The topic of same sex marriage is a hot one today. Whether we have a plebiscite or whether the Parliament legislates on the matter is still up for debate, but the situation will remain controversial. Many people have strong ideas on the matter and some are not open to reasonable debate.
Some conservative Christians are among those who categorically oppose homosexual activity, and quote from the Bible to prove their point. The Bible unequivocally states that homosexual activity is an abomination to the Lord, and for some, that is the end of the debate. So how can other Christians countenance the activity to the point of legalizing same sex marriages when the Bible seems so clear on the matter?
I believe a very important matter in facing this problem is to be open to hear what other people are saying. For either side of the debate to have closed minds is not going to solve anything and will keep the nation divided.
I would ask those who are categorically opposed to the practice on the basis of biblical injunctions to look in more detail at prohibitions contained in the Bible. It is equally clear that to eat many sea foods, such as crabs or crayfish, is to eat unclean food and that is prohibited. Also to eat the flesh of many birds of prey such as the eagle, the kite, or the falcon is an abomination. If we can set aside some of these prohibitions as being culturally based and so no longer applying to us, on what basis can we refuse to do likewise on the matter of homosexual activity? As a matter of fact there are a host of prohibitions in the Law of Moses that even conservative Christians ignore or consider no longer applicable in our day and generation.
The Bible is equally clear that the appropriate punishment for many sins or crimes is death, often by stoning. Does this not still apply? It appears that we need to be a little more consistent in our interpretation of Scripture if we are to be taken seriously.
Blasphemy is almost an unforgivable crime amongst Muslims and many of us believe this is quite unreasonable, but the Bible is equally strong in condemning it. In Leviticus 24: 16 we read: “One who blasphemes the name of the LORD shall be put to death; the whole congregation shall stone the blasphemer. Aliens as well as citizens, when they blaspheme the Name, shall be put to death.” Why is it then that we think the execution of blasphemers is barbaric when our own Scriptures demand the same penalty?
I believe we should take many of the prohibitions of Scripture as applicable to the culture of the time, and in applying them to our own day and age, we have to do back to basics and see when and how these, understood in our own culture, might still apply. A good guide in these matters is to go back to what we call the Golden Rule and do unto others what we would have them do unto us, or put more simply, we are to love of neighbours as ourselves. I believe that applying these rules to our daily living will not take us away from the paths of justice and mercy.
Rev. Alan Stuart Ex missionary to Korea, Retired Minister, UCA
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