Gay Theology?

By F. LaGard Smith Posted: Mon. Feb 1st 1993
Dr. Smith looks at some of the popular "biblical" arguments used by homosexuals to defend their lifestyle.
Twas guilt that taught my heart to fear,
And pride my fears relieved;
How precious did that pride appear,
The hour I first believed!
- Revised lyrics to "Amazing Grace" as sung at San Francisco's (gay) Glide Memorial United Methodist Church.

In the gay-rights assault against the American culture, no citadel is more coveted than the church. Getting the church's imprimatur on the homosexual lifestyle would be the ultimate stamp of legitimacy. But no matter how seductive that idea is for many mainstream churches - in keeping with the spirit of Christian tolerance and love - there is always that one last hurdle to cross: the Bible.

Have you ever wondered how gays attempt to get around the many passages in the Bible that condemn homosexual conduct as sin? Those who pay homage to the Bible (most don't even bother) have become incredibly sophisticated in the unholy art of sidestepping God's revelation.

In his book; Just As I Am - A Practical Guide to Being Out, Proud, and Christian, pro-gay theologian Robert Williams attempts a biblical justification of homosexual conduct by asking, "What's the most loving course of action? What would Christ have you do?" As implied in the perversely fashioned title to his book, the most loving thing to do is what Christ himself would do: Accept gays just as they are.

He then tells us what we already knew, that "without interpretation, without placing it in its cultural, historical, and literary context, the Bible can be used for evil."1 And from that point forward, Williams proceeds to demonstrate the very evil of which he speaks by systematically reconstructing each and every passage which threatens his freedom to enjoy homosexual relations.

As for the whole of the Pauline letters, Williams highhandedly concludes: "What the Holy Spirit tells you is a greater authority for your life than what the Holy Spirit may or may not have told Paul."2

In the Footsteps of Feminists

To get around obvious biblical proscriptions against homosexual acts, pro-gay theology borrows heavily from feminist theology. It's basically a matter of hermeneutics. If that's a new word for you, it simply refers to the method whereby we read, interpret, and apply Scripture. Not everyone wears the same set of glasses when they open their Bibles. Recently, in order to get around the numerous passages that expressly call for different roles for men and women in the church, feminist theologians have taken to radical, revisionist methods of interpreting Scripture.

For example, Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, a New Testament scholar and author of Bread Not Stone: The Challenge of Feminist Biblical Interpretation, promotes what she calls a hermeneutic of suspicion, a hermeneutic which rejects any biblical text that appears to have a patriarchal bias. 3 With that, she blithely dismisses the gender distinctions called for in Paul's writings.

To a lesser extent (undoubtedly because there are fewer Scriptures with which to take issue), black activists have done the same thing. James Cone, the black theologian of liberation, asserts that "any interpretation of the gospel in any historical period that fails to seeJesus as the Liberator of the oppressed is heretical." 4 And with that, Paul's instructions that slaves be content with their lot in life are scissored out of Scripture.

Whether gay, feminist, or black activist, today's cultural priests and priestesses are applying radical, revisionist, and reconstructionist approaches to the biblical text, with predictable, self-serving results. Their method? Imaginative narrative interpretation, or "reading between the lines."

Feminist author Dorothee Solle (Beyond Mere Obedience) calls the method Phantasie (German for phantasy), a process of creative imagining - not passive escapism, but an active imaging of the possibilities within a given text. 5 Robert Williams explains:

The technique is simply one of creative visualization. You select a biblical passage, read it carefully and thoughtfully, then close the Bible and allow yourself to experience the passage. It works best with narrative passages, such as those in the gospels....

As with any visualization, the secret is to set the scene as vividly as possible. When you close your eyes and imagine the setting you just read about, imagine it in the most intense detail you can muster. Pay attention to colors, sounds, smells. Notice what people are wearing, what color their eyes and hair are, what their facial expressions are. 6

Using such creative visualization, Williams informs us that David and Jonathan were gay lovers; 7 that the story of Ruth and Naomi is "the account of a deeply committed, intergenerational, lesbian love affair;" 8 and that - yes - Jesus himself was a homosexual! After all, "the disciple whomJesus loved" was close by in the upper room, "snuggled tp against Jesus' chest." 9

In previous generations this form of hermeneutical interpretation was called by another name - blasphemy!

The Old Testament Through Revisionist Glasses

Gays realize that they must deal with the whole of Scripture if they are to have any chance of convincing us - or themselves - that homosexual conduct is pleasing in the eyes of God. It's a daunting task, but they set forth in confidence, undeterred by even the most explicit biblical teaching. It begins at Creation, where they know that the most fundamental principles of gender, marriage, and sex are established.

Genesis 1:28
God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground."

With this opening passage, gay theology goes for the jugular of Roman Catholic teaching on sex: that sex is for the purpose of procreation. Gays answer weakly that they sometimes do procreate, either before "turning gay:' or as bisexuals, or through alternative technologies (e.g., lesbians being artificially inseminated).

On firmer territory, they bask in a false sense of correctness, due to the weakness of the Catholic interpretation of this passage. Neither here nor elsewhere does the Bible teach that procreation is the only purpose of sexual relations.

Where gays go wrong on this point is in assuming that the pleasure which God intended sex to bring in addition to the act of procreation is without moral limitations. Procreation, requiring as it does both male and female, is as defining of proper sexual relations as it is of procreative roles. It's not just male and female for reproduction; it's also male and female for legitimate sexual enjoyment.

Genesis 2:24
For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

All it takes for gays to make this passage gender neutral is the simple replacement of the word companion for the word wife. That the woman was made to be "a helper" for man suggests the idea of companionship, say gay theologians, and not just a difference in gender. By pro-gay thinking, loving companionship of any type is what God wants, for truly "it is not good for man to be alone."

It should be enough to point out that this convenient translation is nothing more than taking the liberty of literally rewriting Scripture. God neither created another man for Adam's companion, nor a third person of either sex, as if to indicate the insignificance of gender. It was to be one man (male) and one woman (female) for life. Man would have his "companions," as would woman, but not for sexual expression.

Genesis 19:1-13,24,25
The two angels arrived at Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gateway of the city. When he saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face to the ground. "My lords," he said, "please turn aside to your servant's house. You can wash your feet and spend the night and then go on your way early in the morning."

"No," they answered, "we will spend the night in the square."

But he insisted so strongly that they did go with him and entered his house. He prepared a meal for them, baking bread without yeast, and they ate.

Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom - both young and old - surrounded the house. They called to Lot, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them."

Lot went outside to meet them and shut the door behind him and said, "No, my friends. Don't do this wicked thing. Look, I have two daughters who have never slept with a man. Let me bring them out to you, and you can do what you like with them. But don't do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof."

"Get out of our way," they replied. And they said, "This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We'll treat you worse than them." They kept bringing pressure on Lot and moved forward to break down the door.

But the men inside reached out and pulled Lot back into the house and shut the door. Then they struck the men who were at the door of the house, young and old, with blindness so that they could not find the door. The two men said to Lot, "Do you have anyone else here - sons-in-law, sons or daughters, or anyone else in the city who belongs to you? Get them out of here, because we are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it...."

Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah - from the Lord out of the heavens. Thus he overthrew those cities and the entire plain, including all those living in the cities - and also the vegetation in the land.

This passage is so definitive of homosexual conduct that our modern-day reference to sodomy is based on it. No wonder gay theologians are anxious to minimize its impact any way they can! Whatever the men of Sodom were up to, there is no question but that it drew God's wrath!

The first line of attack for all revisionists is to cast doubt on the meaning of the translated word when compared with the original. Pro-gay theologians therefore point out that the Hebrew verb yadah, translated in the King James Version "to know," may either mean "get to know" or be a euphemism for sex (as in "carnal knowledge" or he "knew her in a biblical sense").

The latter usage, "to have sex with," is adopted in the New International Version, quoted above. However, we are told that such a meaning is unlikely, since the word is used in the Hebrew Scriptures 943 times, and in only ten of those does it have the connotation of "carnal knowledge."

I suppose one would be foolish to ask how, using the same logic, one can be sure that yadah meant "having sex" in the ten cases cited. Couldn't the same argument be used in each case?

And what are we to make of any consistent interpretation of yadah in verse 8, which the King James version renders, "I have two daughters which have not known man"? Are we to presume that Lot's daughters were "not acquainted with" any men? Surely the point was that they were virgins, never having had sex with a man. As used in each case, yadah contemplated sexual relations.

More to the point, the context simply defies any other interpretation. Are we supposed to believe that the men of Sodom were rebuked by Lot for merely wanting to make the acquaintance of the visitors? Are we being asked to believe that God rained down fire from heaven because the men of Sodom comprised some kind of a Chamber of Commerce welcoming committee?

Pro-gay theology responds that it was violence for which the men of Sodom were condemned, not homosexual sex. Williams goes so far as to say that "virtually all mainstream biblical scholars, including those who are somewhat conservative, agree that the point of the story, the 'sin of Sodom,' is not about sex, but about violence."

I've had enough courtroom experience to know that one can always find an "expert" to testify in his behalf on virtually any position imaginable, but I must demand a "bill of particulars" on this one. What "conservative," even "mainstream" scholars are we talking about? I've consulted a number of respectable conservative and mainstream scholars on Genesis 19, and so far I have found none who would take issue with the assertion that the "sin of Sodom" encompassed the sin of homosexual conduct, whether or not violently intended.

Certainly, Sodom's wickedness was not exclusively related to homosexual conduct. Even before the two angels visited Lot, Abraham was negotiating with God over the wickedness that was endemic in Sodom. And, writing centuries later, Ezekiel the prophet notes that Sodom's wickedness included pride, materialism, and injustice:

Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned: they did not help the poor and needy (Ezek. 16:49).

But never doubt that Ezekiel's dirty laundry list on Sodom included other "detestable" sins as well:

They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen (Ezek. 16:50).

In an attempt to shift the blame away from its homosexual implications, Genesis 19 is presented by pro-gay theologians as preaching the sin of inhospitality, and that therefore "when a family or a church group disowns one of its members after discovering his or her homosexuality, they are committing the sin of sodomy. When Cardinal O'Connor preaches against gay rights, he is committing the sin of sodomy." 10

Certainly there is no justification for shunning the penitent sinner, but Lot was saved from Sodom's destruction precisely because he called sin sin, no matter how "inhospitable" or "intolerant" it seemed to those who were bent on flaunting sin in the sight of God.

On its face, a more difficult problem posed by pro-gay theologians concerns Lot's offer to give over to the men of Sodom his two virgin daughters. That offer (as well as a similar one made in the strikingly parallel story of the Levite in Judges 19) does indeed shock one's modern sensibilities. Williams says, "Lot's lack of concern for his daughters ought to render this story useless as a moral and ethical model!"

As uncomfortable as we might feel about Lot's offer of his daughters, the one thing we cannot say is that the story is "useless as a moral and ethical model." In his short New Testament letter, the inspired writer Jude employs the incident as exactly that - a moral model - specifically naming "sexual immorality and perversion" as the sin for which God brought down his judgment (Jude 7). Peter does likewise in his second epistle (2 Peter 2:6-8).

We may never feel good about the moral propriety of offering the daughters. Yet one cannot help but wonder if the enigmatic reference to Lot's daughters is simply to further highlight the kind of sex the men of Sodom were after. Unlike the wicked Benjamites in Judges 19, who saw the Levite's concubine as a "consolation prize" and raped her to the point of death, the men of Sodom weren't after just any kind of sex. Rape alone was not good enough for the Sodomites. It was perverse sex only that they demanded.

Deuteronomy 23:17,18
No Israelite man or woman is to become a shrine prostitute. You must not bring the earnings of a female prostitute or of a male prostitute into the house of the Lono your God to pay any vow, because the Lonn your God detests them both.

Initially, pro-gay advocates objected to the King James translation, which used the words "sodomite" and "dog" in reference to the male cult prostitutes. But even the modern translations, as above, leave gay critics unsatisfied: "The sex, whether homosexual, heterosexual, or transvestitism, was not the issue; the issue was idolatry."11

As for the passage's focus on idolatry, the point is well taken. But any inverse implication - that male prostitution itself is somehow thereby legitimized - is a kind of tortured logic in which only someone desperate for self-justification can indulge.

Leviticus 18:22
Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.

What pro-gay theologians say of this explicit passage ought to win some kind of award for creativity! "The operative and telling phrase here," says Robert Williams, "is as with a woman" He goes on to explain that the prohibition is not against having same-gender sex, but against having it in any manner that would perpetuate class distinction. In other words, a man should not have sex with another man in the degrading way in which men have sex with women, treating them as inferiors. As long as sex is enjoyed with mutual respect, it doesn't matter who is doing what with whom!

Are we to take it that the same explanation applies to the very next verse?

Do not have sexual relations with an animal and defile yourself with it. A woman must not present herself to an animal to have sexual relations with it; that is a perversion.

I appreciate how unfair it is to bring up bestiality in the same sentence as homosexuality, but the absurdity or the "class distinction" explanation for verse 22 is exploded by even the most cursory look at verse 23.

The Levitical prohibition neither assumes that heterosexual sex deems the woman to be man's social inferior nor that any amount of mutuality between two members of the same gender would legitimize sex between them.

In this regard it is interesting to note the penalty attached to the prohibition. Leviticus 20:13 instructs that "if a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads." The punishment had nothing to do with "class distinctions." It assumed that both men were doing with each other that which was detestable.

As a last-ditch effort to get around the plain teaching of this passage, gays make a feeble attempt at damage control. They point to other prohibitions which were considered "abominations" (to use the King James terminology for "detestable"), including various "unclean" dietary foods, different forms of idolatry (Deut. 7:25), blemished sacrifices (Deut. 17:1), acts of divination (Deut. 18:12), remarrying a divorced wife (Deut. 24:4), and even "haughty eyes" and "a lying tongue," in the words of Proverbs (6:17).

Of course, it's a "this sin is no worse than any other sin" argument - which is true as far as it goes. All sin is an affront to God. The problem for gays (and for any of the rest of us, for that matter) is that such an argument never goes far enough to make any sin "not a sin," as they try to imply, and that is the ultimate, futile aim of pro-gay theologians.

Culturally Updating the New Testament

What you run into in discussing New Testament passages with pro-gay theologians is a hermeneutical ploy that introduces "the cultural argument." At the center of the argument stands the apostle Paul, who - so it is said - is writing either from his own personal biases or who reflects the patriarchal standards of his day.

This cultural argument goes on to say that times have changed, and with them God's will. "Their story" in the first century is not "our story" today. Paul's perspective is no longer relevant; it is out of step with the twentieth century. Scripture must constantly be updated so that it can minister to the needs of people in whatever circumstances they may be found. And with that hermeneutical approach, we once again see both radical reinterpretation of familiar texts and something new - the sheer rejection of biblical authority!

Again, Robert Williams says it most chillingly: "The point is not really whether or not some passage in the Bible condemns homosexual acts; the point is that you cannot allow your moral and ethical decisions to be determined by the literature of a people whose culture and history are so far removed form your own. You must dare to be iconoclastic enough to say, 'So what if the Bible does say it? Who cares?"'12

Romans 1:18, 19; 24-27
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them ....

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator - who is forever praised. Amen.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

This is a particularly painful passage for gays. And especially so for lesbians, since it is the only passage making direct reference to female homosexuals.

Initial protest is made that the passage seems to blame homosexuality on the idolatrous practice of worshiping "created things rather than the Creator." But here Paul seems not to be thinking specifically of wooden idols or stone gods of some kind - only the fact that homosexual conduct, like all other sin, dethrones God (the Creator) and enthrones man (the creature).

The primary assault comes against the obvious implications for homosexuals: that homosexual conduct is "unnatural." That's the last thing gays would ever want to hear the Bible say about what they do. To be absolved of responsibility for their sexual acts, they absolutely must prove that what they do is completely natural in every sense of the term.

It's a question of whether Paul was right in saying that homosexual acts stem from "sinful desires of the heart" and "shameful lusts." If Paul was right, then homosexual acts are plainly sinful and subject to God's condemnation. So the stakes are high, and everything possible must be done to favorably explain what Paul means by "unnatural."

Their best shot is similar to their attack on Leviticus 18:22. Says Williams, "It is precisely the social equality of the sexual partners that causes Paul to label the same-sex relations 'unnatural.' Sex that was 'natural,' in Paul's view, necessarily involved males dominating females!"13

This hardly needs refuting. Even Williams realizes that any attempt to get around the plain meaning of Paul's words is hopeless. So he turns to decanonizing the passage altogether: "Perhaps Paul is condemning homosexuality in this passage, or at least labeling it as 'unnatural' (which is not exactly the same thing as calling it sinful). But the bottom line for you is: So what? Paul was wrong about a number of other things, too. Why should you take him any more seriously than you take Jerry Falwell or Anita Bryant or Cardinal O'Connor?"14

Well, there we have the real truth of the matter: Who cares what the Bible says if it disagrees with what we believe or want to do! And from there it just goes downhill altogether.

I Corinthians 6:9, 10
Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

l Timothy l:9-11
We also know that law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious; for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for adulterers and perverts, for slave traders and liars and perjurers - and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me.

After quibbling about the various words translated in these two lists of sinners - whether "sodomites," "sexual perverts," "sexually immoral," "male prostitutes," or "homosexual offenders" - gay theologians finally throw up their hands in despair.

For Williams, there is nothing left but to say, "Paul, like most of us, had his good moments and his bad moments."15 And then he takes us back to the feminist test of canonicity: "It cannot be believed unless it rings true to our deepest capacity for truth and goodness."16 With that, he concludes: "Any discussion of the household of God, then, that degenerates into a list of those who will not get into the club should strike you as misguided. It does not ring true to our deepest capacity for truth and goodness. This passage, then, simply has no authority for you."17

Here we go again. Take what feels good from the Bible and dump the rest of it! So why all the pretense at scholarly debate over the meaning of individual biblical Passages? Why even bother opening the Bible in the first place?

Once we ourselves become the highest moral authority, the Bible is irrelevant at best and a nuisance at worst. Williams, writing to fellow homosexuals, makes no bones about it: "As a queer Christian, you can draw from other sources, particularly from the sacred writings of your own people, past and present, as well as from the 'rather grossly overrated' Bible."

Up Close and Personal

Throughout this chapter I have purposely chosen to liberally quote from Robert Williams even though there are many other sources available at my fingertips. By now the basic arguments are fairly standardized. However, for a reason which I will share with you momentarily, I want you to know this man up close and personal.

Robert Williams began his spiritual saga at the age of 11 by walking down the aisle of the Pioneer Drive Baptist Church in Abilene, Texas, to "accept Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior." From there he "followed Jesus" through dozens of different churches in at least four denominations, to New Age study groups and gay religious caucuses, and finally into "high church" Anglo-Catholic worship. You may have read about him in conjunction with his ground-breaking place in history as the first openly gay priest to be ordained in the Episcopal Church.

The ordination took place under the auspices of Williams' mentor, the controversial John Spong, bishop of the Diocese of Newark, who was once quoted as saying that if the church could bless the hounds at a fox hunt, it could bless committed same-sex couples!18 But not even Bishop Spong could keep back the hounds in the church and media when Williams suggested in a forum on celibacy that Mother Teresa's life would be greatly enhanced if she "got laid." Spong himself turned out the light in Williams' priestly office!

However, you should not dismiss Williams as a nut case. His understanding of Christian theology is as deep as it is perverse. At times his book is uncannily perceptive, and even profoundly spiritual - perhaps owing to the fact that he has been diagnosed as having AIDS, and is therefore forced to struggle with life's meaning.

His is not the only book written on pro-gay theology. Indeed, I have rummaged through a long shelf-full of such books. But none is more personal, and thus revealing, of the mind of one who is convinced that he is doing God's bidding as a practicing, proud, and - in his own words - "queer Christian."

A Struggle of Conscience

And that brings me to the point I want to make about not just Robert Williams but millions of gays whom I think he represents: The gay-rights movement is aimed primarily at gaining public legitimacy for the homosexual lifestyle. Not just legalization, but legitimacy. Yet there is another process going on behind the scenes that is far more personal: a struggle of individual consciences.

Let me go back to the questions I asked earlier: Why all the pretense at scholarly debate over the meaning of individual biblical passages? Why even bother opening the Bible in the first place? The answers to both of these questions, I propose, is that homosexual men and women have to deal with the Bible! Intuitively, they know that what they are doing is wrong, and they can't live with it.

Sadly for many homosexuals, they literally can't live with their consciences and tragically end up among the deplorable suicide statistics that haunt the nation's gays. Facile attempts to put the blame for their deaths on an unaccepting homophobic society only serve to perpetuate the problem.

Those who do not choose "the easy way out" are left to struggle within themselves. I suspect that the guilt is overwhelming. (It can be bad enough for heterosexual sin!) And that very guilt is the strongest experiential evidence possible that homosexuality is neither natural (in terms of what God intended) nor morally acceptable when acted upon (in terms of what God demands).

Longing for Acceptance

But it's not always just the guilt, and that brings me back to Robert Williams. He would probably deny it (he's far too feisty to beg sympathy), but laced throughout his book are what seem to be telltale cries for help, subtle pleas for love he never received, and a desperate longing for acceptance - from family, friends, the church, and most of all, his God. Just catch the tone of these snippets strewn through his book:

[Said by a friend,,] "You are a very angry young man."19

Chances are you grew up believing in a God who did not truly love you. A God who - like your human parents, perhaps - was disappointed in you, ashamed of you.20

The person in my life who has consistently offered me the closest thing I have ever experienced to truly unconditional love is not my father or mother or lover, but my grandmother.21

While my father seemed to be always working, and my mother was often too busy with her own work, I can't remember Grannie ever telling me not to bother her.22

For many of us, it is difficult if nor impossible to imagine our fathers ever saying to us, "You are my beloved child. I am proud of you."23

Pride, far from being a sin for queers, is the remedy against sin. Our greatest sin is self-hatred, self-denigration ....24

[Of his first visit to a gay bar,] Suddenly, this twenty-three-year-old man who had grown up feeling like an outcast, a sissy, felt affirmed, attractive, wanted.25

Am I reading too much into these statements, or has Robert Williams just told us how innocent babies grow up to be homosexuals? How different might Robert's life have been if his father had not always been working, and his mother not so busy with her own work? What if his father had said to him, "Son, I love you. I am proud of you"? What if from an early age Robert could have sung 'Jesus Loves Me" with real confidence that it was truly so?

Somehow I have to believe that there might have been one less pro-gay theologian out there doing scholastic flip-flops in order to find a God who might accept him just as he is.

People don't just intentionally set out to go Bible-bashing. Behind every feminist and gay theologian is likely to be some early relationship gone terribly wrong. How many more "rebellious gay activists" are there out there, trying desperately to overcome their upbringing and somehow connect with God? And how many precious little ones are there in homes across America today, even in Christian homes, who one day will grow up fearing what the Bible teaches so much that they are willing to trash it, if necessary, to get some misguided sense of God's acceptance?

Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaaen belongs to such as these" (Matt. 19:14).

"But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea."
"Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things mtut corne, but woe to the man through whom they come! " (Matt. 18:6,7).

Sources

  1. Williams, Just As I Am, p.39
  2. Ibid., p.54
  3. Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza, Bread Not Stone: The Challenge of Feminist Biblical Interpretation (Boston: Beacon Press, 1984), p. xiii
  4. James H. Cone, God of the Oppressed (New York: Seabury Press, 1975), p.37
  5. Dorothee Solle, Beyond Mere Obedience, translation of Phantasie and Gehorsam, Lawrence W. Denef, trans. (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1970), pp. 30ff
  6. Williams, Just As I Am, p. 26
  7. Ibid., p. 56
  8. Ibid., p. 58
  9. Ibid., pp. 116-17
  10. Williams, Just As I Am, p.48
  11. Ibid., p. 50
  12. Ibid., p. 42
  13. Ibid., p. 53
  14. Ibid.
  15. Ibid., p. 51
  16. Margaret A. Farley, Feminist Consciousness and the Interpretation of Scripture," in Letty M. Russell, ed., Feminist Interpretation of the Bible (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1985), p. 43
  17. Williams, Just As I Am, p. 52
  18. Ibid., p. xvi
  19. Ibid., p. xii
  20. Ibid., p. 87
  21. Ibid., p. 91
  22. Ibid.
  23. Ibid., p. 92
  24. Ibid., p. 150
  25. Ibid., p. 172