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Arsenokoiti

Arsenokoites is an ancient Greek term found several times in the Bible and often translated as a reference to homosexual practise.

In 2019 an article that focuses on this word, began circulating, and has continued to circulate.

I believe the following response on Facebook is more scholarly than the original article –


More Sexual Therapies Regarded as Unproductive and Harmful

Efforts and therapies that seek to change a person’s sexual orientation are increasingly regarded as ineffective. And not just in terms of heterosexual verses homosexual. Efforts to change a pedophile orientation are apparently likewise generally ineffective.

And now I see similar thoughts about treatment for sexual addiction …

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/understanding-the-erotic-code/202001/recovering-sex-addiction-treatment


The Collapse of Gay Media

The gay community in the western world had a reasonably strong print media presence around the start of the century, including glossy magazines, and newspapers. Gay Star News, SX, The Advocate; they were numerous.

But in the short years following the legalisation of gay marriage, much of that media presence has crumbled, from the UK, to Australia to the USA.

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/editors-out-magazine-advocate-depart-financially-troubled-company-same-day-n1100176

Why? My theory is that it’s because ‘gay’ has gone largely mainstream, and gay people no longer feel a need to subscribe to specifically gay publications.


Gender-affirming Therapy Doesn’t Significantly Improve Mental Health?

New Data Show “Gender-Affirming” Surgery Doesn’t Really Improve Mental Health. So Why Are the Study’s Authors Saying It Does?


Where do those comments go?

Anyone else find they are engaged in debate in a comments section of a web page, and suddenly all comments vanish? Today this happened to me when commenting on a John Shore article. All half dozen or more comments disappeared –

I kept refreshing the page. Nup, still 0 comments. I checked again hours later. Still no comments.

The cynic in me suspects thus happens when the owner of the page doesn’t like being challenged. But the optimist in me suspects it’s a technical glitch. On WordPress sites such as Stasis Online, it is easy to delete comments, but it seems dishonest to do so.


Is it Biblical to be Separate? Yes!

So many times I’ve read liberal Christians protest that the idea of separating the godly from the ungodly, as being “unchristian”.

But I found the following 6 helpful scriptures posted on Facebook today, regarding this topic –

Acts 19:8-10
And he (The Apostle Paul) went into the synagogue and spoke boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading concerning the things of the kingdom of God. 9 But when some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitude, he DEPARTED FROM THEM and WITHDREW the disciples.

2 Corinthians 6:14-18
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM, and BE YE SEPARATE, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

2 Thessalonians 3:6
Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that YE WITHDRAW YOURSELVES from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

1 Timothy 6:3-6
If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,
Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such WITHDRAW THYSELF.

1 Corinthians 5:4-13
Concerning fornicators….
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
To DELIVER SUCH AN ONE UNTO SATAN for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
PURGE OUT therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:

Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

I wrote unto you in an epistle NOT TO KEEP COMPANY with fornicators:
Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.

But now I have written unto you NOT TO KEEP COMPANY, if any man/wpman THAT IS CALLED A BROTHER ( or calls him or her self “a christian”), be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; WITH SUCH AN ONE NO NOT TO EAT.

For what have I to do to judge them also that are without ?
do not ye judge them that are within (church fellowship) church?
But them that are without (outside church fellowship) God judgeth.

Therefore PUT AWAY FROM AMONG YOURSELVES that wicked person.

Ephesians 5:11
And HAVE NO FELLOWSHIP with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.


Website review: Bible + Faith + Sexuality by Joel Hollier

Joel Hollier is the author of A Place at His Table: A Biblical Exploration of Faith, Sexuality and the Kingdom of God. I’ve read snippets of the book available at the above link, and I have read half a dozen or so pages on his website, which suggest that the website is reflective of the content of the book. And I left comments on those approximately half dozen pages. But over a week later, my feedback remains unreleased by Joel. Well, if he’s going to keep my feedback unreleased, Ill release it here instead!

A curious trait of Joel, is that he calls for re-examination of assumptions, and for listening to others with whom you may disagree. EG he has called for this, in the second to last paragraph of this article of his, which he wrote after I left feedback on his site. Yet he is contradicting himself by not releasing my examination of his assumptions, as though he’s not listening to my comments disagreeing with him! I started leaving feedback on his site on October 7th, then 7 days later on the 14th, his local archbishop said something that offended Joel, then on the 17th, Joel’s response to the archbishops comments was published in a newspaper. And over that span of time, he has not released the feedback I posted on his website.

The following is my feedback about this webpage, which I posted as a comment to Joel’s page on October 7, 2019. Here is a copy and paste of what I posted –

Some of the logic in the claims on this page troubles me. Firstly the claim that “The Bible says absolutely zilch about the existence or experience of homosexual people on planet earth.” Zilch? What about Leviticus 18 where it refers to sex between men, by basically making an analogy to heterosexual sex? That’s not saying zilch. That’s saying there is a similarity between men having sex with each other, and heterosexual sex. That’s what analogies do. And analogies say more than zilch. And Romans 1 indicates that homosexuals existed. That chapter refers to men lusting after men. That’s homosexuality (or a variant such as bisexuality, but it still falls under the broader homosexual umbrella). I really don’t see how it’s possible to claim that the Bible says absolutely zilch about the existence or experience of homosexual people. It even mentions key homosexual experiences; lust and sex.

In case my point isnt clear, lll give you an analogy to explain the flaws in the above claim. What if I defined eating as putting food in your mouth and either chewing or directly swallowing it. A fair definition, right? But if I then search through the bible and find no reference to both putting something in someones mouth AND chewing or swallowing, can I then claim that the Bible says nothing about eating? No! If the Bible says that people ate, then they ate. And since it refers to lust between men, then it refers to homosexuality, even if it doesnt go into the depth of detail that you would prefer.

I also feel that some of the claims on this page go beyond the evidence. Sometimes quite obviously so. EG when you claim that in Romans 1, “the author is specifically addressing idolatrous, lust-driven, destructive sexual practices.” How do you know the author is addressing destructive practises? I don’t see it saying that. I see the author saying in verse 26 that “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.” IE not just any lust, but lust of a shameful type. And “the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.” IE relations with women was natural, but lust for one another was not. I don’t see it saying that the men chose a destructive type of relationship with men?

Another example of going beyond the evidence, is your claim that “If this is the case, then the Bible is here condemning prostitution and the use of young boys for sexual pleasure.” Yet only 2 sentences earlier, you cited the claim that “The Greek word translated as boy prostitutes (malokos) may refer to catamites, i.e., boys or young men …” One moment you’re talking of “boys or young men” and the next moment you prefer the reference to only be about “young boys”?

Another example of going beyond the evidence, is your claim that St Paul most likely didn’t know of romantic relationships between males. Sure I suppose it’s possible he didn’t know. But the evidence shows contemporary Jewish discussion about the idea of relationship between men. Josephus wrote about that in the context of marriage. And even the arts of the time made reference to romantic relationships between men (Symposium).

Good on you for allowing feedback on this page. It indicates a genuine desire to aim for truth, and I respect that.

The following is my feedback about this webpage, which I posted as a comment to Joel’s page on October 7, 2019. Here is a copy and paste of what I posted –

Not to imply that I have answers, but Im not sure that this page provides as many as it claims to. The asking of questions is good. Sometimes we think that the Bible says something, but on closer examination, we can find that it doesnt. But in this case, I feel that there are claims being made here that are not really substantiated.

The opening statement begins “Genesis 1 and 2 aren’t designed to give us a blueprint for human sexuality.” But how do we know that? Maybe it IS designed to do so, at least in terms of a blueprint for Christian marriage?

I agree that “It seems clear that these original humans act, in some way or another, as a prototype of all humanity. It is far from clear however exactly what aspects of their account this is in reference to.“

But I dont see substantiation for the claim that “Gender is not in the picture of the story …”. You wrote that “Here, it is obvious that what is being discussed is not the sex act or gender of the relationship, but rather the strength and permanence of the bond.” And I agree that the strength and permanence do seem to be central, but I don’t see evidence that gender is NOT in the picture? It is clearly stated in Genesis that Eve was a woman for Adam. If gender wasnt in view, surely the text could just say something ambiguous like ‘person’? And when Jesus cites it, the same gender mix is in view. I see no reason to think that the gender mix is superfluous to the intended point in Genesis. Okay there are other references in the Old Testament to flesh and blood, but (1) according to what you say here, the phrasing is different from “one flesh”, and (2) the flesh and blood references seem to be about what we today would refer to as genetic connection, so it’s obviously conveying a different meaning to 2 people coming together in marriage.

You wrote “Those who hold (from a Judeo-Christian viewpoint) that gay unions are wrong in every form and fashion … hold that … it was Adam and Eve’s difference that made them capable of God-honouring relationship.” Well that’s true in some ways, but I don’t know that such people make claims such as “the 2 spouses must be different”. Rather they just believe it should follow the gendered pattern of Adam & Eve.

The following is my feedback about this webpage, which I posted as a comment to Joel’s page on October 7, 2019. Here is a copy and paste of what I posted –

Not to imply that I have answers, but it seems to me that the central claim on this page goes beyond the evidence. It’s true that many Christians mistakenly perceive the story of Sodom & Gomorrah to be ALL about homosexuality. But I disagree with the claim that the story “is actually irrelevant to the topic” of the morality of homosexual behaviour. I think the story has ambiguities that leave us uncertain of whether it condemns homosexual behaviour or not.

Lets not forget Ezekiel 16:49-50 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” What were the “detestable things”? Was it specifically the attempted rape of visitors? Or was it specifically the attempted rape of males, by men? Or is this a condemnation of both? Or is it a reference to something else? I guess we can never know for sure.

I disagree that –

“The only possible Sodom and Gomorrah references to homosexual activity are found In two texts in the New Testament (2 Peter 2:6-10, Jude 6-7) which both speak of an unnatural interest in ‘other flesh’. But if you read both in context, you’ll see that both are referring to instances of people having sex with angels (trippy, I know), not other men- which is precisely what is seen in in the narrative of Genesis 19.”

Yes the visitors who were threatened with rape, were angels rather than men. But the would-be rapists seemed to regard them as men (see Genesis 19:5), and may have been unaware they were angels. They referred to them as men. Would angels even have flesh? Arnt they celestial beings? IF angels don’t have flesh, then are 2 Peter 2:6-10, Jude 6-7 condemning males for sexually chasing after male flesh rather than female flesh? I suppose we cant be sure. But as the NIV wording of Jude says “ … Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion.” Their sins were more than mere inhospitality.

The following is my feedback about this webpage, which I posted as a comment to Joel’s page on October 9, 2019. Here is a copy and paste of what I posted –

Im encouraged that you take a more nuanced approach to Leviticus than one of your sources, (Vines) does.

But still, lets not loose sight of the fact that Jesus said in Matthew 5:17 that he had not come to abolish the religious policies of the Old Testament but to fulfil them. And lets remember that although Jesus overturned some of those principles, he also affirmed principles such as espoused in Leviticus 19:18. Leviticus is not simply old discarded news, for Christians, but rather some of its principles remain in place.

Im troubled by the 4 sentences of your paragraph that state “Thanks to centuries of archaeology, we know about their sex laws and marriage customs; we understand their brothel practices and punishment systems; we know that war victors routinely raped the defeated, and sex slaves were fair game. From Egypt to Assyria, we have more data than any person could hope to sift through in one lifetime. Yet with all that is available to us, there is one thing conspicuously absent- there is not one mention of a monogamous, faithful, exclusive same sex partnership. It is abundantly clear that there were countless instances of ‘men lying with men as with a woman’, but in every single instance, the motivation for this was not self-giving, faithful intimacy but rather to assert domination, to shame the penetrated and rip them of honour.”

Im worried that this paragraph is misleading. This paragraph seems to imply that there is vast amounts of data from that period, about erotic practises and interactions between men, and that the data suggests that there was an absence of any same-sex monogamous, faithful, exclusive same sex partnerships. Im not entirely uneducated about perspectives from that era, on this topic. Of your 7 references at the bottom of the page, Ive read more than half of them, although unfortunately not Nissinen. And my understanding is that the societies of the time had mixed views on sexual relationships between men. Some, particularly some Jews, felt it was inherently sinful, as per Leviticus. Others felt that sex between men was acceptable, but only for the dominant partner. Given that context of societal controversy and condemnation, it would not be surprising if romantic relationships between men, were kept under the radar, to avoid condemnation, and thus records of these would be scarce. And it’s also my understanding that the references we have from the era, tend to be general in nature. EG someone remarking that men who like to sexually engage with other men, sometimes present themselves in feminine ways. Rather than the statements being specific about individuals and the quality of their relationships, eg saying that John and Tony were in a relationship for 5 years until John cheated on Tony. So, given the tendency for the references to be general in nature, it’s no surprise that we don’t find details of whether the relationships of that era were monogamous, faithful, exclusive or not. Basically it seems to me that to a large extent, your making an argument from silence – and I think that such arguments cant be expected to be reliable.

But I also think that your last sentence in the above paragraph makes a claim that goes beyond the evidence. Sure, often sex between men in that era, was not between equals, but rather between master and slave, or adult and teen. Often. But you claim in “every single instance”! Have you forgotten the topic of this page though? Leviticus, with the relevant bit in a nutshell, stating “Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman.” Where does it even indicate that the motivation for the sex between men was “to assert domination, to shame the penetrated and rip them of honour.” How can you claim that about this verse?? And have you reflected on Plato’s symposium, which although fictional, talks of tender loving relationships between men, and even expresses desire for lifelong romantic relationships between men? The evidence doesnt line up with your claim.

[Addendum: your book notes that even in pederastic relationships of the time, the 2 males tended to persue ongoing friendship. That doesnt seem to correlate with being “ripped of honour”]

The following is my feedback about this webpage, which I posted as a comment to Joel’s page on October 10, 2019. Here is a copy and paste of what I posted –

Im wondering what makes anyone confident that “almost every” “ancient philosopher” “didn’t have a concept of an enduring orientation that wasn’t heterosexual”? Plato seems to have had the concept. How do we know whether it was Plato who held the minority view, or whether it was Chrysostom who held the minority view? As far as I know Plato was more highly regarded than Chrysostom. Sure there might be people today who present themselves as experts, who claim this, but do they have substantiation to back it up?

And Im wondering why it would be “safe to say that para physin cannot be understood outside the context of self-serving, God-ignoring, passion-filled debased sexual activity.” You say that “Across the board in 1st Century Jewish, Roman and Greek literature, ‘physin’ referred to a cultural behaviour that was seen to be what was expected by convention or character.” And from what you wrote about Leviticus, Jewish culture expected people to abstain from same-sex relationships. So surely that means that same-sex relationships of all types were regarded as para physin?

And Im wondering whether you have pondered the wording, phrasing and sentence structure expressed in Romans 1:26-27. I mean; “Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.” To me, it seems to contrast natural with unnatural, and to correlate natural with heterosexuality and unnatural with homosexuality. IE it seems to say that while heterosexuality is natural and good, homosexuality is unnatural and not good. Yes, St Paul seems to me to be condemning all sexual expression of homosexuality. But not condemning all homosexual people of course – just homosexual expression.

The following is my feedback about this webpage, which I posted as a comment to Joel’s page on October 13, 2019. Here is a copy and paste of what I posted –

It’s sobering to reflect on how different Bible translations portray the 1 Timothy and 1 Corinthians 6 passages quite differently. When it comes to interpreting the 2 Greek words, it seems though that you are following in the footsteps of Dale Martin in placing most weight on To Autolychus by Theophilus of Antioch (1.2). But the weight of this point seems greatly undermined by the second reference (14) from the same piece. IE where the term arsenokoites occurs third, after adultery and porneia and before greed and adultery. It’s also notable that homilies attributed to Macarius of Egypt (ca. 425) claim that the men of Sodom were “wanting to commit arrenokoitai” with the angels. And that according to Gagnon, Barnabus 19:4, Didache. 2.:2, Clement of Alexandria, Origen and The Apostolic Constitutions all group arsenokoitia with other sexual sins.

I take issue with your 4 sentence claim that “We have truckloads of information about the city of Corinth, and it is an indisputable fact that in the city at the time of Paul’s writing there is no record of monogamous, faithful, same-sex unions. They simply didn’t exist. There were exploitative, adulterous homosexual relationships. There were male prostitutes, there were sex slaves and there were children being used for sexual pleasure, but there is no evidence of lifelong same sex relationships, let alone readily apparent, easily accessible ones!” Just because there is no record specifically of “monogamous, faithful, same-sex unions” doesnt mean that loving or supportive same-sex relationships didn’t exist. Contrary to what you wrote about what Paul would have thought possible, the fiction of Plato proves that the people of the time DID think that such relationships between men were possible. You seem to suggest that all same-sex relationships back then, were exploitative. But have you considered how Leviticus 18 condemned both men who engage sexually with each other? IE not just one exploiting the other. If both were condemned, this would suggest that the sin was not all about victim and predator, but rather something mutual. Something that’s presented as analogous to just sex between a man and woman.

Update: it’s now several months since I started leaving feedback at Joel’s site. Spot checks indicate he still hasn’t released it. The fact that his site still invites people to leave feedback, and on some pages where I submitted feedback it states 0 feedback received, now seems dishonest to me.

REVIEWS FROM OTHERS –


Is Homosexuality More Sexually Focused Than Heterosexuality?

Australia’s largest circulated LGBT publication, is/was a newspaper/magazine, depending on what timeframe you consider, named the Star Observer. An opinion piece in the July 2019 issue, by a former editor, stated –

SEX, religion and politics … have been stock-in-trade for the Star Observer from day one. Sex makes sense. Afer all, the newspaper was founded by a sex-mad leatherman, Michael Glynn, who wanted his Star Observer to celebrate our sexual identities at a time when mainstream media did the opposite. Sex also makes sense when you consider the Star Observer‘s business model. Advertising dollars from businesses that sold sex, and from community organisations that talked about safe sex, helped keep the paper afloat for almost 40 years.

Romans chapter 1 talks of men consumed with lust for other men. Plato referred to homosexual “slavery to pleasure” (Laws, 1.636c). Later in the 5th century there was talk of being “consumed” by the practise of same-sex sex (Justinian I, Novel 141).

And there are people today who still (ref. 2) believe homosexuals experience excessive lust, based on the sexual focus (ref. 2, ref. 3, ref 4.) and higher rates of sexual addiction (ref. 2) of many homosexuals. Gay people have noted this too. Gagnon has said the same (TBAHP chapter 2). Has there ever been a more sexualised drama on TV than Logo’s homocentric Hunting Season?

Also this –

https://highline.huffingtonpost.com/articles/en/gay-loneliness/?fbclid=IwAR3gvR7k51j7LYiuy6DSmaMtGqJMpnjFisSrVr6VVkraJirldwdZf3yp0mc


Review of The Bible Doesn’t Say That Homosexuality is a Sin, by Janet Edmonds

RMNetwork.org hosts a booklet named –

The Bible Doesn’t Say That Homosexuality is a Sin

An Analysis of the Seven Scriptures Sometimes Claimed to Refer to Homosexuality

It was written by Janet Edmonds (September 2016).

Here is an initial response to it.

Some of the claims in the booklet seem to be simply conjecture, misrepresented as being factual.

EG when evaluating the Leviticus 18:23 reference to sex between men, she claims “… it is evident that [the author/s of Leviticus] were not referring to a committed, consensual, homosexual relationship.” How is that evident? She can theorize, but she cannot know that to be factual. I doubt we can even be confident of her theory being probable. The verse gives basically no indication of whether it refers to a committed homosexual relationship. And the fact that the participants in the sex act are both threatened with punishment (Lev. 20:13), seems to suggest that it is referring to something consensual.

Later she cites Romans 1:27; “… the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another.” Yet the author suggests this is a reference to heterosexual men! That’s rediculous. Men who are consumed with sexual passion for one another, are by definition, not heterosexual.

And even later in the booklet it’s claimed that “The concept of homosexuality, in the sense of a sexual orientation or in the context of a caring relationship toward others of the same gender, was unknown in the ancient world.” Again this seems to be unlikely conjecture. Philo’s Symposium, for example, from that era, gives the opposite impression, as examined here.


Yes Some People Oppose Religious Freedom

The influential woman featured in the following article, feels that it’s not right that Christians believe that some people go to hell…

https://amp.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/it-almost-broke-me-inside-truth-on-marriage-equality-campaign-20190826-p52kwp.html?__twitter_impression=true