A new progressive film that claims the Bible contains a mistranslation of the word “homosexual” is filled with fallacies and slanted arguments that the Christian church has long rejected, says a well-known apologist who has watched the movie.
The documentary, 1946, argues that the 1946 Revised Standard Version translation team wrongly inserted the word “homosexual” into their translation of 1 Corinthians 6:9, thus sparking a decades-long battle in the United States against LGBT causes, including against same-sex marriage. That verse and others like it in Scripture -- the film claims -- condemn not gay sex but pederasty (sex between men and boys).
Alan Shlemon of the apologetics ministry Stand to Reason watched the film and says its “core argument is based on the same argument that pro-gay theology advocates have advanced in the past.”
“The good news is that it’s easy to spot the fallacies in this film,” he wrote in a blog on Stand to Reason’s website. “The bad news is that many people won’t.”
The Greek word (arsenokoitai) in 1 Corinthians 6:9, he wrote, “does appropriately condemn homosexual sex.”
The Greek word “is formed by combining two Greek words, arsen, meaning ‘male,’ and koite, meaning ‘lying.’
“Arsenokoitai literally means ‘men who lie with a male,” Shlemon wrote. “It’s not surprising that the most prominent English translation today -- the NIV (2011 revision) -- translates the Greek as ‘men who have sex with men.’ Since such behavior is consistent with what male homosexuals do, it’s not a stretch to see why many translation teams (not just the 1946 RSV) chose to render the Greek word as ‘homosexuals.’”
Further, Shlemon argued, “there are many other passages in Scripture that corroborate the Bible’s prohibition of homosexual sex.”
“Even if it were true that the 1 Corinthians passage was poorly translated, it still wouldn’t mean that homosexual sex was biblically permitted, which is what the filmmakers want you to eventually believe,” he wrote. “There are several passages in Scripture that rule out homosexual sex or condemn it specifically. For example, in Matthew 19:4–6, Jesus teaches that marriage is about one man, with one woman, becoming one flesh, for one lifetime. That alone rules out homosexual sex since he’s quoting the Genesis account of creation, which presupposes male-female sex and marriage.
“Furthermore, Jesus specifically condemns porneia (‘sexual immorality’) in Mark 7:21 -- a Greek word his Jewish listeners would have understood to mean the prohibited sexual behaviors of Leviticus -- one of which was homosexual sex. … Even if [the 1 Corinthians verse] was mistakenly translated, it wouldn’t have any impact on the Bible’s teaching on homosexual sex since the Mosaic Law, the apostle Paul, and Jesus himself taught that homosexual sex is a prohibited behavior.”
“In other words, the Bible indirectly rules out homosexual sex by virtue of its teaching on sex and marriage and directly prohibits homosexual sex by citing it as sin,” he wrote. “This is why the film is a non sequitur.”
It is essential, Shlemon wrote, that the church educate Christians about “the false claims of this film.”
“Scripture warned us that a day will come when those who profess the name of Christ will reject the teaching of Christ,” he wrote. “It even explains why they’ll make films like 1946. Prior to his execution, Paul warned his protégé, Timothy, that a ‘time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths’ (2 Tim. 4:3–4). Same-sex attraction is the desire, the filmmakers are the teachers, and Scripture’s teaching on sexuality is the sound doctrine they’re unwilling to endure. This film will tickle their ears, turn many more away from the truth, and perpetuate the myth of pro-gay theology.”
Main image credit: ©Sparrowstock
Movie poster credit: @1946themovie
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.
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