Trying To Earn God’s Imprimatur

Trying To Earn God’s Imprimatur

“Imprimatur: Literally, it means “Let it be printed.” It is an official formula of license to print or publish, affixed by a censor or board of censors to a book or pamphlet. In the Catholic Bible versions, a bishop or archbishop is listed as the imprimatur.” ( from http://www.innvista.com/culture/religion/bible/glossary.htm)

Following are three articles on the issue of Gay Marriage. My comments and summary are at the bottom.

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Today I read that there is a new version of the Bible coming out – the “Homosexual” version.

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Gay Bible angers Christians

by Alison Flood

New Mexico-based Revision Studios will publish The Princess Diana Bible – so named because of Diana’s “many good works”, it says – online at princessdianabible.com in spring 2009. A preview of Genesis is already available, in which instead of creating Adam and Eve, God creates Aida and Eve. “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Aida, and she slept: and he took one of her ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which the Lord God had taken from woman, made he another woman, and brought her unto the first. And Aida said, ‘This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of me. Therefore shall a woman leave her mother, and shall cleave unto her wife: and they shall be one flesh.’ And they were both naked, the woman and her wife, and were not ashamed.” The film studio said it would also adapt and direct the revised Bible as a two-part mini-series, The Gay Old Testament and The Gay New Testament, once it is completed. “There are many different versions of the Bible; I don’t see why we can’t have one,” said Max Mitchell, who directed the science fiction comedy Horror in the Wind, in which an airborne formula invented by two biogeneticists reverses the world’s sexual orientation. “I got the idea for the Princess Diana Bible from Horror In The Wind,” he added. “After the world becomes gay, religious people create The Princess Diana Bible, which says that gay is right and straight is a sin. Then they burn all the King James Bibles.” The move has already provoked upset among Christians, with the blogger Douglas Howe at the Idol Chatter site describing it as “inspired by a political agenda and one person’s desire to contort not only the text but the very context of it to suit his own perspective”. There was also criticism on Mitchell’s Princess Diana Bible site, where one commentator said the choice of title was “very disrespectful to the late Princess Diana … It’s just one more thing to link her to what many people believe is immoral. Sad, very sad indeed.” But Mitchell said: “There are 116 versions of the Bible, why is any of them better than ours?”

A gay version of the Bible, in which God says it is better to be gay than straight, is to be published by an American film producer.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2008

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I then read Lisa Miller’s article about Gay Marriage in the latest issue of Newsweek.

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Our Mutual Joy

“Opponents of gay marriage often cite Scripture. But what the Bible teaches about love argues for the other side.”

Lisa Miller

NEWSWEEK

From the magazine issue dated Dec 15, 2008

Let’s try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does. Shall we look to Abraham, the great patriarch, who slept with his servant when he discovered his beloved wife Sarah was infertile? Or to Jacob, who fathered children with four different women (two sisters and their servants)? Abraham, Jacob, David, Solomon and the kings of Judah and Israel—all these fathers and heroes were polygamists. The New Testament model of marriage is hardly better. Jesus himself was single and preached an indifference to earthly attachments—especially family. The apostle Paul (also single) regarded marriage as an act of last resort for those unable to contain their animal lust. “It is better to marry than to burn with passion,” says the apostle, in one of the most lukewarm endorsements of a treasured institution ever uttered. Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script? Of course not, yet the religious opponents of gay marriage would have it be so. The battle over gay marriage has been waged for more than a decade, but within the last six months—since California legalized gay marriage and then, with a ballot initiative in November, amended its Constitution to prohibit it—the debate has grown into a full-scale war, with religious-rhetoric slinging to match. Not since 1860, when the country’s pulpits were full of preachers pronouncing on slavery, pro and con, has one of our basic social (and economic) institutions been so subject to biblical scrutiny. But whereas in the Civil War the traditionalists had their James Henley Thornwell—and the advocates for change, their Henry Ward Beecher—this time the sides are unevenly matched. All the religious rhetoric, it seems, has been on the side of the gay-marriage opponents, who use Scripture as the foundation for their objections. The argument goes something like this statement, which the Rev. Richard A. Hunter, a United Methodist minister, gave to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in June: “The Bible and Jesus define marriage as between one man and one woman. The church cannot condone or bless same-sex marriages because this stands in opposition to Scripture and our tradition.” To which there are two obvious responses: First, while the Bible and Jesus say many important things about love and family, neither explicitly defines marriage as between one man and one woman. And second, as the examples above illustrate, no sensible modern person wants marriage—theirs or anyone else’s —to look in its particulars anything like what the Bible describes. “Marriage” in America refers to two separate things, a religious institution and a civil one, though it is most often enacted as a messy conflation of the two. As a civil institution, marriage offers practical benefits to both partners: contractual rights having to do with taxes; insurance; the care and custody of children; visitation rights; and inheritance. As a religious institution, marriage offers something else: a commitment of both partners before God to love, honor and cherish each other—in sickness and in health, for richer and poorer—in accordance with God’s will. In a religious marriage, two people promise to take care of each other, profoundly, the way they believe God cares for them. Biblical literalists will disagree, but the Bible is a living document, powerful for more than 2,000 years because its truths speak to us even as we change through history. In that light, Scripture gives us no good reason why gays and lesbians should not be (civilly and religiously) married—and a number of excellent reasons why they should. In the Old Testament, the concept of family is fundamental, but examples of what social conservatives would call “the traditional family” are scarcely to be found. Marriage was critical to the passing along of tradition and history, as well as to maintaining the Jews’ precious and fragile monotheism. But as the Barnard University Bible scholar Alan Segal puts it, the arrangement was between “one man and as many women as he could pay for.” Social conservatives point to Adam and Eve as evidence for their one man, one woman argument—in particular, this verse from Genesis: “Therefore shall a man leave his mother and father, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.” But as Segal says, if you believe that the Bible was written by men and not handed down in its leather bindings by God, then that verse was written by people for whom polygamy was the way of the world. (The fact that homosexual couples cannot procreate has also been raised as a biblical objection, for didn’t God say, “Be fruitful and multiply”? But the Bible authors could never have imagined the brave new world of international adoption and assisted reproductive technology—and besides, heterosexuals who are infertile or past the age of reproducing get married all the time.) Ozzie and Harriet are nowhere in the New Testament either. The biblical Jesus was—in spite of recent efforts of novelists to paint him otherwise—emphatically unmarried. He preached a radical kind of family, a caring community of believers, whose bond in God superseded all blood ties. Leave your families and follow me, Jesus says in the gospels. There will be no marriage in heaven, he says in Matthew. Jesus never mentions homosexuality, but he roundly condemns divorce (leaving a loophole in some cases for the husbands of unfaithful women). The apostle Paul echoed the Christian Lord’s lack of interest in matters of the flesh. For him, celibacy was the Christian ideal, but family stability was the best alternative. Marry if you must, he told his audiences, but do not get divorced. “To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): a wife must not separate from her husband.” It probably goes without saying that the phrase “gay marriage” does not appear in the Bible at all. If the bible doesn’t give abundant examples of traditional marriage, then what are the gay-marriage opponents really exercised about? Well, homosexuality, of course—specifically sex between men. Sex between women has never, even in biblical times, raised as much ire. In its entry on “Homosexual Practices,” the Anchor Bible Dictionary notes that nowhere in the Bible do its authors refer to sex between women, “possibly because it did not result in true physical ‘union’ (by male entry).” The Bible does condemn gay male sex in a handful of passages. Twice Leviticus refers to sex between men as “an abomination” (King James version), but these are throwaway lines in a peculiar text given over to codes for living in the ancient Jewish world, a text that devotes verse after verse to treatments for leprosy, cleanliness rituals for menstruating women and the correct way to sacrifice a goat—or a lamb or a turtle dove. Most of us no longer heed Leviticus on haircuts or blood sacrifices; our modern understanding of the world has surpassed its prescriptions. Why would we regard its condemnation of homosexuality with more seriousness than we regard its advice, which is far lengthier, on the best price to pay for a slave? Paul was tough on homosexuality, though recently progressive scholars have argued that his condemnation of men who “were inflamed with lust for one another” (which he calls “a perversion”) is really a critique of the worst kind of wickedness: self-delusion, violence, promiscuity and debauchery. In his book “The Arrogance of Nations,” the scholar Neil Elliott argues that Paul is referring in this famous passage to the depravity of the Roman emperors, the craven habits of Nero and Caligula, a reference his audience would have grasped instantly. “Paul is not talking about what we call homosexuality at all,” Elliott says. “He’s talking about a certain group of people who have done everything in this list. We’re not dealing with anything like gay love or gay marriage. We’re talking about really, really violent people who meet their end and are judged by God.” In any case, one might add, Paul argued more strenuously against divorce—and at least half of the Christians in America disregard that teaching. Religious objections to gay marriage are rooted not in the Bible at all, then, but in custom and tradition (and, to talk turkey for a minute, a personal discomfort with gay sex that transcends theological argument). Common prayers and rituals reflect our common practice: the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer describes the participants in a marriage as “the man and the woman.” But common practice changes—and for the better, as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice.” The Bible endorses slavery, a practice that Americans now universally consider shameful and barbaric. It recommends the death penalty for adulterers (and in Leviticus, for men who have sex with men, for that matter). It provides conceptual shelter for anti-Semites. A mature view of scriptural authority requires us, as we have in the past, to move beyond literalism. The Bible was written for a world so unlike our own, it’s impossible to apply its rules, at face value, to ours. Marriage, specifically, has evolved so as to be unrecognizable to the wives of Abraham and Jacob. Monogamy became the norm in the Christian world in the sixth century; husbands’ frequent enjoyment of mistresses and prostitutes became taboo by the beginning of the 20th. (In the NEWSWEEK POLL, 55 percent of respondents said that married heterosexuals who have sex with someone other than their spouses are more morally objectionable than a gay couple in a committed sexual relationship.) By the mid-19th century, U.S. courts were siding with wives who were the victims of domestic violence, and by the 1970s most states had gotten rid of their “head and master” laws, which gave husbands the right to decide where a family would live and whether a wife would be able to take a job. Today’s vision of marriage as a union of equal partners, joined in a relationship both romantic and pragmatic, is, by very recent standards, radical, says Stephanie Coontz, author of “Marriage, a History.” Religious wedding ceremonies have already changed to reflect new conceptions of marriage. Remember when we used to say “man and wife” instead of “husband and wife”? Remember when we stopped using the word “obey”? Even Miss Manners, the voice of tradition and reason, approved in 1997 of that change. “It seems,” she wrote, “that dropping ‘obey’ was a sensible editing of a service that made assumptions about marriage that the society no longer holds.” We cannot look to the Bible as a marriage manual, but we can read it for universal truths as we struggle toward a more just future. The Bible offers inspiration and warning on the subjects of love, marriage, family and community. It speaks eloquently of the crucial role of families in a fair society and the risks we incur to ourselves and our children should we cease trying to bind ourselves together in loving pairs. Gay men like to point to the story of passionate King David and his friend Jonathan, with whom he was “one spirit” and whom he “loved as he loved himself.” Conservatives say this is a story about a platonic friendship, but it is also a story about two men who stand up for each other in turbulent times, through violent war and the disapproval of a powerful parent. David rends his clothes at Jonathan’s death and, in grieving, writes a song: I grieve for you, Jonathan my brother; You were very dear to me. Your love for me was wonderful, More wonderful than that of women. Here, the Bible praises enduring love between men. What Jonathan and David did or did not do in privacy is perhaps best left to history and our own imaginations. In addition to its praise of friendship and its condemnation of divorce, the Bible gives many examples of marriages that defy convention yet benefit the greater community. The Torah discouraged the ancient Hebrews from marrying outside the tribe, yet Moses himself is married to a foreigner, Zipporah. Queen Esther is married to a non-Jew and, according to legend, saves the Jewish people. Rabbi Arthur Waskow, of the Shalom Center in Philadelphia, believes that Judaism thrives through diversity and inclusion. “I don’t think Judaism should or ought to want to leave any portion of the human population outside the religious process,” he says. “We should not want to leave [homosexuals] outside the sacred tent.” The marriage of Joseph and Mary is also unorthodox (to say the least), a case of an unconventional arrangement accepted by society for the common good. The boy needed two human parents, after all. In the Christian story, the message of acceptance for all is codified. Jesus reaches out to everyone, especially those on the margins, and brings the whole Christian community into his embrace. The Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and author, cites the story of Jesus revealing himself to the woman at the well— no matter that she had five former husbands and a current boyfriend—as evidence of Christ’s all-encompassing love. The great Bible scholar Walter Brueggemann, emeritus professor at Columbia Theological Seminary, quotes the apostle Paul when he looks for biblical support of gay marriage: “There is neither Greek nor Jew, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Jesus Christ.” The religious argument for gay marriage, he adds, “is not generally made with reference to particular texts, but with the general conviction that the Bible is bent toward inclusiveness.” The practice of inclusion, even in defiance of social convention, the reaching out to outcasts, the emphasis on togetherness and community over and against chaos, depravity, indifference—all these biblical values argue for gay marriage. If one is for racial equality and the common nature of humanity, then the values of stability, monogamy and family necessarily follow. Terry Davis is the pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Hartford, Conn., and has been presiding over “holy unions” since 1992. “I’m against promiscuity—love ought to be expressed in committed relationships, not through casual sex, and I think the church should recognize the validity of committed same-sex relationships,” he says. Still, very few Jewish or Christian denominations do officially endorse gay marriage, even in the states where it is legal. The practice varies by region, by church or synagogue, even by cleric. More progressive denominations—the United Church of Christ, for example—have agreed to support gay marriage. Other denominations and dioceses will do “holy union” or “blessing” ceremonies, but shy away from the word “marriage” because it is politically explosive. So the frustrating, semantic question remains: should gay people be married in the same, sacramental sense that straight people are? I would argue that they should. If we are all God’s children, made in his likeness and image, then to deny access to any sacrament based on sexuality is exactly the same thing as denying it based on skin color—and no serious (or even semiserious) person would argue that. People get married “for their mutual joy,” explains the Rev. Chloe Breyer, executive director of the Interfaith Center in New York, quoting the Episcopal marriage ceremony. That’s what religious people do: care for each other in spite of difficulty, she adds. In marriage, couples grow closer to God: “Being with one another in community is how you love God. That’s what marriage is about.” More basic than theology, though, is human need. We want, as Abraham did, to grow old surrounded by friends and family and to be buried at last peacefully among them. We want, as Jesus taught, to love one another for our own good—and, not to be too grandiose about it, for the good of the world. We want our children to grow up in stable homes. What happens in the bedroom, really, has nothing to do with any of this. My friend the priest James Martin says his favorite Scripture relating to the question of homosexuality is Psalm 139, a song that praises the beauty and imperfection in all of us and that glorifies God’s knowledge of our most secret selves: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” And then he adds that in his heart he believes that if Jesus were alive today, he would reach out especially to the gays and lesbians among us, for “Jesus does not want people to be lonely and sad.” Let the priest’s prayer be our own. With Sarah Ball and Anne Underwood

URL: http://www.newsweek.com/id/172653

© 2008

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Then I read R. Albert Mohler, Jr.’s “Turning the Bible on its Ear”, a very scholarly answer to Newsweek magazine, whose decision to feature Ms. Miller’s editorial will undoubtedly disenfranchise a great portion of its Christian readership.

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Turning the Bible on its Head — Newsweek Goes for Gay Marriage

Newsweek magazine, one of the most influential news magazines in America, has decided to come out for same-sex marriage in a big way, and to do so by means of a biblical and theological argument.  In its cover story for this week, “The Religious Case for Gay Marriage,” Newsweek religion editor Lisa Miller offers a revisionist argument for the acceptance of same-sex marriage.  It is fair to say that Newsweek has gone for broke on this question.Miller begins with a lengthy dismissal of the Bible’s relevance to the question of marriage in the first place.  “Let’s try for a minute to take the religious conservatives at their word and define marriage as the Bible does,” Miller suggests.  If so, she argues that readers will find a confusion of polygamy, strange marital practices, and worse.

She concludes:  “Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?”  She answers, “Of course not, yet the religious opponents of gay marriage would have it be so.” Now, wait just a minute. Miller’s broadside attack on the biblical teachings on marriage goes to the heart of what will appear as her argument for same-sex marriage.  She argues that, in the Old Testament, “examples of what social conservatives call ‘the traditional family’ are scarcely to be found.”  This is true, of course, if what you mean by ‘traditional family’ is the picture of America in the 1950s.  The Old Testament notion of the family starts with the idea that the family is the carrier of covenant promises, and this family is defined, from the onset, as a transgenerational extended family of kin and kindred. But, at the center of this extended family stands the institution of marriage as the most basic human model of covenantal love and commitment.  And this notion of marriage, deeply rooted in its procreative purpose, is unambiguously heterosexual. As for the New Testament, “Ozzie and Harriet are nowhere” to be found.  Miller argues that both Jesus and Paul were unmarried (emphatically true) and that Jesus “preached a radical kind of family, a caring community of believers, whose bond in God superseded all blood ties.”  Jesus clearly did call for a commitment to the Gospel and to discipleship that transcended family commitments.  Given the Jewish emphasis on family loyalty and commitment, this did represent a decisive break. But Miller also claims that “while the Bible and Jesus say many important things about love and family, neither explicitly defines marriage as between one man and one woman.”  This is just patently untrue.  Genesis 2:24-25 certainly reveals marriage to be, by the Creator’s intention, a union of one man and one woman.  To offer just one example from the teaching of Jesus, Matthew 19:1-8 makes absolutely no sense unless marriage “between one man and one woman” is understood as normative. As for Paul, he did indeed instruct the Corinthians that the unmarried state was advantageous for the spread of the Gospel.  His concern in 1 Corinthians 7 is not to elevate singleness as a lifestyle, but to encourage as many as are able to give themselves totally to an unencumbered Gospel ministry.  But, in Corinth and throughout the New Testament church, the vast majority of Christians were married.  Paul will himself assume this when he writes the “household codes” included in other New Testament letters. The real issue is not marriage, Miller suggests, but opposition to homosexuality.  Surprisingly, Miller argues that this prejudice against same-sex relations is really about opposition to sex between men.  She cites the Anchor Bible Dictionary as stating that “nowhere in the Bible do its authors refer to sex between women.”  She would have done better to look to the Bible itself, where in Romans 1:26-27 Paul writes:  “For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” Again, this passage makes absolutely no sense unless it refers very straightforwardly to same-sex relations among both men and women — with the women mentioned first. Miller dismisses the Levitical condemnations of homosexuality as useless because “our modern understanding of the world has surpassed its prescriptions.”  But she saves her most creative dismissal for the Apostle Paul.  Paul, she concedes, “was tough on homosexuality.”  Nevertheless, she takes encouragement from the fact that “progressive scholars” have found a way to re-interpret the Pauline passages to refer only to homosexual violence and promiscuity. In this light she cites author Neil Elliott and his book, The Arrogance of Nations.  Elliott, like other “progressive scholars,” suggests that the modern notion of sexual orientation is simply missing from the biblical worldview, and thus the biblical authors are not really talking about what we know as homosexuality at all.  “Paul is not talking about what we call homosexuality at all,” as Miller quotes Elliott. Of course, no honest reader of the biblical text will share this simplistic and backward conclusion.  Furthermore, to accept this argument is to assume that the Christian church has misunderstood the Bible from its very birth — and that we are now dependent upon contemporary “progressive scholars” to tell us what Christians throughout the centuries have missed. Tellingly, Miller herself seems to lose confidence in this line of argument, explaining that “Paul argued more strenuously against divorce—and at least half of the Christians in America disregard that teaching.”  In other words, when the argument is failing, change the subject and just declare victory.  “Religious objections to gay marriage are rooted not in the Bible at all, then, but in custom and tradition,” Miller simply asserts — apparently asking her readers to forget everything they have just read. Miller picks her sources carefully.  She cites Neil Elliott but never balances his argument with credible arguments from another scholar, such as Robert Gagnon of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary [See his response to Elliott here].  Her scholarly sources are chosen so that they all offer an uncorrected affirmation of her argument.  The deck is decisively stacked. She then moves to the claim that sexual orientation is “exactly the same thing” as skin color when it comes to discrimination.  As recent events have suggested, this claim is not seen as credible by many who have suffered discrimination on the basis of skin color. As always, the bottom line is biblical authority.  Lisa Miller does not mince words.  “Biblical literalists will disagree,” she allows, “but the Bible is a living document, powerful for more than 2,000 years because its truths speak to us even as we change through history.”  This argument means, of course, that we get to decide which truths are and are not binding on us as “we change through history.” “A mature view of scriptural authority requires us, as we have in the past, to move beyond literalism,” she asserts.  “The Bible was written for a world so unlike our own, it’s impossible to apply its rules, at face value, to ours.” All this comes together when Miller writes, “We cannot look to the Bible as a marriage manual, but we can read it for universal truths as we struggle toward a more just future.”  At this point the authority of the Bible is reduced to whatever “universal truths” we can distill from its (supposed) horrifyingly backward and oppressive texts. Even as she attempts to make her “religious case” for gay marriage, Miller has to acknowledge that “very few Jewish or Christian denominations do officially endorse gay marriage, even in the states where it is legal.”  Her argument now grinds to a conclusion with her hope that this will change.  But — and this is a crucial point — if her argument had adequate traction, she wouldn’t have to make it.  It is not a thin extreme of fundamentalist Christians who stand opposed to same-sex marriage — it is the vast majority of Christian churches and denominations worldwide. Disappointingly, Newsweek editor Jon Meacham offers an editorial note that broadens Newsweek’s responsibility for this atrocity of an article and reveals even more of the agenda:  “No matter what one thinks about gay rights—for, against or somewhere in between —this conservative resort to biblical authority is the worst kind of fundamentalism,” Meacham writes.  “Given the history of the making of the Scriptures and the millennia of critical attention scholars and others have given to the stories and injunctions that come to us in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament, to argue that something is so because it is in the Bible is more than intellectually bankrupt—it is unserious, and unworthy of the great Judeo-Christian tradition.” Well, that statement sets the issue clearly before us.  He insists that “to argue that something is so because it is in the Bible is more than intellectually bankrupt.”  No serious student of the Bible can deny the challenge of responsible biblical interpretation, but the purpose of legitimate biblical interpretation is to determine, as faithfully as possible, what the Bible actually teaches — and then to accept, teach, apply, and obey. The national news media are collectively embarrassed by the passage of Proposition 8 in California.  Gay rights activists are publicly calling on the mainstream media to offer support for gay marriage, arguing that the media let them down in November.  It appears that Newsweek intends to do its part to press for same-sex marriage.  Many observers believe that the main obstacle to this agenda is a resolute opposition grounded in Christian conviction.  Newsweek clearly intends to reduce that opposition. Newsweek could have offered its readers a careful and balanced review of the crucial issues related to this question.  It chose another path — and published this cover story.  The magazine’s readers and this controversial issue deserved better.

© All rights reserved, www.AlbertMohler.com

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Having finished reading all three articles, I have a few comments.

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First, there is already a Bible written for Homosexuals – it is also for liars, adulterers, thieves, murderers, rapists, idolaters, and all other types of sinners. The Holy Bible, containing Old and New Covenants, encompassing everything from the Dawn of Creation to the Final Revelation, is that Bible. Just because someone inserted new words and twisted the meaning of the original does not mean he has created a new Bible. He has merely perverted the truth in the interest of furthering his own plans and trying to incite others to follow – a tactic as dated as Original Sin and brought to us by the Father of Lies – the Serpent of Old, the Devil.

Second, I must clearly side with Mr. Mohler’s assessment of Ms. Miller’s editorial, although it is my opinion that Lisa Miller’s “arguments” are not cogent or cohesive enough to deserve such scholarly rebuttal. One may decide that she will follow cultural mores in certain matters of style, music, and other non-essentials, but one may not put words in the mouth of God which nullify His own commandments without grave consequences.

However, several points come very clear to me with regard to the argument for gay marriage rights:

  1. Those who are in disobedience to God’s commandments are clearly in opposition to the written word of God, the Bible (both Old and New Covenants – the former being the forerunner of the latter; the latter being the fulfillment of the former).
  2. Those who are in opposition to the Bible often try to justify their points of view… using the very Bible they oppose!
  3. Those who are entrenched in wrongdoing feel the guilt of their own sins, but are stubbornly holding on to their own way,. Since they wish to continue in sin, they seek to pull down that which is holy in order to justify themselves.

Essentially, it seems that for the past 15 years or more, we have been watching all manner of attempts to manipulate the minds of the mainstream by men and women who lack the courage of their own convictions in the matter of their choice to live a homosexual lifestyle. Rather than simply live with the consequences of the lifestyle they have chosen, letting the chips fall where they may, they continuously resort to  attempts  to reinterpret or rewrite the Holy Scriptures in order that they may somehow gain approval.

If they don’t believe in the Bible, why do they bother?

If they don’t think they are living in sin, why do they care?

If their consciences aren’t condemning them, then why are they still justifying themselves?

Some of us know that we are sinners. We believe in the words: “Let God be true, and every man a liar”. We do not try to bend God’s will to our own. We acknowledge our sin, and either we go with it until it has run its course, or we confess it as sin, repent of it, and turn from our wrongdoing in order that we may be received by God.

In the Revelation, Jesus said of the church at Laodicea, that they were lukewarm. He said that He would rather that they were hot or cold, but because they were lukewarm, He would vomit them out of His mouth. This was, and still is, a call to choose a position. It is daring us to have integrity, the courage of our convictions, and the passion to follow through.

It gives me sorrow to see the great lengths to which we humans will go in order to justify our sins.

The reason I will not support the reinterpretation of the Holy Scriptures on the matter of homosexual marriage is that I wish to honor God and His Word. As a sinner who is repentant and continually striving to bring my life into line with His will and His Word, I do not believe there is any soul on earth who can advise Him on so-called “cultural issues”. No man or woman alive can correct the Creator, or convince Him that He did not know what He was doing when He decided to make marriage and childbirth matters between a man and a woman. In His wisdom and foresight, He has always known what sophisticates of our day can never learn; but the meek and lowly of heart who obey will be given the secrets of the Mind of God because He has chosen the weak things of this world to confound the “wise”.

The Book of Books has already been written, and it will not be rewritten. God, the Creator of the Universe, and the Grand Designer of mankind, will not change His mind. There is no memo coming down from Heaven to correct any bad impressions some of us may have received. No angelic spin-doctor is going to appear with an apology for God’s strict policies on marriage and family.

Furthermore, Adonai God will not put His Imprimatur on anyone else’s revisions. There will be no “God’s Will, Version 5.21” coming down the pike. There are many “versions” of the Bible that are true and correct, in many different languages, and the true and inspired Word of God is alive and sharp and able to lay our motives clearly before us. It is able to inspire us to try to be better than we are, to love one another, to help one another, and yet it does so within a framework that God Himself has set up – one that does not allow sin. No, instead it condemns sin so that the sinner might see how devastating and deadly it is. And it shows God’s remedy for our sin, so that we may be free!

Rather than ask God to rewrite His Word, we should be asking Him to renew our hearts.

Pastora Covert

4 comments to Trying To Earn God’s Imprimatur

  • Bonnie Marran

    RevCathian

    This was tremendous to read, and your comments were spot on!
    I read every word; thank you for keeping me on your mailing list. I had not seen these articles before you sent them to me, so I appreciated receiving them.

    God bless you richly, as you continue to stand for and to propagate the gospel of our Lord.

    Bonnie (bonniegirl)

  • You said it all in your first paragraph. There is a Bible, it’s for all of us. And Satan is just using the same tactics he’s always used… Because, sadly, they still work.

  • I appreciate this article. It is more than time than Christians in America and the World stop being silent and start standing up for what is the biblical truth.

  • Thanks, Sandi.

    I am very sad when I see people trying to do violence to the Word of God. It is not that God will be harmed by what men try to do to Him: it is that men will be harmed by it.