Clobber passage 3 - 1 Cor 6:9

 

 

(1 Cor 6:9 NIV) Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes (malakos) nor homosexual offenders (arsenokoites)

(1 Cor 6:10 NIV) nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

(1 Cor 6:11 NIV) And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

The above clobber passages in Cor 6:9-11 have been commonly used against Gays and equating them as wicked and cannot become a Christian. However, even a casual glance at the the English translation does not make inherent sense and it seems inconsistent. For the passages refer to "wickedness" that deals with how we harm others or is unrighteous. Therefore, you have a lists of the vices from worshipping other gods in our idol worship, stealing, being greedy for what belongs to others, drunkard orgies, swindling money, and then male prostitutes and homosexual offenders. The NKJV translates the "male prostitutes" as " effeminate " and the homosexual offenders as "sodomisers". So we have major inconsistencies between bible translations - "male prostitutes" or " effeminate ", and homosexual offenders or sodomites? Also, if male prostitution was referred to, then why wasn't female prostitution mentioned although being much more prevalent. Are they not equally sinful?. The mention of a class of people also seem inconsistent with the general theme of wicked actions. Are the translations correct? as they contradict each other and also inconsistent with the general context.

The meaning of the verses becomes clear as we go to the original Greek source and how the words are used in ancient literature. A totally different interpretation arises that is consistent with the general theme of the passage:-

- "Malakos"

This is the Greek word that is incorrectly translated as "Male Prostitutes" and "Effeminate" persons. In Greek, the term refers to "soft" and "softies" or "weaklings". Aristotle used malakos to denote unrestrained indulgence in bodily pleasures, or licentiousness. Hence it is far more likely to be a general reference to people who are weak willed and cannot resist sin and have no self control in general. A general translation such as "licentious" or "wanton" would better preserve the sense of the original

Some translators assume that malakos is paired with the word, arsenokoités, and is interpreted as referring to the passive partner in a homosexual relationship, rendered as 'male homosexual offenders, perverts' (NIV) and 'sodomites' (NRSV ).   There is no evidence for such usage elsewhere in ancient Greek literature. To argue that together, the two words, malakos and arsenokoités refer to passive and active partners in homosexual intercourse, belies the historical and lexicographical evidence and perpetuates a homophobic prejudice or a deliberate act of mistranslation has injected a bias into the text.

- "Arsenokoites"

This is a uncommon word in the Greek culture and may be a slang term used by Paul. It is a combination of two Greek words. "Koites" generally denotes licentious sexual activities, and corresponds to the active person in intercourse. The prefix "Arsen", simply means "male". It could mean a male that has sex with lots of women. This may refers to temple prostitution by heterosexuals or men who sleeps around with other women or wicked sexual abusers understanding the culture then demean the loosing army by raping them.

The over focus of 1 Cor 6:9, may detract us from the overall purpose of Paul's letter to the Corinthians which is about spirituality. Paul was concerned that the Christians in Corinth were slowly assimilated to the cultures and religious spiritual practices of Corinth and begin to lack the power which was so apparent in the first century Christians. For Paul, Christianity is not about Psychology, Positive thinking, or a best speakers using persuasive words and human wisdom. Without a clear move and demonstration of the Spirit and power (1 Cor 2:4), we have no speaking rights. The Holy Spirit is also not the same spirit that the Corinthians are familiar with with the many idol worshipers in the city worshiping the spirit of this world (1 Cor 2:12) but it comes from the God the Farther. The Holy Spirit teaches wisdom in ways contrary to man's wisdom, opposite to that which is natural to men, and are foolishness to them unless they are spiritually discerned. Paul admonished the Corinthians that they are but babes in Christ and not spiritually discerning.

The Christian Right have effectively fail to see the true message of the Paul when they take on the self righteous posture and assign it Homosexuals. Yet, the first clear mention of the sexual orientation of those who indulge in sexual immorality, it was a case of a heterosexual affair. So when Paul mentions sexual immorality, his examples clearly indicates that he is referring to heterosexual immorality. In 1 Cor 5:1, Paul lamented that "It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that does not occur even among pagans: A man has his father's wife.". The news and extent of their heterosexual immorality reaches Paul and not any homosexual orgies. The book of Corinthians is about the lack of Spiritual maturity and discernment leading to immorality in their heterosexual relationships. When we blame Gays, we missed the Spiritual gems that Paul is trying to convey.

True spirituality is when we see ourselves totally in union with the Holy Spirit. In essence, we are joined to Christ when we accepted Him as our Lord and saviour. We have become "one" with him like in marriage where two flesh becomes one. (1 Cor 6:17 NKJV) "But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.". In terms of sexual immorality, Paul emphasised heterosexual failings and immorality in the context that we are in essence already joined to Christ. Therefore, when straight guys commit adultery or have sex with prostitutes, they are joining Christ which is holy to the prostitutes hence defiling the sanctity of our relationship with God. A threesome relationship is never what God intended. It is our entire body that God wants and not shared between many partners. Even existing relationship with non Christians in marriage means an unequal yoke which is permitted not because it could be, but by the grace of God.

The Christian Right have much to learn about true spirituality. Just like the Corinthians, spiritual discernment is lacking. The Corinnthians did not realized that they are spiritual infants? neither does the church. Is there Spiritual move and demonstration of the power common in the first century church widespread in our Churches today? We hardly see any tangible move of God rather our sermons are filled with human psychology and words of persuasion and human wisdom. There is no manifestation of the supernatural. We have the audacity to claim that this dispensation is over. Rather, it is because as seen in the Church in Corinth, the move begin to dissappear and dissappeared as the Church became more carnal and naturally minded instead of spiritually discerning.

The mainstream churches have yearned to return to the first century church with their great spirituality and power and even believed that there is much greater anointing in this end times. But even in Churches where the people pray fervently in tongues to built themselves up in the spirit, there is such a big gap. For there is a great price to pay when we condemned the innocent, Gays in our midst of sexual immorality. When we assign all blame to 5% of the population, the church itself will not be able to get rid of their sexual immorality, and all the vices mentioned in Corinthians and be still naturally minded. A break through in Christendom is needed to reflect a glorious church ready for Christ to come back, not one plagued by sin and spiritual ineffectiveness. It will not come until we seek forgiveness from the gay community of the sin we committed against them and recompense them for the hurt and damage we caused. Truly then, will be heavens open and rain be poured. For there is a strong spiritual drought, a desert unseen but so real in the church of Jesus Christ. There are rumors of another world here and there.

 

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