The Healing of the Centurion’s Gay-Lover Servant Revisited

Over at my old place, I had a gay “Christian” advocate take issue with my post concerning Jesus healing the centurion’s servant.  I thought I would highlight our interaction on the main page for educational and apologetic purposes. I figure some readers may encounter a confused, community college-aged relative at Thanksgiving or Christmas who believes this nonsense.

Rotten Queer Christian writes,

You guys really take the cake. When reading homosexuality into the text you call US the revisionist, yet aren’t you the revisionist with doing back flips in reading homosexuality OUT of the text? Let’s approach it this way, it really doesn’t matter whether the pais was a sexual servant or not. The people who were witnessing the exchange between the Centurion and Jesus BELIEVED, as according to the custom and norm of Roman Centurions with male slaves, there was a sexual aspect to it. Historically this can’t be denied and Jesus never clarified to the surrounding crowd with saying; “Wait a minute folks, I know you’re thinking this Centurion is talking about his young lover as is the custom with these Romans, BUT, that’s NOT the case here. It’s not sexual and that’s the only reason I’m healing his pais.”

No where in the pages of Scripture is homosexuality approved and affirmed as an acceptable lifestyle.  In order to make up for that absence, gay “Christian” advocates appeal to absurd historical sources and ridiculous exegetical considerations to revise the biblical text for their purposes.  My commenter is no exception. Let’s consider his claims in turn.

Beginning with the claims from history and historians, he writes,

To answer your ‘third’ point about Centurians [sic] and their male slaves as sexual love objects, this is shown by Dover, 1978, p. 16; Gagnon (who you love so much and actually link to the left of your blog), 2002, p. 162; Jennings & Liew, 2004, pp. 472-473 and Nissinen, 1998, p. 58). Need more historical sources?

I had basically challenged his historical references because I don’t trust them to be fair or objective.  Those historians have a gay agenda to put it mildly.  An unbiased, fair, and objective historian writing on this subject is hard to come by these days.  Moreover, it has been my experience that gay “Christian” advocates are selective with their citations, often times cherry-picking quotes here and there from a broader context than what actually supports their claim.  They mishandle and misapply the data in a deceitful fashion.

For instance, in his comment, he cites Robert Gagnon as agreeing with his claim that centurion/slave relations in ancient Rome during the time of Christ were purely sexual. The servants of centurions were “sexual love objects” as he calls them.  But Gagnon doesn’t agree with him and to cite him along side these other individuals as a positive source for his position is dishonest.  Note what Gagnon writes in an on-line paper that summarizes the NT story of the centurion and his servant,

Sex with male slaves [was] not a universal phenomenon. Not every provincial or Roman officer was having sex with his slave so Jesus could hardly have assumed such behavior was going on. This is especially true in Luke’s version where the centurion is portrayed as a paradigmatic “God-fearer.

If this “Rotten Queer Christian” fellow takes such a dishonest approach to handling historical sources, why should I trust anything he lists?

My challenger further responded by saying both Sir Kenneth Dover and Martii Nissinen were heterosexuals, so I guess in his mind they are “unbiased.” Do a search for Martii Nissinen and it could be any clearer that he is an advocate for the gay “Christian” cause regardless if he isn’t gay himself.  Funny how my commenter didn’t tell me the sexuality of Jennings and Liew, but any search for them reveal they are definitely committed to revising the Bible to teach an affirmation of homosexuality in spite of the contrary to all rationality.

Just because someone is allegedly an “expert” on a subject, in this case, the history of centurions and their slaves, doesn’t mean that person is untainted by an agenda.  Take Bart Ehrman, for example. He is one of the leading NT textual scholars, yet it is clear from the slanted conclusions he makes with the so-called textual evidence that he has ulterior motives.  I could say the same about the late American historian, Howard Zinn.

Moving on to a couple of textual absurdities,

Because God created Adam and Eve FIRST, does not mean no other relationships are acknowledged (how many concubines did Jacob have?) and your reading prohibition from omission, that’s just bad Bible reading.

The fact that God created man and woman and distinguishes the uniqueness of that creation by describing them as male and female (Genesis 1:27) is really the nail in the coffin for gay “Christian” revisionists. Both Jesus and Paul, in their teaching on such subjects as marriage, gender roles in local Churches, and even divorce, directed their audience back to what God originally created for marriage: one man, one woman, for life.

The reality of sin’s perverting influence on men and women in the biblical record does not diminish God’s original intent.  Gay revisionists, like our commenter here, will cite polygamy as an example of “other” alternative, non-traditional relationships.  But there are a couple of problems with this example.  Polygamy was never approved by God, but reflects the distortions to God’s original design, and most glaringly, it is still a heterosexual relationship:  Jacob is marrying more than one WIFE, you know, females.  No where in the Bible is a gay relationship illustrated for us. Hence the reason why gay “Christians” have to fabricate them between David and Jonathan and of course, the centurion and his servant.

Moving along, my commenter continues,

The SPECIFIC word ‘Pais’ used in the SPECIFIC story of the Centurian [sic] was used in the Greek as a synonym for the word eromenos—a Greek word meaning “the boy you love” and specifically denoting a homosexual relationship (Plato’s Symposium (385 B.C.E.), The History of the Peloponnesian War (433-411 B.C.E.), Aeschines (Against Timarchos) (345 B.C.E.). You do have a point with Jesus saying nothing about approval, but he could have used this as a perfect time to say; “Go and sin no more” or even give some type of negative sentiment instead of praising the Centurian [sic] for his faith that he had in higher regard than the faith of the Jews around him (Matt 8:10-13).

Gay “revisionists” like to cite unrelated, irrelevant ancient language sources in their arguments as to why such-and-such a word should be understood according to their homoerotic twist.  His discussion of pais, here, is a perfect example.

First of all, his claim that pais is a synonym for eromenos, which would imply a homoerotic relationship between the centurion and his slave-boy, is pure fantasy.  No serious biblical lexicon or language dictionary ever makes this connection.  In fact, note how he cites a handful of non-biblical, pre-NT references for his sources.  This approach represents terrible exegesis.  To begin with, we have to assume he is citing them accurately.  He already has a questionable track record by the way he has maligned what Robert Gagnon wrote.  Moreover, it doesn’t matter how Plato may have used a word in Greece some 350 years before Christ’s ministry in Israel.  What matters is how the NT writers used the word and what “they” meant by it’s use.

Secondly, pais is used consistently throughout the NT as a description of a child, a young person either boy or girl, and a servant. It’s ridiculous to think it also has the meaning of “sexual slave lover.”  A second commenter challenged the definition put forth by our revisionists by pointing out a number of other passages where pais is used.  There is no possible way it could mean a “sexual slave lover” in any of these passages: Matthew 2:16, 12:18, 14:2, 17:18, 21:16; Luke 1:54, 69, 7:7, 8:51, 54, 9:42; John 4:51; and Acts 3:13, to name just a handful.

Now the gay revisionist will attempt to argue that the presence of the Roman centurion asking Jesus to heal his pais, implies it is a homoerotic relationship because everyone knows centurions had servants that merely served the purposes of fulfilling their sexual appetites.  But such a response assumes this behavior was true for ALL centurions, which as Gagnon argued earlier, is hardly the case.

However, more damning for the gay revisionist’s claim that Jesus healed a centurion’s homosexual lover is the consistent use of pais as child or young person throughout the NT.  This would mean Jesus willingly approved of pederasty between an adult man and a child or young boy.  Even if the servant was a mature man, say of the same age or just a year or two younger than the centurion, this still involves our Lord willingly approving a predatorial relationship between a centurion who was sexually abusing and taking advantage of his servant.

So. The reality of this narrative is much more pure in its simplicity:  A God-fearing Roman centurion had a son, or quite possibly an adopted son, that he implores Jesus to heal.  There is nothing sexual about their relationship at all, but it is a man who respected and loved this young servant boy who had become beloved to him.  It is hardly this slimy, homoerotic narrative that is presented by gay “Christian” apologists.

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10 thoughts on “The Healing of the Centurion’s Gay-Lover Servant Revisited

  1. Hi Fred, I’m so glad you have revisited this issue, I always like hearing your take on the gay revisionists. They are something else taking things out of context to prove the claims…I don’t know if you remember my aunt who is in a gay relationship and claims to be a believer. She does this same song and dance on the these issues, it’s so sad because she argue her way right into hell if God doesn’t intervene.

  2. Pingback: Answering the Claims of Gay “Christian” Apologetics and Homosexuality in Culture | hipandthigh

  3. I respond to you (somewhat) AND Gagnon’s “7 points” (in the comments section):
    http://rottenqueerchristian.blogspot.com/2012/09/for-lost-soldier.html
    I’m glad you revisited this issue too, just confirms what I said with making me look closer at this subject. Huff and puff all you want, your Pharisaic spirit comes out loud with your arrogance, bearing false witness against me with what I cite from Gagnon (all you have to do is have a copy of his book in front of you) and hang-up you and many hypocritical “Christians” have on the subject of homosexuality.

    By the way, I’d like for you to see this little exchange in that Gagnon admits the Eunuch could be a homosexual: http://rottenqueerchristian.blogspot.com/2012/11/on-gagnon-eunuchs-and-bed-keepers.html

  4. This is a comment between you and me that you’ll no doubt delete like you did with my original post. You KNOW I answered Gagnon’s arguments and you still bring up these arguments. It couldn’t have been his son because it was illigal for a centurion to have a son by royal decree and even a bastard was grounds for banishment from Roman society (also, what father calls his son “servant?” ). You know what you are doing is deceptive, do you think Christ is pleased with this on His behalf? You have God to answer to friend. Think about that when you’re in a dark room tonite and you only have your thoughts to dwell on.

  5. DQC writes,
    This is a comment between you and me that you’ll no doubt delete like you did with my original post.

    No comments were deleted. I never delete comments. I may not “approve” comments to be posted, but that is rare and it’s my prerogative as blog owner. Moreover, your original comment appeared at the old blogspot version of this blog. I no longer maintain it except to occasionally monitor comments like the one you left. I thought I made that clear in the intro to my post, but maybe not.

    continuing,
    You KNOW I answered Gagnon’s arguments and you still bring up these arguments.

    No. You did not answer his arguments. You cherry-picked selected citations that you twisted to support your warped understanding of the Bible. In fact, as I showed in this post, you used his work dishonestly, putting words in his mouth that he never uttered. That is bearing false witness. The last I checked, that is one of the 10 commandments you just broke. And you have the gall to say I need to repent. Really?

    Additionally, you dishonestly cited other sources that were biased and tainted to begin with. As I noted in my post, seeing how you dishonestly used Gagnon, I don’t trust you to utilize them either.

    It couldn’t have been his son because it was illigal for a centurion to have a son by royal decree and even a bastard was grounds for banishment from Roman society (also, what father calls his son “servant?” ).

    You did not prove this assertion. You cited sources that YOU claimed made that assertion, but I saw no compelling argumentation in any literature that demonstrated what you claim here about Centurions. Moreover, you utterly ignored the other commenter who did respond to you at length demonstrating how you were wrong about your understanding of pais. I can hardly take you seriously if you won’t even interact with any significant refutation to your views about homosex and the Bible.

  6. Funny, why don’t I see my first comment here where I answered Gagnon and let people decide if I did or not? The one that also shows a link where Gagnon concedes that the Eunuch in Matt 19:12 could be a homosexual where according to you there is nothing like that in the Bible. Like I said in my first post, all you have to do is have Gagnon’s book in front of you to see if I’m telling the truth with what he says about ‘pais,’ you should be ashamed of yourself trying to pull this stunt, but I’m not surprised. You said; “Gay “revisionists” like to cite unrelated, irrelevant ancient language sources in their arguments.” And what do you think Gagnon does in his writing in spades? You think everyone who doesn’t agree with YOUR interpretation of the Centurion story has some kind of “agenda” WOW, really? Say what you will about Ehrman, but as a historian he’s humiliated atheists with saying Jesus was a real historical person when they’ve tried to claim otherwise, it’s his claim as Savior that he has a problem with, a personal belief that has nothing to do with him being a historian. I also love how you bring up the homosexuality of ONE of the sources I sighted (Gagnon LOVES doing that like the desperate little man he is) like it somehow dismisses the facts of what they say, facts are facts, no matter who says them or why. You are fighting tooth and nail against the inclusion of homosexuals in the Kingdom of Christ, not because of what the Word of God says, but from tradition and bad interpretations of Bible verses you don’t care to look into.

  7. Your points were addressed above. Like I wrote, you cited biased scholarship who are genuinely hackneyed unlike Gagnon who you claim is. The other link is empty. There is nothing there.

  8. The one that also shows a link where Gagnon concedes that the Eunuch in Matt 19:12 could be a homosexual where according to you there is nothing like that in the Bible.

    Rather than sending me to links, why don’t you summarize what Gagnon stated and give me some direct links to the sources cited that you claim prove your point against him. Give me page references or online articles. Maybe even quote them specifically. You keep citing these references, but I don’t see any and the ones I have seen are twisted out of context and you deceitfully misquote him, which is typical of gay revisionists.

    it somehow dismisses the facts of what they say, facts are facts, no matter who says them or why.

    No. Facts are not just “facts.” All facts are interpreted and we interpret them according to a particular worldview. In the case of our discussion, you want biblical confirmation of your sexual perversion and so you will reinterpret “facts” to fit your desires.

    What I see missing from any and all gay revisionistic literature, particular the ones who want to corrupt the Scriptures in support of their inordinate desires, is any true study of God created marriage or sex. I have yet to see any serious exegesis of Ephesians 5, or Genesis 2 for that matter from where Jesus quotes in Matthew 19. Additionally, there is no consideration of God’s created, natural design of male and females to function sexually with each other. He gave men and women a penis and a vagina for a reason. Homosexual cannot have sex in the way God designed it to be had.

    You are fighting tooth and nail against the inclusion of homosexuals in the Kingdom of Christ, not because of what the Word of God says, but from tradition and bad interpretations of Bible verses you don’t care to look into.

    The Bible is clear that sexual perverts, which includes unrepentant homosexuals, cannot inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9). Heterosexual perverts fit in that category as well. I realize of course that you will appeal to some convoluted re-reading of that text by apostate, liberal commentators to say that homosexuality is not what Paul was talking about there in that passage, but you’d be wrong. The fact of the matter is, is that there is hope for you in that Paul goes on to proclaim “Such were some of you.” God can redeem you from your sinful desires and orient you to think on proper roles of men and women in marriage.

  9. I criticize you in my second post comment for not putting up my first comment post with my link and “Poof,” now I see my first comment post with links. Are you posting comments in order? Better late than never I guess.

    Rather than sending me to links, why don’t you summarize what Gagnon stated and give me some direct links to the sources cited that you claim prove your point against him. Give me page references or online articles. Maybe even quote them specifically. You keep citing these references, but I don’t see any and the ones I have seen are twisted out of context and you deceitfully misquote him, which is typical of gay revisionists.

    I send you to links because I’m afraid you’re going to say I “mis-quoted” out of “deceit” and “twist out of context” What they say. This is the link where Gagnon talks about Eunuchs (even though you can find it on on my blog, I’ll post it directly here): http://thebedkeeperbook.blogspot.com/2011/07/anti-gay-theologian-confirms-we-are.html

    I like to see it as saving myself from personal attacks from you with putting up links.

    No. Facts are not just “facts.” All facts are interpreted and we interpret them according to a particular worldview. In the case of our discussion, you want biblical confirmation of your sexual perversion and so you will reinterpret “facts” to fit your desires.

    What I see missing from any and all gay revisionistic literature, particular the ones who want to corrupt the Scriptures in support of their inordinate desires, is any true study of God created marriage or sex. I have yet to see any serious exegesis of Ephesians 5, or Genesis 2 for that matter from where Jesus quotes in Matthew 19. Additionally, there is no consideration of God’s created, natural design of male and females to function sexually with each other. He gave men and women a penis and a vagina for a reason. Homosexual cannot have sex in the way God designed it to be had.

    We are talking about the field of secular history from secular historians when it comes to Roman Centurion sexual habits, not fuzzy facts that are open for interpretation according to one’s worldview in a field of study like ‘Bible Interpretation.’ No researcher in a secular field (botany, astronomy, etc) is going to be taken seriously if what they state is going to delve into their own personal worldview contrary to what the historical record says. The historians I cited are correct. The only way you can get around that is by saying the are somehow tainted by some “agenda” or I twisted what they said and that’s exactly what you did.

    This paragraph is redundant from you. Like I said before, you give more importance to marriage than either Christ (The only time Christ talks about marriage is when divorce is brought up to Him) or Paul (who says it’s better to stay single like himself). He did give is penises and vaginas, but we are more than the parts we have, aren’t we spiritual beings first? You believe the end all to pleasing God is marriage and children. This is you’re own man-made theology, just like the; “Family Values” heresy that has no bases in the New Covenant that replaces “Be Fruitful and multiply” with “Seek ye the Kingdom of God first.” This is a good read: http://www.genderlinks.org.za/article/a-hermeneutics-of-sexual-identity-a-challenge-to-conservative-religious-discourse-2011-02-26

    The Bible is clear that sexual perverts, which includes unrepentant homosexuals, cannot inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9). Heterosexual perverts fit in that category as well. I realize of course that you will appeal to some convoluted re-reading of that text by apostate, liberal commentators to say that homosexuality is not what Paul was talking about there in that passage, but you’d be wrong. The fact of the matter is, is that there is hope for you in that Paul goes on to proclaim “Such were some of you.” God can redeem you from your sinful desires and orient you to think on proper roles of men and women in marriage.

    The Bible never uses the term “Perverts” in talking about homosexuality and that just shows the nastiness of where you are coming from, hardly Christ-like. I would take you seriously if you showed how these interpretations are wrong instead of lumping everyone that doesn’t tow the “God Hates Fags” line with calling them “apostate, liberal commentators.” I’m glad you brought up 1 Cor 6: 9, I really shine there: http://rottenqueerchristian.blogspot.com/2012/07/arsenokoitai.html

  10. Let me zero in on this one comment,
    I send you to links because I’m afraid you’re going to say I “mis-quoted” out of “deceit” and “twist out of context” What they say. This is the link where Gagnon talks about Eunuchs (even though you can find it on on my blog, I’ll post it directly here): http://thebedkeeperbook.blogspot.com/2011/07/anti-gay-theologian-confirms-we-are.html

    Instead of doing what I asked and citing original sources, in this case, Gagnon’s original email in which he is said by you to have made a claim that Eunuchs can be gay, you send me to another gay revisionist who, like yourself, twists the meaning of the Bible in order to accommodate your sexual sin. This particular gay revisionist also cherry picks Gagnon’s email pouring meaning into his letter that he never intended.

    So, I had to actually go to Gagnon’s site, go to his email archive and find the actual email from which this other gay revisionist misquotes. Here is Gagnon’s email in its entirety,

    [“Probably “born eunuchs” in the ancient world did include people homosexually inclined, which incidentally puts to the lie the oft-repeated claim that the ancient world could not even conceive of persons that were congenitally influenced toward exclusive same-sex attractions. I have always argued that homosexual orientation is not a radically “new” concept. This undermines the “new knowledge” orientation argument put forward by pro-homosex activists.

    Jennings is not a serious biblical scholar, he’s a prof. of theology (there’s a difference). An example of how far wrong Jennings can be is his thesis that Jesus’ response to the centurion’s request that his “boy” be healed indicates Jesus’ commendation of homosexual practice (see, incidentally, the rebuttal of his article in Journal of Biblical Literature made by D. B. Saddington in JBL 125:1 [Spring 2006]: 140-42). For a rebuttal of a pro-homosex reading of the centurion story see n. 59 in my online notes to my published essay in Homosexuality and the Bible: Two Views at http://www.robgagnon.net/2VOnlineNotes.htm (html), http://www.robgagnon.net/2Views/HomoViaRespNotesRev.pdf (pdf). Needless to say, his views that Jesus had a homoerotic relationship with the beloved disciple and that there were homoerotic contours to his footwashing of the disciples are nonsense. ).

    Morton Smith was a serious biblical scholar but he has not made a serious or reputable case for identifying Jesus as homosexual. See now the recent correction of his views by Scott G. Brown, “The Question of Motive in the Case against Morton Smith,” Journal of Biblical Literature 125:2 (Summer 2006): 351-83 (esp. pp. 354-73). Brown shows that from the beginning Smith’s statement that the nighttime encounter between Jesus and a “youth wearing a linen cloth over his naked body” briefly mentioned in the disputed document “Secret Mark” was nothing more than an un-argued hunch and that, with time, Smith “acknowledged that this matter [was] impossible to decide and actively corrected claims that he thought that longer (i.e. Secret) Mark proved that Jesus was gay” (p. 365). Brown then goes on to show (pp. 365-73) that the homoerotic reading of this text is highly unlikely.

    Have you read my work on Jesus and homosexual practice? If not, please do so. Start with my online critique of David Myers and Letha Scanzoni, at http://robgagnon.net/articles/ReformedReviewArticleWhyTheDisagreement.pdf

    Jesus’ comparison of men who make themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven with “born eunuchs” shows that Jesus categorized “born eunuchs” as persons not having any sex (Matt 19), for certainly Jesus was not giving the disciples permission to have sex outside of marriage and thereby avoid his newly enunciated standard for marriage. So, from that standpoint, any argument that is made about “born eunuchs” including homosexual persons (with which I would agree) leads to the view that Jesus did not give homosexually oriented persons the option of sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman.]

    Blessings,
    Rob Gagnon

    Note the bold sections, the ones that are conveniently lifted out of the context from the entire email. The remainder of the email is pointing out the dishonest and poor scholarship of men and women who claim Jesus was affirming of gay orientation or gay marriage or that Jesus himself was gay. You, and this “bedkeeper” person you cite, ignore those other portions of what Gagnon is saying that mitigate against your argument.

    Additionally, note the last paragraph that you do cite. Gagnon is merely saying that “born eunuchs” are individuals “not having any sex.” For the average practicing homosexual male who typically has multiple sex partners, “not having any sex” is hardly an option. If you seriously think a christian can be gay i.e. a “born eunuch,” then engaging in sex is out of the picture for that person as well, because, as Gagnon is pointing out, Jesus isn’t affirming “gay marriage” with his words here. You and the gay revisionists are reading that into the text.

    It is this kind of intentional, dishonest sloppiness with quoting your enemies that causes you to never be taken seriously by any evangelical individual who recognizes the Bible clearly and with out doubt teaches that marriage and sexual intercourse is only sanctioned by God between one man and one woman. As much as you may wish to try and change definitions of words, or present some phony historical narrative about sex practices among Roman centurions, or whatever, the reality is that the Holy Bible, and the holy God in which you are in rebellion against, do not in any way confirm your inordinate affections that you call “gay orientation.”

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