LIFE APPLICATION. Paul comes on strong about homosexuality in Romans 1. He’s against it: “Men on men did shameful things to each other” (1:27). The questions Christians face is this: Is God against it? As you understand the debate, why do some Christians say that Paul was not necessarily speaking for God? And why do other Christians say they feel uncomfortable with that take on the Holy Bible?
Notes from the footnotes in the Casual English Bible: “Christians are so divided over how to understand what Paul says about homosexuality that church denominations have split over this very topic. Some say they believe Paul is speaking for God when Paul writes this letter and others like it. Other Christians say they doubt that God would want blamed for what Paul wrote, and that Paul was expressing his personal opinion rather than revealing something God told him to say. These Christians argue that Paul would have been surprised that his letters ended up in the Holy Bible, and that if he had known it would turn out that way, he might have made some changes in his letters.”
Many Christians say that the contact they have with friends and family members who are gay suggests to them that this is not a lifestyle most people choose. It comes with the package. And since God gave them the package, it would seem unjust of God to condemn gay folks for being who they are. What’s troubling about this is that many Christians were raised to believe that everything in the Bible is intended as a message from God, even if it is simply a statement someone wrote in a letter. Other Christians question that way of thinking. They wonder why we should expect that everything someone like Paul would write in a letter was in perfect harmony with what Jesus would have taught, though this is a topic Jesus did not bother to address. They also wonder why Christians who embrace Paul’s stance against homosexuality oppose him on other matters of behavior:
- “I don’t let women teach. And I don’t put them in positions of authority over men” (1 Timothy 2:12 Casual English Bible).
- “In all the churches where believers meet to worship, women need to worship silently. They aren’t allowed to talk” (1 Corinthians 14:33-34 Casual English Bible).
- “I’d like the ladies to dress modestly and mildly. Not too showy. Keep it respectable. Don’t go crazy playing dress-up. No need for expensive clothes, fancy hairdos, or jewelry made of gold or pearls. Let the ladies dress like women devoted to doing good things for others” (1 Timothy 2:9-10 Casual English Bible).
- “A church leader needs to do a good job of running his own household. And his kids need to act respectfully and do what he says. I mean, come on, if a man can’t manage his own family how can he manage God’s church, full of families?” (1 Timothy 3:4-5 Casual English Bible).