Is gay marriage scriptural?

by An interested reader


Yes, gay marriage falls within the range of what can reasonably be called scriptural. Here is our reasoning.

"But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father & mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one. So they are no longer two but one. What there- fore God has joined together, let not man put asunder." Mark 10:6-9

My Questions:

(1) Although this answer of Jesus was made in the context of speaking about divorce, do you think that Jesus is giving the "definition" of marriage (as an unbreakable union between a man and his wife) in Mk 10:6-9?

(2) Would any Christian think of changing the words of Jesus from "a man shall leave... and be joined to his wife" to "a man shall leave... and be joined to his husband"?

(3) Is there any room to make such a change in wording and interpretation?

Rick Brentlinger Answers


"Do you think that Jesus is giving the "definition" of marriage (as an unbreakable union between a man and his wife) in Mk 10:6-9?"
No, Jesus is not giving a strict definition which limits marriage to one man with one woman for life. That is the standard interpretation but it reads into the text what Jesus does NOT say and then hopes the rest of us will believe that what Jesus did not say is scriptural truth.

Some background on this interesting text is in order. Jesus has completed His ministry in Galilee and has begun the walk that will take Him to Jerusalem and the crucifixion. At the time of Mark 10, I believe Jesus is in Perea, which was ruled by Herod Antipas. 

You will recall that Antipas had John the Baptist beheaded because John had reproved Herod for an incestuous relationship with his stepdaughter. The questions the Pharisees ask Jesus throughout His ministry are usually insincere, as is this question about divorce. They are seeking to catch Jesus in His words, hoping He will say something they can use to accuse Him.

 It is likely they were hoping Jesus would say something about marriage which could be construed as attacking Antipas. Perhaps their plan was to relay Jesus' answer to Antipas so that Jesus would suffer the same fate as John.

In any case, Jesus answers their question in the context in which it was asked (a context which has nothing to do with gay marriage). Jesus tells the Pharisees they should NOT be divorcing their wives "for every cause." Compare the companion passage in Matthew 19:3-12 for the "for every cause" phrasing, which Mark omits.

This question was a hot topic during the time frame of Jesus' earthly ministry. There were two schools of thought on Deuteronomy 24:1, which were hotly debated by Jews in the first century. The point of the Pharisees question seems to be,

Is Rabbi Hillel right or
is Rabbi Shammai right
about divorce in Deuteronomy 24:1?


Hillel interpreted Deu 24:1 as teaching that Jewish men had wide latitude in divorce. Hillel taught that Jewish men were free to divorce their wife "for every cause." Hillel's followers seem almost misogynistic to our modern minds, believing they could divorce a wife if she burned the soup or wasn't cheerful enough.

Shammai took a more restrictive view. He interpreted Deu 24:1 as teaching that a Jewish man's ability to divorce his wife was limited to divorce over moral issues. 

Jesus Absolutely Shocks
The Pharisees

 
  1. He rejects the antinomian liberal view of Hillel and many of the Pharisees. 

  2. He partially embraces the more conservative view of Shammai.
Then Jesus goes beyond what the Rabbis taught when He instructs His disciples that a man can commit adultery against his wife, Mark 10:11-12, and in a situation like that, she is within her rights to put him away, to divorce him. 

This must have been an incredible statement for Jewish men who viewed their wives as second class citizens. Jesus intentionally elevates the status of Jewish women by His answer.
"Would any Christian think of changing the words of Jesus from "a man shall leave... and be joined to his wife" to "a man shall leave... and be joined to his husband"?  Is there any room to make such a change in wording and interpretation?

Moses wrote Genesis 2:24 under inspiration of God. In plainer words, he writes what God intended us to believe, without mentioning Complementarianism or gay marriage. He is writing some 2500 years after the marriage of Adam and Eve, looking back on the event and describing it in terse detail.

Of course, Moses does not have gay marriage in view when he writes. He is concerned with Jewish people obeying God's command to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth so that the seed of Abraham will be as

a. the stars of heaven 
b. the dust of the earth and 
c. the sand on the seashore.
 
That being said, even anti-gay scholars and authors like university professor Thomas Schmidt admit that when Moses wrote Genesis, "the human author of Genesis was not consciously prohibiting same-sex relations when he wrote the creation account."

The problem with the Complementarian interpretation of Genesis 2:24 is that it reads into scripture something scripture does not say and then teaches as scriptural truth, what the scripture does NOT say (a proscription of gay marriage based on Gen 2:24).

Similarly, to use the Mark passage as a proof text FOR gay marriage also goes far beyond what the passage says. I would not use Mark 10 to advocate for gay marriage.

Matthew 19:3-12 Provides Helpful Insight


Matthew 19:3-12 provides an interesting perspective into gay marriage as Jesus intended His disciples to understand it. Jesus' answer to the question about "divorce for any cause" is more fully recorded by Matthew than by Mark. In Matthew, Jesus lists three excep-tions to the Adam and Eve marriage paradigm ("all men cannot receive this saying").

1. born eunuchs
2. man-made eunuchs
3. metaphysical eunuchs


Jesus contrasts born eunuchs (whom even virulently anti-gay evangelicals like Dr. Robert Gagnon admit were probably homosexuals), who by virtue of being "born" eunuchs, had never made a decision to be eunuchs,

with metaphysical eunuchs, men who did make a decision not to marry so they could better serve the kingdom of God.

This contrast by Jesus seems to leave room for the understanding that born eunuchs were exempt from the Adam and Eve marriage paradigm (a man with a woman) yet born eunuchs were different from metaphysical eunuchs who make a personal decision not to marry.

At the very least, the implication is that born eunuchs are allowed to marry a same sex partner. That understanding seems clear from a careful reading of the Matthew 19 passage. 

What say ye?

Comments for Is gay marriage scriptural?

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Feb 25, 2009
It makes sense to me that a Eunuch was an early name for gay people
by: Anonymous

I especially enjoyed the four pages on this website explaining what a eunuch is and how the term eunuch was understood historically.

Jul 17, 2009
Against Divorce or For gay Marriage?
by: Richard

When Jesus answered the Jews in Matthew 19 concerning divorce that had been allowed by Moses, He is also saying He is against divorce for any reason. The Jews had learned that they could divorce because of immorality or impurity. Then Jesus said that God allowed Moses to allow men to put away their wives due to the hardness of their hearts, not because the Law said they could.
He then said that from the beginning it was not that way. Then He goes on to explain how it was.

He said that 'God made them male and female and for this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.

Jesus is reinforcing the original purpose of marriage, man and woman becoming one flesh and having them procreate to fill the earth.

The mention of eunuch in the dialogue of Matthew as I read it does not give allowance to gays to marry.

Joseph, when he was captive in Egypt, was an example of one who made a eunuch of himself for the glory of God.

A eunuch is a castrated man, in particular one castrated early enough to have major hormonal consequences; the term usually refers to those castrated in order to perform a specific social function, as was common in many societies of the past. The earliest records for intentional castration to produce eunuchs are from the Sumerian city of Lagash in the twenty first century BC

Eunuch goes back to the Greek word eunoukhos, "a castrated person employed to take charge of the women of a harem and act as chamberlain." The English word eunuch is from the Greek eune ("bed") and ekhein ("to keep"), effectively "bed keeper."

Eunuch - a man or boy deprived of the testes or external genitals
1. A castrated man employed as a harem attendant or as a functionary in certain Asian courts.
2. A man or boy whose testes are nonfunctioning or have been removed.
3. Informal An ineffectual, powerless, or unmasculine man.

Source:Wikipedia

How does one go from being a eunuch to being a gay person due to being a eunuch?


Jul 18, 2009
Repeating old falsehoods doesn't make them true
by: Rick Brentlinger

Richard - You seem intent on repeating old falsehoods about eunuchs while ignoring historical evidence that gay people in ancient times were included in the class of people called eunuchs.

I encourage to move beyond the tired assertions about eunuchs and acknowledge the views of Jesus and Roman Law, that some eunuchs were gay.

You asked, "How does one go from being a eunuch to being a gay person due to being a eunuch?"

The answer is in the four long pages of information about eunuchs on this website AND in my book, Gay Christian 101. Just click on the NavBar link, Eunuchs Are Gay.

Even virulently anti-gay author, Dr. Robert Gagnon, admits in writing on his website, that the category referred to by Jesus as "born eunuchs" included homosexuals.

I encourage you to read the information already available on this website before simply repeating incorrect or incomplete information.

Oct 11, 2009
your website = garbage
by: Anonymous

you are leading many people into satans clutches by twisting God's word to how you want it to read to fulfill your sinful lusts!

eunuchs were not gay.

God's word says homosexuality is an abomination!

Matthew 7:15-20 KJV
15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Leviticus 18:22

22Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

^^ that means no man shall be with a man.. God didnt created Adam and Steve..

and do not begin to take Matthew 7:1 out of context.. you cant judge what God's word already judges and says

Hebrew 4:12 says

12For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

and for the fact that you said that God was talking to you through the Holy Spirit and saying it was ok to be gay you are wrong..

satan controls the mind as well, you have to discern whats of God or of Satan, and i tell you this website and all you have professed is not of God.

1 timothy 6:20-21

20O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:

21Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.


i pray that one day that satans blinders will be lifted from your eyes and you will see the TRUE GOD himself! many can profess they know God, but have you made a true confession of the heart?

for all those who read this website and believe it as truth.. BEWARE!!

Oct 12, 2009
Christians are supposed to obey Levitical law too now?
by: Anonymous

"22Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.

^^ that means no man shall be with a man.. God didnt created Adam and Steve.."


According to the Book of Leviticus there are many "abominations." You've listed one, but what about others, such as eating shellfish, wearing clothing woven from different fabrics, having intercourse with a woman within 10 days of her menstrual cycle, trimming your beard, having a tattoo, etc? Are people who do those things in Satan's clutches too?

Fact is, the word "abomination" is yet another of a long list of biblical mistranslations that plague the English Language Bibles (I pluralize "Bibles" because there are so many different versions).

It might be helpful for you look up the Hebrew word "toevah" for clarification of how those Levitical verses (which were meant for the Israelites, not the Gentiles) should be interpreted.

Mar 10, 2014
Gay Marriage Confusion
by: (To Shy to Say At the Moment)

I've read some/most/all of your other entries about gay people getting married, and I really hope God will accept and love us after getting married, and that it'd turn out that gay marriage was never a sin in the first place - but there are two aspects that I am confused about regarding this concept.

1. When Jesus mentioned the eunuchs, people in which some are born gay, in Matthew 19:12, why did he bring them up right after a person said that it is better not to marry if he can't get a divorce? If one of the meanings of a eunuch is a born gay person, where does this verse belong? I never quite understood that verse, that when a man said that it'd be better not to marry, that Jesus would randomly bring up eunuchs even though, supposedly, they can get married and there was no conversation pertaining to the traditional marriage paradigm. From the flow of the conversation, it sounds like Jesus is saying that people are born gay, but are not allowed to have gay marriage. What am I not understanding here?

Rick's comment: Jesus differentiates between born eunuchs and castrated and voluntary eunuchs. Matt 19:10 is an unspiritual reaction to Jesus forbidding divorce for most reasons.

2. In the beginning of the Bible, God did say "Woe to him that is alone", that it isn't good for a man to be alone - but in Matthew 19:12 Jesus said that some people have made themselves celibate for the glory of God. And when he said it here, he was still on the subject of eunuchs.

Is gay marriage really okay? Why did he bring up eunuchs while having a conversation with someone pertaining to certain people not getting married at all? And why did God say that it's bad for someone to be alone in one place in the bible, but then say that celibacy and singleness glorifies God in another? Is being alone for the rest of someone's life really the only way for a gay Christian to honor God?

Rick's comment: Jesus brought up eunuchs to point out exceptions to the Adam-Eve marriage paradigm. "All men cannot receive this saying..."

In 1 Cor 7:1-9, ability to live a celibate life is a gift, Greek word = χάρισμα or charisma. Please re-read my pages on gay marriage, for your peace of mind.

May 18, 2015
Questions
by: Emilie

If as you say, we should not draw conclusions that aren't there, you cannot claim that God blesses same-sex marriage or allows it. But you can deduce that he blessed opposite- unions. God noticed that adam was alone and created a Woman as the only acceptable remedy, be a strength to him, a mirror image.

Rick's comment: Hi Emilie - I didn't say quite what you wrote. It may help to read again what I actually wrote. You are reading into the text what the text does not say - that a one man with one woman marriage is the ONLY kind of marriage God will bless.

You cannot conclude that eunuch means homosexual. Today almost 1% of babies are born with ambiguous external sexual organs. Some mild, some severe. A boy born with undescended testicles today can have surgery, but in Jesus' time would most likely become sterile and lack the needed hormones to help him develop during puberty.

Rick's comment: Non-gay and anti-gay scholars testify that one of the meanings of eunuch is gay people. You are welcome to disagree but world class experts on the topic carry more weight than your differing opinion. Were some eunuchs homosexual?

Even if Jesus was talking about eunuchs, he never said anything about them getting married. He referenced spiritual eunuchs in the same scripture, meaning those that choose to remain unmarried for spiritual reasons, so why then would he group homosexuals in with ppl who remain celibate?

You must hold your biblical interpretations to the same standard you place on others. If you do, you will see your conclusions cannot stand up to scrutiny. When interpreting scripture, especially when word meanings are broad or varied, you must use other passages about the same topic and other instances of the terms, but you choose only narrow and solitary definitions to suit your cultural ideologies. Your conclusion is faulty when you ignore the glaringly obvious word, "blameless" in the scripture that talks about standards for leadership.

You can also interpret that scripture to mean that leaders must set a holy example for those they lead. A bishop must be blameless, and part of that description is being the husband of one wife. It is a whole lot easier and more logical to deduce that any other marriage setup would not be blameless, rather than reaching and trying to say it means that polygamy and same-sex marriage are not sinful. The church would have allowed ppl living in sin to be a part of the church but could not be placed in leadership positions.

When interpreting OT laws and rules we can deduce that some do not apply anymore bc we are under a new covenant, but where the NT reaffirms OT standards of purity we can deduce that they apply. The grammar indicates that "husband of one wife" is a descriptor of "blameless," and therefore it is logical conclude that husbands of 2 or more wives would not be considered blameless. So you cannot use OT polygamy as a support to your conclusions.

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