The Bible Truth: The text doesn’t support Folau’s hateful love

Israel Folau asking his supporters to prejudice people with love illuminates a flaw in his logic, and a flaw in the source material.



Last night, Israel Folau was clearly visited by the Ghost of Culture Wars past, as this morning he’s emerged from his self-applied vow of silence to defend prominent LGBTQ activist Magda Szubanski, castigating the waves of online abuse she’s suffered from those who support his cause.



Mother-flippin’ what?

I believe there’s a difference between the pot calling the kettle cooked, but this is akin to the kettle toppling off the stove, onto an exposed wired, and reducing the kitchen to ash. Folau’s advancing the word of the Lord to advance himself is one thing, but wilfully castigating homosexuals in the public eye, while asking people not to expose the depth of their prejudice, is quite another. The words of Folau illuminate this double standard, as he said that Magda “…is entitled to express her views — let’s all have this important discussion with love in our hearts.”

The entirety of Folau’s crusade is transporting the teachings of the Bible to the modern age. As his quite familiar post stated, numerous members of society will be off to hell, unless they repent. Through the prism of public discourse (and his sermons) this is particularly the case for homosexuals, so the Lord says, and so has it ever been thus.

Or has it?

Ed Oxford, who is a graduate of Talbot School of Theology, has an alternate take, believing that the term “homosexual” was only placed in the Bible as recent as 1946. In an interview with Forge Online, Oxford believes that a solitary word “arsenokoitai”, which appears in two passages, was incorrectly translated and substituted with “homosexual”.

He writes:

“I had a German friend help me with some passages in one of my German Bibles from the 1800s. So we went to Leviticus 18:22 and he’s translating it for me word for word. In the English where it says “Man shall not lie with man, for it is an abomination,” the German version says “Man shall not lie with young boys as he does with a woman, for it is an abomination. Then we went to Leviticus 20:13— same thing, “Young boys.”

So we went to 1 Corinthians to see how they translated arsenokoitai (original Greek word)  and instead of homosexuals, it said, “Boy molesters will not inherit the kingdom of God. I then grabbed my facsimile copy of Martin Luther’s original German translation from 1534. My friend is reading through it for me and he says, “Ed, this says the same thing!” They use the word knabenschander. Knaben is boy, schander is molester. This word “boy molesters” for the most part carried through the next several centuries of German Bible translations. Knabenschander is also in 1 Timothy 1:10. So the interesting thing is, I asked if they ever changed the word arsenokoitai to homosexual in modern translations. So my friend found it and told me, “The first time homosexual appears in a German translation is 1983.”

As I was talking with my friend I said, “I wonder why not until 1983? Was their influence from America?” So we had our German connection look into it again and it turns out that the company, Biblica, paid for this 1983 German version. In 1983, Germany didn’t have enough of a Christian population to warrant the cost of a new Bible translation, because it’s not cheap. So an American company paid for it and influenced the decision, resulting in the word homosexual entering the German Bible for the first time in history.

I also have a 1674 Swedish translation and an 1830 Norwegian translation of the Bible. I asked one of my friends, who was attending Fuller seminary and is fluent in both Swedish and Norwegian, to look at these verses for me. Just like reading an old English Bible, it’s not easy to read. She’s going through it carefully, and then her face comes up, “Do you know what this says?!” and I said, “No! That’s why you are here!” She said, “It says boy abusers, boy molesters.” It turns out that the ancient world condoned and encouraged a system whereby young boys (8-12 years old) were coupled by older men. Ancient Greek documents show us how even parents utilised this abusive system to help their sons advance in society. So for most of history, most translations thought these verses were obviously referring the pederasty, not homosexuality. So then I started thinking that of 4 of the 6 clobber passages, all these nations and translations were referring to pederasty, and not what we would call homosexuality today.”

The Bible truth of this? Those dragging Magda, or supporting Folau on the basis of the text, should further review their studies.



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