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Brian Bowen’s Faulty Doctrines on Homosexuality

Id never heard of Brian Bowen, until I came across a comment stating that “The #GayMarriage debate in the Church just took a dramatic turn for the better!” accompanied by a webpage address for more info. This recommendation came from a bright guy, so I thought I should investigate the webpage. But I was disappointed with the reasoning I found. I found that the webpage presented a 168 minute recorded debate, originally broadcast on radio, between one man with a standard conservative Christian position on homosexuality, and Brian Bowen, who took a position that the Bible does not oppose gay marriage etc for Christians. My post here explains flaws I see in what Bowen stated during the debate.

I listened to the entire debate. Some elements of what Bowen said, seemed confusing, EG “Just because you’re gay doesnt mean you’re guilty of homosexuality …” (73′), and some of his comments just seemed to me to be superfluous or irrelevant. But overall his argument seemed to be that when the Bible refers to homosexual sin, those references are always in the context of adultery or idolatry, and that in fact God is drawing homosexuals into the church as the remnants of the Gentiles to be brought into his church in fulfilment of Isaiah 56 and Romans 11:25. Bowen claimed that most Christians misunderstand what the Scriptures say about homosexuality, because we dont give due attention to context.

While detailing his perspective, Bowen seemed to me to express many misunderstandings of the Scriptures, which I will outline and rebut in the remainder of this post, each quote prefixed by the number of minutes into the recording at which Bowen made the statement-

20′: “… clobber passages like Leviticus 18:22, and Leviticus 20:13 where married men were engaged in adultery against their wives with men, which is the key phrase ‘as with a woman’ …”

Im not aware of any good reason to understand the phrase “as with a woman” to mean that the man is married to a woman. That is not an understanding that is widely held by scholars. In the NIV translation, the phrase has a more contemporary wording of “as one does with a woman”, and again I get no sense that the phrase means the man is married by definition.

“… Romans 1:26-27 where married men engaged in sexual relations with each other and married women engaged in adultery to have sexual relations with animals as acts of worship to ancient roman gods.”

Again, Im not aware of any good reason to conclude that Romans 1:26-27 is referring to married people.

23′:“Then we also have 1 timothy 1:10 where men who were married to women, hired gay for pay temple prostitutes with which to worship the goddess Diana.”

Where in that verse does it specify married men? Nowhere.

25′: “And then we have the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 and the book of Jude. But what we find when we really examine those accounts is that was to purge fallen angels who made it with human women and had children which we see in Genesis chapter 6 verses 1-8. And these offspring, the Nephilim were half human and half angel and because they had been born, the lord sent the flood to destroy them and left only Noah. We see all of that confirmed in 2 Peter 2:4-7 where God connects the fallen angels that had sex with women to the flood and then the destruction of Sodom was to destroy the fallen angels themselves and so as each of those examples shows they have nothing to do with LGBT people and everything to do with married people violating two of the ten commandments against adultery and worship of other gods. 

But Ezekiel 16:49-50 says the sins of the people included arrogance and unkindness and Jude 1:7 indicates that their sin included sexual immorality. Claiming that the problem was simply angelic offspring, is very one-eyed.

33′: “.. in Leviticus 20:10 it says a man shall not lie with another man’s wife and if he does that both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death and then just three verses later it says the same thing about a man who lies with a man as with a woman, so we do indeed see the context of adultery.”

Leviticus 20:10 includes wording such as “another man’s wife”, clearly referencing someone who is married, but Leviticus 20:13 simply compares homosexual sex with heterosexual sex and does not include wording that references someone who is married.

35′: “…lets get to Matthew 19 … [quotes verses 3-9]. A couple of things to point out; first of all, a lot of Christians believe that Jesus is actually quoting what God says about marriage in the Garden of Eden. But in fact, God never said any of this. In verse 4, Matthew 19:4, Jesus said, “Have you never read” so right there we know that Jesus is quoting a Scripture. “He who made them from the beginning made them male and female.” That is quoting Genesis 1:27 where Moses narrates so God made them male and female. It does not say “God said I made them male and female.” So it’s not a quote of God. It is quoting what Moses wrote about God. In Matthew 19:5, it says, “for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be united firmly to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.” Again, a lot of Christians believe that it was God that said that. But if we go back and look at what Jesus was quoting, it’s Genesis 2, a whole chapter away from what he had just said, in verses 22-24 which reads and the rib or part of his side which the Lord God had taken, he built up and made into a woman and he brought her to the man. Verse 23; then Adam said, “This creature is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called woman because she was taken out of man.” Verse 24; “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and shall become united and cleave to his wife and they shall become one flesh.” So what we see is contrary to what a lot of Christians think, Jesus was not ordaining heterosexual marriage and God did not ordain heterosexual marriage; Adam did. … “

No, modern translations do not portray Genesis 2:24 as having been stated by Adam. Rather, it presents heterosexual marriage as having been ordained by God.

56′: “… in Isaiah 56, we see God refers to eunuchs as sons and daughters.”

Not really. We see a reference to sons and daughters in verse 5, but “a name better than sons and daughters” is not the same as calling them sons and daughters.

56′: “Later on we see the apostle Paul ordain marriage for two groups of unmarried people, in 1 Corinthians 7:1-9, which would be part of the very same letter in which 1 Corinthians 6 appears where Paul rebuked a preacher who was molesting boys in his own congregation and pimping the church for money. So it’s in the same letter, yet he ordains marriage for two groups of unmarried people 1 Corinthians 7:1-9. The first are heterosexuals in verses 1-7 and then for non-heterosexual couples in verses 8-9. We know the second group is not heterosexual because if they were they wouldve been included in the first group. We see Paul use the phrase unmarried people in verses 8-9 …”

I dont see in 1 Cor. 6 a reference to a preacher molesting boys or pimping the church. I also dont see cause to perceive 1 Cor. 7:8-9 as referring to non-heterosexuals. In 1 Cor. 7:1-7 Paul seems to shift attention from single people to married people and then in verses 8-9 he just seems to switch back to addressing single people again.

During the debate, Bowen acknowledges that his interpretation is not water-tight. But when he does so, he seems to be primarily referring to his interpretation of ‘eunuchs’ as including homosexuals. I actually like his reasoning that ‘eunuch’ may include homosexuals. But it should not be forgotten what it states in Isaiah 56:4 – that it’s addressed “To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who choose what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant …”. IE the eunuchs portrayed as gaining God’s blessing are those who hold to his rules. This would likely mean eunuchs who, for example, dont engage in gay sex. In conclusion, it’s not Bowen’s interpretation of ‘eunuch’ that I necessarily disagree with. Rather it’s his inference that the Bible does not oppose gay sex apart from in idolatrous or adulterous situations.

I later found that Brian Bowen has a number of videos on YouTube, EG this one, where he is wearing a religious crown –

The more I watch, the more I realise that he takes the flaws in his own reasoning and projects these as being the logical flaws of those who disagree with him (EG his claim that others need to read/research the Scriptures more). Ive also noticed that he repeats himself, and may say the same thing several times in a given thread, as though repeating it somehow proves his point. Ive found that the more I review his work, the harder I find it to take him seriously.

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