“Gay Man Files $70M Suit Against Bible Publishers Over ‘Homosexual’ Verses’” has been passed around the internet and Facebook seemingly as the result of the SCOTUS pro-homosexual marriage decision. The fact is, the hand-written suit was filed in 2008 “while President Bush was still in office and seven years before the gay marriage ruling” and “the courts quickly dismissed it as a ridiculous lawsuit.”
Since the SCOTUS ruling, however, we shouldn’t be surprised if pro-homosexual groups attack the Bible for its “hateful” statements regarding same-sex sexuality. In Canada and Great Britain there have been lawsuits filed over people quoting the Bible on the topic of same-sex sexuality. In reality, God is the one on trial. The accusations against the words of God are as old as creation itself: “Indeed, has God said?” (Gen. 3:1-4)
The legal systems of Great Britain, Canada, and the United States were founded on the operating premise that law is objective and rooted in the character of God. This means that Bible translations are not the problem . . . God is.
Publishers like Zondervan and Thomas Nelson are only putting into print what the Scriptures state . . . what God says on the subject since He designed us and established moral boundaries. Here’s what the apostle Paul says about the nature of Scripture and its use:
All Scripture is God breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
The content of “Scripture” would include what it says about same-sex sexuality, and if reproof and correction are needed, so be it, even if it includes same-sex sexuality.
Paul notes that in addition to “thieves” and people who covet, get drunk, revile, and swindle (1 Cor. 6:10), there were people who engaged in same-sex sexuality. Scripture reproves and corrects them in the same way that it reproved and corrected the man who had sex with his father’s wife (1 Cor. 5:1-2; see Lev. 18:8; Deut. 17:7; 22:30; 27:20), men who engage in sex with prostitutes: “do you not know that the one who joins himself to a prostitute is one body with her? For He says, ‘THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’” (1 Cor. 6:16; see Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:5; Mark 10:8; Eph. 5:31), the woman with “five husbands” (John 4:18), and the woman caught in the act of adultery (John 8:3-11). That’s why Paul could write, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11).
Bradley LaShawn Fowler, who filed the suit in 2008, doesn’t like this message. He does not believe that his engagement in same-sex sexuality should be judged as a sin.
“[Fowler] claims that Zondervan manipulated Scripture by using the term ‘homosexuals’ in 1 Corinthians 6:9 of their 1982 and 1987 revised edition Bibles. He also contends that the reference to homosexuality [was] deleted by the publisher in later versions without informing the public.
“He alleges that since the older Kings James Version containing the term ‘homosexuals’ is used by his family pastor, he has been outcast by his family.
“The 39-year-old is suing the Grand Rapids publisher for compensation of 20 years of “emotional duress and mental instability,’ he told WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids.”
Fowler’s beef seems to be with the translation of specific passages, especially his claims about 1 Corinthians 6:9 and the condemnatory use of the word “homosexuals.” He questions whether this is a proper translation? It is.
The Greek words μαλακοὶ (malakoi) and ἀρσενοκοῖται (arsenokoitai) are used in 1 Corinthians 6:9 (also see 1 Tim. 1:10). What do these words mean? Paul was referencing Leviticus 18:22 (“You shall not lie with a male as those who lie with a female; it is an abomination”) and 20:13 (“If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act. . .”)
A male who lies with another male is engaged in same-sex sexuality, thus, homo (Greek for “same”) + sexuality = homosexuality. There’s no getting around what the passages from Leviticus are describing.
The Greek translation of Leviticus 20:13 (ἄρσενος κοίτην/arsenos koitēn) lines up with the word Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 6:9 (ἀρσενοκοῖται/arsenokoitai). The same Greek words, combined by Paul into a new word, are used to describe same-sex behavior, thus, homosexuality.
Instead of grandstanding with a suit against Bible publishers, Fowler and other homosexuals should repent of their sins like those in Corinth did. He should pick up a copy of Rosaria Champagne Butterfield’s book The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. She was a committed lesbian radical who came to Jesus Christ:
“In 1999, Rosaria Champagne Butterfield was a tenured English professor at Syracuse University, a skeptic of all things Christianity, and in a committed lesbian relationship. Her academic specialty was Queer Theory, a postmodern form of gay and lesbian studies.
“Today Butterfield is a mother of four, a homemaker, and wife of a Presbyterian pastor named Kent. They live in Durham, North Carolina.”
Sinful desires are always with us. Acting on them is the issue. Although Rosaria is a married mother, she “says her former life ‘lurks in the edges of my heart, shiny and still like a knife.’” And so it is with all of us.