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Why is sexuality such a big deal for the church?

The rainbow flag is a highly recognized symbol for the LGBTQ community. Photo by Ludovic Bertron/Creative Commons

(RNS) — If the widely esteemed Eugene Peterson were still pastoring today and a gay couple in his church who were “Christians of good faith” asked him to preside at their wedding, would he do it?

He answered that question this summer in a word: Yes.

Passionate responses followed after that simple answer to RNS columnist Jonathan Merritt’s query was published: disappointment from some prominent conservative Christians, joy from LGBT Christians and their allies and a statement by LifeWay Christian Stores threatening to remove the Presbyterian pastor-poet’s books from its shelves.

Then Peterson retracted his answer.

Many outside, and some within, Christianity now are asking questions broader than whether Peterson should have answered one way or another: Why does sexuality seem to be the question for Christians? Why do these conflicts — over same-sex marriage, transgender people and the ordination of openly gay people — keep popping up?

The controversies have determined whether books will be banned from stores and donations withheld from charities. They have split families and brought denominations to the brink of schism.

It makes sense that sexuality has become the dividing line for many Christians, according to R. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

A billboard reading “God Loves Gays,” with a cartoon God peeking out of white fluffy clouds and a giant rainbow, went up on Sept. 8, 2014, in Topeka, Kan. RNS photo by Sally Morrow

“Historically, the church has to respond to the moral crises of its own day. You shouldn’t expect the church to respond to what isn’t being discussed in the culture,” Mohler said.

It’s not only being discussed in culture, but also roiling Christianity — from churches to families to the workplace to college campuses. Consider:

— LifeWay stopped selling popular Christian author and speaker Jen Hatmaker’s books last fall after she wrote on Facebook and later confirmed to RNS she believed LGBT relationships could be holy.

— Last fall, campus ministry InterVarsity Christian Fellowship grabbed headlines when Time Magazine reported it would begin “involuntary terminations” for staff members who openly disagreed with its position “that God’s intention for sexual expression is to be between a husband and wife in marriage.”

— In 2014, World Vision reversed course after announcing it would no longer define marriage as between a man and a woman in its employee conduct manual. Within a week of its initial announcement, donors had canceled their sponsorships of about 2,000 children around the globe made through the Christian relief organization.

Why sexuality?

Sexuality has been intensely debated within Christianity since its earliest days — at least since the time of church father Augustine, according to William B. Lawrence, a professor of American church history at Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University.

The Rev. William B. Lawrence of Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. Photo courtesy of SMU

It always has been something Christians have used to distinguish themselves from others, Lawrence said, something they have used as a way to talk about more esoteric doctrines like original sin. For one, sex is interesting, and it’s comparatively easy for those with little theological training to grasp.

Throughout history, some Christians have used temperance and conscientious objection to war in a similar way, he said.

“Most of the decisions that have to be made about theology and ethics are deeply nuanced, and for a lot of people, that requires more hard work than they want to do,” Lawrence said.

“It’s just easier to find a single issue and use that as the red line that says you’re either on one side of this or the other.”

For many, sexuality has been that issue. Mainline Protestant denominations such as the United Methodist Church, which is planning a special session of its worldwide General Conference to discuss sexuality, began debating the inclusion of LGBT members during the sexual revolution of the 1960s, Lawrence pointed out. Other independent churches, parachurch organizations and publishing houses since “have decided that they’re going to make this the single dividing issue,” he said.

“It’s been that way for a few decades and probably is the successor single issue to the discussion about abortion,” he said.

That’s not to say opposition to abortion no longer is important to many Christians, according to Mohler.

But, he said, abortion and sexuality raise different questions. Sexuality has become a question of identity, not behavior. And sexuality asks yes-or-no questions of pastors that abortion doesn’t: Would you perform a same-sex wedding? Would you ordain LGBT clergy?

“What’s new is that this moral revolution has gained so much momentum and moral authority in the culture,” he said.

Why now?

The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. Photo courtesy of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Mohler describes a collision between “two massive and very powerful cultural realities.” One is the “long, consistent testimony of Christianity concerning God’s plan for human sexuality, marriage and gender” that reserves sex for one man and one woman within marriage, he said. The other is a “moral revolution being driven largely by what is considered to be sexual liberation.”

Both sides agree that human dignity and human flourishing are at stake, he said. Both agree they are talking about fundamental matters of right and wrong.

“With that being said, you’ve got to expect the collision is going to be pretty volatile,” he said.

And the middle ground — or, at least, the “illusion” of middle ground — is disappearing, Mohler said. As he put it: “You’re either going to perform a same-sex ceremony or you’re not.”

Matthew Vines, author of “God and the Gay Christian” and founding executive director of The Reformation Project, agrees that for conservative Christians there never has been a middle ground on LGBT inclusion.

Matthew Vines, founder and executive director of The Reformation Project, in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 25, 2014. Photo by Stephen Voss

“Can there be a middle way?” Vines asked. “It is far, far more common for people to actually be excommunicated from churches or blacklisted from conferences for saying they are affirming (of LGBT people) than for the opposite.”

The author said he understands some conservative Christians’ argument that to condone same-sex relationships is to condone “unrepentant sin,” pointing to passages in the biblical books of Leviticus and Romans.

But, he said, he’s lost sympathy for that argument when many of the same Christians have been quick to support President Trump, who has both boasted of groping women and said he has never asked for forgiveness. In a Washington Post-ABC poll taken in October after the release of the tapes, 44 percent of white evangelical Protestants reported they believed Trump had “strong moral character.”

The number of white evangelicals is in decline, though, Vines said, and that “produces an anxiety among many conservative Christians about their role and their status in their society and what impact it will have on society more broadly.”

“This particular issue — the topic of same-sex marriage and, in more recent years, of transgender people — has become a powerful symbol of the ways in which our society no longer adheres to traditional Christian norms and teachings on an important topic, and it is an issue that uniquely undermines the moral authority of church leaders,” he said.

What’s next?

David P. Gushee — an ordained Baptist minister, professor of Christian ethics and RNS columnist — said evangelicalism in particular has always been anxious about maintaining boundaries.

The Rev. David P. Gushee of Mercer University. Photo courtesy of Mercer University

It’s more of an “amorphous ‘movement'” than structured denomination, and without a recognized authority, it’s “almost like self-appointed bishops and cardinals emerge,” he said. Gushee includes on that list many older authors and pastors, and publications such as Christianity Today and retailers like LifeWay.

“Because they keep losing in the culture, it becomes more important to draw a line within the religious community, the evangelical community, and say, ‘We may be losing out there, but in here we’re going to keep enforcing this boundary,’” he said.

Gushee pointed to one project he was working on that he was told was shot down by publishers because LifeWay would never carry it given his support of gay marriage and LGBT Christians. In the meantime, Hatmaker’s latest book, “Of Mess and Moxie,” published by Nelson Books, hit No. 3 on Amazon’s best-selling books list the day after it was released.

LifeWay did not answer specific questions on whether it has gone — or plans to go — back through all the authors on its shelves to make sure none have made statements affirming same-sex marriage. A company spokesperson also declined to say whether it has removed authors’ books from its shelves based on other actions or positions that it would not consider biblical and whether it has a statement of faith or policy that indicates which positions authors should hold in order for their books to appear in LifeWay stores.

A LifeWay Christian Store in Hattiesburg, Miss. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

Instead, a spokesperson responded several weeks ago with a statement via email saying LifeWay promises customers it will “provide trustworthy, biblical solutions for life,” and uses a “multiplicity of factors” to determine what those might be. The spokesperson did not elaborate on those factors.

Gushee said he didn’t think attitudes toward LGBT people were the only thing that would get Christians booted from bookstores and conferences, though that did seem to be the case in many such instances in the past decade.

But, statistically, those attitudes toward LGBT people — and, particularly, toward same-sex marriage — are changing, even among white evangelicals, according to the Pew Research Center. The number of white evangelicals who support same-sex marriage has grown from 27 percent to 35 percent over the past year. Among all evangelicals born after 1964 — considered Generation X or millennials — nearly half are supportive.

And while those who hold what Mohler refers to as a historic Christian view of sexuality maintain that their view is the biblical one, others say the Bible may not be so clear.

A glance at Romans 1 suggests its writer, Paul, may not have had the same kind of committed same-sex relationships in mind that readers see and experience today, according to Vines. Plus, there are only about five verses in the Bible that mention homosexuality, Lawrence said, compared with hundreds of passages about “care for the poor, justice for all persons, welcoming the stranger” and other topics that don’t command the same energy and financial support.

“The next few years are going to be interesting to observe in terms of what happens in the broad sweep of American Christianity on this topic,” Lawrence said.

“Is this going to be something that is going to prove to have been an immense dispute that wasn’t divisive?”

About the author

Emily McFarlan Miller

Emily McFarlan Miller is a national reporter for RNS based in Chicago. She covers evangelical and mainline Protestant Christianity.

326 Comments

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  • Why? Isn’t it obvious?

    If you can make people feel dirty and ashamed over a basic human need, they’ll buy whatever you are trying to sell to them.

    Like salvation.

  • Mohler’s binary framing is self-dealing himself a stacked hand where one side Is disingenuous on one side and misstating the other side’s case.

    It’s self-dealing to place God on only one side and claiming that for himself. It’s disingenuous to portray the church’s witness on marriage as 2,000 years of consistency. That’s only possible by reducing marriage to complementary plumbing. The fact of history — both social history and church history — is that norms and rules for marriage have changed a lot over the centuries and especially so in the last century. It’s changed very much as to women’s roles and agency. It’s only recently that the modern version of marriage resembled something that could be seen as fitting for egalitarian gay couples.

    It misstates the case for gay marriage to reduce it to sexual liberation. Gay marriage is about love and commitment. Many gay Methodists and believing in sanctifying grace quite naturally are drawn to the discipline function of marriage as part of their path of Christian discipleship.

    Mohler should know you can’t claim the moral high ground and bear false witness at the same time. I grant that non-affirming Christians have a legitimate point of view and their own Biblical case to be made. But he does a disservice to all sides — including his own — by twisting the argument so as strip God from the opposing side.

    For religious groups such as the Methodists, the dilemma is how to move forward as covenantal community even as the mission field we work undergoes major social changes. Changes which are now seen as good (e.g., moving from racism to racial equality and from patriarchy to gender equality) were quite fraught in their time with Biblical arguments deployed in both sides. So it is now with gay rights anf the full inclusion of LGBTQ persons in the church.

    Dave Nuckols

  • The Religious Right provides its adherents with the belief they are better than others. This is done through a process of demonizing others and LGBTQIAs are especially vulnerable because demonizing them works so well with people who think they don’t know any and have idiotic misconceptions about them, like the hatemongers who regularly post on RNS comments and reveal their obsessions about sexuality. The same is true about abortion, because they are made to hate and fear female sexuality.

  • This may be the rock that American Christianity is going to founder on. If so, there will be those who cling to whatever wreckage manages to remain afloat. Apart from the broader question, the thing that struck me in this article was the inclusion of the fact that Ms. Hatmaker’s volume hit #3 on Amazon’s bestseller list the day after it was released. My response is; So what? The popularity of her book does not reinforce her argument in any forensic way.

  • “Why is sexuality such a big deal for the church?”

    Here’s one reason: Because some pro-gay activists are flat-out trying to proselytize your kindergarten-age children, and they’re NOT gonna give you any prior warning.

    http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/parents-outraged-by-transgender-reveal-in-kindergarten-class/ar-AAqxCkV?li=BBnbfcL

    So this is absolutely NOT the time for the churches to be silent. It’s time for Christians to openly agree with their Bibles, their Jesus, their God, out loud. The clock is ticking.

  • Since both theologian Albert Mohler and gay activist Matthew Vines agree that there is NO middle ground here, this is a good time for Christians to check out how and why Vines got it wrong.

    Vines’ marketing efforts are directly aimed at Christians. He knows many people are honestly vulnerable and uncertain right now. So it’s important to respond to him. Dr. Mohler and other scholars have already taken care of business, and it’s all free.

    Just click on “God, the Gospel, and the Gay Challenge: A Response to Matthew Vines”, below. And if you want to read the free e-book (“God and the Gay Christian?”), where Mohler and others respond in detail, simply scroll down the article and click on the red book or the nearby title.

    http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/04/22/god-the-gospel-and-the-gay-challenge-a-response-to-matthew-vines/

  • So instead of the regular proselytizing by black and white clad, clean-cut youngsters telling me the Book of Mormon is true — and to get my kids ready for their own planet in our personal celestial LDS paradise…I should now expect proselytizing, rainbow-flag carrying missionaries?

  • As Dave N said above, you can’t claim the moral high ground and bear false witness, lie. The article that you link to isn’t about gay, lesbian or bi-sexual people, because the article isn’t about sexual orientation. The article isn’t about anyone gay trying to proselytize anyone.

    The article to which you have linked is about gender identity, a totally different situation. It isn’t gay activists doing anything, The story is about a classroom teacher, who in the final days of the school year, assisted a family with a transgender child in the class, present their child’s transition to her classmates. In doing so, the teacher read two books about transgender children to the class. Books that the school district says were age-appropriate and fell within their literature selection policy. The child appeared in her gender presentation to her fellow students. Other teachers in the school supported their colleague.

    Some parents have stated that their children came home confused. These parents are angry. Some parents have stated that their children were not adversely affected in any way. Some of these parents have stated that they are proud of the manner in which their children responded to their transgender classmate’s situation.

  • I think that he included the part about her new book to show that there is life after Lifeway! Perhaps one as lucrative as before.

  • Human sexuality is defined by religious moralists.
    The www is the relentless destroyer of superstition and it’s progeny – religion.

  • Yes, actually you should. But not primarily for you, and not at your front door.

    Remember what Obama said when reporters asked him about things? Although later disproven by his own advisor David Axelrod (because Obama was already intending to crusade for gay marriage back in 2008), Obama claimed that his stated 2008 view “evolved” via “Sasha’s and Malia’s school friends (raised by same-sex couples).”

    That IS part of the gay “evangelistic” plan. Convert the kids to convert the parents, or else just convert the kids anyway, and let the older folks give up and die off.
    And it’s not via the front door. Rather, it’s especially through your local schools, and especially through the news & entertainment media that you and your kids do daily. Planting little seeds (weeds), watering them weekly, and waiting for harvest.

  • Yes! Keep spreading the lies and you will convert the kids that you speak of yourself, as they understand the hate that motivates you but sickens them and drives them away from your brand of false Christianism.

    There is no “gay evangelistic plan.” We would just like to live our lives as everyone else wants to live theirs. But your brand of evangelical Christianism gets bored if it doesn’t concoct boogeymen to slaughter.

    It’s interesting how many boogeymen that the evangelical Christianists need to fabricate. While you are here making your claims about some LGBTQ conversion conspiracy, other ECs are fabricating and spreading similar lies about how Muslims are also taking over school boards and city halls for their sharia agenda. And the other one about adult men are all over the country pretending to be women so they can sneak into restrooms and ravage wives and daughters.

    Facepalm Jesus!

  • Last time I checked, the LGBT movement fully includes the “T” (transgenders).
    “Transgender issues are the next frontier of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights movement.” — Los Angeles Times, May 12, 2015.

    In fact, who was one of the Grand Marshals at this year’s NYC Gay Pride Parade, one of the two largest gay parades in the world? Hmm?
    http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/25/us/firefighter-transgender-woman-pride/
    So let’s just be honest, and not try to separate the T from the LGBT movement.

    Meanwhile, you’ve got a child with Gender Identity Disorder (Gender Dysphoria), a terrible, abnormal psychological problem, who needs REAL help while there is time. But this teacher tried to do the LGBT gig. It’s one thing to teach kids to accept and not bully a person suffering from GID; it’s another thing to lie and proselytize to kindergarten-age kids that there’s no disorder, no issue, at all. And then you proselytize in the classroom without at least informing OTHER parents of what you’re preaching to *their* kindergarten kids regarding human sexuality? Sorry, but that’s a Mess.

  • One reason why sexuality is such a big thing now is because it was a big thing to the NT writers during the 1st century. And these writers were concerned with fellow believers being transformed by the renewing of one’s mind rather than conforming to what the world says and does (Romans 12:1-2).

    Unfortunately, too many fellow Christians limit the transformation of one mind so that we allow ourselves to be corrupted by the world in other ways besides being sexually compromised. And we need to be honest about that.

  • Yes, there is a T in the sexual minorities fighting for their rights, but sexual orientation and gender identity are totally different issues. So to claim that there are pro-gay activists in the story that you linked is false.

    The school district plainly is quoted in the article as stating that unlike discussions about sexuality, gender identity doesn’t require parental notification. No one lied or proselytized anyone. They explained that the child’s body doesn’t match her gender identity. The only thing that enters the realm of psychological is the extreme discomfort that the child feels being told that they are not the gender that they know themselves to be. An issue easily solved by allowing the child to present as the gender they know themselves to be. You, personally, can accept or reject that, but since it doesn’t concern you, ultimately it’s none of your business!

  • Damien asked an honest question, David. Me, I merely gave an honest answer, based on what I’ve personally read, seen, and heard.

    It’s not like the gay activists and their allies are trying to hide their strategy and methodology for getting what they want. In fact, they absolutely are NOT hiding it, especially now that they’ve got the upper hand politically and legally.

    So you might as well get honest about it, because I haven’t offered any lies here. You know how they play the game, and I know how they play the game too.

  • You wrote, “The school district plainly is quoted in the article as stating that unlike discussions about sexuality, gender identity doesn’t require parental notification.”
    THAT part of the show, may wind up getting modified.

    Most rational folks, including most parents of **kindergarten-age kids**, simply aren’t buying any lies that gender identity isn’t part of human sexuality. And they’re REALLY not happy about getting blindsided by activist teachers. (Usurping of parental authority is, alas, considered a sign of disrespect.)

    Not surprisingly, “As indicated by Superintendent Robin Stout in a communication last week, staff will be engaging parents and teachers in discussions about how materials outside our curriculum will be addressed in the future.” And the board will be putting this item “on next month’s agenda.”

  • Someone tweeted a sign on a Church’s Board that said, “Jesus had two dads and he turned out OK.”

    They are not proselytizing. They are asking for equality and to not get beaten up by their schoolmates because they are Gay. I recently went to a Bar Mitzvah of a boy who had two dads and he was a great kid.

  • All this angst when the answer is obvious. Why is sexuality such a big deal in the church ? It’s the same answer that you got in “The Matrix”. Control.

  • I would be no more adverse to that then any other faith document. However, to pretend that religion writ large is about anything other than control is to deny several millenia of history.

  • But complementary plumbing as you put it, or sexuality as the article says, has been consistent historically? Marriage provided a needed framework of what happens when sexuality produces offspring. The basis of human sexuality is reproduction? I support legal equality for same-sex couples, but rationally it’s hard for me to define this as marriage. The same for transgender–the individual should be free to express their gender however they wish; however, rationally, biological sex can not be changed. How do churches move forward as you say when it is contrary to centuries of tradition and apparent logical reasoning?

  • I doubt the church flounders on this particular rock. Religion has evolved for millenia and it will again. Just as Evangelical Christian’s went to the wall on interracial marriage in the 70s and 80s, they will again with SSM, then they will bounce off, pretend they never opposed it, and move on.

  • They are not vulnerable and uncertain. They are asking questions that should have been asked 1000 years ago. Unfortunately, they only started getting asked 200 years ago, and vigorously, 150.

  • Christians (like all humans) are tribal.

    Tribes must have markers to quickly identify “my tribe” versus “not my tribe.”

    All the old testament rules on diet and dress served to differentiate the Israelites from the surrounding tribes of identical humans.

    Christians use hate to fulfill this purpose. The temperance movement, communism, abortion etc. have all been used over the last hundred years as the marker to separate “real christian” from everyone else.

    Gays are kind enough to self identify and condemning gays doesn’t cause regular Christians much discomfort. It is a perfect choice.

    Ganging up to despise gossip, gluttony, greed, pride, public prayer, failing to honor the Sabbath, adultery, etc. etc. might make christians uncomfortable, especially those who are powerful or donate a lot of money.

    Gays are safe to attack.

  • Sex and sexuality are the very foundation of human and societal existence. Without sufficent numbers of people getting into heterosexual relationships and having sufficient numbers of children, everything breaks down. That is true for sexuality to an extent that it is not true for virtually anything else.

    In the last half century or so, we’ve gone from Western civilization consisting overwhelmingly of people in – and raised in – stable families, with good rates of birth and growth; to one whete your average couple is having fewer than 1.8 kids, having more than 40% of them out of wedlock, marrying much less, divorcing much more, and embracing every new and exotic domestic model that comes along. It contributes heavily to our ongoing social problems, and tolerance of it helps fuel departures from an active life of faith.

    If there is criticism to be made of the modern Christian sexual viewpoint, its that it doesn’t go far enough. Its that it has become too passive about cohabitation and divorce and birth control and delayed marriage.

  • So is the Bible, so it fits well. Religion is very similar to the Matrix, they are both creating alternative realities in order to control you. As an aside, how would you know that the Matrix is fiction, it’s designed to fool you.

  • Rationally, you go and look at REALITY.

    Marriage was never just about reproduction, but about blood lines, inheritances, land, and tribes as well. No where in the world, now or ever to my knowledge, is reproduction required for marriage. Nor, for that matter, is sex, though lack of consummation could lead to annulment if someone needs the grounds for it, And certainly, never in the history of the world has marriage been required for reproduction.

    But if you’re going to bring reproduction into it, gay people do reproduce. They have reproduced. And we frequently adopt the castoff unwanted products of heterosexual reproduction– the ones that heterosexuals don’t adopt, and who fill those orphanages and foster homes. Old people can marry, but don’t reproduce.

    There is a reason that transgender people are called transgender and not transsexers. First. Bio-sex is mostly fixed for most people. But gender is entirely something else.

  • Curoious way that you put it, and VERY REVEALING:

    “Now that gay THEY’ve got the upper hand politically and legally.”

    THEM? Always “them”.

    An for how many centuries did you and your ilk have the upper hand? how many prisons, murders, beating, suicides, destroyed lives and destroyed families, how many lives of despair and lost hope?

    When will you ever have enough?

  • Yes, the vast gay conspiracy.

    SUbstitute black or race for gay, and you have the reason YOU aren’t sitting at the back of the bus.

  • That’s basically Ghandi’s quote rewritten 🙂 I like your Jesus, but your Christians not so much.

  • The “notrue christian” fallacy rears its head once again, and ignores the centuries of things like sodomy laws– you know, “the infamous crime against nature, not to be named among Christians.”

  • We have 7 Billion people on the planet. We’re not running out of people. In fact, it is easy to argue that virtually every single societal problem that threatens humanity can be traced back to one, single variable: TOO MANY PEOPLE.

    All of the problems you listare problems generated by heterosexual society, not by gay people. Your last paragraph takes into account absolutely nothing about the reality of life today. delayed marriage? Birth control? IF you cannot afford children, it is foolish to have them. Bam birth control? hello abortion.

    But what you do demonstrate is that what I said way down at the bottom of this thread is true.

    It’s all about control for the religionists.

  • There is nothing that prevents you from praying in public to your hearts delight. The probelem Is insisting that the government sponsor it, that everyone has to listen to you do it, or go along with it.

    We’re back to control again.

    No, we want you to do what you claim to do: “be not like the hypocrites who love to pray in public”. Who said that? no one important.

  • Exactly the case. MOhler is being as dishonest as he can be.

    Heterosexuals have love, commitment, reproduction, holiness,.

    Gay people marrying is all about sexual liberation. Certainly not about love, Family, commitment, children.

    I once wrote to MOhler a few years back, when he was trying out that line. I said something to the effect that just because we are gay, does not mean that we don’t value family, children, love, commitment, parenthood. The reason we want marriage, I said, was because we were raised in a society that vaues marriage and family, and were taught that these were important.

    He said he’d get back to me. I’m still waiting.

  • Jesus condemned hypocrites, certainly. YOU were the one who condemned public prayer. Like you say…no one important.

  • Thanks Ben. Certainly agree that reproduction is not a requirement for marriage, but when you say blood lines, inheritances, etc., these are things tied to progeny, even as a means to determine what happens when there is no offspring.

    Not sure I understand how gay people reproduce, but certainly applaud gay couples who adopt and foster.

    I thought I understood transgender as as an individual’s expression of what society normally considers either male or feminine qualities. What I don’t understand, do they still consider themselves to be their biological sex?

  • Jesus did. His commands against public prayer is stronger and clearer than anything in the NT about gays.

  • “Gays exist. Treat everyone with kindness.” is not proselytizing.

    Likewise “Christians exist. Treat everyone with kindness.” is not proselytizing.

    Likewise “People from other countries exist. Treat everyone with kindness.” is not proselytizing.

  • The history of Christianity and sexuality is not as the evangelicals would have it — their noise is a recent phenomenon in history starting with the Great Awakenings in the 1800’s.

  • “It’s just easier to find a single issue and use that as the red line that says you’re either on one side of this or the other.”

    That Jesus guy was so narrow minded…He said stuff like, “You’re either with me or against me…you either believe in me or you don’t…you will either spend eternity with me or separated from me…”

    “Because they keep losing in the culture, it becomes more important to draw a line within the religious community, the evangelical community, and say, ‘We may be losing out there, but in here we’re going to keep enforcing this boundary,’” he said.”

    Joshua 24:15 If it is displeasing to you to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve, if it should be the gods your fathers served beyond the River[d] or the gods of the Amorites’ land where you are now living. Yet as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

    “The number of white evangelicals who support same-sex marriage has grown from 27 percent to 35 percent over the past year. Among all evangelicals born after 1964 — considered Generation X or millennials — nearly half are supportive.”

    All this proves is that the church has not done a very good job of discipling their youth. Shame on them.

    “Mohler refers to as a historic Christian view of sexuality maintain that their view is the biblical one, others say the Bible may not be so clear.”

    Well duh…Jesus put a huge emphasis on sexual behavior as did the Apostles as did historic Judaism.

    Matt. 19:4 He answered, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’[a] 5 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’[b]? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”
    7 They said to Him, “Then why did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce, and to send her away?”[c]
    8 He said to them, “Moses, for the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. 9 But I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery. And whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.”

    Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are revealed, which are these: adultery, sexual immorality, impurity, lewdness, … I warn you, as I previously warned you, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

    “…there are only about five verses in the Bible that mention homosexuality,”

    So what? How many times does God have to tell you it is an abomination that will separate you from Him for eternity?

  • That part of “Red Dawn” only served to reinforce the conservative view that firearm registration will lead to firearm confiscation. You can still find people talking about it online, especially after the remake a few years ago, and there are scores of gun shops and related businesses named Red Dawn. So yes, people do get their political ideas from Red Dawn, although I’m happy to hear you don’t.

  • The point is that while Lifeway might have dumped her, the greater book-buying populace ate her up. So it’s not that people aren’t interested in Christian topics. Also, publishers and sellers like Lifeway aren’t the gatekeepers..

  • Here’s a title from Lifeway called “Date Your Wife.” The blurb lists it as “an intensely practical guide for husbands looking to strengthen, save, or spice up their marriage and pursue their wives from a place of security in the gospel.” The foreword is by Tullian Tchividjian, a grandson of Billy Graham. Tchividjian is a former megachurch pastor forced to resign after admitting several extramarital affairs. Another Christian publisher, David C. Cook, is still committed to publishing his next book. It’s things like this that make the question raised in this article so prescient: why is this the issue and not others?

  • But I don’t feel ashamed. I don’t feel dirty. And I don’t believe that I can offend a god that I also don’t believe in.

    I wouldn’t short the messenger, but I’m not so sure about the salesman

  • Clint, there is no marriage in heaven, nor male and female, which both Jesus and Paul said. Start there… or actually start with the Greatest Commandments, very basic things (Love God; Love thy neighbor) and two other issues: 1) humankind’s inability to understand God (Isaiah: My thoughts are not your thoughts; Paul: we see though a glass darkly). Be careful you aren’t like the lawyers, scribes and Pharisees – as Jesus noted woe to then who lay the people with burdens and lift not a finger to help them.

  • But it is very discomforting to people who don’t believe gay people exist, and do believe at other Christians are not the right sort of Christian, and who see anyone outside the tribe as a threat.

  • Christology, locked into the illusion that we are ‘created’ in the image and likeness of God, ignoring the corruptions that natural law are heir too, are locked into a failed moral paradigm as the basis for understanding both the human condition and God and may even have completely misunderstood the nature of the Gospel itself? https://onthenatureofmarriage.wordpress.com/

  • I think Lark is referring to people who make a big show out of praying, fasting, etc. Jesus said to do these things quietly, not for the sake of making sure others saw how “virtuous” you were.

  • Thank you Lord for the Episcopal Church. My congregation is supportive of my marriage to my husband. There is love and support rather than judgement and hate. Other Christian churches will come around. God is on our side because God loves Gays. Heck, God is the one that made us this way.

  • Be honest. This teacher went way WAY beyond, “Treat everyone with kindness.”

    Btw, one way to show kindness, is to give parents advance warning (as a minimal sign of respect), and a chance to respond, before you preach LGBT positions to their kindergarten-age kids.

  • I don’t, I’ll just have to wait and see, like everyone else. As for now, religion is a fiction to me, and it’s up to theists to prove me wrong, it’s their claim.

  • You can’t stop churches — or temples, or mosques — from saying whatever they want on their own marquees. It is what it is.

    I already spoke out against bullying. But suppose YOUR kindergarten-age child was proselytized by her teacher, in-class, to consider accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior. And suppose you, as a parent were not given advance warning of the effort. You get the picture.

    (Btw, the church you spoke of, is obviously begging for a mass exorcism. By my calculations, 300 gallons of holy oil, with 20 extra gallons to be splashed on the pastor, should do the trick.)

  • Your conspiracy theories are outright bizarre. Fortunately I think most folks at RNS know your game and the constant lies that you create as you go.

  • Especially the annoying ones prone to use their foot to prevent you from shutting the door on them.

  • Umm, please quote me correctly, and then do your questions or challenges from there. The statement I offered, is visibly accurate.

    Meanwhile, while people aren’t literally put in prison for adopting and living a LGBT identity and the gay life, it IS a true prison all by itself. That kindergarten kid has no clue what he’s/she’s getting signed up for.

    Your next 16 words after the word “prisons”, are the risks that honestly are NEVER far from the LGBT self-identity and lifestyle. It’s a bad gig.

  • While people arent being put into prison…

    ANY MORE!!!!!

    FIFY.

    And the prison is simply your dark heart speaking. As I have told you many, many, many, many times before, I have a great life, as do the vast majority of the people I have known. Your godly threats and godly lies are so much piffle.

    And you seem quite happy about those alleged risks, never bothering to look at who is inflicting the harm, and why.

  • Yes Ben, you *say* you’ve had a great life. Based on your previous posts, there is MUCH truth there. Good career, good education, opportunities to help some people. Plus you display some interest in God & Christianity (though you oppose both). God has blessed you.

    But you’ve also posted enough to display the ominous silhouette of barbed razor wire and guard towers. A grim shadow and influence, falling across an entire family, and other acquaintances, in many diverse ways.

    And though we’ve never met, I’ve met other gays in person, all four letters of the LGBT, and again that singular dark silhouette. Truly it’s been *harsh time* that they are even now serving in the invisible prison. My prayers and my efforts are very simple, Ben — OFFER SOME JAILBREAKS thru Christ.

  • Yeah, like people who fight over being able to be seen by others and when provided a safe, less public place, refusing it on the grounds of “losing religious freedom.”

  • Yeah, I can remember in kindergarten when they tried to proselytize me into becoming African-American.

  • First, I don’t oppose god. That’s YOUR story. I don’t believe in your god. World of difference.

    Second, I don’t oppose Christianity. I don’t care. What I care about is what people do with their faith. World of difference

    Third, again, you simply refuse to accept the responsibility for that grim shadow and influence, what a vastly different world kids grow up in today, compared to what I grew up in. That is because people like me oppose people who use their faith as weapons. I’m sure you know what I am referring to.

    Fourth, AGAIN, that there are people who are unhappy with their lives, or made a lot of bad decision in their lives, is not the fault of their being gay– that’s another story you tell yourself to justify what you and your fellow travelers do to make our lives as difficult, unpleasant, dangerous, and expensive as you can. In short, it is because of weaponized faith, the lies those faithers tell…

    And their own bad choices. Exhibit 1: John Paulk.

  • Skin color is genetic, unchangable.

    Gay self-identity and the gay life, is neither. You still have options.

  • Why s the focus on “evangelicals” in this article? They aren’t the only “Christians” in the country. I am an ordained minister of word and sacrament in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and we have a complicated policy which recognizes both the freedom of a Christian and the primacy of individual conscience.

  • Skin color is genetic, unchangeable.

    Religion and religious identity, and the religious life, is neither. You still have options.

    Just like you have tHe option not to use your religious beliefs as a weapon against other people. But it’s not an option you’ll ever exercise, until the damage you are doing to people you don’t know and know nothing about hits home with you personally.

    PRayers for Bobby. google it,

  • Dueling Bibles:

    How about we start where we are: the words of Jesus in Matt. 19:4 He answered, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ 5 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’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”

    And the Greatest Commandment is to love God and people: all of the other commandments are incorporated into those two commandments. So you are not obeying the greatest commandment if you are not obeying His other commands.

    God’s thoughts are not our thoughts – but we are to think God’s thoughts after him – see Matt. 19 above.

    See through a glass darkly has nothing to do with sexual promiscuity and how God is opposed to it.
    Regarding moral purity: Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.

    “Be careful you aren’t like the lawyers, scribes and Pharisees…” You won’t be if you obey Christ’s commands.

    And be careful you aren’t the kind of Christian to whom God will say: 15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spit you out of My mouth.” Rev. 3:15-16

  • Oh yes, they ARE vulnerable and uncertain. Can’t speak for conditions 1000 years ago, but here and now in 2017, many Christians have got a not-too-good grip on the power and promises of Scripture, especially when tough situations arise with themselves, family, or friends (and tough situations can happen to anybody or any church, by the way).

    So Matthew Vines knows who to target, and when to target them. He’s a professional gay activist, and he’s out to plant some very unfortunate seeds (weeds) in Christian lives.

    Nothing wrong with asking questions — but Vines is flat-out no good for Christians seeking answers. (Try the Bible instead, yes?)

  • God’s Spirit is the salesman – and I don’t think He is too worried about you shooting Him. And He’s not really selling anything – what He is offering is a free gift.
    Genesis 6:3 The Lord said, “My Spirit will not always strive with man…”

  • “Prayers For Bobby”? What? You honestly think I do NOT keep up with popular books and made-for-TV-movies just like that one? Seen it.

    Sorry to disappoint you Ben, but in addition to the Christian Section, I’ve equally well-surfed the Gay Section of the local libraries (and Barnes & Noble).

    My goal is to always know not only what I’M reading, but also know what YOU’RE reading too. That way we can both cut to the chase and respond more directly. Hopefully you’ve chosen the same approach.

    And speaking of choice: God has already proven he wants to bless you. The Gay Religion offers you only misery. So dump the latter & choose the former.

  • Why is this a big deal for the Church? As the eagle stirs her nest, God is roiling his children to help them grow. Christians have long misunderstood God’s will for marriage. God wills that the Church marry homosexuals just as it marries heterosexuals. God’s will is revealed in the Bible.
    I have written an essay proving that in accordance with traditional techniques of interpretation, making none of the pseudo-arguments that liberal revisionists like Gushee and Vines offer. My essay offers not only arguments in favor of its thesis but refutes all the conservatives’ arguments to the contrary — all that I know of.
    Let me renew an offer made in this forum several weeks ago. Ask for a copy of my essay by email: [email protected].
    And let me add to my offer a humble request. I ask that you show how my interpretation of scripture is wrong. You would confer on me a great blessing. For more than two years, mature and learned Christian conservatives, including seminary professors, have responded to my essay. Their criticisms have helped me improve it, but none has impugned any of my arguments in support of its thesis. As a conservative evangelical, I am unhappy to advocate same-sex marriage by the Church; doing so has alienated me from many of my fellows. So, in seeking correction, I have a social motive besides my devotion to truth and to pleasing God.

  • Assuming you self-identify as heterosexual – how many homosexual relationships, including one-night-stands, did you have before you decided that you weren’t gay?

  • This teacher went way WAY beyond, “Treat everyone with kindness.”

    I recall reading about this teacher – he was called Jesus Christ wasn’t he?

  • God’s will, revealed in the Bible, is that the Church celebrate marriages of homosexuals on the same terms and conditions that it celebrates marriages of heterosexuals. I have written an essay proving that in accordance with traditional techniques of interpretation, making none of the pseudo-arguments that Vines offers. My essay offers not only arguments in favor of its thesis but refutes all the arguments to the contrary that Mohler and company make in “God and the Gay Christian”. (As for the responses of Mohler and company directed to Vines and other liberal revisionists, I agree with Mohler et alia about almost every one.)
    Ask for a copy of my essay by email: [email protected].

  • You know, many preachers preach to kids to NOT experiment with crack cocaine, even though those preachers have never tried crack themselves.

    Does not having ever experienced crack’s effects themselves, disqualify those preachers from publicly preaching against crack?

    (I have a more direct answer for your specific question, but I thought I’d just mention this one issue first.)

  • Yeah, riiiight. The introduction to the Baptist Faith and Message says: “We demand you submit to the Baptist Faith and Message. Lol. You are bitter – get over it. Never has a southern baptist strapped on a bomb and blown up a walmart.

  • Your premise is faulty, RSB. Nowhere does the Bible ever celebrate ss marriage nor approve of it nor normalize it nor legitimate it. You’ve played this tune before – and it is not in harmony with the word of God.

  • If you read the book– IF– I would have to assume you missed the point.
    If I believed in your version of god, I would have to believe he has blessed my life.

    God hasn’t proven a thing. Neither have you. In fact, with two lies and one implied lie in your last sentence, I would say quite the opposite.

  • Really? Because since you had nothing to actually refute what I had to say, I’d say you are projecting.

    I’ve spend a lifetime listening to the ill-considered comments– well, let’s just call them what they are, which is lies– of alleged Christian alleged heterosexuals make about gay people and our lives.

    I’ve had a life time of listening to ill considered comments by those same so-called Christians, opposed to abortion, yet also opposed to birth control and sex education, which would make a positive impact on abortion.

    And so on.

  • Because the evangelicals are the ones clamoring for civil laws to reflect their religious beliefs, or what they claim are their religious beliefs.

  • Accusing me of “projecting” is also, I’m sorry to repeat my words “ill considered”. It is also quite inflammatory. How can any proper discussion follow if we accuse each other like this? I am truly sorry if you have been the victim of any ill-considered comments/ lies, but they haven’t been from me.

  • True, they haven’t been from you. My apologies.

    What I wrote is what I have observed, both in theory and in effect, as a sociologist, a social psychologist, an observer of people, and a student of religion. I don’t deny that there is a valid concern about sexual morality. But I also can see a lot else coming into the mix, and this is all about power, money, and dominion, peoples own issues around sexuality coming into play as they deal with others, and not morality. I also know what I can see clearly, as various people on these pages express all of their (usually unfounded) opinions on the subject, especially when it comes to homosexuality.

    A few weeks ago, there was a column on Mormon bishops having private, and extremely obtrusive and intrusive– let’s just call it prurient– interviews with teenagers about what they are doing with their dangly bits. I’ve had complete strangers, passing themselves off as concerned moralists, going on and on and on in print about what they think I do sexually, when I do not discuss my sex life in public, and certainly, not with strangers. A friend of mine years ago told me about long conversations he had with his catholic priest about his sexual fantasies; he stopped when he realized that the priest was getting off on it. As gay man, I’ve been listening my entire life to religionists obsess over my sex life, and demand that the government step and control it for them: I MUST BE STOPPED FOR THE GOOD OF SOCIETY, FAITH, FAMILY, AND WESTERN CIVILIZATION. that’s what sodomy laws are all about. I could go on at length about this latter issue

    There is plenty of evidence for my statement, and one does not have to look to hard to find it. Is that better?

  • You’re asking these 3 guys the wrong question, sister Emily McFarlan Miller. Instead of, “Why is sexuality such a big deal for the church?” – you should’ve just grilled them with, “Why is the homosexuality of others outside and inside the churches such a big deal for these churches, when their own members’ and clergies’ heterosexual practices of adultery and porn are as big of a deal, if not bigger, in the eyes of God and Jesus?”

    Then throw the following statistics on adultery and porn at (1) R. ALBERT MOHLER for lying about the Evangelicals’ “long, consistent testimony of Christianity concerning God’s plan for human sexuality, marriage and gender”, in terms of sex within marriage between a woman & a man; at (2) MATTHEW VINES for gloating, “Same-sex marriage … (or) transgender people … is an issue that uniquely undermines the moral authority of church leaders”; and at (3) DAVID P. GUSHEE for doing a cheap-laugh impression of the Evangelical community telling themselves, “We may be losing out there, but in here we’re going to keep enforcing this boundary” off limit to LGTBQ-ideas!

    For according to Charisma News, “Shocker: Study Shows Most Christian Men Are Into Porn”, October 7, 2014:

    “A new national survey of Christian men reveals shocking statistics pertaining to high rates of pornography use and addiction, plus rampant sexual infidelity among married Christian men. The 2014 survey was commissioned by a nonprofit organization called Proven Men Ministries and conducted by Barna Group among a nationally representative sample of 388 self-identified Christian adult men. The statistics for Christian men between 18 and 30 years old are particularly striking … (and) for middle-aged Christian men (ages 31 to 49) … no less disturbing … Even married Christian men are falling prey to pornography and extramarital sexual affairs at alarming rates … These alarming statistics are not limited to those who nominally consider themselves Christian. Those who identify themselves as born-again Christians have similar struggles with pornography and affairs”!

  • Well I am a Christian and I consider marriage a spiritual as well as a physical relationship because God’s word tells me it is. In Genesis God took Eve out of Adam’s side. He gave them to each other and said the two, when they physically come together in the convenant of marriage ( with God’s blessing, not man’s) become one flesh in the eyes of God. That is why Paul warns against joining one’s self with a prostitute, (an illegitimate relationship). Homosexuality is not natural, not only because it produces nothing and never will, because physically two men or two women can never have children from their own bodies with each other, but because God would have go against His original plan. I don’t care how many Pastors, denominations, or Christian organizations agree that anything other than marriage between one man and one woman, is OK. God will never bless these sinful unions. They are only fooling themselves. God will not be mocked. His word is eternal no matter how much the culture changes.

  • I’m not a Christian. And I also consider marriage a physical and spiritual bond. So what is our disagreement?

    You think your god enters into it. Good for you. I don’t.

    So this how we are both happy. you follow your religious beliefs and live your life as you see fit, and stay the hell out of mine. I’ll do the same. that way, we both win, and we don’t need to be enemies.

    However, if you decide that you must fight my marriage and impose your religious beliefs upon me, and htemany inidividuals, religious or not, and churches, ministers, and entire denominations that disagree with you, don’t be surprised if I object.

    And strenuously.

  • No, but a Baptist/lapsed Roman Catholic sure blew up the OKC Federal Building. Bottom line the SBC and their ilk have way too much influence in the US and that’s the fault of Billy Graham who mixed religion & politics. My grandfather & his identical twin both SBC preachers wanted nothing to do with his heresy.

  • Genesis 6:3 read within its context has nothing to do with this discussion.
    The phony salesmen to which Ben refers is not the Spirit, but the priests who pretend they serve God, the same Pharisees that Jesus preached against.

  • Ben, l don’t consider you my enemy. I love you because whether you believe it or not, you are made in the image of my God. All I can do is try to point people to the truth of God’s word as He enlightens me. I too, am a sinner, saved by His grace. If you don’t agree with me, it still won’t make me hate you. But I would not be doing you a favor if I didn’t at least share my belief with you, from my heart.

  • Now you’re a trained geneticist? Sorry Charlie, er, I mean floydee, genetics has much to do with it. I’m not really sure what “gay life” is. My life and my non-gay neighbors’ lives are pretty much identical, by their own observations.

  • It would be nice to make this downloadable somewhere. Many folks, myself included, don’t like offering their email address to strangers.

  • I think Reverend Lawrence hit the nail on the head. The vast majority of Christians don’t spend enough time in the bible to confront their own inequities and address them. It is far easier to pick out someone who is easily identified as “different”and focus on their behavior as sinful. If you spend enough time in the word of God, you will quickly find that there is much more work to be done on your own spiritual condition than on that of your neighbor, no matter how “different” they may be.

  • The only connection I know of is that Red Dawn took place in the Mountain West and had a pretty conservative viewpoint. There was a movie about 10 years ago called September Dawn, a historical drama about the Mountain Meadows massacre. Even secular critics dismissed it as little more than anti-Mormon hatemongering. Roger Ebert gave it zero stars.

  • But all people, whether left, right, or center, love to have their own point of view reinforced by an “expert” or “celebrity.” Somehow, only God knows why, it seems to increase their sense of validation. Popularity, for me at least, is the last measuring stick I would choose to vindicate a particular position on the social, political. and spiritual landscape.

  • The circumstance you posit will not impact a specific core of evangelical Christians…ever. Christianity as practiced by those whose whole desire is to be faithful to revealed scripture will not be subject to the evolution you describe Those Christians will maintain their opposition to SSM, but in their unwillingness to yield to this “evolution,” it will not be their practice to despise those with whom they disagree. Christianity by its own definition, is something much more than mere religion.

  • Yup, and the Southern Baptist Convention said the same thing about interracial marriage and segregation in the 60s and 70s, the Mormons said the same thing about blacks in the priesthood in the 70s, and Liberty University was saying to all through the 80s. Today, you’re hard pressed to find anyone who will even academically defend the scriptural underpinnings of those positions. The bible didn’t change. Those scriptures are still there. The religion simply evolved passed them and found “the correct interpretations.” The same will happen with SSM. It’s been this way for 2000 years.

  • I don’t think Hatmaker’s bestseller status vindicates any of her positions, it just means she can sell books. It may mean that others find her views to be popular.

  • “The bible didn’t change. Those scriptures are still there.” The scriptures say a grand total of nothing at all about interracial marriage OR segregation. Nor was there any early church tradition on the subject. It was a purely social taboo that tried to attach itself to religion and THAT is why it was “burned up,” to use Paul’s terminology. SSM, however, is something else altogether. There is about as much scriptural support for that as there was for miscegenation laws – none.

  • There is definitely a reason why Christ singled out Antipas for special remembrance by the Church.

  • Genesis 6:3 is particularly relevant to this discussion. Probably more than most people would ever guess.

  • Sin is an imaginary disease created by priests and shamans to achieve power and wealth.

    The concept of “sin” is stupid. I worry just as much about the christian deity as I do about the perv in the red suit who “sees me when I’m sleeping” and is “making a list and checking it twice.”

  • That “free” gift comes with a rather excessive number of strings. It isn’t free and nobody with a brain would want it.

  • No. They just bought and sold human beings, beat them, raped them, stole their labor and their lives and separated small children from parents and husbands from wives.

    Later, as members of a terrorist group called the KKK, they beat and murdered “uppity” blacks.

    Not every Southern Baptist is a terrorist, but the denomination was formed to perpetuate the terrorism of slavery and supported the terrorism of the KKK.

  • (1) “I consider marriage a spiritual as well as a physical relationship because God’s word tells me it is.”
    (2) “God will never bless these sinful [homosexual] unions.”
    (3) “His word is eternal no matter how much the culture changes.”
    I completely agree with (1) and (3). I disagree with (2) and the Bible is on my side. I offer you an essay that proves my assertions using traditional methods of interpretation. Ask for a copy of my essay by email : [email protected]

  • If you had read my essay and refuted even one of my interpretations, I would respect this comment. But a bald assertion about God’s Word gets no credit.
    We are commanded to edify our brothers and sisters in Christ. I offer you an essay that edifies. Will you too obey God in this?
    You may recall an exchange related to this subject to which you contributed previously. Here it is:
    1. Living Liminal to DirtyHarry#1
    “There are plenty of trained theological scholars who have explored the subject in depth. If you are unaware of their work, it may be because you have only read people who agree with and support your interpretation of the text.”
    2. DirtyHarry#1 to Living Liminal
    “Oh I’ve read their tortured exegesis or rather their eisegesis. Their interpretations are textbook examples of begging the question. Btw I have swamp land in FL if you believe their nonsense.”
    3. Living Liminal to DirtyHarry#1
    “Well, I guess you hear what you want to hear.”
    4. DirtyHarry#1 to Living Liminal
    “Well here’s your chance. Give me one small example of the “exegesis” of the Rom. 1: 24ff”
    5. Richard S. Bell to DirtyHarry#1
    “I exegete the Romans verses on pages 33 through 35 of my essay, though the exegesis is best understood in context by reading pages 32 through 36.
    There is no giving ‘one small example’ of my exegesis of so thoroughly misunderstood a set of verses. If your attention span is large enough, get a copy of my essay and read the pages I have identified. I dare say, my exegesis of the Romans verses will whet your appetite for my full treatment of our subject (and your appetite will be satisfied eventually, no matter how small your bites).
    Send your request for a copy of my essay by email: [email protected]
    DirtyHarry #1, I assume you are sincere. I assume you really want an interpretation of the passage in Romans that may disagree with the interpretation you now espouse. You did not respond to my offer made in your exchange with Living Liminal. Our God lovingly gives us many opportunities to know him better. Seize this one!

  • Shawnie5,
    You are mistaken about the scriptural support for same-sex marriage. I prove you are mistaken. I would love to have my proof refuted. If you read my essay and refute it, you bless me and improve your own understanding of the Bible. If you read my essay and fail to refute it, you do me no harm and improve your own understanding of the Bible. Read my essay. It cannot do you anything but good. Ask for a copy by email: [email protected]

  • People suspect I am phishing. I had not thought of that. Well, I will search for a place to make the essay downloadable. Do you have a suggestion?

  • I don’t need to drink gasoline to know it is not meant for human consumption.
    I don’t need your exegesis – I can do my own. I “are” a college gradyut.
    Don’t expect a request anytime soon from me – my appetite is already whetted for God’s word – not your interpretation, thank you very much.
    And Living Liminal – don’t have a clue what that is either.

  • Recently they bought and sold human beings? Maybe one of your ancestors was a slave trader – or maybe just an all around slime bag thug – does that make you one too?

    Well, many democrats supported the terrorism of the KKK and white supremacy (note Robert Byrd, William Fulbright [Billy Clinton’s mentor] does that mean all dems are bad actors?

    Use a little logic, L62

  • The trends you have been talking about have been moving in the opposite direction for the past few years. (divorce and marriage) – divorce for instance at a forty year low. But one variable you fail to address is economic changes (money also apparently helps marriages last) and the need for two income families. Economic inequality rates in a community and lack of a college education are predictive of having a child before marriage – unless there are more males than females in that community and age range. So perhaps those are the issues that should also become important to Christians.

  • Until you make the claim that religion is a fiction – then you are obligated to prove that claim. What’s good for the goose…

  • I declare Capt. Kangaroo you do go on rants.
    More outrage I see…now the RR demonizes people lol. and then you see the “hatemongers who post regularly on RNS.”
    LOL.

  • Nonsense, theists make the claim that something supernatural exists, the burden of proof lies with you.

  • There’s also no “early church tradition on the subject.” It wasn’t even a “thing.” I will also note that there is early church tradition on a host of other issues, from slavery to marriage at 12-13 years old, etc that are taboo today. Church tradition doesn’t mean jack historically.

  • As for miscegenation laws, there is actually biblical basis there. It takes a vast misread to get there, but it exists. That whole Curse of Ham thing.

  • Most of the decline in divorce is the result of fewer people marrying in the first place. Not much of an achievement.

    “But one variable you fail to address is economic changes (money also apparently helps marriages last) and the need for two income families.” There is no way to restore the conditions of our parents’ generation when one income was sufficient to support most families. The workforce nearly doubled in one generation and the economy adjusted accordingly with stagnation of wages and the simultaneous rise in costs of living. Ironically enough, the group hurt the most by this was the group that was supposed to benefit the most from this “empowerment” of women — single moms. Go figure.

    “Economic inequality rates in a community and lack of a college education are predictive of having a child before marriage” That was not always the case. It became the case when government welfare stepped in with all the best of intentions and eliminated the economic necessity of waiting to have a child until one is partnered. Since no one has the stomach to end that, not even us conservatives, we’re more or less stuck with single parenting among the poor.

  • There is no ‘curse of Ham” to be found anywhere in the Bible. The curse you have in mind was prophetically pronounced upon the youngest son of Ham, whose name was Canaan, and whose descendants preceded the Israelites in the holy land (not Africa) and were rejected by God for their immorality.

    If one must rely upon a “vast misread,” then one has no actual biblical basis.

  • It was a “thing” in the Talmud — I’m sure if there was any room for it in a Christian dispensation someone would have discovered it and mentioned it before just a generation or so ago.

    The early Christian era saw the first arguments anywhere for the repudiation of slavery as an institution. And age at first marriage for early Christian girls was far higher than for their pagan Roman counterparts. You need to examine Church tradition a bit before you decide what it does or doesn’t mean historically.

  • That’s a lot of mealy mouthed arguments. Mary was 12 or 13 when she married Joesph, which is very much verbotin by modern standards. “The first arguments” for repudiation of slavery don’t mitigate that Leviticus expressly premits not only slavery, but the engagement in the slave trade itself and that numerous NT scripture passively (at best) endorses slavery.
    .
    Ultimately, none of this matters, because the only constant in religion is that it evolves to meet cultural norms. Those norms can be as petty as religious dietary guidlines or as comprehensive as slavery, divorce, and marriage. Just as Christ used Genesis to trump Deuteronomy’s allowance for divorce in Mark 10:5-9. My best guess, and it is only a guess because only time will tell, would be that SSM will see the same evolution, probably utilizing Genesis 2:18, which trumps everything that comes after it.

  • Sin has zippobits to do with good and evil or right and wrong.

    God’s precious holy word condemns shrimp cocktail, has instructions for beating slaves, and never condemns sex without consent. The buybull is worthless as a guide to right and wrong.

    Sin – “an offense against god” – is all about groveling to an imaginary deity and making sure the deity’s self appointed spokesmen have plenty of meat to eat.

    Read your book.

  • I completely agree with you. That doesn’t stop people from doing it, however. Just like people read Timothy 2:12 as grounds for denying women ordination, but completely ignore Timothy 2:9 and it’s prohibition on women wearing “gold, pearls, or expensive clothes.”
    .
    There are literally only six scriptural references to same sex relations in the entire bible, and the two Leviticus references are duplicates probably from the late Jewish period revision of Leviticus. One of them is the Soddom and Gommorah story, which wasn’t even about homosexuality to begin with (Ezekiel 16:49). That leaves four actual scriptual references.
    .
    Two (Corinthians and Timothy) use a word that scholars to this day don’t even know what it means, because there’s only a half dozen examples of it all of classical literature. One of them uses the Greek word for “unnatural,” which Paul doesn’t even use consistently as a perjoritive to begin with, and also used to describe men with long hair of all things.
    .
    Bottom line, those seeking a biblical basis for opposition to SSM are building a foundation on sand to begin with.

  • Jesus said lots of things, much of which hyper Christians routinely ignore. Mohammed did much the same thing.

    I think you are confusing DH with JC. It’s a common enough affliction among the hyper religious. What you mean to say is that I oppose the dominion that Christians of a certain sort claim over the lives of people who don’t share their beliefs.

  • By “BG” do you mean BillyBob Graham, the notorious anti-Semite (and probably racist)? The same one who’s son has made such stupid, vicious statements about Islam (“raise up a child in the way he should go, and he will not depart”). The same BillyBob whose daughter recently made those stupid remarks about the eclipse?

  • “It always has been something Christians have used to distinguish themselves from others, Lawrence said, something they have used as a way to talk about more esoteric doctrines like original sin. For one, sex is interesting, and it’s comparatively easy for those with little theological training to grasp.”

    Sex is more interesting than that dry, theological drivel put out by the dyspeptic profs in evangelical seminaries these days?

    Gee, ya think?!

  • I read the article. Rather interesting– as far as it went. But here I think is the problem. Cause and effect are frequently confused when it comes to complex issues. And when religion and sex come into the discussion, the waters are very murky indeed.

    I think my comment at the very bottom of this thread stands. “Why? Isn’t it obvious? If you can make people feel dirty and ashamed over a basic human need, they’ll buy whatever you are trying to sell to them. Like salvation.”
    And I’ll add to that: “If you can make people feel fearful and lost over the basic human fact that we will all die and cease to exist, they’ll buy whatever you are trying to sell them. Like salvation.”
    A friend of mine, 55 years now, who is a very conservative and committed Christian– funny, he has on issues with my being gay, and is glad I married my husband– once asked me if I didn’t want salvation and eternal life. I replied “What use are either of them to me? Eternal life sounds appalling. Salvation, if only offered to a few, is nothing different than what is offered here on earth, and not worthy of a god who claims to be love.”
    So, back to my first paragraph. We have a culture obsessed with sex because for 2000 years– 2600 if you want to go back to the OT– we have had our faith obsessed with sex: who is having it, whom they are having it with, whether they should be having it, what kind of sex they are having, and what it all means. The message has been that sex must be suppressed, that it is dirty, evil, shameful, unless you are making babies, and then it is still dirty, evil, and shameful.
    And don’t forget FEAR.
    Rather than having sex be a part of life, we have relegated it to the closet, and cannot discuss it. We do exactly the same thing with drugs. And because we cannot talk about it, and because of the never ending quest to control it AND not talk about it.
    And all of that is why we are such a mess about sex.

  • If you are going around speaking the truth, then there is simply no hope for you. :0)
    Thanks for writing this. Coming from a conservative Christian, it means a lot.

  • If you were going to use logic, you wouldn’t be making the claim about the democrats. All that stopped, pretty much, about 60 years ago. The democrats made the switch away from that institutionalized racism, while Nixon’s Southern Strategy embraced it.,

  • I’m glad you don’t consider myself your enemy. But it’s really clear that you consider yourself my superior as a Christian, as a moral person, as a heterosexual, and as human being. And that is the problem. Your faith prevents you from seeing me as a full and functioning human being. I’m ALWAYS going to be your inferior.

    And so, when you tell me you love me, you mean it in that special conservative Christian sense. I’d call it narcissism myself, because you don’t know me, or anything about me, let alone gay people in general. I would suggest you read One Corinthians 13, and consider what I have to say.

    “Homosexuality is not natural” Yes it is– for gay people. I’m not heterosexual, and I have NEVER been heterosexual. It’s quite common in the mammalian and avian world, not to mention, in every single society that has ever existed. Please don’t hand me the crap about our sinful and fallen world. If we are so sinful and fallen, your source material is corrupted.

    “not only because it produces nothing and never will” Again, your condescending opinion of something you are completely ignorant of. There is more to life than baby making. Try love, companionship, family– not to mention, we have a distressing tendency to try to p[ick up the slack of all of the cast off, unwanted products of irresponsible heterosexual reproduction. Tell that to my two friends who adopted two mixed raced boys coming from drug addicted parents that NO ONE ELSE would adopt. Not ONE of you holy heterosexuals would give those boys a home.

    “because physically two men or two women can never have children from their own bodies with each other” So what? just as is true about holy heterosexuals.

    “I don’t care how many Pastors, denominations, or Christian organizations agree.” FINALLY, a word of truth. Other Christians don’t have any true communion with their odd. Only Christians who agree with you, and who interpret their bibles exactly as you do, have that.
    “God will not be mocked.” God is mocked constantly by so called Christians, each and every time you wink at hetero divorce, give money to megarich preachers, proclaim your vote as a values voter is for President Grabby, and each and every time you ignore “Love thy neighbor” in favor of “control thy neighbor.”
    Which was the point of this article.

  • It didn’t TRY to attach itself to religion. It DID. They claimed that the Bible justified religious and racial bigotry. You claim it doesn’t. As I always tell you, you should take it pu with them.

  • Logan.. there are (at least) three independent axes upon which many of these discussions depend.

    First, there is the axis of biological sex. Most people are definitely male or definitely female. But there are a lot of people who are physiologically not really quite one or the other. Their genes, their genitalia, are ambiguous.There is a very good discussion of this in Wikipedia. I would suggest you read it.

    There is second axis. We’ll call it sexual orientation, but personally, I prefer affectional orientation. Heterosexuality is normal, not in any moral sense, but in the sense of being the most common. Except, of course, that exclusive heterosexuality really isn’t as common as so many people seem so desperate to believe.

    Bisexuality, to some extent, may well be the human norm. My brother in law once had sex with a man; I don’t know the reason why– probably curiosity. I once had sex with a woman for that reason. By no stretch of imagination are either of us bisexual, but we were able to function that way. Briefly. But there are a whole bunch of people who are not any of those three things. Fetishists, asexuals, pedophiles are just a few of the people who don’t necessarily fall on that axis. My surviving brother is, I suspect, far more not heterosexual than he would prefer to admit, even to himself. But it is obvious to me.

    The third axis in gender. Part of this is merely socially conditioned behavior. I once walked down the street in Bangkok, holding hands with a young man who was definitely heterosexual. That behavior could get you beat up here, gay or straight, but means nothing there. Hetero fathers– mine for example– are afraid to kiss their sons, lest someone think they are “that way”. My friends often joke about how I am the straightest gay man they know, and how are friend John is the gayest straight man they know. That social construct of gender may be one end of the spectrum.

    Part of it seems to be how one sees oneself, how one experiences oneself. That might be the other end of the axis or spectrum. I see myself as quite biologically male, quite gay, and quite masculine in gender. For the trans people I have met in the past 45 years, they experience themselves as something other than that– different, independent of sexual orientation or bio-gender. Surgery is intended to bring at least two of those axes into conformity.

    I hope this helps you to understand it better.

  • You didn’t answer the question. I assume you didn’t because you know what comes next and you didn’t want to go there.

  • And when I do provide evidence, can I expect an admission from you that I was right?

    1. BillyBob was caught ON TAPE agreeing enthusiastically with Tricky Dick Nixon in Nixon’s anti-Semitic rants. It would be better if you researched this yourself, so that you don’t think I’m giving you false news.

    Oh, and then, when he was outed, he apologized.

    2. Similarly, FranklinBob has made all sorts of idiotic allegations about Islam. Again, you will probably feel more comfortable if you find the references yourself.

    3. BillyBob’s daughter said just last week that she thought the eclipse
    was an omen (or something like that) preceeding the end of the world.

    Here is a reference to an article about his apology: http://articles.latimes.com/2002/mar/02/news/mn-30761. I will find you some references on FranklinBob..

    I refer to him (et al) as “Billybob” since it appears to me that that is a common name for southern rednecks.

  • No, Ben, wrong again. I know I’m a sinner, I know I am not better in
    any sense than anyone else. I did NOTHING to deserve God’s grace and never will, that’s why it’s grace. If you think you’re inferior to me, that’s on you, not me.

    When I say I love you, as I told you it’s because you are made in the image of God and He loves you That is the only reason, because you are right, I do not know you. But love does cover a multitude of sin.

    My source material is not corrupted because it is inspired by God’s Holy Spirit. Man corrupts His word when he assumes to say, “Hath God really said…?”

    Don’t assume you know me either, as a heterosexual, a Christian, or a human being.

    Yes, Christians disagree, the church of Jesus Christ is being torn apart
    through through Apostasy, and its inability to stand sound doctrine, but as you know, there’s always a remnant.

    I don’t want to control anyone, never have. All I want to do and strive to do is the right thing. When I allow the HS to direct me, then I feel how much God loves you, and enables me to do the same.

  • BTW. have you heard of a Christian named Ralph Reed? In the forward of a book he wrote maybe 20 years ago, even Reed admitted that BillyBob had been silent on the matter of blacks and discrimination.

  • Since you are having trouble understanding, I will explain it again. I will type slowly so that you can keep up.

    You said “your sin makes you feel ashamed.”

    I said “sin” is imaginary.

    You changed the subject with a question about good and evil and right and wrong.

    I said the biblical concept of sin is not related to good and evil or right and wrong. I provided examples of evils that are not “sins” and “sins” that are not wrong.

    Yes, good and evil exist. But the concept of sin and the contents of the bible are useless in figuring out which is which. Yes right and wrong exist. But the concept of sin and the contents of the bible are useless in figuring out which is which.

    Sin is a make believe concept used to gain control over marks by instilling guilt and extract wealth from marks by threat of supernatural penalties.

    Whether something is good/evil or right/wrong depends on whether the action causes harm to others or promotes the type of society people want to live in. Theft, murder, rape, assault, etc. are wrong because they cause harm. Kindness, generosity and tolerance are good things because they promote a better society. If enough people agree, those values become the values of the society.

    The bible, with its prohibitions on shellfish and silence on sex without consent, is useless as a guide to behavior in the 21st century.

  • “Mary was 12 or 13 when she married Joesph” Cite chapter and verse on that, please. And in any case I was speaking of the church, not Judaism.

    “”The first arguments” for repudiation of slavery don’t mitigate that Leviticus expressly premits not only slavery, but the engagement in the slave trade itself and that numerous NT scripture passively (at best) endorses slavery.” Jesus specifically told us that certain things, such as divorce, were tolerated for a time due to the hardness of the fallen human heart and the absence of the Holy Spirit in human interactions. But He came to restore the original creation design, which featured neither slavery nor divorce nor any other kind of immorality. Complain all you like about the Christianity, but it was the only philosophy which ever offered a compelling rationale for abolition, not once but twice, and the Christian west was the first and only place on earth where slavery disappeared, not once but twice. The rest of the world repudiated it (if they DID repudiate it — it continues to this day) only in response to western influence and/or pressure.

    “SSM will see the same evolution, probably utilizing Genesis 2:18, which trumps everything that comes after it.” How do you figure that Gen 2:18 in any way “trumps” the marriage design which God created in the passage immediately following as the answer to the difficulty described?

  • I’m not going to relitigate how old Mary was. Take that up with the scholars. To argue she was much older than 12-13 is silly beyond words; that was the normal age for Jewish girls to marry at the time.
    .
    The same way Jesus ignored Deuterotomy in regards to divorce. Christianity is not logically consistent, it never has been, and it never will be. 1 Timothy 2:9 and 2:11 are the classic examples. Women can’t be teachers, leaders, or ordained because of 2:11, but it’s completely okay for them to wear pearls to church these days. Yet, the prohibition on one is literally three sentences removed from the second.
    .
    Your entire argument appears to be stuck on the idea that it is. History is pretty clear in that regard. From the original idealogical battles between Paul, Peter, and James to the present day the bible has been read the way people want to read it. That’s not going to change. Especially in regards to an issue that is mentioned a total of six times in the bible and three of those times are so ambiguous as to be meaningless.

  • Why not. Jesus never said anything about it. The bible has roughly 23,000 verses. Homosexuality is mentioned a grand total of six times. Two of those are repeats in Leviticus dating to the late Jewish period rewrite, one is the Soddom and Gommorah story (which according to Ezekiel had nothing to do with homosexuality at all), two more use a word that scholars are STILL debating the meaning of because there’s only a half-dozen examples of it in all of classical Greek writting, and the last one uses the word “unnatural,” but Paul didn’t use that word consistently in his teachings (sometimes it was a positive sometimes a negative) and considered men with long hair to be “unnatural.” That’s hardly the firmest foundation in biblical scholarship.

  • “Two (Corinthians and Timothy) use a word that scholars to this day don’t even know what it means, because there’s only a half dozen examples of it all of classical literature.”

    Don’t believe everything you hear on discussion forums. A few “scholars” (really only drawing upon one, John Boswell) claim that the word’s meaning isn’t known but most know perfectly well what it means. It is a compound word composed of the Greek words “arsenos” (male) and “koite” (bed, euphemism for sexual intercourse). Literally, “man-bedder.” The word is not mysterious in any way because a number of similar words exist in Koine Greek which no one has any difficulty translating, such as “metrokoite” and “doulukoite.”

    As for the Levitical prohibitions, if they were incorrect we would expect that Jesus would have had some revisions to suggest, particularly since these were capital crimes in Israel. That He attributed the Law to Moses and not to ‘late Jewish period revision” makes attempts to discard them inappropriate from a Christian standpoint.

    And if there ARE only four references, or even only one, how many times does God need to say no before we are expected to obey? In my own experience, one statement by Jesus on divorce and remarriage was sufficient to deter me from making an unscriptural marriage 25 years ago. How many times would it take for you?

  • Given how often the scriptures repeat themselves on key narratives the “number of times” is rather important. However, you miss the underlying point. The six times homosexuality is even referenced (out of 23,000+ verses) the closest the bible comes to saying something negative about homosexuality is when Paul calls it “unnatural.” He also said gentiles were an “unnatural” addition to the tree of salvation and said men with long hair were “unnatural.” Hardly a clear condemnation of much of anything.
    .
    As for Leviticus being largely rewritten during the late Jewish period… I’ve never heard anyone seriously contest that Leviticus wasn’t finalized in 500-600 BCE and that it was clearly two separate documents prior to that. There’s several rather humorous transcription errors even. My personal favorite is that incest is completely forbidden in every combination but one: father-daughter. Ancient Israel clearly didn’t allow father-daughter incest, however.
    .
    As for arsenoskoite, the main reason there is debate on the meaning isn’t the literal translation, which pretty much everyone agrees on. It’s that in the half-dozen existent examples of it, most of the uses describe something that doesn’t even exist anymore. Specifically, a patronage relationship between an older man of wealth and a young boy in what modern parlance would be considered pedophilia and prostitution. Given that type of relationship is generally universally frowned upon by everyone these days, a biblical admonishment of it is hardly controversial. However, it has nothing to do with a committed same sex relationship by two consenting adults.

  • I pointed out exactly where you think you are better than me, but rather than address that, you ignore it.
    That’s very Christian of you.
    I don’t think you are better than me, that is my whole point.
    but when you tell me that my marriage is just wrong, that my sexuality is unnatural, that there is something wrong with ME, which you did, for no other reason than what you think god might think about it, then what do you think you are communicating to me?
    you might call it love. That’s on you.
    I call it narcissism. when Christians of the bible believing sort are willing ot let gay people live our lives in peace, without trying to force their religious beliefs on us through the civil law that governs all of us, then, and only then, will I believe that you don’t think you are better than me.

  • “I’m not going to relitigate how old Mary was. Take that up with the scholars.” Those unnamed “scholars” again! I’m afraid they don’t wish to take the blame for your ill-advised comments. The fact is you do not know how old Mary was. Twelve was perhaps a minimum but there is no evidence that it was the norm. Even if betrothed, girls did not maritally cohabit until puberty — you are perhaps unaware that girls used to reach puberty much later than they do now, chiefly due to nutritional factors.

    “The same way Jesus ignored Deuterotomy in regards to divorce.” He didn’t ignore it — He acknowledged it as having had its appointed time. But the creation plan is the target – and by His own words the very reason for marriage is the male-female duality He created.

    “Women can’t be teachers, leaders, or ordained because of 2:11, but it’s completely okay for them to wear pearls to church these days.” You’re reading a great deal into Paul’s words, I think with the intention not of discerning the actual will of God but contriving a gotcha. Paul was not instituting a dress code but exhorting women to be beautiful in DEED rather than in mere appearance and extravagance, as did Solomon when he spoke of the ideal wife whose “clothing is strength and dignity,” but who nevertheless dresses her household in quality material. Also, pearls were an outrageous extravagance in the 1st century world, one which would no doubt make one’s poorer sisters in the church feel diminished. Does a string of pearls inspire awe today? Most are made of painted glass, and most women are afraid to look matronly by wearing them.

    Are you really going to point to “pearls” to avoid looking at God’s perfect will revealed in scripture for human marriage, family and sexuality?

  • Umm…Floydlee, are you aware that the link above is to a story about a *transgender* individual, and not a gay person?

    Do you know the difference?

    Do you have any evidence at all that gay people are trying to proslytize?

    Of course, evangelical “Christians” are the ones doing the most prosletizing –and for a perversion of real Christianity.

  • I’ve never seen a single instance in scripture of “commitment” turning an otherwise prohibited relationship into a permitted one. Although I’ve certainly heard plenty of people make excuses for their divorces and remarriages because they’re “loving and committed.” So goes a world in rebellion.

    As for older men and young boys, there was a specific word for that. Also a word for prostitution. “Arsenokoite,” however, is considerably broader than all of them — no doubt the reason Paul used it.

    ‘He also said gentiles were an “unnatural” addition to the tree of salvation and said men with long hair were “unnatural.”” Paul was speaking in parable about Gentiles being an “unnatural” addition to the family of God, for it was and is impermissible under the Torah to literally graft two different tree species together. The point was that Israel is not repudiated by God but can even more easily be grafted back into its own “tree of salvation” than can Gentiles who were alien to that tree.

    But I have to laugh when you mention the “long hair” (koma – hair grown long, usually with the connotation of ornamentation). What Paul actually said was that it was a “disgrace” (atimia), as “nature” (physis) teaches. And WHY was it considered a disgrace by the Christians of Corinth? Because of its association with homosexuality and effeminacy.

    Really, Rhysem, there is no ambiguity here. Only those who very much want there to be one, see one.

  • I think you misconstrue me a bit, I actually don’t care one way or the other. I’m not a Christian. I was raised one, but never confirmed. If you go back to the beginning of this long (and enjoyable, I might add, thread) you’ll see that. What I asserted from the beginning, and still do, is that religion, especially Christianity has proven highly adaptive and constantly evolving. From the James/Paul early Christian era forward, the Church has adapted to the culture of its day. No mainline denomination believes “women should be silent in church,” or that women shouldn’t wear pearls or gold, or that divorce is inherently forbidden (although I suppose you could argue the Catholic Church still holds to that last one is a really shallow sense). The Church has moved off its ridiculous reading of the Curse of Ham, as well.
    .
    The bottom line is that the Church will find a way to interpret the bible as they need to continue conforming to modern culture. It’s of course fair to argue that “true Christian’s won’t.” However, it’s a meaningless salve in historical context. I’m sure Timothy would have said the same thing about women in his time.

  • I don’t really have to look to pearls, it’s just one of the more comical examples. You can also look to Leviticus where all forms of incest are forbidden except father-daughter. Not because father-daughter incest was permitted, but because of a clear transcription error in the 5th or 6th century BCE. Or you can look to the ridiculousness of the Old Law, where the punishment for rape was a monetary payment to the girls father and marriage, but a few verses earlier the penalty for a woman coming to the wedding bed not a virgin was death by stoning by her family, which of course sets up the ridiculous notion that you could rape a girl, pay her dad 50 sheckles and then make him stone her to death after your wedding night. There are many more such inconsistencies in the bible, which make a mockery of the assertion that revealed scripture is the perfect will of God.

  • “Coming from” Ben in Oakland, your words mean everything, brother! (Psst, a secret. RNS is better than church any day. Just hoping they don’t ban me too soon for “going around speaking the truth” because they too decide, “there is simply no hope for” me. :o) right back at you!)

  • So, brother Richard S. Bell, here’s one more to be added to “all the conservatives’ arguments to the contrary” in your pocket, and to the all-too-familiar “traditional techniques of interpretation” you’ve obviously debunked. Just one catch, or setback. I don’t have an argument (yet) nor a hermeneutical method (definitely not interested). Just a simple question for you in the sole interest of a discussion here:

    Heterosexuals and Homosexuals being equal for argument’s sake, where do they stand on the dual issue of Fornication and Marriage in the eyes of God and Jesus? Which is the same thing as asking, where do God and Jesus stand on the dual issue of Fornication and Marriage when observing (which is what they do among 100000 other pastimes) the lives of Heterosexuals and Homosexuals?

    That’s it. Thanks.

  • I had a discussion some time back with an atheist about that same “rape” passage. The guy evidently had no idea that the word sometimes translated “rape” actually carries no implication of force whatsoever. The passage addressed premarital sex in general, whether consensual or not, and a corresponding passage in Exodus gave to the girl and her family complete power to choose whether to insist on a marriage (how many knowingly give a daughter to a rapist if they don’t have to?) or simply collect a fine which could be added to the girl’s dowry to make her an attractive prospect to someone else despite her lost virginity. It’s all about making men accept responsibility for their sexual activities. No bride was ever executed simply for lack of virginity upon marriage but for deception in the formation of the contract. If you wanted to “play the whore” before getting married, to use the biblical terminology, you had to at least let the guy know what he was getting into.

    Pardon my frankness, but you don’t sound as if you did much checking before making your decision to repudiate Christ.

  • Let me ask the same question for somebody else here. What about Fornication and Marriage in the eyes of God and Jesus? Why are They so hot & bothered about it when things go wrong in those areas in the lives of Heterosexuals first and foremost, and then, once that’s established, in the lives of the LGBTQ folks? What’s really at stake with Fornication and Marriage, as though they mean so much to God and Jesus. Thanks if you care to educate me.

  • Then why do God and Jesus not “mind your own business” when it comes to Fornication and Marriage in the lives of Heterosexuals and Homosexuals? Any thoughts?

  • OK, so, what is it about Fornication and Marriage that God and Jesus are so obsessed with, as they mind the lives of Heterosexuals and Homosexuals, both?

  • Sister Patricia, your insight, please, into the Jesus Freaky phenomenon of infidelity and porn plaguing our Bible Christians and Bible Churches these days. (Charisma News snippet above for your reference and elsewhere.) Yet they put LGTBQ folks down, when they should be putting themselves down and throw ashes over them, repenting before God and Jesus. What do you think?

  • Meanwhile Bible Christians and Bible Churches are infested with infidelities and porn. What to do, brother floydlee?

  • The other rock being BIble Christians and Bible Churches stumbling into infidelity and porn, while attacking LGTBQ. If only we brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus pay Him heed as to Fornication and Marriage, but we don’t.

  • Dirty Harry is absolutely blind to his ignorance & arrogance. The same holds true for the Grahams, Falwells, etc. Grifters all as President Truman saw right through them.

  • The questions were asked: Why does sexuality seem to be the question for Christians? Why do these conflicts — over same-sex marriage, transgender people and the ordination of openly gay people — keep popping up?

    I know the answers to these questions, and I am glad to answer both of them, one at a time!

    FIRST QUESTION: Why does sexuality seem to be the question for Christians?

    ANSWER: Sexuality is, or should be, important to Christians because it is important to God.
    > God created us male and female.
    > He has made it abundantly clear over the ages that sexual relations are to be had only between a man and a woman who are legally and lawfully married to each other.

    SECOND QUESTION: Why do these conflicts — over same-sex marriage, transgender people and the ordination of openly gay people — keep popping up?

    ANSWER: These questions keep popping up for two reasons:
    > Some people want to have their sins accepted as proper conduct.
    > Other people are willing to accept those sins as proper conduct.

    So long as anybody is willing to accept sins, rather than denounce them, our troubles will continue – and get worse. (For one man’s comment, see the second Psalm …)

    Any church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for angels – but the patients must be willing to do what it takes to get well.

    Imagine a substance abuser in a substance-abuse treatment facility saying “I will continue to abuse substances, and I demand to remain a patient in this facility! I demand that nobody say anything negative to me!” That is analogous to homosexuals demanding to be members of a church and have their open and notorious homosexuality accepted as appropriate conduct.

    An open and notorious homosexual who demands to be ordained is analogous to that same substance abuser demanding to be made a case-manager while continuing to abuse substances.

  • I have no argument with you there. While pornography, and divorce/marital infidelity is a real problem in the traditional Christian community that needs to be addressed more firmly than ever today, there are still many Christians who adhere to their vows without compromise. As you state, the issue is a critical one and needs to be confronted sharply, both from the pulpit and to the pulpit.

  • No, but her position as a celebrity author may create a sense of vindication in those who share her perspective, which is hardly a sound basis for reinforcement of one’s views. Marketers recognize the value in “name” endorsements because people are drawn to the well known, psychologically creating a very tenuous linkage. Celebrity is a weak reed to frame anything, yet it is a passion of the public. For my part, I do not find her theological arguments at all compelling.

  • I always wished that mortgage systems like that in the UK were available here – you could pass on your house along with the mortgage when I was a working mom. Delay in marriage probably still has more to do with the cost of living/housing vs wages – a generation ago, parents did not have adult children living with them as a rule while they saved enough money to be able to afford to go out on their own. Of 4 adult children, only 1 is married. Expect that they all will eventually get married but not until their 30’s given that no objection is expressed.

    But I did want to say that in my youth,middle-class girls that got pregnant did not generally turn into single moms – they went away for the school year (I thought they were at boarding school naively). That is something that has gone by the wayside. What I do see is parents raising grandchildren as their own which I guess also happened a generation ago as well. Encouragement for higher ed , strong female role models and access to birth control information are important in addressing single parenting. But I do think single moms should feel welcome at churches which can be a source of support.

  • I reiterate. It will not happen for those who wish to remain true to what the scripture clearly declares, no matter how many others evolve in their views, and no matter how much time passes.

  • But when YOU make the claim God doesn’t exist the burden of proof then lies with YOU to prove He doesn’t. That’s the nature of argument: he who makes a claim must defend his claim.

  • I get it Ben, you think I’m a hypocrite, and I can’t help that you feel that way. That’s exactly how I felt about so-called Christians who told me I was evil and wicked for being involved in the occult. Casting horoscopes and visiting dead-trance mediums. I lived my life exactly the way I wanted to and since I wasn’t hurting them, I resented them telling me what I did was a sin.

    I got so involved in the dark arts that when the entity that moved into my life made itself known it was too late for me to save myself. It tormented me, scared me and made my life a living hell. I couldn’t say the Lord’s Prayer, the only thing I remembered from my childhood when I refused to attend church anymore at age 12. I was 27 years old at the time and had just moved into a new home with my husband and 1 yr old son. We were the third house to be built and hadn’t met our neighbors, except to say hello as we walked past strolling our baby. Not too long after I decided the only way out of this hell was to die. Every time I tried to pray that prayer, cold hands would go around my neck choking me and I knew if I didn’t stop, it would kill me.

    So I put my son down for his nap, and decided it was time to die. I got down on my knees and started to pray and the choking began and the darkness started to cover me, when I felt myself beginning to pass out, the door bell rang. The choking stopped, the darkness dissipated and I got up from the floor to answer the door. It was my neighbor, whom I had seen but didn’t know. She said she was doing her devotions and God told her to come to my house. And thank God she listened. She presented the gospel to me and I accepted God’s free gift of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.

    And I have walked with Him ever since. The entity that oppressed and eventually may have possessed me was gone. A week later my husband accepted Christ as his Savior also.

    You may laugh at my story, you may think I made it up, but I lived through the worse days of my life without Jesus, and I’ve lived with Him for many years and I’ve found His grace to always be sufficient for whatever I’ve had to face.

    The civil law is now on your side. You have a legal right to marry. So why does what I believe bother you? I can’t force my my religious beliefs on you. All I can tell you what Jesus did for me.

  • I happen to agree. I meant to put the identification “Christian” in quotes, but forgot. (For some unfathomable reason) Reed is “widely respected” by evangelicals and other krackpots of his ilk, so I thought that might carry some weight for DirtyHarry#1. I am still waiting for his reply to his challenge (above).

    As a general rule, I’ve found in my life that the folks who speak loudest about being “Christians” are the ones who do the most perverted, peculiar job of following Jesus.

  • Read your comments again, and then read what I had to say about them. This isn’t about my marriage.

    Yes I now have the right to marriage. I also know that a lot of people who call themselves Christians would like to destroy my marriage, and will, if given the chance.

    Are you one of them?

  • HpO, I completely agree with you. It’s sometimes very hard to tell the church from the world. Judgment begins in the house of the Lord. Just like Paul said in Romans, “shall we sin because we are not under law, but under grace? May it never be!”

  • A point most miss is that Billy & Franklin are politicians first & foremost above any & everything else. They may never hold an elected office, but are still just bottom feeding pols. Evidence? BG was Nixon’s Master of Ceremonies at his rallies. FG is essentially the same for 45.

  • I am sure that Lark62 believes moral values and duties are real, but he, like the great majority of secularists or naturalists, has not critically examined that belief.

  • You asked for exegesis (or “exegesis” as you prefer). It was offered. Then, instead of receiving what you asked for, you spurned the offer. I do not know what motivates you to participate in discussions like this. I suspect it is a lust for aggression. That would explain your baiting someone with a request for exegesis, only to attack the proffered and unread exegesis as unfit for humans.
    As for your ability to do your own exegesis so well that you do not need any other’s, well, that is pride verging on arrogance.
    Have you any fruits of the Holy Spirit?

  • I hope the following answers your question, at least in part. God’s moral will for specifically sexual conduct is expressed fully in the Seventh Commandment (with its implications, of course). The basic principle of the Seventh Commandment is that full expression of one’s sexual desires is permitted only in one’s relationship of marriage. (And marriage is a union of two persons so perfect that it is like they are one flesh — a union so perfect that it could only be made by God.) The Seventh Commandment makes no distinction between male and female or between homosexual desire and heterosexual desire. Therefore, in the eyes of God and Jesus, homosexual relations of people not married to each other are fornication thus sinful and heterosexual relations of people not married to each other are fornication thus sinful. Therefore also, in the eyes of God and Jesus, homosexuals who do not have the gift of sexual continency should marry and heterosexuals who do not have the gift of sexual continency should marry.

  • One of these sites would be good, and I will upload my essay after I have assurances about protection of my copyright.
    Thanks for alerting me to the problem with offering my essay on email request!
    I pray God blesses all your ministries.

  • Perhaps you are just insecure, I don’t know, but I wasn’t baiting you; I just expected the exegesis of those pesky Roman verses to appear in the thread. But you want me to get the whole ball of wax and read an essay that I already disagree with. I read your thumbnail summary of your thesis a month ago. The 7th commandment is not the basis for ss marriage – Genesis 2 is. And Jesus reiterated the doctrine of marriage per Gen. 2 in Matt. 19. And I didn’t say that I don’t consult other sources- exegesis after all involves consulting other sources. But after reading your essay’s thesis I don’t think I need to consult you. And as far as possessing the fruits of the Holy Spirit I must admit – not nearly enough. And you?

  • I know. However, I would quibble with your statement that they are both politicians. It looks to me like they are not so much politicians, as folks who enjoy being around politicians, or maybe more precisely, those with power. They do both, however, –unfortunately–share many of the less savory characteristics of pols.

  • So God had expressed no moral will for sexual conduct before the Seventh Commandment? Why then did Jesus refer us back not to the Seventh Commandment but to the original creation design?

    There are also other distinctions that the Seventh Commandment does not make, but I don’t think we want to go there.

  • Gee, DirtyHarry#1, no comment on the evidence I provided below?

    Your silence is getting so loud it is almost deafening.

  • That’s always a possibility. That cadre will decline over time though. Just as many Baptists refused to accept integration and interracial marriage. They never recanted or changed. They simply died off. Their children and grandchildren moved on and now it’s just an historical footnote.

  • Pardon my frankness, but you can’t repudiate that which you don’t believe in 🙂 I don’t need to believe in a higher power to find meaning in life. I find religion interesting, however, which is why I occasionally comment on these types of articles. Interesting from a sociological perspective. That having been said, I try to be civil about it and never bash or attack people of faith. I may not understand the need for faith or belief, but I do respect it.

  • Nonsense, I don’t need to prove a negative. All I’m saying is that I don’t believe your claim of something’s existence, it’s up to you to provide evidence of that existence. Would I need to disprove that leprechauns don’t exist, or unicorns? How about a flat earth? The claim is yours, I simply am challenging you to back it up.

  • “God’s will” sounds suspiciously like your own biases.
    If you’re worshiping your own virtue-signaling self, you’ve got no place for God.

    Just stand in front of the mirror and idolize.

  • C’mon dirty. You’re not stupid. Your implication was what I was disagreeing with, not an historical fact. The parties have switched around in terms of their ideologies.

  • you’re right. They weren’t Christians. They just called themselves Christians and went to church, praising Jesus as they attempted to control the lives of other people. .

  • Belieivng that there is no god is not the same thing as not believing that there is.
    The former is an anti-theist.
    The latter is an atheist.

  • No need to get testy. Just wanted clarification thats all. See sin has everything to do with good and evil, right and wrong.
    But do you see these concepts of good and evil, right and wrong as cultural constructs subject to change or do you see them as objective moral values and duties?

  • In an argument whoever makes the claim must according to the rules defend that claim with evidence.

  • Umm, Ben. A committed, 100% decades-long gay activist like you was able to function good with a woman. Out of nothing but sheer curiosity, just like a middle-school hetero boy, not even doing it from a basis of love & commitment. Just a quikie gig, but it still felt good. Yet you preach, “Once Gay Always Gay.”

    Don’t get me wrong, it took a lotta courage to post what you just posted, so I’m not being snarky here.

    I’m just saying that Gay Activists ain’t been telling the WHOLE truth about themselves in their big crusade to legalize gay marriage and stuff. The wife of New York City’s current mayor zoomed from a committed 17-year lesbian activist, to 100% monogamous hetero wifey and lovin’ it, as soon as Bill De Blasio started talking — or something — to her. Yeah baby.

  • Nothing has changed really. The dems just shifted their bigotry toward the trad cons without ever denouncing their past. The SBC did but not the dem party. And has Bill Clinton ever repudiated his mentor’s racist beliefs? Not to my knowledge.
    Let’s hear the Dem Party stand and deliver. They are so busy denouncing others, lets hear them renounce their own racist past. Then I might believe they have changed. Until then…

  • Part 2, from God’s Moral Law and Same-sex Marriage pp. 26-32.

    I return to a subject that has been introduced and discussed generally, here to treat it much more specifically. I start with the conservative’s understanding of some parts of the creation story referred to in the New Testament. According to the conservative, (a) these parts of the creation story have normative implications, among which is a prohibition of homoerotic conduct, (b) the prohibition of homoerotic conduct is inconsistent with same-sex marriage because it would prohibit consummation of any such marriage, and (c) the creation story is moral authority in addition to the Ten Commandments.
    The conservative begins with Genesis 1:27-28: God created man and woman, humans of different sexes, and blessed them, then commanded them to procreate. The conservative points out that God judged this good, and so, according to the conservative, God made it normative. The conservative says that the moral force of this creation story was recognized by Jesus and Paul, who quoted the explanation of Adam’s expression of joy at getting Eve (Gen. 2:24) in their condemnations of divorce and fornication; Matt. 19:3-8, 1 Cor. 6:13b-20.
    The conservative makes much of this. For example, John Stott, in Same-Sex Partnerships? A Christian Perspective (Fleming H. Revell, 1998), at page 36, cites Jesus’ comment on the creation story that is recorded at Matthew 19:4-6: “The Creator made them from the beginning male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and be made one with his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. It follows that they are no longer two individuals: they are one flesh. What God has joined together, man must not separate.” Stott claims that Jesus in this comment affirmed three things inconsistent with same-sex marriage. First, heterosexual bodies are a divine creation. Second, heterosexual marriage is a divine institution; it is (as it was at first) the physically-different man and woman that God joins together. Third, heterosexual fidelity is divine intention; no one may break a union of man and woman made by God. Now, the second and third affirmations are not inconsistent with same-sex marriage unless one makes dubious assumptions about the context of Jesus’ comment. But God’s giving Adam and Eve heterosexual bodies does seem inconsistent with same-sex marriage. (a) The woman and the man were made in different ways; Genesis 2:7, 21-22. (b) The woman, not the man, was made able to give birth as she alone was destined to do, and her desire was to be for the physically-different man; Genesis 3:16. Stott infers that the metaphor “become one flesh” is applicable principally, if not exclusively, to the sexual contact of two physically-different but physically-complementary beings, especially their coitus in which the male and female sexual organs fit together. Stott concludes that a same-sex couple cannot “become one” as God intended – a same-sex couple cannot marry as God intended.
    Appealing to more of scripture, the conservative may try to bolster his claim that God blesses only heterosexual marriage and implicitly forbids homosexual marriage with three other inferences from the Bible’s portrait of marriage. First, marriage is important in our understanding God’s relationship to his people, for throughout the Bible it is the paramount metaphor for that relationship. In the Old Testament, God is the husband of Israel and Israel’s breach of the old covenant is called adultery. In the New Testament, Jesus is the husband of the Church. Second, for this very reason, God’s marriage to his people teaches us that differentness is essential to marriage in the biblical view. Holy God and his sinful people are as different as can be. Not even the unity of saved sinners with Christ eliminates the profound difference between God and his people – between the creator and his creatures, the infinite and the finite, the redeemer and the redeemed. Therefore, according to the conservative, marriage is the union of profound difference. Just because men and women are profoundly different it is possible for a man and a woman to help each other grow holy. One sees things that need correction in the other that best same-sex friends do not see. Only the union of profound difference in heterosexual marriage is the biblical norm; homosexual bonds, in contrast, are a joining of the same. Third, the primary purpose of marriage in the Bible is procreation. This is implied by the first commandment of God to mankind that is recorded in the Bible and it is confirmed by the prophet Malachi (Mal. 2:14-15). Only marriage of a man and a woman can serve its primary purpose.
    I agree with the conservative that God created sexually different humans on purpose. Genesis 1 and 2 present and celebrate a complementarity of man and woman that is related to marriage. We learn from Scripture how woman complements man in furtherance of God’s purpose. God clearly implied his relevant purpose by commanding the man and woman to be fruitful and multiply; God’s purpose was that the earth be fully populated. God’s means for populating the earth was sexual reproduction. That required a man and a woman in the first instance and then, after their expulsion from Eden, a division of labor between the man and the woman was necessary to help offspring reach maturity. Marriage of man and woman specifically served God’s purpose in obvious ways. But Genesis 1 and 2, in presenting and even celebrating heterosexual marriage, do not imply that God forbids homosexual marriage by the Church.
    Against the conservative’s inferences from the Bible’s portrait of marriage, there stand the teachings of Jesus and Paul, who made plain that God’s command to procreate is no longer normative. Christian tradition has understood this. The Church does not take procreation to be an essential purpose of marriage and so it has not made procreative ability a condition of marriage. The Church marries people who do not even have all necessary reproductive organs, and it marries them without scruple. The Church’s practice and conscience are right in this respect. An important purpose of marriage in the Bible was at first procreation, because God intended that sexual intercourse and protections afforded by the family cause eventually the earth to be populated with human beings, but Jesus and Paul taught that procreation is no longer an important purpose of marriage as God’s intention has been realized. Jesus and Paul taught that God now prefers his people be celibate, so that they give all to him instead of giving some of themselves to a spouse. Indeed, celibacy is a better anticipation of our future lives in heaven, all of us unmarried. God provides marriage to accommodate those of us who cannot now be as he prefers. God has purposes, other than procreation, that are served by marriage, but these other purposes do not confer any extra value on a marriage of sexually different partners with different jobs. Even if God’s purposes did confer extra value on a marriage of sexually different partners, that would not imply marriage of homosexuals is forbidden by God.
    Nor do the conservative’s two other aspects of the Bible’s portrait of marriage give any ground for denying marriage to same-sex couples. Marriage is an apt metaphor for God’s relations with his people not because it is in essence a relationship of profoundly different beings; marriage is an apt metaphor because its ideal is mutual commitment and self-sacrifice. Mutual commitment and self-sacrifice do not presuppose the profound difference of God and creature; they do not presuppose even the much less profound difference of man and woman, which conservatives tend to exaggerate. God knew that neither he nor a beast could be the companion Adam ought to have. Knowing that the companion suited to Adam must be someone like him, God made another kind of being very like him. Adam, his understanding not yet compromised by the Fall, appreciated this about Eve. Adam said “Now this, at last – bone from my bones, flesh from my flesh! – this shall be called woman, for from man was this taken!” Gen. 2:23. He rejoiced at Eve’s profound similarity, not her profound difference.
    So, pace Stott, it is not obviously the physical difference characteristic of sexes that God judged good when he created Adam and Eve. To the contrary, Genesis 2:18 implies that God’s blessing was the creation of a partnership; it was not good for Adam to be alone. Adam rejoiced at the partner. And the writer of Genesis comments, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife.” A man leaves his parents because it is not good for him to be without a suitable partner and neither of his parents can fill that bill. A suitable partner may be someone of the same sex.
    Stott’s understanding of the metaphor “become one flesh” as join in coitus finds no support in the comments of Jesus and Paul. From the creation story’s metaphor of a married couple’s becoming “one flesh” Jesus did not infer that coitus is the only expression of sexual desire permitted by the Moral Law. Jesus inferred, “It follows that they are no longer two individuals: they are one flesh. What God has joined together, man must not separate.” Matt. 19:6. Obviously, Jesus did not understand marital unity in “one flesh” as physical, for the spouses do remain physically two individuals. Jesus affirmed that marriage is not a mere formality; it is a substantial union of two persons. So, God may join the man and his wife morally or spiritually or emotionally or socially in a union so perfect that it may be likened to a physical merger. But God does not join spouses physically. Jesus remarked the implications of the Genesis story for divorce, not the implications for human bodies. Nor did Paul understand marital unity in “one flesh” as coitus. As Paul understood it, this metaphor for the ideal union of persons in marriage is even an apt metaphor for the union of Christ and his Church. Eph. 5:28-33. The union of Christ and his Church is not coitus – does not even include coitus. The union of Christ and his Church shows what is essential to the marital union. Obviously, coitus is not essential to the marital union. Therefore, Paul did not take the Genesis story to include God’s prescription that the marital union be a union only of man and woman, as the only ones who are capable of coitus. Paul remarked the implications of the Genesis story for spousal duties of nurture and care in general, not the implications for sexual conduct specifically.
    I would not deny that the biblical metaphor “become one flesh” may be used also for coitus. It seems Paul used it that way. 1 Cor. 6:16. But even if, as Stott asserts, the metaphor “become one flesh” is applied principally to coitus in which the male and female sexual organs fit together, there is no warrant for asserting that it is inapplicable to other intimate relations, including intimate physical relations of same-sex couples. Although the characteristic physical difference in sexual organs of male and female and their joint function in human procreation are especially good in Eden and elsewhere for a while, there is no reason to believe they are especially good just so ever after. Not only does Paul’s depreciation of the command to procreate show that now same-sex partners do not hamper God’s plan for a fully-populated earth, but the heterosexual desire that leads to procreation is not God’s perfect plan for mankind. The resurrected population of heaven, which will realize God’s perfect plan for us, does not marry. Matt. 22:30. To think that these people will have sexual desire is to suppose that they will suffer frustration or that they will be perfectly satisfied by masturbation or by sexual relations outside marriage, and these suppositions are preposterous. According to the Bible, God deems it good that spouses become one flesh in coitus. But there is no reason for judging coitus the only good way to become one flesh, as there is no reason for judging that it is always good for spouses to become one flesh in coitus. The creation story has normative implications, but no invidious distinction of homosexual desire or homosexual conduct that is timeless and universal. The creation story does not imply that consummation of same-sex marriage is inconsistent with God’s moral will.
    Stott is right to infer from Jesus’ comment on the creation story both that marriage is a divine institution and that fidelity in marriage is divine will; Jesus was driving to the conclusion that marriage is an especially thorough and permanent union made by God. But Jesus’ comment does not imply God’s exclusion of same-sex couples from the institution of marriage. No normative implication of the creation story has the force of Moral Law inconsistent with same-sex marriage. The conservative has implausibly projected his personal views about marriage on the creation story and Jesus’ comment.
    The creation story, without more, gives scant support to the argument against same-sex marriage. I suspect that conservative scholar Robert Gagnon’s appreciation of that has motivated his attempt to fill the logical gaps by adding to the creation story: “In Gen. 2:18-24, a binary or sexually undifferentiated human (the adam) is split into two sexually differentiated beings.” How does this elaboration of Genesis show that God forbids a same-sex union? According to Gagnon, if God intended to convey the legitimacy of homoerotic unions in same-sex marriages, the Bible would have told a creation story “where an original male-male, female-female, and male-female are split.” But God did not tell a story of three original humans of different sexual constitutions, and that, Gagnon says, reveals something important about God’s moral will. “Marriage is treated by the Yahwist as a reunion of two complementary sexual others, a reconstitution of the sexual unity of the original adam. . . . Two males or two females in sexual union would not equal an originally binary being or sexual whole. A restoration of ‘one-fleshness’ requires a male and female because the missing element is the opposite sex: ‘therefore a man shall . . . cleave to his woman/wife and the two shall become one flesh’ (2:24). Genesis 2:24 advances not just the normal state of affairs but, implicitly, a prescriptive norm, as both Jesus and Paul recognized (Mark 10:7; 1 Cor. 6:16).”
    Gagnon’s argument from the order of creation depends on his elaboration of Genesis 2:21-22. According to Gagnon, the creation story as he has embellished it implies that God intends marriage and sexual intercourse to be reunion, reconstitution, or restoration of the original binary or sexually undifferentiated human. Gagnon consistently characterizes the legitimate sexual union or marriage of a man and a woman as completion, joining again, or re-merger. Sexual union or marriage of any other than a man and a woman would be, therefore, outside God’s intention; it would be, Gagnon concludes, contrary to God’s will.
    Gagnon sees his elaboration of Genesis 2:21-22 as crucial. According to Gagnon, there is “a – perhaps the – chief pillar of biblical sex ethics; namely, that God intended sexual intercourse to be for the remerging of two sexual halves into ‘one flesh.’” Is his elaboration plausible? Well, Gagnon himself may doubt it. Standard normative inference from the order of creation is that creation’s original state should be restored or preserved. But, according to Gagnon, God permits only what would undo his splitting of the adam in two. Moreover, this conception of the union in “one flesh” as reconstitution or restoration of the binary or sexually undifferentiated human defeats other arguments Gagnon makes about God’s moral will for sexual conduct and marriage. For example, Gagnon asserts that there is one reason why God prohibits sexual relations among close kin and among people of the same sex: an incestuous union and a homosexual union both are unions of people too much alike. But if, as Gagnon says, God told us a story of splitting the adam into two creatures with desire for reunion in “one flesh” just to teach us God’s will for sexual conduct and marriage, then God taught us that any identical twins who want to be sexual partners and spouses are, in his judgment, perfectly matched, homosexual and incestuous though their relationships may be.
    One need not agree with Gagnon’s explanation of the incest taboo to find problematic his conception of permissible sexual intercourse as reunion, reconstitution, or restoration of the original binary or sexually undifferentiated human. There are other, independent, reasons why Gagnon’s elaboration of Genesis 2:21-22 is implausible. First, Gagnon’s elaboration of Genesis 2:21-22 is inconsistent with the rest of the text; not only does the Genesis text make no mention of splitting the original adam in two but it expressly states that God took a rib from the man and built up that rib into a woman. Second, Gagnon’s finding in the Bible Aristophanes’ speculation about the origins of sexual differentiation and sexual desire – related by Plato, Symposium 189c-193e – has no basis except (a) that God’s original creation of a human was the man and God’s subsequent creation was the woman from part of the man and (b) that a man wants to be with a woman as “one flesh” in marriage. These are not convincing. A man’s wanting to unite with a woman in marriage or even in sexual intercourse is intelligible without adding the Aristophanic myth to the Bible’s creation story. All that happens in Genesis is explicable by (a) God’s judgment that it is not good for the man to be alone and (b) God’s plan that the earth be fully populated by humans – revelations actually made in the Genesis text. Third, pace Gagnon, Jesus and Paul made plain that they deemed the prescriptive force of Genesis 2 to be a set of norms for the ideal marriage (see pages 26-30, supra); there is nary a hint that they thought Genesis 2 limits sexual union to what would restore an original binary or sexually undifferentiated human.

  • OK, because you insist. Here are two parts of my essay without footnotes. They deal with the scriptural foundations of your belief. Part 1 is my exegesis of Matthew 19 and Part 2 is my exegesis of Genesis 2.

    Part 1, from God’s Moral Law and Same-sex Marriage pp. 22-24.

    Now consider the conservative’s putative authority for God’s definition of “marriage” as union of a man and a woman, viz Jesus’ teaching recorded in Matthew 19:4-6: “The Creator made them from the beginning male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and be made one with his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. It follows that they are no longer two individuals: they are one flesh. What God has joined together, man must not separate.” The conservative is impressed by Jesus’ explicit reference to male and female – male and female only – as parties joined by God in the original marriage. Jesus made clear that marriage was at first the union of a man and a woman and that it has been so ever since. According to the conservative, Jesus’ exclusive reference to male and female can only imply exclusion of any same-sex couple from God’s institution; Jesus gave us a definition of “marriage” that limits it to union of a man and a woman.
    Definition of “marriage” as a union of male and female does not logically imply prohibition of same-sex marriage. But the conservative’s conclusion that Jesus forbade same-sex marriage, though it does not follow logically, is a much less daring inference if Jesus declared, in Matthew 19, that the very nature of marriage is union of a man and woman. The conservative tries to support the conclusion that Jesus taught marriage is only for a man and a woman by making reference to an unexamined collection of Scripture texts that manifest a negative attitude toward homosexual relations. The conservative says that Jesus probably intended to state a restrictive definition that limits marriage to heterosexual couples because exclusion of homosexuals would be consistent with the general negative attitude. I have already examined relevant texts in the Old Testament and shown that they express purity taboos deemed obsolete by Jesus, so Jesus’ intention to restrict marriage to a man and a woman gets no support from these texts. I will examine texts in the New Testament and prove that they do not manifest moral judgments against homosexual relations per se, so the conservative finds no support in these texts. But refuting the conservative’s interpretation of Jesus’ teaching does not depend on a sound understanding of these additional texts. That is because the conservative’s interpretation is fundamentally wrong. Jesus did not declare, in Matthew 19, that the nature of marriage is union of a man and woman, nor is there any good reason for inferring such a declaration.
    Jesus’ teaching about marriage was specifically a response to the Pharisees’ question, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?” Matt. 19:3. Jesus gently chided the Pharisees for failing to find their answer in Scripture, then he said what I quoted above. Jesus answered that the marital union is, as it has always been, a perfect partnership – a partnership so perfect that it is like becoming one flesh. Jesus implied that this union is God’s blessing, as it is not the kind of thing that could be achieved by man. Therefore, union in marriage is not to be put asunder by man. The nature of marriage shows that it is made by God; therefore, destruction of a marriage by divorce, an act of man, is rebellion, prohibited.
    The conservative asserts that Jesus was dealing with something other than the nature of marriage and divorce. The conservative says that Jesus was not only affirming the perfect permanence of marriage, but was declaring the qualifications for marriage (and was declaring specifically the disqualification of homosexual couples). Now, the conservative rightly understands (a) that the Pharisees put on the table just the issue of divorce; (b) that Jesus’ response was directed at the issue of divorce; (c) that Jesus declared divorce prohibited and that Jesus explained why divorce is prohibited; (d) that Jesus’ explanation includes his observation of the nature of marriage as a full and perfect union, making its parties “one flesh.” The conservative is right about the force of Jesus’ observation: marriage is not and cannot be a creation of man; it must be a blessing created by God. The conservative is right about Jesus’ inference from the nature of marriage: man may not destroy a marriage by divorce. But the conservative is wrong in failing to see here the end of Jesus’ excellent explanation, which taught us about the nature of marriage and its implications for the morality of divorce. The conservative’s claim that Jesus also declared or implied that a same-sex couple is disqualified for marriage is utterly without foundation. Jesus neither declared nor implied anything about the qualifications for marriage.
    What of Jesus’ explicit reference to the male and female? Jesus referred to creation of a man and a woman and to their union – the union of the man and the woman. Jesus had in mind a story in Scripture describing just that. But Jesus was driving to a conclusion about the nature of the union, not the sexual identities of the parties eligible for the union. Their different sexes are part of the story that Jesus referred to. Jesus’ repetition of that part of the story was his very natural way of directing the Pharisees’ attention to it. But different sexes of the couple is not a necessary feature of the story as Jesus used it. The only necessary feature of the story as Jesus used it is the couple’s suitability for a perfect partnership – a partnership so perfect that it may be likened to a physical merger. Here again, in different words, is Jesus’ drift: “You want to know why divorce is forbidden? Consider what marriage is. And I mean the very nature of marriage – what it has always been, what it has been from the beginning. Consider the record of the first marriage. It is written that God created first two people, the male and the female, and God said, ‘They shall be joined as one flesh, so they are no longer two, but one.’ Now, this record shows that marriage is, in its very nature, a full union made by God.”
    Jesus’ reference to the Genesis text adequately explains Jesus’ mention of the fact that God first created a man and a woman. The text Jesus referred to states that fact. From Jesus’ mention of the fact that God first created a man and a woman, it is reasonable to infer that he commended heterosexual marriage, but Jesus’ intention to commend heterosexual marriage is not necessary to explain his mention of the fact. More important for our purposes, it is unnecessary to add, as another explanation, that Jesus intended to disqualify any other than a heterosexual couple from marriage. Worse than unnecessary, it is unreasonable to add that explanation. Jesus was talking about the morality of divorce and, in relation to divorce, the nature of marriage. Qualification for marriage is irrelevant to what Jesus said about marriage; it is irrelevant to Jesus’ affirmation that marriage makes two people “one flesh.”
    We should draw inferences from Scripture, but there are constraints on this. Among the constraints is a requirement that what is inferred be closely related to the purpose and point. The purpose and point of Jesus’ teaching about marriage in Matthew 19 make teaching about the qualifications for marriage irrelevant, and accepted rules of interpretation do not permit inference of what was irrelevant. The conservative’s excessive desire for Jesus’ restrictive definition of “marriage” has led to wrongdoing. The conservative imputes to Jesus, without good reason, an irrelevancy. And it is not a harmless irrelevancy. This irrelevancy is supposed to express God’s refusal of marriage to some of his sons and daughters who are burning without it.
    As a last resort, the conservative points out that marriages up to the time of Jesus were strictly limited to heterosexual couples. From this, the conservative infers that Jesus’ teaching recorded in Matthew 19 must have been intended to endorse the traditional limitation. Well, social practice could be something of an argument for the conservative’s inference, because a specific understanding shared by speaker and hearer may help us interpret what a speaker said. But it alone does not prove the conservative’s claim about what Jesus said. As I observed above, “Jesus said that they do not marry in heaven. Probably he had in mind only heterosexual couples. However, that does not imply that Jesus thought homosexual couples marry in heaven.” In the same vein: Jesus said marriage is a one-flesh union; probably he (and his audience) had in mind only the union of a male and a female; however, that does not imply that Jesus thought a male and a female were essential parties to a one-flesh union. The conservative cannot confidently infer that Jesus meant the nature of marriage is a joining of male and female from the fact that Jesus and the Pharisees had in mind marriages of males and females.
    Jesus did not answer the Pharisees’ question about divorce by fiat, simply declaring that divorce is prohibited. Jesus expanded his teaching by explaining the moral truth. He showed the Pharisees why divorce is prohibited by adverting to what marriage is and has been from the first. Yes, in answering the Pharisees’ question, Jesus could have expanded his teaching further. He could have expressly taught that homosexual couples, in addition to heterosexual couples, are eligible for marriage, and Jesus did not. Jesus did not expand his teaching in this way, but Jesus’ silence implies nothing in the conservative’s favor. Expansion of his teaching about the nature of marriage to include teaching about the qualifications for marriage would have been superfluous. I take seriously the context, and so should the conservative. Jesus was showing the Pharisees a truth about the nature of marriage in order to explain why divorce is prohibited. His remark that marriage is a one-flesh union is brilliant; it is all the truth about marriage necessary to explain why divorce is prohibited.

  • I agree with you that anyone who worships his own virtue-signaling self has no place for God.
    As for God’s will, I believe it is revealed in the Bible. I believe God revealed his will for same-sex marriage in the Bible.
    Do you agree with me about revelation of God’s will in the Bible? If you do, ask for a copy of my essay by email: [email protected]

  • Dear Shawnie5,
    Scroll up and find excerpts of my essay sent to DirtyHarry#1. He too cites Matt. 19 and Gen. 2 against my thesis. The replies to him will (I hope) serve also as partial answers to your questions stated here.
    For answers to what I assume would be your followup questions, ask for a copy of my full essay.

  • Doc, I suspect you could function with a man, if you so chose. So what? Itdoesn’t make you gay, any more than my one experience made me heterosexual, or even potentially so. I functioned– it helps to be 25. But was my heart and soul in it? Did I function extremely well? No to both. did I feel anything besides curiosity? Not at all.
    as I pointed out to you many times, she IS BISEXUAL. it is a known phenomenon.

  • Not a valid comparison.

    A much closer comparison to crack is religion. They are both un-natural, they both need to be learnt about before any craving arises, they are both sold by others with an agenda which benefits the seller, they are both capable of (and often end up) destroying an existing, better, life and they both have a detrimental effect on the individual, the family, the community, the nation and humanity.

    The evidence, and there is lots of it, points unerringly at the fact that being gay is not a choice, cannot be learnt (acted out sometimes maybe), and only has an adverse effect on those who choose to let it do so (other than to the same degree that heterosexual practice can also do).

  • But what’s so “sinful” about homo- and hetero-sexual fornications? Something at stake here? With God and Jesus, I mean. And what’s so “sinful” about fornicating while in “homosexual relations” or while in “heterosexual relations”? Again, why would God and Jesus take these human actions so Personally? I can’t put my finger on it (yet), kindly help me out. Thanks. (Just going by what you say here, thought by thought, so as to roll out this discussion I’m interested in having with you.)

  • No – he had no comment – but he did say that we should love one another (and he didn’t mean tough-love them to death), he did say turn the other cheek and he did say blessed are the meek and followed up by pointing out that arrogant baskets like me and you won’t inherit the earth.

    You’re the one who claims to be a Christian – defined as someone who seeks to emulate the life and teachings of the Christ as portrayed in the Gospels.

    You want to pretend the Christ didn’t give the sermon on the mount? (he probably didn’t – like everything else claimed about him it’s probably just a story someone made up to push their own agenda – but hey – you’re the one who believes this stuff).
    Or, like so many self-avowed Christians, do you think you know better than the gospel writers what was really said? And, like all the others, do you find that, once you correct the errors in the Bible the God you worship has the same ideals, opinions and biases that you do?

    And, AIUI, you’re well out of date – it became “LGBTQ issue” some time ago.

  • Did Jesus not say Matt. 19:4-5 out loud? Did he not directly quote from the historical claims of Genesis in that text? Did Jesus’ hostile Pharisee opponents disagree with His historical claims given here, in the slightest?

    Therefore, according to Jesus, is not the God-given institution of human marriage and sexuality, directly tied to and dependent on the specific Male and Female gender complementarity that God Himself created?

    (Rhysem, please join Give in answering these specific inquiries. I enjoy reading you both, but I wanna see if either of you can really handle this argument, without ditching Jesus or ditching the Bible. Thanks.)

  • See my response to David Allen. Already demonstrated from the LA Times and CNN, that the gay movement clearly includes transgender (gotta love those euphemisms) people. Could have given you more media sources, but the point is proven already.

    As for your other question, you already have this classroom mess that this teacher initiated. That’s an obvious one. But ask me that same question on the next National Coming Out Day or the next Gay Pride Month. We’ll spend all day looking at evidences.

  • (Psst — You have “never been heterosexual”, except for that one time when you got curious!)

    Just sayin’.

  • Did Jesus say it – probably not but you can believe he did if you want to.

    I read the verses to say that God chose to create future generations through sexual reproduction (he clearly didn’t want to end up in a commitment that extended past the first six days) – there is no suggestion that other relationships are wrong – or even considered.

    The context is divorce, to be divorced you have first to be married and, in those unenlightened and rather savage times marriage was, in Palestine, limited to a contract between a man and a woman. Therefore other relationships were not relevant to the alleged conversation.

  • Understood. Thanks for a quick response. But what about that God-given gender complementarity? No way to actually escape what Jesus said about THAT, hmm?

    (And honestly, NO Christians will buy into any claims of Jesus The Messiah being “unenlightened” — else they would be effectively nixing their own claims of Jesus saving their souls — so you’ll need to find another escape hatch.)

  • I wasn’t heterosexual then. I was a thoroughly gay man having sex with a woman to see what it was like. It is not my problem if you will not understand the difference between orientation and behavior,or that everyone,including you, is probably a lot more bisexual than you seem to need to believe.

    Just sayin’.

  • 19:3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
    19:4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
    19:5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
    19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

    The context is divorce – not sexuality and not gender.

    The claim is that Jesus outsmarted the nasty Pharisees by giving them an answer they could not use to support an accusation of heresy.
    It’s about “Clever Jesus – stupid Pharisees” not “Jesus dissing gays”. .

    The question of non-heterosexual relationships is neither mentioned nor relevant, the “God-given gender complimentary” is simply a recognition of the then legal position as it related to divorce.

    As to Jesus being unenlightened – I was referring to the times rather than him, but…………..he, so far as we know, went along with the stories about creation, about Adam and Eve and the pretence of the Exodus, he didn’t point out the error of the Flood or the hundreds of years between the Israelites occupying an abandoned, wall-free town called Jericho and its later walls falling down, etc., etc., etc.. Now, maybe he knew the truth but decided it would blow too many minds (or get him crucified – ooops) if he shared his enlightenment.

    an escape hatch?
    Personally, since I don’t buy into souls, saving, Messiah et al, my problem it ain’t.
    I just think it yet another illustration of the irrationality of christian belief – whilst those who suffer from said belief will presumably find a way of working back from their belief to a position which doesn’t fry their brains – usually “wait till you/I/we are dead and it will all be explained” (possibly leavened with some lurid ramblings about hell for me); in the meantime keeping their fingers in their ears and maintaining a constant la-la-la.

  • Sin is violating God’s moral law. God’s moral law is expressed in the Ten Commandments. The Seventh Commandment prohibits fornication.
    You may disbelieve any or all of the things I just stated. I am not eager to discuss with you whether you ought to believe them.
    I have no answer to the question why God and Jesus would take fornications personally — a question presupposing without reason that God takes fornications personally.

  • Yes, if you make a claim that leprechauns don’t exist you must prove your claim with evidence. And that shouldn’t be too hard for someone of your vast intellect. ;P

  • The anti-theist is an atheist too. But I see your point. Both Dawkins and Hitchens and Harris are all atheists as well as anti-theists. Anthony Flew (deceased) was the leading atheist and anti theist back in the from the 60’s through 90’s but then decided that deism was a more rational belief over atheism. His former fans labeled him demented and left him a lonely broken deist – and then he died. He never quite got to theism but he did get as far as deism. The problem with deism is there is no requirement for obedience.

  • Gay people reproduce in any number of ways; hetero marriages, IVF, etc.

    Transgender people consider that their physical sex presentation at birth is a mismatch to their innate gender identity. It’s a 4 year old “boy” constantly & consistently telling her parents that she is actually a girl, in spite of the penis and lack of a vagina.

  • Q: Why would God make it such that “The Seventh Commandment prohibits fornication”? What’s at stake with Him (and Jesus) that He’d do that?

    A: [This is where you’d teach me a thing or 2; unless, of course, you’ve no idea. In which case, your entry here is simply, I DUNNO. No shame in that. Though your original post advertises otherwise.]

  • Whoah brother in Christ. I can’t believe you’ve just used Heterosexual Fornication for the good of Ben in Oakland. Tempting him to commit Heterosexual Fornication to save him from Homosexuality! Ever realize that Homosexuality is on the rise in tandem with the deepening of the desolation of our Bible Churches in Heterosexual Fornication and Porn and Infidelity and Divorce?!

  • My apologies for floydlee’s out of line line there, Ben in Oakland. Never have gays said something like that for me to verify my sexuality.

  • ” The problem with deism is there is no requirement for obedience.”

    The problem with theism is that there is.

    Obedience to what someone thinks god might be saying in an ancient book written by people a universe away from us in thought, language, culture, and understanding. Or as it usually works out, obedience to men who have appointed themselves as his mouthpiece, who may have their own issues, desires, and fears to work out, and will be happy to dole out the punishment for disobedience and claim it is his will..

    For myself, I don’t need god to tell me murder so rape is wrong. That’s something I can work out for myself.

  • Thanks. But no need to apologize for floyd’s behavior. I’ve been dealing with with the uninformed, the misinformed, and the deliberately disinformed my entire life. I long ago understood that some people are simply irretrievably — irretrievably by me, that is– poisoned by toxic thought, beliefs, bad parenting, self hatred, imaginary superiority, and emotions.

    I don’t write for them.

  • I assume you are not asking why God prohibited fornication by the Seventh Commandment instead of, e.g., by the Eighth.
    As for the question why God prohibits fornication, I am not sure of the answer because I cannot recall anything in the Bible that specially reveals it. (And I deny that my original post advertises knowledge of the answer.) But I could speculate.
    I have told you that I am not eager to discuss the question with you. Nonetheless, I state what would be the beginning of my speculations. That would be (1) a premise about God’s will that we love one another, i.e., that each act toward the other in the other’s best interest, and (2) a premise about human nature, i.e., the normal effects — physical, emotional, spiritual — of casual expression of sexual desire. I repeat that this would be only the beginning of my speculations.

  • 1. I am not sure what exactly you mean that the “gay movement? (?????) “includes” transgender people. My wife and I are boring (i.e. straight) and we and all the decent people we know support the goals of LGBT individuals–and polls show (e.g. Pew) that in fact most Americans do too.

    2. This fight really is over–just like almost every fight in which the crackpot right has engaged in the past 20 years. And of course, has lost

    3. Evangelicals are engaging in a very interesting form of projection when they object to public discussion of, or teaching about, homosexuality. The projection is that evangelicals tend to be impulsive–jost look at their behavior in altar calls, tent revivals, etc–and they fear others are, too.

    4. Most people I know don’t think at all about any supposed threat, of any kind, posed by homosexuals, homosexuality, transgender people, etc. It is only evangelicals and right-wing krackp[ots who are upset about that. Probably because they can raise money by raising those “threats”. And/or because they are upset that they have those same impulses.

  • OK so you don’t know. No worries.

    Direction for me for the answer to my own question is something about the fact that (1) Jesus is gettin’ married just as (2) it was prophesied to Israel & Judah that the Land shall be married to God. Mysteries, these, but gospel of Christ reveals them. (3) Apostle Paul, too, alluded to this revelation of the 1st and 2nd mystery by teaching husbands and wives in his circles of disciples, that church is bride, Jesus is groom. (4) Even Messiah Jesus pointed to the wedding supper, His own. Fornication & Infidelity, therefore, destroy God’s plans for (1), (2), (3) and (4). Hence, Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery etc., etc.

    I know, I know, all these truths escape you from the Planet of the Apes. Download that!

  • And I would agree that was a benefit to the testimony of the Christian community, and to those outside it. But I don’t think the same principle applies to the question of human sexuality. The cadre may, as you say, decline over time, but they will never die out. I’m fully prepared to wager that. As you’ve no doubt heard before, and probably disagree with, where race is immutable, sexual characteristics by and large are decidedly not.

  • Thanks for the thoughtful reply. As an aging baby boomer, I find myself uncomfortable, being judged on the wrong side of the fence on many current cultural issues. Growing up in the 50s, religiously, I became an agnostic to the dismay of family and friends. In the 60s, living in the segregated south, I became ardently pro-civil rights, socialist, and anti-war. In the 70s, I married outside my race, had a daughter, and became an ERA feminist supporter. Later, in my professional career, I saw the employment discrimination that my closest friend and mentor suffered because he was gay.

    Now in the twilight of my life, I am told what I felt and believed was not sincere, but was really “white guilt.” And that my accomplishments were not really the result of merit and hard work, but “white privilege.” Furthermore, our current society and institutions are hopelessly rife with racism, which, unfortunately, my “white” eyes prevent me from seeing. Sigh.

    I’ve always supported civil unions and full, anti-discrimination laws for gays, but am hesitant that “marriage” means identically the same thing for same-sex couples. Strangely enough, after decades of agnosticism, I have a desire to become a Christian. Sometimes, I think I am drawn to contrary positions, as religion is now considered popularly as nothing more than fraudulent myths for uneducated and unsophisticated people. The moniker of Christian now carries with it the label of bigot and of a hate group.

    As far as transgender, I am trying to have a better understanding. I agree 100% that a child born with genital ambiguity or malformation should have the full range of medical intervention, as determined and sanctioned by the parents. But, otherwise, to let a child decide for permanent anatomical surgery and a lifetime of chemical dependence seems wrong. The appearance of promoting transgenderism in primary age public schools can be alarming for many parents. However, expressing such a view will quickly get you labeled a bigot.

  • We know for a fact sexual characteristics are immutable. This is one of the most frustrating parts of this discussion with Christian’s. They continue to stick their collective heads in the sand on this question. Even ignoring the scientific evidence on homosexuality, there is literally NO way to ignore that XXY sexuality exists. Hermaphrodites were a known reality even during the time of Rome. The harsh reality is the bible does not discuss them because it can’t. If God created everything, in a perfect way, and in his image, then hermaphrodites either shouldn’t exist, or it was his intent that human sexuality be a hell of a lot more complex then the binary “man cleaves unto woman” narrative.

  • This also requires a longer response, but I’ll have to try to get to it later. I have a boatload of stuff to do today.

  • Of course you don’t need any one to tell you murder or rape is wrong – the bible says God put that info into the warp and woof of your being: Romans 1: 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

    What you don’t know is that you sin will separate you from God for eternity and that Jesus is the perfect sacrifice for your sins.

  • doesn’t say a thing about rape, murder, working on the Sabbath, or anything. And certainly doesn’t address my point. If god didn’t want me to murder, he shouldn’t have done so much of it himself. His last victim was completely unnecessary.
    Since I am an atheist, and don’t think and god exists in any case, even yours, I am no more worried about that than I am about being separated from Zeus or the easter Bunny.

  • 1. “Fornication & Infidelity, therefore, destroy God’s plans for (1), (2), (3) and (4). Hence, Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery etc., etc.”
    I cannot imagine how my fornication or yours would destroy God’s plans for the marriage of the Lamb to his bride the Church. The union of Christ and his church does not involve sexual relations in any way. Marriage is a metaphor for the union of Christ and his church because both are perfect unions made by God.
    2. “I know, I know, all these truths escape you from the Planet of the Apes.”
    I do not understand this. You have some very strange thoughts.

  • I am not sure Part 2 got posted. Here it is:

    Part 2, from God’s Moral Law and Same-sex Marriage pp. 26-32.

    I return to a subject that has been introduced and discussed generally, here to treat it much more specifically. I start with the conservative’s understanding of some parts of the creation story referred to in the New Testament. According to the conservative, (a) these parts of the creation story have normative implications, among which is a prohibition of homoerotic conduct, (b) the prohibition of homoerotic conduct is inconsistent with same-sex marriage because it would prohibit consummation of any such marriage, and (c) the creation story is moral authority in addition to the Ten Commandments.
    The conservative begins with Genesis 1:27-28: God created man and woman, humans of different sexes, and blessed them, then commanded them to procreate. The conservative points out that God judged this good, and so, according to the conservative, God made it normative. The conservative says that the moral force of this creation story was recognized by Jesus and Paul, who quoted the explanation of Adam’s expression of joy at getting Eve (Gen. 2:24) in their condemnations of divorce and fornication; Matt. 19:3-8, 1 Cor. 6:13b-20.
    The conservative makes much of this. For example, John Stott, in Same-Sex Partnerships? A Christian Perspective (Fleming H. Revell, 1998), at page 36, cites Jesus’ comment on the creation story that is recorded at Matthew 19:4-6: “The Creator made them from the beginning male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and be made one with his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. It follows that they are no longer two individuals: they are one flesh. What God has joined together, man must not separate.” Stott claims that Jesus in this comment affirmed three things inconsistent with same-sex marriage. First, heterosexual bodies are a divine creation. Second, heterosexual marriage is a divine institution; it is (as it was at first) the physically-different man and woman that God joins together. Third, heterosexual fidelity is divine intention; no one may break a union of man and woman made by God. Now, the second and third affirmations are not inconsistent with same-sex marriage unless one makes dubious assumptions about the context of Jesus’ comment. But God’s giving Adam and Eve heterosexual bodies does seem inconsistent with same-sex marriage. (a) The woman and the man were made in different ways; Genesis 2:7, 21-22. (b) The woman, not the man, was made able to give birth as she alone was destined to do, and her desire was to be for the physically-different man; Genesis 3:16. Stott infers that the metaphor “become one flesh” is applicable principally, if not exclusively, to the sexual contact of two physically-different but physically-complementary beings, especially their coitus in which the male and female sexual organs fit together. Stott concludes that a same-sex couple cannot “become one” as God intended – a same-sex couple cannot marry as God intended.
    Appealing to more of scripture, the conservative may try to bolster his claim that God blesses only heterosexual marriage and implicitly forbids homosexual marriage with three other inferences from the Bible’s portrait of marriage. First, marriage is important in our understanding God’s relationship to his people, for throughout the Bible it is the paramount metaphor for that relationship. In the Old Testament, God is the husband of Israel and Israel’s breach of the old covenant is called adultery. In the New Testament, Jesus is the husband of the Church. Second, for this very reason, God’s marriage to his people teaches us that differentness is essential to marriage in the biblical view. Holy God and his sinful people are as different as can be. Not even the unity of saved sinners with Christ eliminates the profound difference between God and his people – between the creator and his creatures, the infinite and the finite, the redeemer and the redeemed. Therefore, according to the conservative, marriage is the union of profound difference. Just because men and women are profoundly different it is possible for a man and a woman to help each other grow holy. One sees things that need correction in the other that best same-sex friends do not see. Only the union of profound difference in heterosexual marriage is the biblical norm; homosexual bonds, in contrast, are a joining of the same. Third, the primary purpose of marriage in the Bible is procreation. This is implied by the first commandment of God to mankind that is recorded in the Bible and it is confirmed by the prophet Malachi (Mal. 2:14-15). Only marriage of a man and a woman can serve its primary purpose.
    I agree with the conservative that God created sexually different humans on purpose. Genesis 1 and 2 present and celebrate a complementarity of man and woman that is related to marriage. We learn from Scripture how woman complements man in furtherance of God’s purpose. God clearly implied his relevant purpose by commanding the man and woman to be fruitful and multiply; God’s purpose was that the earth be fully populated. God’s means for populating the earth was sexual reproduction. That required a man and a woman in the first instance and then, after their expulsion from Eden, a division of labor between the man and the woman was necessary to help offspring reach maturity. Marriage of man and woman specifically served God’s purpose in obvious ways. But Genesis 1 and 2, in presenting and even celebrating heterosexual marriage, do not imply that God forbids homosexual marriage by the Church.
    Against the conservative’s inferences from the Bible’s portrait of marriage, there stand the teachings of Jesus and Paul, who made plain that God’s command to procreate is no longer normative. Christian tradition has understood this. The Church does not take procreation to be an essential purpose of marriage and so it has not made procreative ability a condition of marriage. The Church marries people who do not even have all necessary reproductive organs, and it marries them without scruple. The Church’s practice and conscience are right in this respect. An important purpose of marriage in the Bible was at first procreation, because God intended that sexual intercourse and protections afforded by the family cause eventually the earth to be populated with human beings, but Jesus and Paul taught that procreation is no longer an important purpose of marriage as God’s intention has been realized. Jesus and Paul taught that God now prefers his people be celibate, so that they give all to him instead of giving some of themselves to a spouse. Indeed, celibacy is a better anticipation of our future lives in heaven, all of us unmarried. God provides marriage to accommodate those of us who cannot now be as he prefers. God has purposes, other than procreation, that are served by marriage, but these other purposes do not confer any extra value on a marriage of sexually different partners with different jobs. Even if God’s purposes did confer extra value on a marriage of sexually different partners, that would not imply marriage of homosexuals is forbidden by God.
    Nor do the conservative’s two other aspects of the Bible’s portrait of marriage give any ground for denying marriage to same-sex couples. Marriage is an apt metaphor for God’s relations with his people not because it is in essence a relationship of profoundly different beings; marriage is an apt metaphor because its ideal is mutual commitment and self-sacrifice. Mutual commitment and self-sacrifice do not presuppose the profound difference of God and creature; they do not presuppose even the much less profound difference of man and woman, which conservatives tend to exaggerate. God knew that neither he nor a beast could be the companion Adam ought to have. Knowing that the companion suited to Adam must be someone like him, God made another kind of being very like him. Adam, his understanding not yet compromised by the Fall, appreciated this about Eve. Adam said “Now this, at last – bone from my bones, flesh from my flesh! – this shall be called woman, for from man was this taken!” Gen. 2:23. He rejoiced at Eve’s profound similarity, not her profound difference.
    So, pace Stott, it is not obviously the physical difference characteristic of sexes that God judged good when he created Adam and Eve. To the contrary, Genesis 2:18 implies that God’s blessing was the creation of a partnership; it was not good for Adam to be alone. Adam rejoiced at the partner. And the writer of Genesis comments, “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife.” A man leaves his parents because it is not good for him to be without a suitable partner and neither of his parents can fill that bill. A suitable partner may be someone of the same sex.
    Stott’s understanding of the metaphor “become one flesh” as join in coitus finds no support in the comments of Jesus and Paul. From the creation story’s metaphor of a married couple’s becoming “one flesh” Jesus did not infer that coitus is the only expression of sexual desire permitted by the Moral Law. Jesus inferred, “It follows that they are no longer two individuals: they are one flesh. What God has joined together, man must not separate.” Matt. 19:6. Obviously, Jesus did not understand marital unity in “one flesh” as physical, for the spouses do remain physically two individuals. Jesus affirmed that marriage is not a mere formality; it is a substantial union of two persons. So, God may join the man and his wife morally or spiritually or emotionally or socially in a union so perfect that it may be likened to a physical merger. But God does not join spouses physically. Jesus remarked the implications of the Genesis story for divorce, not the implications for human bodies. Nor did Paul understand marital unity in “one flesh” as coitus. As Paul understood it, this metaphor for the ideal union of persons in marriage is even an apt metaphor for the union of Christ and his Church. Eph. 5:28-33. The union of Christ and his Church is not coitus – does not even include coitus. The union of Christ and his Church shows what is essential to the marital union. Obviously, coitus is not essential to the marital union. Therefore, Paul did not take the Genesis story to include God’s prescription that the marital union be a union only of man and woman, as the only ones who are capable of coitus. Paul remarked the implications of the Genesis story for spousal duties of nurture and care in general, not the implications for sexual conduct specifically.
    I would not deny that the biblical metaphor “become one flesh” may be used also for coitus. It seems Paul used it that way. 1 Cor. 6:16. But even if, as Stott asserts, the metaphor “become one flesh” is applied principally to coitus in which the male and female sexual organs fit together, there is no warrant for asserting that it is inapplicable to other intimate relations, including intimate physical relations of same-sex couples. Although the characteristic physical difference in sexual organs of male and female and their joint function in human procreation are especially good in Eden and elsewhere for a while, there is no reason to believe they are especially good just so ever after. Not only does Paul’s depreciation of the command to procreate show that now same-sex partners do not hamper God’s plan for a fully-populated earth, but the heterosexual desire that leads to procreation is not God’s perfect plan for mankind. The resurrected population of heaven, which will realize God’s perfect plan for us, does not marry. Matt. 22:30. To think that these people will have sexual desire is to suppose that they will suffer frustration or that they will be perfectly satisfied by masturbation or by sexual relations outside marriage, and these suppositions are preposterous. According to the Bible, God deems it good that spouses become one flesh in coitus. But there is no reason for judging coitus the only good way to become one flesh, as there is no reason for judging that it is always good for spouses to become one flesh in coitus. The creation story has normative implications, but no invidious distinction of homosexual desire or homosexual conduct that is timeless and universal. The creation story does not imply that consummation of same-sex marriage is inconsistent with God’s moral will.
    Stott is right to infer from Jesus’ comment on the creation story both that marriage is a divine institution and that fidelity in marriage is divine will; Jesus was driving to the conclusion that marriage is an especially thorough and permanent union made by God. But Jesus’ comment does not imply God’s exclusion of same-sex couples from the institution of marriage. No normative implication of the creation story has the force of Moral Law inconsistent with same-sex marriage. The conservative has implausibly projected his personal views about marriage on the creation story and Jesus’ comment.
    The creation story, without more, gives scant support to the argument against same-sex marriage. I suspect that conservative scholar Robert Gagnon’s appreciation of that has motivated his attempt to fill the logical gaps by adding to the creation story: “In Gen. 2:18-24, a binary or sexually undifferentiated human (the adam) is split into two sexually differentiated beings.” How does this elaboration of Genesis show that God forbids a same-sex union? According to Gagnon, if God intended to convey the legitimacy of homoerotic unions in same-sex marriages, the Bible would have told a creation story “where an original male-male, female-female, and male-female are split.” But God did not tell a story of three original humans of different sexual constitutions, and that, Gagnon says, reveals something important about God’s moral will.
    “Marriage is treated by the Yahwist as a reunion of two complementary sexual others, a reconstitution of the sexual unity of the original adam. . . . Two males or two females in sexual union would not equal an originally binary being or sexual whole. A restoration of ‘one-fleshness’ requires a male and female because the missing element is the opposite sex: ‘therefore a man shall . . . cleave to his woman/wife and the two shall become one flesh’ (2:24). Genesis 2:24 advances not just the normal state of affairs but, implicitly, a prescriptive norm, as both Jesus and Paul recognized (Mark 10:7; 1 Cor. 6:16).”
    Gagnon’s argument from the order of creation depends on his elaboration of Genesis 2:21-22. According to Gagnon, the creation story as he has embellished it implies that God intends marriage and sexual intercourse to be reunion, reconstitution, or restoration of the original binary or sexually undifferentiated human. Gagnon consistently characterizes the legitimate sexual union or marriage of a man and a woman as completion, joining again, or re-merger. Sexual union or marriage of any other than a man and a woman would be, therefore, outside God’s intention; it would be, Gagnon concludes, contrary to God’s will.
    Gagnon sees his elaboration of Genesis 2:21-22 as crucial. According to Gagnon, there is “a – perhaps the – chief pillar of biblical sex ethics; namely, that God intended sexual intercourse to be for the remerging of two sexual halves into ‘one flesh.’” Is his elaboration plausible? Well, Gagnon himself may doubt it. Standard normative inference from the order of creation is that creation’s original state should be restored or preserved. But, according to Gagnon, God permits only what would undo his splitting of the adam in two. Moreover, this conception of the union in “one flesh” as reconstitution or restoration of the binary or sexually undifferentiated human defeats other arguments Gagnon makes about God’s moral will for sexual conduct and marriage. For example, Gagnon asserts that there is one reason why God prohibits sexual relations among close kin and among people of the same sex: an incestuous union and a homosexual union both are unions of people too much alike. But if, as Gagnon says, God told us a story of splitting the adam into two creatures with desire for reunion in “one flesh” just to teach us God’s will for sexual conduct and marriage, then God taught us that any identical twins who want to be sexual partners and spouses are, in his judgment, perfectly matched, homosexual and incestuous though their relationships may be.
    One need not agree with Gagnon’s explanation of the incest taboo to find problematic his conception of permissible sexual intercourse as reunion, reconstitution, or restoration of the original binary or sexually undifferentiated human. There are other, independent, reasons why Gagnon’s elaboration of Genesis 2:21-22 is implausible. First, Gagnon’s elaboration of Genesis 2:21-22 is inconsistent with the rest of the text; not only does the Genesis text make no mention of splitting the original adam in two but it expressly states that God took a rib from the man and built up that rib into a woman. Second, Gagnon’s finding in the Bible Aristophanes’ speculation about the origins of sexual differentiation and sexual desire – related by Plato, Symposium 189c-193e – has no basis except (a) that God’s original creation of a human was the man and God’s subsequent creation was the woman from part of the man and (b) that a man wants to be with a woman as “one flesh” in marriage. These are not convincing. A man’s wanting to unite with a woman in marriage or even in sexual intercourse is intelligible without adding the Aristophanic myth to the Bible’s creation story. All that happens in Genesis is explicable by (a) God’s judgment that it is not good for the man to be alone and (b) God’s plan that the earth be fully populated by humans – revelations actually made in the Genesis text. Third, pace Gagnon, Jesus and Paul made plain that they deemed the prescriptive force of Genesis 2 to be a set of norms for the ideal marriage (see pages 26-30, supra); there is nary a hint that they thought Genesis 2 limits sexual union to what would restore an original binary or sexually undifferentiated human.

  • “The moniker of Christian now carries with it the label of bigot and of a hate group.” It did for the earliest Christians, as well. We have almost come full circle. There is no better time than now to respond to the call of Christ in the same sense in which it originally went out. Blessings to you.

  • Sorry HpO, but I wasn’t there to tempt Ben at all. That whole heterosexual thing was his own…choice, so to speak.

    You really might keep it in mind next time you’re told that being gay is innate and unchangable.

    P.S. I never told Ben this, but in my thirties I was propositioned by an “out” lesbian. Don’t worry, I didn’t accept the offer. No fornication, you know (and with my luck the church mothers would have found out anyway.) But she was very sincere.

    So don’t accept any standard LGBT claims of Once Gay Always Gay. That one item, has never been more false.

  • HpO is welcome to apologize for me as much as he wants.
    Maybe I’ll give him a few more opportunities, just for practice.

  • Emily, you were so pleased and excited to be able to hold up the high-profile Eugene Peterson as a “character witness” in favor of fully including gay and lesbian folks in the church, However. . .he changed his mind the NEXT DAY!

    “Just a day after Peterson’s statements had sent shockwaves through the
    church, offering profound encouragement to thousands of LGBTQ Christians
    weary of being others’ theological punching bags, Peterson released a statement
    saying that after “reflection and prayer,” he had changed his mind and
    would no longer perform a same-sex wedding. Adding insult to injury, he
    said that he’d never been asked to do so and “frankly, I hope I never am
    asked.” TIME magazine.
    http://time.com/4859620/eugene-peterson-bible-homosexuality-gay-marriage/

  • I read through what you wrote, and you’re clearly building your case upon a fanciful idea of what “one flesh” means. I’m sorry but the concept of one-flesh quite plainly has at its heart the idea of procreation. You’re quite right that coitus does not literally and physically make two into one flesh, but the conception of offspring DOES. And of course this squares with what the prophet Malachi (whom Jesus later echoed in Matt.19) tells us about why God hates divorce — because it breaks what God unites for the purpose of producing godly seed. No matter that some heterosexual unions are not blessed with children, for as we can see throughout scripture the potentiality is always there where the male-female creation design exists.

    Thanks for trying.

  • God did create everything perfectly, the anomalous biological deviations that occur, which represent a relatively small portion of the world’s populous are a consequence of the Fall. When sin and disobedience entered the world through that Fall, Perfection was then marred and a variety of ills came upon the world; disease, dysfunction, and deformity, the majority apart from the question of sexuality, but sexuality as a function and a volition was not immune from those consequences.

  • I have known others who count the infertility of homosexual couples as an argument against homosexual marriage by the Church. But I think you are the first I have known who (a) makes it the one decisive argument against homosexual marriages and (b) denies it is an argument against heterosexual marriages because God can work a miracle of conception for any heterosexual couple that God cannot work for any homosexual couple. What will you have left as an argument when God’s miracle of reproductive technology has made conception of a child possible for any two people? Think hard about that, because the miracle technology is right around the corner.
    As for marriage’s physically making two into one flesh by their conceiving, that implies the marriage of an infertile couple who are not blessed by a miraculous conception is marriage manqué; they have only become potentially one flesh — have only entered into a potential marriage. The implication is unacceptable and Christians have never understood marriage that way. Adam and Eve became “one flesh” before Cain was conceived, and that is because their union was made so very perfect by God. “One flesh” is only a metaphor.
    For a better understanding of what Jesus affirmed about marriage in Matthew 19, scroll up and read Part 2 of what I sent to DirtyHarry#1. Jesus neither said nor implied anything about sexual reproduction.
    It seems to me that you are desperate. Well, I have encountered a lot of desperate arguments by Christians who oppose celebration of same-sex marriages by the Church. When one argues against the truth about God’s moral will, of course one will be desperate.

  • The Bible says man is made in God’s image: Genesis 1:7 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

    But since God is Spirit He doesn’t have a body – so this “image of God” that we are made in is God’s moral image and that is what the Romans text is referring to. So you know in general right from wrong, good from evil because you were created in God’s moral image. And God commanded “You shall do no murder” and “You shall not commit adultery.” You know those are wrong because you are created in God’s moral image.

    But I don’t expect you to understand that because your modus operandi is not to understand but to mock Christians, the bible, Christian beliefs, mores etc.
    Romans 1:20 says that you are [now] without excuse [for your unbelief].

  • “But I think you are the first I have known who (a) makes it the one decisive argument against homosexual marriages” It isn’t the only one, but it refutes the one YOU were making.

    “What will you have left as an argument when God’s miracle of reproductive technology has made conception of a child possible for any two people?” Currently it is not possible for homosexuals to have a child together at all without taking a child (consensually or otherwise) from someone else. Even if a way eere found to artificially generate germ cells from two people of the same sex, the gestation of such offspring will still require the exploitation of a woman’s body in the case of men, and in the case of women will present monumental ethical issues in the face of the possibility of eliminating one sex altogether. Thw closest thing I can think of in scripture to this sort of scenario is the sons of God reproducing with the daughters of men, leading to the destruction of all but one uncontaminated family. Interesting that Jesus likened the last days to the “days of Noah.”

    “they have only become potentially one flesh — have only entered into a potential marriage. The implication is unacceptable and Christians have never understood marriage that way.” Marriage is a COVENANT with ultimate purpose of begetting children made of the combined flesh of the two. There is no such thing as a potential covenant. How does this differ from the traditional Christian understanding of marriage? It doesn’t .

    “Adam and Eve became “one flesh” before Cain was conceived” Eve was literally taken out of Adam’s flesh — femininity was for the first time separated out of masculinity. The same is not true of any subsequent union.

    “Jesus neither said nor implied anything about sexual reproduction.” Why would He need to? His prophet had already made that clear, and He frequently upbraided the people for not having listened to His prophets. His kinsman John the Baptist had already bern martyred because the religious leaders failed to recognize him as the Elijah figure foretold by that same prophet.

    “It seems to me that you are desperate.” Not a bit. It would suit me just fine if someone could produce a plausible argument from scripture for affirming same sex marriages. Lord knows it would be one less headache for the church to have to deal with. But the fact remains that there isn’t one. Sorry.

  • News agencies are now reporting that a part of this story never happened, it’s made up by conservative liars.

    This was not a “gender reveal” party in the classroom. The child’s parents were not involved. The transgender child had been presenting as female to her classmates for some time. She did change clothes once, but it had no relation to the reading of the two books. She had worn pants anticipating a water activity. When that was canceled, she changed to a dress for the remainder of the day.

    As to the reading of the books, she brought them one day when it was her turn for show & tell. Yes, one is a storybook about Jazz a male-to-female transgender teen, well-known on YouTube. The other book was about a blue crayon that was wrapped with a red crayon’s wrapper.

    Nothing ever so proselytizing as we were made to believe. No secret conspiracy, just a little girl living her life.

  • Yet, your assertion was that sexual characteristics are immutable. This is clearly false. As for it’s realtive rarity… you are also wrong. Klinefelter Syndrome is one of the most common of the chromosomal disorders affecting 1:1000 live births. To put that in perspective, Down Syndrome is one of the few that are more common and affects roughly 1:700 live births.

  • If you possessed an intellect, you know that no one proves a negative, it’s up to the person making the positive claim to provide proof. Since you obviously have none, you should give up.

  • No, that is not my modus operandi at all. That’s a story you tell yourself about me.

    If you as Christians have your moral sense built in to you, then you’ll need to explain the adulterous tchividjian boy, your boy 2Rump, Christians murdering Christians, pat Robertson, every rich scamvangelist, and every other sin committed by you religious people, all the time, every day. Oh, but FREE WILL you say. OUR FALLEN WORLD! You say.

    All that those say is that your idea is nonsense. Just some feel good mumble jumbo.

    I’ll say it for you one more time. Maybe you’ll get it. I have known many fine Christian people in my life. They don’t use their bibles and their faiths as weapons agains other people, as justification for their own smallness of soul. Your story about what you think I believe about Christians is just that, YOUR STORY

    I don’t care what the HELL you people believe. The issue is what you do with it.

  • Proving a negative
    “A negative claim is a colloquialism for an affirmative claim that asserts the non-existence or exclusion of something. Saying “You cannot prove a negative” is a pseudologic because there are many proofs that substantiate negative claims in mathematics, science, and economics including Arrow’s impossibility theorem. There can be multiple claims within a debate. Nevertheless, whoever makes a claim carries the burden of proof regardless of positive or negative content in the claim.”

    DH says “It’s better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than open it and remove all doubt.” But now, unfortunately, you have removed all doubt.

  • It has taken me a while to get to this. I don’t have much time, but I’ll try.

    I think you give too much power to the far left. I’m a white man, and very well aware that if I go into a store, it’s unlikely a security guard is going to question me. I see this every time I go to Costco or Walmart. We have advantages as white people. I don’t take that as a commentary on all of the work I have put into making my life and career successful. Racism is a fact in our society. But it is also a fact that we have done what we could to remove it. We’re not perfect. Change takes time. Just as it does on the gay issue, the Jewish issue, both of which I, as a white man, have experienced personally in my 67 years. For some people, that erases whiteness.

    Regarding same sex marriage. First, I cannot see any difference between two people of the same sex wanting to start a family, and two opposite sexpeople. So what if we don’t reproduce by our sexual activity? Lots of people don’t. If we want to talk about privilege, let’s talk about HETEROSEXUAL PRIVILEGE. And then, let’s talk about relationships. I’ve known and known of, many gay couples staying together anywhere from 20 years to 65 years. DEspite all of the forces arrayed to take them down. Yet with all of the forces arrayed to keep them together, heterosexual couples have rates of adultery at 25-33%, and divorce at 40-50%. IF THEY BOTHERED TO GET MARRIED AT ALL. So, why are they special?

    Civil unions was the heterosexual compromise for gay people, not ours. But we already have civil unions: it’s called a civil marriage license. Why a separate institution? Because civil unions and domestic partnerships are simply another way to keep us down. They are a recognition that we have a claim on heterosexual society, and a clear statement that there is no way on earth we will ever be considered the equal of three times married, fornicating and adulterous politicians, twice married bible believing Christians, or anyone else. Same sex marriage doesn’t redefine marriage. It redefines gay people. And that is the objection.

    If civil unions are so great, would you accept one? And if you wouldn’t, why should I accept it for my life when you don’t for yours?

    As for bigotry, people get labeled as bigots when they act like bigots. If you–a generic you, not you personally– want to believe homosexuality is a sin, that’s your privilege. I don’t agree with that. But tell me that I am a threat to society, marriage, family, children, faith, and morality, tell all kinds of lies about me, use the law as a weapon against me and mine to make sure that my participation in society is limited, engage in fear mongering, and I have no problem using the word “bigot”, because that’s what bigots do.

    It’s funny. The only people that have ever accused me of being a bigot in my life are fundamentalist Christians who don’t like being challenged by gay people. They are happy to fling their theopoo at other Christians for not being the right sort of Christian, but hate it when their own inadequaciesas Christians are pointed out.

    I hope this explains my position to you.

  • LOL. Your comment history tells a different story about you, BO. And it’s as plain as the nose on your face. LOL.

  • I have no doubt that you see it that way. You wouldn’t be you if you didn’t. But i know what I’ve said. LOL?

    LOL? When Christians of your sort are attacking other people, you call it disagreement, that it’s the clear word o’ god, that it is done without animus, when the animus is as plain as the nose on your face.

    You attack the faith of other Christians and claim it isn’t hate. And you’re right. It’s despite. LOL?

    When other people disagree with you, then it is hate,and mockery, and the disparaging of your so sincere religious beliefs. I can only respond….

    Right. LOL.

    As I have said to you before, if you want to have your religious beliefs respected, maybe you should start having some respectable religious beliefs.

  • Anyone can cut and paste an answer:

    Proving a negative is a logical fallacy. It is the burden of the person making the claim that there is scientifically verifiable proof that a transitional fossil has been discovered that one kind of living thing eventually becomes another kind of living thing. Evolution can include change within a species.

    Falsifying Phylogeny

    topdocumentaryfilms.com/falsifying-phylogeny

  • But you make it so easy. Now I’ve always said “You make the claim; you defend your claim.” When I make the claim “God exists,” then I’ll defend the claim. But when you forward the claim “God does not exist,” then it is incumbent upon you to prove the claim.

  • 1. “[Infertility of homosexual couples] refutes the [argument] YOU were making.” My argument is (in minor part) that sexual reproduction is no longer part of God’s will for marriage. My argument is supported by the teachings of Jesus and Paul. You do not refute my argument by bald assertions like “the concept of one-flesh quite plainly has at its heart the idea of procreation.”
    2. It is not I but you who has “fanciful idea of what ‘one flesh’ means.” It is a metaphor only. It is a metaphor for perfect union of persons. It is a metaphor for union of two persons by God – a metaphor for Christian marriage. Paul said that Christian marriage is a metaphor for union of Christ and his church.
    3. Your fanciful idea of what “one flesh” means leads you to claim that “coitus does not literally and physically make two into one flesh, but the conception of offspring DOES”. But Genesis describes Adam and Eve as being made one flesh before conception of any offspring. (NB, God made Adam and Eve one flesh. Your remark about Eve’s being made from Adam’s flesh is beside the point.) Genesis describes Adam and Eve’s marriage as perfect before they conceived Cain. (The fact that Adam and Eve had things to do in their marriage, like multiply, is also beside the point.)
    4. By the same token, you have a fanciful idea of what Christian marriage is: “Marriage is a COVENANT with ultimate purpose of begetting children made of the combined flesh of the two.” Christians celebrate a union of two persons as fully bound by the marriage covenant even though the parties to that union have joined only for the purpose of companionship and not for the purpose (ultimate or otherwise) of begetting children made of the combined flesh of the two. You may find support for your fanciful idea in the teaching of Roman Catholicism, but your fanciful idea about the criterion of a genuine Christian marriage is not generally accepted. Although you assert it until you are blue in the face, it is not and will not become orthodoxy. (Even the Roman Catholic Church blesses the marriage of two persons who intend to live celibate.)
    5. As for a married couple that has in fact not conceived offspring, although the parties may have entered into their covenant for the purpose of conceiving, you imply that there is not yet a real marriage. There is only a potential marriage: “No matter that some heterosexual unions are not blessed with children, for as we can see throughout scripture the potentiality is always there”. To be sure, you would not call this a merely potential covenant; but it is you who deems conception of children essential to marriage. (As for what is seen throughout scripture, by the way, if you are referring only to stories of miraculous conceptions – e.g., the stories of Sarah and Elizabeth – scripture shows that God can cause conception where all believed it impossible. Your understanding that only parties to heterosexual unions have the potentiality of conceiving children is contradicted by scriptural evidence.)

  • Not sure that “whataboutism” validates anything, as I don’t think anyone characteristic, value system, religion, race, sexual orientation, or whatever, makes one individual more virtuous or moral that someone lacking that specific distinctiveness.

    Somewhat confused by your terminology. I have a civil marriage by the state and from a constitutional standpoint I agree with the Obergefell decision (in a close decision I would rather see an expansion of rights than a restriction.) Are you saying for gays, that’s insufficient? What is your view of religions that will not perform same sex marriages?

  • 1. Who says reproduction is not part of God’s will for marriage? Neither Jesus nor Paul ever said that. What they said was that it is not necessary to marry. But the purpose of marriage remains the same. Sorry.

    2. Why need it be a metaphor, when it is PRECISELY what happens when children are conceived, which the scriptures have already said is the purpose of the marriage bond?

    3. As already pointed out, Eve was made from Adam’s flesh. The same is not true of any subsequent unions.

    4. The intentions of the parties who can contract a marriage says nothing about its ultimate purpose. The church can not police people’s intentions– but nevertheless most marriages are fertile whether the parties originally intended them to be so or not. Celibacy in marriage, btw, is contrary to scripture because it presents a temptation to fornication. Additionally, it is quite odd for Ssm affirmers to complain about what is and isn’t “orthodox.”

    5. No, I did not state that infertile husbands and wives do not have real marriages. They have a covenant, which is what marriage is. The fundamental purpose of the covenant is, as Malachi confirmed, the procreation of children. But the failure of the purpose does not negate the covenant itself. Most people today get married for the purpose of indulging their feelings, but when the feelings disappear they are nevertheless left with a legal obligation. Covenant and purpose are two different things.

    Do you have anything else, or are we done here?

  • We’re in agreement in your first paragraph.

    In your second, I thought I had been clear, but I guess not. We both have a civil marriage license. That’s all we gay people have demanded: equal treatment before the law, with our lives, families, and freedom being equal. The civil union “compromise” was a way to give us all of the rights of marriage– well, actually, not all of them, but I won’t go into that here– without giving us the title. Because that would make us equal to rather than lesser than. That was indeed Justice Kennedy’s decision.

    One of the arguments that the antigay religious right made continuously was that churches and ministers would be forced to marry gay people, despite their theological positions on the subject. That was a vicious lie, made doubly vicious by the fact that the anti-marriage laws they promulgated denied liberal and gay affirming churches the right to legally marry their congregants. Let’s just call it projection, and leave it at that, but vicious hypocrisy would not be inappropriate.

    No church or minister has ever been forced to marry anyone they didn’t wish to marry– interracial, inter faith, divorced, what have you. Because that would infringe on freedom of religion, which I absolutely support. (The cake bakers are another matter entirely, but I’m not going into that here).

    If the government wanted to force a southern baptist church to perform a same sex marriage, or an interracial marriage, they would find this gay atheist standing right next to them, defending their right not to.

    I hope that clarified everything. Let me know if there is anything else I can tell you, and thank you for your support.

  • Klinefelter syndrome, though comparatively common, does not negate the argument that in general terms sexual characteristics are immutable; if nothing else its relative prevalence only reinforces my position that such genetic errors are a function of the Fall. Without desiring to appear insensitive to those who have been affected by genetic errors, Down Syndrome for example: How many people in your life have you met with Down Syndrome? In my own case I can count the number on my two hands; some of whom I met while working in a care facility for the physically and cognitively impaired. 1/700, or 1/1000, the numbers relative to the general population are still comparatively small. Nor, in what I read about Klinefelter Syndrome on WebMD, was the question addressed with respect to how such individuals were affected in their gender identity, which is at the root of this discussion. Clearly, neither of us is going to be moved from our own position. You assert that I’m wrong…fine, so be it. Take comfort in that declaration.

  • 1. “Who says reproduction is not part of God’s will for marriage?” Who says reproduction is part of God’s will for marriage? Reproduction was once part of God’s will: “Be fruitful and multiply.” Reproduction was to be within a marriage because reproduction was sexual and God permits sexual intercourse only within a marriage. Therefore, although one cannot infer that reproduction is part of God’s will for marriage, one could infer that marriage was part of God’s will for reproduction. But reproduction is no longer part of God’s will. How do we know? Well, you assert, “What [Jesus and Paul] said was that it is not necessary to marry.” Actually, Jesus and Paul said that it is better not to marry. Why is it better? Did Jesus and Paul imply that it is better not to marry because now it is OK to reproduce outside a marriage? No. Jesus and Paul implied that it is no longer God’s will that people reproduce. God has purposes for marriage. Marriage now is for those who do not have the gift of sexual continency. Marriage now is for companionship. Ideally, now, marriage is for mutual submission and love of another as Christ loved his Bride. Now reproduction is part of God’s will for marriage only in that reproduction is normally by sexual intercourse and God permits sexual intercourse only within marriage. That is a far cry from the era immediately after creation, when men and women were under God’s order to multiply and, by implication, to marry as a precondition of obedience to God’s order. Married couples now may not reproduce yet their marriages be no less conforming to God’s will. As I said, the Church marries people knowing they will not have offspring and does so without scruple; and the Church is right in this.
    2. “Why need it be a metaphor, when it is PRECISELY what happens when children are conceived . . . ?” What happens precisely when a child is conceived is that the issue of a man and a woman bears a combination of genetic information from each of them. You may call that child, given the large scope of poetic license, one flesh that combines his parents. You may not say that the man and woman who are parents have become one flesh in the child. Really, that does not work even as a metaphor, however large the scope of poetic license. It is obviously a misleading distortion of physical, moral, and spiritual reality. Think about it. Here is something to get your thinking started: if the man and woman conceive a second child, how could the metaphor work? Have the man and woman who became one flesh in the first child later separated to become again one flesh in the second child? No. Your idea that a child is the “one flesh” of Genesis 2:24 manifests the desperation that I pointed out previously. The “one flesh” of Genesis 2:24 is only a metaphor, and it is to be understood as meaning a union of two persons that is perfect socially and psychologically and morally and spiritually. It is to be understood as one aspect of God’s solution to a specific problem: man’s being alone is not good.
    3. “Eve was made from Adam’s flesh. The same is not true of any subsequent unions.” I repeat: Your remark about Eve’s being made from Adam’s flesh is beside the point. Eve’s creation from one of Adam’s ribs has no implications for understanding “one flesh” in Genesis 2:24.
    4. “The intentions of the parties who can contract a marriage says nothing about its ultimate purpose.” True, and I said nothing to the contrary. “The church can not police people’s intentions”. The church can and does inquire about people’s intentions before it marries them; and it marries people who answer that they will not conceive a child. “Celibacy in marriage, btw, is contrary to scripture because it presents a temptation to fornication.” Paul wrote, “Each man should have his own wife, and each woman should have her own husband because of sexual immorality. The husband should meet his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should do the same for her husband. . . . Do not refuse to meet each other’s needs unless you both agree for a short period of time to devote yourselves to prayer. Then come back together again so that Satan might not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. I say this to give you permission; it is not a command.” 1 Corinthians 7:2-6. But this advice from Paul is very remotely relevant to the question of God’s will for same-sex marriage. “Additionally, it is quite odd for Ssm affirmers to complain about what is and isn’t ‘orthodox.’” Almost all affirmers complain that same-sex marriage isn’t “orthodox” and I find nothing at all odd about their complaint.
    5. I agree with your entire paragraph except one sentence, which I amend to read: “A fundamental purpose of the covenant was, as Malachi confirmed, the procreation of children.”
    Do I have more? Yes, much more! We have only discussed one of the conservative’s objections to same-sex marriage by the church. I have a case to make in favor of celebrating same-sex marriage as God’s will. I offer to share it with you. Ask for a copy of my essay by email: [email protected]

  • 1. You are simply begging the question. There is no indication in scripture that God’s will for marriage is any different now than it ever was. It was always for companionship and mutual submission, but primarily for the production of children. Jesus didn’t throw out the creation model; He referred us back to it as the benchmark. And no, He didn’t say it was better not to marry — His disciples said this in consternation at His statement about marriage’s indissolubility, and He replied that forgoing marriage was a legitimate choice if you can’t handle God’s marriage model. As it still is, of course. Paul said it was better not to marry, but that was because the church was going through troubles with persecution which would be easier to endure without the ties of spouse and children (1 Cor.7:28), not because the nature of marriage had changed.

    2. Again you’re begging the question of “one flesh.” What your argument insists is that: (a) it is literally true of marriages that beget offspring made of the two, (b) the scriptures say God joins male and female because He desires such offspring, but (c) it is ONLY metaphorical. Is that REALLY your argument? Even the metaphor you are insisting on doesn’t work, for there is no human union that is “perfect socially and psychologically and morally and spiritually.” Marriage covenantally brings together two flawed beings with all kinds of issues and difficulties. It is one of God’s many earthly “boot camps” that develop Christian character in us, and it is unfair and misleading to those contemplating it to suggest otherwise.

    3. More question-begging. The literal truth of the “one-flesh” result of marriage doesn’t fit your argument so you insist it doesn’t exist.

    4. Paul didn’t say that it was “a concession not a command” that spouses should fulfill their sexual duties to each other. He said it was a concession not a command that they should be married in the first place. For he would prefer “because of the present crisis” that everyone be unmarried as he was. Although he seems to have shifted a bit later and urged young widows to marry, raise children, and make no trouble for the church (perhaps the “present crisis” was showing signs of lighening for a time). But nothing here indicates any change in the nature of marriage.

    5. The words of the prophet are not up for amendment: “Did He not make them one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union? And what was the one God seeking? Godly offspring. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and let none of you be faithless to the wife of your youth.” Mal. 2:15.

  • 1. “You are simply begging the question. There is no indication in scripture that God’s will for marriage is any different now than it ever was. It was always for companionship and mutual submission, but primarily for the production of children.” It seems you do not know what begging the question is. It is appealing to the conclusion as if the conclusion were a premise. I have given premises for the conclusion that production of children is no longer God’s will – that it is permitted and blessed by God, but not mandated. You, on the other hand, actually do beg the question by continuing to assert baldly that God’s original command to multiply is God’s command today, and then make that assertion a premise for your conclusion about God’s purpose for marriage. As for Jesus’ teaching about production of children, see, e.g., at Matt. 19:12, “There are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.” As for Paul’s, I doubt that he would counsel disobedience to God’s will just because times were tough.
    2. “Again you’re begging the question of ‘one flesh.’ What your argument insists is that: (a) it is literally true of marriages that beget offspring made of the two, (b) the scriptures say God joins male and female because He desires such offspring, but (c) it is ONLY metaphorical. Is that REALLY your argument?” No, that is not even close to my argument; I deny premises (a) and (b). “Even the metaphor you are insisting on doesn’t work, for there is no human union that is ‘perfect socially and psychologically and morally and spiritually.’” A metaphor works if it conveys well an idea. The idea conveyed by “become one flesh” in Gen. 2:12 is of a union of persons so perfect that it moves them to leave their parents and cling to each other. (Put that in the context of an age when leaving one’s parents had a terrifying cost. The Prodigal Son’s father is unusually indulgent.) I agree that a union quite perfect has not existed since the Fall. Actually, a union quite perfect will never exist again, because people do not marry in heaven. The only perfect union of persons that will ever exist again is the union of Christ and his church.
    3. “More question-begging. The literal truth of the ‘one-flesh’ result of marriage doesn’t fit your argument so you insist it doesn’t exist.” Again, you do not understand begging the question. I have not baldly denied that “one flesh” in Gen. 2:12 has literal application. I have argued against your bald assertion that it is literally true. I have shown why your interpretation of “become one flesh” as “produce a child” is untenable.
    4. You asserted that celibacy inside marriage is unscriptural because it heightens temptation, so I quoted Paul. Indeed, scripture teaches that celibacy outside marriage heightens temptation of those who do not have the gift of sexual continency, and for those it is better to marry than to burn. Aside from the fact that Paul recommended marriage as a way to deal with very strong sexual desires and not as a way to comply with God’s will for production of children, this is all beside the point. (It all started because I pointed out that even Roman Catholicism is willing to bless celibate marriages, so even Roman Catholicism does not hold that parties to a Christian marriage must intend to produce children.)
    5. I have no inclination to amend the words of Malachi. Nothing I believe about God’s will for same-sex marriage by the Church is inconsistent with the words of Malachi. The inconsistency you find is based on your unwarranted inferences from the words of Malachi.

  • 1. “I have given premises for the conclusion that production of children is no longer God’s will – that it is permitted and blessed by God, but not mandated.” It was always permitted and blessed but not mandated because MARRIAGE was always permitted and blessed but not mandated. But purpose of marriage itself remains the same, and if it had changed I doubt that Jesus would have referred us back to the creation story as the exemplar. If you are called to live as a eunuch, as were Elijah and Daniel and John the Baptist, then marriage isn’t for you. Knock yourself out.

    2. “I deny premises (a) and (b). ” Too bad, because science confirms (a) and the prophets confirm (b).

    3. “I have argued against your bald assertion that it is literally true.” Biology again, Richard. Twenty-three chromosomes from one flesh combines with twenty-three from a different flesh to become the forty-six chromosomes which grow into the fleshly body of a new and unique individual. Ain’t nothing metaphorical about that. It is your insistence that “one-flesh” must be metaphorical that is begging the question.

    4. “Paul recommended marriage as a way to deal with very strong sexual desires and not as a way to comply with God’s will for production of children” Strong sexual desires are what lead to CHILDREN, Richard, in the overwhelming majority of marriages. They have a purpose — without them the species would have died out a long time ago, for they are a great deal of trouble both to bear and to rear. Did you never take biology?

    5. “Nothing I believe about God’s will for same-sex marriage by the Church is inconsistent with the words of Malachi.” If God joins male and female because He desires godly seed from their union, then that leaves no reason for making male and male one — particularly when one considers that He made such a union a capital crime among the people of Israel.

    You claimed that you had something new to offer on this subject, but you are actually writing in much the same vein as the unfortunate John Boswell. I examined all his ideas and tested them against the word of God a long time ago. It doesn’t fly. But again, thanks for trying in a civil fashion.

  • Although I think, with Justice Scalia, that society has moved on on this question, I will grant that committed people of faith can disagree on it. But anyone who signed the Nashville Statement and still supports Donald Trump is a self-convicted hypocrite of the highest order, and a destroyer of the moral authority of the evangelical movement. End of story.

  • 1. “[Production of children] was always permitted and blessed but not mandated because MARRIAGE was always permitted and blessed but not mandated. But purpose of marriage itself remains the same”. And that purpose is, you assert, production of children. Well, we are making progress. Now one implication of your view is perfectly clear. You believe that God does not command that anyone produce children, but, if anyone marries because he needs satisfy strong sexual desires or because he hopes to love another as Christ loves his church, then and only then it is God’s will that he produce a child. You believe this because you think that the becoming one flesh in Gen. 2 means producing a child and so it implies that producing a child is God’s primary and essential purpose for marriage. Do you see how implausible and ill-founded your view is? Probably not, but I dare say almost anyone else would. I have been discussing this subject with mature and learned Christians for many years; no one before you has ever hinted at such an interpretation of scripture.
    “[If production of children as the purpose of marriage] had changed I doubt that Jesus would have referred us back to the creation story as the exemplar.” Jesus referred us back to the creation story just to teach us something about divorce. Your interpretative speculations lack good discipline.
    2. You are mistaken about science and you are mistaken about the prophets.
    3. Your undisciplined interpretative speculations not only go beyond God’s Word but also go beyond biology. “Twenty-three chromosomes from one flesh combines with twenty-three from a different flesh to become the forty-six chromosomes which grow into the fleshly body of a new and unique individual.” Your proposition does not describe how a man and a woman become one flesh; if that new and unique individual is destroyed, both the contributor of one set of chromosomes and the contributor of the other set of chromosomes may survive as physically distinct persons. As I observed previously, “You may call that child, given the large scope of poetic license, one flesh that combines his parents. You may not say that the man and woman who are parents have become one flesh in the child.”
    4. “Strong sexual desires are what lead to CHILDREN, Richard, in the overwhelming majority of marriages. They have a purpose”. What is your drift? Are you thinking that the continued existence of strong sexual desires proves that God continues to will production of children? That line of thinking proves way too much, for people have lots of kinds of desires that produce things plainly contrary to God’s will in the overwhelming majority of cases, not to mention other kinds of things that are only matters of indifference.
    5. Yes, God made Adam and Eve one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union, seeking (in addition to the good of companionship for them) godly offspring. This does not imply that he seeks godly offspring from every such union today. Discipline your speculations by using scripture to interpret scripture.
    I agree with you about Boswell’s arguments generally. But you and I have discussed only the question whether God wills production of a child in every Christian marriage today. Boswell and I may agree that the answer to this question is no, however our arguments for the answer may differ.

  • The thing is, and we’re starting to see it outside the debate over homosexuality, people on both sides focus on specific verses that may be limited in number and not necessarily address specific topic, and then ignore the overarching themes of Scripture.

    The overarching theme concerning sexuality and marriage does not support Matthew Vines or David Gushee, basedd upon a plain reading of Scripture, yet the specific verse citations do it necessarily provide the full condemnation or unrighteous treatment of any LGBT individual that some of the more conservative individuals seem to espouse as opposed to individuals with other sins that are listed in the historical clobber verses AND the fact that Christ named only one specific sin that was unforgivable in the eyes of God.

  • 1. “so it implies that producing a child is God’s primary and essential purpose for marriage. Do you see how implausible and ill-founded your view is?” Nope — the prophets tell us that this is the primary purpose of the institution of marriage.

    “Probably not, but I dare say almost anyone else would.” So what? Truth remains truth even if most don’t agree. Although history and law indicate that up until our lately insane times people DID understand this quite well…but that’s another lengthy topic for another discussion.

    “no one before you has ever hinted at such an interpretation of scripture.” You must not get out much.
    But again, so what? No one ever suggested that the scriptures might allow ssm until about 1980 or so, either. In fact, it wasn’t even conceived of as an actual thing, other than a couple of odd references in the Midrash and the Babylonian Talmud.

    2. “You are mistaken about science and you are mistaken about the prophets.” Your opinion.

    3. “You may not say that the man and woman who are parents have become one flesh in the child.” Sure you can. Just like you can say you become a “family” with birth of a child. And if the child dies you’re no less a family — death is not the end of the line.

    4. “People have lots of kinds of desires that produce things plainly contrary to God’s will ” No duh! Which is why Paul wrote that to avoid that a man should have his own wife and a woman her own husband.

    5. “God made Adam and Eve one, with a portion of the Spirit in their union, seeking (in addition to the good of companionship for them) godly offspring.” The prophet was talking to the men of Israel when he wrote that, not speaking about Adam and Eve.

    “This does not imply that he seeks godly offspring from every such union today.” And nothing in scripture implies that He doesn’t. The last word we had from Jesus was that the creation model is the target. That’s good enough for us.

  • Modern evangelicals have no coherent theology of marriage. At least in Catholicism it is sacramental and therefore has theological underpinnings. American Evangelicals have been acting as agents of the state without a thorough, consistent theology of what marriage is, buying into the notion that it is a contractual arrangement between consenting adults, often independent of family, political, or economic considerations. Since it is a contractual arrangement (as opposed to covenental, political, familial, or economic), we have bought into serial polygamy via no-fault divorce. This is the social construct we have been party to and participants in.

    The bottom line is that few Evangelicals can articulate a theological case for heterosexual monogamy based on the Bible. The best they can do is say, “God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” as if this were a meaningful statement. Most of the “theological” statements on Biblical Marriage(TM) ignore levirate marriage, polygamy, slave marriages, and concubinage, all of which are common in the Old Testament as societal expedience. Most of the modern stance on marriage is based on prejudice rather than theology.

  • Well, I have repeated myself once in this dialogue. I make it a rule to end dialogue when it is necessary to repeat myself a second time. So, this is it. No more response to you; just a summary and a judgment.
    The Church’s almost universal understanding is that God’s command to multiply recorded in Gen. 1:28 has lapsed. You agree with the Church about this.
    The Church does not teach that “become one flesh” in Gen. 2:24 means “produce a child” and that every marriage must have as its purpose the production of a child. You agree about this (having cited no catechism or rule or authority of the Church stating otherwise). But, you opine that the Church here has failed to teach the truth and conform to God’s will. Your opinion rests entirely on a belief (a) that combination of genetic information from each parent in a fertilized egg is literally the becoming one flesh of those parents and (b) that a statement of Malachi implies God’s eternal will that marriage be used primarily for the production of a child. Because of your opinion, you advocate the Church’s teaching that marriage is for production of a child and the Church’s refusal to celebrate marriage of any couple that does not intend to produce a child. Not only are you way outside the pale of orthodoxy, but your bizarre use of the phrase “become one flesh” and your out-of-context reading of Malachi make it very unlikely that the Church will come around to your opinion, change its teaching, and refuse to marry a couple who cannot produce a child. Christian leaders understand biology and metaphor and interpret scripture with scripture.

  • You aren’t summarizing very well.

    “The Church’s almost universal understanding is that God’s command to multiply recorded in Gen. 1:28 has lapsed. You agree with the Church about this.” Nope, exactly wrong. God commanded the first married couple to multiply. He did not command everyone to marry, nor does He now. But the nature and purpose of marriage as an institution remains the same, to produce and optimally rear children. An institution is by definition indifferent to the private intentions or unknown deficiencies of those who avail themselves of it, but that in no way negates its fundamental purpose. And the purpose of marriage was confirmed not only by Malachi but also by Philo, Josephus, and the early church fathers Clement, Tertullian, Origen, Justin Martyr, Lactantius, John Chrysostum, and Augustine. And you don’t seem aware of it but the Catholic church will still refuse to marry, or will invalidate the marriage of, persons who can not engage in sex or who deliberately conceal infertility or procure a sterilization. The vow to accept children from God is a necesssry part of the Catholic marriage rite.

    Repeated appeals to authority really don’t make an impression on me. Jesus warned us that there wouldcp come times of widespread deception that would tempt even the elect to stray and that we must be vigilant about testing everything against the word of God.

    So, are we done yet???

  • The question really is, what is a “true Christian”? Well, you can’t just make one up, you have to have an authority that pronounces it so! How about God…and the scriptures? That is the bottom line. It is either God , and His Word, or you make it up according to your own likes and dislikes! The latter’s position is the breaking of the second of the ten commandments….from the “true God”. It is abundantly clear, we have all broken God’s moral law (see the the rest of the 10 commandments). God is shown in scripture as a God of Justice, and a God of Love! The justice part is that we have all willfully broken His moral law…and “sinned”, and we will be held accountable to it by His standard, not ours…..the ultimate justice..the Scripture refers to many times..”everlasting punishment,,hell!” But God is also LOVE! He did something to rescue us, and make us “justified” in His sight…when the Son of God , left heaven for one main purpose..to take our deserved punishment on the cross, 2Cor 5:21, 1Pet. 3:18. Then He demonstrating His power and authority by rising bodily from the dead, and is now seated at the right hand of God..making intercession for those who have received Him before the Father.. God says we must “repent” (turn from sin), (Luke 24:47) and receive Christ as Lord and Savior. That involves turning away from sin! Sin! God has clearly stated what sin is..sexually or otherwise! The Nashville Statement spells out what Scripture and GOD says is “sin” that must be REPENTED OF! No, when we become a Christian we don’t become “perfectly sinless..but it is our new desire to sin less, and less, and be more like Christ! That is what a Christian is…according to the clear teaching and authority..of God’s Word..not man’s! 2Cor. 5:17.

  • Question after question about “why,” and the answer is very clear; either the Bible is the Word of God or not. And for those who recognize their sin and need for God, the Holy Spirit witnesses to our spirit that the Bible is in fact the Word of God.

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