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Did Jesus Denounce Gay Marriage?

Posted by Matt Postiff December 2, 2013 on Matt Postiff's Blog under GeneralĀ 

NPR and newspapers around the country recently printed a political cartoon by Signe Wilkinson supporting gay marriage. In the cartoon, Rev. Frank Schaefer is shown reading a suspension letter. He was defrocked for officiating at his son's gay wedding and "not denouncing gay marriage." The second panel shows a sympathetic caricature of Jesus saying that he did not denounce gay marriage either.

That would be convenient, if it were true, but any honest reading of the New Testament would not be able to come to that conclusion—not if the reader takes the text at face value. Certainly Jesus did not "denounce" gay marriage using Westboro Baptist methods. He did not get on a soapbox and preach against gays or one or the other specific form of sexual sin. He didn't express hate toward sinners trapped and dying in their sin. But he did set out the positive expression of God's holiness, and that is one man joined to one woman for life:

And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate." (Matthew 19:4-6 NKJV)

Jesus also set forth the principle that all sins, not just sexual ones, come from within the heart of man, that center of personality and will that is the real person.

For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. (Mathew 15:19 NKJV)

Not only did Jesus himself teach these things; his followers, the apostles, were even more pointed in their letters, which form most of the New Testament. Jesus authorized and superintended the writing of the New Testament, so he is "implicated" in all of its contents. Consider:

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. (John 16:13 NKJV)

The apostles came to this important conclusion in an early church council:

As for the Gentile believers, we have written to them our decision that they should abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. (Acts 21:25 NIV)

Sexual immorality is any sexual activity outside of marriage, defined as one man and one woman joined together permanently.

Paul was another of Jesus' commissioned writers:

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NKJV)

It is instructive to note that the sins of homosexuality, sodomy, fornication, adultery, thievery, greed, drunkenness, and others are placed on the same "level." Good Christians are not out to pick on one sin more than others. Christians want to live holy lives as a reflection of the purity of their God and Savior Jesus Christ. They proclaim an upright kind of life.

There are lots of reasons why people think of some sins as worse than others. In some cases, the earthly consequences of certain sins are heavier than the consequences of other sins. And in other cases, sins are especially distasteful to the Christian because they seem unnatural. Paul gives warrant for this thought in Romans 1:

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. (Romans 1:26 NKJV)

Paul's statement about the natural order doesn't require that we be obnoxious in our presentation of the truth. Unfortunately, supporters of gay marriage will normally perceive the Christian to be obnoxious just because of the content of what he is saying, regardless of his manner.

Back to the original question then: did Jesus denounce gay marriage? Basically, yes. He set forth the right way to do things, and commissioned certain ones to write further details on it in which he, together with them, spoke against gay marriage.

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