The Christian Church in Singapore generally sees the Gay issue as challenging their the biblical faith and so require a strong response to apologetically defend the basis of conservative Christianity. Our faith is founded on the bible as it is ultimately weaved into it, the revelation of Christ, a prophetic mystery looked forward by the Jews in the Old Testament admist their frequent detour to worshiping other gods, to the birth, death and resurrection of Christ, the creation of the church, and the future coming back or the revelation of Jesus Christ. For many years Satan tried to destroy the bible and even banning it. The Council of Trent (1545-1564) placed the Bible on its list of prohibited books, and forbade any person to read the Bible without a license from a Roman Catholic bishop or inquisitor. The Council added these words: "That if any one shall dare to read or keep in his possession that book, without such a license, he shall not receive absolution till he has given it up to his ordinary." Pope Pius VII (1800-1823) denounced the Bible Society and expressed shock at the circulation of the Scriptures. Pius VII said, "It is evidence from experience, that the holy Scriptures, when circulated in the vulgar tongue, have, through the temerity of men, produced more harm than benefit." Perhaps in hindsight if it had been seen that the Protestants could so delibrately misinterpreted the bible on homosexuality, then perhaps the call by the Catholics for a permit is reasonable to "protect the bible".
The destruction of the bible is not by banning it which would increased its readership, but to let it be grossly misinterpreted by the religious leaders, so that people will not read and carefully study for themselves in a critical analytical mind but let the experts interpret it and deemed their word as truth. Take for example, the recent "Statement on Homosexuality" by Church of Our Saviour:-
a) Firstly stating that their position as "totally" founded on the bible but then adding that the bible is the Word of God implies that their position is the "Word" of God Himself. Therefore, this takes on a papal authority as if it is directly from God. We now put ourselves in God's shoes and claim on behalf, a totality and absoluteness of this position as if God was speaking. This is a very presumptous statement because God do speak to different people groups within their historical, cultural, and religious context, and to translate that to another context, culture, religious circumstances and time as if it from God must be taken with extreme care especially when an entire people group is impacted. Otherwise, we have made ourselves God.
b) The COOS statement then proceeded to list the clobber verses Lev 18:22, Rom 1:26-27, as if directed particularly to the people of the 21st century. Lev 18:22 and Rom 1:26-27 are talking about the same event whereby the Jewish people worship idols that demand sex even between men. Do we worship such gods in the 21st century? and do other provisions of the Holiness Codes and relgious laws in the same context apply. Therefore, we have selectively apply these verses to gays whilst not appyling the other verses in the same context to Christians because it is simply not applicable or relevant. When we take biblical versus out of their context and use it as our voice to the masses as if it is a word from God, we have made ourselves god.
The “holiness code” is laid out for us throughout the Book of Leviticus and parts of Deuteronomy. The Israelites were to follow these laws until the Messiah came and a new covenant was created. This of course happened with the arrival of Christ who established a new covenant. How did the laws came about? what prompted their creation? It was the worship of idols by the Israelites despite God being their saviour from Egypt. The Israelites Exodus from Egypt occurred in BCE 1495, and entered into Canaan in AD 1455, after 40 years wandering in the desert. As a nation as a whole, they were still very much bound by the religions of Egypt and Canaan, despite having escaped from Egypt and having conquered Canaan. The bible tells us not to practice the religions of Egypt and Canaan, and goes on to lists the practices. In Canaan, the people worshiped Baal, and Astoreth. They were fertility Gods and the bible clearly describes the religious practices to be of sexual nature involving sex with everyone, and animals. The above practices were committed by Straight people with the intention of pleasing Baal. It is not a judgment on Homosexuality.
c) The verse quoted 1 Cor 6:9-10, 1 Tim 1:8-10 in English is not technically not the "the bible" but a translation of the original Greek and Hebrew. Homosexuality as a term was introduced in 1869. It first appeared in newer translations of the Bible - Revised Standard Version in 1946 and in New International Version in 1978. Homosexuality is not originally a Biblical word here. When we state that the English and translated version is the "Word of God", we have to be very certain that there is no ambiguity in the translation and that the translators is not inserting their own opinions. If it is clearly a disputed translation, and we still insist that it is the "Word of God", then we have made ourselves god.
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.
d) There was a particular note on arsenokoites claiming that this was translated in "many English Bibles" as people who have sexual relationship with the same sex. By giving validity and insisting as "totally" being the Word of God to an interpretation just because it is translated that way in many English bibles, even knowing that the original Greek is not clear at all on this term, is tantamount to filling the gaps ourselves hence taking the role of God. We have made ourselves god.
Arsenokoites 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.
"Malakos" 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.
e) (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 COOS statement denies that Gays are born that way based only on 1 Cor 6:11 because of their interpretation of 1 Cor 6:9 as being referring to gays. We have shown earlier that the original meaning of Arsenokoitesm and Malakos is very vague. This is a sad day for Christianity in Singapore when Church leaders do their best to find whatever reason from the most obsure and debated verses and translations to make it an absolute doctrine. We are making use of the bible to support our preconceived theology impacting the masses and it is so blatantly obvious. We pay no respect whatsoever to the sanctity of the bible and to the truth contained therein. We have made ourselves God.
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.
(Rev 2:18-20 NKJV) "And to the angel of the church in Thyatira write, 'These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass:"I know your works, love, service, faith, and your patience; and as for your works, the last are more than the first."Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.
Jezebel has a cunning, controlling and manipulative spirit, which entices people to worship other gods - leading people away from ministry of Christ. In a local church situation, such people are aggressive, have very strong opinions, manipulative of the existing leadership and people hence forcing their influence. The influence can be subtle such as bringing the church into political scene and advocating for laws to be passed against people groups such as gays. This can be averted by focusing on the basic ministry of Christ and to clearly limit the role of the church to that of the Gospel. The Spirit of Jezebel is rampant where the church has sought wealth, power, and control. It is the seduction of Christianity to become that of this world where we have made ourselves God.
The church has chosen to particularly focus against gays even though it claims that "Homosexuality" is a sin like any other sin. Its overt focus is seen as particularly hypocritical when it does not seek to criminalize other much definitive "sins" such as worshiping other gods, idol worship, prostitution, divorse, marrying a divorsee, and breaking of the 10 commandments. We have focussed on the 6 of the clauses whilst thousands relating to our "sins" and laws that we need to follow we make it not as important or as applicable for criminalization. When we superceed the bible and make ourselves God to determine which group in society shall be persecuted, we are seriously in deep spiritual bondage under the spirit of deception. Calling it the "word of God"when the translations are opened to clear dispute and the meaning totally out of our modern context is blasheming against God and the bible.
(Rev 2:22 NKJV) "Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds.
We have become the church in Thyatira famed for its works, love and service even unto God, but full of the deceptive Spirit of Jezebel. Why does the church do it? Could it be to show their power, to gain support and wealth, and lastly but most importantly we have been deceived. For if Gays are stumbled by the church of Jesus christ, then the gospel will not be preached to this tribe of special people in our very midst. In Mat 24:14, the "end" will come when the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached and witnessed throughout the nations. i.e. every people groups have a chace to decide for themselves whether they want to believe in Jesus and His death and resurrection. The Gay issue is one of the greatest threat to Christianity because we have been seduced to fighting a war against those who are innocent and we the church is liable for tribulations. We are reminded of America's invasion of Iraq (with the strong support of Christians) to find the weapons of mass destruction. After thousands of lives were lost, far worst than 9/11, we still do not have an end to this needless war.
Let us repent of our deeds and come before God with a sincere heart of seeking first God Kingdom and proclaiming the message of the good news of the Gospel. Let us turn away and set our paths straight before we get so entangled and be caught in our web of deception and an "unwinnable" war.