The Principle Behind My Views

One of Luke’s responses to me was seriously concerning.  Either he totally misunderstood me or I have not been articulating my point properly, so allow me to cut and paste one mf my comments from the last thread:

From Luke:  In the interest of fair play, I request you provide an example of Jesus altering God’s previous instructions to allow room for sin. And don’t refer to His death and resurrection, seeing as they were to wash away the sins of those who showed repentance.

From me:  I don’t think Jesus ever does this.  When have I ever suggested that Jesus makes room for our sin so that it is ok?  I am suggesting that Jesus lets us choose against his best for us and doesn’t force us to follow his rules.  Jesus is quite clear that his way is best for everyone, but he never makes anyone choose it who doesn’t do it freely.  He wants us to come to him freely, with our whole heart/mind/will.  He doesn’t want us to come coerced and resentful.  And coercion and resentfulness almost always go together.

This is my point.  Not that Jesus’ way is not best for us, but that it is not up to Christians to force that choice on anyone.


18 Replies to “The Principle Behind My Views”

  1. This is the key.

    You place secular man’s desires above that which God commands us.

    You place inclusiveness above the God-instated union of marriage.

    And, for the third time, I propose this. Please listen this time:

    What is preventing homosexual couples from pursuing a legal union under a new name with new definitions, rather than forcing themselves upon an God-inspired institution that, by it’s very definition, is not compatible?

    1. No, I think it’s not compatible at all. They are not promising to love each other under God, they are not forming a covenant with God as Christian marriage defines it, so it really is something else just called marriage. Secular heterosexual couples already do this. I understand what you’re proposing. I understood it the last 2 times you wrote it. I just don’t agree with it. I don’t think there is a conflict, as they aren’t entering into a marriage covenant with God as the Bible defines it.

      I don’t place other things above God’s commands. I just don’t think it’s our place to enforce God’s commands with those who don’t choose to subscribe to it. You still haven’t shown me anywhere in the Bible it tells us to make others follow God’s rules. You’ve mentioned many passages where God commands his people to follow his rules, but there is no mandate for that to apply to those outside Christianity.

      1. Yeah, we messed things up badly by allowing marriage to be defined as anything other than a union under God, and there’s little that can be done to reverse that. But I refuse to let one mistake justify another.

        Jesus never forces his teachings on others. But sure as anything kicks up a fuss when something that is God’s is defiled:

        – – – – –

        Matthew 21:12-13

        Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”

        – – – – –

        Looks like he’s “forcing his beliefs” on others concerning the mis-use of his temple. Those buyers and sellers didn’t necessarily share his beliefs. After all the temple wasn’t just a place of worship anymore.

        In your own words:

        “I believe it was to begin with. But now it isn’t for those not subscribing to Christians values, again, they see it differently, and this is imposing one view on someone who does not agree or choose it.”

      2. Actually that’s not what that story is about. All the people at the temple were Jews who were meant to be representing God. Jesus got so angry at them because they were defiling God’s house by using it for the own selfish purposes (ripping people off and making money off others). They did share his religion and they’d started using the temple for their own gain.
        I’m saying that this is what we are called to do, to keep those on track who are subscribing to God. That is what Jesus did here. Those people weren’t just any people from society who Jesus starting yelling at to follow his rules, they were meant to be following God’s rules already and clearly weren’t.

      3. A very well presented correction.

        I guess where we differ on this exact point is this:

        If it is put to a vote and marriage is legally altered to allow the inclusion of homosexual marriage, so be it, but it will be yet another failing to protect marriage as outlined by God.

        I could never see that as a victory. Just one failure following another.

  2. Is it not the responsibility of the Christian, who has the truth of how a sinner can be saved, i.e. repentance and accepting Jesus to be Lord of our lives, to share this important information? Certainly, it is up to the hearer to accept it, so coercion will not take place. Having said that, why should we as Christians be coerced into accepting laws which go against our belief system as well? One of us has their way and one of us doesn’t. One of us wants laws that God has ordained to be right and one of us wants laws that are about what fallen mankind wants. The laws will always make one people group happy and another not. It’s not about us… must be about God. We must be God’s workers in this world to shed light on the issues He has ordained as right. God created man and woman as the model for marriage and therefore that is what we must support. Not a version of this which is influenced by our fallen state.

    1. I totally agree with the first part of that. I think it is absolutely our responsibility to share God and his loving forgiveness with others. Along with this goes his guidelines for life. I think God wants everyone to be on board with his way of life. But I think this requires us to be talking about them about a relationship with God and how this relates to the whole of life. Once they want to choose God’s way of life, that’s when their behaviour needs to conform. I don’t think it helps people move closer to God when Christians demand they follow our rules. It makes them resent us, and sadly resent God.
      And laws don’t always make one group happy and the other do something they don’t want. Sometimes it does, and in those circumstances I think it’s right to stand up for God’s principles within legislation. But when it does not impinge on our ability to follow God, I don’t think we should force others to follow our way. This is how I see same sex marriage. The ability for others to get married does not affect the way we follow the Bible’s guidelines for marriage.
      I agree that is is our responsibility to shed light on the world, but that doesn’t mean we have to force others into our code of conduct.

  3. I know I already posted on the previous post but I really just want to affirm again here what you are saying Megan. I for one don’t believe supporting marriage between same sex couples represents a break from my Christian faith. Let’s not forget too- as someone in an earlier post pointed out- Jesus had very little (nothing) to say on the ‘issue’ of homosexuality, but a lot to say on things like poverty and loving one another. I want to be a part of a church community which reflects the heart of Jesus and speaks out for the oppressed and disadvantaged with love and concern, rather than spreading a message of exclusion and judgement.

    1. Sorry, I appreciate the sentiment, but Jesus didn’t comment on a lot of stuff. Not really a good measuring stick for anything.

      Commandments were passed down well before Jesus stepped onto the scene, and I struggle to recall any of Jesus’ teachings that contradicted what God passed down before. He came to fulfil it.

      1. Actually there was a lof of stuff Jesus changed. The two that come to mind immediately was the cessation of circumcision, and the inclusion of Gentiles in God’s chosen people (kind of a big one for us!).

        I’m not saying he changed the rules on homosexuality. I’m saying I’m not even sure the OT was condemning it (if we understand homosexuality as two people choosing to be in a monogamous relationship). But even if it is completely wrong, my point remains that we are never commanded to force others to comply.

  4. I see a lot of judgment and exclusion in some of the comments on this blog, such as the claim that homosexuals – and those who condone homosexuality – are “influenced by our fallen state”, the likening of homosexuality to pedophilia, and the comparison of gay marriage to the legalization of child marriage. If I were gay, I would feel judged and alienated – and I think a lot of LGBT people do feel judged and not welcomed by the Church. That’s why there are so few of them in our congregations.

    Jess and Megan’s comments are valid, rather than ‘simplistic’.

  5. Luke, I beg to differ. I don’t believe that my stance is ‘simplistic’- merely because it disagrees with your value judgements. This is something I, and I’m sure many others have thought and read a lot about.
    I also didn’t say that people who see homosexuality as a sin are judgemental and exclusive. I did mean to convey that I can’t see how attitudes like some of those expressed on this blog, and more broadly in the Christian church are welcoming or loving towards people who identify as LGBT. Instead, many comments act in a more exclusionary manner so that, like Victoria pointed out, people are left feeling as though they are not welcome in the church… a tragedy in my opinion.
    My question more was…What would it look like if the church was as vocal and active on issues like fair trade, poverty, the sex trade and other forms of discrimination as it is on issues to do with people’s sexuality?

    I would also like to highly recommend a documentary which explores sexuality and homosexuality in the church in America in some depth. It is called ‘For the Bible tells me so’ and is well worth watching for anyone who is interested in this issue- it includes the stories of young people who identify as LGBT, interviews with their Christian parents and biblical commentary from noted scholars.

  6. I don’t see why I can’t promise to love my partner under God just because i’m gay. In fact, it’s exactly what I intend on doing once God leads me to the right man.

    Non-christian people don’t promise to love their partners under God either, and they’re fine to get ‘married’ simply because one is a male and the other is a female. I’m a Christian, and love God with all my heart, I just don’t happen to be attracted sexually to women at all. So as a punishment for that, my partnership with a man can’t be recognised as ‘marriage’? But it would be ok to be called a ‘marriage’ if I was a heterosexual non-Christian?

    That just doesn’t make any sense to me at all.

    On a side note… Even if homosexuality is wrong, and I don’t believe it is… But for arguments sake, even if it IS, I think God cares more about the quality of people’s relationships than what it is called. If we call two guys getting married “marriage”, so what? Does that automatically change the way that God views it? I would hope not! Because that would be weird…

    So then, if God’s mind isn’t changed as a result of what something is called, and if your mind isn’t changed because of what it’s called, then what is a logical argument for treating LGB people’s relationships like they are worth less than a straight persons relationship by denying them the right of marriage?

    It is not just about wanting something ‘similar’, or wanting something that ensures our legal rights. It is about the fact that giving gay relationships a different name is discriminatory because it sends the message that they are less valid than yours. It’s just plain wrong.

    On a personal note, as a young gay man, it is really awful knowing that if I were to meet a man and fall in love, I would not have the right to marry them simply because of our sexuality. I feel very much like a second class citizen when I don’t have the right to choose.

    If we are sinning simply by having a relationship, and if we would be sinning also if we got ‘married’, then why not allow us the freedom of choosing to get married if either way according to the church we will be living in sin? What difference does it make to you and your life and your ability to make choices? Not much. What difference would that make to my life and my ability to make choices? So so much. You have no idea how much it would change my life. Just let us choose already, like everyone else has the right to do… Why is it that people who can freely marry can so easily tell me that I can’t?

    1. Thanks for your honesty Matt and courage in sharing about your own experience. I hope you can feel like there are Christians who stand with you in championing the cause of equality and freedom of choice for all people, irrespective of sexual preference.

  7. Crikey, there’s more.

    Good on ya again Matt for speaking from the heart. I hope that your plea that “I feel very much like a second class citizen when I don’t have the right to choose.” doesn’t fall on deaf ears.

    Luke, as I mentioned on the other thread, there is much that Jesus came to change and challenge of the Jewish legal and social system. Especially when those practices were used to alienate and oppress.

    You yourself use the example of Jesus turning over the tables in the temple. This is an example of the deprivation of the Pharisees in the temple and the result of religious legalism, the very thing that you are espousing.

    As for the doctrines that Jesus challenged and contradicted, Megan has already mentioned circumcision and gentiles.

    On top of this is the examples of Jesus breaking purity laws, somewhat pertinent in this discussion:

    Jesus touching lepers;
    Jesus touching the bleeding woman;
    Jesus speaking dirty dog Samaritans;
    Working/threshing on the Sabbath;
    Working/healing on the Sabbath;
    He ate while ritualistically unclean
    He ate on a fast day
    His teachings were added to the written or oral Law
    He cursed an Israelite

    These examples are taken from Matthew alone. Possibly because Matthew/Levi was an oppressed member of society that the good news was in fact good news to.

    As followers of Jesus it is our responsibility to challenge the laws and societal norms that oppress and alienate today.

    Jess again Victoria, you again make good, well-reasoned and compassionate responses. It is indeed a tragedy that anyone should be alienated from church, the very movement that was built on inclusion, empathy, hospitality, agape love and challenging the principalities and powers.

    So while I am greatly saddened by the harsh tone of many in our community I am likewise encouraged by the witness of people like Luke and those of you who are brave and lucky enough to stand by him.

    Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
    Blessed are the merciful,
    for they will be shown mercy.
    Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.
    Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called children of God.
    Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
    Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.


  8. Whoops, that was obviously meant to say:

    So while I am greatly saddened by the harsh tone of many in our community I am likewise encouraged by the witness of people like *MATT* and those of you who are brave and lucky enough to stand by him.

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