I’ve gotten a lot of blowback on my recent column regarding the firestorm over Chik-Fil-A’s leaders defending traditional marriage. It’s been intense, especially on Twitter. The hatred and obscenities people are Tweeting back to me is so sad to see. Lots of pushback. Lots of anger. Lots of questions. But Jesus commands us to love our neighbors and our enemies, right? We’re commanded to pray for those who hate us and oppose us, asking the Father to have mercy on them and open their eyes and help them understand the truth of the Scriptures. So let’s do that. Let’s show love and kindness to those who are angry by the debate generated over marriage and morality in our culture today.
In that spirit, let me respond to two of the most heated comments and questions I’ve received over the past week:
>> One reader named Eva is furious with me for defending “traditional” marriage and “Biblical” marriage because she writes: “If we are talking biblical marriage, then I’d have to marry any man who raped me.” She asks: “Where does the NT say that gay marriage is strictly forbidden. Chapter and verse, pls.”
Through a long series of Tweets, I responded: “Eva, when I speak of Biblical marriage, I’m referring to the NT (New Testament) teachings.”
The New Testament teachings regarding God’s opposition to homosexuality include Romans 1:26-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, and 1 Timothy 1:8-11. I also noted to Eva that the New Testament picture of marriage can be found in Ephesians 5:22-33 (which commands a man to love his wife) and Titus 1:6 (which tells us that a godly man is the husband of just one wife).
Eva then wrote back: “Ah yes, women-submit-to-your-husbands-marriage. A wonderful way of life for so many women.” Then she wrote: “So you don’t subscribe to the OT (Old Testament)? Where do you disagree with it…in its description of marriage?”
I explained to Eva that the Hebrew Prophet Jeremiah 31:31 promised that God would give us a “new covenant” one day, and that’s exactly what Jesus Christ inaugurated with His death and resurrection. Now, we’re under the new covenant, not the Law of the Moses (Mosaic covenant).
Eva wrote: “So good, then Leviticus no longer applies.”
I responded that the only parts of the Old Testament that apply to us today are those parts that are repeated in the New Testament.
Eva asked: “So repeated by Jesus, right? Not followers up to 100 years later.”
But I clarified that “everything in the New Testament — the Gospels, Acts, epistles, & Revelation – all applies.”
This is a critical point that even many Christians don’t understand.
- The New Testament is crystal clear that we no longer live under the Law of Moses. See Romans 10:4, I Corinthians 9:20, and Hebrews chapters 7 through 9.
- All Old Testament Scripture was inspired by God and is useful for “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work,” as the Apostle Paul writes so clearly in 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
- Indeed, Christ Himself affirmed the Old Testament law as the eternal standard of God’s righteousness. See Matthew 5:17-20.
- But while God wants us to learn from the principles of the Old Testament, He does not command us to obey the laws that He gave to the ancient Israelites.
- “[T]he Law has become our tutor to leaed us to Christ, so that we can be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus,” if in fact you have received Christ into your heart by faith as Savior and Lord of your life. (Galatians 3:24-26)
- Today, the Lord God commands us to follow what the Apostle Paul refers to as the “Law of Christ.”
- Carefully read through 1 Corinthians chapter 9, for example. Notice that he writes in verses 19 through 21: “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.
- Consider, too, Galatians 6:1-2. The Apostle Paul writes: “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”
- Consider, too, Romans chapter 8. The Apostle Paul writes that the Spirit of Christ redeems us, forgives us, and gives us life and peace that Moses couldn’t. In verses 1 and 2, for example, he writes, “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”
- Consider, too, Hebrews chapter 8. Here, the writer notes in verses 6 and 7 that Christ is the mediator of a “better covenant, which has been enacted on better promises” and that “if the first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second.” In verse 13, we also read that Jesus Christ “has made the first [covenant; the Mosaic covenant] obsolete” and it has been replaced by “a new covenant.”
- The Law of Christ is the teachings of the New Testament. Whatever we are commanded to believe or do in the New Testament, from Matthew through Revelation, is what God expects of us. Every Old Testament command that is repeated in the New Testament, therefore, is part of the Law of Christ. But if an Old Testament command has not been repeated or restated or quoted in the New Testament then it is not binding on us today. We are free from the heavy chains and burdens of the Mosaic Law that God imposed on the Israelites. Once we receive Christ into our heart by faith, all of our sins against God’s Law have been forgiven and now we operate under the kindness and mercy and grace of the new covenant found in the New Testament. It is very good news, and that’s what it’s called “the gospel of Jesus Christ”!
All this to say: According to the Bible, marriage is an institution that God Himself created to be holy and beautiful. In the book of Genesis, we learn that God created Eve to love and support and bless Adam so they could be together as one in marriage. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.” (Genesis 2:24-25) Yes, sin has polluted the world. Yes, sin has wreaked havoc on God’s plan and purpose for marriage. But the New Testament reaffirms that God holds marriage between one man and one woman beautiful and sacred, even in this fallen world. Indeed, Jesus performed His first public miracle at the wedding in Cana. As a person reads through the New Testament, he or she will find example after example of God commanding a husband to love and honor and cherish and protect his wife, to treat her gently and kindly and with deep respect. A man is not allowed to abuse or mistreat his wife. Marriage must not be a prison or a place of suffering and sadness and neglect and unkindness. To the contrary, in the New Testament, marriage is a picture of Christ’s love for the Church. Jesus loves the Church, however imperfect the people of the Church are. He sacrificed for the Church. He teaches and encourages and leads the Church, protects and defends and blesses the Church. And that’s how a husband is to treat his wife. Anything less we will have to answer for before the Lord Himself one day.
>> Another reader is furious with me because he believes I’m singling out gay marriage as a problem and that I’m ignorning the problem of heterosexual sin in our society.
That is simply not accurate, As I write about clearly in Implosion, it’s not just the pandemic of homosexuality that is bringing America to the brink of collapse and judgment by God. We also face pandemics of adultery. Pre-marital sex. Fornication. All forms of sexual immorality. Pornography and lust. Rape. Sexual abuse. Physical abuse. Emotional abuse. Marital affairs. Divorce. Abortion. And it’s not just in the culture at large. These sins are rampant in the church, too. This is why we desperately need revival. This is why we need a Third Great Awakening. Because these are the sins that the Bible warns leads to God’s judgment against nations. More than ever, we need to pray, fast and repent in accordance with 2 Chronicles 7:14 — “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Last point for now: I’m grateful to Governor Mike Huckabee, Senator Rick Santorum, the Reverend Billy Graham and others who are standing for Biblical (NT) marriage in this controversy. I’m surprised by how many Christian leaders are staying quiet, but I hope that they too take a strong, loving, compassionate and courageous stand for the Bible, for traditional marriage, and for the right of Chick-Fil-A leaders and others to have their beliefs and proclaim them and follow them. If we lose that, America is lost indeed.