HRC’s “Out in Scripture” for Sept 17: The Heart of Isaiah, the Heterosexual Prophet

This is the second installment in our series of responses to “Out in Scripture,” Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) attempt to do the impossible: re-interpret the Bible to be in support of homosexual behavior (sin).

By Sonja Dalton

The primary text for the Sept 17 HRC’s Out in Scripture Commentary is Isaiah 50:4-9a:

The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught. The Lord God has opened my ear, and I was not rebellious; I turned not backward. I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting.

Who was this one called to minister to the weary and to warn the unfaithful? Was he a homosexual? The “Out in Scripture” commentary claims, “Isaiah 50:4-9a offers the testimony of one who knows herself to be called by God.” Is that true?

No, certainly not.

This book of prophecy is the inspired testimony of the bearded male prophet, Isaiah, to a rebellious Judah – of whom he says in chapter 1:

If the LORD of hosts had not left us a few survivors, we should have become like Sodom and become like Gomorrah. Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah!… [God Himself speaking:

“I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly…

When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you;

even though you make many prayers, I will not listen…

So, in likening the rebellious character of Judah to the rampant homosexuality in Sodom and Gomorrah, the prophet Isaiah (like all of God’s prophets, apostles, and teachers) affirmed God’s design for human sexuality (faithful marriage) and overtly condemned homosexual practice.

In return for that word of Truth, Isaiah’s audience struck him, pulled his beard, and spat upon him. But God vindicated Isaiah before his enemies (verses 7-9) because Isaiah feared the LORD (verse 10). Isaiah warned that others must also walk in the light, trust in the name of the LORD, and rely on God -– or else they could expect to “lie down in torment.”

The good news for those currently practicing homosexuality appears just before the selected text, in Isaiah 50:2, where God Himself speaks:

Is My hand shortened, that it cannot redeem?
Or have I no power to deliver?

Indeed God’s hand is not too short to save from condemnation the sexually immoral, the idolator, the adulterer, the homosexual, the thief, the greedy, the drunk, the malicious gossip, and the swindler. In I Corinthians 6:9-11, the apostle Paul says of the Christians in Corinth:

Such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

In other words, former homosexuals existed in Paul’s day, just like today. Paul goes on, in verses 12-19, to instruct those Christians regarding the need to change their lifestyles:

The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body… Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a man commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God. You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

God Himself speaks, as recorded in Isaiah 1:17-20:

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the LORD:
“Though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.
If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land;
But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be eaten by the sword;
For the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

In Part B of this article, we’ll examine “Out in Scripture’s” claims about Psalm 116:1-9:

The text celebrates the power available to those who stand in their God-ordained identity and calling… God delivers and is merciful to those whose whole lives are grounded in God (116:5-6). What a valuable word for the LGBT community! When one claims the truth of one’s core identity in God — whether that core is known through being a teacher or in claiming the fullness of one’s God-given gender identity or sexual orientation — divine support is available.

Is “homosexuality,” “bisexuality,” or “transexuality” a grounded, God-ordained identity? We’ll post our response shortly.

All Bible passages are from the English Standard Version (ESV) Bible.

This article was posted on Friday, September 22nd, 2006 at 12:17 am and is filed under A - What does the Bible say about homosexuality?, HRC, News, The Bible, Churches, & Homosexuality, United Church of Christ-including many Congregational. You can follow any updates to this article through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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