Local Church Sports Ministry and Gender Issues
The blogs in this series are excerpts from Dr. Linville’s yet to be released book. They explore the realities occurring in local church Sports Outreach Ministries in relationship to an evolving culture and shifting trends within sport, The Church and society in general. This blog examines Genesis chapter 19 as it specifically relates to homosexual activity and same gender marriage. The end goal of this Biblical exegesis is to aide local church Sports & Recreation Ministers comprehend, and proactively structure, their outreaches with theological clarity, relational love and sensitivity to all involved.
The process for this series of blogs consists primarily of referencing the work of others (scholars, apologists, preachers, thinkers) in reference to the selected passages, articulating the relevant issues, and drawing a few conclusions. Readers are highly recommended to read the resources listed below for a far more in depth look at these passages.
Creation Narrative Accounts –Genesis 19
Once again, there are two diametrically opposed views about the narrative of Genesis 19. Mel White and others argue for what might be considered a revisionist view, whereas DeYoung, Stanton, Stott and others hold to the historical traditional view. These are both neutral terms to differentiate between the two different communities and are not meant to elevate or denigrate either group.
The revisionist view claims the main issue for God’s condemnation of the city of Sodom has to do with the arrogance exhibited by its inhabitants…an arrogance that led to deep ungodliness on many fronts beyond human sexuality. This viewpoint also believes that the sin of the people of Sodom being referred to as abomination in Ezekiel was the sin of arrogance, not homosexual activity per se. However, White and others do acknowledge there was a specific homosexual activity condemned in Genesis 19. This specific type of homosexual activity is akin to rape and other abusive actions towards victims. Thus, White and others emphasize this passage does not condemn all homosexual activity, but rather only the victimization of another, be it homosexual or heterosexual rape and other forms of evil mistreatment and abuse.
The traditional view offers a decidedly different point-of-view. Traditionalists appeal to one main opposing argument: a Biblical a priori argument. They maintain the rest of the Bible consistently condemns all homosexual activity (rape or otherwise), and this passage does nothing to counter that a priori. They do find common ground with White’s assessment that the sin of Sodom encompassed much more than homosexual evil, and God’s condemnation was levied for more than homosexual sin. They would further agree with White that any kind of rape or abuse is thoroughly condemned throughout the Bible be it hetero or homosexual. However, they very much counter White’s belief about what the word abomination refers to. They believe White uses a very faulty translation of Ezekiel 16.44-50 to substantiate his view that abomination refers to the arrogance of the men of Sodom. They claim the word abomination referred to by Ezekiel in verse 50 is clearly referencing any/all homosexual activity as an abomination – not arrogance.
The main point of the traditional argument is again based on the totality of what the Bible teaches in reference to God’s condemnation and destruction of Sodom. The consensus of a traditionalist view is that the overarching teaching of the Bible, as found in many specific passages, states clearly that homosexual activity is a sin, and in yet additional passages, the Bible assumes (does nothing to counter the teaching) the sin of Sodom included the sin of homosexual activity, not just homosexual rape. The traditionalist community also maintains that all extra-Biblical references support the belief that the sin of Sodom was homosexual activity. I believe those holding this view would agree this passage cannot be used to defend homosexual activity as being Biblically defensible, and that while not clearly condemning homosexual activity in and of itself, it does not in any way support a revisionist view.
Identifying the Issues
When this passage is added to the previous passage (The Creation Narratives) the result is not much ground is gained by either side of the debate. Revisionist’s arguments still face an arduous uphill battle and traditionalist’s arguments remain inconclusive, although Genesis 19 would certainly fall in line with many other of the traditionalist views.
As will become apparent over the next blogs in this series, what a local church determines to be biblical (Level #1 Theological Truth) will greatly inform how they organize (Level #2 Philosophical Principles) and eventually expedite their Sports Outreach Ministry (Level #3 Methodological Models). This organization will be guided by what a church believes about homosexual activity and those who claim to be homosexuals.
Next week’s blog will begin to explore Leviticus 18 & 20.
This blog is an excerpt from Dr. Linville's yet to be released book. All rights reserved. For any reproduction right, including copying, computer reproduction, etc. contact:
Dr. Greg Linville at CSRM International C/O The World Outreach Center 5350 Broadmoor Circle N. W. Canton, Ohio – USA 44709 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Other blogs and articles on Local Church Sports, sports theology and ethics written by Dr. Greg Linville are archived at: www.csrm.org
A Plea For Grace
This set of blogs discusses the most socially charged issue of the current day. The author is seeks truth; desires to provide both questions and answers to further the discussion; engage in civil discourse; and most importantly provide a haven for love and grace. I encourage all readers to: “know your mind, but not have your mind made up.” As Martin Luther stated, I believe we should be open to being persuaded by Holy Scripture and evident reason (logic). I start by asking for grace when I don’t use the right term to describe something or someone, and I plead for forgiveness when I offend someone due to my own fallen nature which may lead to unintentional insensitivity, ignorance or hurtful language. My intent is not to hurt or injure anyone, but rather, it is to seek Christ’s will for all of us who are attempting to follow Jesus as we travel this path together.
Recommended Books & References consulted for this series of Blogs – A select list…
Dr. Greg Linville was one of the founding members of CSRM and has served as the Executive Director since 2000. He served for 15 years as a local church sports and recreation minister and coached over 30 years at the junior high, high school and collegiate levels as well as 30 years in rec. leagues. Dr. Linville has consulted with churches from Australia, Africa, Asia, Australia, Caribbean, Europe, New Zealand and North America. He was awarded the world's first honorary Doctorate in Sports Ministry and holds an earned Doctorate as well. He is the author of Christmanship: The Theology of Competition & Sport. Dr. Greg has been married for over 35 years, is the father of two married children and the grandfather of a growing number of grandchildren.