The question is “why should anyone care about Paul’s view on homosexuality, since Paul never met Jesus?”
Here is the answer:
Dr. Craig’s answer is two-fold. First, he said that Jesus was a Jew and had the same views on this question as Jews normally did. Second, he cited Jesus’ teaching about marriage being the union of one man and one woman in Mark 10:7-9 and Matthew 19:5. I heard this same verse presented when I was listening to the “It takes a Family” 2013 lectures, in the lecture by Dr. Robert Gagnon, who is an expert on what Jesus says about homosexuality.
Here are the relevant links, if you want to get yourself ready:
- “Jesus and Marriage” ~ Dr. Robert Gagnon @ ITAF ’13
- Jesus and Marriage Q&A ~ Dr. Robert Gagnon @ ITAF ’13
- “Paul and Homosexual Practice” ~ Dr. Robert Gagnon @ ITAF ’13
- “Paul and Homosexual Practice” Q&A ~ Dr. Robert Gagnon @ ITAF ’13
I had to respond to a similar question recently in the comments of this blog, too. The questioner “JB” asserted that Christians could also be pro-abortion, and I replied with this:
Well there you have it. It doesn’t matter that the early church took in abandoned infants and prohibited abortion, because JB knows what the Bible really meant – not the early church.
Recently I came across a reading of the Didache. “The what?” you may ask. The Didache is a book written somewhere in the first or second century. For a long time it was up for consideration as Scripture. It was believed to be the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. Eventually it was agreed that the book was an excellent book, but not inspired Scripture. So I was pleased to be able to download this admirable book containing good teachings from the early Church fathers.
The book seemed to be largely a lot of quotes from Scripture. You’ll learn the basic rules of Christianity — “First, you shall love God who made you; second, love your neighbor as yourself.” You’ll learn that “grave sins” are forbidden, like adultery, murder, fornication, and so on. (They specifically include pederasty in the list.) There are instructions regarding teachers, prophets, Christian assembly, and so on. Lots of the normal, good stuff. But, since this was written sometime prior to 200 AD, I was somewhat surprised at this instruction: “You shall not murder a child by abortion” (Didache, Ch 2).
More are linked here:
Notice how these early Christian sources conflict with JB’s assertion that there can be pro-abortion Christians. Not just one time, but many, many times. That’s because JB is wrong in his interpretation of the Bible.
Basically, what JB has been doing in his comments is interpreting the Bible against the grid of modern non-Christian ideologies and completely disregarding the interpretations of the text by the people who were closer to the original events. Bible-believing Christians get the meanings of the words from the people who were closest to them, whereas JB is trying to project modern immorality back into the ancient text for his own purposes.
Note: I do get annoyed with people who claim to be Christians but aren’t, so I wasn’t at my best there.
But just like Dr. Craig, I am appealing to the people nearest the events to see how the Bible was interpreted at the time. Of course I had all the time in the world for my reply, and Dr. Craig had to have his ready in a split-second. Still Dr. Craig could not have answered this challenger, because he was busy in Australia doing debates with Lawrence Krauss in several big Australian cities. He couldn’t be here to answer this person’s questions. I hope my answers were as good, but it was left to me and two other commenters WorldGoneCrazy and Doug to answer JB. There was no one else to do the job.
J. Warner Wallace recently wrote a post about what it takes to be a Christian apologist.
He had 3 points:
Accept Your Identification
Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:15 that all of us have a duty to be ever-ready to make the case for our hope in Jesus. This isn’t an option reserved for a few well-trained professionals; all of us, regardless of position or vocation, are tasked with this honor. As I wrote in Cold Case Christianity, when we, as Christians, live without embracing this aspect of our identity, we are living an abbreviated Christian life. The sooner you accept this aspect of your Christian character and identify yourself as an apologist, the more likely you are going to take it seriously. Start calling yourself a Christian Case Maker (“apologist”) today.
Accept Your Obligation
Although every Christian is called to be a Case Maker, some are definitely better than others. Once you begin to identify yourself in this way, you’ll sense your own inadequacies as you engage others. As a result, you’ll likely begin to train yourself (formally or informally) to meet the challenge. You may find yourself in a certification or advanced education program, but you may not. Some of the best and most effective apologists are not formally trained in apologetics. The two best-selling apologetics authors in America, Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel, have no formal training in the area of apologetics or philosophy. It’s clear, however, that both of these men take their obligation as Christian Case Makers seriously and have studied their worldview and practiced their craft.
Accept Your Location
While many of us would love to leave our “day jobs” to work as vocational apologists, let me encourage you to stay wherever God has already placed you. I am a “one dollar apologist”; a Christian Case Maker who still derives 90% of my income from my career as a detective. I have always equated my life as a Christian with my life as a Christian Case Maker. For this reason, I could no more call myself a vocational Christian apologist than I could call myself a vocational Christian. God has given me this set of investigative skills so I can share them with others, and He’s placed me in this career, at this time and place, as part of the larger Christian family.
I don’t think anyone sees the battlefield as well as J. Warner Wallace does. And he is tolling the bell for you in that post.
I remember vividly a story in the past when walking down the corridor of my apartment building with my laundry hamper full of dried clothes. I was being stopped by a U.S. Marine who asked me about the U.S. Marine hoodie I was wearing. He asked me a question I will never forget. He said “were you in?”. I said that no, I was not in, because I was trained as a software engineer at the undergraduate and graduate level and that it was my day job to write code. (In fact, I am going to be working all day Saturday and Sunday with JQuery, JSP, CXF, JAXB, JSON, JPA/Hibernate and other technologies to get my REST web services complete for Monday morning stand-up). But I told him then that as part of learning about America, which all Americans should do, that I had been reading the U.S. Marine Corps reading list and that I bought this hoodie to show my support for the Marines. I think he was hoping that I was a former marine. The motto of the USMC is “Semper fidelis” which means “always faithful”. And that’s exactly what God expects from us, according to 1 Corinthians 1:1-5.
Were you in?