Thinking Out Loud

June 8, 2013

David and Jonathan Weren’t Gay

In the Bible we see a number of special friendship relationships between men. Jesus and John the Apostle are frequently mentioned, but probably even more so is the friendship between David and Jonathan.  J. Lee Grady addressed this a few days ago. I was going to run this as a link in a weekend link list, but there were a few things that would have appeared in that list that really need to be seen by a larger audience than normally would click through. Still, if you want to read this at source, click through to Lee’s Charisma blog, Fire in My Bones where this appeared as How I Know David and Jonathan Weren’t Gay. Also, before some of you get itchy to make a comment, please remember this is about Bible interpretation more than it is about a particular social issue. Also if you want a comment to be seen by the author, click through to the source blog.

Some “theologians” today are perverting Bible stories to promote their agenda. We can’t let them hijack the gospel.

A few weeks ago when I addressed the topic of homosexuality, a reader posted a comment on our forum suggesting that the biblical King David and his friend Jonathan were gay lovers. After a few other readers questioned this interpretation, another reader repeated the claim. “The Bible is clear that David and Jonathan were physical, sexual, gay male homosexual lovers,” this person wrote authoritatively—without citing a chapter and verse.

Most evangelical Christians would drop their jaws in bewilderment if confronted with such an odd theory. Even people with minimal knowledge of the Old Testament know that (1) David was married to Jonathan’s sister, Michal—and he had a few other wives, and (2) David’s biggest blunder was his adulterous relationship with Bathsheba—a woman he saw bathing on a rooftop. God was not happy about David’s lust or with his decision to have Bathsheba’s husband killed so he could hide his sin.

It is illogical to read homosexuality into the story of David and Jonathan because neither Jewish nor early Christian tradition ever endorses sex outside the bounds of heterosexual marriage. If you read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, you will never see a depiction of a gay relationship, ever. Nor will you see homosexuality affirmed. You cannot get around the fact that the Bible says gay sex is flat-out wrong.

But that doesn’t mean people won’t try to change the meaning of Scripture. “Theologians” from both Catholic and Protestant backgrounds have written books claiming that various Bible characters were gay. They have suggested that Ruth and Naomi were lesbian lovers; that the Roman centurion in Matthew 8 had a gay relationship with his servant; and that the disciple John had a homoerotic relationship with Jesus.

Gay-affirming theologians also have pounced on the story of David and Jonathan. They point to David’s words in 2 Samuel 1:26 when he eulogized Jonathan and Saul: “I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; you have been very pleasant to me. Your love to me was more wonderful than the love of women” (NASB).

So how do we interpret this verse? We need to keep these points in mind:

1. Old Testament morality has not changed. Our culture today is redefining sexuality. We’ve made killing babies a right, we celebrate fornication and we’re on a mad dash to legitimize gay marriage. But with all the bending, twisting and legal redefining, we cannot change what was written in the Bible thousands of years ago. It’s silly to make the Bible imply something it never said. And it’s laughable to suggest that David, the author of many of the psalms—and the biblical figure who best represents a true worshipper of the one true God—would be recast as being in a gay relationship.

Conservative Jews in our country agree. The Rabbinical Council of America (RCA), the nation’s largest body of Orthodox Jews, recently reaffirmed their commitment to Old Testament morality. The RCA recently stated, “The Torah and Jewish tradition, in the clearest of terms, prohibit the practice of homosexuality. Same-sex unions are against both the letter and the spirit of Jewish law, which sanctions only the union of a man and a woman in matrimony.” Jewish priests in the time of David and Jonathan held the same view.

2. David and Jonathan had a model friendship. Scripture says Jonathan loved David “as himself” (1 Sam. 18:3). Jonathan’s love was selfless and heroic. Even though he was in line to be the next king of Israel, he recognized David would step into that role—and Jonathan not only celebrated his friend as the rightful king but also protected him from his father’s spear-throwing tantrums.

Jonathan’s love was not lust. It was the ultimate in sacrifice. He laid down his rights so his friend could be promoted. He opposed his father’s self-willed ambition and instead affirmed that David should be the true king. Jonathan showed us all how to be a true friend. David’s comment that his friend’s love was “more wonderful than the love of women” was not sexual; he was praising Jonathan’s loyalty and brotherly devotion.

3. We should encourage healthy male friendships instead of sexualizing them. In our fatherless culture, men are starved for affirmation and encouragement. God wired men to need close friends, but few of us are willing to build those kinds of relationships because of insecurity, inferiority or pride. Many guys are lonely, isolated and afraid to admit they need help. Some may even struggle with sexual confusion, yet they could find healing through a combination of the Holy Spirit’s power and healthy male bonding. The church today should do everything possible to encourage male friendships.

It is incredibly perverse—not to mention blasphemous—to suggest that anything sexual was going on between David and Jonathan. Yet I suspect that leaders in the gay-affirming church movement will continue to come up with more bizarre examples of Scripture-twisting in order to promote their agenda. We can’t allow them to hijack the purity of the gospel.


J. Lee Grady is the former editor of Charisma and the director of the Mordecai Project (themordecaiproject.org). You can follow him on Twitter at @leegrady. He is the author of The Holy Spirit Is Not for Sale and other books.

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August 1, 2009

Toxic Faith – A Religious Spirit

Those of you who are RSS readers will need to either visit the blog today, or click on the link below for text of today’s post (and yesterday’s for that matter).   J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma Magazine and one of my favorite columnists.   Here he addresses the issue of people who have “a religious spirit;” and eight warning signs if it might apply to you!

Lee Grady banner

To read the story at source, click here.

Grady part one
Grady part two

December 27, 2008

Has the Charismatic Bubble Burst?

Filed under: Christianity, Church, Religion, theology — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:19 pm

jleegrady_newThis post actually dates back to mid-November, but after reading it again, I wanted to share it with you. J. Lee Grady, editor of Charisma magazine shocked me when he said;

“Was it supposed to end like this? How did a movement that was at one time focused on winning people to Christ and introducing them to the power of the Holy Spirit end in such disgrace?”

For Charismatics*, 2008 wasn’t such a great year.   Go back to the beginning of the article here.

*Charismatics are distinct from Pentecostals, though many use the terms interchangeably.   In Australia, for example, members of  the non-mainline branch of Protestantism are called EPCs, short for Evangelicals, Pentecostals and Charismatics.   Pentecostals and Charismatics emphasize the power of the Holy Spirit and the supernatural gifts of the Spirit recorded in I. Corinthians.   Pentecostals trace their roots back to the early 20th century, while the Charismatic movement is more recent, dating back to the ’60s or ’70s.   In North America, the term Pentecostal is often reserved for those who are members of a Pentecostal denomination such as the Assemblies of God or the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada.

December 11, 2008

Top Christian Newsmakers of 2008: Charisma Magazine’s List

Once again, editor J. Lee Grady and Charisma magazine have chosen their top 12 newsmakers for the year.   Not surprisingly, there are a few names here that may not be recognized outside the charismatic world, but it makes an interesting springboard for discussion.   You can read the list in its original context here.  Here’s the short version with a few comments of my own on the top ten (but be sure to read the original, also):

1.  The Martyrs of India – Religious violence in this country shows no signs of slowing down.

2.  African American Pastors – Chosen for their pivotal role in the outcome of the U.S. election (again, the significance on a world scale is lost here, as with other instances where the American Christian media can’t see past its own border.)

3.  Sarah Palin – Possibly America’s first  political Pentecostal at the executive branch level raised some key issues, but also provided late night talk shows with lots of laughs.

4.  Alex and Stephen Kendrick – The filmakers from Sherwood Baptist Church responsible for this year’s Fireproof movie as well as Facing The Giants.   (A great film, but the credits tell the film’s own story which is just as interesting.)

5.  William P. Young – The author of The Shack caused many heated discussions right here on the internet, and a million other places, too.  Probably got more people thinking theologically who had never done so much before.   But remember folks, it’s fiction.   Fiction.   Fiction.

6.  Bob Fu – Outspoken critic of China’s human rights abuses who Lee Grady says was a “voice in the wilderness” during all the Olympic glitz; Fu met with U.S. president Bush before the games began.

7.  Jim Garlow – California minister behind that state’s Proposition 8; injecting a traditional definition of marriage into the state consitution.   Google the phrase “Prop 8” to see how huge this issue was and is.

8.  Irene Gleeson – Didn’t know this story, though presumably Charisma readers did.   An Australian grandmother who started a school for orphans in northern Uganda which became the basis for a movie, Cinderella’s Children.

9.  Doug Stringer – His organization, Somebody Cares, played a key role after Hurricane Katrina and again this year after Hurricane Ike.

10.  Joe Stockstill – Youth evangelist sees about 100 kids come to Christ each week through a cell-based ministry.

So now then, what do you think of the list; the placement on the list; and who do you think ought to have been added??

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