Thank you!

I now have 50+ followers and I want to take the time to say a big, heart-felt THANK YOU!

I do not take your likes, comments, or follows lightly. With every new comment, like, or follow, I tell Daddy thanks for allowing you to find my blog. Thank you!

I love you! Blessings.

Did Jesus Heal a Centurion’s Same-Sex Partner?

So I had a lovely discussion with a young lady, she informed me that the Roman Centurion was gay and that Jesus supports homosexuality because He healed this gay man’s lover.  So I went to dig deeper. I read the article that supported her view and I read others that opposed it. The following is one such article. Enjoy reading.

 

A recent article on theHuffington Post was brought to my attention by a former Greek student who asked if I would comment on the Greek. In the article Jay Michaelson suggests that Matthew and Luke each record a story in which Jesus heals the same-sex partner of a Roman Centurion. Many will be familiar with the story (Matt 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10). As Jesus enters Capernaum a Roman Centurion asks Jesus to heal his servant. Jesus gets ready to go with the Centurion, but the man tells Jesus there is no need since he is accustomed to working under authority. Jesus merely needs to give the word and he knows his servant will be healed. Jesus agrees, the man goes home, his servant is healed.

But Michaelson want us to think about the story in a different way by focusing on the Greek term pais used in both Matthew and Luke. He argues that it does not mean “servant” here but “lover” and appeals, though not with any references, to the work of Thucydides, Plutarch and “countless other Greek sources.” He contends that translating pais as “servant” makes no sense since 1) one would not expect a Roman solider to beg on behalf of a slave, 2) although Luke calls the person in question a “slave” (doulos) the centurion calls him pais, 3) it was a common practice for Roman soldiers to have servants/lovers based on the Greek model. Michaelson acknowledges that the person in question was probably a servant, but also much more. He then views this story as Jesus extending an unhesitating, healing hand to a centurion and his homosexual lover just as he did to prostitutes.  You can read his whole post here.

Before I comment on Michaelson’s analysis I do want to say that in spite of Jesus’ silence on the topic of homosexuality and whether or not his interpretation is correct here, I do think Jesus would extend a hand to a gay person to heal him. I think Michaelson is 100% correct that given the opportunity Jesus would do that. But I don’t think that is what Jesus is doing here and this is why.

First, Michaelson is not the first to suggest that the person in question here be understood as the Roman Centurion’s homosexual servant rather than just servant, although it is a minority opinion. And he is correct that in some instances pais was used to describe the junior partner in a homosexual relationship. But that is not what it means here nor the rest of the New Testament. The Greek noun pais is used in the New Testament 24 times and has a range of meanings that include “adolescent,” “child” and “servant.”  In the LXX (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) it appears numerous times and it always refers to a “servant.” There are no occurrences of the term anywhere in the Bible that can be interpreted a referring to the junior partner in a homosexual relationship. With that in mind, we might be better off translating pais as “servant” here, which Michaelson favors.

Second, Michaelson acknowledges that in Luke’s version of the story the person in question is first called a “slave” in 7:2 (doulos) while the Centurion calls him a pais. He suggests that this distinction is important by which I assume he is suggesting that perhaps Luke got the terminology wrong but the Centurion got it correct. But Luke is writing all of this and would have been aware of the two terms which can in fact be used as synonyms. (See the first chapter in mySlavery Metaphors).

A better explanation for the difference in terminology in Luke might be that Matthew and Luke had a common source that identified the person in question as a pais, which could be taken as either “child” or “servant.” Matthew decided to leave the whole scene ambiguous by not introducing it with an explanation that the centurion had a sick slave (doulos). If you read Matthew’s version substituting “child” for “servant” (with the exception of 8:9 where the word isdoulos) the story could just as easily be about the centurion’s son and not his servant (Hagner alludes to this in his commentary, p. 204). Luke, on the other hand, recognized the ambiguity in the story engendered by pais, and decided to clear it up by calling the person in question a “slave” (doulos) because that is who Luke thought he was. Had Luke not made that addition  in 7:2 both stories could be read as the healing of the centurion’s “child.”

Third, it is true that pais could be used as a term of endearment for slaves. As bad as slavery was/is there were those cases when a slave and master did become close. But that does not automatically translate into homosexuality. For instance, we have a copy of a letter sent by Augustus to one Stephanos of Laodicea. In the letter Augustus says “you know how fond I am of my Zoilos.” This Zoilos was a former slave of Augustus who apparently became very close with the emperor. But no one is suggesting that the two were lovers in a same-sex relationship. Zoilos was apparently very valuable to Augustus and the emperor developed affection for him.

The problem is that Michaelson has invested too much in the meaning of pais. While it can be used to refer to the junior partner in a homosexual relationship, this would be the only such instance anywhere in the New Testament. As I pointed out, it is a somewhat ambiguous term. Nonetheless, I do think servant here is probably the best interpretation of pais, even though it could be child.

But simply assuming that this term means that the servant was the Centurion’s same-sex partner has no standing. There is not enough evidence. We cannot assume that because the centurion had some affection for the servant that they were, therefore, sexually involved. And we also cannot assume that just because the centurion implores Jesus to heal the servant that he feels anything for the servant. We know nothing about this slave and what role he fulfilled. But if he was a slave that managed the centurion’s house well and was in danger of dying, the centurion might have asked Jesus to heal him so that he didn’t lose his financial investment as well as a good manager. I am not saying this is the case, but this scenario is just as likely if not more so than suggesting that the two were somehow sexually involved. But in the end we don’t have enough evidence to spin either situation and the terminology is too ambiguous.

Michaelson reaches for this story to provide a way for gays and lesbians who are struggling with same-sex marriage as a religious act. I commend him for thinking through this topic and have voiced my own desire that the church actively engage the topic. But I don’t think the story of the centurion’s servant does that for him. It is a story about a servant and a master and we know nothing about how they interacted with one another in the bedroom or out.

By: John Byron
Retrieved from: The Biblical World

Ex-Gay Songwriter Believes You May Be Born Gay, but It Doesn’t Matter

He penned the words that many of us know by heart:

Taking my sin, my cross, my shame

Rising again I bless your name

You are my all in all 

When I fall down, You pick me up

When I am dry, You fill my cup

You are my all in all. 

What you may sing as a feel-good song to remind you of God’s grace represents the powerful journey songwriter Dennis Jernigan walks as he allows Jesus to give him a new identity from what the world wanted.

“I thought God hated me,” Jernigan says, explaining how he thought his sexual orientation was too much for even God to overcome. “Any sermon I heard, it was very clear I would go straight to hell, so it was built in me that the sin was already there.”

Decades later, Jernigan says the power of Jesus allows him to walk in freedom. The songwriter says he wants the church to know that it’s possible to embrace the gay community where they are and challenge them to meet God.

The answer, he says, is Jesus.

As someone who is now happily married to a woman and the father of nine children, Jernigan says the battle for his identity started in his mind and played out in the homes of believers who were willing to war with him.

“I never thought I’d be attracted to a woman, but everything changed because I changed the way I thought and put off thoughts until I didn’t think them anymore,” Jernigan says.

It’s renewing of the mind described in Romans 12 the church should consider as they approach the sensitive topic.

“I have a Christ-centered worldview, everything I believe comes from that point,” Jernigan says. “Find out who your Creator says you are, not who you feel you are. If we don’t think the way God designed us to think, we’re going to latch onto something. What we put into our minds is what we put out. I agree with that, I am brainwashed, you need to be transformed by renewing of your mind.”

Though gay marriage has hit the headlines this year, Jernigan says it is far from a new thing. Rather, the issue is coming to the forefront because of a progressive society.

“God has been setting people free from identity issues for thousands of years,” Jernigan says.

Despite the history of freedom, the American church, he says, is in dire straights, especially as political culture demands an acceptance of sin: 48 percent of religious congregations now allow practicing homosexuals to be full-fledged members, according to a Pew research study. The same study reveals 26 percent of congregations allow people with same-sex attraction to volunteer in leadership positions.

The majority of white mainline protestants (62 percent) now support same-sex marriage, with Catholics (57 percent) hovering close behind, according to a different Pew study. White evangelicals have the least support, with approximately 24 percent in favor of gay marriage.

It’s a fight the church needs to engage rather than cowering in fear, Jernigan says.

“(The church) just don’t know how to deal with it,” Jernigan says. “They don’t understand the Word of God. What I mean by that is answers are in the Word for how we respond to sin and sinners. We can judge what is right and what is wrong all day long, but we are never to condemn. Jesus basically said to judge what is right, but told those around the woman (in John 8), ‘No one condemns you, so neither do I.’ That makes it easy to walk in the culture.”

However, this doesn’t happen in the pulpit. For Jernigan and his family, ground zero of the fight against sin begins in their living room.

“Even to this day, my wife and I (host a) meeting every Wednesday night where people can come,” Jernigan says. “It’s just like Vegas: what happens in the living room, stays in the living room. People feel safe.”

If believers genuinely want to change the culture, here’s where the rubber meets the road, Jernigan says: “What if every believer in America saw their home and family as a conduit of healing? We’d change the culture overnight.

“Stop expecting church, church leadership to minister to people we’re involved with. Never once did we go to barn to get the harvest, but we went to the field. … We are all as new creations called to be ministers of reconciliation.”

By: Jessilyn Justice
Retrieved from: Charisma News

GOD CHANGED MY LIFE (EX-LESBIAN)

DIAMOND H.

It all started at the age of seven when I found myself attracted to females, I was sneaking around and messing with my friends while playing house. I didn’t think much of it, I just thought I would grow out of whatever I was feeling. At the age of 15 I had my first real encounter with a female,  at that time I had a lot  going on in my life and messing around with different girls made me not think about anything that much.

At age 16 I started dressing like a boy, it’s not that I wanted to be one, it was just comfortable for me and I got more attention from girls. I grew up in Church so I knew it was wrong but I always told God to just wait, don’t give up on me, I’m coming back to You.

There were so many things going on in my life during that time, I took a leap of faith and moved, I left everything behind. Two months after, I took another leap of faith… one day I was sitting on my sofa and I came across a picture with a few men on it, the picture said, “My future husband is somewhere like this”, the men in the photo were all praising God. I liked the picture so much that I saved it on my phone. God then spoke to me and said, “you post everything else on Facebook, why won’t you post this?” At that moment, God searched my heart and after that, I didn’t want to be the same so I walked away from the lifestyle I was living, two weeks later I got baptized.

I’m now 23 years old, the past five years my soul has been crying Jesus but my mind, body and heart cried lust, depression and suicide. I was looking for love in all the wrong places and after running for five years, I allowed God to change me.

This may sound a bit cliche’.. but if God did it for me, He can surely do it for you. I truly hope that sharing my testimony will help bring change to someone who might be going through a similar situation. Go to the Throne of grace, seek God and allow Him to direct your path. God bless you!

You can also read other testimonies, watch spoken word videos and more on our website by clicking the link below.

Taken from: One God United

A Sincere Question For Those Who Identify as Transgender

Retrieved from: Charisma News
By: Michael Brown

Bruce "Caitlyn" Jenner in the promo for "I am Cait."
Bruce "Caitlyn" Jenner in the promo for "I am Cait." (YouTube)

If you identify as transgender and have read my previous articles or book chapters dealing with transgender issues, you almost certainly count me as an enemy, not a friend, a transphobic bigot lacking empathy—or even worse.

And I understand why you feel like that.

After all, I still refer to Bruce Jenner as Bruce and use male pronouns when speaking about him.

That alone would brand me as a transphobe in your eyes.

But what if there is something wrong with today’s understanding of transgender identity? What if our current approach is not the best approach? What if God has a better way?

Over the last 10 years, as I’ve interacted online or face to face with transgender men and women, some have been gentle, fragile souls, having suffered much over the years and obviously very sensitive about such deep-seated, painful, and personal issues.

Others have been angry and hostile, to the point of posting violent threats and ugly wishes, reminiscent of the male-to-female transgender who threatened Ben Shapiro on national TV a few weeks back. (I had a similar, but less extreme, experience a few years back when a transgender “woman” challenged me in very male, macho terms. Somehow, “she” had not lost “her” masculine side.)

But even in the case of those who are angry and hostile, I recognize that there is often pain behind the anger, and in their eyes, people like me have played a big role in their suffering.

Someone very close to my family whom I knew all my life came out as transgender a few years back, and I reached out to him, telling him I wanted to hear his story in detail, without responding or arguing.

But after sharing a little with me via email, explaining decades of secret fears and shame and tears, he cut me off, wanting nothing to do with me anymore.

Others have reached out to me as followers of Jesus, asking about God’s will for their lives after having sex-change surgery, while still others have spoken to me about their fulfillment as transgender Christians. And yet the longer we interact, the more pain and uncertainty I hear, almost as if they must continue to prove to themselves (and others) that they did the right thing. (Again, you can chalk this up to systemic “transphobia” or you can ask yourself if there are other factors at work.)

My question, though, is very simple, and I ask it not to be antagonistic but rather to foster discussion: What is the definitive test that demonstrates you are transgender?

I’m not talking about being intersexed or having an identifiable chromosomal abnormality.

I’m talking about someone who is a genetic male but believes he is a female (or the reverse).

What is the definitive test that confirms this identity?

It is true, of course, that I am not a medical or psychological professional, but I have consulted specialists in the field who have worked with transgender-identified individuals for decades, and I have read studies confirming what I believe as well as challenging what I believe.

I have seen the academic studies saying that there are brain differences between transgender individuals and straight individuals. I have read other studies that they say there are no such differences. And then I have read still other studies that claim that any differences in brain structure are due to the plasticity of the brain (in other words, they are the result of a transgender focus rather than the cause of it).

I’m quite aware of the pitched debate that took place within the American Psychiatric Association over the classification of gender dysphoria (formally gender identity disorder), and it’s clear that politics were involved as much as science.

And I’ve talked with transgender individuals who are sure that, if tested, they would have a chromosomal abnormality or a clear difference in their brain, yet those I interacted with have transitioned without undergoing any such test.

I’m also aware that there have been no comprehensive brain studies of children who identify as transgender, charting their development over a period of years. (And let’s not forget that studies indicate that many, if not most, children who identify as transgender no longer do so after puberty, many of them subsequently identifying as gay.)

Recently, a transgender individual referred me to a trans-friendly website, Trans 101 for Trans People, thinking it would present me with useful information. (Actually, what I read there confirmed what I already understood.)

The very first question was: “Help! I think I’m trans. How do I know for certain?”

The answer said, in part, “You very well might be trans. At this time there is no test that will give you a definite ‘Yes’ or ‘No.'”

And that is exactly the point I am making.

For the vast majority of trans-identified people, they are sure they are transgender because they are sure, not because of a verifiable, external test, and this means that, ultimately, their perception is their reality.

Where this can lead (and has led) is obvious, with people switching back and forth between genders by the day or hour, with others living as “gender outlaws,” with others claiming multiple genders,  with others choosing not to identify as any gender, and still others not identifying as fully human—all because of deep-seated perceptions.

Is it really so hateful, then, to suggest that we invest more time and energy and prayer to understand why some people, even beginning as little children, believe they are trapped in the wrong bodies?

Is it really transphobic to say that the very best solution is to help people find wholeness from the inside out?

Whenever I address these subjects in a church setting, I urge those attending to welcome everyone who visits their congregation with warmth and love, be it two gay men holding hands as they worship or, to all outward appearances, a man wearing a dress.

And I call them to pray for God’s wisdom, power, and grace to have answers for those who struggle, being sure that there is a better way than celebrating transgender identity, putting children on hormone blockers, then subjecting them to the radical act of sex-change surgery, only to live on hormones the rest of their lives.

There must be a better way than this, and true love does not celebrate Caitlyn Jenner. Instead, true love prays for Bruce to find wholeness and peace.

You can call me hateful and transphobic if you like, and you can ridicule me as uneducated and bigoted, but if we all agree that growing up and living with the perception that you’re trapped in the wrong body is painful and difficult, then let’s join together and find God’s best way to make you whole.

Today, we look back at old surgical and medical practices with shock, amazed at what was considered “scientific” and “cutting edge” back then.

Perhaps in the not too distant future, we will look back at today’s “solution” to gender dysphoria—sending a girl to school dressed like a boy, putting her on hormone blockers, then prescribing sex-change surgery and more hormones for life—as utterly primitive and outmoded.

Perhaps we will find a better way.

Is it really “transphobic” to hope and pray and work towards this goal?

 Michael Brown is the host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show The Line of Fire and is the president of FIRE School of Ministry. His newest book (September 2015) is Outlasting the Gay Revolution: Where Homosexual Activism Is Really Going and How to Turn the Tide. Connect with him on Facebook at AskDrBrown or on Twitter @drmichaellbrown