This “Learning & Growing Together” series includes posts I have shared in my private Facebook group for moms of LGBTQ kids. The group, Serendipitydodah for Moms, is a place where moms of LGBTQ kids share a lot of support, information and encouragement … it is a place where moms of LGBTQ kids are learning and growing together with the purpose of developing and maintaining healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBTQ kids. For more information about the group email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Christians who believe that same sex relationships are sinful rely on a few verses that have been misunderstood and misused. You will often hear those verses referred to as the “clobber verses”.
In studies of sex in history, Stanford classics professor John J. Winkler warns against “reading contemporary concerns and politics into texts and artifacts removed from their social context.” This, of course, is a basic principle of biblical hermeneutics.
Calvin Theological Seminary Old Testament scholar Marten H. Woudstra says: “there is nothing in the Old Testament that corresponds to homosexuality as we understand it today” and SMU New Testament scholar Victor Paul Furnish says: “There is no ‘text on homosexual orientation in the Bible.”
Robin Scroggs of Union Seminary adds: “Biblical judgments against homosexuality are not relevant to today’s debate. They should no longer be used … not because the Bible is not authoritative, but simply because it does not address the issues involved.”
And yet, many pastors and individual Christians still use some passages to justify their belief that same sex relationships are sinful and unpleasing to God.
The clobber verse that I am confronted with most often is Romans 1:26-27.
There are some great resources available that go into a lot of depth and explanation about Romans 1:26-27 but I am always on the lookout for something brief and meaningful.
Here is something brief and meaningful that can be offered when discussing Romans 1:26-27:
“Romans 1:26 and 27 clearly speaks of same-gender sex by both men and women and is the only passage in the New Testament that does so. Romans 1:18-32 speaks of Gentile (heterosexuals) who could and should have known, served and given thanks to God but would not, so God gave them up and let them do whatever they wanted to do, and that resulted in degrading and shameful acts, including same-gender sex. It is almost a moot point, but Paul is not listing sins for which God will condemn anyone, he is listing sins that occur because people have forsaken Him. These are acts committed by those who have turned away from God and so become “consumed with passion.” All of us recognize that those who forsake God and give themselves over to lustful living–homosexual or heterosexual–stand condemned by the Bible. This passage is talking about people who chose to forsake God.”
That paragraph can open up an opportunity for more discussion. It isn’t meant to shut down the conversation. It doesn’t answer every question. It is meant to lead to more meaningful conversation – conversation that might help someone think about what that verse is really saying – conversation that allows one to introduce their own story into the mix.
In my case, that short paragraph can provide the opportunity for me to point out that my son who is gay did not forsake God and become gay, or forsake God and turn to lustful living, or forsake God and start having same sex relations. My son did not forsake God and he isn’t off living a life of sexual sin. My son, like most people, has simply gone out and dated, fell in love, become engaged and now plans to marry and have a family.
When I include my story and my son’s story it becomes obvious that Romans 1:26-27 is not talking about my son or the kind of relationship that he has with his fiance. It becomes obvious that Romans 1:26-27 is not a good argument against the kind of relationships that most LGBTQ people are looking for and it is not a good argument against same sex marriage.
Forsaking God and lustful living can be discussed further but neither of those things automatically apply to same sex relationships.
Good theology always has some skin and bones involved and once you add skin and bones when discussing Romans 1:26 -27 it becomes obvious that this passage does not provide sufficient evidence to condemn all same sex relationships.
For more in-depth study of Romans 1:26-27 check out Introduction to Romans 1:26-27
Serendipitydodah for Moms is a private Facebook group created as an extension of the Serendipitydodah blog. The group is secret so that only members can find it or see what is posted in the group. The group was started in June 2014 and presently has more than 1,200 members. The space was specifically created for open minded Christian moms who have LGBTQ kids and want to develop and maintain healthy, loving, authentic relationships with their LGBTQ kids. In addition to providing a space for members to share info and support one another, a special guest is added each month for a few days. The guests include authors, pastors, LGBTQ people, bloggers and public speakers.
For more info email email@example.com