Gay Marriage, Christianity and the Constitution

Update: This post no longer best reflects my evolving stance on homosexuality and same-sex marriage. For a more recent exploration and understanding, please see the following entry: Yes, Christians Can (and should)  Support Same-Sex Marriage. -CL 6/27/15

I can think of no other topic that is more hotly debated and emotionally laden than that of gay marriage in the United States today. Divisive and passionate topics come and go, but right now, this is the one. Adding to the rhetoric, I recently read an article whose author was vehemently opposed to offering marriage equality to homosexual couples. In that article, he quoted several apparently like-minded leaders of various anti gay-marriage groups and elected officials, one of whom accused the push for equal rights as a “liberal, elitist” program. I won’t tell you which religion he claimed to represent or what political party he is affiliated with, but I bet you can guess, as well as which political platform he labeled as the “liberal” enemy.

For my part, I am indeed a Jesus-follower (at least in my better moments). I want to honor him above all other ideas, agendas, politics, lifestyles and beliefs. I don’t have all the answers, and I myself am in an evolutionary process regarding this issue. To be honest, I think I am being pulled in a new direction, but so far it is nebulous and ineffable. Stay tuned, I suppose.

But at any rate, as per my present understanding of the Bible, it indicates something significant about those who choose active homosexual lifestyles. I am just not sure that it’s what God wants for them. Unquestionably, in both the Old Testament and the New, the Bible indicates that urges to choose this lifestyle should be denied by those who place themselves under Christ’s authority. After all, the entire paradigm of being a Jesus-follower is for one to deny herself or himself, take up their cross, and live in a way that Jesus lived. For those who like Scripture references, this can be found in Matthew 16.24 (as well as a few other places). I don’t really like taking verses out of context, so I strongly encourage the reading of the surrounding verses as well. But for Jesus, the issue isn’t about either homosexuality or heterosexuality, but rather about following him. I also think it is important to note that Jesus is a man who opted for celibacy and did so regardless of his own sexual orientation (whatever it may have been).

Does this mean that all Christians must choose celibacy? No, of course not, especially if we consider all of Christian Scripture together (although it does forbid sex outside of marriage). Neither does it mean that Jesus-followers should not get married (although the New Testament indicates that monogamous marriage is the only way to pursue it if marriage is entered into). However, given the full measure of the biblical text, it does seem that gay marriage is not a viable option for Christians. This isn’t the result of some church board meeting or council, this is Christians trying to  honor the preeminent source of written authority in their lives. But please read me carefully on this: Nowhere does the Bible (or Jesus) indicate that having homosexual feelings or orientations means that people who are that way are evil, irredeemable hell-fodder etc. Being gay (or not) isn’t what gets us in or keeps us out of Heaven. Period. People are not able to change their nature (or natural dispositions), but they can decide what they nurture or cultivate. We are not slaves to our desires.

Nevertheless, for Jesus-followers at least, my understanding of the Bible is that it indicates that Christian marriage remains as a valid option only for monogamous, heterosexual couples. As a married heterosexual guy, I cannot imagine how tough this would be for a person who had a homosexual orientation who wanted to follow Jesus. Essentially since this means that he or she would have to set aside their sexuality, for life, for Christ. There are both heterosexual and homosexual individuals who choose this route, but none of us other folks can pretend to “know” what that is like or how difficult, frustrating and emotionally taxing it must be. Christians are wrong and hurtful to suggest this option casually or as if it doesn’t cost the person dearly. And please, can we forever quit talking about “curing” homosexuals of this part of their humanity. I didn’t choose my sexual orientation, so I must at least consider the possibility that my gay and lesbian friends didn’t pick theirs either. Can we heterosexual types imagine our indignation and hurt if a homosexual suggested that we ought to be cured of our sexual orientation, and that they knew a great program or therapy or mystical practice that would accomplish this? I can’t think of anything that would be more offensive.

But what about people who do not accept Christ and do not choose to deny themselves for his sake? Once again, the issue is not about sexuality but rather one’s fidelity and submission to Jesus. Should non-Christians be forced to have Christian beliefs, convictions and practices imposed on them? The answer, according to Jesus and the Bible, is clearly and firmly, “No.” Nowhere do we see Jesus forcing people to honor him or what he teaches about the Kingdom of Heaven. Nowhere do we see Jesus holding political rallies to persuade the Roman government to enforce Jewish theology on non-Jews. However, what we do hear and see Jesus doing is having compassion for societal outcasts, the marginalized, the “unclean,” the sexually immoral, the condemned criminals, the hungry, the poor, the confused and the lost etc. Most importantly, we also see Jesus sacrifice himself for each and every one of them, without exception or caveat.

When we look at Jesus, what does this tell us about the current debate over marriage in our nation? It tells me that Jesus likely wouldn’t support homosexual lifestyles (in marriage or outside of it), but that he nevertheless also wouldn’t go on a crusade to end those lifestyles regardless of the marriage issue, much less force his perspective on anyone. If that is what Jesus wouldn’t do, then why do SOME Christians feel like they have to impose their convictions on non-Christians regarding the issue? I have my suspicions, but for now I’ll just say I don’t really know.

I am of the opinion that it is only a matter of time before the United States’ Supreme Court weighs in on this issue and declares that bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional. I happen to agree with that position. The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads (in part) that, “…Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This is a good thing. Humanity has proved again and again (and is presently doing so in some regimes today), that theocracy is a terrible thing, and that has been true wether it’s Christians or Muslims or any other religious adherents at the helm. Theocracy only works when everyone believes, thinks, interprets and acts exactly the same (which is to say that theocracy does not work and never has).

So, when talking and listening to the present debate over gay marriage, everything that I have ever read from those who are opposed to it inevitably invoke religious books and teachings to fortify or “prove” their case. I don’t necessarily blame them for doing so. If these religious beliefs are the most precious and convicting things in their life, then why wouldn’t they be outspoken about them and vote for candidates and issues that best represent them? I do not bemoan their participation in the democratic process in the least. Nevertheless, all of the laws that Congress makes are subject to the U.S. Constitution. Given the First Amendment’s language about the establishment of religion, citing religious books, convictions and dogma to make the case for a law is completely inappropriate, and that remains true even if a majority of the population were to vote for it. This is also a good thing, and I ask Christians who disagree with me to consider a U.S. region whose population was overwhelmingly Islamic. Would the minority Christians accept a majority vote to impose Islamic prayer in schools, businesses and government offices? I am guessing the answer to that would be “no,” and they would indeed have a Constitutional right to fight it. So the question I have for my Christian brothers and sisters is: How is this unlike Christians who would force their religious convictions on non-Christians? It doesn’t seem to be any different at all to me. Such moves are unconstitutional and frankly, opposed to equal rights under the law. Bans on gay marriage may be appropriate for certain, individual congregations within the Christian tradition, but not for the United States.

Thanks for reading me,

-C. Lambeth

For those interested in another voice on the topic, my good friend Bo Sanders has also fashioned a strong blog post on the topic at Home Brewed Christianity. Here is the link: Evangelical Support for Same Sex Marriage 

Sally Steenland has also written a compelling, Rawlsian case for tolerance and mutual edification amongst peoples with mutually exclusive perspectives. Surely the USAmerican Christian can learn to be more like Christ with this sort of insight. Don’t miss it: Faith in Values: Political Pluralism: How Government Can Support Conflicting Religious Beliefs

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About C_Lambeth

I currently live in the Pacific Northwest. I graduated from Missouri State University with a Bachelor's of Science and from George Fox Seminary (now Portland Seminary) with a Master's of Divinity. In addition to knowing Christ and helping others know him, I am passionate about peace, the environment, Christian feminism, justice for all (not just the wealthy) and being a lifelong learner. Please feel free to comment on any of the posts here or to suggest new posts altogether. Thank you for reading me! -CL
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81 Responses to Gay Marriage, Christianity and the Constitution

  1. I have had a(less eloquent, yet similar) position on this for sometime. I believe firmly that the US Government should seek to pass laws that the majority want, as per the Constitution. Christians in government certainly have a right to vote according to their values, but I think that people need to step back and realize that the US is merely an earthly kingdom and that compromises must be made in order to keep the peace. Christians live your values, but don’t scream them at the opposition. If you do then they will hate God for it, which is the real tragedy.

  2. Justin Aichele says:

    Are you saying that you are pro gay marriage?

  3. C_Lambeth says:

    I am saying that I am for equal treatment of all people under the law. Thank you for asking.

  4. Justin A. says:

    Does equal treatment mean that you support gay marriage?

  5. Justin A. says:

    Ok, sorry….just trying to get a clear understanding….do you see the effort to redefine marriage as a ‘special rights’ effort or as ‘equal treatment’?

    • C_Lambeth says:

      On this issue, I see a “special right” as something afforded to only one segment of the population based on a prejudicial condition or situation. To aid in clarity, do you not think that people should be treated equally?

  6. Justin A. says:

    Doesn’t Scripture speak rather clearly about the ‘prejudicial condition or situation’ you refer to? For Christians, equality must be seen under the authority of the beloved Scripture. This issue is clear…marriage has always been defined and will always be defined as between a man and a woman only. The ‘equally’ part is always in perspective of sin and the ultimate goal of people repenting of their sin and coming to Christ. So, in general, if there is a civil effort to promote a human-based effort at equality that includes the aggressive promotion of acceptance of sin and also makes the repentance of this sin more difficult (added legal barrier) then it’s Biblically impossible to support this effort. In other words, in line with the heart of Christ, I could never, as a Christian, go along with an effort that makes repentance more difficult by adding in a legal barrier even though the people affected don’t understand or see that it’s not in their interest to get their way. Great question.

    • C_Lambeth says:

      So, to clarify, you are fine with subverting legal equality for others because of your particular religiously held beliefs. Is that a fair summation of what you have written thus far?

      And I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but “biblically” is an adjective, not a pronoun, and shouldn’t be capitalized.

  7. Justin A. says:

    Thanks for the language tip, but I capitalize it to hopefully give it the rightful place it deserves. I mean the Bible and its authority and principles should trump your (or my) interpretation of legal equality, shouldn’t it?

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Well, since you are an educated man, I thought you might want to use proper grammar. Using good grammar doesn’t impinge on God’s majesty or his Bible, but I just wanted to call it to your attention. You can be grammatical or not. I don’t care. So that’s a “yes”; you are fine with subverting legal equality for others because of your particular religiously held beliefs?

  8. Justin A. says:

    ‎’Legal equality’ in this case is simply a desire for people caught in sin to be legally bound in that sin, isn’t it? That means a special rights issue that both leads to disastrous cultural effects (Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34), and simply unfairly shackles people in their sinful state. Definitely a Righteous, yet Loving God would never go with this. Similarly, Christians should reject a proposal by thieves to be legally bound to stealing so that they cannot stop easily should they desire. If we believe that “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”, then the right response to the inaccurate claim of legal equality should be couched within the context of His authority and wisdom, shouldn’t it? Their claim that it is simply an issue of legal equality is way off base.

    I’m absolutely fine with ultimately choosing the best option for a lost people even though they might not realize it. Like I said earlier, to go with their desire thereby putting an extra barrier between them and Jesus is certainly not loving them like God does. Oh, and thanks for the grace on the grammar.

  9. C_Lambeth says:

    Since you repeatedly circle back to the Bible and Christianity for your position on this issue, you’ve affirmed that you are indeed fine with subverting legal equality for others because of your particular religiously held beliefs. So, for a Christian, this is clearly about MORE than mere legal equality, but my question is not “way off base” in the least. And at this point you are arguing with the U.S. Constitution, not me.

  10. Justin A. says:

    I’m totally fine with going against the erroneously perceived issue of ‘legal equality’ for the greater good as determined, not by me nor by man, but by God Himself. My particularly help beliefs are in absolute alignment with Scripture, are they not? So, to be clear, have you affirmed that you are in favor of further entrenching and already entrenched people (because identity is involved) into sin perhaps robbing them of Salvation in order to fit a misguided interpretation of ‘legal equality’? I disagree that this goes against the Constitution (which should be subject to Scriptural authority, shouldn’t it?) if it is read with a reasonable, intended-meaning approach.

    • C_Lambeth says:

      No, Justin, the Constitution is not legally subject to religiously held beliefs or texts. That is called theocracy and it has no place in societies like the USA. To make the point, how would you feel about a Muslim majority in the USA that votes to impose Sharia Law on those in their sphere of political influence?

  11. Justin A. says:

    Are you proposing that Christians are only Christians some of the time (whenever they aren’t interfacing with the Constitution) as opposed to all of the time? Are we directed to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so as not to conform to the world? Romans 12:2. Am I to understand that you would oppose a theocracy in which a sincere obedient disciple of Jesus was in charge? Or, would you prefer a leader that rarely accesses the wisdom of God?

    I seem to recall that in a previous discussion on your blog you said, “governments “established by God” can indeed go wrong and should therefore be opposed whenever they do by Christians out of allegiance to God rather (than fallen humanity).” This seems to be contradicting your push back in saying that the “Constitution is not legally subject to religiously held beliefs or texts”. I go along with your first comment in this context meaning we should most definitely seek the higher blessing for society by opposing gay marriage if the government should make the fatal choice to make it legal because our allegiance is to Christ first.

    So, to be clear, have you affirmed that you are in favor of further entrenching and already entrenched people (because identity is involved) into sin perhaps robbing them of Salvation in order to fit a misguided interpretation of ‘legal equality’?

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Try as you might, you don’t get to play with special rules for your particular religious beliefs when it comes to the United States’ Constitution. Regardless of how I feel about the issue as a Christian, it is inappropriate to impose those beliefs on people who have not accepted Christ. That is theocracy and I am against it. I stand in line with Jesus on this issue, for he never forced anyone else to do anything that I can think of, can you?

      Of course Christians should vote their beliefs, and yes, we should be transformed in our thinking too. I keep hoping and praying that you will someday realize that you can’t be for capital punishment while concurrently following Jesus, but if you feel so strongly against gay marriage as a Christian, then you should be able to vote against it. Nevertheless, I must recognize that in the case of gay marriage (and hopefully Sharia Law too), that laws which enact systemic inequality will be found unconstitutional and overturned, and rightfully so. For contrast, refusing to exercise the death penalty does not impinge on anyone’s legal equality.

      The fact is that we don’t live in a Christian nation. We never have. We live in a nation composed of Christians, Muslims, atheists, agnostics and every other religion as well, but one that is ultimately secular and beholden to a good constitution that prohibits laws made respecting religion or the prohibition thereof. You don’t have to support the Constitution, but it is there to protect us from being dominated by religion (any religion). If you don’t want to marry a man, then no one will force you to do so, your freedom is not in question.

  12. Justin A. says:

    Well, in your first paragraph, you completely misstate the issue. Scripture is really clear on the issue…Jesus was clear on His stance against sin, wasn’t He? You mischaracterize what ‘impose beliefs’ is really all about. Making a stand against sin is not like forcing someone to believe, thereby taking away their free choice, is it? I’m sorry that you think it’s better to go with a misguided secular understanding of an issue rather than God’s way of seeing it. How you feel about the issue as a Christian (in obedience to the Word) should ALWAYS lead in any issue as opposed to playing second fiddle to a faulty understanding. Our thoughts are not truly being taken captive by Him if He’s in second place. Taking your position, there is a group called NAMBLA that wants to legalize sex between men and boys. To oppose this is like your understanding of ‘imposing your beliefs’ is it not? Do you oppose this group?

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Justin, my first paragraph hits the issue right on the head: You seek to impose your religious convictions on those who do not subscribe to them. That IS theocracy. Jesus had a lot to say and teach, but he never forced anyone that I know of to do something (or not do something) against their will. Neither did he try to get the government to do his bidding. Of course you are free to “make your stand against sin,” but you are not free to take away others’ “free choice” or deny them equal rights just because their lifestyles are at odds with your religious dogma, yet that is precisely what you are advocating. You keep saying that equal rights under the law is “misguided,” but it seems that you do so on no other grounds than your particular religious proclivities. I must have missed it somewhere, but could you remind me how you think this is different than Muslims who want to impose Sharia Law on your township?

      As for NAMBLA, they can speak out and vote (just like you), but any group that seeks to take sexual advantage of minors is unacceptable, and that is representative of equal protection under the law, regardless of heterosexual or homosexual tendencies. By your own rational, it would seem that homosexual, minor victims should be denied equal rights/ protection from this group under law for no other reason than that they are gay. That is also unacceptable.

  13. Justin A. says:

    Corbin, if you think that it’s no big deal to play with the eternity of people who Jesus is seeking after by succumbing to a false idea of equality, then you’ve simply missed the heart of Jesus and His Word, plain and simple. Bummer. What you say is theocracy sounds a lot like looking out for someone else’s best interest (even if they don’t know it, yet) because Christians have a connection to the Truth that sets free. I’ll take that with joy. Am I right in saying that you don’t believe the Bible and what it says about homosexuality? I’m asking because you keep referring to the Biblical position that is absolutely clear as if it’s ‘my proclivities’. Interesting. What authority is greater for you on this issue, the Bible or society?

    Jesus had a lot to say and teach…yes, He did. What exactly did He say about someone committing their life to sin? Is He in favor of them continuing in that sin or repenting from it? If eternal life is at stake, a misguided perspective based on lies is really no cost at all….in comparison.

    Seeking to uphold God’s perfect design of human relationships together with minimizing barriers to salvation is as different from Muslim sharia law a night from day. Nice emotive word choice, though, but it falls flat, doesn’t it? One seeks to help people be free from their sin the other seeks to increase sin ultimately by forcing them to follow a false prophet thereby rejecting God.

    Well, I totally agree with you that NAMBLA’s goals are unacceptable….reprehensible for me. However, on what do you base your conclusion? Opposing gay false marriage doesn’t stop people from committing homosexuality, but opposing NAMBLA *in their activities* is even more invasive. Is you position the result of a particular religious proclivity? Or for some other reason?

    We’re simply gonna differ on the application of ‘equal rights’. In reality, according to the authority of Scripture, it is most certainly NOT an equal right, but a special privilege, immoral and an abomination like any other sin. If we are gonna be honest in light of the authority of Scripture, then it must be concluded that there is, in fact, no such thing as marriage other than between a man and a woman. Same gender copy or pretending is certainly not the same thing. Not holding to this is akin to dethroning the Word of God…..it’s that simple.

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Justin, I never said that other people’s eternity is “no big deal.” Those are your words, not mine, plain and simple. It really is too bad that you can’t see the situation through anything other than your own dogma. You prove over and over again that your rationale on the subject is not one iota different from those who would impose Sharia Law on you. Of course I get it that you think Christianity is number 1. Shoot, I even happen to affirm your conviction on the matter, but the difference between us is that, like Jesus, I refuse to try and force people to live according to the light I have. I can love them, share with them and do my best to explain why I believe like I do and why I think it’s important, but their decision to accept it or reject is completely up to them. This is the way of Christ, and that is your first mistake. The second is like it in that you refuse to see any difference between what the Bible says about homosexuality and how Christians should engage non believers. You ask if “[I] don’t believe the Bible” merely because I don’t think it’s our government’s job to enforce Christian theology on non-Christians? Wow. What can I say?

      Are you of the honest opinion that telling gay people that they are second-class citizens and that you seek to block them from having equal protection under the Constitution of the United States of America (for no other reason than that they are gay) is going to make them want to hear more about how wonderful your all-loving and come-as-you-are Jesus is?

  14. Justin A. says:

    Corbin, I’m sorry that you can’t see that your position is actually contra to the Bible’s position. You express what I think is a similar conviction on the matter in terms of homosexuality being a sin and that they need to reject it, repent, and come to Christ for everlasting life. That’s good, because as the basis, this is non-negotiable. I was beginning to worry because you kept referring to my ‘religious proclivity’ as if I had made it up, when, clearly I have not.

    What you don’t see, unfortunately, is that to agree with them for the destruction of Biblically defined marriage in favor of a sin-encouraging warping is tantamount to simply not obeying Christ based on the Word and on the reality of creating a man-made barrier to salvation. There is simply no other way to see it in light of Scripture and the authority is has. If there is One Lord for Christians, then there shouldn’t be room for dissent on this issue or any other clearly defined Biblical issue, should there?

    Another thing you don’t see is your inconsistent application of Jesus’ authority. You seem totally willing to play this card on the issue of capital punishment, but not on the issue of gay marriage. Do you see your inconsistency? Your fervor for eliminating capital punishment on the basis of it not being like Jesus as you see Him (forcing your theology on others) should have put you on the path of loving, but vigorous defense of Biblical marriage rather than on the path of willingness to spoil it.

    Sharia law….I already showed quite clearly that the comparison you make doesn’t apply in the least.

    The Bible says that homosexuality is a sin and we are love sinners seeking to make them disciples. Does that capture what the Bible says on the 2 issues as you refer to them? However capitulating to their faulty position that homosexuality is as normal as heterosexuality and therefore should be accepted in all the same forms simply dethrones God’s loving authority on the matter as I have clearly shown above. Luke 5:32 “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” If one really believes that Jesus has come to call sinners to repentance, then there’s no way He would ever support someone legally being bound into their sin. How they might perceive ‘social justice’ comes way down the list when salvation is at stake….that seems to be more in alignment with His desire to call people to repentance.

    Somehow you seem to be thinking that by refusing to destroy marriage for the sake of the misguided few (who many openly want to destroy the presence of Christ in our society) is the same as forcing them to believe in Jesus. These are clearly very, very different things. If we look at sin all the same like God does, then refusing anyone the legal protection and encouragement to perform their sin is the same idea of enforcing Christian theology on non-Christians. Yet, I suspect that you aren’t in favor of murders being legally protected and encouraged to murder; thieves being legally protected and encouraged to steal; etc? Or, in a consistent application of your wording, are you in favor of laws being altered to accommodate other sinful activity like these?

    I’m of the honest opinion that marriage has already been defined from the Garden and that as a disciple of Jesus, it’s not an option that I ever seek to usurp His authority by trying to change it to accommodate anyone. If they see that as me calling them second-class citizens, then so be it. I’m not and the Bible is not. If that were the case then ANY sinner could make this cry, but it’s the job of the sinner, if he is called, to repent of his sin upon coming to Christ. “Come-as-you-are” has repentance built-in, doesn’t it? On another note, there are people who want to marry their dogs and cats. Are you in favor of further destroying marriage to accommodate them in the name of not enforcing Christian theology on non-Christians?

    So, am I to understand that, to be clear, you have affirmed that you are in favor of further entrenching an already entrenched people (because identity is involved) into sin perhaps robbing them of Salvation in order to fit a misguided interpretation of ‘legal equality’? That you are willing to subjugate the authoritative definition of marriage in favor of a definition spawned from darkness?

    I contend that homosexuals don’t need to legally bond to one another to live out their unholy passions that, among their other sins, are killing them and robbing them of Life. They need Jesus to come into their lives radically to cleanse, heal, and restore them. Do you agree?

  15. C_Lambeth says:

    Justin, I find it interesting (and unfortunate) that you accuse me of being “unbiblical” when we don’t dispute the Bible’s position on homosexuality in the least. Where we disagree is not on orthodoxy, but on how to bring the Gospel to a lost world. Several times I have asked you to show me where Jesus forces people to live his way or where he petitions the government to adhere to Jewish theology. I’ll save you the time; it’s not in there. Your “religious proclivity” to force non-Christians to adopt Christian ethics is made-up indeed, and follows the way of the Crusaders and Muslims who would impose Sharia Law, but not Jesus. And I’m still waiting for you to explain how you forcing your religious convictions on others is any different from other people forcing theirs on you. Thus far, you continually rely on a “special pleading” fallacy that refuses to measure itself by the same standard as it measures others. You think the Bible is “inspired.” Good for you. Muslims feel the same way about the Qu’ran.

    No one is “destroying the biblical concept of marriage.” Christians are free as they ever were to define marriage for themselves, but they are not free to define it for non-Christians, at least not in truly democratic societies.

    As for your allegation of my inconsistency between capital punishment and gay marriage, I understand the question, but there are 2 things that must be said: 1) This argument cuts both ways. Why are YOU willing to petition the government to impose religious dogma on the legal code, but not willing to follow Jesus and “love your neighbor” in prison and advocate for his/ her life? 2) What you don’t seem to understand is how my position on each respective issue falls under the rubric of helping people move closer to Christ, rather than farther away from him. When we speak the truth without love, we have failed to communicate the Gospel of Christ. So again I ask if you think that gay friends (do you have any?) are going to be interested in your Jesus when you first judge them, condemn them and seek to prevent them from having the same, secular legal rights as you enjoy? In your posts, you have even lumped gay people in together with murderers, pedophiles and thieves, and tacitly assigned them a place in hell. Feel the love.

    Contra the Bible, you have expressed willingness to force people to live (not ‘believe’ as you repeatedly counter) according to what you perceive as the truth first in the hope (?) that they will secondly be open to love (the love of Christ that is). You have the model precisely backwards. I distinctly remember a wise campus minister in our past repeating the adage: “Nobody cares what you know, until they know that you care.” I see that you think “loving” someone means forcing your truth on them against their will, but again that is the way of a dictator, not Jesus. This will only push our gay friends away from us and our Christ.

    To answer your last question: Yes, people need Jesus “to radically cleanse, heal and restore them,” but that includes you and me, brother (unless you would have me believe that you are perfect). Planks and specks and all that. To make the Gospel solely about homosexuality is… wrong. Maybe you’d say that this isn’t what you’re doing, but I suspect that you (like most other politically Conservative Christians) feel so entitled to make homosexuality your whippin’ post because it is perhaps the one issue you don’t struggle with. Good for you. Now how about dealing with some problems that are in your own life instead of trying to pick those specks in everyone else’s?

  16. Justin Aichele says:

    I am interested in the Scripture you use for your perspective of being pro gay marriage. Which ones do you use?

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Justin,
      Does this mean you are not going to respond to anything I’ve written to you in my previous comment? Either way, this is an interesting change in tactics on your part, for in realizing that you have no Bible verses to draft into your political stance on banning gay marriage it seems that you want to turn the tables and make me construct an equally ridiculous argument from silence. The problem, however, is that this won’t work. Because Jesus never made others live according to what he taught, it is similarly inappropriate for us Christians to force other people to live according to our beliefs. That is the way of Islam, not Jesus, and this is part and parcel of the Bible’s big picture on what it means to follow Jesus: It is a free choice.

      Finally, despite your eagerness to put words in my mouth, I would like to remind you of my reply to your very first comment on this thread: “I am for equal treatment of all people under the law.” That also just happens to be Constitutional.

      -CL

  17. Justin Aichele says:

    Perhaps one of my messages didn’t make it through where I dealt with the argument of silence that you present in support of gay marriage. The following argument of silence should nullify it. Nowhere do we see Jesus encouraging people to dishonor him or what he teaches about the Kingdom of Heaven by going deeper into sin. Nowhere do we see Jesus holding political rallies to persuade the Roman government to revoke Godly values based on His theology on non-Jews. Nowhere do we see Jesus encouraging people to get legally bound in their sin, a sin that His innocent blood was spilled for.

    so, arguments of silence don’t hold as I’ve shown. That’s why I’m asking for specific verses that would lead you to pro gay marriage.

    Blessings,
    Justin

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Justin,
      It seems that my efforts at getting you to defend your own challenge are perhaps working after all. Thank you for the attempt, but I wonder if you have confused our present conversation about gay marriage with our unfinished discussion of the death penalty, for after reviewing the entirety of your posts in the present thread, I see that you have only quoted 3 Bible verses (Romans 12:2, Proverbs 14:34 & Luke 5:32), none of which support your political agenda on this issue. After all your Facebook complaining to me about quoting Scripture, and after I repeatedly said that we can discuss any Bible verses or pericopes you like, has it finally dawned upon you that you have no Scripture which “clearly” supports your position? And now, realizing that state of affairs, you have somehow worked it up in your mind that it’s MY job to provide verses proving that gay people should be able to get married? I’d like to remind you that you are the one who decided to challenge what I posted, first on Facebook and then on the blog. If a person takes issue with what I have written, then it is incumbent upon them to explain why and raise their own objection(s). Your inability to conjure applicable Bible quotations is more telling than you may realize, but I feel like maybe you are finally on the cusp of constructing an actual argument. I want to encourage you along those lines.

      As for your slight but purposeful and continual misrepresentation of my position on the issue, I’d like to remind everyone that I am for equal treatment of all people under the law without prejudice, especially those biases galvanized by religious beliefs. This is a Constitutional protection guaranteed to all U.S. citizens, particularly by the First Amendment, and lately defended by President Obama. If you want to misstate the situation and reduce it to merely being “pro gay-marriage,” then that’s up to you, but you could go as equally wrong by saying that I am against heterosexual marriage merely because I want equality for people regardless of their sexual preferences. Fair is fair, after all. If I were to play the same game with you, I would say that you just want to impose theocracy and systematically oppress people with sexual preferences different from your own. Would that be an accurate assessment of your stance?

      Now, let’s talk about your recent but yet-to-be developed objection. I can’t help but notice that you don’t seem to understand that an “argument from silence” is not a good way to make a case for or against something. As such, your attempt to “nullify” an alleged argument from silence by constructing one of your own is an exercise in futility. It proves nothing. But what I am uncertain about is whether or not you believe that the argument from silence you tried to advance in your last comment is the true foundation for your position. As far as I can tell, and given total absence of relevant Scripture in your posts, this has been the exact line of reasoning you have been constructing form the beginning. Do you now see it for the chimera it is? DO you have a good argument for your position? Will you share it?

      For my part, I have not been constructing an argument from silence in the least. My position is one based on the direct observation of the Son of God as portrayed in the Bible. There is no need to flood this thread with a 100+ verses highlighting the situation because the entire New Testament is dripping with the genuine, uncompelled invitation that Jesus and his followers offer to people. If you wish to challenge this, then I ask you once again to provide an argument or a few verses or a pericope (or even a single verse?) that calls my assessment into question. I will happily discuss it with you.

      So at this point, you have a few options. 1) You can continue to play games and parrot my assessment of your “argument” back at me -again- and try to say that I am the one constructing an argument from silence, etc. 2) You can admit that there is no biblical precedent to force non-Christians to live according to Christian values and withdraw your objection, or 3) You can answer my counter-criticisms, develop a cogent argument of your own and share with me what a fellow Psalm 119 Christian sees in specific Bible verses that support your opinion. Which of these (or other) options you choose is completely up to you, but I encourage you to go with #2 or #3 if you are able.

      I look forward to your reply,
      -CL

  18. David Wilcox says:

    Mr. Lambeth,
    Thank you for exploring this potentially explosive issue. I have been following this thread from the beginning and find both yours and Mr. Aichele’s writing to be passionate, even if not always or exceptionally warm. While I am usually conservative on this issue, I find Mr. Aichele’s unwillingness to answer your countercriticisms to be troubling. However, after re-reading many of the posts in this debate, it appears that you have not yet offered a response to his secondary (and I think better) argument that Jesus would simply not encourage people to be “legally bound to their sin” and that approving of gay marriage will lead to the diminished likelyhood that they will ever repent or accept Him. If Jesus would not encourage gay marriage, what makes you think that you can do so and be “following” Him at the same time? Would you be willing to comment on this?

    David

  19. C_Lambeth says:

    David,
    Troubling” indeed. Thank you for your comments and the thoughtful reminder. It is easy to get distracted when so much confusion and ancillary issues are levied (and ignored).

    If I am reading the argument you asked about correctly, it asserts that, by upholding the Constitution and legalizing gay marriage, our nation will be “encouraging” gay people to enter in to monogamous, committed relationships and that this dishonors Jesus. Stated another way, the argument posits that if we refuse to offer equal rights to gay people it means that they will be freed from their sin rather than their being “bound to it.”

    Either way we might state this, I find it exceptionally naive, and I’m going to work backwards as I respond to both points. In the latter case, denying our gay friends equal rights simply will not change their sexual orientation. This fact renders much of Justin’s argument moot. As for the first point that legalizing gay marriage will encourage people to enter in to monogamous, committed relationships and therefore dishonor Jesus… to put it nicely, I doubt this thesis. Do we really believe that casual sex with many partners in uncommitted relationships is more honoring to Christ? Is that the same way we feel about heterosexual non-Christians, that they should not give up promiscuous sex with multiple partners and enter into a committed, monogamous relationship because it would dishonor Jesus? It seems that this argument is plainly inconsistent and particularly discriminatory.

    Nevertheless, and believe it or not, I do want to be charitable to this portion of Justin’s argument. I freely admit that, even regardless of sexual orientation issues, Jesus wouldn’t encourage people to enter in to secular contracts that codified sinful lifestyles. As you noted, this is the better part of Justin’s argument. That being said, there is a very important difference between “encouraging” and “coercing.” We cannot lose sight of this key distinction. Once again, I must point out that neither would I encourage people to enter in to sinful contracts. I am for encouraging people to follow Jesus, not themselves. Even so, I am also in support of respecting people’s own choices, rather than forcing mine (or what I think Jesus would do) upon them. If God, in all his sovereign power and passion for holiness, has not taken it upon himself to force his creatures to carry out his will, then who are we to try and do so? Jesus did not go that route, so how can his “followers” “follow” where he did not go and, in fact, refused to go? Lest I be misunderstood, I am not making an “anything goes” argument, but rather one that affirms that we need laws and general governance, and that part of good governance necessarily means that all citizens are equally protected by those laws regardless of prejudicial considerations, especially those of a certain religious subculture within the broader, secular state. Christians would howl if Muslims were allowed to do this, and that says something significant about their own argument against gay marriage. It is equally appropriate to say that while Jesus would engage people (at least in so far as they were willing to interact with him), he would not force them to comply with his own desires for their lives. Certainly he would “encourage” them to make the best choice (and treat them with love and respect while he was at it), but force them? Never. This is the entire basis of my support of the Constitution and counter-criticism of Justin’s assertion about how Jesus would have his followers behave.

    Finally, I would like us to consider how much influence people would grant Jesus (or his followers) if he (or we) tried to subjugate them like a Roman Emperor and force them to worship him and do his will. Just to venture a guess, I’d say they probably wouldn’t like Jesus very much (or his Christians). They might even hate him and certainly would not open their hearts to him. With that in view, how do you think our fellow gay citizens feel when certain Christians try the same type of religio-political judo on them? I submit that efforts to thwart equal rights, despite the religiously held convictions of some that it is morally proper to do so, will only drive people farther away from Jesus and his church. That is simply not the way of Christ, and by taking that route, some of us are making it more difficult for him and the Holy Spirit to do their thing. While I understand that Justin thinks merely allowing gay marriage will add another barrier to people accepting Christ, I first argue that his eagerness to oppress them (allegedly in the name of Jesus) will only drive them farther away from Christ and secondly, that denying homosexuals equal rights will have no effect on their lifestyles anyway. I understand the Christian desire to promote what we perceive as righteousness, but the fact of the matter is that Justin’s arguments accomplish nothing other than to drive a wedge between our fellow humans and the God who profoundly loves them no matter what. If we Christians want to honor Jesus and be known for our compassion, care, friendliness, acceptance and love of others, especially those who do not yet know Jesus, then we have got to move past the typical religio-political tactics of oppression, subjugation, bigotry and general vitriol against them. People absolutely do not care what we know until they know that we care.

    May we be people known for what we are for, rather than what we are against.

    Thank you for helping move the conversation forward, David. It is well appreciated.
    -Corbin

  20. David Wilcox says:

    Mr. Lambeth,
    Your post is helpful. Thank you.
    I wonder if Mr. Aichele responded or if he has been inappropriate and you had to censor his postings? He doesn’t appear to be engaging anymore. Just curious.

    Thank you again for responding to my question.

    David

  21. C_Lambeth says:

    David,
    Thank you for your continued patience. To answer your question, no, Justin has not responded inappropriately or been censored; he just hasn’t responded at all. This isn’t necessarily surprising though, as most people do not have the endurance required for protracted dialog, especially when their standard opinions and arguments run into real resistance. I am convinced that if Justin were able to set his politics and dogmatic religious position aside for even a moment, he might be able to consider that his conclusion (at least so far) does not follow from his arguments. This is one form of what philosophers refer to as a “failure to connect” (conclusions with evidence). Another principal symptom of “failing to connect” is when deducing a conclusion IS fairly straight forward but a person refuses to accommodate it because of strong motives outside the perimeters of the argument (like tightly held religio-political opinions). The more safe it is for people to keep certain beliefs walled off from the evidence (or lack of evidence) that support those beliefs, the more difficult it is to get them to see that they are doing it (and to stop).

    Given this situation, it is far easier either to stop engaging or to attack the opponent with ad hominem accusations rather than dealing with the opponent’s arguments themselves. In a culture of electronic snarkey-ness and polarizing rhetoric, I am sure you’ve noticed that most conversations involving political and religious topics get ugly and do so quickly. To make matters worse, the issue at hand touches on BOTH subjects deemed inappropriate for the dinner table. It is far easier to think your opponent an idiot (or an apostate who doesn’t really believe the Bible in Christian disagreements) merely because they don’t see things your way. While not calling me an “idiot” per se, Justin has clearly expressed doubts about my Christianity, etc. This isn’t novel and it doesn’t particularly trouble me, but to be fair I haven’t always responded to his attitude with kid-gloves either. So, as you noted previously, the thread between Justin Aichele and me hasn’t proved to be entirely devoid of backhanded statements and unfriendly attitudes. Even so, I think the lion’s share of our discussion has been on the arguments themselves, and I would like to see that part continue (if Justin is able). For all I know, he could very well be writing a cogent argument for his conclusions as we speak and prove my notions about his “failing to connect” completely wrong. If he can do so, I will welcome it, and the dialog can continue. Who knows, maybe he’ll even challenge my arguments to the point where I must reconsider my position? I welcome the opportunity to learn and grow. All I ask is that others do the same.

    Thank you for your comments, David.
    -C. Lambeth

  22. Justin Aichele says:

    Finally, here’s my response. I am trying to deal only with the perspective you have put forth, not you. So, don’t look down on you, but I do strongly disagree with your position and that’s what I try to stick to.

    First of all, I would like to acknowledge a couple of things:

    We agree that homosexuality is a sin and must be repented for in order for someone to receive salvation and enter into an intimate relationship with Christ. I’m glad we agree on this. You are right in that we differ in approach, but I suggest we actually differ more than that.

    You are not pro gay marriage, but support it from the angle of equal rights/equal treatment as you think the Constitution supports. I disagree with your position on 2 fronts and state that Christians absolutely should not support gay marriage and here’s why:

    A little thought shows us what the real story of the Pro-gay marriage agenda is as opposed to how it’s being sold by its supporters:

    –Birthed out of sin with a desire to propagate sin
    –Desire to declare the Word of God void by openly challenging it’s authority
    –Effectively adds a legal barrier to homosexuals repenting and coming to Christ by being bound to their sin via legal contract.
    –Attacks the established societal values that are currently in line with God’s directive on marriage
    –Seeks to be a tempter by making access to homosexuality easier while denying it’s awfulness.
    –Seeks to persecute Christians holding to Biblical values including individuals, businesses, and institutions
    –Seeks to criminalize Biblical beliefs on marriage by labeling them as ‘hate speech’.
    –Seeks to confuse the Biblical mandate of differentiating between the sinner and the sin, by which Christians are called to love the sinner but hate the sin.
    –Seeks to divide the Body of Christ
    –Renames love (rejoicing with the truth and sharing truth with people) with hatred.
    –Perpetuates hate and sometimes violence
    –Promotes a banner of ‘tolerance’ which is actually intolerant.
    –Seeks to redefine ‘equality’ in terms favorable to a bad choice to engage in homosexuality rather than in terms of one’s given characteristics like race, gender, heterosexual identity.
    –Seeks to influence society, including children, with a pro-sin agenda through impacting public school curriculum and promotion of pro gay books
    –Seeks to undermine parents and their authority and preferences on the subject of homosexuality
    –Seeks to parade the sin of homosexuality before the public.
    –Seeks to tarnish and undermine the first and most important relationship between people as created by God thereby undermining also the gospel by clouding the analogy of marriage symbolizing Christ’s relationship to the church
    –Seeks to profane what is sacred (gender, sexual identity) as given by God, the Creator to each individual created in His image.
    –Seeks to impose the misguidance of the minority on the majority

    I think we need some clarity on the Psalm 119 Christian/disciple of Jesus so that it’s not just a term but it rather gives guidance as to what it means to be a disciple. The disciple of Jesus (Psalm 119 Christian) recognizes absolute authority of God and His Word and goes there first seeking wisdom and knowledge about a subject and how to be joyfully obedient as much as possible as opposed to just seeking knowledge. Clearly, he has a heart of obedience.

    You presented an argument of silence to support your position. I merely used most of your own words to construct an opposite argument of silence showing that Jesus would never support petitioning a government to change it’s laws out of alignment with His directive thereby showing that your argument is at least incomplete and at most very, very misleading. If you can’t see this, then I invite you to reread what you said and directly compare it to my opposing argument of silence. I contend that my argument of silence is more in line with what the Word IS saying.

    Christians are called to be (and have the privilege of) asking what God would do in any instance like this. That’s the real question, “What would Jesus/God do?” Based on the real story of what’s connected to gay marriage, it’s mind-blowing (meaning absolutely contradictory) to think that God would ever go along with it. So, what does God say about marriage and what does He say about sin and it’s propagation?

    Interesting that you say that you say I quoted *only* 3 verses

    –(Rom. 12:2 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.)

    –(Prov. 14:34: Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach to any people.)

    –(Luke 5:32: 32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”)

    I agree to disagree that these do not support the political stance against gay marriage. The Romans verse (like many others) sends us looking FIRST to the Word for how to understand an issue expecting that the perspective will not be in alignment with a sin-based perspective–that would be ‘worldly’. The Proverbs passage makes it clear that increased sin for a people is a reproach to that people, so anything that advances a sin (like gay marriage) is against God’s will for people. The Luke 5 passage makes it clear that Jesus is calling sinners to repentance and NOT to more sin in their lives (via gay marriage, for example). These alone send us in opposition to gay marriage, but there’s more.

    Old Testament:
    Genesis 2:24 – “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

    Did God create marriage? (Did Jesus create marriage? Yes! Col 1:16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.) Did He create it heterosexual only and for all of humanity? Yes! Is it sacred? Yes, because He created it. It’s the first and most important relationship created and is the basis of every culture. It also symbolizes Christ’s relationship to the church (Eph. 5:22-33, especially 33). Would God ever support redefining marriage to be something unholy? Most certainly not if God is holy. For the disciple/Psalm 119 Christian, this is more than enough to champion what is good and right and of God and that’s only heterosexual marriage. But there’s more….

    What does God say about sin and it’s increase?

    God physically judged nations for their sin, including their sexual sin and because of their sin the land became unclean. Once again, absolutely impossible that God (Jesus) would ever go along with pro-gay marriage–sin propagation–and contradict His nature. In fact, He would condemn it with harsh terms.

    –Lev. 18:23 “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”

    Did God exert His authority and call people to repent, even non-Jews? Absolutely!

    –Jonah 1:1-2 1 Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, 2 “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.”

    plus the rest of the book. Looks like He didn’t care how they might have viewed any sort of ‘rights’ as pertaining to their huge sin problem. He didn’t seem to care if they thought their ‘rights’ were being abused. So, again, more than enough to show that God (Jesus) would never go along with a legal effort to change a country’s law away from being in alignment with His creation and direction to contradicting His command. But there’s more….

    What did Jesus say about sin?

    –Matthew 4:1-11
    When Jesus was tempted, He used Scripture to defeat Satan’s lies and schemes. Impossible that He would then later, in ‘modern’ times go against His clear message on marriage and homosexual sin.

    –Matt 5:29-30 “29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”

    So, His message to non-believers is DO WHAT IT TAKES NOT TO SIN. Would it ever be consistent with His message and His nature for Jesus to agree to go along with the pro-gay marriage agenda? That’s an easy ‘no’. He’s direct about the sin problem.

    –Matt. 11:20+ “Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent.”

    Another powerful message of repentance. Hard to imagine He would somehow change, after calling people to repent on a large scale, to going along with sin like gay marriage. Clearly impossible.

    –Matt. 18:7-8 “7 “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! 8 And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire.”

    So, Jesus would say, “Woe to those who would support any temptation, like promoting gay marriage. Again, impossible that Jesus would say anything other than ‘Repent’ to homosexuals, especially those who try to spread it.

    There are a lot more Scriptures that clearly show God’s message of, “Repent” to all people making it, once again, totally impossible that He would ever go along with an effort like pro gay marriage. It’s super, super clear. That means, obviously, that Christians should never support such an effort, but rather they should champion the way of good and right and true and that’s God’s established traditional marriage.

    Certainly, this is not an exhaustive listing of how God speaks on the subject of sin or being part of an effort that ultimately propagates it. Clearly, clearly clearly if the Word has authority in a person’s life, then the obedient action is to work against the pro gay marriage agenda and rather champion God’s Truth in traditional marriage, and His invitation to salvation and healing.

    The second front I oppose your position on is the idea that gay marriage is some sort of equality issue. It’s notable that people should be treated fairly, but in this case I think this is totally absurd because the gay marriage issue stems solely from a very, very bad choice that some people make to believe that they are homosexual and then they act on that lust. Also, this claim ultimately tarnishes real equality issues, like race and gender–characteristics that are obviously inborn.

    You said, “you have somehow worked it up in your mind that it’s MY job to provide verses proving that gay people should be able to get married?” Yes, absolutely, I know that it is your job to provide verses supporting your position of going along with gay marriage. Yes, I initially challenged your point. However, I’ve simply revealed what’s clearly written on the subject of sin and its propagation and how a Christian should respond. Since you are proposing a position *contrary* to Scripture (not seen a definitive verse, yet), then it most definitely falls on you to provide at least one verse of supporting Scripture.

    You said, “For my part, I have not been constructing an argument from silence in the least. My position is one based on the direct observation of the Son of God as portrayed in the Bible

    Ok, if it’s not an argument of silence then I ask you to lay out the verses you are relying upon.

    You said, “There is no need to flood this thread with a 100+ verses highlighting the situation because the entire New Testament is dripping with the genuine, uncompelled invitation that Jesus and his followers offer to people.

    For example?

    So, in summary, I took note of the point where we agree and the distinction of your position (you’re not pro gay-marriage, but rather support it out of a perspective on ‘equality’). Then I revealed what’s really connected to gay marriage and the damage it will do.

    I clarified/revealed more of what a Psalm 119 Christian really is and does because I don’t think you were seeing it clearly by the way that Scripture has been down-played in this and other discussions.

    Then, I showed–reflected, actually–what’s clearly written about marriage and sexual sin and the message to all people about sin in the Old and New Testament, both of which clearly guide Christians to work against gay marriage and promote, instead, God’s right creation of traditional marriage. Christians should also promote the gospel, including an invitation to repent in order to be save, healed, and renewed.

    I now ask again. What verses do you have to support your position? Maybe there aren’t any.

    Have a good one.
    Justin

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Justin,
      Thanks for the reply. I noticed that you use the phrase “go along with” or “going along with” on more than a few occasions in your post. Can you please be a little more precise or at least tell me what you think that phrase means in exact terms? Thanks.

      -CL

  23. Justin Aichele says:

    Hey Corbin,
    “go along with” would mean to agree with; support; or be a party to–rather than rightfully opposing– since the pro gay marriage agenda stems from sin and people wanting to sin. So, God would never agree, support, or go along with the gay marriage effort in any way.

    So what do the verses tell you?

    Blessings,
    Justin

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Ok, thanks for the attempt at clarification of your use of the phrase “go along with,” but you used it in your very definition, so I am still a bit confused as to what you mean.

      I think I understand that when you use the phrase, you mean that God/ Jesus would not “support” gay marriage, but what do you mean when you say that he, “would not be a party to” it? Is it the same as “support” or do you mean something different?

      Finally, could you elaborate on what you mean when you say, “rather than rightfully opposing”? Again, it seems that you merely mean that he would not “support” or “encourage” gay marriage, but not that he would actively oppose it. That doesn’t seem consistent with what you’ve written elsewhere, so I want to be sure I’m reading you right. Thanks.

      Blessings,
      -CL

  24. Justin Aichele says:

    No, actually I didn’t use it in my definition. I said, “”go along with” would mean to agree with; support; or be a party to”. In other words, “go along with” = to agree with; support; or be a party to.

    This is really a simple issue. Jesus ‘would not be a party to’ gay marriage means that He would call it what it is: sin followed by His repeated message to repent.

    In other words, God (Jesus) would not only NOT go along with gay marriage in any way, but according to Scriptures that I included (+ others), He would oppose it by calling it what it is (sin) and He would call for repentance from this sin of homosexuality, like He would any other sin.

    You seem to be perceiving some differences in meaning of terms that are pretty synonymous. What differences are looking for?

    What do the verses I included say to you about the nature of God and His attitude toward sin? What should all Christians obey from them?

    Blessings,
    Justin

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Yes, actually you did use the phrase “go along with” in your definition of go along with: “…stems from sin and people wanting to sin. So, God would never agree, support, or go along with the gay marriage effort in any way.

      Surprised you missed this, and it’s kind of interesting that you did it again in your second attempt at clarifying, but it’s ok. I just wanted to be sure that I understood your usage correctly, and since you are using it as a synonym of all the others you used, I think it has been sufficiently narrowed. Once again, I invite your clarification if I have missed your meaning, but it seems that you are saying he (Jesus) would “oppose” gay marriage or “not go along with it” by merely saying that it is sinful and calling people to repent from it, but not forcing them to do so. So far so good. But there is a glaring disconnect in your argument, for none of the verses you supplied indicate that Christians should do anything to “oppose” gay marriage other than encouraging people to choose differently and follow Jesus (of their own free will). If that is all you are saying, then you completely agree with me.

      Also, your rant against what the allegedly “pro-gay marriage agenda” is about is completely inapplicable to our discussion. You even SAID that you recognize that I am not “pro-gay marriage” but then go right ahead and express your misgivings about it as one way to show that you “disagree with [my] position on 2 fronts… .” Your attempted rebuttal is against an agenda/ position that I do not hold.

      Finally, there has been additional conversation on the blog regarding our discussion (several weeks ago). You may want to read the latest comments so that your argument is a bit better or more acute. If you’d like to delete your longer post (4 above) and repost a more incisive one, that might be best. I understand that your inclination is to leave what you wrote unedited, and that’s ok. It’s just that a lot of it completely misses the point and takes up a lot of space doing so.

      Blessings,
      -CL

  25. Justin Aichele says:

    Hey Corbin,
    You said, “So far so good. But there is a glaring disconnect in your argument however, for none of the verses you supplied indicate that Christians should do anything to ‘oppose’ gay marriage other than encouraging people to choose differently and follow Jesus (of their own free will).”

    –What I’m saying is that, clearly Scripture is speaking to the Christian to champion that which is good and God’s will for all people (traditional heterosexual marriage) and oppose that which is evil (gay marriage) in every arena where we have influence, including politics especially since we live in a democracy and have the privilege and responsibility to make choices and face the consequences. Laws stopping evil (like gay marriage) would put a God-instituted authority in agreement with His will, wouldn’t it? (Romans 13:1 – For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.) Or, rather we should accurately say that Christians should, while loving all people, legally oppose the effort by pro-gay community from altering laws and traditions that are already in alignment with God’s directive and will. Make sense?

    You said, “Also, your rant against what the allegedly ‘pro-gay marriage agenda’ is about is completely inapplicable to our discussion.”

    –I totally disagree here. However, it is quite revealing of your values that you label the rest of the story of what’s connected to (and easy to see) the pro gay marriage effort as a ‘rant’. It actually is absolutely relevant because if someone supports this effort for another reason, like their understanding of equality, then they are ultimately responsible for the very negative outcomes that I listed. Besides, the Christian disciple (Psalm 119) would be ultimately concerned with understanding the situation in light of God’s wisdom and Word and then take their lead from that and not from any other source.

    As far as the blog goes, I’m not really concerned about what’s there. If, somehow, my communications on that were not clear, then I apologize for that. I’m simply writing to you.

    In this issue there is a question of allegiance (where do you go first to search out the right perspective on the issue?) and obedience (Psalm 119 plus John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”).

    Since I’ve asked at least 7 times for specific Scripture that would lead you to your position and received none in return, I can conclude that you haven’t any. If you come up with some, I would love to hear them. That’s really the next step in this discussion. What does the ultimate authority say? What does Scripture say? I’ve already shown a small sample of God’s consistent position toward sin and it’s propagation. I’m waiting for some Scripture from your perspective. If nothing comes, then I would say this discussion is over and we may just have to agree to disagree.

    Blessings,
    Justin

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Hey Justin,
      I just mentioned my earlier blog comments because David Wilcox chimed in and seemed to be on your side of things (at least at first), and asked me to respond to an argument that you made (that I had thus far ignored). I thanked him for his suggestion and did indeed respond. I actually already addressed some issues that you raised again (because you did not read my reply), and I thought you might be interested. You still might be, but you must do so of your own volition if at all.

      Anyway, and as I have already said, I understand why you think it is good for you to force other people to live according to your religious beliefs. I’m still waiting for you to say how you think this is any different from Muslims who want to impose Sharia Law on you. I know that you think you are honoring God by making other people follow him (so do Muslims), but I disagree and think that your efforts are misguided even if your motivation is good. In your zeal for holiness, you are doing precisely what Jesus did not do in the Bible and would not do in the present. You are putting obedience to God (forced obedience at that) ahead of a relationship with Jesus, and that will always and only turn people away from them both. God never requires that we are perfect before we can enter into a relationship with him, yet that is precisely what you are advocating. Consider your earlier comment, “homosexuality is a sin and must be repented for in order for someone to receive salvation and enter into an intimate relationship with Christ.” Well hello there, works salvation. I guess Jesus came only for the healthy and not the sick after all?

      Regarding your diatribe against what you call the “pro-gay agenda,” I have to wonder where you cut and paste it from. Could you give me a reference? But just so you know, I did give it a second look, and I have to say that each and every one of your bullet points is off-base. While they might apply to a few people, none of them sufficiently represent people like me who advocate for biblical Christianity (letting people make their own decisions to follow Jesus), equal rights and the U.S. Constitution. In fact, the only one that has any merit at all is the one that suggests this issue will divide the church. Nevertheless, I must be quick to point out that it is only because of people like you (who apparently hate gay people so much that you can tolerate anyone’s sin in church but theirs), that divide the church preferring to be “right” more than you prefer to be unified and gracious towards fellow sinners. This is more of an indictment against Christians who ignore Jesus’ prayer that his church be unified (John 17) than it is against Christians who are willing to love people wherever they are at in their spiritual journey (yes, even homosexual travelers).

      Finally, since I am a “Psalm 119” believer (just like you), I must yet again point out that you have repeatedly constructed arguments from silence. Even in your last lengthy post you admit this, but merely claim that YOUR argument from silence is better than MY argument from silence. Well, no it isn’t, but either way you demonstrate that you accept arguments from silence as valid reasoning. You are certainly welcome to believe whatever you like, but the point remains, however, that none of the verses you lean on prove that God wants us to force non-Christians to do his will, just as none of the verses I am thinking of have Christ telling us (with words) that we shouldn’t go on holy wars against the infidels. Can you now see that your interpretation of Scripture (forcing others to obey it) is not supported by Scripture itself? I have asked you multiple times to offer me a text that advocates what you are advocating, but each time you reference verses that do anything but. So if you insist on my providing Bible verses that prove you wrong, you have fallen victim to your own argument (because you can’t do it either).

      I understand that your initial reaction might be to conclude that we therefore have nothing to discuss, but as I have said all along, and across multiple threads with you, what the Bible SAYS and what we say it MEANS are not always the same thing. Interpretation and dialog is essential, and even though I know you like to think that you don’t do this, everything EVERYTHING that you have said in our discussions that is not a direct quote from the Bible IS your interpretation (or someone else’s that you have cut and paste). Yes, of course you think that your interpretation is “in-line with the super clearly clear” Bible. Well, you and every other interpreter who has ever opened its pages think that way as well. Me too. Welcome to the discussion.

      blessings,
      -CL

  26. Justin A. says:

    Hey Corbin,
    It looks like you think that championing what God has clearly shown in Scripture is forcing them to believe ‘my way.’ I couldn’t disagree more. I’m not championing my ways at all. I’m championing the Creator’s ways that, according to His Word, people who have faith in Him should be doing joyfully.

    Somehow you think this is like Muslims forcing sharia law on people and you ask me for the difference. That’s super easy. Islam is absent of Truth. It’s human based, not God-based in any way. I can’t think of a more inappropriate comparison, though. I suppose that, since there are no supporting Scriptures coming from you, it might be a good tactic to pick an incongruous hyperbole to make your point, but actually, it’s just been a distraction.

    Specifically, supporting Biblical heterosexual marriage helps prevent gay people from having a legal barrier to salvation; allows the common (and right) understanding of marriage to (hopefully) help them understand Jesus’ amazing relationship to the church as His bride; prevents LOTS and LOTS of kids from being force-fed the wrong idea of marriage through educational efforts; etc.

    You say that you think that Jesus would not champion His Father’s ways for a whole nation because that is somehow forcing people to believe something (truth….that might hurt them?). So, you are saying that Jesus would support the gay marriage effort (perhaps out of a faulty sense of equality) by pushing for laws that are currently in agreement with God’s will and decrees on marriage and homosexuality. That would be Jesus contradicting His Father. I cannot disagree more and so does Scripture.

    The Scriptures are clear. If your idea was valid, then there would be no way a country could have laws against murder, stealing, etc, because ALL of these could be counted as you trying to “force other people to live according to your religious beliefs.”

    You don’t like what’s attached to the “pro-gay agenda”. I’m not surprised, I guess. I already showed that it’s most definitely NOT an equality issue. (Not when it stems from a choice to sin.) Christians would go FIRST and foremost Scripture to understand the issue and never rely on a faulty perspective. You might not like the truthful points I supplied, but they are right on and they are happening these days.

    You think I’ve constructed an argument of silence? Can’t disagree more. The small sample of Scriptures I listed are anything but silent on God’s thoughts on sin and it’s propagation. They are anything but silent in showing those who have ears to hear what to obey. If we consider 1 Cor. 13:6, that love “does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth”, then, no matter what the person under sin thinks, it would NOT be loving to aid them to go deeper into sin, which is exactly what supporting gay marriage for any reason actually does.
    It’s funny that you call this a discussion. It actually stopped being a discussion a long time ago. Specifically, it stopped being a real discussion when…
    
–you used ‘other-speak’ when talking about Biblical concepts (“your religious beliefs”)
    
–you presented an incomplete and misleading argument of silence from the Bible, showing, so far as I can see, that you didn’t search diligently for God’s heart or directives on the matter. Looks like you might be putting more emphasis on an incomplete civil (“equality”) understanding of the issue as opposed to God’s understanding of the issue.
    
–you showed no supporting Scriptures (haven’t seen any, yet) after being asked repeatedly.

    But, if you want to try to get this back on a real discussion track, I welcome that. Specifically, how about providing some verses to support your position?

    What verses can you supply that show that Jesus would help people sin more by writing laws that help that happen? What verses reflect that Jesus (fully understanding that our government authority has been instituted by God according to Romans 13) would actively support the laws of this government changing FROM supporting God’s definition of marriage TO opposing God’s definition of marriage? Or, where does Jesus hint at altering the understanding of marriage so that new believers have a more difficult time understanding His relationship to the church as His bride?

    Looks like when Christians truly, extremely love and obey God’s Word making them not of this world by opposing evil of all forms/championing good, then the world will hate them, like the world hated Jesus, who was sinless.

    Justin

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Justin,
      
I am starting to wonder if you are even reading what I write to you or if you only respond to what you think I am saying. If you are reading everything I type, then again it calls your interpretive framework into question, for I have repeatedly acknowledged that your position does not force other people to BELIEVE what you believe, but rather that you are eager to force them to LIVE out what you believe regardless of their own acceptance of those beliefs. That is where you go wrong and completely miss what the Bible teaches about holiness and the exercise of free will and free acceptance of Christ.

      You have not offered a single Bible verse that affirms your position. But let’s just take one example of the litany of pericopes you referenced. Let’s consider Jonah and his divine appointment with Ninevah. This is probably the section of text that comes closest to reinforcing what you want it to say. Fortunately, though, it doesn’t do what you want it to. Yes, God exercised some of his power to coerce Jonah to do his will, but don’t miss this: Jonah was already a “believer” and had already implicitly or explicitly placed himself under God’s authority and direction. This is unlike the Ninevites (and our contemporary non-Christian neighbors). Consider Jonah’s mission to them: He preached a message of repentance to them and they responded favorably. God has mercy and has an odd conversation with Jonah under a withered vine. The end.

      
You keep asking me for Scriptural references that support my understanding, so I’ll take this opportunity to point to Jonah. This sweet little allegory makes my point rather nicely. Repentance of sin and acceptance of God is a free choice. Jonah is evidence against your desire and interpretive efforts to force the Bible to promote your misguided efforts at making non-God accepters or non-Jesus accepters to live according to Christian values and beliefs. Jonah didn’t do that, and God doesn’t do that… but Justin Aichele wants to. This is a problem. “Championing” how God has shown his people to live and calling others to join him has nothing to do with forcing not-his-people to live according to those same standards. In that metric, all of the verses you quoted thus far do not make the point you want them to (arguments from silence) and thus, most of your last message to me misses the point.

      
Similarly, you seem to still be missing the problem with your special pleading fallacy in advocacy for your religiously held beliefs and those of Muslims regarding Sharia Law. How many times I have I asked you to delineate and justify your religious persecution in contradistinction to theirs? Saying yours is “true” won’t cut it with anyone except other Christians, Justin.

      This is exactly the problem with all of your arguments. Yes, you believe that God is on your side. Great. They see God on theirs. You are thinking just like them, and yet you cannot see it. The ultimate irony, however, is that your argument implicitly agrees with Muslims when it comes to Sharia Law. They want to impose their religious truth on non-Muslims, and you want to impose your religious truth on non-Christians. Again I ask: Where is an example of this in the pages of the Bible? The Qur’an justifies Islamic behavior on the imposition of religious law, but the Bible doesn’t. When you understand that it is inappropriate for Muslims to force others to live according to Muslim beliefs then you will understand why it is inappropriate for you to force others to live according to Christian beliefs.

      
Next, your protest, that “my reasoning” for marriage equality leads to the rejection of laws against murder, is a distraction. If you remember the original post on this conversation thread from my blog, the reason that bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional is because arguments against it (like yours) are religiously motivated, which is in a clear violation of the First Amendment. Laws against murder pose no such legal contradictions or problems. Of course one could argue that our entire legal code is based on an innate understanding of God’s law and being created in his image. I think that is actually a fair argument (and one I agree with), but what you have to understand is that laws against murder are not unique to Christians or even any type of religious believer. While it may have started out as a reinforcement of God’s 10 Commandments, this is not where it has stayed, and even atheists have developed moral/ ethical models and rationale that equally condemn the practice of murder etc. The important thing to note, however is that we do not live in a theocratic regime, but rather a society of free, reasonable, rational and pluralistic people who have irreconcilable beliefs and yet have socially, implicitly agreed to let people make their own way in the world. If this is not the kind of society you want to live in, then perhaps the United States of America is not where you should live.

      If you still think that theocracy is a good thing then again I refer you to the topic of Sharia Law and Muslims’ willingness to make you adhere to it against your will. Failing that, just look at church history and all the wreck and ruin it has produced by people trying to force others to live (and believe) according to their own standards. Interesting that the persecuted have become the persecutors. Terrible.

      
You also have missed that I never said Jesus supports the pro-gay agenda. He doesn’t, if that “agenda” even exists. Neither do I for that matter. Are you going to reference where you pasted that “gay-agenda” list from, or did you invent it on your own? That’s not an “attack” or a “false accusation.” I really am curious.
 I am glad that you don’t hate gay people, but I suspect that they would have a hard time believing you when they hear that you want to force them to act according to beliefs they do not hold, or that you want to deny them equality under the law. Talk about a “barrier to salvation.” And by the way, there ARE no “legal barriers” to salvation. 
I think I know the answer, but do you have any gay friends?

      While in the south, my wife and I visited a church where the pastor was doing a topical “sermon” on homosexuality. I am not kidding you, the pastor actually said this, “Homosexuals would just as soon have sex with a light-post or a horse, there’s nothing that they won’t ‘do.’ But understand this, if you are gay and you are here, we want you to know that Jesus loves you and wants to heal you from your sin.” Yeah, we could feel the love too. As if any gay person would still be listening at that point. In fact, at that exact moment, WE got up and walked out and never went back to that particular hate-filled disaster. Now I know that you wouldn’t use that kind of language, Justin. Or at least I hope you wouldn’t, but just consider how your attitude and words would make a gay person feel. I am pretty sure that the “love of Christ” is not the first thing they would think about if they read what you have written so far.

      
For my part, I am not concerned with the judgments of other Christians regarding my behavior and words about homosexuality. I am convinced that my gay friends know I love them and accept them and don’t want to “cure” them. They know that I am a Christian and that I want more of God, not less and (I hope) they know I want that for them too. My mission is to make it easier for people to come to church and come to Christ. If that means that I first must advocate for legal equality for them, then so be it. There are no “legal barriers to salvation.” Nothing can stop Jesus when he is free to work through people.

      Conversely, the campaign you support to (continue to) subjugate homosexuals’ legal rights will: 1) not help them be celibate or straight AT ALL, and 2) not earn Christians any credibility as their friend. And most importantly, 3) it fails to consider that a person can be imperfect and unsteady and still be a saved, committed Jesus follower REGARDLESS of their sexual preferences. Being “straight” doesn’t get you in, and being “gay” doesn’t keep you out. That should be our first message to gay friends, past “Jesus loves you, to the maximum, right now, just as you are.” That’s part of what it means to be a Bible-believing Christian, Psalm 119 included.

      
-CL

  27. Justin A. says:

    More of your ‘other speak’ (LIVE what you believe, etc) only reflects a low regard for God’s Word and authority. If you can’t see that (regardless of a person’s preference) God intended for marriage to be heterosexual and only heterosexual from Genesis and then only reinforced in other, more meaningful ways in the verses I provided, AND that this is the best overall understanding for any culture to have, then you’ve just not focused enough on who’s speaking this idea to mankind.

    In the Jonah story, don’t miss that God was deeply concerned with the rampant sin of this non-Jewish people. Their sin is killing them and their destruction is imminent (40 days) if they do not repent. This story reflects quite easily God’s overall concern for sin and gives the best advice ever: repent. Amazingly, in their free will, they did, but don’t miss how God, being holy, hates sin of all kinds. There are other cultures that were physically judged because of their sin. Sodom and Gomorrah among many others. So, the Christian (Psalm 119) sees this and knows that it’s not God’s will for any culture to increase its sin and that is exactly what is happening (and will happen) more as related to the pro-gay agenda as I showed in the list that I wrote. I neither said nor implied that repentance of sin was not a free choice.

    However, it’s amazing to me that you would continue to champion this special-rights case as opposed to just seeking God’s heart in light of the real of what is connected to gay marriage. In light of who you say that you love, you should know that the best thing for gay people is NOT to get legally bound in this state and NOT to remove whatever references to Him there may be in a culture. More of Him is better than less for all of us, especially the lost. So, I don’t think you dug deeply enough into Jonah at all.

    I already explained the Shariah idea before, but your clinging to this suggests a low view of Scripture by actually making a comparison between Godly precepts and Islamic precepts. A totally inappropriate comparison for a Christian.

    Gay marriage is trading the sacred (Biblical marriage) for the unholy (gay marriage). Yes, our entire legal code (including marriage, thankfully) is based on God’s law. Your statement about murder not being unique to Christians falls flat because the same can be said for marriage laws supporting heterosexual marriage. It’s only in our era that homosexuals are brazenly trying to alter what has always been. As far as I can tell it looks like you are unhappy with the fact that our marriage is currently in line with God’s precepts. This suggests, ultimately, a low value of God’s precepts is promoted by you.

    So, it sounds like you are saying that you believe that Jesus does not and would not support the pro-gay agenda. I agree and so that means that (and according to Scripture) He would oppose their effort to legally change what is currently in line with what He has created. Christians follow Him, so why do you say He would not support the pro-gay agenda, but yet support their effort through an equality understanding (that is faulty as I’ve shown)?

    The bottom line of reality is that laws (thankfully) stop us from doing bad things that we might like to do in all arenas. So, by not allowing people to sin and propagate sin our laws fulfill their Godly purpose as stated in Romans 13. Not allowing people to sin and propagate sin is not the same as removing their freedom to choose or reject Jesus as you are trying to claim. There is a clear difference.

    As far as gay friends goes, yes, we have some. We have been able to love them in truth and when the topic comes up, we get to share God’s awesome plan and His directives. If they openly reject God’s precepts and show no desire to discover Him, then they are not people of peace (Luke 10) and probably aren’t ready to accept Jesus on Jesus’ terms. However, to act as if homosexuality/gay marriage are no big deal so as to support their legal effort EVEN FOR ‘EQUALITY’ reasons is to NOT love them in truth, but to ‘love’ them according earthly standards. It’s also to betray God’s will toward sin and people.

    If gay marriage exists, then there ARE LEGAL BARRIERS to salvation. In other words, if a gay person in a ‘marriage’ contract comes to Christ in repentance, then in order to fully live that out they must break the legal contract costing money and taking time and extra emotional energy.

    “Being “straight” doesn’t get you in, and being “gay” doesn’t keep you out.” — You may have missed 1 John 2: “3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”

    If being “gay” means continually committing homosexual acts, then, yes, it does keep them out, just like continuing to commit ANY SIN does. You mentioned Jonah, that’s good, but didn’t see all that is there. I’ll repeat the more important questions regarding Scripture — Specifically, how about providing some verses to support your position? What verses can you supply that show that Jesus would help people sin more by writing laws that help that happen? Add a legal barrier to salvation? What verses reflect that Jesus (fully understanding that our government authority has been instituted by God according to Romans 13) would actively support the laws of this government changing FROM supporting God’s definition of marriage TO opposing God’s definition of marriage? Or, where does Jesus hint at altering the understanding of marriage so that new believers have a more difficult time understanding His relationship to the church as His bride?

    As you can see, in alignment with Scripture, I’m always gonna see this through God’s eyes, seeking His wisdom and understanding, not the understanding of a faulty perspective. As a Christian (Psalm 119) I’ll always choose allegiance to Him first all the while loving people like Jesus did as much as I can. I will not accept a civil/secular perspective above His perspective. That’s part of the blessing of being a Christian. So, again, if you have some more Scripture to share as in the above paragraph, great. I’ll gladly read them.

    Have a good one,
    Justin

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Justin,
      Your continued refusal to respond to the Sharia Law issue continues to compromise your credibility. You say that it is an inapplicable “distraction” because you believe Christianity is true and Islam is false, but this fails to grasp the argument, which is that it is wrong to force other people to live according to religious beliefs they do not subscribe to, REGARDLESS of the truthfulness of the religious beliefs in question. That you want to force homosexuals to live according to your beliefs is a tacit approval of Islamic impositions of Sharia Law on non-Muslims. You cannot hide from this inconsistency in your argument. You reject their imposing their religiously held beliefs on you, but you are more than willing to impose yours on them. This is called “hypocrisy,” for you are treating others the way that you do not want to be treated, and I seem to recall Jesus saying something about that, don’t you?

      I don’t understand your “other speak” criticism. Could you try again? If I understand you (and I freely admit that I usually don’t), it seems that you believe I have a “low regard” for Scripture because you disagree with my interpretation. You are welcome to your opinion, but what is stopping me from using the same sort of “logic” to say that your interpretations indicate that YOU have a “low regard” for Scripture (and for the model that Jesus offered to us)? Of course I suspect that you will just say that the difference is that you are right and that I am wrong, but that isn’t particularly convincing, and I could say the same thing of you. Everyone thinks their interpretations are in-line with God’s view, but this is extremely arrogant and unlikely. We’re all doing the best we can, and no one merely thinks God’s thoughts after him or “sees through God’s eyes,” not even you. That you would even suggest that you can indicates an unhealthy assessment of your own spirituality. I think you should consider this, even though I fully expect you will turn this into some sort of parrot insult against me. Not that it will help me any, but I freely admit that I cannot see through God’s eyes or think his thoughts, and yet I still try my best. That’s the best any of us can do.

      Let me point out once again why all of your cited verses fail to connect: They attack a position I do not hold. The same can be said of your irrelevant invention of what the “pro-gay agenda” allegedly wants: they have nothing to do with a position that either of us hold or believe in. But back to the Bible, I have never argued that it smiles on all expressions of human sexuality. Neither have I argued that the Bible does not or should not have authority in the life of a Christian. It certainly does in mine (inclusive of Ps. 119, but also well beyond it), and I recognize that you feel the same way. However, you keep citing other verses that indicate God cares about holiness and tells people that this or that issue was or is sinful and on and on. Never have I questioned any of the basics that any of these passages have taught. Reread that last sentence, if you will. I don’t question the words at all, but I do question your interpretation of them, particularly with regard to the applications you then draw concerning how Christians should treat non-Christians.

      Let’s reconsider Jonah. You ask me “not to miss” that God takes sin seriously. I didn’t miss that, but I would like to point out that I did not see the word “hate” anywhere in the book. What translation is your “go-to” text? PS: Did you know that no English translation of the Bible is free from interpreters’ decisions on how to translate it and what words and word order to use? But I digress. You then fall back to some inapplicable carryover between Ninevah and what you invented as the pro-gay agenda (that I do not accept or defend). Like God’s heart in the Book of Jonah, I affirm that God cares for people and holiness, and offers that a faithful servant should reach out to people in a way that they can understand and respond to in the hope that they will listen and repent.

      I missed nothing in Jonah, but I suggest that perhaps you did, for not only does this fun little story NOT reinforce your unbiblical idea that Christians are to impose their will on others, but it DOES show how God’s servant expressed a message that the Ninevites could understand and respond to. The Bible doesn’t give us much about the details of Jonah’s message, but clearly the people of Ninevah understood it and responded appropriately. We need not make what we DO know about Jonah’s message (immanent judgment) the standard of our own communicative efforts, at least not always, but it is clear that preaching in a way that people do not understand isn’t “communicating” at all. I suggest that when your first message to homosexuals is, “I want to oppress your secular, legal rights,” they aren’t going to be able to hear any subsequent messages about your deity. How did your gay friends respond when you told them that you want to perpetuate a legally oppressive system against them?

      But let me focus on your best argument, which is that Jesus would not support something that makes it more difficult for people to become his followers, and that in the case of gay marriage, you interpret that to mean that he would actively oppose it. I want to break this sentence down into 3 parts: First, we agree that Jesus would not encourage gay marriage. Second, however, I argue that gay marriage does not make it “more difficult” to become Christ’s follower in the way you think it does. There simply are no legal barriers to salvation, because God is not beholden to what human legal codes assert. Legal codification is neither more strong nor less than anything else when it comes to the power of Christ. Third, we disagree on what it means to “oppose” gay marriage. I explained this in greater detail elsewhere, but it seems that you have not read it. Essentially, I suggested that, given the biblical record of Jesus, Christians should encourage people (and each other) to follow Jesus even when that means denying themselves to do so. In the case of “opposing” gay marriage, Christians should not change tactics or give up on communicating genuine love, inviting people to “follow Christ” and setting aside active homosexual relationships to do so. However, to go beyond encouraging people and inviting them into a relationship with Christ by pursuing secular, legal action to force them to comply with the Christian imposition of denial is a mockery of Christ and a mockery of his Father. Like you said, they are not divided in the least. Nowhere have I suggested otherwise and nowhere have you supplied verses that indicate Jesus would enforce legal requirements on others to coerce holiness, especially when that coercion has no direct relationship to salvation. Stated another way, whether a homosexual couple is married or not has no bearing on their “saved” status either way, and your crusade against it is an adventure in missing the point. Holiness never comes before salvation.

      Legalism: In your citation of 1John 2:3-6, you interpret it to mean that if a person continues to sin, then they won’t be saved. So I have to ask, Justin, would you have me believe that you have never repeated a sin since you became a Christian? Are your thoughts and actions as infallible and perfect as your biblical interpretations?

      I look forward to your reply,
      -CL

  28. Justin Aichele says:

    Hi Corbin,
    As I’ve said, I’m only interested at this point in any Scriptures you might have that backup your position. Still to date, nothing meaningful has come from you. You did mention Jonah. Any believer will easily notice that God hates sin. And sin will not be in His presence because He is holy. So, in Jonah, through God’s actions a Christian (Psalm 119) can EASILY see God communicating his hatred for the Ninevites evil by bringing righteous punishment on them if they do not repent which was communicated in a direct message. The message is/was to repent, a stance in opposition to somehow siding with an effort like gay marriage which seeks to continue and increase sin and legally bind people to their sin via contract. I did not mention Jonah as an exact tactic, so any analyzing along this line of thought is a waste of time. Overall, I disagree with your position on Jonah.

    1 John 2:3-6 says “3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 Whoever says “I know him” but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, 5 but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.

    By this we may know that we are in him: 6 whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” It says and means that those who claim to know Jesus, but do not obey Him is a liar. They do not know Him, then, and the truth is not in this person.

    1 John 1:9 says “9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

    So, putting these two together, it says the one who claims to know Jesus, but does not keep His commandments and does not confess his sins does not, in fact know Jesus and is not saved. The fruit of obedience should rightfully be there. The good news would be that the person fitting the description of not really knowing Jesus can always begin that via repentance. Your legalism claim is out of place. This passage doesn’t support your position of supporting gay marriage via secular equality understanding.

    You didn’t mention any other Scriptures that support your position. I’ll repeat the more important questions regarding Scripture — Specifically, how about providing some verses to support your position? What verses can you supply that show that Jesus would help people sin more by writing laws that help that happen? Add a legal barrier to salvation? What verses reflect that Jesus (fully understanding that our government authority has been instituted by God according to Romans 13) would actively support the laws of this government changing FROM supporting God’s definition of marriage TO opposing God’s definition of marriage? Or, where does Jesus hint at altering the understanding of marriage so that new believers have a more difficult time understanding His relationship to the church as His bride?
    Have a good one,
    Justin

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Justin, 
I asked you to explain your incoherent criticism of my “other talk.” Are you giving up on that? Should we just pretend like you didn’t say it and strike it from the conversation? I’m ok with that, but I want to make sure.

      I know you are not willing to deal with your implicit advocacy of Sharia Law, and I guess I don’t expect you to try, but I will urge you one last time to develop an argument on those grounds, if you can. I think it will help you see where you go wrong. As it stands, my criticism of your acting just like a Muslim remains unchallenged.

      Unfortunately, it is fairly clear that you aren’t reading my emails or choosing to ignore the parts that consistently answer your repetitive questions. You have an un-ending penchant to construct arguments from silence and then act like I have no biblical support for my own position on the issue. It’s kind of like the kettle calling the pot “black.” You say, “Jesus would not lobby for gay marriage,” and I reply: “Yeah, we agree on that, but neither would he seek to force anyone to do anything against their will.” But in response, you plow right on ahead as if you aren’t even listening and go on to cite text after text that does not support your interpretations or applications… all while claiming that they do. How can I even reply to this?

      If you truly are “only interested at this point in any Scriptures” then I ask you to offer some that teach believers to force what their beliefs require of THEM onto OTHERS. I am pretty sure they aren’t in there, but I am willing to learn about what the Bible says. Until that point, however, you fall victim to your own criticism, “Still to date, nothing meaningful has come from you.

      And as I have pointed out again and again, you are not merely interested in Scripture. You are interested in your interpretation and application of it. That’s ok. I am too. But I am willing to admit that interpretation of Scripture is not the same thing as Scripture itself. You like to protest and pretend that you see as God sees (which practically leaves me speechless), but I ask you to prove your case. If you just want to list Scriptures without any interpretive efforts, then please feel free to do so without commentary, and I will be happy to accept them and love them and live them as best I can. I may even list some of my own under the same guidelines.

      But until that moment, let’s talk about the verses you tried to deploy thus far. Jonah. You said that you “disagree” with my assessment of Jonah? Where? Was it the part where God didn’t force the Ninevites to obey? Counter your assertion, I never said that people didn’t need to repent to follow God (heterosexual or homosexual). That is your misunderstanding. My point with Jonah remains that this is perhaps the text that comes closest to saying what you want it to in support of your theocratic approach to forcing non-Christians to live according to Christian beliefs… but it doesn’t even come close. You’ll have to look elsewhere for biblical texts that can be marshaled to support your position on gay marriage.

      Let’s talk about 1John. What do you interpret “keeping his commandments” to mean? It sounds as if you are saying that IF a Christian keeps them, then he or she will be saved. And if not, then they won’t be. How is that not legalism?

      And I can’t help but notice that you didn’t answer my question: “Would you have me believe that you have never repeated a sin since you became a Christian?”

      You say that 1John doesn’t support advocacy for equal rights. Well, ok, but neither does it support your opposition to equal rights.

      Let’s talk about Romans 13. I have to take stock of the other ways you have misunderstood it. According to your various interpretations in this and other discussions I’ve had with you, Romans 13 has been forced to justify everything from the death penalty, to war, to persecuting those pesky Muslims (who want to force other people according to their interpretation of their holy book), and now homosexuals. I am starting to get the feeling that you can make Romans 13 dance to any tune you play if it involves subjugating people you don’t like. Is there anything else you would like to deploy your selective interpretation of Romans 13 against? Once bans on gay marriage are ruled unconstitutional, will you still be so willing to hand that blank-check over to the powers instituted by God? Is this why you support abortion rights, because the government appointed by God said it’s ok?



      I look forward to your reply.
      
-CL

      • Justin Aichele says:

        Corbin,
        Making another effort to get this back to some semblance of a discussion, but, perhaps it won’t happen. I’m ignoring the extraneous stuff that doesn’t address the Biblical support for your position.

        Just to keep on track, whether you perceive them or not or whether you agree with them or not. For whatever reason (marriage equality, as you perceive it) you support the gay marriage effort you also, by siding with the gay marriage effort are supporting the gay-agenda.

        [repetitive ‘gay agenda’ content redacted]

        I said that to get this back to a real discussion, you need to supply Scripture that supports your perspective and none have come forth while I supplied ample verses that clearly delineate that Christians should lovingly, boldly oppose the gay marriage effort.

        I’m looking for verses that answer these questions or very similar questions:
        –What verses can you supply that show that Jesus would help people sin more by writing laws that help that happen? Add a legal barrier to salvation? 

        –What verses reflect that Jesus (fully understanding that our government authority has been instituted by God according to Romans 13) would actively support the laws of this government changing FROM supporting God’s definition of marriage TO opposing God’s definition of marriage? 

        –Or, where does Jesus hint at altering the understanding of marriage so that new believers have a more difficult time understanding His relationship to the church as His bride? 

        –Where has Jesus suggested, or even hinted, by word or example, that the indoctrination of children against Him and Truth causing them to sin (bringing punishment Mk 9:42) is something His disciples should support in alignment with His will?

        However, I haven’t received any Scriptures. So that’s probably the answer….there aren’t any, so therefore Christians should lovingly, boldly oppose the gay marriage effort by championing traditional Biblical marriage in alignment with the Scriptures I shared a while back.

        If you don’t have any verses that really support your position, and in an effort to preserve the relationship, then I suggest we end this effort. You game?

        Have a good one,
        Justin

  29. C_Lambeth says:

    Justin,
    You are not being consistent. After introducing a litany of other issues, you say that you want to ignore the extraneous parts of our discussion to focus on biblical passages. Even in the same email where you say this, in literally your next breath you plow right ahead and re-post your fears about what some pro-gay agenda is about. Once again, not only does this alleged gay agenda have nothing to do with the Bible, it has nothing to do with our conversation. But this is not the end of the irony.

    You say you want to ignore the superfluous parts of our discussion to focus on biblical passages, but even where I play by your rules and challenge you on your interpretive and application miscues regarding the only 3 passages you’ve mentioned recently (Jonah, Romans and 1John), the only reply you can muster is the demonstrably false accusation that I’ve not discussed any Bible verses.

    This is the problem with our conversation, Justin. You try to formulate peripheral social and pseudo-philosophical positions that support your own religio-political fundamentalism, but when I engage with you and point out the fallacies and failures to connect your conclusions with your premises, you simply give up on them and retreat behind very biased and selective interpretations of the Bible. When I match pace and press on those conclusions, you become self-righteous and act as if you have a perfect, non-interpretive understanding of the Bible, even going so far as to say that you “always see through God’s eyes.” I would have laughed at this except that I have little doubt that you were trying to be taken seriously. I will say more on this below.

    It is also unfortunate that you repeatedly mimic my continued requests for you to supply Bible verses that establish the legitimacy of your desire to legally persecute non-Christians. I know that you believe it is my job to supply Bible verses that “prove” that Jesus would not persecute people in this fashion, but that is to presume that we have no other information about Christ and have no other Scriptures to indicate how he treats people on other issues commonly regarded as “sinful.” This is a mistake on your part, for throughout the NT, we see Jesus inviting people to follow him, confronting people with their sins, but ultimately leaving it up to them to decide what to do. Not once does he try to legislate morality, coerce or force anyone to do anything. At least so far as I know. It is incumbent upon you to demonstrate otherwise.

    I know you believe that you have offered verse after verse that justifies your desire to prevent gay marriage and that God is on your side, but what I have tried to point out, most notably with the Book of Jonah, is that the verses you try to press into your cause do not actually say what you want them to or advocate the strategy you have adopted to oppress non-Christians. Once you realized this, you abandoned your citation of Jonah. I am reasonably confident that I could point out the same with any of the verses you have thus far enlisted. Is there another one that you think makes your case stronger than any of the others? I’d be happy to review it with you.

    In general, however, I find your method to be questionable, and below is what I perceive to be the thread of your efforts at Bible quotation, interpretation and application:

    1) Cite Bible verses that indicate homosexuality is wrong.

    2) Cite biblical passages that say Christians are to resist sin in their own lives.

    3) Cite Bible stories where believers preach effective messages to non-believers.

    4) Interpretively conclude that Jesus would not encourage gay marriage.

    5) Interpret the conclusion that Jesus would not encourage gay marriage to mean that Christians must actively persecute homosexuals and deny them equal rights.

    6) Apply your interpretations in a way that disparages / persecutes non-believers in general (or homosexuals in particular), and seeks to maintain a system that denies them legal equity.

    7) Demand that others be perfect before they come to Christ, remain perfect after they come to Christ, and insist that they were not saved or have lost their salvation if they continue to struggle with sin after they become followers of Jesus.

    As far as it goes, 1-3 aren’t really up for debate, and I can’t find any fault with #4. Numbers 5 & 6, however, is where you start to hit turbulence, and 7 is where you completely go off the rails. In the case of 5 & 6, I have to ask if you have any Scriptures that support either of these interpretations or applications? Regarding 7, the only way 3 ways I see for you to overcome it is to back away from it completely, assert your own perfection, or admit that you are just as doomed and without hope as any other sinner. Which option will you choose?

    Despite your willingness to avoid my questions and criticisms and your duplicitous demand that I supply biblical proof-texts when you yourself are unable to do so, I am still interested in the 2 best parts of your argument, namely, that by upholding the Constitution and legalizing gay marriage, you believe that our nation will be “encouraging” gay people to enter in to monogamous, committed relationships and that this dishonors Jesus. And secondly, that if we refuse to offer marriage equity to homosexual people it means that they will be freed from their sin rather than their being “bound to it.”

    I’m going to work backwards as I respond to both points. In the latter case, denying our gay friends equal rights simply will not change their sexual orientation. This fact renders your entire argument moot. Similarly, there are no “legal barriers” to salvation. Doubt my assertion? Make following Jesus illegal and see if it works. Better yet, make a law that says everyone must become a Christian, and see if that works.

    As for the first point that legalizing gay marriage will encourage people to enter in to monogamous, committed relationships and therefore dishonor Jesus is questionable to say the least. Do we really believe that casual sex with many partners in uncommitted relationships is more honoring to Christ? Is that the same way we feel about heterosexual non-Christians, that they should not give up promiscuous sex with multiple partners and enter into a committed, monogamous relationship because it would dishonor Jesus? It seems that this argument is plainly inconsistent and particularly discriminatory.

    Nevertheless, and believe it or not, I do want to be charitable to this portion of your argument. I freely admit that, even regardless of sexual orientation issues, Jesus wouldn’t encourage people to enter in to secular contracts that codified sinful lifestyles. This is the only valid argument you have made from Scripture (thus far). That being said, there is an important difference between “encouraging” and “coercing.” We cannot lose sight of this key distinction. Once again, I must point out that neither would I encourage people to enter in to sinful contracts. I am for encouraging people to follow Jesus, not themselves. Even so, I am also in support of respecting people’s own choices, rather than forcing mine (or what I think Jesus would do) upon them. If God, in all his sovereign power and passion for holiness, has not taken it upon himself to force his creatures to carry out his will, then who are we to try and do so? Jesus did not go that route, so how can his “followers” “follow” where he did not go and, in fact, refused to go?

    I am not making an “anything goes” argument, but rather one that affirms that we need laws and general governance, and that part of good governance necessarily means that all citizens are equally protected by those laws regardless of prejudicial considerations, especially those of a certain religious subculture within the broader, secular state. Christians would howl if Muslims were allowed to do this, and that says something significant about your own argument against gay marriage. It is equally appropriate to say that while Jesus would engage people (at least in so far as they were willing to interact with him), he would not force them to comply with his own desires for their lives. Certainly he would “encourage” them to make the best choice (and treat them with love and respect while he was at it), but force them? Never. This is the entire basis of my support of the Constitution and counter-criticism of your assertion on how Jesus would have his followers behave.

    Finally, I would like you to consider how much influence people would grant Jesus (or his followers) if he (or we) tried to subjugate them like a Roman Emperor and force them to worship him and do his will. Just to venture a guess, I’d say they probably wouldn’t like Jesus very much (or his Christians). They might even hate him and certainly would not open their hearts to him. With that in view, how do you think our fellow gay citizens feel when certain Christians (like you) try the same type of religio-political judo on them? I submit that efforts to thwart equal rights/ marriage equity, despite the religiously held convictions of some that it is morally proper to do so, will only drive people farther away from Jesus and his church. That is simply not the way of Christ, and by taking that route, some of us are making it more difficult for him and the Holy Spirit to do their thing. While I understand that you think merely allowing gay marriage will add another barrier to people accepting Christ, I first argue that your eagerness to oppress them (allegedly in the name of Jesus) will only drive them farther away from Christ and secondly, that denying homosexuals equal rights will have no effect on their lifestyles anyway. I understand your desire to promote what you perceive as righteousness, but the fact of the matter is that your arguments accomplish nothing other than to drive a wedge between our fellow humans and the God who profoundly loves them no matter what. If we Christians want to honor Jesus and be known for our compassion, care, friendliness, acceptance and love of others, especially those who do not yet know Jesus, then we have got to move past the typical religio-political tactics of oppression, subjugation, bigotry and general vitriol against them. People absolutely do not care what we know until they know that we care.

    May we be people known for what we are for, rather than what we are against.
    -Corbin

  30. Chad U. says:

    I have several thoughts on your blog post. One of those being that it is very deceptive, but before I get to that, a question.

    Do you consider the institution of marriage to be a Christian doctrine? Or at the very least a religious institution that the government now defines?

    • C_L says:

      Chad, I am sorry you believe the post is deceptive. I thought it was fairly straight forward.

      But to answer your question, no, marriage is not a Christian doctrine, at least not JUST a Xian doctrine. A brief survey of non-Xian religions and cultures makes that fairly clear, both now and historically. The same can be said about your question regarding “religious institutions” and gov’t involvement. There is overlap, but neither has a corner on that market. Christians are free to define marriage for themselves, but not others (at least not in this country).

  31. Chad U. says:

    Two quick thoughts. One is that marriage is a very religous institution and I would rather the government not define it at all. But if they are going to try and take the term and define, then I will of course defend its biblical meaning.
    Two, you said homosexuality is not a sin (I think – correct me if I am wrong) and so if you are going to take that stance then the bible doesn’t hold any weight to you.

    • C_L says:

      Chad,
      I might agree with you that marriage is a “religious institution” for some, but not all, and certainly not just a Christian one.

      As for your second comment, that is an entirely different discussion, and it is a response to a comment that I did not make.

  32. Chad U. says:

    So you are ok with the government defining some religious institutions?

    • C_L says:

      Well that depends, I am ok with the government upholding the U.S. Constitution and people’s rights, the 1st Amendment in particular in this case. But I am sure that you know the government doesn’t allow Mormon polygamy (or any other type either). Would you rather that they be free to do so?

  33. Chad U. says:

    Let me state my desire: that the US Government not define marriage in any context. If they want to create some sort of legislation for civil unions that dictates visitation hours, different tax brackets, etc. Then if my wife and I want to file with the government body we can, but it does not define our marriage. As soon as the government used that word it makes me defend the bible. So to answer your snide question – if they government were merely defining civil unions, then Mormons could join to whomever they chose. You could be civilly joined with a tree for all I care. That would be government’s proper role. It’s role is not to define the institution that my wife and I entered into.

    The irony is that those who support the separation of church and state are in fact its biggest proponent. At least my stance is consistent with my belief of the separation of church and state.

    To my second point. You said that homosexuality is not a sin with these statements:

    -‘Nowhere does the Bible (or Jesus) indicate that having homosexual feelings or orientations means that people who are that way are evil, irredeemable hell-fodder etc’

    -‘Being gay (or not) isn’t what gets us in or keeps us out of Heaven. Period’

    -‘It tells me that Jesus likely wouldn’t support homosexual lifestyles (in marriage or outside of it), but that he nevertheless also wouldn’t go on a crusade to end those lifestyles regadless of the marriage issue, much less force his perspective on anyone. ‘

    And you imply it several other places. I didn’t have to work funny business. You said that homosexuality is not a grounds to be sent to hell (in other words – not a sin) as sin is the single that condemns us to hell (your first quote) or out of heaven (your second quote).

    • C_L says:

      I am going to look past your “snide” comment, Chad, and try to focus on the issue. You say that you don’t want the gov’t to weigh in on marriage, but surely you can see that Christians have never had any type of “corner” on the market of marriage. CAN you see that? People have been entering into marriage WAY before the time of Jesus, and well outside of Judeo-Christian cultures. You act as if “marriage” can only and ever be a Christian thing, but you are mistaken. You aren’t arguing with me at this point, you are arguing with history, culture and societies in general. And just so we’re clear, no one is trying to tell Christians they can’t define marriage in the ways they always have. What you call your relationship with your wife is not being debated, challenged or questioned.

      As for your attempts to defend your mistaken idea about sinfulness and homosexuality, let’s start with your very first quote from the blog:
      “‘Nowhere does the Bible (or Jesus) indicate that having homosexual feelings or orientations means that people who are that way are evil, irredeemable hell-fodder etc'”

      You seem to think I am mistaken. Please, show me where the Bible indicates that having homosexual feelings or orientations means that people who are that way are evil, irredeemable hell-fodder. I think you’ll be hard pressed to find the phrase “sexual orientation” in the text, but I could be wrong.

      In fact, I ask that you show me in the Bible, if you can, verses that countermand the rest of the quotes you culled. I love learning more about the biblical text. Maybe you can help me.

      -CL

  34. Chad U. says:

    So is it a religious institution or isn’t it? Are there other things that the government legislates that are sometime religious institutions and sometimes aren’t?

    And how do you handle 1 Corinthians 6: 9-10 that says many people (including homosexuals) won’t inherit the kingdom of God? I would say that is pretty clear that homosexuality is a sin.

    • C_L says:

      Marriage is a religiousy thing for some, but not all. Christians, atheists, Hindus, Muslims and all other points in between have been getting married, some for more than 2000 years before Jesus.

      Your second paragraph is still fighting a comment I didn’t make, and you seem to have neglected my requests for you to show me where my blog quotes are mistaken (via the Bible). As for the verses you ripped out of context, if you read the next one (verse 11), it indicates that none of those things are enough to make anyone irredeemable, which is precisely what I said in the passage you quoted from my blog:

      “‘Nowhere does the Bible (or Jesus) indicate that having homosexual feelings or orientations means that people who are that way are evil, irredeemable hell-fodder etc.'”

      Try again?

  35. Chad U. says:

    So because it is not a religious institution to some people then it is ok for the government to define it? What if the government wanted to legislate how communion was taken? And since people have been breaking bread and drinking wine for centuries outside of the church that made it not religious in some instances, so it would be ok for the government to legislate. I just think there is a better solution than to allow government to define a religious institution. And that would be for a brighter line between church and state.

    As for the second point. I am reading your comments in that since Christ died for our sins that our sins don’t really matter. Is that a true statement? It seems you are using verse 11 to somehow prove that those actions listed above are bad, but since we are justified they aren’t condemmable. So let me ask you this. Is homosexuality a sin and therefore an act which would on its own cause a person to go to hell outside of the salvation provided by Christ?

    • C_L says:

      Chad,
      So are you now backing away from your original attempted criticisms of the quotations from my original blog post? This is fine, but you haven’t shown me any passages that challenge what I wrote, at least not yet. I welcome Scripture’s guidance.

      But to answer your first question, Yes, the government can define marriage whenever it involves legal statuses, protections, rights, privileges and tax implications. If you have been following the USSC case that was discussed yesterday, then you know that these are right in the middle of the issue. If marriage were ONLY a Christian thing with no other implications as highlighted above, then the government shouldn’t interfere, but it isn’t. You may long for a time and place where marriage for all people has nothing to do with anything related to the government, but that’s not completely dissimilar to yearning to live on a Mars colony that does not exist. Your vision is simply not what the USSC is discussing.

      As for your question about communion, you should be aware that this example reinforces my position on marriage equality. Of course the Christian practice is more than merely eating bread and drinking wine (or at least it ought to be), and the government does not regulate those spiritual implications in the least. That would be an infringement of the 1st Amendment (1A). However, the government does regulate standards for food safety (via the FDA). It would be illegal for churches to serve anti-freeze instead of wine or corpse-flesh instead of bread, but this is not a violation of 1A, for it is not an imposition only on religious folks (or anti-religious folks). It is just as illegal for your atheist neighbor or local McDonalds to serve up such fare. If people are going to serve bread and wine, they must ALL do so within the same bandwidth of legality. This is equality under the law, and counter your position, it does not constitute the government’s defining a religious institution in the least.

      Regarding your 2nd topic, you are still wide of the mark, and it must be said that this theological issue literally has nothing to do with the current cases before the USSC. That being said, there are two seemingly contradictory ways I might answer your question about whether or not sins “really matter” since Christ died for them. First, for those redeemed by Jesus on a long enough timeline (think the end of all things), it is true that our sins do not matter at all. They are wiped out, irrelevant, forgotten. That is true, and nothing that Jesus has cancelled is potent enough to “condemn” us. Would you have me believe that there are some sins powerful enough to overthrow God’s grace?

      The second way I might reply to your question is to say that, “Yes, of course sins matter. They matter enough to cause God to sacrifice himself to cancel them, and that his people ought to avoid them to the best of their ability.” Nevertheless, we must also acknowledge the now and not-yet component of a Christian’s holiness. We are perfected by Christ, but remain imperfect in our thoughts and deeds. Do you deny this? Would you have me believe that you are morally perfect as you are right now? The only thing I am using verse 11 to “prove” is that Paul’s list of sins here are not fatal for those who are saved by Jesus.

      And finally, to your question about homosexuality and hell-fodder. I am interested in what you mean by “homosexuality” in the way you use it. Nevertheless, the way you asked the question bypasses the issue of homosexuality altogether. You asked if someone will “go to hell outside from the salvation provided by Christ.” The answer is: Yes, of course they will.

      -CL

  36. Chad U. says:

    This is part the frustration in these back and forths. You can dodge and run around and use a bunch of words, but not actually address the issue. So allow me to simplify.

    Issue 1 – I have already stated what I would want to see in regards to government’s involvement in marriage. I will leave it at that.

    Issue 2 – I will ask one question as to not distract you. Is homosexuality a sin?

    • C_L says:

      Hmm. Testy. Speaking of dodging and running away, etc., it seems that you might be projecting your own behavior onto me. Thus far you have proven unable to support your assertions or defend them when I point out their problems or ask for Scriptural support of them. Like most folks you’d rather deflect, insult and change subjects. This is disappointing but not surprising. I wonder if you can do better.

      I’ll leave that up to you, but given your personal desires for marriage status in our nation, all I can say is that your “Issue 1” is completely disconnected from the current cases in front of the U.S. Supreme Court and thus irrelevant to the topic as posted on my blog and the question originally posted on Facebook by our mutual friend.

      As for your second question, it is also irrelevant for the issue of same-sex marriage before the court. Given your attitude, I suspect that our conversation is close to its end, but I’ll play along for now. However, before I can even respond to your 2nd question, I need you to explain to me what you mean by “homosexuality.” I already asked you that once, but you have yet to answer it.

      Looking forward to your reply,
      -CL

  37. Chad U. says:

    I’ll the take high road here. Once again there are a lot of words, but you don’t actually say anything. You assume the role of judge, jury, and executioner. But that is fine, that seems to be how you like to ‘debate’.

    I would assume that defining homosexuality would be unnecessary, but I will chase you around a little more here as you keep dodging/running.

    Lets define it as being physically attracted to some on of the same sex and desiring to act on that attraction. Is that a sin?

    • C_L says:

      Chad,
      
Interesting that you believe “taking the high road” means that you continue to insult and be generally unfriendly. I think you are confused on that point and would still like to encourage you to do better if you are able.

      As for my typing to you, it is little wonder that one sentence of confusion takes a paragraph or two to sort out and explain. Yes, raising objections and responding to them is the standard format for a “debate,” but it is not what you have been doing (offering an objection only to plug one’s ears and throw out insulting barbs when the conversation partner replies to them).

      Unfortunately, you appear unwilling to deal with any of my points and would rather construct some sort of test for me to pass/ fail. And then you have the audacity to claim that I am acting as a judge? More projection on your part unless you are actually seeking an answer that you don’t already believe you know when you repeatedly ask me “Is homosexuality a sin?” As it stands, it’s such an obvious attempt to judge me that I won’t take the bait. I wonder if you are even aware of your own driving agenda and how it has clouded your thinking.

      As for my own position on this issue, I thought anyone who read my initial blog post could understand what I was saying. Clearly you have proved that assumption wrong and chosen to ignore the obvious in an effort to put words in my mouth and judge me. This is one of many reasons why people hate Christians and paint us all with the same brush. It is unfortunate.

      Nevertheless, thank you for finally offering a definition of what you mean when you say “homosexuality.” You defined it as: “being physically attracted to some on of the same sex and desiring to act on that attraction.

      We are getting closer to discovering your true feelings on the issue, but I have to ask a couple of additional clarifying questions first. I hope you don’t take offense at that, but honest answers will help me understand why you feel as you do about this issue.

      A) Where did you get your definition of homosexuality? Is it in the Bible? Could you show me where?

      B) Did you choose your sexual orientation or have you always leaned towards the opposite (or same) sex?

      C) Would you suggest that being physically attracted to someone of the opposite sex and desiring to act on that attraction is NOT a sin?

      D) Do you adhere to John Calvin’s theology of God foreordaining everything that would ever happen including his sending people to Heaven and Hell, or are you more of a John Wesley kind of guy who believes in free-will?

      And just in case you’d ever like to stand your ground on a few of your earlier notions, thus far I’ve argued that:

      1) Your objections to the quotes you pulled from my original post remain unsupported.

      2) Christians have never had exclusivity on marriage or its definition.

      3) Your wishes for government to step out of the marriage issue fails to connect with our present reality.

      4) Not only does your communion analogy fail to support your position; it supports the opposite.

      5) Your “apart from Jesus” question on a person’s eternal destiny has nothing to do with sexuality.

      Looking forward to your reply,
      
-CL

  38. Chad U. says:

    So any question you don’t want to answer is obviously a trap so therefore you won’t answer it? Convenient way to not answer anything. Ever.
    Also, as you didn’t answer my one question, but went ahead and asked me several, can I just call them a trap and dodge them? Or would that be ‘generally unfriendly’?

    My one simple question still stands.

    • C_L says:

      Actually, Chad, as far as I can tell I’ve answered all your legitimate questions. The one I won’t explicitly answer is the one that you believe you already know and is nothing more than a test you’ve set up so you can judge me. No, thank you.

      I’d actually like to understand why you think as you do, but I am not interested in playing your little game. To be honest, the more you run and dodge, the more I perceive that your opinions on homosexuality are not found in Scripture, but in… something else. Where was it that you came up with your definition of homosexuality again? If it’s the Bible, just tell me where. I really don’t know.

  39. Chad U. says:

    Are you saying my definition is wrong? I’m afraid that may be too straight forward of a question and therefore be illegitimate. I wait your verdict on the legitimacy of my questions with bated breath.

    • C_L says:

      Oh come now, Chad. You are still projecting your own disposition on to me, and I thought you were going to try and take the high road. I have repeatedly encouraged you to do better. Are you capable of doing so?

      I’d just like to know where your definition came from. If it’s in the Bible and you’ve accurately interpreted it, then no, I’m not saying your definition is wrong. As it stands, I have no idea. Given your unwillingness to answer my other questions about it, I suspect that your definition suffers from serious inconsistencies, a rather one-sided perspective and yes, is mistaken. I await your revelation as to how you came to it though.

      -CL

  40. Chad U. says:

    So I get to answer questions but you don’t have to? I have no doubt that is how you expect any debate you enter into to go. I am assuming you got a lot of participant trophies in your life. I would ask you if you did, but seeing how this is a lecture and not a debate I know you wouldn’t answer.

    My question still stands.

    • C_L says:

      If you could take the blinders off for a moment, you would see that I have answered all your legitimate questions, and if you could use your powers of perception, you would also have rightly understood the answer to the test “question” that you keep bandying about. The only reason this isn’t a “debate,” Chad, is because you refuse to support any of the challenges you raised or defend against any of my counter criticisms. You prefer to run around, insult and hide, all while pretending that I am the one doing so. This would be unbelievable except for the fact that I encounter it all the time with folks like you.

      As for your remaining “question,” I’d like to point out the objective of a question, which is to find out information that one does not already know the answer to. A rhetorical question on the other hand is not a legitimate question as previously defined because the asker already knows the answer (or at least thinks he does). You clearly have already invented your own answer to the question and are merely trying to use it as a test to judge me by. It appears that we are not evenly matched conversation partners.

      I am left with little else to conclude other than that you cannot support your own definition of homosexuality and similarly, that it does not accord with what readers find in the Bible. I await your corrective (if it exists). Why do I get the feeling you will continue to be unable to support your own opinions and beliefs?

      -CL

  41. Chad U. says:

    Thanks for the definition of a question. Helpful.
    So do you believe it is a sin by whatever definition you deem to be correct? I ask because I honestly don’t know your answer as you have circled the question but haven’t planted the flag yet. Or you can tell me that I already know the answer which doesn’t help at all.

    Of course you have already established we aren’t equal conversation partners, so theres that. Maybe you could start answering for me, that way you can get the answers you want to hear which it appears is what you are used to.

    Can’t wait to see how you don’t answer my question this time…

    • C_L says:

      So apparently you aren’t able to be friendly or “do better”? Is that really what you want me (a complete stranger) to see? Does that represent Jesus very well? I guess we never clarified if you are, in fact, a Christian, but I’ve been able to perceive an answer to it regardless, which makes your anger and attitude even more distasteful. As for me, I’ll try to do better.

      And concerning the real question you just asked me: “Is [homosexuality] a sin by whatever definition you deem to be correct?

      Finally! A legitimate question. This is progress. Let me answer by offering a quote from my blog that you seem to have missed in your urge to rush into an inquisition:

      As per my present understanding of the Bible, it indicates something significant about those who choose active homosexual lifestyles: it’s not what God wants for them.

      Here’s another one: “…the Bible indicates that this is a lifestyle that should be denied by those who place themselves under Christ’s authority.

      I am reasonably confident you can put this together and come up with the right answer to your question.

      As for your own definition of “homosexuality,” it remains unsupported by anything I know of in the biblical text and indeed aligns more closely with “temptation,” than with “sin.” So I would urge you to develop a more biblical understanding of sin in general and then homosexual behavior in particular.

      looking forward to your reply,
      -CL

  42. C_L says:

    This link is a helpful piece of the broader conversation and I think it is worth sharing as well:

    http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2013/03/21/an-open-letter-to-the-church-from-a-lesbian/?comments#comments

  43. Chad U. says:

    The fact that you refuse to answer the question with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ is amazing. I guess such a simple answer is beneath you somehow? It’s clear you aren’t up for a discussion, it seems you just want get your word count up without really saying anything and you have succeeded in spades.

    • C_L says:

      Chad,
      At almost every turn I have encouraged you to be mature and to ask honest questions, support your own assertions and defend your ideas against counter criticisms, as well as to honor your faith and engage with its foundational collection of documents. And yet, at each and every turn you refuse. This says far more about you than it does me. I suppose this marks the end of our exchanges unless you can muster some sort of adult responses to the issues I’ve raised.

      -CL

      • C_Lambeth says:

        Having done more research and continuing to discuss this issue with more reasonable and friendly opponents (none of which have been involved in this particular blog discussion), I need to offer a corrective: Given that it is clear that God creates some people as heterosexual and others as homosexual (as well as other categories), I can no longer interpret biblical texts as unanimously being against ALL homosexual behavior in all contexts. New Testament texts indicate that homosexual behavior is sinful when those who engage in it are NOT fulfilling who God created them to be. However, it says nothing about people who are created with a dominant same-sex attraction and thereby engage in homosexual behaviors.

        Furthermore, the New Testament texts were written at a time when the most scandalous and oppressive sexual behaviors (from a Christian perspective) were conducted at pagan temples and celebrated both heterosexual and homosexual eroticism as a form of spirituality.The Bible clearly indicates that this type of behavior is not acceptable.

        Then, as today (regrettably), there were also many instances of pedophilia wherein older “adults” subjugated same-sex children to abusive sexual practices. There is some indication that this was even socially accepted in Hellenistic culture, but always condemned by Christians and Israelites. The Bible clearly indicates that this type of behavior is not acceptable.

        This era also knew military-related heterosexual rape of same-sex (defeated) enemies as a means of ultimate humiliation. In all three these cases, homosexual behavior is used inappropriately as means of idolatry, oppression and violence by people who were not created with a natural same-sex attraction.

        None of the former three types of homosexual behavior are acceptable for Christians, and this is what I understand that the Bible teaches. Nevertheless, if God creates people with a natural, sexual inclination towards a specific gender, then why would he then demand that those creatures not pursue it? It seems to me that when we assert that he does, that we are missing something. This is all the more embarrassing and double-minded when heterosexual Christians want to claim that their own natural-born sexuality is fine, but not that of their homosexual counterparts. There is only one word for this: hypocrisy.

        I don’t know of any Christians who say that “anything goes” regarding sexuality and pursuit of sexual relationships. Of course there are good and bad ways to go about it. In the New Testament era and beyond, sexuality is clearly limited to mutually consenting adults with one partner in one committed, marriage relationship. These are people who are honoring the way God created them, and I see no reason at all to deny this to folks who are HLGBTQ. That some Christians want to deny LGBTQ folks marriage equality, and thereby short-circuit the ONLY context that their sexuality could be expressed in a way that honors other Christian convictions, is truly mind boggling and stupid. For the sake of Christ himself, we’ve got to cut that garbage out.

        -Corbin

  44. C_L says:

    Here’s another worthy link that adds to the conversation in a meaningful way:
    http://www.jaredellis.org/homosexuality-christian-taboo/

  45. Justin Aichele says:

    Dear Corbin,
    It’s been a long time. I hope you have been well. I’m responding to a few of your points, but I really think that this discussion has run its course….and them some, maybe.
    I mean it all well even though I do pick on your perspective.

    “You are not being consistent.” This is a very interesting and totally inaccurate charge. Here’s why: your support of ‘marriage equality’ is simply full acceptance of the perspective of lost and confused people as is. Trusting what? The way they see this issue as opposed to how God sees this issue based on established principles in His Word?

    Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” — Demands NOT buying the lost person’s perspective, but instead going FIRST to the Father to see what is really going on. Anyone can twist anything (quite cleverly) to their own vantage point. A few minutes reviewing what God says about who He is, sin, marriage, wisdom, and insight plus a few minutes on the internet led easily to the list of what the pro-gay pseudo-marraige agenda is really about. Thus, I stand by the list.
    Interestingly, your charge of being inconsistent is actually quite nonsensical considering that you have framed your pro-(pseudo) marriage equality position as on that Christians should support. Interestingly (and in reality) you have not provided any Biblical basis for this. Let’s be clear…trying to push back on applicable verses (reflecting a low value of Scripture) does NOT make a Biblical argument. So, that is probably primarily why we will never agree and this discussion will never really progress…if that isn’t already obvious. I have provided all along the way a Biblical argument (your rejection of my list of what is really going on is meaningless in the context of a Biblical argument, but meaningful in the context of a secular argument) and you have, in reality, only provided a secular argument mainly in agreement with a perspective of God and His world that is twisted to be centered on people rather than on Him. God is asking all people to obey Him, isn’t He? Won’t all be punished for their disobedience? The truth is that the gay pseudo-marriage issue is not an equal rights issue at all (if you understand the one true authority), rather its simply a selfish special rights issue.

    denying our gay friends equal rights simply will not change their sexual orientation. This fact renders your entire argument moot.

    — No, it absolutely doesn’t. The fact that you see this as an ‘equal rights’ issue is just indicative of a secular perspective. Fundamentally, if you follow God and His authority, then you champion that believing that because it’s from Him, it’s the best for everyone and anything opposite to this is bad for everyone….regardless of what they think about it. Jonah reflects this (who said I backed away from Jonah? Stop skewing things.) in that Jonah was sent to a lost, Gentile people and they were told to repent because Judgment was coming. No indication that God was concerned with how they felt about their sins and/or personal choice. They complied and judgment was held back. Pretty awesome.

    “Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” —

    He defined marriage as heterosexual for all of mankind. Therefore, going along with gay people’s desire to redefine marriage is effectively rebellion against God’s authority and it allows a blessing of his to be definitively spoiled. Hard to imagine that a loving, obedient disciple of Jesus’ could possibly go along with this.

    There is a common theme from your end that not allowing someone to do something by law is somehow forcing them to believe something which you then claim is not of Christ. This is patently false, but those who are more in tune with the secular side of this issue could buy into it. Murderers cannot murder (a law in alignment with God’s word and a great basis for a healthy society), but they are still totally free to believe whatever they want about the subject. In fact, there is no law that forces anyone to believe anything because no law can actually do that. It’s impossible. Laws, by nature, will inhibit certain activities for the good of individuals and society. One merely needs to become consumed with a sin (like homosexuality or stealing or murder, etc) to find themselves in tension with the law. So, the part of your claim (no supporting Biblical passage) that says a law that is in alignment with the will of God (on marriage) but not in alignment with the sinful desire of gay people somehow ‘subjugates’ them, is patently false and, more importantly, reflects the lost perspective, not God’s perspective. It’s totally in the gay person’s interest, therefore, to know that marriage is defined as heterosexual as an indicator that there is an authority out there who spoke on the issue. In fact, that authority will ultimately be judging all of mankind.

    “Demand that others be perfect before they come to Christ, remain perfect after they come to Christ, and insist that they were not saved or have lost their salvation if they continue to struggle with sin after they become followers of Jesus.”

    — This is simply a real twisting of Scripture. Just read it for the simple truth to be simply obeyed.

    For example, 1 John 3:4-10 — is very clear, huh?

    Balance that with 1 John 2:”2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 3 And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.” — Isn’t this excellent news for everyone, including gays?

    Well, I think it’s pretty obvious that we will never agree in our discussion because we have been talking two different arguments. I’ll always stick with a Biblical argument because I’m a Christian, love God, seek to obey Him, and am convinced that the best thing for all people is to lovingly obey Him.

    I asked for verses from you that would give some glimpse that Jesus, fully obedient to His Father, would ever condone supporting sinful gay pseudo-marriage. I asked these questions below and no verses came. That’s because there aren’t any. No need to ask any more, I can see. There simply aren’t any and so the position of supporting gay pseudo-marriage equality is an un-Biblical position out of alignment with requirements for an obedient disciple of Jesus.

    I repeat the questions I asked before to add clarity for you, even though it seems as if you are not interested in them.

    –What verses can you supply that show that Jesus would help people sin more by writing laws that help that happen? Add a legal barrier to salvation?

    –What verses reflect that Jesus (fully understanding that our government authority has been instituted by God according to Romans 13) would actively support the laws of this government changing FROM supporting God’s definition of marriage TO opposing God’s definition of marriage?

    –Or, where does Jesus hint at altering the understanding of marriage so that new believers have a more difficult time understanding His relationship to the church as His bride?

    –Where has Jesus suggested, or even hinted, by word or example, that the indoctrination of children against Him and Truth causing them to sin (bringing punishment Mk 9:42) is something His disciples should support in alignment with His will?

    Ultimately, I think this discussion is over. However, since I seek to honor God first and care for my brothers/sisters after that and in alignment with His Word, I still feel compelled to leave the warning verse in James because you are teaching a non-biblical perspective to others, at least in your blog. It’s meant in love.

    James 3:1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”

    Blessings to you.
    Justin

    • C_Lambeth says:

      Justin,
      I have to admit that I haven’t given your latest post much attention. From the looks of things, you seem to merely be recycling the same old arguments along with your selective interpretations and inconsistencies, but I’ll make sure I give it a full reading before I write another rebuttal. I probably won’t get to it until January. It’s low on the priority list.
      -CL

  46. C_Lambeth says:

    Justin,
    At first I was amazed that you showed up with a response at all. I figured you’d do what most folks do when they run out of arguments and just quit responding. Unfortunately, that surprise evaporated when I read your latest message and discovered that it took you a full year to put together a “reply” that merely retrenched what you’ve already said without adding anything new to fix any of your arguments’ flaws or dealing with any of my criticisms. If this is what you mean by “picking on [my] perspective,” then I must confess that I am disappointed by the impotence of your challenge. I keep hoping you’ll make a decent argument.

    In the meantime, I have tried to understand your position on same sex marriage. I really have. First it seemed that you wanted to force your beliefs on other folks. You tried to correct me by saying that you did not want to make others believe as you do at all. Still trying to understand, I responded that your position nevertheless indicated that you were in favor of forcing people to live (even if not believe) according to your particular religious convictions. But yet again you have pointed out my mistake and said that changing others’ behavior is not on your anti-LGBTQ agenda either. You are a slippery one, but if you want to be consistent with what you’ve already stated, it really leaves you only one option. So your position has finally come into focus: You aren’t out to change anyone’s way of thinking or beliefs. Neither are you particularly concerned with the way anyone lives or what they do in their own, mutually consenting, adult relationships. You simply want to advance your preferred, religiously motivated definition of marriage and keep it from including people you think are unworthy, thereby maintaining what you think is the “purity” of the practice. Interesting.

    This whole time you’ve been saying that you are the one with a biblical example on his side, and now I can see that you are correct. There are some characters in the Bible who behave, talk, and believe exactly like you do. These are the folks who have conniptions over appearances and make maintaining a holy image their utmost priority. These are the folks who thank God that they’re not like those worthless sinners who struggle with unspeakable thoughts and deeds. They’re the ones who get so enamored with upholding the letter of the Law that they forget that righteousness does not come from observing the Law but from God’s grace. These are the folks who don’t care about transformational living or believing. They only care about keeping up appearances. Do you remember who these people are? As I recall, Jesus had a few things to say to them and about them, none of which were particularly flattering. I hope that gets your attention.

    But on with the show.

    You are STILL being inconsistent. Every time you say you just want to talk about the Bible (not ancillary arguments and not ‘interpretations’), you go on to bandy about the “pro-gay agenda,” and offer politics and all kinds of fundamentalist interpretations of Scripture, and even cite Bible verses that have nothing to do with the topic at hand. If you want to just talk about the Bible, then let’s just talk about the Bible. And if you don’t want to engage in any interpretive efforts, then just quote Scripture without any Justin-commentary.
    Another criticism and inconsistency of your argument you have yet to come to terms with is the similarities between your willingness to force your religious convictions about law on others and the willingness of Islamic extremists to force Sharia Law on others. You are advocating for the exact same thing. Regardless of others’ beliefs, you want to force your religiously motivated standards/ laws on them. They might even quote YOU on the issue of imposing Sharia Law: “[This] is in alignment with God’s word and a great basis for a healthy society.” It’s not ‘subjugation’ at all, but freedom that reflects “God’s perspective.”

    When I mentioned this to you before, you merely waived it away by saying that your beliefs are true while Muslims’ are false. As much fun as it would be for me to pick that apart, it would completely miss the first point I am making, which is that you are being inconsistent. You want to force other people to accept your religious laws, but can’t tolerate the idea of others treating you the same way via their religious laws. You must deal with this criticism if you want critical thinkers to take you seriously. Until you can respond to this problem with a valid argument, what can I possibly say?

    Murderers and laws: I’ve already dealt with this argument from you. Here’s some what I wrote to you before:“If you remember the original post on this conversation thread, the reason that bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional is because arguments against it (like yours) are religiously motivated, which is in a clear violation of the First Amendment. Laws against murder pose no such legal contradictions or problems.” Your argument here doesn’t work.

    Those are my “secular” arguments. You may not like them, but (so far) you haven’t been able to rally a rebuttal against them. And once again, you seem to be arguing against the Constitution at that point, not me. But don’t get me wrong. While I don’t necessarily respect your opinion, I do respect your right to speak your mind and vote your conscience. The issue centers on the appropriateness of marriage to be defined by religious dogma in the constitutional, representative democracy that is the United States. As I have stated, and as the USSC (and a burgeoning number of states) has demonstrated, it is inappropriate to allow religious dogma to dictate government policy. That you have tried to fault my argument for relying on the United States Constitution indicates that you misunderstand the core issue that I raised.

    We simply do not live in a theocracy subject to the whims of religion. If you were aware of how poorly such theocracies (especially Christian ones) have behaved in the past, I think that you’d adjust your argument in significant ways. Or at least I hope you would.

      Now for some “sacred” arguments:

    You also don’t like my theological interpretations and keep claiming that I don’t have any Bible verses, but this is a worn-out argument, Justin, and it highlights yet another inconsistency on your part (you demand from others what you cannot supply for yourself). You have not offered a single Bible verse that affirms your advocacy of forcing your religious code of conduct on others who do not subscribe to that religious code (or the beliefs and actions behind it).

    But let’s review what you have quoted to me:
    Genesis 2.24:
    This is an example of a godly way to live. It does not delimit the only way to live. Even the Bible itself advocates singleness, and polygamy. Genesis 2.24 is A way to live, but it’s not the ONLY way. You cannot make this verse the end-all proof text you want it to be.

    Jonah:
    I acknowledge that you have tried to press Jonah into your cause (again). I love it that you keep using this story. Unfortunately it has yet to dawn upon you that Jonah reinforces my point, not yours. If you’ll notice, the only person God forces to do anything in this story is Jonah.
    The Ninivites remain free to make their own choices before, during and after the entire affair. God never forces them to do anything, nor does he impose a legal code on them. Awesome indeed. Thank you for supplying an entire book of Scripture that supports my understanding of this issue.

    1 John 3.4-10:
    I am also glad that you have come to balance this Scripture with 1John 2.2. I wish you had answered this way previously, but better late than never. If you don’t demand that people are perfect before they come to Christ or require that they remain perfect after they come to Christ, and if you don’t believe they lose their salvation if they continue to struggle with sin after they become followers of Jesus, then it seems you agree with me after all. According to the Scriptures you yourself have cited for us, it is clear that homosexual folks don’t have to be perfect before they come to Christ. They don’t have to remain perfect after they come to Christ, and they won’t lose their salvation if they continue to struggle with sin after they become followers of Christ. Just. Like. You. That is “excellent news” indeed, and I am glad that you can see asserting otherwise is a clear “twisting of Scripture.” Well done, Justin.

    Romans 13:
    Your argument here founders as well. In other conversations we’ve had, you forced Romans 13 to justify everything from the death penalty, to war, to persecuting those pesky Muslims (who want to force other people to obey a law code according to a particular interpretation of their holy book), and now homosexuals. I get the feeling that you can make Romans 13 dance to any tune you play if it involves subjugating people you don’t like. Is there anything else you would like to deploy your selective interpretation of Romans 13 against? Is this why you support abortion rights, because the government appointed by God said it’s ok?

    I wonder how you’ll feel about Romans 13 when the rest of the states (and nations) come to their senses and legalize same-sex marriage. Apparently what pleases God can change from state to state? Rom. 13.1-2, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”

    Surely even you can see the two horns of a dilemma that your position has forced upon you here. Which option will you choose?

    James:
    Thank you. As a Christian, I deeply appreciate and respect the words of the Bible, and as per that biblical text, I am for encouraging (not forcing) people to follow Jesus. As Jesus did, I am also in support of respecting people’s own choices, rather than forcing mine upon them. If God, in all his sovereign power and passion for holiness, has not taken it upon himself to force his creatures to carry out his will against their own, then who are we to try and do so? Jesus did not go that route, so how can his “followers” “follow” where he did not go and, in fact, refused to go? It’s an easy answer (we can’t), and that’s what I teach on this issue. Thankfully, I answer to God, not you.

    -CL

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