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.
LOL........Well their were differant paragraphs when I was reviewing, but they didn't post as that! LOL Must be they didn't want to comply with that readers complaint of no paragraphs! LOL Gotta love it! LOL
This is to all the non-believers out there that have had a great time making fun of God and those of us that believe and a Big AMEN to (Redeemed) , (Jeff) and (Tim S) Plus many other Christians that have made some great comments and backed up with scripture!
If there were no God then how is it that we are created so perfectly? We have white and red blood cells, each have it's own job to do. If we lack anyone of them, we would be dead. Our eyes blink for a specific reason. Our eyelashes protect our eyes from certain debri. Our noses have hair in them to protect from dust and germs. We need ears to hear, eyes to see, tongues to speak and etc. Every part of our body was created in such a way to work together. And not a one of us is exactely alike, including multiple births, there is something on them that is differant than the other.
Wouldn't we look funny if our ears were where our eyes are suppose to be? LOL Just a thought!
Animals have unique protection abilities. Some lizards can change color to what they are on, so they may stay hidden from preditors. Some put off a distinct odor to chase preditors away, or simply drop off their tail if it is grabbed. Turtles have a cool shell in which they can hide if need be. Each living creature has something that is unique to their survival. How does that just happen? Magic? I cannot conceive any other explaination other than that GOD CREATED US AND THE HEAVENS AND THE EARTH as he has said in the Bible. Prove to me otherwise doubters! Can't wait to hear what you come up with.
As some of you commented earlier that I was a drive by because I had not kept up with the comments back at me. Well in short, I do have a life outside of this computer and a Blessed one at that! :)
I bet you never expected a science lesson......LOL And I made paragraphs, just for the complainer earlier. I actually do not waist my time on making something like this grammer or punctuation perfect, due to the sillyness that goes on here, but just for you I made an exception. LOL God Bless
There is no god. Evolution is a wonderous tool for making us what we are. Not that there is anything wrong in believing in god, there is euqally nothign wrong with nto believing in god. What is wrong is denying people their rights that have nothign to do with your beliefs,
If you want to live in a country ruled by a radical fundamentalist religion, you can always move to Iran. We won't miss you here in the land of the free.
My way or the highway.Who said that? My country love it or leave it! The answer isn't 't to be found in Clint Eastwood films or bumper stickers.If the glove don't fit we just....life is not a game off cards this trumps that,I could dispose with you in 4words,or four letter words but I believe in talking and not short strident frothing.
We live in a secular society. What you do as a citizen is no concern of mine as long as it is legal, ethical, and doesn't infringe on my rights. I would certainly not want to live in any theocracy, even a Christian one, as there would be bound to be interpretations that I would not agree with.
But we are not talking about gays in the US. We are talking about gays in the church.
The case for "Christian" gay marriage is Dead on Arrival.
No such provision in the Bible.
Celibate relationships are acceptable, though difficult to achieve.
Those who can accept it, accept it (as Jesus said in Matthew 19:12.
Also no provision in the Bible for using computers... You're clearly in direct violation of what the Bible doesn't say, yourself.
In Philippians 2:5-8; he “emptied himself” of his hevaenly glory and spirit nature and “took a slave’s form” in submitting to the transferal of his life to the earthly, material, human plane. The assignment before him represented a tremendous responsibility; so very much was involved. By remaining faithful he would prove false Satan’s claim, recorded in the case of Job, that under privation, suffering, and test, God’s servants would deny Him. (Job 1:6-12; 2:2-6) As the firstborn Son, Jesus, of all God’s creatures, could give the most conclusive answer to that charge and the finest evidence in favor of his Father’s side in the larger issue of the rightfulness of Jehovah’s universal sovereignty. Thereby he would prove to be “the Amen .a0.a0.a0, the faithful and true witness.” (Re 3:14) If he failed, he would reproach his Father’s name as none other could.In selecting his only-begotten Son, Jehovah, of course, was not ‘laying his hands hastily upon him,’ with the risk of being ‘a sharer in possible sins,’ for Jesus was no novice likely to get “puffed up with pride and fall into the judgment passed upon the Devil.” (Compare 1Ti 5:22; 3:6.) Jehovah ‘fully knew’ his Son from his intimate association with him during countless ages past (Mt 11:27) and could therefore assign him to fulfill the unerring prophecies of His Word.
In your 5th and 6th paragraphs you seem to go to extreme efforts to avoid the Council of Jerusalem that would have solved that whole 'so what now of Leviticus' question. This isn't a mere omission, its omission is necessary for you to suggest a new law (based on Origenist universalist mumbo jumbo no less). You reveal yourself to be either a terrible biblical scholar or a liar. Either way your teachings are entirely heretical and unfounded. Please pray with the scriptures.
The writer of this article is not aware of what God thinks about gay and lesbians. I invite him to read Romans 1:7,8... But for who's a true Christian knows that there would be, " a period of time when they ( people that call them selfs christians) will not put up with the healthful teaching, but, in accord with their own desires, they will accomulate teachers for themselves to have their ears tickled, and they will turn there ears away from the truth, whereas they will be turned aside to false stories". God clearly condems sameS relationships, but if these people really love God they can change, like many today and in the first century changed as well. ( 1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
Cree- are u in need for more people in ur church?...
The word need Jesus to be save. Please reed Romans 1 to 32 I just write some verse. VS.18,19 For the wrath of God revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. VS.26,28 For this cause God gave them up into vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, liaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. 1Corinthians 6.9,10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulteres, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, not drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 2Peter 1.19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until they day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts. 1Peter 4.17,18 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Aside from the fact that your post is barely intelligible, you neglected to mention where Jesus condemns ho-mo-se-xual-ity. That's right, he doesn't. Why is it that we give so much weight to what Paul says, but ignore the fact that Jesus does not address this issue, but instead told us not to judge others and to love people as we love ourselves. And don't bring the OT into this, as Christians do not follow most all of those laws now. Sunday lunch at Red Lobster is an abomination, as is mowing your lawn before sundown on the sabbath... where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?
Amen, you have spoken well. for such a time as this!.
There is a very good reason Jesus did not speak about homôsëxuality – it wasn't an issue for his audience. He would be, in essence, preaching to the choir. Jesus was proclaiming the gospel to the Jews. Their problems were that they were so concerned with acting "holy" that they didn't waste effort on showing compassion and love.
Paul spoke primarily to the gentiles, where homôsëxuality was an issue. It is mentioned by him quite specifically in rather strong terms. It is specifically stated that those practicing homôsëxuality will NOT be in the Kingdom.
As for the OT, the instances you cite were given to a specific people (the Israelites) to set them apart. Those things are not required for Christians because we are set apart in a different way. Some things included in the Mosaic covenant obviously are applicable at any time (such as "do not murder") – mainly those things that cause direct harm to others.
Other things like homôsëxuality, may not be so obvious. But it is specifically identified as an abomination prior to Moses, under the Mosaic covenant, and of course in the NT. If you want to pick and choose what you want to observe, that is your business – but it is not Christian.
If you are a Christian shouldn't you primarily focus on what Jesus said, not Paul, Moses, etc.?
Pastor Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church -
located at 3283 Providence Mill Rd, Maiden, NC 28650
Church Telephone: 828-428-2518.
For a good time... call...
Acts 20:29 I know that after I am gone fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 20:30 Even from among your own group men will arise, teaching perversions of the truth to draw the disciples away after them.
Proof-texting is the first refuge of the ignorant.
@Kindess said: "Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you."
I have had experiences I would describe similarly - in front of a painting, or listening to a symphony, contemplating Nature and the Cosmos. I don't get the hubris of Christians who think they alone are granted sole ownership of transcendent experience. The latter is human, it is not supernatural, and one needn't believe in a god in order to have such experiences affect and guide their lives.
Just because you don't know God is showing you something supernatural and you don't know its because of him doesn't mean it's not. Christians don't think they have the only access to the wonderment of the Universe. They just believe they know what created it.
In other words, two people are looking at the same painting both are amazed by it. Just one believes in a painter the other doesn't.
@Ben said - "Just because you don't know God is showing you something supernatural and you don't know its because of him doesn't mean it's not."
Ben - the burden to demonstrate the truth of a claim, is on the one making it. You cannot demonstrate at anything near the threshold of reason you would require for most things, that a single supernatural event has ever occurred in the history of the universe. You might as well say to me that because I didn't know who slipped a dollar bill under my pillow, I should logically accept the possibility that it could have been the tooth fairy. Your statement is intellectually corrupt, as are many believer's statements - and in order to live with their intellectual inconsistencies, believers demonize intellectualism as materialistic, or worse satanic, and appeal instead to faith. Every argument presented in support of supernatural belief is circular, because it invariably leads to the protective harbor of faith. It is the ultimate begging of the question - your belief is true because you believe it to be true - and the evidence you offer in support is . . . your belief.
@Ben said - "In other words, two people are looking at the same painting both are amazed by it. Just one believes in a painter the other doesn't."
Ben - you missed my point. The transcendent feelings you experience through your religion are no different than the transcendent feelings I experience as an atheist. Feelings of transcendence and their affect on individuals are a human capacity - they are not evidence, as many Christians propose in their testimonials, of a supernatural intervention.
Gay is self glorification is sin
Give glory to god alone
Cannot say I an Christian yet will continue to sin against god
Cannot give all with gay as idol
We are all sinners and will die unless we repent and give glory to god
Gay is sin is an idol that glorifys self
Gay is sin. If u don't repent u will die
If u are a murderer and don't repent u will die
If u live self and not give glory to god alone u will die
Gay marriage is wrong. Gays will never find happiness even if the government consents gay marriage.
Not as long as you keep annoying them.
Yet the christian church performs and supports gay marriage. As it should
Why? Because you say so? Who are you to dictate morals to another person?
Marriage made Newt so happy that he did it three times!
Summarizing with a prayer:---–>>>>>>>>>
The Apostles' Creed 2011: (updated by yours truly based on the studies of NT historians and theologians of the past 200 years)
Should I believe in a god whose existence cannot be proven
and said god if he/she/it exists resides in an unproven,
human-created, spirit state of bliss called heaven?????
I believe there was a 1st century CE, Jewish, simple,
preacher-man who was conceived by a Jewish carpenter
named Joseph living in Nazareth and born of a young Jewish
girl named Mary. (Some say he was a mamzer.)
Jesus was summarily crucified for being a temple rabble-rouser by
the Roman troops in Jerusalem serving under Pontius Pilate,
He was buried in an unmarked grave and still lies
a-mouldering in the ground somewhere outside of
Said Jesus' story was embellished and "mythicized"/"miraclized" by
many semi-fiction writers. A bodily resurrection and
ascension stories were promulgated to compete with the
Caesar myths. Said stories were so popular that they
grew into a religion known today as Catholicism/Christianity
and featuring dark-age, daily wine to blood and bread to body rituals
called the eucharistic sacrifice of the non-atoning Jesus.
(References used are available upon request.)
I really understand that you don't believe. That is OK, you have plenty of company. But what is it that attracts you here? I mean, Christians go out among the non-believers to save their souls. But if I get you correctly, you don't believe in souls to begin with.
So what's the point? Trying to save us from what? For what? What does is matter to you what I believe, as long as I don't force you to live your life a certain way? Are you having fun??? Surely there are better things to do.
@KCArrowhead said - "But what is it that attracts you here?"
Unfortunately, many Christian and other religious sects do try to "force you to live your life a certain way." So, the presence of atheists or agnostics or skeptics in a discussion about belief systems that affect the social matrix of which they are a part, should certainly not surprise you. I'm here because I feel compelled to resist the onslaught of misinformation and thus illogical conclusions that are perpetuated by religion. It's a stimulating intellectual challenge.
I am an atheist who has many Christian friends - mostly liberal Christians, a few fundamentalists - and I find them to be mostly fine, productive, compassionate people who I respect and love. But I disagree with their belief that the Cosmos contains a supernatural dimension - and I see how their belief, while fulfilling and productive at their own personal micro level, can lead to destructive decisions and damaging social inertia at the macro level. Happily, the belief in supernatural mythologies inherited from primitive ancestors is slowly eroding, at least in Western cultures - and in time (much time, but hopefully not too much) I expect it will be replaced by the thoughtful poetic of knowledge and truth and enduring curiosity that is the essence of a truly human, non-supernatural, spirituality. I'm here because I feel compelled to try and be a tiny little part of that massive change.
Stephen is right about us Christians wanting others to live their lives a different (we would say better) way. The reason is simple: we are all hypocrites. We're telling people they should be more like Jesus when we ourselves could never hope to be exactly like Jesus. However, the command that Jesus lays on us to spread the Good News isn't a choice for us. We consider it a command from the risen Jesus Himself (If you love me, feed my sheep, i.e., do My work in the world). Another, and closely related thing we do is expect to be heard when we speak. What have we done to earn that priviledge? If we were more concerned about feeding the poor and following Jesus (which He said a ton in the Gospels) instead of insisting everybody be "born again" exactly to our specifications (He said that exactly once, by the way), people might be a little more inclined to listen to our messge. I'm an Evangelical Christian, and yes, we do need to be born again, but we would be a little more authentic in the world today if we were more concerned about doing what Peter and the disciples were charged to do: spread the good news of the Gospel, and change the world. Jesus lays the same command upon us today. Might we do it.
How much money would the following save the US taxpayers ?: And how many “souls” would be saved?
Saving 1.5 billion lost Muslims:
There never were and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam and therefore no more koranic-driven acts of horror and terror LIKE 9/11.
– One trillion dollars over the next several years as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will end.
– Eighteen billion dollars/yr to Pakistan will stop.
– Four billion dollars/yr to Egypt will end.
Saving 2 billion lost Christians including the Mormons:
There were never any bodily resurrections and there will never be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity!!!
– The Mormon empire will now become taxable as will all Christian "religions" and evangelical non-profits since there is no longer any claim to being a tax-exempt religion.
– Saving 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:
Abraham and Moses never existed.
– Four billion dollars/yr to Israel saved.
– All Jewish sects and non-profits will no longer be tax exempt.
Said savings will go along way in balancing the US budget and also paying for universal health care !!!!!!
The Apostle Paul said "Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good."
There was law, long before Paul tried to co-opt it by labeling it as holy. Just because people came along later and tried to claim all of the good ideas as god's, doesn't make it true.
Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s
B2UX Your Caps Lock is stuck on. Thought I'd let you know.
Jesus said to Mary go and sin no more he actknowledge sin still existed and he comanded her to stop. He saved her but also expected her to live according to the law. He didn't save her and say "Now you know that whole sleeping around thing... just keep on keepin on ; )
A thought to consider without a typical ego response
Accept Jesus christ as your lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
The world denounces truth....
Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.
Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.
The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.
Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners.
We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Let go and let god".
It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .
Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
See the truth...
do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from som other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..
Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .
Trancsend the temporal world.
Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .
Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing
Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.
Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....
Read Ecclesiastes. Read corinthians.
You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.
Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are in christ.
I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .
Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?
Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.
once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it
Your all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
Its awsome .
Bro...that was awesome...couldn't have said it better if the Holy Spirit would have used me to say it. :)
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