A Homosexual Reads His Bible

Wesley Hill has risen to the challenge of supplying biblical reasoning for his kind of homosexuality.

This terrible confusion is theological quicksand, and Wes is ready to make our Holy Lord Jesus a model of his own desired type of “friendship”. The PCA must reject this immoral mess, and Hill’s self-serving “Scriptural” reasoning. Dr. Wesley Hill has not imparted soundness of truth. With his reading of Scripture he is out to recruit evangelical support for his kind of homosexuality, so I write to show that the Scriptures he chose for this do not support his kind of gayness at all.

 

Dr. Wesley Hill has risen to the challenge of supplying biblical reasoning for his kind of homosexuality. Before we start we need a couple of things about this gay man reading and teaching the Bible. He uses romantic and erotic to explain his personal feelings for men, yet he is consistently opposed to same-sex erotic activity (Washed and Waiting 120, hereafter WW). He asserts his own celibacy. He will not say he is a homosexual, only that he is a homosexual Christian. He will not say he is a gay, just a gay man, as long as gay is an adjective. He dances with words.

His battle: “…Friendship’s number one enemy, at least over the past half century or so, is the elevated importance we have attached to spousal, parental, and extended familial bonds” (SF 11). Dr. Hill’s point of view affects how he reads the Bible. Since he gives some scriptural support in chapter 3 of Spiritual Friendship (SF), we shall concentrate on those biblical arguments. But first to get our bearings, note:

Dr. Hill’s development of friendship in the Bible:

  • Past: The Old Testament norm at creation was man being married to woman. Wes thinks something better emerged later.
  • Present: In the New Testament the answer to loneliness is no longer marriage but friendship and the church (WW 132).
  • Future: There will be no marrying in the resurrection (WW 187), because “The greatest joys … God has for us are not found in marriage, for if they were, surely God would not do away with marriage in heaven. But since he has already told us he is doing away with it, we too, can realize that the greatest things God has to give us are not to be found in marriage at all” (WW 133).

These gays have graduated to greater joys. He notes that love is not even mentioned in the NT’s longest passage on marriage, 1 Corinthians 7. Instead    “… the celibate person’s life now serves as a direct sign of the eschatological state” (WW 187).

For men with no desire for a woman, the craving for richer human life can only be found in other men. Thus, Wes puts all his eggs of intimacy in the basket of a certain kind of Friendship. When challenged to lay out Biblical support for same sex friendship coupling (SF 46), he began with two Old Testament cases.

An Old Testament Model of Intimate Same-Sex Friendship – Ruth and Naomi:

“There are exemplars of apparently exclusive pairs of same-sex friends in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament. One classic instance is found in the book of Ruth” (SF 50). Ruth said to her mother in law:

Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you” (Ruth 1:16, 17).

This is not really parallel to marriage vows, yet Wes Hill leaps for joy at such an idea. This is not a two-person covenant; it is a commitment of I’m-going-with-you, a pledge regarding location, plus an implied resolve to serve. Naomi’s people will be her people. Naomi did not ask for such a commitment, and Scripture does not suggest that Naomi said a similar thing back to her. Yet Wes wants this to serve as an example of exclusive pairing of same sex persons in what is admittedly not marriage but a vow of friendship. He says Ruth borrowed the language and imagery of “spousal love” (SF 52). It was personal loyalty, adopting new citizenship, and leaving Moab behind. Union with Ruth was certainly not Naomi’s purpose when she coached Ruth how to catch the attention of Boaz, a potential husband.

Wes has strained to get a nice same-sex model here of a relationship above and beyond marriage. In words he quoted and likes: “Friendship should be like a marriage: for better for worse, for richer for poorer, till death depart. They cannot be separated whom true amity knitteth” (SF 23). The filial love of Ruth for Naomi does not help Dr. Hill. Naomi was happy that Ruth pursued and married Boaz.

The Other Old Testament Model of Same-Sex Friendship – David and Jonathan:

The love of David and Jonathan is Wes’s primary example of gay friendship. He does not present this as a homoerotic relationship (good for him). He thinks that what we need right now is to return to “vowed spiritual siblinghood” (SF 41), and these two men are an example, or so he thinks. Dr. Hill is accurate that David and Jonathan forged “a covenantal friendship, complete with an exchange of gifts and mutual promises” (SF 51).

Perhaps the Bible does not give us a display of brotherly affection which goes beyond this one. As the son of King Saul, Jonathan was in line for the throne, but God promised it to David, and Jonathan heartily accepted the Lord’s decision. When David learned Jonathan died in battle, he remembered Jonathan’s affection, “your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women” (2 Samuel 1:26). Some gays, seeking justification of a sin, portray the love between these men as exclusive (SF 50) and romantic, or even worse. David suffered a rejection by his wife, a daughter of Saul who despised him in her heart (2 Samuel 6:16). I have often wondered if he contrasted the self-sacrificing love of Jonathan with Michal’s. We have here a clear example of Jonathan’s loyalty love for David surpassing the love of a woman.

Wes Hill does not pair up Saul and Jonathan as an exclusive same-sex relationship in spite of the words available to him in the same text: “Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely! In life and in death they were not divided …” (2 Samuel 1:23). This is noteworthy because Wes insists that friendship supersedes family, yet here in Saul and Jonathan we find nothing exclusive, just filial love.

With Abigail and Ahinoam, David was not without a wife (1 Samuel 25:40-44). He had them while Jonathan was still alive, thus his friendship with Jonathan was not exclusive. His excellent friend was not with David in 1 Samuel 30 fighting Amalekites but with his father fighting Philistines (1 Samuel 31). The only way to dig up an exclusive same-sex bond out of this biblical material is to isolate one verse from the rest of the narrative. And this, Wes and company are quite willing to do.

New Testament Passages – John 15:13, Wes’s text above all others!

No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13, translated by Dr. Wesley Hill).

This is also the favorite text of Dr. Hill’s favorite monk, Aelred (SF 100). Here is the way John 15:13 comes up in Spiritual Friendship: “… we’re told, the love of God is manifested in our love—not for our spouses or children or extended family, first and foremost, but for our friends (John 15:13)” (SF 28). (Please read that again!) Love not for spouses but friends. The word friends was on the lips of the Lord Jesus in John 15:13. Now we must patiently strive to see if Dr. Hill’s interpretation holds up under a little review.

In the early 20th century a Russian theologian (Pavel Florensky) made his evaluation of supreme love. Wes quotes him, noting that when a person pledges “to be there for one particular friend” (male, of course), the real meaning of Christian love is realized “only in relation to friends, not in relation to all people …” (WW 196 and SF 28, same quotation). The word “only” reduces the rank of marriage – “not [love] for our spouses.” Wes’s gay bias shows.

John 15:13 is an important plank in Hill’s platform; closely tied to it is the suggestion that Jesus’ friendship with the Apostle John was intimate, “the one Jesus loved” and then too with Lazarus, described as “the one you love” (John 11:3). But before we go there, note that Wes is trying to make Jesus fit Wesley’s friendship paradigm – an exclusive friendship with John and secondly Lazarus. Wes does not say exclusive friendship in the case of either man, but intimacy, romance, and exclusivity are chief elements in the relationship the Jesus/John connection is supposed to demonstrate. It makes no sense to spend many pages in a grand review throughout all Christian history of exclusive friendship and then to provide John and Lazarus as prime examples of it who do not fit the picture.

But the word that should seize Dr. Hill’s attention is right there in his own translation; friends is plural! Jesus spoke of a person (himself obviously included) laying down his life for friends. These words, to this gathering of disciples in the Upper Room, occur on the only recorded occasion where the Lord Jesus is speaking only to believers. The “friends” of v.13 are the friends of v.14 and 15. He is speaking to all of them, not just John the beloved disciple. But hang the facts; the homosexual hypothesis must endure. During the centuries since the Lord spoke those words, Christians have known that Christ was speaking of all of us, and for all his people he laid down his life. So Aelred, a promoter of same-sex intimacy, Florensky, and Wes Hill all flunk the grammar. Friends is not a singular word.

Jesus died for his friends (v. 13); defines his friends (v. 14); and includes his friends in knowing what he is doing (v.15). He chose and commissioned all of them (v.16). John 15:14 destroys Dr. Hill’s thesis. Wesley does not mention that Jesus’ friends are really whoever obeys. Thus he twists the key text, as did his mentors, and also ignores the context. This assistant professor of biblical studies fails Hermeneutics 101, because the context is clear. Jesus was not speaking of a friendship with an individual above the other disciples.

Who are Jesus’ friends? Here is what the Lord said: “You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:14). John was in that room, and so were ten other disciples after Judas left; all are identified as friends. Christ loved the church, not just John, and gave himself up for all of her members (Ephesians 5:25). By narrowing the relationship down to one same-sex friend, Wes has manipulated the text. He likes what John Henry Cardinal Newman said, “… our Savior had a private friend” (SF 53) and Christ in this sense is the model of “intimate friendship” (SF 54). This fabrication fits Side B homosexuality ever so neatly.

Wes promotes the idea that the Fourth Gospel highlights that there was one disciple Jesus “loved with a particularly noteworthy devotion (John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7, 20)” (SF 53). Remember, that John wrote the Fourth Gospel, so in each of the five instances where John is spoken of as the one Jesus loved, these are John’s words. Nowhere anywhere is there a record of Jesus identifying John this way; it is, rather, how John speaks of himself. In his modesty he probably did not want to use his own name, so he employed a meek reference to himself. He probably did not want to say he had raced Peter to the tomb. The Bible does not indicate that Christ had a noteworthy devotion to or for John above others, a particularly noteworthy one, mind you. Wes Hill squeezes all the same-sex propaganda he can out of Biblical texts. Then he uses the words of George Herbert to say it for him:

But love is lost; the way of friendship’s gone,
Though David had his Jonathan, Christ his John  (SF 3).

So we are being indoctrinated to think Jesus had a unique same-sex relationship with John, described as “intimate friendship.” Wes does not hint that Jesus’ devotion to John was physical, but the consistent flow of his book keeps intimacy in the foreground, getting closer and closer to a same-sex friend (SF 26). The holy Son of God is being painted as a man in the image of Wes Hill.

While John the apostle is Exhibit A, Wes also makes Lazarus to be a similar same-sex friend. Mary and Martha sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” Wes reading this has his own eureka moment. No Christian is embarrassed by such words of affection. But note that we know more of the Lord’s conversations with Mary and Martha than with Lazarus, for the only recorded words between the Lord and Lazarus is: “Lazarus, come out” (John 11:43) – only three words. John tells us, “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus.” (John 11:5), which is hardly a unique love for another male; it was love for three single friends in the same family. Mary and Martha are not Wes’s gender, so he dwells on Lazarus, a same-sex friend.

Lazarus died in spite of the sisters’ plea for Jesus to intervene. We then come across unusual details about his resurrection. Wes Hill frames it this way: “The only tears of Jesus that are reported in the Gospels are prompted by the loss of one of his same-sex friends” (SF 53). Wes has found another way to drag Jesus into his doctrine of unique same-sex bonds. Thankfully, Wes did not say explicitly that Jesus and Lazarus were same-sex attracted, though he did convey their relationship as “more intense, more committed, and irrevocable” (SF 52). That’s enough. Yes, Wes alleges that that pattern applies with Jesus and Lazarus.

Why Jesus’ tears?

Jesus saw Mary and friends weeping (11:33). His tears are not mentioned at that point, but his anger is! (v. 33). D. A. Carson says that our English translations soften this text, which he translates as Jesus being outraged. The word chosen conveys a stern attitude as in Matthew 9:30; this setting is not the Lord in a mode of empathy. The word for Jesus weeping was not the same as for Mary’s weeping in v. 33 – a different word is used. His weeping is of the nature of a lament envisioning calamity (Carson again). His emotion was the kind he had when he said of Judas in John 13:21, “one of you will betray me.” This is hardly a description of “his sadness at the death of a friend” as Dr. Hill says (SF 53). It is Christ’s reaction to unbelief. The Lord was not outraged about the plight of a friend he would momentarily bring to life. His outrage and trouble in heart were not only in viewing the wreckage from sin, but from the dullness of heart all around him in that scene. Without faith it is impossible to please God. Without faith it is impossible to be saved. And John, more than the other Gospels, dwells on faith and makes us cringe at its opposite.

If Wes Hill wants texts to support romantic feelings in Jesus toward any other human being, he will need a different Bible. He plants the thought that romantic and non-sexual love overlap in these chosen examples, such as the following. He was wrong to suggest that David borrowed the language of spousal love in his feeling toward Jonathan. Wrong to say Ruth did so, and then to say this same pattern holds in the New Testament, “not least in the case of Jesus himself” (SF 52). If one follows this reasoning, the Lord has been turned into a same-sex attracted man. Let us have none of it. Wes, keep the Lord Jesus out of this.

A Thorn in the Flesh – 2 Corinthians 12:7-10

One of Dr. Hill’s gay friends wrote, “ … I do not expect my same-sex attraction will ever disappear… My homosexual disposition will persist as a thorn in my side until the end of my days…” (SF 97).

Wes brings up the thorn God used to encourage Paul to rely on the power of Christ. It became an occasion in which Paul receives God’s grace in a time of physical weakness or defect. But Wes’s point is:

 “Why should the same not prove true for today’s gay and lesbian believers? … The experience of same-sex desire may be the divinely appointed way in which celibate gay Christians discover the power of Christ made perfect in their lives” (WW 201).

Two pages earlier (WW 199) Wes, in amazing inconsistency, carefully avoided calling this very experience a means to holiness. Is this thorn really like gay proclivity? God did allow an enduring physical trial for Paul. The thorn was in his flesh, thus it was physical. But this is far different from God allowing an immoral feature to be injected into Paul’s inner man with the contradictory motive of producing holiness in him. The new covenant has not been put on hold! Thus the commandments of God are still being written in the heart of every believer. The Lord may ordain a thorn in our physical flesh, but he does not authorize evil desire in the same heart on which he writes his law. He does not work at cross purposes with himself by using our sin to produce righteousness. Homosexuality is not a means to the holiness of not being homosexual. “God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” Paul’s thorn was not some desire contrary to God’s law, so Wes’s analogy does not hold. Paul’s thorn did not require repentance.

I never hear Christians say that lust for a woman outside marriage may be the divinely appointed way to discover the cleansing power of Christ. Sins do not promote holiness. But gay theologian Wes Hill thinks gayness is being sanctified! This is a defense of sin; by joining what is incompatible he ends up with holy sin! To him gayness is as morally neutral as blue eyes (WW 39). We all sinfully crave justification of our preferred sins and relief of any need to repent. But in these days, evangelical homosexuals have turned justifying an abomination into a holy movement. They find help for this within the Presbyterian Church in America.

Rev. Scott Sauls, a PCA minister, testifies that many in the PCA have benefitted from Revoice, a conference where Wes Hill has been a high profile teacher. Sauls agrees with Revoice that “God puts obedient, same-sex attracted Christians in our midst to show us what denying oneself, taking up a cross daily and following Jesus can look like. Our faith is supposed to cost us something, and our brothers and sisters help show us the way.” Thus he states their views for them, treats their presence among us as a blessing, and embraces Wes’s thorn-in-the-flesh argument (in releases June 21 and July 6, 2019), Sauls dances with wolves.

Wes as a homosexual man finds in his Bible agreement with himself. The Lord Jesus (in Wes Hill’s obnoxious suggestion) was a male who had his own “private friend” for whom he had particularly noteworthy devotion – in a celibate attraction of course. Thus Wes and company feel no great conviction of sin for deep desires which surge in them contrary to the will of God. It is not, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). It is much closer to, “I pronounce my heart clean.”

Unlike David’s Psalm, Wes claims to be waiting for an eventual change of heart, but later not now. Since Jesus had such noteworthy and intense friendships with a couple of male friends, who would ever need to be cleansed of that sort of feeling if it is what Jesus had? Wes surely believes that Jesus’ feeling for John was sinless. I can only wonder why washed Wes is waiting to be delivered from the same inclination. If homosexual activity is sin, so is the desire for it. And that is the issue. The blood of Jesus Christ really does cleanse Christians from sin of every kind, including same-sex desire. But now in the PCA we find ourselves needing to contend that sinful desire is actually sinful. Wes Hill’s biblical arguments are as solid as Jello; they do not hold up.

This terrible confusion is theological quicksand, and Wes is ready to make our Holy Lord Jesus a model of his own desired type of “friendship”. The PCA must reject this immoral mess, and Hill’s self-serving “Scriptural” reasoning. Dr. Wesley Hill has not imparted soundness of truth. With his reading of Scripture he is out to recruit evangelical support for his kind of homosexuality, so I write to show that the Scriptures he chose for this do not support his kind of gayness at all.

Rev. David H. Linden is a retired Minister in the Presbyterian Church in America; he lives in Las Cruces, NM.