What is a gay Christian?

Yesterday, the Baptist Press ran a slightly revised version of an essay I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the term “gay Christian.” Since then, comments have been appearing under that older post. I’m going to repost the Baptist Press article here so that we can open a new thread of comments. The article is below, and the comments are below that. Thanks for reading!

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FIRST-PERSON: What is a gay Christian?

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — I recently read of an interview with a “gay Christian,” and at once I was struck again by the use of this peculiar phrase. For some people, this term will appear immediately to be an oxymoron. For others, it represents a view of Christian morality that has moved beyond the heterosexual norm of Scripture to embrace all manner of sexual expressions. But what does this phrase really mean? When you hear it spoken or read it in print, what do people mean by it? And is it a helpful term for Christians to use?

We can observe at least two definitions of the phrase gay Christian — the descriptive and the culturally normative:

– The descriptive definition of “gay Christian.” In this sense, gay Christian is merely a description of a Christian who experiences homosexual desires but who may nevertheless agree with the Bible that homosexuality is sinful. In this sense, to say that one is a gay Christian is to recognize a genuine disciple of Jesus who sincerely and honestly struggles against this particular sin. This is the way that Wesley Hill uses the term in his book “Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality” (Zondervan). He calls himself a gay Christian, but he affirms the biblical teaching about human sexuality and remains celibate in spite of a life-long struggle with homosexual desires.

– The culturally normative definition of “gay Christian.” In this sense, gay Christian describes a person who is both a genuine Christian and who has embraced homosexuality as consistent with Christian faith. Those who use the term in this sense argue either that the Bible’s moral teaching on this subject is mistaken, or that the Bible’s apparent condemnation of homosexuality has been misunderstood. Brian McLaren uses the term in the normative sense, and he is clear in his book “A New Kind of Christianity” that homosexual acts and desires are compatible with being a Christian.

So there are two different senses in which people employ this phrase. But is it a helpful phrase for Christians to use? Clearly the normative sense of the phrase is incompatible with Scripture. But what about the descriptive sense? I love Wesley Hill’s book, and I admire his devotion to Christ while living with such a heavy burden. At the end of the day, however, I don’t think the phrase is a wise one for a couple of reasons.

First, the phrase designates an unbiblical identity. Christians are new creations. They are those who have died with Christ and whose lives are hidden with Christ in God (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:19-20; Colossians 3:3). Our primary identity, therefore, is not any sin but Christ. For this reason, Christians never speak of “lying Christians,” “adulterer Christians,” “fornicating Christians,” “murderer Christians,” or “thieving Christians” — even though we know sadly that Christians are capable of all kinds of sins. It’s unseemly to create labels that define Christians by sins from which they actively and self-consciously seek deliverance. We can be honest about our sin without speaking of it as if it were our identity. The phrase gay Christian creates an identity category that we would not accept for any other sin.

Second, the descriptive sense of gay Christian is not well-established. The dominant sense of this term is the one denoted by Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, and a host of others who have distorted in various ways what it means to be a Christian. Because the normative sense is the most common sense, Bible-believing Christians who use the phrase risk being misunderstood. And in fact, some people who don’t want to be pinned down on the issue take refuge in the ambiguity of such expressions. Christians who want to be clear about what the Bible teaches should steer clear of this phrase (2 Corinthians 2:17).

There is no good reason to risk being misunderstood when alternatives are available. At best, gay Christian risks ambiguity. At worst, the phrase might be taken as a wholesale sanction of homosexuality. For these reasons, I would argue that Christians committed to the Bible would be wise to drop the phrase altogether.
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Denny Burk is associate professor of New Testament at Boyce College, the undergraduate arm of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. This column first appeared at his website, DennyBurk.com

44 Responses to What is a gay Christian?

  1. Matthew September 28, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    You’re an ignorant backwater bigot.

    Good thing for everybody you’re deities are made up.

    • Matthew September 28, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

      your*

      not you’re.

      The astounding ignorance espoused on this blog mucked up my grammar

      • Ryan September 28, 2011 at 3:38 pm #

        But imagine if he was a black water spigot. Then he’d really be spewing out the muck!

      • Wes September 30, 2011 at 2:00 pm #

        Apparently, it still is doing so.

  2. yankeegospelgirl September 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

    I couldn’t agree more. Although I understand that there can be “gay Christians” in the first sense, I still feel that it’s unwise to make use of a term that’s been so abused by the Christian left. (For that matter, maybe we should ditch the term “liberal Christians” as well. JK, kinda. ;-) )

    • yankeegospelgirl September 30, 2011 at 3:06 pm #

      This comment is not to reply to cuckhold, who is not worth replying to, but simply to advise people who might be tempted to click on cuckhold’s gravatar… not to.

      • Denny Burk September 30, 2011 at 3:32 pm #

        Thanks for catching that. The aforementioned commenter is banned until the picture is changed and until the his comments take on a higher tone.

        • yankeegospelgirl September 30, 2011 at 3:35 pm #

          You’re welcome–glad that my clicking on it, which I promptly regretted, ended up doing some good.

  3. Derek September 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

    Excellent point about our identity in Christ not being defined by the sins that ensnare our old nature. We shouldn’t need any more rationale than this to reject this way of caveating or qualifying our identity in Christ.

  4. Chris September 28, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    If we are a Christ follower we are simply a Christian. Anything we might tag onto that is injecting our self into the mix.

    Mark 8:34-35

    When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.

  5. Stuart September 28, 2011 at 10:39 pm #

    Dear Professor Burk,

    As you note, there are “a host” of Christian theologians who assert that monogamous, faithful, lifelong homosexual relationships grounded in a shared faith in Jesus Christ are fully compatible with the Word of God. You may profoundly disagree with their conclusions, but to claim that they are not “Bible-believing,” is to do them an injustice as your brothers and sisters in Christ. They profoundly believe in the Bible and they reverence it as God’s Word, but they differ in their interpretation, as Christians often do.

    You are a professor of New Testament, you know that biblical passages have always been interpreted by pious theologians in conflicting ways. I would imagine that our vocation as Christians is to respectfully assert our particular hermeneutic in the understanding that the tie binding our hearts in Christian love is greater and more important than the personal or institutional lens through which we read the Bible. Unfortunately, If one’s scriptural hermeneutic promotes a corrosive disregard for those who disagree with you, how are you showing that the Bible leads the Christian to love of neighbor as self?

    It is the lack of respect in your article for those who dispute with you that makes me wonder whether your words are grounded in Christ and, therefore, to be treated as theologically significant. Do you believe your article contributes to mutual respect in the on-going discussion among Christian concerning the interpretation of the Bible as it pertains to human sexuality? Do you think the language in your article might convince the mind or turn the heart of any gay or lesbian person or of any of the host of theologians who support their same-sex marriages? As much as you might deeply long and pray for it, two women or two men faithfully living united by a shared love of Jesus are simply not going to see themselves as the moral equivalent of murderers, thieves or adulterers. If you wish to change people’s hearts and minds, you will have to encounter those you see as sinners as Jesus encountered them. When you speak in love, people might respond in love, but the words you’re writing now will probably evoke in many the spirit of disrespect you first employed.

    As a brother in Christ, with respect and humility, I invite you to think about your rhetoric and whether it will help you achieve your goals. I also invite you to reflect on whether your passion and firm beliefs about this conflict in the church might be creating something in you that is loveless and therefore not of God. As T. S. Eliot wrote in Murder in the Cathedral: “The last temptation is the greatest treason: To do the right deed for the wrong reason.”

    Peace,
    Stuart

  6. Denny Burk September 28, 2011 at 11:20 pm #

    Dear Stuart,

    Thank you for reading and taking time to comment. I especially appreciate the tone and spirit of your remarks. I know that this tends to be a contentious issue, but you don’t sound at all like a contentious person.

    I do not mean to disrespect anyone, but I do mean to be direct about what the Bible teaches. Yes, there are different interpretations, but not all interpretations are equal. The Biblical evidence overwhelmingly treats the covenanted union of one man and one woman as the only sanctioned expression of human sexuality. The Bible treats every other expression (heterosexual or homosexual) as sinful and dangerous. I have published a lengthy article on this topic here.

    You write that homosexuals “are simply not going to see themselves as the moral equivalent of murderers, thieves or adulterers.” I think I understand your concern here. I do not mean to say that homosexual sin is harmful to others in the same way that murder and stealing are. But I do wish to point out that the Bible itself treats homosexuality as a sin right along with all those others you listed. In fact, the word homosexuality only appears in the New Testament twice, and both appearances are in vice lists. Take 1 Timothy 1:9-10, for instance:

    1 Timothy1:9 realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous man, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers 10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching.

    The bottom line is that the Bible treats homosexuality as sin. It’s not singled out, but it is one among many other sins that prevent people from entering the kingdom of God.

    1 Corinthians 6:9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

    The kingdom of God is for repentant sinners, and that is why this question is so important. Homosexual “Christians” who do not repent of this sin and who disagree with God’s word about its moral status, cannot enter the kingdom of God. They must repent and believe Christ. They are not brothers and sisters in the body of Christ until they do so. Once again, this is not to single out homosexuals for special condemnation. The same principle applies to anyone who refuses to repent of sin–fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, thieves, drunkards, etc.

    The good news is that anyone can come to Christ if they want to. They can repent of their sin, trust Christ, and be saved. My hope and prayer is that more will do just that.

    Blessings to you!

    Denny Burk

    • yankeegospelgirl September 29, 2011 at 9:02 am #

      I would disagree with the idea that homosexual sin isn’t as harmful to others as stealing—it can have far more harmful consequences if it involves cheating on a marriage or gay “parents” adopting. Plus, there is the overall breakdown of society that it’s bringing about, where ordinary people are being forced to cooperate with it as though it’s as normal as a heterosexual relationship.

    • yankeegospelgirl September 29, 2011 at 9:03 am #

      Ummmm… read Romans 1 again and see if you can’t figure out what Paul is talking about.

  7. Stuart September 29, 2011 at 1:03 am #

    Dear Professor Burk,

    Thank you for taking the time to so swiftly and thoroughly respond to my concerns and questions. In these on-going debates within the church, I try not to be contentious. I learned my irenic ways many years ago while studying for my M.Div. at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Grin: I have no doubt you commend Union to your undergraduates desiring further studies in Scripture with the same regularity that I quote Albert Mohler in my sermons!

    But to the point at hand. As a New Testament scholar, are you really comfortable with the use of the word, “homosexual,” in the passages you cited in your reply? Certainly you can’t believe that Paul is referring to sexual orientation as understood and identified by European psychoanalysts in the late 19th & early 20th centuries? Whatever arsenokoitai means, it certainly doesn’t mean a resolution of the Oedipal conflict in a way that causes libido to be directed to members of the same sex. You might argue that “homosexual” has a culturally normative meaning as “one who has sex with persons of the same sex,” as opposed to its technical meaning. I’m hoping, however, that you wouldn’t support such a lazy use of language when the Word of God and people’s souls are at stake. As you might suspect, I would assert there is a difference between “defiling” (KJV) oneself with a man and living faithfully with a man. A 1st century man living in the Mediterranean basin could no more conceptualize sexual orientation than they could conceptualize an economy successfully functioning in the absence of the slavery. Of course, the large and ambiguous Biblical witness regarding slavery created the religious context in which the Southern Baptist Convention would later have to apologize for its history of preaching and teaching regarding slavery.

    “The Bible treats every other expression (heterosexual or homosexual) as sinful and dangerous.” The Bible does not treat polygamy as sinful and dangerous. I am blessed to be a Jew who has embraced Jesus as my Lord. The witness of Hebrew Scripture does not condemn the plural marriage of my father Abraham as dangerous nor that of Isaac nor that of King David or Solomon. In the New Testament it says a Bishop must be the husband of one wife because, one presumes, the apostle needs to explicitly exclude from the ministry of oversight those Christians who had more than one wife or were divorced and remarried.

    In that context, it is interesting to consider that “Some Southern Baptist churches have called pastors or elected deacons who had been divorced,” (SBC.net website). I must say I find it confusing that the Southern Baptist Convention allows local autonomy to cover the calling of divorced pastors, despite what some might see as the unambiguous words of Jesus, while the SBC will ban a congregation from sending messengers to the annual meeting if the congregation acts to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexuality. It seems to me that the SBC, affiliated with the institution where you teach, does not agree with your position that all sins are created equal. Do you not find it disturbing that divorce, which touches the powerful majority, is shielded by local “autonomy,” while homosexuality, a sin of the minority, receives the full weight of denominational condemnation. From the 2010 Resolution on the Scandal of Divorce: “we urge all Southern Baptists in troubled or faltering marriages to seek godly assistance and, where possible, reconciliation.” And where it’s not possible…well, there’s more wiggle room for some than for others, as I read it. Why would it be unfair for a homosexual to ask you to clean your own house before you expend time and energy on the defilement of his?

    I ask you: Will the divorced SBC pastor who believes that the Word of God comprehends his divorce and re-marriage spend an eternity in hell if he turns out to have been wrong? Can the SBC congregation that called him and permitted him to remain in sin and allowed him to minister be seen as complicit in his sin and under judgment? I hope not.

    “The kingdom of God is for repentant sinners.” Can all the generations of Baptists who died unrepentant in their false belief in slavery expect to face an eternity of torment and separation from God? Do you really and truly believe in your heart that the gay and lesbian persons you know in faithful relationships will spend countless, endless years in unending agony while our loving God dispassionately observes and wonders why they didn’t believe the hermeneutic of Denny Burk? You do see why people who do not share your interpretation of Scripture look upon that model of divine activity with profound wariness and concern.

    I don’t believe the Kingdom of God is for repentant sinners, I believe the Kingdom of God is for those who believe in their hearts and confess with their mouths that Jesus is Lord. There are so many ways I’m sure I’ll die an unrepentant sinner because, like the SBC and slavery, I see what God wants for me through a glass darkly. I’ll die content if the worse that can be said of me, when I stand before my Risen Lord, was that I cleaved in faith and love to another man.

    Peace,
    Stuart

    • yankeegospelgirl September 29, 2011 at 5:31 pm #

      “I’ll die content if the worst that can be said of me, when I stand before my Risen Lord, was that I cleaved in faith and love to another man.”

      That is one of the creepiest things I’ve ever read.

      • Stuart September 29, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

        Yankeegospelgirl,

        Then, I respectfully suggest that you might consider reading more widely. A greater familiarity with the breadth of written wisdom might give you a vocabulary for expressing your reactions in a way that is constructive and respectful. Consider your thread-colleagues TJ and Professor Burk: they profoundly disagree with me, yet manifest those gospel-values you also must value highly if you include it in your name.

        • yankeegospelgirl September 29, 2011 at 10:41 pm #

          I beg your pardon. I have a profound study of literature under my belt, having read many of the greatest books ever written before I graduated from highschool, and some before I got out of elementary school. If I concentrated my full time and energy on you, you might find what you’re looking for. However, I consider that a troll is a troll, even if he is a smooth one with a large vocabulary. Sorry, but you won’t get a lengthy response from me. Let others waste their time on you.

    • Kirby October 1, 2011 at 7:06 pm #

      Stuart,

      I think you will be surprised that Paul wasn’t as ignorant about the background of arsenokoitai as you may hope. An excellent background journal article is available here: https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tms.edu%2Ftmsj%2Ftmsj3h.pdf

      TMSJ 3/2 (Fall 1992) 191-215

      The author’s point is that all of our 20th century enlightenment on the issue was pretty much already in the know, even back then.

      -Kirby

      • Don Johnson October 2, 2011 at 12:40 pm #

        Thanks for the article pointer.

  8. RD September 29, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    Stuart,

    In all the debates that I’ve read concerning this issue, I’ve never read anyone who so succinctly and wisely put the issue into proper context. Thank you for taking the time to write your two comments here. And thank you, Denny, for allowing Stuart to represent the theological position of a growing number of evangelicals.

    In my view, the serious failing in these discussions occurs when we incorrectly define homosexuality; when we insist on accepting, as normative, the ANE understanding of a sexual “practice” instead of approaching scripture with a 21st century understanding of human sexuality. I don’t know of a single Christian, supportive gay rights and gay marriage, who believes that homosexual promiscuity is fine. I think the vast majority would agree that scripture teaches against promiscuous, gratuitous sexual encounters on every level. But, when we equate scriptural references of sexual immorality (a very broad, and for the most part undefined term in scripture) with modern understandings of sexual orientation and committed same sex unions, then I think we are being lazy in our hermeneutics. Stuart’s statement accurately reflects the opinions of evangelical Christians who are supportive of gay rights: “I would assert there is a difference between “defiling” (KJV) oneself with a man and living faithfully with a man.

    Again, thanks to both of you for the tone and content of your replies regarding this very important issue.

  9. T.J. September 29, 2011 at 1:49 pm #

    Stuart,

    I appreciate the discussion above and have a few questions for you.

    What are your thoughts on Lev. 18:22? “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.”

    Doesn’t this prove the Bible forbids homosexuality?

    How does a homosexual couple obey God’s command to be fruitful and multiply? I see a special call to singleness in the Bible, but not a special call to homosexuality.

    Genesis 1:28
    Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

    Jesus condemned people for thinking “evil in their hearts”. The condemnation of “lust” in the scripture also condemns wicked internal desires. If we believe homosexuality to be a sin based upon Lev. 18 and other numerous passages, then internal desire to do wrong is sin. . . even when not acted upon.

    Matthew 9:4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?

    You seem to assert that because homosexuality may be natural, that it is therefore acceptable. Doesn’t the Bible say that we live in a fallen world? What is “natural” is not right but infected with sin. Natural can have two meanings. One is what is normative now, which we both agree is fallen and sinful. The other definition is what was natural before the fall. From these flow timeless principles for guidance in life. You seem to confuse the two.

    According to evolution only the fit survive and reproduce. Homosexuality never reproduces. There has never been a more unfit behavior according to Darwin. In fact, if a gay gene were to ever be found evolution as a theory would be destroyed overnight. In many ways being born gay fits the Christian worldview better than an evolutionary worldiview. People are born flawed and sinful, in need of salvation. The sin nature is an adequate explanation for those who feel born with a bent toward sin. Yet to agree with this biblical position you must concede that sin is to be repented of and true and full salvation is found in God’s grace. Do you believe God is big enough to save the homosexual?

    Does a denomination or preacher have to be perfect to preach God’s word and condemn sin? If perfection is the requirement, then only Jesus could ever preach a sermon. I agree Southern Baptist have sins just like every other denomination. But to point to one sin to justify silence on another is a distraction. Yes, some sins disqualify a man from being an elder. That said, Southern Baptists have many who are biblically qualified to speak as pastors/elders.

    Lastly, you seem to believe that doctrinal discussions are merely academic with the mind/reason driving the discussion. This is a weakness I often find in scholarship. Please remember who our ultimate teacher is:

    John 14:26
    But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.

    We all must remember that God teaches us personally through the Holy Spirit. The Pharisees and Sadducee had many academic ideas about the word of God, but when the God-Man was standing in front of them their hearts desired to murder Him. Your position has no history in the people of God; in the Old Testament, New, church fathers, medieval, reformation, etc.. Homosexuality is condemned throughout scripture. If you would allow the Holy Spirit to guide Bible study your position would be the same as Christ’s church for 2000 years.

    Christ said we know teaching by its fruit. Homosexuals die decades before their heterosexual peers. STDs, other lewd behaviors, and family dysfunction are a big problem for this community. Its safer to be a smoker than gay. Please google “homosexual statistics” and read this for yourself. Perhaps then you will understand why urging repentance is the loving, Christian thing to do.

    While I’m tempted to delve into slavery, I shall refrain. Do allow me to say that Biblical slavery was very different from the ancient norm. Abused slaves were to be set free. Runaway slaves were never returned. I am amazed at the modern lack of imagination in understanding ancient times where money is rare, poverty common, and slavery a necessity. I do not like slavery, but it doesn’t take a historian to figure out why it existed.

    Do I believe people burn in hell for sin? I agree with Jesus in Matthew 18:8: “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire.” That fire will include homosexuals, abusive slave masters, and those with lessor sins. (There are lessor and greater sins, as Christ says in John 19:11: Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”) All sinners will be in hell unless their sins are covered by the blood of Christ. This is what Christians have said for 2000 years. Thank God for salvation through Jesus Christ.

    I look forward to your thoughts.

    Blessings,

    T.J.

    • Don Johnson September 29, 2011 at 2:15 pm #

      T.J.,

      Lev is a part of the Mosaic Sinai covenant, if you are a part of that covenant then you should try to meet all the stipulations as best as possible, but if not, there is no requirement to do so. Most followers of Jesus do not see themselves as in the Mosaic Sinai covenant.

      Gen 1 does say to be fruitful and multiply, but this also extends beyond the physical. It has to as not all people are fertile, and some OT people were righteous but did not marry.

      You misunderstand evolution. One way to look at it is differential survival of replicating elements, in this case, genes. It is possible for a homosexual that will not directly pass on any genes to indirectly pass on genes in their body by assisting relatives in raising kids.

      John 14 has Jesus talking to his immediate disciples, which are not us today.

      • Noah September 30, 2011 at 10:17 am #

        Hey Don! It’s been a while!
        I noticed your comment on Leviticus. Am I right in seeing that you interpret that there is no difference in the commands given, say, between Lev 18:22 and Lev 19:27 or 28? I see a difference based on the inclusion of abomination, but I’m guessing you have reasons for not. What are they? I’m aware of the other uses of abomination in Lev so you don’t have to spend much time on that.

        It appears we agree that the commands given in the law are not directly applicable to those in the New Covenant, but is it not revealing that Israel was to be set apart because of her connection with Yahweh, which was a reason for giving the law? Do we not see part of the nature and character of the Creator of all things reflected in the law? If so, we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss this part of God’s revelation, if that is what you are intending to say with your comment. And based upon the rest of Scripture as revealed in the NT, it seems God did not change his mind on the subject at hand, at least not without a radical reinterpretation of what the text means by what it says in its grammatical-historical context.

        There is something else I would like to say, but I do not want to assume that you hold a position that affirms the morality of certain homosexual lifestyles, so I won’t say it.

        • Don Johnson September 30, 2011 at 1:54 pm #

          Hi Noah,

          Of course, there is a diff. between a prohibition and an prohibition that is called an abomination.

          A person can be in more than one covenant. There are some Messianic Jews that are Torah observant as they believe that they are in the Mosaic covenants as well as the new covenant. For them those stipulations in Lev. would apply.

          Yes, all of the Bible reveals God’s thoughts, I do not want to dismiss any of it. For a Jew to violate Lev in that way would be an abomination, something to be avoided. But gentiles do things that would be an abomination or otherwise prohibited for a Jew to do.

          On the NT texts, I agree with Webb that there is a consistent prohibition on homosex. across the Bible. But I also have what I call a question; as far as I can tell, what we would call homosex acts in Roman society involved dominance and (sex) submission aspects which no believer should partake in, as it was a part of an honor/shame system involving degrading another. And I have questions about intersex people, such a life seems so challenging that I would just accept any choice they made on the principle of Christian love.

          • Noah September 30, 2011 at 7:37 pm #

            Don, Thanks for your interaction.

            I think the Messianics need to take Paul’s word and come into the New Covenant, but I realize there are convictions there so it’s wise to not cause them to stumble.

            Interesting take on homosexuality in the Roman world. There is evidence of homosexual behavior that would be very similar to today’s practice of it, meaning consensual behavior. Plus, as you noted with Webb, the inspired biblical authors never waver or give a qualification as to what homosexuality is; they simply condemn the practice in Christians. I’m not sure what you mean by “intersex people” (people with born with both genders???).

            Lastly, I’m wondering what you mean by “but gentiles do things that would be an abomination or otherwise prohibited for a Jew to do.” Do you mean that since the law was given to the Jews only, the abomination of homosexual activity is for the Jews only and does not reveal God’s opinion on the matter for all people? In other words, do you mean that homosexual behavior was OK for the Gentiles because they did not receive the law?

            My overall encouragement to you is to take what the Bible says at face-value, meaning its grammatical-historical context, and not go beyond it into the realm of conjecture, trusting God for what he has revealed to us in knowing that what he has given is sufficient.

            Thanks again.

          • Don Johnson October 1, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

            Messianics take Paul’s word, they just understand it differently than prots. Before brushing them off, one should read some of them, at least it is a different way of putting things together in some cases.

            Intersex means “between the sexes”. Most people are born either genetically and body-type male or female. But some are born with a mixture. If the mixture is small enough, the lesser version is ignored, for example a 90/10 and an operation is done for the 90%. But when the mixture is like 60/40 or 50/50 it is a big challenge. And there are people with XY genes but XX body type. All these are sad cases and all such need our love and acceptance as I see it.

            On abominations, Lev is a part of the Mosaic Sinai covenant, made with what today are called Jews. Gentiles are not normally considered in that covenant, for example I do not consider myself in it, so I do not keep kosher. For a gentile to eat pork is not a problem, but for a Jew (at least one that keeps Torah) it is a big problem. As a gentile I can voluntarily choose to not eat pork, or even decide to keep kosher, but I am not required to do so.

            What I disagree with are those that pick and choose parts of the Bible, it is simply too arbitrary to do this. Another bad hermeneutic is to apply a verse either too generally or in too limited a way, yet this is done a lot. Another bad hermeneutic is to look at a sin list and then pick on the sin that is farthest from me or my group, rather than the one that is closest to me or my group. All of these are ways to carve the Bible into my (or my group’s) image rather than let the Bible challenge me/us so that we can invite the Spirit to change me/us.

            I encourage everyone to use the Historical-Grammatical-Literary method of interpretation and try my best to use it myself. However, we can misread the Bible by taking it out of context and so I am always seeking to better understand the context. I find it is a very good experience to see that oneself has taken something out of context due to lack of knowledge, this results in being more humble in approaching Scripture.

    • Stuart September 29, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

      Hello T.J.

      I hope Professor Burk doesn’t mind if I offer some thoughts about the questions you have raised. If it is too off-topic from his original article, I offer apologies.

      “Homosexuals die decades before their heterosexual peers. STDs, other lewd behaviors, and family dysfunction are a big problem for this community. Its safer to be a smoker than gay. Please google “homosexual statistics” and read this for yourself. Perhaps then you will understand why urging repentance is the loving, Christian thing to do.”

      First, the study to which you refer only refers to gay men, not to women. So, even if the study were true, it only applies to 50% of homosexual persons. That’s quite significant, I believe. However, the methodology of the study, counting obituaries, was so flawed that even conservatives recognize the problems. To quote William Bennett: “Given what I now know, I believe there are flaws with Paul Cameron’s study. One cannot extrapolate from his methodology and say that the average male homosexual life span is 43 years.”

      But, for the sake of argument, let’s pretend that the study is absolutely true. First, the reduction in life-span would not apply to all homosexual males. It would only apply to those gay men who, for whatever reason, find themselves unable to form stable, monogamous partnerships and act-out in various self-destructive ways. The behavior of some in a group cannot be used to evaluate the behavior of all in a group. (Christians and heterosexuals should be profoundly thankful for this.) Is heterosexuality invalidated because the vast majority of HIV cases world-wide are the results of heterosexual transmission? In Botswana, HIV has contributed to an average life expectancy of 33.9 years, in Swaziland it’s 33.2 years! Is the unexpectedly high rate of teen pregnancy and abortion in the “Bible-Belt” an indictment of the heterosexuals living in those states? Evaluated as a homogeneous group, heterosexuality is a dangerous “death-style,” characterized by extraordinarily high world-wide rates of divorce, adultery, fornication, rape, child molestation, and porn-use. Of course, despite the evidence of endemic heterosexual misconduct, one must not examine heterosexuality as an aggregate, but look at the life-choices and spirituality of individual heterosexuals to determine whether they are walking the way that leads to life. I believe it is only fair to extend this same courtesy to gay and lesbian persons.

      In discussing Baptist pastors, I was wondering why sins regarding heterosexual conduct seem more acceptable to many “Bible-believing” Christians than sins regarding homosexual conduct. I believe that divorce has become acceptable among Protestants because it affects them more than the homosexual conduct of a small minority. I was suggesting that even “Bible-believing” Christians respond to culture in their interpretation of Scripture. The economics involved in slavery shaped the denomination’s response to it. Even “Bible-believing” Christians are shaped by culture and their own needs, even as they shape culture in return.

      This process of being shaped and shaping culture is where I believe the Holy Spirit participates. I am not an arid academic who sees God’s ongoing activity confined to theological propositions. In fact, I see the work of the Holy Spirit in the emergence of a world in which two men and two women can live into the fullness of their created nature by making a covenant before God Almighty to live in a faithful, lifelong, monogamous, union. I understand some, perhaps the majority, may disagree with that. However, the freedom of conscience for which we fought during the Reformation would suggest that two faithful Christians have the right to reach opposing views on Scripture. If there is only one correct interpretation, why did all these people die that we might be free to pray and study and work out our salvation in fear and trembling.

      I understand that one should not believe every spirit, but that one should test the spirits. How will you know if same-sex marriage is of the Holy Spirit unless it be allowed to be tested? A monogamous, faithful, life-long marriage of two persons of the same-sex grounded in covenantal vows is not the same as fornication. Are these marriages of God, well, let’s test the spirits and see. Are the drop in divorce rates in Massachusetts the result of marriage equality? It’s far too soon to say.

      Finally, I have some on-going concerns about evangelical soteriology. As I said, I am a baptized Jew. My family came to the USA from Ukraine and Belorus in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For generations before that, my family lived as an oppressed minority in the Russian empire. My ancestors worked hard to maintain their faith despite legal impediments and social ostracism. I reject the idea that my ancestors are burning in hell for all of eternity because the Christian community in which they were set did not preach the word of God in a way that turns hearts. Christians living out the culturally determined antisemitism of the 19th century receive salvation, while my great-great-great-grandfather Zvi Schmerkovitz burns forever?! And to go back to slavery: did those slaves who refused to accept the Jesus preached by the ones who kidnapped and transported them to America find themselves suffering in Hell? I believe Jesus understood their predicament and received them with grace. There might be value in these examples for “Bible-Believing” Christians in considering how they treat gay and lesbian people, if their goal is to win hearts and not harden them.

      Reproduction? Clearly God does not call all to reproduction as some heterosexuals are created in such a way that they cannot generate children via genital intercourse in their marriages. Also, some people, of a variety of sexual orientations, become eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven (one would hope in the sense of being called to celibacy, as opposed to self-castration like Origen). My belief is that married couples of the same gender should prayerfully consider adopting the many unwanted children who languish in the foster-care system. That way same-sex married couples would assist their brothers and sisters who could not parent their own children while also helping to increase the stability of society.

      Leviticus: I don’t keep Kosher any more, as I don’t live under the Law. The word ‘abomination’ that you cited in your passage is better translated ‘ritual impurity.’ Ritual impurity is not a mere thing for an observant Jew, but it is not something with which Christians generally overly-concern themselves. I have a tattoo in violation of Leviticus (as Jews interpret it), I eat pork and cheesburgers, I have a beard but shave my head, I would not hesitate to sow a field with mixed crops, I’m from a family of Cohanim (a priestly family) but I would not burn a daughter alive if she became a prostitute (I hope you believe Jesus would support than non-incendiary approach to the Law). As a Jew, the way Christians cherry-pick the law can be a source of exasperation.

      I hope you found my response of interest. Thank you again Professor Burk for allowing me to take some space up on your blog.

      TJ, thank you for your blessing. May you and all be blessed as we seek to follow Jesus.

      Peace,
      Stuart

  10. Stuart September 29, 2011 at 3:48 pm #

    Dear T.J.

    I hope Professor Burk doesn’t mind if I offer some thoughts about the questions you have raised. If it is too off-topic from his original article, I offer apologies.

    “Homosexuals die decades before their heterosexual peers. STDs, other lewd behaviors, and family dysfunction are a big problem for this community. Its safer to be a smoker than gay. Please google “homosexual statistics” and read this for yourself. Perhaps then you will understand why urging repentance is the loving, Christian thing to do.”

    First, the study to which you refer only refers to gay men, not to women. So, even if the study were true, it only applies to 50% of homosexual persons. That’s quite significant, I believe. However, the methodology of the study, counting obituaries, was so flawed that even conservatives recognize the problems. To quote William Bennett: “Given what I now know, I believe there are flaws with Paul Cameron’s study. One cannot extrapolate from his methodology and say that the average male homosexual life span is 43 years.”

    But, for the sake of argument, let’s pretend that the study is absolutely true. First, the reduction in life-span would not apply to all homosexual males. It would only apply to those gay men who, for whatever reason, find themselves unable to form stable, monogamous partnerships and act-out in various self-destructive ways. The behavior of some in a group cannot be used to evaluate the behavior of all in a group. (Christians and heterosexuals should be profoundly thankful for this.) Is heterosexuality invalidated because the vast majority of HIV cases world-wide are the results of heterosexual transmission? In Botswana, HIV has contributed to an average life expectancy of 33.9 years, in Swaziland it’s 33.2 years! Is the unexpectedly high rate of teen pregnancy and abortion in the “Bible-Belt” an indictment of the heterosexuals living in those states? Evaluated as a homogeneous group, heterosexuality is a dangerous “death-style,” characterized by extraordinarily high world-wide rates of divorce, adultery, fornication, rape, child molestation, and porn-use. Of course, despite the evidence of endemic heterosexual misconduct, one must not examine heterosexuality as an aggregate, but look at the life-choices and spirituality of individual heterosexuals to determine whether they are walking the way that leads to life. I believe it is only fair to extend this same courtesy to gay and lesbian persons.

    In discussing Baptist pastors, I was wondering why sins regarding heterosexual conduct seem more acceptable to many “Bible-believing” Christians than sins regarding homosexual conduct. I believe that divorce has become acceptable among Protestants because it affects them more than the homosexual conduct of a small minority. I was suggesting that even “Bible-believing” Christians respond to culture in their interpretation of Scripture. The economics involved in slavery shaped the denomination’s response to it. Even “Bible-believing” Christians are shaped by culture and their own needs, even as they shape culture in return.

    This process of being shaped and shaping culture is where I believe the Holy Spirit participates. I am not an arid academic who sees God’s ongoing activity confined to theological propositions. In fact, I see the work of the Holy Spirit in the emergence of a world in which two men and two women can live into the fullness of their created nature by making a covenant before God Almighty to live in a faithful, lifelong, monogamous, union. I understand some, perhaps the majority, may disagree with that. However, the freedom of conscience for which we fought during the Reformation would suggest that two faithful Christians have the right to reach opposing views on Scripture. If there is only one correct interpretation, why did all these people die that we might be free to pray and study and work out our salvation in fear and trembling.

    I understand that one should not believe every spirit, but that one should test the spirits. How will you know if same-sex marriage is of the Holy Spirit unless it be allowed to be tested? A monogamous, faithful, life-long marriage of two persons of the same-sex grounded in covenantal vows is not the same as fornication. Are these marriages of God, well, let’s test the spirits and see. Are the drop in divorce rates in Massachusetts the result of marriage equality? It’s far too soon to say.

    Finally, I have some on-going concerns about evangelical soteriology. As I said, I am a baptized Jew. My family came to the USA from Ukraine and Belorus in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. For generations before that, my family lived as an oppressed minority in the Russian empire. My ancestors worked hard to maintain their faith despite legal impediments and social ostracism. I reject the idea that my ancestors are burning in hell for all of eternity because the Christian community in which they were set did not preach the word of God in a way that turns hearts. Christians living out the culturally determined antisemitism of the 19th century receive salvation, while my great-great-great-grandfather Zvi Schmerkovitz burns forever?! And to go back to slavery: did those slaves who refused to accept the Jesus preached by the ones who kidnapped and transported them to America find themselves suffering in Hell? I believe Jesus understood their predicament and received them with grace. There might be value in these examples for “Bible-Believing” Christians in considering how they treat gay and lesbian people, if their goal is to win hearts and not harden them.

    Reproduction? Clearly God does not call all to reproduction as some heterosexuals are created in such a way that they cannot generate children via genital intercourse in their marriages. Also, some people, of a variety of sexual orientations, become eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven (one would hope in the sense of being called to celibacy, as opposed to self-castration like Origen). My belief is that married couples of the same gender should prayerfully consider adopting the many unwanted children who languish in the foster-care system. That way same-sex married couples would assist their brothers and sisters who could not parent their own children while also helping to increase the stability of society.

    Leviticus: I don’t keep Kosher any more, as I don’t live under the Law. The word ‘abomination’ that you cited in your passage is better translated ‘ritual impurity.’ Ritual impurity is not a mere thing for an observant Jew, but it is not something with which Christians generally overly-concern themselves. I have a tattoo in violation of Leviticus (as Jews interpret it), I eat pork and cheesburgers, I have a beard but shave my head, I would not hesitate to sow a field with mixed crops, I’m from a family of Cohanim (a priestly family) but I would not burn a daughter alive if she became a prostitute (I hope you believe Jesus would support than non-incendiary approach to the Law). As a Jew, the way Christians cherry-pick the law can be a source of exasperation.

    I hope you found my response of interest. Thank you again Professor Burk for allowing me to take some space up on your blog.

    TJ, thank you for your blessing. May you and all be blessed as we seek to follow Jesus.

    Peace,
    Stuart

  11. T.J. September 29, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    Hello Don,

    Personally, I do not believe we can dismiss all of Christ’s teachings in the gospels because He spoke them to His immediate disciples. Would a quote from Corinthians change your mind that the Holy Spirit is our teacher?

    1 Cor. 2:13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. 16 For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

    I hope we can all agree the Holy Spirit teaches us Truth.

    My response to all things Leviticus are nonbinding are as follows. I would argue that all of the old covenant is binding upon the believe in its fulfilled form found in Christ. As Jesus said “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17). The old covenant was a shadow of things to come in Christ.

    Hebrews 10:1
    For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.

    Your arbitrary abandonment of Leviticus demonstrates no “shadow of the good things to come”. Your view is dangerously close to Marcionism. All the OT is good and of God. Christ brings these good laws to fulfillment. The full meaning of animal sacrifice is Christ being the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. For this reason we no longer sacrifice animals. Yet “Thou shalt not steal” is fulfilled by not changing one bit. How does Christ fulfill Leviticus 18:22? Fulfill does not mean abandon.

    Your thoughts on Gen 1 are interesting. I could see how you could argue that this means “more” than the physical, but you argue that it goes “beyond”. How can you argue that “be fruitful and multiply” is not a direct command for people to have children? Again, we have exceptions given to those called to singleness and scripture. No where is an exception given to homosexual couples. We cannot simply make up exceptions and take the word of God seriously.

    In regards to evolution, you seem to miss Darwin’s theory completely. Over millions of years strong genes live while lesser genes die out. A heterosexual gene always produces more than a homosexual gene. . . always. Over millions of years a homosexual gene will become nonexistent. There is no way someone can argue that a gene that never reproduces directly survives millions of year of evolution. The theory will not allow it.

    Let us also note that while millions of dollars have been used to find a “homosexual gene”, it has not been found.

    • Don Johnson September 29, 2011 at 10:11 pm #

      T.J.

      I do not dismiss Christ’s teachings, far from it. I agree that he said many things that are to instruct us today. It is just that that verse had a specific target which is not us so it is not obvious that it applies to us.

      I did not say Lev. was not binding, I said it was binding on those in the Mosaic Sinai covenant and that most Christians do not consider themselves in that covenant. There are some Messianic Jews who consider themselves in it and for those, such stipulations would be binding.

      Matt 5:17 needs to be interpreted as the original hearers would understand it, it means that Jesus does not misinterpret Torah, rather he correctly interprets it, unlike the Pharisees in some examples found in the gospels, for example. That is, “fulfill the law” meant “correctly interpret Torah” so that is what it means and “destroy the law” meant “incorrectly interpret Torah” so that is what it means.

      I agree Gen 1 includes a command for people to have kids, but this is not the only way to meet this command and for some the other ways would be the only way as they cannot have kids.

      I have studied evolution. I think it is you that misunderstands it, or you have a simplified version of it that has errors. One way to view it is the differential survival of genes. The most obvious way to do this is to have kids and propagate half your genes in each of them, but that is far from the only way. Speaking in theory and just as an example, if a homosexual helps their siblings raise the siblings’ kids, then such a trait could spread thru the population and not die out. That is, the genes in the homosexual would spread by using the siblings as a conduit for propagation, but not the homosexual themselves. In other words, the claim that if there was a gay gene it would die out is far from being self-evident just from it being a gay gene.

      You could look at the gene for sickle cell anemia as a model. If someone gets both sickle genes, then they get sickle cell anemia, but if they get only one sickle gene, they have a higher resistance to malaria and so better survive. So depending on how bad malaria is a threat, the sickle gene can spread thru the population.

      • Jason September 29, 2011 at 10:48 pm #

        “Speaking in theory and just as an example, if a homosexual helps their siblings raise the siblings’ kids, then such a trait could spread thru the population and not die out.”

        “You could look at the gene for sickle cell anemia as a model.”

        Don, what in the world are you talking about? One spreads by propagation and one spreads by…what…some sort of non-genotypic phenotypic genetic drift….by…what….osmosis? Association? And even if this is the case, which it most certainly is not, how is this “evolution”? What is the change?

        I, too, have studied the matter in some detail under Lew Jacobson and Iain Campbell at Pitt. I assert that this doesn’t make any sense at all, and I don’t think that there is any way that you can show that the one is anything at all like the other. Please, stop

        • Don Johnson September 30, 2011 at 1:34 pm #

          It is the genes that spread, not the body, the body dies. I share about half my genes with my sister. She is not married. I have 2 kids. This means about 1/4 of the genes in each kid are shared by my sister. One way should could act to propagate her genes would be to assist my kids. That she does not have any kids of her own does not mean that there is nothing she can do to assist copies of her genes in other people.

          • Jason September 30, 2011 at 10:58 pm #

            “propagate her genes would be to assist my kids.”

            I’m going to pass by your hatchet job on Brother Mendel and go straight to your thesis. Even if this were correct, they aren’t hers, they are your parents, thereby, they are yours, thereby they are your childrens’. Your sister has absolutely no effect on the matter. Even if behaviors are taught, this does not,

            in
            any
            way

            propagate her genes.

            “Assist copies of her genes in other people”

            Now, this is technically true (apart from, again, your erroneous assertion that they are her genes. The genes in question are yours), but it still makes no difference. If the propensity is genetic, and the resultant phenotype confers a reproductive benefit, your sister could teach something that is utterly opposed to the benefit, (which homosexuality is, this cannot be denied) and though the assistance would be assumed to be beneficial, it would result in the termination of the gene. If the instruction was ignored and the phenotype expressed, then the line would propagate. If the behavior was not beneficial – such as homosexuality – but the instruction was in opposition to the expression of the phenotype, THEN the instruction would be “assist”ing the replication of the genome. Lastly, there is no way to know if the genotype in question exists at all to say nothing of whether or not it is transferred.

            But this is all behavioral speculation, utterly unscientific, and, literally, having nothing to do with genetics per se, to say nothing of “evolution”.

          • Don Johnson October 1, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

            Jason,

            I suggest reading some info on what is called a “gene’s eye view” of evolution. This explains a lot of things that simply are not explained well at the body or group level.

          • Jason October 1, 2011 at 5:17 pm #

            Don,

            Something for which there is no evidence? That’s what you’ve read? Something that is an interesting theory, but can result in only the hardest of hard materialistic determinism? And how EXACTLY does it relate to your amorphous notion of genetic guilt by association, and how EXACTLY does that result in anything you would call “evolution”?

            Don, do you really know what you’re talking about, and what the results of these ideas are? Do you understand that the “explanations” you see in these matters cannot avoid the most severe of determinist positions, right down to you actually saying what you said right now because your atoms told you to?

            It’s not quite as bad as your exegesis, but it’s close.

          • Don Johnson October 1, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

            Jason,

            It does not result in hard materialistic determinism, that is a myth put out by some that do not even understand it, because if they did they would not make that claim.

            I previously stated the one way evolution can be viewed (besides the common body view or group view) is the gene’s eye view. In this view, what counts are the success or failure of various genes (including copies) in a population in terms of propagation so that the gene pool either contains more copies of a specific gene or less.

            T.J. made some statements about genetics that indicated he only understood it at a superficial level, such as that if a gay gene did exist, it would ALWAYS die out. This is simply not true, there are some scenarios where it would level out. It may be the case that there would need to be experiments to see if any of these cases would exist beyond theory, in actual practise. But that is different.

            One might think that the sickle cell gene would die out, as the people that get sickle cell anemia are much worse off than people without it. But it turns out to be more complicated than that as the gene confers some resistance to malaria, that is, the effects are not only negative, there is some positive effect. This means that a person that has only 1 sickle cell gene matched with 1 non-sickle cell gene gets the anti-malaria advantage but no sickle cell anemia disadvatage, so they tend to do better than people with no sickle cell genes in places where malaria is a significant problem, like Africa. So the sickle cell gene can level off in the population and NOT die out, contrary to some naive expectations.

          • Jason October 1, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

            Don,

            “It does not result in hard materialistic determinism, that is a myth put out by some that do not even understand it”

            Don, atoms determine the matter. Period. Your reasoning for doing X is

            determined

            by the “genes eye view” which is

            determined

            by atoms bouncing. Everything goes back to atoms bouncing, there is no other way to look at the theory. Anyone who denies that this is the most extreme form of materialistic determinism does not understand the absolutely unavoidable conclusion that everything is materially determined, including your poorly considered indignation at my assertion which also must have been determined from the first bang (which is the other absurdity of it, but that is another discussion). You have no choice. None. None at all. To take Dawkins at face value when he says he is not an advocate for evolution of morals (where else do they come from in materialism?) is to not consider the matter in any depth at all. So your assertion of it being a myth indicates that you need to do a lot more thinking about the substance and foundation of Dawkins’ balderdash in this matter.

            “T.J. made some statements about genetics that indicated he only understood it at a superficial level, such as that if a gay gene did exist, it would ALWAYS die out.”

            And you made no case in opposition. You must know that the only way to think of benefits conferred and natural selection is by measurable information, that is, progeny. How do homosexuals progenerate? Now, if there is a “gay gene” it may be a recessive gene, activated only with certain conditions in the other gamete, but it is you who indicates how superficial is your consideration, because in order to make the parallel you would need to assert an unbenificial outcome in anything other than the unaffected carrier.

            What would be the unbeneficial outcome of two non carriers, that is, a selective mechanism against two people? It is clear enough that the negative outcome of two carrier gametes fertilizing, that is, no progeny. There is no worse outcome in the evolutionary framework. But where does the “no resistance to malaria” double dominant negative outcome parallel? You have not posited one.

            In the absence of any observed, or even posited negative outcome of two non carriers progenerating, your attempted parallel is a happy scientific story, possible, interesting, but free of hard evidence. So when you say of T.J.’s assertion, “This is simply not true, there are some scenarios where it would level out,” though you are not being naive, you are being very imaginative but unscientific.

  12. Jason September 29, 2011 at 10:49 pm #

    The rest of it is a disaster, too, but engaging you on that is not time well spent.

  13. Stuart September 30, 2011 at 1:09 am #

    TJ and thread,

    I apologize. I couldn’t get my response to post on WordPress, and then it posted multiple times. If Professor Burk has times to delete the duplicates, I’d be grateful.

    -Stuart

    • Noah September 30, 2011 at 10:19 am #

      Stuart,
      Out of curiosity, what is your method of interpreting the Bible?
      Thanks for your time.

    • Justin F October 1, 2011 at 9:16 am #

      Stuart,
      That was the most thorough, well-written, and gracious response to a blog that I’ve read. That you wrote it while expressing a dissenting viewpoint is even more impressive. I’m interested in reading more of your work. Do you have a blog, book, or other online articles?

  14. Kevin C September 30, 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    Hard to think we will get some worthy dialog from the “aforementioned commenter” considering what his screenname is.

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