It seems that Rob Bell and Oprah Winfrey are pretty good friends these days. Bell has appeared on Oprah’s show numerous times, and just recently appeared, along with his wife Kristen, on her “Super Soul Sunday” episode over Valentine’s Day weekend. Their appearance was designed to promote their new book, The ZimZum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage (HarperOne: 2014).
Now, I have to confess that I have no idea what the main title means. But, the subtitle is pretty bold. Given that marriage dates back to the very creation of mankind in Genesis, do we really need a new version of it? Is something wrong with the original version? Apparently Bell thinks so. At least as it pertains to the issue of gay marriage, which he endorses in this new book.
The issue of gay marriage even comes up in the interview with Oprah. Since Oprah is unlikely to challenge the coherence of Bell’s rationale (she wholeheartedly agrees with him), I thought I would fill in the gap by offering an analysis of his statements here. Here are some excerpts from the interview.
1. During the interview, Kristen Bell reads a line from the book: “Marriage, gay and straight, is a gift to the world because the world needs more not less love, fidelity, commitment, devotion and sacrifice,”
This is one of the statements that resonates with our modern world. After all, who is opposed to “love”? Who doesn’t want more “love” in the world? This sort of rhetoric is very effective at making anyone opposed to gay marriage look like they are against love. It makes them looks like they are hateful.
But, never do such statements define what “love” really is. For our culture, “love” means whatever you want it to mean. There are no rules, no restrictions, no boundaries. But, let’s imagine some different scenarios and see whether Bell’s logic makes sense. Let’s imagine an adult son and his mother wanted to get married. Is Bell ready to say this incestuous marriage “is a gift to the world because the world needs more not less love“? Doubtful. Or, perhaps a man wants three wives. Is Bell ready to say this polygamous marriage is “a gift to the world because the world needs more not less love?” If he is consistent, he would have to say yes.
On Bell’s 1960’s “All you need is Love” view of marriage, it could never be a definable institution that people participate in. Rather, marriage simply becomes whatever each person wants it to be. Thus, on Bell’s view there can be no such thing as marriage. Because “marriage” is defined by the whims and preferences of each individual, it just evaporates into subjectivism.
2. After Oprah asked him why he included gay marriage in his book, Bell said, “One of the oldest aches in the bones of humanity is loneliness…Loneliness is not good for the world. Whoever you are, gay or straight, it is totally normal, natural and healthy to want someone to go through life with. It’s central to our humanity. We want someone to go on the journey with.”
I’ve got to say, this is masterful work from Bell. Framing the debate over homosexual marriage around the issue of loneliness is brilliant. After all, if anyone objects it looks like they are a cruel, unfeeling person who doesn’t care about the suffering of the homosexual community.
But, once again, when you dig into Bell’s statements more deeply, you realized they are flawed at a fundamental level. Bell says loneliness “is not good for the world.” Maybe so. But, sexual immorality is also not good for the world. Casting off God’s guidance on what counts as legitimate healthy sexual activity is also not good for the world. Despite popular beliefs, immoral sexual activity is not harmless. It can have serious emotional, spiritual, and even physical ramifications.
Even more, the “loneliness argument” Bell espouses could be used to justify virtually any sexual activity. Returning to the example above, what if an adult son and his mother wanted to get married and cited their “loneliness” as the reason? Does that make it Ok? Is polygamy also Ok on the grounds of loneliness?
But, there is an even bigger problem here for Bell. If loneliness is the issue, one does not need marriage to solve it. People live together and sleep together all the time as a cure for their loneliness. On what possible grounds could Bell object to two people living together outside of marriage? They could throw Bell’s loneliness argument right back in his face, “Come on Rob, ‘it is totally normal, natural and healthy to want someone to go through life with. It’s central to our humanity. We want someone to go on the journey with.'”
3. When Oprah asks why the church does not yet “get it” regarding gay marriage, Bell says: “I think culture is already there and the church will continue to be even more irrelevant when it quotes letters from 2,000 years ago as their best defense, when you have in front of you flesh-and-blood people who are your brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles, and co-workers and neighbors, and they love each other and just want to go through life.”
From someone who at least pretends to be a pastor, this is a stunning statement. Notice that Bell doesn’t refer to the “Bible” or to “Scripture” or to “God’s Word” but instead refers to “letters from 2,000 years ago.” This is a pejorative (and deceptive) way of speaking designed to undermine the credibility of the Bible regarding sexual issues. These are just old letters, says Bell, pay no attention. They have nothing to say about these things. Don’t bother listening to them.
By kicking the Bible to the curb, Bell may please Oprah, but he stands in direct contrast to thousands of years of church history (not to mention the history of Israel). God’s people have always looked to the Bible as the ultimate guide for life, especially when it comes to issues of sexual ethics. Indeed, as I pointed out in a prior post, the earliest Christians stood out from the Greco-Roman world precisely in the area of their sexual behavior.
Even Jesus himself looked to the Bible as the ultimate guide for sexual ethics. He appealed to numerous biblical texts to defend the idea that marriage is between one man and one woman (e.g., Matt 19:1-9).
So, what does Bell think is a better guide for sexual ethics than the Bible? Personal experience. Why would you choose the Bible, says Bell, “when you have in front of you flesh-and-blood people who…love each other and just want to go through life.’ In other words, what should guide our decisions is the personal sexual experiences of people. We should follow what they feel is right. If this is how they find “love” then great. Thus, on Bell’s view, there are no sexual ethics. There are just people’s personal sexual preferences. Welcome to a brave new world.
Of course, as noted above. This logic puts Bell in a predicament. If everyone gets to just pick their own sexual practices, then he must acknowledge that incestuous love, polygamous love, and many other kinds of deviant sexual behavior are all legitimate.
With the help of Rob Bell, I am sure that our culture is headed precisely in this direction. The logic used to justify homosexual marriage is like an acid that will eventually eat its way through every remaining sexual boundary in our culture. And pretty soon, there will be no boundaries.
And this will not create a culture of love, peace, and fulfillment as Bell and Oprah predict. It will create a culture of sexual, emotional, spiritual, and even physical brokenness. Ironically, therefore, it will create a culture of loneliness. The very thing Bell said that homosexual marriage is designed to cure.
When the culture eventually hits rock bottom, the hope is people will begin to see that a society without any sexual boundaries is self-destructive. The hope is that they will be like the young cowboy Billy in the 1993 movie Tombstone. After running with the lawless crowd for a while, Billy begins to see how destructive that life really is. Then he comes to his senses and declares to the gang leader, “I’m sorry sir, but we’ve got to have some law.”
Yes, even in the world of sex and marriage, “We’ve got to have some law.” And when a culture begins to realize it, usually that is when revival takes place.
Separate and apart from Rob Bell, a strong biblical case can be made for gay marriage. We know from Genesis 2:18 that God has made us in such a way that it is not good for us to be alone and that he wants us to have the opportunity to have a suitable and appropriate life companion in marriage (in the KJV a help who is meet for us- a help meet.) If Adam had been homosexual Eve could not have been a suitable and appropriate life companion for him. Only another man could have been a help who was meet for him.
Taking Paul at his word in Romans 1:26-27, his seeming condemnation of homosexuality is limited to those who exchange or give up their heterosexuality for homosexuality. Most gay men will tell you that they have only been sexually attracted to men since puberty. They have had no heterosexuality to exchange or give up. Take Paul’s words quite literally and there is nothing to apply to the gay marriage debate today.
The meaning of malokos and arsenokoitai in Paul’s sin lists is disputed and cannot be known for certain today. Dale Martin of Yale Divinity School has done the most thorough survey of these words in Greek literature that I have seen. He shows that there are a number of possible meanings for the pairing of these words not all of which are even confined to homosexual contexts. For example, malokos may refer to male prostitutes for men and arsenokoitai may refer to male prostitutes for women or gigolos as they are often referred to to today. No one can legitimately rule that possibility out with any certainty. Martin demonstrates that most of the possible meanings of malokos and arsenokoitai share a common theme of exploitation as in the possible meanings of an adolescent boy and an older male partner. That is another possible meaning of these two words that cannot be ruled out with any certainty.
What happened at Sodom was an attempted gang rape and has no relevance to gay marriage today. The passage about Sodom in Jude is condemning the attempt to have sex with angels and is not a reference to homosexuality. Wellknown Evangelical John MacArthur takes this view on Jude and presents the case for it very well. The Greek word translated “strange” in “strange flesh” in Jude is heteras I believe which means other flesh. Heteras would be related to our prefix hetero today. It is hardly the word Jude would have chosen to refer to homosexuality.
– Adam wasn’t a homosexual. Hypothesizing on a past that never existed doesn’t prove anything.
– The exchange Paul talks of in Romans 1 is an exchanging of the natural for what is contrary to nature, that is, contrary to God’s revealed will in Creation, and the resulting homosexual passion with which they are consumed is identified as an error for which there is a due penalty.
Regardless of what gay men will say, we don’t look to fallen people for a validation of what we believe from the Bible.
– Regarding the meanings of “malakos” and “arsenokoitai,” Dr. Robert Gagnon has also done thorough work in defining these terms, which can be found in this PDF: http://www.robgagnon.net/articles/RogersBookReviewed3.pdf
You could look through the rest of the articles he has made available online so that you’ll have a better knowledge of the conservative side as well: http://www.robgagnon.net/ArticlesOnline.htm
Gary, that entire post is a perfect example of how *not* to do exegesis. Look at Genesis 2:24. It has the discourse marker ‘al ken. Examine how this marker is used in the book of Genesis. You will find that is introduces something done in the present day that is based upon what happened in the narrative. For example, “Nimrod was a mighty hunter before the Lord. Therefore (‘al ken) it is said, “Like Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord” (Genesis 10:9). After Jacob wrestles with the angel and hurts his leg, the book of Genesis says, “Therefore (‘al ken), to this day the sons of Israel do not eat the sinew of the hip which is on the socket of the thigh, because he touched the socket of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew of the hip.” Now, notice that before Genesis 2:23, you have the creation of woman from man. Then the definition of marriage found in verse 24 states that this is the reason (‘al ken) why men leave their father and mother and cleave to their wife (a female).In other words, the way marriage was defined in the time of Moses was based upon what happened with God creating a woman for a man. This is why most exegetes recognize that the text is saying that the marital complement for any man is a woman.
Secondly, in regards to Romans 1, you have to deal with the intertextuality between that text and Genesis 1:27. The LXX uses unusual words for men and women that are used directly by Paul in Romans 1. Thus, what is natural in Romans 1:27 must be understood in terms of the male female requirement of Genesis 1:27.
More than that, in terms of 1 Corinthians 6 and 1 Timothy 1, not only does the compound word arsenakoitai contain the exact same two words found in the LXX of Leviticus 20:13, but Rob Gagnon has pointed out that 1 Timothy 1 seems to be arranged in the order of the ten commandments, making arsenakoitai clearly sexual in character fitting with the commandment “you shall not commit adultery.”
Finally, one patently obvious thing should be noted about Jude. The men of Sodom did not know that these men were angels! How can they be blamed forgoing after angels when they had no clue that they were. Also, in this whole presentation, nothing was spoken about the Torah specifically prohibiting homosexal relations in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13. The idea that the authors of the NT would have accepted one of the most agregious offenses in the Torah as “marriage” is utterly unthinkable, given their views of the Hebrew Bible.
“the marital complement for any man is a woman.” This goes to the heart of why conservatives are wrong about same-sex marriage. Adam, biblical interpretation must change when it conflicts with reality. Interpretations that supported the belief that the earth is flat, for example, had to change (or become completely irrational) once it was proven the earth is round. There is simply no way that a woman is the marital complement to a man who is only sexually attracted to men. Your view treats women as having no value. They can be sacrificed as the prescribed marital complement for gay men to prove that conservatives are right. What about the heterosexual woman? Does she matter at all? Why wish this fate on any woman? Your view refuses to recognize the reality of an immutable homosexual orientation firmly in place by puberty. You might as well refuse to recognize that the earth is round.
Actually, in the ancient word, homosexuality was seen as misogynistic precisely because of the face that man-man relationships rule out a woman as being part of the relationship. As to the idea that your reality can be defined by your desires, that is a deeply fallacious argument. It is largely built of Freudian Psychoanalytic philosophy, which is subject to the problem of self-deception. The main argument you are presenting is that these homosexuals did a psychoanalysis on their desires throughout their life, and found out that they were gay. Well, here is the problem. What is the difference between doing a psychoanalysis of yourself and finding out that you are gay and were always gay, and training yourself to believe that you are gay and were always gay?
One of the major problems with this philosophy is the problem of plasticity. Freud, although a psychological determinist, had to account for memory. How is it you can have never learned a fact in one instance, and then remember the fact after you have memorized it? Freud argued, in total self-contradiction to his psychological determinism, that a change takes place in the brain when we remember something. We now know him to be right on that issue, but it utterly destroys this Freudian view of sexuality upon which the lgbt movement is based. For example, we know that there are men who can, at one time, be sexually attracted to a woman, and then become sexually attracted to a car. There are some people who are sexually attracted to adults at one point, and become sexually attracted to children. And we even know of homosexuals who become bisexual. Also, even in the life of a Biblically faithful marriage, the husband is attracted to their wife both when they are young, as they grow older, and even when they are elderly. In fact, Hugh Heffner is one of the best examples of this kind of plasticity, as he can no longer have sexual relations, and must look at pornography to get sexual gratification. So, you can change from being attracted from being attracted to a twenty or thirty something to being attracted to a child or an elderly person. You can become attracted to the gender you are not attracted to now, and you can become attracted to inanimate objects such as cars or pornography? And yet, for some reason, we doubt the stories of those who claim to be changed from homosexual to heterosexual??????? Sounds to me that, if the brain exhibits such astounding plasticity in regards to sexuality, we should think twice about saying that homosexuality is immutable.
Finally, I thank you for being honest in this post. The “gay Christian” movement is an unstable and self-contradictory mixture of the freudian, marxian, and postmodern philosophy of the lgbt movement and Biblical philosophy. What generally happens, in such a situation is that one ends up overruling the other. That is why the Bible doesn’t really matter in you view because, as you have told us, you can never know whether you are bringing your own background and upbringing to the text, and reading it into the text. Worse than that, you have said that you don’t get your view of reality from the Bible, but, rather, you get it from the Freudian philosophy of the lgbt movement. Hence, the Bible is irrelevant to our metaphysics. And yet, I would contend, because of the problem of self-deception mentioned above, that your view of reality destroys knowledge of ourselves, because you can never know whether you have discovered that you are and always have been gay, or have trained yourself to believe you are gay. The Christian, however, because he begins with scripture, has a way of knowing who he is. God is our creator, and he has made man for woman and woman from man. Unless you want to challenge my exegesis on the basis of the linguistics or historical/cultural backgrounds of Genesis 2:24, my interpretation stands as correct, and is, indeed, the way we should view reality.
Gary, thanks for the comments. There are a number of orthodox (and straight) Christians who struggle to make sense of this issue, because here’s the issue that causes me tremendous amounts of struggle:
I’m asked to condemn homosexuals because the Bible says this is a violation of God’s design for human sexuality, yet at the same time I’m also supposed to ignore deliberate childlessness in the church as a violation of God’s design for human sexuality (Gen.1:28).
If homosexuality is a sin, so to should be the situation of any Christian couple that uses drugs or surgery to cut off (figuratively and literally) the ability to procreate for their own whim or convenience. The couple that willingly decides not to have children is defying the Creator’s design no different than a homosexual.
The way I see it, I either need to condemn BOTH on the basis of Scripture, or find a way to accept both – maybe as less than ideal but still acceptable variations. But if I’m honest with myself, a Christian couple that willingly refuses to have children are committing a greater sin than any homosexual is because the hetero couple CAN have children and won’t, vs. a gay couple that never can.
This is something I continue to struggle with and pray about.
Neophytos, thanks for sharing so honestly your struggle. I struggled too especially regarding homosexuality and scripture before arriving at my present understanding. What has been decisive for me is considering what the first relational principle for human beings is in Genesis. It is according to Genesis 2:18 that it is not good for us to be alone and that God wants us to have a life companion who is suitable or appropriate for us. That is prior to heterosexual marriage and the procreation of children. Heterosexual marriage and the procreation of children is of course the norm but it is not for everyone. If it were Paul would have been sinning by remaining single. There is no foundation in the OT for singleness for the people of God but Paul has no problem embracing singleness. The reality of Paul’s circumstance in life caused him to reject the Jewish belief that every man physically able to marry should do so.
The reality of homosexuality being an inherent part of gay men from puberty onward usually without any substantive heterosexual attraction justifies, I believe, a literal and narrow reading of the most important biblical statements about homosexuality in Romans 1:26,27. How can those who have never been heterosexual be guilty of exchanging heterosexuality for homosexuality? Once that truth is accepted there is no other biblical case against same sex marriage that can withstand scrutiny.
Conservatives end up with only two options for gays: lifelong celibacy or attempting heterosexual marriage anyway. The former, it should be noted, is never suggested in scripture. In fact, the subjects of homosexuality and celibacy are never linked in scripture. More importantly, consigning a considerable portion of the human race to lifelong celibacy violates the fundamental truth of Genesis 2:18.
The latter option, mixed gay-straight marriage, is cruel sooner or later for all concerned. Anyone advocating such should honestly consider whether he would want his sister or daughter or widowed mother to marry a gay man. Anyone who cares about women would never wish upon them the heartache that inevitably results from marriage to a gay man.
Gary in regards to Genesis 2:18, you neglected two things. 1. After that statement, God goes on to create a woman (not a man), and Moses then goes on to say that the reason why marriage is defined as the union of a man and a woman in his day is because of God making a woman for the first man. More than that, if you turn to Genesis 3:16, you find that strife has entered the marriage relationship such that, just as it is not good for the man to be alone, it is not good for the man to be married due to the corruption of marriage by sin. What is needed is that seed of the woman in 3:15.
Secondly, the issue you raise in regards to Romans 1, again, fails to understand the creation background. In Genesis 1:27, God creates mankind into two classes male and female, and puts this in the context of a command for mankind to procreate. This conversationally implicates that man goes with woman-a point make explicit in Genesis 2:24. This is the background to Romans 1:26-27. In other words, it has nothing to do with who people desire sexually, but how they were created, with, as Genesis 1-2 says, men going with women and women going with men. They exchage that fundamental truth by following their sexual desires, rather than seeking to bring their sexual desires in conformity to the way they were created.
Also, the solutions you present presuppose that God can never redeem from hkmosexual desires, and yet, the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:11says “Such *were* some of you.” Not “such *are* some of you.” No, Paul puts homosexual practice in the past for a true believer in Jesus. Itis the glorious truth spoken next that is critical, “but you were washed, sanctified, and justified.” *That* is the hope I give to the homosexual-the hope of the gospel.
Neophytos, look at the context of Genesis 1:28. Look especially at “Let *them* rule” and “male and female he created *them.*” Those are plurals, and the singular noun ‘adam is the antecedent. When you have the singular noun ‘adam as the antecedent of these plural suffixes, it probably means something like “mankind.” Thus, the human race is who is commanded to “Be fruitful and multiply,” and not every individual within the human race. This is further emphasized by the command you didn’t quote, namely, “fill the earth.” By the logic you are presenting, not only must every couple have children, but every couple must have forty trillion children so they “fill the earth.” Thus, the Duggars are in sin because twenty children doesn’t fill the earth. The idea that deliberate childlessness is a sin is very weak exegetically. I have been amazed at some of the bad arguments used to try to prove it. However, you have lesbian scholars and unbelievers such as James Barr against you on the issue of homosexuality. That is how crystal clear the Bible is on this topic.
John Piper’s previous response to Rob Bell’s book “Love Wins” comes to mind: “Farewell, Rob Bell.”
John Boyd says
Yes, some people castigated Piper for that comment. But he perceived correctly where he was headed.
Ted Grimsrud’s review of Gagnon’s The Bible and Homosexual Practice (available online) should be read by any open minded person who is attempting to evaluate Gagnon as an authority on this subject. Gagnon has an axe to grind and grind it he does in all of his writings on homosexuality. He goes beyond scholarship in his life to active anti-gay advocacy. Suffice it to say that Gagnon is preaching to the choir of those who already agree with him and is not in a position to persuade anyone outside of the shrinking conservative extreme of Christian thought.
Reading Ted Grimsrud’s writing, if I use your reasoning from my particular stance, it looks like he has an axe to grind in all of his writings on homosexuality as well – he goes beyond scholarship to actively advocate for changing his church’s stance to be pro-gay marriage. He seems to be preaching to the choir of those who already agree with him and is not in a position to persuade anyone not already interested in leaving behind the restraints of Biblical Christianity.
See why that kind of reasoning isn’t really valid or convincing?
Gary, so, what was James Barr’s ax to grind? He endorsed Gagnon’s work, and was hardly an evangelical. Nor was Brevard Childs who also endorsed his work. As did James D.G. Dunn. More than that, Gagnon has relpied to Ted Grimsrud, and the word he uses is “slander.” If you are open minded, go also read Gagnon’s review of Grimsrud:
I don’t agree with Gagnon on everything. I disagree with him on his interpretation of the Middle Assyrian laws, and would be more in agreement with Donald Wold about a distinction between religious and civil homosexuality. Still, the man is a scholar, and has actually studied under lesbian NT scholars such as Bernadette Bruton, who likewise believe Paul is forbidding all forms of homosexual practice in Romans 1. The idea that Gagnon has an ax to grind is pure slander, and doesn’t even address the issue. More than that, it also doesn’t deal with anything he has said or I have said. Arguments are not made right by slanderous accusations. They are made right by an ability to account for the facts that both myself and Dr. Gagnon have pointed out.
Not everyone who takes a conservative position on homosexuality has an axe to grind. I never suggested that. For a host of good and honest folks same-sex marriage is simply a bridge too far due to their upbringing and cultural conditioning. The same could have been said, however, for the abolition of slavery in the 19th century and the more recent acceptance of divorced and remarried persons in second and third marriages into Christian fellowship and even leadership.
Gary, go read my comment again. The people I listed endorsed Gagnon’s book! If Gagnon has an ax to grind, then what are these liberal, hard left scholars doing endorsing this book. No, the reality is, Gagnon is writing in an academic field, and his views are well accepted in scholarship. Thus to say he had an “ax to grind” is patently absurd.
Secondly, using you own argument, will we come to future generations who will see that bestiality was a bridge too far for our upbringing? What about incest? What about polygamy? Polyamory? You see, such a position as yours must undermine the authority of scripture, because one can never know whether one’s culture and upbringing are determining what they take the text to mean. Thus scripture becomes totally useless in determining ethical norms. *That* is an unchristian and antichristian view of scripture.
I agree that our culture and upbringing are important to keep in mind as we interpret the Biblical text. However, that is not the only factor in interpretation. The author is another factor, as is God himself in whose image both interpreter and author are created. Not only are we created in his image, but this God always communicates perfectly, and we must relate to him either in covenant obedience or rebellion, and thus, we know what correct communication looks like. As Paul says, in Him we live and move and have our being. Thus, God himself provides a base and standard by which we can test interpretations to see if they are correct. That is why we can study linguistics as well as the history and culture of the Ancient Near East, and use this information to test our interpretations. This was something that was fundamentally *not* done on the issue of slavery. Look at how the curse of Canaan was handled-both arbitrarily as some of those nations did not become black, as well as divorcing that story from the later history of Israel’s dealings with the Canaanites. Also, there are some of us who *do* still believe that, except for reasons of unfaithfulness, divorce and remarriage are wrong.
One final note. Isn’t it interesting how culturally driven the divorce culture and the “gay Christian” movement is. No one ever accepted them throughout church history, and it is only after the sexual revolution that anyone ever thought they were compatible with scripture. If the possibility of our culture affecting our interpretations were taken seriously, it would seem to cut much more strongly and forcefully against the gay “Christian” movement rather than against orthodoxy.
Yes, people do get hung up by culture or upbringing. We have to remember that the problem of divorce and homosexuality are the prevalent sins of the world, not the only sins. All carry the same eternal penalty.
Please read the below letter I wrote to a friend after we had been discussing the subject of “The Husband of One Wife”. This is an interpretation of God’s Word on my part and not agreed with by some cultural or upbringing training. I always have to remember that all behavior that does not agree with God’s instructions fall under the header of SIN, a little white lie is the same as a big lie, is the same as adultery, is the same as stealing, is the same as murder, is the same as hating one’s brother and God can not look upon sin. The only unforgivable sin is rejecting the call of the Holy Spirit or blasphemy. Either the shed blood of Jesus Christ covers all sin of the repentant sinner or it covers no sin. My sin or sins are no more or no less than anyone else’s, they are all sins. The real problem is whether the shed blood of Jesus has been applied to them.
Here is part of the letter to my friend.
After we talked the other day I decide to search scripture some more. So, I wanted to share my finds and opinion with you in greater deft. Hope you don’t condemn me if we don’t agree you never have before nor I you. I really appreciate how we can discuss the Bible and enjoy the little time we get to spend with each other now days. Enjoy, I hope.
My belief is that divorced men should not be pastors or deacons for reasons other than the act of divorce. I believe that there are sometimes situations where there is an innocent party in a divorce, but not usually. But in the cases of an innocent party does God call him or her a special class of a sinner and hold them responsible for the actions of the other party? Just some thoughts to lead into the subject.
Why does God use the word divorce in some scripture and husband of one wife in other? Do they mean the same thing? I believe God is not the author of confusion?
1 Corinthians 14:33
For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
Leviticus 21:14 A widow, or a divorced woman, or profane, or an harlot, these shall he not take: but he shall take a virgin of his own people to wife.
Leviticus 22:13 But if the priest’s daughter be a widow, or divorced, and have no child, and is returned unto her father’s house, as in her youth, she shall eat of her father’s meat: but there shall be no stranger eat thereof.
Numbers 30:9 But every vow of a widow, and of her that is divorced, wherewith they have bound their souls, shall stand against her.
Deuteronomy 24:1 When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.
Deuteronomy 24:3 And if the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her to be his wife;
Isaiah 50:1 Thus saith the Lord, Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away? or which of my creditors is it to whom I have sold you? Behold, for your iniquities have ye sold yourselves, and for your transgressions is your mother put away.
Jeremiah 3:8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.
Matthew 5:31 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:
Matthew 5:32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
Matthew 19:7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
Mark 10:4 And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away.
HUSBAND OF ONE WIFE
New Test. (only, not in OT)
1 Timothy 3:2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;
1 Timothy 3:12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.
Titus 1:6 If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
When we look to the teachings of Jesus and the Bible, we see that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), and that in every divorce sin and selfishness on someone’s part or both parties lie at the heart of the broken marriage. When the Pharisees questioned Him about divorce, Christ explained that from the beginning of the human race, God instituted marriage to be between one man and one woman for life (Matthew 19:1-9). In the course of that discussion, Jesus noted that there is an exception in which a person can divorce his wife lawfully in the sight of God. Jesus said: “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexually immorality, and marries another commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” (Matthew 19:9). One exception that Jesus gave for dissolving a marriage in the eyes of God is if a person’s spouse has sexual intercourse with another besides his/her spouse. Jesus’ statement implies that if a man divorces his wife for sexual immorality, and he marries another person, he does not commit adultery by remarrying the second person. If a man can be married to a second wife (because he divorced his first wife due to sexual infidelity), and not be considered by God to be committing adultery, then it follows that God must (at least in the innocent party’s case) view the first marriage as dissolved and the covenant broken. Therefore, it would still be the case that a man who divorced his wife because of sexual infidelity and married another woman would/could be “the husband of one wife.”
It would appear logical that a man’s condition upon the death of a wife, or due to a divorce because of marital infidelity, would be the same, and a subsequent marriage would not disqualify him from being the “husband of one wife.”
If divorce on the basis of adultery is legal and dissolves the marriage so that the one divorced can marry another, is the one remarried considered to be now “the husband of one wife”? It seems evident that legally, in God’s eyes, such a remarried person is the husband of only one wife. He is not considered to have two wives. If this is true, then technically, he meets the requirements of the language of 1 Timothy.
On the human level of thinking (technically) he has had two wives, which is it? It is always God’s way!
The reason I believe a divorced man should not be a deacon.
We must understand that God is giving us the highest of standards for a man who would be Christ’s “under shepherd” and pastor His congregation. Paul instructed in 1 Timothy 4:12, “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” (and qualifications of 1 Tim. 3) A man whose marriage fails may not be able regardless of who was at fault present a proper example to other believers. He may be a godly man after his divorce but unfortunately the sigma of divorce will forever mark him and make his familial leadership abilities suspect and thereby disqualifying him for this responsibility. Guess what, these things also apply to single or non-divorced men and should be justly applied to them as well. We all come up short compared these standards at times. Shouldn’t those same reasons be grounds to remove one from the position?
What do I think has been said? A man who is divorced on biblical grounds is freed from his marriage covenant and is free to remarry. When he remarries, he is the husband of one wife and one wife only – his new wife. The former marriage is over, in God’s eyes.
What if this same divorced man who is innocent never remarries, is he still technically the husband of one wife? They are not living in a normal arrangement as husband and wife as we know it. Maybe she was having mental issues and left and filed for divorce and would have it no other way. One can be forced into a divorce against their wishes, believing spouses or not.
If Paul was intending to prohibit divorced men from serving as deacons or pastors, there are ways he could have stated that more plainly. “An pastor or deacon must never have divorced a wife and remarried.” He could have given words that would clearly and unequivocally say what he meant. Paul was never one for veiling his words. He said what he meant. If he had meant divorce here, he would have said it.
Jesus/God said he hated divorce not the man who had had two wives at different times for some reason. What if one had died? One is freed from the bonds of marriage upon death or on one of God’s legal grounds and they are allowed to remarry another believer. Even after the death of a spouse, if they remarry that would mean that they had had two wives, if not for God’s legal grounds.
As far as I am concerned all words in the Bible are the inspired words of God. They are not Paul’s, Luke’s, Moses, or any other person’s, but God’s or they would not be in His Word. Let me say that another way the scripture is exactly what God wants us to know. So what Paul said in scripture is the same as God saying it. If God said divorce he meant divorce and why would He change the words to the husband of one wife and cause confusion for his children? Why would He not say, If any be blameless, the husband of one wife not divorced, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.
Don’t forget: Blameless, faithful children, and not accused of riot or unruly.
10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
What does guilty of all exclude, being unfaithful to one’s spouse, fornication, adultery, lust, divorce?
Another Biblical ground according to the word of God.
I Cor. 7:10-15
10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
11 But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
13 And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
Not under bondage = free from the marriage and the restrictions of remarrying, as long as the Christian marries another believer. What about the remarriage of the innocent party to another believer who has never been married?
Sure seems to me that man wants to put his spin on God’s word. Does God’s Word mean that a pastor or deacon whose spouse dies mean they are now technically not the husband of one wife or no longer have a wife? No, they are a widower, a husband who has not remarried and has a deceased wife. Since God’s Word says they can remarry, to a believer, does it also mean that the first wife never existed? No, it means that they only have one wife in the eyes of God because of the exception God provided for man. Under that exception a pastor or deacon could remarry and still serve. If death of a spouse applies don’t the other exceptions apply also? I would think so, but in the eyes of mankind that seems to be a problem regardless of what God said (ruckus in the congregation). These guidelines are for all of God’s people, pastors, deacons, and lay people equally. We never want to cause someone else to stumble by giving them an excuse to divorce though.
Husband of one wife or is it husband and two wives?
1 Corinthians 6:16
16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Sexual intercourse before marriage or adultery/fornication after marriage, either way both scriptures sound like marriage don’t they, shall be one flesh, or one spirit? Sure could mean the possibility of two wives to me if a married man has ever had sex with another person! Is husband of one wife or two? Does it matter when divorce or being joined to a harlot took place, both are adultery/fornication. What about when it took place, before or after marriage or before or after conversion? They shall be ONE flesh and a piece of paper or some words by a judge or preacher will make no difference in the acts after two lie together. And let’s not throw in lust of the heart for another woman, remember Jesus said there was no difference both were the same sin. He actually expanded the laws
Mat. 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Can we be forgiven of this sin of adultery?
1 Cor. 6:17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
Human to human it is called, they shall be one flesh.
Can one be saved whether the act took place before or after being joined together? When we accept Christ as our Savior committing sin is like committing adultery against Him, so can we be forgiven of sin after this marriage? That reminds me of the scripture where Jesus and Peter had a discussion while Jesus was washing the feet of the disciples and Peter rebelled.
John 13:9 Simon Peter answered, “Lord, then wash not only my feet, but wash my hands and my head, too!” 10 Jesus said, “After a person has had a bath, his whole body is clean. He needs only to wash his feet. And you men are clean, but not all of you.”
Could that mean that after one has been saved/baptized they are saved/washed head to toe clean, but as we walk through this filthy world we will get some dirt/sin on us and need to wash our feet from time to time, repent of that sin to restore fellowship? We know who was being talked about in the last sentence of that verse. Wasn’t Peter forgiven for his later sin of denying Jesus to the world?
Willfully sinning is making a choice to sin whether it is one time or multiple times. The prodigal son walked away from his father’s house one time, but he was sinning every day that he chose to stay away. Is this one sin or multiple sins? And we don’t know how many days he was away or how many other kinds of sin he committed while on the run from the Father.
How many men do you know that were virgins when they got married? I bet you can’t name any for sure. Were you? How about, was your wife? Remember God said not to marry a woman that had been put away. Being joined in either case male or female non-virgin would be like being joined to a harlot (V-16 above). One of the exceptions God allows is in reality talking about a harlot, right? Spouse committing adultery? So if a deacon or pastor or lay person enters into this problem in one way or another (him or her) is forgiveness a part of the solution? So can a deacon or pastor be forgiven for marrying a harlot they sleep with before marriage and who can’t stop being a harlot after marriage? Yes, in both cases the pastor, the deacon, and the woman because of the Shed Blood of Jesus Christ. So why do some people think that the Shed Blood of Jesus Christ does not cover sin for other people? Were you joined to a harlot before or after marriage that no one knows about, except God? That would also make you a male harlot. Whoa, I forgot LUST counts too. God is still in the forgiving business through the Shed Blood of His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ and it either covers sin or it doesn’t. Of course we know that there is one sin it does not cover. A lot to think about isn’t it? Where do we fall in this picture, sure would be hard for me to judge anyone else. But I can sure tell the about the pit falls of life that I have experienced and now learned better about from a relationship with a Savior that has always had my best interest in mind, if I had only paid closer attention to Him in my younger years.
We sure have to be careful when we try to interpret God’s Words to make it mean what we want it to, while not applying the whole scripture (Bible), even the whole verse sometimes. I will never forget what a co-worker who I thought claimed to know our God said to me. He was openly living in a sinful state no doubt, when I asked him how that could be he said, “The Bible says to work out your own salvation” Sadly I was too weak in my knowledge to try to lead him to the Lord at that time in my life.
I just now had to ask God to forgive me for being one of his children and not being prepared on that day, at that moment. I should have been prepared, no excuse.
I’m reminded of Judah sleeping with what he thought was a harlot, but was really his daughter-in-law. Sure seems as if that was okay to do in the time, according to man. Judah, wasn’t he the line that The Lion of Judah came from, Jesus?
I Tim. 3 KJV
8 Likewise must the deacons be grave, not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; 9 Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. 10 And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. 11 Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. 12 Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 13 For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Another translation (remember the KJV is the seventeenth translation, the only true is Hebrew and Greek manuscripts and I can’t read either one, also my family is far removed from the king’s English and how they actually used words). When I read another translation I will double check with KJV, it’s hard to let go of what you grew up with, only thing we had that I knew of.
I Tim. 3 NCV
8 In the same way, deacons must be respected by others, not saying things they do not mean. They must not drink too much wine or try to get rich by cheating others. 9 With a clear conscience they must follow the secret of the faith that God made known to us. 10 Test them first. Then let them serve as deacons if you find nothing wrong in them. 11 In the same way, women must be respected by others. They must not speak evil of others. They must be self-controlled and trustworthy in everything. 12 Deacons must have only one wife and be good leaders of their children and their own families. 13 Those who serve well as deacons are making an honorable place for themselves, and they will be very bold in their faith in Christ Jesus.
Sounds to me like no one qualifies to be a deacon. Sin is Sin!
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
God/Jesus used the word divorce in the OT and NT, why not in the scripture about pastors and deacons?
Polygamy was practiced by the Jews more than the Gentiles, except for the Gentiles kings and rich maybe. Remember Abraham, Jacob, David, and Solomon just to mention a few. They had their problems with multiple wives at the same time, but God still used them mightily, I don’t know how but as we both know God can do anything He chooses.
In reality or thinking logically, how can a normal man be about the work of the Lord and meet the needs of two wives? Remember scripture tells us if we marry we will have problems. That is almost the same as that super Christian trying to please one wife and three or four jobs for the Lord at the same time. All go lacking because none get 100% of one’s attention. At least with one wife and one church job it could be 50/50, oops forgot about bi-vocational pastor and deacons working a secular job too. So, that must mean that the fellowship/body/church/congregation is not getting the best either?
Just my opinion. Hope you enjoyed.
So Prof. Gagnon has an axe to grind, but none of the people you’re promoting here have? And they preach to the choir of THOSE who already agree with THEM…
But since you WANT to disregard conservative scholarship, what are you doing here? And at least on websites like these, conservative scholars will at least give liberal scholars a fair review, and not just write them off with a mere paragraph.
Grant, would you like it better if this blog was just an echo chamber of all conservative voices. Gagnon has gone out of his way to antagonize gays. That’s why I said he’s not convincing except to those who already agree with him. But the review I cited is a fair and impartial review in my opinion. As far as axes to grind, whether you agree or disagree with Rob Bell or Matthew Vines, I don’t think anyone would characterize them as having axes to grind.
Matthew Vines, a self confessed homosexual advocating for gay mirage does not have an axe to grind? He has a hell of a lot of skin in this particular game!
As does Rob Bell in his approach to Christianity based on “relevance.” If homosexual “marriage” is , indeed, sinful, then forget about the notion of “relevance.” Yes, Rob Bell has a stake in this as much as Matthew Vines. If homosexuality is sinful, then his whole conception of Christianity collapses.
Dr. Albert Mohler thoroughly and effectively took Matthew Vines – and the entire “homosexual-christian” community – to task in his response, available at http://www.albertmohler.com/2014/04/22/god-the-gospel-and-the-gay-challenge-a-response-to-matthew-vines/
The free ebook is available at http://sbts.me/ebook
Where did Kristen Bell come from here? Did she just happen to also be on the show, or was this a typo?
Nm. I see that his wife is named Kristen.
Yes very zimzum or zumzim, so very grey.
Nice challenge, great teaching.
There are many mirages out there but only one well that truly satisfies. John 4:1-26
when you have in front of you flesh-and-blood people who are your brothers and sisters, and aunts and uncles, and co-workers and neighbors, and they love each other and just want to go through life.
This argument can be used to justify any sin. People are poor (or see themselves as such) so steal just to get through life; people are mistreated so mistreat others as a way of coping; people need community so talk to others (gossip) to get through life; many people are idiots so others get angry to cope with such stupidity; people don’t like to feel hungry ever so become gluttons to avoid unpleasant sensations.
Buddy Walworth says
Any chance to bash Rob Bell appears to be taken by this magazine. What a sad witness to the world when someone considered part of our ranks at one time does something we don’t agree with and we “burn them at the stake” instead of disagree with them in an honorable way.
Kenneth Abbott says
If you can suggest “an honorable way” to protect the sheep from ravening wolves or false shepherds, we’re all ears (or eyes, in this case). Mr. Bell is more than just someone with whom faithful Christians disagree–his teachings are spiritual poison.
Richie Batson says
Dr, Kruger has disagreed in the most honorable way available to Christians: The proper use of God’s Word to provide a corrective to Bell’s false teaching. 1 John 4 speaks to this issue. There were false teachers in John’s day, just as there are in our day. They left the fellowship of true believers, and then continued to try and persuade other believers to follow. They were attempting to chip away at the foundation of these believers’ assurance. These pretenders abandoned the apostolic teaching that they had previously been given, thus showing themselves to be false teachers. Bell is no different. He is a false teacher who has abandoned the apostolic teaching of Scripture, and is to be exposed as such–if we are to be faithful to God and His Word.
Our witness to the world is one of love of Christ and His Church, and obedience to the commands of Christ. If you’ll note carefully, Bell (in his statement about the Church’s irrelevancy) just tossed the bride of Christ aside without a second thought. Bell has never truly been ‘part of our ranks’–he went out from us to show that he was not of us…
A second comment:
I was thinking about the Sodom argument today regarding the first post by Gary. The thing is God was already on His way to destroy Sodom because the cry had gone up to heaven beforehand. So it had nothing to do with the angels in that respect…
All you need is sex or drugs or rock n roll or money or friends (to get by) may contribute in a way to our temporal existance but Gods love in Christ reaches down to our spirit or soul, both now & for eternity. It has the power to cleanse & heal as we are made new creations.
John Boyd says
One of the clearest Biblical statements against homosexuality – and one that their advocates never seem to address – is found in Matthew 19, in the words of Jesus Himself.:
3 Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” 4 And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.”
He created them male and female… FOR THIS REASON.
An acceptance, even a celebration of homosexual practice is typically a harbinger of a dying culture. The greatest evil of this is that it flies in the face of the created order of God.
Defenders of homosexuality attempt to twist Scripture to suit their position, but I find it telling that Bell dismisses God’s Word as irrelevant “2,000 year old letters”. In other words, “We don’t think the Bible means what you say it means, but even if it does, we don’t accept it anyway. We will rule our bodies.”
One has to believe God’s Word for it to mean anything to them. No belief, No understanding, and No Heaven! I believe this scripture refers to being given over to a reprobate mind. So, there will be No understanding by one given over to this mindset.
Romans 1:18 God’s anger is shown from heaven against all the evil and wrong things people do. By their own evil lives they hide the truth. 19 God shows his anger because some knowledge of him has been made clear to them. Yes, God has shown himself to them. 20 There are things about him that people cannot see—his eternal power and all the things that make him God. But since the beginning of the world those things have been easy to understand by what God has made. So people have no excuse for the bad things they do. 21 They knew God, but they did not give glory to God or thank him. Their thinking became useless. Their foolish minds were filled with darkness. 22 They said they were wise, but they became fools. 23 They traded the glory of God who lives forever for the worship of idols made to look like earthly people, birds, animals, and snakes.
24 Because they did these things, God left them and let them go their sinful way, wanting only to do evil. As a result, they became full of sexual sin, using their bodies wrongly with each other. 25 They traded the truth of God for a lie. They worshiped and served what had been created instead of the God who created those things, who should be praised forever. Amen.
26 Because people did those things, God left them and let them do the shameful things they wanted to do. Women stopped having natural sex and started having sex with other women. 27 In the same way, men stopped having natural sex and began wanting each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and in their bodies they received the punishment for those wrongs.
28 People did not think it was important to have a true knowledge of God. So God left them and allowed them to have their own worthless thinking and to do things they should not do. 29 They are filled with every kind of sin, evil, selfishness, and hatred. They are full of jealousy, murder, fighting, lying, and thinking the worst about each other. They gossip 30 and say evil things about each other. They hate God. They are rude and conceited and brag about themselves. They invent ways of doing evil. They do not obey their parents. 31 They are foolish, they do not keep their promises, and they show no kindness or mercy to others. 32 They know God’s law says that those who live like this should die. But they themselves not only continue to do these evil things, they applaud others who do them.
Written over 2000 years ago and could not describe the problem of Rob Bell and those like minded any better. You are not despising me, these are not my words, you are despising God if you do not accept His Words. So, I take no offense if you don’t like what God says.
That’s it Mike! Those who interpret scripture differently than you just have reprobate minds. But seriously read again vv. 29-31 from what you just quoted. Do you know any gay folks who are like this group of idolaters Paul describes? If you do, stay far away from them! Nothing in Paul’s words comes close to describing gay men and women today who simply want to live and to love as God created them to do. While there are certainly exceptions gays are often among the most compassionate people in their communities and naturally identify with”the least of these” in our society due to their own experience of rejection. Cities like mine want more gay residents because they help bring dying cities back to life. That’s a long way from the destructive people Paul describes in such detail. Look at the clues that we have right in the words of scripture.
Remember I said I these are not my words, I just believe in them. If you do not want to believe or accept God’s Word you will never understand it as it is written and will always be looking for another interpretation or loop holes, there are none.
The Bible is the #1 best selling non-fiction book of all time and has stood up to the testing of the world and is still around and always will be. You don’t have to agree, but you seem to want to, just on your terms though. Trust me that will not work.
You also seem to believe that there is something different about gay life today and it is different or some new way that can be accepted by God and His children.
Ecclesiastes 1:11 People don’t remember what happened long ago,
and in the future people will not remember what happens now.
Even later, other people will not remember what was done before them.
This is not the first time in history that this subject has confronted mankind. What happens has happened before, just as the sun rises and sets day after day.
In response to vv. 29-31: James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
There are people in this world that have all kinds of sin problems that go against the teachings of the Bible. Some people put no stock in the Bible teachings and some of us struggle everyday to live according to the Word of God, not as I interpret it, but as it reads. Are there areas of sin I struggle with, you bet. But, I choose to not give in to them in order to please God and conform to the image of His Son. If it is called sin I don’t try to make God fit into my lifestyle, I work to fit into His wish for my life without the sin.
How do we determine whether our actions are aimed at pleasing ourselves or pleasing God?
Our desire should be to find out what pleases the Lord. People who engage in sexual immorality live to please themselves. But those who follow Christ should be motivated to please God and aggressively pursue what it is that pleases Him. You seem to want to fit into God’s family, but just as I had to do, accept sin for what it is, against God’s instructions.
Most people have the mistaken idea that God arbitrarily set up certain standards and parameters and called anything outside of those boundaries sin. Not true. Sin is not bad because it is forbidden—it’s forbidden because it is bad. It is forbidden because it will destroy us corporately and individually. Both in OT law and NT theology the Lord absolutely and unmistakably forbids homosexuality. Like all sin, homosexuality is not bad because it is forbidden. It’s forbidden because it is bad. As it is with all sin.
People trying to please God should RUN from even the appearance of sinful behavior, realizing how contagious SIN is, how deadly it is even here on earth and how it affects the SOUL. It can lead to disease, divorce, insecurity, distrust and many, many other problems in life for generations to come. It is called SIN because it is bad for us and God has our interest at heart. Sin may please me in some ways, but it can very well hurt me too, experience has proved that in my life. As I look back on my sinful ways it brings shame and embarrassment to mind. Although I have been forgiven it is my desire to never visit those areas again.
Just as associating with a person with a contagious disease will get you sick. You don’t have to kiss them or lie with them. Just associating with friends who have bad habits/sinful ways will get you caught up in the acts. Remember Satan makes sin pleasurable to the sight through lust and to touch as in forbidden fruit, a sweet kiss to the sense of taste and alluring perfume to the sense of smell and finally the romantic whisper of words to the ears. Satan will involve one or all five of our senses, hearing, seeing, smelling, touching, and/or tasting. He will start with one and add as many as he needs to accomplish the task of drawing God’s children into rebellion just like he did. How blind a person becomes with each added allure, they can’t get their mind on anything else. We cannot allow Satan an INCH because he will want to be the RULER in your life.
I don’t have a self-righteous attitude. There is the Hell Bound Sinner and Heaven Bound Sinner, the last name is the same. It is God’s desire that ALL be Heaven Bound. What can I do to encourage the ones I love to live pure lives? Share what God’s Word has to say with gentleness and respect.
You don’t have to believe, it is a free will choice to be made by you and I believe you really want to fit in.
Monsoon Harvard says
Excellently put, Mike.