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What is a “clobber verse” or a “clobber passage”?

clobber verse, clobber passage

Progressives, both religious and non-religious, accuse conservative Christians of misusing certain verses in the Bible to attack homosexuals and others in the LGBTIQA+ community. These “clobber verses” or “clobber passages,” wrested from their context, make people feel beaten down, abused, and, well, “clobbered” over their sexual inclinations and behaviors. The following are often identified by the homosexual community as “clobber passages”:

1. Genesis 19:4–25 — (the account of Sodom and Gomorrah)

2. Leviticus 18:22 — “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination” (ESV).

3. Leviticus 20:13 — “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them” (ESV).

4. Romans 1:26–27 — “God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error” (ESV).

5. 1 Corinthians 6:9–11 — “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God” (ESV).

6. 1 Timothy 1:9–10 — “The law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine” (ESV).

Progressive Christians and pro-gay advocates argue that focusing solely on these so-called clobber passages overlooks the broader biblical message on sexuality, specifically homosexuality. They attempt to reframe the passages, suggesting that a deeper exploration reveals an inclusive and affirming stance toward gays and lesbians. Their goal is simply to move past the “clobber passages.”

It is true that Christians have been guilty of using Scripture in an uncharitable manner at times, but Scripture is still the Word of God, including the so-called clobber passages. People may use the six passages above to “clobber” someone, but the words themselves are inspired by God. Paul says, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17, ESV). We cannot dismiss any part of Scripture simply because some Christians are less than gracious in their handling of it.

It’s also true that Scripture says more about sex and sexuality than what is contained in the “clobber passages.” What we find, however, is that other passages fully support the Christian ethic that sex should only occur within male-female marital unions. For example, Genesis 1:27–28 says, “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (ESV). And Genesis 2:24 says, “A man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (ESV). It is clear from both passages that God creates males (men) and females (women) to become one flesh. It is no surprise, then, that Jesus quotes both passages in His teaching on marriage in Matthew 19:4–6.

Based on what the Bible clearly says, we believe that sex should be between one man and one woman within the confines of marriage. At the same time, Christians should always extend love, grace, and kindness to everyone. In doing so, we become “like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people” (Philippians 2:15, ESV).

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This page last updated: April 23, 2024