The Expository Files

Dangerous Doctrines and Bad Logic


Big news for homosexual Jews wanting to marry each other.

Reform Rabbis Approve Gay Unions

GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) - Reform Jewish leaders have overwhelmingly approved a resolution giving rabbis the option of presiding at gay commitment ceremonies.

With Wednesday's vote, the Central Conference of American Rabbis became the most influential U.S. religious group to sanction same-sex unions.

The resolution applies to the 1,800 members of the Central Conference of American Rabbis, who serve at least 1.5 million Reform Jews. Reform Judaism is the largest and most liberal of Judaism's three major branches in North America.

Rabbi Charles Kroloff, CCAR's president, said the resolution shows the conference's belief that "gay and lesbian Jews, and the committed relationships they form with their partners, deserve the recognition and respect due to people created in the image of God."

"It is not sinful to be a gay and lesbian,'' said Rabbi Paul Menitoff, executive vice president of CCAR. "It is sinful to have these prejudices and act out on them.''

Menitoff said he hoped other religions would adopt the resolution as a model.

The resolution calls for the rabbinate to develop sample ceremonies for rabbis who choose to officiate at same-gender ceremonies. It also said the relationship between two same-gender Jewish people is worthy of affirmation through Jewish ritual.

The Torah condemns male homosexual intercourse, but Reform Judaism now supports same-sex civil unions and a decade ago approved openly gay rabbis. Some Reform rabbis have already officiated at same-sex ceremonies at synagogues.

Associated Press, March 30, 2000

This was, as the story states, the most influential religious group to adopt this position. However, they are not the only ones. The Unitarian Universalist Church has already adopted the same basic position, and later this year Presbyterian, United Methodist and Episcopal denominations are expected to consider the same. There are increasing calls for homosexual marriage to be legally sanctioned.

When conservative politicians or religious leaders speak of the "culture wars," this is what they are talking about. This is a complete setting aside of all that God has revealed and experience has taught concerning the nature of man and the formation of families. Homosexual Jews will now have religious sanction for their "unions." In front of a congregation, with with Law of Moses on big scrolls as a back drop, two men (or two women) will have their their religious leader invoke the blessing of the God upon their physical union. As we gag, God glares and judgment on this nation comes a giant leap closer.

Having said this, I (a heterosexually married man believing and teaching God's word) have, in the minds of these rabbis, committed more sin than these homosexuals. You understand this you must realize that I've committed the nearly unpardonable sin of prejudice. "It is not sinful to be a gay and lesbian...It is sinful to have these prejudices and act out on them." In their carnal mind it is worse to think that homosexuality is wrong and act on that conviction than to engage in homosexual acts.

This deluded rabbi hoped that "other religions would adopt the resolution as a model." I pray that in me, and in all of us, this rabbi find only disappointment.

The resolution of this group reads:

WE DO HEREBY RESOLVE, that the relationship of a Jewish, same gender couple is worthy of affirmation through appropriate Jewish ritual...

It doesn't say how exactly, but I think this means the "happy couple" gets a wedding. But what is appropriate "Jewish ritual"?

I wondered if the scripture might provide us with a hint as to what an "appropriate Jewish ritual" might be. Would Lev. 18:29 (which deals with incest, beastiality and homosexuality) be an appropriate ritual? This text reads "For whoever does any of these abominations, those persons who do so shall be cut off from among their people." If that "ritual" is not to your liking, how about Lev. 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; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them." I have searched my Old Testament in vain for additional "rituals" for Jews to engage in regarding homosexuals.

I know, it probably will be considered a hate crime to even mention these Old Testament passages, but this was God's law for the Jews. The apostle Paul affirms this in the New Testament. He indicted the Gentile world of all of their sins, including "the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts" and completed his charge with "although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them" Rom. 1:27,31.

The question is, how does any religious group, much less one supposedly based on the Old Testament, arrive at this point? I truly believe that the keys to such departure are 1.) Emotionalism 2.) Obfuscation and 3.) False Claims of Relevance (saying that the old teachings don't apply today).

Being led by our emotions lets us do as we feel - no matter how debased or perverted our feelings. Invariably some will try to argue that our debasement is good. This self justification is common to all man. We will argue that our lusts really are good and wholesome and satisfying if we want to do them bad enough. Then we will obfuscate (make less clear) clear passages condemning us and our practice.

Notice this example from the "Community" Section of the Jewish Journal, May 21, 1999

Using an argument often heard in Orthodox circles, Muskin says he treats homosexuals as he would treat anyone who is violating a mitzvah [a teaching of the Bible or a rabbi - wjh]. Muskin would certainly not expect an observant Jew to proudly proclaim that she cheats on her tax returns or regularly eats cheeseburgers.

But Greenberg says the cheeseburger analogy just doesn't work. "People can live deep, emotional, committed, loving, wonderful lives and not eat cheeseburgers,"he says, apparently having heard the argument one too many times. "But to tell a person that to be a member of this group you have to live a life without self-expression and love and commitment and intimacy and daily touching and caring and holding... that would be an unbearable burden for most people."

Torah's Puzzling Attitude
Greenberg is a few months away from completing a book that, along with telling his personal story, explores what he believes is the Torah's puzzling attitude toward homosexuality. Greenberg asserts that there is more to the discussion than the surface meaning of the verse in Leviticus 18: "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; it is an abomination."

While Greenberg is reluctant to lay out the specifics of his arguments without the benefit of several hours of background building up to his conclusions, he says that he is "attempting to demonstrate this verse is more interesting and ambiguous than a simple, superficial reading would suggest. This is what rabbis do when they confront a verse: find anomalies in order to enrich its meaning."

But, he says, rabbis will only be motivated to reinterpret the verse if the issues become personal, rather than abstract and foreign.

"In this area I believe halacha [part of the Talmud giving laws and ordinances - wjh] is wrong, because its refusal to talk to people makes it fail to be authoritative. True halacha has to be open to listening to people," he says. And he is willing to be the first to talk.

Copyright 1999, Jewish Journal of Greater L.A

That first rabbi sounded pretty fair - treat homosexuals like any other violators of teachings. But that was not good enough for Rabbi Greenberg. He says that without "self-expression and love and commitment and intimacy and daily touching and caring and holding" (all of a homosexual nature)life is just "unbearable." Obviously here is a man who lives for his own pleasures. Being so determined to continue in his homosexual ways he makes it sound like a wholesome thing. "[L]ove and commitment and intimacy and daily touching and caring and holding" sounds pretty good until you consider that this is a man with another man and what kind of intimacy and holding they do. "For it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret." Eph. 5:12 Would that they would keep it secret.

Now for the obfuscation part: Notice the heading "Torah's Puzzling Attitude." What's puzzling to me is that something is puzzling. Rabbi Greenberg asserts "that there is more to the discussion than the surface meaning of the verse in Leviticus 18: "Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; it is an abomination." I really would like to know what lies below the surface of such a clear teaching. Rabbi Greenberg asserts its there, but declines to tell what it is. He is looking for what is "more interesting and ambiguous than...simple" and " enrich its meaning." What would truly be "interesting" and "enriching" to our understanding of this text would be understanding how detestable God considers this sinful activity. But this is neither "ambiguous" or "anomalous" as God has always been consistently clear about it.

In fairness, we must notice that such mental gymnastics, hermenuetical hide-n-seek and text torturing are par for the course for just about anyone whose practice or doctrine is contrary to the revealed word of God. The old adage is true: "that the longer the explanation the greater the chance its wrong:."

The Rabbi says refused even discuss his denial of the text with a sympathetic journalist "without the benefit of several hours of background building up to his conclusions." Heavens, what could you possibly say, do or smoke for several hours that would make Lev. 18:22 say anything other than homosexual acts are an abomination to God?

If the text says something you do like - deny that it says it. If it seems clear - muddy the water. If people know and teach that you are wrong - call them narrow minded and prejudiced and tell them the only way the can cure themselves of these "sins" is accept you and your new teaching. This is exactly what these homosexual Jews and their rabbi apologists do. Read the quotes again and see that it is so. Also, look for examples of the same process in other false teachers - in the world, the denominations and the church.

Notice our homosexual rabbi's final argument. "In this area I believe halacha [part of the Talmud giving laws and ordinances - wjh] is wrong, because its refusal to talk to people makes it fail to be authoritative. True halacha has to be open to listening to people," he says. And he is willing to be the first to talk." How does understanding that Lev. 18:22 says that homosexuality wrong not "speak to people." It speaks to me pretty loud and clear. The text says "its an abomination"! The real problem is not how the text speaks to people but what it says. I accept it, Rabbi Greenberg does not.

This rabbi would have the standard of authority in teaching be what people will accept - how it "speaks to them". This is just as the apostle warned us: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths." 2 Tim. 4:3,4

What is this nonsensical statement that "True halacha has to be open to listening to people" The teaching has to listen to people? So if the people change, the teaching changes? If the audience changes, we change what we say? I thought it was the people that were to listen to the teaching. "Be careful to listen to all these words which I command you, in order that it may be well with you and your sons after you forever, for you will be doing what is good and right in the sight of the LORD your God." Deut. 12:28. The rabbi graciously offers "to be the first to talk." He needs be quiet and listen.

The lessons for us: 1.) How far one can go with they depart from the scripture - in society and religion. 2.) The techniques used by those who would foist such agendas on the unsuspecting are basically the same, no matter what error they teach. 3.) We have a true, objective standard for our behavior revealed in the word of God. It doesn't matter how we feel about it or how we think it would "speak to us" better if we just changed it some - it is still the same and not ours to change.

We need to realize the growing presence and acceptance of homosexual sin in our culture. We are repeating the sins of the Gentiles, Rom. 1. But the gospel overcame this sin in the lives of early Christians and can work the same redemption and cleansing today. "Or do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And 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. 6:9-11

By Jay Horsley
From Expository Files 7.5; May 2000