James Hazelwood is bishop of the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He recently wrote in his blog…:
“… (Earlier in life)…I took time to study the various biblical passages that had typically been used to support a case against homosexuality. What I found were a few passages in Leviticus and a passage in Romans. I did some reading and research, and I’ll admit it was not a thorough dive into all the scripture, but it was enough to give me a solid perspective.”
My response: When we look at all of the relevant verses on homosexuality. When we do that we discover that every mention of homosexuality is negative. There is not one positive passage on homosexuality in the Bible. I encourage people to go to pastorsstudy.org and read my article “What Does the Bible Teach About Homosexuality?” which goes through all ten Scripture passages.
The Bishop continues:
“ There were a range of responses from those who held up these passages as clear evidence of God’s condemnation of homosexuality. There were also clear bodies of scholarly work that pointed out these passages were not to be understood as legislative rulings…. I concluded that while there are passages in the Bible that speak to this matter, there were also passages in those same parts of the scriptures that we choose to ignore. For instance, it’s clear that the Biblical concept of Jubilee, in which all debts were wiped clean was never practiced in ancient times, and certainly we don’t practice that today.”
My response: Some of the Old Testament laws were given to the Jews only. Jesus fulfilled the sacrificial and dietary laws God gave to the Jews and we are no longer bound to keep them. We don’t need to kill lambs when we sin (the book of Hebrews), and we can eat pork (Mark 7:19). The Jubilee was not given to New Testament Christians. However, the moral law of the Old Testament stands. For instance, in addition to homosexuality, Leviticus also forbids rape, incest and beastiality (Leviticus 18). Are we free to embrace these behaviors?
The Bishop writes:
“In addition, our understanding of human sexuality has evolved over time.”
My response: It appears the Bishop is teaching that if you hold a liberal view of homosexuality, you have “evolved.” Martin Luther called homosexual behavior “an invention of the devil.” Gratefully, Luther and virtually all Christians for 2000 years have not “evolved” on this issue. They have held to the truth of Scripture.
Lastly the Bishop writes:
“ … I want to emphasize this point. THESE ARE GIFTED PEOPLE AND GIFTED PASTORS. In many cases the congregations they serve are thriving. They are thriving because they are being served by gifted people, who happen to be gay.”
My response: If these pastors are living a life of impenitent sin, engaging in homosexual behavior, they are not going to heaven (I Corinthians 6:9-11). Are these “gifted people” who should be preaching to others?
One last thought: I have personally struggled with same sex attraction most of my life. But—for the sake of Christ and my eternal soul—I say “No” to these temptations (see “My struggle with same sex attraction” at pastorsstudy.org). It grieves me that liberal bishops and pastors are telling people to go ahead and engage in a behavior that is destructive in this life and the next.
May the Lord have mercy on His Church. And may the above be another example of why people should leave the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the United Church of Christ, the Episcopal Church in America, the Presbyterian Church USA and the Disciples of Christ—all churches which have “evolved” into approving a behavior which God condemns.
In Jesus our Savior,
Pastor Tom Brock
(here is a link to the ELCA bishop's blog)