Biblical Interpretation on Homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriage: Should Biblical Interpretation Change as Culture Changes?

by walterm on July 2, 2017

The other day I was on Facebook discussing a recent poll showing Republicans becoming more approving of same-sex marriage, and how this related to religious liberty. I was in general agreement with the author, who is a stalwart conservative representing the LGBT community, that there is a balance to be had where homosexuals can live out their lives in peace and harmony without systematic discrimination, while accepting there will be those who, while serve anyone generally as a photographer or cake baker, may draw a line at intimately participating in a same-sex marriage based on their religious faith. Those people have legitimate reasons for their views and they should not be disparaged in any way. One friend suggested that I change my view on same-sex marriage, basically because everyone else is doing it, and a second tried to argue that the Bible actually has no issues whatsoever with homosexuality, and by extension, same-sex marriage.

To the first friend, I don’t change my views because of what most other people feel. Most Republicans do not have formal biblical or philosophical training as I do, and so they don’t drink deeply from those wells, thus having little to no scholarship on the natural law. When you truly understand what marriage is about, which is having a mother and a father committed to the growth and maturity of their children, you see that experimenting with children and treating them like property where you can foist any situation on them and think they just need to live with it is not going to produce a good result. In a same-sex marriage where children are involved, there will always be a third party, more than likely somewhere obscured in the distance. What this same-sex couple has done is deprived a child of the ability to have a mother and father to raise it, demonstrating the natural, complementary bonds of love between a man and a woman that cannot be replicated otherwise. I can’t think of anything more selfish and self-centered than to intentionally deprive a child of the best environment for that child to grow in. It is one thing to lose a spouse through death or divorce. It is an entirely different matter to willfully deny a child the mother and father it deserves. As Dr. Jennifer Roback-Morse stated so beautifully on a recent Issues, Etc. episode, “Children are entitled to a relationship with both of their parents, and they are entitled to know who they are.”

As to my friend who argues that the Bible has no problem with homosexuality because of their ignorance back then, I say to her that while she may be ashamed of the gospel, I am not ashamed of the gospel. The Apostle Paul, in Romans 1:16 (ESV), writes,

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.”

So clearly, there were people who believed but were ashamed to be believers, and when push came to shove they were not going to support it or fall away from the faith entirely. I believe that is my friend who is ashamed to support the clear teaching of the Bible, because she values what culture has to say over the actual text of the Bitle. She doesn’t like what the Bible has to say on the matter of homosexuality, so she has graciously accepted unscriptural interpretations of the Bible that others have proposed to make herself feel good about her personal position. Here are some verses that I think apply:

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4, ESV)

“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.” (Acts 20:28-30, ESV)

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.” (Matthew 7:15-20, ESV)

Now I don’t think my friend is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, but I think she has aligned herself with people who are, and she has accepted a reading of the Bible that violates basic exegetical and hermeneutical principles. My admonition to her was to, instead of intentionally misrepresenting the clear communication of the Bible, that she just reject the Bible entirely. It would be far more honest, and she could relieve herself and anyone else she knows that disagrees with the Bible of any moral instruction the Bible provides. If God can’t accurately transmit his wishes, and if the Bible truly came from God, it wouldn’t matter how ignorant or uninformed people were 2000 years ago because God would have given them information that transcended space and time, which would apply the same today as yesterday. So clearly, my friend thinks the Bible is a man-made construction because it is only logical that if this were truly God speaking then it didn’t matter when the message was transmitted. It would always be true regardless unless God changed it in the future. And last I checked, God has not come back to change the Bible.

In closing, let me be clear what I am not saying. I am not saying God doesn’t love homosexuals because of course he does. God loves homosexuals in the same manner he loves every other human being and calls them to repentance through faith in Christ. I love homosexuals. And I shouldn’t even have to make such a distinction because they’re just human beings, and unfortunately our culture has become accustomed to talk about homosexuality as if it is some way to identify a person when no one should be identified based on their sexuality. In the context of this writing, however, as I am called to turn away from my sins, a homosexual is called to the same thing. There is no special dispensation given to any human being making that human being able to say they don’t have to deal with their sin while everyone else has to deal with theirs. That applies to me and applies to homosexuals equally.


Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: