Jesus is wedded to biblical marriage

Janet M. LaRue

10/18/2006 3:36:37 PM - Janet M. LaRue

Voters in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin will decide November 7 whether traditional marriage will be protected by their state’s constitution. Opponents from homosexual activist organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign are uniting with clergy to convince voters that Jesus approves same-sex “marriage.”

The Rev. Jack Rogers, “professor of theology emeritus at San Francisco Theological Seminary and past moderator of the 213th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.),” says that “supporting same-sex marriage affirms our Christian faith, strengthens our communities and supports children and families.” (Jack Rogers, “Study Changes Pastor’s Mind on Same-Sex Marriage,” The [Charleston, South Carolina] Post and Courier, Oct. 1, 2006, p. H3).

Rogers’ reasons for supporting “same-sex marriage” have a tiny tad more substance than the “silence” argument from another clergyman, Rev. Gordon McBride, the rector of Grace St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Arizona who opposes Arizona’s marriage amendment: “Jesus never said anything about it (gay marriage), so clearly it didn’t matter to him.” (Stephanie Innes, "Gay-marriage ban pits church vs. church," Arizona Daily Star, Oct. 13, 2006).

That logic would lead to the absurd assumption that since Jesus never said anything about incest, rape, tofu or terrorism, they also clearly didn’t matter to Him.

Rogers says that “for much of his life” he “opposed same-sex marriage” until he participated “on a task force on homosexuality … in an intense nine-month process of Bible study, prayer and reflection on the issue from all angles.”

One would think that “reflection” on “all angles” about “same-sex marriage” would include the marriage angle. Rogers, however, doesn’t mention any of nearly 700 Bible verses about marriage — not one.

But then, it’s not easy to pronounce Betty and Veronica or Steve and Al together in holy matrimony as husband and wife, man and woman or bridegroom and bride.

Incredibly, Rogers fails to follow his own advice “to read the Bible through the lens of Jesus’ redeeming life and ministry.” He fails to acknowledge that Christ’s lens includes all of Scripture, and what it says about marriage and homosexuality “is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

Rogers’ sole support for same-sex marriage is his distorted view of what the Bible says about homosexuality and his misapplication of the greatest commandments:

When Jesus was asked which commandment in the law was the greatest, he quoted two verses from the Old Testament: Deuteronomy 6:5: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might," and Leviticus 19:17: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus said, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40) When we see Jesus as the center of Scripture, it enables us to focus on the heart of the gospel message: Love God and love your neighbor.

Christ said that those who worship God “must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) Likewise, love and truth are inseparable in Scripture. We are warned against “all the deception of wickedness for those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth so as to be saved.” (2 Thessalonians 2:10)

Rogers’ adulterated agape condones conduct condemned as sin. He links Jesus’ words about love to the Mosaic Law, yet Rogers disregards the Mosaic Law on the subjects of marriage and homosexuality. He wrongly claims:

The debate in the church focuses on, at most, eight texts. None of these texts is about Jesus, nor do they include any of his words. In fact, as I show in my new book, Jesus, the Bible, and Homosexuality: Explode the Myths, Heal the Church, none of these texts, properly understood, refers to faithful same-sex couples as we know them today.

Lest faithful adulterers and other faithful fornicators stampede the nearest bookstore, consider: “Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” (Hebrews 13:4)

Christ affirmed and identified with all of the Mosaic Law, not just those on love.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. (Matthew 5:17-18)

He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. (Luke 24:44-45)

The Mosaic Law recognizes marriage only between man and woman, as did Christ. God created man and woman for the marital act and told them to be fruitful and multiply:

God created man in His own image ... male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number” ...God saw all that he had made and it was very good. (Genesis 1:27-31)

It is not good for man to be alone. I will make him a helper suitable for him ... Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man and brought her to the man ... Adam said “she shall be called woman for she was taken out of man” ... for this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh. (Genesis 2:18-24)

Jesus honored marriage by performing his first miracle at a wedding (see John 2:1-11). He said that marriage is one man and one woman for life, permitting divorce only on the ground of adultery (see Matthew 19: 3-11).

His disciples understood Him, which prompted them to say, “If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry.” (Matthew 19:10)

Christ does not compromise or permit trifling with marriage. Man’s choice is fidelity in traditional marriage or abstinence. Christ does not sanction any other sexual relationship:

Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it. (Matthew 19:11-12)

The Apostle Paul teaches that marriage is a symbol of Christ’s love for the Church:

For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This is a profound mystery — but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:31-33)

The Mosaic Law, which Rogers misinterprets, condemns homosexual sex as an abomination: “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman: it is detestable ... Do not defile yourselves.” (Leviticus 18:22) The context has nothing to do with hospitality as Rogers contends.

It cannot be imagined that God would permit homosexuals to marry when He has condemned their sexual union.

God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of homosexual conduct (see Genesis 19:1-28).

Rogers, however, blames the destruction on everything but homosexual perversion:

Take for example, the story of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19). In Old Testament references to Sodom, the sins of the city are variously described as greed, injustice, inhospitality, excess wealth, indifference to the poor and general wickedness. In the New Testament when Jesus referred to the sin of Sodom, as recorded in Luke 10:12 and Matthew 10:15, he was passing judgment on cities that refused hospitality to his traveling disciples. A focus on the supposed homosexual aspect of the Sodom story only comes later in nonbiblical literature.

There is no need to resort to “nonbiblical literature” to prove “the homosexual aspect” of the Sodom story. Rogers avoids the specific words of Jude 7: “In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.” The Apostle Peter also confirms that the cities’ destruction was due to “the filthy lives of lawless men.” (2 Peter 2:5-7). Nothing here is remotely related to hospitality.

The Apostle Paul, an expert in Jewish law, condemned homosexual conduct: “God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.” (Romans 1:26-27).

Rogers likely agrees with those who claim that Paul only condemned heterosexuals for engaging in the conduct because for them it is “unnatural.” Paul annihilated that argument by including homosexuals with the rest of mankind as sinners in need of salvation:

[L]aw is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted. (I Timothy 1:9-11).

Because Christ fulfilled the Law’s demand, He alone qualified to pay the price of mankind’s failure. Twisting His words to support sin that necessitated His death would make His sacrifice meaningless.

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God. (I Corinthians 6:9-11).

Sanctioning same-sex marriage by distorting Christ’s words denigrates His redemptive work. We do not love our neighbor if love is divorced from truth. We fail to love children if we support and facilitate relationships that deprive them of a mother or father.

Biblical truth about marriage and homosexual conduct supports amendments that limit marriage to what God has ordained and blessed.

Note: If you are struggling with the sin of homosexuality, the Good News is that God offers you freedom from sin. He loves you so much that if you confess your sin and repent, He is faithful and just to forgive you and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness (I John 1:9). This is the promise for all of us who sin any sin. God “is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9).

For resources to help you overcome homosexuality, please click here.