40 answers for Kevin DeYoung

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Dear Kevin,

I read your “40 questions for Christians now waving rainbow flags” with interest.

You described these questions as “sincere, if pointed.” I took this to mean you were open to response. So respond I have.

As much as possible, I’ve tried to follow your lead—offering what I hope are sincere, if occasionally pointed, replies.

A few of your questions seemed redundant (e.g. #2 and #3, #29 and #30). For the sake of not making an already long post even longer, I did not bother to repeat my answers in such cases. I can see how, for you, each question may have had its own nuance, but I felt the same answers applied, at least broadly speaking.

One last point before diving in… I think I speak for a lot of us when I say that what we’re cheering for is most certainly not “the sexual revolution,” if by that you mean an “anything goes” approach to sexual expression, which is what people usually mean by the term. I believe our sexual ethic should be shaped by Scripture, even if you and I have a different understanding of what that looks like in practice.

All right. Onto the questions…

1. How long have you believed that gay marriage is something to be celebrated?

I’ve been wrestling with the relevant questions and issues for the last 4-6 years.

2. What Bible verses led you to change your mind?

Well, given that “verses” are an artificial construct imposed on the Bible in the 16th century… none.

For me, it started with a friend who came out on Facebook. Then I reconnected with a relative who’s gay. I happen to think they were the best possible reasons to reassess my views. They drove me back to the text—not to see how many proof texts I could amass on one side or the other, but to see whether I could discern a broader ethic or principle, showing how God wants us to relate to his LGBTQ image bearers.

(For what it’s worth, I did revisit some of the popular proof texts, as well.)

3. How would you make a positive case from Scripture that sexual activity between two persons of the same sex is a blessing to be celebrated?

“It is not good that the man should be alone” may not only be true if you’re straight.

“Better to marry than to burn” may not only true if you’re straight.

But mostly, I would say this:

Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

(Here’s more on how I see “love your neighbor” as the Bible’s sexual ethic.)

4. What verses would you use to show that a marriage between two persons of the same sex can adequately depict Christ and the church?

The same verses you would use to show that marriage between two opposite-gendered persons can adequately depict Christ and the church. (I’m pretty sure gender is not the main point of Paul’s analogy, since the church is not literally, anatomically female.)

5. Do you think Jesus would have been okay with homosexual behavior between consenting adults in a committed relationship?

I don’t think most first-century Jewish rabbis ever had the opportunity to imagine such a thing, much less decide how they felt about it. That’s not a category into which homosexual behavior typically fell back in the first century. But if Jesus had been incarnated into our world today, I think he may well have been okay with it…or at least, almost definitely not as bothered by it as some of his followers are.

6. If so, why did he reassert the Genesis definition of marriage as being one man and one woman?

Why do you use a passage in which Jesus is clearly talking about divorce to make a point about homosexuality? Context.

7. When Jesus spoke against porneia what sins do you think he was forbidding?

In light of his audience and the examples he specifically mentioned—namely, a man and a woman divorcing on grounds of porneia, women serving as pornai (prostitutes)—I think he was most likely addressing illicit forms of heterosexual sex.

8. If some homosexual behavior is acceptable, how do you understand the sinful “exchange” Paul highlights in Romans 1?

As part of a rhetorical device Paul used to convince his fellow Jews they were just as guilty as Gentiles before God.

9. Do you believe that passages like 1 Corinthians 6:9 and Revelation 21:8 teach that sexual immorality can keep you out of heaven?

Yup! As long as we understand “sexual immorality” (porneia) correctly. (See #7 above.) And as long as by “heaven” you mean the renewed creation.

10. What sexual sins do you think they were referring to?

In the case of Revelation 21:8, the key word is pornois (a variant of porneia). Refer to #7 above.

As you know, 1 Corinthians 6:9 uses a relatively obscure term, arsenokoitai (literally “man bedders”), the precise meaning of which has been lost to history. But given where it shows up in other “vice lists” from the early church era, it probably referred to some form of “economic exploitation by means of sex.”

William Stacy Johnson suggests it’s a reference “the hedonistic homoerotic practices that were widespread in the Roman Empire” and “were almost always performed by social superiors on social inferiors.” In which case, I’m not sure 1 Corinthians 6 is applicable to two people of the same gender in a covenantal relationship characterized by mutual affection and equality.

On the other hand, the fifth-century saint John the Faster thought arsenokoitai referred to heterosexual anal sex. So there’s always that option.

Are we really going to hinge such an important question on the meaning of one obscure, notoriously hard-to-translate word?

11. As you think about the long history of the church and the near universal disapproval of same-sex sexual activity, what do you think you understand about the Bible that Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, and Luther failed to grasp?

Augustine failed to grasp that sex is basically a good thing, that it’s a gift from God to his creation.

Luther failed to grasp that Jews and peasants are people too, and ought to be treated with respect.

Pretty much all of them failed to grasp that slavery is bad. So what exactly is your point? Just because a belief—one which, we should note, is not contained in any ecumenical creed or confession—has long been held by the church doesn’t mean it gets a free pass.

No, we shouldn’t be too quick to dismiss something Christians have thought to be true for centuries, especially when it comes to core tenets of orthodoxy—one of which this is decidedly not. But neither should we act as if our predecessors were infallible. It’s the task of each generation to discern how best to embody God’s intended reality in our world, knowing we will always do so imperfectly.

12. What arguments would you use to explain to Christians in Africa, Asia, and South America that their understanding of homosexuality is biblically incorrect and your new understanding of homosexuality is not culturally conditioned?

You seem to be suggesting that it’s imperialistic for us to commend the affirming view to our sisters and brothers in the majority world. Question: did this aversion to imperialism stop your fellow evangelicals from promoting anti-gay legislation in places like Uganda—legislation that exposes lesbian and gay Africans to harassment, imprisonment, and in some cases death?

Have you considered how imperialism tainted early missionary efforts in the majority world, the introduction of the Bible there, and how people were taught (primarily by white Westerners like you and me) to interpret it in the first place?

13. Do you think Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were motivated by personal animus and bigotry when they, for almost all of their lives, defined marriage as a covenant relationship between one man and one woman?

No. But I don’t think most people who hold the traditional view are motivated by “personal animus and bigotry” either. Just because someone opposes same-sex marriage does not mean they’re a bigot.

At the same time, just because you’re not a bigot doesn’t mean you don’t have room to become more loving. We all need to grow in our compassion and understanding.

14. Do you think children do best with a mother and a father?

What if one of them is abusive? Are you suggesting that’s better than two gay dads who provide a loving, safe environment and don’t abuse kids?

15. If not, what research would you point to in support of that conclusion?

“There is no evidence that the development of children with lesbian and gay parents is compromised in any significant respect relative to that among children of heterosexual parents in otherwise comparable circumstances.”
–Patterson, “Children of Lesbian and Gay Parents,” Child Development, 1992

“Children raised by lesbian women do not experience adverse outcomes compared with other children.”
–Anderson, Amlie & Ytterøy; “Outcomes for Children With Lesbian or Gay Parents: A Review of Studies From 1978 to 2000,” Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 2002

“Extensive data available from more than 30 years of research reveal that children raised by gay and lesbian parents have demonstrated resilience with regard to social, psychological, and sexual health despite economic and legal disparities and social stigma.”
–Perrin & Siegel, “Promoting the Well-Being of Children Whose Parents are Gay or Lesbian,” American Academy of Pediatrics, 2013.

16. If yes, does the church or the state have any role to play in promoting or privileging the arrangement that puts children with a mom and a dad?

In my opinion, the state does have an interest in prioritizing the placement of children in households with two parents—though there are also loads of single parents who are wonderfully qualified to adopt. As I’ve indicated in my responses to #14 and #15, I’m not nearly as convinced as you are that gender is the critical factor here.

Churches, on the other hand, have every right to advocate for whatever arrangement they find most compatible with their understanding of Scripture. If we’re talking about faith-based adoption agencies that receive federal funding, then the answer is a bit more complicated. (And I won’t pretend to know what it is.)

17. Does the end and purpose of marriage point to something more than an adult’s emotional and sexual fulfillment?

Sure. Marriage is a stabilizing force in families and communities.

Marriage can also be a powerful tool for regulating sexual activity—providing an appropriate context for healthy sexual expression and discouraging harmful sexual activity—e.g. limiting (one hopes!) the number of sexual partners someone has and thereby reducing the transmission of disease.

Some of us just don’t see how these ends and purposes have anything to do with the gender of the participants.

18. How would you define marriage?

Depends if we’re talking civil or sacramental marriage.

Civil: a state-sanctioned union of two people in which they share a common household (finances, property, etc.).

Sacramental: a divinely sanctioned union of two people in which they covenant to love each other exclusively, serve one another, nurture one another (socially, emotionally, spiritually, and physically); and form a family with one another (which may or may not include children).

19. Do you think close family members should be allowed to get married?

No, gross. The negative effects of inbreeding are well documented.

20. Should marriage be limited to only two people?

Yup. As Jon Stewart said, nobody is born a polygamist.

Besides, if anything opens the door to polygamy, it’s patriarchy, not homosexuality.

21. On what basis, if any, would you prevent consenting adults of any relation and of any number from getting married?

On the basis of responsible legislation which excludes inbreeding and polygamy (as well as marrying your pet goat) from the legal definition of marriage.

22. Should there be an age requirement in this country for obtaining a marriage license?

Of course. Marriage still requires consent from both parties. Kids cannot consent to being married—or be held to just about any legal contract, for that matter.

23. Does equality entail that anyone wanting to be married should be able to have any meaningful relationship defined as marriage?

Well, my 4-year-old might think so, given how many times she’s asked to “marry” me. But most reasonably intelligent adults understand this is not the case.

24. If not, why not?

Because same-sex marriage is about one previously excluded class of people being given access to the institution; it does not fundamentally alter the nature of that institution. Marriage is still at its core two people uniting in an intimate relationship and forming a common household. The idea that gays getting married somehow renders the institution meaningless is silly.

25. Should your brothers and sisters in Christ who disagree with homosexual practice be allowed to exercise their religious beliefs without fear of punishment, retribution, or coercion?

Yes, absolutely. The Supreme Court was weighing in on the fourteenth amendment, not the first.

Caveat: please don’t mistake public disagreement for persecution. Christians who oppose same-sex marriage have the right to not be persecuted for their beliefs. None of us have the right to not be criticized.

26. Will you speak up for your fellow Christians when their jobs, their accreditation, their reputation, and their freedoms are threatened because of this issue?

Yes, if there is genuine persecution or discrimination taking place.

For example, if Coca-Cola fires someone because they signed a petition supporting traditional marriage, I would strongly object. If they fired someone for relentlessly badgering their LGBTQ coworkers, not so much.

On accreditation… I don’t wish to see Christian schools punished for maintaining a traditional evangelical view on homosexuality. But please bear in mind that accrediting agencies are private organizations. They have the right to set their own criteria. If they choose to rescind a school’s accreditation over its policies on homosexuality, it’s not necessarily valid to play the “government persecution” card.

Related question: if a wedding photographer has the right to refuse to serve a gay couple, shouldn’t a private accreditation agency have the right to refuse to serve a college it considers anti-gay?

27. Will you speak out against shaming and bullying of all kinds, whether against gays and lesbians or against Evangelicals and Catholics?

Bullying is bad, period.

But are you really going to equate the bullying of evangelicals and Catholics with the bullying of gays and lesbians? Especially when 40% of the homeless youth population is LGBT? Especially when LGBT youth are 4-6 times more likely to attempt suicide?

Who’s the bigger bully here?

28. Since the evangelical church has often failed to take unbiblical divorces and other sexual sins seriously, what steps will you take to ensure that gay marriages are healthy and accord with Scriptural principles?

I hope churches that marry same-sex couples will offer premarital counseling beforehand, mentorship opportunities with older married couples, counseling for those in struggling marriages, etc. In other words, pretty much the same kind of support they offer to heterosexual couples.

To your point, perhaps this is an opportunity for all of us to commit ourselves to strengthening marriage.

29. Should gay couples in open relationships be subject to church discipline?

LGBTQ members of the church should be held to the same standard of sexual ethics (fidelity within marriage) as heterosexual members.

30. Is it a sin for LGBT persons to engage in sexual activity outside of marriage?

See #29.

31. What will open and affirming churches do to speak prophetically against divorce, fornication, pornography, and adultery wherever they are found?

Preach and teach God’s Word as they always have. (They’re not all Bible-burning liberal apostates.)

32. If “love wins,” how would you define love?

I would define love as an active, robust commitment to the flourishing of others—a reflection of God’s commitment to our own flourishing.

Also, as all that’s necessary for the fulfillment of the law (see Paul in Romans 13)

33. What verses would you use to establish that definition?

Probably the same ones that you would… 1 Corinthians 13, Romans 13, etc.

34. How should obedience to God’s commands shape our understanding of love?

Love is obedience to God’s command, according to both Jesus and Paul. If you love God and love (i.e. seek the good of) your neighbor, you are obeying God.

35. Do you believe it is possible to love someone and disagree with important decisions they make?

Yes. We do it all the time. (Albeit badly.)

36. If supporting gay marriage is a change for you, has anything else changed in your understanding of faith?

Sure. Once I changed from being an Arminian to a Calvinist, but it didn’t stick.

As much as you might want to uncover signs of a slippery slope, the truth is, everyone’s understanding of faith changes over time—or at least it should.

Or are we so bold to assume we have everything figured out already?

37. As an evangelical, how has your support for gay marriage helped you become more passionate about traditional evangelical distinctives like a focus on being born again, the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ on the cross, the total trustworthiness of the Bible, and the urgent need to evangelize the lost?

It hasn’t.

My passion for the historic orthodox faith—as expressed in the Nicene Creed, which I say every week without crossing my fingers—is unchanged by my perspective on gay marriage.

Well, perhaps that’s not entirely true. I hope I’m even more motivated to proclaim the good news of a God who loves everyone and wants everyone to know him.

38. What open and affirming churches would you point to where people are being converted to orthodox Christianity, sinners are being warned of judgment and called to repentance, and missionaries are being sent out to plant churches among unreached peoples?

There are plenty within my own tribe, the Episcopal Church, who are deeply committed to orthodoxy and evangelism. (Though we have room to grow, especially with respect to evangelism.)

At the same time, many of us would argue that making our churches more welcoming is an essential part of evangelism. Most gays and lesbians would never come and hear the gospel in your church, because they wouldn’t see it as a safe or welcoming space for them.

Removing barriers between people—barriers that shouldn’t be there in the first place—is an important step toward gospel proclamation. Not the only step, to be sure. In my context, our challenge is to make sure we take the next step after that. Your challenge is to take the first step.

39. Do you hope to be more committed to the church, more committed to Christ, and more committed to the Scriptures in the years ahead?

Yes, yes, and yes.

40. When Paul at the end of Romans 1 rebukes “those who practice such things” and those who “give approval to those who practice them,” what sins do you think he has in mind?

I think Paul had in mind the general sinful condition of all humanity, as demonstrated by his rhetorical turn in chapter 2.  Paul’s point in Romans 1-2 was that we are all guilty of idolatry (worshiping the creature instead of the Creator). Morgan Guyton observes that the vice list in chapter 1 was “intended to elicit disgust” from Paul’s Jewish audience, just before he dropped the rhetorical boom (“You, therefore, have no excuse…”).

Paul also said the people he’s referring to were “filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.” So, as Morgan notes, when you encounter gay Christians who clearly don’t rise to this level of depravity, you have to ask whether “same-sex marriage is evil” is really the point Paul is trying to make here.

—//—

Food for thought, I hope. I don’t expect anything I’ve written will change your mind. But I hope you’ll reconsider your assumption that those of us who see things differently than you are “swallowing everything the world and Facebook put on our plate.” Many of us have wrestled with, thought about, and, yes, prayed over these issues for a long time—especially those among us who are LGBTQ, for whom this is so much more than an “issue.” I hope, out of respect for them, these questions will become a conversation-starter instead of a discussion-killer.

—//—

Finally, some other responses that are well worth reading:

Image: Kevin Wong on Flickr / CC BY 2.0

263 thoughts on “40 answers for Kevin DeYoung

  1. As an additional thought….There is no acceptable “third way” on this issue. Either the traditional teaching on sexual ethics is accurate and faithful and therefore the Biblical responsibility is to call people to repentance who are acting outside of those prescriptions, or, the traditional teaching on sexual ethics is destructive and unjustly shame causing for the Churches sexual minorities and therefore those imposing such an unrighteous pain on others need to be called to repentance.

    And in both cases, the Biblical prescription for repentance/non-repentance is that if someone refuses to repent of their sin you can not fellowship with them AS IF they are a Believer. They MUST be treated as an unbeliever.

    To claim that we can make “room” for those who disagree on such a volatile and important issue is to muddy the waters on the Testimony of the Gospel. One viewpoint is correct, the other is sinful. The light cannot fellowship with the dark.

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    • Your use of big words and your religious rambling do not impress me. I will believe what I believe and you must believe what you believe…All I know is that I come from a very diverse Christian background and have read most of the arguments you have made in multiple commentaries…..I do not discern any of your ideas in the “red letter edition” of the New Testament. Jesus’s words are all that I study and try to live my life in accord with the concepts he has given me there…..

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  2. Perhaps this has been dealt with in previous comments. I can’t take the time to read all of them. My question is whether you have questioned your assumption that non-heterosexual inclinations are to be accepted as one’s given sexual identity, given the number of people who testify to their conversion to heterosexual inclinations. The media emphasizes the failure of conversion therapy, but there are plenty who testify otherwise, e.g., see ex-gaytruth.com. By accepting the assumption of alternative sexual identities, do you worry that you are discouraging the possibility of genuine change? Even if only for pragmatic reasons, viz., that it is much more difficult to live in the world (especially the Evangelical Christian world) as a non-heterosexual than a hetero, if real change IS possible, isn’t it worth pursuing? If you say that you envision a future time where non-heterosexual people are affirmed, just as people’s minds changed on slavery, is it realistic to think that this is ever going to happen given the significant exegetical differences between the two issues? It seems to me that you have to be certain that this is an unchangeable condition to advocate the attitude that you do. But if you’re wrong–and the exegetical and historical burden of proof is gigantic here–you end up becoming a genuine stumbling block to those who could achieve sexual wholeness. There is an enormous risk here in terms of knowing that you’re advocating God’s will. Are you so confident in your position to think that you along with those who share your view have discovered the will of God on such an important issue that millenia and billions of Christians have seen alternatively? Is it as or more likely that the current zeitgeist of our libertine culture has swayed you against this longstanding tradition? I’m not saying that it’s not possible, but it does strike me as at the least bold, if not pretentious to advance your view.

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    • Even though there are things I don’t agree with here, I read your comment with interest. Gave me a few things to think through. Thanks.

      Oh, also…the article you referenced…it would only show a preview. My biggest criticism is that the author was “Anonymous” which doesn’t really help with your argument, at least for me. If someone is that adament about homosexuality being bad for them and it is used to show that affirming LGBTQ commited relationships is wrong, I would need more than that. I am guessing others would, too. Also, because the article was shortened, it is unclear if the anonymous author was speaking of homosexual acts or commited relationships…or both.

      Just some initial thoughts. Thanks for the discourse.

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  3. The tragedy of this debate is the all too quickly accepted position that the biblical decree of the sinfullnes of homosexuality is inherantly “flexible” so that it can be reversed using the same methods used to condemn the alledged biblical support for atrocities across the ages such as anti-semitism or slavery. I have seen quite the opposite proven. The standard gay responses to the key text as well as the facile argument that the biblical authors do not *assume* the only sexual union outlined in Genesis and moving forward, has been academically refuted (I mention again the challenges put forth by Dr. James White, especially his responses concerning the alleged “vagueness” of *arsenokoitai* ).

    So, in response to #3 and #32-36, to speak of love in the context of a homosexual relationship is assuming what you have yet to prove: *that* kind of romantic bond is defined by its perversion of the created order and equal decrees of God. You are not loving another person when you are encouraging them in their rebellion against the created order. The main issue with the gay Christian movement is the refusal to admit that God was right and they were wrong when it comes to this issue of human sexuality and God’s right to determine what is right and wrong in it. So-called “gay Christians” have embraced these desires and decided that they are self-definitional. Christians fall into sin, but they do not then identify themselves by their sin. Christians identify themselves by their Savior from those sins. This is why this issue divides us.

    Surely, it must be heartbreaking to carry the cross of same sex attraction. But what about being heartbroken about the fact that you have allowed your lust and desires to determine your humanity? Rather than allowing your humanity by the grace of God to defeat your lusts and desires?

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  4. I am currently formulating a blog on the issue of the correct interpretation of Scripture. I have my own thoughts (which may be evident in the questions I am asking) but would value your insight and opinion.

    In Leviticus (and elsewhere) God gives commandments, instructions, regulations and decrees. Some of these are given specifically to the Jewish peoples (as His chosen people they were to perpetually remind themselves that they had been ‘set apart’) and some are evidently intended as commandments and instructions for all of humanity. Leviticus starts off with God proclaiming that when we recognize our sinful condition before God (repent?) and act in accordance with His statutes God says this is a ‘Special gift, a pleasing aroma to the LORD.’

    Leviticus 18:22 is a ‘seeming absolute’ (to me) that is not contradicted anywhere else in the Bible. “‘Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable/abomination/enormous sin/abhorrent [as expressed in various translations].” In 1 Samuel 15:29 we read, “He who is the Glory of Israel does not lie or change his mind; for he is not a human being, that he should change his mind.” and Jesus goes further to say, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.” Matthew 5:17-18. I am hoping I am using these latter quotes in their correct context. Yes, we live in an era of grace, but does this in any way change God’s opinion of the ‘abomination’ as He describes it? This is my first question.

    My second is, what do you think/believe are the roots of same-sex attraction? Obviously this makes no sense from an evolutionary viewpoint, the ‘experts’ seem to agree it is not in one’s DNA, and nowhere does the Bible suggest that it is of God’s design or intent (ref. Leviticus 18:22). I have yet to find any kind of answer to this question inside or outside of Scripture.

    Looking forward to your thoughts…

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    • Hi David, thanks for the questions. In another post a few years ago, I looked at what I think are the three main options for interpreting Leviticus 18:22 (one of them being the option you articulated in your comment). It’s by no means an exhaustive treatment (whole books can be written on this one passage—and no doubt have been!), but it may be helpful nonetheless: https://benirwin.me/2012/03/05/about-leviticus-18.

      One of the difficulties is that the language used in Leviticus 18:22 (abomination, defiling, detestable, etc) is used to describe other prohibited behaviors & conditions that we have no objections to anymore—eating unclean animals, cross-breeding animals, having a skin disease, etc. The fact that Leviticus 18:22 describes “a man lying with another man as with a woman” as a “detestable” act does not in itself settle anything.

      Jesus’ statement in Matthew 5 is highly relevant to the discussion. But I think it has to be read in light of his statement elsewhere that the entire law is summed up in just two commands: love God and love neighbor…which Paul goes on to say are the “fulfillment of the law.” How do we keep God’s law? By doing these two things. So the ultimate question we have to answer, in my opinion, is not, “How do we interpret Leviticus 18:22?” (though I agree that’s important) but, “What does it mean to love our LGBTQ neighbors?” and “What implications does ‘love your neighbor’ have for LGBTQ people and the relationships they have?”

      To your second question… we still have a lot to learn about what determine’s one’s sexual orientation. To my knowledge, no one “gay gene” has been identified, but that’s true of a lot of things we know to be innate. I believe there is some research indicating it might ave something to do with what hormones a fetus is exposed to in utero. Justin Lee has an excellent summary of the research on orientation in his book Torn.

      In any case, it should not be surprising to us that the Bible does not address the origins of sexual orientation. The Bible is not a scientific textbook, and we run into lots of problems if we try to read it as one. Nor is it an exhaustive reference-style manual addressing every topic of interest. It has a far more focused purpose than that: to reveal what God is doing to make the world new. For that reason, I’m not troubled that it doesn’t address sexual orientation.

      Thanks for engaging with my post!

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      • Hi Ben, I agree with you that many do not follow Levitical law to its letter. Neither do I. But that does not excuse me for breaking God’s Law. God calls active homosexuality detestable specifically (the only such instance in Leviticus) and all the entire list in which it appears, generally. That I may make clothing from a poly-cotton blend does not reduce the ‘detestability’ of this or any other act. I think the thing that brings active homosexuality to the fore(rather than poly-cotton blends) is that it is repeatedly refuted in Scripture.

        The second point I would agree with you on is that we are to love God and love our neighbour. I would expand on this though, using Jesus words, “If you love me you will obey my commands.” I think He left out the obvious by not adding “ALL OF THEM”. And loving my neighbour means being prepared to lay down my life for them and, where necessary, holding them to account.

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  5. I appreciate the thought that went into this response and I appreciate that the impetus is to carefully consider the position of those with whom we disagree, in a spirit of love. Clearly, the response differs depending on whether people with whom we disagree are calling themselves Christians or people who are agnostic, etc., in which case they do not seek to understand or follow what we learn from the Word of God. I have a problem when people start pulling apart the Bible and saying – well, we don’t do this nowadays so that means we can just pick and choose what we think God means based on the popular culture of the day. The Israelites did this in their day – and it led to their downfall. God takes righteousness and holiness very seriously and I am not helping someone to support them in living something that God will consider sin. Yes, I need to always look inward first and yes, I need to communicate with others in love and gentleness but speak the truth. No, I do not have righteous living down yet but I pray and humble myself before God and ask Him to show me those things that need correction and to help me do that. However, the loving thing is not always to just smile and agree because we don’t want to offend someone. I am deeply sorry that people who prefer those of their own sex have been horribly treated – I have spoken up for them quite often in the face of some of this. However, the God of the Bible is not just loving, merciful, forgiving and gracious but righteous, holy and just. God requires His people to be obedient to His laws and precepts – and some of them are hard. It might be something else for me but it might a physical attraction to those of the same sex for others. Neither is worse than the other, but we are both called to bring our weaknesses to God and let Him help us to overcome and live for Him until that day when He creates all things new and His people will be with Him forever – people who have made a personal decision to follow His ways because they trust Him. That is where faith comes in – when we don’t understand but have to trust that He is not trying to spoil our fun, as it were, but truly has our best interests in mind. If you tell me that parts of the Bible are not applicable to us today, then I recommend that you throw the whole thing out, because then it becomes nothing more than what each person decides it will be – and this is creating an idol – our own version of god. I hope that my words here do not come across as angry or judgmental – I meant them to merely show sincere concern. May God give us wisdom.

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  6. to all those who think that the bible in anyway supports gay marriage : Leviticus 18:21-22, Leviticus 20:13, Romans 1:27. your move internet.

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    • If by “your move” you mean actually doing the hard work of exegesis and interpretation, it’s already been done. By several people. You may not agree with their conclusions, but it’s naive to act as if quoting Bible reference numbers settles the debate.

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  7. Ben, my heart breaks for you and so many others who feel they are justified in shaping the Word of God into what they believe it should look like. I take you at your word that you have prayed on this. What I fear is that you had already made up your mind and were only seeking affirmation from God of your preconceived conclusions. The answers are clear from scripture if you read it plainly. No special revelation should be required. He said what He meant and it’s not for us to question Him. So then this becomes a problem of pride and rebellion if we refuse to submit to Him. For myself, I do not consider it loving to question God, nor to tell people what they want to hear instead of the truth because they prefer it that way. I sincerely love people because God loves them. The fact remains that God hates sin and He didn’t exempt any. You can twist the Latin or Greek all you want, but the meaning of the passages on homosexuality is clear. When people claim He “made” some people different, they are accusing Him of causing them to stumble. Whereas, He said that it would be better for someone to have never been born if they cause others to sin. So does He lie or is He evil in some way? No. He said in this life we would have temptation, but He will always provide a way out of it. He sent the Holy Spirit to be our Helper in overcoming. He will forgive us for ANY sin when we confess and repent and He’ll wash us clean. There is a difference between stumbling and making sin a way of life, and even being proud of it. The Bible says that God considers it trampling on the Jesus’ sacrifice on our behalf. It is so sad that people are so unfamiliar with the Bible that they will trust what someone else says (such as yourself), especially when they are being told what they wanted to hear, instead of reading it for themselves. I’ll include you in my prayers along with the great number of others who have embraced a lie. It will take humility for you to be corrected by God. If you insist, He will let you go your own way.

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    • Ben,

      I am sure you are used to phraseology such as what was used above to judge you personally. I just want to encourage you to continue on searching the Scriptures for yourself, which you clearly do, based on your background and years of experience.

      As for the above comment: read this section again from what you wrote.

      “It is so sad that people are so unfamiliar with the Bible that they will trust what someone else says (such as yourself), especially when they are being told what they wanted to hear, instead of reading it for themselves. I’ll include you in my prayers along with the great number of others who have embraced a lie. It will take humility for you to be corrected by God. If you insist, He will let you go your own way.”

      What you wrote here is highly assumptive without realizing how much you are actually saying what millions before you have said. Nothing new. It is presuming to know the heart of God when others don’t. I contend that you should read the words you wrote and apply them to yourself. It takes humility to be in Ben’s position and wrestle with these things, then write about them in a loving, Christian response.

      Have you truly grappled with scripture yourself, without listening to the lingo from others? Just looking at your words, it doesn’t appear that way, even though I know your heart was likely in the right place. I have heard almost verbatim what you wrote before in my own walk with Jesus, so who is hearing and sharing what others have said without reading it for themselves? From my angle, it appears that’s what you are doing.

      But, who am I to judge? I trust other Christians to wrestle with Scripture themselves without relying on others to do it for me. Clearly, Ben does, too.

      It would be humble for you to give some room for discussion, debate, and Scriptural study that may not agree with everything you have learned from others, or even read for yourself. You don’t have to end up agreeing with opposing views, and if anything, it will strengthen your own. Just…use the same measure that you have written here about others, for yourself.

      I believe it would also be good for you to focus on the true line in the sand when it comes to an individual’s salvation. Your statement reflects that Ben (and others who think like him) will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But…what is the requirement for Salvation?

      It all comes down to: who does Ben say that Jesus is? Please don’t lose sight of that line in the sand. Otherwise, you are claiming to speak for God on whether or not someone is saved. And THAT is a very bad position to be in.

      Leave room for disagreeing. But please don’t tell people in a comment that they don’t read Scripture but shallowly follow what others say and that God will “let them go” if they don’t change. That is a huge charge and I used to say the same things.

      Until I was forced to be humbled myself. Grace is much bigger than what you are showing in your comments.

      I will pray for you that your witness to others, about who Jesus says that he is and why he came to Earth in the flesh and died for our sins, is not harmed or keeps others from seeking Him. Because I have to say, if I were to present what you said to a non-believer, they wouldn’t want to know Him.

      Just out of curiousity, have you ever had a child or a spouse come out of the closet? While in the midst of serving the Flock in leadership? I have. Let me tell you, it is humbling and causes a person to evaluate words used to witness to others and admonish others. It causes a believer to grapple harder with God than at any other time in their lives. It allows for a larger understanding of God’s unconditional love than ever before.

      Be careful with your words. When representing Christ, none should be said lightly, especially when dolling out judgment about someone else’s salvation, including their personal walk with Jesus.

      P.S. After re-reading my words, I want you to know that while I was pointing out some stuff personally directed at you, I was not once in my heart feeling anger or animosity toward you. I hope you can read my words and know that I actually do care for you. Writing often loses inflection and verbal cues, so I wanted you to know that I care about how you feel. Hugs.

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      • I cannot tell you Ben how many times I have heard this old “I love you in the Lord, but…” statement from my radical Christian past…..It is a very ironic cliche for “it’s ok for me to blast you gently”…..The next step is “shunning”, the step I call Christians shooting their wounded……Radical religion has always been with us but I want to repeat that this response is an attempt to “make you come to your senses”…. My how I remember using that one….I loved your article, I thought it well written and very much compatible with my own Christian dogma in keeping with my walk with Jesus…..Satan is very much alive and working in the religions of today,,,,,I pray for you and hold you up to God for what you are trying to tell fellow believers about the doctrine of Love that Jesus so avidly expounded…..God Bless 

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  8. For anyone looking for a genuinely Biblical basis for welcoming LGBTQ people into the Church, this piece does so beautifully by paralleling the early church’s decision to accept non-circumcised gentiles into their community.

    The Spark Note version would be as follows: Gentiles want to follow Christ but they aren’t circumcised as the Law requires. There are specific verses requiring circumcision for male believers. There is no scriptural basis for allowing non-circumcised males to belong to the church. And yet, the early church decides to welcome in the Gentiles because they got to know the Gentiles and saw that they bore the fruits of the Holy Spirit. If this was a righteous way of deciding who to welcome into the church, this could be used with our LGBTQ brothers and sisters. Get to know them. If they bear the fruit of the Spirit, then allow them in.

    I still highly recommend reading the piece though; it’s phenomenal. http://www.iksynod.org/Resources/WhatDoesThisMean/Welcoming%20the%20Gentiles%20Acts%2015.pdf

    Anyways, thanks for these awesome answers, Ben! I wanted to write my own response, but you hit the nail on the head and answered many questions much better than I could have!

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    • Katie, the pit you have fallen into the pit of using a Scripture out of context to ‘invalidate’ other passages of Scripture. When the curtain of the temple was rent in two, circumcision (Jewish identity) went out the window – so to speak – Jews and Gentiles are ‘one’ in Christ. Not so with the Ten Commandments and other similar statutes. Jesus insists they remain in full force and effect until the end of time, notwithstanding the tempering of God’s judgement with grace.

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      • David…..”Fallen in the pit”…….your self-righteousness sickens me……examine why you are so angry and seek the Father on this issue…..I have never seen so many self-professed Christians so very ANGRY…..not at all a virtue of our Lord……

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  9. Thanks for well-researched answers. Much appreciated.

    Regarding persecution… I was just fired for writing about marriage equality online. I worked at a Christian organisation, and was aware they had a specific policy against homosexuality. Rather ironically, this means I just lost my job because of my beliefs.

    I understand the pressure Christians feel to make a stand against gay marriage – I remember feeling it myself. Eventually I realised that peer pressure is not always bad. Sometimes the majority is actually right – after all, the majority of people believe personal hygiene is important.

    But feeling social pressure to conform just isn’t the same thing as persecution. Homosexuals ARE persecuted, and as a Christian it is more important than ever to love, bless, accept and stand up for my gay brothers and sisters.

    Felicity Banks

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  10. I like the part where you claim that the Bible is open and affirming of people in gay relationships… the same Bible that openly condemns homosexual behavior and imposes the death penalty for participating in it. The same one that openly condemns you for your willingness to accept gay behavior as normal.

    But hey – as long as God is subject to your political beliefs, that’s all that matters, right?

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    • The annoyed elephant above sounds like he is referring to himself in the last statement….right?

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  11. Buy this man a beer.
    As a former missionary and child rape & rape by a “pillar of Christianity”survivor, I find that denouncing a group of people makes it easier to cover/rationalize one’s own sin. And it’s lazy. Didn’t Jesus command love and denounce judement? Loving folks who – in some or many ways – makes us uncomfortable, is hard. Really hard. We give ourselves a pass when we dismiss swaths of people for what we think they are than for who your Jesus declares them to be -worthy of three days on a cross and a quick trip to the deep recesses of despair. I’ve left the church because of this though I love folks in and around it. Thankfully, they love me, too. Thank you for stepping into the hard part of your faith-loving.

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    • ALLIELOUSCH…..Thank you for your post…..I can identify with many of your experiences and I also have left the radical organized church…..but I still believe myself a loving follower of Jesus…..I believe we are called by Jesus to love the “unlovable” as well as those easy to love……God Bless you in your journey……

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  12. So, because we divide the scripture into verses to make it easier to refer to particular passages, suddenly the whole Bible is irrelevant?
    Wow. So according to this reasoning, since the Constitution is divided into articles and sections, we don’t have to follow it! That explains a LOT about liberals.

    As to the “therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law” argument, you should be aware that the New Testament was written in Greek. Greek has six (6) words that translate to “love” in English.
    The word used in Romans 13:10 is “ἀγάπη” (agape) which is a generalized love which we should feel for any human who was created by God. It is most decidedly NOT a love that we should feel for a close friend or “lover” as we would call it in English. The words “φιλία” (filia) would be for close friends, such as soldiers on a battlefield. Another closely related word is “στοργή” (storge) which is the sort of love parents and children share.
    Not ONE of these words for love would fit a married relationship.
    Married couples whose love has matured have “πραγμα” (pragma) and possibly “ἔρως” (eros.) These words are not used in these sorts of Biblical passages. For a reason.

    Since you led off with such ignorance, and used that as a basis for your argument, I have not bothered to read any further.

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      • I must assume that the response was to the first part of my post.
        But since nothing else was addressed, I must reasonably assume that the response applies to the whole post.
        As to the first, the question was about Bible verses, and you gave the response about verses being applied in the 16th century, and then did not mention any verses or passages from the Bible, instead mentioning friends’ posts on facebook.
        The reasonable man assumes that because you complain about the Bible’s structure and then avoid using the Bible as a reference, your disgust translates to irrelevance in your mind.

        The original question from the second part of my post was:
        “How would you make a positive case from Scripture that sexual activity between two persons of the same sex is a blessing to be celebrated?”

        Then you offered the passage from Romans as your primary point.
        Your words were:
        “But mostly, I would say this:”
        Followed by Romans 13:8-10, which you quote as follows
        “Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.”

        The reasonable reader will assume that you are positing that we are to place love above all, and we are supposed to count all love as being included. English is a very precise language, when used correctly, but some of our words are general enough to include a number of different yet related concepts. In this instance, our language – or the imperfectly precise translation of another language into English layman’s terms – fails to be properly specific. This is not true when read in the original classical Greek.
        The ignorance to which I referred may not have been intentional, or it may have been a deliberate attempt to mislead. In one case, your most basic premise is flawed, and you have not done sufficient research to assume that any of the rest of your positions are any more valid, and in the other case, anything you say would be tinted by an agenda. Either way, the rest of the article would be a waste of time to read. There may be other reasons for the failure, but Occam’s Razor applies.

        So either way, it is reasonable to assume that that is, not only remotely, but exactly, what you said.

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  13. Amazing I read this to several of the people I know who are gay and they had this to say. ” We are appalled that a pseudo Christian would even think this way, it is patronizing to say the least.” “what we see is a person who doesn’t really know what he believes and who’s belief system has been totally compromised. We would rather see someone who is either totally on one side or the other not in the middle. This shows a person who tries in a condescending way bend Christian belief’s to be accommodating of the Gay lifestyle in general and Gay marriage in particular. To quote the Bible Revelations 3: 15,16 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are luke warm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.

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    • So, where exactly does that quote end that your several gay friends said after you shared this article with them?

      It is very clear that you aren’t being honest about what was said by the “several gay people you know.” I realize you are trying to make a point by lying. No gay person would use such language about what Ben said, which is accepting of who they are. Also, HIGHLY unlikely that your several gay friends would use the term “lifestyle” and quote Revelations. Come on. Be genuine if you have something to say. Don’t make stuff up to make your point.

      Go find several gay people for real and show them what Ben wrote. Then, let’s chat more about that. But… you won’t.

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      • Todd Key after reading your statements, I find it hard to believe that you read this to gay people….I am gay and I know many gay people….Myself or my friends would never state what you just stated….I think you have a hidden agenda…..

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  14. I personally believe my self that the Gay lifestyle is sin and like all sin it cannot enter the kingdom of heaven 1 Corinthians 6: 8-10 …8 On the contrary, you yourselves wrong and defraud. You do this even to your brethren. 9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, 10 Nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.…For this reason we must follow God’s commandment we should love everybody and treat them as we would wish to be treated. This does not mean that we should condone the sin they or any other person is engaged in. If we truly love everybody we should be concerned about their sin. We should advise them in love and admonition , pointing them to Christ to help them rid them selves of the sin they are involved in what ever it might be. We do this in love so that they might understand if they don’t already that the sin that they are involved in can separate them from God for all eternity This is what most true Christians are about. Not the going around and simply condemning and pushing away but loving as Christ loves us and showing by example that love and pointing them to Christ then led God change them from their life of sin.

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    • So, “wrong and defraud”? Hmm. You have no ethos with me, based on the fact that you lied earlier about your “several gay friends” who read Ben’s blog entry.

      Please do your fellow Christians, whether they agree that homosexuality is a sin or not, a favor: stop giving Christianity and Jesus a bad rep. Don’t lie about all of your gay friends reading this, and don’t quote Corinthians about sin and others entering the Kingdom when you can’t even go about it honestly.

      At least there are those who disagree with Ben (and myself) who are doing it with sincerity and a sense of decorum. Please take a lesson from those you agree with and are better at discourse. Thank you.

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      • I am aware of that. I was using it to point out that “wrong and defraud” actually applied to Todd, based on his lie in his first comment above regarding his “several gay friends”.

        Thanks for making sure that I understood that though (-;

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      • I didn’t read the earlier reply, so I can’t comment to that.
        It just caught my eye, and I hate to see someone taking abuse for someone else’s words, even if the person is dead-wrong. It seemed as though that was what was going on here.

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      • I feel you. I have been harsh with Todd, I suppose. Maybe I should be less so. Having differences or not agreeing is one thing, but being ingenuous is a hot button for me. I responded quickly and with a sharp tongue probably.

        Thank you for making sure I stay true to what I want others to do for me.

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  15. Ben, your response to #3 is vacuous. God’s solution to man needing a help mate was to give him Eve, not Steve. In general your defense of sodomy marriage is that “love conquers all.” You cite God’s command to love your neighbor as the summation of the law, but as Satan did, you neglect the first part of the great summation, which is to love God with your all. God says that we prove that we love Him by obeying His commands. You never settle the question of whether homosexual sex is sin. You make excuses by asserting that the Greek words include a whole host of other sexual sins. Condoning and glorifying your neighbor’s sin is not love, but in reality is a form of denial and hatred. Further, God’s instructions for marriage in Ephesians 5 clearly refer to a heterosexual relationship, just as Jesus’ comments do. You admit that you changed your view on this subject based upon your “love” for homosexual relatives. Is it love or cowardice that motivated you? I think you make the mistake that C.S. Lewis refers to in “The Four Loves” of twisting “God is love” to “Love is god.” “We may give our human loves the unconditional allegiance which we owe only to God. Then they become gods; then they become demons. Then they will destroy us, and also destroy themselves.” – C.S. Lewis.

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    • Brother Rick…..Many Christians don’t agree with ALL that CS Lewis expounds…He was just a man…As an ex-Southern Baptist for one….I was steeped in his theology for years and later found many things I did not agree with when I drew closer to Jesus without commentaries……

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      • Robert- No man is infallible. So, what is your point? Is it that C.S. Lewis should not be cited ever because he was not infallible? Only Jesus is infallible. So by your standards no other man’s thoughts should ever be cited. Please respond to his specific comments, or my comments and tell me how they are incorrect.

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  16. You made an epic fail just 3 answers in. When you quote Scripture you should give context of it. When you quote is just saying “It is not good for man to be alone” what God does answers the question for you, since he created Eve for Adam. God created men and women to compliment each other and Genesis clearly gives a definition of marriage, which Jesus backs up. That should be the end of th story, but unfortunately it seem too many people just ignore the plain teachings of Christ.

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  17. Ben,
    Here’s a thought I hope you and others consider. How about affirming gay marriage, being willing to own it, and come at it from the position that you believe that some commands suspercede others (such as love your neighbor)? I think that would actually lead to far more effective dialogue with evangelicals and others.

    Instead, you (and many, many others) engage in weak exegesis that follows the work of a few Biblical scholars and has not been taken seriously by the field of Biblical interpretation. Do you really believe that we suddenly have some new light and all this time we have been interpreting those scriptures wrongly? Do you really believe that Augustine and Calvin and Luther and Edwards, etc. etc. were wrong in their interpretation and that the church has gotten it wrong for so long? I know, I know…those were patriarchal societies and we have to put ourselves in the culture and what Paul was really talking about was rape, and slave-master relationships, and pederasty, etc. etc…..that’s all non-sense and you have to massage those texts to get those meanings and deep down, you know that.

    I would respect your position a lot more if you just said, “I love Jesus, I love gay people, and I support their right to marry because I think it is loving them.” Where you err is when you try and justify same-sex relationships from the Bible because it just isn’t there.

    Please understand, homosexuality is no worse than other sins, and it is never right to break fellowship with someone because they are gay or not welcome them into the church, or treat them shamefully or as second class citizens. I think where I tire of this whole argument is that most same sex marriage proponents begin with “It is right” I’ll go to the Bible and here is the proof. Again I circle back to why not just say, “it appears to be condemned in the Bible, along with a whole host of other sins” BUT “I believe part of loving my neighbor as myself involves the freedom to marry who they choose” That position is way more practical than the train wreck exegesis that most people attempt.

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    • Kris, if you read my post carefully, you will find that I say almost exactly that. I wouldn’t use the word “supersede.” Instead, I would use the word that Scripture itself uses: the command to love your neighbor fulfills all the other commands. That is actually at the heart of the case I am making.

      Playing the “weak exegesis” card without actually backing it up is an evasive maneuver.

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    • It is somewhat of a moral dilemma to try and remain in fellowship with Christians who disagree on this topic because one side seems to be under the Lordship of Christ and the authority of the Word, the other side is attempting to completely overthrow the Gospel and the Christian faith. What fellowship has light with darkness?

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      • Brother Benji….”overthrow the Gospel and the Christian faith”……anger and self-righteousness…..Are you the light or the darkness??

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      • I find it interesting that the people who agree with the author compliment the posters who agree, calling them wise, thoughtful, etc. The people who disagree, they routinely call angry, judgmental, unloving, etc.
        First of all, unless a person SAYS that s/he is angry, you are making assumptions. That is unfair, because you then accuse them of these things based on nothing other than your assumptions. We no more should have to preface our remarks with some sort of disclaimer than you do. For example, I am not angry, I am not judging anyone, and I do not hate anyone, including the people who, in my opinion, and that of the LCMS, are engaged in unrepentant sinful activities. I have not called anyone a name, I have not said that anyone was going to hell, even if it IS possible that the Bible DOES say that some people, like men who sleep with other men, WILL.
        You can’t even be “loving” to people who DO wish to please God, but disagree with your hermeneutics and exegesis. Or, which is worse, you don’t wish to. Forgive us for not joining your party.

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  18. Hi Ben,

    I think your efforts to reply the comments is as great (if not greater) than the efforts of the 40 answers.

    Thank you.

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  19. Is homosexual activity harmful? Yes it is: http://www.webmd.com/sex/anal-sex-health-concerns. From the article: “An estimated 90% of men who have sex with men and as many as 5% to 10% of sexually active women engage in receptive anal intercourse…There are a number of health risks with anal sex, and anal intercourse is the riskiest form of sexual activity for several reasons…”
    So, if I love my neighbor as myself, do I withhold information that he will not like, because it is contrary to his desires? Apparently so, when it comes to homosexual activity.
    That however, really isn’t the ultimate answer. There are those pesky passages, both Old and New Testament, that are, in context, read as condemning male with male sexual relationships. We know what they are, and they have been presented and rejected numerous times. I wouldn’t really expect much in terms of orthodox teaching from the Episcopal church, I think you all have come to the point where your hearts are hardened to the point of being reprobate, but I still believe that the fervent effectual prayers of the righteous avails much, so I pray that people will be delivered from idolatry and doctrines of demons.
    The thing is, I bear you no ill will. I could most likely sit down and have a soda and discuss this, but I know that we will never see eye-to-eye, because we understand the love of God differently, we understand sin differently, and we understand the grace of God differently. Being that I am a Lutheran, we understand Scripture differently as well.
    I think that this nation is continuing a slide into decadence, and that the Church of Jesus Christ will see itself being treated in this country as it is treated in most other countries where the Gospel is hated. I think that you, and your denominational leaders, hope to avoid that by attempting to go with the flow. There were Jews who tried to do that in the early years of Nazi rule. They ended up just as persecuted, just as hated, just as dead.
    Payday’s coming; you may get by, but you won’t get away. Come back to the old landmarks, while you can.

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  20. For those who have replied to this and to Ben, first let me greet you with the love of Christ.Our Lord and Savior implored us to love, not only those who love us but also those who do not. We are always to love people but we are not to love sinful ways, (this includes our own sin) God is loving and patient, but He is also a very just and a righteous God. The Word of God, which is the Holy Spirit inspired Word of God, is unchanging. That which God declared wrong, is still wrong today and will still be wrong tomorrow. Those of us who believe in His Word feel we have to, in obedience, uphold the instruction given to us through the Bible. Granted, we all fall short of His Glory, but that does not give us license to change His Word. We are to live according to the Holy Scriptures. Therefore, what we agree or disagree with, we must always try to align with His Word. It is because of this many of us believe God ordained marriage as the union between a man and a woman. No where in the Scriptures does it declare otherwise. When homosexuality is mentioned is it indeed done so with the idea of it being wrong and a sexual sin and yes, an abomination. As Christians, it is very possible to love the sinner and not agree with the lifestyle. I wish you all peace and happiness in your lives, but most importantly, I wish you Jesus.

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  21. Ben, the issue I think people keep having with #3 is that it seems to be used to to perpetuate some of your following arguments by using the “law of love” as a pre-requisite overarching parameter for exegesis. We both know that Jesus was responding to the Pharisees’ question “What is the greatest commandment” and that “the law hangs” on the two commandments of His answer. At the same time, we also know that Jesus Christ Himself fulfilled the law (Matthew 5:17-18). So how do we demonstrate our belief in Christ’s fulfillment of the law? We repent of our un-fullfillment of the law and turn to God (Mark 1:15, Luke 13:3). One way to love our neighbors is to also call them to repentance, so that they too can turn to God. In fact, wouldn’t it be appropriate to assume that to *not* call your neighbor to repentance would be *unloving*? Furthermore, if God prohibits homosexual sex, then *you are not loving your neighbor when you encourage them in their sin*. Am I so arrogant as to assume that this is basic Christianity 101?

    Additionally, you seem to do a disservice to your readers by not presenting up to date responses to arguments that have been challenged by opponents like Dr. White. You do not have to agree with them, but not responding *in light of them* comes across as ignorant. Readers who do not know any better who wish to engage in honest discussion are left at ground zero in this debate, when many of your biblical assertions have already undergone scrupulous cross examination.

    For example, one response to the Gay Christian assertion that the Bible is more or less vague in its references to the prohibition of homosexual sex, thereby leaving the door “open” to it in the context of a a “loving” monogamous commitment goes somewhat as follows:

    ——-
    We know what “arsenokoitai” meant to Paul because we see the same word in the Greek Septuagint which he would have used in his studies and understanding of the Old Testament. Furthermore, this specific occurrence of “arsenokoitai” is used in the very Levitical passage which prohibits homosexual sex. So Paul’s choice of “arsenokoitai” only serves to affirm the “to’evah” of homosexual sex. But the *hope* is in this ( 1 Corinthians), that “Such WERE some of you…” (i.e., some of the Conrinthians had been practicing homosexuals, idolaters, thieves, drunkards, slanderers etc.) “…But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” Therefore, to see the text as permissive of homosexual sex is to see it through the lens of a gay Christian worldview ( something along the lines of, “If gay people exist, God must have made them that way, therefore He would never refer to the fulfillment of their same-sex attraction as a sin, so these passages *must* either be irrelevant, unclear, or mean something else entirely”).
    ——-

    In my opinion, listening to the debates and hearing the many arguments from both sides, it appears that from an intellectual standpoint, the biblical position of gay Christianity is indefensible.

    I think part of the problem is when academics like Dr. Brownson and Dr. David Gushee – which result in supporters like you and Matthew Vines – publish a book while only engaging in public monologue with those who want their conclusions to be true. This is an effective way of spreading an idea while not having to defend it . Seeking out and depending upon a handful of theologians who agree with an interpretation of scripture that supports your position, but who will not publicly engage with those who have a strong case against their conclusions is not how we seek the Truth. One is not being held accountable to their views if such views are only validated by a community who enjoys the “benefits” thereof, but does not partake in reasoning with the academic community in the greater circle of believers. Isn’t it really *this* kind of unsubstantiated and emotionally inspired “academia” that has wrought many of the biblical atrocities of our past (African American slavery, anti-semitism, the crusades)?

    Again, here is the continued intellectual response to the assertions of the gay Christian movement (most of which you also seem to support in your answers above) by Christian apologist Dr. James White:

    Like

    • You mean “Dr.” James White of Columbia Evangelical Seminary? Please.

      There are plenty of legitimate scholars on the traditional side, whom you could have cited… just as there are plenty of legitimate scholars on the affirming side. How many of them have you read?

      Like

    • There should be only (1) one question.
      (1) Why do you curse yourself? [by association]

      Romans 1:32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death,

      not only do the same,

      “””but have pleasure in them that do them.”””

      Like

  22. The author says he’s a member of the Episcopal Church. Last I checked, that church was shrinking. Why do you think that is? They’re no longer following God so they no longer have his blessing.

    I see others have done an able job of showing the false teaching present in this article. Same-sex marriage is clearly of this world. I would caution any Christian from falling for this. Our Enemy will seek to corrupt and compromise the Church, it’s not a good idea to fall for it. It’s happened before in Church history and we shouldn’t let it happen now. Now more than ever is a time to stand up for the Bible.

    Let’s remember Matthew 7:21-23, “21Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” Don’t be one of those who declares Christ yet disobeys his Word.

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    • Now I trust you are taking a hard look at your “sinless” self in the mirror with your comment? As Ben said earlier, “certainty can be a form of idolatry”. Keep in mind that even Paul, who some say was the creator of Christianity, knew that when he was weak he was strong. (It’s said that God can only lead the humble, and only the humble can hear Him.) I’d like to gently remind us all to keep that in mind when we judge our brothers and sisters.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Question: would you draw the same conclusion about Southern Baptists? They’re far more conservative on this issue and they’ve been losing people five years straight.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes Ben…..I am one of those that left the Southern Baptist Church after many years ….I felt like I was a modern day Pharisee…… Legalism and self-righteousness in my opinion….I could not tolerate “stoning the wounded”……since then I am seeking the LOVE of my Savior…..not the approval and conditional love of men……

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    • Ugh. You gotta be careful when you use those “entering the kingdom of heaven” verses, Dude. Or Dudette. Sorry, can’t tell from your screen name.

      Humility can be your friend, especially when using the Letters in Red against others. Just sayin’.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry Brothers and Sisters all I see in many responses is “sinless self-righteousness and angry stoning of those that don’t follow the man-made rules, man-made interpretations and regulations……I suspect the “apostate church” is alive and well in this time…and probably some of those denominations that are growing….not those who are not so “popular”….Just sayin’

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    • I would say you do not understand the definition of porneia. It’s not illicit sex between heterosexuals. It applies to illicit sexual relations. It includes adultery, prostitution, and sex relations between unmarried individuals, as well as oral and anal sex and the sexual manipulation of another person’s genitals, and bestiality.

      Like

  23. You can take the bible literally. That’s what ISIS does. Or you can look for the spirit of the text. That’s what a gay Christian does.

    Like

    • This is really sad. Now I’m forced to choose between a falsehood, and a platitude. ISIS does not take the Bible literally; they reject the Bible. If they DID take it literally, they wouldn’t claim to be Muslims, they wouldn’t follow Muslim practices, and they would believe that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for their sins and rose again.
      “The spirit of the text?” The Spirit of the text is the Holy Spirit, who declares to us the will of God through the text. While you’re looking for your justification inside of yourself, hear the Word of the Lord: Titus 2:11-14English Standard Version (ESV)

      11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

      Now, you can lie on me and call me a hateful, judgmental whatever you like. The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous run there and find shelter. If I actually hated you, I would say “peace, peace” to you, knowing that there is no peace between the kingdom of darkness and the Kingdom of His Beloved Son.

      Like

  24. Pingback: A response to the TGC blog post “40 Questions for Christians now Waving Rainbow Flags” | To Dust We Return...

  25. Caveat: please don’t mistake public disagreement for persecution. Christians who oppose same-sex marriage have the right to not be persecuted for their beliefs. None of us have the right to not be criticized.
    EXACTLY. Why do we get “That’s hate speech!!” when we share the opposing view. I’ll tell you why. Because of the People of the Land of the Perpetually Offended, that’s why.

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  26. How about we love the sinner and detest the sin, praying they will change their sinful ways? When I was a practicing Catholic as a teen, the couple I babysat for had 3 children. they could not afford to raise any more kids, so they turned to birth control. The wife went to confession every Sat. to confess her sin! I just can’t believe a good person who follows God’s teachings, but loves someone of the same sex, is doomed to hell. And these couples can raise children as well as a couple who divorce,leaving the mother and chldren in poverty. So many children would be given a forever home with a family who truly loves them. I am still searching as i see a loving God, tho I was taught he was an unforgiving, strict being who tolerated no one who questioned him. I believe we are already living in hell here on earth and when the day of reckoning comes, people of all religions will be welcomed into heaven! Good people, no matter their religion! If I’m wrong, I’ll have many good people joining me in your hell!

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  27. I have arrived here after following the link to the original questions from the Facebook page of a friend at my church. I have often wondered how my faith fits with my views on homosexuality (or vise versa) as I have a number of close friends who are LGBT. My usual outcome of the dilemma as to whether or not they are right or wrong is this. As fellow human beings I love them the same as any other, it is not my place to judge them, that is a matter between them and God. What I am certain about is that no mortal has a right to treat anybody in any discriminatory way no matter what side of a fence you/they may be on, as with so many things in this world there is always such a grey area with extreme situations and views on either side just to cause even less clarity. A great couple of articles though and interesting to see the debate.

    Like

    • So, Martin, you have decided to do “what is right in your own eyes.” Since you believe that you have an excellent sense of moral acuity, I’d like to try something with you.
      “Discrimination against others is always bad,” you seem to be saying. “We should treat everyone the same.” Ok, I’ll go along with you, and ask you whether we should allow people to make different amounts of money, based on such accidents as the amount of time they have been working at a place, the amount of education in that job category, the value of their presence to the department?
      Should we also allow all people to have equal access to public facilities, like, say, city parks? Should convicted pedophile no longer have to keep away from public facilities where children are known to be present? Are you an absolutist on this, or do you, in fact, discriminate?

      Like

      • Delwyn, for comparing LGBTQ folks to pedophiles, you’ve been blocked from commenting any further. If you can’t see the difference between protecting people from being fired b/c of their sexual orientation and letting pedophiles near children, I’m afraid you have nothing more to contribute to this discussion.

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  28. I admire that you took Kevin’s questions seriously, however I can’t help but be left wanting in your responses, specifically those that engage this issue at the Scriptural level.

    For example, to say that Romans 1 is a condemnation of man’s sinfulness in general is correct. However, Paul bases his argument by pointing to specific sins. He showed that we are all sinful by giving us examples of sinfulness, which includes homosexuality. That can’t be so easily dismissed as you suggested.

    Also you use the “love your neighbor as yourself” command as the one to point to when it comes to a sexual ethic. Then you define love as doing what is necessary for human flourishing. This is circular reasoning. If I ask, what is love? You’d respond, obeying God’s commands. If I ask, what are his commands? You would say, to love.

    A fuller sexual ethic is fleshed out in the Bible. This fuller sexual ethic helps us define what love really is. It’s easy to say, God wants us to love each other, but love must be defined by how the Bible lays out a moral code. Only in obeying the full moral code of the Bible, and encouraging others to do the same, do we love God and love our neighbor.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Mr. Irwin,

    I think you are missing a key point of the discussion – that of natural law and the intent of the designer. One of the best discussions I have seen is in the book What We Can’t Not Know, by J. Budziszewski. One excerpt:

    “By contrast, when a man puts the part of himself that represents new life into the cavity of another man that represents decay and expulsion, at the most basic of all possible levels he is saying “Life, be swallowed in death.” We cannot overwrite such meanings with different ones just because we want to.”

    http://www.amazon.com/What-We-Cant-Not-Know/dp/1586174819/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1436295748&sr=8-1&keywords=what+we+cant+not+know

    Like

  30. I would love for you to read Rosario Butterfield’s testimony. She is a former lesbian and now a precious servant to the Lord and wife of a pastor. She has incredible insight on this issue. Who better than someone like her?

    Liked by 2 people

      • No, it simply means that for a small percent of the population, sexual orientation is more fluid than static. As long as someone can be fired for no other reason than being gay (as is still the case in a majority of states), civil protections are mandated.

        Like

      • The problem I have with this idea is that it justifies too much. How about people who have sex with animals? How about those people? Are their orientations fixed and unchanging? How about pedophiles or people who commit incest? Why do those sexual desires even exist. The logical conclusion that you could only come to, using your thinking, is that we would have to permit all of that since those sexual desires exist.

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      • Bestiality and pedophilia are not orientations. And for comparing LGBT people to pedophiles, you’re blocked from commenting any further on this site.

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      • I appreciate your opinion on them, but I see no proof of that on their website, in the amicus brief, or provided by you. The research cited in the amicus brief is not their own, but from credible and peer reviewed source material.

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      • Interesting article – it does appear that ACP has done some rather unsavory things and may not be the best source.

        But just to make sure I have this right, you state that the ACP is ‘ideologically motivated’ and ‘lack academic credibility.’ Yet in the same article you referenced, the AAP put out a handbook to ‘debunk restorative therapy’ – which has been shown many times to work. So how is the AAP not ‘ideologically motivated’ and how to they maintain their academic credibility sufficiently that you are willing to cite them as your third reference?

        A little research and I found this from the former APA President Nicholas Cummings: “The APA has chosen ideology over science,” explaining since the mid-1970s “advocacy for scientific and professional concerns has been usurped by agenda-driven ideologues who show little regard for either scientific validation or professional efficacy,” and the result of this is that “topics that are deemed politically incorrect … are neither published nor funded.” DESTRUCTIVE TRENDS IN MENTAL HEALTH: THE WELL-INTENTIONED PATH TO HARM xiv (R. Wright & N. A. Cummings ed., 2005).

        And Patterson, your first reference – she is a lesbian. No ‘ideological motivation’ there…

        Here are a few more recent studies (2012-2015) than the Patterson article you cite from 1992. Some of them went through a double peer review process.

        D. Paul Sullins, Child Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) in Same-Sex Parent Families in the United States: Prevalence and Comorbidities, 6 BRITISH JOURNAL OF MEDICINE AND MEDICAL RESEARCH 987 (2015) 17, 25

        D. Paul Sullins, Emotional Problems among Children with Same-sex Parents: Difference by Definition, 7 BRITISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATION, SOCIETY AND BEHAVIOURAL SCIENCE 99 (2015)

        Douglas W Allen, High school graduation rates among children of same-sex households, 11 REVIEW OF ECONOMICS OF THE HOUSEHOLD 635 (2013) …………………………………………………….. 16, 18

        Mark Regnerus, How different are the adult children of parents who have same-sex relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study, 41 SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH 752 (2012) .. 9, 16, 17

        NATIONAL LONGITUDINAL STUDY OF ADOLESCENT TO ADULT HEALTH (ADD HEALTH), WAVE I; THE UNEXPECTED HARM OF SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: A CRITICAL APPRAISAL AND RE-ANALYSIS OF WAINRIGHT’S STUDIES OF ADOLESCENTS WITH SAME-SEX PARENTS http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2589129

        BTW – they all have a much larger sample size than the Patterson study – pull her article and see how many she ‘studied.’ Regnerus’s New Family Structures Survey, has 3,000 cases; the National Health Interview Survey, has 1.6 million cases; and the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, has 20,000 cases. They have all found that children with same-sex parents fare substantially worse—most measures show at least twice the level of distress—than do children with opposite-sex parents on a range of psychological, developmental and emotional outcomes. The longer social scientists study the question, the more evidence of harm is found.

        I find it intriguing that you chide me – rightfully – for offering as ‘proof’ a questionable source. But I think I have shown that at least two of your three sources are certainly no better than mine, and probably worse.

        In the interest of intellectual honesty, I hope you pull your citations from your original post.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I am not sure why Nicholas Cummings should be more credible than the APA when it comes to determining the scientific legitimacy of psychological research. And the link you provided at the bottom, jeffav8r, is from the Catholic University of America – which I have no problem with – but, again, that will unavoidable push an ideological predisposition towards discrediting the legitimacy of same-sex parenting, peer-reviewed or not.

        The point I think you’ve (jeffav8r) proven quite well – whether it was your intention or not – is that the line between ideological commitment and “science” is not as obvious as most might like it to be, especially in potentially polarizing conversations like this one. I think Ben has done well to admit up-front what his position is on the issue and follow it with a well-crafter and credibly supported argument.

        But I think to suggest that there is some way anything can be void of ideological commitment is ultimately a fantasy. If you’re open to an unsolicited suggestion (as if this comment was not entirely unsolicited!), you should check out the work of Michael Polanyi. He is a writer who does a lot of work with the philosophy behind scientific research. Particularly “Tacit Dimension” and “Personal Knowledge.” He makes a great case for the importance of personal commitment in research and the need for transparency about those commitments in the pursuit of scientific discovery.

        Peace to you both.

        johnny

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      • Johnny – thanks for the comments and insights. I will check into Polanyi.

        I do not think Mr. Cummings has any more or less credibility than the APA. However, most people would agree that he, of all people, would have greater understanding than an outsider about any ‘ideological motivations’ that might be institutionalized at the APA. Granted, you or Ben or I could claim make claims like that but, since we are not a part of the organization – and especially not in leadership, what validity would it really have? Not much unless proven by the unquestionable work of many others.

        My point in bringing Mr. Cummings statements into the discussion was the complete and total dismissal by Ben of the ACP while he seems to hold the APA citations as something above reproach – as if they were carved into stone and carried down Mt. Sinai LOL

        Ben can’t have it both ways (although I confess I would often like to arrange things that way!). If one group’s citations and research is invalid due to ‘ideological motivations’ then they both are. Then the only intellectually honest position is to either: find research that is not supported by either group or; state that the truth of the matter has yet to be determined (and provide links to both sets of studies so individuals can do their own research). But to only put up one side while automatically dismissing other points of view does not further his stated purpose of slowing down, thinking, and being sincere.

        The line between ideological commitment and science may be blurred today – if so that is a sad commentary on our culture. I think there are true scientists out there that operate on the facts and only the facts. Perhaps they are as few and far between as a true Statesman is in our current political climate, or a true Journalist in our main-stream media – but I believe they exist.

        I think your comment on a researcher from the Catholic University of America is amusing. Of course there could be some ideological bias there – and all the readers of that study should be looking very closely for it. But that does not mean his research is invalid. For example, I may not be particularly fond of Islam, but I cannot deny that several great scientific discoveries came out of the Ottoman Empire.

        This same researcher is my citation 1 and 2. He has been extensively peer reviewed. In fact, the publisher of cite 2 normally does a double anonymous peer review and one by an editor. For this research, they actually assigned 4 anonymous peer reviewers and two editors – in essence a doubling of the peer review process. You can find more about it here: http://www.sciencedomain.org/review-history/8172%E2%80%9D So I think he certainly deserves to have his work looked at – don’t you agree?

        But for a discussion that was started as a set of questions by a Pastor to Christians, then a set of answers from a Theologian to Christians, why wouldn’t you want to review research by a Christian organization? Who do you really want doing the research? Atheists? Buddhists? Muslims? Wyccans? Of all people, Christians should be the most cognizant of the eternal consequences of not telling the truth, of answering to God and Him alone for their words and actions. To dismiss research automatically because it comes from a researcher at a Christian organization is patently absurd. (Note: I’m not saying that you did this – you obviously only pointed out that the supposed bias will be highlighted – which I agree with. If this researcher – or any other – is credible they will welcome the scrutiny. As opposed to Ben’s first citation, whose research was disallowed in a Florida court in 1997 when she refused to give documentation on her research to her own attorneys, despite being ordered by the Court to do so. What was she trying to hide??)

        Thanks again for the discussion! I am learning a lot and am blessed by the back and forth. Prov 27:17

        Jeff

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      • Thanks for responding. I want to be clear – I am in as close to complete agreement with Ben as one can be without having met someone before. I think his responses are spot on, and I think they’re incredibly faithful.

        I want to also clarify something that may have been lost in what I said. (I find this medium – the internet – to be really tricky, and I am often unclear when I do not mean to be).

        You said,

        “The line between ideological commitment and science may be blurred today – if so that is a sad commentary on our culture. I think there are true scientists out there that operate on the facts and only the facts.”

        I do not actually think there is such a thing as “only the facts.” I think ideological commitments are a good thing, and I think that their inescapability is something that needs to be claimed at the outset rather than something to be ignored – or worse, something we pretend we can ever get away from. Nothing – not even ‘science’ – can be done in a vacuum. Everything is mediated, processed, interpreted, and confronted with human particularity. I have a whole host of theological reasons why I think this is a beautiful thing, but I will not bore you with this now.

        I just want to be clear – I don’t think we can escape our commitments, biases, beliefs, etc., and I do not think we should want to.

        So yes, I think the peer reviewed articles coming out of CUA should be read and taken for what they are – peer reviewed articles. But I am not under any illusion that these articles escape the bias of a Roman Catholic dogmatic influence – I don’t care if it is 2 or 200 peers reviewing it. It doesn’t make it “not credible,” either. It just makes it a Roman Catholic perspective – one that is going to have prior magisterial commitments.

        To know what I am talking about in a more “theological” register than Polanyi’s “scientific” register, read this article by one of my favorite professors (and people), Phil Kenneson: http://www.kevers.net/pkenneson.html

        Note – the article was published in a *peer reviewed* (!) journal. So I don’t think all the typos that I remember on this site are Phil’s…

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      • Reading the article now… only making my head hurt a little bit LOL I will get to that in a future comment.

        FWIW – I also find the internet / emails / etc also tricky – so I appreciate good-natured exchanges and asking clarifying questions instead of jumping to conclusions… like what we have going here.

        I think we are somewhat in agreement on ideological commitments if we clarify them a little further. I think there are facts that are facts: 2+2=4, 2 molecules of Hydrogen and one of Oxygen is water, the heart pumps blood in a closed system comprised of arteries and veins, etc. And I think that type of ‘science’ could be done in a vacuum. However, a scientist examining issues like these will lean upon their ideologies and biases to form new theories to be tested, and to interpret the results of those tests. Sometimes those biases lead to right conclusions, and sometimes they don’t.

        However, there is another type of ‘science’ in much more complex fields – for example human behavior, or attempting to ascertain what an author from centuries past meant when they used a particular word. In those instances I agree with you that our biases are necessary to construct theories to test, how to test, and how to interpret those results. But it is also not as clean and neat as 2+2=4.

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  31. I didnt even bother reading after number 2. The entire point of the posting was asking other CHRISTIANS why they are supporting gay marriage. This guy said in #2 he doesn’t even believe in the Bible therefore he doesn’t believe in God or the Holy trinity. So there is no point in this blog. Done!

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    • If you didn’t bother reading, I wonder why you bothered commenting.

      For the record, I most definitely did not say I don’t believe in the Bible, or that I don’t believe in God or the trinity. I believe in all three.

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  32. Ephesians 5:21-32 offers a good definition and example of marriage. This is to be representative of the true marriage to come between Christ and his bride. I do not profess to know everything on this topic but one thing I know is that the only man that Christians should strive to marry is Christ. Christians in many nations sit in jail for decades (Voice of the Martyrs) and are persecuted daily for believing and professing Jesus. We are all given the freedom to exercise our free will on whatever desires and attractions we have. If I had homosexual attractions a life of celibacy is a small inconvenience for my Lord. And what a joy to choose Him and be unfettered to serve Him wholeheartedly!

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  33. Hi Ben,

    “Why do you use a passage in which Jesus is clearly talking about divorce to make a point about homosexuality? Context.”

    I’d reverse the question and ask if it’s acceptable to apply a passage to a different context, if there’s a shared principle? I would have thought that it is acceptable, otherwise the bible would have to define every moral application to the umpteenth degree.

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    • Hi David,

      The problem (as I see it) is that this passage is used as a rebuttal to those pointing out that Jesus never addressed homosexuality. The rebuttal doesn’t withstand scrutiny, in my opinion. Jesus was answering a question about husbands who wanted to break faith with their wives. It’s completely valid to draw a larger (or shared) principle about the sanctity of the marriage covenant and the importance of not breaking it. That’s fully in line with the point Jesus was making. But the possibility of same-sex covenantal relationships wasn’t even remotely in view in this exchange, so no…I don’t think it’s acceptable to try and infer anything about the moral legitimacy of these relationships from this text.

      For me, your last point (“otherwise the Bible would have to define every moral application to the umpteenth degree”) hits the nail on the head. That’s not what the Bible does. It’s not that kind of book. It’s not a handbook or a reference manual. It’s a diverse collection of books held together by an overarching narrative. It’s not so much a list of rules of what we should do as it is a description of what God is doing.

      Of course, that doesn’t mean we can’t draw moral guidance from Scripture, but we should be careful not to make the Bible say more than it actually does. And that’s what I think some have done with Mark 10.

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  34. Ben, I would highly recommend you read “How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth” by Gordon D Fee and Douglass Stuart, preferably the 3rd edition or after. I don’t say that to be mean but you’re approach to scripture is not only purely subjective but it’s inconsistent and careless. I was going to point out the ways in which this is but by looking at the comments, many people have already done that. It no wonder that there are people who claim to love God and Christ and yet walk the other way. I think Kevin’s post was more geared toward people who respected scripture, believe it to be God’s revelation to us and is to be applied today. I didn’t finish reading your post because it became apparent that you don’t regard the Bible highly like you say you do and this is exactly what I would expect from someone holding the position that you do.

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    • I have read that book. It was profoundly influential on my approach to Scripture.

      If you didn’t finish reading, I wonder why you felt the need to comment.

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  35. Most of these answers are so disingenuous or openly rejecting scripture for your own conception of love that its downright atrocious to even use the bible at all in this context.

    At one point you even use a statement of the disciples that Jesus openly condemns to seemingly condone the process. I’m not sure if you fundamentally understand anything regarding the problems with this kind of faith. But with this version of “love”, what would you condemn at all? And if God/Jesus doesn’t condemn anything wouldn’t that make him a complete and total liar?

    I respect your desire to go to people to question some of the harder issues in life, but your appeal to an arbitrary and completely unbiblical conception of love that directly opposes God and Jesus’s actions….is just gnosticism.

    ananias and saphira shows Gods love, think about it.

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