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Jesus, the president, & marriage

It’s a sad day for our country, but not an unexpected one for anybody who has their finger on the national pulse.  Today President Obama announced his endorsement of homosexual marriage.  But he did more than that.  In making his announcement, he said: 

“In the end the values that I care most deeply about and she cares most deeply about is how we treat other people. We are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing Himself on our behalf, but it's also the Golden Rule --- treat others the way you want to be treated."

Note how he chose to announce his decision.  He presented his case not as a politician, but as practicing Christian.  He did not make a constitutional argument, but a biblical one.  He called in the teaching of Jesus to legitimize homosexual marriage. 

This is where the battleground has shifted --- away from the political and constitutional to the Bible, and in particular, the teaching of Christ.  Would you believe this is the third article I’ve read of this week of someone appropriating the teaching of Jesus to validate homosexual marriage?  And the other two were sportswriters! 

First, it should be noted that “treat others the way you would want to be treated,” (Matthew 7:12), does mean that  we should recognize that all people are made in the image of God and are worthy of love and respect. If we don't take this seriously, we've failed no matter how true or right our thinking might be. 
However, "treat others the way you want to be treated," cannot be made to mean that something unlawful is legitimized by our approval.  If it does, then that would make us the arbiters of right and wrong rather than God and anything we decided to accept would then be okay.  While this might resonate with a post-modern mindset, it is woefully out of step with Jesus and the Law and the Prophets that He mentions in v. 12.  If there's anything we should have learned from the collective history of mankind, it is that we need God's guidance and direction.  Jesus' words obviously assume the behaviors under consideration are lawful to begin with --- something the context of v. 1-11 confirms. 
Finally, it is because we love and respect people who are caught up in this behavior, because if we were living outside the will of God we would want someone to care enough to reach out to us, that's why we should engage our culture on this point.  That's what it means to treat others the way we want to be treated.  To condone unlawful behavior would be selfish, the path of least resisitance, and simply joining others in their denial. 

To the larger question of Jesus’ teaching, while it’s true that He never used the word “homosexuality,” I don’t think it’s an accurate assessment to say He didn’t touch on the matter in His teaching on the marriage relationship (Matthew 19:3-12). The Pharisees approached Him on the matter of a just cause for divorce (v. 3). In reply, Jesus didn’t quote a popular rabbi or even the Mosaic legislation. Instead, He went to the creation account in Genesis 2. What He had to say was remarkable in its conciseness and clarity. And for our purposes, it's worth noting that He spoke primarily about what He was for rather than what He was against. Instead of addressing the many and varied abuses of marriage, He affirmed God's design of and His intent for man and woman in marriage.

1. He reminded them that God made man (humans), as male and female            (v.4).

2. He did this so they would one day leave their parents and become one with their spouse (v. 5).

3. Therefore, only death (the intervention of God), should separate what God joins together as one (v. 6).

 

Concerning the first two points, Jesus connected God’s special creation of Eve from the rib of Adam with the marriage relationship. He took one person and made them two (male and female), so He could join them back together as one in marriage. Far from being a mere social construct, societal convenience, or an afterthought, marriage is embedded in the design and creation of mankind! Men were not made for men or women for women --- man and woman were literally made for each other.  They were designed with marriage in mind.  Homosexuality is in opposition to what Jesus taught was God's design and purpose for mankind and marriage.     

 

So yes, it’s true that Jesus didn’t expressly forbid homosexuality. But it’s also true that He didn’t need to.  What He taught in regard to marriage clearly showed the heart and mind of God. 
 
 
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