Jesus confirms Genesis definition of marriage

The answer to the discussion on marriage must surely come from Jesus, who is the bridge between the Old and New Testaments. Here, in Mark, he gives the basic construct of marriage, with reference to the first prophecy in Genesis, given by Adam.

The Pharisees came and asked Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” testing Him. And He answered and said to them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to dismiss her.” And Jesus answered and said to them, “Because of the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept. But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” 
Mark 10:2-10

You notice how the Pharisees used this question to test Jesus, knowing, even in that era, that it was a tricky question, one which they might use to attempt to stumble Jesus or force him into an area of discussion which would make him look insensitive to the needs of others, or overly judgemental.

Today, Christians are being tested in a similar way by liberal thought as it backs the homosexual lobby, which is seriously pressing for what they term ‘equal marriage’, as if marriage in itself isn’t at this stage equal, being defined as between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others. Pressing for ‘equal marriage’, however, is a clever, well orchestrated ploy, and one which appeals to those who are not as devout in their conviction as those who hold to the tenets of the faith as handed down in the canon of scripture, what we might term fundamental believers, also considered conservative Christians.

Being conservative, or holding fundamental beliefs is, in the current political climate, considered extreme in some quarters, yet the Word declares itself to be unchanging, eternal and fixed, which indicates that God has not changed his mind. As confirmation, he demonstrates his singleness of purpose in this when he says he is ‘Yahweh Who Changes Not’. So he doesn’t change, but there may be some things which we need to change to match his design and purpose for us.

It could be said then that God has fundamental views and is conservative, and his ways reflect this, as do his thoughts. Why should he have to change? He is God. Does God make mistakes he has to rectify? No, it is we who need to change to meet his consistency of purpose and design. This reveals him to be uniform, organised, ordered and decisive rather than out of touch or in need of constant change to follow the trends, fashions and whims of the world. He leads. He does not follow.

So how do we know which things change and which do not, since it is evident that God introduced a better covenant based on better promises when we entered the New Testament? Well, surely by confirmation in the New Testament of what God spoke in the Old.

So, here  in Mark chapter 10, Jesus reminds us that God’s intentions for marriage were revealed way back in Genesis, when Moses wrote that God made us male and female, and Adam announced that ‘a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’.

Here then is the God-revealed intention for marriage, ratified clearly and concisely by Jesus who refers to Genesis to bring us up to date. In other words, God has not changed his mind on marriage from his original statements – that he made us male and female, and we would be joined as one flesh.

Even divorce was added through the lawyers because of the hardness of their hearts. It was never God’s intention to permit divorce. He said no one should divide husband and wife, not even to separate themselves because of their own issues or reluctance to work out their marriage, but to submit themselves to one another in love and humility under the mighty hand of God, who would surely bring healing to any struggling relationship provided the participants were willing to submit to his will and his instruction.

So now we have a push for a change in the basic constitution of marriage to accommodate what God never intended at any time, either Biblically under either covenant, or practically, through the creation, or socially. For the hardness of the hearts of self-proclaimed progressives this change will probably be instituted and enshrined in law, but it will never be ratified by God.

He has not and will not change his mind.  He will not be in that false marriage as he is in the marriage between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others. That arrangement cannot be considered ‘equal marriage’ in the sight of God. The equality of marriage can only be God’s intended union between a man and a woman.

Jesus goes on to remind us that a person who divorces and remarries commits adultery. This doesn’t sound like a ratification of the Pharisaic or Mosaic decision to grant divorce to me. These divorces became separations of convenience by men with false intent. Some forms of compromise lead to diminishing of purpose. For a Christian divorce should be avoided unless they are unequally yoked to an unbeliever, or to an adulterer, which is the same thing, since no adulterer could be considered a disciple of Christ.

There is no precedent for homosexual or lesbian marriage. It is an oxymoron. It is unbiblical. Marriage is and can only be what it is – the union of a man and a woman as one flesh.

It could be said that any change in law to redefine marriage to include same-sex partners is, in a way, coming between the man and the woman in marriage. ‘What God has joined together let no man separate’. God has joined together male and female. The push for other gender equations is a pulling apart of God’s original plan for marriage between a husband and his wife.

He makes them one flesh. He joins them together. He ratifies and confirms their marriage in the wedding bed, which is, in a male and female marriage, undefiled. Woe to the person who comes between this arrangement by any means.

Marriage as it is must be guarded and kept. It is precious and holy, not only to Christians and the other Abrahamic belief systems, but to God himself, as confirmed by Jesus.


54 thoughts on “Jesus confirms Genesis definition of marriage

  1. I find it interesting that you use that passage of Jesus’ words to reinforce a conservative view re homosexual marriage, but at the same time take a liberal view on the subject He was speaking directly about – divorce.

    After all, as we have discussed before, a literal reading of Jesus’ words shows that He generally disallowed divorce – “what God has joined together, let no man separate”. You have previously said that you accept divorce for a variety of reasons, eg. spousal abuse – not just the woman’s adultery which was the single exception allowed by Jesus.

    You’ve always maintained that these issues are separate and refuse to discuss the ‘D’ word, but here you are using the same scripture to enforce a conservative view of one issue while taking a liberal view on the main point of the passage.

    Fundamentalism arose in the first two decades of the 20th Century, as a response to Modernism. It held that the Bible was infallible and should be read literally unless there was a clear indication that it was speaking figuratively. Fundamentalists said that the Bible did not need to be interpreted, but that its unchanging truths could be read and understood by any believer. There was a parallel movement in the Catholic church in response to Modernism which gave rise to the doctrine of Papal infallibility.

    This idea of a literal reading of the Bible is fairly new, having been popularised by people like Darby of the Brethren in the 1830’s. Before that various allegorical and non-literal interpretations were the norm, as shown in the writings of many early church fathers.

    The fundamentalists clung closely to their literal Bible in order to oppose the scientific and cultural changes brought about in the US by a rapidly industrialising society. They opposed the granting of the vote to women, laws against domestic violence and the liberalisation of divorce laws, They successfully lobbied for a ban on the teaching of evolution in schools in several states. This indirectly brought about their demise in the 1920s, culminating in the Scopes “Monkey” Trial, their loss in the court of public opinion and loss of control of the major denominations and christian institutions. They were not heard of again for the next 50 years.

    But they had not disappeared, they merely started their own denominations and withdrew from society to the hills and back-blocks of the fly-over states. From their own separate sub-culture they developed their own ideas and theologies and tried to re-coup their losses.

    In the 70’s they re-emerged, lead by much more politically savvy and well organised pastors, tele-evangelists and politicians. They are now adept at using the technological machinery of the modern state – radio, television, internet – and its art forms – rock and roll, graphic design, movies – to convey their message of opposition to the basic ideas that gave us these advances. They still define themselves negatively as against almost every change in social organisation, except perhaps the steady advance of capitalist globalisation – to which they seem unwilling to offer the slightest criticism.

    Fundamentalists have had such an effect on wider society that the term is now generally a pejorative in the secular world and mainstream church, and is also used to characterise movements in other religions – eg. Islamic fundamentalists.

    .

  2. Earthly marriage between a man and a woman was simply God’s way of giving us a material template (type) of the spiritual union between the community of believers and Christ himself – the ‘mystery’ Paul refers to in Eph 5:32. Oh, and it’s His basis for stable civilisation.

    BTW Wazza, are you having a dig at fundies? It’s a misnomer really; there are fundamental liberals too surely. Are you suggesting we just delete the ‘funda’ bit? I’m more of a literalist.

  3. It was Luther’s fundamental approach to scripture which dragged us out of the dark ages of apostasy, wazza2. Your rewriting of history is a pathetic and inaccurate distraction from the points I made, as is your appeal to any seeming liberal view of divorce, which I have clearly refuted on more than one occasion.

    But, in your blazingly contrived attack on fundamental belief in the accuracy of scripture and a conservative view of marriage, you completely fail to refer in any way to the points I raised that Jesus ratified the Genesis account of the definition of marriage.

    Wesley was clearly a gospel fundamentalist, yet he predates Darby by several years. The Calvinists are fundamentalists who adhere vehemently to their specific understanding of the scriptures going back long before Darby. What of John Knox? Zwingly predates your theories substantially, as does Arminius, and the Moravians who influenced Wesley.

    The Bible translators and theologians like Huss, Wycliffe, Tynedale and their contemporaries were very obviously fundamentalist when it comes to scripture and the canon. They were persecuted by the Roman ‘catholic church’ for their fundamentalism in bringing the truth of the gospels to the common man.

    Some were burned at the stake for heresy for daring to read and translate the scriptures literally, as we fundamentalists like to. Yet you deny this heritage of martyrdom and fearless delivery of scripture with your liberal interpretation of facts.

    All through history, from the Apostles of Christ until the late 19th Century, theology and the tenets of the faith were fought for based on men’s adherence to truth, based on the accepted understanding of scripture.

    It was the advent of liberalism which began the process of diminishing the effects, strength and power of the scriptures. I challenge you to unearth an important fact – how many of the liberal critical interpretation ‘theologians’ could actually be said to have a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ?

    For centuries men have stood on the accuracy of Bible texts as the reason for their refusal to deny Christ, even to the point of death, imprisonment, chains and ostracism.

    Why not just accept the fact that Jesus ratified the Genesis definition of marriage, and that any interference with God’s will on the matter is anathema.

    Show me anywhere where God, through Jesus, Paul or any of Christ’s Apostles, in scripture, denies the Genesis definition of marriage as ours under the New Testament.

    It was the fearless work and selfless sacrifice of fundamental believers which brought us the canon in our languages. Never forget this. They are the reason we can defend truth against those who seek to pervert it.

  4. There is no Genesis “definition” of marriage – there is a story of the creation of woman, and an exclamation or prophesy by Adam of the man and woman being “one flesh”.

    Do you believe that God literally performed surgery on Adam in order to remove his rib to create Eve? What purpose (other than to support the “one flesh” narrative) could God have for using this complicated surgical spare-part when He could easily have created Eve from scratch?

    I don’t think this is in any sense a legal or scientific definition of marriage, I think it is a poetic and literary expression of the essence of marriage.

    Now, did Jesus in any sense “ratify” a definition of marriage when he quoted Genesis? No, of course not, he was using Genesis to illustrate the sacredness of marriage, as an argument against divorce. He was not talking about marriage being exclusively between a man and a woman or women, it just so happens he mentioned the words man and woman.

    Conservatives desperately want Jesus to have said something about family values, about the conservative view of marriage and something against homosexuality. But unfortunately, this is all we have, and it really is a stretch to try and make it fit their agendas. That conservatives have picked this passage and tried to put it forward as a ‘ratification’ of their view just shows how weak their argument is.

    But the clincher is that in stretching these verses to fit their own agendas, the conservatives have totally overlooked Jesus’ agenda for making these statements in the first place. This was a strong statement against divorce, and a clear condemnation of many remarried people as adulterers. Yet the vast majority of churches allow remarriage after divorce, and it is not an issue of any importance to them at all.

    Conservatives fail to see the inconsistency of this approach, of making allowances in one area and interpreting literally – even interpolating – in other areas. However, the rest of society does see the inconsistency.

  5. wazza2,
    ‘There is no Genesis “definition” of marriage – there is a story of the creation of woman, and an exclamation or prophesy by Adam of the man and woman being “one flesh”.’

    Except that Jesus, in Mark, ratifies it. That’s the entire point I made. You not only missed it, you dismissed it. You refute Jesus’ own words with your liberal nonsense.

    Are you calling Jesus out on this one? Are you challenging his belief in the creation process?

    By the way, it needs no ratification, since, to the conservative Genesis is the Book of Beginnings, and includes principles which are eternal.

    What Adam said, God confirmed in many ways and by many means.

    As zeibart pointed out, marriage between a man and woman is a mystery which highlights the relationship between Christ and the Church.

    The liberal, especially the post-modernist, breaks everything down to singularities and fusses around with unrelated minor points that have no continuity or precedent. Thus he demonstrates that any idea he has can be proven if you dig deeply enough and locate a smidgeon of circumstantial evidence, but in so doing, being short sighted, misses the entire landscape which frames the speck of dust he puts under the microscope.

    Marriage is far bigger and deeper than you make out. I’m sorry you don’t see the significance of anything I am saying.
    _________________________________

    Don’t scientists use ribs as excellent providers of DNA for cloning?

  6. Adam was a type of Jesus, just as Eve was a type of the true church. Both Eve and the church were taken out from the one to whom they owe their life (one fleshly and the other spiritual obviously). Adam and Eve were literally of one flesh; so, indeed, are we when we are ‘in Christ’ (at least in part now and in full after the resurrection with our spiritual bodies). Everything else is window-dressing.

    On a slight tangent, (but as Steve points to above) it is amazing that people question both the creation account and Adam and Eve when Jesus was clearly in accord with both these core elements of Genesis. If you don’t believe Genesis 1-4, the only conclusion is that Jesus was misguided or only understood them within the scope of his very limited scientific knowledge. Did not the ‘wholly God’ part of his being contain that awareness expressed in John 1:1-3 such that he knew the Genesis account to be fact not fable?

  7. You have a ‘scientific’ definition of marriage?

    Can you explain this for us?

    Would it be the biological interaction between a heterosexual couple perhaps, what the Bible calls a covenant of blood, as in the original sense of marriage between virgins consummated?

    I put it to you that all reference to marriage in a Christian or Jewish setting is based on God’s revelation through Adam. Even Jesus uses it to define, to the Pharisees, what they have missed. That is definition – a statement of the exact meaning of something. The Pharisees dismissed it too.

    That is the Pharisaic way – to miss the truth for the sake of their own demands and desires.

  8. zeibart,
    ‘…it is amazing that people question both the creation account and Adam and Eve when Jesus was clearly in accord with both these core elements of Genesis. If you don’t believe Genesis 1-4, the only conclusion is that Jesus was misguided or only understood them within the scope of his very limited scientific knowledge.’

    Yes! As if Jesus wasn’t present, as the creative Word, during the creation. Just because God doesn’t meet human criteria for creation doesn’t mean he didn’t meet his own criteria.

    Why would it not be highly probable that he used parts of the literal creation as physically as well as spiritually demonstrated allegories for all of life? Such as taking the rib of man form his own side and forming the woman who would be brought back alongside as his wife, as both an allegory of marriage and of the relationship between Christ and the Church – his own Body?

    Assuming God would only create in a certain way which satisfies human intelligence neglects the truth that his ways are higher and his thoughts greater than ours. Let scientists, especially humanists and evolutionists, be baffled and human intelligence confounded. God is God and often beyond comprehension by the comparitively limited human mind.

  9. No Steve, there is no scientific definition of marriage – rather only the Biblical one. Jesus was pretty clear – it is a union between one man and one woman joined by God.
    .

  10. I guess it doesn’t mean much to any of you that 99% of the people on the planet think that even the thought of fay marriage is absurd.

    Argue all you like, but do you really think Jesus would have condoned a gay marriage?

    Were there gays in 1st century Palestine? By this time Romans and Jews weren’t still desert nomads trying to breed like rabbits (the usual argument thrown up re the insistence and prevalence of heterosexual marriage). So there were no gay couples in Jesus time or Pauls time in any church that wanted to live together?

    no…It’s simple. Jesus didn’t talk about gays because everyone knew that homosexual behavior and/or marriage was not something Jews or Christians could do.

    It’s just silly. Preposterous. And a sign of the insane times we are living in.

  11. Ok SM, where did you get your 99% figure from? As I was driving in to work this morning on Radio National they were interviewing the author of a new book “The New Evangelicals”

    From memory, she quoted research that showed a majority of US Evangelicals under 35 supported civil unions for homosexuals and there was also a significant proportion that supported gay marriage. Above age 35 there was lower support in both categories, but this support is increasing each year.

    Outside of Evangelical christianity (if you widen it to all people in our society) there is actually majority support for gay marriage.

    This is not a minority view by any means, your position is an ever decreasing minority even within evangelicalism.

  12. Re: ‘scientific’ definition of marriage. I was referring to the one-flesh idea where the woman was made literally out of the flesh of the man.

    This isn’t scientifically true, ie. a woman’s flesh is not the same as a man’s – they are not ‘one’ in the scientific sense. They are genetically and physically different. If God made a woman out of the flesh of a man, then He changed it significantly after he took it out of the man.

    It is only true now in a poetic, literary or metaphorical sense.

    Re: Jesus confirming the literal details of Genesis – has it ever occurred to Steve or Ziebert that he might also have been speaking metaphorically? He did this quite a bit – eg. he referred to bread at the last supper as “my body”. He didnt actually say “like my body” or “a symbol of my body”, he said “this is my body”. We interpret Him to be speaking metaphorically, but there is a church who interpret Him literally. They have to deal with the problems of little bits of Jesus getting stuck in your beard after communion.

  13. Metaphorically? To what end? Are you saying that marriage between a man and a woman is merely metaphorical, so, therefore, any combination is allowed?

    Or are you taking it further than this. Women are metaphorical. Men are metaphorical. There is, therefore, no real gender? So a man can, metaphorically, be a woman in a marriage, and woman can be a man? And, of course, a man can be metaphorically married to another man who is considered to be, in the relationship, metaphorically, a woman.

    Are you telling us that this is what Jesus was actually saying?

    Does this make it numerically metaphorical, too? So divorce, then, is also metaphorical?

    By your reasoning, there is no literal application of marriage. It is merely a figure of speech in which a word or phrase is applied to an action which is not literally applicable. How convenient!

    So now, according to wazza2, marriage is a figure of speech, interpretable in any way we choose to suit the prevailing demographics of our times.

    If you can find a democratic figure, say 44%, of a certain age group, which agrees with your point, you can determine whether marriage is allegorically applicable to same sex arrangements.

    I don’t think you’re going to get that one past God, frankly.

    In fact, if young evangelicals have been persuaded that civil unions are acceptable (I take it those are US figures, they usually are), one of a few options come into place.

    a) The gay lobbyists have largely succeeded in their highly organised re-educationism, even with the young.

    b) The evangelical young have come up with a compromise option for the secularists which falls short of marriage.

    c) The other 56% majority are following traditional lines, and will eventually, as the 44% minority grow out of group-think psychosis, become a greater majority as the 44% diminishes.

    d) Evangelical Christianity in the US is stuffed unless it gets back to Biblical principles and removes itself from liberalism!

    e) The politically correct wing of evangelicalism is the reason young people are increasingly embracing Pentecost.

    f) The figures are metaphorical.

  14. Haha wazza, so your logical destruction of Jesus’s references to the early Genesis writings, as he affirmed their literal sense (he certainly did not preface his comments with ‘and the creation parable’ or similar) is to call upon him not referring to the bread at his last Passover supper as ‘representing’ his body. Just because he doesn’t state in absolute terms that the bread is a type of his body broken for mankind hardly makes for solid support for a ‘poetic’ vice literal understanding of the creation of Eve.

    Let’s keep going with that and chuck out the fall, Cain and Abel, Babel, Nimrod, Nephilim, angels mating with women, the flood (and the geophysical restructuring of earth) etc. In fact the conclusion to this thinking is that the entire bible is a pick ‘n’ mix collection and we get to choose the bits we want to appropriate and what they ‘mean to us’. Don’t Jesus’s clear words on this subject carry any weight for you?

  15. “Does it mean much to you that 44% of young US evangelicals support gay marriage?

    Yes, it means a lot to me. It’s truly sad. No wonder the US is in the mess that it is.

  16. Let’s keep going with that and chuck out the fall, Cain and Abel, Babel, Nimrod, Nephilim, angels mating with women, the flood (and the geophysical restructuring of earth) etc. In fact the conclusion to this thinking is that the entire bible is a pick ‘n’ mix collection and we get to choose the bits we want to appropriate and what they ‘mean to us’. Don’t Jesus’s clear words on this subject carry any weight for you?

    Looks like we might need to revisit the whole Genesis chapter 1 thing in this thread

    https://signposts02.wordpress.com/2011/08/29/the-modern-inerrancy-debate/

    Actually why don’t angels mate with women anymore?

  17. Actually why don’t angels mate with women anymore?

    They were locked up in Tartarus, one of the other ‘hells’, until they’re thrown in the Lake of Fire.

    I’m amazed to see how liberals so often miss the point of what is being said in scripture.

    To call Adam’s proclamation on marriage allegorical when the evidence is clearly physical, and matches God’s original intention for the creation – to make man and woman in his image, so they could multiply in the earth (procreation) – is quite intriguing.

    Gays, without going to extraordinary, unnatural measures cannot reproduce of their own kind. It takes male and female seed. Multiplying comes from seed of man and woman. Marriage is the connection in law which maintains a successful family structure.

    It was sin – that of breaking God’s law of the Garden – which corrupted God’s perfect plan. But God’s projection of male and female multiplying, and of a husband and wife cleaving to one another were spoken into being before the fall.

    Go has never changed his mind on male and female, husband and wife. Jesus confirms it in Mark.

    The only way to miss such obvious connections in scripture is to be so focused on proving a wrong point that you miss the general perspective.

  18. Gays, without going to extraordinary, unnatural measures cannot reproduce of their own kind.

    I’d better qualify this. A gay man cannot reproduce of his own kind by going in unto another gay man. He would need a ‘surrogate’ mother to bear his and his gay partner’s offspring.

    A lesbian can’t go in unto anyone. A lesbian, as we have seen in the case of one of our senior politicians, can only be impregnated through ivf (which is an awful development unless it can be demonstrated that the woman is, in and of herself, incapable of bearing children without natural impregnation by a male), or by mating in the normal way with a man.

    Can you see the perversion of God’s original intentions in any of this?

  19. Perversion: the alteration of something from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended.

  20. I was at a marine display the other day. Apparently the male seahorse gives birth.

    I was wondering “ïs that natural?” God has some interesting designs on His critters.

  21. Wazza2 … 44% of US evangelicals support Gay Marriage?

    Looks like Rick Warren et al are doing great work destroying the Evangelical Church then.

    Historically the Evangelicals were keen on the Bible and less keen on the gifts of the Holy Spirit and were very wary of Signs’n’Wonders.

    Nowadays, we see that Pentecostals are showing signs of being really keen on the Bible while maintaining interest in the Holy Spirit and signs’n’wonders … not long before Pentecostals get really into Systematic Theological training as part of Sunday Worship services. I can see that happening.

    Meanwhile Evangelicals have thrown away their inheritance while not really going after the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

    That is the biggest shock.

    44% of US Evangelicals may well support Gay Marriage. But they would also be dead wrong.

    We need to seperate in our thinking Divorce and Remarriage.

    Even Paul allowed for divorce … but he did not, in writing at least, sanction remarriage. We make assumptions by reading into the Bible our own contemporary prejudices but we can only go by what we get from the Bible … otherwise we might as well give up and become hedonists.

    Liberal understandings are ultimately self defeating … why exactly did Jesus die on a cross as a criminal?

    All of this talk about ‘marriage’ and what is a valid marriage and can we sanctify homosexuality if we make it monogamous in a ‘marriage’ … it’s really, at heart, an attack on Biblical Authority.

    Is the Bible Authoritative or not. My understanding could be completely wrong, but the Bible cannot be wrong.

    Ultimately the liberal conclusion is what really matters. On what is it actually based? Is it a case of saying “no one says anything about this so we can decide for ourselves”?

    Well, Jesus never mentions abortion. He never talks about homosexuality. He talks a lot about marriage. It is always one man and one woman. He condemns those who remarry.

    He doesn’t say those who divorce are guilty of adultery. He says that those who remarry are. Why? For God does not recognise them as being free to remarry.

    I think it is important who Jesus is speaking to. He shows up the Pharisees for their hypocrisy.

    Where does that leave us today? Lots of believers on their second and third spouses … many have heartbreak and pain from earlier relationships behind them. I do not wish to bring pain to them.

    However, Jesus said all this. So if someone reads this and feels angry with me … talk to Jesus about it. Maybe he will explain what he meant.

    The only point I want to make here is that the church has given up on the divorce and remarriage issue.

    We are all guilty of brushing it under the carpet. We act as if to condemn someone to being single as their spouse has abandoned them is the worst thing in the world. Well … we need to ask the Lord what we should do in every individual circumstance. People, through no fault of their own have been left alone. But we must not make precedents … we must allow the Lord to speak and to act. Not make our own minds up and decide amongst ourselves.

    I am satisfied that there is enough in scripture that makes clear what God thinks and feels about same sex relationships.

    Shalom

  22. Bull, I think it’s that 44% of YOUNG evangelicals support it.

    But remember that young evangelicals are influenced by media (movies, TV, internet) more than ever before. There was a time when evangelicals were taught that going to movies and being a part of the world was something to be avoided. I’d say that for the last 20 years there’s been a huge swing against that. Young people have been taught that they need to be informed, relevant and have non-church friends. (I’m not saying any of that is wrong).

    I remember the friendship evangelism boom well. Well the inherent problem is that if children and teenagers are constantly being fed from the media, there is no message from there re biblical morality, standards or viewpoint at all. The underlying message from decades ago was, if it doesn’t hurt anyone it’s okay. But the probably is that it often takes a generation or two to know if things are hurtful or not. (In the 60’s people didn’t think lying out in the sun all day, asbestos or smoking were that bad either).

    So, come into the 90s and this century and what message do you get from the media? That gays are hip and cool and more loving than anyone. And more than anything, the worst sin of all, the worst thing anyone can do is to JUDGE someone.

    So, you are allowed to do anything, but you can’t judge. It’s little wonder that young evangelicals who may think that heterosexualit is God’s design, are still reticent to even say that the opposite is wrong, or impose any kind of morality based on the bible through legislation.

    Of course, they have also learned well that it’s perfectly acceptable to judge, lampoon, criticize and hate on the Catholic Church and evangelicals – and of course anyone who dares to say that a particular behavior is wrong.

    iow, young evangelicals watch movies, listen to songs and singers, and use the internet. The position being pushed by media (news, educational and entertainment) is that gays should be free to live the way they choose and to marry). And they’ve been so successful that even some old evangelicals think they are intelligent for not only departing from biblical teaching, but attacking those who uphold it).

    It’s ironic, but the HIllsong, Planet Shaker crowd have more in common with zealous Catholics now than the backslidden older evangelicals. (But probably in the same way that many don’t want to be called fundamentalist now, many will soon not want to be known as evangelicals because the media will increasingly attack that label too.)

    To put it even simpler, young people aren’t as clever as they think they are.

    So, Wazza, yes it bothers me but doesn’t surprise me that young people are so easily sucked in. But they can be excused, people your age can’t.

  23. When we were first saved we would listen hungrily to Back to the Bible on radio with Warren Wiersbe of the Moody Institute, which helped give us an Evangelical foundation.

    The foundation is still going.

    Our minister also put us through John Stott’s Understanding Christianity, and set us up in a weekly Bible study group. We were early saturated with scriptural basics which have helped steady us many times in our walk.

    New believers need the foundational truths more than ever. A tree without deep roots will soon blow over in a gale.

    It would help young people to go back to the Bible, because this is the source of all sound doctrine.

    Without Biblical foundations new Christians will eventually flounder, fall short or fail. But they must access the right basics, and not be swayed from opinion to opinion, to and fro with every wind of doctrine.

    http://www.backtothebible.org/

  24. One of the great aspects of the Barean Church was their tenacity in checking the gospel preached against the scripture.

    This was set as an example for the Church, and has often been quoted by discernment ministries as the key to determining accuracy of doctrine.

    But without a sound foundation in Biblical truth how can anyone discern the accuracy of the manifold teaching sites, including those which ooze errors, on the expanding internet?

    Evangelicals traditionally held to the accuracy of the canon of scripture. It is imperative, in this age of critical analysis, that new believers are pointed to truth as it is presented in the Bible, which most of us have access to, and most of us are able to read.

    You can’t build a house without solid foundations.

  25. We need to remember that the scripture the Berean Churches studied was the old testament.

    I agree that we need a good solid foundation. Unfortunately many new believers in Seeker Sensitive Churches (which used to be evangelical) are not getting their scriptural needs met. They are only getting their ‘felt’ needs met.

    It’s all about the seeker sensitive model (Willow Creek/Church Growth/Peter Drucker) which is designed to put bums on seats but is only marginally, at best, going to put people into the Kingdom.

    Marry this approach to a Heavy Shepherding/strict view on Tithing/you will do what we say as we are your leaders/we will not teach you the Bible … only the bits that support our doctrine/no discussion/you are out of here for questioning me

    … and you get the picture.

    It’s happening right now. I won’t say where, but you’ll get the inference.

    Here’s the thing Steve, how would I (say) go to a church leader in another church and suggest ways to row back from his misunderstanding of scripture?

    How do we get away from church as a happy club as long as you obey me and back to a Bible-based genuine Holy Spirit driven fellowship where every member is a minister to the lost?

    (see what I did there? Not everyone is a leader, but everyone is a minister to a lost world.)

    Shalom

  26. Steve, I think the best pentecostals are those who were previously Baptists or strong evangelicals. (Big statement that’s not meant to be incendiary).

    Bull, I have a different perspective than many here. When I first became a Christian I was surrounded by people who stressed the importance of daily reading, study of the Bible. The type of people who read the bible in order from beginning to end repeatedly.

    I think that if believers are reading and studying on their own, and are continually reminded, persuaded, taught that both having a great bible knowledge base, and also meditating of individual verses, and passages, and doing in depth personal study ….then the Sunday morning main service of a Church can have a more inspirational/motivational sermon.

    iow, I don’t think that the Sunday message has to be a bible study, or have 50 scripture references. Houston is not John Stott, but he doesn’t claim to be.

    I am the type who can read the bible chronologically for hours, or study in depth, but I’ve also enjoyed listening to Joel Osteen, Brian Houston by podcast.

    And Rick Warren is a great speaker. These guys wouldn’t be in demand as speakers if they had nothing of value to say.

    What do you think?

  27. I think that most believers don’t do what you suggest (quite rightly) that they should do, SM.

    But then they aren’t encouraged to.

    What would encourage them would be, amongst other things, an inspirational sermon that actually teaches something.

    If I want to hear an inspirational talk from a life-coach, then I will book a seminar with a life-coach.

    I do not need a pep-talk from the preacher on Sunday morning. I want, I need to hear the word of God. Systematic teaching from a pulpit is more than necessary. It is essential.

    But the Evangelical church doesn’t consider it to be so. In large part, this is due to individual preachers commiting the cardinal sin of a preacher … to be boring.

    So, the Evangelical Church has given up on systematic preaching/teaching. So, it becomes topical preaching at best … at worst some dudes book is referred to, rather than the bible.

    Game Over. Thank you for playing. Come back next week.

    Rick Warren is the worst … I am no expert on the Bible. I do not hold a theology degree. But even I can demolish “The Purpose Driven Life” on it’s theology in the first few pages.

    Rick makes 40 days theologically significant.

    He says:

    Jesus was transformed by 40 days in the wilderness
    Moses was transformed by 40 years in the wilderness
    Noah was transformed by 40 days and nights in the ark.

    I say:
    Jesus was not transformed by 40 days in the wilderness. He was transformed by being filled by the Holy Spirit at His baptism … he was then able to go to the wilderness.

    Moses was not transformed by 40 years in the wilderness. He was transformed by meeting God in the burning bush, and then more substantially by being given the Law at Sinai.

    Noah was not transformed by 40 days and nights in the boat. He was transformed by a lifetime of building the boat!

    You see what I mean.

    40 days was simply an arbitrary number. Rick has merely tried to give it a special significance. What’s wrong with 3 or 7? Much greater biblical warrant for those numbers … but not long enough, clearly.

    Anyone who is interested in Church Growth and bases their strategy on Peter Drucker is only interested in bums on seats and selling product.

    He sells his books to mormons and would love to sell his books to muslims.

    Nothing in them that would need much to be rewritten to appeal to mosque growth strategists. Only we wouldn’t be talking about bums on seats, we’d be talking knees on carpets.

    He made a big thing about his ‘reverse-tithing’ where he gave 90% of his proceeds to the church. Very commendable. Well done. Thanks for telling us … now he gets the praise of men, yet he is still a multi-millionaire from sales of his books.

    So … in short, Rick Warren has nothing of value to say … it is far too tainted by his worldly methods.

    Even more so, Joel Osteen is clearly working his way through the old testament. He has told his flock that they need to refrain from eating dirty animals. Well done. Put Christians back under the Law of Moses! He also can’t tell the difference between Christianity and Mormonism.

    Not a good teacher either.

    Sure they both have massive mega-churches. So what?

    We were told by Jesus that many people will enjoy having their ears tickled.

    Shalom

  28. I say:
    Jesus was not transformed by 40 days in the wilderness. He was transformed by being filled by the Holy Spirit at His baptism … he was then able to go to the wilderness.

    Moses was not transformed by 40 years in the wilderness. He was transformed by meeting God in the burning bush, and then more substantially by being given the Law at Sinai.

    Noah was not transformed by 40 days and nights in the boat. He was transformed by a lifetime of building the boat!

    Loved this, Bull. That’s exactly what I get frustrated by re the 40 days etc – the oversimplification, and the removal of the true depth from the stories. The overlay of some kind of pattern that it’s all selected to fit. The scripture is framed.

    All of those examples you refute, show how God really works in our lives; we are transformed by work, by travail and by thorns–not by magic numbers.

    Knowing we are transformed this way helps us identify with Christ, and the thorns He wore. We know that he is with us as we go through things, and that he will transform us through the suffering. It is the pattern of God’s redemptive process, from Genesis onward.

    So much of what is being advertised is presented as some sort of easy solution–a formula–and if it doesn’t work for you, then you mustn’t have followed it right. But there is no formula.

    You can understand how attractive it is to think there is one though–people look for this in all areas of life, whether religious or secular. Foolproof strategies to do things, preferably short cuts. Great marketing.

    Life doesn’t work that way. Like most marketing, it’s shallow; a recipe for disillusionment, and in its way, a refusal of the redemptive process of sanctification. (I’m not saying works save us by the way!! Christ does, but I’m talking about the transformation of us over our life times.) Looking at the examples you describe, and many others, is very encouraging.

  29. Thanks RP.

    SM, yes … Rick Warren has nothing of value to say … unless he repents of his false teaching and preaches the Gospel of Christ again.

    Yes … it is possible for ministers to fall out of orthodox Christian Teaching. There are even those who deny the atonement!

    One well known UK minister even called the Substitutionary Atonement of Christ “Cosmic Child Abuse”.

    That is blasphemy.

  30. So when Jesus says, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you, for everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened”, it is not a formula, or it doesn’t work this way in real life?

    He says many things like this, such as, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.”

    “If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.”

    “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”

    Could these things not be said to be formulaic, or following a pattern for life and faith? Should we ignore Jesus?

    The Epistles built on these principles.

    “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”

    “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

    And many other examples, including throughout the OT.

    It’s dangerous to dismiss Biblical principles of faith. They do actually work. Faith is the key. Faith that God means what he says.

  31. Could these things not be said to be formulaic, or following a pattern for life and faith? Should we ignore Jesus?

    I don’t believe these things are formulaic, though they are sometimes reduced to a formula. Even the sinner’s prayer has become a formula: ‘confess with your mouth’ means we make sure that those who want to commit to Christ come down the front of a church to ‘confess’ verbally. Nothing sinful about doing that, but it misses the point of the original scripture. If you truly believe, you will be unable not to ‘confess’ to your faith, at some stage.

    In terms of ‘seek and you will find’ – its not like looking for a set of lost car keys – you know they are in the house, and if you seek, you’ll eventually find them. Seeking God is frequently deeper than that, depending upon where we are at in our journey, and takes you out into the wilderness–or to wrestle with an angel; we are not talking easy roads here. In terms of asking, and it will be given… again, patience may be needed. Scripture talks of persistence. The outworking of the ‘pattern’ can’t be reduced to a formula that everyone experiences, just as a relationship cannot be reduced to a formula.

    Jesus talked often about relationships. Asking was frequently in this context. The prodigal son is a great example where the son was given exactly what he asked for. It wasn’t what he needed–or not in the way he thought it was. There is depth in here.

    Relationships are complex and don’t work by numbers. Yet there is little simpler than the faith of a child–which we, when we know our Father, may carry through into all our circumstances, regardless of their complexity. So there is no need to apply a formula, to get what we want, but to know God, which is transforming, which will give us strength when we don’t have what we want, and we continue on in Him anyway, trusting in His love for us, and his wisdom which is beyond our own.

  32. I dont think its necessarily blasphemy to deny the Penal substitutionary atonement. Penal substition is only a theory of how the atonement works, one of many – including the “classical” ransom theory and the exemplical theory which holds that Christ restored the relationship by his example on the cross.

    I personally doubt the standard Penal substitution theory because I have never found a good answer to the standard types of questions :

    1. Is eternal and infinite torture in Hell a just punishment for a finite lifetime of sin?

    2. Does God require justice in the form of a punishment in order to forgive our sin? After all he asks us to love our enemies, can He not do the same?

    3. If He does require justice, how is this satisfied by punishing someone else? This would seem unjust.

    4. Christ spent a maximum of 3 days in Hell before being resurrected. How does this satisfy the requirements of justice, given that the due punishment is an eternity in Hell?

  33. 1. Is eternal and infinite torture in Hell a just punishment for a finite lifetime of sin?

    yes

    2. Does God require justice in the form of a punishment in order to forgive our sin? After all he asks us to love our enemies, can He not do the same?

    God cannot forgive a single sin … until it has been paid for, otherwise He cannot be a righteous God

    3. If He does require justice, how is this satisfied by punishing someone else? This would seem unjust.

    the principle of Sacrifice for Sin is right the way through the Bible … you’d have to throw out everything God taught the Jewish people. You’d have to throw away all the prophets … you’d be left with nothing

    4. Christ spent a maximum of 3 days in Hell before being resurrected. How does this satisfy the requirements of justice, given that the due punishment is an eternity in Hell?

    he did what? … 3 days in Hell? … Are you out of your tiny little mind???

    Apart from anything else, no one is in Hell yet as God hasn’t finished making it. He is still “preparing a place for the Devil and his angels” according to Jesus.

    Jesus went to where everyone else has gone. Or are you saying everyone has gone to hell?

    The bottom line is that if Jesus death has no relevance to the forgiveness of sin, then you are dealing with a God who forgives whenever He feels like it. He is no longer reliable, He is no longer trustworthy, He is no longer Righteous.

    The God I worship and the God I preach is completely reliable, completely trustworthy. Everything he does is absolutely right. He never makes mistakes. You could never say to Him “that’s not fair”.

    here’s Romans 1:16 from Bible Gateway:
    16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[e] just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”[f]

  34. Steve: Ask seek knock is in the present continous tense.

    A better (amplified) translation would be:

    go on asking and you will receive, go on seeking and you will find, go on knocking and the door will opened up.

    You can’t ask once and expect something. Our housegroup prayed for healing for someone, every week for months and months. Only in the end did we get a breakthrough.

    However, if you were to ask for a million dollars every hour, do you think God would honour that request … eventually?

    Shalom

  35. Well there wouldn’t be a Biblical precedent for asking for millions of dollars. Healing, yes.

    Not that wealth is out of reach, but the principle has more to do with being already empowered by God to get wealth – not as wealth falling from the sky i some heavenly lottery, but through hard word, wisdom, good investment, generosity, blessing, etc., and not with asking, since we already have been invested with the ability to achieve much through using our ability, energy and gifts.

    We only need to ask for what we don’t already have, seek what we have not found, and knock to open an area which is closed.

  36. That should be ‘hard work’, not ‘hard word’!

    Whilst I agree that Bible principles shouldn’t be formulaic (each situation demands a different approach, but from prescribed principles), there is a sense that God’s pattern for living is applicable to all believers.

    Finding out what God says we can and can’t do, and how to apply his Word to our lives is an important factor in gospel living.

    Many times there is a key which opens a door, a means of operating God’s Word which makes things happen which otherwise wouldn’t. Divine cause and effect.

    To dismiss the application of God’s Word as a formula limits our potential.

    God very much deals in patterns and precepts, cause and effect.

    He has given us precise instructions which can be followed, actioned and will produce results, not necessarily in the ways we imagine or expect, but nevertheless they are productive, active and alive because the Word is living, powerful and sharp.

    He is the Yes and Amen to all His Promises.

  37. …which is beautifully summed up in the following scripture:

    “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.”

    1 John 5:14-15

  38. I think I am in agreement here … hang on a sec.

    Ok … for me it is like this:

    In accordance with the Holy Spirit, walking in step with Him, we know when to ask for the things we need but not the things we want.

    It’s not about a magical incantation, it’s not about rules and regulations, it’s about Relationship with the Father.

    I have been in prayer meetings where we have been so earnestly seeking Him, we have called Him on his promises and our hearts have been breaking. That is when breakthrough occurs, when our hearts reach His heart and when His heart reaches ours.

    Would you concur Steve?

  39. 1. Is eternal and infinite torture in Hell a just punishment for a finite lifetime of sin?

    yes

    Why?

    2. Does God require justice in the form of a punishment in order to forgive our sin? After all he asks us to love our enemies, can He not do the same?

    God cannot forgive a single sin … until it has been paid for, otherwise He cannot be a righteous God

    To forgive a debt that has been paid for is no great task. Anyone can do that. It takes a righteousness to forgive that which has not been paid.

    3. If He does require justice, how is this satisfied by punishing someone else? This would seem unjust.

    the principle of Sacrifice for Sin is right the way through the Bible … you’d have to throw out everything God taught the Jewish people. You’d have to throw away all the prophets … you’d be left with nothing.

    The question still remains though, dosen’t it?”

    4. Christ spent a maximum of 3 days in Hell before being resurrected. How does this satisfy the requirements of justice, given that the due punishment is an eternity in Hell?

    he did what? … 3 days in Hell? … Are you out of your tiny little mind???

    Either I am, or the writers of the Apostle’s creed are.

    Apart from anything else, no one is in Hell yet as God hasn’t finished making it. He is still “preparing a place for the Devil and his angels” according to Jesus.

    Jesus went to where everyone else has gone. Or are you saying everyone has gone to hell?

    Lets skip the whole geography, history and theology of Hell and assume you are right. Jesus didnt go to Hell at all, and was raised again and then ascended into heaven. How is this an adequate payment for the sin of the whole world, when the true payment is an eternity of suffering for just one lifetime of sin?

  40. Homer, there is a ‘hell is real, no it’s not, yes it is’ thread elsewhere here. This rabbit trail will take the discussion way off its intended course. In fact, I believe the author of a ‘hell is not eternal torture’ book bumped that thread recently. Enjoy.

  41. they aren’t good questions …

    If He does require justice, how is this satisfied by punishing someone else? This would seem unjust.

    until you realise that Jesus is God … or is he just a nice man?

    Jesus took it on Himself as part of the tri-une God. Get it?

    Probably not. When was the last time you had a dialogue with God? Or the last time you read your bible? Hmm?

    It’s like a person on trial who is deeply sorry for his crime and has confessed all … and he is condemned to death. But then the judge stands up and says to the astonished criminal “I will pay for it … you can now go free”.

    That is what is going on here … not God arbitrarily choosing the perfect man to pay the ultimate price. Don’t you see that the punishment that Jesus received was a cruel, painful, premature death. That is what we deserve for we have offended and angered a Righteous God.

    We are saved from death, being saved from Hell is a bonus thrown in. Hell was never for human beings. But those who refuse to repent will be prevented from entering the New Creation.

    Otherwise, the New Creation will look like the old creation. God made the universe and everything in it before making man.

    This time, he is recycling human beings so they can go into a recycled universe that will be perfect. There will be no suffering or pain or sin there. You want to know why we live in a rotten universe? We’ve made it like that.

    So those who refuse to repent, who refuse to be recycled by a loving God will not be allowed in. That is hell. To know that you’ve missed it, that you are trapped outside in a place of darkness and frustration with everyone who refused God and who, as a consequence of God not being there, will have no redeeming features at all? The worst aspects of our natures will be the ONLY aspects of our natures there. No fun and laughter. No light or life. Just pain and suffering and hatred and envy and everything evil.

    Going back to your question at the top of this post … I ask, who or what is Jesus? Is he merely a man or is He God Almighty?

    If you can answer that question we might actually be able to get somewhere. The only real question is who do you say He is? Will you give us a straight answer?

    Shalom

  42. Pingback: Eusebio Grboyan

Comments are closed.