But they were spoken by the Holy Spirit through human beings...fallible, imperfect human beings...which is why, again, they must be rightly divided, and why the contradictions in the Bible (the ones mentioned here are just a few) are found throughout the entire collection of inspired writings.
It's the same with the Gifts of the Spirit...the Gift of Prophecy is God speaking, indirectly, through human beings, which is why Paul told the Corinthians that prophecy must be judged by at least three elders for validation. Just because the message originated in the mind of God doesn't mean that what you hear spoken or see written down is the fullness of God's intention in saying it.
I love seafood, especially shellfish (even though it's an abomination to eat it, but more about that later). But I don't want to eat the shells of a crab, oyster, or lobster. Rightly dividing, to me, is like removing the shell from the crab legs to get to the delicious meat...or like peeling a banana or an orange to get to the sweet, edible fruit inside. When we rightly divide the Scriptures, we remove the shell of cultural bias and human opinion to get to the eternal food within that sustains and nourishes us, spiritually.
That's why I don't waste my time arguing the Scriptures with narrow-minded religious people who have never made the effort to break open the shell/husk/peel/outer layer of dogma to find the real Word within the Scriptures...the GOOD NEWS that is at the center. They have never "tasted and seen that the Lord is good", so they don't even know what I'm talking about when I share revelation.
I know that I said this wasn't a "gay" book, but I do have to address some things here pertaining to that issue so that I can be done with the subject and move on to other things in future books. Thanks, straight people, for bearing with me through these parts.
I will say, however, that I have received scores and scores of letters from heterosexuals who tell me that they watched my coming out video and were greatly moved by it...many times to tears...and that it inspired them to be authentic in their own lives. Here's an example:
Just saw the CNN report tonight with Pastor Swilley. I don't normally email, blog, etc, however, I must share that I found his interview VERY refreshing. Never have I seen a pastor, especially of a megachurch, be so honest. I am a wife and a mother and a heterosexual. I do not attend church, mainly because of too many churchgoers wanting to cast the first stone and be so judgmental of others. I would absolutely go to church if this man was at the pulpit. He is obviously very intelligent, and I am so pleased to see him have the courage to step forth and handle his "coming out" so professionally and with confidence. Pastor Swilley, you will hear many harsh words in the coming days, weeks and months. You know what you did was right, and hopefully this will give the strength to others to stop trying to live their lives according to how others think they should. Perhaps you will even spare a suicide. Stay strong!!!
Anyway, in the following chapters I'm going to go through every reference the Bible makes to homosexuality, but it's not for argument's sake.
I have found when I show someone what these passages say in the original Greek, or explain the original context of some of the phrases used...when I show them that a reference made to boy prostitutes used in pagan temple worship got translated as "homosexual" or "effeminate" in some translations...that religious people will hear the truth as I have explained it and respond by saying, "Well, I see your point, but I STILL say it's wrong and God hates gay people!"
It's why Jesus said not to cast your pearls before swine...why He said to shake the dust off your feet and move on to a more receptive audience when you're rejected. Some people are never going to see beyond their own bigotry, and they are convinced that God shares their prejudices.
But I don't argue about the Bible and sexual orientation for the same reason I don't argue the pros and cons of the virtues of slavery.
The Bible supports slavery...even in the New Testament.
Paul said, "Slaves (not "servants") obey your "Masters"...in the very same chapter where he says "Christ is all and is in all" (Colossians 3:11), he says to obey your Owner "in everything", meaning even if they mistreat you. He wrote to the Corinthians and Galatians about it...he also said that even if a believing slave's master is also a believer, that the slave should not assume the master isn't superior to him.
That's what The Bible says about slavery, and yet, in modern times, no Bible-believer, no matter how conservative, would invite me into a debate about the validity of slavery. Even though the Bible supports it, our culture has moved beyond that...the verdict is in...nothing else to discuss about it.
So we rightly divide the Scriptures about slavery by removing the antiquated, archaic shell of a certain Scriptural viewpoint on human rights that no longer relates to us as a society.
The Bible says you can sell women as property.
Moses said that if your daughter is raped you can sell her to the rapist (Deuteronomy 22:28,29). No one today, no matter how "Christian", would engage me in an argument about whether women were personal property or human beings. The Bible says it, but our culture has moved beyond that mindset. We have rightly divided the Scriptures on that subject.
So...I love the Scriptures, but slavery is still wrong!
I believe the Bible, but I would never sell my daughter to anyone, much less a man who raped her!
And I know what the Bible says, but God still loves gay people...just as they are...
OK, let's knock out this next part...
...maybe set some people free...
...share some GOOD NEWS!