Why Divorced, Straight Christians Should Kiss The LGBT Community

wedding-rings


If I had a dime for every preacher who stood on a pulpit or behind a radio station microphone or on a street corner and blasted gay people for “threatening the sanctity of Marriage”, I’d have a silo full of dimes.

That in itself isn’t really noteworthy, as the LGBT community has been the Christian poster child for deviant behavior for the past few decades; blamed for ruining everything from daytime TV, to the Army, to the Boy Scouts, to major weather patterns.

And while the gay marriage debate in America threatens to quite literally rip the Church in two, it’s interesting how loud many Christian pastors and pew-sitters are on one facet of this conversation, while how conspicuously silent they are on another.

In their defense of their position, many church leaders and members who oppose gay marriage, cite the supposed Scriptural mandate for the sacred union of a man and a woman. (Though a simple review of the Bible shows this to hardly be the case). They argue that gay people marrying, pollutes and cheapens the Institution.

However, here’s where the numbers start to tell a revealing story.

Depending on which statistics you use, it’s estimated that anywhere between 3 and 10 percent of people in the world identify as LGBT. This makes them a decidedly tiny minority of the overall population, and yet precisely why they are such easy and continual targets for alleged Bible purists.

Meanwhile, estimates for percentages of once-married Christians who are now divorced, range anywhere from 30 to 55 percent. A much higher number and percentage of the Church population, yet they’re also supposedly tainting Marriage as defined in the Bible. In fact, not only do these staggering divorce rates affect those couples themselves, but the children and extended families ripped apart in the process. The cultural impact and numeric disparity is a no-brainer.

It stands to reason, by sheer numbers and family damage alone; that heterosexual divorce, (which Jesus speaks clearly to), poses a much greater moral danger to the sacred institution of Marriage than anything—by a mile.

So when’s the last time you saw a red-faced pastor slamming his hand on a podium, screaming about the way Divorce is destroying our country and making a mockery of God?

When’s the last time you witnessed a curbside picket line, protesting divorcées, with nasty signs and bullhorn-blasted sermons?

How long has it been since you heard a Church leader say emphatically, that you simply can’t be both divorced and a Christian?

How often do you hear church folk say of once-married people, that they “hate the sin, love the sinner”?

When’s the last blog you’ve come across about all unrepentant, formerly married people going to Hell?

(Been a while, hasn’t it?)

Here’s the problem: Most pastors won’t openly attack Divorce from the pulpit, not because they don’t see that Jesus clearly speaks against it in Scripture, (where he calls all divorce except in response to infidelity—adultery), and not because they don’t see it as a major threat to families and a weakening of the institution of Marriage; but because doing that would alienate too much of their core audience.

You see, when it comes to Marriage, they’re willing to be unapologetically faithful to the Bible, but only selectively so.

It makes sense from a business standpoint: If a preacher came out with the same regularity and ferocity, railing against the “sinfulness” of Divorce, as they do about LGBT people even desiring marriage (or even existing for that matter), pretty soon he or she would be speaking to a half-empty building, and they know it. Much of their physical and financial support would evaporate, and their whole operation would be in turmoil.

So they stay silent.

Sure, they might preach once in a while on how to have healthy straight marriages, or hold occasional couple’s retreats, but they fall well short of relentlessly pointing the fiery finger of judgment at the massive numbers of straight people, who have opted out of marriage far before the, “death do us part”, part; and often for far less than they originally vowed.

Attacking the LGBT community is a way for pastors to take a calculated sin stance around Marriage; one that’s based on a risk-reward payoff. By choosing to conveniently use the Bible to address only gay people with regard to marriage, pastors can seem bold and brave, but they’re really just cleverly playing the numbers.

Simply stated: For Christian leaders, it’s a lot easier to take a hardline moral stand when your target is a minuscule percentage of people, many of whom you assume probably won’t be in your congregation in the first place. You can rally your base and look like a dutiful solider in the army of the Lord, without ticking-off your constituents or affecting your bottom line.

People who identify as LGBT aren’t only penalized by churches for being married, but for even wanting to be married, for seeking monogamous relationships, and for outwardly being authentic in any real way. Any of the above usually isolates them in their faith communities, disqualifies them from volunteering in their churches, and almost always makes ministry leadership impossible.

In the same communities, divorced people are leading small groups, serving as ministry team volunteers, and even pastoring churches, and most Christians are perfectly fine with that. They never get some “love the sinner, hate the sin” double-talk, and people rarely publicly wrestle with whether or not fully including divorced people, “condones sin”.

Please hear me, divorced people: This is not about you at all; and well, that’s sort of the point.

You aren’t destroying Marriage, you aren’t a threat to society, and you aren’t the blight of the planet either. You’re just people trying to live life as a part of a faith community equally, and you should be able to. In fact, the Church is enriched and blessed by your presence and participation.

Marriage at its best is incredibly difficult, and often divorce comes after great pain, heartache, and attempted reconciliation. Can you imagine enduring all of this, while continually having the Bible shoved in your face; forever harassed for your unBiblical “lifestyle”. Imagine the kind of damage that would do to your soul, how much this treatment would be a barrier to you participating in a faith community, or even seeking God for that matter?

If that’s happened to you as a divorced person, I deeply apologize. If it hasn’t, thankfully you’ve escaped the kind of relentless literal enforcement of select Scriptures, suffered by the gay community.

As a divorced heterosexual person, if you’re going to applaud and “amen” the vilifying of LGBT people who even want to get married, and accuse them of sullying the institution; know that you’re not on very solid Biblical ground yourself, and you’re just lucky there’s so many of you out there or you too might be in front of the relentless religious firing squad.

The bottom line, is that we can argue for eternity about whether or not sexuality is a choice, but what we can agree on, is that for heterosexuals; getting married and getting divorced both are*.

Sooner or later, Christians and Church leaders need to decide if were going to play by the same rules when it comes to Marriage; whether or not we’re going to be equal opportunity champions of Scripture.

We’re either going to adhere unflinchingly to the letter of the Law, and make everybody pay the piper for sullying Marriage, and exclude them all—or we’re going to admit that we have made a huge bit of cultural wiggle room over time, to make modern heterosexual divorce quite acceptable, even with the Bible’s apparent clarity on it. (At the same time, we’ll also have to explain to gay people why we’re cool with that, and not with them).

Divorced Christians, you should really kiss the LGBT community.

They’ve taken the heat of Hell off of you.

 

* Obviously when there are cases of violence, infidelity, abuse, or addiction, divorce may be the only safe option, and a choice one must make.

 

 

 

82 thoughts on “Why Divorced, Straight Christians Should Kiss The LGBT Community

  1. Reblogged this on Another Anomaly Among Many and commented:
    THIS.
    Honestly, I don’t think I could’ve said this better myself, and I have definitely given people this talk before. This brutal truth of this breaks my heart.
    Please just read this and try to really understand it. This is so important, and I can’t stress it enough. I’m so thankful that there are people like John Pavlovitz in the world who are able to see things with such clarity and aren’t afraid to speak out about things that other people refuse to address. I love this post, and I wish that more people could see this.

  2. Thank you for writing this.
    I completely agree with 100% of what you wrote here, and I’ve been trying to get people to see/realize the same thing. This is so near and dear to my heart, and I don’t think that I can express how much I appreciate someone with your reach taking the time to write this and say this. I’m honestly so thankful that there are other people in the world who share my views on this and are brave enough to speak out about it. You are a light.

  3. I was raised Catholic and I remember at a very young age being confused by the love everyone, “except this list of people”, thing they had going on. When I got divorced I felt firsthand (on a smaller scale) how if felt to be on that list. I am now an atheist but, if there were a hell I would sure as hell want to be in it with the LGBT community as opposed to the hypocrites who told me, as a young girl, not to love everyone! Now, I LOVE everyone!!!

  4. In my opinion, marriage and divorce are both man-made institutions. If marriage were a Biblical mandate I think it would have been included in the 10 Commandments, at least. Or I would think that Jesus would have spoken about it. Instead he spoke about loving your neighbor as yourself, loving God will all you heart, mind, soul and strength, help the unfortunate, feed the hungry, take care of the widows and orphans and open your heart to the preverbial Samaritan.

    • Your opinion sucks! And honestly, who cares what you think? I don’t. You need to read the bible again. You are way off base!

    • Well, since Jesus does mention divorce, and the Bible clearly addresses the outcome of divorce (adultery), it must be a “Biblical mandate.” In addition, to have a divorce you must first be married, regardless of any so-called mandates. And adultery, thus divorce, IS condemned in the 10 commandments.

  5. Thanks John, again, right on point, and asking the hard/good questions. When Prop 8 was being decided in CA, a volunteer at our church used the mailing list for small group leaders and asked us all to encourage folks in our groups to vote Yes on 8 to “preserve marriage”. He wrote it as if it was coming from the church, it looked “official.” So while it wasn’t truly officially from the church, it was indicative of the thoughts of the leadership. The same statements about the sanctity of marriage were used, and the fear of the impending breakdown of “traditional” marriage should Prop 8 fail. I responding that my son was gay, the email was inappropriate, and my women’s bible study was not going to discuss anyone’s voting slate for the upcoming election. I was called rebellious. Marriage stabilizes a journey for committed relationships – a path we all understand – courtship, engagement and marriage. It protects families, it encourages monogamy. My son’s marriage, or desire to be married someday, won’t hurt anyone, and certainly doesn’t cheapen or lessen the sacredness of anyone’s own union.

  6. Reblogged this on Charissa's Grace Notes and commented:
    Right down the Line, Brother John…I have made similar arguments regarding various “lists” that are supposedly the “straight to hell” lists, with every item ignored or excused except for a quite probable mis-reading of language regarding homosexuality…

    Constance, John does a clear-headed and straightforward job of confronting the naked hypocrisy and stone throwing that goes on weekly from pulpits…

    …I can assure you that those pulpit stones have no less a destructive effect on hearts and lives than the real ones thrown 2000 years ago. You remember, right? The ones that Jesus refused to throw…

  7. I just have to say sir that I love your blog posts! Each and every time you post I always have to read them, and I’m not even Christian! I believe in coexisting with all religions and faiths, which is why I really love your posts. You are amazingly blunt and your style of writing to me is impeccable! Thank you for blogging!

  8. I’ve pondered this for years. I have no antimosity towards divorcees nor do I believe Jesus does, but when you get down to it, the Bible sure had a lot more to say about divorce than it does about homosexuality. I appreciate your take on the calculated risk taken by Christians who speak out against the gay community while ignoring the much larger divorcée community.

    • The Bible has a heck of a lot to say about homosexuality and divorce. See my rebuttal to John’s article posted below. I can cite at least 7 verses in the Bible (and there are more) regarding sexual immorality/homosexuality.

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  10. Amen. Amen. Amen. I have not checked the numbers lately, but somewhere in the past 5 years, I read an article saying that the divorce rate among Christians in the American South is higher than it is for the nonbeliever population. Basically, no offense intended, but pastors are like every other sinner on the planet, they look out for their own skins first. They do not want to be known as the “pastor who split a church” because it looks bad on their resumes. They do not want to offend the big givers in the pews—who are often divorced. Finally, pastors know they cannot afford the cut in salary that would attend offending so many parishioners. In the end, their cop out is, “Well, even divorced people need Jesus and Jesus is what I have to offer—and I cannot give him to them if they are mad at me and not sitting in my pews. So, I give in to them so I can maintain my voice for Jesus, which is the most important thing.

    Lately. Lately. I have been reading a surprising number of articles written by liberal Christians who are very accepting of gay people in the church. However, the subject of these articles has been that being gay is different from being black—and unlike racism—most churches will likely NEVER give in on gay marriage the way they did on divorce. They may be right. I just do not know.

    However, I do know this. I am beginning to think that the only peaceful and happy answer for gay people would be to simply form their own independent churches and be better Christians than the so-called Christians in other churches. When the old people in town can no longer safely climb onto a chair and change an overhead light bulb, you gay Christians be there and change it for them. Do a million acts of love and kindness, and in so doing, put the other churches in town to shame. Word gets around. When the population of the town sees the love of Jesus in the things you do rather than the words you say, people will love you and appreciate you—and think—what are those damned Baptists up the road good for—pretty much nothing that I can see—and they will be right.

    Finally, I would just like to say that real Christians in this nation need to find some balls and quit taking the easy way out on love for their neighbor and moral responsibility. I would hazard to say that if a church of Jesus Christ is not being persecuted, then it is not doing its job in the world. By persecution, I do not mean someone angrily disagreeing with what you believe. Vocal disagreement is not persecution, and believing that it is does a great injustice to the many ancient Christians who truly were persecuted. It is easy to rail against the sins of the alcoholic homeless person—because they are defenseless. To the extent that pastors and congregations do this, they are cowards against Jesus rather than soldiers for him.

    I would like to challenge every pastor out there tonight. Every one of you has at least one church member who is rich and owns a business. He comes to church on Sunday morning, sits in the front pew, and puts on a joyous show for the Lord. On Monday morning, it is a well known fact that he turns into Satan himself when he enters the front door of his business. He treats his employees like worms, pays them wages that a mouse could barely subsist on, and drives happily home to his 50-room mansion at night. God does not approve of this man’s behavior anymore than he approves of stealing or murder. Show a little courage for Jesus sometime. Confront this man and expel him from your church. Take several hundred church members down to the free public sidewalk in front of his business and arm them with picket signs. You have a constitutional right to be on that sidewalk with that sign—but you will quickly find out that the boss has paid off a few thugs on the local police force to come down to the sidewalks and beat you with their night sticks so you will give up your constitutional rights. When that nightstick cracks across your skull, then you will be suffering real persecution for the Lord—and you will know who the really bad sinners in this world really are.

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  12. Nailed it, bro! As one who is divorced and went through a VERY dark and dismal valley personally, I know… When I first began my pastoral ministry in 1987, I preached about divorce and had a woman leave the church in tears… I was, of course, deeply upset myself and went out to see if she was okay… in all her years, she had been condemned for divorcing her abusive, drug addicted husband (who also came out of the closet)… she had NEVER heard the message of grace and love I preached that day! Fast forward to 2009 and I was in need of the same message of love, grace, and forgiveness… As Denise (the woman God called into my life after that darkness) says… Love Trumps!

  13. I completely agree that the church is imposing a serious double standard against LGBT people in the church, but I think it might be going a bit too far to say it has financial motives. I’m sure some pastors have considered the possible fiscal repercussions of coming out against divorce, but I think it’s much more likely that: a) divorce has become fairly commonplace in Christian culture and is therefore not something people give a second thought to and b) that the Bible does specify a situation in which divorce is acceptable which means to give a sermon on the topic, one would have to differentiate between legitimate divorce and non-legitimate which could be an uncomfortable discussion. This isn’t to defend those who support or ignore divorce while condemning gay marriage, but it seems a little harsh to project completely selfish and greedy motives on anyone who does so. All in all, a good post. Thanks John!

    • Are you aware that many Biblical scholars believe the notation about it being okay to dump your spouse in cases of adultery was added to the scriptures by later copyists?

      • That’s because Osteen is a false preacher who isn’t a Christian! Never quotes scriptures either. He only cares about the almight dollar! That’s his God and he’ll burn in hell for it one day.

  14. Before using the Bible as your hammer to bang on Christians who oppose same sex marriage, you might want to try actually reading it…from cover to cover…in its entirety…both Old and New Testament.

    I’ll just leave it right there for the moment.

      • Would you like a more detailed point of view, and backed by scripture, or would you like to do the work yourself…so that I can’t possibly take the Bible out of context?

    • Ah!!! We have another “I am the only person on the planet who truly understands scripture” person. Great. From where I sit, you are all a dime a dozen, and if we were to put 100 of you in a room, lock the door, and ask you what 15 scripture passages mean, you would rip each other to shreds with divisiveness over the conflicting meanings you would come up with. Not impressed.

      • Seriously, he wants to bang on Christians and call us hypocrits, so show me with biblical scripture and fact based information the justification for his allegations.

        I have no doubt that people who attend church, been married in a Christian church, and had an ordained minister marry them, may appear to be Christian. But now days, if you throw a cross on something, put a Bible next to it, and hang a real cool picture of Jesus on the wall, that’s supposedly “Christian. Even the “Westboro Baptist Church”, Mormons, and Jehovah’s Witnesses call themselves Christian, but I would take issue with that.

    • Ralphy you should’ve listened to your own words and just left it there fella..your post below states he’s calling you a hypocrite.. I have re read blog 3x and that word is used nowhere..soooo smart guy, you want to bully someone about their readings of a book that is long, intense and sometimes difficult to understand but you can’t comprehend a mondern day English language blog??!? Are you kidding me?? Maybe part of your subconscious mind saw that because maybe that’s what you are?? Don’t know and please read this slowly I did not say you were a hypocrite.. You still with me or have I lost you??!! I did have that word in my response if your mind happens to see it again..you are not tripping honey, I wrote it, its there not calling you one just ?ing if the asleep clearly smarter part of your brain is calling you that?? You might want to listen to it.. If you can’t learn to be tolerant at least try harder not to be so stupid..it is such an ugly combo…he is here to preach love and acceptance..why even comment if you don’t agree? Just go away..its OK
      .I am positive you could find some blogger on fox news perhaps? Oh I am so upset with myself for letting your ignorance get the best of me and cause me to call you put on so many things..and sweetie I’m not throwing any stones at you just stating some facts..bullies get under my skin more than anything..you must be trying to compensate for smaller issues in your life…I hope you learn peace..and if you can’t stop then it would be very christian of you to stop bullying people who are trying to promote it..

      • Robin, you are just fine. No need to take yourself to task for becoming upset over someone who hasn’t the least idea of what true Christianity is. Like so many others, he takes what he wants out of the text and twists it around in his dark mind. He reveals his own thoughts with his accusations. The word hypocrite never appeared, but he is letting us know that he is one.

    • RIGHT ON RALPH! This John guy is the devil’s mouthpiece. They don’t want to read the bible. They just want to pluck things out of context to fit their own personal agenda to persecute Christians. What they don’t understand is not everyone that calls themselves a Christian is one. For instance, this Kim Davis clerk woman who claims to be a Christian. SHE ISN’T! She doesn’t even believe in the Trinity so for those that think she represents true believers, SHE ISN’T A TRUE BELIEVER! SHE IS A WHACK JOB! If you don’t believe in the Trinity, YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN! Also, it’s too easy to see someone who has stumbled and throw stones at them. They don’t understand God’s grace and those that believe are saved by grace, not by works. So keep doing the devil’s work, John, but one day your knee will bend, your head will bow and your tongue will confess that Jesus is LORD!

      • OK, Jon, let me ask you something: Can you show me a scripture that says one must believe in the Trinity to be a Christian? You seem so sure Kim Davis is not. (I don’t support her stand in KY at all, but I do share her other doctrinal beliefs.) So let’s see what you know about the Bible: Tell me where it says a person has to believe in the Trinity. Can’t? OK, then tell me where it says that God is a Trinity? Can’t find the word in there? OK, then show me where the Bible says that God exists as three co-eternal, so-existent, co-equal persons? Hmm, can’t do that either? You see, one of the biggest problems with trinitarian doctrine is that it, and the terminology used to define it, are almost exclusively found in the Athanasian creed… but none of that terminology is found in the Bible. Nothing about a Trinity. Nothing about persons. (Scripture does, however, make reference to God’s Person… singular, in Job.) Nothing about co-eternal, co-equal, co-existent or eternally begotten. All of the trinitarian terminology is absent from scripture. But a careful reading of scripture will throw a few monkey wrenches into trinitarian thinking.
        Before getting into that, let me state that from my own experience, a significant percentage of Christians who think they believe in the Trinity actually do not. They use the word Trinity because their churches do, but when presented with the actual doctrine as it is laid out and defined in the creeds, again, most notably the Athanasian, they say that it doesn’t reflect what they believe. I have found that most are only nominally trinitarian. Some have a sort of hybrid trinitarian/Oneness belief, and some actually believe in Oneness without knowing it. (Oneness is the name of the doctrine Kim Davis and I both believe. It is often erroneously called Jesus Only, but that’s a misnomer, because it does not at all reflect the teaching accurately. You can actually find books in Christian bookstores that think they are refuting Oneness… but once you read them it is immediately clear that the authors had no idea what Oneness actually teaches, and were basing their works on what they had heard from other people who also didn’t know. Basically, then, their books are a waste of time and paper and ink, because they are trying to disprove a doctrine that nobody actually believes in the first place!)
        So, are you SURE you are a trinitarian? Let’s find out: When you get to heaven, how many Persons are you expecting to see? If you are expecting to see three distinct Persons, then you are a Trinitarian, because that is what the doctrine teaches. But if you only expect to see one, then you are not.
        Actual trinitarian doctrine states that God eternally exists as three separate, distinct Persons, co-equal, co-eternal, co-existent. Of course, if one reads the Athanasian creed carefully in the original Latin, it not only contradicts scripture, it also contradicts itself, admits belief in three Gods, but then hastens to add that we’re not allowed to SAY three Gods!
        So let’s work with the orthodox teaching of the Trinity, three distinct Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We can all agree that Jesus is the Son, I am sure. So which of the remaining Persons is the Father of Jesus? Is it the Father? According to trinitarian doctrine, yes. According to Matthew chapter one, however, it’s the Holy Spirit. It states more than once that Mary became pregnant by the Holy Spirit, NOT the Father. The person who causes a woman to conceive is, by default, the father of the baby. So either the Father and the Holy Spirit are the same Person, or Jesus was calling the wrong one Father!
        Could the Father and Holy Spirit be the same Person? Jesus gave us the closest thing to a definition of God we will probably get in John 4:24. He said “God is a Spirit…” The word Spirit is singular, not plural. God is ONE Spirit. Lest there be any doubt, Ephesians 4:4 confirms that there is only one such Spirit. God confirms also more than once that He is, by nature, holy. Put together, this means that God exists as a Spirit and is holy, that is, God is a holy Spirit. In other words, God is THE Holy Spirit. So the Holy Spirit is neither a third Person, nor an “active force” as JW’s teach. Holy Spirit is simply a descriptive term of who/what God is. Psalm 51 makes reference to God’s Holy Spirit. The Jews have always understood that reference to refer to God Himself. So when David said, “Take not Thy Holy Spirit from me,” he was basically asking God not to remove His actual presence from him.
        It’s interesting to note that God is generally not understood to be Father until the New Testament. His relationship to Israel/Judah was one of Husband, rather than Father. (In Jeremiah, He told them He was married to them.) God isn’t really spoken of as Father to any extent until He actually became one, in the incarnation.
        Who is the Son? Is He an eternally existent divine being? Scripture states the opposite. First of all, by very definition, a Father HAS to exist before His Son. Otherwise, those terms of relationship don’t apply. But scripture states that the Son had a beginning: “Thou art my beloved son, THIS DAY have I begotten thee.” That speaks of a specific time, and that verse is stated more than once.
        Part of the confusion about the Godhead comes in because of our translations of the Bible. Some of the Bible verses, if translated exactly, cast doubt on trinitarian doctrine, and so the translators made some alterations. The first, and perhaps most significant, is Deut. 6:4. The Jews call this verse the Sh’ma, which is the Hebrew word for “hear.” It is the absolute cornerstone of Judaism, and that absolute declaration of monotheism… if it’s translated properly. But if we look at King James (as well as other versions) we get something like this: “Hear O Israel, the LORD our God is one LORD.” Not only is that translated vaguely, but it doesn’t actually even make sense. If we bear in mind that LORD in all caps stands for a proper name, we can see the problem: Let’s substitute another proper name and position, and we can see how silly a statement it is: John our mailman is one John. That doesn’t even mean anything. The problem with translating the Hebrew correctly, however, is that the statement of monotheism is so absolute that it made the trinitarian translators and church authorities uncomfortable. Now, I have no problem with translating God’s name as the LORD for two reasons: one is that it’s an ancient practice. The ancient Jews wouldn’t allow God’s name to be written in any language other than Hebrew, so replacing it with another word began with the first translations. The Aramaic version replaced it with the word ממרא (memra), which means “word,” that is, “something spoken,” or, in the case of God’s name, something that wasn’t supposed to be spoken. The second reason is that we have no idea what the correct pronunciation was anyway. Jehovah is impossible, because Hebrew has no J. I highly doubt Yahweh, because I, like some other Hebraists, don’t believe Hebrew had a consonantal W. I see the four consonants as YHVH. But the vowels are long lost, because Hebrew had no way of writing them down for thousands of years.
        So allowing for God’s name to be rendered as “the LORD,” here is what Deut. 6:4 says: “Hear, O Israel: the LORD is our God; the LORD is one.” (This statement has always had a dramatic impact, but when first spoken to Israel, it was especially important, because ancient Babylon had a godhead that was triune, and they were attempting to export it to other nations. In most cases, they were unsuccessful, as nations would accept one or more persons, but not the whole triad. The fertility goddess, one of the three, was most popular… probably because her worship including having sex!)
        But something that has impacted Christianity even more for the past few centuries is John’s Gospel. Every single translation commonly available makes the statement that the “Word was with God” in the first two verses. Problem is, the Greek says no such thing. There’s not a single Greek manuscript that says with. The Greek text says that the Word was πρός τόν Θεόν (pros ton Theon), which is literally “toward (the) God.” However, using pros in this way was a common idiom, and so it would be understood as “pertaining to God,” or even “meaning God.” The EXACT same phrase was correctly translated in KJV in Hebrews 2:17. But by changing it to “with God,” the translators introduced an artificial division into the Godhead, and gave rise to the Logos doctrine, whereby people have come to believe that Logos refers to Jesus, and that He was “with” God in the beginning.
        The fact is, John wasn’t trying to make any kind of doctrinal statement in those two verses. Rather, he was trying to set a foundation for introducing the God of Israel to people, Gentiles, who had never heard of Him. But can you imagine trying to introduce someone without ever saying that person’s name? That’s basically what John had to do, for two reasons. The simplest reason was simply that Jewish custom would not allow him to write YHVH in a language other than Hebrew. But even if he had been allowed by custom to do so, he still couldn’t: The Greek alphabet simply lacks the necessary letters to represent those consonants! There is no accurate way to render the name in Greek. So John did what the Aramaic Old Testament had done: He replaced the name with the word “word.” The Greek equivalent of memra was logos. Of course, this word was meaningless to his readers unless he first defined what he meant by it. And THAT is what the first few verses of his Gospel were trying to do. He began just as Genesis did, with “in the beginning…” “In the beginning was Logos, and Logos pertained to/meant God, and Logos was God. This pertained to/meant God in the beginning…” He went on to say that everything that has been created was created by Logos, and that nothing exists that wasn’t created by Him. By these verses, any reader could understand that when he said Logos, he was referring to the God of all creation. And if that reader had any familiarity with the Aramaic Targum, he would also know that Logos = Memra = YHVH. It wasn’t until several verses later that John actually made a doctrinal statement: Logos became flesh and dwelt among us. Who? The Creator. The ONE Spirit who created everything took on flesh.
        The term Son of God refers only to the humanity of Jesus. That’s why you will never find the trinitarian phrase God the Son in the Bible. There’s no such person! In His humanity, Jesus is the son of God. But the son of God is human, fully so. He experienced everything we do: hunger, thirst, pain, fear, temptation, and eventually death. But had God simply left His human son alone to live for 30 years, He could not have been the Messiah, because no human on his own can live 33 years without sin. So scripture tells us that God was literally IN Christ.
        Look at the baptism of Jesus. Trinitarians misread this and think they see all three Persons of the Trinity here. The only way that would be possible is if one of those Persons was really a bird! Let’s look more carefully, and listen to what was said. Before doing so, it’s essential that we understand that God is omipresent. He is not confined to heaven or any one location. (See Ps. 139:7-10)
        God had told John the Baptist how he would recognize the Messiah: The one upon whom you see the Spirit of God descending like a dove. Let’s think about that for a second. Jesus told His disciples clearly after His resurrection that a spirit does not have flesh and bones. A spirit is incorporeal, and invisible. So it wasn’t actually possible for John to see the Spirit of God. And God didn’t say John would see a dove descending. But he would see something that descended just the way a dove comes to land. Doves do a lot of wing fluttering when they land, so John probably saw something like a fluttering in the air, just a movement without definite form. We know the son of God, the humanity of Jesus, was standing there in the water. There was a voice from heaven that said (and this is important, note the wording), “This is my beloved son IN whom I am well pleased.” I capitalized IN because it is important. That’s an unusual expression. We don’t usually say we are pleased IN someone, but WITH them. And this isn’t merely a case of archaic usage. That was NEVER proper English usage. But God was making a very specific statement. But to understand it we have to look at another verse, one that about half of all English versions have fudged:
        Col. 1:19… Many English versions add words that change the meaning. Now, adding words is a normal part of translation… such words as an article or a preposition. But adding an object to a verb that didn’t originally take one, and switching the subject to an indirect object… that’s NOT normal translation. And as often happens with witnesses who are not being honest, they don’t all get their story straight. So some versions add “God,” while others add “the Father.” But the Greek mentions neither. The Greek plainly states “All the fullness was pleased to dwell in Him.” For better understanding of that, Col. 2:9 states it plainer: “For in him dwells ALL the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” So the fullness refers to the Godhead… all of God’s fullness (not just one “Person” of it), and that fullness, itself, was PLEASED to dwell IN Jesus: This is My beloved son IN whom I am well PLEASED. Other verses confirm this: God was (literally) IN Christ, reconciling the world to HIMSELF…. GOD was manifest in flesh…
        What all this literally means is that Jesus had a dual nature: He was the son of God in his flesh… and God Himself, the very Creator, yes, the Father, in His divinity. Jesus was the Father in flesh? Yes, and both Isaiah and Jesus confirmed that: Is. 9:6 stated that the Messiah would be known by a number of titles, two of which were Mighty God and everlasting FATHER (or Father of eternity). Jesus Himself pointed out that we have only ONE Father, so if Jesus was not the Father in flesh, then Isaiah didn’t know what he was talking about!
        Philip said to Jesus, “Lord, if you will just show us the Father, that will be enough for us.” Jesus looked at Him, (and I can almost hear the astonishment in His voice), and said, “Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and yet, you still don’t know Me? Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father. So how can you say, Show us the Father?” (John 14)
        Doesn’t Matthew 28:19 prove a Trinity? Look at the previous verse: Jesus said that ALL power/authority in heaven and on earth was His. (If Jesus had it all, where would that leave two other Persons?) But then He said, Go ye therefore…. The word therefore is important: It means “because of what He had just told them.” In other words, Because all authority in heaven and on earth is mine, you go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit…” Now, if Father, Son and Holy Spirit were three separate Persons, His statement makes no sense. How would Him having all power be a reason to baptize in the name of those three? But here’s where it gets interesting: You can go into more than 95% of Christian churches today, and when they baptize, you will hear them repeat those exact words. But if we look at how the early church carried out this command, questions are raised:
        On the day of Pentecost, about 3,000 people were convicted by Peter’s sermon, and asked what they needed to do. Translating directly from the Greek, Peter said to them “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ into the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
        In Acts 8, we find that Philip had gone to Samaria and preached the Gospel, which the Samaritans received. They believed, and Philip baptized them in Jesus’ name. (Acts 8:16)
        In Acts 10, Peter went to the house of Cornelius, and while he was in the middle of preaching a sermon to them, the Spirit of God fell on the Gentiles. When Peter saw this, he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. (Some manuscripts say “Lord Jesus.) (Verse 48)
        In Acts 19, Paul encountered disciples of John the Baptist. When he told them about Jesus, they were re-baptized in Jesus’ name. (Verse 5)
        Does this mean they actually said only the name of Jesus? Some claim it means “in the authority of Jesus,” and that the apostles really used the words found in Matthew. But then why were they never repeated again? Further, the phrase in the name of Jesus is worded different ways in Greek, so there can be no doubt that they actually used that phrase. One of those is with the word ἔν (en) which means “in,” but carries the connotation of “using.” (Like we would say wash with warm water… we mean in or using warm water.) Col. 3:17 tells us to do EVERYTHING, word and deed, ἔν (using) the name of Jesus, and Acts 4:12 says that without it, there’s no salvation.
        So there’s no question that the apostles baptized using only Jesus’ name. (Church history does confirm this in places. One contradiction is the “Didache,” which purports to be a first century document, that states the wording of Matthew 28 should be used. But there is no way this document is really first century, because it makes reference to two practices we KNOW didn’t happen until at LEAST the third century, if not later… baptism by pouring or sprinkling, and pouring water three times.) So what’s the story? Did the apostles disobey Jesus? I’ve heard people say they would use the words of Matthew because they would rather obey Jesus than the apostles. My apologies to those people, but that’s an ignorant statement: Jesus didn’t leave any written record of His own. Everything we know about what He said was written down by the apostles. So no matter which words you use, you’re using words the apostles wrote down. But as for the idea of disobeying, I doubt the apostles would have been foolish enough to record a command that they had failed to obey. And even if the got it wrong once, like on Pentecost, surely there was time to fix it before Philip went to Samaria. It’s worth noting that when Peter stood up to preach in Acts 2, the other apostles stood with him, including Matthew, and nobody interrupted him when he told them to be baptized in Jesus’ name.
        So if we KNOW they baptized in Jesus’ name, and we KNOW they wouldn’t have disobeyed, the only remaining possibility is that we have misunderstood what Jesus said in Matthew. Looking carefully at His command, He said to baptize in the NAME… that word is singular. The whole clause revolves around a single name… a name that belongs to the Father, to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. There’s only one name. And Father, Son and Holy Spirit are not names, but titles. Jesus didn’t say to baptize in three titles, but in one NAME. If we read Luke 24:47, a companion verse to Matthew 28:19, Jesus said that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His own name. The Greek preposition translated as “in” here is επι (epi), which literally means “around.” The whole message of the Gospel revolves around His name. We all know the son’s name is Jesus. So what is the Father’s name? It’s not God, because that is also a title. Is it YHVH? It WAS, in the Old Testament. But the name of Jesus contains that name. (The original Hebrew, Yehoshuah, is formed by taking YHVH plus a word that means salvation, and combining them into a new word. The name implies that YHVH has become salvation. Compare that to Is. 12:2) Further, Jesus said “I have come ἔν (using) my Father’s name.” He also spoke of the Spirit, whom He said would come ἔν (using) His (Jesus’) name. It seems clear that the one name He was speaking of was His own, which is why the apostles correctly obeyed the command by baptizing using only that one name. If we simply repeat the words of Matthew 28:19, we repeat the command, but don’t actually obey it, since we haven’t actually used the name to which He referred!

        Finally, if we look at 1 John 5:7 as it appears in KJV, NKJV and some other versions (but not in NIV or many other newer versions, which omit it,) we see this: “For there are three that bear record in heaven: the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost.” Boy, that sure sounds like the Trinity! And that’s exactly why the verse is there… the problem is, John isn’t the one who put it there. That “verse” is a known fraud, not accepted as authentic by any Bible scholar. It cannot be found in ANY ancient Greek manuscript of the New Testament, nor in any early Latin translation, nor was it ever quoted by any of the church fathers, even in attempting to defend trinitarian doctrine. It first appeared in late manuscripts of the Latin Vulgate, inserted there by some anonymous monk copying over the epistle. It breaks the sense of the passage, is off topic of what John was writing about. So why is it in the KJV? For some unknown reason, the KJV translators rejected EVERY ancient Greek manuscript of the NT that was available to them, and chose to translate the NT from only one Greek manuscript, one that was only around 100 years old at the time! This manuscript, the so-called Textus Receptus (received text), was not created by copying over older Greek manuscripts, as was usually done. Instead, this was a brand new manuscript, created by taking a late Latin manuscript (one containing the fraudulent verse), and translating it into Latin. Now, had they done their work properly, they should have known the verse wasn’t authentic. On the other hand, the publishers of NKJV have no excuse whatever, because anyone can access Greek manuscripts of the NT anywhere, online, in the library, in bookstores, and it is obvious to anyone who can read Greek that this verse wasn’t in any of the ancient ones. A 16th century manuscript translated from a flawed Latin copy is hardly authoritative.

        What did Stephen see when he was dying? It says He saw the son of man (Jesus) at the right hand of God. Unfortunately, people make the mistake of taking that literally, not realizing that it was a common Hebrew idiom. In Hebrew, and in Jewish culture of the time, the right hand had a symbolic meaning, so much so that Hebrew even has a separate word for the right hand. The word yad can mean either hand. But the word yamin specifically means the right hand. The name Benjamin (Ben-Yamin) means son of the right hand. He wasn’t named after a body part, but after his father’s authority. The right hand is the symbol or place of someone’s power or authority. Stephen saying that He saw Jesus standing next to God wouldn’t have enraged the crowd nearly as much as what he was actually saying: He saw Jesus in the place of God’s power… in other words, He saw the one God who was incarnated in flesh.

        So as you can see, even people who read the Bible a lot, and think they know what it teaches, often find themselves unknowingly clinging to doctrines that were not part of original Christianity, but which were added in later centuries. Christianity and the New Testament can stand on their own, without the creeds and doctrines of later centuries. And without those creeds, we have no such concepts of eternally begotten son, or a triune Godhead or Persons. We have only a God who states over and over that He is only one. The plain fact is that every time we try to take the Persons of the Trinity to the pages of the Bible, they merge into only one Person. And one Person in the Godhead isn’t trinitarianism, but Oneness.

        Sorry to be longwinded… this isn’t the sort of thing that can be explained in one or two paragraphs. Even all this that I posted doesn’t begin to do the topic justice. I also apologize for any typos. It’s pushing one in the morning, and I still have more emails to answer.

  15. Reblogged this on Exploring Alura and commented:
    I look forward to reading this blog, every single time there is a new post. The wisdom, love, and divine understanding exhibited here touches me deeply and nurtures my starving soul desperate for guidance.

    Finally someone explains everything I feel to be right in a way that attacks no one. Perfect. Beautiful. Enlightening.

    • Yeah. Let’s take that “John” out of his name and replace it with “Guido”—only we will not pronounce it “Gweedoe.” We will pronounce it “Gydoe.” I would put a happy face here if I knew how.

  16. What is missing in the messages against specific sins as preached by too many Christians is how to preach against a specific sin without treating the practitioner of the sin as an inferior. Part of that comes from the authoritarian bend many Conservative Christians have. And part of it comes from the combination of the American need to feel superior to those who are different with a fear of those who are different.

    Scriptural passages such as the parable of the two men praying and Romans 2:1ff and Romans 3:9 should be guiding us as to how to speak to those who are sinning. But supposing we could preach God’s Word with love for the sinner, would everybody be happy.

    Finally, I think another reason why straight divorced Christians get a different treatment than those in the LGBT community is that divorce is a once and, after the legal procedures are finished, done issue. Being homosexual is a continual issue. That particular difference will come into play in how the two groups of people are treated in the Church. Other than that, there are some good points made in this blogpost.

  17. John supplied another man centered sermon without any regards to God’s Holy standards. What John and other liberal man centered pastors forget is that it’s not about him. It’s not about homosexuals. Nor is it about divorced folks. It’s about God. All of creation is about God’s Glory. Adultery, divorce, homosexuality, and other sins (The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. Galatians 5:19-21) do not glorify God. John is trying to preach that homosexuality is not a sin. Jesus paid for homosexual sins on the cross as well. Now repent and sin no more. That means stop being a homosexual. A homosexual who becomes a Christian must stop the activity, the same as a thief who becomes a Christian stops stealing.

    One who is divorced cannot “stop” from being divorced. The act is done. If he/she has remarried the act is done. Comparing this to homosexuality is apples and oranges. All they can do is learn from their mistakes and try not to repeat them.

    I agree with John on one thing; some pastors do not preach very well about sin. They probably do avoid preaching about divorce for all of the reasons cited. But like many things that is a generalization. I have heard many sermons preached about divorce. I think most Biblical Christians treat divorce Biblically and do not make excuses for it. The ones who make excuses for it are, for the most part, liberals who excuse divorce, homosexuality, adultery, and all other sins and not the Christians who oppose homosexual marriage.

    • Lance. When you repented of your sins and became a Christian, which sins did you give up to satisfy God’s Holiness? If you did not give up every last one of them up, then you have no right to speak on this subject. The spiritual mistake you are making here is that you believe that all sins are ranked according to their relative importance. For example, in your mind, being a prostitute would be a REALLY GREAT, HUGE, OVERWHELMING SIN. So, what you are really saying is that people must give up the sins that YOU COUNT as really big ones—the ones that stick out in public and spark social controversy. Then in your mind, there are all of the little, itsy bitsy, tiny, white-little-fib, sins that you have and everyone else has—the unimportant sins that may be deemed so commonplace as to be almost unimportant. The Bible that you thump rather than read contains no such comprehensive, relative ranking of all sins. This ranking system in your fallible human brain is a creation of man and a figment of your imagination.

      The truth of the matter is that all people, Christian or nonChristian, struggle with their own sins and imperfections. For one person it might be addiction to meth. For another person it might be the sin of jealousy or envy. What you are saying is that the sin of the meth addict is of great consequence and the sins of jealousy, wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony are of little consequence. You can easily forgive yourself of those, but you cannot forgive the sins others struggle with.

      Let me try to get this through your thick fundie skull one last time. All men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God—even after they have repented and have become Christians. The disciple John, speaking directly to all Christians said: “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” (1 John 1:8). He is not talking about pre-repentance sin. He is talking about post-repentance sin in the lives of all truly faithful Christians. ALL OF US stand within the circle of sin. The moment you point the gnarled finger (like you do) in condemnation of the sins of others, who you think have greater sins than your small ones, you condemn yourself with that same gnarled finger. You may point your gnarled finger at gay kids and say, “The wrath of God abides upon you if you do not quit!!!” However, with the issuance of those same words, you are saying that the wrath of God abides on you too because of the sins you struggle with and cannot quit. My point is that you are willing to give yourself a really break on the sin issue, a huge break all day long and one you probably never even think about, but you are willing to beat these poor gay kids to a pulp because of their sins that they struggle with and are probably more aware of than you ever are.

      I have lived long and seen many things. One of the things I have most often seen is that a large number of Christian fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals go through some sort of “self-numbing process” that renders them no longer able to sense or be aware of their own persistent sins as they walk through the years of life. I guess with your preacher howling nothing but negativism and condemnation at you from the pulpit every Sunday, you feel that you either have to run from the overpowering and destructive fires of full-court-press guilt or allow your brain to defend itself by moving to a psychological place where it can pretend that you have become perfect and have no sin. It may help you to survive emotionally, but it simultaneously turns you into narcissistic person who sees only the sins of everyone else—whom you feel compelled to condemn and correct with no love and no mercy.

    • I agree with mostly everything you said but you got one thing wrong. Jesus didn’t die for homosexual sins. He also didn’t die for everyone. He died for the elect. There might be a few that God saves but those he does save will have to give up their same sex relationships and it will be heavy on their hearts to do so. I believe those called will do so and that will be very challenging for them.

      • You wrote: “There might be a few that God saves but those he does save will have to give up their same sex relationships…”
        I don’t believe they have to give them up at all, nor do a great many other Christians. All depends on how you understand scripture. I’m guessing your understanding is based on one or more of the available English translations of the Bible. My understanding is based in the Hebrew and Greek texts those English versions purport to be translated from (but frequently disagree with).

        Bear in mind when you start making statements about who is getting in and who is not that 2000 years ago there were some religious people who followed the Bible to the letter. They were sure they were getting in to God’s kingdom, and had a list of people they were sure were not. Jesus told them that those very people they thought weren’t getting in were indeed going in… FIRST.

  18. Since when does statistics have anything to do with what God says about those subjects? Statistics should be pointless when it comes to what we believe about what God approves and doesn’t approve of for our lives and His glory.

    If you want some statistics, here is an interesting read: http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=IS04C02
    Near the end of the article you can find the statistics between violence in same sex marriages as compared to that of violence in traditional marriages. I don’t know about you, but I find that alarming that God would approve of same sex marriages based upon the rate of violence in such an institution.

    Remember, statistics are nothing more than a scorecard of how we as humans act in a given situation. They are not percentages of approval by God. With the facts of same sex marriages laid out in the statistics, don’t you think God had it right to condemn such an institution? Granted, any institution in which we humans are involved is never going to be perfect, due to our sin nature, but that God would know what is best for us and has said so in His Word.

    (I don’t recall where God specifically calls divorce a sin, only where he “hates” it because of the hardness of our hearts, and allows it so that things like domestic violence don’t occur. Malachi 2)

    I really don’t see the biblical basis for this point of view at all.

    • You might want to try an unbiased source for your information and then make sure that your unbiased source is using the most recent research. Nothing inthe linked article is acurate or relevant.

      The folks that you linked yo are bald faced liars, plain and simple. And they justify their lies believing that the end justifies the means.

  19. When I asked this question of a fellow church member – “why is it OK for one of our pastors to be divorced and remarried, but not OK to allow gays to even join the church?” – I was told, “when the gays repent and turn from their sin, they can join”. OK, but what about the divorced/remarried pastor? “I’ve talked to him about it; he has repented”.

    So the gays need to repent AND turn, but the divorcee only needs to repent. Nice…

  20. I read the above author and wonder how old they are and how really immersed in the history of Christianity in the 20th century they are. The two generations following WW2 in America saw exactly this internal battle within Christianity over divorce. De facto Christianity accepted the secular viewpoint on marriage. The biblical viewpoint became the “ideal” which is preached but frequently ignored by many. As long as the believer accepts/repents of their sin and agrees to live under the biblical standard in the future they are embraced again. I suspect that the same would be true for LGBT persons. P.S. red faced preachers pounding pulpits and screaming against any sin happens more in movies now than real life.

  21. Pingback: Why Divorced, Straight Christians Should Kiss The LGBT Community | Pots, Pans and Proverbs

  22. Mainline Christians should weep over what easy divorce has done to the perception of marriage. Note I didn’t say ‘sanctity’ of marriage, because man’s actions will never sully or rend asunder what God has joined.

    I thank God my congregation does not sweep divorce under the rug. In fact, its strong preaching on the subject, and personal, loving guidance based on Matthew 18 has guided some to repentance and reconciliation.

    I think the author paints with a broad brush though. “We’re either going to adhere unflinchingly to the letter of the Law, and make everybody pay the piper for sullying Marriage, and exclude them all…” This is a misunderstanding and misapplication of Scripture. In essence, he’ s saying because one group is being ‘clobbered’, either clobber the bigger group just as hard, or break down all the barriers for everybody, and anything goes. That’s what’s at the heart of this blog post.

    “As a divorced heterosexual person, if you’re going to applaud and “amen” the vilifying of LGBT people who even want to get married, and accuse them of sullying the institution; know that you’re not on very solid Biblical ground yourself, and you’re just lucky there’s so many of you out there or you too might be in front of the relentless religious firing squad. ” “Vilifying” is also another broad-brush buzzword that covers everything from outright hate and sinful slurs to humble disagreement over what God’s Word says about the subject–and I wouldn’t be surprised if the author equates all of that as one and the same. Bottom line–repentant sinners, whether divorced, gay, straight, are all on solid Biblical ground.

  23. Very good post. And it speaks volumes of why I have problems with organized religion. I am a Christian and I am going through a tough time with the Church. I know in my heart that Christ could care less about Gays and marriage and he would care more about compassion and tolerance.

  24. I am a divorced Christian woman and I can tell you that I have ran into this . I have been to many churches where I was not welcomed and was told that I needed to return to my ex-husband with out them having any knowledge what so ever as to what the circumstances were . I did find it strange that divorced men were welcomed and no one dared to speak to them . I had a woman tell me that the Bible only allows for men to be divorced ,not woman . ??? I was refused a church meal set aside for single church members because I was divorced and a woman . My personal opinion after reading the words of Christ is that he himself would be hanging out with those that the church degrades and and persecutes . I fled an abusive marriage after my life and the lives of my children were threatened . I am shocked that I made it out alive and I praise God every day for the life that I have now .

  25. When I was in college, I had the privilege of being in a Bible study with a wise man, Ken Merritt. It was 40 years ago, so I remember the whole, “Can a divorced woman teach Sunday School?” question.
    Ken’s comment was, “The church is generally two decades behind society… It will change.”
    Seriously, does this have to take another generation? We abhore slavery. We go to the weddings of our divorced family members. If my niece is “living in sin” with her divorced partner, I don’t shield my children from her adulterous behaviour. *sarcasm*
    I want to Dan and Dean to be welcome in my fellowship as the couple they are. I want the church to be a place where Luke can marry the man of his dreams. When Luke has children, I want him and his husband to be able to dedicate their children to God as their parents have done.
    I hope it will be in my lifetime.

  26. While I agree that the gay issue has superseded every other issue in many churches, comparing it to divorce has a major flaw. I believe, as do many theologians, that Jesus was talking about hard-hearted men who had made a contract with a woman’s father to care for her and then just wanted to throw her away. Jesus was concerned about the heart issues and not with divorce per se. His words as recorded in the New Testament simply do not apply to divorce today, but they still apply to times when we devalue another because we consider them “less than”, or simply because what we want is so much more important than they are.

    • You are, of course, right, about what Jesus was condemning, but many people make the same argument about homosexuality. That the homosexual acts condemned in the Bible are not the same as the modern concept of a committed, monogomous homosexual relationship. I think John’s point can still stand because you either take it all as literal without context or you consider the times and how they compare to today’s time.

      And while Jesus was clearly talking about men throwing women away, the Bible also says that when she remarries, the new husband makes her an adulterer. If it was all just about men being responsible without a notion that marriage was something sacred and permanent, there would be no reason to consider the remarried woman an adulterer.

  27. I am a member of a Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. congregation whose pastor and session (a majority of it anyway) oppose gay marriage. I am one of only 2 people under the age of about 55 serving on the session and possibly the only one who feels differently on this issue than the rest. (Maybe the other “young” guy does too – time will surely tell).

    Last year, when our annual assembly passed the amendment to change the definition of marriage to “between two persons, traditionally understood to be a man and a woman”, the session voted (while I was gone) to stop sending money to the Presbytery in protest. It later voted to make a statement that we support the current (i.e. previous) definition of marriage. Now that enough Presbyteries (including our own, I think) have confirmed the ammendment, I’m sure the subject will come up again.

    This comparison to divorce has been the argument my mind has turned to over and over again. That, and women in ministry. There are 5 women serving on the session and several divorced people or people married to divorced people. I just don’t see how people can so easily dismiss the parts that say God hates divorce, remarriage makes you an adulterer, divorced people should not be in leadership roles, women should not be in leadership roles… and then hang so tightly to their position on this matter. How can a divorced woman justify serving on the session if she truly believes that the Bible is literally, word-for-word the Word of God, applicable as written to all people in all times? She can’t without being a hypocrite.

    I avoid controversy like the plague. I am praying now that when the time comes, I will be able to stand up and be heard. Or better yet, to stand up and let the Spirit be heard through me.

  28. What I never hear anyone ever pointing out is the fact that we (at least us in America in this century) are dependent upon a piece of paper issued by the government to define marriage at all. Government mandates are social control, which is truly what the “gay marriage” issue is all about. What would happen if the government didn’t mandate who was or was not married? Would a couple’s marriage be null and void, or would they rely on their actual promise to each other to create their identity and status of being “married” as humans have done for centuries of human history? When any form of government can dictate “status” and “identity” they assume control they don’t really have–it’s just control people accept they have. Without even being aware we that did while we formed into a nation, we Americans have given the government the power to decide what is “official” for our lives, but in reality, nobody but God and those involved in the making of a commitment make that bond a reality. Relying on the government to mandate a slew of social status issues gives them too much power and individuals less expectations, responsibility, and agency. The debate about “legal” marriage shows in what predicament modern people have placed ourselves: we believe and accept that the government makes marriage official, not the God we believe in or ourselves. When certain Christians are freaked out about what should be legal, preach how people should vote, and picket, etc., this indicates their expectations of the role of government as well: that the government should have the power to mandate everything that is morally right and wrong because otherwise people will have to decide for themselves and have no moral compass and ruin the lives of those who do. (Yet for other issues they want the freedoms of personal choice). In their view, the ability to create one official moral compass for the nation must be controlled by select Christians who control or influence the government who can control everyone else. Therefore government is relied upon to spread, police, and enforce their version of morality. They’re trying to make it a theocracy more than a democracy, except they’re not God, they’re seriously flawed humans who are supposed to be equal participants in creating census not the ones who control census. Perhaps trying to control and enforce who has certain statuses, like who can be “married”, is unnecessary and ridiculous, because in many marriages, the couple may not be committed in their hearts for years and even lifetimes, regardless of what their government-issued papers afford them the status of. The high heterosexual divorce rate also shows that relying on government mandates doesn’t encourage successful marriage relationships, an argument many have made for “social stability” and “institutinoalizing” marriage. Institutionalizing anything that is actually an internal matter is problematic. Humans’ tendency to rely on something else to make a heart-matter “real” or “official” is problematic and should really be talked about to increase awareness of what the debates we have and the behavior we end up displaying (either as Americans or as American Christians) are actually all about.

  29. What I rarely hear anyone ever pointing out is the fact that we (at least us in America in this century) are dependent upon a piece of paper issued by the government to define marriage at all. Government mandates are social control, which is truly what the “gay marriage” issue is all about. What would happen if the government didn’t mandate who was or was not married? Would a couple’s marriage be null and void, or would they rely on their actual promise to each other to create their identity and status of being “married” as humans have done for centuries of human history? When any form of government can dictate “status” and “identity” they assume control they don’t really have–it’s just control people accept they have. Without even being aware we did while we formed into a nation, we Americans have given the government the power to decide what is “official” for our lives, but really, nobody but God and those involved in the making of a commitment make that bond a reality. Relying on the government to mandate a slew of social status issues gives it too much power and individuals less expectations, responsibility, and agency. The debate about “legal” marriage shows in what predicament modern people have placed ourselves: we believe and accept that the government makes marriage official, not the God we believe in or ourselves. When certain Christians are freaked out about what should be legal, preach how people should vote, and picket, etc., this indicates their fears of having less government control and that they have no faith that the national Christian example would be impactful enough to influence society how they would like to see it be. It also indicates their expectations of the role of government: that the government should have the power to mandate everything that is morally right and wrong because otherwise people will have to decide for themselves, have no moral compass, and ruin the lives of those who do. (Yet for other issues they do not want mandates and want the freedoms of personal choice). In their view, the ability to create one official moral compass for the nation must be controlled by select Christians who control or influence the government who can seemingly control everyone else. Therefore government is relied upon to spread, police, and enforce their version of morality. They’re trying to make it a theocracy more than a democracy, except they’re not God, they’re seriously flawed humans who are supposed to be equal participants in creating census not the ones who control census. Perhaps trying to control and enforce who has certain statuses, like who can be “married”, is unnecessary and futile, because in many marriages, the couple may not be committed in their hearts for years and even lifetimes, regardless of what their government-issued papers afford them the status of. Thus we will likely rely a lot a mandate to tell us if we’re “not sinning” or look good to others, and to ultimately encourage ways of externally awarding and withdrawing accepted social status. The high heterosexual divorce rate also shows that relying on government mandates doesn’t encourage successful marriage relationships, an argument many have made for “social stability” and “institutionalizing” marriage. Institutionalizing anything that is actually an internal matter is problematic. Humans’ tendency to rely on something else to make a heart-matter “real” or “official” is problematic and should really be talked about to increase awareness of what the debates we have and the behavior we end up displaying (either as Americans or as American Christians) are actually all about.

  30. Pingback: Por que cristãos héteros e divorciados deveriam abraçar a comunidade LGBT

  31. I think the author of this piece is making a generalization. One of the reasons that pastors probably don’t speak out about it is due to the fact that there are genuine reasons for people getting divorced. Such as infidenlity, domestic abuse and substance abuse or abuse in general. No pastor in his or her right mind is going to get up and preach out against divorce when there are valid mittigating circumstances. But what circurmstances are there for changing the redefinition of marriage to include those of the same gender? Further as a devout Christian I am a bit tired of the Christian bashing and being blamed for every level of unhappiness that homosexuals go through. Life is difficult for everyone.

  32. To me it’s pretty obvious that the reason that most pastors don’t address divorce is due to the fact that there is extenuating circumstances as to why people get divorced such as spousal abuse, infidelity and substance abuse. Those are very much valid reasons as to why people get divorced. Why would a pastor condemn it? But what exactly are the circumstances for changing the definition of marriage to include people of the same gender? Finally as a devout and committed Christian I am a bit tired of being accused for the unhappiness that homosexuals experience. As I say to atheists all the time. If you find living around Christians so intolerable, then try and move to North Korea. It’s an atheistic regime where Christianity is either outlawed or severally controlled. You might be happier to live there

    • The definition of marriage has already been changed numerous times in history. The most recent changes (the last 200 years in America) have been to restore earlier definitions that had been eliminated because of human prejudice.
      In 1776, our government, and many churches, recognized only one form of marriage: the union of one white man and one white woman. No other marriages had legal standing, and in some religious circles, other marriages were also not recognized.
      After the civil war, the marriages of one non-white man and one non-white woman were also recognized, thus expanding the definition of marriage.
      In the US territory of Deseret, both legal and religious recognition was given to marriages involving one white man and more than one white woman. That was only abandoned so that Deseret could enter the union as Utah.
      c. 1970, all fifty states were made to recognize another expansion in the definition of marriage: one man and one woman who were not of the same race.
      It bears mentioning at the point that every one of these expansions of the definition of marriage met with opposition from conservative Christians.
      Historically, marriage has been culturally defined, and only took on religious aspect when Catholicism made it a sacrament. And, historically, it has existed in four primary forms. Although that number was reduced for centuries due to human prejudice, all four can now be found in existence:
      heterosexual monogamy
      polyandry
      polygyny (the most common form recorded in the Bible)
      same-sex monogamy
      If for no other reason, the expansion of the legal definition of marriage to include same-sex is justified by the fact that it existed on this continent for thousands of years prior to the arrival of Europeans. In fact, it existed pretty much everywhere until the Europeans arrived, invading under the guise of colonization, and imposed their culture and religion on others. We’re only restoring what was taken away long ago.

    • Where did Jesus say that there were all of these justifiable reasons to divorce? Substance abuse, domestic violence…where is this in the Bible? Jesus said don’t do it. You are ONE and you remain one even through drugs & domestic violence. You seek help. You pray. You do not divorce. This is what the Bible says.

      Ppl who say Homosexuals twist the Word of God really need to look at who’s doing the twisting.

  33. Well, well. I tried posting twice only to clearly see that my post has either been deleted or not uploaded. I guess that it not only shows the real aim of this blog after all. Skewered propaganda.
    Matthew 7:15. Good luck with your fund raising. I would prefer to give it to someone who actually wants to speak the truth.

    • Ronnie, I approve of all comments to ensure their is no profanity, vulgarity pr personal attacks. The volume of traffic here makes that difficult.

      Comments are never deleted or not uploaded unless they fit into the above categories. As you can see if you read any thread, there are plenty of dissenting opinions.

      Thanks.

      John

  34. I just wrote this today for my atheist friends….then someone sent me this article. It is very good but it does not stress the idea that adultery and homosexuality are equally detested by the bible in both the New Testament and Old Testament. So I offered this as a way to counter religious folks coming down on homosexuals due to biblical “rules and laws” with the adultery hammer that so many of them are, by the bible’s definition, guilty of.

    “I have something to say for folks who want to counter the Old Testament law that homosexuals should be killed (or otherwise shunned and punished).
    I would retort that the OT says all people who marry a divorced person or get divorced and marry another person have committed the equally heinous crime of adultery that has all the same lethal punishments are proscribed.
    The first thing a more learned theist would say is that it says the same thing in the New Testament about homosexuals as well and that since the New Covenant (with Paul….not Jesus…but that is just trivia) all those OT laws are moot. Now they conveniently ignore the 10 C’s as being in the Old Testament and claim those laws still apply. Okee Dokeee. That will work.
    Proscriptions against divorce and remarrying are also plastered all over the New Testament…to whit:
    Luke 16:18
    “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.
    Matthew 5:32 ESV
    But I say that a man who divorces his wife, unless she has been unfaithful, causes her to commit adultery. And anyone who marries a divorced woman also commits adultery.
    Mark 10:12 ESV
    And if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”
    Mark 10:11-12 ESV
    And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her, and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

    Sooooo….if the OT law (and punishment) against homosexuality (in the 10 Commandments) still applies to current day offenders then should not adultery, also in the 10 C’s and punished by death also apply to all Christians? Like Newt Gingrich who has been divorced 4 times and married 5 (what a family values guy he is!!)?

    When you are debating about the biblical abomination against homosexuality you can make precisely the same case for any divorced person, remarried person, or person marrying for the first time but marrying a divorced person….and that is MOST people. It is an equally egregious crime per the bible. This means any pastor who marries a divorced person is committing no less of a crime against god than if he or she were marrying a homosexual couple. Same for making them a cake or catering their wedding or photographing their wedding, etc.

    Yep….Hoist with their own petard as far as I can tell. A bigger deal should be made of this picking and choosing who theists decide to hate and saying it’s cuz the bible says so….yet ignoring other equally strong proscriptions against many of their friends and churchmates because they are inconvenient.
    Oh….and throw in that they believe in the Cecil B De Mille 10 C’s cherry picked from Exodus 20 and environs. The REAL 10 C’s are in Exodus 34:1-28. They will howl bloody murder but those are the real and only 10 C’s….life’s a bitch and then you die!! Keep this ammunition in your debate quiver.”

  35. Pavlovitz’s analogy between divorce and gay marriage based on views that they both sully the institution of marriage is not as strong as it could be. There are several key differences between divorce and gay marriage. To start, divorce is a separation, and gay marriage is a coming together, or union. Divorce is also a one-time action, while gay marriage is a continual action. Divorce may also have mitigating circumstances, as Pavlovitz points out, which may justify the action, while it’s harder to find similar mitigating circumstances which would apply to gay marriage.

    Even if the analogy stands, though, Pavlovitz misses a huge point. For many (or at least some) Christians, the problem with legalizing gay marriage isn’t the oft-spouted “tarnishing of marriage as a governmental institution”–that’s a very political answer. For these Christians, the problem is that they believe that homosexual practice is a sin, and, by extension, a union recognizing (and, some would argue, condoning) homosexual practice is also a sin. This is an argument that, for the most part, Pavlovitz ignores.

    He also focuses almost exclusively on very emphatic and extreme language to represent the views of the gay marriage opposition, which could be unfairly representative of the view. Pavlovitz also makes the claim that the reason pastors focus on gay marriage issues more than divorce issues is purely statistical, while drawing no clear connection between two potentially unrelated observations.

    Moving forward in what has proven to be a complex and difficult issue, the Christian community needs to be willing to listen–on both sides. Attributing extreme and fanatic ideas to the other side (as both sides tend to do) is only going to continue to “literally rip the Church in two.” Further, it is important that we focus on the real issue. It’s less about statistics, or the state of marriage in our nation, than it is about individual actions, God’s views on them, and what the Church does about them.

  36. Why Gays Love Divorcees: A Rebuttal Kyle S. Reynolds 7/7/15

    This is an article written as a response to John Pavlovitz’s article titled “Why Divorced, Straight Christians Should Kiss the LGBT Community,” posted on March 16, 2015.

    Before going any further, I would like to make it clear that I do not have all the answers regarding God’s eternal judgment, nor do I presume to claim that I am guiltless regarding preconceived notions that ruminate behind the bars of my own subjectivity. This article is designed to argue necessarily for the Christian viewpoint, which I believe to be misconstrued by the aforementioned article by John Pavlovitz.
    Pavlovitz’s article makes several stunning claims—the following is a list of specific statements to be addressed in the article that follows:
    1. “In their defense of their position, many church leaders and members who oppose gay marriage, cite the supposed Scriptural mandate for the sacred union of a man and a woman. (Though a simple review of the Bible shows this to hardly be the case). They argue that gay people marrying, pollutes and cheapens the Institution;”
    2. “Here’s the problem: Most pastors won’t openly attack Divorce from the pulpit, not because they don’t see that Jesus clearly speaks against it in Scripture, (where he calls all divorce except in response to infidelity—adultery), and not because they don’t see it as a major threat to families and a weakening of the institution of Marriage; but because doing that would alienate too much of their core audience;”
    3. “Attacking the LGBT community is a way for pastors to take a calculated sin stance around Marriage; one that’s based on a risk-reward payoff. By choosing to conveniently use the Bible to address only gay people with regard to marriage, pastors can seem bold and brave, but they’re really just cleverly playing the numbers.”
    4. “People who identify as LGBT aren’t only penalized by churches for being married, but for even wanting to be married, for seeking monogamous relationships, and for outwardly being authentic in any real way. Any of the above usually isolates them in their faith communities, disqualifies them from volunteering in their churches, and almost always makes ministry leadership impossible.”
    Pavlovitz goes on to argue that divorced people within the Christian community are indebted to the LGBT community since most of the heat is on homosexuals and not divorcees. So, let’s look at these claims one-by-one to determine first whether there is any truth behind them, and second to see what the implications of such claims are within the ever beguiling arena of “true or false.”
    In Pavlovitz’s first assertion, he states that the Bible does NOT mandate marriage being designed strictly for heterosexual union. Let’s look at some Bible verses in both the Old Testament and the New Testament:
    A. “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.” Leviticus 18:22
    B. “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” Leviticus 20:13
    C. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24
    D. “Before they had gone to bed, all the men from every part of the city of Sodom—both young and old—surrounded the house. They called to Lot, ‘Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so that we can have sex with them’….The two men (angels) said to Lot, ‘We are going to destroy this place. The outcry to the Lord against its people is so great that he has sent us to destroy it’…Then the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah.” Genesis 19: 4-5, 13, 24
    E. “Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders (some translations “Sodomites”) nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10. It should be noted here that homosexual intercourse takes its name (sodomy) from the city—Sodom—that was destroyed by God.
    F. “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
    G. “Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie…Because God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural 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 indecent acts with other men and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion (referencing Sodom and Gomorrah). Romans 1: 24-25, 26-27.
    H. Jesus’ words: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.” Mark 7:20-23
    All these verses above in one way or another attest to the seriousness of God’s attitude toward sexual immorality or unnatural relations with one another. One can interpret these scriptures as they choose, but Pavlovitz’s statement that God does not mandate marriage being between one man and one woman here not only denies the obvious truth but also delves beyond the threshold of absurdity in claiming that Christians have somehow invented these laws to cover their own propensity for divorce. Jesus makes it very clear that divorce is just as much of a sin as sexual immorality. Here’s Jesus: “But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate….Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery.” Mark 10: 5-12. This statement by Jesus is stunning! Not only does Jesus condemn traditional divorce, he goes so far as to argue that sexual intercourse after divorce falls into the category of sexual immorality! And in this vein, Pavlovitz is correct that divorce is just as much of a sin as homosexuality because they both fall into the category of sexual perversion. Rarely will a divorced person not remarry or find another partner. Indeed, sexual immorality in the Bible is sex with more than one partner and/or with a person of the same sex. Period.
    Now, moving to Pavlovitz’s second argument, stated here again: 2. “Here’s the problem: Most pastors won’t openly attack Divorce from the pulpit, not because they don’t see that Jesus clearly speaks against it in Scripture, (where he calls all divorce except in response to infidelity—adultery), and not because they don’t see it as a major threat to families and a weakening of the institution of Marriage; but because doing that would alienate too much of their core audience.” First, Pavlovitz’s comments here that all divorce, excepting a response to infidelity, is an act of adultery is correct. However, which pastors is Pavlovitz referencing when he indicates that pastors will not go after the act of divorce? In my church, for instance, divorce is repeatedly condemned at the pulpit, even in front of congregation members that are, indeed, divorced! If anything, because of the obsessively politically correct and over-sensitive media world we live in, our pastors refrain from the subject of homosexuality, so as not to isolate those in the congregation who may struggling with this sin!
    Let’s make this clear: homosexuality is no greater than any other sin—be it lying, coveting, stealing or hating one’s neighbor. Any homosexual in our congregation stands in the midst of a hospital of sinners, not a sanctuary of saints. God calls all mankind to repent of their sins, whether they are the sexually immoral ones or the hateful acts of murder, theft or greed. If a church is truly walking in the footsteps of Jesus, they are not focusing on homosexuality as the ultimate sin, they are welcoming gay people into a congregation of sinners who are all grappling with their own redemption. Jesus speaks to this equality of sinfulness in Luke 13: 1-5: “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower of Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.” It is clear here that all are called to repentance, and those churches which would single out homosexuality as the evil of all evils are ignoring their own cold-blooded transgressions against God.
    Moving to Pavlovitz’s third argument which is merely an extension of the previous one, he states that Christian pastors are calculating figureheads of the church, who attack homosexuality for the sole purpose of pleasing a congregation who would rather ignore its own divorce rates. Put simply, it’s a cost-benefit analysis ushered in to acquire the monthly tithing quota, while at the same time making a congregation of sinners feel better about themselves. In this way then, the pastor lacks the courage to attack the sins of his own congregation, but with cowardly force effectively demonizes the gay community. There are, without question, churches and pastors that do this very thing. The first question one must ask is this: are these pastors walking in the footsteps of Jesus? My answer to this very difficult question would be that these pastors (and churches) who claim to be Christian are struggling mightily with effective Christian discipleship. To be Christ’s disciple, one must first work out their own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12). And at the same time, a Christ disciple is called to love both his neighbor and his enemy, encouraging him or her in their own repentance. If a church is not calling all people sinners, who have all fallen short of obedience to God, then that church is a rogue institution infiltrated by the very Enemy who was too proud to acknowledge his own inferiority to the Creator. Put simply, Satan works to destroy churches by perverting their knowledge of God’s word, and the Devil can do this quite seamlessly through instituting within the church a hierarchical mentality, whereby some people are deemed holier than others. It’s quite a trick by the evil one to use peoples’ desire to achieve God’s holiness for their own attainment of glory.
    Lastly, regarding the third point here, any church that chooses not to perform homosexual marriages is not only within its constitutional rights in America, but much more importantly, well within their rights as Christians to reject condoning sinful behavior. Just as a church does not perform divorce ceremonies or annulments, it should also not perform homosexual marriages. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament of the Bible assert these fundamental truths. It’s just as absurd to argue that since so many Christian marriages end in divorce, then homosexual marriage should be permitted in Christian churches, as it would be to assert that since a person is already a drunkard, they might as well become a heroin addict too. Pavlovitz is right about the divorce rate being sky-high even within the institution of Christian marriage, and any truth-speaking Christian preacher, reverend or priest should uphold the Bible’s stance on marriage—that entering into marriage is establishing a covenant between man, woman and God, and that any breach of the covenant is a contractual default resulting in sinful brokenness.
    Finally, Pavolvitz’s last point states that LGBT community is somehow penalized for their homosexuality by the church. If by “penalty,” Pavlovitz means to say that they are penalized by the church community since they will not perform gay marriage ceremonies, then my response would be, why are they any more penalized by the church than those who wish to file for divorce? If married couples expressed a desire to divorce in the church, they would be fundamentally denied on Biblical principles. Moreover, any drunkard who stumbled into a church wanting to attend a Sunday morning service would certainly not be allowed access to the pews carrying “the brown bag” that riddles his very existence. In short, the church cannot be referred to as a hospital for sinners if it condones sinful behavior any more than a medical hospital would be considered a place for life-saving treatment if it was allowing 90% of patients to die due to false diagnoses or administering the wrong drug treatments. At the end of the day, the solution for sin is Jesus Christ—he died for the sins of all humanity, be they homosexual, polygamists, drug-addicts, thieves, liars or slanderers (the list goes on and on).
    In sum, it may be the gays that want to kiss the divorcees at the end of the day since sacred institution of marriage (as confirmed by Biblical texts) has been fundamentally overthrown by divorce—this has opened the door for gays to argue that the Bible’s notion of marriage is antiquated (and therefore outdated). In our 21st century culture, the question is no longer “What does God say; it’s what do we say about what God says? While some things in the Bible may be open to hermeneutics, such as whether Jesus was born in a manger in Bethlehem or in a cave near the village), no one can really dispute the staggering command of Leviticus 18:22. There is simply nothing to interpret here: “Do not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; that is detestable.”
    Two final points to make: 1. For those who are knowledgeable on the Bible may look to 2 Samuel in the Old Testament and point to King David—God’s anointed one—and his exploits as a polygamist and adulterer. One may point to this and argue that this is proof that God does not take sexual immorality as serious as the Bible suggests in other places. But this kind of argument makes crucial theological errors—David failed as an ultimate redemptive king. Although his reign over Jerusalem was 33 years and was a prosperous time in the history of the Israelites, his kingdom proved to be transient and perishing, mainly because of his inability to fulfill the laws and commandments given by God in both the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Later, in the New Testament, Jesus does, in fact, serve as the fulfillment of the Law in his life ministry (33 years on Earth), but also through his eternal kingdom to come. Jesus says this 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.” In essence, Jesus’ coming and transient reign in the human body fulfills, through his sinless life, the commandment of God to live a holy existence. In doing so, he not only represents the ideal or the standard for which his followers should strive, he brings God’s word and his commandments into fruition on Earth. This had never been done before! So, it’s a bad assumption to say that God’s anointed ones in the Bible are sinless. Other than Jesus, none are perfect. All fall short of God’s commandments, including Abraham, Moses, David, Isaiah, and the list goes on. God takes sin so seriously that he had to send his own son to die on a cross to absorb several millennia of pent-up (and righteous) wrath.
    2. The second point to make here is that the Bible is God’s story, not a human story. Human beings are merely actors in the history of God (at least the history He chooses to reveal). There can be no redemption for sinners without repentance; and there can be no repentance that is acceptable to God unless one confesses Jesus as Lord and Savior. Jesus Christ is the only satisfactory sacrifice for sin, and this means all sin. No sin in too great for the Lord Jesus to absolve; and no sin is too small to not be subject to God’s wrath. While God loves his creation, he hates sin. Any sin at all is so foreign to God’s character, it is simply inconceivable for God to turn a blind eye to such abominations—his own Creation turning against their own Creator. “He was in the world and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1: 10-12).
    In closing, Pavlovitz is playing a dangerous game when he suggests that Christians should be more accepting of homosexuality. To suggest that somehow Christians need to be more tolerant is to argue that Christians should turn a blind eye to God’s sovereign will for men and women. If God intended two men or two women to be married, he would not only have created complementary sex organs for same sex couples, but procreation would certainly have been naturally possible via those sexual relations. God said “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). He didn’t give this command to two women or two men, and he certainly didn’t intend for Adam and Eve to separate to find more suitable partners. Later, in Genesis, God states, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). When God speaks of one flesh, he intends for husband and wife to be forever united and bonded to one another. Before the Fall in the next chapter of the Bible (Genesis 3), homosexuality, divorce, and even polygamy are inconceivable (pun intended). Jesus says this, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight” (Luke 16:15). And while divorce and homosexuality may be permitted in the arena of humankind, they are undoubtedly sins that lead to spiritual brokenness, and thus like all sins, they require repentance and absolution by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
    In our church, homosexuals are welcome to attend just as divorced men and women are welcome, except we would caution you that don’t come expecting to hear what you want to hear. Sure, you should come to be consoled as a sinner, but what follows next is the arduous and blessed journey of repentance.

    • Nailed it. Thank you for such a well thought out, and Biblical response to an issue that wrecks our hearts for the lost.

  37. Wow, All of these comments and not one person mentioned the grace of Jesus. We’re missing it, people. It’s not about elevating which of our sins is the worst, or shouting louder about how to treat those who sin differently. The issue is truly between yourself and Jesus. YOU AND HIM ALONE. The Bible states, “ALL HAVE SINNED AND FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD.” The only solution to repairing the relationship wrecked by our sin which brings the wrath of God, is having a relationship with Jesus, letting the Holy Spirit work out our faith, and leaving behind the sins we’ve done that were evidence of our flesh over spirit.

    The difference in what I’m saying and the comments above me is that we, in our sinful states, can try all we want to leave behind our old lives, but we won’t accomplish this without letting Jesus into our lives. He is the one who changes and equips us with the Holy Spirit. It’s a process of holiness. When Jesus died on the cross, He died to conquer death (physical and spiritual), but HE ROSE to bring the life-changing power of His Father into the picture, so that through a relationship with those who profess His name, they could have access to the Father and everlasting life.

    He’s not saying, “You got a divorce? Now I have to erase your name from the Book of Life…” There is grace that is now open to Jew and Gentile because the Lord wishes for none to perish. Repentance means to turn away from sin. If you know something is a sin, seek His help to stop doing it. It’s that simple. He can and will help you. It requires faith and the ability to know flesh will fail, but the Lord is stronger. Read any one of Paul’s works in the New Testament. He shares the battle between sinning and accepting grace, and how to overcome. And you know what a sin is especially if you have to lie about it, do it in the dark, keep it hidden. Remember the Psalms tell us that all things done in darkness are brought into the light. Don’t pretend that just because social norms are changing that God’s Word has changed and we get to run rampant sinning and then repenting. I’m not encouraging the abuse of grace, found in Romans.

    To be honest, I am a divorced woman. I wanted to end my own life when I was going through my divorce because I was convinced the Bible condemned me. The pain of feeling unloved and unacceptable to God was more than I could take. I went down a dark, self-destructive road. And then I began to read His Word and saw that God sent Jesus to show me how crazy His love is for me. He showed me that I have value, that I have a new name, and that I am acceptable through the blood of Christ. It didn’t give me permission to sin. We need the law to convict, and Jesus to give grace. I turned from my sinful life. I can’t change my divorced status, but I can change the way I treat my new husband. I have to be surrendered all of the time to the One who knows me best.

    In 2 Corinthians 5:17, we are told we are new creations. Let’s be those new creations, letting the Spirit lead, walking by faith, instead of seeking approval from other sinners (WHICH INCLUDES MYSELF AND ALL OF YOU) who are looking for their own approval from other sinners. It’s an endless cycle. The only person who matters when it comes to value and credibility is the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, love others, stop judging, stop throwing around Bible verses to sound bigger than those who have less faith than you, or those who don’t read the Bible at all. If you don’t know Jesus, and you don’t have the Holy Spirit, you can’t manifest the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Maybe seek the Lord and repent of your hardened hearts, stop spewing hateful comments on blog posts that are supposed to inspire and encourage others, and worry about where your relationship is with Christ. We’re not meant to be looking in other backyards, we have enough to worry about with ourselves. And if you feel the need to comment back to this comment, please filter it through grace first, as that is what the Lord has done for you.

  38. While I understand and appreciate the point being made, I’m concerned that the tone of the argument – in the wrong hands – will cause more harm than good. The points are valid. Many churches DO extend more grace and compassion towards those who have endured divorce. And those same churches are opposites to same-sex relationships. I’m afraid that your words may lead to a regression. Instead of “getting your point” and offering more understanding and grace to the LGBT community, I’m afraid it will only cause them to rethink their treatment of divorced people. After all, it’s far easier to judge (#nailingit) than to extend grace. Sadly, there actually still are many churches who draw a hard line in the sand on divorce and remarriage. I’m afraid many Christians will read this blog and miss the point entirely, instead seeing it as one more segment of people to look down upon, ostracize, and point the finger at. From the pulpit the Sunday after the ruling, I listened to a pastor reeking of elitism as he belittled “them” (the gays) for “doing what they want to do”, accused affirming (air quotes used) “evangelical” Christians of caving to culture instead of trying to understand why, and wrapped it all up with a call to the congregation to not only uphold biblical marriage of one man and one woman, but the “till death do us part” part and condemning anyone who has divorced and not had reconciliation…. There was not one ounce of humility, reflection, dialogue, education, understanding, compassion, or grace from that pulpit. And that’s when I walked out. We just need so much less of that, and SO MUCH MORE this – https://johnpavlovitz.com/2015/07/01/6-ways-christians-lost-this-week/

  39. Thank you. I’m one of the divorced people – even the one who initiated the divorce. But that wasn’t what got me kicked out of my church. What got me kicked out was standing up for my trans child.

    I don’t think for a second that we need to double down on those who have been through a divorce, but the double standard there is pretty amazing.

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