Editor's Note: Mark Osler is a Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
By Mark Osler, Special to CNN
I am a Christian, and I am in favor of gay marriage. The reason I am for gay marriage is because of my faith.
What I see in the Bible’s accounts of Jesus and his followers is an insistence that we don’t have the moral authority to deny others the blessing of holy institutions like baptism, communion, and marriage. God, through the Holy Spirit, infuses those moments with life, and it is not ours to either give or deny to others.
A clear instruction on this comes from Simon Peter, the “rock” on whom the church is built. Peter is a captivating figure in the Christian story. Jesus plucks him out of a fishing boat to become a disciple, and time and again he represents us all in learning at the feet of Christ.
During their time together, Peter is often naïve and clueless – he is a follower, constantly learning.
After Jesus is crucified, though, a different Peter emerges, one who is forceful and bold. This is the Peter we see in the Acts of the Apostles, during a fevered debate over whether or not Gentiles should be baptized. Peter was harshly criticized for even eating a meal with those who were uncircumcised; that is, those who did not follow the commands of the Old Testament.
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Peter, though, is strong in confronting those who would deny the sacrament of baptism to the Gentiles, and argues for an acceptance of believers who do not follow the circumcision rules of Leviticus (which is also where we find a condemnation of homosexuality).
His challenge is stark and stunning: Before ordering that the Gentiles be baptized Peter asks “Can anyone withhold the water for baptizing these people who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?”
None of us, Peter says, has the moral authority to deny baptism to those who seek it, even if they do not follow the ancient laws. It is the flooding love of the Holy Spirit, which fell over that entire crowd, sinners and saints alike, that directs otherwise.
My Take: Bible doesn’t condemn homosexuality
It is not our place, it seems, to sort out who should be denied a bond with God and the Holy Spirit of the kind that we find through baptism, communion, and marriage. The water will flow where it will.
Intriguingly, this rule will apply whether we see homosexuality as a sin or not. The water is for all of us. We see the same thing at the Last Supper, as Jesus gives the bread and wine to all who are there—even to Peter, who Jesus said would deny him, and to Judas, who would betray him.
The question before us now is not whether homosexuality is a sin, but whether being gay should be a bar to baptism or communion or marriage.
Your Take: Rethinking the Bible on homosexuality
The answer is in the Bible. Peter and Jesus offer a strikingly inclusive form of love and engagement. They hold out the symbols of Gods’ love to all. How arrogant that we think it is ours to parse out stingily!
I worship at St. Stephens, an Episcopal church in Edina, Minnesota. There is a river that flows around the back and side of that church with a delightful name: Minnehaha Creek. That is where we do baptisms.
The Rector stands in the creek in his robes, the cool water coursing by his feet, and takes an infant into his arms and baptizes her with that same cool water. The congregation sits on the grassy bank and watches, a gentle army.
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At the bottom of the creek, in exactly that spot, is a floor of smooth pebbles. The water rushing by has rubbed off the rough edges, bit by bit, day by day. The pebbles have been transformed by that water into something new.
I suppose that, as Peter put it, someone could try to withhold the waters of baptism there. They could try to stop the river, to keep the water from some of the stones, like a child in the gutter building a barrier against the stream.
It won’t last, though. I would say this to those who would withhold the water of baptism, the joy of worship, or the bonds of marriage: You are less strong than the water, which will flow around you, find its path, and gently erode each wall you try to erect.
The redeeming power of that creek, and of the Holy Spirit, is relentless, making us all into something better and new.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Mark Osler.
There is NO ambiguity in the Holy Scriptures that read "Man shall not lay with man as with woman". There is no such thing as a gay Christian. You can not be born again if you refuse to acknowledge what the scriptures plainly teach as being sin.
You refuse the truth.
You're a moron.
And you are supremely arrogant to think you possess the truth
And you are brainwashed and do not know it. The only thing left for you is to fight people's pursuit of happiness.
Huge number of perfectly good christians disagree with you LT.
Do you eat shrimp? According to the scriptures, that is an abomination. I always find it amusing how so called "Christians" pick and choose what to condemn as sin and what to overlook, all the while they are clearly judging others which is also something that according to the scriptures they are not supposed to do. It's this kind of hypocrisy that keeps me as far away from religion that I can get.
Wrong LT. People are born gay or straight. You can't be disqualified as a Christian based on your nature. The faith argues that gay s-e-x is a sin. Some people disagree in good conscience. That doesn't make them non-Christian even if they are wrong. In any case every Christian is a sinner. Let God decide who is and who is not condemned.
@Mike Blackadder, wrong. People are NOT born gay. It is absolutely a choice. It doesn't matter how long you have felt this way. Once you read in the scriptures that it is wrong. You then have a choice to make. Since God is the Creator of all that exists, it would absolutely make NO since to create someone that way and then give a commandment against it.
Nowhere does the Bible condemn ho-mose-xual MARRIAGE. Don't confuse getting married with getting laid.
Actually, Rick, it is God who you are calling arrogant, not me. He is either non existent or supreme, we don't get an in between according to His word. If one chooses to disregard God, I cannot argue. But, in the case of this article, when one takes the position of believing in God, but adjusting Him to personal desires or human thinking and saying "what I think of God" is right, well, yes, that is arrogant. Let God speak and the rest be silent.
@Rev. Schaeffer, you are NOT a Reverend of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And you are NOT speaking the truth concerning the Word of God our Creator. You are a false teacher who has declared your ways as right in your OWN eyes just as the Holy Scriptures prophesied would happen.
No LT, s-exual preference is not a choice. You can be gay (in terms of se-xual preference) and be chaste and this is not sinful and doesn't make you non-Christian. You and I are probably arguing semantics.
The sentimental indulgences of pop culture religion are outgrowths of an appalling Biblical illiteracy so breath taking, one doesn't know where to begin to engage in the discussion. The only things I might say are that reprobation knows no bounds, has no conscience, and is beyond the possibility of regeneration.
10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Wrong
01) Gay marriage will encourage straight people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make short people tall.
02) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.
03) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.
04) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed. My parents in Texas ran screaming to the court to get a divorce, the minute they heard that a gay couple married in Vermont.
05) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.
06) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets, because gays marrying will alter the fundamental $ex drive of others.
07) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. We really want people who, in the 21st Century, still believe in sky-gods and evil devils, based on 2,000 year old Palestinian mythology, setting social policy.
08) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.
09) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms, just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.
10) It will lead to social disorder. I constantly hear of large groups of gays protesting against the rights of Christians to marry and committing acts of violence against Christians.
@ Colin first let two gay men make child of their own that will match their DNA then I'll answer the rest
BamaDaniel – did you not read point 5.
"It is not our place, it seems, to sort out who should be denied a bond with God and the Holy Spirit of the kind that we find through baptism, communion, and marriage. The water will flow where it will.
Intriguingly, this rule will apply whether we see hom-os-exuality as a sin or not. The water is for all of us."
Mark, I'm glad that you raise this point. Christ died for all of us, and without Christ none can be saved because no matter how virtuous we think we are, none of us can stand before God alone.
The only logical issue with your argument is with regard to the sacrament of marriage. It's fine to recognize that those who receive sacraments are all sinners, so sinfulness is not a precondition to sacraments. However, that's not the same thing as mixing in a sinful act as being a sacrament. You mention that this rule applies whether we see ho-mo-se-xuality as a sin or not. But what if God actually does see a gay union as sinful and against his will. Certainly this is a relevant consideration. If we then define a gay union as a church sacrament we attempt to apply God's mark to this union. Consider here what we are told in the third commandment.
The argument for gay marriage as a sacrament has to be based upon revelation that this is the will of God.
It is true that Peter argued that the gentiles could be baptized with water. Read the story in Acts. They were baptized after faith in Jesus changed them. Once they believed, they left their polytheistic beliefs. In other words, they quit doing what they had been doing before and were now accepted by the Christians. I wonder if they would have been baptized had they continued to worship their local deity.
The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. (1 Tim 4:1)
Made up nonsense and drivel.
UNCLE – Here is something that you and I can agree on: our lives of some seventy or so years are short, really microscopic, in relation to the existence of the universe of 14 billion years. And that is microscopic in relation to eternity. Like a "vapor which appears for a little while and then vanishes away." Be sure that what you have concluded is truth will carry you forward into eternity. There is no "try again" or "do over". After death is the judgment with either life eternal with the Lord or eternal punishment.
I have never adabdoned your faith – i never had it in the first place. And there is more than 1 faith in the world.
JWT – I understand that belief in God, and in particular the God of the Bible, comes at some point in a person's life – or is rejected. It is impossible for all religions to be true. The reason being that their doctrine often are in direct conflict with each other. For example, Jesus says that He is the only "way to the Father". Period. That presents a big problem, a condemning issue, for all other religions. The Bible says that He is the Son of God and that He was crucified and was resurrected to gain victory over sin for us. Islam outright rejects that with specific verses in the Koran that state that those assertions (Jesus' diety, trinity, and crucifixion) are not the case. Kind of interesting to be so specific. Other world religions are philosophies or composites of compound beliefs (like Hinduism). There is nothing like what the Bible tells us. Be very sure that you are correct: “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it." (Matthew 7:13,14)
cnn you will not change me with your agenda.. So should I support a rapist or a murderer because God gave them the right to choose. Same thing you saying. You can not be a true christian who lives by the word and support gay marriage when asked. It is unreal how our country is , if a gay person ask if you like gay marriage and you say no ! People get in a uproar over it because we do not agree , what a freedom of speech we have these days...Throw me in jail because it is wrong to be gay.
scott: you have a perfect right to blather your bigotry
The author's interpretation of the Scripture is simply incorrect. The Church was built on the "Rock" – petra in the NT Greek meaning large, massive, mountain like rock that is Jesus Himself and in this case Peter's profession of faith in Him. Not Peter, petros in the NT Greek, meaning small stone. Peter was just a flawed man as are we all. No one is denied the saving power of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit if they repent of their sins and commit their lives to Him. And to my Christian brothers and sisters, please don't cast the first stone. Jesus didn't, why are we so arrogant as to think we can? Peace.
You cast the first stone, by telling someone their interpretation of the Bible is wrong. The Bible is not a book Jesus used or ever referenced would exist as the final word on him or how WE should worship him.
Too many Xtians try to limit their GOD to what the Bible says...but your GOD doesnt play by the Bible, its NOT HIS rule book, and he's not subject to it limits. He can and likely does act outside of What the Bible says, or what you and others think it says and how it should be used – the Bible is NOT your GOD. Stop worshiping the Bible and stop using it as a tool of the final word on this GOD...!
tom li – You make an interesting, though erroneous assertion: "the Bible is NOT your GOD". On the contrary. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1. Now, if you choose not to believe that, that is your choice, certainly. But your assertion just does not match up to scriptural truth.
Tom- I consider the Bible God's revelation of Himself and His plan for my life to me, not something to be worshipped. I simply do not want words that are clear in the original text, like the 3 Greek words for "Love, " to be twisted to fit an agenda. And there is plenty of that going on on both sides of this debate. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind and love your neighbor as yourself. Words to live by. Shalom my friends...
What if the Bible is bigger than us and this little slice of life we are living now? What if it's truth is bigger than our current wants and blindness to eternal truth since we can't comprehend forever? The logic this and other pro-gay marriage posts apply to the Word of God is rather juvenile, assuming that God couldn't possibly be clear when He makes points I don't agree with. Clearly the literal text can't be right if I don't like it... What I think is irrelevant, what God says is truth.
You're so right. I also believe the universe and planet were created in 6 days 6 thousand years ago accompanied by a talking snake in the "Garden of Eden". I can't stand all those know-it-all scientists who say we all originated in South East Africa. . .and their silly facts and evidence are so. . . .well, SILLY!
What if you really contemplated that you and you followers (sheep) are a very small percentage of the world's population? They rest are all doing a fine job of loving their families and raising the next generation of earth's people. Could you possibly accept that your Christianity went marauding through the world several centuries ago on tall ships, slaying natives and forcing the Buy Bull dogma. It is easy to see the less technically sophisticated natives falling over backwards to embrace the new faith in absolute awe as it arrived via the new technology of the tall ship. Have you no shame at all?
1) woman, wife, female
a) woman (opposite of man)
b) wife (woman married to a man)
c) female (of animals)
d) each, every (pronoun)
In the OT the Bible uses the same word for wife as it does to refer to the pairing of animals [Gen 7:2], concubines (such as the ten "women" of David [2Sa 20:3]) or the union between curtains or wood tenons in the tabernacle [Exd 26:3-6,17). In Hebrew it is the bond that is sacred, not the identi-ty of that which is being joined.
In the NT the usage is more generic. In Greek it is the femininity rather than the relationship that is emphasized.
1) a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow
2) a wife
a) of a betrothed woman
(PS – Thanks again for sharing that filter list, Reality.. couldn't figure out what was blocking this one! :D)
OK, Episcopal. That explains a lot. Dude, you need to read your Bible, then you need to get SAVED.
He's trying to save Christianity from becoming extinct.
What you guys really need to do is stop believing in fairy tales. That would make the world SO much better. Then we could find other reasons to hate one another.
Bob, you are a wolf in sheep's clothing. The sneer of your remarks says as much.
Because I believe in a charismatic illusionist who may have lived more than 2000 years ago, I feel qualified to tell people nowadays what they can do with their genitals. Make sense?
Yes sir, you are right. You and anyone else can do whatever they want with their genitals, but then you cant complain about the consequences of that decision. "For the wages of sin is death."
Fortune telling? Again? Luis, you should wear a turban and have your eyes closed while you type this nonsense.
Being gay and Christian is like being a Jew and a memeber of a Gestapo.
Did God not create all people? He knows all, and is all powerful, so why would he allow someone to dive into what is, according to a bronze age book, sin? Why would he create a child that he has already condemned? And who are you to tell someone that they may not seek God's love?
Black and a kkk grandwizard
And being a fundamentalist Christian and a loving person is an oxymoron.
"The lips of wisdom are closed, except to the ears of Understanding."
CHARITABLE LOVE 201
Charitable love is a decision to love God with all your life, love yourself n love your neighbor as yourself because God loves you as Himself with all His Life.
It is ethical in nature. It is a force for good and a source of spirituality. Definition in 1st book of Corinth ch13.
"For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, 27and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error. 28And just as they did not see fit to acknowledge God any longer, God gave them over to a depraved mind, to do those things which are not proper." Rom 1:26-28
Thou shalt not eat shellfish blah blah blah abomination unto the Lord blah blah blah.
@DeeCee then why bother typing
Interesting. Did anyone else note that this scripture was NOT from the Old Testament? This was, in fact, written AFTER Jesus' death and ascension to heaven. Paul and the other apostles were laying the foundation for the modern-day Christian congregation. They saw fit to include the direction quoted above. Do with it what you will, but don't pretend its not there.
ch, I'm just doing what most of the religious fanatics are doing. Blah blah blah. No logic or thinking behind their posts. They are like parrots who repeat what they hear without being able to think for themselves. . .alot like many of the animals one finds in the backwoods.
@ yad this was written way after the resurrection... ...
Convincing and eloquent. And he's right; no one can hold back God's grace. It is not ours to deny; it is His to give.
I thought that was Santa Claus's job.
yes, but we shouldn't teach that sin is okay. Last part of Romans.
Kinda like the Fairy God Mother when she waves her magic wand. Yes, I've read about that. How true, how true.
I love it when religious fanatics, the US's equivalent to the Taliban and Al Qaida get all flustered and start stomping their little feet in protest.
Today it is gay marriage, so what is tomorrow, incest marriage. Surly you must be for that as well. Or is your stopping point of freedom of choice just different then others. What makes your opinion correct and others not? And does that not make you a fanatic in others eyes just as they are fanatics in your eyes.
Incest marriage? Sounds like you're trying to tell us that your parents were brother and sister.
To Wisconsin – (ends in sin) Why do you make such a huge and absurd leap? Why do Xtians like you always go to such extremes in your thinking? Most especially when we have history to prove every time Xtians like you went all crazy extreme in your worry – not one of them ever occurred as you said (hoped perhaps?) – not one!
Face it, all you/others like you see as good in religious faith is that it can be and should be used as a control mechanism.
DeeCee. You are so brave. I admire your pointy little hat and your point little troll ears. Some times I wish I were philosophical inept enough to believe all of the universe was a subject of blind chance because in the Darwinian model of survival of the fittest I could pull your little troll hat over your beady little troll eyes and beat you with a large stick like a little troll pinata.
Ooooh, today it's free the slaves, what next? free the cows?
Oooh, today it is women's suffrage, what next? baboons voting?
Ooooooh, you would slow the progress of civilization mightily. Get out of the way, please.
The substance of Sufism is the Truth and the meaning of Sufism is the selfless experiencing and actualization of the Truth. The practice of Sufism is the intention to go towards the Truth, by means of love and devotion. This is called the tarigat, the spiritual path or way towards God. The sufi is one who is a lover of Truth, who by means of love and devotion moves towards the Truth, towards the perfection which all are truly seeking. As necessitated by love's jealousy, the sufi is taken away from all except the Truth.
Revelation ends with these verses: "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and [from] the things which are written in this book." The first thing to note about the book of Revelation is that the revelations in it came directly from Jesus to John. So it has the highest possible authority. http://www.creationists.org/cults-new-revelations.html
"John"? Who was "John"? Do you even know?
The Bible was not written by God, it simply tells metaphorical stories in the Old Testament and the life and results of Jesus in the New Testament. It is not meant to be taken as fact, because let's be honest, creationism has no proof, while evolution does. So this allows for everybody to interpret Christianity and God's law in their own way.
God gave you a brain. Try to use it.
@Chris evolution has proof, really then why do they call it a theory? Where are the transitional fossils? Evolution requires more blind faith then believing God created everything.
ch, you really need to go do a bit more research on the subject. You are making a fool of yourself and you're too ignorant to realize it.
Evolution is based upon a vast canon of science, most of it proven by empirical evidence. Evolution is an observable fact and there is a body of theory to explain its mechanisms. Relgion is entirely made-up. Do you get the difference?
ch – actually try to learn about evolution and science for that matter. In science, for example, the word theory means that the hypothesis you originally came up with to explain the facts you are witnessing has been proven to be correct. Theories are thoroughly vetted and evolutionary theory is the most corroborated of them all. ALL branches of science prove a portion of evolution. As for transitional fossils, all of them are transitional. We are transitional between our ancestors and what we will become. There are thousands upon thousands of fossils. You have a book written over 1500 years ago that was passed down orally prior to finally being written. There are over 100,000 variants found in the writings of the new testament alone. This book gets many historical facts wrong and yet you would accept that on blind faith and try to compare that to researcher stating what his findings are. LEARN something. Read a book. Heck, read the bible and find out what a genocidal maniacal myth you think is such a "good" god.
The word "theory" is used to describe everything in science, even proven matters. For example, Gravity is a theory, as is the existence matter. And those are proven to exist. So the argument that it is a theory is irrelevant. Also, as creationism has no evidence at all, it is not even a theory. In the scientific world, it is known as a myth. A fairytale for adults.
Transitional fossils do exist. That is why we find neanderthal skeletons, and even intact bodies. Or dinosaurs that slowly gained wings and feathers to become birds.
Evolution has evidence in the form of fossil records that may be dated using carbon-14, as well as observation of a survival-of-the-fittest style of genetic mutations being passed to offspring. It has even been observed in just three years, as over several generations, fruitflies that were kept in complete darkness evolved to use sound to navigate, and lost their eyes because they were unnecessary.
As you can see, evolution can be proven to exist in a matter of years, and has evidence. Where is your evidence that everything appeared? In that book that says the world is 6000 years old, and flat.
Please don't try to argue, you will just make yourself look more ignorant.
Chad-Well said! right on! apropos!!!
UncleM i hate to burst your buble but let me inform you that evolution is also a religion. There is no empirical evidence that PROVES that evolution is true.
@Luis Evolution has empirical evidence, i.e. transitional fossils, rapid generation experiments (fruit flies), and the variance withing species. It is fact, and I am sorry that there are people in this world who are too blind to see that.
Also, please don't have kids.
@deeCee really ignorant, lets see if you take three teath and call that a missing link that is science, for that is Nebraska man. How about find a sloth claim it is a human missing link and call it IDA for that is what was done. How about find bones scattered over a mile square area attempt to put them together call this a missing link named Lucy, and you think I am ignorant because I co not believe evolutionist?
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