During a recent ‘homosexuality’ debate someone has thrown out (and judging by Google it’s the newest rallying cry) that we can’t oppose homosexuality while at the same time opposing the stoning of disobedient children. I’ve a feeling that the usual Old Testament versus New Testament law argument is going to be largely ignored. Anyone have some fresh ideas on the topic?
In the Old Testament a rebellious child -- not merely disobedient, but what would be better described as a juvenile deliquent -- could face a death penalty. "If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city. And they shall say to the elders of his city, 'This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.' Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear" (Deuteronomy 21:18-21).
Similarly, under the Old Testament homosexuality carried a death penalty. "If a man lies with a male as he lies with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination. They shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them" (Levitcus 20:13).
In the New Testament, being a rebellious child is a sin that can keep you out of heaven and was cause for withdrawal by the church. "For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!" (II Timothy 3:2-5).
In the New Testament, homosexuality is declared to be a sin that will keep you out of heaven and was cause for withdrawal by the church. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10).
It appears to be consistent to me. While the punishment given for particular sins changed between the Old Testament and the New Testament, what was called sin basically stayed the same. But that makes sense since law (Old or New Testament) doesn't create sin, but merely defines what is sin. "What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, "You shall not covet."" (Romans 7:7). Morality remains fixed. Right and wrong do not vary. But the law makes what is sin clear and instructs its followers in how to deal with sin when it appears.