Saturday, September 7, 2013

Romans 1: What Was Paul Ranting About?

Dear Reader,

My friend, Jerry Sheppard, and I have been conversing for several months with a Jewish homosexual named Alex Haiken, who erroneously considers himself to be a Christian. Apparently Alex failed to read where Jesus says "I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12) and where it testifies that "If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we [are liars] and do not practice the truth" (1 John 1:6) and where it states that "Everyone who names the name of the Lord must depart from wickedness" (2 Timothy 2:19). Alex constantly and consistently laces his writings with error, misinformation, inferences, presumptions, assumptions, conclusions drawn on assumptions, pretext, front-loading, and eisegetical interpretations based on his feelings and opinions.

Alex fails to "Study to show [himself] approved, a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15). Instead, Alex relies on the unscholarly works of such homosexual/homosexual advocating authors such as John Boswell, Jack Rogers, Dale Martin, and Justin R. Cannon (to name a few). These men have absolutely no credibility whatsoever, and, like Alex, their works have been exposed to be filled with sloppy and dishonest scholarship, blatant plagiarism, copy errors, selective citations, truncated quotations of text, and creative editing. Alex delights in ripping verses and passages from their context and habitually neglects to apply the rules of hermeneutics (the science and art of biblical interpretation) and engage in honest, responsible, sound biblical exegesis. Alex talks a good game concerning exegesis, plagiarizing the definitions from authors who have spoken on the subject without giving them due credit, but constantly fails to actually practice responsible exegesis. We are now going to engage in honest, responsible, sound biblical exegesis in determining what Romans 1:26-27 is dealing with.

Romans 1:26-27 says, "For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error."
In the Greek, it reads: "Δια τουτο παρεδωκεν αυτος ο Θεος εις παθη ατιμιας αι τε γαρ θηλειαι αυτων μετηλλαξαν την φυσικην χρησιν εις την παρα φυσιν ομοιως τε και οι αρσενες, αφεντες την φυσικην χρησιν της θηλειας, εξεκαυθησαν εν τη ορεξει αυτων εις αλληλους, αρσενες εν αρσεσι την ασχημοσυνην κατεργαζομενοι, και την αντιμισθιαν ην εδει της πλανης αυτων εν εαυτοις απολαμβανοντες."

θηλειαι = "female, woman"
αρσενες, αρσεσι = "male, man"
χρησιν = "employment, i.e. (specially), sexual intercourse (as an occupation of the body)"
ορεξει = "excitement of the mind, i.e. longing after: lust"
αρσενες εν αρσεσι = "men with men, i.e. homosexuals"
ασχημοσυνην = "an indecency; by implication, the pudenda: shame"

Xρησιν clearly delineates sexual intercourse. "Women [exchanging] the natural function" speaks of women abandoning natural sexual intercourse for woman-on-woman perversion. This fact can be seen from three evidences: (1) "in the same way" or "likewise", this lets us know there is a comparison taking place; (2) "natural function of the woman", this lets us know that the former was speaking of women abandoning the natural function of the man; and (3) "men with men", this lets us know that women with women is in view. It clearly states these "men abandoned the natural function" of sexual intercourse, "[burning] in their [lust] toward one another". Lust (ορεξει) is sexual desire of the mind. The fact it states αρσενες εν αρσεσι puts the nail in the coffin on the fact it is speaking of man-on-man perversion.

Now, the context is quite clear. "Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, that their bodies might be dishonored among them" (Rom. 1:24). Then we receive the description of how they were dishonouring their bodies amongst themselves in their lusts (Rom. 1:26-27), which ends stating the fact that they "[receive] in their own persons the due penalty of their error". The Golden Rule of Hermeneutics states, "If the plain sense makes common sense, seek no other sense." The Direct Statement Principle of Hermeneutics states, "God says what He means and means what He says." What are the words saying? What are the words describing?

In his commentary on Romans 1:26-27, St. John Chrysostom wrote:
"ALL these affections then were vile, but chiefly the mad lust after males; for the soul is more the sufferer in sins, and more dishonored, than the body in diseases. But behold how here too, as in the case of the doctrines, he deprives them of excuse, by saying of the women, that “they changed the natural use.” For no one, he means, can say that it was by being hindered of legitimate intercourse that they came to this pass, or that it was from having no means to fulfill their desire that they were driven into this monstrous insaneness. For the changing implies possession. Which also when discoursing upon the doctrines he said, “They changed the truth of God for a lie.” And with regard to the men again, he shows the same thing by saying, “Leaving the natural use of the woman.” …For genuine pleasure is that which is according to nature. But when God hath left one, then all things are turned upside down. And thus not only was their doctrine Satanical, but their life too was diabolical." (Emphasis mine.)
Looking at one of the words translated "natural" in this passage, Alex Haiken performs what is called "collapsing context" by trying to relate the passage to Romans 11:24 merely because they share a similar word. By doing so, he makes an argument that if homosexuality is unnatural, so is our salvation. His argument is both right (unknowingly) and wrong, as we shall discover. Let us examine both passages:
"For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural [aj5446; phusikos, φυσικος] function for that which is unnatural [an,nn5449; phusis, φυσις], and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural [aj5446; phusikos, φυσικος] function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error." Romans 1:26-27

"For if you were cut off from what is by nature [an,nn5449; phusis, φυσις] a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature [an,nn5449; phusis, φυσις] into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these who are the natural [pre2596; kata/an,nn5449; phusis, φυσις] branches be grafted into their own olive tree?" Romans 11:24
5446 phusikos, φυσικος; adjective. Natural, as established by God in nature.
5449 phusis, φυσις; anarthrous noun. Nature, natural birth or condition; natural disposition.

Alex Haiken knows nothing of the Greek language, so you will have to excuse his ignorance and his typical assumptions and conclusions drawn from assumptions. As we have already established, Alex argues that if homosexuality is unnatural, so too is our salvation. The problem is, he does not seem to realize that there are two words translated as "natural" in Romans 1:26-27. The Greek word he is attempting to tell us appears in both passages, based on his argument, does not. The Greek word that does appear in both passages has nothing to do with what is unnatural, but with nature; natural birth or condition, natural disposition.

Alex was right about one thing (although unwittingly so), and that was that our salvation is not natural to us. It is not in accordance to our birth condition and natural disposition. We are born in sin and are deservedly heading toward hell. We do not deserve salvation.

Homosexuality is unnatural [aj5446; phusikos, φυσικος] because it exchanges what was established by God in nature [an,nn5449; phusis, φυσις] for that which is against [pre3844] nature [an,nn5449; phusis, φυσις]. Notice that salvation is not unnatural [aj5446; phusikos, φυσικος], but is not our natural [an,nn5449; phusis, φυσις] disposition. We are by nature [an,nn5449; phusis, φυσις] children of wrath (Eph. 2:3), just as every man and woman are by nature [an,nn5449; phusis, φυσις] heterosexual. They choose to be homosexual and act out homosexual activities.

As you can see, Paul's "rantings," as Alex puts it, were quite clear. The fact is, Alex cannot make up his mind what he wants to believe Paul is speaking about in Romans 1:26-27. In one e-mail he attempted to tell me it spoke of pederasty. In a more recent response, he attempts to tell me it spoke of cult prostitution. Alex is attempting to latch onto any excuse just so he does not have to face the facts and evidence of what this passage is truly saying. Alex could learn a thing or two about honest, responsible, solid biblical exegesis.

It does not matter whether it is homosexual gang rape, homosexual prostitution, pederasty; whether there is a significant age difference or the ages are relatively the same; whether it is a boy kept for homosexual relations with a man or it is a "committed, faithful and loving monogamous partnership;" or whatever other brush one wants to attempt to paint the picture with, homosexuality is still homosexuality. Homosexuality is a moral perversion and bankruptcy of human nature and sexuality that is condemned by God because it is unnatural and goes against His created order and what is to be expected. All nature, biology, science, and logic prove that homosexuality is an unnatural perversion of both human and sexual nature. There is no issue regarding homosexuals who want to marry because such a union does not constitute marriage and it never will. A marriage constitutes one man and one woman. Period.