Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Our Trespasses

Did you hear about the gay man (Bradley Fowler) who is suing two Bible publishing houses because the use of the word "homosexual" has caused him emotional harm? Here's a link: Man sues Zondervan to change anti-gay reference in Bible.

I don't think his lawsuit will amount to anything, partly because many older versions of the Bible have used the word "homosexual", including my 1952 NRSV. Using the word was not unique to these publishers. Also, the author is out of town. :-)

The passage that has caused Mr. Fowler's pain is 1 Corinthians 6:9, which reads (I'm including verse 10 as well - from the ESV):
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

But wait, there's more. And I really really really wish someone would have read this part to Mr. Fowler too (verse 11):

And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

First there is the law (verses 9 & 10), and then there is the gospel (verse 11). Let's not have one without the other. In Christ Jesus we are washed, sanctified & justified by the Holy Spirit. You, me, and Mr. Fowler.

I came across a great definition of forgiveness I'd like to share with you, and all the hurting Mr. Fowler's of the world. From Susan's Pendulum:

A grieved heart pours out her struggle with sin and pain.
The typical Christian response: Try harder to be good. God will help you.
A better response, more typical among Lutherans than the previous line: Jesus forgives you your sin. Go and sin no more.
A very good response: I forgive you all your sin in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
The sweetest response: Jesus says, "I know your sin and your rebellion. That's why I spread out my arms on the cross for you. Your sin is why I came and suffered to save you, because I wanted to make you my own. I chose you. I baptized you. I joined you to Myself. I will hang onto you until I bring you to My heaven."


sara said...

Yes, I'd like to pray that this man's heart is softened to the Gospel. He has read and understood the law. Let's pray that he hears the full story.

I find it interesting that he did not read it and think, "Oh, that must mean something other than what it actually says." or "Well, this was written a long time ago. It doesn't mean today what it meant then." or any of the other explanations people generally try to use.

sara said...

oh and the alternative word?...sodomite. That's much more P.C., dontcha think?

Thursday's Child said...

Amen, Sue Bee.

Sue Bee said...

Sara, I think Liberal Christians would just ignore the verses or excuse it as applying to "then" but not "now". Reality is that the verses list numerous sins, of which everyone is guilty at one time or another. But to experience the blessing of forgiveness in verse 11, you first need recognize the sins in verses 9 & 10.

Yeah, Sodomite sounds much more open-minded! :-)

sara said...

agree. :)