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What Would Jesus Say about Gay Marriage?
A Man and A Woman
The Impact of LBGTQ
The lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgendered, queer and questioning movement (LBGTQ) has had a large impact on American culture. Several television shows (like Brothers and Sisters, Lost Girl, The L Word, Desperate Housewives, and Orange is the New Black present homosexual relationships as the latest social trend. Moreover, on June of 2015, the Supreme Court granted homosexual couples in every state the right to marry and to have their marriages recognized by every state.
And this isn’t only an American trend. Ireland legalized homosexual marriages in May of 2015, and the ILGA (International Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans and Intersex Association) identifies several countries in the Americas, Europe, and Asia where homosexual relationships are legal (there are also several countries where they are not recognized and where they are persecuted).
Moreover, the LBGTQ movement has been so influential that now there are Christian denominations that accept homosexual relationships and marriages as valid alternatives to heterosexual ones. The main Christian denominations in this category seem to be the Evangelical Lutheran Church, The Presbyterian Church U.S.A., The United Church of Christ, and The Episcopal Church.
What would Jesus say about gay marriage? The Bible does not record Him addressing this issue, but we can infer from the rest of his teachings that He would have disapproved of it, and this should matter to everyone who claims to follow Him. After all, Jesus is the author (Hebrews 12:2) and the very foundation (1 Corinthians 3:11) of our faith.
Jesus on Marriage
Our Lord was a first-century Jew who claimed to be the Messiah promised by the God of Judaism in the Tanach (the Hebrew Bible); and the Tanach clearly prohibits and penalizes the practice of homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13).
Consequently, when we read the Lord’s teachings on topics related to marriage (divorce on Matthew 19:3-12, and marriage after the resurrection on Matthew 22:23-30), we notice that the relationships He talks about are specifically heterosexual. Homosexuality was not a cultural trend in ancient Israel since everybody knew how God felt about the issue.
We can clearly see that in both passages Jesus teaches from the Tanach. He makes reference to the creation and marriage of Adam and Eve (Genesis 2:7, 18-25), and to God’s appearance to Moses in the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-6). Thus, his teachings on marriage were orthodox.
As we read the Lord’s words in Matthew, we realize that his attitude toward marriage is simple: marriage happens between a man and a woman, or it doesn’t happen at all (this is why he talked about celibacy and eunuchs). Those are the only two lifestyles that Jesus endorses in the Bible.
Paul on Homosexual Activity
Consistent with the Tanach and the teachings of Jesus, the Apostle Paul viewed the practice of homosexuality negatively. According to him, homosexual behavior (along with several vices) was a form of divine judgment on pagan societies for their idolatry and ignorance of God (Romans 1:26-32).
I have read some articles that argue Paul was referring only to homosexual behavior in pagan ceremonies, but that interpretation disregards what I have just stated: that Paul viewed the practice of homosexuality as one of many vices that were a result of societies’ idolatry and disregard for God.
Called to Follow
What would Jesus say about gay marriage? In light of his teachings and his faith in the Jewish Bible, we must accept the fact that Jesus would stand against homosexual behavior, gay marriage, and the presence of homosexual clergy in the church.
Everyone who follows Jesus Christ must recognize who He was and the values for which He stood. To follow Him means to embrace his worldview, to submit to his teachings, and to serve the God of the Bible. But if we disregard his values, we are not following Him (Ephesians 4:17-21)
Our calling is not to conform to the cultures around us, but to follow Jesus (John 14:21) and to invite all people to repentance (Mark 2:17). Only through repentance and faith in the biblical Jesus can we find forgiveness and newness of life (Romans 3:21-26; 6:4).
Questions for Discussion
1. Why has the LBGTQ movement become influential?
2. Why have some Christian denominations embrace new values?
3. What role does repentance play in the Christian message?
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