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Jesus on Homosexuality: A Rebuttal to Dr. Robert Gagnon Copyright © 2012 by Michael Wood Tubi Publishing, LLC grants permission for this work to be freely copied and distributed, provided it is done so in full, without any editing or modification. Scripture quotations marked (NASB) are taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org) Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com
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Preface.......................................................................................................... iv Chapter One: The Historical Jesus............................................................ 1 Chapter Two: The Golden Rule................................................................. 8 Chapter Three: The Great Divide............................................................ 12 Chapter Four: Paul’s Premise................................................................... 18 Chapter Five: Repentance......................................................................... 23 Chapter Six: Atonement........................................................................... 26 Chapter Seven: Law and Prophets........................................................... 31 Chapter Eight: Adam, Eve and Steve...................................................... 40 Chapter Nine: Reframe............................................................................. 43 Chapter Ten: Still Outside........................................................................ 48 Epilogue...................................................................................................... 51
For the last 1,900 years, Christianity had been assuming that ancient Jewish law was divided into two categories: ritual and morality. The historical record documents that this simply wasn’t so. Christianity had been interpreting Jesus’ teachings based on an erroneous assumption. To be sure, the Jewish nation did divide their commandments into two groups. However, the historical record shows that the dividing line was nothing other than the precept, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Every commandment summarized by this precept was a Justice. Every remaining commandment was a Job. Jesus, Paul, and James all used the precept, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Now we know that they used this precept to reference a well-established group of commandments—the Justices. This historical discovery completely changes our understanding of the New Testament. Each, in his own particular way, used the precept to explain that the Justices alone are the Christian law. The implications of this revolutionary historical discovery couldn’t be more profound, especially when it comes to the hot button issue of homosexuality. Surprisingly, the prohibition on homosexuality was a Job (not a Justice). In other words, it turns out that the prohibition on homosexuality wasn’t originally part of Christian law. But then, in the second century, when Gentiles dominated the Faith, they introduced the erroneous assumption regarding the dividing line which caused Christianity to err on this very important matter. Jesus on Homosexuality presents scholarly material that documents Christianity’s 1,900-year-old error. More importantly, it presents the necessary historical writings for the Church to reclaim her roots, should she decide to do so. Michael Wood April 25, 2012
Chapter One The Historical Jesus
Since Jesus upheld the law, his silence on the issue of homosexuality indicates his acceptance of the teachings of Hebrew Scripture, which as we have seen is unanimous in its rejection of same-sex intercourse.1—Dr. Robert Gagnon Dr. Robert Gagnon is one of the leading anti-homosexual voices. While Dr. Gagnon does not argue against homosexual feelings, he strongly condemns homosexual actions. According to Gagnon, Jesus unambiguously forbade homosexual intercourse. His proof rests on the following logic: 1. Old Testament law forbade homosexual intercourse. 2. Jesus upheld the entirety of Old Testament law. 3. Therefore, Jesus forbade homosexual intercourse. Dr. Gagnon’s logic is perfectly sound. Jesus’ view of Old Testament law definitively informs us whether he forbade homosexuality or not. Yet, ironically, Dr. Gagnon’s perfect logic is his total undoing. Recent historical findings now document that Jesus repudiated the Old Testament prohibition on homosexuality. The most pertinent historical findings are as follows: • First century Jews divided the commandments of their law into two groups: Jobs (commandments between man and God) and Justices (commandments between man and man).2
1 Gagnon, Robert A. J. (2002-09-01). Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Kindle Locations 3852-3853). Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition. 2 “Jewish tradition makes a distinction between mitzvot bein adam la-Mokom— commandments between a person and God—and mitzvot bein adam la-chavero— commandments between one person and another.”—Central Conference of American Rabbis (Gates of Mitzvah: A Guide to the Jewish Life Cycle by Simeon J. 1
“Justices” translates Greek dikaiōmata.)3 Maslin and Central Conference of American Rabbis. p. while “Jobs” translates Greek erga. the apostle Paul used the terms “Justices” and “Jobs” to designate the two groups of commandments. between man and God”— Talmudic scholar Joseph Dov Soloveitchik (The Emergence of Ethical Man by Joseph Dov Soloveitchik. literally “works. and bein adam la-makom.” “Justices of the Torah” (dikaiōmata tou nomou) is used by Paul in Romans 2:26. the famous passage called the Shema in Hebrew. 2003) ----In his Epistle to the Romans.’ This ‘philosophy.” (The Oxford Dictionary of the Jewish Religion by Adele Berlin. “When they wanted to summarize these two divisions of the law. 1979) ----“The traditional division of laws is bein adam le-havero. 254. “Mystery Solved. Every other commandment was a Job. that is.”) 3 Rabbi Pinchas was one of the greatest Talmudists (Jewish legal scholars) of all time. 34. KTAV Publishing House. 198.’ Philo notes. Jan 1. p. CCAR Press. falls under two headings: duty toward God and duty toward other humans. Michael S.” and chapter 23. (Every commandment summarized by “Love your neighbor as yourself ” was a Justice. His scholarly research is still studied and quoted to this day.’ (For a detailed discussion and documentation regarding the ancient meaning of Greek dikaiōmata see Paul on Homosexuality.” (Traditions. Maxine Grossman. Cahill. Schwartz.) ----Jewish law “distinguishes among ‘matters between man and God’ and ‘matters between man and his fellow.2 Jesus on Homosexuality • The precept “Love your neighbor as yourself ” determined whether a commandment was a Justice or a Job.” (Judaism and Global Survival by Richard H. and Humanitarian Action by Kevin M. chapter 22. Rabbi Pinchas states that “all of the commandments between man and man are included in this precept of loving one’s neighbor. 2011) ----“Judaism is a religion of commandments between man and God and commandments between man and man. Jews quoted two central passages from their Scripture (the Christian ‘Old Testament’). One is found in Deuteronomy 6. p. Lantern Books. 2002) ----E P Sanders notes. Jews throughout the world gathered in ‘schools’ where they learned what he calls their ‘ancestral philosophy. “On the Sabbath. p. Conventional Bibles mistranslate dikaiōmata tou nomou as ‘requirements of the law. between man and his fellow man. Oxford University Press. Berger. the Jewish ‘philosophy’ consisted of the two tables of the Jewish law. Inc. “Jobs of the Torah” (erga tou nomou) is used by Paul in Romans 3:20. Values. Mar 14. “Oxymoron. 97. 14. Fordham Univ Press. from its first . p.
” “Jesus and the First Table of the Jewish Law” by E. t. fellowship with all humans and philanthrōpia. Vallentine Mitchell. University of Chicago Press. The Jobs included ritual observances and sexual taboos. p. and with all your might. E. ----Philo presents this dual division of the law based on the two love commandments “as though obvious or well-known. 1994. 758.” (Resurrecting Jesus: The Earliest Christian Tradition and its Interpreters by Dale C. A. Continuum International Publishing Group. 2004. whereas the former is between man and his fellow. t. the Lord alone. as Philo put it. Sanders in Jews and Christians Speak of Jesus. t. Dunn. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart.” (Maimonides’ Ethics: The Encounter of Philosophic and Religious Morality by Raymond L. Weiss. Michael Wood 3 • The Justices included philanthropy and ethics. 2005. Reub. Allison. for the latter is between man and God. Harvard University Press. 62. Kugel. pp. pp. p. Gad 4:1-2. and with all your soul. 1991) For further documentation see also Judaism and Homosexuality: An Authentic Orthodox View by Rabbi Chaim Rapoport. Eisenbrauns. These are the first two verses of the passage: Hear. 156. 154. 7:6-7. 2002. It is ‘Love your neighbor as yourself ’ (Lev 19:18). G. O Israel: The Lord is our God. 1998. Zannoni. p. Issachar 5:2. t. ‘Hear’. KTAV Publishing House.. 4 “forbidden sexual acts are classified as transgressions between man and God. Huub Van De Sandt. 6:8-9). 55-73. t. and Traditions of the Bible: A Guide to the Bible as it was at the Start of the Common Era by James L. 2005) ----The notion that the two love commands (love God and love neighbor ) encompass all of God’s commandments is presumed throughout the Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs (t. 75. Fortress Press. 3:-1-3. (Deut 6:4-5) “The second passage enjoins. Yehudah ʻAmiṭal. P. 2005. 68. David Flüsser. Dan 5:1-3. Jos 11:1. 159 n. Oct 25. Fortress. p.” Rambam in Hilkhot Geneva 7:12 as quoted in Jewish Values in a Changing World by Yehuda Amital. Inc. 225-226. love of humanity. p. as reprinted in The Historical Jesus in Recent Research by James D. Benj. ----“The punishment for [false] measures is more severe than the punishment for illicit sexual relations. p. Scot McKnight.4 word. ----For further documentation see also The Didache: Its Jewish Sources and Its Place in Early Judaism and Christianity by Hubertus Waltherus Maria Van De Sandt. ----Rabbi Meir Simchah attests that illicit sexual relations were categorized as .
Sanders notes. (Judaism and Homosexuality: An Authentic Orthodox View by Rabbi Chaim Rapoport. but are more in the nature of taboos” were Jobs. pp. only recently have Christian scholars realized that the division was based on the precept. 1967) . applicable to all men. Only recently have Christian scholars realized that the ancient legal division was based on the precept. not a Justice. 1977 ----Rabbi Meir Simchah attests that illicit sexual relations were categorized as commandments between man and God. It shows that Jesus’ teachings have been misconstrued for a very long time. “Love your neighbor as yourself.6 Only sexual prohibitions that involved the abuse of another person (such as adultery and rape) were Justices. the prohibition on homosexuality was a Job. 5 Paul and Palestinian Judaism: A Comparison of Patterns of Religion By E.” This realization is revolutionary.’” (Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality: Volume 1. pp. Sanders. Jun 1. homosexual activity falls under the category of sins ‘between man and God’ rather than that of sins ‘between man and his fellow. p. 181-2 n. 181-2 n. 364. Volume 1. p 42. 35.4 Jesus on Homosexuality Scholars have long known that ancient Jews divided their commandments into two groups. Vallentine Mitchell.. some sexual prohibitions were Jobs while others were Justices. commandments between man and God. Sexual prohibitions that “do not involve the abuse of another person. 2004. As E. However.” Because of this division. Vallentine Mitchell. However. 35. Co. sexual prohibitions were separated into two distinct categories. 2004. Fortress Press. (Judaism and Homosexuality: An Authentic Orthodox View by Rabbi Chaim Rapoport.63).5 Thus.) ----Philo documents that the commandments between man and God included all piety and holiness [dietary and sexual purity]. P. “Love your neighbor as yourself. P.) 6 “The Talmud regards the prohibition of homosexuality as universal in character. with the notable exception of adultery and other practices involving an abused party. Cahners Pub. with the notable exception of adultery and other practices involving an abused party. whereas the commandments between man and man included philanthropy and ethics (Special Laws 2.
Fortress. All the others were Jobs. A. “Which ones?” And Jesus said. Sanders in Jews and Christians Speak of Jesus. 1994. P. For a detailed explanation of the difference between the original meaning and modern terminology see The Jerome Conspiracy by Michael Wood. Eisenbrauns. it was an integral part of first century Jewish life. 8 In the original text. But see p.) With this in mind. the man literally asked what he must do to have “life in the age to come. which good thing must I do that I may have eternal life8?” But he answered him. “Why are you asking me about what is good? There is only one who is good. 225226. He also knew that the topic of conversation was excluding the antithesis group—the Jobs.” he knew he was hearing a reference to a well-established group of commandments—the Justices. Jesus told the 7 “Jesus and the First Table of the Jewish Law” by E. the traditional mistranslation has been used here for the sake of reader familiarity. Michael Wood 5 Only sexual prohibitions that involved the abuse of another person (such as adultery and rape) were Justices. consider the following legal teaching of Jesus of Nazareth: And someone came to Jesus and said.” The man said to him. E. 55-73.”9 For 1900 years. don’t steal.” The Greek term aiōnios zoē is a Hebraism based on the Hebrew concept of life in olam haba (“the age to come”). Scot McKnight. “Don’t murder. While the mistranslation “eternal life” doesn’t fully equate to the original concept. G. 2005. keep the commandments. 9 Matthew 19:16-19 . Whenever a first century Jew heard “Love your neighbor as yourself. reprinted in The Historical Jesus in Recent Research by James D. 9 below. Dunn. The discovery of the Justices and Jobs finally reveals Jesus’ original message. pp. including the prohibition on homosexuality.7 In other words. scholars didn’t know that Jesus’ response specified a well-established group of commandments—a group of commandments that excluded sexual taboos. don’t lie. Zannoni. (He knew the topic of discussion was excluding all ritual observances and sexual taboos. “Teacher. honor your father and mother—love your neighbor as yourself. Ancient writings document that the Jews were taught to interpret the law based on the Justices and Jobs each and every Sabbath. pp. But if you want to enter into that life. don’t commit adultery.
This was the provocative message of Jesus of Nazareth. “Only the Justices. omit. If Jesus had said. it is! This is the whole point. It is one thing to forget. "You must only keep the Justices. The most effective way for Jesus to say that none of the Jobs are necessary was to teach that only the Justices are necessary. normal way to get his point across. We can accurately paraphrase the exchange as follows: A rich young ruler asked Jesus which commandments he must follow to inherit eternal life. "You don't need to keep the Jobs. Jesus was keenly aware that his answer excluded both ritual observances and sexual taboos. The revelation of the Justices and Jobs simply leaves no other alternatives. homosexuality. is the contrary of silence: it specifies that those commandments are irrelevant when it comes to eternal life! That deliberate exclusion was a clear statement of Jesus’ position on such things as circumcision. he made a clear. But to deliberately exclude.” The sexual taboos were front and center in the minds of Jews when it came to the Jobs. eating shellfish. unambiguous statement that the prohibition on homosexuality was irrelevant to the issue of . unambiguous statement that no Job was necessary. as Jesus excludes the ritual observances and sexual taboos. Dr. By stating that only the Justices are necessary. It’s impossible for this to have been an oversight. he made a clear. To insist that sexual taboos are necessary is to insist that Jesus answered him wrongly. Jesus answered. and wearing garments made out of two cloths." is that teaching that the Jobs aren't necessary? Yes." would that have been teaching that you must keep the Justices? No. given the well-established division of the Justices and Jobs during his day. Every Job—every religious requirement—was excluded.6 Jesus on Homosexuality rich young ruler. or ignore: that is “silence” on an issue. Yet he declared that only the Justices were necessary anyway. Gagnon is incorrect about Jesus’ “silence” on the issue of homosexuality. Therefore. By stating that only the Justices are necessary. This was the most natural. But when he says. in unequivocal terms: only philanthropy and ethics matter when it comes to eternal life (ritual observances and sexual taboos do not).
Michael Wood 7 eternal life. .
Chapter Two The Golden Rule If Jesus had wanted to communicate affirmation of same-sex unions he would have had to state such a view clearly since first-century Judaism. Wm. S. “the Golden Rule tended to be regarded in early Judaism as 8 . Azzan Yadin.’—David Flusser. “Love your neighbor as yourself. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” See Didache 1:2.”11 Since the Golden 10 Gagnon. 2009) ----“The Golden Rule is an interpretation or paraphrase (Targum) of the Old Testament Law of Love. Without a clear statement none of his disciples would have made such a logical leap. ----The Didache. 178. Robert A. Kindle Edition. “Love your neighbor as yourself. That’s why Jesus listed some Justices and then cited the love precept to reference all the remaining ones. so far as we know. New York: Ktav. a first century Jewish-Christian work.” See Aramaic Targum entries for Leviticus 19:18. 230-31. 11 The ancient Aramaic Targums used the Golden Rule interchangeably with the precept. Eerdmans Publishing. ----“Judaism turned the golden rule into a somewhat different formulation of ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. p. Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Kindle Locations 3829-3831). Abingdon Press. “Love your neighbor as yourself ” designated the Justices. Alexander notes. (2002-09-01).10—Dr. used the Golden Rule interchangeably with the precept. pp. Professor of Early Christianity and Judaism of the Second Temple Period at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. found in Leviticus 19:18: ‘love thy neighbor as thyself ’” (The Jewish Sources of the Sermon on the Mount by Gerald Friedlander. 1969) ----P. had no dissenting voices on the matter. (Judaism of the Second Temple Period: The Jewish Sages and Their Literature by David Flusser. here’s where things get even more interesting. B. Ancient Jews used the Golden Rule interchangeably with the precept. Now. J. Robert Gagnon The precept.
G. October 1996 13 The Ten Commandments in History and Tradition edited by Ben-Tsiyon Segal and Gershon Levi.12 The above passage is attributed to Clement of Rome. do not kill anybody. don’t lie. p. the Golden Rule was indeed a popular designation for the collection of the Justices. don’t commit adultery. we will not cause to be done to others: if you do not want to be killed. p. 413.” designated such Justices as “don’t murder. 17a. a firstcentury Jewish Christian traditionally held to be the apostle Peter’s successor. p.”13 Thus.” (The Historical Jesus in Recent Research by James D.” “don’t commit adultery. do not commit adultery with anyone else’s wife. Clement presents this teaching as “one unique saying as transmitted to the Godfearing Jews. Gefen Books. p. During Jesus’ day. honor your father and mother—love your neighbor as yourself. Peeters Publishers. Notice the similarity between Clement’s passage and Jesus’ teaching: And Jesus said. 226 n. “Don’t murder. Dunn. 17a. simply a variant of the Love Command. 2005) ----Because of the interchangeability. Gefen Books.” and “don’t steal.” (The Sayings Source Q and the Historical Jesus by Andreas Lindemann. do not steal anything that belongs to someone else. “Matthew could tag both the Golden Rule and Leviticus 19:18 [“Love your neighbor as yourself ”] as the sum of the law and the prophets.”14 Jesus’ teaching shows that the precept. 226 n. Michael Wood 9 Rule was interchangeable with the precept. it was also used as a designation for the Justices: What we do not want done to us.” Clement’s passage shows that the Golden Rule designated the very same things. October 1996 14 Matthew 19:16-19 . the Golden Rule designated the collection of Justices. if you do not want anybody to commit adultery with your wife. The passage is attested in multiple sources. Eisenbrauns. See Matthew 7:12 and 22:39. 2001) 12 The Ten Commandments in History and Tradition edited by Ben-Tsiyon Segal and Gershon Levi. “Love your neighbor as yourself. if you don’t want anything of yours stolen. Scot McKnight. don’t steal. 495. during Jesus’ day.
it didn’t know that the Golden Rule designated the Justices as well. and there are few who find it. Jesus used the love precept to designate the Justices when responding to the rich young ruler.900 years. therefore. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life. All the Jobs are irrelevant. All the Jobs are irrelevant. Jesus told him that the Justices alone determine this. Likewise. The Church didn’t realize that Jesus was upholding a very well-established. For 1.10 Jesus on Homosexuality Thus there were two designations for the collection of Justices: the precept “Love your neighbor as yourself ” and the Golden Rule.15 Jesus specified the Golden Rule as the road that leads to life. We’ve discussed two passages that are finally unambiguous and unequivocal in light of the historical dividing line between the Justices and Jobs. well-defined group of commandments as the sole requirement. Isn’t this the very same thing that Jesus told the rich young ruler? The rich young ruler asked what he must do to have eternal life. Jesus used both designations to drive his point home. He used the Golden Rule to designate the Justices in his famous Sermon on the Mount: In everything. In response. treat people the same way you want them to treat you. Jesus consciously and deliberately taught that ritual observances and sexual taboos are irrelevant when it comes to the narrow road that leads to life. 15 Matthew 7:12-14 NASB . and there are many who enter through it. It didn’t know that this precept designated the Justices group. for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction. The Church completely missed the point. Jesus’ message was unequivocal to his first century Jewish audience: the Justices alone determine who is on the road to life. Jesus consciously and deliberately taught that ritual observances and sexual taboos are irrelevant when it comes to inheriting eternal life. This lack of knowledge caused the Church to misconstrue both Jesus’ response to the rich young ruler and his teaching on the Golden Rule. Christianity didn’t know that “Love your neighbor as yourself ” was the dividing line between the two groups of commandments. Enter through the narrow gate. for this is the Law and the Prophets.
This pattern debunks Dr. In one sense. Dr. Michael Wood 11 We’re beginning to identify a repetitive pattern in Jesus’ message. Affirming the sole necessity of the Justices is “a clear statement” about the irrelevance of the Jobs. . Jesus didn’t make one clear statement about homosexuality… he made two. Gagnon’s assertion that Jesus didn’t make “a clear statement” about homosexuality. (Affirming the sole necessity of the Justices is “a clear statement” about the irrelevance of the prohibition on homosexuality. Jesus used two popular designations of the Justices to unambiguously communicate his message. Gagnon is right.) Jesus’ original message couldn’t be clearer and more contrary to what is claimed by Gagnon.
Ovadiah of Bartenura reconciles the two passages. Kindle Edition. service [to God]. on avodah. humanity was brought into the world to engage in study (Torah).’” (Sh’ma: Volume 36. (2002-09-01). • Gemilut hasadim meant “performing acts of loving kindness. avodah. The Bartenura suggests that we read the first Mishnah as: ‘the world would not have been created but for these three things. Jewish sages had already codified a legal distinction between ‘that which is done for God’ and ‘that which is done for the neighbor’: The world rests on three pillars: Torah. It expressed the devotional jobs done for God. p. 17 Ethics of the Fathers 1:2 (an ancient Jewish writing) 18 “‘The world stands on three pillars: on Torah.’ In other words. a person learns avodah (devotional jobs done for God) and gemilut hasadim (acts of loving kindness done for others).” (Judaism and Justice: The 12 .18 16 Gagnon.” Through the study of torah. to become spiritually grounded by ‘serving God’ (avodah). Issue 627 – Volume 38. • Avodah had a dualistic meaning: work/worship. Issue 646. J. Abingdon Press. 2006) Brackets included in the original text. deeds of loving kindness. Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Kindle Location 3837). Robert A.Chapter Three The Great Divide At no time did Jesus overturn a specific prohibition of the law16—Dr. and on gemilut hasidim. ----“In one of the classical commentaries on the Mishnah dating from the seventeenth century. Robert Gagnon More than two centuries before Jesus was born. – Shimon HaTzadik around 280 BCE17 • Torah originally referred to the study of the scriptures. 5. and to engage in acts of loving-kindness (gemilut chasadim). gemilut hasadim.
Jan 1. In all cases. both refer to those ethical commandments that are considered to be “acts of loving-kindness”19 – Karen-Marie Yust (Associate Professor of Christian Education at Union Presbyterian Seminary. Michael Wood 13 Acts of loving-kindness done for others (gemilut hasadim) were contrasted with the devoted deeds done for God. Harvard Divinity School) * * * In the commentary to the Mishnah (Pe'ah 1: 1) Maimonides defines the category of commandments “between man and his fellow man” in terms of the quality of “charity” (gemilut hasadim). Ruth Messinger. and Torah as representing each man’s responsibilities to God. James Hugh Ryan. man’s individual relationship to God is categorized separately from man’s responsibility to show loving-kindness to others (gemilut chasadim). Rowman & Littlefield. Jewish Lights Publishing. 19 Nurturing Child And Adolescent Spirituality: Perspectives from the World’s Religious Traditions by Karen-Marie Yust. Jewish Passion to Repair the World by Sidney Schwarz. some scholars see avodah as referring exclusively to ‘temple service’ by the priests. p. There were at least three designations for the Justices (the group of commandments based on love for others). Three Designations for the Justices • The precept. In other words. p. the distinction between these two categories predates Jesus by three centuries. 2006 20 The New scholasticism: Volume 76 by Edward Aloysius Pace.” • The Golden Rule • Gemilut hasadim (acts of loving-kindess done for others). Theol. D. In all cases. showing the depth of this manner of thinking. 171. p. 2008) ----Alternatively. American Catholic Philosophical Association. Gemilut hasadim (deeds of mercy) and its nearly synonymous term. ma’asim tovim (good deeds). 2002 .20 Over a three hundred year period. gemilut hasadim was associated with the Justices group (the ethical commandments between man and man). 80. “Love your neighbor as yourself. the Jewish nation developed a rich terminology to distinguish between devoted deeds done for God and deeds of loving-kindness done for others. American Catholic Philosophical Association. 277.
when did we see you hungry and feed you. “Go away from me. “I assure you that as much as you did it for one of these brothers of mine. and you gave me food and drink.” Then those who treated people with loving-kindness will reply to him. Then the king will say to those on his right. or thirsty and give you something to drink? And when did we see you a stranger and invite you in. He used the precept to teach that only the Justices are necessary for eternal life. In order to understand Jesus’ teaching.14 Jesus on Homosexuality Jesus used all three designations to drive his message home. or naked and clothe you? When did we see you sick. take possession of the kingdom held for you from the foundation of the world because I was hungry and thirsty. and come to visit you?” The king will answer saying to them. And he will place the sheep on his right and the goats on the left. I was in prison and you came to me. or in prison. accursed ones. “Come here! you who are blessed of my father. then he will sit on his majestic throne. I was a stranger and you invited me in. In this chapter we’ll take a look at how Jesus used gemilut hasadim to teach the same thing.” And then he will say to those on his left. you did it for me. we must first know the exact nature of gemilut hasadim (the acts of loving-kindness done for others). “Your highness. and all the angels with him. He used the Golden Rule to teach that the Justices alone determine who is on the narrow road to life. All the nations will be gathered before him and he will separate them from one another just as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. Popular examples of gemilut hasadim included: • Feeding the hungry • Giving drink to the thirsty • Hospitality • Clothing the naked • Visiting the sick With these examples of gemilut hasadim in mind. the lowest in society. I was sick and you visited me. consider Jesus’ quintessential teaching on judgment: But when the Son of Man comes in his majesty. into the fire of the age which has been held for the devil and his . I was naked and you clothed me.
sick. 22 What the Rabbis Said: 250 Topics from the Talmud By Ronald L. I was a stranger and you did not invite me in. 2006 . 'I assure you. or thirsty. or a stranger. Mark. visiting the sick.23 * * * The parable of the Last Judgment. “Gemulit Chasadim. p.” These will go away into the punishment of the age. and those who treated others with loving-kindness into the life of the age. as much as you didn’t do it for the lowest of society. and you didn’t visit me.25 21 Matthew 25:31-46. Inc. p. when did we see you hungry. or naked. were blessed because they alleviated the distress of people in need. 251. Michael Wood 15 angels because I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat. who would enjoy eternal life in God’s kingdom. you didn’t do it for me. 85. Clark M. all the actions which determine entrance into the kingdom were examples of gemilut hasadim. Inc. 394. 29-36 23 A Rabbinic Commentary on the New Testament: The Gospels of Matthew. naked. Aug 1. hospitality. and in prison. given drink to the thirsty. or in prison and were not of service to you?' Then he will answer them saying.22 All of the deeds mentioned here are acts of kindness (Heb. and Luke by Samuel Tobias Lachs. p. Gemilut hasadim): feeding the hungry. is rich in themes found in the Jewish tradition: feeding the hungry. Jesus declared that the reward will be given to all who alleviate the distress of people in need: Those standing on the right.. Williamson. 2004 25 A Rabbi Looks at Jesus’ Parables by Rabbi Frank Stern. Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. “Your highness. 1987 24 Preaching the Gospels Without Blaming the Jews: A Lectionary Commentary by Ronald James Allen.21 In this teaching. burying the dead. Westminster John Knox Press.24 In this teaching.. I was thirsty and you gave me nothing. or sick. and freeing the captives. KTAV Publishing House.” pp. clothing the naked.” Then they also will answer. welcoming the stranger…. Eisenberg. giving drink to the thirsty. All the actions cited by Jesus are deeds of loving-kindess (gemilut hasadim). p. 12 ----Basic Judaism for Young People Vol. and you did not clothe me. unique to Matthew. 1.
• The concept of gemilut hasadim (acts of loving-kindness done for others) was the oldest principle associated with such commandments. KTAV Publishing House. p. Those who keep the Justices are on one side.’ There is no gray area. 26 The two most popular religious schools during Jesus’ day were Bet Shammai (School of Shammai) and Bet Hillel (School of Hillel). Let’s recap: • After 1.26 Thus. this two-group division was a conscious.900 years. Inc. p. not two. 1999. He purposefully made it that cut and dry. (Why Jews Do What They Do: The History of Jewish Customs Throughout the Cycle of the Jewish Year by Daniel Sperber. • Hence. It was necessary for Jesus to have only two groups in order for him to communicate his point: The Justices will be the sole determinant. Brill Archive. This was significant because the leaders of the two most popular schools described judgment in terms of three groups.16 Jesus on Homosexuality Jesus’ teaching was unique among his contemporaries. For the teaching on the three groups directly attributed to Hillel see The Rabbinic Traditions About the Pharisees Before 70 by Jacob Neusner. The Jews of Jesus’ day used the precept “Love your neighbor as yourself ” to divide the law into two groups: Justices and Jobs. p.. 238. likewise designated the Justices as well. and those who don’t keep the Justices are on the other. His judgment teaching included only two groups: those on the left and those on the right. Jesus made it a ‘black and white issue. scholars have realized that Christianity presumed the wrong division of Jewish law. deliberate choice that must have been recognized for its uniqueness. University Press of America. By limiting it to two groups. 18. the precept “Love your neighbor as yourself ” designated the Justices group of commandments. Its history stretched back almost three hundred years before Jesus’ day. 149. Bet Shammai taught that there would be three groups at the judgment.) For the teachings of Bet Hillel see Rabbi Yohanan’s reference. For his teaching on the three categories see Theological Dictionary of Rabbinic Judaism: Making Connections and Building Constructions by Jacob Neusner. which was interchangeable with the precept. • The Golden Rule. . 1971. Period. Rabbi Yohanan was also a direct descendent of Hillel himself. 2005.
the Jobs. o Story of the Rich Young Ruler: Jesus used the precept to teach that only the Justices are necessary for “life in the age to come.” Dr. o Quintessential Teaching on Judgment: Jesus used gemilut hasadim to teach that the Justices are the sole deciding factor on who inherits the kingdom and who doesn’t. Michael Wood 17 • It was well-known and well-established that the other group.” o Sermon on the Mount: Jesus used the Golden Rule to teach that the Justices alone determine who is on the narrow road to life. Dr. Gagnon’s research is sorely outdated. Gagnon doesn’t hesitate to claim that “At no time did Jesus overturn a specific prohibition of the law. Yet even though Jesus literally repealed hundreds of commandments. The recent recognition of the ancient dividing line between the two groups thoroughly invalidates his most fundamental claims. • Jesus used the three designations to unequivocally teach that only the Justices are necessary for eternal life (the Jobs are irrelevant to the issue). All three teachings directly and unambiguously repealed all the Jobs. These teachings on the exclusivity of the Justices were the most effective way to teach that the Jobs will be irrelevant on judgment day. included all the ritual observances and sexual taboos. .
27 —Dr. It is only natural to ask.htm. Robert Gagnon We’ve applied recent Christian realizations regarding ancient Jewish law to the following three teachings: • Jesus’ Quintessential Teaching on Judgment • Jesus’ Teaching on the Golden Rule • Jesus’ Response to the Rich Young Ruler This enabled us to recover the long-lost meaning of all three teachings. Jesus’ examples of gemilut hasadim all dealt with bearing the burdens of others: feeding the 27 http://www. April 11. 2012 18 . who was a far more vigorous critic of the law of Moses than Jesus. “Is there any evidence that Jesus’ earliest followers understood their meanings?” After all. it’s now clear that the Church has a long history of having missed the point.Chapter Four Paul’s Premise (T)he case for claiming that Jesus was opposed to every form of same-sex intercourse is overwhelming. So did Jesus’ first followers understand them? Jesus’ quintessential teaching on judgment taught that everyone who engages in gemilut hasadim (acts of loving-kindness done for others) will inherit the kingdom. One need only consider: • The univocal and intensely strong rejection of same-sex intercourse in both the Hebrew Bible and early Judaism. • The univocal and intensely strong rejection of same-sex intercourse by Jesus’ earliest and closest followers—including Paul.robgagnon.net/RevCountryman.
clothing the naked. we end up with the very same conclusions as the Apostle Paul! This is significant for a very big reason: We now know 28 Galatians 6:2 29 Galatians 5:14 30 Romans 13:8-10 . Did any of Jesus’ earliest followers understand that anyone who loves others has fulfilled the law. sheltering the homeless. etc. He not only cited examples of Justices.”29 The apostle Paul understood it perfectly. The Golden Rule was used interchangeably with the precept “Love your neighbor as yourself. What about the second teaching? Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount taught that the Golden Rule is the entire law. the entire law is fulfilled in one statement. Did any of Jesus’ earliest followers understand that bearing the burdens of others fulfills Jesus’ law? Bear one another’s burdens and in this way fulfill the Law of Christ. What about the third teaching? Jesus doubled down in his response to the rich young ruler. in the precept “Love your neighbor as yourself. because only the commandments based on “Love your neighbor as yourself ” are the law? He who loves others has fulfilled the Law because “don’t commit adultery.” and if there is any other commandment it is summed up in these words: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. When we apply the recent Christian realizations regarding ancient Jewish law.” In doing this.” “don’t covet.” “don’t steal.” In other words. he told the rich young ruler that anyone who loves others has fulfilled the law.” “don’t kill. but he also quoted the precept “Love your neighbor as yourself.”30 The apostle Paul understood it perfectly. according to this teaching. because only the commandments based on “Love your neighbor as yourself ” are the law. Michael Wood 19 hungry. in the precept “Love your neighbor as yourself.28 The apostle Paul understood it perfectly. in the precept “Love your neighbor as yourself ”? The entire Law is fulfilled in one statement.” Did any of Jesus’ earliest followers understand that the entire law is fulfilled in one statement.
32 Yet knowledge of the ancient division of Jewish law has allowed us to discover something remarkable: Jesus and Paul taught identical things about the law. Dr. the Jobs are not. In short. In other words. Paul never deviated from this. Gagnon claims that Paul had a more critical view of the law than Jesus. Therefore.20 Jesus on Homosexuality which passages of Paul are reiterations of Jesus’ teachings. The work demonstrates. The work then examines the translation of all his writings on morality including those on homosexuality. idolatry.33 The prohibitions on rape and adultery were Justices. They both taught that only the Justices are the law. . The 31 Paul on Homosexuality provides historical and archaeological documentation that the foundation of Paul’s belief system was the conviction that the Justices alone were Jesus’ law. through attention to the original Greek. that Paul’s letters were written to teach his converts that only the Justices are the law. heterosexuality. the Jobs are not. monogamous homosexual relationships. Galatians 5:14. Gagnon wrote “Paul was a much more vigorous critic of Moses’ law than Jesus. These are the teachings that should be in the forefront of our attention when we translate and interpret everything else Paul wrote (including his supposed condemnation of homosexuality). and Galatians 6:2.” 33 See Paul on Homosexuality for historical documentation on the proper translation of the Greek arsenokoitai (which is wrongly translated as ‘homosexuals’ in conventional English versions). there is an abundance of historical and archaeological documentation that shows what Paul actually taught. making him appear to repudiate his own teachings in Romans 13:8-9. Conventional translations have mistranslated his letters through and through. These rapists violate the Justices (in a disgusting way) and they will be appropriately excluded and punished.31 Dr. he would have been repudiating the very teachings that reiterate what Jesus taught! Fortunately. causing him to wrongly conclude that Paul condemned consensual. If that is what Paul really did. and more. his analysis of Paul’s writings was built on a faulty foundation. not one iota. conventional translations make it appear that Paul repudiated the very teachings that were reiterations of what Jesus taught! 32 Notice in the introductory quotation that Dr. Gagnon didn’t know that Paul taught the same thing as Jesus because he didn’t know what either of them actually taught. then he would have been repudiating his very own teachings about the Justices being the entire law! If that is what Paul really did. Paul taught that the rapists of young boys cannot enter the kingdom of God.
The story of Sodom is a story about attempted gang rape. “‘In the 1980’s and ‘90s. pressuring gay men to remain unmarried (or worse.com/2011/07/18/amidbachmann-controversy-many-christians-cool-to-conversion-therapy-for-gays/) . the current president now acknowledges that sexual orientation never fully changes. at the end of the day. After decades of failures. by Dan Gilgoff. This realization is destined to awaken the Church to the original teachings of Jesus and Paul. Michael Wood 21 prohibition on consensual same-sex coupling was a Job. “Separation Anxiety.’ said Alan Chambers. many Christians cool to conversion therapy for gays”: Religion blogs.blogs. The Apostle Paul’s writings show (in the original Greek) that he viewed rape and adultery as being very different from sexual taboos. http://religion. reported on July 18. And the wonderful news is that both of them would concur that gay marriage is not an impediment to heaven… not even in the slightest. definitive ideological wall separating actions which abuse others from actions that don’t (as well there should have been!). Yet. the Genesis account only mentions the attempted gang rape. chapter 16. “Legal Labyrinth. The authors of the New Testament all shared a well-defined ideological distinction between rape and consensual sex. Paul consistently (at least in the original Greek) treated actions that abuse others differently from those that don’t. Thus.’” (“Amid Bachmann controversy. In fact. get married to women they’re compelled to cheat on)35 results in a lot of injustice and damaged lives. at the end of the day.34 His writings are reflective of the first-century distinction between the Justices and Jobs—the historical distinction that Christian scholars are just now beginning to comprehend. There was a clear.” 35 Exodus International was the largest organization to be involved in trying to change homosexual orientation. Gagnon would argue that there is a whole laundry list of reasons to conclude that Sodom is a story which condemns consensual same-sex coupling. CNN religion blogs. this creates impediments to gay Christians 34 See Paul on Homosexuality. but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we will never be tempted or completely move beyond a certain struggle that we may have. 2011. the question boils down to whether there is an ideological link between same-sex gang rape and monogamous same-sex coupling.com Religion Editor. the counseling emphasis was heavier than it was today. This sheds tremendous light on the earliest Christian view of the story of Sodom. CNN. the president of Exodus. ‘Transformation in Christ is possible. Ironically.” and chapter 33.cnn. and therefore must have viewed the Old Testament story of Sodom accordingly.
22 Jesus on Homosexuality entering heaven. May God forgive the Church’s prior decision to set up spiritual stumbling blocks for its homosexual parishioners. (And may the Church soon repent and mend the errors of its ways.) .
what shall we do?” And he said to them. and they said to him. “Collect no more than what you have been ordered to. Robert A. he somehow overlooked what repentance meant to Luke.” And the crowds were questioning him. “Teacher. saying. who more than any other New Testament author stresses repentance. or accuse anyone falsely. To Gagnon. “Do not take money from anyone by force. Luke first mentions repentance in a scene involving John the Baptist: “bear fruits corresponding to repentance… “Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees. and he who has food is to do likewise.” And some tax collectors also came to be baptized.e. (2002-09-01). “The man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none. and be content with your wages. Kindle Edition. Gagnon equates Luke’s references to repentance to his own definition of the word. “And what about us. However. Robert Gagnon Dr. Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Kindle Locations 4132-4133). saying. what shall we do?” And he said to them.” Some soldiers were questioning him. changed). certainly could not be illustrating that repentance and transformation are non-essential features of the Christian life.Chapter Five Repentance Luke. 23 . Gagnon tells homosexuals that they must “repent” and be “transformed” (i. “Then what shall we do?” And he would answer and say to them.36—Dr. repentance involves abandonment of all homosexual activity. And look! The deeds corresponding to repentance are all Justices!: 36 Gagnon. J. so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” This passage contains a laundry list of deeds corresponding to repentance. Abingdon Press.
’ And (in essence) Luke has the crowd asking John. Likewise. Context is everything. and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations. beginning from Jerusalem.24 Jesus on Homosexuality • Clothe the naked: “the man who has two tunics is to share with him who has none” • Feed the hungry: “he who has food is to do likewise” • Do not steal: “Collect no more than you have been ordered to” / “Do not take money from anyone by force” • Do not slander: “Do not accuse anyone falsely” • Do not covet: “Be content with your wages” First-century Jews were taught to interpret all religious discussions relative to the Justices and Jobs each and every Sabbath. just as Jesus established the requirements of salvation. they all recognized that the list was exclusively Justices.38 37 See ����������������������������������������� footnote 3. The rich young ruler asked Jesus which commandments were necessary for eternal life. paragraph on E P Sanders. that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day. We can’t presume that there’s anything more than what Jesus said because of this context. Therefore.37 Therefore. we have a similar situation with Luke on repentance. ‘what does repentance mean?’ John is obliged to make sure the crowd understands everything they need to do. they alone are required for eternal life. Notice the similarity between Luke’s teaching of repentance and Jesus’ response to the rich young ruler. Therefore. “Thus it is written. Luke used the account of John the Baptist to establish the meaning of repentance. 38 Luke 24:46-47 NASB .) Now Luke’s last reference to repentance makes perfect sense: Jesus said to them. Jesus was obliged to make sure the man understood everything he needed to do. (And it’s no coincidence that they both said exactly the same thing! The Justices alone are required for repentance. John brings up the word ‘repentance. They understood the point perfectly: Repentance means keeping the Justices.
those who keep the Justices will inherit eternal life (as Jesus told the rich young ruler). Michael Wood 25 Given Luke’s definition of repentance. . this teaching is in perfect alignment with Matthew’s Gospel. Luke taught that those who repent—those who keep the Justices—will receive forgiveness of sins. and as Paul wrote three times to his converts). they will inherit the kingdom of heaven (as Jesus said in his quintessential teaching on judgment). they will have fulfilled the entire law (as Jesus said in his teaching on the Golden Rule. Luke. Seven teachings spanning Matthew. and Paul all teach exactly the same thing! They all teach that philanthropy and ethics are the sole requirement for entering the kingdom. In other words. ritual observances and sexual taboos are irrelevant.
39—Dr. for we have another means of atonement which is as effective. Robert Gagnon The concept of ‘forgiveness of sins’ is called atonement. If it does not. The ancient Rabbinic texts contain a most remarkable account of how the Jewish nation dealt with the devastation: When the temple was destroyed Rabbi Joshua said: “Woe to us! for this house that lies in ruins. the Jewish people were so distracted by the 39 Gagnon. “My son. 40 The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. According to the Gospels. the forgiveness is retracted. Bromiley. abounding in love for God and intensely grateful for forgiveness. B. and that is. the place where atonement was made for the sins of Israel!” But Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai replied. ready to do whatever he commands. by Geoffrey W. ‘For I desire lovingkindness and not sacrifice’” (T. Abingdon Press. The woman demonstrates clearly by her actions that she has put herself entirely at the service of Jesus. Robert A.40 This event marked a pivotal turning point for the Jewish nation. Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Kindle Locations 4129-4132). Jun 1. Each year. be not grieved. as it is stated. J. and promptly destroyed the temple. will now continue in whatever activity earned her the notoriety of being a sinner.Chapter Six Atonement God expects forgiveness to transform the life of the person forgiven. This practice continued until 70 CE. Wm. The most important Jewish holiday is Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement). Kindle Edition. 275. The place appointed for the atoning animal sacrifice was utterly destroyed.B. It is inconceivable that this woman. an animal was sacrificed at the temple for the forgiveness of the nation’s sins. the practice of loving-kindness. p. Eerdmans Publishing. 1995 26 . The Romans laid siege to Jerusalem in 70 CE. Aboth de Rabbi Nathan 20a). Volume 4. as required by Jewish law. (2002-09-01).
p. Zakkai was on his way out of Jerusalem and Rabbit Joshua was walking behind him and he saw the Temple in ruins. 2005) ----According to Encyclopedia of Love in World Religions. Zakkai which rules that. and what is it? Acts of hesed. 171. Michael Wood 27 Jobs that they neglected to do the Justices. (Encyclopedia of Love in World Religions. 2008. p. Mohr Siebeck. they turned to gemilut hasadim (acts of loving-kindness) instead!41 Why? The Rabbis realized that their scriptures offered two methods of receiving forgiveness of sins:42 [God says] I desire loving-kindness and not a sacrifice43 According to the prophet Hosea. as it is said: ‘For I desired hesed [R.’ It is interesting that after the destruction of the Temple an opinion is attributed to Rabban Yohanan b. “From this it is clear that in the opinion of Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai the atonement of Jews is actually dependent on the same factor as the atonement of non-Jews.) 42 According to the American Academy of Jewish Research. the atonement of the Jewish people is dependent on hesed which is no less valuable than sacrifices. .” (Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research: Volume 50 by American Academy of Jewish Research. Zakkai said to them: Just as the sin-offering atones for Israel. and not a sacrifice’ (Hos. do not feel bad.: mercy]. After the fall of Jerusalem. and is claimed in modern conventional Christian commentaries as well: “Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai produced a solution for non-Jews: ‘It was taught [in a baraita]. 269. American Academy for Jewish Research. 6:6).) 43 See note 42 above. Yudit Kornberg Greenberg (Editor). Department of Jewish History.”—A’Haron Oppenheimer. we have another atonement which is as good. V. in the absence of the Temple. Instead of becoming embittered. Rabbi Joshua said: Woe to us that it is destroyed! This is the place which atoned for the sins of Israel! He said to him: My son. 41 According to A’Haron Oppenheimer. God will forgive the sins of everyone who practices gemilut hasadim (acts of loving-kindness). Rabban Yohanan b. Hosea 6:6 was understood by Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai as referring to “gemilut hasadim” (acts of lovingkindness done for others). Hosea 6:6 was understood by Rabban Yohanan ben Zakkai as referring to “charity. 1983. Hosea 6:6 “considers acts of loving-kindness or gemilut hasadim equivalent to sacrifices. On one occasion Rabban Yohanan b. ABC-CLIO. so does hesed/charity atone for the nations of the world. Tel Aviv University (Between Rome and Babylon: Studies in Jewish Leadership and Society by A’Haron Oppenheimer and Nili Oppenheimer.” not devoted deeds done to God as is translated in modern convention Christian translations. something remarkable happened. p. 38.
The New Testament is all about repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 44 Matthew 9:10-13 NASB 45 Matthew ����������������� 12:7 NASB . The concept was originally about keeping the Justices for the forgiveness of sins. Another striking parallel to the Hosea Principle is also found in Luke: Give that which is within as charity and all things will be clean to you.] “If you had known what this means. and Luke’s teachings on repentance. for God forgives the sins of those who practice loving-kindness. This was the whole point! This was what launched Christianity in the first place. However. This is why Luke wrote that God forgives the sins of those who repent (those who keep the Justices). the three Pauline passages. for God forgives the sins of those who practice loving-kindness. for God forgives the sins of those who practice loving-kindness. the concept has been terribly misconstrued by religious organizations down through the centuries.’ you would not have condemned the innocent. This is why Jesus taught that those who bear the burdens of others will inherit the kingdom.] “Go and learn what this means: ‘I desire compassion and not a sacrifice’”44 * * * [Jesus told the Pharisees. for God forgives the sins of those who practice loving-kindness. This is why the Golden Rule is the entire legal obligation.28 Jesus on Homosexuality Could this be the principle that Jesus appealed to as the basis of his teachings about the Justices? The answer is… yes! Jesus quotes this very passage from Hosea twice in the Gospel of Matthew: [Jesus told the Pharisees. We’ve already seen how this principle is reflected in the three Matthew teachings. ‘I desire compassion and not a sacrifice. The Hosea Principle runs throughout the New Testament: The Hosea Principle: God forgives the sins of those who practice lovingkindness.’”45 This is why Jesus told the rich young ruler that eternal life solely relies on the Justices.
and Paul. John. In other words.). and the Justices alone. All twelve passages teach the very same thing. The Justices.46 To paraphrase John: we know our sins have been forgiven because we practice loving-kindness. Another striking parallel is found in 1 Peter 4:8: Most importantly persist in love for one another because love covers over a multitude of sins. because we love the brethren. the principle upon which Jesus’ teachings were built. this is the passage around which all of Peter’s writings should be translated and interpreted. Jesus’ quoting of the Hosea Principle is particularly apropos: [Jesus told the Pharisees. Peter. this is the very passage of Peter’s which reiterates Jesus’ teachings! Therefore. Jesus taught that as long as you love your neighbor as yourself. all things are lawful for you. “I desire compassion and not a sacrifice. There’s the Hosea Principle again! We’ve now examined twelve passages spanning Matthew. Peter basically restated the Hosea Principle. it’s simply one more repetitive example of the very same thing.” you would have not condemned the innocent. determine who enters the kingdom of God and who doesn’t.47 46 1 John 3:14 NASB 47 Matthew ����������������� 12:7 NASB . this teaching is remarkable! In another sense. wearing garments made of two cloths. as long as you keep the Justices. Michael Wood 29 In one sense. Yet how many centuries have passed in which the meaning of Peter’s words have been ignored? Meanwhile.] “If you had known what this means. homosexuality. Luke. etc. Every one of them states that those who keep the Justices will receive forgiveness of sins. The New Testament simply couldn’t be clearer on the irrelevance of ritual observances and sexual taboos when it comes to the issue of salvation. Yet another striking parallel to the Hosea Principle is found in John: We know that we have passed out of death into life. all things are allowable for you (including eating shellfish.
Therefore. Many people overlook this part of the passage. then they wouldn’t condemn the innocent. the Pharisees accused Jesus of violating the Sabbath. Jesus told the Pharisees that if they understood the Hosea Principle then they wouldn’t have condemned the innocent. a Job of the Torah whose violation required the death sentence. the Sabbath isn’t an issue. If these Christians only understood the Hosea Principle. . Many Christians point to the fact that violating Moses’ prohibition on homosexuality required the death sentence. where Jesus declares that he and his disciples are innocent (their sins are already forgiven) because they practice loving-kindness.30 Jesus on Homosexuality In this passage. They use this fact to condemn homosexuals. even though violating that Job once required the death sentence.
(2002-09-01). Thus. Abingdon Press. Kindle Edition. imagine what would happen if someone quoted Jesus’ first reference in isolation. 49 Matthew ������������������ 5:17. Would 48 Gagnon. Now. when Jesus said that he didn’t come to abolish the Law and the Prophets.49 Law and Prophets (out of context): I have not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets A person could quote the first reference out of context in an attempt to persuade people that Jesus upheld the entire law.48—Dr. Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Kindle Locations 3831-3832). ���������� 7:12 ���� 31 . In context.Chapter Seven Law and Prophets Nothing in the authentic Jesus tradition suggests that Jesus abrogated the Torah during his earthly ministry. therefore. Robert Gagnon The Law and the Prophets are mentioned twice in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: I have not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets… In everything. treat others the same way you want to be treated for this is the Law and the Prophets. therefore. he was referring solely to preserving the Justices. treat others the same way you want to be treated for this is the Law and the Prophets. J. Robert A. we see that the Golden Rule (which designated the Justices) was the entire Law and Prophets for Jesus. What would this out-of-context quote mislead people to believe? Law and Prophets (in context): I have not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets… In everything.
The Sermon on the Mount is meant to be read as one whole passage. nothing in the authentic Jesus tradition suggests that Jesus abrogated the Torah during his earthly ministry. Gagnon not only takes the statement out of its local context. Jesus states. it gets even worse. but he also takes it out of the larger context of Matthew as well.32 Jesus on Homosexuality this be disingenuous? Of course it would be. Moreover. Therefore. Most people haven’t memorized the Bible. Gagnon employs the disingenuous tactic of quoting Jesus’ first reference independent of his second one. the tactic would work like a charm. . According to Matt 5: 17-18 (cf. The notion that the Justices are the entire law was central to Matthew’s depiction of Jesus. Gagnon lifts a statement out of context and uses it to repudiate five teachings within the very same book! If that weren’t bad enough. It is both disingenuous and unscholarly to lift a statement out of context and use it to repudiate another teaching in the same passage! Yet this is precisely the tactic Dr. Robert Gagnon Dr. Robert A. Peter 50 Gagnon. He taught this • in Jesus’ teaching of the Golden Rule… • in Jesus’ response to the rich young ruler… • in Jesus’ mention of the Hosea Principle in Matthew… • in Jesus’ other mention of the Hosea Principle in Matthew… • in Jesus’ quintessential teaching on judgment. even though both references were made in the very same sermon. Matthew repetitively taught that the Justices were the entirety of the Law and Prophets for Jesus. We’ve already seen that this one teaching is what unifies Matthew. But what person would do such thing? One such person is Dr. J. Luke 16: 16-17). “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets50—Dr. John. Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Kindle Locations 3831-3832). Gagnon takes. Would it be effective? Of course it would be. Kindle Edition. Yet Dr. They wouldn’t know the context of the topic off the top of their heads. Robert Gagnon. Abingdon Press. (2002-09-01). Luke.
Consider Jesus’ response to the rich young ruler: And someone came to Jesus and said. So what Dr. The pattern is as follows: • Cite teachings on relations between man and neighbor. which good thing must I do that I may have eternal life51?” But he answered him. .” See above. The meaning is so simple that even a child can understand it. Peter and Paul to Jesus! The Sermon on the Mount originally included the two references for a very specific reason. Michael Wood 33 and Paul with Jesus. This was the whole point of the Sermon on the Mount! And doesn’t this point match everything else Jesus taught in Matthew? Doesn’t this point match the teaching that unifies Matthew. John. but to understand the full implications of his error. “Which ones?” 51 In the original text. Let’s take a look at the two references again in context: I have not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets… In everything.” This was a very clear way to reference the Justices. “Teacher. treat others the same way you want to be treated for this is the Law and the Prophets. therefore. Gagnon’s out-of-context tactic. Luke. and • Reference the precept. John. Luke. But if you want to enter into that life. “Why are you asking me about what is good? There is only one who is good. Peter and Paul with Jesus? There is even worse to be said of Dr. you’ll first need to understand a pattern of teaching found in Christian writings. “Love your neighbor as yourself. In essence Jesus stated: I haven’t come to abolish the Law and the Prophets because only the Justices are the Law and the Prophets. Gagnon has done is to lift a statement out of context and use it to repudiate the one teaching that unites Matthew. note 7.” The man said to him. keep the commandments. the man literally asked what he must do to have “life in the age to come.
but are going to murder.” Now consider what Paul wrote: He who loves others has fulfilled the Law because “don’t commit adultery. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” you are behaving well. Compassion triumphs over judgment.55 52 53 54 55 Matthew 19:16-19 Romans 13:8-10 James ������������ 2:8-10 James ���������� 2:12 .” “don’t steal. you have become a lawbreaker. don’t lie.” Now consider what James wrote: If you are fulfilling the King’s law according to scripture. but is at fault on one count. “Love your neighbor as yourself. don’t commit adultery. “Love your neighbor as yourself. For anyone who keeps the whole law.” If you are not going to commit adultery.” “don’t kill. you are committing sin.34 Jesus on Homosexuality And Jesus said. “Don’t murder. for judgment without compassion will be for the one who has not shown compassion.54 Speak and act like people who are about to be judged by the Law of Freedom.”53 Notice that Paul: • Cited teachings on relations between man and neighbor.” “don’t covet. • Referenced the precept. and are indicted under the Law as lawbreakers.” and if there is any other commandment it is summed up in these words: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself. But if you are showing partiality based on personal appearances.”52 Notice that Jesus: • Cited teachings on relations between man and neighbor. • Referenced the precept. don’t steal. has turned guilty on all counts. He who said “Do not commit adultery” also said “Do not murder. honor your father and mother—love your neighbor as yourself.
• Referenced the precept. Not showing pity [5:38-42] 6. if you don’t want anything of yours stolen. do not steal anything that belongs to someone else. Adultery [5:31-32] 4. “Love your neighbor as yourself. if you do not want anybody to commit adultery with your wife. Lying [5:33-37] 5. do not kill anybody. “Love your neighbor as yourself ” (via the Golden Rule which was used interchangeably with “Love your neighbor as yourself ”). 17a. Gefen Books. October 1996 . 226 n. p. Jesus used this very same pattern immediately after declaring. Adultery [5:27-30] 3. • Referenced the precept. Murder [5:21-26] 2.56 Notice that Clement: • Cited teachings on relations between man and neighbor. do not commit adultery with anyone else’s wife. Not “loving your neighbor as yourself ” [5:43-48] 56 The Ten Commandments in History and Tradition edited by Ben-Tsiyon Segal and Gershon Levi. we will not cause to be done to others: if you do not want to be killed. “I haven’t come to abolish the Law and the Prophets”! The six antitheses which immediately follow Jesus’ promise to uphold the law deal with the following topics: 1. Michael Wood 35 Notice that James: • Cited teachings on relations between man and neighbor.” Consider what Clement wrote: What we do not want done to us. Would you like to see one more example of this pattern? I promise you’ll be amused when you see where it’s found.
October 1996 58 Deuteronomy 19:21 NASB . eye for eye. Among the six antitheses. 233 n. he takes the same line in the present context as he took when he defined the Golden Rule. 17a. It is these that he means when he speaks of “the least of these commandments. “Love your neighbor as yourself. tooth for tooth.” Jesus immediately clarified that he was solely referring to the Justices! Notice that in Jesus’ six antitheses he: • Cited teachings on relations between man and neighbor. Jesus did something quite astonishing to make sure his audience knew that he solely upheld the Justices: he abolished one of the commandments in Moses’ law! Which commandment did Jesus abolish? He abolished the following: you shall not show pity: life for life. with all of its major and minor commandments. summed by the rule to love one’s neighbor. Gefen Books. Jesus requires of his disciples that they observe the mitzvot [commandments] even more strictly than the scribes. at which the entire discourse is aimed. However. saying “This is the whole Torah” (Matthew 7:12)….. Just when it seems that Gagnon’s situation couldn’t get worse… it does.58 57 The Ten Commandments in History and Tradition edited by Ben-Tsiyon Segal and Gershon Levi.” That is why in this sermon of his he moves as a general rule from the minor instance to the major—a rabbinic method of interpretation called qal vahomer (a fortiori)57 A man as well read as Gagnon should certainly be aware of scholarship related to his primary proof text. “I have not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets. From what follows we learn that it is the ethical mitzvot that he is talking about. Consequently. in his introduction. • Referenced the precept. p.” Therefore.. Jesus had spoken of the whole Torah. Thus. and Biblical scholarship recognizes this: The entire subject deals with commandments between man and his fellowman. right after stating. he even quoted it out of the immediate context as well! For the immediate context clarified that Jesus was solely referring to the Justices.36 Jesus on Homosexuality In other words. he is without excuse. not only did Gagnon lift the statement out of the Sermon’s whole context.
Michael Wood 37 Before we look at Jesus’ abrogation of this command. But commanding the exact opposite would be the strongest way possible to show the total. one could: • Neutralize it: Teach the person to forgive. but whoever slaps you on your right cheek. Neutralizing a commandment would be sufficient enough to abolish it. “AN EYE FOR AN EYE. and let bygones be bygones. turn the other to him also. • Command the opposite: Command the person to turn his face to allow the left cheek to be slapped as well. utter abolishment of a commandment. take a guess at which approach Jesus took? If you chose “commanding the opposite” you are correct: You have heard that it was said. when teaching someone how to deal with a stolen shirt. and let bygones be bygones. • Command the opposite: Command the person to offer another garment as well. AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH. • Command the opposite: Teach people to offer an opportunity for double injury! For example. let’s first consider two different ways of abolishing it: • Neutralize it: Teach people to forgive. one could: • Neutralize it: Teach the person to forgive. absolute. do not resist an evil person. Therefore.59 59 Matthew 5:38-40 NASB .” But I say to you. Commanding the opposite makes the strongest possible statement that this commandment is completely abrogated! It would leave absolutely no doubt in the listeners’ minds. when teaching someone how to deal with a slap to the right cheek. let him have your coat also. and let bygones be bygones. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt. Another example.
immediately after declaring “I have not come to abolish the Law and the Prophets” Jesus does three things: • Cited teachings between man and neighbor. Over and over and over again. “Love your neighbor as yourself. But at no time did Jesus overturn a specific prohibition of the law60 According to Gagnon. Jesus made sure his audience knew that he solely considered the Justices to be the Law and the Prophets. “at no time did Jesus overturn a specific prohibition of the law. It is fully repealed. • Abolished a commandment that wasn’t based on the precept. (2002-09-01). It is totally abrogated.” Yet. . He completely abrogated the specific prohibition of the law found in Deuteronomy 19:21. Gagnon do with the fact that the six antitheses completely contradict his claim about Jesus’ statement? Gagnon completely mischaracterizes the six antitheses! He claims that “at no time did Jesus overturn a specific prohibition of the law”: At several points. So what does Dr. It is possible that Jesus did not demand the death penalty for certain sexual sins such as adultery and prostitution. below). although he clearly maintained his opposition to such behavior (cf. J. Jesus made sure that his audience knew that he was upholding the Justices and the Justices only. Kindle Edition.” including Jesus’ discussion of “the six antitheses that follow in Matthew 5:21-48. Gagnon takes Jesus’ statement out of context and 60 Gagnon. In summary. Jesus utterly abolished the prohibition against showing pity to our enemies. Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Kindle Locations 3834-3837). Thus. Jesus did overturn a specific prohibition right within the six antitheses themselves! In fact. “Love your neighbor as yourself ”. he commanded the opposite of a prohibition in order to utterly and completely abolish it. Abingdon Press. This much is clear from the six antitheses that follow in Matt 5: 21-48. Robert A.” Over and over and over again. • Referenced the precept. Jesus did prioritize the law’s core values and even amended the law by closing loopholes and expanding its demands.38 Jesus on Homosexuality Jesus commanded the opposite in order to leave no room for ambiguity: the commandment in Deuteronomy 19:21 is completely abolished.
He should have never been viewed as an authority on the Bible and homosexuality. . Such deliberate torturing of the biblical text makes it very difficult to give Gagnon’s motives the benefit of the doubt. Michael Wood 39 then mischaracterizes the immediate context in which it is found. This has truly been a case of the blind leading the blind.
lifelong marriage to a person of the opposite sex. But from the beginning of creation.Chapter Eight Adam. Jesus brought up Adam and Eve within the context of heterosexual divorce: Some Pharisees came up to Jesus. Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Kindle Locations 3884-3888).”—Mark 10:2-9 61 Gagnon. God MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE. as you will soon see. We saw one example of this in the previous chapter. not Adam and Steve” is based on a contextual bait and switch! When reading anything. It would have been a foregone conclusion for Jesus that homoerotic relationships and human-animal unions. “Because of your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment.” But Jesus said to them.61—Dr. “What did Moses command you?” They said. let no man separate. and began to question Him whether it was lawful for a man to divorce a wife. so they are no longer two. Abingdon Press. Robert Gagnon Dr. Robert A. the very popular “Adam and Eve. Kindle Edition. (2002-09-01). 40 . What therefore God has joined together. In fact. including the Bible. Eve and Steve The creation texts authorized only one type of sexual union. but one flesh. FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER. were unacceptable. “Moses permitted a man TO WRITE A CERTIFICATE OF DIVORCE AND SEND her AWAY. We’ll take a look at another example in this one. testing Him. And He answered and said to them. J. The whole point of Jesus’ stance in Mark 10:1-12 is not to broaden the Torah’s openness to alternative forms of sexuality but rather to narrow or constrain the Torah’s sexual ethic to disallow any sexual union other than a monogamous. both proscribed in Leviticus. AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. Gagnon often relies on his reader’s unawareness of biblical context. words have no meaning independent of their context.
If one wants to know “what is the deciding factor between those who inherit the kingdom and those who don’t.” he should look to the story of the rich young ruler. would be an inappropriate. Why? Because that’s what the story of the rich young ruler is all about. Why? Because that’s what the teaching is all about. Naturally. Gagnon’s assertion is easily demonstrated. Consider the contexts of all the passages we’ve discussed so far: • The context of the rich young ruler story: Which commandments must be followed to attain eternal life? • The context of Jesus’ quintessential teaching on judgment: What is the deciding factor between those who inherit the kingdom and those who don’t? • The context of Jesus’ teaching of the Golden Rule: What determines whether a person is on the narrow road to life or not? • The context of Mark 10:1-12: What are legitimate grounds for heterosexual divorce? If one wants to know “which commandments must be followed to attain eternal life. nonsensical ways of reading the Bible: • Using a passage on divorce to decide “which commandments must be followed to attain eternal life.” he should look to Jesus’ quintessential teaching on judgment. Michael Wood 41 The context of Mark 10:1-12 is heterosexual divorce (a legal question was asked about a man divorcing a woman). nonsensical way of reading the Bible? Here’s a list of inappropriate. If one wants to know “what determines whether a person is on the narrow road to life or not.” he should look to Jesus’ teaching of the Golden Rule. invalid. What. invalid. therefore. Gagnon justified in using this passage to condemn the concept of Christian homosexuals? The invalidity of Dr. the discussion would therefore focus on that which pertains to the marriage relationship of men and women. Why? Because that’s what the teaching is all about.” . Is Dr.
Gagnon apparently cannot see the fallacious arguments he is making. These are the passages we must distract attention away from if we want to convince people to believe in a fictitious version of Jesus. Yet the damage that is the negative effect of his crusade is the same.42 Jesus on Homosexuality • Using a passage on divorce to decide “what is the deciding factor between those who inherit the kingdom and those who don’t. We must pray that one day he finds eyes that can see. Gagnon uses a teaching on divorce to speculate who can enter the kingdom of God and who can’t. whether his arguments are intentionally deceptive or not. These are the passages that we must look to if we want to truly understand Jesus’ teaching. This nonsensical approach to reading would be amusing if the consequences weren’t so severe. Meanwhile. Meanwhile. I really do not believe that Dr. . his speculation contradicts Jesus’ own teachings on who can enter the kingdom of God and who can’t. and ears that can hear. Gagnon is deliberately trying to deceive.” • Using a passage on divorce to decide “what determines whether a person is on the narrow road to life or not. In his blind pursuit of condemning Christian homosexuals. Gagnon uses a teaching on divorce to speculate who can enter the kingdom of God and who can’t. Dr.” Would anyone really read the Bible in such an invalid and nonsensical way? Dr. I’ll repeat: Dr. his speculation contradicts Jesus’ own teachings on who can enter the kingdom of God and who can’t. Jesus appealed to a well-established group of commandments to precisely explain who inherits the kingdom and who doesn’t.
Chapter Nine Reframe I am persuaded that to love God with one’s whole being and to pray for the coming of God’s rule entails submitting one’s pursuit of sexual pleasure to the revealed will of God. Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Kindle Locations 723-724). and with all your might.62—Dr. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart. O Israel: The Lord is our God. that is. the Lord alone. 63 Above. Fortunately. Kindle Edition. Robert A. as Philo put it. Jews throughout the world gathered in ‘schools’ where they learned what Philo calls their ‘ancestral philosophy. fellowship with all humans and philanthrōpia. J. (Deut 6:4-5) “The second passage enjoins. It is ‘Love your neighbor as yourself ’ (Lev 19:18). the concept is an easy one: On the Sabbath. note 2. and with all your soul. 43 . from its first word. (2002-09-01).’ Philo notes. love of humanity. ‘Hear’.”63 During Jesus’ day. One is found in Deuteronomy 6.’ This ‘philosophy. the Jewish ‘philosophy’ consisted of the two tables of the Jewish law. These are the first two verses of the passage: Hear. Jews quoted two central passages from their Scripture (the Christian ‘Old Testament’). the famous passage called the Shema in Hebrew. the Justices and Jobs were designated by two central scriptures: 62 Gagnon. falls under two headings: duty toward God and duty toward other humans. Abingdon Press. Robert Gagnon It is literally impossible to understand the teachings of Jesus without a working knowledge of the Justices and the Jobs. “When they wanted to summarize these two divisions of the law.
• “Love your neighbor”: (philanthropy and ethics). an expert in the Law. “love God” designated the Jobs and “love your neighbor” designated the Justices. and might. “Because we must love God with our whole heart. Why did the Pharisee do this? 64 Matthew 22:35-36 . soul. “Why can’t we wear garments made of two cloths?” The parent would answer.” In the first century.44 Jesus on Homosexuality • “Love God”: designated the Jobs (ritual observation and sexual taboos). Therefore they interpret this command relative to our modern view of the verse (instead of interpreting it from a first century perspective). soul.” • When a first-century teenager would ask. and might. we can finally understand one of the most crucial passages in the entire New Testament: One of the Pharisees. Therefore. “Why must we avoid eating shellfish?” The parent would answer. “Teacher.” • If a brave first-century teenager asked. soul. “Why can’t men be with other men?” The parent would answer. “Because we must love God with our whole heart. • When a first-century teenager would ask. Thanks to this recent realization of Christian scholars. and might. he sought to get Jesus to admit that “Love God” was the greatest commandment (since that commandment designated the Jobs). what is the great commandment in the Law?”64 The Pharisee wanted to prove that the Jobs were necessary for salvation. asked Jesus a question to trap him. “Because we must love God with our whole heart. designated the Justices Very few people are aware that the command “Love God” designated the Jobs during Jesus’ day.
Michael Wood 45 • Jesus had already used the six antitheses to teach that only the Justices are the law. And the second is the same as it. asked Jesus a question to trap him. And since conventional translators didn’t understand the historical context. The Pharisees associated “love God” with the Jobs.’ This is the great and first commandment. ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. he said: Everyone who loves his neighbor as himself is loving God with his whole heart.” This is what the passage with the Pharisee was all about. Here’s how the passage reads when properly translated: One of the Pharisees. • Jesus had already used the Golden Rule to teach that only the Justices are the law. He brought up the command in order to thwart Jesus’ teaching that only the Justices are necessary for salvation. and it would be inconceivable that Jesus simply 65 Matthew 22:35-39 . and might. This translation is confirmed on three independent levels: • Historical Setting: The historical setting informs us of the Pharisee’s intent. • Jesus had already invoked the Hosea Principle twice to teach that only the Justices are necessary for forgiveness of sins. and with all your soul. Jesus must have abrogated the commandment to “love God. they mistranslated the passage terribly. soul. He reframed “Love God. Jesus rose to the challenge and completely turned the tables. an expert in the Law. “Teacher. “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart.” making it a designation of the Justices! In other words. what is the great commandment in the Law?” And Jesus said to him.’”65 The lawyer brought up the command to “Love God” in an attempt to prove that the Jobs were essential. and with all your mind. The second commandment is the same as the first. by abrogating the Jobs. • Jesus had already told the rich young ruler that only the Justices are necessary for attaining eternal life. From the Pharisee’s perspective.
Dictionnaire etymologique de la langue grecque.” or “the same. they were allowed to be treated as ‘equivalent precepts. and similarity at the other end. are called isa kai homoia (“equal and the same. from Euclid through Archimedes and Ptolemy and beyond. when two commands shared a term in common. congruence or the “perfect match. polygons. it leans toward the “upper” end of the spectrum. For the most part. under the entry ὅμοιος. “The Tables Have Turned. Greek Lexicon. “equal and similar. which means “one and the same” (see H. Chantraine.” “one and the same”). signifies identity at one end of its spectrum of meaning. • Gezera Shava: In the first century. equality. etc. where congruent angles. Frisk. • Internal Consistency: The Greek word homoia could be translated in two ways: ‘the second is the same as the first’ or ‘the second is like the first.” fails to take note of that intensifying function). “Gezera Shava: the Missing Link.” Jesus volunteered “You shall love your neighbor.” chapter 12.’66 The first meaning upholds all of Jesus’ other teachings in Matthew. triangles. they are ‘equivalent precepts. William Berg: The adjective homoios (feminine homoia.” Volunteering another commandment that shares a term in common was a popular way of employing gezera shava. chapter 11. see Liddell-Scott-Jones. (For references.” Its real force is best seen in Greek mathematics.” Therefore.’ This practice was known as gezera shava. homoia reinforces and emphasizes the equality specified in isa (the conventional translation. Jesus used the fact that the commandments shared the term ‘you shall love’ in order to show that “the second is the same as the first.” and chapter . in the area of “equal” or “equivalent. neuter homoion) derives from homos. the Greek text would support the premise that “Love your neighbor as yourself ” is one and the same with “Love God with your whole being. homoios.) The fact that Matthew 22:37-40 uses homoia in the context of a Gezerah Shavah (“equivalent pronouncement”) would indicate a semantic position in the upper reaches of homoios’ range of meaning. indicating equivalence.” In other words. under the ὁμός-entries). likewise.” 67 For a helpful explanation of gezera shava see Paul on Homosexuality.46 Jesus on Homosexuality reaffirmed the Pharisees’ belief.’67 66 Note from Dr. Griechisches etymologisches Wörterbuch and P. In that very common expression. especially in first-century contexts. The lawyer brought up the commandment “You shall love God. Proper translation requires upholding internal consistency whenever the language allows. The second meaning repudiates all of Jesus’ other teachings in Matthew.
“Mystical Union.68 It was therefore only natural for him to teach that those who love their neighbors as themselves are loving God with their whole heart.cfm?articleId=60 68 See chapter six. He did so because he believed that God solely desires loving-kindness for the forgiveness of sins.” ----For a brief online tutorial see: http://jcstudies. body. Michael Wood 47 Jesus repeatedly taught that only the Justices are the Law.” . 13.com/articleDetail. This is what it means to love God. soul and might. “Atonement.
Robert A.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. and recognizing that Jesus had answered them well. (He was close.’ The second is this. “Atonement. “You are not far from the kingdom of God. Kindle Edition. AND TO LOVE HIM WITH ALL THE HEART AND WITH ALL THE UNDERSTANDING AND WITH ALL THE STRENGTH.”70 The sentence that is most overlooked is: “You are not far from the kingdom of God. asked Him. at the end of the day we cannot say that Jesus abrogated the law or any part of it (though he did prioritize some parts of the law over others). the man’s answer was close. Abingdon Press. however. O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD. is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices. but still outside? As you may recall.” When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently. (2002-09-01). “Right. ‘HEAR. You have truly stated that HE IS ONE. AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND. J.”)71 The man. AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART. but still outside the kingdom. AND THERE IS NO ONE ELSE BESIDES HIM. AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH. but still incorrect.” 48 . 70 Mark 12:28-34 NASB 71 See chapter six. Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Kindle Locations 4373-4375). AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL.) Why did Jesus acknowledge that the man was close.Chapter Ten Still Outside however we describe Jesus’ distinctive teaching in relation to the Mosaic law. AND TO LOVE ONE’S NEIGHBOR AS HIMSELF. (“God desires loving-kindness not a sacrifice. said that loving 69 Gagnon.69—Dr. Robert Gagnon One of the most overlooked passages in the New Testament is found in the twelfth chapter of Mark: One of the scribes came and heard them arguing.” In other words. He said to him. Teacher.” The scribe said to Him. ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. the Hosea Principle taught that lovingkindness is all that is needed for the forgiveness of sins. “What commandment is the foremost of all?” Jesus answered. “The foremost is.
Michael Wood 49 others “is more important than sacrifice. “Reframe. Abingdon Press. but his position was moved as he thought about it. at the end of the day we cannot say that Jesus abrogated the law or any part of it (though he did prioritize some parts of the law over others). this is precisely what Dr. J. • Jesus told him that his answer isn’t far off. . He can accept that Jesus intensified the Justices. Two chapters earlier. The Jobs aren’t merely diminished. they are irrelevant. but still outside. Jesus’ teachings in Mark chapters 10 and 12 were both written to teach that only the Justices are necessary. The Gospel of Mark was written to a first-century Jewish audience. Bible and Homosexual Practice: Texts and Hermeneutics (Kindle Locations 4373-4375).” 73 Gagnon. the man asked Jesus which commandments were necessary for eternal life. He stated that he now understood that loving others was more important than sacrifice. but he cannot (yet) 72 See chapter nine. if someone thinks that the Jobs are diminished yet necessary. Kindle Edition.73 Gagnon is in the same boat as the man mentioned in Mark. He didn’t go far enough. As in Matthew’s Gospel. Here’s what the passage communicated to them: • A man asks Jesus what is the greatest commandment. Rather. Jesus cited only Justices. The account was written to emphasize Jesus’ seriousness that the Justices are the only commandments that matter. but he’s still outside. Robert A. (2002-09-01). they are still outside the kingdom. • Jesus answered “Love God. Gagnon teaches people today: however we describe Jesus’ distinctive teaching in relation to the Mosaic law.” He was close.” • Jesus then volunteers “Love your neighbor” to employ gezera shava (showing that the two commandments are ‘equivalent precepts. As in Matthew’s Gospel. Mark had already presented the story of the rich young ruler. In fact.’)72 • The man couldn’t fully accept Jesus’ teaching. Sadly.
Gagnon’s theology is close to the kingdom. This was the number one issue faced by the apostle Paul. They still haven’t surrendered to the fullness of Jesus’ message: Only the Justices are the Law. If the members of the Christian faith embraced keeping the Justices (repentance) for the forgiveness of sins. I write this book in hopes that the homosexual debate will awaken Christians to the original teachings of Jesus and Paul. He told people they must choose.50 Jesus on Homosexuality accept that Jesus disregarded the Jobs. Do they have faith in him who taught that only the Justices are the Law. Another group says that the prohibition on homosexuality must be obeyed for entering the kingdom. but still outside. the Jobs are not. One group says that faith is independent of any commandments whatsoever. Jesus’ core message about the necessity of the Justices is thrown overboard. but still outside. And now we have come to the crux of the Christian homosexual issue. Much of his writings to the Galatians and Romans contrast faith in Jesus against the Jobs of the Torah. Those who fight against full acceptance of homosexuals risk being close to the kingdom. These folks are close. Can we imagine a world in which hundreds of millions of people are dedicated to acts of loving-kindness in Jesus’ name? May Christianity return to her roots so she can grow and heal the world! . but still outside. But Paul understood that faith in Jesus was incompatible with believing in the necessity of any Jobs. Judaizers were telling his converts that they must keep the Jobs of the Torah. Everywhere he went. Paul’s message has been bastardized in two ways. the entire world would be transformed overnight. or do they seek vindication through the Jobs? You cannot have it both ways.
(Chapter Three) • Homosexuality was a Job and Paul taught that only the Justices are the Law. (Chapter Seven) • Homosexuality was a Job and Jesus taught that keeping the Justices fulfills our entire obligation to love God. Period. (Chapter Ten) The Justices and Jobs eliminate the possibility that Jesus condemned homosexuality. (Chapter Nine) • Homosexuality was a Job and Jesus taught that anyone who believes the Jobs are necessary is still outside the kingdom. (Chapter Four) • Homosexuality was a Job and Luke taught that repentance requires only keeping the Justices. (Chapter Two) • Homosexuality was a Job and Jesus taught that only the Justices will matter on judgment day. (Chapter One) • Homosexuality was a Job and Jesus taught that only the Justices are the Law. It’s only a matter of time before Christianity realizes it. (Chapter Six) • Homosexuality was a Job and Jesus taught that he is only preserving the Justices section of the Law. (Chapter Five) • Homosexuality was a Job and Jesus taught that only the Justices are necessary for the forgiveness of sins.Epilogue This work has demonstrated: • Homosexuality was a Job and Jesus taught that only the Justices matter when it comes to eternal life. 51 .
PaulOnHomosexuality.com .For more information on Jesus and homosexuality: www.MichaelWoodCrypto.JesusOnHomosexuality.com For information on other works by Michael Wood: www.com For more information on Paul and homosexuality: www.
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