(Friday Church News Notes, June 24, 2016, www.wayoflife.org) – A New York Times article says that the apostle Paul ordered Christians to kill homosexuals. The report says, “A Republican congressman read his colleagues a Bible verse from Romans that calls for the execution of gays” (Jeremy Peters and Lizette Alvarez, “After Orlando, a Political Divide on Gay Rights Still Stands,” New York Times, June 15, 2016). The
ignorance behind this statement is astounding. The Bible “verse” in question is not one verse, but a passage, Romans 1:18-32, and it does not call on Christians to execute homosexuals. The passage begins and ends with these words: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness. … Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them” (Romans 1:18, 32). This important passage of Scripture teaches that all sinners, not just homosexuals, are worthy of death before a holy God. It mentions fornicators, covetous, murderers, deceivers, backbiters, haters of God, proud, disobedient to parents, covenant breakers, and the unmerciful, among others. All are worthy of death, because “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). This shows the necessity of Christ’s compassionate sacrificial death in the sinner’s place. But absolutely nowhere does the New Testament call upon Christians to kill anyone, not thieves or adulterers or homosexuals or witches, not anyone. Someone with even the most basic knowledge of the New Testament Christian faith would know that such a thing is foreign to the gospel of Jesus Christ. “Christians” who have been guilty of killing people are not true Bible-believing Christians. Christ and the apostles warned that false teachers would come into the world and bring reproach upon His name (e.g., Matthew 24:4-5, 11, 24; 1 Timothy 4:1-3; 2 Peter 2:1-2; 1 John 2:18-19). The law of Moses did call for the death of adulterers, homosexuals, and practitioners of witchcraft, among others, in the Old Testament books of Exodus and Deuteronomy, but Christians are not under the law of Moses. “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster” (Galatians 3:24-25). When the disciples James and John wanted to call down fire upon some who did not receive Christ, He “turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of” (Luke 9:55). The writers and editors at the New York Times would do well to read the Bible instead of abusing it.