Much thanks for Stand To Reason Ministries for creating such helpful videos.
As the internet is still abuzz with discussions of Biblical view of homosexuality I thought sharing a few comments might serve to help clarify things. These thoughts aren’t original by any means, but they are especially apropos in light of the present culture war.
A legitimate concern. Many Christians are concerned that the latest round in the debate over the legal status of homosexuality (especially as it applies to the issue of homosexual marriage) is merely a power tactic of the Republican party to rally support from evangelical and otherwise Christian voters. Now, I don’t doubt that some in the GOP are willing to use whatever cultural conduit is found useful to bolster their voting base. It’s also worthy of noting that some Christians assume that politics is the crucial key to transforming culture in a godly and righteous direction. This is simply mistaken. This faction of Christianity must beware of the leaven of playing the world’s power game.
Another perspective. So, I’ll admit that opposition to homosexual marriage can indeed be used as a Trojan horse for a covert GOP agenda. But that’s not the only explanation. Such opposition can also be the result of individuals who do not believe the State has the authority to define (or in this case, redefine) marriage. That’s why the issue of gay marriage isn’t about homosexuality at all: It’s about the definition of marriage. The State does have the authority to grant civil unions, tax breaks, etc. to whomever it chooses. That is perfectly within their preview. What it cannot do is redefine an institution it did not create. That largely comes from other spheres (the family, the church, and behind that, ultimately the creation ordinance of God).
In the ongoing debate on the biblical status of homosexuality, a not-so-infrequent objection to the conservative (and classical, mind you) approach is that Jesus himself never addressed homosexuality. After all, if it were really a big deal, wouldn’t Jesus himself address it?
The nub of this argument is a half-truth (and the wrong end at that). First, though we have no explicit statements from Jesus on same gender attraction and relationships-using the word ‘homosexual’ or one of its cognates- we do have his positive definition of marriage with its undeniable link to sexuality (Mark 10:6-8). Second, Jesus never explicitly denounced homosexuality as a deviation from God’s design for human sexuality for one primary reason:
…the same reason why a GOP candidate doesn’t argue for lowering taxes at the RNC national convention.
… the same reason why Whoopi Goldberg doesn’t argue in favor of a woman’s “right to choose” at a Planned Parenthood rally.
… the same reason why a Jehovah’s Witness doesn’t argue against the deity of Christ in a Kingdom Hall.
…the same reason why a Muslim doesn’t try to convince those at his local mosque that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet.
I think you get the picture.
Perhaps you’ve seen the poster pictured above in your journeys across the interwebs. It’s a quasi-comical statement about the “foolishness” of Biblical marriage. The point is clear, while many (or most) Christians strongly advocate a definition of marriage that sees it as a lifetime covenantal union between one man and one woman, there is a “clear” discrepancy between their “traditional” position and the Book from which they’re supposedly basing that view. My friend Ra McLaughlin, webmaster and Vice President of Curriculum and Web Delivery at Third Millennium Ministries, has given me permission to repost his response to this poster on Facebook. His thoughts are clear, detailed, and yet concise:
Biblical law doesn’t require women to marry their rapists (cf. Ex. 22:17). The bride price to be paid by rapists was a sort of reverse dowry, not payment for “property.” It was owed whether or not the woman married the man. In the only example of rape and subsequent attempted marriage that I can think of at the moment, the woman’s family chose to murder the rapist and his people rather than give her as a bride (Gen. 34).
The Bible also doesn’t require the stoning of women that couldn’t prove their virginity (unless otherwise stated, legal penalties are maximum not mandatory; cf. Joseph’s treatment of Mary in Matt. 1:19). Similarly, levirate marriage was not a requirement; it was assumed that the women would want an heir, but it wasn’t a necessary arrangement (cf. Deut. 25:7).