T. Pierce Brown

A few days ago I received a book written by a man who claims to be a minister of the gospel and a practicing homosexual. He gave many arguments (?) for his conclusion that homosexuality was not only condoned, it was commanded! I do not want to take the time to refute his blasphemous contention that when the word “servant” is used in the Bible it suggests the activity of the one who serves homosexually, and when the word “Servant of servants” is used, it suggests the ultimate of Christlikeness in serving another’s homosexual advances and refers to Christ! But it does remind me of one who suggested to me that at least half the homosexuals would be saved according to the implication of Luke 17:34, “I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed: the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.” Two men in one bed must refer to practicing homosexuality!

If you think that exegesis is “off the wall,” let me point out some examples of sloppy exegesis (or eisegesis) which abounds in some things that come to our attention. I just read from an article by one who thinks he has the right to use instrumental music in worship (or do most anything else he wants), for the Bible says in 1 Timothy 1:9, “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient.” He says this proves again that we are not under law but under grace (Romans6:14). Of course it does not need to be proven again, for no gospel preacher ever denied it. Both quotations abundantly prove (to him) that we have complete freedom in Christ to do whatever we choose, for there can be no law to restrict us. It plainly says that the law was not made for a righteous man, so Christians have no law since they are righteous men! It would be interesting to hear a discussion between him and those who claim that sinners are not amenable to law. Since there is no law of God that applies to sinners, and there is none that applies to the righteous, then God has nothing that applies to anyone — except perhaps some suggestions. God took Moses on the mountain and gave him ten suggestions!

Without trying to give an adequate exegesis of either scripture just quoted, surely any thinking person can see that although the law that says, “Thou shalt not steal” was not made for a person who would not steal to save his life, that law still applies to him and forbids stealing. Surely any thinking person can see that although our salvation does not depend upon our having kept the law perfectly (for we would not need to be saved if we had not broken the law that causes us to be lost), salvation by grace still depends on our accepting that grace according to the rules and regulations (laws) God gave concerning it.

Ephesians5:11says, “Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” There are those who apply that to a person putting up a booth offering the gospel message if it is in an area where someone might be upholding some false doctrine or practice. No doubt they would have felt at home in the company of those who criticized Christ for eating with publicans and sinners, and would feel perfectly justified in criticizing Paul for going into the synagogue (Acts 17:1) or into the temple (Acts 19:26). That sort of person might well be expected to say, “There are songs in your song book written by John Wesley. If you sing that, you are having fellowship with his false doctrine.”

I would not be surprised if some of these expert exegetes came up with this statement: “I have always had my suspicions that mixed bathing was wrong and sinful. I am even more convinced of it when I read a passage that makes me think that going out in the surf is also wrong.” Notice carefully Luke 21:34, “Take heed to your selves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting.” So, not only is mixed bathing wrong, surfeiting is condemned! This is about the caliber of argument our beloved brethren use who read about Jesus taking THE CUP and saying in Luke 22:19, “This cup is the new testament in my blood.” They have said to me, “It is plain that he had only one cup. If you have more than one, you are adding to what is authorized.” For a person who has reasoning powers, it is not too difficult to explain to him that when Jesus talked about “this cup” he was not talking about the container, but the contents. He told them to drink the cup. We have discovered, however, that often when a person has already made up his mind that he does or does not want to do a particular thing, he is not nearly as concerned with the proper exegesis of a passage as he is with proving his point.

There are many other examples we could give, but these should be enough to cause you to examine the way you come to your conclusions. It may be true that some of those who are advocating a “new hermeneutic” do need a new one, for the one they are now using has not helped them any. However, I am still waiting to hear some specifics about how the new one will work that they think the rest of us need.

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