Apologetics Bible Christian Living Ethics Sex and sexuality

A.S.K 33 – Sex and Same Sex Marriage

Of course I was going to be asked this weeks A.S.K question!

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BIBLE READING: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8

TEXT: It is God’s will that you should be sanctifi ed: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honourable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong or take advantage of a brother or sister. Th e Lord will punish all those who commit such sins as we told you and warned you before. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. (1 Thessalonians 4:3-7)

The importance of this question to our culture is seen that this was the only question in this book that was asked from every Continent. Sex, marriage and gender identity are so important to us because they are a big part of what makes us human beings. The question is also asked because the biblical teaching about this is under attack from many in the culture – and because this is an area where there is sometimes a great deal of hypocrisy in the church – with people saying one thing and doing another.

The Bible however is not confused in its teaching. So in one way the answer to your question is straightforward. Sex is not bad, because it is something that God has given to us. He made us male and female, and he made us with the ability to love, to express that love physically and to produce children through that act of love. The Bible does not regard sex as bad, or as dirty. Indeed the very opposite. It is sacred and holy.

However, although God is the giver of pleasure, the devil is the perverter of pleasure. Just because it feels good does not make it good. God has set the limits for sex. It should be within the context of marriage. Genesis tells us that sex unites a husband and wife in an intimate knowledge of one another. It is not a shameful thing. “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame”. (Genesis 2:24).

But instead of uniting a man and a woman as one flesh, when sex is used wrongly, it is perverted and ends up bringing disunity, harm, hatred and destruction. Paul tells the Galatian church – ‘ The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft;  hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

The appearance that people commit sexual sin and ‘nothing ever happens to them’ has nothing to say about whether it is right or wrong. Although I note in passing that when we do not use our bodies in the way that God intends lots of things do happen; Sexually Transmitted Diseases, broken relationships, destroyed families, perverted minds, pornography, rape, prostitution and tormented individuals. It is surely best for us to follow the Maker’s instructions.

It’s also good to remember that no one gets away with anything, for one day we will have to answer to God, for all we have done.

But what about SSM? Does the Bible forbid two people of the same sex marrying each other? Yes. Jesus’ teaching is very clear – “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? (Matthew 19:4-5). Two men don’t become one flesh. Two women don’t become one flesh.

And same sex marriages cannot fulfil one of the great purposes of marriage – the pro-creation of children. We don’t have time to go into this but there are enormous consequences for individuals and societies who go against our Father’s instructions. He gives us these because he loves us – not because he hates us. This does not mean that homosexuality is the worst sin, or that homosexual sinners are worse than heterosexual ones – most sexual sins described in the Bible are not to do with  homosexuality.

But it does mean that all of us as Christians are to live sexually pure lives because we want to honour God with our bodies. “Marriage should be honoured by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral”. (Hebrews 13:4) Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies. (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)

CONSIDER: Why is this such a big issue in our culture? What is wrong with SSM? How can we live sexually pure lives? Why does it matter?

RECOMMENDED FURTHER READING: Is God Anti-Gay? – Sam Albery

Married for God – Christopher Ash

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, so many of us find this so hard – because we know that our lusts and desires overwhelm us. We bless you that you are faithful and just and if we confess our sins, you forgive us. Help us to understand what your Word says, and to be doers as well as hearers. Grant us holiness and love, so that we would not desire sin and hatred, in your name Amen.

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A.S.K 32 – Division and Peace

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21 comments

  1. It is mostly ignorance of God’s Holy Word. The average person does not realize or has considered the God who created us, desires our best interest because he made us and knows us better than ourselves since the moment of our conception. We are not taught correctly about our sexuality as well. We tend to live our lives in everyday norm just taking whatever comes our way with no serious thought or prayer for His will to be done. If His will is not done…then no one is happy, ever, not completely. We accept second best when we have no real reason to do so, for God is able if we ask Him. Many have had poor examples of marriage and choose not to adhere to the traditional rites and vows. Men and women have a poor concept of how to respect each partner in the marriage and their children as well. I have seen horrid dysfunctional marriages where children suffered greatly, enough to turn them from the tenets of marriage. Children should be taught the graveness of marriage…the ethics of honest work and living a simple God-fearing life. Now it is mostly fairy tales and magical ideals with very unrealistic, unsatisfying results. Romanticism doesn’t last…true love in Christ does, for only God is love. You have no love in you without the Christ. Love conquers all…the love in Christ is all in all, without it the foundation will crumble. Men need to step up and first and foremost and take the lead in the Church which Christ is the head of; honour God and he will honour you. Only God is able to correct…marriage has to be taught; and you can’t teach anyone about sex and marriage unless they know the Christ as their Savior FIRST.

    1. Every Christian without exception picks and chooses what to believe in the Bible. I think Tom Holland is right in his book Dominion that both pro- and anti-gay Christians use the Bible to support or oppose same-sex marriage.
      1. Jesus said Give Away EVERYTHING You Own: Luke 14:33
      So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.

      2. Jesus said Don’t Plan for The Future: Matthew 6:34
      So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself.

      3. Jesus said Don’t Defend Yourself if Attacked: Matthew 5:39
      But I say to you, Do not resist the evil man [who injures you]; but if anyone strikes you on the right jaw or cheek, turn to him the other one too.

      4. Hate Your Family: Luke 14:26
      If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters… he cannot be My disciple.

      5. Jesus said Don’t Save Your Money: Matthew 6:19
      Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.

      6. Jesus said Give Anything You Have to Anyone Who Asks: Matthew 5:42
      Give to those who ask, and don’t refuse those who wish to borrow from you.

      7. Jesus said Do NOT Pray in Public: Matthew 6:6
      When you pray, go to your room, shut the door, and pray to your Father… in that secret place.

      1. Steve – every Christian without exception does not pick and choose what to believe in the Bible. I don’t. And I’m not the only exception. Just as it would be wrong of me to say that every atheist cherry picks verses out of the bible without understanding context. But apparently – as your post demonstrates – some do!

  2. very encouraging and in this day and age, refreshing and brave orthodox teaching for the ages, and I like the comment

  3. David, surely you do ‘pick and choose’ – though not intentionally. The process of trying to understand and apply scripture is to pick and choose. The picking and choosing is our reasoning – something no one can turn off.

    Let me ask you, do you believe in unicorns? If not, why? They appear in Psalms and Numbers.

    In the above article you seem to confuse what Biblical authors say about marriage with a select modern interpretation. Both marriages in the Bible and marriages today take many forms. Solomon, if we are to believe the Bible, was very wise – should the Church not endorse his views on marriage?

    It is ignorant, arrogant and harmful to suggest that your interpretation is the only correct interpretation.

    p.s. Please can you send me your computer. I can send you my address.

    1. No – I don’t pick and choose – any more than I pick and choose when I read a science or history book. You have a very postmodern and ultimately meaningless understanding of truth. In your desire to condemn and to set your own understanding as the absolute arbiter of truth you make some very simplistic mistakes. Firstly unicorns (in terms of the mythical creature) are not mentioned in the bible. Secondly because Solomon was wise it does not follow that all his decisions were wise – or that he was always guided by his wisdom.

      It is ‘ignorant, arrogant and harmful’ for you to suggest that only your interpretation (ie. that every single person who reads the bible picks and chooses’) is the correct one and that everyone who doesn’t agree with it is ignorant, arrogant and harmful. Can you see how you have locked yourself in a circle of your own self-righteousness and pomposity?

      My view of the Bible is that of Augustines “If you believe in the bible what you like, and leave out what you don’t like, then it is not the bible you believe, but yourself’. That seems to be your problem.

  4. I see where the difference lies…

    Where as some treat the Bible as a collection of historical writings (Steve, Dan) – David, you believe that it is the exact word of God.

    I would be interested to know your thoughts about how we can trust the accuracy of translations and secondly – if it is not an intellectual exercise, how do we sometimes disagree or get it wrong?

    Thanks

    1. The best way to trust the accuracy of translations is to learn Greek and Hebrew! Also compare and contrast translations.

      We disagree and get it wrong because we are limited…and we are sinners….

  5. Hi David. Do you have your feet in two camps?

    If we are ready to say that scripture is best understood in Greek or Hebrew (which it is worth noting are not always the original languages), should we also say that the clarity of our understanding depends on our knowledge of the world in which the words were written. In order to make sense of these words, we need to know how language was used, what the popular sayings were and what cultural references were made?

    To Dan’s point – unicorns are mentioned, at least in the King James. The skill of a translator is to make sense of the words and pull out the true message. We see, therefore, that understanding scripture depends on many things and is an intellectual exercise.

    No one can say they understand it all. We learn together. And to that, I would argue that we are more equipped to understand scripture than some of the earliest theologians, Augustine included. That is not to say that we always do a better job!

    Thoughts?

    1. Yes – of course context is important. Even more important is the Holy Spirit. I don’t believe the Bible is just for ‘experts’ – most of whom can’t agree amongst themselves. No unicorns are not mentioned in the bible. No one claims they understand all the bible – you are setting up a false dichotomy. AS for saying that we understand the bible better than Augustine because of modern scholarship – that is the height of arrogance.

  6. I cannot keep up with you. You seem to change your mind each time you write!

    Now context is more important than the Holy Spirit?

    I have to remind you of your words – ‘I understand the bible in ‘facts’’. And more than a quote – you attack anyone who thinks another way – suggesting that your way is right and the worst thing anyone can do is have a different perspective – but if it’s based on scholarship, then of course there will be!

    And if scholarship is important, which we’ve agreed it is, how is it possibly arrogant to suggest we are more equipped than Augustine? (You slightly misquoted me but that’s fine – I’m not sure I disagree with your extension). We have more tools at our disposal than did Augustine. We have the same God, but a far greater understanding of culture and context.

    But surely, if it is so arrogant to suggest we have a better understanding than Augustine, thus placing him on pedestal – is it not arrogant to say one has the same understanding?

    p.s. Check out KJV Numbers 23:22, Deuteronomy 33:17

    1. I accept that you are having difficult keeping up! Let me try to help you…

      It’s never a good idea to argue against what someone is NOT saying. I did not say that context was more important than the Holy Spirit.

      I don’t suggest ‘my way’ is right. I suggest that Jesus is right when he accept, cites and approves of Scripture and says it cannot be broken.

      Your notion that a 21st century person has more understanding of 1st century culture than a 4th Century Latin bishop is somewhat bizzare!

      Yes – it would be arrogant to think that I have the same understanding as Augustine…I don’t think I do….that’s why I keep learning from him and others.

      As for the two verse from the KJV – its strange how someone who argues for scholarship then just ignores it when it doesn’t suit them..!

      1. So much gets lost in translation. In these exchanges and also in scripture. That is my point. It’s tongue and cheek – but also a serious point about the need to accept people’s perspective and avoid pointing the finger and calling people heretics or ‘anti Christs’. I think at long last i have succeeded in you accepting that the Bible is personally and therefore subjectively understood. Perhaps we might venture further and say it was also written subjectively. One for another day.

        I might also ask why Augustine would have better understanding of issues he was so far removed from. Not just NT but OT also. He seems to have had little understanding of the ANE. This is no criticism – just an acknowledgement that we have more tools at our disposal for understanding ancient texts.

        But we’re destined to continue missing each other by text – and you don’t want to call. So let’s leave literary criticism.

        As I read your above article and others around your site – my main concern is that they are not always characterised my grace and love. But rather judgement. As someone who influences opinions – please always try grace before judgement. And love. Love. Love. Love. God’s got the rest.

        Signing off

      2. I’m not sure what bothers me more about your response Benny – the smug superiority, the lack of self awareness or the biting judgemenatalism – all done in the name of Love.

        No you have not got to accept that the Bible is personally and subjectively understood – I have never doubted that – I do however doubt that our subjective understanding is the ultimate authority. I’m not a post-modernist.

        And yes – if people teach against the teaching of Christ they are anti-Christ – what else would you call them?

        Augustine is much more likely to have a better understanding than you or I because 1) he lived 1600 years closer to the events than us. 2) He lives several thousand miles closer.

        I find that your posts are not always characterised by grace and love. In the name of grace and love you condemn others and boast about yourself. I would suggest that some words of Jesus may help you….take the beam out of your own eye!

  7. You truly misunderstand me.

    And I truly don’t understand much of your reasoning. Who understands the sun better? Augustine who lived closer to its birth? Or we who have telescopes and satellites? If we were to apply the learning that is available, we would agree.

    If people claim to live and teach the way of Christ – but clang away in judgement, I call them misguided. I think calling people names is unhelpful and characteristic of someone with something stuck in their eye. And, because I think we are called to love our neighbour, I would remind them that it is that characteristic that should define us.

    If you read this as judgement – perhaps you’d consider why.

    1. I don’t misunderstand you at all. Your words are clear. Your judgements are clear. Your prejudices, arrogance and lack of love shine through.

      THe irrationality is also deep. We are not talking about whether Augustine understood the sun or nuclear physics. We are talking about whether he understood the Bible. You claim that you have a better understanding than him – even though you are 1600 years further away.

      The lack of self awareness is incredible – you ‘clang away in judgement’ but don’t see yourself as misguided. You call people names and then say calling people names is unhelpful.

      Mind you its quite clever to say that if anyone disagrees with what you say they should ‘consider why’…again making a judgement that you self-evidently are right and anyone who dares to contradict you must be wrong and should go and repent!

      Incredible…but actually – sadly all too credible!

  8. David, we both know that I have said numerous times that I do not claim to be an authority. Nor do I claim to understand the Bible better than Augustine – I have already called you up for misquoting or misunderstanding that. You should go back and look at what I wrote. That said, my point is that our learning helps us understand scripture better. This is surely the task of theology. If we’re saying Augustine understood more about the Bible than we ever will – why do you write your books? It is worth noting that, Augustine lived 1,600 years closer to only some of the events in the Bible. My point about nuclear physics is, as I previously said, an example to illustrate that proximity to events is not an indication of understanding. I do not consider Augustine to have been sufficiently close, (in time, distance or culture) to be considered a reliable source on Biblical events – he was, however, a brilliant theologian working with the best knowledge of his day. But, as you keep reminding me, we are 1,600 years later – your suggestion seems to be that we have learned nothing in that time! There seems little point discussing this as I cannot conceive how our learning does not help us understand the world in which scripture was written, and therefore intended to challenge its audience; and you cannot conceive of why understanding context helps.

    Considering the fact that you think calling people names and upsetting people is a Christlike character trait – I am unsure if you’re paying me a compliment. However, I think upsetting or judging people is a sign that we completely misunderstood Jesus, to use your language – antichrist. And so, I am truly sorry – as I have said before, I know that you are trying your best, as I am trying my best, to make good use of our faculties to understand and embody the challenge and guidance of God through the ages.

    I don’t always ask people who disagree with me to consider why, thus claiming a moral highroad. It is a path that can be claimed in conversation, but I do not claim it personally. I am slowly learning to ask myself the same question – consider the other’s perspective.

    And this leads me to my original and maintained challenge to you… Our theology and articulation of all these things can vary – that does not bother me, and I don’t think it should bother anyone too much. My anxiety, frustration, even anger is that you seem to judge people and exclude them from God’s love and grace. It is not that I am pointing to a splinter in your eye, I know I have mine – I am calling you up on behaviour that is not Christlike. The way you vilify and have led a witch hunt against Steve Chalke is nothing short of abhorrent. Here your implied exclusion of LGBT+ is not helpful, not loving, and not in line with current understanding. Your condemnation of Harry and Megan, countless of people who have written in, Marty Sampson, Jo Swinson – these are some I remember – People I know to be kind, loving, Christ-centred people.

    If we (you, me, the Church) so profoundly understand scripture and Jesus – why are we so often on the side of judgement? As a Christian leader – I’d urge you to love, not judge. Let that be what your blog is known for. It would have been so helpful if rather than attacking Steve Chalke, you proposed real theological questions or insight. In the end you judged Steve whilst failing to love – an irony that most missed. But you also stirred up anger rather than acceptance. Neither Jesus’ command nor our understanding was helped – we just get pushed into camps. Your Judgement of Harry and Megan was needless and ill-informed. How fantastic it would have been to have a Christian voice that sounded like compassion and grace! When all the trashy papers and magazines did their best to tear them down, you could have stood above the rest, characterised by Jesus’ great command. And to other examples – the same applies.

    I know through our own exchanges that written text is not always helpful, and our words can be lifted out of context or read into – so why not work harder at making them clearer – and more clearly Christlike?

    We’re not commanded to have all the answers, but we are commanded to love our neighbour.

    1. Augustine didn’t discuss nuclear physics – he did discuss marriage and the scripture. You stated that modern scholarship means that we understand the Scriptures better. That is not a given – by any means. Worst of all it reduces the Scriptures to some kind of text book only understandable by the ‘experts’. There is no room for the Holy Spirit (or God) in your theology.

      You claim you want to understand my point of view…but you don’t understand how t how judgemental you are! You are the one who determines that my behaviour is not Christlike. I suspect you would have judged Jesus as not being Christlike either! All that condemnation in the name of love. You are the one who is ‘Christlike’ and anyone who dares to disagree with you is not ‘loving’. It’s an easy and cheap way to dismiss any argument you don’t like.

      And why do you lie about me? “Considering the fact that you think calling people names and upsetting people is a Christlike character trait “. Thats not a fact – its a lie. Is it ok to lie and misrepresent in the name of love?

      I am not excluding anyone from God’s grace – it is open to all who repent. It’s just that I think repentance and faith in the Christ of the Bible is quite a big deal!

      You also seem to have a rather broad definition of condemnation. It appears that disagreeing with anyone ((except me) is unloving and condemnatory. Again by that standard, you would condemn Christ and the disciples.

      It’s a great idea to discuss theological questions with Steve – I have suggested that – but the only problem is that he has refused. He prefers to virtue signal and condemn from behind the safety of his keyboard – knowing that people like you will protect him by screaming “unloving”.

      Your posts are full of fine sounding language, condemnation and dishonest accusations. You accuse without offering evidence. So instead of saying “Your Judgement of Harry and Megan was needless and ill-informed.” Why don’t you point out a couple of things where there was ill information and give the correct information? Or does just saying it make you think it’s true?

      Even at the end you can’t resist having a passive/aggressive go…You imply that I think I have all the answers and don’t love my neighbour (whereas of course you do)….it’s breathtaking in its arrogance…

  9. I often reflect on just exactly what is ‘loving’ and what is not. It appears to me that for many ‘love’ is a passive acceptance of everything and everyone. But just think for a moment about this: if there is a God, a heaven to gain and a hell to shun, and if homosexuality is indeed a ‘sin’ in the sight of God and I can see someone following a path that will lead to their eventual eternal damnation, then what is the most ‘loving’ thing to do? Surely it is to do everything one can to tell them of God’s Love, of His Grace, of His Mercy, of the price Jesus paid on the cross for their sin, and of His Holy Judgment as well. The most extreme warnings about hell regarding unrepentant sinners were given by Jesus – all part of His ‘loving’ message.

    Homosexuality is not the unforgivable sin but it is clear that its effects are deep and damaging to spirit, soul and body. It is fundamentally unnatural. Also, we need to realize that sin indulged in blatantly and for a long period hardens the heart to the point where eventually the Truth about the Lord Jesus Christ seems like a fairy tale. The Bible talks about a ‘reprobate mind’. It is not that God is any less Forgiving but that the individual becomes incapable of real repentance and real faith.

    This is where we all need to be ‘salt and light’, to speak out, and to use the name of Jesus and intercessory prayer to petition God to raise up men and women of character to repeal bad legislation and clarify poorly thought out or poorly worded legislation.

    I greatly enjoy your clear thinking and forthright proclamation of the Word of God and your acceptance of the challenge to contend for the truth in a hostile environment. May our Lord give you the grace and courage to continue.

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