Would Jesus Discriminate and Adelphopoiia

A couple of months ago when we were driving through Dallas Jana and I saw the following billboard sign:

I later found out that these signs were a part of the Would Jesus Discriminate campaign. (Are the signs still up? Any Dallas readers want to tell us?) Here's a Dallas-area news segment about the signs we saw along with a little debate between an "ordained minister" and one of the leaders of the WJD (not to be confused with WWJD!) campaign (H/T Andrew Sullivan):

The crux of the argument in the clip supporting the Matthew 8 sign above is the interpretation of the word pias. You've heard the WJD interpretation of pias in the clip. Here's a take that rejects that interpretation.

It seems to me that a great deal of the biblical debate concerning homosexuality hinges on interpretation (for example, the words arsenokoites and malakos). Recently, (H/T to CP) I found that the historical case also hinges a great deal upon interpretation. CP recently me sent this article which is based upon John Boswell's book Same-sex Unions in Pre-modern Europe. Boswell's argument, as best I can tell, relies upon his interpretation of adelphopoiia, literally "brother making." Adelphopoiia was a ritual in the medieval Orthodox church and historians debate its nature and purpose. I'm sitting here wondering about its nature and purpose. Boswell makes the claim that adelphopiia was the Medieval church's equivalent of same-sex marriage.

I haven't read Boswell's book. Even if I did I still wouldn't be qualified to make a judgment on the nature of the adelphopoiia ritual. Nor do I have the language skills to weigh in on Matthew 8 or the interpretation of arsenokoites and malakos. Nor does 99.9% of the human population. In short, we lean on scholars.

And the scholars disagree. Pick you poison.

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2 thoughts on “Would Jesus Discriminate and Adelphopoiia”

  1. I thought that image looked familiar when you posted it - I debunked one of their arguments months ago! (Thanks for the link.)

    I will say this at least regarding your final comments on Matthew 8: I lack the real language skills (in Koine Greek, that is) to make any statements on my own about the meaning of pais or entimos doulos other than how it is used in Scripture (a concordance will provide that information) or what the site said itself about those words. But I at least have the analytical and logical skills to see where there is a gap or error in thinking, and that is really what I have done; notice that I even grant near the end of the post that maybe there was pederasty involved, but that doesn't say what WJD is trying to say: that Jesus affirmed them in the sense of condoning what they did.

    I really do feel for what this campaign is trying to do, and I think that churches should be more accepting and inclusive of LGBTQ individuals and couples. Would Jesus discriminate? No, I don't think so; Jesus clearly loved everyone, no matter what their "lifestyle," enough to want to be personally involved with them, and the church as a whole is failing in that regard. When we refuse to associate with these people (maybe as a holiness issue - very topical for recent posts here) and even try to understand this issue, then we turn them away from God's hope, and I don't see how the church can be absolved from blame in that regard. I also think there are arguments that suggest that Christians should not be opposed to gay marriage regardless of whether or not it is morally wrong because it again puts a wedge between the church and a subset of individuals that we should be trying to evangelize.

    What I don't care for are arguments that try to suggest things that simply aren't there. We don't have to think that Jonathan and David were lovers to be tolerant of LGBTQ issues, and I think that there are far more honest arguments to be made that don't rely on such conjecture.


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