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How Do You Interpret Scripture?
Thursday (23/08/2018), I had the opportunity to be part of a panel discussion on the Eusebius McKaiser show on Cape Talk, Radio 702. The title of the show was: Is the Bible an Ally of Gay People? The discussion began with host Eusebius asking me how I deal with passages of Scripture when there are differences of opinion on interpretation. My reply was that Scripture interprets Scripture. The clearer passages of Scripture are used to interpret the less clear. The whole of Scripture must be used to interpret any portion of Scripture. If any interpretation of Scripture is inconsistent with the whole Bible, then it must be rejected. In addition, we can receive conformation from Church Councils, Creeds and Confessions. The point is that objective truth must be our foundation, not subjective opinion. If I am hiking in the mountains and find a cairn (a pile of rocks with a sign) which disagrees with my perception of where I am, it is my perception that is wrong. The objective rock solid marker is objective reality. So is Scripture. The Bible is the Word of God, inspired, infallible and inerrant.
“You Have to Be Gay to Know God”
Host, Eusebius McKaiser introduced Siya Khumalo, the author of “You Have to be Gay to Know God” with much warmth and enthusiasm, highly recommending his book as a must have, must read book. Eusebius describes it as: “one of the best books that has been written in South Africa in recent years!” Eusebius then added that he did not know what gender God was.
“No One is Obligated to be Celibate”
Rev. Owen Franklin, who identified himself as “gay” and “sexually attracted to men”, as he described it, was then brought into the discussion He then claimed that while some may feel called to be celibate, he did not believe that God obligated anyone to be celibate, but calls us to “loving relationships.”
“The Most Pro-Homosexual Passage in the Bible”
Rev Michael Oliphant, who was described as a minister of the Church of the Province of South Africa, when asked for some Scriptural support for his position, said: “I am not used to quoting Scripture ad nauseam.” But then he offered John 3:16 as the most “pro-homosexual passage in the Bible”. Which he then quoted as: “God so loved the world – not the world except for gay people…” Eusebius then responded that “It could be argued that God loves Oscar Pistorius, but that would not necessarily mean that He approves of murder.” John 3:16 was very broad, could Rev. Oliphant not give some more explicitly pro-homosexual passage from the Bible? To this Rev. Oliphant responded that he disagreed that it was broad and claimed that as “God is love”, we need to “accept and embrace.”
When a caller stated that it was a physiological fact that people are created male and female and men and women are different biologically, the interviewer rejected his assertion and stated that the claim that there are biological and physiological differences between men and woman is “blatantly false!”
War Against the Bible
Siya Khumalo stated that “God has not been wasting his time” over these issues and “we should not romanticize the Bible,” “We have progressed,” “The Bible does not speak to our context,” “We should not cherry pick verses,” “We have moved on from the Bible times,” “The Bible is obsolete,” “The Law failed,” “We should not be self-righteous and self-justifying.” He found it “bizarre” that Genesis 19 could be used as condemnation of homosexuality, dealing as it did with the attempt to “homosexualise angels who were there to investigate the situation.” He claimed that this has absolutely no relevance to our time. Several of the panel participants declared “our modern context is utterly different” from the Bible times. It was claimed that the attempted imposing of homosexuality on the angels in Sodom was the issue, not homosexuality itself. Rev. Oliphant of the CPSA claimed: “We put this to bed a long time ago.”
“For Us the Bible is Not Authoritative”
One woman who phoned in stated that “the Bible is a wisdom book, much like the Quran”. One of the panel participants claimed that: “We never claimed the Bible as the infallible Word of God. The Bible for me is a precious document, but not a legal document. It was not inspired by God exclusively. We can find some comfort and inspiration from it in times of darkness, but it is not authoritative.”
“Christ Died for Opposing the Status Quo!”
It was claimed that “Christ was crucified for opposing the status quo” and those who oppose homosexuality are “only interested in the status quo.” It was then claimed that the best religious ally for the homosexual agenda is in “liberation theology.” The Bible speaks of “the outcasts” being accepted back in and our primary concern should be to make the homosexual “outcasts” welcome in the church. Siya Khumalo said the very definition of Christianity is “loving people more than the status quo.”
“The Church Must Move On to Gender Equality”
It was then mentioned that, as in the case of slavery and women’s rights, the church needs to recognize that we have “moved on” and should therefore recognize that gays must be given equal rights in the church, including homosexual “marriage” and “gender equality”.
Only Biblical Evangelical Christianity Brought Freedom to Slaves and Respect for Women
When after about 30 minutes, I was next able to participate in the discussion, I had to point out that every religion and culture practiced slavery. It is an historic fact that only Bible-believing, Evangelical Christianity brought an end to slavery and the slave trade. Only Christianity brought real freedom and liberation for women. Respect and protection for women did not grow out of, for example, the Burka in Islam, but from the Bible and the teachings of Christ. Everything good in society has its roots in the Bible and in the teachings and example of Christ. All of the problems we are facing throughout the world are a result of ignoring, or violating, the Laws of God and the teachings of Christ in the Bible.
The Pink Inquisition’s Hostility to the Bible
The panel and host tried to depict Evangelical Christians who hold to marriage, being only between a man and a woman, as “unloving,” “judgmental”, “harsh,” “self-righteous,” “homophobic bigots.” Several of the panel participants made comments such as: “Little in the Bible helps me,” “The Bible doesn’t speak to our context” and “Our modern context is utterly different from the Bible times.” Eusebius made a comment: “If gay people are sinners…” and asked: “Why should we give a damn what the Bible says anyhow?” At one point he asked one of the participants “Why don’t you just accept the God Delusion and go to the other side?” Siya Khumalo mentioned some of his inspirations being SACP (South African Communist Party) leaders Ronnie Kasrils and Joe Slovo and Bishop Desmond Tutu. Because the church has “influence”, he believed it was important to stay in the church. Siya Khumalo said that he saw God as love and therefore he supported activities that promote “who I am.” Eusebius commented that Siya would make “a good son-in-law!”
The Bible is the Greatest Book Ever Written
Well, no one who is reading the Bible on a daily basis could actually say that. It is just extraordinary to see how up-to-date and relevant the Bible is when exposing the depravity of human nature and providing real, workable, incisive solutions to all areas of life.
Idolatry is the Most Condemned Sin in the Bible
When I finally had an opportunity to make a comment again, I pointed out that the issue is primarily about religious freedom. The most condemned sin in the Bible is actually idolatry. If we make an idol of anything, whether it be adultery, fornication, or perversion, the sin of idolatry is so serious that it is given as the primary reason for God abandoning His people in Israel to the Assyrian Exile and Judea to the Babylonian Exile, even with the destruction of the Temple. That is how seriously God takes idolatry. If we raise our own personal opinions above that of God’s Word, that is idolatry.
Religious Freedom is at Stake
There is a religious freedom issue at stake here. The real “outcasts” these days seem to be those who want to hold to a traditional view of marriage and who hold to inerrancy of Scripture. Many Bible-believing Christians are being bullied, intimidated, harassed, sued and prosecuted by an increasingly intolerant Gay GB and Pink Inquisition. Homosexual activists are acting like a modern Inquisition bullying, harassing and suing those who disagree with them - for “Thought Crimes!” Eusebius said at this “we wish we had such power!”
What About Slavery and Women’s Rights?
Eusebius then asked, what I thought of slavery? To which I could reply that Christians have historically been in the very forefront of opposing and outlawing slavery, setting the captives free. When he asked where I stood on women’s rights, I pointed out that Christianity has been at the very forefront of elevating women to greater dignity, respect and protection. Every evil in the world is a result of neglecting, ignoring, or violating the Laws of God and the teachings of Christ in the Bible. The greatest freedoms, prosperity and productivity has come from obeying the Word of God and following the teachings of Christ in all areas of life.
Hope and Freedom
Eusebius challenged me to “square the circle” and reconcile the “inconsistency” of my beliefs that if I am willing to “depart from the Bible” and accept “progressive views” on issues like slavery and women’s rights, why can I not do so when it comes to “gender equality”? In response I had to say: “No I am not departing from a literal belief in an inerrant Bible. The Bible is the very Charter of Liberty. Paul’s Epistle to Philemon charged Philemon not to accept Onesimus back as a slave, but as a brother beloved”. Jesus taught us to love our neighbour, to do unto others as we want to be done unto. Jesus said that He had come to set the captives free. Jesus offers hope for adulterers, fornicators, homosexuals and other sinners. He can free us from our darkness, fears, depravity, sins, habits and addictions. You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free! In the Bible we see the love of God, who loves us enough not to leave us in our chains and oppression, but to set us free.
The Bible is the Essential Foundation for Justice and Liberty
I expressed my surprise that there were “ministers of the Gospel” on the panel who were belittling the Bible, downgrading the Bible, making such comments as: “I am not used to quoting Scripture ad nauseam” and then not even able to quote John 3:16 properly! Making comments that the Bible is “obsolete” and that there is “little in the Bible that helps me.” The Bible is the greatest Book ever written. It is a foundation of freedom. The foundation of civilization itself. When nations have taken the Bible seriously, there has been greater freedom, justice and liberty for all.
Love in Action
Eusebius then interrupted to ask “If you believe that God is love, then what is loving about excluding and forbidding me to have a loving consensual homosexual relationship with another man?” I answered, “What is loving about trying to prosecute Christians for holding traditional views about marriage? What is loving about taking churches to court and trying to sue them and bully them into accepting the homosexual agenda of re-defining marriage?” Hatred for the Bible and for traditional Christian views of marriage is hardly loving. To attempt to force Christians to go against their conscience is not loving.
Marriage is a God-Ordained Institution
In the Bible marriage can only be between a man and a woman. There are prohibitions against marriage between, for example, brothers and sisters, or with under-aged girls. If we are to take away all prohibitions on marriage then even polygamy, paedophilia, or incest could be legalized! There are qualifications for marriage, including age. If we are to take away restrictions in qualifications of marriage, then you could allow, for example, what is tolerated in many Muslim countries, where a man can marry a minor, even as young as 9 years old!
The Biblical Solution
A woman caller then said that there is a solution to homosexuality and it is the same solution as for alcoholics and adulterers, it is to repent. Eusebius responded that if the majority of people in her church were like her, then “count me out!”
Hope for Homosexuals
When I was asked for a concluding statement, whether homosexuals would be welcome in our church Eusebius added that in his opinion, I was “homophobic”, I responded: “No, I am definitely not homophobic. Homophobia would be an irrational fear of and/or hatred of homosexuals. I do not fear anybody and I do not hate anyone. We love homosexuals and want them to come to know full Salvation in and through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The Bible offers a message of hope for all that we can rise above our natural inclinations and be transformed through salvation and discipleship through Christ.”
A Challenge to the Churches
There is no doubt that the debate over homosexuality and gender issues, the attempts to redefine marriage and so much more are issues that cannot be ignored. We need to be informed, interceding and involved in being salt and light in all areas of life. To understand this issue better, obtain The Pink Agenda – Sexual Revolution in South Africa and the Ruin of the Family, which is also available as an E-book.
“Who will rise up for Me against the evildoers? Who will stand up for Me against the workers of iniquity?” Psalm 94:16
See also The Rise of the Gay GB and The Pink Inquisition, which is also available as a PowerPoint and can be listened to on SermonAudio.com.
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Dr. Peter Hammond
Africa Christian Action
PO Box 23632
Cape Town South Africa
Tel: 021-689 4480