Self control biblical perspective on homosexual relationship

The Bible backs same-sex couples: Point by point, why conservatives are wrong |

self control biblical perspective on homosexual relationship

For some this issue of the Biblical perspective on homosexuality has a merely academic attraction. . For their women exchanged the natural sexual relations for unnatural ones, (27) and This truth is suppressed and turned to the worship of self or some other created thing. .. Sin had control over my life. I was taught the Bible condemned same-sex relationships. Excerpted from " God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of . sex “so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control” (verse 5). The debate over gay marriage is not just taking place in the nation's courts – it is evangelical Christian and the author of “God and the Gay Christian: The for same-sex relations because they are driven by out-of-control desire, not we shouldn't engage in sexual behavior out of self-seeking lustfulness.

Additional teachings in Scripture support the understanding that procreation is not essential to marriage. The Song of Songs is an ode to the joys of erotic love and intimacy, wholly separate from a concern for procreation.

Paul never suggested that sex was only or even primarily for the purpose of procreation. The matter of gender hierarchy Advertisement: So does the hierarchical aspect of marriage as described in Scripture mean marriage must be between a man and a woman? This question brings us back to this big-picture idea: Few, if any, Christians today would endorse the degrading views of women that shaped the world of Leviticus. In that view, husbands act as the leaders and wives as their followers.

As long as spouses affirm the equal value of both genders, might we conclude that such an approach to gender relations is consistent with the New Testament vision of relationships free of patriarchy? In his letter to the Galatians, Paul wrote that three types of hierarchies would fade away in Christ.

The first two were distinctions between Jew and Gentile and distinctions between slave and free. The third was that of male and female. In opposing slavery, Christians in the nineteenth century took that message to heart. But what does that have to do with the requirements of marriage?

Christians did not work for change so that slaves would be regarded as having equal value while maintaining a subordinate status and role in society. They chose to abolish the subordinate status altogether. While slavery remains a tragic reality in much of the world, the church now uniformly opposes it. Given that Paul in Galatians connected the issues of slavery and gender hierarchy, we should as well. The New Testament explicitly links the submission of slaves to the submission of wives.

Peter told wives to submit to their husbands in the same way slaves were instructed to submit to masters. Freedom, according to Christian tradition, is not only freedom from but also freedom for.

Karl Barth saw it as "freedom for obedience" to the Word of God. Particularly in the witness of the Reformed churches, freedom cannot be understood as my self-liberation but only as the sovereign gift of God who, despite my opposition, rushes to my side and creates the right order that I have abandoned. So God places me in "disciplined community," as the Ramsey Colloquium puts it, or in a "community of disciples" who follow Christ as their Lord and whose lives are oriented towards this Lord as the source of their freedom and the measure of their behavior.

It is in this community, and nowhere else, that God meets me through Word and Sacrament, and where I learn the boundaries and, paradoxically, the unlimited possibilities of the freedom that is mine only as gift, and never as self-determination. The tradition defines God's sovereign gift of freedom in words that are familiar to all of us: These are words I want to explore as we attempt to understand the morality of same-sex relationships among members of our church.

What is God's word on this subject? To begin with, I need to understand with you what we mean when we say that a "word" is addressed to the church, because there are many words to which you or I could appeal for authority.

self control biblical perspective on homosexual relationship

There are the words of psychology, sociology and genetics. There are the words of natural law and tradition. But all of these words are subject to the one Word whom we worship as Lord and to whom we owe obedience.

self control biblical perspective on homosexual relationship

So, in the familiar text of the Barmen Declaration: Jesus Christ, as he is attested for us in Holy Scriptures, is the one Word of God which we have to hear and which we have to trust and obey in life and in death. We reject the false doctrine, as though the Church could and would have to acknowledge as a source of its proclamation, apart from and beside the one Word of God, still other events and powers, figures and truths as God's revelation.

Belonging to this Word, according to the Heidelberg Catechism, is our "only comfort, in life and in death. First, the greatness of my sin and wretchedness. Second, how I am freed from all my sins and their wretched consequences.

Catechism of the Catholic Church - The sixth commandment

Third, what gratitude I owe to God for such redemption. But without the consciousness of sin the Gospel itself makes no sense. There can be no productive discussion of marriage and homosexuality, or really of any other moral question, unless we can agree that "all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. In the self-assertion of the ego against God not only our relationship with God but also every human relationship is brought into disorder.

There is, in fact, no human covenant that is not wounded by our collective and individual rebellion against God's sovereign claim on our lives. This is certainly so in all the greater and lesser injuries that we inflict on each other—in heterosexual marriage, in celibate life, and in the partnerships formed by gays and lesbians. Sin distorts our life together as the Body of Christ, so that no contentious issue in the church can possibly be discussed without anger and mutual recrimination—particularly an issue like sexual morality, which exposes our deepest fears of alienation, loneliness and chaos.

Sin distorts all of our relationships. Left on our own, we cannot live together as God intended. But—thanks be to God! The Heidelberg Catechism affirms that we do have this "comfort, in life and in death," that we belong not to ourselves but to our "faithful Savior, Jesus Christ, who at the cost of his own blood has fully paid for all my sins and has completely freed me from the dominion of the devil. God's bridge to humanity This brings us to covenant, defined by the Westminster Confession as God's "voluntary condescension" which bridges "[t]he distance between God and the creature.

But I agree with Max Stackhouse that "it is likely that nothing less than an understanding of and a commitment to covenantal mutuality under God can bring moral and spiritual coherence to what is otherwise experienced as a seething, chaotic mass of dominations and arbitrariness. These are not empty words! We all sense that the scattered and broken pieces of our lives and our relationships belong together but we simply don't know how to re-build the structure we have demolished.

But the Reformed tradition affirms that the coherence that eludes our best efforts has already been established definitively in Jesus Christ. Through the covenant of Baptism, our primal covenant, in which Christ's obedient "Yes" to God becomes our own "Yes"—and this is the starting point for our lifelong journey from chaos to coherence. The self-disclosure of God in the covenant of Baptism reveals that God's being itself is covenant.

In the reciprocal relationship of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we learn that God's nature is not solitude, but communion. God's inherent nature is to be with others. God is not a sealed fortress, to be attacked and seized by our engines of war ascetic practices, meditative techniques, and the like but a house full of open doors, through which we are invited to walk.

In the Castle of the Three-in-One, the plan has always been that we, those who are entirely "other," shall participate in the superabundant communion of life. Whatever we regard as the ultimate meaning of human life, be it giving, creating, finding or being given, being created and being found; all this is fulfilled in the original prototype: Here, God chooses not to be alone but with and for the humanity God created.

Here, God elects humanity to be God's covenant partner. Here, God's love cannot be contained but pours itself out with incomprehensible majesty into the creation and reconciliation of humanity. Christian covenants must participate in this Trinitarian structure, so that the order broken by sin and restored by God's sovereign decision in Christ becomes an order of being "with" others.

The form of covenant From our participation in this divine self-disclosure—as Christians who have been incorporated into God's Trinitarian being through Baptism and who meet the Triune God again and again through Word and Sacrament—we can begin to describe the form of Christian covenant: First, God chooses each of us for covenant, calls us into covenant life and uses covenant to complete God's work of conversion and sanctification in our lives. Election, vocation, conversion and sanctification!

Nothing less is at stake in Christian covenant than the overcoming of our opposition to God!

self control biblical perspective on homosexual relationship

So every Christian covenant is a means of grace that draws us into the covenantal life of the Trinity. God works through covenants to convert us to a life with God and with others. Second, Christian covenants are accountable to the community, and therefore must be sealed by public vows.

In contrast to the secular theory of "contract," in which two independent persons with equal rights enter into an agreement, Christian covenants are accountable to the Lord who comes to us in Word and Sacrament, that is, in the realized life of the Body of Christ in the Christian community.

Jesus Christ is the Lord of every covenant, but the Covenant Lordship of Christ is mediated through his Body, the church. Therefore, covenant promises cannot be a private contract between two solitary persons but always a public demonstration of vows in the presence of the community. Third, the community is accountable to the covenants made by its members.

Because we are sinners, our covenantal relationships are always threatened by moral disorder. Covenant partners will turn again and again to the church which, as the Body of Christ, will call us back into relationship. Fourth, Christian covenants create new life. Just as the triune life of God is not enclosed within itself but creates life in all of its forms, human covenants must also be creative. This is seen most clearly in the covenant of marriage, where if it is God's will a woman and a man extend life through the birth and care of children.

But this creative vocation must be seen in all of our covenants. In some way, every Christian covenant must extend the boundaries of life. Every Christian covenant must be generative and generous. Every Christian covenant must say "Yes" to life.

This is obviously so because we are born in families and we owe our existence to heterosexual parents. But the tradition also says that in the marriage of a man and a woman we have a type, or an image, of the covenantal love of God for Israel and Christ for the church.

There is much discussion about whether same-sex relationships also should be called "marriage," and, as you all know, this is a subject on which the church is deeply divided. There can be no question, however, that the Jewish and Christian traditions set heterosexual marriage apart from all other covenants. In my view, the confusion of marriage with other relationships can obscure the priority of heterosexual marriage in God's creative design and the Bible's orientation towards marriage as an analogy of God's passionate and faithful love for creation.

And although I intend to argue that the church must grant equal dignity to same-sex relationships lived under vows—an argument I will save for the end of this paper, if you will be patient with me—I am not yet convinced that "equal dignity" is the same as "objective equality. In any case, the marriage rites of all Christian churches testify to the tradition that marriage is a covenant between heterosexual partners.

So does the only gay and lesbian denomination, the Metropolitan Community Churches, whose rite for blessing same-sex couples is called "union," not "marriage. The scriptures teach us that the bond and covenant of marriage is a gift of God, a holy mystery in which man and woman become one flesh, an image of the union of Christ and the church.

Through the tradition's use of marriage as an analogy of God's covenant with humanity, marriage is prior to all other covenants but one—our primal covenant of baptism. But although heterosexual marriage is unique, it also participates in the Trinitarian structure that is common to all Christian covenants.

Marriage, if I may borrow from St.

II. Homosexuality in the Old Testament

Benedict's well-known image of the monastery as a "school for sinners," is the school where those called into this covenant learn how to be with another and not alone. It is a means of grace, through which God calls a man and a woman away from the terrible solitude of the alienated self into a life of self-giving love.

When we study the Bible in depth on this matter, we see that it is unified in its teaching that appropriate intimacy is between men and women. We need to be careful with this one. Many Christians have misinterpreted Genesis 19 to mean that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of the sin of homosexuality.

Actually, however, God destroyed these cities for a range of sins, as he explained through the prophet Ezekiel: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Unfortunately, Lot offered an equally wicked thing by suggesting that the men of Sodom take his two virgin daughters. Later on in the Old Testament, God says specifically that homosexuality is forbidden. In the context of a whole range of sexual sins, sexual relations between men and by implication, between women too is prohibited: Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable.

How can you pick and choose what to obey and what not to obey? When you look in the New Testament, you find that Jesus declared that all foods are clean see Mark 7: Nowhere in the New Testament, however, does God define acceptable sexuality as being other than between one man and one woman.

The most prominent example is in Romans 1: These verses come in a context where the apostle Paul was giving a historical and theological explanation for human sin and separation from God. God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

They say that whatever intimate relationship you have is natural as long as it is natural to you.

  • The Bible backs same-sex couples: Point by point, why conservatives are wrong
  • Homosexuality in the New Testament

So, in this line of thinking, if a same-sex relationship seems natural to you, then what Paul said in Romans 1: It applies only if you are in a relationship that seems unnatural to you. One can clearly see the natural order in Genesis 2: They say that he was referring to homosexual temple prostitution or that he was speaking of abusive relationships rather than monogamous same-sex relationships. Yet Paul never specifically limited his focus.

Rather, he seemed to be speaking about same-sex relationships as a whole. If Paul were talking only about a specific type of homosexual relationships, why did he paint a broad sweep of sin in Romans 1: Just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Those who interpret Romans 1: And if an argument rests mostly on historical context, with little literary context to back it up, we need to be careful about trusting that kind of evidence.

Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived:

self control biblical perspective on homosexual relationship