RE: Rom 1:26-27

On Wed, 28 Sep 1994, Kenneth Litwak wrote:

> Sorry for the cutoff message.  

      Oops.  I thought your comma was a typo for a period, so I thought you 
were through.

> Christians may not be living as sanctified as appropriate.  That does not mean
> that we should make them feel better by saying that Paul only meant 
> a certain kind of homosexual activity any more than we should say that
> Paul conceived of different categories of adulterers or murderers, and in fact
> there is better evidence that being a psychopathic murderer is an in-born trait
> than being a homosexual, but Paul didn't for that reason distingush between
> non-murderers who became murderers and ordinary murderers.  The issue
> is identical.  Unless we can be certain that Paul conceived of
> both "born" and "by choice" homosexuals, and unless we can be certain
> that Paul thought the difference was of consequence (those are two separate
> questions), there is no reason to distingush what he says about homosexuality
> from any other sin mentioned in Rom 1.  

     Well, I think one thing that works against your point is Paul's 
radical rereading of the Old Testament Law, which reaches its climax in 
Romans 13:8-10: 

"Let no debt remain outstanding except the continuing debt to love one 
another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law.  The 
commandments, 'Do not commit adultery,' 'Do not murder,' 'Do not steal,' 
'Do not covet,' and whatever other commandments there may be are summed up 
in this one rule: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'  Love does no harm to 
its neighbor.  Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." (NIV)

     Paul here dissolves even the binding authority of the Ten Commandments, 
the core of Mosaic ethics, into Jesus's "new" law, to love one another.  
That is one obvious reason why Paul might have distinguished between murder 
and homosexuality, since the former harms its neighbor, and the latter 

     But I was *not* proposing that Paul might have distinguished between 
heinousness of a sin based on whether it was an inborn predisposition or 
not.  What is at issue in Romans 1:26-27, in my reading, is prostitution 
serving males, whether by females or males.  As an economic corruption of 
the dignity of the people involved (their seduction into such activity 
being basically = _planE_), I think Paul would have had a problem with 
that, based not so much on the precedent of Deut. 23:18 LXX, which as 
we've seen might have counted little with Paul, but based more on his 
discussion of prostitution elsewhere, e.g. 1 Cor. 6:12-20.

Greg Jordan

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