Gay marriage and the Bible

Today's one year bible reading includes Acts 15, which covers a heated disagreement in the early church over the need for converts to be circumcised. That may not seem to relate to my title, but ...

The council decided not to require circumcision. In the letter they send were these words:

Acts 15:28-29

28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to impose on you no further burden than these essentials: 29 that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols and from blood and from what is strangled and from fornication. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.

I read that to mean that the various rules and requirements placed on the nation of Israel by the Law of Moses were not required of gentiles who had become followers of Jesus. Only a very specifc set of items were regarded as "essential." The rest were not.

I don't see homosexual behavior on that list.

Of course, fornication is there. Websters defines fornication as:

consensual sexual intercourse between two persons not married to each other

I'm seeing the beginnings of a circular argument here. Homosexualiy marriage is forbidden because it's a sin. It's a sin because we don't allow gays to marry. Does anyone else see a problem here?

I'm well aware that I'm "proof-texting" here, a practice that I dislike. I actually don't think that this small snippet of scripture "proves" my point. What it does do, I think, is to illustrate the difficulties involved in trying to be legalistic in our enforcement of any sort of "holiness code" on others. I have no problem with people imposing such a code on themselves. I have a real problem when they try to force it on others.



Two things:

The "essentials" were not meant to be an exhaustive list. Given the uproar over circumcision, it was a way to smooth over relations between Jews and Gentiles. Gentiles observing these few things would be more kindly received by the Jewish (legalistic) Christians.

It was common for the sacrifices to pagan idols to be sold in market. James says, 'don't buy these products'. Blood (rare cooked food??) and strangulated animals were eaten by Gentiles. James said, 'Abstain from this practice'. Fornication seems like the only given on the list.

Fornication is Gk. porneia and has a more exhaustive definition in Greek language than Webster's defintion:

illicit sexual intercourse

a) adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.

b) sexual intercourse with close relatives; Lev. 18

c) sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman; Mk. 10:11,12

I have to say that you should read Romans Chapters 1-3. You will see some very straighforward comments about homosexuality as well as many other things. I have to say that it is not a matter of putting a set of rules on others, it is about what keeps you seperated from Jesus. Because I love my children, I set parameters for them so they don't get hurt. It is the same with the Lord and christians like me. I don't want to condemn anyone, but at the same time I don't want anyone to be hurt in the longrun when I could have prevented it.

This is problem that has bothered me for years and I still do not know how to solve it. On the one hand it is true that the fifteenth chapter of Acts, the verses 28 and 29, seem to suggest that Jesus Christ did away with all the hundreds of laws and regulations that together formed the law of Moses. Including the so-called ten commandments.
The verses suggest that for Christians there are only three commandments left: the three commandments of the verses mentioned.
But on the other hand it is unthinkable that God allows Christians to murder, to steal, to commit adultery, etcetera.
A possible solution that a number of Bible verses suggests is this: for Christians there is no definite set of rules or laws any more. They must love their fellow humans like they love themselves and treat their fellow humans the way they would like to be treated by them.

I'm Jewish.

I've never understood which group of Christians follow what part of the "Old Testament" and why. I hear a lot about the 10 Commandments from Christians. Did you know there are actually 613?

I've also heard about distinction between ethical and ritual laws. Did you know that kosher slaughter is an ethical law because it commands the most pain free way known (at the time) to kill the animal?

So, I'm really laughing at this whole gay marriage thing. Lev. 18:22 commands no anal rape. So what? I don't think anyone has a problem with that rule. I'm not sure what the Priestly authors would have done with a loving homosexual relationship. Probably not too fond. But the thing is, there are a lot of rules in there that even Jews have more or less discarded.

Slavery's rules are dictated in the Torah. Polygamy was the practice of all of the major figures of the Hebrew Bible except Isaac.

And don't get me started on the sabbath. Say just for the sake of the argument that Saturday wasn't the correct sabbath, that Christians have it right and it's Sunday. What part of don't light fires etc. etc. don't you understand?

Both versions of the 10 commandments require sabbath observance. "Keep" and "Remember."

The Right wing obsession with one mitzvah that doesn't even mean what they think it means and zero textual support even in the New Testament for no gay marriage shows just how homophobic this matter is.

If I was going to spend millions making sure one mitzvah got enforced, I might consider Do not Murder, or perhaps When you go to the land, plant trees there.

Excellent post.Keep up the smashing work,You should definitely have to keep updating your site

Amazing! what a thought ! What a concept ! Beautiful .. Amazing …