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I had basically challenged his historical references because I don’t trust them to be fair or objective.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.