Joel Osteen and Homosexuality


I enjoyed watching the Joel Osteen interview with Piers Morgan.

Osteen comes out and says that homosexuality is a sin. Probably the first time he has ever said this, at least in public, but he clearly made his stance known. The reason I like it is not because he is taking a stance against homosexuality, but rather the ability to show how hard it is for people to understand how you can say you love the person but identify part of their life as a sin.

When the sexuality orientation is considered a core part of your being, any rejection of that is a rejection of the whole. You don’t ask someone who is black to stop being black, but some Christians are saying that a person, who is homosexual, has to deny a large part of who they feel like they are in order to be deemed acceptable. I think it is something that Christians should be watching and considering when they decide to speak out against homosexuality.

By focusing on the sexuality, the Christian is basically casting aside all of the good things about the person and deeming them as invalid or worthless. Great way to make a person feel loved isn’t it? I know it isn’t intentional, but that becomes the reality of the conversation about the issue. The person becomes offended and the conversation is basically over.

You can show them in the Bible where it says it is a sin, but if they do not hold that the Bible is true then that is pointless. If they are Christians as well, then the majority of them time the argument is that it is either a bad translation or that it no longer applies. Still no way to argue the point. You can not use a logical argument that homosexuality is a sin when someone fails to recognize it as a sin.

But the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery. After setting her before them, they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the very act of adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women to death. What do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they might have a charge against him. But Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. When they persisted in questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the person among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Then he bent down again and continued writing on the ground. When they heard this, they went away one by one, beginning with the oldest, and he was left alone with the woman standing there. Then Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are your accusers? Hasn’t anyone condemned you?” She said, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “I don’t condemn you either. Go home, and from now on do not sin any more.”
(John 8:3-11)

I was thinking about this issue when reading this passage this morning. I can see how it pertains in part to this issue. Jesus did not reject the woman who was sinning. He pointed out that they were not without sin so they should not attempt to punish someone for their sins. He said to go and sin no more. That is the part that we get stuck on as homosexuals and supporters do not see it as a sin. Maybe if we focus on the first two acts, we can allow Jesus to work on the heart and deal with the aspect of sin. That is not to say we should not call it sin. No one is saying to condone the action, but there is a lot of love that can be shared before it comes down to condoning anything.

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9 Comments

Filed under Bible, Christianity, Religion

9 responses to “Joel Osteen and Homosexuality

  1. “but some Christians are saying that a person, who is homosexual, has to deny a large part of who they feel like they are in order to be deemed acceptable. I think it is something that Christians should be watching and considering when they decide to speak out against homosexuality.” (Xander)

    So do you believe a gay person should be accepted into the church ‘as is’? Have the ability to be baptized ‘as is’?

    My problem with what Osteen is saying represses the gay individual – and this can lead to many problems for someone that is gay (ie: self esteem and acceptance as 2 big pieces of the human psyche). On top of that, it allows people that ‘hate gays’ to continue to find footholds in the church that will unknowingly embrace their cause; which can help promote violence against gays instead of curbing it.

    This same problem occured with segregation. Mayn churches did not stand opposed to segregation, sat in the middle, and watched on tv as King Jr. and friends were run down by dogs, punished by hoses, and beaten unmercifully in many boycotts. Now the church did not ‘support’ this hatred, but many of them did nothing to ‘stop’ it as well. King Jr said it best ‘we remember the silence of our friends’.

    And this is the problem with Osteen, the media seeker, who espouses such drivel on national tv. He is not only saying this for ‘himself’ but for the ‘masses’ that watch and support him…and we don’t which others watched and gave the ‘thumbs up’ when he said this stuff. I am proposing it is dangerous to support such ideas when gay people are still being discriminated against in many arenas of life.

  2. Should the church condone homosexuality or say it is ok to practice it, no.

    The hate group should never be condoned, but I have a hard time comparing this to segregation. There was no reason for any race to be kept out of church. Racial oppression is and was wrong and had no biblical basis. People refused to speak out against it because they didn’t want to go against the masses, regardless if they were right or wrong. This can not be said of homosexuality. Hatred should not be expressed towards gays, but condoning the action so they don’t feel bad is not the answer either.

  3. “Should the church condone homosexuality or say it is ok to practice it, no.” (Xander)

    Is it okay to hurt someone that is gay? Biblically speaking obviously.

    “The hate group should never be condoned, but I have a hard time comparing this to segregation. There was no reason for any race to be kept out of church. Racial oppression is and was wrong and had no biblical basis” (Xander)

    One problem, slavery was part of that early equation with ‘race or nation’ in America…which abolished slavery but kept segregation based on that reason (not equals).

    Slavery, however is allowed by the bible. Black people in America were made slaves in the hundred of thousands and eventually got labelled as ‘property’ (ie: like a horse or a sheep).

    This led to the idea Black people were ‘sub-human’ or ‘less than human’. Even when slavery was abolished (which it took a war to end) Black people, freed for a period of time, were again considered ‘less than human’ based on the history of slavery.

    Now although the bible says nothing on ‘race relations’ (this is pretty much true) it does allow slavery which led to serious race relations problems within America.

    I guess, lets forgo segregation, is slavery okay?

    The bible is a strange piece of literature that needs to be read with the greatest of analysis and careful inspection. Need proof, here’s some more.

    In Deut there is something called ‘inter-marriage’. What is this ceremony? Well, if you brother married a girl and he died before they could have a kid, she had the right to marry the next brother in line so she could bear a child to keep his name alive. The brother would sorrily dismayed if he said ‘no’ because he would be publicly embarrassed for it and shamed amongst his family for not fulfiling his ‘manly’ duty. The widow would then move one to the next brother and the next brother until there was concensus somewhere.

    Interesting when you think about it. We might actually get to sleep with our brother’s wives…lol.

  4. “Is it okay to hurt someone that is gay? Biblically speaking obviously.” (societyvs)

    Not in the NT. Why were they stoned in the OT? To remove the offender from the group and to stop the spread of an idea which was seen to corrupt the group.

    Yet a Jew could be a slave to another Jew. When people could not provide for themselves, they could sell themselves into slavery for a time being and they were provided for in exchange for work. That is such a horrible idea. It is much better now when the person is given a handout with no expectation for them to get out of that lifestyle. Wait, you want to look at slavery as what it developed into and not the OT examples. Yes, what we consider as modern day slavery was and is horrible. When Africans would sell enemy tribesman into slavery, it wasn’t about race but about money and controlling land. The view that blacks were inferior developed and formed out of a social class distinction, similar to what still exists in other countries. Of course current day slavery it isn’t about suppressing a race, but about money. That does not make it right but it is also not what is spelled out in the OT.

    I think your getting inter-marriage which is the marrying of two different races confused with the redeemer. Now while inter-marriage has been used to support segregation it was to prevent the inclusion of people who did not follow the Jewish law and not to keep the races from mixing due to inferiority. With the redeemer, it was used as a way to keep property within a family/clan line. The kinsman who refused to redeem the family line was shamed and the shamed was carried with the family from generation to generation. If no one redeemed the property, the woman took it with her outside of the clan and the clan resources were lost to them forever.

  5. “Not in the NT. Why were they stoned in the OT? To remove the offender from the group and to stop the spread of an idea which was seen to corrupt the group” (Xander)

    So for you there is a clear seperation between Tanakh and NT scriptures then? Since the NT does not advocate for ‘stoning’ (which was part of the law) then we do not believe in that type of violence?

    Paul seems to agree in Romans, your not subject to Jewish law – same with me – as Gentiles. So why pay any of this any mind? Paul gives no commandment on it, Jesus neither.

    I mention the inter-marriage law (as you call it ‘the redeemer’) – because this is a law Christians avoid as something beneficial to ‘resources’ and ‘widows’. However, on the ‘literal’ face of it, like how scriptures on homosexuality are treated, Christians would need to marry their brother’s wives to protect them. Why aren’t they doing this? It’s in the NT as well, even within the gospels.

    This is why, in comparison, the gay issue is problematic. When someone wants to demonize being gay – they haul out many literal interpretations of scripture and count them as ‘fact’. However, when they face a passage like this, they do anything but be literal – they find the correct wiggle room that exists (ie: intent of passage) and modernize such an idea.

    And this reveals a ‘hypocrisy’ in interpretation. If they can change one aspect of the bible to suit their interpretation (either modernize or plead ignorance and ignore the problem) why can’t they use the same rationale for homosexuality.

    There are tonnes of problems in scripture that Christians simply ignore as part of the bible because it hurts their pride in the bible as ‘God’s word’.

    Also Christians are massly confused as to how to use the Tanakh and where it fits in the Christian faith. Luther, for example, wanted to not include it all…many Christians to this day use the same mindset towards it. Then they read how it is quoted in the NT and they begin to wonder ‘it must be essential since it is used in the NT’…plus Jesus said it’s not ended. Which adds more problems to the debate over homosexuality and interpretation, since most people have no clue how to even ‘read’ the bible.

  6. “Paul seems to agree in Romans, your not subject to Jewish law – same with me – as Gentiles. So why pay any of this any mind? Paul gives no commandment on it, Jesus neither.” (societyvs)

    No one is subject to the Law, but we cant just say that all the law has been cast out can we? Are we allowed to murder or covet? No. So some aspects of the law will always be present. Jesus said that nothing we eat will make us unclean, so the food laws do not seem to pertain any longer. When you look at the mosaic law you can see laws that were universal to all people and then ones that were designed to keep Jews separated from those around them. To keep the pure and distinguish their dedication to God. Leviticus 18 was directed to all people. Paul spoke against sleeping with your father’s wife, so by his own example, some of the Levitcal laws still pertained. The people were not directed to punish based on Levitcal rules, but the offenders were directed to repent or leave the group.

    “I mention the inter-marriage law (as you call it ‘the redeemer’) – because this is a law Christians avoid as something beneficial to ‘resources’ and ‘widows’. However, on the ‘literal’ face of it, like how scriptures on homosexuality are treated, Christians would need to marry their brother’s wives to protect them. Why aren’t they doing this? It’s in the NT as well, even within the gospels.” (societyvs)

    The context of the inclusion in the NT is about resurrection and not an endorsement of the process as given by the Law. As part of the Law as you said before, Paul said we are not obligated to follow it. We are still directed to take care of people though. There was no longer a need to provide a method to keeping property within a clan, so the practice did not have any relevancy to the NT church.

    “And this reveals a ‘hypocrisy’ in interpretation. If they can change one aspect of the bible to suit their interpretation (either modernize or plead ignorance and ignore the problem) why can’t they use the same rationale for homosexuality.” (societyvs)

    So where is the hypocrisy in the interpretation? Many LGBT people agree with the interpretations. Prior to the NT para physin was to describe homosexual activity and not temple prostitution.

  7. “No one is subject to the Law, but we cant just say that all the law has been cast out can we?” (Xander)

    Sure you can, as a Gentile you are not subject to Jewish law (never have been, even Paul makes this clear). Unless you’re thinking of converting to Judaism then the law is of no real concern to you.

    Acts 15 sheds some clarity on that. The Gentiles are given a list of rules (which includes some kosher ideas unbelievably) to follow. The simple understanding there would be the Noahide laws – based on Noah and what he was expected to follow…this was pushed towards the Gentiles as what they need to follow to be ‘righteous’. The Jewish law can help inspire our thoughts on creation of laws and society, but you obviously do not have to follow them.

    “When you look at the mosaic law you can see laws that were universal to all people and then ones that were designed to keep Jews separated from those around them” (Xander)

    You’re kidding right? So where can I find the markers within the texts that determine (a) law for all (b) law for only Judaism? Or should we trust a church, not knowing much of Hebrew or Judaism for that matter, to determine what makes either category? I know if I ask Judaism tomorrow they can make it really simple, your not subject to their law as a Gentile (which was the point Paul always made).

    “The people were not directed to punish based on Levitcal rules, but the offenders were directed to repent or leave the group” (Xander)

    You basically have no proof a single Gentile group in any of Paul’s letters actually followed Levitical law whatsoever. So why would I assume they followed the one in Leviticus 18? There is really no proof for what you are saying here.

    Even the early church followed the gospels, or whichever gospel they had, but they took any and all liberties they wanted with the scriptures. However, you will rarely find anything on Leviticus 18 from any early church source, which oddly enough, seemed to overlook the whole gay issue like it was not an issue.

    As for Levitical laws, its also hard to find any early Christian community that followed those as well.

    “So where is the hypocrisy in the interpretation?” (Xander)

    The problem is easily in comparison with other Levitical laws, which you say ‘still stand’ for Christians. Well, then I think a younger brother needs to bed his older brother’s widow to keep the family strong. To not do so is shameful to that younger brother, and the church should make everyone aware of that.

    Also the inherent problem with ‘para physin’ now is what was understood by that term concerning ‘same sex’ issues? I mentioned Greek and Roman understandings of these terms in the other post – what exactly was covered under ‘para physin’? Problem is, the homosexuality they would have discussed in Paul’s days was nothing like what were debating right now.

    Pederasty was basically the use of nice skined youth for sexual act with an older man – we call that pedophilia now. Our laws find that easily problematic, maybe the bible was miles ahead with the term ‘para physin’.

    Or maybe it was about being the passive partner in the sexual act? Or maybe continuing the act into adulthood whereas it should of been left in the teens (only the passive part mind you)?

    Either way we review this we are going to find what we are discussing right now about gay issues was not what was at stake in their days – where actions of homosexuality did cross the line into pedophilia.

  8. “Acts 15 sheds some clarity on that. The Gentiles are given a list of rules (which includes some kosher ideas unbelievably) to follow. The simple understanding there would be the Noahide laws – based on Noah and what he was expected to follow…this was pushed towards the Gentiles as what they need to follow to be ‘righteous’. The Jewish law can help inspire our thoughts on creation of laws and society, but you obviously do not have to follow them.” (societyvs)

    No righteousness was conferred through this proclamation. The things they were to practice would keep them clean enough so they could interact with the Jews that were a part of the church. It was a basic standard for all people.

    “You’re kidding right? So where can I find the markers within the texts that determine (a) law for all (b) law for only Judaism? Or should we trust a church, not knowing much of Hebrew or Judaism for that matter, to determine what makes either category? I know if I ask Judaism tomorrow they can make it really simple, your not subject to their law as a Gentile (which was the point Paul always made).” (societyvs)

    When you read the Levitcal laws it was clearly shown the target audience of each. I am not saying we are subject to Jewish laws, but when the laws were given, some were clearly given to be observed only by the Jews and others by all peoples. The ones given to all peoples would not fall away would they? If it was an abomination for all people to practice something then, why would it not be an abomination when Jesus came?

    “You basically have no proof a single Gentile group in any of Paul’s letters actually followed Levitcal law whatsoever. So why would I assume they followed the one in Leviticus 18? There is really no proof for what you are saying here.” (societyvs)

    How are you missing proof? You brought it up. Sleeping with your father’s wife was forbidden in Leviticus 18:8. If they did not use Levitcal law as a guideline for certain behaviors why would Paul have said this was wrong and the person should be removed from the congregation?

    “Even the early church followed the gospels, or whichever gospel they had, but they took any and all liberties they wanted with the scriptures. However, you will rarely find anything on Leviticus 18 from any early church source, which oddly enough, seemed to overlook the whole gay issue like it was not an issue.’ (societyvs)

    You shall not commit murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not commit pederasty, you shall not commit fornication, you shall not steal, you shall not practice magic, you shall not practice witchcraft, you shall not murder a child by abortion nor kill one that has been born. – Didache 2:2 (A.D. 90).

    All other frenzies of the lusts which exceed the laws of nature, and are impious toward both bodies and the sexes, we banish, not only from the threshold but also from all shelter of the Church, for they are not sins so much as monstrosities. – Tertullian, Modesty 4 (A.D. 220).

    These are just two examples, but the church fathers spoke out against it.

    “The problem is easily in comparison with other Levitcal laws, which you say ‘still stand’ for Christians. Well, then I think a younger brother needs to bed his older brother’s widow to keep the family strong. To not do so is shameful to that younger brother, and the church should make everyone aware of that.” (societyvs)

    Does do not murder still stand? It was given to all people where keeping property in the family was given to the Jews.

  9. “Also the inherent problem with ‘para physin’ now is what was understood by that term concerning ‘same sex’ issues? I mentioned Greek and Roman understandings of these terms in the other post – what exactly was covered under ‘para physin’? Problem is, the homosexuality they would have discussed in Paul’s days was nothing like what were debating right now.” (societyvs)

    Josephus wrote:
    And why do not the Eleans and Thebans abolish that unnatural (para physin) and impudent lust, which makes them lie with males? For they will not shew sufficient sign of their repentance of what they of old thought to be very excellent, and very advantageous in their practices, unless they entirely avoid all such actions for the time to come: nay, such things are inserted into the body of their laws, and had once such a power among the Greeks, that they ascribed these sodomitical practices to the gods themselves, as part of their good character; and indeed it was according to the same manner that the gods married their own sisters. This the Greeks contrived as an apology for their own absurd and unnatural (para physin) pleasures. (Against Apion, 2.273-75)

    The famous philosopher Plato around 348 B.C. describes and implies the widespread practice of homosexuality, and advocates laws to regulate it. One of the most explicit records of disapproval of homosexuality is found in Laws 636c, in which Plato, speaking through the character of the Athenian stranger, describes homosexual relations as an “enormity” or “crime” (tolmema), and explains that it derives from being enslaved to pleasure. He plainly rejects homosexual behavior as “unnatural” (para physin), as “When male unites with female for procreation the pleasure experienced is held to be due to nature, but contrary to nature when male mates with male or female with female”.Homosexuality is also described regarded as shameful by barbarians and by those who live under despotic governments: Homosexuality is regarded as shameful by barbarians and by those who live under despotic governments just as philosophy is regarded as shameful by them, because it is apparently not in the interest of such rulers to have great ideas engendered in their subjects, or powerful friendships or passionate love-all of which homosexuality is particularly apt to produce

    We know and understand the context that para physin was used. The LGBT encyclopedia confirms that their understand is Paul was speaking out against homosexuality as being unnatural and a sin. I think your reaching here.

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