The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Gay Rights (Theologically Speaking)

“If you are a preacher of mercy, do not preach an imaginary but the true mercy. If the mercy is true, you must therefore bear the true, not an imaginary sin. God does not save those who are only imaginary sinners. Be a sinner, and let your sins be strong, but let your trust in Christ be stronger, and rejoice in Christ who is the victor over sin, death, and the world. We will commit sins while we are here, for this life is not a place where justice resides. We however, says Peter, are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth where justice will reign. It suffices that through God’s glory we have recognized the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world. No sin can separate us from Him, even if we were to kill or commit adultery thousands of times each day. Do you think such an exalted Lamb paid merely a small price with a meager sacrifice for our sins? Pray hard for you are quite a sinner.” Luther

I also am quite a sinner. I am crippled, diseased, poor, blind and spiritually brain-damaged. We all are. Knowing my own profound and secret failings, I find it strange that homosexuality is singled out for special treatment, especially when the church is no longer certain it is necessarily and in all circumstances a sin.

Is homosexuality unnatural? Let all who practice artificial contraception remain silent. Is it anti-family? Let all divorcees and adulterers remain silent. Is it decadent? Let all who lust in their hearts remain silent. When we lay burdens on others that we ourselves are unable to bear, of course we will crush them. Rather than going to Moses to get the rules right, let us go to Christ in all our weakness and confusion. He knows us and loves us. He knows how to save us.

The Letter kills. The Spirit brings life. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and he will direct your steps.

Hi Kelly! Thanks for sharing more about what has shaped your journey. While I empathize with the painful experiences of homosexual friends, your own reactions, feelings and views all seem very understandable. I apologize for any language of mine that accentuated your feelings of being manipulated. Please know that I really meant “I love Kelly’s devotion to faithfully presenting God’s Word,” and I have thoroughly enjoyed your gracious contributions to discussions.

I understand “Most Biblical morality makes sense to me in terms of recognized conceptions of what love does” especially in terms of your reference to Jesus’ example. Harvey Cox says in his Harvard ethics course that Jews, agnostics, Muslims, Hindus etc. all said in reading the Gospels, “Jesus’ example and values represented what we would teach; we claim him and his ethics.” For he is widely recognized as prioritizing love in terms of what would not bring harm, but positively builds up and cares for the deepest needs of others. So I meant it’s evident to me that most traditional morality seeks to preserve this conception of love, but (perhaps my blind spots mean) it’s just not obvious to me how homosexual ‘love’ would necessarily violate the nature of love that the Bible emphasizes.

On Jesus’ approach to Torah, introducing a discussion would be fascinating. I suspect whether he ‘breaks’ it would depend on how we interpret the Torah and what ‘fidelity’ to it means. My recent class with Dr. Larry Hurtado voiced your respected sense that Jesus was as committed to Mosaic Law as his sparring partners were. I have no doubt that Jesus believed his approach fulfilled the right interpretation of what God’s Torah valued, but my differing view is “The Case Against Jesus,” posted as “Is All Scripture equally valid” on my own page, 6-13-11. An earlier discussion of it is under “Biblical” 12-15-08. It only proves I am not alone, but (in addition to CT’s Mark Galli) Tom Talbott wrote me that my paper fully reflected his own impressions of Jesus’ radical approach. With the familiarity you demonstrate concerning the Jewish roots of Jesus and our faith, I’d especially value and welcome your critique and vantage point, as well as how others see the texts.

I am happy to label sin as sin. The problem is whether you are labeling, for example, a faithful lifelong monogamous same-gender relationship as sin and which scripture you would cite for support of that position.


True, but it’s a life-long process if we’re honest.

Or by interpreting it sensibly as,I hope, you do frequently (eg where Paul says ‘women should be silent’ and countles other texts).

Jesus did more than ‘bend it’.

I don’t know of anyone whose done that in this thread. You seem to be creating strawmen.

No, it’s not crazy.

And the pharisees told Jesus He was wrong. Telling somebody they are wrong does not automatically mean we are right.

Now you’ve lost me completely. Are you suggesting that Jesus (God on earth ) said that homosexuality is wrong? If so, please quote the text. If not, then all this is irrelevant.

Hear, hear! So what DID God (Jesus) say about homosexuality?

I was raised accepting the western ‘Bible’ as ‘The Word of God’. I also frowned on those stupid Catholics who saw the Pope as their infallible authority.
It was many years before I questioned whether I too was making an idol, not out of a person, but out of a collection of 66 books (after all, that was far easier than having a living relationship with the author and as it was I who ultimately interpreted what it meant, it left me in control :slight_smile: )
I now believe (as attested by scripture) that JESUS is the only ‘Word of God’ .
This is exactly what the scriptures teach. Jesus Himself referred to the Torah many times and never once called them ‘the Word of God’. Every time, He simply called them ‘the writings’.
If we look at ‘the writings’ (and I suppose we had better stick to the canon we use in the west), they tell us clearly that it is ‘The Spirit’ who shall guide us into truth.
Is this idea scary? Yes. But it is a more firm foundation than relying on ‘the scripture’ alone.
William Blake wrote:

So, truth is, even relying on the Bible will not give us ‘objective truth’ -clearly proved by all the contradictory doctrines of so many ‘Bible believing’ churches.
I believe that the Bible is inspired and unique, but I will not make it the ‘final authority’ because it tells me not to and if I do (despite what it says) then I have made myself to be ‘the final authority’ by making that decision.

God bless

Leviticus 20:13. Matt 5:17-20

Pilgrim, where do you see scripture saying that “faithful” and “lifelong” make it okay?

The Law tells us what sin is. And the law is very clear on the matter - there is no ambiguity.
But you know these scriptures already. This is The Law. The Law shows us what sin is. Before we need a Savior, we need to humbly see ourselves for what we are - what the law shows us - that we are hopeless and dead. The Law is a ministry of death, but it seems you want to remove the law instead of dying to your own righteousness(?)

I used to see this as a process, pilgrim - when I was under the law. Then, under and in grace, it became a choice - for the moments. For believers, it should already have been done, in one respect.
Gal 2:20, Gal 5:24

See below.

Why not just say women should be silent? Paul certainly didn’t give “cultural” grounds for his reasoning (or did he - I’m unaware). Yet, it is from Paul. It’s an instruction from our apostle, which we should adhere to. However there is no death associated with ‘not’ following it, as in Leviticus 20:13.

Where? I see a bunch of places where he broke tradition. Are you saying that he was a pedophile? an adulterer? a thief? a murderer? a homosexual? a coveter?

I wish you had actually taken the time to understand what I was trying to communicate. Are you more interested in “winning” an argument?

For me, knowing and accepting the utter depravity of my soul… the fact that I was born in sin and full of sin and an enemy of God - and he died (for me) to bring forgiveness and rose (for me) to have life in Him… that’s crazy! But I’ll take it.

Again, I wish you had tried to understand what I had written.

Yes - I am saying that (in truth, and in grace - and with kind tones in my thoughts - which don’t show up in writing)…

I am saying truthfully, without ambiguity - homosexuality is wrong - and Jesus affirmed it, and so did Paul.

See the scripture:

But using your logic, Jesus didn’t say that it is wrong to rape a child. Will you argue for that? And Jesus didn’t say that I couldn’t bring my mistress to church and have her sit down next to my wife. Jesus didn’t say anything about abortion or even partial-birth abortion. Jesus didn’t say anything about aborting a baby, throwing it away in a trash bin, and … if it somehow is found breathing when we take the trash out, we chop it up, make sure it’s dead and throw it away again. Jesus didn’t say anything about offering our children up to Molech (did He?)

There are a lot of things Jesus didn’t say.

He affirmed the Law and said it is sin, and such a sin as the kind that deserves death, under the law.

But since you are trying to so hard to justify it, it crosses my mind that perhaps you have not come to the end of your own righteousness? When we come to the end of it, we “die”, and then the law cannot kill us any longer. God wants us to agree with Him. If we can’t do that, then we walk in darkness and call God a liar and His Word is not in us.

I find it strange that people don’t want to acknowledge the written word as authoritative unless they want to use it to confirm their own opinions and make an argument against it. I am completely baffled!

It’s wrong to marry an unrepentant prostitute. (Do not be unequally yoked together…) God, in whom there is no darkness, would never command anyone to sin. Yet God commands Hosea to marry Gomer. You find no ambiguity here?

We are to love our neighbors and pray for our enemies, yet God commands Saul to annihilate the Amalekites. Are you sure the law is clear?

We’re commanded not to sell our daughters into prostitution. A few lines later, we are told with equal authority not to wear cloth made from two different fibres. Do these commands *really *have equal weight?

If my brother dies, am I obligated to marry his widow? How many wives am I allowed under the Law of Moses? What days and festivals are holy? Can I turn on a light switch on the Sabbath or is that doing work? Are certain foods unclean, or are they all clean? Must I circumcise my sons? Can my wife speak in church? Must she wear a hat lest she offend or tempt the angels? Why doesn’t the roof of the church act as a big hat?

The Law tied people up in knots. We’re free of it, thank God. We’re now bound only by the law of love. We must do as we would be done by. (If you were gay, how would you like to be treated?) We must maintain the unity of faith in the bond of peace. God hates dissention amongst brothers as much as he hates anything.


The link paper Bob was referring to is located here:

Although Bob has raised the question of equal validity of scriptures (are all scriptures equal), it also references a number of points regarding Jesus and his obdedience to the law. I agree with him that one does not have to venture far in order to sympathize with the San Hedrin.

I think George MacDonald was right to argue that our deep senses of morality and love should lead us to at least re-examine our understandings of Scripture. But I fear that when one’s interpretation of Scripture is questioned, the easiest justification for not engaging the diverse and challenging texts at issue, is to simply accuse challengers of being dishonest, resisting God’s Word as authoritative, or just carnally seeking to confirm their own opinion.

On Jesus’ view of Torah, I find Zondervan’s “Five View on Law & Gospel” helpfully develops the issues. Of the five options debated, my own bias is that N.T. scholar Doug Moo’s view offers the best fit with Scripture, calling it “The Law of Christ as the Fulfillment of the Law of Moses: A Modified Lutheran View.” I commend this volume to those willing to challenge their own current perceptions.

Also Kelly, I don’t think it’s that people don’t want to acknowledge the authority of God’s word. The question is of Hermenuetics - what does God’s word mean is where the difference lies.

Using the text to confirm one’s opinion is something everyone does - no one’s exempt. The reason is because we’re all trying to understand the text. How far one goes is a matter of spectrum. What if you found out you were wrong about half your beliefs, would you say you were MERELY trying to force the bible to say what you thought it said or would you say you simply lacked understanding and made errors. I think we’re all a mix - we do both.

I reject the calvinist rendering of Romans 9, because I read it differently then they do. They can easily say that I’m trying to force my opinion into it. I can say the same about them. We need to discuss these issues and realize most of us here do take God’s word as authoritative. But we don’t all agree what God’s word is saying on every detail. Yes we all see Universalism in the text. But do we believe that we must all restrain from eating pork? No. Most of us don’t. If you do, then we don’t condemn or judge you. I’m only making the point that many issues are complex, not simple.

God Bless,


I find all kinds of ambiguity in scripture. So, does that make pedophilia okay?

I always assumed God was controlling the bloodline in view of the ultimate need to bring a “man” to the cross. I have assumed that the Sons of God corrupted this bloodline, resulting in the judgment of the flood. But evidently one of Noah’s son’s wives was also corrupt - otherwise why was Goliath so weird?

Whacky. I know. Minor-league stuff too.

Let’s get back to the Majors…

Actually, Gentiles were never bound by The Law, but instead showed the work of the law written on their hearts. If all your shirts are a polyester-cotton blend, and this produces the work of the law in you, then so be it - the law has done its work.

The work of the law is death - in the spiritual sense. Obviously, there are moral codes that served a purpose for the tribes, and obviously there are commands that serve as types, showing the character of God. However, when it comes to righteousness before God, the law can’t make us righteous.

Paul uses the conscience, not the law, when addressing the depravity of the Gentiles, because they were never bound by it. In both cases, it is the work of the law - the spiritual purpose - to show us when we are wrong. As Gentiles, our conscience bears testimony, showing that our thoughts are in conflict - either accusing or excusing us in judgment.
This conflict in the conscience is what I was writing about earlier. You even showed evidence of it when you claimed, a few posts earlier, that two wrongs make a right:

Allan, you are clearly making excuses. This means that your thoughts are in conflict. This is why I say, “why not… ?” Why not just let the old man die - change your mind (repent) from your current view - a mindset that seeks to justify sin and call something “holy” when it isn’t - to a new view that agrees with God, as expressed in his written law. In other words, let’s bring our worldly, Gentile thoughts into alignment with the character of God as revealed to his chosen people. Why not?

This means that we have to admit we are wrong - and admitting we are wrong doesn’t sit well with self-righteousness. But in the admitting, we are letting the old man die and are resurrected to a new life with a gift of righteousness, freely given to us. In the new life, we own victory by faith - a victory that is from the risen Christ… even if we don’t see that victory at the present time. In the new life, the work of the law has no power - because we have already died to it. So, as we grow in Christ, shouldn’t we be able to, more and more, have no conflict of thoughts in our conscience when someone or something claims, “you are wrong”. Shouldn’t we be able to say, more and more, “I agree - I am wrong”? Shouldn’t we be able to stop making excuses, trying to cover our sins?

What is the first thing Adam and Eve did when they got their shiny new consciences? They covered themselves with fig leaves. God doesn’t think that is adequate - He gave them Lambskin.

All I have been saying in these posts is this: whether it is adultery, homosexuality or a poorly chosen disco outfit, let’s throw off our earth-suits and put on Lambskin.

Hallelujah - Thank God I’m wrong and He’s right!! Why should I fight it? Only a dead man (or a baby) fights the accusation, because only a dead man (or a baby) has to prove his own righteousness.

I have loved you - I told you the truth, even though you, buddyb4 and pilgrim may hate me for it. No one wants to be hated. I understand how you feel ! Homosexuals are not the only people who struggle with temptations too powerful for them. I know that the Christian church is often (very often) unloving toward those who aren’t perfect. I have my own struggles Allan, but I claim my victory in Christ. If I were to change my mind and agree (repent and confess) with you, I would have unity with you, but I wouldn’t need victory in Christ.

This is a serious question, and the answer sheds light on this whole issue. At what age does a child becomes a consensual adult? And what constitutes inappropriate sexual behavior? Can a father hug his daughter? I don’t recall he Bible saying much on this important matter. If anything, it could be used to support a young marital age, along with the notion that the daughter is first the father’s property, and then the husband’s.

Here’s what I do know: Were I a child, I would not want to be sexually exploited by a predatory adult. This is the law of love in action, and sets the stage for everything that follows. Legislators now ask scientists for factual information about rates of maturation, harmful effects of childhood sexual experiences, and so on. Armed with the best available sociological, physiological and psychological data, legislators then devise pragmatic, enforceable rules to govern the situation as best as is humanly possible. In other words, when it comes to this question, the answers are not as easy as you might expect.

I would argue the same is true of homosexuality. When does homosexual behavior become sinful? A shared joke? A hug? A kiss? Is promiscuous (even predatory) gay pride the moral equivalent to a quiet, faithful, monogamous homosexual relationship? How many pages of law must you write to answer this fully? Weren’t the Pharisees obsessed with precisely this moral quest? For me, the question is simply, “If I were gay, how would I like to be treated?” Then I must go and do likewise. From a legal point of view, our law makers need to look at the sociology, genetics, health implications and so on surrounding the issue and come up with policies that create the greatest good for the most people. It will not be easy.

Surely I must love my enemy even if he has a whacky bloodline. Isn’t this what Christ taught? You cannot dodge the problem. The Bible’s teaching on how to treat your enemies is far from unambiguous. If it is unclear when it comes to violent acts, perhaps it is unclear about sexual acts also.

My argument is simple. If you condemn homosexuality on the basis of OT law, you must condemn a thousand other things for the same reason. You must also affirm slavery, polygamy, genocide, theocracy and the like. Do you really think we should stone Sabbath breakers?

Agreed. Christ alone can make us righteous. He will purify us, one sin at a time. We must come to him with trusting hearts and say, “Show me my sins that cause you pain. Help me destroy them.” It might be my sexual behavior. If so, Christ will make this clear in his good time. Again, it might be my judgment of someone* else’s* sexual behavior. If so, Christ will make that clear in his good time. Loving, faithful obedience to the living Christ will save us, not the formulation of rules and our adherence to them.

Two wrongs don’t make a right. However, what certainly would be a sin for me (eg. marrying a prostitute) might not be a sin for someone else (like poor old Hosea). Similarly, Saul took Samuel’s place before battle and was condemned. David ate consecrated bread, but was not condemned. If (like David) I circumcised 200 unbelievers in order to win my bride, I’d be taken away by little men in white coats, and rightly so, yet David was a man after God’s own heart.

When you are without sin, by all means throw your stone. Christ hated hypocrisy, judgmentalism and self-righteousness far more than he hated homosexuality. Homosexuality was so much on Jesus’ mind he mentioned it not once. Not once. Truly, truly, I know my own secret sins (or some of them). Knowing my own heart, I’m not about to make moral pronouncements on anyone, or give them advice, except for this one thing. Go to Christ! He is the Great Physician. He will tell you what to do.

I don’t hate you.

The Pharisees knew the truth. Women caught in adultery must be stoned. Moses said so. But they were wrong.

We both might be wrong on this issue too. Nothing is more likely. Therefore we must go to Christ. He will help us understand God’s mind and heart.

I agree with all you have said, Pilgrim but, I do not know any other objective way of knowing God and so I try to read honestly and stand and walk in honesty. I am less comfortable with being my own authority than trusting the written word. I have tried it in the past and it didn’t work for me. I believe all find what they truly seek and if we love one another, we speak truth. Also, I believe the old adage that "It is your friends that know you best, and love you anyway.
Love and peace to you!

Thanks for the link, Auggy.
I’m going to check it out. I think you are right in your comment of “venturing to sympathize . .” I think, if we are worried about keeping the “law” for salvation, it becomes like ET. We are in a panic to “make” it “work”. But, if we walk out God’s “law” because we are already in a state of no condemnation, it makes the division between Torah and Talmud extremely wide and obviously discernible.
Thank you for the link!

Hello Auggy and Bob,
I understand what you are saying and am sympathetic to it. I understand we are all at different places. I tend to think the real confusion is that organized christian religion teaches people to disregard the Torah as a standard of right and wrong and just go with an alternate set of rules that they command or just whatever we want to believe instead. The “law of the Spirit” is to follow Torah because of our changed hearts and the indwelling Holy Spirit. For example, Jesus says if a man lusts after a woman, he has committed adultery with her in His heart. But, if a man keeps Torah with a right heart and by the Spirit, not only does he not lust, he will not go farther and actually make sexual contact with her. Thus, in fulfilling the law of the Spirit, the man also fulfills the written law. So, I find the confusion is with the view that “Jesus nailed the law to the cross” verses what is truly spoken, that “He nailed to the cross the handwriting against us” - the judgment against us because we sinned. He paid the price for our sin. The sin isn’t Torah, it is perfect. The sin is breaking the Torah. I believe this is why there is confusion about what standard we are to live by, if any. What are you thoughts?
Blessing and peace!

Hi Bob,
You have no need to apologize. We all have those touchy areas that get prodded sometimes and bring feelings but, God has taught me to take responsibility for my own feelings. If you have not sinned against me, there is no need for reconciliation. My feelings are for me to deal with and you need not feel responsible for them. I try to be sensitive to the needs for change in my life (sometimes indicated by my feelings) but, other than that, I’m pretty thick skinned. So, please don’t have any remorse or hesitations in being completely honest with me. Thank you for the kind words about the discussions.

I do see what you mean. I think feelings of love are the same in both homosexual and heterosexual relationships. At least, it seems like it from my conversations with friends in homosexual relationships. I also think love toward God and our neighbor means to not sin against them. I find love is what we do (All the Torah and the prophets hangs on the two commandments reiterated by Jesus, Love Yehovah your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and love you neighbor as yourself.) Which, says to me that to obey Torah by the power of the Holy Spirit within (and not for a means of salvation), is what it means to love. As humans, we also have feelings of love which, may or may not be in line with true love. I understand that our feelings are real even if they are not portraying truth. For example, my feelings may lead me to be angry with you in context of the paragraph above. But, the truth is, you have not sinned against me in any way. Therefore, my feelings are wrong. Though, they may be real. (Just an example, I don’t have any bad feelings toward you.)

I would love to hear what others have to say on Jesus’ approach to Torah. Right now, my opinion is that He kept it perfectly (or He couldn’t have been the Passover Lamb) and that we should interpret it the way He did. He interpreted it in Himself. And, “fidelity” is doing what Jesus did.
My opinion of the Pharisees is, that they didn’t keep Torah. They oppressed people with the rules they added to and took away from Torah. Jesus was a threat to their authority and they fought against His authority.
I believe Jesus’ belief that His approach fulfilled the right interpretation of what God’s Torah valued is, correct. Because, He is the God of Creation. I will read your paper today and ponder it, then get back to you.
I keep hearing this term, “Jewish roots” and while there is meaning in the plain words, I am not fully familiar with what is being said. I know you are probably busy but, could you give me a first grade definition of that so, I know what you mean when we talk about it? I would appreciate it. I am sorry, Bob and, a lot embarrassed to admit, I’m just a middle aged housewife that reads Scripture and tries to follow God honestly the best way I know how. I don’t have a big education or any great learning to offer anyone. :blush: I am (obviously) not shy about conversing honestly with others but, I don’t have anything to add that the Scriptures don’t already seem to say. As long as you don’t see that as a waste of time, I would be delighted to converse with you. :slight_smile:
May your day be filled with all goodness and joy!

Hi Allan,
Do you want me to answer these questions or are they theoretical or rhetorical?
I agree that love covers a multitude of sins. I think my point here and the title of this thread was to define sodomy theologically which, I assumed meant from Scripture since, it is our only truly objective source of law. Sin is the breaking of that law. I don’t need law to have feelings of love toward anyone. But, I believe love is having a good conscience toward God in obeying Him by His Spirit in Torah. So, unless someone has sinned against me or I, against someone (according to objective truth), then there is nothing to cover. I believe you are right in saying we are called to love God. He is our King. Every king has rules for his kingdom. Our King’s rules are Torah.
I know we seem to bump heads on things but, want you to know I appreciate your insights and think a lot about what you say.
Hope your day is blessed!


Thanks for the kind response! Housewives must forgive me, but you are much more literate and impressive than many! By “Jewish” background, I sensed your familiarity with the Hebrew Scripture, and use of terms and spellings that friends in Messianic Judaism use. I’m curious where you gained this familiarity.

My impresson is that organized Christianity teaches a spectrum about whether we must obey Torah. In the Five Views book, three reformed protestants see it as binding on Christians. One which doesn’t, dispensationalism, seems far fetched to me. But I sense that Paul passionately disagreed that some practices taught in Torah should be binding on Gentile believers. And I think he grasped Jesus’ lead on the law. As in my two page paper, it seems to me that Israel’s leaders reasonably thought Jesus encouraged violation of the laws plain letter and that St. John was right to say that they saw him breaking the Sabbath. Mark says that Jesus declared all foods clean. I’m not seeing how Torah declares that, etc. I look forward to your differing take on such passages.

I wish all of the Lord’s continuing best to you,

Grace be with you,


Thank you so much, Bob. I actually know many housewives that are a lot smarter than I am. So, by “Jewish” background you mean “Hebrew roots”? I am familiar with the Hebrew Scripture. Mainly, my walk with God has been in just reading the Bible from beginning to end and has included some study of the original languages. I guess my biggest asset is my husband. He is really intelligent. He taught himself Greek and actually reads from the Greek manuscript. He is gifted in languages, in my opinion. He and I first started calling God Yehovah when we were looking at God’s Name in an interlinear. They translated it from the Hebrew as Yahweh. Howard said it didn’t look right. We went to verify the Hebrew according to the interlinear pronunciation chart and found it should have been pronounced Yehovah. I know Jesus’ name is Yehoshua in Hebrew from my studies with Howard. And, in using the esword program, I discovered Yeshua was also another name for Jesus. My desire, in using Hebrew was to remember that Jesus’ name actually means something important and points to who His is. In talking with others I go back and forth between Jesus and Yeshua, mainly because I have never heard anyone refer to Jesus as Yehoshua and I didn’t want to confuse anyone. Although, there are many derivatives of Yehoshua. I like studying the original languages but, I am not real good at it so, if I say something wrong, please let me know.

The issue you’re speaking of in the two examples above is, Jesus’ contention with the man made laws the Pharisees presumptuously added to the Torah.
“The whole thing which I am commanding you–it ye observe to do; thou dost not add unto it, nor diminish from it.”(Deu 12:32)
The washing of the hands was their tradition, not Torah. So, Jesus is explaining to them that eating with unwashed hands does not defile the food or the man but, the wicked “inside” of the Pharisees made them unclean. Their wickedness in adding to the Torah and oppressing people with their own “doctrines and commandments of men”, was the real wicked act. I find the idea of “clean” foods somewhat faulty. I see that God made a list of things that He said was food for us. That is the list of foods. For example, my dog eats rocks. He can choke them down but, rocks aren’t food. We can “ingest” just about anything but, not everything is food for us. The reason we eat “from the list” is just our idea that He made us and knows what we should run off of so, we go with it. Sort of like, I found out the hard way that the weed eater didn’t run well off straight gas. :blush:
I downloaded your paper but, had to get some other things done this afternoon. I’ll read it soon and get back with you as soon as I can. Might be a day or two, I want to look up the references and so forth. I’m looking forward to looking at it! Thank you for sharing.
May His comforts delight your soul!

Hi Kelly,

I was raised and trained in your view that the Mosaic Law is simply what is healthy and best for us, and that Jesus simply challenged extra-Biblical traditional rules (not a reasonable reading of Torah), and I long shared and taught that widely held interpretation. But I have come to think Jesus turned things upside down more provocatively than that.

On Mark 7:19, isn’t Jesus explicitly referring to what “goes into our stomach” (not to the impact of unclean hands). And isn’t Mark’s inspired interpretation, “In saying this, He declared all foods clean”? Thus, don’t the apostles endorse Jesus’ stance in Acts 15 when they decide to refuse to require all the food laws for Christians? And doesn’t Paul declare in Romans 14 that differences among Gentiles and Jewish traditions as to what we should eat don’t really matter?

On my other example of the Sabbath, isn’t the Torah’s language that all “work” is deadly wrongful? But when Jesus defends his actions in John, doesn’t he literally assert, “I work on the Sabbath” (arguing that he follows the lead of God Himself). I don’t see him making the defense that his and the disciples’ actions are not ‘work,’ but that he has precedent and authority to determine how love should be at work on the Sabbath, even if the devout would understandably think it was work that could wait, and thus they would understandably be convinced that Jesus had clearly made a subjective human rationalization to excuse a blatant violation of Torah. It appears to me that such passages imply as plainly as one could ask that Jesus challenged the natural reading of Mosaic Law.