An essay donated by Anthony Ashford
Part 3 of 3: Six biblical reasons why Christians
embrace same-sex relationships.
Better believe it. The Bible shows us six reasons!
Reason two: According to the Bible, Change is Necessary for Growth:
Just look at where we’ve come as a society. We went from being sexist, racist losers who fear every other kind of government (socialism, communism, etc.) like the boogeyman to being forward-thinking less judgmental individuals who definitely are not afraid to criticize the American (or any other) government.
Believe it or not, our society is becoming more and more diverse and more and more open to differing cultures. A little more than 150 years ago, a black guy, like me, was worth three-fifths of a real human being, but now, I have the opportunity at a higher education and more career options than some people in even the most developed nations. With saying that, I believe more often than now that people's attitudes can and do change.
Christian ministers and Bible study leaders are wondering why so many of their youth have left the Church and abandoned their previous teachings of the Bible. It’s simple. They've changed, and adapted to the new world, while their churches would rather them to resist and conform to old standards.
Jesus even put in his two cents about change and the Christian church, in Matthew 5: 7:
“Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”
Again, with these visual examples! It’s a metaphor, meaning basically that the newness of society can be confined by old societal norms, laws, and customs.
The problem is that you’ve got “old school” ministers, who grew up in an environment where “gay” really did not exist, telling “new school” youth, who are exposed much more to what “gay” really is, that “gay” is bad. Their friends are gay. Their favorite characters on television are gay. Their favorite musical artists are gay. It’s a losing battle to fight against gays and lesbians, because soon, we’ll be just as “normal” as heterosexuals. Gasp!
Ask yourself…if you’re gonna be an adamant anti-gay Christian with children, do you want your kids or grandchildren to look at you with the same disdain that you look at your racist or sexist grandparents?
Reason one: Jesus Christ was an advocate of same-sex Relationships:
So…if you’re still unconvinced that the Biblical passages used against gays are irrelevant, if you still think that the Bible doesn’t contain gay love stories, if you still think that the Bible can do no wrong, if you still think that crushing a gay kid’s future is a-OK, and if you still think that our society needs some “old school mob church” rule against the ever-present gays, then consider this -- the coup de gras on any Christian homophobia. Jesus Christ, the Savior where the word “Christian” comes from, was the one of the world’s first real out-spoken allies for gay people. Gasp!!
Let me give you a sec and I’ll explain.
Ok. In two passages of “The Good Book,” Jesus stands up for the gay people. A reminder: Jesus was a social rebel; he cared for the poor; he spoke to non-believers; he condemned only those who hurt people; he spoke volumes about love for all people; and he came to liberate the oppressed, as he said in his first sermon in Luke 4: 18.
If you don’t know by now, the gays are pretty oppressed people. There’s been an ebb and flow of a love-hate relationship with them since the dawn of time (seeing its high points of acceptance in the Renaissance and in Ancient Greece, and its low points in the Dark Ages and during “Old School Mob Church” rule), but, ultimately, now has been the absolute best time for gay people. However, Biblical times…not so much.
The following passages show Jesus Christ’s compassion towards same-sex relationships:
Matthew 8: 5-13: “Jesus Heals the Roman Soldier's Servant:”
The Story (with Context Included):
Jesus meets a humbled Roman Soldier; something that was strange, because, at that time, Israel was controlled by Rome, and the soldier would have been in a much more powerful position than a wanderer and simple prophet like Jesus. The Soldier begins to tell Jesus about his sick and dying servant. Roman soldiers typically had a number of servants, just like in this story, but the Soldier keeps explaining to Jesus why this servant, the sick one, is special to him. Servants, like slaves, were like property that could be easily replaced, but this Roman Soldier has a special connection to this servant. He humbled himself before a man that most Romans thought was a loon. out of faith that Jesus could heal him. Jesus, knowing all, decided not only to heal this special servant, but to commend this Soldier on his great faith.
While so many people forget this story, it speak volumes about what Jesus thought about men having special “friendships” or “relationships” with other men. Jesus did not tell this guy that he shouldn’t be “getting too close to this male servant, because being gay is wrong;” he commended the man for stepping out of his comfort zone and acting out of faith and love for his fellow man.
The next passage, I feel, is the final nail in the coffin of Christian homophobia.
- Matthew 19: 4-5 and 11-12 “Jesus Speaks of Marriage:"
Verse 4,5: “Jesus answered, 'Have you not read that the One 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”? Therefore, what God has joined together, let no one separate'.”
Verse 11,12: “Jesus replied, 'Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it'.”
Context of the Terms Used:
Here, Jesus refers to three exceptions to the requirement for heterosexual matrimony, all “eunuchs.” What are “eunuchs?” Eunuchs were highly ranked, but socially “deviant” men in charge of protecting and caring for female royalty. To be best at being a eunuch, one could never slip into a relationship with one of the female heirs, for all in the kingdom’s lineage could be compromised. Biblical historians speak of how eunuchs had many feminine, emasculate qualities, which societies back then detested for these men had little to no interest in sexual relations with females. While this was a very different zeitgeist than now, one can see a correlation between how eunuchs were seen and how gay males are seen by society.
In this passage, Jesus Christ list three exceptions to the command for Christians to engage in heterosexual matrimony:
(1) eunuchs born that way;
(2) eunuchs made that way by man;
(3) eunuchs who promise their lives to God.
Castration was a common practice among eunuchs. While many people believed that all these non-virile men were castrated, various biblical dictionaries go into detail on how castration was not the only way to become a eunuch.
Here, Jesus first says “eunuchs born that way” are exempt from heterosexual marriage. Since eunuchs are supposed not have “relations” with female heirs, and these eunuchs were born without attraction to woman, gays, bisexuals, and lesbians should use Jesus Christ’s exemption of “innate eunuchs” from heterosexual matrimony to speak for all gay people. In essence, here, Jesus Christ tells his disciples that people born without the innate attraction to the opposite sex should not marry people of the opposite sex.
Conclusion: Test All Things:
YAY!! (Every gay person shouts!) There’s at least one or two or even more people out here who are reading up to this point and are still not convinced that Christianity explicitly condones homosexuality. In other words, some people still think that there’s still no explicit clause in the Bible that says that “gays are OK and can/should be in relationships with other gays.” To them, I say, just look beyond your own understanding.
In Jesus’ first pro-gay passage, the message is to step outside of your comfort zone and act out of love. Jesus also tells that, when you’re acting out of love, you won’t judge, because you ALWAYS will have biases. If you’re gonna “teach” someone, be sure that your teachings will produce good “fruit,” rather than bad. And finally, we’ve learned from Jesus that we cannot prescribe “Old School Mob Church” rules to the “new school” of society. If you don’t believe me, just understand what Paul says in Thessalonians 5: 20-21:
" Do not despise all Spirit-inspired messages. Test all things; hold fast to what is good."
We, as Christians, are NOT meant to be close-minded and ‘holier-than-thou,’ but rather open-minded and quick to understand and love people who are different for who they are. That’s who Christ was, and that’s how REAL Christians should aspire to be.
In Case You're Looking For More Information:
Check out these sources:
- Connelly, J. T. and J. Miner. (2002). The children are free: Reexamining the Biblical evidence on same-sex relationships. Indianapolis, IN: Metropolitan Community Church. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
- Gay Christian Network. (2010). Justin’s Essay. Retrieved from http://www.gaychristian.net/
- Karslake, D. G. (Director and Producer). (2007). For the Bible tells me so. [DVD]. Lincoln, CA: VisionQuest Productions. Read reviews or order this video safely from Amazon.com online book store
- Main, D. (2008). Hearts & minds: Talking to Christians about homosexuality. Findhorn, Scotland: Findhorn Press. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
- McNeill, J. J. (1993). The church and the homosexual (4th ed.). Boston, Massachussetts: Beacon Press. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
- Rogers, J. (2006). Jesus, the Bible, and homosexuality: Explode the myths, heal the church. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminister John Knox Press. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store
- Sanchez, A. (2009). The God box. New York: Simon & Schuster Books. Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store