Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Chapter 18: Romans



In this video, Brian Anthony Bowen reveals Scriptures the Church never talks about which prove that Jesus taught that LGBT people are born this way...and that prove the Apostle Paul ordained Gay Marriage...IN THE BIBLE!

This changes EVERYTHING!
More info:
http://BrianBowenMinistries.com

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Talk to most Christians about homosexuality and inevitably one of the passages they will quote you from Scripture is a hacked out section that wasn’t even addressing gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Most quote Romans 1:26-27 which reads:

26 For this reason God gave them over and abandoned them to vile affections and degrading passions.  For their women exchanged their natural function for an unnatural and abnormal one,

27 And the men also turned from natural relations with women and were set ablaze (burning out, consumed) with lust for one another--men committing shameful acts with men and suffering in their own bodies and personalities the inevitable consequences and penalty of their wrong-doing and going astray, which was [their] fitting retribution.

But just as we have seen with the other so-called “clobber passages” in Chapters 16 and 17 of The Bed Keeper, we will realize upon closer examination of Romans 1 that it is indeed not the blanket condemnation of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people so many Christians attempt to make it out to be as we examine the entire chapter of Romans 1:

1 From Paul, a bond servant of Jesus Christ (the Messiah) called to be an apostle, (a special messenger) set apart to [preach] the Gospel (good news) of and from God,

2 Which He promised in advance [long ago] through His prophets in the sacred Scriptures—

3 [The Gospel] regarding His Son, Who as to the flesh (His human nature) was descended from David,

4 And [as to His divine nature] according to the Spirit of holiness was openly designated the Son of God in power [in a striking, triumphant and miraculous manner] by His resurrection from the dead, even Jesus Christ our Lord (the Messiah, the Anointed one).

5 It is through Him that we have received grace (God's unmerited favor) and [our] apostleship to promote obedience to the faith and make disciples for His name's sake among all the nations,

6 And this includes you, called of Jesus Christ and invited [as you are] to belong to Him.

7 To [you then] all God's beloved ones in Rome, called to be saints and designated for a consecrated life: Grace and spiritual blessing and peace be yours from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because [the report of] your faith is made known to all the world and is commended everywhere.

9 For God is my witness, Whom I serve with my [whole] spirit [rendering priestly and spiritual service] in [preaching] the Gospel and [telling] the good news of His Son, how incessantly I always mention you when at my prayers.

10 I keep pleading that somehow by God's will I may now at last prosper and come to you.

11 For I am yearning to see you, that I may impart and share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen and establish you;

12 That is, that we may be mutually strengthened and encouraged and comforted by each other's faith, both yours and mine.

13 I want you to know, brethren, that many times I have planned and intended to come to you, though thus far I have been hindered and prevented, in order that I might have some fruit (some result of my labors) among you, as I have among the rest of the Gentiles.

14 Both to Greeks and to barbarians (to the cultured and to the uncultured), both to the wise and the foolish, I have an obligation to discharge and a duty to perform and a debt to pay.

15 So, for my part, I am willing and eagerly ready to preach the Gospel to you also who are in Rome.

16 For I am not ashamed of the Gospel (good news) of Christ, for it is God's power working unto salvation [for deliverance from eternal death] to everyone who believes with a personal trust and a confident surrender and firm reliance, to the Jew first and also to the Greek,

17 For in the Gospel a righteousness which God ascribes is revealed, both springing from faith and leading to faith [disclosed through the way of faith that arouses to more faith].  As it is written, The man who through faith is just and upright shall live and shall live by faith.

18 For God's [holy] wrath and indignation are revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who in their wickedness repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperative.  Romans 1:1-18

NOTE: It’s important to notice here that Paul does not say that the ungodliness and unrighteousness of men actually repress and hinder the truth and make it inoperable, but it is their wickedness.  Wickedness quite literally means “twisting Scriptures.”  It does not necessarily mean that a person is demented or evil, but that they attempt to use Scriptures to thwart the truth of God’s Word and make it inoperable.  Many Christians do this very thing by snatching a couple of verses out of context and attempt to apply them to people they aren’t even written about, nor addressed to (in this case, to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people).  This is nothing new. 

It has been done by people in the past to justify slavery, prevent women’s equality, and conduct witch hunts, and declare the Baptism of the Holy Spirit to be “of the devil.”  They are the same kind of people we learned about in Chapter 2 of The Bed Keeper who (like the preacher being rebuked) prostitute God’s Church, and use Scripture to justify their bigotry for the sake of financial gain, political influence, or more commonly, to hide the fact they engage in same gender relations with boys on the side themselves; boys who were most often part of their very own congregations.

19 For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God [Himself] has shown it to them.

20 For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification]  Romans 1:19-20

NOTE:  This is the passage that many who promote the so called, “Natural Law” theology draw from to say that God created man and woman and all people must therefore be heterosexual, get married, and have children.  As we examined Isaiah 54 and Isaiah 56 in various chapters throughout The Bed Keeper, we learned that God is fully aware not all people will have children, and even admonishes us to not complain while promising that we too will bear fruit for Him and His glory nonetheless.  This is a prime example of what Paul was referring to in Romans 1:18 wherein Church Shepherds (knowing full well what Jesus taught regarding born eunuchs in Matthew 19:12), omit any mention of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people as part of God’s Divinely Created Order, and that we are confirmed as being in full compliance with the “Natural Law” simply by virtue of our births alone.  Jesus Himself confirms this is so when He teaches that we are “born so from our mother’s wombs.”

The fact The Bed Keeper is even being written is proof positive that by excluding gay people from their definition of “Natural Law” and “God’s Divinely Created Order,” Church Shepherds have indeed proven themselves blind, just as God said they are in Isaiah 56:10-12, and that indeed because of traditions, the Truth of God’s Word is made inoperable.  (Matthew 15:6)

We have seen countless examples throughout The Bed Keeper where Scripture clearly testifies that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people play an important prophetic role in the return of Jesus Christ, the fulfillment of Scripture, the identification and correction of the Apostate Church, and many, many other aspects important to the Christian faith….all for naught when left up to an apathetic Church Shepherd hell bent on growing a religion through procreation, rather than revealing truth as shown in God’s Word.  

In doing so, they prevent not only the fulfillment of prophecy from God Himself (Isaiah 55:11-56:12), but also prevent the Glory of the Lord from manifesting itself in Church to the extent testified to in 2 Chronicles 7, all the while robbing God of tithes by preventing those of LGBT believers from ever reaching God’s altar, as rebuked by God through His prophet, Malachi.  See Chapter 20 of The Bed Keeper for a more detailed examination of these detrimental side effects of preaching against LGBT people and preventing our inclusion in Church…for the sake of traditions.

21 Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks.  But instead they became futile and godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened.

22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves].  Romans 1:21-22

NOTE:  While it is tempting to say these Scriptures point to the blind Church Shepherds based on the familiar sounding description of what so many in the modern Church do and say, it is indeed not speaking about them as we’ll see in a moment.

23 And by them the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God were exchanged for and represented by images, resembling mortal man and birds and beasts and reptiles.  Romans 1:23

NOTE:  Here is proof positive that the people Paul discusses in Romans 1 are *not* gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, and believe it or not, he is not even speaking about Christians (not even the Westboro Baptist Church kind of Christians!)  Indeed, we’ll see that Paul is discussing those who engaged in worship of ancient Roman gods, which as this verse clearly states, were represented by images resembling mortal men, and birds, beasts and reptiles.

Following are just some of the major Greek and Roman Gods and their symbols.  I include the words (bird, beast or reptile) that Paul used to describe them in parentheses after each:

Jupiter Roman/Zeus Greek:
His attribute is the lightning bolt and his symbol the eagle, who is also his messenger.  (BIRD)

Mercury Roman/Hermes Greek:
The symbols of Mercury are the caduceus (a staff with two intertwined snakes).  (REPTILE)

Vesta Roman/Hestia Greek:
goddess of the Fire (both sacred and domestic) and the Hearth. Daughter of Saturn and Ops.  Her sacred animal was the ass.  Patroness of bakers.  Her chief festival was the Vestalia on June 7.  One of the most worshipped of the Roman deities.  (FOUR FOOTED BEAST)

Neptune (Roman)/Poseidon (Greek):
Horse and Bull  (FOUR FOOTED BEAST)

Aprhodite:
Dove  (BIRD) 

Hera:
goddess of marriage and the queen of Olympus. She was Zeus's wife and sister; many myths tell of how she sought revenge when Zeus betrayed her with his lovers.  Her symbols include the peacock and the cow. (BIRD) and (FOUR FOOTED BEAST)

Ares:
god of war. He was both cruel and a coward. Ares was the son of Zeus and Hera, but neither of his parents liked him.  His symbols include the vulture and the dog, and he often carried a bloody spear.  (BIRD) (FOUR FOOTED BEAST)

Athena
goddess of wisdom. She was also skilled in the art of war, and helped heroes such as Odysseus and Hercules.  Athena sprang full-grown from the forehead of Zeus, and became his favorite child.  Her symbols include the owl and the olive tree.  (BIRD)

Dionysus was the god of wine, which he invented.  In ancient Greece Dionysus was honored with springtime festivals that centered on theater.  Dionysus was the son of Zeus and Semele, a mortal.  His symbols include ivy, the snake, and grapes.  (REPTILE)

These are just some of the gods to whom Paul refers that the Romans were worshiping and returned to worshiping even after hearing the Word of God, and again, as Paul said, these gods were represented by images of mortal men, birds, beasts and reptiles. 

24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their [own] hearts to sexual impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin],

25 Because they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, Who is blessed forever!  Amen (so be it).  Romans 1:24-25

NOTE:  So many Christians will attempt to condemn gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people with this passage (along with the next two verse) to really drive the point home and portray us as godless, sex crazed maniacs who do nothing but worship each other’s bodies.  It’s just as tempting from what we’ve read at the beginning of this chapter to slam the blind Church Shepherds who have exchanged the truth of God for a lie (and lots of money, and political power), but that would be an equally erroneous application of Scripture.  We’ll see that Romans 1:25 applies to neither gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, nor to money fixated, power hungry lying pastors who’ll tell the flock anything if it keeps the collection plates full every week.

26 For this reason God gave them over and abandoned them to vile affections and degrading passions.  For their women exchanged their natural function for an unnatural and abnormal one,

27 And the men also turned from natural relations with women and were set ablaze (burning out, consumed) with lust for one another--men committing shameful acts with men and suffering in their own bodies and personalities the inevitable consequences and penalty of their wrong-doing and going astray, which was [their] fitting retribution.  Romans 1:26-27

NOTE:  Many Christians believe that Romans 1:26 is a condemnation of lesbians and Romans 1:27 is a condemnation of gay men.  But let’s look at a couple of things.  In verse 26, Paul says 

“the women exchanged their natural function for an unnatural and abnormal one” 

But let’s compare that to how he describes the men who

“turned from natural relations with women and were set ablaze (burning out, consumed) with lust for one another--men committing shameful acts with men”

If Paul was describing lesbian women in verse 26, why wouldn’t he have been just as specific as he was with his description of the men?  Why didn’t Paul say the women “turned from natural relations with men and were set ablaze with lust for one another, women committing shameful acts with women?” Why the difference in his phraseology if he is talking about lesbian women and gay men?

The answer is: Paul is *not* referencing lesbian women, but rather women who were engaged in worship to Roman gods through sexual intercourse with the very birds, beasts and reptiles, as already mentioned.  We’ll also recall our examination of Leviticus 18:21 from Chapter 16 of The Bed Keeper which said, 

Neither shall you lie with any beast and defile yourself with it; neither shall any woman yield herself to a beast to lie with it; it is confusion, perversion, and degradedly carnal.

So many Christians blend their recollection of Romans 1 to accuse gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people of being confused, but in actuality, we see verified by Leviticus that “confusion” applied to people worshiping idols through sexual relations with animals, not other people.  We were able to discern the context of idolatry with Moses’ statement just two verses prior to that in Leviticus 18:23 which read, 

You shall not give any of your children to pass through the fire and sacrifice them to Molech [the fire god], nor shall you profane the name of your God [by giving it to false gods]. I am the Lord.

Considering that Leviticus 18:22 falls exactly in between these two verses show us once again that the condemned acts were not only adultery by heterosexual married men, but also acts of idolatry, as  we see Leviticus 18:21 and 18:23 actually straddle Leviticus 18:22.  It makes our understanding of all that was being condemned in Leviticus 18 inclusive of idolatry and adultery, both of which are violations of The Ten Commandments which state, “Thou shall have no other gods before Me” and “Thou shall not commit adultery.”  Yet same gender relations themselves do not appear in The Ten Commandments.  What this means is that traditions of men have elevated same gender relations to an “11th Commandment” status, while ignoring the context of idolatry and adultery, which are valid prohibitions of the Ten Commandments.  Doing so is to judge God’s Own Law.

So when examining Romans 1:26-27, not only do we see a glaring difference in Paul’s phraseology between discussing the men and the women described, but we also see something even more specific when it comes to the men, namely the phrase “the men also turned from natural relations with women.” 

There can be no mistake then that just as we learned in our examination of Leviticus, the people being spoken of here were heterosexual men, because gay men cannot “turn from natural relations with women.”  For a gay man, there is no such thing as “natural relations with women.”  Only heterosexual men can “turn from natural relations with women.”  This indicates not only that they were heterosexual, but also married.  To be truly honest, not even a heterosexual man could “turn from natural relations with women” until he had actually engaged in them.

This shows us once again that this passage was addressing heterosexual married men, not gay men, and clearly not lesbian women.  Gay men don’t have relations with women, and lesbian women do not have sex with animals.  To say otherwise is to abandon all logic and employ a disingenuous attempt at saving face to win an argument, or to avoid facing accountability to God for mistakenly applying this passage of Scripture to gay men or lesbians in the past.  

Through thousands of discussions with Christians who buy into the “God turned them gay” theology I have learned one important lessaon, and that is that they don’t really want to know the truth…they simply want their prejudices confirmed to avoid the guilt associated with realizing they have been wrong…and have judged others, and thereby have condemned themselves, as Paul makes so clear just a few verses later in Romans 2:1-3 saying,

1 Therefore you have no excuse or defense or justification, O man, whoever you are who judges and condemns another.  For in posing as judge and passing sentence on another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge are habitually practicing the very same things [that you censure and denounce].

2 [But] we know that the judgment (adverse verdict, sentence) of God falls justly and in accordance with truth upon those who practice such things.

3 And do you think or imagine, O man, when you judge and condemn those who practice such things and yet do them yourself, that you will escape God's judgment and elude His sentence and adverse verdict?

4 Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience?  Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repent (to change your mind and inner man to accept God's will)?

5 But by your callous stubbornness and impenitence of heart you are storing up wrath and indignation for yourself on the day of wrath and indignation, when God's righteous judgment (just doom) will be revealed.  Romans 2:1-5

The hardest thing for any Christian who has bullied, injured, besmirched, taunted, beaten or killed a gay person in the past based on a gross misunderstanding or misapplication of Romans 1 is to admit to themselves and to God that they were wrong.  But it’s not as if God doesn’t already know the real deal.  I would not want to be in their shoes.  Once learning this, any ought they have committed against gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender people in the past will continue to haunt them for the rest of their lives.  As God said, “all who rise against you in judgment, you shall prove to be in the wrong,” and to “bless your enemies, for in doing so, you heap hot coals upon their head.” Amen?

And for those most stubbornly callous toward this examination of Romans 1, let’s provide some proof from Romans 2 where Paul says:

1 Therefore you have no excuse or defense or justification, O man, whoever you are who judges and condemns another.  For in posing as judge and passing sentence on another, you condemn yourself, because you who judge are habitually practicing the very same things [that you censure and denounce].

Are the people who censure and denounce same gender expressions habitually practicing the very same things?  It’s quite possible.  But more likely is that they are not.  So what is Paul saying by writing that they were?  One thing is for certain, he’s not talking about loving and consensual sexual expressions between two people of the same gender in a covenant marriage relationship.  Right?  So what is Paul referring to when he says, “you are doing the very same things?”  He’s referring to all the other sins listed after conveying all the details of how these heterosexual people would commit adultery against their spouse in order to engage in idol worship through same gender expressions.  What were those?  Paul tells us in Romans 1:29-32:

Unrighteousness
Iniquity
Grasping
Covetous Greed
Malice
Envy
Jealousy
Murder
Strife
Deceit
Treachery
Ill Will
Cruel Ways
Secret Backbiters
Gossipers
Slanderers
Hateful to and hating God
Full of insolence, arrogance, and boasting
Inventors of new forms of evil (like water boarding, perhaps)
Disobedient and undutiful to parents
Without understanding
Conscienceless
Faithless
Heartless
Loveless
Merciless

And have you ever wondered how Paul knew what was going on in Rome?  Well, even before Paul got to Rome, he would encounter people who worshiped Greek gods, and even was thought to be one himself, as we continue to find references to gods and goddesses of ancient mythology from this account in Acts 14:

8 Now at Lystra a man sat who found it impossible to use his feet, for he was a cripple from birth and had never walked.

9 He was listening to Paul as he talked, and [Paul] gazing intently at him and observing that he had faith to be healed,

10 Shouted at him, saying, Stand erect on your feet!  And he leaped up and walked.

11 And the crowds, when they saw what Paul had done, lifted up their voices, shouting in the Lycaonian language, The gods have come down to us in human form!

12 They called Barnabas Zeus, and they called Paul, because he led in the discourse, Hermes [god of speech].

13 And the priest of Zeus, whose [temple] was at the entrance of the town, brought bulls and garlands to the [city's] gates and wanted to join the people in offering sacrifice.

14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their clothing and dashed out among the crowd, shouting,

15 Men, why are you doing this?  We also are [only] human beings, of nature like your own, and we bring you the good news (Gospel) that you should turn away from these foolish and vain things to the living God, Who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything that they contain.

16 In generations past He permitted all the nations to walk in their own ways;

17 Yet He did not neglect to leave some witness of Himself, for He did you good and [showed you] kindness and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with nourishment and happiness.

18 Even in [the light of] these words they with difficulty prevented the people from offering sacrifice to them.  Acts 14:8-18

NOTE:  This would explain HOW Paul knew of the goings on when it came to idol worship, because he saw it first hand as folks tried to "offer sacrifices" to Paul and Barnabas.  Also, note in Acts 14:15, again Paul calls the sacrifices "vain and foolish,” just as he did in Romans 1:21-22.

And finally, we see once again Paul encountering more idolaters in Acts 19, and again, all before even setting foot in Rome:

21 Now after these events Paul determined in the [Holy] Spirit that he would travel through Macedonia and Achaia (most of Greece) and go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must visit Rome also.

22 And having sent two of his assistants, Timothy and Erastus, into Macedonia, he himself stayed on in [the province of] Asia for a while.

23 But as time went on, there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way [of the Lord].

24 For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of [the goddess] Artemis [Diana], brought no small income to his craftsmen.  Acts 19:21-24

NOTE:  Artemis (Greek)/Diana (Roman) was the Fertility Goddess. Moon Goddess. Huntress Goddess. Triple Goddess- Lunar Virgin, Mother of Creatures, the Huntress or Destroyer. Goddess of nature, fertility, childbirth, wildwood, moon, forests, animals, mountains, woods, and women. Goddess of the hunt. In Roman art Diana usually appears as a huntress with bow and arrow, along with a hunting dog or a stag. (FOUR FOOTED BEAST)

Both a virgin goddess and an earth goddess, she was identified with the Greek ArtemisShe is praised for her strength, athletic grace, beauty and her hunting skills.  With two other deities she made up a trinity:  Egeria the water nymph (her servant and assistant midwife), and Virbius (the woodland god).

25 These he called together, along with the workmen of similar trades, and said, Men, you are acquainted with the facts and understand that from this business we derive our wealth and livelihood.

26 Now you notice and hear that not only at Ephesus but almost all over [the province of] Asia this Paul has persuaded and induced people to believe his teaching and has alienated a considerable company of them, saying that gods that are made with human hands are not really gods at all.

27 Now there is danger not merely that this trade of ours may be discredited, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may come into disrepute and count for nothing, and that her glorious magnificence may be degraded and fall into contempt--she whom all [the province of Asia] and the wide world worship.

28 As they listened to this, they were filled with rage and they continued to shout, Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!

29 Then the city was filled with confusion; and they rushed together into the amphitheater, dragging along with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were fellow travelers with Paul.

30 Paul wished to go in among the crowd, but the disciples would not permit him to do it.

31 Even some of the Asiarchs (political or religious officials in Asia) who were his friends also sent to him and warned him not to risk venturing into the theater.

32 Now some shouted one thing and some another, for the gathering was in a tumult and most of them did not know why they had come together.

33 Some of the crowd called upon Alexander [to speak], since the Jews had pushed and urged him forward. And Alexander motioned with his hand, wishing to make a defense and [planning] to apologize to the people.

34 But as soon as they saw him and recognized that he was a Jew, a shout went up from them as the voice of one man, as for about two hours they cried, Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!

35 And when the town clerk had calmed the crowd down, he said, Men of Ephesus, what man is there who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of the sacred stone [image of her] that fell from the sky?

36 Seeing then that these things cannot be denied, you ought to be quiet (keep yourselves in check) and do nothing rashly.

37 For you have brought these men here, who are [guilty of] neither temple robberies nor blasphemous speech about our goddess.

38 Now then, if Demetrius and his fellow tradesmen who are with him have a grievance against anyone, the courts are open and proconsuls are [available]; let them bring charges against one another [legally].

39 But if you require anything further about this or about other matters, it must be decided and cleared up in the regular assembly.

40 For we are in danger of being called to render an account and of being accused of rioting because of [this commotion] today, there being no reason that we can offer to justify this disorder.

41 And when he had said these things, he dismissed the assembly.  Acts 19:21-41

So we see there was indeed a struggle on in order for Paul to change the pagans into Christians by first addressing the issue of the gods they already worshiped.  In this case, we see the goddess involved was Artemis (Greek), also known as Diana (Roman) in Acts 19:24, and how Paul was beginning to encroach upon people's livelihoods.  As he did, the silversmith, named Demetrius held a "business meeting" with other temple smith workers and expressed his concern of the new Christian religion's message and impact on not only business, but the "sanctity" of the temple that had been built to Artemis, located in the city of Ephesus. 

Picking back up now from where we left off in Romans 1, let’s continue examining some of the traditional Christian teachings on the remainder of these passages resuming from verse 28:

28 And so, since they did not see fit to acknowledge God or approve of Him or consider Him worth the knowing, God gave them over to a base and condemned mind to do things not proper or decent but loathsome,

NOTE:  Many Christians actually believe this passage is saying that because these (heterosexual, married) people in Romans 1 were engaged in homosexual conduct that “POOF!” God “turned” them gay.  But that’s not at all what we see.  We see that first they rejected God (Romans 1:21-22).  Romans 1:23 then shows us they went back to worshiping Roman gods represented by birds, beasts and reptiles.  (It’s important to realize they went back to worshiping these idols, because it proves they had been engaged in these sexual expressions of idol worship PRIOR to learning of God.  This proves God did not “turn them gay.”  They never were gay in the first place, and were engaged in these sexual practices of idol worship BEFORE learning of Who God is.

In Romans 1:24 we see then that God ”gave them up to their lusts.”  But that happened AFTER verse 23 when they had already gone back to worshiping Roman gods through acts of idolatry which included same gender relations by married heterosexual men, and bestiality by women.

In Romans 1:25 we see they then exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and in verses 26 and 27 we finally get to the point where Scripture actually describes their specific worship practices, but again, not until after a series of events had taken place.  And not until verse 28 do see that they “did not see fit to acknowledge God or approve of Him or consider Him worth the knowing” 

It isn’t until all these events and actions had already taken place before we see God finally “gave them over to a base and condemned mind to do things not proper or decent but loathsome”

While it may appear on its surface to read “POOF” God turned them gay, in fact they were already engaged in acts of idol worship and adultery long before this point.  A more accurate understanding of the phrase “God gave them over” then is the phrase “God finally gave up on them.”  He didn’t “POOF!” “turn them gay.”  They were heterosexual and remained so.  The women returned to worshiping gods through bestiality, and the men returned to worship the fertility goddess through same gender relations with other men.  But as we progress, we’ll see that’s not all the issues they experienced:

29 Until they were filled (permeated and saturated) with every kind of unrighteousness, iniquity, grasping and covetous greed, and malice. [They were] full of envy and jealousy, murder, strife, deceit and treachery, ill will and cruel ways. [They were] secret backbiters and gossipers,

30 Slanderers, hateful to and hating God, full of insolence, arrogance, [and] boasting; inventors of new forms of evil, disobedient and undutiful to parents.

31 [They were] without understanding, conscienceless and faithless, heartless and loveless [and] merciless.

NOTE:  Again, it is tempting to illustrate how this doesn’t apply to the vast majority of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, but rather to blind Shepherds who misapply Romans 1 to condemn us.  After all, we have enough issues dealing with society than to become all that is described in verses 29-30.  Many of us commit suicide rather than endure the hateful rhetoric, misapplied Scripture and threats of bullying, injury and death than to call down even more of God’s wrath upon ourselves by also becoming “full of envy, jealous, murderous, deceitful, and secret backbiters and gossipers.”

The point is that this passage, (just as many other passages in Romans 1 can seem to apply to either LGBT people or blind Church Shepherds), but they actually don’t apply to either.  While Paul is definitely addressing this letter to Christians, he is not talking about Christians….yet.

32 Though they are fully aware of God's righteous decree that those who do such things deserve to die, they not only do them themselves but approve and applaud others who practice them.

NOTE:  Many Christians point to this verse to say gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are “deserving of death.”  In actuality there is much more going on than just gay sex in Romans 1.  Verses 29-31 list a plethora of sins that were also “deserving of death” under the Law of Moses (which Jesus redeemed us from as Christians).  If we look closely we’ll see that just as in Leviticus, they are all violations of the Ten Commandments.  Again, as we list all of them out, I truly wonder just who would be “he who is without sin casting the first stone:”

Unrighteousness
Iniquity
Grasping
Covetous Greed
Malice
Envy
Jealousy
Murder
Strife
Deceit
Treachery
Ill Will
Cruel Ways
Secret Backbiters
Gossipers
Slanderers
Hateful to and hating God
Full of insolence, arrogance, and boasting
Inventors of new forms of evil (like water boarding, perhaps)
Disobedient and undutiful to parents
Without understanding
Conscienceless
Faithless
Heartless
Loveless
Merciless

But NOW Paul is speaking to Christians beginning in Romans 2:

Therefore you have no excuse or defense or justification, O man, whoever you are who judges and condemns another. 

For in posing as judge and passing sentence on another, you condemn yourself, 

because you who judge are habitually practicing the very same things [that you censure and denounce].

[But] we know that the judgment (adverse verdict, sentence) of God falls justly and in accordance with truth upon those who practice such things.

And do you think or imagine, O man,

when you judge and condemn those who practice such things 

and yet do them yourself

that you will escape God's judgment 

and elude His sentence

and His adverse verdict?  Romans 2:1-3


And as God as my witness, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I rest my case!

***************************************************************

Dear Valued Readers,
This blog continues to be a work in progress. As recent revelations and events throughout Christendom have created an increasingly fluid situation, updates will no longer be published at the end of each post, but rather only at the beginning of the corresponding posts so impacted.  As of August 1, 2013, the only updates to appear at the end of each post will be churches that are personally endorsed by The Bed Keeper as a "SAFE SPACE."

Readers may email thebedkeeper@gmail.com to discuss or comment on any posting.  Please note that while all feedback is highly valued and appreciated, it may not be possible to reply to each email.
 
UPDATE 01.15.12:
Lakewood Church officially endorsed as a SAFE SPACE for LGBT people to worship! Details here.

UPDATE 11.22.11:

Eagle Mountain International Church officially endorsed as a SAFE SPACE for LGBT people to worship! Details here.

THANK YOU for your generous support of this work!
 
Let him who receives instruction in the Word of God share all good things with his teacher, contributing to his support.
Galatians 6:6