It’s hard to keep up with all the nonsense that pours forth from liberals. It’s not enough that we have to deal with political nonce from Democrats AND Republicans, but we have to contend with people who are just as ignorant in other areas.
Consider John Shore, author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question. He has written an article with this title: “If you take Paul ‘literally’ on homosexuality take Jesus literally on money.” (In a note, Mr. Shore writes: “Nowhere in the Bible does Paul or anyone else say that homosexuality, in and of itself, is a sin.” A link takes the reader to another article where Shore and his wife claim that the “six or seven” anti-same sex passages found in the Bible (e.g., Rom. 1:27; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 1 Tim. 1: 10; Lev. 18:22; 20:13) have nothing to do with consensual same-sex sex. Paul makes it quite clear that those engaged in a same-sex sex relationship “burned in their desire toward one another.” There is nothing about compulsion.) He then cites four verses:
- “Sell your possessions and give to charity” (Luke 12:33).
- “You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matt. 6:24).
- “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal” (Matt. 6:19).
- “For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:25).
Shore writes, “if you’re going to look to the Bible generally, and to the words of Jesus Christ specifically, for guidance and direction on how to live your life, then don’t you need to very assiduously attend to the actual words of Jesus?”
OK, so let’s examine the above passages and apply them to the issue of homosexuality. First, Jesus defined marriage as between a man and a woman:
“Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’?” (Matt. 19:4-5).
So if we are to follow “the words of Jesus Christ specifically,” these are very specific words on the specific topic of sexual relationships. One man-one woman is the moral and biological norm based on the creation account (Gen. 1:27; 2:24).
Second, the context of the comment about selling everything and giving it to charity is dealing with the sin of covetousness, where possessions are getting in the way of righteousness. Jesus isn’t telling everybody to sell everything and give to charity anymore than He’s telling everybody not work because God will give them food and drink and clothing (Luke 12:22, 29). Jesus raises this issue again when he deals with the Rich Young Ruler, the story that’s found in Matthew 19, the same chapter where Jesus defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
If Jesus was making a universal moral requirement, why didn’t he tell Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, to sell all his possession and give to the poor? It seems that covetousness was not one of Joseph’s sins. How do we know this? Because Joseph laid the body of Jesus “in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock”? (Matt. 27:57-60; John 19:38). He also brought expensive burial spices, “a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight” (John 19:39).
If every rich person gave all his money away to charity, and no Christian could ever be rich again, then there would never be any extra money to help the poor and everybody would be poor.
Third, the other verses that Shore references are in the same category. You can’t serve God and money. You also can’t serve God and power, God and family, God and fame, God and war, God and same-sex sex, God and ______________.
Shore only quotes part of what Jesus said about “serving”: “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other” (Matt. 6:24). It’s not just money; it’s anything that we put before serving God. A person’s treasure is not always money (6:21).
Fourth, yes, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Again, there is more to what Jesus said: “The things that are impossible with people are possible with God.” People with lots of money do very well with it. They are the masters over it; it’s those that money (or whatever) masters who have the problem.
So if Mr. Shore wants us to follow Jesus on what He says about money, then shouldn’t we also follow Him on what he says about marriage, that it’s between a man and a woman?