual behavior by mocking the punishment for cursing your parents or breaking the Sabbath, implying that those sins aren’t so bad so neither is homosexual behavior.  But that gets it backwards.  You judge how seriously God considered a sin by how severe the punishment was.  And capital punishment was as serious as it could get.

Chapter 21 contains additional rules for priests.  Note that just as the animals to be sacrificed could not have defects, the priests could not have defects, either.  God wasn’t discriminating unjustly.  He was pointing to the perfection to be found in Jesus.

Reflect on what stood out to you in this reading and share your comments and questions if you like.

Leviticus 16-18

Greetings!  This reading is Leviticus 16-18.

Chapter 16 deals with the Day of Atonement (aka Yom Kippur), where the sanctuary and the people are symbolically cleansed from the pollution of Israel’s sins.  The Israelites had many feast days throughout the year, but this was a day of fasting.  While sins were dealt with throughout the year, their seriousness required an annual day to address them as well.

This is where the concept of a scapegoat comes from:

Leviticus 16:20-22 “When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the desert in the care of a man appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a solitary place; and the man shall release it in the desert.

Chapter 17 warns against drinking blood, among other things, because the life of a creature is in its blood.

Chapter 18 is an important and often controversial chapter because of verse 22: “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”  That seems like a pretty straightforward condemnation of homosexual behavior.  Some people try to say it is just a ceremonial law that only applied to Israelites and their worship, but if you review the context carefully you’ll see that it is not the case.

The book of Leviticus does contain many ceremonial laws that were just for the Israelites. God wanted to set them apart from other peoples, so He gave them some special laws regarding clothes, food, worship, etc. But here’s why calling verse 22 a ceremonial law is incorrect.  When you read the passages surrounding Leviticus 18:22 it is obvious that it is not a ceremonial law. One of the most important guidelines to understanding the Bible is to read verses in context (What is the nature of the whole passage? Who is writing? To whom are they writing?)

Leviticus 18 contains many moral laws, and they are sandwiched by strong statements that the Israelites are not to behave like the pagan Canaanites did (the Israelites are about to displace them and take over the land). God did not expect the Canaanites and other nations to follow the ceremonial laws, but He did expect them to follow the moral laws written on our hearts. The Canaanites had committed the offenses noted in Leviticus 18 for hundreds of years, so God was judging them. Here is the beginning of chapter 18:

The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘I am the Lord your God. You must not do as they do in Egypt, where you used to live, and you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. Do not follow their practices. You must obey my laws and be careful to follow my decrees. I am the Lord your God. Keep my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will live by them. I am the Lord.

And here is the end of chapter 18:

“‘Do not defile yourselves in any of these ways, because this is how the nations that I am going to drive out before you became defiled. Even the land was defiled; so I punished it for its sin, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. But you must keep my decrees and my laws. The native-born and the aliens living among you must not do any of these detestable things, for all these things were done by the people who lived in the land before you, and the land became defiled. And if you defile the land, it will vomit you out as it vomited out the nations that were before you. “‘Everyone who does any of these detestable things—such persons must be cut off from their people. Keep my requirements and do not follow any of the detestable customs that were practiced before you came and do not defile yourselves with them. I am the Lord your God.’”

If someone thinks verse 22 is a ceremonial law, do they think the verse before or the verse after are ceremonial laws? (Leviticus 18:21 says, “Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.” and Leviticus 18:23 says, “Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion.”)

Read Leviticus 18 yourself and ask if Leviticus 18:22 sounds like a ceremonial law (such as what food to eat and what clothes to wear) or a moral law.  And consider the context of who God is talking about.  He would not have expected the Canaanites to follow his ceremonial laws, but He is judging them harshly for violating the laws set forth in chapter 18. 

If you want to know more about how to respond to pro-gay theology, the best reference on this debate I have seen is Responding to Pro-Gay Theology by Joe Dallas. I highly recommend it.

Reflect on what stood out to you in this reading and share your comments and questions if you like.