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  • Rich Scheenstra

Same-Sex Marriage: Who Is It Okay to Love?

So now let’s get to it. We’ve laid a foundation for developing a biblical approach to same-sex marriage by describing how the Bible actually works – and doesn’t work. We’ve learned that while the Bible contains lots of history, it’s not a history book, at least in the modern sense. We’ve also seen that its purpose isn’t to give us scientifically accurate information about how the universe works and was created. Finally, while there are many helpful rules in the Bible, it’s definitely not a book of universal rules for all time. Many rules change within the Bible itself.




In my last post I suggested a way to read the Bible that fits how the Bible actually works – as Story, Shepherd and Sacred Space. I suggested that in the Bible rules are at the service of the Story, not the Story at the service of the rules; that the Bible gradually Shepherds us toward greater wisdom; and that the Bible is itself the Sacred Space where God himself meets us and helps us find our way. I said that the Story consists of God partnering with humankind, redeeming this world toward New Creation – a world of increasing beauty, diversity, justice and abundance.


When Tim at The Bible Project was recently asked which laws in the Torah still applied today, he responded, “None of them and all of them.” In other words, none of them automatically apply. Contextually, these were laws written for a particular people at a particular time and place in the Story. At the same time, underneath all these rules is likely a wisdom that we can still glean for our lives today. I believe the same principle applies to the New Testament. Most of us would agree that instructions about women wearing head coverings in worship or being silent in worship, and slaves having to obey their masters, are time-and-culture bound. Jesus says that if our eye causes us to stumble we should tear it out and throw it away, but I’m not hearing anyone saying we should take that literally. The same is true when he says, “None of you can become my disciple unless you give up all your possessions (Luke 14:33).” Gulp.


So how do we decide which rules to keep, which to adapt, and which to set aside altogether? And is there ever a time when we need to come up with a new rule?


The Command to Bind and to Loose


That last question may sound odd until we engage with one of Jesus’ most important but neglected teachings. It’s mentioned twice in Matthew’s gospel – first in his instruction to the apostle Peter and then to all Jesus’ disciples:

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (16:19).
Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (18:18).

In rabbinic circles, the authority to bind and to loose referred to the power to make judicial decisions and rules. What Jesus says here is the exact opposite of what we expect. We expect Jesus to say that what's decided in heaven must be considered binding on earth. Instead, he says that whatever we decide on earth will be bound in heaven.


Let that sink in for a moment. Is Jesus saying that he’s giving us the authority to make decisions about issues like circumcision (see Acts 15), slavery (13th amendment), women in ministry, the timing and means of baptism, who can participate in communion, the elements used in communion (e.g. juice or wine), military service and same-sex marriage? I believe he is. Jesus must have assumed that sometimes we would come to different conclusions about these issues and hoped our perspectives would evolve over time. I suspect that there may need to be different perspectives to capture the richness and paradox of God's will (e.g. pacificism and police or military service). The fact that he hasn’t identified himself exclusively with any one denomination or branch of Christianity tells me that he’s been willing to work with our diverse perspectives – just like he said heaven would – even when our decisions and rules haven’t reflected God’s best or ultimate intentions for our lives.


From what I can tell, God hasn’t privileged any Christian group with a corner on the truth. I think Jesus was hoping that we would have enough humility to disagree kindly, and to keep learning from one another, while making adjustments along the way. Unfortunately, by treating the Bible like a book that’s supposed to provide all the answers, we end up placing entirely too much weight on specific texts about a subject (texts which can have a variety of contexts and interpretations) and not enough weight on larger moral principles like love for neighbor as well as justice and mercy. This reflects a rules-based approach to the Bible rather than a wisdom-based approach, the latter being how the Bible actually works.


This reminds me of something Dallas Willard wrote about Christian discipleship: we’re in training for reigning. We were made to reign at the beginning of creation (Genesis 1:26) and now we’re being trained to fulfill that original call (“And they will reign for ever and ever” – Revelation 22:5). This is part of God’s restoration project. Paul says that the law was a “guardian” until we could grow to maturity. Many Christians seem to think that our job is simply to enforce biblical rules rather than adapt or craft them; to do things the way they’ve always been done rather than creatively address the injustices that still exist in the world. This was the mistake Southern Christians made regarding slavery in the 19th century (and they referred to a lot of Scripture passages they believed backed them up). We assume that a small handful of rules about same-sex sexual activity are binding for all time – even though that’s not how rules work in the Bible – and then we label as apostate people who don’t agree. Or at least we decide we’re not willing to be in the same denomination with them anymore.


In giving us this authority to bind and to loose, Jesus is clearly encouraging us to use our God-given minds (with the Spirit’s help) to think for ourselves about how to live out the gospel in our time, with its particular opportunities and challenges. Jesus didn’t give us a new rule book that would settle every issue forever. As trainees for reigning, we’re having to learn how to make decisions that impact the world around us. Like any good teacher, God factors in failure. We’re not always going to get it right, and sometimes we’re going to disagree with one another – just as we have around issues like evolution, the state of Israel, the best form of church or civil government, end-time prophecy, the gifts of the Spirit, divorce and remarriage, abortion, lodge membership, military service, the role of women in ministry, baptism, communion, and even when and how a person becomes a Christian.


One of the wisest sayings that surfaced out of the Reformation came from an otherwise little known Reformed pastor: “In essentials unity, in nonessentials liberty, in all things charity.” How many of the issues I mentioned in the previous paragraph have you and I been tempted to put in the “essentials” category? Have your views about any of these issues changed or at least softened over the years? There may very well be some issues that are worth dividing or even dying over. I’m convinced that same-sex marriage isn’t one of them. Not even close.


It’s people who weren’t willing to change their thinking who killed Jesus. Please think about that. Jesus didn’t follow the biblical script. Just months before Jesus’ birth, John the Baptist’s father Zechariah, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied that the coming Messiah would get rid of Israel’s enemies (Luke 1:67-71). Instead, Jesus focused on the enemy within all of us.


The issue of same-sex marriage necessarily carries a lot of weight for LGBTQ folks. That’s all the more reason not to confine our discussion to just a handful of biblical passages that mention same-sex sex. Half a dozen passages don’t compare with the hundreds of biblical texts that condone or at least assume the institution of human slavery. So we’re not being biblical if we simply quote a few verses and call it a night. We’re being lazy. We’re being disrespectful. We’re being unloving. And we’re not honoring how the Bible actually works.


The Biblical Texts about Same-Sex Sex


But what about those passages that prohibit same-sex sex? Just because they aren’t automatically binding on us today, could they still apply?


Given all I’ve said so far, you may be surprised that I believe every passage that talks about same-sex sex still applies today. I’m not just talking about the underlying wisdom, but the prohibitions themselves. I’ve studied these texts from every possible angle, and I’m convinced that all of them still apply – to heterosexuals. We know from ancient literature that the vast majority of same-sex sexual activity in the ancient world was carried out by heterosexual men – not homosexuals, as we understand the term today. This includes the Greco-Roman culture of the first century. Ancient Jewish and pagan writers often described such activity as "excessive lust," or going beyond the bounds of one’s natural sexuality – which was true for the vast majority of people who engaged in it. In other words, these were people who often had become satiated by sex with their spouses, and likely their neighbors' spouses and female prostitutes, and now were directing their insatiable lust towards the same sex. The assumption in all of these pagan and Jewish descriptions is that same-sex sex is being carried out by people with insatiable desire for any and every kind of sexual exploration, rather than people with a same-sex sexual orientation expressing their sexuality in a committed life-long, monogamous relationship.


Add to all of this the fact that in the Old Testament same-sex sexual activity is only specifically described in the context of male shrine or temple prostitution (1 Kings 13:24, 15:12, 22:46, 2 Kings 23:7, Job 36:14) or rape (e.g. Sodom). This is likely why the two prohibitions against same-sex sex in Leviticus include the word “detestable.” This word is normally used when talking about some kind of idolatrous practice.


But what about the New Testament? The same principle about excessive lust still applies. We know that same-sex sexual activity in the first century was almost always coercive, non-egalitarian and lacking any kind of commitment. In other words, it was abusive. A classic example would be the sexual behavior of the Roman Emperor Gaius Caligula. His sexual exploits were well known (especially in Rome), and may specifically have been what Paul had in mind when he referenced same-sex sexual behavior in chapter 1 of his letter to the Romans. New Testament scholar James Brownson graphically describes Caligula’s sexual exploits:


Gaius...serves as “Exhibit A” for out-of-control lust. Suetonius reports how Gaius “lived in perpetual incest with all his sisters, and at a large banquet he placed each of them in turn below him, while his wife reclined above.” He records gruesome examples of Gaius’s arbitrary violence, vindictiveness, and cruelty. Later, Suetonius chronicles Gaius’s sexual liaisons with the wives of dinner guests, raping them in an adjoining room and then returning to the banquet to comment on their performance. Various same-sex sexual encounters between Gaius and other men are similarly recounted. Finally, a military officer whom he had sexually humiliated joined a conspiracy to murder him, which they did less than four years into his reign. Suetonius records that Gaius was stabbed through the genitals when he was murdered. One wonders whether we can hear an echo of this gruesome story in Paul’s comments in Romans 1:27: “Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own person the due penalty for their error.”

This passage also demonstrates what Paul was probably referring to in Romans 1:26 – “Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones.” Descriptions of female same-sex sexual activity were extremely rare in the ancient world. For Christianity’s first 300 years, no published preacher or scholar interpreted Paul as referring to female same-sex sex. Augustine and others thought Paul was referring to oral or anal sex between heterosexual partners. If Paul had Caligula in mind, he was more likely referring to incest.


Obviously, none of what I’ve just described comes anywhere close to the kind of mutual, non-coercive, egalitarian, life-long committed relationships being discussed today.


Same-Sex Marriage


What about people with a same-sex sexual orientation – should they be allowed to participate in the biblical marriage covenant? That’s a great question. It’s also not a question the Bible attempts to answer. It says absolutely nothing about same-sex marriage, which isn’t surprising, given that no one was talking about it in the ancient world. That’s why this is a situation where we’re compelled to take up our responsibility to bind and to loose.


I understand why it may be difficult for some people to even entertain a different way of thinking about same-sex marriage. It feels too risky. It may feel risky relationally. It may feel even more risky if you are a pastor, church professional or Christian author. Yes, there can be risks, but our relationship with God is not at risk. God always factors in failure in our attempts to bind and loose. We can explore a new possibility or way of thinking without feeling we’re abandoning Scripture or the faith of our family, friends and fellow church members.


What I’m offering here is my attempt to come to the issue of same-sex marriage biblically. We’ve already shown how specific rules and instructions don’t necessarily apply today; although, in this case, I’ve suggested that the biblical passages about same-sex sex still do apply, but to heterosexuals. A biblical approach considers not only specific passages about a topic, but the overarching moral principles that are woven throughout Scripture.


When Jesus was asked what was the greatest commandment in the law, he said that we were to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength; and, just as importantly, we're to love our neighbor as ourselves. Jesus expanded his disciples’ understanding of “neighbor” to include all people, even one’s enemies. Jesus’ brother James refers to this command to love as the “royal law.” I believe Paul is saying something similar in 1 Corinthians 7:19 – “Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but obeying the commandments of God is everything!” In other words, if whatever we decide in our attempt to bind and to loose around the issue of same-sex marriage doesn’t reflect a deep love for God and neighbor, we’ve missed the mark.


Stated more positively, when considering how to address a contemporary issue, we should consider what would contribute to the flourishing of our neighbor and the broader society. Obviously, heterosexual men exploring the full range of sexual frontiers out of insatiable lust isn’t going to lead to flourishing for them or anyone else. (Certainly not for their wives.)


So let’s cut to the chase: am I loving my LGBTQ brothers and sisters as myself when I withhold from them one of the greatest blessings of my life – being in a lifelong covenant with someone I love – simply because they’re wired differently, something beyond their control? Is this morality or is it cruelty? Is it blessing people or punishing them for being different?


Definition of Marriage?


‘But what about the biblical definition of marriage?’ People who ask that question are usually referring to Genesis 2:24: “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” One thing to consider is that the Bible rarely gives definitions of anything. The word “definition” is a modern construct that we should be cautious in applying to any passage in the Bible, much less to this single sentence. It’s also clear that this sentence is a continuation of a longer thread:

The man said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she was taken out of man.
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

People who talk about this being a definition of marriage usually highlight the necessary differences men and women bring to marriage. But the passage actually highlights their similarity – “bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” – and nothing is said about their differences. (In my experience, the personality differences in same-sex marriages are at least as great as the differences within heterosexual marriages.) The larger context emphasizes the difference between the woman and all the other creatures God brought to Adam. It’s because of Eve’s similarity to Adam that she's a suitable partner. (Of course, unlike today, this was also a time when being able to rear children was dependent upon a couple being able to bear children.)


There are other reasons why this passage falls far short of being an adequate definition of marriage. For example, there’s nothing said about what we would consider today to be the essentials of a biblical marriage covenant – a lifelong monogamous commitment. In other words, if this was meant to be a definition of marriage, it definitely needs updating. It does function at least somewhat as a partial description of marriage as it would have been lived out in the ancient world. But it’s not close to being a timeless definition of marriage. (If this were a definition of marriage, how would this verse apply today to a newly married couple living with the man’s parents to save up for their own home? Would their marriage be unbiblical or unconsummated until the married couple actually "left" the man's father and mother’s house? What if the parents need their children to be caretakers? Or are we taking all this too literally?)


Biblical scholars sometimes use the language of normal and normative to distinguish what in the Scriptures was normal at the time from what is normative for all time. In the Old Testament, heterosexual marriage was normal, just as patriarchy was normal, polygamy was normal and slavery was normal. But normal doesn’t necessarily mean normative or universal.


I’ve come to believe that there is wisdom in the larger text of Genesis 2 that may actually support same-sex marriage. I think especially of verse 18 where God says it’s not good for man to be alone. Marriage and family life are two of the primary ways God addresses humanity’s need for human companionship and community. Given what we now know about sexual orientation, is it moral or right to exclude LGBTQ people from one of God’s greatest provisions for companionship and human flourishing?


Conservatives often bemoan the diminishing importance of marriage in contemporary culture. They often point to same-sex marriages as a contributing factor. Really? LGBTQ people who are willing to commit to a lifelong monogamous marriage relationship are weakening the institution of marriage? Could it be that we are instead, to use Jesus’ words, straining out a gnat while swallowing a camel when we place a hyper-emphasis on gender diversity and minimize the willingness of couples of whatever gender to make this incredibly demanding covenant and commitment?


Are we in fact in danger of making heterosexual marriage an idol?


All of this is making me wonder if withholding the covenant of marriage from a subset of the population is cruelty rather than morality. Ours is a gospel that emphasizes and celebrates both diversity and hospitality. For the first Christians who were Jewish, this involved welcoming Gentiles to the faith. (Sometimes they weren’t very welcoming.) For some it would’ve required even more moral imagination to accept marriage between Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians. We’ve faced the same challenges around interracial marriage in our country. Shouldn’t we use this same moral imagination when thinking about same-sex marriage, especially for those for whom a same-sex marriage is the only realistic option?


I wonder if there is wisdom we can glean from Galatians 3:28 – “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."


From where I sit, same-sex marriage doesn’t require a redefinition of marriage, just an expansion of who's invited. Skin color, ethnic background, IQ, financial status, ability to have children, gender, sexual orientation, whether they're Dutch (just kidding) – these are incidentals rather than requirements, ultimately contributing to the richness, diversity and durability of marriage as an institution. The heart of marriage is its lifelong monogamous covenant. It’s astounding when anyone is still willing to make and keep that commitment! And personally, I believe I can learn from anyone who does – and I have, including from people in my own church.


Jesus' Description of Marriage


But didn’t Jesus affirm that marriage consists of a relationship between a man and a woman? Given my limited space, I’m hesitant to get into the weeds on this one. But I know that many people’s belief in a traditional understanding of marriage is based upon not only on Genesis 1:26 but on Jesus teaching in Matthew 19:4-6:


“Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

First, whenever we read Scripture, we need to be cautious about forcing a passage to answer a question the passage isn’t attempting to answer. It’s clear Jesus isn’t answering a question about same-sex marriage. That question wouldn’t have been on anyone’s radar at that time. Jesus is replying to a specific question raised by the Pharisees: “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?” So the question has to do with whether a man can divorce his wife, not who can be married in the first place. And it’s about whether a man can divorce his wife “for any and every reason.” It’s clear that women are the potential victims in this scenario. (Women divorcing their husbands wasn’t an option in Jesus’ day.) As far as husbands divorcing their wives, some rabbis listed reasons like a woman’s inability to bear children or even being a bad cook as legitimate grounds for divorce. Obviously, this understanding of marriage puts the husband in complete control over his and his wife’s future.


So there are actually two separate issues here – patriarchy and divorce. Jesus starts with patriarchy. He goes back to God’s original design at the beginning of creation as stated in the first chapter of Genesis: “Let us make human beings in our image, in our likeness, so that they rule….” So all humans are made in God’s image and are made to rule. Then comes the specific passage Jesus quotes from: “So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” So there is this triple emphasis on the fact that all humans are made in God’s image (and to rule), with a special emphasis on this including both men and women.


So much for patriarchy. Like I said earlier, patriarchy doesn’t come into play until after the Fall. So a man being able to tell his wife what to do (or where to go) wasn’t part of God’s original design for male/female relationships in marriage and society. Men and women were created as equal partners. So Jesus is addressing the power dynamics within marriage, not who can be married.


Next Jesus takes up the issue of divorce. Here Jesus reflects and builds upon the metaphor of “one flesh” in Genesis 2:24. He says that the nature of human flesh is that it can’t be divided, which means that marriage is supposed to be permanent or lifelong (even though Moses made provision for divorce). So Jesus is using the original metaphor to say something even stronger about marriage than the Genesis passage. He also adds something else that clearly wasn’t a part of the original description of marriage – that God is the one who binds people together ("what God has joined together"). This is a great example of something I talked about in a previous post – God’s wisdom unfolds over time within Scripture and right until the present.


Note that Jesus is careful not to press the metaphor of one flesh too far. A couple of verses later he says the marriage covenant can be broken if sexual immorality or adultery is involved. So there is an exception to the prohibition. Since we’ve been given the authority to bind and to loose, we might come up with other exceptions – e.g. domestic violence, in some cases addiction, verbal abuse, neglect, criminal activity, abandonment, or actions that consistently risk a family’s safety. That’s the thing with rules, they almost always have exceptions.


There’s no rule in the Bible that states that men can only marry women and women can only marry men. It’s a practice that’s assumed in every passage about marriage, since same gender marriage wasn’t an option anywhere within Judaism or in other cultures. But just as there are contemporary exceptions to the prohibition against divorce, isn't it reasonable to consider that there could be contemporary exceptions to the practice of marriage being between a man and a woman – particularly in the case of people who have a different sexual orientation? I believe these are legitimate questions based upon how the Bible actually works and how Jesus actually taught.


Jesus said that he came that we might have life and that abundantly. A man divorcing his wife for any and every reason isn’t a practice that’s going to contribute to human flourishing. A wife staying in an abusive relationship because Jesus didn’t include domestic violence in his list of one flesh exceptions obviously isn’t going to contribute to human flourishing. The question we’re having to consider today is whether prohibiting all LGBTQ people from getting married to someone they love is going to contribute to their flourishing, or actually keep them from flourishing. The command for both men and women to rule at the beginning of creation, as well as Jesus’ command to bind and to loose, are given so that we can decide how to increase the flourishing of all humans and all creation. Remember: in the Bible rules are at the service of the Story, not the Story at the service of the rules.


What about Justice?


Then there is the matter of justice. Like the commands to love God and neighbor, Micah 6:8 attempts to get at the heart of the law:


He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

So is it “just” to prohibit LGBTQ people from marrying someone they love? Keep in mind that we’re not talking about special rights, just equal rights. Our LGBTQ friends aren’t asking for special treatment, just equal treatment. If we restrict marriage to heterosexual couples, aren’t we saying that only straight people have a special right to be married, just as white people in the 19th century believed they had a special right to own property and hold office? How is this justice?


I don’t think we can overstate the suffering that LGBTQ people have experienced over the millenniums. Much of it has been hidden because of the social pressure that's kept most LGBTQ people from coming out. And when they have, they’ve been humiliated, shamed, medicated, imprisoned and sometimes tortured and killed. They’ve been society’s lepers. Even for those who haven’t disclosed their identities, the clear message is that their bodies and core desires are disgusting and repulsive, including to God. All because we’ve made what’s most common normative. Only “normal” couples can be married; only "normal" couples can be happy; only "normal" people can celebrate being made in God’s image and experience the blessing of marriage and family life. Tell me again why there should be a marriage penalty for people simply being themselves?


What happened to mercy? Mercy isn’t about deserving; it’s about grace. Could it be true that heterosexual people deserve to be married, while LGBTQ folks don’t? Isn’t the gospel by design meant to be accommodating in a whole variety of ways? Are we basing our conclusions on the law of love or the law of biblical literalism? What is the greater risk – being too generous or being too cautious in sharing God’s blessings? Given what we know about Jesus, is it riskier to err on the side of grace or on the side of judgment? We're talking about two people loving one another, after all – in the same committed, sacrificial way Jesus tells us to love one another. So what's the problem?


Finally, are we being humble when we fail to accept that good followers of Jesus may disagree on this issue, and that committed LGBTQ Christians may disagree as well? Are we humble enough to be cautious about forming an opinion until we’ve listened to our LGBTQ brothers and sisters – especially since this is an issue the Bible doesn’t directly address? Shouldn’t humility make us hesitant to tell other people what they should or shouldn’t do with their lives, especially when the Bible isn't clear?


The Great Commission


We’ve looked at the issue of the of same-sex marriage from the perspective of the Great Commandment (love for God and neighbor) and Micah’s well-known summary of the law. What about the Great Commission (“Make disciples of all nations”)? In missional terms, it’s helpful for me to think of the LGBTQ community as a “people group.” They make up a small and yet significant portion of the human family. To what people group – e.g. tribe, ethnic group, race or economic class – would we say that they likely won't be able to get married if they became Christians?


During the early decades of the first-century church the hot button issue was circumcision rather than same-sex marriage. For conservatives, the biblical case for mandated circumcision for male Gentile Christians was open and shut: there was only one biblical position. Scripture (the Old Testament) required that any male foreigner wanting to become part of the people of God had to be circumcised. In Acts 15 we read about a council being called to consider the issue. After considerable discussion it was decided that the biblical requirement for boys and men to be circumcised was an unnecessary barrier to Gentiles entering the church. This is a great example of the early church exercising Jesus’ mandate to bind and to loose. In this case, Gentile followers of Jesus were “loosed” or released from one of the most basic requirements of the law.


Then again, there is no biblical law against same-sex marriage. So we are free to apply fundamental biblical principles like love, justice, mercy and humility without fear of breaking a biblical rule. We can even affirm what the Bible says about same-sex sex – as it applies to heterosexuals. For those of us who take seriously the Great Commission, shouldn’t we be cautious about putting up unnecessary, extra-biblical barriers that may keep a significant portion of the population from entering Christ’s eternal kingdom?


The Greater Sin


Being in training for reigning, we’re called to use our God-given minds and hearts to think deeply about issues that face the church and the world today – just as 19th century Christians were required to do around the issue of slavery, and first century Christians around circumcision. Across the centuries the church has had to wrestle with issues (like whether the earth revolves around the sun, military service, divorce and remarriage, and women in ministry) and has found it had to apply the deeper wisdom of Scripture rather than blindly adopt its often time-and-culture bound instructions and descriptions. The failure of Southern 19th century Christians to look beyond the surface of the text led to the deaths of over 600,000 soldiers and 50,000 civilians. And we almost didn’t survive as a nation.


Today denominations, congregations and families are dividing over an issue the Bible never directly addresses. Could it be that dividing and separating over the issue of same-sex marriage is a greater sin than being wrong about the issue itself? This acrimony and division has cast a shadow over the beautiful marriages so many of our LGBTQ sisters and brothers are creating and the contribution they're making to the institution of marriage and society in general, not to mention to the life of our congregations (where they are allowed to).


Jesus didn’t tell us to agree, but he did tell us to be one.




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