Wednesday

Tying knots

I'm posting again to address an issue I don't think I've dealt with in any length on this blog.
Scripture on marriage and how supposedly they only allow a relationship within that paradigm. I'm amazed people are now trying to pull this sham that there are Scriptures that are against homosexuality outside of the 'clobber passages,' like we somehow missed them the first time.


I've posted about the Biblical emphases on celibacy over marriage and of Christ even down playing the family unit (Matthew 12:46-50) as a focus.* For Christians to choose an ever evolving institution called 'marriage' (at one time constituting polygyny and later for the purpose of carrying over bloodlines and later than that for the sole purpose of securing social contracts for land and power) from the Old Testament admonition to "Be fruitful and multiply" (since been replaced with "Seek the Kingdom first") over living and breathing human beings cannot be justified Biblically.

One Scripture is repeatedly brought up as an argument for the "God only acknowledges a relationship within straight marriage." It's in Matthew 19:4-6:

"Haven’t you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female, and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh?' So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."

The context this was put in was the issue of divorce between a man and a woman being brought up to Jesus (you have to wonder if Christ would of even bothered to talk about marriage if it wasn't brought up to Him first?). Christ is talking about a spiritual dynamic of two beings coming together with the first beings being Adam and Eve in the garden. To say this is to mean anything else is making a completely new prohibition from the silence of Christ. It's dangerous to do eisegesis with reading between the lines of Scripture because you can just about make the Bible say anything.

We next go to verse 8:

"Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning.  I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

Now THIS is groundbreaking. Jesus is stating the Laws of God were fudged for the sake of man and how some rules were only meant to be kept in a specified time frame. Jesus is putting something (easy divorce) in the context of what was only for a specific time (days of Moses) for a specific reason (man's hard heart) and saying it no longer applies.** 

As if Christ ANTICIPATED His bringing up the first couple of Adam and Eve would be used against same-sex unions, you go further down in the same chapter to verse 11 and Christ says:

"Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given."

Christ right here is saying the Garden of Eden pairing of man and woman is not a Universal rule applicable to everyone because Christ is leaving it up to the listener on if it applies to them or not.

Jesus then goes to clarify who this rule of marriage and divorce doesn't apply to in the following verse 12, the 3 types of "eunuchs" (I've already covered the ground 'born' eunuchs fit the definition of a gay man HERE and the backing of that interpretation from one of the world's foremost anti-gay Bible scholar HERE).

Jesus ends the whole dialogue with saying:

"The one who can accept this should accept it."

In other words Jesus is saying that if you follow the Biblical role of marriage for yourself, you'll have to follow what I have to say on it's divorce and the rest who this doesn't apply to will take the rest of what I have to say.

Now, I'll play the Devil's advocate and approach this from the view a relationship can only be within "marriage."

There is no specified ceremony or guidelines of what can be considered marriage in the eyes of God. If two people come together to consecrate their relationship before God, even if it were just between the two of them alone, nothing, at least not Biblically, cannot call that a marriage. Some insist marriage will have to be done within a church body or clergy to be recognized by God, but individual churches within almost every denomination and both liberal and conservative synagogues have by majority vote allowed gay marriages within themselves and the Bible states that Heaven will acknowledge that decision with it being loosed on Earth (Matthew 18:18). The only other argument is if the marriage is against the law of the land because God will not accept a marriage if it's against the law, laws God said we are to obey because it's God who put those law makers in power to make those laws, but now that gay marriage is happening in state after state even as I type this, no other arguments exist.

Two points of debate have been brought up to me. One says; "Jesus was talking only about divorce and for you to imply Jesus would be breaking away from the old prohibitions of homosexuality is you reading into the text," but the only reason why we know how Jesus felt about Old Testament divorce was because it was brought up to Him first by the Pharisees to trap Him, it was not something he divulged freely in either a sermon or to His Disciples. We don't know how Christ saw homosexuality because it was never brought up to Him. It's not to say it wasn't brought up to Him because the Bible says not everything Christ said or did was written down (John 21:25), but we just don't have an account of it. We DO know how Jesus felt about the Sodom story and it has nothing to do with homosexuality. Jesus talking about Sodom would have given Him the perfect opportunity to condemn homosexuality, if in fact the ancients believed the city was destroyed because of homosexuality. but He doesn't say a word on it or when He came across the same-sex practicing Centurion.

The second point, made by theologians, is this Scripture shows Jesus being more restrictive with and narrowing down the Old Testament Laws and Jesus would have felt just as strongly if not stronger about the Jewish prohibitions against homosexuality. If you look at this through the lens of Jesus keeping old laws, you'll come to that conclusion, but from Leviticus 19:18 to Jesus and then to Paul, we are to see everything through the narrow lens of "Loving your neighbor as yourself." If you approach the Matthew 19 passage this way, you will see that divorce is only permissible if the woman commits sexual immorality because it's her first breaking the command of "loving her neighbor (husband, mate, fellow human being) as herself." Now since a man loving another man does not constitute breaking "Loving your neighbor as yourself," We can't say Jesus would have fallen in line with the prohibitive view on homosexuality held by the Scribes and the Pharisees who only saw the world through the eyes of keeping old laws.


The folks over at comereason.org bring up this point:

"Because marriage is a covenant to be entered freely by two individuals, is must be witnessed by at least two or three people. This idea is confirmed in Matthew 18:16, where Jesus quotes Leviticus, "Out of the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed. 

Ruth 4:9-12 shows this applies specifically to marriage when Boaz seeks out witnesses to secure his right to marry Ruth, the Moabitess. There, the witnesses even pronounce a marriage blessing on them."


But let's look at the Scriptures they bring up. Matthew 18:16 is talking about when a fellow believer in the church is accused of committing a sin he won't admit to. Jesus says; "Out of the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact (of his sinning) may be confirmed." Marriage has absolutely nothing to do with this Scripture.

Ruth 4:9-12, in context, shows a financial transaction and not a marriage transaction. Boaz bought land and Ruth was thrown in with the deal.



Another issue that was brought up was when a Pastor (though he saw the Bible as condemning homosexuality, believed the church should be called out for it's less than charitable treatment of homosexuals) was asked the question; "Can a Christian attend a gay wedding?" His answer was no. He saw it as a type of condoning the relationship and the Christian should, in a loving way, give their faith as a reason. I see it differently (Now I'm saying this from the perspective of an anti-gay Christian because only an anti-gay Christian would ask this question) and this is my answer:

Any decisions or choices we make as a believer should go through the test of "Loving your neighbor as yourself." Now the question is asked; "Would I want someone I love to attend my wedding even though they might not approve of the union?" The answer is yes if you really followed the edict of "Loving your neighbor as yourself." Doing into another that you would want have done to you.  Weddings are attended all the time by people who might not necessarily approve of the person the loved one is marrying, that shouldn't change because it's a homosexual union and the fact you are playing a part in their joy is a Christ-like testimony they won't soon forget and will be the greater witness than anything you could say on homosexuality.



*Even though the term "Family Values" was a term from the late 20'th Century, it only became a rallying cry against homosexuality in the 80's with Jerry Falwell's "Moral Majority." It was a smokescreen to make it sound like Christians are on the defensive with the myth homosexuals somehow hate and want to destroy good, straight, marriages and good, Christian, families. 

**Adherents to the believe that we are to keep Old Testament prohibition "Moral" Laws and it's only the "Ceremonial" Laws we are no longer to keep fly's in the face of what Jesus is saying here. The Bible makes no such distinction within itself with moral or ceremonial laws and it's not how the ancient Jews divided their laws (Remember that even though breaking the Sabbath is considered a 'ceremonial law' to Christians today, it was still a law that required the death penalty because of it's importance, Numbers 15:32-36).