Friday, May 11, 2012
What's the difference between you and Westboro Church?
Lemme state categorically: I do not understand everything in the Bible as it is written. I doubt anyone does. Those of you who only read English translations of the ancient work without commentary and exegesis are missing even more than I am.
Anyway, with all the furor surrounding same gender marriage, I’m taking a serious Biblical look at this and sex in general. So, you are warned. Some of the things I discuss here may be graphic, but they come straight from the Bible.
Read the Old Testament and you see major OT men who slept with “prostitutes” and were not held accountable for this. According to the best research on this, not all of these women were hookers as we know them today. They were women given in service to a deity and part of their religious duties was to have sex with other men. Men may have also done this.
The point is these mighty figures of the OT did not have this act charged to them as sin, at least from what we know from the Bible.
Some point to the story of Onan, who “spilled his seen upon the ground” as evidence that masturbation is wrong. This is the only such reference of this kind I can find. Reading the passage, I get the idea that Onan withdrew before orgasm.
However, there is a different proscription for women. Ezekiel 16:17 You also took the fine jewelry I gave you, the jewelry made of my gold and silver, and you made for yourself male idols and engaged in prostitution with them.
God is speaking in parables here, but He couches it in human terms. He refers to women who used gold and silver to make dildos. The inference here is that this is wrong. I could be wrong.
While I’m on the subject, size matters.
2 Chronicles 10:10 The young men who grew up with him spoke to him, saying, "Thus you shall say to the people who spoke to you, saying, 'Your father made our yoke heavy, but you make it lighter for us.' Thus you shall say to them, 'My little finger is thicker than my father's loins!
Some translations say “waist” instead of loins but the majority say loins.
Size does matters.
Ezekiel 23:20 “There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.”
Ok, in this passage God is speaking in parables, but He uses the example of two human women to get his point across. One of these human women went charging after men who, well you can read it above.
Yes, the Bible speaks at length about marriage and the sanctity of it. Christians have that right. What all too many choose to ignore are the proscriptions for divorce.
Deuteronomy 24:1-4 1 “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens 1that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house,
2 and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man’s wife,
3 and if the latter husband turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife,
4 then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance.
From this passage, a man in Old Testament times could find somethings wrong with his wife and divorce her. She was then allowed to find another husband. I also note men were allowed more than one wife. Can’t find anything about women having more than one husband.
In the New Testament, women apparently have the right to divorce. But getting remarried is not allowed.
Matthew 9:3-9 Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?”
4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”
8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”
2 Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?”
3 “What did Moses command you?” he replied.
4 They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away.”
5 “It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law,” Jesus replied. 6 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8 and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
10 When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. 11 He answered, “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. 12 And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.”
So Christians who get divorced for reasons OTHER than adultery are committing adultery. These two passages are excused away, rationalized away and pretty much ignored when it comes to divorce.
An old independent preacher, probably gone now, gave me a phrase that I find handy here - Kangaroo Christians. They hop from passage to passage ignoring what they don’t like and embracing what they do like.
Adultery, as noted in the Old Testament, was a capital offense. When Jesus came along it no longer was a capital offense, but Jesus also told the accused women to “sin no more.” In the OT, God speaks of Israel’s unfaithfulness to Him in terms of human adultery. God is quite condemning of this all through the Old Testament. It’s a theme also found in the New Testament.
Christians who have divorced and remarried EXCEPT AS NOTED ABOVE are in the same boat as those who engage in same gender sexual activities. Condemned under the law
What about Christians who marry non believers? That’s nowhere near as clear.
1 Corinthians 7:12-13 To the rest I say this (I, not the Lord): If any brother has a wife who is not a believer and she is willing to live with him, he must not divorce her. 13 And if a woman has a husband who is not a believer and he is willing to live with her, she must not divorce him.
Here we have a conundrum. The very writer of this part of the Bible states he is the one speaking. Yet many Christians believe the Bible is the very Word of God and everything in it is directly from God.
So either the writer here was delusional or this passage of scripture must be considered optional.
The third alternative is: We don’t have enough understanding yet to get what God is trying to tell us.
A short few pages later, some discordant information is supplied.
2 Corinthians 6:14-16 14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
“The phrase "unequally yoked together" is the translation of just one Greek word, heterozugeo, which is a compound word that means, "to yoke up differently; to associate discordantly; unequally yoke together. The word "yoke" means a coupling as when two oxen are coupled or yoked together by a pulling beam to do work such as plowing a field or pulling a wagon." It is used but this one time in the Bible.” http://bible-truths.com/yoked.htm
If you’re still with me, here’s the absolute butt-kicker right out of the Bible.
2 Timothy 2:14 Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.
Got that? Lemme put this another way.
Galatians 5:14 For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself."
In other words, when we argue over the details in the Bible we drive people away. My buddy Gus, what a guy, has this one pegged perfectly.
That’s it. Period. Nothing more, nothing less for Christians. Nothing a Christian can ever do will make him good enough for God or bad enough to be rejected.
By focusing on MINOR matters in the Bible, Christians are actually driving people away from the faith. The major matter for Christians is to accept Jesus, what He did and who He is and introduce others to Him. Everything and I do mean EVERYTHING else is secondary.
If you rally against same gender marriage, I ask: What’s the difference between you and the people at Westboro Baptist Church in the eyes of God?
I do not judge you. I merely pose a question. G’head. Judge me if you must. Doesn’t matter. I’ve got grace.
What’s the difference between a homosexual couple and a congregation that puts on an after-church feed and everyone eats until they are uncomfortable WHILE CHILDREN LESS THAN A MILE AWAY GO TO BED WITHOUT SUPPER?
Reckon what Jesus would have done with all that fried chicken?
What are you gonna do? Judge not lest you be judged? Express “tough love?” Jesus, according to Christians, died to prevent Christians from being judged for their sins. Christians are also exhorted to be like Christ. Those of you who condemn same-gender marriage, what are you doing other than complaining and trying to prevent it from happening?
I point out to you, Jesus NEVER commanded. He only attempted to persuade. We have no records of Jesus lobbying, or demanding, Roman authorities to ban certain religious practices or make other practices codified into the law.
Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
Got that? Jesus said He did not come to end the law, but to fulfill it. The law required death for sin. Jesus died, Christians believe, to save them from death.
Romans 8:1-4 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.