A Queer Hermeneutic

Queer The dictionary definition of the word, “queer” is simply “strange,” “odd,” or “unusual.” However, in the latter part of the 20th century, the term, “queer” was used in a pejorative sense as an insult to homosexuals. But that was then, and this is now.  And today, the term is embraced by the homosexual community and has even been added to their acronym “LGBTQ.”

I say all of that to say this: as I employ this term in this article, I am not using it in a pejorative or derogatory sense. Rather, I just can’t think of a better term to describe the hermeneutic of those who are attempting to use the Bible to justify and approve of homosexual behavior.

Some may be surprised to learn that there are those who practice homosexuality while claiming to be faithful Christians. It may also come as a surprise that some who practice homosexuality have not discarded the Bible. Rather, what they have done with the Bible is perhaps more dangerous than discarding it completely.  They have adopted a “queer hermeneutic” that has resulted in the truth being twisted and the consciences of the guilty being salved.

After reading the writings of several prominent advocates of homosexual behavior being scriptural, I have been able to identify a couple “queer methods” of interpreting the Bible. Consider:

  • A Hermeneutic of the Reader’s Sovereignty.  What I mean by that is that they place themselves above the scrutiny of Scripture and they, in turn, scrutinize the Scriptures.  Instead of the Scriptures judging their behavior, they stand as judges over the Scriptures.  Allow me to illustrate.In his book entitled, “Just As I Am: A Practical Guide to Being Out, Proud, and Christian,” Robert Williams wrote that “Queer Christians would do well to adopt this test of canonicity — It cannot be believed unless it rings true to our deepest capacity for truth and goodness. If it contradicts this, it cannot be believed. If it falsifies this, it cannot be accepted” (Williams 43).More recently, Matthew Vines, in his book entitled, “God and the Gay Christian” expressed a very similar approach to the Scriptures. He wrote that one of the reasons for “losing confidence in the belief that same-sex relationships are sinful: it no longer made sense to me” (Vines 12).

    Again, Miller wrote of the apostle Paul’s condemnation of homosexual behavior, “Whatever excuses we make for Paul, it seems to me most honest to say, yes, perhaps Paul is condemning homosexuality…But the bottom line for you is: so what? Paul was wrong about a number of other things too…you and he stand on equal footing when it comes to what ‘the Spirit’ has told you…What the Holy Spirit tells you is a greater authority for your life than what the Holy Spirit may or may not have told Paul” (Miller 53-54).

    Likewise, in his book entitled, “What the Bible Really Says About Homosexuality,” Daniel Helminiak wrote that simply saying that “‘God said it is wrong’ is not a good enough answer.” (Helminiak 581).

    All of the above quotations have a common thread — one’s own feelings determine the validity of Scripture. If a particular Scripture seems to disagree with the way you feel, reject it.

  • A Hermeneutic Of Suspicion & Eisegesis.  It may come as a surprise to many to learn that the Bible is allegedly filled with many positive images of homosexual relationships. Are you scratching your head trying to remember? Here are the alleged relationships that make the list: Ruth and Naomi, David and Jonathan, Jesus and John, the Centurian and his servant that Jesus healed, and if you ever wondered what Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was, well, now you know.If you’ve read these accounts, you may be asking, “How would anyone reach these conclusions?” The only way one would reach these conclusions is if he read the Bible through “queer-colored glasses” (William 61).  In other words, if one “develops a ‘hermeneutic of suspicion'” (Miller 66) and reads between the lines, reading into the text, one can, through “phantasie,” reach these conclusions.

Now, back to the title of this article; do you see why it is entitled, “A Queer Hermeneutic?” What an odd way this is to interpret the Bible! It seems to me that such an approach to Scripture is merely a desperate attempt to salve one’s guilty conscience. Such a hermeneutic only gives lip service to the Bible. Personally, I would have greater respect for one who simply discarded the Bible altogether to pursue his own course than to attempt to revise Scripture to accommodate his sinful practices. Again, to me, such a queer hermeneutic is what happens when one has too much Jesus to enjoy his sin and too much sin in his life to enjoy Jesus.

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