There has been a lot of buzz in Alabama recently with the Federal Courts allowing so called same-sex marriage in the state. Christians have been called bigots, among another names, for simply believing that only God can define marriage and that He did so in the book of Genesis. I am not surprised that those who are not Christians, or profess to be be do not take it serious, feel that we are bigoted in our belief. 1 Corinthians 1:18 tells us that the gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing. There will be opposition for what we believe. I was sent an article this morning by a friend, and have seen others post it on Facebook, about a minister in Alabama who is supporting and participating in ceremonies for so-called same sex marriage.
“Revered” Eillin Jimmerson who is a pastor on staff Weatherly Heights Baptist Church in Huntsville has offered her opinion. She will be one of the pastors who will be advocating and participating in so-called same sex marriage ceremonies. It takes me by no surprise that churches who ordain and hire female pastors are among the churches who accept and celebrate so-called same sex marriage. The Bible speaks clearly to the issue and qualifications of the pastor/elder in the New Testament. This is why I have put the title reverend in quotes before her name. It is my belief, along with the Southern Baptist Convention and other denominations as well, that women are not called to be Elders/Pastors according to 1 Timothy 2:13. That is unpopular and seen as sexist by many in and outside the faith, if you don’t believe in the authority of Scripture I understand that.
There are endless opportunities for women in ministry, and women should minister but not when it comes to being and Elder/Pastor. I highly recommend John Piper’s free pdf “50 Crucial Questions” which you can find by following this link: http://cbmw.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/50Q_contents.pdf
Understanding God’s Design
God’s design for marriage was established form the very beginning. Genesis 1:26-28 tells us that God made man and He made woman, uniquely different, complimentary to one another, and equal. Man is not more valuable than woman, each serve a role and purpose in God’s design. It’s said in the text both were made in the image of God. The Imago Dei teaches us that man and woman are equal in essence. Many will argue that the Bible teaches women are in a role of submission and men have undeserved power over women. I say, these individuals have not read or understand the context of Scripture. Man and woman are under submission to God, and are equal in essence. They have different roles in the family structure and when carried our they do one important thing: glorify God.
God’s design was one man and one woman for life. However, Genesis 3 happened which led to brokenness for all of man kind. This brokenness has led to abuse, adultery, divorce, and every other sin we are slaved to as humans.
Many will say Jesus never spoke on so-called same sex marriage. First, we must understand the role of the Trinity in Christian theology. What the Father spoke in Genesis the Son was in complete agreement with as well. Moreover, Jesus spoke to marriage in Matthew 19:5 reaffirming what was declared by God in Genesis 2:24. Not matter what some may say Jesus was no silent on the issue for Christians. Scripture is God-breathed, and the Bible speaks to marriage. We have drifted from God’s design due to sin which has led to brokenness. Our response when we understand that is to repent and believe and then pursue God’s design.
Let’s address some of Jimmerson’s misunderstandings from the Bible in her interview:
“The truth is that people in the 21st century would not be comfortable with the kinds of marriages which are represented in the Bible. For example, we would not be comfortable with the biblical model that is one man, one woman, one concubine.”
First, the Bible was not written to make anyone comfortable. It is the Revelation about God from God. It speaks of His holiness, and makes me uncomfortable honestly at times when I measure my life to the standard I have been called into.
Concubines are in the Bible, no way around it. Solomon had 300 concubines, and King David as well had concubines. The Bible never advocates, promotes, or says the concubines are okay. If you look to these men who had them you will see many problems because of their sin. Concubines are not Biblical model for marriage, but tell of the sin many men lived in during this time. The Bible does not teach this is an acceptable form of marriage, instead it shows what going against God’s design brings you: brokenness.
Importantly, the Son of David (Jesus) had no concubines. He has one bride, the Church. He has loved her perfectly and demonstrated well how a husband is to love his wife. This is God’s design.
“Nor would we be comfortable with the idea of a widow being compelled to marry her brother-in-law.”
Now her is something that the Bible teaches that we do need to understand. In the case of a woman’s husband dying it was the responsibility of her brother-in-law to take her in as wife. Of course, there is the possibility that he was already married. This law from the Old Testament was known as levirate marriage. This was law for jewish people but not unique to jewish people only in this time.
Matthew Henry writes, “The custom here regulated seems to have been in the Jewish law in order to keep inheritances distinct; now it is unlawful.”
This was about family taking care of family, and preserving the family line. A childless widow at this time essentially had very little chance of surviving. If she had a son this was not needed. This law established a means to protect the widow, this is evident when we read the story of Ruth. This had to to with preserving families and tribes and we see this evidently since Jesus comes from the line of Ruth.
This is not God’s moral law, as marriage is, and so today this is not needed. Instead, it is recorded to show how God preserved the tribes of Israel and indeed the line from which Jesus would come. Jimmerson’s claimed again hold no water.
If you are not a Christians I do not expect you to agree with me. I understand that completely. However, Jimmerson has not stood in authority of Scripture. She clearly believes Scripture is not sufficient and that the our faith changes and its truths change as the world does. The Bible is about God, He does not change. Jimmerson has proven where she stands, and that she lacks basic understanding of what the Bible teaches. One cannot claim to be a minister of the Word, and to live by the Word.
The Episcopalian Church and PCUSA have demonstrated this, as I believe Jimmerson. They not longer believe the Bible is inerrant and infallible. These churches no longer stand on the authority of Scripture and are looking more and more like the world. Not standing for what the Bible says is a slippery slope to not believing anything it says. For example, the PCUSA has denied the deity of Christ.
Where We Go From Here
So-called same sex marriage is here and it is not going anywhere. I have homosexual friends who I care for dearly. I have friends who struggle with same sex attraction. I completely understand why homosexuals want to become married, I truly do. I think the best thing we can do as Christians is listen and talk with our homosexual friends and neighbors. Largely Christians have handled this situation very poorly. I think we should understand where they are coming from, and all I ask is that those who oppose what I believe do the same.
It does not make me a bigot, it does not mean I hate you. On the contrary, it simply means based off what I believe that I live a certain way and I care. My faith is literally the most important thing to me in my life, it has shaped me and my views. Just as it has for the jew, the muslim, and the atheist.
I am not going to protest at the court house, I am not going to yell you are going to Hell. That benefits no one and is not the approach I believe Jesus would have us take. I may differ from you on this issue, but that does not mean that we cannot have genuine dialogue and see how we both come to different view on the matter. I can’t change your mind and it is pointless to try and do so. I believe only one’s belief in the truth of gospel can do that.