A Christian Teen Discovers He’s Gay and Traditional (?) Marriage

I have come to realize more and more that the greatest disease and the greatest suffering is to be unwanted, unloved, uncared for, to be shunned by everybody, to be just nobody.  Mother Theresa


Last week, I sat down in front of Justin with pages of questions. But, I realized that I really wanted to know Justin, not just his opinions. I am just an average person trying to understand. I have no training in communications or writing so, at times, I feel awkward, like a fish out of water.

As I looked at him, I blurted out, “ I am far more interested in you as a person. I want to know your story, your struggles.” He immediately put me at ease and began to share his life with me. He spoke with transparency and honesty, his eyes fixed firmly on mine.

Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina but in many respects it is a small town. “Who’s your mamma and daddy” are topics of conversation around here. Both Justin and I attended the same Baptist church but did not know each other even though I think we may have overlapped by a year or so. Justin’s family is well known and respected in Raleigh and in their church. They are known for being committed Christians, honest in their business and recognized as a loving family. 

There are details of Justin’s story that I can corroborate. I also know some of the pastors and people in his story. Like Justin, I will not mention them by their real names.

Growing up, Justin was every Christian parent’s dream child. He loved the Lord and his faith became strong and personal even while he was young. He used to become frustrated with the kids in the youth program because they pretended to be ”good” Christians in front of their parents and pastors but Justin knew what they were like  “behind the scenes.” He was frustrated by their hypocrisy. His commitment to the faith earned him the nickname of "God Boy" and he was often the brunt of much teasing.  He endured the teasing because he felt he was being persecuted for his faith and that was OK. He had a goal to go into full time Christian work.

Justin was very bright and was in a well-known program in this area for gifted students. He was a whiz at computes and math and won many competitions. Justin also has alopecia areata. This causes his hair to totally fall out. I believe he told me that it started at the age of 7. 

Digression-I am anticipating that people will say that Justin was not really a Christian, merely following some legalistic formulas. I totally disagree. He talked about his faith in Jesus in a personal way. He remarked often of his faith and how it was, and is, the most important thing in his life. This fact is vital to understanding the difficulties that Justin would face.

The start of the unwanted attractions

When Justin hit 11, he found he was attracted to other boys. However, he read material from Focus on the Family that appeared to indicate that sexual identity can be confused in eary puberty. He felt relieved and fully anticipated outgrowing these feelings.  He began dating, always enjoying those he dated but not feeling an significant attraction.

By the time he was a senior in high school, he had a wonderful girlfriend that other guys found "hot". However, although he loved her as a dear friend, he was frustrated that he had no attraction to her as a woman. He knew something was wrong because he found his attraction to other guys continuing to increase.

He begins to seek help from the church

He knew that this was not OK in light of what he understood of his faith.  He began to read about reparative therapy. He said that his goal was not only to become straight but to become straight really fast. There was no question in his mind that he would overcome this with the help of God

He met with one of his pastors who took him to a group, Homosexuals Anonymous, that met secretly in the church. Justin was deeply depressed at this meeting. These were middle aged, married men with children, who had been dealing with their feelings in this area for a long time while seeing only some modest success. Their gay attractions were still present. Justin said he did not want to battle homosexuality for decades and have the end result be what he saw in that room. He wanted to be cured, and cured fast!

A pastor inadvertently causes further anguish

Eventually, he knew he had to tell his parents and he went to another pastor to ask for help in telling them. He confessed his pain and struggle to the pastor. Here is the first thing the pastor said to him after all of this. “Well, don’t worry, as long as you are celibate, you can still be a member of this church.”

Justin was frantic. His faith was his life and the pastor had just threatened Justin with expulsion. At this point, Justin was (and is today) celibate. It never crossed his mind, as he went to his pastor for help, that his entire church life would be in jeopardy. He understood the intent of his pastor but his pastor did not understand the pain and anxiety that he had just interjected into Justin’s life.

Parents: Do respond this way

However, they did meet with Justin’s parents who, through tears, told him that they loved him and would support him in his journey to find the “cure.” His mother reached over and took his hand as they spoke. So, Justin began reparative therapy while at the same time heading off to Wake Forest University.


Justin immediately joined the Christian group on campus. Believing that Christians should support and encourage one another, he shared his struggle with the group. He immediately felt a distancing by many of the members. He got lectured on how he must be celibate (they assumed he was not) and he found himself excluded from some of the “let’s have fun” activities. When he was included, it got a bit weird. He would get a phone call from someone who would, in a very serious voice, invite him out to dialog.  He had now become a project when what he needed were some friends. His Christian supports were slipping away.

Hurting and alone:

As time progressed, Justin became frustrated that reparative therapy was not resulting in any noticeable changes in his attractions. His plan to be cured so he could go on with his Christian life plans to have a wife and a happy normal family life, was not panning out.

At the same time, he was feeling increasingly isolated from the only groups from which he derived strength, his church and Christian campus organizations. He was trying very hard to live out his faith and he became deeply depressed, feeling very alone.

At this juncture on our talk, Justin became emotional, as did I. I sensed what was coming.  He said that he considered suicide on two occasions.

Suicide? Here was a young man who was praying, seeking Christian solutions, believing that he could be cured, living a celibate life, following the Lord and he was rejected and marginalized by those in the church.

Church, are you listening?

At this point, I want to stop the narrative of his life. Justin would go on to reject reparative therapy after years of trying. He also wanted to reach out to those who believed life was no longer worth living and give them hope. Eventually he would start the Gay Christian Network.

Justin’s book Torn, will be published in November. I just finished reading a copy of the manuscript. I highly recommend this book if you want to understand the issues of faith and homosexuality. See the link at the top of this post.

OK, the tears are once again clearing from my eyes. Today I want to address two issues beyond what I have written above. Tomorrow I will write about the many other things I learned from Justin.

1. One says homosexual; another says gay-which is correct?

Justin and I discussed semantics and I have found that many people in the comment section have also weighed in.

For many in the gay community, the word “homosexual” is viewed in the same light as the word “Negro” is in the black community. It is technically correct but quickly labels the person using it as dated.

It is apparent to me that many people, outside of the gay community (and even a few on the fringes) view the word “gay” as meaning actively involved in sexual activity.

Justin explained that “gay” means same sex attraction, just as the word “straight” means opposite sex attraction.  If I were to say I am straight, I am not referring to my sexual activity.  In a church meeting I might say that I am straight and add that I was celibate prior to marriage and am monogamous within marriage.

I make it a point, whenever discussing racial issues that involve those of black skin color, to use the word ”African American” out of respect.  When I first arrived on the Navajo Reservation and began caring for elderly Navajo in their hogans or out where they were herding sheep, I was surprised to hear my interpreter calling an elderly man, “Grandpa”, and an elderly woman, ”Grandma.” After all, I had been trained as a nurse to respect my patients and always call them “Mr. Smith” or “Mrs. Smith.”

Thankfully I kept my mouth shut. I learned that the Navajo used the terms “Grandpa” and “Grandma” because those meant deep respect to the elderly person.  From that time forward, I always used “Grandma “and “Grandpa" when dealing with the elderly Navajo. There was also another advantage. I always forget people’s names, so I was covered in this area as well. 

Here is my bottom line. My goal is to love and care for any person that I contact. I want to enter his world and understand his issues. I do not want to cause any friction via terminology.

I figure Justin knows more than me about terms of respect within the GLBT community so I will, from this point forward, use the word “gay” unless told otherwise.

2. Traditional marriage or Biblical marriage?

What are today’s slogans on marriage? “God made Adam and Eve; not Adam and Steve.” “One man, one woman-God said it and I believe it.” Even our religious leaders chime in that marriage is between one man and one woman. I have even heard some Calvinistas, of rigid “complementarianism because it is obviously Biblical” doctrine say the same thing. I read one Neo Calvinist who said he had no trouble marrying two unbelievers because he could witness to them.

Let me jump on their bandwagon for a minute. We have had it hammered into our heads that marriage is supposed to be a symbol of the union of Christ and His church. Marriage is the union of two believers, each possessing the Holy Spirit, which is supposed to bind and unite both hearts in an virtually inviolable union.  This is far more than a simplistic one man and one woman explanation.

Instead, in many cases, the Christian view of marriage appears to have degenerated into a church sanctioned civil agreement between two people who may, or may not, be believers. Let me try to show you what I mean.

I have two relatives who got married in a church a number of years ago. They thought it looked nice and traditional to get married in a “classy” historical church. They both got wasted the night before. They giggled through the service and supposedly vowed before God to take their marriage seriously. They are both confirmed atheists. Is this the “traditional” marriage God envisaged for us?

Let’s take a look at the marriage between Katherine of Aragon and Henry the Eighth  (If any of you remind me of that certain song, you will be marked as a troll forever ☺). Henry started the Anglican church defied the Catholic church (correction thanks to Kolya) in order to dump Katherine and marry Anne Boleyn whom he later beheaded. One only need look at the marriages of many heads of state in England to see how “traditional marriages” are defined.

Charles Stanley, pastor, claimed that if he ever divorced, he would step down from the pulpit. He then proceeded to blame his wife for everything, divorced her and stayed on with the full support of his “leaders.”

Without quoting statistics, it is universally recognized that there is an exceedingly high divorce rate in the evangelical community. Of course, there are some good reasons for divorce-adultery, abuse, etc. But surely not all of these divorces are for those reason. Yet, said divorcees bounce from church to church, remarry, and go on living church life, studiously ignoring Biblical issues.

Think of all the high profile pastors and Christian leaders who get caught in affairs. And then think about the number of non-leaders in churches who have been involved in adultery. Better yet, what is the promiscuity rate in our singles groups? 

My thinking on this issue got brought to a head one night in a small group Bible study. One woman said that Christians have the best marriages because of the Holy Spirit and God’s blessing. I blurted out “Then why is our divorce rate so gosh darn high?” Could it be that we are dumbing down our definition of marriage to mimic the “traditional” worldview of those outside the faith?

I have a couple more questions. Why aren’t there Christians protesting no fault divorce laws? Where are the “family councils” actively encouraging legislation to make divorce tougher? What about protests on common law marriages? Better yet, why are we not boycotting companies who provide benefits to couples living together? I am making a point, not advocating an action.

In the Old Testament, the Israelites kept mixing in pagan tradition with the worship of the one, true and living God. This is called syncretism. Could it be that we, as Christians, have mistakenly mixed in secular concepts of marriage and divorce into the biblical view of marriage?

I believe that church must define and practice Biblical marriage by making pertinent changes to how we perceive and do marriages in the Christian church. We need to focus on Christian marriage so that we give the culture a clear, accurate and God-honoring view of how things are done. Until then, we have very little to offer to our culture, except some trite one man/one woman talking point.

How the culture decides to define marriage is up to the culture. Christians can voice their opinion but we have precious little to offer them in terms of clear models within the church. This is not a Christian nation, just a country that has quite a few self-professed Christians, many of  whom hold to some mighty peculiar views on the orthodox faith.

I view the union between two atheists, two Buddhists and two Wiccans, the same way I view a civil union between two women. None of them should impact the way the church perceives marriage.  Instead, the church should develop a clear, well-thought out and earnest perspective of the Biblical view of marriage. And then actually try to live it. Instead, we spend an inordinate amount of time defining why women should not pray out loud in church and joining in protests and then wonder why our culture does not understand and/or ignores our thoughts on this vital topic.

I am sure this is enough to get the discussion flowing for one day. If I am still alive tomorrow, I will present more of my conversation with Justin.

Lydia's Corner: Genesis 37:1-38:30 Matthew 12:22-45 Psalm 16:1-11 Proverbs 3:27-32


A Christian Teen Discovers He’s Gay and Traditional (?) Marriage — 103 Comments

  1. To our readers
    I will be out this evening with my family celebrating my daughter’s birthday and then we will help my son get packed to leave for college in the AM. Forgive me if I do not respond quickly.

  2. Hi Dee,

    I found your posting tonight deeply moving.

    However I must take slight issue with your account of Henry’s founding of the Church of England purely as a way of ditching Katherine. Of course Henry had no intention of allowing the Pope to block his search for a woman who could bear him an heir – and Henry could be one of the biggest religious hypocrites in history when it suited him. On the other hand it was never his intention to set up a new church, any more than it was originally Luther’s. Henry held to traditional Catholic teaching, against the new Protestantism, pretty much up to the end of his days, and burnt both Catholics and Protestants. His main policy was simply that the Pope had no authority over the church in England, which was certainly convenient for Henry but which also met with the approval of many Englishmen since for many years beforehand there had been discontent with Rome’s running of English ecclesiastical affairs. It just so happened that some of the clergy in the “rebranded” church also had Protestant convictions or at least sympathies which would fully emerge after Henry’s death.

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  4. Kolya

    I bow to your obvious knowledge of this situation. Thank you for your correction. That's why I love blogging. I tend to learn so much from people like yourself.

    My critique on the examples posed the married of heads of state who are also heads of the church still stand. They do not represent God's presentation of Christian marriage. Yeah, they get the man and woman part but that is about it.

  5. Eagle

    Justin is one of the most discrete individuals I have ever met. He would not tell me the name of the group.  I will share another story tomorrow in which he would not tell me the name of the organziation. I just happen to know the names of the people at his church.

  6. Eagle

    It is not the faith that makes you sick, it is his imperfect people. I can vouch for the love of Justin’s father. Also, his other siblings are not gay so it makes little sense to blame the nurture in this situation.

  7. You’ve made an excellent case for the shallowness of the faith of far too many believers, particularly in the denomination of which I am a part. People just don’t know what they believe .. they only know how they got where they are. And that doesn’t take them very far when the wheels start falling off, in themselves or in those around them.

    Sad commentary, but it needs to be said. Loud.

  8. Dee, I think the points you make about people not knowing – or caring much – about what they supposedly believe is also true of people of *all* religions, not just Christianity.

    As for marriage, I personally believe (always have) that a civil or Jewish or Hindu or Buddhist or Muslim or [add name of religion here] marriage is as valid in God’s eyes as a so-called “Christian” marriage. Is marriage about ceremonies, or is it about a commitment of the heart and mind on the part of the couple who are getting married? if the latter is not true, then I think that the legal aspect is real (i.e., these two people were single, but now they have certain rights and can file joint tax returns ;)), but is it an actual marriage?

    Is marriage “real” because it is consummated? What if there is no real desire to be married, but only a “going through the motions”? What if it is more about roles and property and having children? (As was true in the US until very recently, and as is still true for most of the people in this world…)

    I think that we need to look outside of our admittedly small cubbyhole (evangelical church) to see the perspectives of other denominations – and of other faiths.

    I grew up in a partly Jewish neighborhood, and never once questioned the validity of my friends’ folks’ marriages. Why should I have? They also believe(d) (some are gone now) in God.

    I don’t know that any specific doctrinal adjustment is going to “get it right.” And I also believe God is far greater than our anxiety over what is and is not marriage.

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  10. Numo

    I think I might disagree with you on this point. When one vows to follow the Buddha, one does not therefore follow Christ. They are not one and the same thing.

    Also, the mysterious union which involves the Holy Spirit is missing in those who have not received him, such as atheists. God is gracious and does not force Himself on those who do not wish him to be present or want some other deity to be present.

    I do not really care how people want to define marriage outside of the faith. If they want to say it is merely to make paperwork less cumbersome, well, so be it.That is the freedom given to all by the Creator and our government. However, things change a bit once we are Christians and function within the body of Christ. If it didn’t, why bother?

  11. Numo

    To be clear, I never question the validity of anyone’s marriage. How that marriage is defined is in the eyes of the beholder and the government. It’s just that I do not believe they have a marriage as defined in the NT. Nor should they-they do not adhere to the faith just as I would not expect to have my marriage viewed in the light of Buddhist tradtion since i am not a Buddhist.

  12. Numo,

    “As for marriage, I personally believe (always have) that a civil or Jewish or Hindu or Buddhist or Muslim or [add name of religion here] marriage is as valid in God’s eyes as a so-called “Christian” marriage.”

    You are exactly right. I believe the same way. Adam and Eve were married BEFORE they fell into sin. It’s an institution from God the Creator existing from the beginning of the human race.

  13. Thank you, Justin, for being willing to share with us. I look forward to reading your book and the next part of your interview with Dee.

    I’m sorry that so many Christians and the Church treated you so badly. To their shame. Thank you for persevering and may you bring God much glory.

  14. Beloved – Bingo!!! 🙂

    Dee, no worries – I think Beloved just hit the nail on the head, though. And I am not at all sure that being raised in one of the many different Buddhist traditions means that a person who is getting married is any more – or less – committed to the one who will be their spouse, or to the marriage, than a “Christian.” Perhaps they are even more committed, and more serious, in how they feel about vows and loving their spouse. Talk is cheap, after all – and I think there is a hell of a lot of talk about marriage in evangelical circles, but on the whole, not so much action.

    God looks on the heart, or so I recall Someone saying to Samuel.

  15. Dee – what about Paul’s remarks to those who are married to “unbelieving”” spouses? He seems to hold their marriages in high regard and does not counsel separation or divorce, unless things have gone down the tubes irrevocably…

  16. Dee – not meaning to be a pain here, since i know you are very busy, but you said

    It’s just that I do not believe they have a marriage as defined in the NT.

    Can you give me some passages regarding that definition? What I see – as in Eph. 5 – are analogies and instructions, not definitions.

    I am also wondering… where are the accounts of “Christian marriage” (i.e., descriptions of actual marriage ceremonies or bethrothals) in the NT?

    Mary and Joseph were Jewish; the couple who got married at Cana were Jewish; all of Jesus’ bridal/wedding feast parables are about Jewish ceremonies.

    In point of fact, I cannot recall any explicit descriptions of “Christian” marriage in the NT (though I might be missing something here); but marriage – yes. And discussions of marriage (as in the Gospels), too – but all parties in the discussions were Jewish. There was no separate “Christian” religion as yet.

    This makes me wonder if anyone has done research on how/when explicitly “Christian” views of marriage and of marriage ceremonies (including prayers and liturgies) 1st start appearing – my guess is likely not until the end of the 1st century A.D.

  17. dee,

    Concerning marriage of other faiths or no faith tradition versus christian marriage, you said “However, things change a bit once we are Christians and function within the body of Christ. If it didn’t, why bother?”

    What exactly are referring to here? Is it legitimacy of marriage? As in “christian” marriage is more legitimate than other marriage? If so, what is “christian” marriage?

  18. dee,

    in your post you said, “I believe that church must define and practice Biblical marriage by making pertinent changes to how we perceive and do marriages in the Christian church. We need to focus on Christian marriage so that we give the culture a clear, accurate and God-honoring view of how things are done.”

    To me, this sounds like CBMW all over again, just tweaked differently. Another set of rules and guidelines to have to conform to in order to be legitimate. All it takes is some religious freaks who somehow have acquired (questionable) credibility to get a hold of it and take it to extremes by using it as a measuring stick to see who is “saved” and who isn’t. Who is acceptable & welcome and who isn’t.

    When I think about the married people I know, and try to determine which are the best marriages of these, two come to mind. One is a christian couple, the other couple has no religion. What they have in common is mutual appreciation and just treating each other the way they themselves want to be treated. This is what marriage comes down to.

    I do not think there is any such thing as “christian” marriage — except when humans attempt to codify one themselves.

    That’s the last thing anyone needs. More rules to strain the living daylights out of a living, breathing relationship and turn it into something mechanical.

  19. I can’t help thinking that – per elastigirl – you have (likely unintentionally) set up an idea of a special kind of marriage that is only for “Christians.”

    As I said earlier, I just cannot accept that. I know that you like Lewis’ thoughts on marriage in Mere Christianity, but I think it’s worth keeping in mind that he had not yet gotten married when he wrote that – he was a middle-aged bachelor with (imo) a somewhat skewed view of what marriage is and what it is not.

    I like Lewis very much, but he had his quirks – just like the rest of us. And I have never found his argument for some sort of super-special “Christian marriage” convincing.

  20. Numo

    I do not beieve that anyone who marries in a different tradition is not committed, loving, supportive, et al.  as well. I am merely saying that it is not the same marriage as defined in the NT.

  21. Beloved

    Adam and Eve believed in the one true God. They were believers. So the institution was created for 2 believers.

  22. Elastigirl

    I am not talking about rules. I am discussing what the NT says about marriage-the work of the Holy Spirit, the symbolism, etc. The way a Christian perceives marriage should be different than an atheist or the Bible becomes irrelevant. Are we truly just the same as nonbelievers?

    Now, in terms of practicality, I have seen some of the best marriages between those who do not believe. One atheist couple I know would put many Christians to shame. They have renewed their marriage vows, are loving, happy and long married. They are very kind and care for other people. So, should we leave it there? Does being a Christian have no impact whatsoever on one’s marriage?

  23. Elastigirl

    I do not mind you being blunt. This is an important topic with some deep feelings attached. I understand.

  24. Numo

    Paul was a bachelor as well. Does that negate his many views on the subject? I actually used Lewis to highlight my own opinion on marriage and I do believe that Christian marriage was to be different than other marriages. So, do not blame Lewis for my thoughts. The full blame rests on my shoulders on this. Lewis just says it better than I say it.

  25. I hope you don't mind a Calvinista weighing in a bit…Regarding Christian marriage vs. marriage in the world: I have always had the opinion that all marriages, in some way, point toward the gospel. The Ephesians 5 passage says that marriage *is* a metaphor of Christ and His Bride, not that it ought to be, or when done correctly it is. I see shadows of God's glory in many marriages of non-believers I have known. When a husband, Christian or not, is faithful to his wife, that's a shadow of the gospel, whether he's conscious of that or not. When a wife shows respect to her husband, in the "Christian way" or not, it's a picture of the gospel. One of the many things that makes spousal abuse so terrible is that it is proclaiming a lie about Christ and the Church. (Don't get me wrong–any abuse is terrible in its own right–what I'm saying is that the added level of marriage elevates it to a worse level because of that truth). I do think there can be some wonderful things about a relationship that two men or two women can have. Friendship and love are wonderful. But in absence of the marriage roles of "husband" and "wife" I do not think it can be a marriage in God's eyes. A partnership, yes. A friendship, yes. But the explicit roles of husband and wife are part of what makes a marriage a marriage. I hope you don't mind me intruding on the conversation. I know this is a very passionate subject and I hope that you know it is coming from a place of respect.

  26. elatigirl/Numo

    The underlying pinning of a Christian marriage is completely different than that of a  non-Christian marriage. When two people are united in Christ, their goal is to become more Christlike throughout their marriage. They have the gift of the Holy Spirit, which aids them in the journey to be come more Christilike. Christ becomes the center of the marriage and both seek to follow Him, together.


    I am not saying that nonChristians do not have good marriages. But, Christ is not the center of the marriage and neither have the Holy Spirit which assists in the goal of serving Christ together. Once again, I stress that there are good marriages outside of the faith but marriage is different inside the faith. 


  27. CC Member

    Excellent comment. Well expressed and thought out.  

    Let me turn the tables because this is how it plays out in many instances. Let' s take the couple that I spoke about in a previous comment. They are atheists. They have a wonderful marriage and love each other dearly. They are fun to be around-I laugh more with them than anyone I know. They are kind and help others and love their family members as well. I have tried to find flaws in their marriage, and after a number of years, have decided that if there are flaws, they are well hidden.

    Now, their kids do not follow the faith. In fact, they point to their parents as a good reson that faith is superfluous. The very shadow to which you refer can get lost when things go so marvelously. Why bother with God? All is well and I can have a great life, just like them without having to do all that "Christian stuff." In fact, the poor track record of Christianity and marriage has symbolized for many an impotent faith-something that has been said to me on a number of occasions.

    I do not believe that marriage as lived out by Christians has served well the cause of Christ.  In fact, as I witness to the faith, I never point to Christians and their marriages. Instead I point to the glories of nature and the universe which have not lost their witness to the glory of the Creator. There the shadows are move evident.

  28. Most believers make a commitment before, to, and including God when they are married. Adam and Eve were given to each other when they communed with God. When Adam and Eve sinned, they hid from God. My marriage vow was to my husband AND to God and before witnesses. This makes a believer’s marriage different.

  29. Without quoting statistics, it is universally recognized that there is an exceedingly high divorce rate in the evangelical community. Of course, there are some good reasons for divorce-adultery, abuse, etc. But surely not all of these divorces are for those reason.

    I suspect one of the factors in that is “Salvation by Marriage Alone”, the Christianese take on “If you’re not doing somebody, you’re a Nobody” whose only difference is a ring and a ceremony. Extreme pressure to marry young, shed your single’s cooties, and finally be allowed to sit with the grown-ups. (Like that Old Maid at 22 whose pastor arranged her marriage to a pedophile.) Rushing into marriage as quickly as possible to legalize the sex, with all the desperation and craziness. “Marriage is Christianese for Getting Laid, with all the accompanying baggage.”

    Plus, the idea (told me in so many words once) that the only thing that matters in a marriage is “Common Scriptural Values” i.e. Perfectly-Parsed Theology. And there’s “Christian Courtship/I Kissed Dating Goodbye”, AKA parentally-arranged marriages that would not be out-of-place in Extreme Islam. And Christian Monist’s reports of “God Hath Revealed That…” Spiritual Manipulation to bum’s rush that Hawt Christian Chick to the altar. (CM reported these marriages often blow up years later with her leaving him — “Satan Hath Entered into my wife”; I just remember what one Wiccan told me about why she won’t do Love Potions or Love Magick — “You’re manipulating emotions at a very deep level; that won’t last, and when (not if) the charm wears off, it’ll flip one-eighty from Love to Hatred.”)

    All the above does not sound like a recipe for long-term stability.

    I have a couple more questions. Why aren’t there Christians protesting no fault divorce laws? Where are the “family councils” actively encouraging legislation to make divorce tougher?

    Because “Teh Fag (TM)” is the OTHER guy’s sin, not yours; we seem to denounce only those sins we have no chance of ever committing. But divorce? You want to keep that option open; never know when you might need it yourself.

  30. continued . . .

    This, does not preclude many wonderful marriages outside the Christian realm. At the same time, God has not been invited to lead or be part of these marriages. He is kind and leads us willingly.

  31. HUG

    “Because “Teh Fag (TM)” is the OTHER guy’s sin, not yours; we seem to denounce only those sins we have no chance of ever committing.”

    You are singing my song. For example, I know of one situation in which the mom is taking her child’s Ritalin in order to make it through the day. (not her own-she has not seen a doctor). Yet this mother is out protesting the terrible books found in the teen section of her local library. That sin is not a sin with which she struggles.

  32. Reparitive therapy is destructive. I knew someone who tried reparative therapy and it only made him embrace being homosexual more. — Eagle

    Here’s my two cents’ worth on Reparitive Therapy and Ex-Gay Ministries and Curing Homosexuality (which will probably catch me crap from both sides):

    I think everyone is different, and “Curing Teh Gay” DOES work on certain individuals but not on others. Same-sex orientation may be (at one extreme) “born that way”, established so early it may as well have been “born that way”, a paraphilia acquired by whatever means (see below), or (at the other extreme) even a bored decadent’s deliberate choice. And everything in-between on the spectrum.

    I think “Curing Teh Gay” can work for a subset — those who are straight with an added “overlay” of gay behavior. An example is a “Ross Smith” who authored a book on Christian sexuality I used to have on my shelf:

    He reports that he was sexually molested by a (Protestant) youth pastor or youth group leader around the time he hit puberty. He reports that at the time of the molestation, images of female bodies were starting to arouse him. After the molestation, he was aroused by images of MALE bodies. This lasted for a year or two, fading over time until he once more became aroused by female imagery.

    1) In his case, it seems that the homosexual orientation was an “overlay” paraphilia caused by the molestation at a vulnerable time (puberty), and without reinforcement it faded over time.

    2) Which does beg the question as to what would have happened if (as today) he might have been diagnosed as “gay” and reinforced with gay identity, gay pride, even (as is in my state) specifically-“Gay Culture” high schools. This could reinforce the overlay until he may as well have been “Born That Way.”

    3) It is my opinion that the “Ex-Gay Ministries” are able to “cure homosexuality” in cases such as his BECAUSE “Teh Gay” is an overlay caused by trauma. And the “Ex-Gay Ministries” understandably do not publicize their failures.

    4) This scenario also fits with the Dobsonite claim that Homosexuality is not only Curable but “Homosexuals reproducing by Molesting Our Children”. Because (if points 1-3 hold) their successes would have come from those whose orientation WAS a removable overlay caused by same-sex molestation, reinforcing their sample until “They’re ALL like that”.

  33. “But in absence of the marriage roles of “husband” and “wife” I do not think it can be a marriage in God’s eyes. A partnership, yes. A friendship, yes. But the explicit roles of husband and wife are part of what makes a marriage a marriage.” Calvinista Church Member

    I disagree. I don’t see where God set up “roles” as the defining factor for a legitimate marriage in His eyes. A marriage is a commitment, a vow, a promise before God to love (which includes a lot) one another, until one of you dies. I didn’t make a promise to fulfill a “certain role,” nor did my husband. We made a commitment to love and cherish (protect and care) for each other. Their is no specific list for what this might look like at different times in our lives.

    BTW – that statement would unmarry a lot of Christians if one believed it 🙂

  34. Thanks for interacting with my comment.

    @Bridget–I suspect most people would disagree with my statement. 🙂 When you say that statement would “unmarry a lot of Christians” are you referring to egalitarian marriages? I would definitely include those in my example. One does not have to be striving for complementarianism or other theological ideas to be unconsciously fulfilling them. For example, most men, when presented with immediate danger, will sacrifice themselves for the sake of women. Some victims at the tragic Aurora shootings were found in positions of a man on top of a woman, trying to protect her from the horror. That was instinctual. I think most husbands, when pressed, would do some sort of the same, when pressed. (If I recall correctly, the vicitms were not married, so I know that is not the best example, but it is the best one I can think of at the moment). An egalitarian marriage is still a shadow of the gospel. By shadow I think it is a picture, perhaps not always a clear picture, but I think it is there.

    Also, where is marriage listed as a commitment, a vow, or promise in the Bible? or even an assumption of mutual love? It’s typically described as a party given by the bride’s parents followed by consummation. A man taking a woman as his wife. It is assumed to be lifelong but do we have records of couples making commitments or vows? So in the NT we have the apostles speaking into that paradigm and descriptions of roles within that paradigm. Gay marriage was not an issue, because it was not even contemplated. A bridegroom comes for his bride.

    Sorry that is not very thought out. Must get back to kids!

  35. I want to add, that what I’m trying to say is that a marriage has roles of husband and wife whether the couple realizes it or wants it. That is the way God made men and women to be. We can do it badly, we can try to do it well, we can buck against it, but it will always be a part of it.

    I know that’s offensive to some. Please understand I’m not trying to be offensive.

  36. Calvinista

    Christ's reference in his prayer to "wanting the cup being taken from Him" is actually a symbol of committment between Christ and his bride, the church. It is my understanding that when the man asked a father to marry his daughter, the father would give his permission. Then the man would drink from a cup and hand the cup to his intended. If she refused the cup, the betrothal would not take place. If she drank from the cup, it was a symbol of her acceptance and they were betrothed. As far as I am concerned, that appears to be an ancient symbol of signing on the dotted line.

    Christ knew that by taking the cup, He would die on the Cross. He knew the deep committment of that action. It was His vow to save His Bride but at great price. 

  37. HUG

    Good nuanced look at the reparative therapy. I do agree that there are many differing situations and studies need to differentiate between them.

  38. Calvinista

    There was also the whole issue of the dowry which was a further symbol of a contractual agreement.

  39. CCM

    I do not think it is the fact there are roles for people to play in a marriage. It is how those roles are perceived and divvied up that is the basis for the discussion. Are you saying that “Piper, CBMW, et al  said it and I believe it?” Or is there any place to see how those roles exhibited themselves in a wide variety of experiences? Remember, many people who disagree with CBMW esque thinking still hold the Scriptures in high regard.

    It is a far cry from saying woman are not allowed to pray out loud during a church service and denying the virgin birth-isn’t it?

  40. “Because “Teh Fag (TM)” is the OTHER guy’s sin, not yours; we seem to denounce only those sins we have no chance of ever committing. But divorce? You want to keep that option open; never know when you might need it yourself.”

    I like this. I happened to watch a youtube video of Mark Lowry the other day. He said that he dislikes “love the sinner, hate the sin” because he doesn’t have time – “there’s too many of you” – and it’s a full time job hating his sin. “Hate your own sin!” he said. “How about you hate your sin, and I’ll hate mine, and then we can just love each other.” That sounds about right.

  41. If there are seprate roles for husband and for wife, they may not be the roles we think they are.

    If we think that a husband does X and a wife does Y, and in a particular marriage the husband and wife do Y and X, respectively, but their marriage is happy and it blesses them and everyone around them, maybe that’s a clue that our view of roles is incomplete or even incorrect.

    I always dislike generalities like “husbands need respect and wives need love”. I need my husband to respect me. He needs me to love him. We both need respect and love from each other.

  42. “Love the sinner, hate the sin? How about: Love the sinner, hate your own sin! I don’t have time to hate your sin. There are too many of you! Hating my sin is a full-time job. How about you hate your sin, I’ll hate my sin, and let’s just love each other.” –Mark Lowry


    I saw this too. Love it!

  43. Dee – can you give us a reference for “the cup”? I have never heard or read that, and I am puzzled (well, outrightly confused) by it.

    I sure haven’t heard any such symbolism applied to the Agony in the Garden before!

  44. Dee,

    I’ll try to respond more fully later. But, I haven’t read any Piper. None. So I can’t comment on that. Well maybe a blog post here or there that someone shard but nothing on this subject that I can think of. Haven’t read any of his books. But I do not base my thinking on any one person’s teaching. I don’t even know if I agree fully with the “complementarian” camp. But I do think that men and women are different and that plays out in some way in a marriage regardless of a couple’s beliefs. I base that out of scripture study. I understand many come to different conclusions and also have high view of scriptures. Did I say otherwise? I didn’t mean to if I did. Just sharing my viewpoint and conclusions.

  45. Beloved, There is no evidence in scripture that Adam and Eve were married in the garden.
    Also, everything was perfect in the garden so the relationship they had with each other was not like what we have today(after the fall).

  46. Dee,

    Thank you for the idea of the cup. I had never heard that before.

    Stop the presses! I’m now a DEEatarian. :p

  47. Laura said “I always dislike generalities like “husbands need respect and wives need love”. I need my husband to respect me. He needs me to love him. We both need respect and love from each other”

    Thank you! It is a sad day when the church starts dealing in stereotypes. Oh wait. It already does.

  48. Wait, weren’t Adam and Eve married? Or is this a bad translation?

    23 The man said,

    “This is now bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
    she shall be called ‘woman,’
    for she was taken out of man. ”
    24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

    25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

  49. Good nuanced look at the reparative therapy. I do agree wthat there are many differing situations and studies need to differentiate between them.

    I came to that conclusion several years ago, after “a long strange trip” worthy of the Grateful Dead. Putting it up here, I was wondering if somebody would try to trace me back to my home, drive over, and kill me for posting Heresy in public.

    There are a LOT of vested interests on both sides — from Queer Nation to Focus on the Family — who want to be 1000% RIGHT and their truth the only TRUTH, no matter what. I’ve run across Homosexual Supremacists to whom their sexual orientation is their own fundamentalist religion (Damascus Road Conversion Experience, 24/7 Wretched Urgency Witnessing, and all), as well as mini-Fred Phelpses. As far as I’m concerned, these two extremes are funhouse-mirror reflections of each other, just like Ayn Rand and Josef Stalin.

  50. Laura,

    I agree with you that the roles are not what most Christians (Calvinistas included) think they are. It does not mean the woman has to stay at home and cook. It does not mean the man has to fix stuff. I don’t think it means that a man does as he pleases and the wife just says “yes sir” and takes it.

    But I do think there is something to a man fulfilling the role as the bridegroom. He comes for his bride. He pursues her. Women wait. They expect their husbands to care for them. (I think that what that means varies GREATLY from relationship to relationship) I think that most women enjoy being pursued, first by suitors and then by their husbands. (Again, I think this plays out very differently in different situations.)

    Love and respect are really two sides of the same coin. But I do think there are small differences there. And I agree, I enjoy that my husband has respect for me just as he enjoys being loved by me. But it plays out in the marriage roles as different. And I think this happens in all kinds of marriages.

  51. Numo

    i twice taught the series “That the World May Know” by Ray van der Laan. It takes about 20+ weeks. There was one segment in the series that i remember vividly because it touched me deeply. I am in a bit of a hurry so i found this reference discussing that episode. Here is an excerpt.Read the whole thing at the link.



    “I remember very clearly sitting in an Orthodox Jewish classroom, listening to a Jewish man lecture, a brilliant Jewish individual, not a Christian, and he was describing the marriage customs of the first century Jewish people in the land of Israel. I sat there as a Christian, not Jewish, I’m Gentile, Dutch no less, and I’m sitting in the classroom, and I’m listening to this Orthodox Jew describe marriage. And he described how a young man would reach marrying age, and the young man and his father would pick out a family in the land of Israel that had a daughter, a Godly family that had a daughter, that would be an appropriate wife. …And the young man and his father would go to the young girl’s house and they would sit and negotiate the bride price, because the loss of a daughter was an enormous loss. When they’d arrived at the price that was to be paid for this young girl, 14, 15, 16 years of age, the young man would then ask her to marry him, but he did it in a very Jewish way.

    “The young man’s father would take a flask of wine. He would pour a cup of wine and hand it to his son The son would then turn to the young woman, and with all the solemnity of an oath before Almighty God Himself, that young man would take that cup of wine and say to that young woman, ‘This cup is a new covenant in my blood, which I offer to you.’ In other words, ‘I love you. I’ll be your faithful husband. Will you be my bride?’

    “And tears came to my eyes as I recognized Jesus at the last Supper with His collection of Jewish disciples, who knew the Passover liturgy since they were old enough to think. Suddenly in the middle of the liturgy, after the third cup, completely out of place, Jesus, on His way to pay the bride price with His own blood, turns to those disciples and says to them in the language of the culture, ‘This cup is the New Covenant in my blood’. I love you, Will you be my bride?

    “And every single time you sit in your fellowship or your community in your Church, and your Elder, your Pastor, or whoever leads the Service, turns to you and offers you the cup, Jesus, in the language of the culture says to you, ‘I love you’, and the only way I can describe the depths and the passion of that love is to say, ‘Will you be my wife?’

    “This element in the presentation of Christ’s last physical Passover conveys a subliminal message not apparent to those unfamiliar with the culture of that era, but which, no doubt, came across to those in the Upper Room.” [Then, making it less obvious to all may have been intentional, as we will see.]”

  52. Just an observation about the cup as a symbol of agreement or contract and a dowery. These are “customs” or traditions developed over time, but we should differentiate between man-made customs and God-ordained directives regarding marriage. We know the Jews began to honor their customs and traditions over the Word of God and how Jesus reprimanded them for that. The only command I’m aware of pertaining to marriage (as the very first man and woman stood before God) was for the husband to leave his parents and cleave to his wife.

    Sometimes customs become so engrained in a culture that we assume there is scriptural support for them when in reality there isn’t.

  53. Dee – I don’t doubt that wine might have been exchanged in a betrothal ceremony, but I think Van der Laan is really reaching (overreaching) with that analogy. One point that jumps out at me is that I have never heard or read any exegesis of the last supper – a Passover Seder – as a marriage ceremony. I’ve been to plenty of Seders in my lifetime (the real thing, not xtian attempts at it) and I do not ever recall anything in the Hagaddahs I’ve seen equating the Seder with marriage. If anything, that would probably be happening at Sinai, with the 10 commandments, but *not* at the deliverance of Israel from Egypt.

    Ah well – guess we need to agree to disagree!

  54. P.S.: we don’t follow the betrothal customs of 1st c. Palestine, where betrothal was equivalent to marriage. (Which is why Matthew talks about Joseph deciding between dire punishment for Mary vs. “putting her away quietly” once he finds out that she’s pregnant…)

  55. Dee, I will! It is a very interesting idea.

    And just to note, I am a member of a Calvinista Church but I am not sure that I would call myself the same…just keep that in mind as you read. I am not necessarily in agreement with piper, et al.

  56. and in other words:

    God delivered Israel from Egypt

    “Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us” – Jesus is the Passover lamb.

    I think the interpolation of marriage imagery is *not* something that was intended by the NT writers re. the redemptive death of Christ.

  57. Stormy,

    OK, can you explain to me why this is out of context? You said they is no evidence they were married in the garden. There is scripture that calls Eve a wife. If that is not the proper context then I am very confused indeed. I’d genuinely like to hear why you say there is no evidence they were not married.

    I agree with you that marriage in the garden looked different than marriage after the fall. Everything looked different. Perhaps the loving and respecting came naturally? I can’t even imagine a relationship not tainted by sin.

  58. CCM – vs. 24 explains the preceding verses and is commentary on them. Likewise, vs. 25 is the view of the writer.

  59. Calvinista, I think the problem comes in when people take a descriptive statement that appears to apply to most marriages and then try to make it prescriptive for every marriage.

    If it is normal and natural for a wife to submit, then she will, and there’s no need to make a fuss about it. Or to suggest that it’s for a wife to submit, and therefore if the husband submits to her then he is being disobedient to God. Try to force it, and you have situations where the wife is a natural leader and the man is not, and they think (or she thinks) it’s shameful for her to lead somehow, so she manipulates him and makes his life hell until he “leads” the way she wants him to, and then they have a Biblical marriage.

    I think in general waaaay to much attention is given to this role thing. People ultimately do what works for them.

  60. CCM –

    Adam didn’t come for his bride. God created a woman from Adam’s side for her. Neither one could fulfill the command to be fruitful and multiply without the other. He told them to have dominion and rule over . . .

    You keep attributing roles and scenarios to men only, that woman do as well. There were girls who protected each other and wouldn’t leave the theater in Aurora when the other lay injured and bleeding — not a man only thing. I’d call it a “love your neighbor as yourself” thing.

    In my comment about commitments, my point was that believers include God in the marriage ceromony because they have faith in God and want him to lead and direct the marriage and because they want to make a commitment before him. It would not need to be prescriptive in the Scripture for one to do that.

  61. vs 23 is not refering to marriage but how God used Adam to create Eve.

    vs 24 They had no earthly father. This is refering after the fall.

    vs 25 this has nothing to do with what we are talking about

  62. Laura,

    I agree with you about the wife trying to force the husband to lead. I’ve witnessed that plenty of times in marriages within the church and it’s so sad to watch. Wives get preoccupied with what their husband is not doing. They nag, confront, complain (including behind his back), etc and wonder why they are getting more unhappy. What is happening is common among Christians with various commands in the Bible. They notice others’ sexual sins much more than their own (as so often happens in homosexuality debates) they see others’ harsh words before considering their own. Wives get caught up in how their husband is not “leading” and is therefore preventing her from having a “Biblical” marriage. My statement to such women is “Your husband is leading by letting you make this decision. Submit and make it! He will answer to God for how he handled this responsibility.” Conversely I would say to an unhappy husband that his focus ought not to be on how his wife is not submitting but on how he can better love and care for her so that her submission can be a joy.

    Numo–Yes it is the view of the writer. Is that not Biblical evidence? I am not sure how we can reason together from scripture if we can’t trust the Genesis 2 account of Eve being the wife of Adam. Since that is what it says.

  63. Stormy,

    I agree with you on v 23 and 24. I quoted the whole thing for “context” which apparently has failed. But I do think it is relevant to the discussion. Eve was created for her husband Adam, and for this reason we have the pattern of marriage.

    25 Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.

    His wife. They were husband and wife. They are referred to as husband and wife in chapter 3 after the fall as well.

    I am astounded because I have never heard this debated before.

  64. HUG,

    “…we seem to denounce only those sins we have no chance of ever committing. But divorce? You want to keep that option open; never know when you might need it yourself.”

    I completely agree. Many divorced and remarried couples get a pass in church regardless of the reasons they divorced. At least I can give my Calvinista brother credit for staying consistent – he judges gay people AND me for divorcing and remarrying (despite godly counsel that I had scriptural reasons for doing so).

    Gays and lesbians are a minority. Most people are not sexually attracted to persons of their gender. Thus, it’s a lot easier to find it disgusting and morally reprehensible, to preach and teach against it, discuss “God’s definition of marriage, and judge them, all the while smiling and saying “I love the sinner but hate the sin.”

    But when was the last time we heard a sermon on greed and taking care of the poor and marginalized around us (that DIDN’T involve a demand for your tithe)? When was the last time we said “I love the sinner but hate the sin” in regards to the many Christians around us who are far more concerned with themselves and their needs and their possessions than the poor and needy? It’s easy to harp on gays and lesbians, with just a few verses from the bible, because it’s not our “issue”.

    But when it comes to greed, selfishness, and lust for power and status, we’re not as quick to call it out, because then we’d be calling ourselves out. And THOSE things are discussed far more in scripture than “homosexuality”.

  65. Numo

    There are many aspects of the Seder that are types and shadows of the new convenant to come. I am not surprised that Jews, who do not acknowledge Christ as savior, might miss the imagery. Many of them overlook Isaiah as well.

    One of my pastors says that both Jesus and Paul help us to understand the OT through new eyes. Although I have been to 2 Seders given by observant Jews, I have also participated in the Seder given by Christians. I had a DTS professor, who was a converted Jew, do the Passover Seder complete with explanation on both the OT and the new banquet to come in the new heaven. 

    Finally, I was friends with a woman who was Hasidic. She told me that her rabbi (I am not sure if that is the correct term) said that evangelical Christians were more like them than any other religion out there.

    No problem with disagreement. It’s good for all of us.


  66. Dee – I do think we have to be careful as xtians tend to re-interpret Judaism and Jewish rituals, beliefs and interpretations of Scripture to fit their own paradigms.

    Judaism is a different religion and needs (imo) to be respected as such.

    I think this is especially important given the way in which so-called xtians horribly persecuted Jewish people for close to two millennia [sp?]. There are still a lot of truly pernicious beliefs and attitudes toward Jews out there, and I think we need to be better-educated about that – and act accordingly. (btw, I am *not* meaning that disagreement with the current Israeli government’s policies = anti-semitism, as some would assert. Quite the opposite, since lots of Israeli citizens disagree with them!)

    I would be very interested in hearing what your DTS prof. had to say about the coming wedding feast in heaven, if for no other reason than this – Judaism has always welcomed a multitude of opinions and interpretations, and contemporary Judaism is quite diverse. There is no one source we can point to and say “That’s what most (or all) observant Jews believe.”

  67. numo,
    I too grew up amongst Jews. The Southeast corner of Wisconsin has a large Jewish presence. My piano teacher had a faded blue number tatooed on the inside of her forarm.

  68. Big welcome to Calvinista Church member. It’s always nice to read comments by someone not holding to the cultural norms of our day.

  69. Dee and Numo,

    Dee says “Adam and Eve believed in the one true God. They were believers. So the institution was created for 2 believers.” That’s what God intended for the human race.

    However, our first parents fell into sin and everything has been screwed up ever since. As a Christian, I believe Christian marriage is supposed to be between two committed followers of Christ; one male, one female. The couple obey the dictates of Scriptures and they mirror the love of Christ for His Church-Bride. That’s the ideal.

    The stark reality is many of us, myself included, do not live up to the NT standard; so, the marital conflicts, the high divorce rate among Christians and many other problems… There are 4 divorces in my family; I know this too well.

    1 Cor also talks about a marriage between a believer and an unbeliever and Paul gave instructions on how to deal with it. Sin and sinners like me complicate the marriage thing more than we can imagine; so, I stress the message of grace, forgiveness and redemption through Christ more than NT definition, new set of rules. We want to deal with reality facing us in light of the ideal design, as intended by God when He created Adam and Eve.

    I know some Christians (leaders and lay) still look down on divorced folks, gays, minorities… That’s a fact in this life. That said, self-righteousness may exist in anyone of us, myself included, but can be also forgiven like any other sins.

  70. Just one question: if a person is either experiencing homosexual attraction or heterosexual attraction, is unmarried, and has determined to remain celebate, why do they need to discuss those feelings with others at church? Or elsewhere?

    Kinda falls into the same category as if I bored you with my endless obsession with good chili peppers, chocolate, or good novels.

    Are we becoming a totally inward focused society?

    Sometimes discretion can be a good thing, no?

  71. I haven’t read all the comments in this thread, so I’m sorry if the points I’m going to bring up have already been covered. But:

    1) If unbelievers aren’t able to “really” enter into a “real” marriage, then why does Paul seem to recognize a marriage to an unbeliever as a valid marriage in the epistles?

    2) If we really do believe that a marriage between unbelievers isn’t a “real” marriage in the eyes of God, what happens in the case where both unbelievers in the marriage convert? For instance, Dee, those atheist relatives of yours. If they both became Christians tomorrow, should they have to get “remarried” in the church so they are “really” married – like fundy credobaptists who make Catholic converts to their religion get rebaptized (as their infant baptism wasn’t a “real” baptism)?

    Forgive me if I’m misrepresenting your position, Dee, as I didn’t really have time to do more than scan the article and comments.

  72. Linda
    The problem for gays in the church is the lack of support systems. I deal with that today.

  73. Hester
    There are many who renew their vows after a significant event in their lives so it is done.

    However, the ceremony is really just an outward symbol of the inward reality-kind of like baptism. The inward reality for the two atheists would happen at the time of conversion as both now strive to follow Christ.

  74. Jimmy
    *big wave* hiya! Nice to meet you.

    I think one good reason is to encourage others. There are nearly as many opinions as there are people on the subject and as we have seen many can be downright hateful. It can be a great encouragement for a believer who is in the same situation (deciding to become celibate because of conviction). I do agree there is room for discretion. It’s probably inappropriate to tell every person you meet upon introduction. And also not wrong to keep entirely private. Some such as Ron Belgau are very public for a specific purpose and I also support that choice. I admire both Ron and Justin for being open up their lives as a resource to others.

  75. An interesting discussion, as usual.

    Dee, thank you for your kind words earlier 😉 but I’m sure some would take issue with my views on the CofE (Anglican) church and its origins.

    Re marriage, it’s interesting that this appears to be a universal custom among just about all mankind, no matter their views on religion. After a brief period of experimentation marriage was as firmly established in the USSR as it was in Tsarist Russia. Perhaps it’s part of what C S Lewis called “the Tao”, that moral code that is imprinted on the hearts of all mankind?

    I believe there were however same-sex marriages in some cultures, including some North American Indian tribes? In that case however one of the partners lived as a woman, though obviously gender reassignment in those days was out of the question. I’m not sure how widespread the practice was elsewhere – any anthropologists here tonight? LOL

    I would agree with Calvinista Church Member that we are to a degree hard-wired by our biology to react in certain ways. However I think there is also a sliding scale for people of both sexes on how far they express the traits considered typical for their sex. But culturally we can also be influenced by our environment, or at least find that it tries to influence us.

  76. Eve was created for her husband Adam, and for this reason we have the pattern of marriage.

    Not really. Ezer kegnado is more “A help comparable”. Hebrew poetry. More like a mirror image. God is also referred to as an Ezer in scripture and many men are named that. It is not a jr assist position. It is an equal position as a human before God because it does take 2…Adam needs help to procreate and rule. He is given a partner “like him”.

  77. Numo, Our Messiah is/was Jewish. Jesus was not born a “Christian”. Or Christ follower. :o) It is not a completely different religion at all as the hope of Israel has come. The Magisterial Reformers did have a horrible view of Jews sadly and guided us away from our roots, It is one reason many miss so much of the rich history and OT understanding. Some of the things Luther wrote about them are insidious and were used by the Nazi’s to bring the Lutheran church into the fold.

  78. Luther’s anti-Semitism didn’t come about until relatively late in his life (I believe), and was more an outburst of disappointment because he had expected the Jews in Germany to accept the Reformation faith. This does not excuse the violent intemperance of his views on the matter.

    However it’s also worth noting that the Nazis had to jump through hoops to try to create a “German church”, since they wanted to get rid of all Jewish elements including the Old Testament. Hitler probably couldn’t have cared less what the churches thought as long as they obeyed him in public, but some of the ideologically serious Nazis such as Himmler and Rosenberg were actually hostile to both Judaism and Christianity, preferring a modern paganism. Luther, like Nietzsche, would have made an uneasy bedfellow had they not simply cherry-picked his writings.

  79. “1) If unbelievers aren’t able to “really” enter into a “real” marriage, then why does Paul seem to recognize a marriage to an unbeliever as a valid marriage in the epistles?”

    Think of who Paul was writing to in that Epistle. Most marriages in the first century were arranged. If a Greek or Roman person became a believer but their spouse was not– was not unusual occurance. Esp for Greek or Roman women as they made up a huge chunk of the early church as it spread. The Roman Household codes are an interesting read. Divorces happened but usually for the rich. Mainly they just practiced adultery.

    Peter addresses this in his epistle about different situations. If married to unbeliever do not divorce but model Christ for them. He gives different scenerios of believers who must deal with unbelievers in every day life. It was a tough world for a woman back them. Who would provide for her? And the church was full of women back then! We do not know if Phoebe, Chloe or Lydia were married. It mentions Lydia’s “household”. It did not seem to matter, did it?

  80. Anon1, I have to disagree on Judaism – what I know about Judaism as a different and distinct religion comes from jewish people (friends, writers, rabbis). I grew up in a partly Jewish neighborhood; later went to school with kids who had parents and/or grandparents that survived the concentration camps.

    The ideas about the messiah are quite different in Jewish thought, and have been for many centuries. xtians see Jesus as Messiah and don’t really “get” why Jews would think differently, but all those centuries of persecution and hatred have a LOT to do with it.

  81. Kolya – have you ever tried to read Luther’s On the Jews and Their Lies? (I tried, but have only been able to stomach small bits, and even then…)

    Hitler and the Nazi party used this – one of the worst-ever anti-semitic screeds – in their propaganda campaigns. They didn’t need to change a single word; that’s how extreme Luther was.

    I was raised Lutheran – still am Lutheran – and find Luther to be a highly conflicted, paradoxical man. Without doubt, he was brilliant, but at times, he used his intellect to do terrible things, as in this case.

  82. One of the thing that the website addresses well is the absurdity of masculine Christianity. In having a close high school friend and also a brother that never broke away from homosexuality, I tend to think sexuality and attraction is more complex then the dichotomy that is commonly presented. I remember Rosie O’Donnell said one time that she knew that she was different because she was not staring down guys like her friends were. I have had guy friends thought I was odd growing up not interested at times in looking at a female. I just think “eros” feelings can be misleading. You can’t push anyone if they are feeling attracted to the same sex. Some aspects can be indeed normal in development. Too often the pop culture teaches many to act on their feelings. Here is a good example Jesus said that if one would look on a woman to lust that they would be committing adultery. Prooftexting this passage, Christ is obviously not directing this statement toward a single man in attraction to woman in the age of betrothal a but rather those that are loose in their looking. Attraction does not seem to be the problem here, entertaining imaginings seems to be the issue. A tendency is NOT the true enemy at hand.

  83. To be honest, I can recall in college, having had at times same-sex attraction in dreams. In waking up, I tended to examine what could have brought it about. Should we disregard other entities at play?

  84. Just noted Koyla’s and numo’s entries. I read that book about three months ago for the first time. Being of German heritage, I am convinced that Germans are not always blessed with cool heads. My problem with Luther is that I don’t think he went back far enough in his historical theology and adopted an Augustinian Theology. He had still had problems with breaking with several of Catholic traditions (read 95 thesis). He did not like to incur rebellion and refuted the actions that men like Karlstad took. Estep notes that since Anabaptist never established any permanent regional influence that the magistrates associated them with men like Karlstad. Since you are Lutheran I would recommend some of the works of Franz Derlitzch. Of course, another German named Dietrich Bonnhoeffer, his works worth reading, stated bewilderment is true comprehension.

  85. Numo, thanks for posting that entry. I have just spent several minutes in dipping into Luther’s text, and I see what you mean. The paragraph in section 10 about Christians being at fault for not avenging the blood is very pernicious, whatever the value of Luther’s theological arguments, and I can see why the Nazis loved this book.

    Casey, being a man who for various reasons has a lot to do with Germany, loves Germany and the Germans and has spent a lot of time over there, I think there is some merit in what you say. Germans can be quite serious, which is a very praiseworthy thing, but occasionally, in some people, seriousness becomes blind enthusiasm or fanaticism. I think Luther suffered from this, and so did Baader-Meinhof and their followers in the post-war period.

    Then again, I believe every nation and culture has its own defective tendencies, so I hope nobody here thinks I’m sitting in judgement – plenty about the UK that needs fixing!

  86. “Anon1, I have to disagree on Judaism – what I know about Judaism as a different and distinct religion comes from jewish people (friends, writers, rabbis). I grew up in a partly Jewish neighborhood; later went to school with kids who had parents and/or grandparents that survived the concentration camps.

    The ideas about the messiah are quite different in Jewish thought, and have been for many centuries. xtians see Jesus as Messiah and don’t really “get” why Jews would think differently, but all those centuries of persecution and hatred have a LOT to do with it

    Numo, We are talking about two different things. I am talking about the Hebrew thinking of the OT and how that has been lost in so much of Christianty mainly after the REformation but also back to Augustine and the introduction of the Determinist God concept.

    I was not really thinking in terms of cultural Judaism. And I totally agree with you there. If ever a people have survived centuries of oppression, hatred and mass murder, it is the Jews. God bless em.

    And you are dead on about Luther and his writings on Jews. It is chilling and one aspect of the Reformation that many who subscribe to that view want to ignore. Jews were not exactly welcome in 16th century Geneva either! The Reformation did not exactly bring out the love of Christ for Jews, did it?

  87. Casey

    Although there may be other entities in play for some; for the majority of gays, there are similarities. Take an example in the medical world. Smoking causes lung cancer in many people. However, there are people who get lung cancer that have never smoked. In fact, in some obituaries recently, they state that thier loved one died of lung cancer but she never smoked. So, in some instances, being gay may have been caused by….. fill in the blank, that does not negate that many good and loving, trauma free families with no experience of abuse, inside or outside , have children who grow up to be gay,

  88. Casey

    Let me ruminate on Jesus’ injuction not to look upon another with lust. Jesus was pointing his fingers at the Pharisees who had their little book of rules and who thought if they just obeyed it, they were godly. For three years, Jesus let us know that we were missing the mark because the Law went far deeper than we either imagined or wanted to admit. 

    When Jesus pointed out the lust issue, every man present felt a knife in his soul because he knew he had failed in this area. Jesus made lots of statements like this. “If you don’t forgive, neither will my Father in heaven forgive you.” What’s with that? How many of us bear grudges, little and big? How many of us are even willing to admit it? Does this mean I won’t get  to heaven? Praise God that the answer is “No.”

    Jesus said, Belssed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” He was pointing us to the Cross. That poverty of spirit is an acknowledgement of my lack of ability to even approach godliness. So many of us (me included) get the Cross and grace but then exchange it for a new set of rules because rules are far easier to check off than fully understanding our inability to anything with pure and perfect motives. As my one pastor says “Even on my best days my motives are mixed.”

    I believe that the people who live the faith the best are the ones who get grace and have a deep appreciation of their own inability to follow the “rules.” This does not lead to ignoring right and wrong. In fact, the longer I am in Christ, the more I understand my tendency to “screw up” in many facets of my life. Just as I get frustrated with myself, I remember grace and rejoice that it is covered and I am free.

  89. Officially changed my moniker to CCM…

    Just found this great article and thought many people here would enjoy it:

    About how TGC is raising complementarian to “gospel issue” standards


    Loved the example of a female ordained Baptist taking communion or not. Of course she should be able to!

    Also here is a response to it, but it’s kind of long so I haven’t bothered to read it yet. LOL


  90. Dee,

    If I understand your explanation of the difference between Christian & non-Christian marriages, it comes down to the belief that non-believers do not have the Holy Spirit to assist them in becoming Christ-like, even though their deeds in some cases [as in the atheist couple you used as an illustration] would suggest that they are listening to an internal prompting that is indeed divine [Romans 2]. If the prompting is not holy, what is it?

    For a long time I just accepted what I was taught about the doctrines of grace. Namely that humans inherit only a sin nature with no ability to do good and are fit only for hell. Never gave it a second thought. I no longer subscribe to this. The contradictions in Scripture and the empirical world became too great to ignore [like believers who now reject YE in favor of OE & TE]. I now believe that humans also inherit a divine nature and ability. The Devil smooth talks, lies, and cajoles in one ear while the Holy Spirit whispers and often uses the sound of silence in the other ear. The voice we listen to and which of the two natures we allow to be cultivated is entirely our own affair.

  91. Muff

    Off to a dinner meeting for a ministry with which I am involved that deals with health professionals. I alsso run a blog and website for them-far less controversial! I will get back to you on this tomorrow, probably late i nthe day. I always enjoy reading what you have to say!

  92. Anon 1 – the thing is, if 1st century expectations of the messiah had encompassed God being incarnate and dying for the sins of all humankind, Jesus would have had so very many followers – sincere ones.

    But that was not the case; he defied many ingrained expectations (both cultural and theological).

    If John ch. 3 is any indication, Jesus’ words spun peoples’ heads around. And if a faithful, truly devout – and learned – man like Nicodemus had so much difficulty understanding, well… though I seriously doubt that those who were social outcasts (for whatever reasons) had as much of a hard time with his words.

  93. Numo — Jesus’s style seems to be of doing the unexpected, off on a tangent you never even heard of much less expected.

  94. HUG – it’s true!

    And, I’m afraid, all too easy for me to miss, given that I’ve heard/read the Gospel narratives so many times that I *think* I know what’s going on in them.

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