The Politics of Gay Marriage (Framing Observations)

pogoI wrote a series of extended comments regarding the politics of gay marriage in response to multiple questions from the readers. I’ve re-written them a bit.

We need to begin with some framing statements regarding God and humanity.

  • I believe that all sexual acts outside of marriage are sinful.
  • I believe that marriage is exclusively between a man and woman.
  • I don’t believe the government has authority to change either of the first two points. That is, marriage is a gift from God to humanity, and so he gets to define it. No government has authority to create homosexual marriage. This is outside the purposes of government, as marriage predates government. Government is a creation of humanity. Marriage is a creation of God.
  • This is true whether gay “marriage” is being created by the courts or by the legislatures or by a constitutional amendment adopted by the people. As to marriage, the sovereign power is exclusively held by God.

If I were writing a book on the subject, I would walk the reader through the Gen 1 – 2 passages and how Jesus and Paul interpret and apply them. But readers of this blog should be familiar with this material already — and the fact that Jesus and Paul reach their conclusions from Gen 1 – 2, not the contract theory of government, the divine rights of kings, or the like. We should think as Jesus and Paul thought.

Next, a few framing statements regarding civil law.

  • The Obergefell v. Hodges decision of the U.S. Supreme Court is not only very bad theology, it’s bad US law. Even if you concede a constitutional right of privacy, Obergefell goes far beyond the prior privacy cases because it doesn’t merely require the government to leave people alone. It requires the government to grant a range of civil benefits.
    • Lawrence v. Texas held that the government may not criminalize homosexual acts between consenting adults — due to privacy rights. The theory is that the people did not form government to  tell us how to live sexually. In fact, going back for many decades prior to the decision, the police and prosecutors virtually never enforced the sodomy laws, largely for that reason.
    • But there’s a huge difference between limiting the government’s power to interfere (the real meaning of a legal “right”) and requiring the government to grant recognition and associated privileges.
  • There are many who see this as a states rights issue, that is, that gay marriage should be defined state by state, by elected representatives rather than the courts. And I would agree that the courts have usurped powers that no one meant for them to have. But I would take it a step further: Congress, the state legislatures, and even the people do not have the power to invent gay marriage because marriage predates government. It is, rather, part of human nature — and should be viewed not as a legal issue at all but as a question of human identity before God.
  • Hence, Christians err greatly when they think, write, and vote as though this were something properly considered by the political/legal system. It’s not.
  • Gay marriage is not about who gets to decide or what decision to make. It’s about the fact that the decision has been made already.

However, we don’t live in a Christian nation, and we have to live in the real world, not the world we wish for — that is, until the world is changed for the better. When the early church declared “Jesus is Lord,” they were contradicting the Empire’s claim that Caesar is lord. The church was right. The Empire was wrong. And many Christians died for their disagreement. That’s the price of confronting the principalities and powers with God’s truth.

  • The claim that the US was founded as a Christian nation makes for great campaign rhetoric. It’s meaningless from both a theological and legal standpoint.
  • No one knows quite what the language means. Are we saying that the Constitution prefers Christianity over all other religions? Well, read the Constitution. It just doesn’t. Are we saying that most Americans were Christians when the Constitution was adopted? Well, that’s bad  history.

[A]ctually very few Americans were church members during the Revolutionary era-less than 1 in 5. The big change happened with the Second Great Awakening, in the early 1800s, the time of Charles Finney and revival meetings. During this time, adherence rates jumped to about one-third. In the late 1800s, they jumped again, to almost half of the population, and they have steadily risen to the present when almost two-thirds of the nation adheres to a religion.

Bradley R.E. Wright. Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites…and Other Lies You’ve Been Told: A Sociologist Shatters Myths From the Secular and Christian Media (Kindle Locations 399-401). Kindle Edition.

  • It’s a peculiarly American thing for us to assume that whatever is wrong with the nation is a political or legal problem. If we see morals declining, rather than blaming parents and the church for not doing their jobs, we blame the government for not doing its job
    — as though someone wrote a secret law requiring the government to raise our children as Christians for us. Didn’t happen.
  • To be plain: the problem with the nation’s fallen morals is not fundamentally a government problem. It’s primarily a failure of Christian parents to raise their children as Christians. It’s next a failure of the church to be the church.

To quote Pogo, “We’ve met the enemy and he is us.”

Imagine that all the Christian parents of the 20th Century had managed to convert their own children to Christianity. How Christian would the nation be?

If our parents fail to raise their own children to become Christians, what laws might we pass to fix that?

Imagine that all of our churches had been enough like the church Jesus meant for them to be that they managed to keep their members as Christians and teach them how to live the gospel. How Christian would our nation be?

If our churches fail to be true to their mission and if they fail to teach the gospel to their own members, what laws might we pass to fix that? How many Supreme Court appointees would have to change for our churches to be fixed?

So, you see, how we frame these questions matters quite a lot.

Now, yes, our political and legal systems are thoroughly boogered up. But who did the boogering? Who elected presidents and senators who confirm Supreme Court judges who care nothing for the things of God? Who are, in the final analysis, lawless — preferring their personal moral compasses to law? In a democracy, it’s ultimately about the people.

If Christians, because they’re angry, want to vote for a secular candidate to “send them a message,” whose fault will it be when laws get passed and court decisions get made that don’t reflect Christian values?

So what’s the solution? And don’t tell me that it’s to keep doing church the way we’ve been doing it. Or to keep on parenting the way we’ve been doing it. Or to go back to church and family as they were in the 1950s. The parents of the 1940s and 1950s raised the voters and politicians of the 1960s and 1970s.

Something was badly amiss at least a generation before everything went off the rails. And it wasn’t taking prayer out of the schools. It was, in fact, the lazy, un-Christian, anti-God, irresponsible notion that the schools ought to raise our children for us — going back to well before the 1960s.

Profile photo of Jay Guin

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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79 Responses to The Politics of Gay Marriage (Framing Observations)

  1. Gary says:

    But what predates both marriage and government is God’s declaration that it is not good for humankind to be alone and that God wants those who have been created in his image to have a suitable or appropriate life companion. For heterosexuals like Adam in the Genesis narrative that is someone of the opposite sex. For homosexuals it is someone of the same sex.

    Jay, based on your understanding of 1 Corinthians 7, you are able to accept in full Christian felowship those who have divorced and remarried for any and every reason. Not a single church father would agree with you. Your interpretation of 1 Corinthians 7 was unknown for the first 1900 years of the church’s existence. I don’t fault you on this. I’m only pointing out that for you it all comes down to the interpretation of Scripture even if that interpretation leads you to positions heretofore unknown in Christian tradition and history.

    In exactly the same way a progressive understanding of the relevant scriptures has led me and many other Christians to realize that God’s declaration that it is not good for humankind to be alone applies not only to heterosexuals but to homosexuals as well. It is not God’s will for anyone to have to go through life celibate and alone. Divorce and remarriage and gay marriage are exact parallels. There’s just no getting around it.

    As for our government once again they are leading the way for freedom for all. If government can grant a divorce that is recognized by the church then government can grant the right to marry to gays as well as those who are straight.

    But the most important part of this subject is our understanding of our God. Do we really believe that God would eternally condemn or annihilate those who are “guilty” of loving the wrong person with the wrong genitalia? Would any of us likewise condemn or annihilate our own children for loving the wrong person? Isn’t our heavenly Father immeasurably better to us than we as earthly parents are to our own children?

  2. David Himes says:

    Gary,
    Based upon the Text, God condemns behavior that does not conform to His Will. We can certainly debate what “His Will” is. But, whether he “eternally condemn(s) or annihilate(s)” someone is based upon their individual surrender to God, not their success or failure to conform.

    Your comment about government granting divorces recognized by religious groups is an interesting point. But it ignores the point, I think, Jay was making.

    In my view, people of faith have erroneously tried to impose their “standards of behavior” on non-believers thru government-sanctioned laws. That effort has two negative effects. First, it implies that conforming with law is the standard for salvation — which is it not. Second, it leads to a unhealthy debate, which we are engaged in, about whether government-sanctioned behavior is acceptable to God — which is the wrong question.

    Personally, I would be perfectly happy if the government removed itself from the question of “marriage” completely. Society, as a whole, may have an interest in providing legal protections to Civil Unions, but “marriage” began as a religious relationship, and was recognized as such until only the past few years.

    My objection to the concept of “gay marriage” is political. The movement was not about “equal rights under the law”. If it was, granting Civil Union status to both heterosexual and homosexual relationships would have been acceptable — but this “solution” was specifically rejected by gay activists in Maryland (and perhaps other states as well). No, the goal of this movement was to redefine marriage and change the culture — not just change the law.

    My obligation to people is to “love them as Jesus loves me and gave his life for me”. My obligation is not to agree, or approve, or judge. Hopefully, I succeed in doing that more often than I fail.

  3. Mark says:

    “Imagine that all the Christian parents of the 20th Century had managed to convert their own children to Christianity. How Christian would the nation be?

    Imagine that all of our churches had been enough like the church Jesus meant for them to be that they managed to keep their members as Christians and teach them how to live the gospel. How Christian would our nation be?”

    Perhaps instead of lamenting what has happened, we should look at what can be done today and tomorrow.

  4. JohnF says:

    Gary, your comments are based not on scripture, but on what you wish they said. As has been repeatedly pointed out — scripture NEVER, EVER condones homosexual behavior. All your extensive and convoluted discussions cannot change that understanding. To say that SSO cannot be controlled and “should be” is to deny the transformative power of God in Christ.

  5. Jeff Richardson says:

    Gary, I agree with you in part. We must be consistent in what we preach. Jay is wrong in his conclusions concerning divorce and remarriage. Jesus in Matt 19 was very clear. The question was asked, “can a man divorce his wife for any reason?” Jesus gave one exception. Paul said it would be better for a man not to marry, but if a man can’t control himself, he needs to take a wife. You want Jay to be consistent in what he says, I agree. We all need to be consistent with what the Bible teaches. Jesus in Matt 19: 4,5, states how it was to be from the beginning. ” Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning, made them male and female. and for this reason a man should leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall be one flesh.” This is the union God intended. How can we ignore Romans 1? Paul there tells us, people who practice homosexuality have not retained God in their knowledge, verse 28. They have exchanged the truth of God for the lie, verse 25. They have become futile in their thoughts and their foolish hearts have been darkened, verse 21. They have changed the natural use of their bodies, men with men, women with women, verse 27. In 1 Cor 6:9-11, Paul reminds them that some of them practiced this as well. But the good news is found in verse 11. They repented, they changed and were washed. they were baptized into Christ, having their sins washed away. Those who practice this lifestyle, were not born this way, they chose to do it. And as Paul explains, they can change and be right with God.

  6. Chris says:

    To be plain: the problem with the nation’s fallen morals is not fundamentally a government problem. It’s primarily a failure of Christian parents to raise their children as Christians. It’s next a failure of the church to be the church.

    Jay, what about the parents who have tried their best to raise children up in the faith, but yet they refused for reasons totally unrelated to their parents Godly influence? Adam and Eve had the perfect parent, but still rebelled. Regarding Godly influences, or we to blame Jesus for the failure to convert Judas? Shouldn’t Paul and the other disciples have converted every single person they came in contact with, including the wicked rulers of their day? The truth is that children, and every individual, has free will.

    To simply say that all of our nation’s woes are mostly because of Christian parents failure to raise Christian children, is I believe, a little too simplistic. To say that Christians should accomplish today in the U.S. what has taken 2,000 years of “failure” to accomplish on this earth in any nation since the birth of the church is placing the blame too squarely in one direction. I’m certainly not saying that Christians and the church in the U.S. don’t have a role in the failure of advancing the Kingdom, but neither do I think that the Church is to soley be blamed for the moral decline in America, no more than Paul and the early Christians are to be blamed in its failure to convert the entire nations where God placed them to evangelize. Satan is not called in scripture the “god of this world” for nothing. We are born in a wicked, fallen world and we live in a wicked fallen world, and that includes the United States of America.

  7. Chris says:

    Sorry, didn’t mean to misquote. I meant to write : “to say that out nation’s fallen morals is primarily the failure of Christian parents…” I did not mean to write “all of out nation’s woes.”

  8. Gary says:

    Jeff, if we take Paul at his word in Romans 1, nothing more and nothing less, he condemns homosexual behavior by heterosexuals – those who have exchanged or given up their prior heterosexuality for homosexuality. I recognize that Paul was hostile to homosexuality overall and would almost certainly have condemned it in any and every expression and context. But that is only supposition and counts for nothing. Paul was not omniscient or infallible. All that is authoritative regarding Paul for us today are the actual words he wrote. What he wrote on homosexuality in Romans 1 has no application to persons whose orientations are homosexual. They have no heterosexuality to give up or exchange.

  9. Dwight says:

    When Jesus restates what is understood and stated in Gen. “And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.”
    God put together the relationship between man and woman in becoming one flesh. IT must be noted that Adam wasn’t completely alone before Eve, there were animals, but none of them were compatable, so God created woman to be Adam’s partner.

    There is also a failure to not only raise Christian sons and daughters, but to convert others to Christ. The Muslims understand that when you make more Muslims, then you will have more Muslim ideology reflected by the society, because they are the society.

  10. Gary says:

    David, I agree that God’s acceptance of individuals is based upon their individual surrender to him and not upon their success or failure in conforming to rules of behavior. But that actually argues for full acceptance of gay Christian couples who are following God according to their understanding of God’s will.

    Regarding government, if Christians over the last generation had been at the forefront of efforts to prevent discrimination against gays in employment, housing and public accommodations then the conservative stand against gay marriage would have been taken far more seriously. But of course that didn’t happen. To this very day the states with the largest concentrations of conservative Christians are the ones still intent on empowering those who want to discriminate against gays. The consolation for me is that it is only a matter of time before federal courts strike down all Jim Crow style laws against gays. It’s striking that the states that have historically been the most racist in their laws are going down the same road with gays. I thank God for our federal government.

  11. JohnF says:

    Gary,
    Your entire argument seems to be based on YOUR assumption (and yes, you quote “sympathetic” authority) that homosexual attraction, and therefore its resultant behavior, is NORMAL. And yet, you cannot provide a single verse of scripture that teaches so. McGarvey (Christian Leader, 1905) wrote “When the wish is father to the thought, correct exegesis is like water on a duck’s back.”

    I’ve read many of your comments, and they seem to all come back to the above assumption.

    The social construct of government is ordained by God; those governmental agencies are intended for the common good. All 50 states acknowledge a divine authority under which they seek protection. In practice they have more recently rejected that portion of their preambles or constitutions — to their shame. Can you legislate morality? Yes, but legislation is not now nor has ever been an effective tool to “enforce” morality. And yet, every law legislated has a moral base, even if the understanding of that base is incorrect. The current decision of “gay marriage” is no exception. A Christian “world view” sees that decision (rightly so in my view) as based on a misplaced moral base.

  12. Christopher says:

    One thing that I believe has been omitted in this protracted discussion of homosexuality is the disturbing sexual debauchery exhibited by gays. I made mention of LGBT parades in an earlier comment without saying anything about their typically debaucherous nature. And I remember watching a PBS documentary on the Stonewall movement (the first significant instance of large-scale gay activism in America) and learning that homosexual men would gather by the dozens in unlit, unwashed meat packing truck trailers to engage in group sex (I was astonished the liberal PBS had not edited this unflattering detail out of the documentary). Current reports of similar debauchery are not hard to find, as in this recent article:

    http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/apr/07/dinah-lesbian-festival-women-palm-springs

    It seems clear to me that there is, besides its obvious unnatural character, an excessive sexual quality to homosexuality seen far less in heterosexual relations. And I suspect that is why, even to this day, that over half the people with HIV are gay men. What “Christians” practicing homosexuality and seeking “affirmation” don’t get is that such proud, shameless and debaucherous behavior is what gets under the skin of a lot of us.

    Peter recounts how Lot was distressed by the evil behavior of those in Sodom. Just think about what they shamelessly did: assembled outside of Lot’s house and demanded he send out his male guests so they could rape them. We aren’t told what other evil things the people did – only this. How anyone could imagine God is pleased with such homosexual behavior, when he destroys the entire land, is beyond me.

    My mother told me once that sex isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. She was exactly right. And so is Jay. Sex is not essential to our (personal) existence or being, despite what those in Hollywood or the media tell us. And there seems to be a historical connection between rampant sexual sin and cultural decline.

  13. Gary says:

    I’ve forwarded to Jay an interesting little essay/blog post entitled “A Short History of Christian Marriage” by Mike Breen. If he thinks it would be beneficial to share perhaps he will post a link to it.

    Marriage has evolved considerably over the centuries even as a wholly heterosexual institution. It does not at all appear to be the case that marriage was always a preserve of the church rather than the government. Martin Luther argued exactly the opposite. According to Breen, the first Christian wedding ceremony only dates to the late first millennium and priests did not participate in weddings until the 12th century. Ultimately of course the Roman Catholic Church claimed primary jurisdiction over weddings and marriage. But there doesn’t seem to be a basis historically for arguing that the government should not be involved in any way with marriage.

  14. Gary says:

    Christopher, I’m sure that God is not pleased with “such homosexual behavior” as you have described. But debauchery can be heterosexual or homosexual. I’ve known many gay men and I don’t know a single one who has engaged in the extreme behavior you describe or for that matter would have any desire to engage in such behavior. Most gays lead quiet lives and would not stand out in a crowd as in any way unusual.

    I’ve shared on here before how I once wanted to read about the Tabu people of Libya so I googled Tabu. To my surprise the first thing that came up was a wholly heterosexual swingers club only a few miles from me although I had never heard of it. The description of their activities was so disgusting that I quickly left the site.

    If I used that example to argue against the legitimacy of heterosexual marriage I would quickly be dismissed as irrational. But it works both ways. For you to cite extreme behaviors of some gays as an argument against gay marriage isn’t even rational. I’ve thought many times that opponents of gay marriage need to give more thought to their arguments. This is one of those times.

  15. Gary says:

    John F., what is normal refers to what is usual or typical. So yes it is normal for those who are homosexual to be drawn towards homosexuality just as it is normal for heterosexuals to be drawn towards heterosexuality. No great surprise there. What is normal for you may be abnormal for someone else. I don’t think we get anywhere arguing about what is normal.

  16. Jeff Richardson says:

    Well Gary, you may be right, if the homosexual was born that way. But he is not. It is a learned behavior. A male was created by God to mate with a female, so said Jesus in Matt 19. As for what Paul said, he was guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit. What he said carries the same weight as if Jesus said it. It was Jesus who promised the Apostles a helper to remind them of the things that He had taught. So then Paul taught the teachings of Christ. God calls all men to repent, or else perish. An after thought here, remember years ago when a large effort was started to find the supposed “gay gene”? Some time and effort at great expense to find it. Remember the out come? Remember all the fan fare when they found it? No, no one remembers because they never found it. If God did create some to be homosexual, what would that say about God? That He created some in a sexual sin that they could never repent of. I don’t think so.

  17. Christopher says:

    Gary wrote:

    But debauchery can be heterosexual or homosexual.

    For which there is an implied concession in my comment. What we do not see is “swingers” parades as we do for the LGBT “community”. You see, most heterosexuals engaging in adultery, “swinging”, bisexual relations and the like have some degree of shame. They hide their behavior. Not so with many gays. They trumpet their sin to the world. Secondly, I think you underestimate the number of homosexuals who are debaucherous. You’re taliking to a guy who was sexually abused by a married bisexual man as a young child for three years, and someone who has been “hit on” by gay men several times since. My neighbor recently almost came to blows with a gay male quest who at one point, thinking it would be funny, shook his privates near his face. Lastly, my comment was not about gay marriage but homosexuality.

  18. Christopher says:

    Jeff wrotr:

    If God did create some to be homosexual, what would that say about God?

    That He either does not exist or that He is not good.

  19. Gary says:

    Christopher, extreme heterosexuals or swingers don’t have parades? Have you ever heard of Mardi Gras or Carnival in Latin America?

  20. Gary says:

    Jeff, homosexuality may be a learned behavior for some but it certainly is not for all gay men. I grew up in a staunch CoC family without any exposure to homosexuality. Yet I was 10 when I had my first wet dream about a man.

    Conservatives are the ones who seem obsessed with a gay gene. I agree that there is no evidence of a gay gene at the present. The current thinking is that sexual orientation is determined epigenetically by chemical processes that take place in the mother’s womb. If that is the case then it follows that there is no gay gene. But it would still mean that sexual orientation is determined biologically.

  21. Johnathon says:

    “No one knows quite what the language means. Are we saying that the Constitution prefers Christianity over all other religions? Well, read the Constitution. It just doesn’t. Are we saying that most Americans were Christians when the Constitution was adopted? Well, that’s bad history.
    [A]ctually very few Americans were church members during the Revolutionary era-less than 1 in 5. The big change happened with the Second Great Awakening, in the early 1800s, the time of Charles Finney and revival meetings. During this time, adherence rates jumped to about one-third. In the late 1800s, they jumped again, to almost half of the population, and they have steadily risen to the present when almost two-thirds of the nation adheres to a religion.”

    Forgive me Jay but I have never heard or read someone argue the constitution favors Christianity. If they did I would say they wrong. The bit about history is misleading. Just because someone is not a member of a church does not mean they do not think of themselves as or claim to be a Christian. I was under the impression faith in Christ was the mark of a Christian, not necessarily being a member of a church.

  22. Ray Downen says:

    It’s good to read varying ideas about sex and Christian living. The Bible can’t be misunderstood. It makes clear that sex is good and right between a man and his wife even if she is past the age to bear children. I know a man who has no desire for sex with any woman. This is unnatural. But it is real. I know women who say they have no desire to have sex with any man. This is unnatural. But it is real. I know many couples who love one another and enjoy sex together, but they don’t tell everyone about it. They just live and love and serve Jesus as best they know how to do it.

    We are called to tell others about Jesus. This is what our objective should be. If sexual partners help in serving Jesus, that’s good. If they hinder serving Jesus then that’s all the way bad. I just finished reading an article in a recent monthly from the American Legion about a man and his wife who now seek to be our President. It made good reading, showing how the couple work together to accomplish a good goal. The best preachers I know are also good husbands and fathers. Two who stand out in Joplin, Missouri are Mark Scott and Matt Proctor. Outstanding preachers who love their wives and serve TOGETHER to advance the kingdom.

  23. Ray Downen says:

    I just read what I had written and see that I typed “reaching” when I intended to type “reading.” I’m not able to edit to make the correction. I wish I had that option!

  24. Christopher says:

    Gary wrote:

    Jeff, homosexuality may be a learned behavior for some but it certainly is not for all gay men. I grew up in a staunch CoC family without any exposure to homosexuality. Yet I was 10 when I had my first wet dream about a man.

    You never engaged in any sexual child play before that time? Think REAL hard. My best friend is SSO (though he has never “acted out”) and he didn’t remember he had been “molested” by a retarded fourteen year old until I started talking about how imprinting may be the principal cause of his SSO. EVERY gay brother I knew and a former minister friend of mine knew had been sexually molested or abused as a child. The only reason I’m probably not SSO on that theory is because a pretty blond girl four years older than me opened my shirt and fondled me when I was barely seven – a year before I was abused. I remember it distinctly, and it is probably the reason I like blond women.

  25. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Johnathon wrote,

    The bit about history is misleading. Just because someone is not a member of a church does not mean they do not think of themselves as or claim to be a Christian. I was under the impression faith in Christ was the mark of a Christian, not necessarily being a member of a church.

    So you have evidence of a substantially higher level of faith in Jesus than is shown by church attendance records? Is there some basis to conclude that although attendance was 20% of the population, a majority of the population had saving faith?

  26. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Gary,

    You seem to assume that if the church didn’t regulate or grant marriages, the government did. But marriage is older than government. And the Jews (and most societies) treated marriage as a matter governed by the parties to the marriage and tradition, not the government in ancient times.

    The Catholic Church took over marriage as a “sacrament” in the Middle Ages, as a power play, to declare “void” marriages they didn’t like. The government took away the church’s exclusive power in the Reformation — and now the government claims primary authority and the church thinks it gets the right to marry people from the government.

    But originally, marriage was between the husband and wife and their families.

  27. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Chris,

    I grant that even ideal parents will not convert all their own children. But ideal parents will convert most of their own children. And somewhere along the way there will be evangelism. And the church will grow and the moral influence of Jesus will grow.

    The early church managed to grow at a pace exceeding its biological growth rate and eventually convert nearly the entire Empire — without any government cooperation (and despite periodical brutal persecution) and surrounded by deeply debauched morals. How did they do it? Well, they converted their children. Most of them. And they evangelized friends and neighbors. And the church acted like the church, with a full-fledged gospel that included good works for those in need.

    It’s still a good plan.

  28. Johnathon says:

    So you have evidence of a substantially higher level of faith in Jesus than is shown by church attendance records? Is there some basis to conclude that although attendance was 20% of the population, a majority of the population had saving faith?

    These would be relevant questions if had argued a majority of the population had a saving faith. I sm saying you did not present compelling evidence to back up your argument. I know people who do not attend church regularly that appear to have a great faith in Christ. If you are going to judge who or is not a Christian (I must question the wisdom of doing such a thing) you might want to base that judgement on more than church membership.

  29. JohnF says:

    Gary, it would seem that the reason you do not care to discuss what is “natural” is that a clear understanding of what is “natural” does not fit your paradigm. I would challenge you to do your own study on the term as I doubt you would consider what I would post.

  30. Jeff Richardson says:

    Gary, something influenced you, 10 year old boys don’t just wake up and say whoa! And 10 year old boys don’t understand what girls are for either. We have to be taught our roll as a male and female. Sounds like you had a father and mother who raised you, in what you called a staunch c of C family. I would suppose they taught you what the bible said? And you chose to reject biblical teaching. In the beginning, God made them male and female, and FOR this reason, a man should leave his father and mother and cling to his wife Matt 19. There was a reason God made them male and female Gary. This is the sexual relationship God created for mankind. People who practice homosexuality have changed God’s natural order.

  31. Jeff Richardson says:

    Gary, sex is biological, it is in us and it makes us want it, true. Some men want sex with as many women as they can. But this biological urge is not right in Gods sight. We have to learn to control ourselves. God has places boundaries on us. If we go over the boundary, we sin. It is also biological for babies to be selfish. They have to be taught.

  32. Doug says:

    Sex is not a right. Sex is a choice, and a gift from God only to be opened between a male and a female who have committed to each other in marriage. If God actually made someone homosexual (which I don’t believe he did) then they are not wrong, immoral or condemned due to their SSO. However, if they move from “orientation” to “practicing” what God condemns that is a different matter which is, IMO, made obvious in scripture.

  33. David Himes says:

    Gary,
    Part of the inherent dilemma in what you seek (i.e., full acceptance of gay couples, based upon their understanding of God’s will) is the the equally inherent expectation that you are right and those who disagree are wrong.

    Based upon Romans 14, if you are correct, then you should not be compelling others to accept you, but rather acting to avoid putting stumbling blocks in front of your fellow believers.

    Further, and I admit this point applies very broadly, I believe the underlying cause of all sin is pride and selfishness. Individually, we think we have “rights” to which we are entitled. But God’s example is that we give up everything — emphasis on everything — to be like Jesus was.

    You may have the “legal” right to partner with another gay person — but please explain how that serves God’s purposes? I’m not asking you to actually answer that question. I’m only saying I think it’s a better question than questions about who is right, who is wrong or who has what “rights”

    For me, one of the things the Text does is explain some things that I not able to figure out. And at the moment, my best understanding of the Text suggests there is something about homosexual relationships that God does not condone.

    I’m certainly not going to condemn anyone — because I’m guilty of enough on my own. One of my favorite quotes is: “Don’t judge someone just because they sin differently than you do.”

    My hope, for all of us, is we find a way to devote ourselves to loving others the way Jesus loved us and gave his life for us — and figuring out what that means in each interaction of our life.

    David

  34. Gary says:

    David, I’m not aware of ever having been a stumbling block to anyone. I’m a member of a Disciples of Christ congregation where I am accepted. While it is more liberal than most Churches of Christ it is also more traditional than most progressive Churches of Christ. It actually reminds me of the Church of Christ I grew up in so I feel very at home there.

    I don’t believe that a Romans 14 application could possibly require me or anyone to live alone and celibate simply to accommodate more conservative brethren. If it did require lifelong celibacy of me it would also require the same of divorced Christians so as not to offend brethren who are conservative on mdr. I’ve studied Romans 14 thoroughly and I can’t imagine what exegesis would support that application.

    David, you have a kind and gentle spirit that I appreciate very much. I can tell that you genuinely care about people and not just about winning arguments. Please know that I care deeply about Churches of Christ and I fear for them that they will unnecessarily be seen in the not too distant future as equivalent to racist churches over the issue of gay marriage. If faithfulness to God and his will for us in Scripture required the refusal to accept non-celibate gays then of course we should continue on the same course and let the chips fall where they may. But I honestly don’t believe that the conservative position on homosexuality is supported by a close reading of the relevant passages.

    I’ve been struck time and again on One in Jesus that no one wants to even comment on some plain truths: most notably that Romans 1 only applies to those who have given up or exchanged their heterosexuality for homosexuality and that there is no historical basis in 1 Corinthians 6 to understand arsenokoites and malakos as applying to homosexuality in general. I’ve repeatedly cited Dale Martin’s essay that is available online, “Arsenokoites and Malakos: Interpretations and Consequences.” I cannot recall anyone on One in Jesus even trying to answer Martin. Instead the same tired conservative arguments or often just assertions are put forward time after time without addressing what the text of Scripture actually says.

    Anyone who can understand Paul to allow divorce and remarriage for any reason and women preachers should have no difficulty seeing that gay marriages as we know them today are never addressed in Scripture. The problem as I see it is the amazing power of traditional understandings and interpretations of Scripture. More than the intellect is involved in understanding Scripture. Sometimes we emotionally are not prepared to accept what is right in front of us in the Bible. We’ve all seen that in conservative brethren on matters like instrumental music. They were just too emotionally invested in the anti-instrumental music doctrine to change their understanding no matter what the Bible says. I believe the same dynamic is being played out now in Churches of Christ regarding gay marriage.

  35. Christopher says:

    Gary wrote:

    I’ve been struck time and again on One in Jesus that no one wants to even comment on some plain truths: most notably that Romans 1 only applies to those who have given up or exchanged their heterosexuality for homosexuality and that there is no historical basis in 1 Corinthians 6 to understand arsenokoites and malakos as applying to homosexuality in general. I’ve repeatedly cited Dale Martin’s essay that is available online, “Arsenokoites and Malakos: Interpretations and Consequences.” I cannot recall anyone on One in Jesus even trying to answer Martin. Instead the same tired conservative arguments or often just assertions are put forward time after time without addressing what the text of Scripture actually says.

    I can hardly believe I am reading this. I took my M.A, in English in the mid-eighties, when post-structuralism was all the rage. The popularity of such nonsense was the reason I finally elected to not pursue a PhD, though I was admitted into a doctoral program. Read this description of Barthes’ views:

    “Although Barthes was originally a structuralist, during the 1960s he increasingly favored post-structuralist views. In 1967, Barthes published “The Death of the Author” in which he announced a metaphorical event: the “death” of the author as an authentic source of meaning for a given text. Barthes argued that any literary text has multiple meanings, and that the author was not the prime source of the work’s semantic content. The “Death of the Author,” Barthes maintained, was the “Birth of the Reader,” as the source of the proliferation of meanings of the text.”

    source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-structuralism

    Do you have any idea how foreign that kind of thinking is to Jesus? Do you see Him interpreting OT passages in that fashion? The meaning of a text resides primarily in the intent of its author(s). Whether or not that intent may be rightly understood centuries later is a different question. But just because ancient texts may be ambiguous does not give one the right to simply make stuff up. What you call “plain truths” are far from plain and more like fanciful – such as Romans 1 applying only to those who have consciously given up their heterosexuality for homosexuality and not to people born or made gay. Is it not people with SSO, in defense of the practice of homosexuality, who ask “Who would choose such a thing”? Yet here you are, implying people choose to engage in that behavior. You can’t have it both ways. There clearly is choice in acting upon sexual desire. Any suggestions I have made as to a non-genetic cause of SSO and hypothetical cures have been met by you with disbelief and pessimism. I think you actually like being homosexual. My best friend, who is gay and has never acted out, sure doesn’t. He thinks there is hope in unlearning his SSO. Though he has never engaged in homosexual sex, he has had sex a few times with women who pushed themselves on him. And, on two occasions, he was surprised to find he was aroused and enjoyed it. My father has said for a long time that if something happens at least once, then it is clearly possible. I tell him that and he cannot deny it. Therefore he take heart, He wants to get married one day soon.

    As for answering Martin, why should anyone here bother when he has been answered already online by no less than Gagnon:

    http://www.robgagnon.net/DaleMartinResponse.htm

  36. Gary says:

    Christopher, I will reread Gagnon’s response to Martin. Thank you for posting the link. Regarding a genetic cause of homosexuality please remember that I agree with you that there is no evidence at this time of a gene that causes homosexuality. I do not at all discount behavioral causes of male homosexuality. I’ve said a number of times on here that I believe the causes of male homosexuality are myriad. I don’t believe that there is any one exclusive cause of male homosexuality. The difference between us on this point is that I don’t think it makes any difference what causes male homosexuality. When a boy arrives at puberty with a homosexual orientation I can’t see how the cause makes any difference. As we so often say it is what it is.

    Regarding your friend are you saying that heterosexual fornication is acceptable but committed homosexual relationships are not? That seems to be the implication.

  37. Christopher says:

    Gary wrote:

    Regarding your friend are you saying that heterosexual fornication is acceptable but committed homosexual relationships are not?

    Not at all. He has described the sexual attractiveness of women as akin to lying on broken glass. Yet he recounted a few encounters where that was surprisingly (by his own admission) not the case. That is when I pointed out to him that if he has enjoyed it at least once, then it is possible that he could learn to enjoy it as a rule. He agrees. But he still has a lot of unlearning to do.

  38. Christopher says:

    Gary wrote:

    When a boy arrives at puberty with a homosexual orientation I can’t see how the cause makes any difference.

    Because, at this point anyway, we can’t do much to change genetically caused abnormalities. However, we can rewire our brains. IF SSO is learned, then it may be unlearned. THAT is the difference, as I see it. The one is hard wired and the other is not. There is next to no hope for change if SSO is genetically determined. That would mean (in my view) that God is so committed to us having free will that He would allow something an ancestor did to hard wire your sexual orientation, preventing you from having a way to gratify your sexual desires without sinning. That’s pretty severe. You see, being born retarded or blind does not predispose one to sin. But being born gay would. Indeed, that is my friend’s big complaint. He says he’d rather be a quadriplegic than gay, for at least then he’d not have a handicap that predisposes him to sin. However, if one is made SSO in childhood, then one can overcome that problem with God’s help and a sensible approach. We are called to overcome. Think of the glory God would receive if I’m right and people finally figure out how to overcome not only SSO, but alcoholism (called a disease by many), drug addiction, bulimia, morbid obesity and so on by realizing they truly have the power to change – that God gave us that power as a gift (even if we didn’t know we had it). What if Satan’s greatest weapon is causing us to doubt we have such power?

  39. Alabama John says:

    This still doesn’t explain why various species of animals every now and then are born going after the same sex.
    If animals can be born that way, why not humans?

  40. Christopher says:

    AJ wrote:

    This still doesn’t explain why various species of animals every now and then are born going after the same sex. If animals can be born that way, why not humans?

    I would be real wary of any “scientific” claims that cannot be duplicated. I’ve owned dogs that have tried occasionally to hump my leg. So I am not sure how much we should make of occasional animal sexual behavior. I read one observational study that found that while penguins might engage in homosexual pairing for a time, they do not do so for life.

  41. Gary says:

    Christopher, it had been a long time since I had read Gagnon’s response to Dale Martin on Martin’s article “Arsenokoites and Malakos: Interpretations and Consequences.” I’ve read again twice today Gagnon’s response from the link that you provided. Thank you again for providing the link. What stands out most of all is that Gagnon (now deceased) and Martin were definitely oil and water. If one said the sky was blue the other would have probably argued that it was not. Very little of Gagnon’s response actually deals with the meaning of arsenokoites and malakos in the sin list in 1 Corinthians 6. I don’t see as being productive to the meaning of arsenokoites and malakos Gagnon’s long sections on the role of the author’s intent. All that matters is what the words that Paul wrote actually mean. Anything else is supposition.

    When Gagnon does address arsenokoites and malakos he simply posits a meaning for arsenokoites as men in general who sexually penetrate other men as if everyone knows that is what it means. He doesn’t mention that arsenokoites is a word that Paul coined in 1 Corinthians 6 or that paiderrastes was the word in Greek that already meant men in general who sexually penetrated other men. Why would Paul coin a brand new word to describe a group of men for whom there was already a well known word? Gagnon doesn’t even acknowledge the difficulty. It’s hard for me to take him seriously when he ignores such an important question.

    Both Gagnon and Martin basically agree that in a sexual context malakos refers to males who are sexually penetrated by another man. Gagnon again assumes that this must be a reference to all men in any and every context who are sexually penetrated. Martin in contrast does the spade work that a lexicographer is supposed to do and tracks down the uses of malakos and arsenokoites in the following centuries. He concludes that the words refer to sex, usually but not always homosexuality, in a context of exploitation. Some possibilities for the meaning of arsenokoites and malakos are an older and dominant man sexually penetrating a young submissive adolescent boy (pederasty); an older and dominant man sexually penetrating a younger and submissive male prostitute; an older and dominant male pimp and a younger submissive male prostitute; and a male prostitute for women (a gigolo) and a male prostitute for men. It’s worth pointing out that two out of three NIV translations (with all Evangelical translators) have translated malakos as male prostitute.

    Dale Martin concludes that no one now living knows precisely what arsenokoites and malakos meant in 1 Corinthians 6 since there is no context there to indicate their meaning. They referred to two types of sexual sin that were perhaps complementary. We can’t even know for sure that they were complementary since arsenokoites is used in a sin list in 1 Timothy that omits malakos. Martin in his essay “Arsenokoites and Malakos: Interpretations and Consequences” gives historical and linguistic proofs for his conclusion. Gagnon, at least in the piece that you provided the link for, just makes assertions.

  42. Gary says:

    Christopher, your friend is doing a grave disservice to any women he dates. The conservative position on homosexuality makes innocent heterosexual women victims of gay men who try, ultimately in vain, to be straight. These women deserve to be with a heterosexual man. Would you want your sister or daughter or widowed mother to date or marry a gay man? I hope your friend will eventually be able to be free from the prison that conservatism has effectively placed him in and accept himself as a gay man. The path that he is on makes him a prime candidate for suicide. Engaging in heterosexual behavior does not in the long run eliminate or even diminish homosexual desires. In fact the longer homosexual desires are denied the stronger they become so that they consume one’s life even if one remains homosexually celibate. It only gets harder with age for a gay man to try to be straight. Believe me I know.

  43. Christopher says:

    Gary wrote:

    He [Gagnon] doesn’t mention that arsenokoites is a word that Paul coined in 1 Corinthians 6 or that paiderrastes was the word in Greek that already meant men in general who sexually penetrated other men. Why would Paul coin a brand new word to describe a group of men for whom there was already a well known word? Gagnon doesn’t even acknowledge the difficulty. It’s hard for me to take him seriously when he ignores such an important question…Martin in contrast does the spade work that a lexicographer is supposed to do and tracks down the uses of malakos and arsenokoites in the following centuries.

    Since you and Martin place a lot of emphasis upon the meaning of this neologism used by Paul, the first question that occurred to be as a student of literature is this: did Paul coin other terms in Greek? And the answer is yes. I did not do an exhaustive search but stopped at the first one I found:

    http://www.lcoggt.org/Steele/hp18.htm

    The reason this question is important is that if a pattern for coinages can be established, then that might help best answer your question. Thomas Schmidt apparently answers the question this way:

    The Greek word arsenokoites clearly comes from the Greek translation of Leviticus 18:22 that Paul would have used. The Leviticus verse uses two words (arseno = “men” and koiten = “lies with”) which are combined by Paul, presumably to evoke memories of the teaching of Leviticus that forbids “a man laying with another man as he would with a woman” (95-96).

    source: https://peacetheology.net/homosexuality/the-homosexuality-debate-two-streams-of-biblical-interpretation/

    How people centuries after Paul used the term is immaterial, because it doesn’t tell us what Paul as the author intended by its use. White racists ignorantly supposed that by applying a neutral Latin word for black (niger) to African Americans, they were somehow demeaning them. The negative connotations the word acquired were mainly in people’s imaginations. Linguistic change occurs with many, many words in most languages over time. It is consequently unwise, for example, to use a current dictionary to help interpret Shakespeare’s plays – the meanings of various words have changed. Hence, I can only conclude that Martin doesn’t reason very well (which I would guess from his post-structuralist leanings). And you champion his argument because it suits your desire to think of homosexuality as a fixed condition, as you indicate in your other post.

    Look – the preponderance of scriptural evidence (and that’s what we must rely upon when we can no longer interrogate an author) is clearly against your and Martin’s interpretation. I wish you would see that

  44. Alabama John says:

    Christopher,
    From a country boys observation, not a scientific one, some cows, horses, are born acting and looking more like the other sex. As they get older they even act that way.
    Usually they are gelded in horses or sold off as dog food. With cows, hogs, etc. they are butchered and their bodies and meat even looks like the other sex so there’s more involved than a little humping.
    Granted there are those humans that choose to become homosexuals for some reason that escapes me, but, others are born that way as you could see it in their actions, physical appearance, talking, as young children. way before they even knew what sex was.
    Why did God make them that way? I cannot think like God as His thoughts are way above all of ours and maybe He just lets nature take its own course in some things. Visit a childrens hospital and try to understand how God is thinking and what His future plans are for those dying.
    There is a lot we just don’t understand and should just leave it in Gods hands and move on with our lives.

  45. Gary says:

    Christopher, Jay has also shared before about the possible root of arsenokoites in the Septuagint translation of Leviticus 18:22. But how would the Corinthian Christians to whom Paul was writing have known that? Unless there were footnotes to 1 Corinthians that we no longer have (I’m being facetious), it is unlikely that many, if any, of the Corinthian Christians would have known about that possible background. So the same question arises again: why would Paul have chosen to coin a new word to describe, as conservatives contend, men who were already well known as paiderrastes? That was the common Greek word for homosexual men in general. That honestly does not make sense to me. Arsenokoites had to have had a more nuanced meaning. It had to have referred to some subset of homosexual men. But which subset? If we don’t take into account the later meanings of arsenokoites that Dale Martin has documented then we have to admit that we just don’t know. Without any context in 1 Corinthians 6 and without any prior uses of arsenokoites to guide us that’s the only option that’s left. So it’s either go with Dale Martin’s conclusion or leave it that we don’t what arsenokoites meant. Either option is fine with me.

  46. Christopher says:

    Gary wrote:

    Christopher, Jay has also shared before about the possible root of arsenokoites in the Septuagint translation of Leviticus 18:22. But how would the Corinthian Christians to whom Paul was writing have known that? Unless there were footnotes to 1 Corinthians that we no longer have (I’m being facetious), it is unlikely that many, if any, of the Corinthian Christians would have known about that possible background. So the same question arises again: why would Paul have chosen to coin a new word to describe, as conservatives contend, men who were already well known as paiderrastes? That was the common Greek word for homosexual men in general. That honestly does not make sense to me. Arsenokoites had to have had a more nuanced meaning. It had to have referred to some subset of homosexual men. But which subset? If we don’t take into account the later meanings of arsenokoites that Dale Martin has documented then we have to admit that we just don’t know. Without any context in 1 Corinthians 6 and without any prior uses of arsenokoites to guide us that’s the only option that’s left. So it’s either go with Dale Martin’s conclusion or leave it that we don’t what arsenokoites meant. Either option is fine with me.

    Brother, it seems to me you are relying upon false assumptions to make your case. All you have to do is read the book of Acts to learn that Paul reached out to Jews and God-fearing gentiles in Ancient Greece – both of who would presumably have known the Septuagint (since, according to Luke, Paul alludes to it in his addresses to them). I mean, that translation predates Christ by a couple of centuries, as it was commissioned by Ptolemy of Egypt who had in placed in the library of Alexandria. Unless you can demonstrate by historical evidence that no one was familiar with it in Corinth, or only a few, then one may assume otherwise given what we know from Acts (and perhaps other evidence). Jay could probably speak better to this point.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint

    Why did Paul not use the word paiderrastes? I would guess because the word really means homosexual relations between and adult male and a boy (the “subset” for which you are casting about) and he did not wish to limit what he was saying to pederasty but to all homosexual relations between males. I believe your logic is inverted on this point.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pederasty

  47. Gary says:

    Christopher, I know you want to rule out later instances of arsenokoites in Greek but given the scarcity of information on arsenokoites I believe later uses can be instructive. One meaning was a man who sexually forces himself on another man. I would add that to the other possibilities I’ve already mentioned.

    I think it’s worth pondering why church fathers who wrote extensively on homosexuality such as Clement of Alexandria and John Chrysostom never used arsenokoites to describe homosexuality. They do use arsenokoites in general sin lists, as Paul does in 1 Corinthians 6, but not in their more detailed discussions of homosexual behavior.

    I don’t think it’s possible to prove that malakos and arsenokoites in 1 Corinthians 6:9 refers to all homosexual behavior in any and every context. But even if it were, our understanding of 1 Corinthians 6:9 would be governed by what Paul writes in Romans 1. The old principle that the Bible is its own best interpreter is usually true I believe. Conservatives avoid facing the uncomfortable fact that, by Paul’s own words, he condemned homosexual behavior by heterosexuals- those who had given up or exchanged their heterosexuality. Persons with homosexual orientations do not have heterosexuality to exchange or give up. The only other alternative is to contend that Paul had no understanding of what it meant to have an immutable homosexual orientation firmly in place by puberty. Either alternative arrives at the same conclusion: Paul never addressed committed same sex relationships as we have today. Such relationships between social equals were extremely rare in Paul’s day. Even when they did exist they had no legal recognition and they were socially repugnant because the partner who was sexually penetrated was considered to be mentally ill. Remember that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians before the same sex marriages of Nero. It defies the imagination to contend that Paul could have had such relationships in mind. Homosexuality in Paul’s day was overwhelmingly associated with prostitution, pederasty, promiscuity and coercion.

  48. laymond says:

    What is amazing to me there has been 46 comments on this post and not one mention of the part that places Jesus and Paul on the same level .

    “If I were writing a book on the subject, I would walk the reader through the Gen 1 – 2 passages and how Jesus and Paul interpret and apply them. But readers of this blog should be familiar with this material already — and the fact that Jesus and Paul reach their conclusions from Gen 1 – 2, not the contract theory of government, the divine rights of kings, or the like. We should think as Jesus and Paul thought.”
    Three times in this short statement , Jesus and Paul or judged as equals, and in other posts Jesus and God are said to be equals. Read this and then tell me what is wrong with the progressive church of Christ today. (or has it progressed into the church of Paul.? )

    Jay if you feel you must ban me from commenting here, don’t feel guilty.
    But when I see something written that is so outrageous to my Christians beliefs I would be negligent in my Christian duty, not to call for an explanation, or a retraction.

  49. Christopher says:

    Gary wrote:

    The old principle that the Bible is its own best interpreter is usually true I believe. Conservatives avoid facing the uncomfortable fact that, by Paul’s own words, he condemned homosexual behavior by heterosexuals- those who had given up or exchanged their heterosexuality. Persons with homosexual orientations do not have heterosexuality to exchange or give up. The only other alternative is to contend that Paul had no understanding of what it meant to have an immutable homosexual orientation firmly in place by puberty.

    What you are arguing for is a “fact”? That is a telling exaggeration. I have not seen where you have established that as yet. The etymological meaning of paiderrastes is sexual love for boys. There is no connotation of rape in that per se. What matters is what Paul intended by his use of the word arsenokoites, not what writers centuries later meant by it. I can’t speak to your claim about church fathers using paiderrastes exclusively because I have not researched it and I am not sure I could very well on the Internet.

    If the Bible is its own interpreter, then why are you not seeing that (as I’ve said) the preponderance of evidence – from Genesis to Leviticus on down – is against your view? Are you saying Moses was also ignorant of this distinction you find in orientations and should have amended the law to say that only heterosexuals who gave up their heterosexuality should be stoned to death? Are you saying that God’s manifest design in Genesis was not heterosexuality?

    Finally, what of those people who have a fixed “orientation” for pedophilia, zoophilia, necrophilia and so on? Your argument is that homosexuals, because they (you claim) have a fixed orientation, are exempted from what appear to be plainly articulated laws of God. To be logically consistent, you would have to concede that so too should those who naturally want to have some kind of sex with children, animals or dead people. And that they should have a constitutional right to do so as well. That is where your logic leads you, as I’ve tried to indicate in earlier posts.

    It seems you are doing what my professor of a one year History of Science course called “saving the theory”, whereby people manipulate evidence and hypotheses to maintain their belief in a particular view.

  50. Gary says:

    Christopher, you cover a number of aspects in your last comment. The fact that I referred to is the wording Paul chose to use in Romans 1. Whatever Paul may have had in mind beyond the words he wrote is only supposition. As I’ve said before Paul was not omniscient or infallible. All that is authoritative regarding Paul for us today are the actual words he wrote in the canon of Scripture. Those words in Romans 1 regarding homosexuality are explicitly directed at those who give up or exchange their heterosexuality for homosexuality. We know today that that is not possible for persons with homosexual orientations.

    Paul may not have understood 2,000 years ago that there were persons who were not capable of being heterosexual. Nevertheless his words in Romans 1 stand. For us to apply Romans 1 today as if there is no such thing as homosexual orientation would be like continuing to believe that the earth is flat because some passages seem to say that when we know that the earth is round. Scripture doesn’t change but understandings and interpretations of Scripture often change from one generation to another.

    Homosexuality is not comparable with pederasty, bestiality or necrophilia. Having sex with someone who cannot give informed consent is unjust to that person. Children and the dead cannot give such consent. Neither can animals.

    Like so many things “saving the theory” is in the eye of the beholder.

  51. Gary says:

    Christopher, the law of Moses was never intended for Gentiles. It is no longer binding on anyone today. Also, it is not intellectually responsible to pick and choose some parts of the Law as being in effect today while ignoring other parts. Do we really want to go back to stoning rebellious children or having male rapists marry their female rape victims? The Law was a great step forward for the Hebrew people thousands of years ago. But it is too primitive and archaic and un-Christ like to try to live by today. Jesus shows us a much better path for our lives that is set forth especially in the Sermon on the Mount and his description of the Judgement in Matthew 25. To try to graft parts of the Law of Moses onto Christianity is wrong.

  52. Christopher says:

    Gary wrote:

    Homosexuality is not comparable with pederasty, bestiality or necrophilia. Having sex with someone who cannot give informed consent is unjust to that person. Children and the dead cannot give such consent. Neither can animals.

    Consent doesn’t get around the logical contradiction you create for yourself. You are essentially denying people with abnormal “orientations” like you the ability to gratify their sexual desires that you, hypocritically, claim for yourself because you can’t help because the “orientation” is fixed. To you, these people are just poor saps, who got the short end of the genetic stick. I suppose you imagine they should suffer in silence all of their lives or just off themselves. Very Christian of you. But what do you care? As long as you have yours, everything is fine.

    But, of course, none of that applies if orientation is learned. Then everyone can change and overcome. You, the pedophile, the zoophile and everyone else. What does it say in the OT?

    Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. (Jonah 2:8)

  53. Gary says:

    Christopher, if you think that sexual orientation is learned then we are at an impasse. I believe you are wrong and I hope someday you will realize that.

  54. laymond says:

    Christopher , tells a story of a Gay man , and claims him as his best friend, and that might be so, but I doubt that Christopher is his ” best friend’s” best friend. “Best friends” accept each other as they are, and as Gary said you don’t destroy your best friend’s life and remain “best friends”. Christopher is not only destroying his “BF’s ” life but his future wife’s life too.

  55. Christopher says:

    Laymond:

    Christopher , tells a story of a Gay man , and claims him as his best friend, and that might be so, but I doubt that Christopher is his ” best friend’s” best friend.

    So…you’re calling me a liar in so many words. We’ve known each other since sixth grade and I didn’t know until a few years ago (nor did hardly anyone else and few now know) he is SSO. He believes acting out on his homosexual desires is a sin. If SSO is genetically determined, than I am very wrong. If not, then you are. There’s no gray area here, as I see it.

    But thanks for the kind words.

  56. Larry Cheek says:

    Laymond,
    Either you or Gary said, “Best friends” accept each other as they are, and as Gary said you don’t destroy your best friend’s life and remain “best friends”.
    But, a lack of action to explain to a “Best friend” of the danger in his life, proves you to be no friend at all. If you fail to warn a Best friend who falls into any sin becomes destruction to your friend and yourself. Cain learned this lesson while not acting as his brothers keeper.

  57. laymond says:

    Christopher, and Larry: the command given us , was love your neighbor, not change your neighbor. I believe the change comes from God and if it was God’s will that your friend should be changed, I would bet, your friend would be changed. Maybe this is one of those times when God was so busy you had to act as the indwelled “holy ghost” in God’s stead . I would suggest that if you are real friends, your “friend” knows how you feel about things, and therefore about him . Just my opinion, but if you were really a friend you would not use him to show your piety toward others.
    I don’t call self serving people at my expense “friend”.

  58. Christopher says:

    Laymond wrote:

    Christopher, and Larry: the command given us , was love your neighbor, not change your neighbor.

    Is that why Jesus told his closest friends that unless they changed and became like little children, they would not enter the kingdom of heaven? Is that why He told people that unless they repented, they would perish? The very fact that you are leveling personal attacks at me (aren’t these prohibited by the blog rules?) to “argue” your case shows that you really don’t have much of a point. Cease and desist, dude.

  59. laymond says:

    Christopher, I believe it was Jesus who said , the second commandment was just as important as the first. Unless you are willing to go on a blog and air your own “dirty laundry” leave your “friend’s laundry out of it. I believe that is good advise. yours to take or ignore. your life might be better if you accept it as it was given. seems to have struck a sore point. I will mind my on business when others start minding theirs. DUDE

  60. Christopher says:

    Here are some of the site rules, Laymond:

    * No judging motives. No personal invective. No personal insults.

    * No ad hominem arguments.

    * No fighting words. Call your opponent a “liar” or otherwise question his integrity, and the comment will be deleted and you might be moderated. Avoid harsh language.

    * Do not put words in your opponent’s mouth. You may not mischaracterize what the other person has said.

    In my opinion, you have stepped way over the line in your last few responses to me. Please refrain from questioning my motives, my character and my friendships.

    Thank you.

  61. laymond says:

    Christopher, I give you credit for having more brass than a brass monkey, read the comments you left for Gary, I would venture to say you broke every “rule” you refer to, in your discussion with him.
    Ask Gary if he thinks I am being more unfair to you than you were to him. We can read what you think of Gay people, and now what you think of people who disagree with your positions. You sure have a sharp tongue for someone with such a thin skin. and your opinion on anything is just that “your opinion” and no body else cares for it. and we surely don’t have to agree with it. Maybe you should be careful not to reveal unbecoming character in your writings, if you can’t stand the heat of comments on it.

  62. Larry Cheek says:

    Laymond,
    I am astonished that a Bible student would create a statement like yours. “Christopher, and Larry: the command given us , was love your neighbor, not change your neighbor. I believe the change comes from God and if it was God’s will that your friend should be changed, I would bet, your friend would be changed.”
    Not only did Jesus communicate very harshly with Jews who would not repent (change) to follow him. But, The Apostles received much grief and harsh treatment including death from The Jews and Romans because they promoted that men (even some of their good friends) should make a change in their lives to follow Christ. Were they not living out the instructions which Christ gave them? When you preach The Gospel the message is very clear (you must change from what you are doing), no change leaves you in the hands of Satan and doomed.
    What text in scripture lead you to believe that we were not to become ambassadors of Christ? Can you show us examples of God changing the neighbors of the Christians in NT writings?

    So in response to the statement, If my friend is not changed, God is responsible? I would guess then if God failed my friend was saved, even though he was never aware of God. Really?

  63. laymond says:

    Heb 8:11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
    Heb 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
    Heb 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

    Whatever Jesus taught was under the old covenant.

  64. Dwight says:

    The moral laws of the OT were never done away with and are often repeated in the NT by Jesus and the Apostles, this is especially true of the sexual immoralities. Now the penalties for the sins were not argued for from the OT, but the sins remained sins.
    The NT Christians did not at first have the NT letters or gospels written down, but had the OT and understood the OT as the basis for their morality, after all the one who they were following followed these moralities as well and never rejected them and promoted them.

    If our neighbor falls into a ditch we are not supposed to accept them as they are or as we find them, but to help them. Offering Christ and correction is help. Many people are in spiritual ditches that they cannot recognize as a ditch that will doom them if they do not get out. Of course we must do this with love, but we must also not fail to help them either, as not doing both is a disservice to our brother.

  65. laymond says:

    Dwight, you can teach all day long, but only God can change a heart.

    Mat 13:15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
    Mat 13:18 Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.

    Are you teaching to change people, or are you teaching to fulfill what you think is your duty.
    in other words are you teaching for their soul , or yours.?

    Mat 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
    Mat 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

    Dwight can you explain to me what this means.?
    Heb 8:11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.

  66. Dwight says:

    Laymond, I agree that often what we do in teaching is to fulfill our own desire to look down on another or our pride, but my argument wasn’t about necessarily teaching, but helping, which can include teaching. If teaching another doesn’t help, then we either need a new tactic or they might not want to be helped or they might think they are doing well enough. We should all be receptive to being taught or helped and not think we are beyond it.

    The context of Heb.8:11 is the old covenant vs. the new covenant and that there is the desire of God that all should know him and that they should not have to teach their neighbor to know the Lord, but this has nothing to do with knowing scripture, but rather knowing of God.
    The apostles still had to go out and teach the lost and even the saved and people were encouraged to do likewise as in Heb.5:12 “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.”
    Preachers and teachers were to get the word out by teaching the word and they still wanted people to listen. Now days we still have the obligation to teach, but it is not our doctrine, but a presentation of scripture.
    But it still comes down to the goal of helping each other reach the goal of heaven.

  67. laymond says:

    Dwight, I do believe Heb 8:11 says “And they shall not teach every man his neighbour,”
    ” shall not ” not should not, nor don’t have to. I believe this is included in the new covenant that Jesus died for.

  68. Larry Cheek says:

    Laymond,
    Do you really believe that one verse would contradict and reverse the message of many?
    I see that you have stated that Jesus was still under the OT as he was teaching, I do not believe that, He was delivering messages which were attached to the NT not the OT. He did not as you mention suggest that not to teach your neighbor was to be applied while he was on earth. But, What did he tell his Apostles to do and what did they do about teaching? Notice these messages.
    (Act 1:1 KJV) The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
    (Act 4:18 KJV) And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.
    (Act 5:28 KJV) Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.
    (Act 5:42 KJV) And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
    (Act 16:21 KJV) And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.
    (1Co 4:17 KJV) For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.
    (1Co 11:14 KJV) Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?
    (1Co 14:19 KJV) Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.
    (1Ti 1:3 KJV) As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine,
    (1Ti 2:12 KJV) But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
    (1Ti 3:2 KJV) A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
    (1Ti 4:11 KJV) These things command and teach.
    (1Ti 6:2 KJV) And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort.
    (1Ti 6:3 KJV) If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;
    (2Ti 2:2 KJV) And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
    (2Ti 2:24 KJV) And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,
    (Tit 2:4 KJV) That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
    (Heb 5:12 KJV) For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
    (Heb 8:11 KJV) And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest.
    (1Jn 2:27 KJV) But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
    (Rev 2:20 KJV) Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.

    It sure looks like there was a lot of teaching being conducted by the followers of Christ, and there is a lot of individuals who were being taught. Even as The Jews fought against Christians teaching. Laymond can you give us any reason for your commenting on this blog other than trying to teach someone else what you believe? Are your actions in direct conflict which your application of Heb 8:11?

  69. laymond says:

    Larry, what changed from the old covenant, to the new covenant, it anything.?

  70. laymond says:

    Laymond,
    Do you really believe that one verse would contradict and reverse the message of many?

    Larry, there is much more than one vs. to consider here. and the Hebrew writer did not create this out of thin air. I believe it was first forecast by an “old testament” prophet of God.

  71. Dwight says:

    Laymond, because you questioned me and Larry took over, which I don’t mind, it still appears that the verse that you posit is not within the context of what you suggest and if so, then Jesus and the apostles and all those who spread the message in Acts and the letters were sinning.
    If what you suggest is true, then you yourself had better leave this thread or be held in contempt of teaching another as you have tried to do. We cannot argue that the scriptures argue against teaching another while doing that very thing. You obviously mean to teach me and others about Heb.8:11, even while arguing that we should not teach another.
    This is not meant to be an attack on you, but the proposition cannot support itself. Even Heb.8:11would be in itself wrong.
    Heb.8:11 must mean teaching about the existence of God, rather than God’s word. All have heard of God, but the message of God is still being spread.

  72. laymond says:

    Dwight said.
    Heb.8:11 must mean teaching about the existence of God, rather than God’s word. All have heard of God, but the message of God is still being spread.

    I believe you are absolutely right Dwight, I have been trying to get someone to say that for a while now. We don’t need Paul to go back to Mars Hill , why because God said he would write on the heart. I believe all normal people know right from wrong, they just don’t want to do it, so why keep hounding on them.?

  73. Larry Cheek says:

    Laymond,
    Does your last post tell us that you are one of the normal people who God has written on your heart the knowledge of right and wrong? You mention about this writing on your heart when did this come to you, was it at birth (like John the Baptist) or later in your life? Was it delivered to you prior to accepting Jesus as your Lord or after? If it is true that knowledge has been written on your heart, what do you consider is wrong with us who do believe your messages? Are we not normal, therefore God did not write on our hearts?

  74. Dwight says:

    Laymond, I’m not sure what your point is. Just because people know of God, this doesn’t mean that teaching on God shouldn’t be done. Paul wrote letters to congregations of which he had helped form and teach, only to teach them again through the letters…reminding them of which he wrote.
    Even after people were being baptized Paul still gave them (and us) information on the depth of why and what baptism did.
    In Acts people had heard of Jesus, but didn’t understand Jesus so Peter taught them about Jesus and who he was and why He came.
    We are told to search the scriptures simply so as to write the word of God on our hearts, but this take reading and learning. We are in a learning process.

  75. laymond says:

    I am really just repeating what Jeremiah, and the Hebrew writer said. if you don’t believe them, that is between you and them.

  76. Dwight says:

    Laymond, really?
    I believe Hebrews and Jeremiah, but I am trying to figure out what you believe. Just because people have heard of God, doesn’t mean that they know God. There is a difference. Even the Jews who knew of God were being taught about Jesus and the gentiles were being taught about God and Jesus together. Jesus taught and the apostles taught and in Heb.5:12 the saints are being chided for not teaching others what they knew.
    So the question is: Is your point from Heb.8 that we shouldn’t be teaching others about God or Christ, because people have already heard of God or have God “written in their hearts”?

  77. Tom says:

    Hi Jay,

    I’m pleased to see your unambiguous statement that Obergefell v. Hodges is bad law and that neither courts, legislatures nor “the people” have any right to innovate with what God has instituted. I hope I’m not out of line in suggesting it, but this is (it seems) contrary to the stance you were taking in postings on this subject last August. My impression at the time was that you were in agreement with Justice Kennedy on the matter.

    I think I’ve seen the pogo reference made somewhere by Hauerwas who along with Yoder have plenty of valuable things to say regarding the importance of ecclesiology and the idea that the church embodies an alternate politic. However, like Barth both Hauerwas and Yoder reject the concept of natural law. Without natural law or something like it, I fail to see what transcendent principles could be advocated in the public square to curb the type of abuse of power such as we now witness in the Obergefell decision.

    Blessings,

    Tom

  78. Profile photo of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Tom,

    I see a difference between Obergefell and Lawrence v. Texas. In Lawrence, the Sup Ct held that the government may not criminalize homosexual sexual activity. This is a reduction in the power of government. Even though I consider homosexual activity sinful, I don’t see that justifying giving the government power to criminalize such conduct. I also consider premarital sex sinful, but I wouldn’t want to throw people in jail for it. I don’t think those kinds of laws work to change hearts, nor do I believe they fulfill the proper role of government.

    But Obergefell requires the government to grant the right to marry — which is an increasein the powers of the courts at the expense of the states and their citizens. Big difference. The “right of privacy” has become the right to recognition and approval — a massive expansion of governmental power, as we’re seeing daily.

    That my lawyerly view.

    From a theological perspective, the government should not be in the marrying business at all — or only as a matter of record keeping and the prevention of abuse of the institution. Marriage is a gift from God to his people, and it’s part of the inherent nature of humans. The government has no more business creating new kinds of marriage than I have business issuing drivers licenses. The more the government gets involved, the less respect people have for the institution, as it’s transformed from the innate nature of humans to a construct granted us by the government.

    As a matter of law, the argument has to be made from the meaning of the Bill of Rights, but the Supreme Court has plainly created a “right to marry” that’s just not there in the Constitution. It’s hard to see how a right to privacy becomes a right to marry. Hence, bad law — even if you like the outcome. It’s yet another power grab by the judicial branch with no obvious limitations on how far-reaching their new power extends. And you don’t have to be a strict constructionist to disagree with the legalities of the decision. You just have to believe that the Supreme Court is supposed to follow the words of the Constitution.

    At this point, discussing policy reasons for the legislatures to approve or disapprove gay marriage is an exercise in closing the barn doors after the cows have left the barn. The courts now govern these matters by sheer fiat. Hence, there’s not a lot of point is arguing policy. The legislatures have been disempowered by the courts.

    We are seeing laws passed to protect women against sex discrimination being reinterpreted to apply to sexual orientation and transgenderism — even though the laws were clearly not enacted for that purpose. Again, law by judicial fiat — which is a very dangerous path — not just a limitation on what legislatures can do but creating new laws that the legislatures can’t change. I don’t think that’s what the people empowered the judicial branch to do. It violates the Contract Theory of government as well as separation of powers.

    In short, we find ourselves with a judiciary that empowers itself to rule however it feels with little regard for the boundaries created by the Constitution or the intentions of the drafters. We have a government of men, not law.

  79. Christopher says:

    Jay wrote:

    As a matter of law, the argument has to be made from the meaning of the Bill of Rights, but the Supreme Court has plainly created a “right to marry” that’s just not there in the Constitution.

    You can thank Madison, in an impulsive knee-jerk moment of idiocy, for this – which Bork rightly characterized as an “inkblot”. He and Hamilton foolishly drafted a Constitution as a kind of inverse of existing state constitutions, arguing that the federal government had only the powers stipulated. Then Hamilton violated his own principles the first chance he had by establishing a central bank. When Jefferson pointed out to him that the bank was not authorized by the Constitution, he hypocritically replied that it was not prohibited either. The Constitution, in other words, was being subverted from the get go – by its very authors.

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