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  • Writer's picturecliff carbone

3/4) The Opposite Side of a Pastor's Uncertainty (The pastor's response to my letter.)

Below is the response I received from the Pastor in regards to the "The Right Side of Truth Letter" I sent him along with my reply BACK to him.

True to reply is rather long. So I am separating it into 4 different blogs.

In most cases the pastor's response is in black and my reply back is in red or a dark blue.

DISCLAIMER: I feel it's important for "my readers" (that was fun to say :-) to know that I became a Christian in 9th grade and I still consider myself to be a Christian. Furthermore, beginning in 9th grade I developed a passion for Scripture and that continues to this day. I feel Scripture holds a Sacred and important place in the hearts of those who adhere to it and provides knowledge that helps us understand the character of God as well as gives us guidance in how we are to love one another. I do, however, feel that when/where Scripture has been, and continues to be used, to shame and oppress specific groups of people, that it is perfectly appropriate to question the intent of both the Scripture that is used to justify that hate as well as the intentions of those using it to justify THEIR hate. I do not feel there is any heresy in asking the tough questions.

On to the letter continued from (2/4)...

  • But - with sexuality, the New Testament (and Old) consistently, reliably, and strongly condemned homosexual behavior - it didn't regulate it. It is condemned, not regulated. And there is no underlying allowance indicating that the culture is the problem and God's ideal is for homosexuality to be embraced.

Of course, your response here takes for granted that you have answered my original question to satisfaction.

There was a time, a long period of time, that “with” racism and the institution of slavery, “the New Testament (and Old) consistenty, reliably, and strongly did not condemned” these racist institutions. Furthermore, there is “no underlying allowance indicating that” - though how a master treated his slave may have been regulated, that the actual institution of slavery was culturally acceptable and could be “embraced”….both in Scripture and in our Country.

  • Did people use the Bible to prove slavery? Yes. I can see how they could have read it that way. I believe, obviously, they were wrong.

Unfortunately what you deem as obvious was not so obvious to generations of Christians - and in some cases where racism is concerned, it’s still not so obvious. And just to be clear, and for the record, I too, believe they were wrong.

Taken at face-value - could even I use Scripture to prove that the act of homosexuality is sinful? Yes...I could.

Of course - I could also use Scripture to prove that Scripture endorses Anti-semitism (Anti - Judaism.) (Matthew 8:12; Matthew 23: 37,38; Matthew 27:25; Mark 13:9; Mark 16:16; John 8:43-47; Acts 7:51-53; Acts 13:45-51; Titus 1:10-14; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16; 1 John 2: 22, 23; Revelation 2:9,10;) *Some would even argue that the entire perspective of the Gospel of John is Anti-semitic.

I could also use Scripture to prove that Scripture teaches the oppression of women. (Genesis 3:16; 1 Corinthians 11:3; 1 Corinthians 11:7-9; 1 Corinthians 14:34,35; Ephesians 5:22-24; Exodus 21:2-4; Exodus 21:7; Deuteronomy 22:28,29; Genesis 19:30-36; 1 Timothy 2:9-15; Titus 2:3-5; Proverbs 21:9; 1 Timothy 2:9-12; Colossians 3:18; Proverbs 12:4; 1 Peter 3:1-4….and so on. )

I could also use Scripture to prove that Scriptures endorses Genocide - including the mass killing of innocent children. (1 Samuel 15:2,3; Hosea 13:16; Joshua 6:21; Deuteronomy 20:16,17; Deuteronomy 2:34; Deuteronomy 13:15, Joshua 10:40; Deuteronomy 3:4-6; Isaiah 13:15-18; Judges 20:48; Deuteronomy 7:16; Deuteronomy 7:2; Isaiah 14:21; Leviticus 26:7-9; Jeremiah 50:21-22; Exodus 34:11-14; Deuteronomy 2:19-23; Exodus 32:27,28; Psalm 137:9; 1 Samuel 15:3; Exodus 12:29,30; …..the list goes on, and on, and on.)

I could also use Scripture to show that unBiblically-sound divorce is NOT the one-and-done sin as it is treated in today’s church, but instead, falls more in line with the “ongoing sin” that is often reflected in the popular Christian argument pertaining to homosexuality: “A lifestyle of Sin.” (Luke 16:18; 1 Corinthians 7:10-17; Matthew 5:31,32; Matthew 19:3-9; Malachi 2:16; Romans 7:2; Mark 10:11,12; Hebrews 13:4; Deuteronomy 24:1-22; ….and so on. )

Of course, with our 21st century mindset, we would both agree that using Scripture to advance these oppressions would be obviously wrong. Unfortunately, however, these Scripture references are still used worldwide to continue to oppress.

But take the use of Scripture from another angle….

I could also use factual science to show that the Scripturally-based view that everyone is either born male or female is at odds with the fact that 1 in every 1500 babies are born with mixed genitalia. How do we reconcile this? (I think I know what your answer would be. Death and destruction due to some fruit that Adam and Eve ate a long time ago?)

For that matter, I can also use Scripture to prove that we don’t know exactly when Jesus was crucified:

Was Jesus crucified on the day of Passover, (Friday morning at 9:00) after preparing and eating the Passover meal (Last Supper) the night before? (Gospel of Mark)


Was Jesus crucified on the day BEFORE preparation for the Passover (Thursday afternoon)? (Gospel of John)

*I would say in terms of Christian-based theology this is a very concerning contradiction between the 2 Gospels.


For that matter, I can use Scripture to prove that there are at least two different, contrasting and contradicting accounts of Jesus' Birth and that these accounts are at odds with Historical facts and timelines, not to mention each other, that do not support several elements of these stories? (Gospels of Matthew and Luke)


When exactly did the curtain of the temple split? There are conflicting accounts. This contradiction also has huge implications on Christian Theology.

What is the accurate genealogy of Jesus? There are VERY conflicting accounts. In fact, the two accounts seem to be completely different from each other. ???

There are many other contradictions and discrepancies but you get my point.

  • Is it possible I'm misreading the Bible about any particular subject (including sexuality)? Of course. We do our best. Trust God, and follow the Spirit.

I’ll comment on this statement in my closing.

  • But to equate slavery with homosexuality doesn't quite seem genuine. Christians were wrong about the earth being flat too. But so was the entire society. And it wasn't a careful reading of the Scriptures.

Let me first mention that you seem to be implying that the likelihood of the church to evolve in its stance of homosexuality - especially as compared to how it has evolved in its stance with race relations, not to mention women’s rights and even, say, people who commit the “life-style of the ongoing sin of engaging in an unBiblically-sound divorce - probably won’t happen because it is so obviously against God’s word.

Women not being silent in both society and the church were obviously against God’s Word. .

Interracial marriage was once obviously against God’s Word.

The enslavement of another human being obviously not against God’s Word


But just as the aforementioned practices and sins are now viewed under a different light I believe that there is plenty of room to offer this same consideration to homosexuality.

Just off the top of my head...

  • A more evolved understanding of Scriptural context?

  • The understanding that Paul, nor society during his time, understood the concept of Sexual Orientation.

  • New discoveries of the Hebrew and/or Greek language and its use.

  • Perhaps something similar to what Wilberforce argued that the overall Biblical message of LOVE and COMPASSION should overpower the uses of individual Scriptures to oppress a person’s dignity and sense of humanity. (More on this below)

  • Or, and perhaps a bit more controversially, more and more Christians will develop a deeper understanding of Scripture and that the Bible that we use today did not, in fact, come down from Heaven as Divine object but, instead, came to be after centuries of word-of-mouth stories jotted down, additions, subtractions and edits made by men and committees of men with their own political and selfish agendas - the understanding that the Scripture that we read today contains the fingerprints of humans from centuries ago... (well -you went to seminary so I’m assuming you received at least a well-rounded understanding of the canonization of what we know as The Bible and its cultural and inner discrepancies which provide modern complications on how we view it today.)

But that is obviously another letter for another time.

Moving on to the rest of that particular point...

I honestly don’t mean to come across as uncivil but seeing as how you used the word “genuine” to describe my motives weren’t, I trust you will be okay if I do the same.

That is - I wonder how genuine one is being when they make attempts to rewrite history? I am put in mind of the historical “fact” that I learned in my American history classes growing up that the reason that the South succeeded and fought the north in the Civil War was not really about slavery but had more to do with state’s rights.

Clear and varied historical evidence, of course, proves that this is a very disingenuous conclusion only put in place to cast a more flattering light over the South’s, and the Southern Church’s, history with racism.

When you consider ALL of the factual and historical evidence, both Spiritually and otherwise, it is quite disingenuous to claim that the abolition of slaves should be credited to Christians who used their Bible. History clearly shows that abolitionists, whether they were Christian, atheists, men, women, white, black, etc., did not and could not rely on Scripture to fight this particular battle. Furthermore, they were the aberration of their time both in American and European history, where racism and the institution of slavery, along with the many Christians who used Scripture to support these practices, were the norm of society. And this norm would continue to be until the innate belief that Africans were also humans, and that humans should love other humans and not enslave or oppress each other, was called upon to end slavery and the other institutions of racism.. What we also know from history is that when and where this innate belief was not shared amongst a significant group of people, the government had to step in to legislatively enforce this innate belief - or at least, attempt to.

I should also mention that it is not just the likes of someone like me who feels this way but I am in good company with many historical and Biblical scholars, including some Evangelical scholars. This might explain why the Southern Baptist Church, at the 1995 Southern Baptist Convention, made the honest choice to publicly apologize and ask for forgiveness for the role it played in the racist practices of our nation's history - showing that attempts to ignore its past sins or coming up with rather shallow arguments to justify and shine a flattering light on its past is not honest nor productive.

*Response continued in the next blog (4/4)......

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