I made a couple of comments in the com-boxes:
Excellent article. Definitely needed and thorough. Unfortunately, 20 pages of in-depth analysis like yours will not be analyzed in the sound bite media and “yes or no” questioning of modern journalism.
The problem seems to me that the majority of our western culture, regular man on the street, and secular non-Christians, journalists, politicians, etc. do not consider any kind of thoughts, desires, fantasies, imaginations as sinful. We hear people say all the time, “nothing wrong with looking, as long as we don’t touch”, and phrases like “eye candy”, etc.
This kind of thinking goes against the Biblical analysis of the heart of human beings and the roots of sin – Genesis 6:5, Matthew 5:21-30; Mark 7:20-23; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 7:14-8:13; Colossians 3:5-10.
One thing I disagreed with though, is that you seemed to tie all the temptations of Jesus to His temptations in the sufferings and crucifixion (garden to cross ?) (page 103 – Hebrews 4:15 seen in the light of Hebrews 2:18, seems to overlook the 3 types of temptation in Matthew 4 and Luke 4. ) I agree that Jesus’ temptations did not include every single individual type of temptation that humans experience, but I do think that “tempted in every way” includes the 3 categories of temptations in Matthew 4 and Luke 4 – of “lust of the flesh” (food, sex, sleep, etc. – “turn the stones to bread”; 2. Lust of the eyes” – “I will give you all these kingdoms if You bow down to me” and 3. “the boastful pride of life” – “throw Yourself off the temple edge”, etc. (from Luke 4 and Matthew 4, and I John 2:15-16 and parallel with the temptation to Eve in Genesis 3 – “the fruit was good for food” (lust of flesh), “pleasing to the eyes”, and “could make one wise like God” (pride).
Your analysis of “orientation” and “temptation” and desire and the Greek term epithumia was excellent and the whole discussion of the teleological aspect of when desires are sinful – the purpose and object of the desire as the key to determining the sinfulness of the desire.
Your analysis of James 1:13-14 with Matthew 5:28 is especially helpful.
The evidence of Augustine’s earlier thought on concupiscence and lust/desire vs. his later musings was helpful – I did not know that. Thank you for digging that out for us.I also linked to Denny Burk's article at my other blog, Apologetics and Agape, along with the above article about Camille Paglia and also Dr. Michael Kruger's article "What the Media is not telling you in the Judicial arguments in the same sex marriage case."
On page 104 – The discussion of the fact that it is more intense of a temptation to not give in to it – and the quote from Leon Morris was very good and needs to be emphasized. (and was very convicting, when thought about my own temptations and giving in to them.)
“This points us to the glorious irony of Jesus’ sinless nature. It did not lessen his experience of temptation but only intensified it.” (page 104)
Wow! This needs to be emphasized and preached on and talked about a lot more.
This should stir all of us to consider more deeply our sinful hearts in our gluttony, anger, greed, and heterosexual lust and need for deeper internal repentance.
These other two statements stood out to me:
“Temptation had no landing pad in Jesus’ heart nor did it have a launching pad from Jesus’ heart.” (page 105)
“This aspect of Jesus’ impeccability ought to invoke worship when we really think about it.” (page 107)
The discussion of not using “orientation” was needed also. We should call it “people who experience same sex attractions and temptations” and Christians who struggle with them.
Another thing that is missing is that some Lesbians have admitted that their Lesbianism was a choice based on other up-bringing and environmental factors and responses and her feisty nature and rebellion and challenge to traditional ideas of being a girl and a lady. Camille Paglia made that point very clear on one of Dennis Prager’s radio shows. see below:
These two articles also deserve separate future blog posts.