Rick Warren on Gay Marriage

And more recently see…..

Two of the fundamental issues in this discussion which do not come up in these videos is: 1) must a marriage, as Biblically defined, involve both a husband and a wife, who at least potentially can become a father and a mother? If the answer to this is no, then all sorts of arrangements could be called marriage on Biblical terms. But in fact the answer to this question is yes. A relationship between two men or two women does not involve a husband and a wife because gender matters. Only males can become husbands and fathers, and only females can be wives and bear children. This does not settle the issue of what might be the law of the land. 2) the second question not discussed in these videos is whether gays and lesbians and transgendered persons could have a relationship recognized by the state as a legal partnership or union of some sort, and be entitled to the same benefits as those who are married? The answer to question 2 is yes, even if the answer to question 1 is no. Why? Because of course America is not a Judaeo-Christian state or kingdom, it is a democracy in an increasingly post-Christian society, and in a democracy issues of equality before the law are crucial.

What is not the case is that a minority group such as the LBGT folks (who make up perhaps 8% of the population according to surveys I have seen) have an inherent right to redefine the meaning of the word marriage, and therefore the government should be compelled to agree with and accept this redefinition. That clearly is special pleading.

This is why many Christians, even some conservative ones, do not oppose civil unions for LBGT folks, but do not believe it constitutes marriage. I agree with that view. I don’t think a distinct minority of citizens in America have a right to redefine the meaning of the word marriage for all of us. That frankly is undemocratic and unfair to the majority who disagree.

I am also unhappy with those who persist in trying to read an endorsement of gay and lesbian intimacy into the Bible when it is very clearly not endorsed by the Bible. The most recent attempt to do this which I have been confronted with, is the attempt to argue that the Greek term eunochos refers to gay persons, not to castrated persons or persons who are born without proper genitals.

It is not really difficult to show this is special pleading, but here I will focus on just one passage… namely the famous pronouncement of Jesus about eunuchs in Matt. 19.12. The argument is that what eunochos means is a man not attracted to women, indeed a man born that way, and only the first clause is seized upon to prove this. Unfortunately for this interpretation not only is this not what the word eunuch meant in the Greco-Roman or early Jewish world, it is not what it means in this text. Why not? Because in the span of one verse the term ‘eunuch’ comes up three times and it is a basic grammatical principle that unless there is some clear evidence to the contrary, the word is going to have the same meaning in all three uses.

So Jesus talks about people who are born this way, who are made this way by a third party, and who make themselves this way. If the term eunuch here = gay, then this verse says that third parties can make you gay (or lesbian) or you can make yourself that way as well. Clearly, this latter is the opposite of what the gay community wants to argue today, namely that they are born this way. That is a debate for another day, but suffice it to say that the eunuch discussion whether in Isaiah or in Matthew does not support the notion that we are talking about an ancient term for gay persons.

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