This is absolutely mind-boggling.
According to ‘pastor’ (and I use that term extremely loosely) Carl Lentz of Hillsong Church in New York City, first century Judea, Samaria, and Galilee were hotbeds of homosexual activity?
Hillsong NYC Pastor Carl Lentz commented in a recently aired CNN feature on his megachurch why he refuses to publicly express his position on homosexuality by noting that Jesus, who "was in the thick of an era where homosexuality … was wildly prevalent," did not address the issue "on the record in front of people." (emphasis mine)Seriously? Where’d he get that tidbit of information? Judea and Galilee, save for a few Hellenistic towns, were Jewish; Samaria was Samaritan (Samaritans clung to the Pentateuch – this will be important in a moment). Jews adhered to the Law of Moses; the Law of Moses was handed down to Moses by God Himself (this is the Pentateuch); in the Law of Moses, God is specific regarding sexual sins – He does not like them (to put it mildly), and certain of them – including homosexuality, bestiality, and others – He calls ‘abominations’.
These Law-of-Moses-adherent Jews (and the Pentateuch-adherent Samaritans) would have known quite well that God had pronounced ‘abomination’ on homosexual practices; this would have had the effect of limiting, if not entirely curtailing, homosexual behavior in Israel (or it would have been so deeply hidden that few would have known about it).
The Pharisees had added the ‘traditions of men’ to the Law, making it much more difficult to obey. If this religious group made it sinful to rub a handful of grain ears on the Sabbath, I highly doubt they would have been all that lenient regarding homosexual activity.
And it’s because of this that Jesus had no reason to directly address homosexual behavior – the Law was clear that it was ‘an abomination’ and not to be practiced. Jesus did, however, speak of marriage and sexuality, specifying that it was to be between husband and wife, and limited to marriage.
To me, it’s much like driving a car in America. Are you going to tell another American to remember to drive on the right side of the road? Of course not – that’s common knowledge, and in much the same way the prohibition on homosexual behavior would have been common knowledge among first century Judean/Galilean Jews and Samaritans.
And since the ‘pastor’ erroneously believes Judea and Galilee and Samaria were like San Francisco, Sodom, Gomorrah, or something, it’s actually not too surprising that his wife would say something like this: “It's not our place to tell anyone how they should live, it's – that's their journey." Really? Not your place to tell people how they ought to live their lives? Obviously, you’re not all that into teaching the Bible, then, because God speaks often about how we are to conduct ourselves (see Exodus 20:1-17); Paul’s Epistles simply bristle with suggestions, recommendations, and outright orders as to how followers of the Way (Christianity) are supposed to live; John, James, Peter, Jude, the write of Hebrews … all write about how Christians are supposed to behave.
If you’re not going to teach what the Bible says, then please, stop calling yourself ‘pastor’. All you’re doing is misleading your flock. Jesus has a special word for that kind of thing:
It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. (Luke 17:2)As does James:
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (James 3:1)