This is for Christians only. It’s about the Bible. For us, the Bible is The Authoritative Narrative.
Don’t back off this. Everyone has their authoritative narrative. Everyone has their Big Guiding Text (BGT). Whether they realize it or not.
Put another way: everyone has a worldview. Even the denial of this statement is itself a worldview. This cannot be escaped.
My BGT is the Bible. This is how it is for me, for many studied reasons. This is how it is for anyone who labels themselves “Follower of Jesus.” Jesus' life and words are supremely important. The life and words of Jesus are in the four Gospels, which find their meaning situated in the Grand Biblical Narrative (hence, the Old Testament as authoritative). Therefore, the four Gospels hold sway over my life and words.
The Bible is a heterosexual book. I have read everything relevant that claims it is not. I conclude that it just is, like it or not. If I was not a Christian I would easily conclude this. The fact that some Christians claim otherwise hermeneutically astonishes me.
Dr. Michael Brown is probably the greatest Messianic Jewish scholar today. In his book Can You Be Gay and Christian? he has a chapter entitled “The Bible Is a Heterosexual Book.” Brown writes:
“Without any doubt, the Bible is a heterosexual book. From Genesis to Revelation the Bible explicitly presents and presupposes heterosexuality as the divinely intended norm. In fact, rather than accusing the church of making LGBT people feel uncomfortable, it would be more accurate to accuse the Bible as a whole of making them feel uncomfortable.” (pp. 83-84)
See that? The issue is not about Christians who welcome but don’t affirm the LGBT lifestyle. The real issue is about the Bible as The Authoritative Narrative and, if so, what does the Bible say about the LGBT lifestyle.
In other words, take issue with the biblical text, not with Michael Brown or Christians like me. If the Bible was not my BGT then I would care nothing about what it says about anything (in the same way that atheistic authoritative narratives have no relevance to the way I live my life). But the Bible is my BGT, and “the Bible clearly presents heterosexuality as the divinely intended pattern for the human race, sanctioning sexual acts only within the context of heterosexual marriage.” (p. 84)
This is significant because the “gay Christian” argument says this: “Although many Christians put a great emphasis on the sinfulness of homosexuality, there are only a handful of passages in the Bible that touch on the subject at all, which means it was hardly that important to the biblical authors.” (82) Note that a Christian who makes the gay argument in this way affirms the Bible as their Big Narrative. That’s good. But the reasoning is not; viz.:
- The Bible only mentions homosexuality a few times.
- Therefore, the LGBT issue is not a big deal for God (because if it was, God would have put it in the Bible many more times, for emphasis).
Brown explains the faulty reasoning behind this.
“Let’s say you buy a new cookbook featuring healthy dessert recipes, none of which use sugar. In the introduction to the book the author explains her reasons for avoiding sugar products, telling you that you will find sumptuous, sweet dessert recipes—but all without sugar. And so, throughout the rest of the book, the word sugar is not found a single time—not once! Would it be right to conclude that avoiding sugar was not important to the author? To the contrary, it was so important that every single recipe in the book makes no mention of sugar.
It is exactly the same when it comes to the Bible and homosexuality. There are a few very strong, very clear references to homosexual practice—every one of them decidedly negative—and then not a single reference to homosexual practice throughout the rest of the Bible. Was it because avoiding homosexual practice was not important to the authors of the Scriptures? To the contrary, the only relationships that were acceptable in God’s sight or considered normal for society were heterosexual relationships, so homosexual practice was either irrelevant (because it had nothing to do with the God-ordained relationships of marriage and family and society) or, if mentioned, explicitly condemned.” (p. 84)
In my next post on this I’ll highlight Brown’s textual reasoning in support of his claim that The Bible is a heterosexual book. In the meantime you can pick up the book and read it for yourself. Why not? I’ve read everything on both sides of this discussion, beginning in the early 1980s and up to the present. So has Brown, BTW.