A few days ago a friend sent me a link and asked for my thoughts. It was a flow chart that is supposed to “destroy religion’s case against gay marriage”. The objections that are raised in this chart are nothing new. In fact you’ve probably heard most of them yourself. The problem is there are some Christians that would be stumped and unable to overcome these objections. As a result it might create doubt as to the reliability and sufficiency of the scriptures; which is the intent in the first place.
The Real Issue
There have been many books and blogs written in an effort to legitimize same sex marriage. Just last week the Supreme Court decided that same sex couples have a right to marry in all 50 states. Yet, all of this is contrary to what Jesus said about marriage. In Matthew chapter 19 Jesus affirms that the marital relationship was established by God and was to be between one man and one woman (Mat 19:4-5). In verse 5 Jesus states that the result of the marital union is, “the two shall become one flesh”. The “one flesh” is primarily seen in the child born of that union. I say all of this because I think the Bible is clear that the pattern for marriage was established by God at creation and was designed to be heterosexual and monogamous. The same sex marriage debate is only clouding the real issue. The real issue is people trying to justify sin and here they attempt to do so by twisting the Scriptures. Which, Peter says the untaught and unstable do, to their own destruction (2 Peter 3:16).
Are you against gay marriage because the Bible
The chart starts out by asking, “Are you against gay marriage because the Bible?” Umm, Yes! It shouldn’t be a surprise that Christians are against “gay marriage”. After all, God is against “gay marriage”. The Bible is very clear on the subject (see Lev 18:22, 20:13; 1 Cor 6:9-10; Rom 1:26-28; 1 Tim 1:8-11). And as Christians, we believe all Scripture is inspired by God (2 Tim 3:16) is authoritative and trustworthy; and if the Bible isn’t authoritative and trustworthy, then neither is God.
Jesus never once mentions “gay marriage”
Once we answer with the affirmative, they immediately appeal to an authority that they obviously already reject. Where else does one go to learn about what Jesus taught, but the Bible? Basically, they’re saying, “Look, we’ve read the Bible and there’s nothing recorded in it about Jesus dealing with gay marriage”. Yet, the Bible, to which they are appealing to for these “non-existent” teachings of Christ, clearly does deal with this subject in a number of places and when it does it condemns it as sin (see Lev 18:22, 20:13; 1 Cor 6:9-10; Rom 1:26-28; 1 Tim 1:8-11). One must assume that even if there was a record of Jesus addressing this subject, it too would be rejected.
I must say, attempting to legitimize “gay marriage” based on an argument from silence is absurd. Jesus also didn’t say anything about bestiality, child sacrifice, pedophilia, or rape. Surely no one would claim that we need to accept those practices because Jesus never mentions them.
Not only is this type of reasoning absurd, it’s also an argument Christians could turn around and use as a defense. Just because there’s no record of Jesus dealing with this issue doesn’t mean he didn’t. The Apostle John says that there are many other things which Jesus did that have not been recorded (John 21:25).
Additionally, all Scripture is inspired by God (2 Tim 3:16). In the very first verse of John’s gospel he writes, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1). It’s clear from verse 14 that John is speaking of Jesus, because he says, “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). So to say that Jesus never says anything about “gay marriage” is a bit of a misnomer. Here is a fun flow chart that does a fine job illustrating my point.
The prohibition against eating pork (Lev 11:7–8) and shellfish (Lev 11:10–12)
Next, we move from an argument for homosexual relationships based on silence to actually admitting that the Bible does indeed condemn it as a sin. “You don’t follow this command or this command, what’s one more?”
What they fail to realize is that under the Old Covenant these dietary restrictions were given to Israel to keep them separate from their neighbors who worshiped false gods (Lev 18:3). With the coming of the New Covenant and the calling of the church, God ended the dietary restrictions (Mark 7:19; Acts 10:8-11:18).
There is nothing in the New Testament that suggests that the laws concerning homosexuality have been repealed. In fact, it says quite the opposite (see 1 Cor 6:9-10; Rom 1:26-28; 1 Tim 1:8-11).
Tattoos (Lev 19:28)
After pointing out the prohibition against eating pork and shellfish, they point out that “tattoos are also banned in Leviticus”. Again, by acknowledging that the Bible teaches that tattoos were a sin they concede that the Bible teaches homosexual relationships are a sin as well.
I have to admit I do understand where they are coming from on this one. Tattooing is more main stream than it has been in the past, especially among Christians. When questioned about it, we’re quick to invoke our “Christian liberties” (Rom 10:4). This has caused us no small amount of confusion. While there is nothing said about tattoos in the New Testament, I don’t think that that’s a sufficient argument for getting one. 2 Timothy 3:16 states, “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” So, because all scripture is profitable and tattoos are mentioned in scripture, even if it is only once, it should cause us to stop and think before making any rash decisions.
Here are some questions I think one should reflect on before making a decision about tattoos. After all, we don’t want to find ourselves guilty of violating other principles laid down in scripture while exercising our Christian liberties.
- Is it going to cause others to sin? (Rom 14:13; 1 Cor 8:9)
- Do you have any doubts about getting a tattoo? (Rom 14:23)
- Is it a necessary or profitable thing to do? (1 Cor 6:12, 10:23)
- What are your motives? (1 Cor 10:31)
- What do your parents think? (Eph 6:1)
- What is your level of contentment? (1 Tim6:6)
As far as the verse that “bans” tattoos in Leviticus, it’s similar to the dietary restrictions. This restriction was also given to Israel to keep them separate from their neighbors. They were not to do what was done in the land of Egypt where they had come from, nor were they to do what was being done in the land of Canaan where God was bringing them (Lev 18:3).
Regardless of your view on tattoos, it’s rather foolish to point out one person’s disobedience (if in fact that’s what it is) in an attempt to justify your own.
The Bible forbids adorning yourself with gold (1 Tim 2:9-10; 1 Peter 3:3-4)
Now they distort the scriptures in order to rationalize their position. It should be evident that Peter is not saying “do not braid your hair and do not wear gold jewelry,” if he was he would also be saying, “Do not wear clothes.” What Peter and Paul are getting at is one shouldn’t focus so much on how one looks on the outside; but rather the focus should be on inward beauty. What’s important is godly character, which is portrayed by a gentle and quiet spirit.
Also, James 2 speaks of a man that comes into the assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes (James 2:2). It’s clear from the text that the condemnation spoken of by James is not toward the man and his gold ring or his fine cloths, but rather the church’s reaction to it.
Divorce – therefore what God has joined together, let no man separate (Mark 10:9)
Now they bring up divorce, almost as if it’s some sort of trump card. I will concede that this accusation of hypocrisy is in fact valid to some degree. However, I do find it interesting that only one verse is mentioned when there are many others that give further information on this topic. One example is the parallel passage in Matthew. The passage also records Jesus saying “…What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate” (Matthew 19:6). However, Matthew’s account gives information not given by Mark. After being further questioned on the issue Jesus says, “…whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality [fornication], and marries another woman commits adultery” (Mat 19:9). So, here and in Matthew 5:32, divorce was evidently permitted.
Granted you won’t usually know why someone has gotten divorced, but using someone else’s sins (if that’s what it is) to justify your own is a bit arrogant and foolish. It’s no more than a lame attempt to pacify a guilty conscience. The wise thing to do would be to seek forgiveness, humbling yourself before God and repent of your sins.
I want to end by saying that as Christians we are not singling out homosexuality because it is the epitome of all sins. It’s not; it just seems to be the major issue of the day. In 1 Corinthians Paul lists several sins together with homosexuality. He says, “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” (1 Cor 6:9-10). If we are all honest we would have to admit that we all fall into this list somewhere. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). The Corinthian congregation was no different. Paul says to them, “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 (1 Cor 6:11). Those sins no longer characterized the Corinthians and they don’t have to characterize you either. The Corinthians had been forgiven; they had been justified in the name of The Lord Jesus Christ. You can be forgiven and justified as well. Listen, Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and He was buried, and He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Cor 15:3-4). He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world (1 John 2:2). If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation (Rom 10:9-10). Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved (Rom 10:13).
 The MacArthur Study Bible