Lets face it. Despite his virtues, Trump still isnt particularly Christian. Divorced several times over, rather rich and a history of a little smut. So why was he reportedly so popular among evangelical voters? Sure his main opposition had problems (EG1, EG2), but why didnt more evangelicals vote for someone like Ted Cruz instead of Trump? This question has had many scratching their heads.
Ive now found something of an answer. Apparently, it was non-churchgoing evangelicals. At least according to this –
If environment can mess up gender, is pollution messing us up? See
The central theme to this 2016 book, is how the author wanted to feel in “alignment”. He tends to use this term to refer to the tension between how his heart felt that any exclusion of gay people was wrong, while this initially contradicted what his head told him, based on Scripture. Basically, the book records his journey, from supposed lack of alignment between his head and heart, through to reinterpreting Scripture to align with his heart. He argues that it’s healthy to be in alignment, but seems to not see that his new-found alignment with his heart, takes him out of alignment with God, as per Jeremiah 17:9.
The author (left in the picture here, with his wife) describes himself as “a straight, white, formerly conservative evangelical pastor … who now leads a progressive (sic) Christian church” (p. XVI). The book is kinda two books entwined into one, with the even numbered chapters of the book focusing on theology and the odd numbered chapters being a chronology of key points in his life when he responded to things GLBT. The even chapters are very much theological rhetoric as the author focuses on one or two verses at a time, attempting to make a case that the Bible does not oppose homosexual practice. The odd chapters, detailing his timeline, are tinged with loss much of the time, as he details how his unorthodox theology cost him his house and job as pastor at one point, only to then loose the next job as pastor, too. He opens chapter 7, by remarking that he expected that his newfound “alignment” would make him feel better, but instead he felt demoralized and like he was going to the dentist. He spent 2 months not going to church or praying. He even had a tantrum with tears. But “I’d sought integrity” he cries. Not Scriptural integrity though, sadly.
The author says he stands behind 2 Tim. 3:16-17 that all Scripture is God breathed, but he claims that it’s been misinterpreted by traditional Christians. In many ways this book is a product of its time. Martin is obviously a bit of a reader, and he indicates that he draws his doctrines from (liberal) sources such as Brian McLaren, Matthew Vines and even video productions such as For The Bible Tells Me So. The rear cover includes a review by the notorious Rob Bell.
Like Vines, Martin’s overall logic is flawed. IE he writes in chapter 10 “…Im convinced that it is impossible to argue that the Bible … divinely prohibits two people of the same sex from experiencing a loving … relationship.” And we know from elsewhere in the Book that this includes a sexual relationship between them. Yet Martin fails to substantiate that conclusion, even though he tries to. Like Vines, the formula for his logic seems to be “maybe + maybe = definitely”. He tries to undermine the readers’ confidence in popular translations of the Bible, telling them that experts dont know the meaning of particular words in the original languages, and that we cant know that certain terms refer to
homosexuality, despite popular Bible translations being translated that way. Yet he then builds on these claims of uncertainty, to argue that although we dont entirely know what the original words mean, we can conclude that they dont refer to loving forms of homosexuality. Huh? We cant be certain what they mean, yet we can be certain they dont refer to something in particular? You cant have it both ways, Mr.. Do we know what they mean, or dont we? If we partially know what they mean, how can we be certain what they dont mean? You cant build a case for certainty, from an argument of uncertainty. In chapter 8, he admits; “I invite you to read this chapter and expect that some parts of it might feel like a stretch to you. Some parts might feel uncomfortable or absurd, and you may be tempted to check out.” Yes indeed, some of his claims do sound like quite a stretch.
The author doesnt like ignoring Scripture, but he does seem comfortable with explaining certain passages away, if he doesnt like them. When envisioning establishing a new church, in chapter 9, Martin’s liberal side is revealed as he asks many (often leftist) questions, including “What would it look like to create a church that was uniquely Christian, but not exclusively? Where we … dont pretend that Christianity is the sole arbiter of truth …?” Crumbs. In reminiscing about the decision to found a church, he writes of a desire “to provide a space where people can connect in meaningful ways that will lead them to love, life and peace. This is what our life must be about, investing in relationships, in people.” Yes, investing in God, seems to be a lesser motivation for him these days.
Some of Martin’s arguments are the standard ones promoted by gay activists, such as taking an approach of obfuscation for Greek terms used in the New Testament. But other arguments that Martin employs, seem to me to be fairly obscure, for example his examination of Hebrew phrasing in Leviticus. Although Martin seeks to explain his reasoning, in some cases the reader lacks sufficient detail from Martin, or lacks the resources to judge the validity of argument. And so in those cases, ultimately the reader has little choice but to choose whether to trust Martin, in terms of believing whether his argument is sound. At other points, Martin makes claims that seem somewhat unsubstantiated, such as in chapter 10, when he claims that St Paul wrote of “activities like keeping young boys as sex slaves …” (p. 165).
At several points, it seemed to me that he simply omitted key arguments that run counter to his preferred conclusions. EG I didnt notice him raise the heteronormativity of Genesis 2. And when discussing Sodom & Gomorrah, I didnt notice him reference Jude 7. If you are going to write an entire book about this subject, I think it’s poor form to exclude such relevant scriptures. In chapter 6, Martin writes that “Some scholars maintain that Leviticus applied only to men of the priestly tribe of Levi. Other scholars maintain that these Clobber Passages applied only to Jewish men living in the Holy Land.” But Martin fails to point out that other scholars believe that Leviticus applied to all.
At times, Martin employs exaggeration and rhetoric rather than sound reasoning, to make his case. When discussing Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, he writes “I cannot, in good conscience (or in good scholarship), see how these two verses, which were written to help a liberated group of slaves understand how they were to be a uniquely called-out nation in the world, can offer any words of condemnation against the GLBTQ community.” Maybe his interpretation is part of the problem. Condemnation was probably not the point. The main point was probably to dissuade people from engaging in homosexual relations. But notice how he frames the point of the laws, as being to help people understand. Really, Colby? The laws were to help people understand? No, even he doesnt really believe that is what Leviticus was all about. We know this because later in the chapter, he writes “Sure, Levitical Law did much to help humanity move forward in terms of raising human consciousness and creating a more just and generous world, …” In chapter 7, he writes of people who are considering that “they have misused the Bible to condemn an entire people-group, denying them access to the grace of God.” Denying them access? Yea, silly. But he footnotes this comment, writing “I use this phrase provocatively. I dont think its possible to “deny access to the grace of God.””. Oh so he writes things he doesnt mean? I see…
Another key flaw in the reasoning, in my opinion, is Martin’s claim that it’s anachronistic to use the term ‘homosexual’ in Scripture, because Martin says it’s a modern term based on modern understanding. His attitude on this is adamant, and he writes in chapter 10; “The words homosexuals and homosexuality have zero business being in the Bible.” This too is a common claim from gay activists. But it’s an overstatement. Logically, homosexual attraction has existed throughout history, as historical records attest, and a basic grasp of homosexual attraction is not beyond the average uneducated person. And to be consistent, given that modern marriage differs from Biblical times, is it anachronistic to use the word ‘marriage’ in Scripture? And what about the confusion between early American slavery, and slavery in Biblical times – does this mean the word ‘slavery’ shouldnt be in the Bible? My point is that yes there are nuances of difference in understanding between Biblical times and now, but contemporary words are still adequate to attempt to communicate what the Bible says, especially if footnotes are used. I think that to discard the term ‘homosexual’ is to obfuscate rather than clarify. Martin is right, when he points out that to say “homosexuality is sinful” is a claim that is open to various interpretations, and that some Bible translations have been sloppy in this regard. But it seems to me, that to follow his advice and to conclude that homosexual relationships are not sinful, is sloppy too – just in the opposite direction.
Additional material that illustrates Martin’s theology can be found at:
Are you tired of the homosexual propaganda that claims that it’s only “recently” that the church has regarded homosexual practice as sinful? EG
Me too. What about the line that it’s only “recently” (since the around 20th century) that humankind have a been able to grasp the concept of homosexuality, and that when the Bible was written they simply didnt understand it? Yep Im tired of that one too!
Those with a good appreciation for history are already aware of statements from church fathers such as Augustine (EG), which indicate that even in the early centuries AD, homosexual practice was still regarded as sinful. But details from that era, often amount to snippets and inferences , so when gay activists question even the definitions of words used, it can be easy to loose a sense of certainty.
So we are very lucky to have the following record available. That’s right; not just a sentence or two about homosexuality in centuries past, but numerous chapters written by a committed Christian, where homosexuality is a central theme.
It was written in the middle of the 11th century, by a senior Italian monk, as a letter to the pope. He wrote it in Latin, and it eventually came to be known by the Latin name Liber Gomorrhianus, which translates to English as the Book of Gomorrah. Others refer to it as “Letter 31” based on an index of the author’s various letters. The author came to be known as St. Peter Damian, though that name also varies in spelling and form, and is a variation of the name he had as a child. My source is the English translation by Matthew C. Hoffman, which was published as a 165 page-numbered book, copyrighted at 2015. Approximately half of Hoffman’s book is his introduction, bio of Damien and a translator’s preface and the latter half of Hoffman’s book is his English translation of Damien’s 27 chapters of Letter 31. Hoffman’s book is available here.
Hoffman indicates that he wrote such a big introduction partly in an effort to refute those who seek to downplay Damian’s writings (see pp 56-71). Hoffman states that Damien was well educated and notes on p. 37 “So great was [Damian’s] importance to Pope Alexander II that he declared that, after himself, Damian was “the highest authority within the Roman Church,”…
What I found interesting and valuable, are the indications that St Peter Damien in the 11th century, understood a fair amount about homosexuality. He perhaps understood it better than some today, who pride themselves on their modern (yet incorrect) understanding of homosexuality as being simply heterosexuality but between members of the same sex. Below is a listing of what I found to be interesting mentions by Damian (as translated by Hoffman) indexed using the page numbering in Hoffman’s book. NB the book frequently refers to ‘sodomy’, but as per pp. 7, 17-18, 48, note that this word is used with a broad definition that is not limited to anal copulation. NB also that the chapter delineations below appear to be Hoffman’s delineations.
So what was Damian’s understanding of sodomy? He writes –
– That its shameful to speak of it (p. 82)
– people “being soiled by fondling each others male parts , others fornicate between the thighs or in the rear…” (p. 83. Interestingly no mention of oral sex)
– of it being relevant to Sodom & Gomorrah (p. 86)
– of it being “not unworthily believed to be the worst of all offenses (p. 86)
– That Leviticus prescribed death for sex between males (p. 87)
– That a man having sex with another man between the thighs is regarded as feminine copulation (p. 88. More on p. 129)
– That those “having lain between masculine thighs in fornication” are guilty of a mortal sin (p. 88)
– That 1 Tim. 1:10 refers to males lying with males as against religious law (p. 90)
– That those who are top offenders should be expelled from the clergy (pp. 89-91)
– That the story of Sodom has links to Romans 1 (pp 92-93)
– That St Paul said that some dishonor their own bodies amongst themselves (p.92)
– That priests are obligated to pull their subjects into line in this area (p.96)
– That it seems to him to be more tolerable to have fallen into the disgrace of lust with an animal than with a man (p. 98)
– That the problem is perpetuated by sinners affirming (or perhaps just lacking condemnation of) others who commit the same sins, rather than the sinners confessing to “spiritual men” (pp 99-101)
– That for a man to lie with a monk, is comparable to a monk “making an attempt” on a nun (pp 101-102)
– NB he also uses vague language when talking of heterosexual sex (pp 101, 102, 103, 107)
– That sex between males is contrary to nature (p. 101, 117)
– That homosexuality may be regarded as an ‘excess’ (p. 101) More on p. 128.
– That homosexuality involves an “insanity of unrestrained lust” (p. 102)
– That sodomites of the day, spoke collaboratively, in their own defense (p. 108)
– He seems to say that sodomites claim that classic sodomy is anal (p, 109)
– He makes reference to “those who violate males in the rear” (p. 115)
– He seems to say that sodomy is to “be polluted either with animals or with males”. He talks of a “man being polluted with another man through the ardor of lust” (p. 117)
– He talks of sodomy as to “live irrationally”, against the order of human reason (pp 117-118)
– He says sodomites are explained as being “possessed by evil spirits (p. 118) and of a “diabolical impulse” being the cause for “when a man thrusts himself upon another man to commit impure acts …” (p. 118)
– Sadly, he does seem to conflate gender-agnostic pedophilia with more gay acts (p. 120)
– He indicates that those who corrupt in the rear or copulate between the thighs may also want to kiss etc, and that they may regard kissing as a lesser sin (the end of p. 121 suggests he was referring to homosexuals, despite the chapter beginning with a context of pedophilia)(p. 120)
– That this sin “violates sobriety, kills modesty, slays chastity.” (p. 122)
– That this sin “pollutes everything, and for itself permits nothing pure, nothing foreign to filth, nothing clean.” Woah!!! (p. 122)
– That “In order to sow impious wars against God, [sodomy] requires a militancy of the most wretched spirit” (p. 123)
– That “His flesh burns with the fury of lust, … while his is vexed by as many worries as his is tortured …” (the context also talks of punishment though) (p. 123)
– That “memory is removed, the sharpness of mind is obscured” (huh? p. 124)
– That it “… undermines fortitude, banishes temperance, and blunts the sharpness of prudence.” (p. 124)
– That it “expels every cornerstone of the virtues from the court of the human heart, it also … introduces every barbarity of the vices.” Woah! (P. 124) See more on p. 126.
– That “Whenever anyone falls into this abyss … he is exiled from the heavenly homeland … rejected from the fellowship of heavenly citizenry … forced now to bear … the torment of eternal damnation.” (pp 124-125. More on p. 144-145).
– Seemingly that the source of the problem is “lust” (p. 127).
– That turning to the “masculine sex” might be due to “the fury of lust” (p. 128)
– That turning to the “masculine sex” might be due to “the madness of excess” (p. 128)
– That (specified) 4-legged animals are not seen engaging in homosexual behaviour (p. 128)
– That those who engage in homosexuality are “emasculated” and “effeminate” (p. 129)
– That “the handling of masculine flesh delights” those who engage in homosexuality, though it shouldnt (p. 129)
– That homosexuals tend to not be mournful of their situation, but rather are ‘arrogant’ (p. 130) This is perhaps an ongoing theme across to p. 132, where Damian complains that the guilty priests do not seek to exit from priesthood, as they should (p. 132)
– That the problem involves a flow or semen (p. 132)
– That sodomites are displeasing to God, and held bound by “terrestrial desires” (p. 134)
– That people are angry with him and refuse to listen (p. 136).
– That people reject his words about “the nature of this mortal vice”, though it’s aligned with Scripture (p. 137)
– That sodomitic acts include “polluting only himself, or another by fondling him with his hands, or copulating between the thighs, or even violating him in the rear, ” (pp 141-142). NB Damien precedes this by saying that sodomy has 4 heads, so if these are the 4 heads, this implies that to him, ‘sodomy’ does not include other forms or combinations of sex/partners, eg anal sex with women.
– He implies that St Paul saw a link between the judgement of Sodom & Gomorrah, and judgement against sodomites in later times (p. 144)
– That Christ can return the sinner to the pinnacle from which unchaste flesh caused him to fall (p. 147)
– That it’s a “constant struggle against the flesh” that keeps you from surrendering to lust (p. 149)
– That a key motivator for those who fall, is the pleasure of ejaculation of semen (p. 149)
– He seemed to say that fasting can discipline the flesh, and that prayer helps too (p. 149)
– He refers to eunuchs as “soldiers of chastity”, and writes that “Indeed eunuchs are those who repress the insolent impulses of the flesh and cut away from themselves the performance of perverse acts.” (p. 150)
– That (as per Ezek. 3) he fears the wrath of God as punishment for silence, more than he fears his colleagues’ anger for ratting on them this way. (p. 154)
– That those who engage in the sin, are “enslaved” (p.158)
– That when a single person makes statements such as this, he can be regarded as prejudiced (p. 159)
– As per the early stages of the presentation (IE chapter 2) he closes the presentation by pointing to 4 types of vice; IE “Some pollute themselves, others are soiled by fondling each other’s male parts, others fornicate between the thighs or in the rear …” Thus we can conclude that those 4 are the overall theme of the presentation (p. 160)
Yep. As reported by several sources, including;