Wednesday, March 10, 2010

If you take some of the Bible literally...

And here as well.

Because you can't pick and choose your scripture, not when you're choosing between some ancient laws and others. Either they're all valid for all time periods or they're all temporally limited, markers of a previous culture's way of life. You can't say God meant some of them and was just kidding about the others; all that is is looking for reasons to back up your discrimination against things you're already prejudiced against.


Daniel said...

You are right to say many people will pick and choose single blurbs of scripture from the OT law to support often discriminatory actions. It is wrong to take scripture out of context and abuse it to gain some end.

If you're questioning why Christians (who have tattoos and cut their sideburns and eat pig meat when Leviticus clearly speaks against such a thing) fail to uphold to Mosaic Law, consider what Jesus said in Matthew 5:17

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them."

For Christ to fulfill the law means that He has satisfied it completely for us. The law called for perfect obedience under threat of a “curse."

Galatians 3:10
All who rely on observing the law are under a curse, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law." (Deuteronomy 27:26)

For anyone to perfectly obey the law would mean to live a perfect and sinless life. Because man would inevitably fail at the 607 laws weekly, on the Sabbath a spotless lamb would be sacrificed, and the shedding of blood atoned for the many's sins.

Because Christ lived out the law to its fruition, and then continued on to pay the penalty of breaking the law, He became the fulfillment of the law, completing it's bind on man.

If the law were to bear the same relationship to mankind today, then it was not fulfilled when Christ first came, and Jesus failed to accomplish what He came to do.

The NT writers believed this was true as well:

Romans 10:4
"Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes."

Galatians 3:23-25
"Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law."

Ephesians 2:15
"by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace"

There's a really great analysis of Matthew 5:17-20 in response to a similar question to yours here:

Mike said...

You're not wrong, but that doesn't address the main question. The question is why homosexuality continues to be an abomination whereas certain other things--cutting sideburns, eating shellfish, etc.--are not only not regarded as abominations but are things Christians do without a second thought. In other words, why is homosexuality a sin that homosexuals still need to repent for whereas eating shellfish doesn't pose any sort of moral question? It seems horribly inconsistent. In terms of the overarching themes, the point is that the Bible is a temporal document written almost 2000 years ago, and to claim that the cultural laws contained within are anything other than culturally limited seems foolish. You're right that Christ's fulfillment of the law explains why Christians disregard certain elements of the law. The problem is that it doesn't explain why Christians seem to believe that homosexuals are all going to hell.

David L said...

ftr, the shaving of sideburns IS an abomination. Also, the bible never says that all homosexuals are going to hell. It's frustrating to talk about this subject because I am not as well versed in the subject as I should be if I wanted to argue the points with you. Thank you though. Thank you for continually causing me to grow and challenge my faith. If I don't ask questions, I will never grow and I want to continue to grow. Also, late night MTV music videos are terrible.

Daniel said...

Christians are quick to connect sinners to damnation. If someone is living "in sin" they are living without repentance for a repetitive sinful action in their life, and therefore separate themselves from God.

As far as Homosexuality is concerned, in reference to sin, here is what I believe:

In the NT, Homosexuality is addressed specifically by the apostles when correcting some cultural issues in their letters to the local churches, and indirectly by Christ himself.

Here is a truth: Jesus never blatantly says "Homosexuality is a sin."

What Jesus does speak against is what we call "sexual immorality". Jesus never takes the time to list all the forms of sex that are wrong, instead He uses the blanket term Pornea - literally translated from the Greek 'fornication' - to say that any sex outside of the spiritual covenant of marriage is wrong. Homosexuality would be considered sex outside of marriage.

Occasionally Jesus goes so far as to referencing Genesis's "they were made male and female and for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh" when discussing sexual immorality, indicating again that Homosexuality falls into this category.

Scripturally this is a reasonable move. To laundry list all forms of sex that are wrong means that people could find loopholes, make excuses, and only obey the list. Instead, we are given the principal that any sex outside of marriage is wrong.

Homosexuals are never directly damned or condemned by Jesus, but the ACT of homosexuality is considered a sin - breaking the spiritual covenant with God, and His intent for sex to be within the confines of marriage - and sin is separation from God. Without repentance, and belief in Christ, sin does lead to damnation.

Specifically, you can find direct statements against homosexuality, including lesbianism, in the NT because most scripture by the apostles are written as letters to real churches to real people with sin problems.

It's important to note that not all of the law is thrown out because Jesus fulfilled it - murder is still a sinful act. Some of the original law transcends beyond Moses, specifically the Ten Commandments. In the gospels, Jesus indicates that sex outside of marriage is considered adultery against the Lord. Homosexuality would again fall into that category.

I would also argue the covenant of marriage transcends a cultural time period, clearly part of our society today, and would therefore make a topic like homosexuality extremely relevant.

It is for that reason many Christians seem to take offense to homosexuality. It is not that it challenges their own sexuality, but that it disrespects a spiritual covenant the Lord has made with mankind, and endorses a sinful lifestyle separating them from a life with God.

Another issue is that homosexuality is such a public sin in our culture. Not too long ago it was alcoholism that was a public offense and damnable. Laws were even made to prevent it during prohibition. That wave may have passed, but alcoholism is still not considered right by the gospel. There is cultural relevance to certain sins that are more public than others. Ours is homosexuality.