An argument frequently advanced by those attempting to defend homosexual practice is that Christians ‘cherry pick’ the commands in the Bible – that is, they chose to emphasise some commands while ignoring others.
The Old Testament may forbid homosexual acts (Leviticus 18:2; 20:13) but it also forbids eating seafood without fins and scales (Leviticus 11:9-12; Deuteronomy 14:9, 10).
So how can Christians then justify upholding laws on sexual morality whilst at the same time ignoring the food laws from the very same books of the Bible? Why may they eat shellfish but not be allowed to have sex outside marriage? Isn’t this inconsistent and hypocritical?
The solution is that God enters into “covenants” with his people, and the terms of those covenants change.
Especially dietary laws:
The answer to this question lies in an understanding of biblical covenants.
A covenant is a binding solemn agreement made between two parties. It generally leaves each with obligations. But it holds only between the parties involved.
There are a number of biblical covenants: Noahic, Abrahamic, Sinaitic (Old), Davidic and New.
Under the Noahic covenant, which God made with all living human beings (Genesis 9:8-17), people were able to eat anything:
‘Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything’ (Genesis 9:3).
But under the Sinaitic (Old) Covenant, which God made with the nation of Israel, people were able to eat certain foods, but not others.
Jesus clearly created a new covenant with his followers, where the dietary laws are lifted:
Jesus said that he had come to fulfil the ‘Law and the Prophets’ (Matthew 5:17; Luke 24:44). He would establish this new covenant with new laws, with himself as high priest based on his own sacrificial death on the cross.
This new covenant would completely deal with sin (Hebrews 10:1-18) and protect all those who put their faith in him from God’s wrath and judgement…
[…]‘In the same way, after the supper (Jesus) took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you”’ (Luke 22:20). ‘…we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all’ (Hebrews 10:10)
People would come under the protection of this new covenant, not by virtue of belonging to the nation of Israel, but through faith in Christ. In fact the function of the Old Testament Law (Sinaitic covenant) was to point to Christ as its fulfilment.
[…]So what then did Christ say about foods? He pronounced all foods clean for his followers to eat:
‘ “Don’t you see that nothing that enters a person from the outside can defile them? For it doesn’t go into their heart but into their stomach, and then out of the body.” (In saying this, Jesus declared all foods clean.) He went on: “What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person.” (Mark 7:18-23)
Jesus was making that point that under the new covenant God required purity of the heart. Internal thoughts and attitudes were as important as external actions.
Food is OK for Christians, but sexual immorality – which includes premarital sex and adultery – are NOT OK for Christians.
I think sometimes when you are talking to people whose motivation is just to get rid of any objective moral law entirely, they tend to ask questions without really wanting a good answer. This is especially true when it comes to the morality of sex. They ask the question not to get an answer, but to justify getting rid of the moral rules governing sexuality. The answers are there for people who are willing to respect God in their decision-making to find. The answers are not found only by people who have a reason to not want to find them.
In case you’re wondering, I am one of those Christian men who takes chastity seriously. Marriage is about having a close connection with your spouse. Sure, I could break the rules and have a lot of fun now. A lot of Christians have a hard time turning down fun. But when I look at Jesus, I don’t see a man who is pursuing fun and thrills. I see a man who sees a need and then sacrifices his own interests to rescue others from peril.
Barronelle Stutzman owns a flower shop in Washington state. A gay couple she had served for years decided to weaponize the secular state to punish her, when she declined to participate in their same-sex wedding. In this Fox News editorial, she explains what the gay activists in Washington state government did to her. Those already familiar with the case might want to read her editorial anyway, because it shows that that her case has parallels to the Jack Phillips case that was recently decided by the Supreme Court.
This is a very useful editorial because I think it really shows how to frame disagreement with homosexual redefinitions of marriage in a winsome way. If the police and the government come for you, it’s important to understand how to explain yourself without being more offensive than you have to be.
I tried to do my work as an artist in ways that honored my religious beliefs, my home state of Washington turned my life upside down. Since then, my state has been prosecuting me because I declined, for religious reasons, one request to celebrate one event for one gay customer – a friend of mine named Rob, whom I’d been delighted to serve for nearly a decade.
The Washington Supreme Court ruled against me last year with a decision that threatens to bankrupt my husband and me. But this week, the U.S. Supreme Court breathed new life into my case, sending it back to the Washington courts for further consideration.
[…]I’m also a Christian, and that affects every part of my life, including my work. Because I believe that all people are made in the very image of God, I serve everyone who enters my shop and treat them with dignity and respect.
She served gay people, but declined to participate in same-sex marriage weddings:
But this doesn’t mean that I can agree to every request. If people ask for custom arrangements to celebrate events or express messages that run up against my religious beliefs, I have to say ‘no.’ (This is particularly true for events like weddings that I personally attend.) Even then, I’ll gladly create something else for them, or sell them any of my ready-to-purchase items.
My relationship with Rob shows this. I served him for nearly a decade. I knew that he is gay, and he knew that I’m a Christian. None of that mattered. We enjoyed working with each other, and we quickly became friends. I was glad to create arrangements celebrating his partner’s birthday, their anniversary, Valentine’s Day, and other important life events. But when he asked me to design the flowers for his wedding, it was a different matter.
Her reason for declining to participate in the same-sex wedding was her own deeply-held religious convictions: (which are protected by law)
My faith teaches me that marriage is sacred, and that it exists only in the uniting of a man and a woman. I cannot create custom floral art, or be part of an event, celebrating a view that contradicts what I believe God designed marriage to be.
She declined the request to participate in the wedding in a gentle way, and recommended other businesses who would do a good job:
So when Rob asked me about his wedding, I walked him to a private part of my shop, took his hand in mine, told him why I couldn’t do what he asked, and referred him to three other florists who I knew would do a good job. Rob said that he understood, and we hugged before he left.
It was the state of Washington that decided to force their secular left “morality” on her. They decided to make an example of her, in order to intimidate Christians into acting like non-Christians on moral issues. (similar to what happened in Colorado with the Civil Rights Commission vs Masterpiece Cakeshop).
But, just like Colorado gay activists in government, they did not apply the law consistently. Christian businesses were persecuted, but anti-Christian businesses were allowed to discriminate against Christians:
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson heard about this after Rob’s partner posted something on social media. Ever since, the attorney general has relentlessly – and on his own initiative – come after me in ways he’s never come after anyone else. He certainly hasn’t done the same to a Seattle coffee shop owner who profanely berated and openly discriminated against Christian customers.
The consequences for Barronelle are the loss of her business and everything that she owns, and hoped to pass on to her own children:
The attorney general doesn’t just want to punish me in my role as a business owner. He’s sued me in my “personal capacity,” meaning that my husband and I are now at risk of losing everything we own.
The attorney general was asked to stop trying to take everything she owned, but he declined to do it. He’s addicted the idea of using the power of the secular government to punish religious people who disagree with him.
I’ve written the attorney general a letter urging him “to drop” the personal claims that risk stripping away “my home, business, and other assets.” He won’t. For him, this case has been about making an example of me – crushing me – all because he disapproves of what I believe about marriage.
And remember that the salary of this fascistic attorney general is funded in part by Barronelle’s own income taxes. She’s paying them to persecute her for her Christian beliefs, because the people around her – some of whom claim to be Christians – voted for bigger and bigger secular leftist government.
Discrimination against Christians
I decided to take a look at the other case that she linked to, to really understand whether the state of Washington had enforced the law differently for different people. You’ll remember that the favorable decision that Jack Phillips got was conditional (in part) on the law being applied inconsistently in his home state.
A homosexual coffee shop owner refused service to a group of peaceful Christian [pro-lifers] Sunday and evicted them from his shop.
The [pro-lifers] had been actively engaging people in the city for several days, sharing the gospel, holding signs exposing the abortion holocaust, and handing out literature to people of the streets. According to… Caytie Davis, the group entered Bedlam Coffee to rest and have a drink but did not engage anyone there.
“We had nothing on us, we weren’t distributing anything,” Davis said. “We bought coffee and went upstairs.” Within minutes of their arrival, the barista ran up the stairs and into the back room to alert the owner of their presence.
[…]When the [pro-lifers] asked why they had to leave, the owner told them, “This offends me.”
[…]Jonathan Sutherland pointed out that the literature had been found on public property, but the owner repeatedly cut him off, saying “Shut up! Shut up!”
“We tried to talk to him and he wanted nothing to do with it,” Davis added.
“So you’re not willing to tolerate our presence?” Sutherland asked.
“Will you tolerate my presence?” the man responded. Sutherland assured him they would. “We’re actually in your coffee shop,” he said.
“Really?” the owner demanded. “If I go get my boyfriend and f*ck him in the a** right here you’re going to tolerate that?”
“That would be your choice,” Sutherland answered. But the owner would not be persuaded. “Are you going to tolerate it?” he asked again. “Answer my f***ing question! No, you’re going to sit right here and f***ing watch it!”
“Well, we don’t want to watch that,” said Caleb Head…
“Well than I don’t have to f*cking tolerate this!” the man said. “Leave! All of you. Tell all your f*cking friends, don’t f*cking come here.”
The [pro-lifers] agreed to leave, but Davis took the opportunity as they left to share the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. “Just know that Christ can save you from that lifestyle,” she said.
“Yeah, I like a**,” the owner responded. “I’m not going to be saved by anything. I’d f*ck Christ in the a**. Ok? He’s hot.”
As they exited… Jes Sutherland commented, “Seattle has proved itself to not be tolerant.”
“Don’t act so f***ing shocked b**ch,” the owner said. “Get the f*ck out.”
The Christians didn’t even ask the gay business owner to cater a heterosexual wedding! They were just refused service for who they were… something that Barronelle and Jack did not do. Naturally, the police and the state of Washington had nothing to say about this.
Finally, some secular leftist journalists are trying to say that what the owner of the Red Hen did to White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was OK, because of the Jack Phillips decision. But it’s pretty obvious to anyone who is thinking rationally, that the cases are not parallel. Jack Phillips and Barronelle Stutzman both served gay people for everything except participation in a gay wedding. But the owner of the Red Hen refused to serve people based on religious convictions or political convictions. I would be fine with radical leftists refusing to participate in my heterosexual wedding, too. People on the religious right don’t believing in forcing those who disagree with them to act as if they agreed with them. And we certainly don’t believe in using the government to force them to do it. Fascism is now and always has been a left-wing enterprise, because only people on the secular left look to government as a solution to anything that makes them feel bad.
In Canada, the Christians get jail time for disagreement
By the way, if you want to read an interesting story from The Federalist about how gay activists are using police and courts to go after Christians who say things that offend them, then read about this case from Canada, where a very weird but harmless Christian is being threatened with TWO YEARS in prison for handing out pamphlets warning gay people about the health risks of male-male sexual behavior. Although he cited numbers from the Center for Disease Control for his little pamphlets, this was apparently too much for the Canadian police, and they decided to arrest him and threaten him with jail time. And again, he is paying the salaries of the police, prosecutors and judges through his taxes.
The Federalist reports on what researchers have found about the nature of same-sex attraction. Is it fixed? Or does it change over time? I think that gay activists would like everyone to believe that same-sex attraction is fixed, but to learn the truth, we should look at what the scientific research says.
There is not only no scientific evidence that sexual orientation is immutable, there is conclusive scientific evidence that most people who experience exclusive same-sex attraction end up developing an interest in the opposite sex over time.
This is so well established by now that scholars are busy publishing methods to measure frequency of sexual orientation change in massive longitudinal studies of youth and young adults. (I.e., How many times in nine years can we expect a homosexual sexual orientation to change? Is the change associated with lifestyle habits? Who changes more frequently: males or females?)
That basic fact was already settled science when Obergefell came before the Supreme Court. Half a dozen rigorous studies could be cited from the late 1990s and early 2000s, but the most noteworthy probably remains a Cornell-led study published in 2007.
In this study, Dr. Rich Savin-Williams examined a representative sample of more than 12,000 American youth, following each from the age of 16 to 22. Rather than rely on an individual’s reconstruction of his or her past based on current identity, researchers met with subjects three times throughout the six-year period. Each time, they asked individuals (via a computer, to protect privacy) whether they had had a romantic attraction to a member of the opposite or same sex since their last interview.
For instance, 17-year-old males were asked if, in the past year, they had had a romantic attraction to another male or female. About 1.5 percent reported only having a romantic attraction to other males. Five years later, when that 1.5 percent were asked about their romantic attractions since last interview, the overwhelming majority (70 percent) reported a 180-degree flip in their sexual orientation—they only had romantic feelings for women.
Similarly, among females, about 40 percent switched from exclusive same-sex attraction to exclusive opposite-sex attraction. Most of the rest (45 percent of the total) reported they had feelings for both men and women. Only 1 percent of women who, at 17, reported a full year of exclusive same-sex attraction reported a similar experience in the five years that followed.
This research is in agreement with previous research on identical twin studies reported by the prestigious science journal Nature:
When one identical twin is gay, there is about a 20% chance that the other will be as well. But because this rate is not 100%, it is thought that environmental factors play a role as well. One of the best characterized is the ‘older brother effect’: the chance of a man being gay increases by 33% for each older brother he has. The reason is not clear, although one hypothesis holds that the mother’s immune system begins to react against male antigens and alter the fetus’s development.
So, it turns out that homosexual behavior is a lot more related to free choices than it is to innate, fixed dispositions. That’s what the science says. It’s not what the politicians say. It’s not what the Supreme Court says. It’s not what Hollywood says. It’s not what journalists say. But it is what science has found to be true about the universe. We are in control of our behaviors, and we have to choose things that are likely to work out in the long-term – not just what feels good to us in the moment.
Whenever I hear gay activists complaining that they have no choice but to give in to their “innate, fixed, biological” sexual attractions, I always think about how I’ve never been married and have had to deal with sexual attraction to the opposite sex. As a Christian, there is simply no Biblical support for sex outside of marriage. So, that means that I’ve had to just live with not being allowed to act on my desires. In fact, this is the normal Christian life. There was a time when people had more skepticism about their feelings and desires, and they knew that self-control was a good thing. But now it seems as if everyone is so desperate to be liked that we tell everyone yes to everything that they feel like doing. We now consider every moral viewpoint as equal to any other – all the better to do what makes us feel happy. The important goal is that we all feel good right now, and who cares about the damage that our selfishness will cause down the road? We can just act surprised when that happens and pretend that there is no such thing as cause and effect. I can remember a time when Christians in particular had some suspicion about following your heart, because the heart was deceitful and selfish. I guess those days are over, and suddenly feelings are ruling over reason and self-control.
It’s pretty clear that not everything that a person feels like doing is good for them. A lot of decisions that people make to feel good right now lead to outcomes where they or the people who are depending on them will be harmed. For example, lots of people feel like staying home from a school exam, or staying home from their jobs, or drinking alcohol all night, or taking drugs. We used to have more confidence about telling people that not everything they wanted was good for them, and to have more self-control, and to think of how their decisions would harm others. Today, society has drifted away from objective moral boundaries and self-control toward subjective feelings and moral relativism, we are all finding it more difficult to tell people that they should choose to adhere to moral standards. We always seem to be looking to big government to make our irresponsible, reckless choices to be happy in the moment “work out” somehow.
Today, when people make poor decisions that wreck their families, hurt their kids, damage their health, etc. we are more likely to tax the people who haven’t been selfish and reckless in order to pay for government programs that “fix” the outcomes of the selfish, reckless people. In some countries, you can get free single mother welfare, free taxpayer-funded abortions, free sex-changes, free treatment for sexually-transmitted diseases, free rounds of IVF, and so on. Just do whatever you want and someone else who had more self-control than you did will pay for it for you. That’s why we have a twenty-trillion dollar debt, which we never had during the time when we still had the courage to tell people not to do things that were risky, and would be expensive to fix when they blew up.
When did it become normal to think that cause and effect were so unpredictable that people shouldn’t be blamed and held accountable for making bad decisions? When did it become normal to think that doing what feels good for ourselves should be rewarded with other people’s money, through big government programs? When did it become normal to take people to court to force them to celebrate your self-centeredness, just because their disagreement with what you were doing made you feel bad?
Dr. Frank Turek is a dynamic speaker and award-winning author or coauthor of four books: Stealing from God: Why Atheists Need God to make their Case, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, Correct, Not Politically Correct and Legislating Morality. As the President of CrossExamined.org, Frank presents powerful and entertaining evidence for Christianity at churches, high schools and at secular college campuses that often begin hostile to his message. He has also debated several prominent atheists including Christopher Hitchens and David Silverman, president of American Atheists.
Frank hosts an hour-long TV program each week called I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist that is broadcast Wednesday nights on DirecTV Channel 378 (the NRB Network). His radio program called CrossExamined with Frank Turek airs on 122 stations every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. eastern and is available continuously on the free CrossExamined App.
A former aviator in the US Navy, Frank has a master’s degree from the George Washington University and a doctorate from Southern Evangelical Seminary. He and his wife, Stephanie, are blessed with three grown sons.
loving another person can mean opposing the person when they want to do something wrong, even if they hate you
what did Jesus say about marriage? (see Matt 19:4-6)
what did Jesus say about sexual morality? (Matt 15, Matt 19)
the same-sex marriage debate is about whether to compel people who disagree with the gay lifestyle to validate and normalize it
P1: the government has an interest in marriage because it perpetuates and stabilizes society – this is the purpose of marriage
P2-4: government can take 3 kinds of stances towards behaviors: promote, permit or prohibit
government promotes behaviors when it has an interest in them
same-sex relationships should be permitted, but not promoted
Q1: if same-sex marriage had serious negative consequences, would you reconsider their position?
Q2: are heterosexual relationships the same as homosexual relationships?
Q3: what would society be like if everyone married according to the natural marriage definition: one woman, one man, for life?
Q4: what would society be like if everyone married according to the same-sex marriage definition: man/man and woman/woman?
Should Christians care about law and politics? or should they just preach the gospel?
They should care because people often get their cues about what is moral and immoral based on what is legal and illegal
Many of the social problems we see today can be traced back to problems with marriage and family
Children do much better when they have a relationship with their mother and their father
Same-sex marriage necessarily destroys the relationship between a child and its mother or its father
When a country embraces same-sex marriage, it reinforces the idea that marriage is not about making and raising children
same-sex marriage shifts the focus away from the needs of the children to the feelings of desires of the selfish adults
does homosexuality impose any health and mental health risks?
what has the impact of legalizing same-sex marriage been in Massachusetts to individuals, schools, businesses and charities?
how same-sex marriage poses a threat to religious liberty
how should you respond to the view that homosexuality is genetic?
My biggest concern is religious liberty, and we are seeing how same-sex marriage has proven to be incompatible with religious liberty. But I also care about children… I want them to have mothers and fathers who put their needs first. How did we ever get to this point where the ever-changing feelings and desires of adults are somehow linked to marriage? Marriage is about a commitment – it is the subjugation of feelings and desires to responsibilities and obligations. It is a promise. A promise to commit to love your spouse and children regardless of feelings and desires. It requires more self-denial, self-control and self-sacrifice. Not less.
There’s a good little video summary of the case here:
Ben Shapiro posted a great summary of what you need to know about the case at the Daily Wire:
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court is slated to hear oral argument in the famed Masterpiece Cakeshop case. The case is a seminal one for religious liberty. It pits the ability of local and state governments to enforce “anti-discrimination law” against religious practice rights for businessowners; it essentially decides whether or not religious people can practice their religion in their business. This goes to the heart of freedom of religion in the United States.
The case revolves around a man named Jack Phillips. Jack is a baker. He makes and decorates cakes. He has a simple rule: he’ll sell anyone a cake. Gay, straight, transgender, green. Anyone. But he won’t make a custom cake for every event. As a religious Christian, this means that he sees it as sinful participation to make a custom cake celebrating a same-sex wedding. So he’ll make a cake for a same-sex wedding, but he won’t decorate it as such (no groom-groom wedding toppers, for example). He also refuses to make cakes that push anti-gay messages, anti-American messages, and adult-themed messages.
That’s his Constitutional right. But the Leftists at the Colorado Civil Rights Commission didn’t think so. They think that Jack must be forced to violate his own religious beliefs and decorate a cake for a same-sex wedding, or stop making any cakes at all. As a result of their ruling, Jack lost 40% of his business and more than half of his employees — all for abiding by his Biblical beliefs in the most tolerant possible way. He was even told that he had to re-educate employees, including his family members, and report to the government what his artistic decisions were, listing all the cakes he’d failed to bake and why.
Now, I know lots of people who claim to be Christians who support redefining marriage to eliminate the requirement of complementary sexes. I wonder how they would explain their support for SSM given this clear case of fascism by a secular government? Before this country redefined marriage, people on the right warned that there would be consequences for religious liberty.
Sometimes, it’s nice to read what is really happening in the world, with the politically correct spin removed.
But this isn’t a religious case at all. It’s a freedom of association and freedom of speech case. Religious practice shouldn’t be bound to the home or church — religious life infuses every aspect of living. But by the same token, an atheist should be free to reject a Christ-themed cake, a Leftist speechwriter should be free to reject a right-wing politician, and The New Republic should be free to refuse to deliver to the Trump White House. Does this mean that people we dislike will be able to act in ways we dislike? Absolutely. But freedom lives in the spaces where we acknowledge that we have no right to another’s labor or approval. Tyranny grows when we refuse to acknowledge those spaces.
What’s really going on here is that there is a group of people involved in sinful, self-destructive activities. And their response to their own bad feelings about what they’re freely choosing to do is to try to generate happy feelings by forcing everyone around them to celebrate their decisions. You would never see a chaste person suing unchaste people to demand their approval. That’s because chastity is self-evidently virtuous. No outside celebration or affirmation is wanted or needed. But sinful people become obsessed with shutting out purity. And if they can’t shut it out, then they use the law to stamp it out.
That’s what this Supreme Court case is really about. We shouldn’t make the mistake of thinking that people on the secular left are Americans in any sense of the word. They don’t accept the Constitution, they don’t accept free speech, they don’t accept freedom of association, they don’t accept religious liberty. They accept their sexual desires. And the human rights of everyone else in the world has to give way to their sexual desires.
The loss of liberty for Bible-believing Christians isn’t a problem for fake Christians who think Christianity is about feeling good and being liked. It’s only a problem for people who actually do have a relationship with God in Christ. And that’s a very small minority of people who profess Christianity.
For a more thorough take on the legal aspects of the case, you can check out this editorial by Robbie George in the radical leftist New York Times, of all places.