This is about 2 years old, but I forgot to work on it and publish it 2 years ago. I just found it in my draft folder. It is still useful for answers in evangelism with people, even though our culture and political liberals and the supreme court of the US have approved of homosexuality as ok and so called “gay marriage” as legal.
James White responded to Dan Savage’s tirade against the Bible. Whenever a Christian points out that homosexuality is a sin by nature and it was the sin of Genesis 19 in Sodom and Gomorrah, and that it is an abomination in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, many secular people, and in the media, respond by mentioning other laws. In the cultural debates over homosexuality, people like to stop the conversation by mentioning other laws that are abominations – food laws, cleanliness laws, mixing 2 kinds of fabric, etc. People attack the book of Leviticus and the cleanliness laws and laws against mixing 2 kinds of fabric, etc. Dr. White does an excellent job of pointing out other laws in Leviticus that are positive, such as honoring the elderly and building protections/fences on flat house tops, (Ancient OSHA – Occupational Safety and Health Administration type laws), etc. to protect people from falling and hurting themselves.
Over at Denny Burk’s blog, Suzanne McCarthy wrote a reply to my point to Nathan Cesal (earlier post, see here), who left out verse 50 when quoting Ezekiel 16:49, seemingly trying to say that the sin of Sodom and Gommorah was not homosexuality, but pride and inhospitality and selfishness. I wrote that To’evah – תועבה (abomination) is clear that homosexuality is sin, and she responded with:
Suzanne McCarthy wrote:
To’evah is also having sex with your wife when she is having her period. This is an abomination. I realize this is still observed by some Jews but I have never heard it mentioned in church. So we talk about one certain kind of sexuality as an abomination, but never mention another kind. Clearly there is an emphasis on certain biological elements that are to be kept separate. I am not entirely sure that this law is related to how women feel about it, but rather what kinds of bodily effluent is in contact.
What is lacking is any consideration of how cruel and dehumanizing heterosexual sex can be within or without marriage. In this case the law of loving the one who is next to you as yourself is more relevant. Don’t betray your daughters or abuse your wife. This is the law reinforced by Christ in the gospel.
“never heard it mentioned in church” – probably because it is not repeated in the NT, but homosexuality as sin is (Romans 1, 1 Cor. 6, 1 Tim. 1:8-11, Jude 7); and preaching on it would seem to force conversation to inappropriate details.
Bringing that up, in the context of the debate in our culture about homosexuality, along with other Levitical food laws, etc. always seems like a ploy to distract and stop the person from teaching on the clear things that are abominations. (like the famous West Wing episode in the early 2000s rant against a character that was obviously supposed to be Dr. Laura Schlesinger, etc.)
Actually, Leviticus 18:19 does not use the word To’evah specifically in that verse for having sex during the wife’s period. But it does seem to include it, by summarizing all the practices that are prohibited as To’evah in Leviticus 18:24-30. In other chapters in Leviticus it calls it “unclean”, but it doesn’t use the specific word, To’evah for it there. (Lev. 15:24ff; 20:18) That still does not negate all the clear verses that I mentioned above.
Cleanliness laws are not repeated in the NT as applicable, and food laws and Jewish feasts, circumcision, Sabbath Day laws, sacrifice laws – these are fulfilled in Christ in the new covenant. (Mark 7:19; Acts 10-11; Colossians 2:16-17; Galatians 4, Hebrews 7-10) There was an obvious change from the Old covenant to the New covenant in those areas. But homosexual sex is still sin. Marriage is still only between one man and one woman. Jesus said that also in Matthew 19 – “did not God create them male and female?” and “the two will become one flesh”. Jesus clearly spoke positively for marriage as grounded in creation and God as creator and one man (Adam) and one woman (Eve) as the ideal original plan.
Ancient desert culture needed rules for cleansing, sanitary cleanliness, right? We have whole modern systems of tampons, pads, etc. for helping women in that area – disposing of sanitary napkins, etc. – Is it ok to not dispose of that material and wash up? but mentioning that and violence and abuse to women still does not take away from the fact that the Bible is clear that homosexual sex is wrong by nature, ontologically. The word To’evah (abomination) is used for beastiality and adultery and other sins also.
“I am not entirely sure that this law is related to how women feel about it,”
– most women probably don’t want to have sex during their period, don’t you agree? God’s law seems to also be sensitive to the woman during that time.
Maybe the OT is kind to women after all . . .
“but rather what kinds of bodily effluent is in contact.” Sanitation and cleanliness laws.
“What is lacking is any consideration of how cruel and dehumanizing heterosexual sex can be within or without marriage. In this case the law of loving the one who is next to you as yourself is more relevant. Don’t betray your daughters or abuse your wife. This is the law reinforced by Christ in the gospel.”
“can be” – True. But heterosexual sex is not wrong by nature, or in itself. Homosexuality is always wrong by nature, within itself, by itself, ontologically.
You want abuse and cruelty to women in heterosexual relationships to also be mentioned in church and sermons; ok. Yes, those are wrong also, but the issue right now is that Matthew Vines and others are trying to overturn God’s creation intention (Genesis 1-2; and what Jesus said about marriage – Matthew 19:1-6) and overturn 10,000 years of history and all cultures and civilization by saying that one can be a Christian and be homosexual and have a loving, committed relationship – no, that is wrong. The NT repeats that homosexuality is sin in Romans 1:22-28; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 1 Tim. 1:8-11, Jude 7 (“they went after strange flesh” – obviously saying that homo sex is sin.)
But, the point was that Nathan Cesal (in the blog comment) left out a verse in Ezekiel, seemingly he was trying to imply that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was only pride and selfishness and not caring for the poor and lack of hospitality, when Genesis 19 is clear that the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was primarily homosexuality. Their pride and selfishness and stubborn rebellion was also deep within their hearts.