Why is it biblically wrong for a heterosexually married gay person to have a gay relationship outside of marriage?

Used by permission of slapupsidethehead.com

Rick Brentlinger Answers

You've asked an interesting question. We know that polygamy, a man having more than one wife, was affirmed and blessed in the Old Testament, according to Genesis 4:19, 16:3-4, 29:20-28, 30:4-9, Deuteronomy 21:15-17, 2 Samuel 12:7-8 (where God Himself affirms polygamy) and 2 Chronicles 24:2-3.

Before writing to us to insist that polygamy was not affirmed by God in the Old Testament, please take the time to look up each verse above. Then read, pray over and meditate on the verses.

In the New Testament, polygamy is not specifically addressed or prohibited, except for bishops and deacons, who are told they may only have one wife, 1 Timothy 3:2, 12, Titus 1:6, "the husband of one wife" and "the husbands of one wife." Here is what Jesus said about what constitutes adultery in a marriage.

"But I say to you, That whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart." -Matthew 5:28, American KJV

"And they two shall be one flesh: so then they are no more two, but one flesh." -Mark 10:8, American KJV

Jesus indicates that marriage is between two individuals. According to Jesus, it is committing adultery to step outside the bonds of marriage to fulfill lustful desires with someone other than your partner.

I should point out that Jesus quotes Genesis 2:24 and adds the word "two" to His quotation. Of course, He is perfectly within His rights to add "two" since He is God and He is the Word, John 1:1, therefore Jesus is the ultimate Author of scripture.

Many Christians take these verses to mean that Jesus is outlawing polygamy. On the other hand, if Jesus was outlawing polygamy and His followers understood Him to be outlawing polygamy in Mark 10:8 and Matthew 19:5, why would the Holy Spirit feel it necessary to have Paul limit marriage options for bishops and deacons to "one" wife?

If Christians already understood that Jesus had outlawed polygamy, there would be no need for Paul to mention "one wife." It seems more probable that Jesus did not intend to outlaw polygamy but was simply answering the question about adultery and divorce.

That said, it would be reading into the text, something scripture does not say to conclude that since polygamy is not specifically prohibited in the New Testament, therefore it must be permissible for a man or woman to step outside their marriage to have sex with a same sex partner.

Scripture does not give a cut and dried answer for every question we face. God gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth, John 16:13. It is our responsibility as Christians to seek God's guidance where scripture does not specifically address an issue. As we seek His guidance, God then shows us His will.

The spiritual process of discerning can be a messy process because it is not as black and white as some Christians prefer things to be. If there's not a specific rule for every little thing, some people become obsessed, thinking that other Christians are getting away with something they view as sin.

It should be pointed out that in most western cultures, polygamy is illegal. Polygamy was outlawed in America in 1878 in the Supreme Court case known as Reynolds vs. United States. Romans 13:1-5 tells Christians to be subject to the higher powers, which means to obey the laws of the land, at least where they do not conflict with our duty to obey God, Acts 5:29.

The question of polygamy is something many people wrestle with in the modern world. Legal scholar Jonathan Turley writes that 78% of the world's cultures have practiced polygamy in some form. According to Turley, there are as many as 50,000 polygamists in the U.S., most of whom were associated with the Mormon church at some point in the past.

Missionaries encounter polygamy on the mission field and must wrestle with what they were taught in western culture versus what is acceptable in non-western cultures. What should missionaries do in Africa, New Guinea or in Arab lands, when a man gets saved who has multiple wives? Should missionaries insist that polygamists divorce? Wouldn't that cause all kinds of confusion and despair in societies where divorced women may then be viewed as outcasts?

The way many missionaries, from Anglicans to Baptists to Methodists to non-denominationalists have handled that situation is to teach 1 Timothy 3:2-12, about bishops (pastors) and deacons having only one wife. Because scripture specifically states "one wife," when dealing with who is qualified to be a bishop or deacon, there isn't much of an issue.

Because scripture does not specifically address the issue of polygamy in the New Testament for people who are not bishops or deacons, there are frequently issues in cultures where polygamy is accepted. Missionaries often deal with the polygamy issue by asking born again people in the indigenous church to work out what they feel the Lord is leading them to do in polygamous situations for someone not a bishop or deacon, since scripture does not specifically address that.

This puts upon believers the responsibility to "walk in the Spirit," Galatians 5:16 and to learn to listen to the voice of Jesus, our Shepherd, John 10:27. Some congregations may decide that polygamy is wrong for them while others may decide polygamy is permissible as long as it is not practiced by bishops or deacons, 1 Timothy 3:2, 12.

Another question may also arise from this discussion. If Jesus mentioned male and female in these verses about marriage, why do gays think it is okay for two men or two ladies to get married? That question is answered at: Does 1 Cor 7:2 exclude gays and lesbians from marriage?

Original question:

"I read with interest the response to the other post on this topic.

As I analyzed that response, it occurred to me that God does not seem to require exclusivity when two people make a commitment to each other in the Bible. In fact, He appears to bless all kinds of committed relationships--some monogamous and some polygamous. As an example, consider David and Jonathan.

Initially, these two young men made a commitment to each other. They then subsequently married women. David, in fact, had many wives. Both men continued their intimate relationship after they were married. If God's standard for committed relationships is exclusivity, didn't David and Jonathan commit adultery when they married women?

Wouldn't God have judged this sin or at least have spoken negatively about it in the scriptures if they had violated His divine standard? I don't see that happening at all. Just the opposite is true. God abundantly blessed David and Jonathan. Why then today do heterosexually married gay people have to live by a different standard?

Our only options, it appears, are to either divorce and cause untold pain and damage to our spouses, children, and extended families, or to remain married and live a life of frustration. In light of David and Jonathan's relationships and in light of other polygamous arrangements in the Bible, why would it be wrong for heterosexually married gay people today to form committed intimate gay relationships outside of their marriage, especially if the straight spouse can accept the arrangement?

Is the real issue with the Lord commitment and not the number of relationships? Unless I'm overlooking something, it appears that is exactly what the biblical standard is."

What must I do to be saved?

What does the Bible say about polygamy and open relationships?

Gay Marriage is as old as history.

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Comments for Why is it biblically wrong for a heterosexually married gay person to have a gay relationship outside of marriage?

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May 14, 2012
How many relationships?
by: Rae

God expects a person to be married one time...for in Malachi 2:16, He says: "I hate divorce." First of all, you should be praying about who to marry, it will lessen the chance of divorce.

Also, in the bible it mentions breasts and wives in the case of relationship to other males. Breasts are a body part designed by God to bring pleasure to a man. A man's penis is never mentioned.

Let HER be as the loving and pleasant roe, and let her breasts satisfy thee at all times. Proverbs 5:18-20.

HER and HIM, BRIDE and BRIDGROOM, HUSBAND and WIFE, and then when REAL CHRISTIANS get to heaven, there will be no sex at all, because we will be like the angels and then we can put an end to this foolish debate.

Rick's comment: Rae, I hope you will continue to study and pray and allow the precious Holy Spirit to lead you into truth. As you grow in the Lord, I believe you will see things differently.

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