SLO High School teacher Michael Stack’s letter to Expressions commits two common but grave errors in interpreting the apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans. First, Stack’s reference to The New Living Translation is a bad translation. A faithful translation of Romans 1:26 says, “For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature.” This passage does not mention lesbian relations. Indeed, for hundreds of years, church fathers such as Augustine and Clement of Alexandria interpreted the passage as referring to anal intercourse with the opposite sex.
Second, Stack ends his quotation before the end of Romans 1, but the apostle Paul clearly intended his argument to extend into Romans 2. The first word of Romans 2 is “Therefore,” which demonstrates that Romans 2 finishes Paul’s setup in Romans 1. An intelligent reading indicates that Paul’s whole point is that we readers are the guilty ones for judging others: “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges.”
It is high time for Christians to heed the calls of the apostle Paul as well as Jesus himself: “Judge not, that you be not judged.” The good news of the Gospel is that God loves every single person unconditionally. It is sad to say but until Christians themselves get this memo, we are going to continue to hear them espouse anti-Christian rhetoric in the name of the one who died to set us free from it.
-- Todd R. Long, Ph.D. - Arroyo Grande