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So you’ve become convinced that the Bible supports gay marriage. You’ve studied the issue, read some books, looked at the relevant Bible passages and concluded that Scripture does not prohibit same-sex intercourse so long as it takes place in the context of a loving, monogamous, lifelong covenanted relationship. You still love Jesus. You still believe the Bible. In fact, you would argue that it’s because you love Jesus and because you believe the Bible that you now embrace gay marriage as a God-sanctioned good.

As far as you are concerned, you haven’t rejected your evangelical faith. You haven’t turned your back on God. You haven’t become a moral relativist. You’ve never suggested anything goes when it comes to sexual behavior. In most things, you tend to be quite conservative. You affirm the family, and you believe in the permanence of marriage. But now you’ve simply come to the conclusion that two men or two women should be able to enter into the institution of marriage–both as a legal right and as a biblically faithful expression of one’s sexuality.

Setting aside the issue of biblical interpretation for the moment, let me ask five questions.

1. On what basis do you still insist that marriage must be monogamous?

Presumably, you do not see any normative significance in God creating the first human pair male and female (Gen. 2:23-25; Matt. 19:4-6). Paul’s language about each man having his own wife and each woman her own husband cannot be taken too literally without falling back into the exclusivity of heterosexual marriage (1 Cor. 7:2). The two coming together as one so they might produce godly offspring doesn’t work with gay marriage either (Mal. 2:15). So why monogamy? Jesus never spoke explicitly against polygamy. The New Testament writers only knew of exploitative polygamy, the kind tied to conquest, greed, and subjugation. If they had known of voluntary, committed, loving polyamorous relationships, who’s to think they wouldn’t have approved?

These aren’t merely rhetorical questions. The issue is legitimate: if 3 or 13 or 30 people really love each other, why shouldn’t they have a right to be married? And for that matter, why not a brother and a sister, or two sisters, or a mother and son, or father and son, or any other combination of two or more persons who love each other. Once we’ve accepted the logic that for love to be validated it must be expressed sexually and that those engaged in consensual sexual activity cannot be denied the “right” of marriage, we have opened a Pandora’s box of marital permutations that cannot be shut.

2. Will you maintain the same biblical sexual ethic in the church now that you think the church should solemnize gay marriages?

After assailing the conservative church for ignoring the issue of divorce, will you exercise church discipline when gay marriages fall apart? Will you preach abstinence before marriage for all single persons, no matter their orientation? If nothing has really changed except that you now understand the Bible to be approving of same-sex intercourse in committed lifelong relationships,we should expect loud voices in the near future denouncing the infidelity rampant in homosexual relationships. Surely, those who support gay marriage out of “evangelical” principles, will be quick to find fault with the notion that the male-male marriages most likely to survive are those with a flexible understanding that other partners may come and go. According to one study researched and written by two homosexual authors, of 156 homosexual couples studied, only seven had maintained sexual fidelity, and of the hundred that had been together for more than five years, none had remained faithful (cited by Satinover, 55). In the rush to support committed, lifelong, monogamous same-sex relationships, it’s worth asking whether those supporters–especially the Christians among them–will, in fact, insist on a lifelong, monogamous commitment.

3. Are you prepared to say moms and dads are interchangeable?

It is a safe assumption that those in favor of gay marriage are likely to support gay and lesbian couples adopting children or giving birth to children through artificial insemination. What is sanctioned, therefore, is a family unit where children grow up de facto without one birth parent. This means not simply that some children, through the unfortunate circumstances of life, may grow up without a mom and dad, but that the church will positively bless and encourage the family type that will deprive children of either a mother or a father. So are mothers indispensable? Is another dad the same as a mom? No matter how many decent, capable homosexual couples we may know, are we confident that as a general rule there is nothing significant to be gained by growing up with a mother and a father?

4. What will you say about anal intercourse?

The answer is probably “nothing.” But if you feel strongly about the dangers of tobacco or fuss over the negative affects of carbs, cholesterol, gmo’s, sugar, gluten, trans fats, and hydrogenated soybean oil may have on your health, how can you not speak out about the serious risks associated with male-male intercourse. How is it loving to celebrate what we know to be a singularly unhealthy lifestyle? According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the risk of anal cancer increases 4000 percent among those who engage in anal intercourse. Anal sex increases the risk of a long list of health problems, including “rectal prolapse, perforation that can go septic, chlamydia, cyrptosporidosis, giardiasis, genital herpes, genital warts, isosporiasis, microsporidiosis, gonorrhea, viral hepatitis B and C, and syphilis” (quoted in Reilly, 55). And this is to say nothing of the higher rates of HIV and other health concerns with disproportionate affects on the homosexual community.

5. How have all Christians at all times and in all places interpreted the Bible so wrongly for so long?

Christians misread their Bibles all the time. The church must always be reformed according to the word of God. Sometimes biblical truth rests with a small minority. Sometimes the truth is buried in relative obscurity for generations. But when we must believe that the Bible has been misunderstood by virtually every Christian in every part of the world for the last two thousand years, it ought to give us pause. From the Jewish world in the Old and New Testaments to the early church to the Middle Ages to the Reformation and into the 20th century, the church has understood the Bible to teach that engaging in homosexuality activity was among the worst sins a person could commit. As the late Louis Crompton, a gay man and pioneer in queer studies, explained:

Some interpreters, seeking to mitigate Paul’s harshness, have read the passage [in Romans 1] as condemning not homosexuals generally but only heterosexual men and women who experimented with homosexuality. According to this interpretation, Paul’s words were not directed at “bona fide” homosexuals in committed relationships. But such a reading, however well-intentioned, seems strained and unhistorical. Nowhere does Paul or any other Jewish writer of this period imply the least acceptance of same-sex relations under any circumstances. The idea that homosexuals might be redeemed by mutual devotion would have been wholly foreign to Paul or any Jew or early Christian. (Homosexuality and Civilization, 114).

The church has been of one mind on this issue for nearly two millennia. Are you prepared to jeopardize the catholicity of the church and convince yourself that everyone misunderstood the Bible until the 1960s? On such a critical matter, it’s important we think through the implications of our position, especially if it means consigning to the bin of bigotry almost every Christian who has ever lived.

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480 thoughts on “Five Questions for Christians Who Believe the Bible Supports Gay Marriage”

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  4. Joe Kramer says:

    I will answer these questions in the order you placed them:
    1. This is a slippery slope argument, and borders on the more incredulous side. You can make “what if” slippery slope arguments to fit whatever point you wish to make. Just like politicians arguing gun laws and second amendment rights will argue if we allow the government to make it harder for X to by a semi-automatic machine gun with 50 round magazines, what will stop them from taking all of guns? They work sensationalize rather than provide plausible arguments. Comparing the right for same sex couples to marry is not the same a polygamy, bigamy, or incest. The Constitution makes such things against public policy, and have been proven throughout case law as immoral and not protected as a fundamental right–which marriage is. The short answer is this will never be an issue and is not what the Supreme Court granted when making same sex marriage legal.

    2. Do you really believe that there is a difference in fidelity between same sex and heterosexual marriages. We are all human and we all have our issues. Typically 40-50% of same sex marriages end in divorce, with that percentage increasing with subsequent marriages. Moreover, it is not the churches place to predict which marriages they perceive to last. Using one study that shows 7 out of 156 same sex couples last is deceiving. I could easily find a study that said that out of 200 Christian couples 199 committed adultery and are sinners. This would not be representative of the Christian population as a whole and neither is your study.

    3. The idea of children growing up with same sex couples is foreign because we have not really seen a good representative effect of how these children have adapted. For now I have heard only good things. I read the news everyday and hear how married heterosexuals beat their children, emotional abuse their kids, fight with one another. To say that same sex couples will do any worse is unfair and speculative. Just because a concept is foreign does not make it wrong. Many Christians believed that aside from being abomination to Gods word, inter-racial couples could not properly raise children together as a married couple. I believe they were wrong in that speculation and you are wrong here as well.

    4. This is ridiculous for one main reason, anal course between same sex (and heterosexual Christians) has been occurring way before same sex marriage was ever an issue. In fact in 1986 the Supreme Court overturned a Georgia law that made it criminal for homosexuals to perform oral and anal sex in the privacy of their homes (Bowers v Hardwick). Nothing about allowing same sex marriage will change this.

    5. The Bible has been through countless re-interpretations over the years regarding how to interpret it and what it means. For example, we no longer believe stoning women for adultery is acceptable. Many used the Bible as a means to persecute and discriminate African Americans saying they were abominations of God. The one thing that has stood through time and can always be agreed upon is we should love ourselves and one another. It is not our duty to judge for we cannot decree someone can or cannot go to hell. Christians happily let heterosexuals who have sinned before God marry. Child molesters, adulterers, those who practice pre-marital sex, thieves, I could go on, but all are deemed acceptable to have the right to marry. Yet Christians believe that we have the right by God to persecute above Gods word to not allow our neighbors, who we have been commanded to love and ignore their sin, to marry. The Bible teaches “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:19-21). Sexual immorality is there but so is discord, jealousy, fits of rage, dissension, self ambition. All of these sins could be construed from discrimination against same sex marriage and that means no lesser a sin that sexual immorality. Christians must be wary of the Devil, and he wants you to sin, and he will entice us to spread dischord and dissension. Same sex couples wish to be treated the same as everyone. Marriage also allows them freedoms to take care of one another and love them as God wishes them to be loved, regardless of their sins. If God has other plans for them their is nothing we can do as that is God’s will not ours. Wishing to deny them love and compassion, denying them rights we give to other sinners, just because of our personal preferences and hubris that we can make Gods choices, well that is not a message that comes from God. Thank you

  5. Joe Kramer says:

    as a disclaimer in point 2 I said “Typically 40-50% of same sex marriages end in divorce, with that percentage increasing with subsequent marriage.” I meant to say heterosexual not same sex marriages. Thanks

  6. Phil H says:

    Mr Kramer’s long-winded comment here is lousy. It is incredibly deceptive as he throws out positive facts about same-sex unions on issues that are currently very much in question. For example, in Point 3, he tries make the case that he has heard only “good things” regarding the children raised by same sex couples. This is truly putting the blinders on. I would refer anyone to the very public writings of Robert Oscar Lopez who was raised by a Lesbian mother in a same sex relationship. He has excellent links to gov’t websites showing the true statistics as well as other children raised in same sex households who are now beginning to speak out.

    Point 5 is really beyond the pale as he tries to take what God has called sinful and we are right to do so also and then equate that with other named sins thereby muddying the waters by suggesting that we sow discord by pointing out what is sin. Regardless of the imperfections in heterosexual marriages, heterosexual unions are God’s perfect design and are not sinful. Homosexual unions are not part of His perfect design and are always a sin under all circumstances and can not be made good in His eyes by trying to point to other sinful behaviors. Homosexual is not equal to heterosexual. Nor is sexual practices equal to skin color.

  7. There are lots of assumptions and presuppositions in articles like this that don’t articulate what they are which makes it quite challenging to comment appropriately. I pray that such will change in the future. Being so reactionary (on all sides of this issue) and “shooting our own wounded” is definitely a poor testimony for Christ for the advancement of His Kingdom. Jesus doesn’t condone such. I do appreciate you writing the article and I benefit from the civil debate in comments. It helps me to be more like Christ and live a WHOLESOME and BALANCED life.

  8. Lucy Panda says:

    1) Monogamy expresses faithfulness. Polygamy expresses patriarchal domination. Faithfulness is one of the fruit of the spirit. I am not opposed to truly Christ-centered loving polyamory.

    2. Yes.

    3. The issue isn’t interchangability—it is necessity. They are not necessary.

    4. I will say that all human activities involve danger—anal intercourse is certainly no more dangerous than climbing a frozen waterfall or biking across the Sahara or swimming with sharks.

    5. For exactly the same reasons that it took us until the late 1800’s to widely recognize the evils of slavery.

  9. Mary says:

    This article is based upon a fumdimental innacuracy. Gender is not a choice. None of the far-fetched and nonsensical suppositions regarding incest, poligamy or pedophilia have any relevance to gay marriage. Gender is not a choice. All of the other things mentioned are choices. It is not a sin to live as and to marry as the gender in which one is created. The hysteria and nonsense is ridiculous and simply fear mongering to support false beliefs.

  10. Leighton says:

    People can keep dreaming-up reasons to justify same sex “marriage” until the cows come home.
    However, no matter how plausible, nice or benevolent these reasons may be in order to make what is wrong and unnatural appear to be right, the BOTTOM LINE is God says homosexual acts are wrong. (To be more precise, He says it’s an “abomination”.)
    Now don’t shoot me, I’m only the messenger; but that’s what God has said.
    God has said other acts are wrong also, (e.g murder, theft, adultery, lying, etc.) but somehow noisy and over-represented militant minorities are not trying to make these legal or socially acceptable at present.

  11. Dan Atatakai says:

    Leighton – I am sorry, but what you are calling an abomination is not about homosexuality in Leviticus 18:22, but about the use of male temple prostitutes in Canaanite religious ceremonies.

    Romans 1:26-28 is about the fertility ritual which Paul was observing to the goddess Diana – this would end up in an orgy. It had nothing to do with two people who love each other who are of the same gender.

    1Cor 6:9 Check your historicity. The term “homosexual” is not even in the KJV1611. That was added AFTER that version.

  12. Leighton says:

    Dan – you may try to justify the pro-SSM position by attempting to “explain away” a few Scripture verses if you wish. Many others have attempted to re-interpret or twist verses too for their own purposes.
    Please show me just one Scriptural reference where God blesses (or condones) a homosexual “marriage” (or a homosexual act) and I will reconsider my position on it.
    Until then, it is abundantly clear to me that the homosexual act is wrong, and no amount of love can justify placating others to falsely believe that this unnatural sexual act is OK and in accordance with God’s will. Society should love those who have misplaced feelings of love by helping them rather than encouraging their unnatural and unhealthy lifestyle.
    Then consider, if this alternative lifestyle was so natural and normal (as claimed by its proponents), then it would be well-established in the normal cycle of life long before now. After all, mankind has been around for countless millienia, haven’t they?

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  14. Joel justaguy says:

    Rebuttals to Mr. Joe Kramer.

    1. Slippery slope arguments make sense because that is how human behavior works. Some may border on extreme, but without laws that is where humanity goes. Bestiality and incest are indeed not prevented by the Constitution (nice try, though), and it will go there. There are already people who wish to marry their pets but can’t legally.

    2. If you could “easily” find such a study showing that heterosexual fidelity in Christians is 1%, then do so. It is not a point to throw out an actual, cited study that you don’t like by saying “I could find another study,” then failing to do so. The studies I’ve read that look at bonafide Bible-believing Christian relationships (not just people that say “I believe in God,” in other words), the divorce rate is insanely low, something like 5% if I remember rate. Same for infidelity rate. So yes, your made-up study results would be quite unrepresentative of Christians as a whole.

    3. There is no Biblical representation that inter-racial couples don’t fulfill God’s image of marriage, so I’m not sure why you bring that up. As part of one such couple, I resent you trying to equate the two to further your argument. Regarding “seeing only good things…”, one plum does not a pie make. You have nothing to back this up, except saying that we have seen cases of child abuse amongst heterosexual couples. Since until now in history, 99.999999% percent of ANY study is heterosexual couples, I could say 100% of heterosexual couples live in a country that has failed to fly to Mars, so why shouldn’t we give countries with homosexual couples a shot? Hopefully by using such an inane argument, you can see how silly this point is.

    4. There is a difference in saying that legalizing gay marriage will “change this” regarding anal sex disease statistics, and openly endorsing such a position. You can agree that nothing will change while at the same time saying “I do not support this, and hey, maybe we shouldn’t support something that is scientifically detrimental to ones health?”

    5. You are right in that the Bible has been used in history to justify some atrocious acts. However, more pages than you would believe have already been written discussing how these were incorrect interpretations to begin with, for example the common misunderstanding between laws for us all and laws SPECIFIC to the young, set-apart, Israelite nation. Also, not a single verse supports racial discrimination. So essentially, while trying to be above those who made mistakes in the past, you actually join their club in misinterpreting the Bible on something to justify your own agenda. The Bible is very clear on the picture of marriage and there is really no room to interpret it falsely.

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  16. Joe Kramer says:

    To Phil H

    I think you are absolutely right as I did generalize some of my comments. The post was long winded and I was trying to condense my thoughts, which were a lot. Regarding same sex parents there are two sides to every coin. I personally know same sex parents who are great and their kids are happy. I do not doubt that there are horrible experiences as there are children who have horrible experiences with heterosexual parents. I just think it is wrong to generalize that same sex families are across the board wrong.

    As to my point 5 you are missing my point. The point I am trying to make really has nothing to do with whether same sex marriage is right or wrong. There is a fine line between what you describe as pointing out sin versus public discrimination. Everybody sins, some worse than others. But everyone has there interpretations of what sin is. Me I read discord is a sin, which is spreading hatred and spite. When I see the Westboro church with their “God hates fags” signs, I know they are sinning because that is discord. When I see politicians publicly denouncing same sex marriage, I see educated people, who understand the law, understand American culture and rights, and know that they are using the Bible not for its purpose but to fester discrimination for votes. Regardless of your beliefs it is not our place to deny someone the same rights as we have. That is judging someone and deeming we are better than them. Whether you believe marriage is between a man and a woman is not wrong, and it is everyone’s right to believe. But when you discriminate and perpetuate discord that is going too far and you are attempting to judge, which is God’s place not ours.

  17. Joe Kramer says:

    To Joel Justaguy

    1. Slippery slope arguments may make sense but they can be used nefariously. Politicians used them recently to justify gun laws or lack thereof. Specifically, they used the slippery slope argument that if we don’t allow people the right to purchase 100 round magazine holders for our assault rifle, next they will be taking our hand guns to protect our homes. Ask the parents who lost their children at Sandy Hook how they feel about slippery slope arguments

    2. You are missing my point about what I was saying about statistical analysis. I did not say I knew of one, but just that data can be made to look and say what we want. To generalize why discrimination of same sex couples is ok, which was the point of this article, is wrong using statistics is fundamentally misleading and wrong.

    3. The Bible is full of references that condone slavery and have been used to justify African Americans because they are slave are inferior. Noah cursing his son Ham (which at the time was defined to mean African) to slavery is one of the earliest. Also,

    Slaves, obey your earthly masters with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as you obey Christ; not only while being watched, and in order to please them, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart. (Ephesians 6:5-6)

    Tell slaves to be submissive to their masters and to give satisfaction in every respect; they are not to talk back, not to pilfer, but to show complete and perfect fidelity, so that in everything they may be an ornament to the doctrine of God our Savior. (Titus 2:9-10)

    Slaves, accept the authority of your masters with all deference, not only those who are kind and gentle but also those who are harsh. For it is a credit to you if, being aware of God, you endure pain while suffering unjustly. If you endure when you are beaten for doing wrong, what credit is that? But if you endure when you do right and suffer for it, you have God’s approval. (1Pet. 2:18-29)

    Furthermore, the KKK was established as a Christian organization to defend supreme Christian ideologies (see Al-Khattar, Aref M. (2003). Religion and terrorism: an interfaith perspective).

    4. The point I was making is whether or not anal sex is shown to cause diseases, to say it should be an argument to discriminate against same sex marriage is ridiculous. Heterosexual sex causes diseases. Plus in 2003 the Supreme Court already ruled that male on male sodomy and sex was legal (see Lawrence v Texas). Therefore, even if same sex marriage was not allowed same sex and heterosexual anal sex would still continue, so the argument was irrelevant.

    5. The point I made here was that people are using the Bible to justify discrimination of same sex couples, and according to the Bible this is a sin since hatred and discord are just as wrong. Your argument that one part of the Bible is wrong but this part is not fundamentally is makes no sense. I understand “one man and one woman” is pretty clear, but this goes against countless other texts that infer discrimination is wrong, and that one sentence cannot be the only right verse we go by. I have an issue with people using the Bible to further their own personal purposes and justify their personal actions. If somebody is a bigot and does not think homosexuality is immoral and wrong, and that we should not treat same sex couple the same, then they should say it, not try to justify their insecurities and hatred through the Bible. We are not God and it is not our place to judge. The same sex marriage ruling did NOTHING to change anybody’s personal religious beliefs and it won’t. To justify telling someone they cannot marry each other because of who they are is wrong so long as the marriage is not immoral, against public policy. Incest and bestiality have both been medically shown to cause severe health and moral issues, which is why they are illegal and not defined as a liberty interest protected under the due process clause of the 14th Amendment. Traditional and now same sex marriage are. To say that such a right is ok for you but not for another is putting yourself above God, because you are judging someone who is simply trying to enjoy life lawfully as you are. As Abraham Lincoln said (and I am paraphrasing) It is not the point to determine what side God is on, but to make sure you are on God’s side.

  18. Joel Justaguy says: “Ask the parents who lost their children at Sandy Hook how they feel about slippery slope arguments.:

    People with an overwhelming emotional interest in an issue are the very last people I’d expect objective analysis from regarding that issue.

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  22. Orthodox Church 33AD says:

    The very fact that this is even being considered is apostasy. Abandon reformational anarchy and find the truth in Eastern and Oriental Orthodoxy. “Come out from among them and be separate”. We will not apologize or accommodate heretics. Daesh-ISIS will demolish those who will not “buy a sword” as the Holy Savior commanded. Who will protect you from the Sodomites? Do you have any as noble as the Don Cossacks? Do you have a St. Charles Martel or St. Alexander Nevsky to protect you? We will never bow to the world system. Like Mattathias of the Maccabees, we will fight for True Believers. Why do you waste your time arguing with sodomites? Research in gory detail the depravity they enjoin. Leave your reformational heresy and return to the original Church, the Orthodox Church since 33AD.

  23. Tiribulus says:

    “The very fact that this is even being considered is apostasy.”

    You were doin so good with this for a second there too.

  24. fault says:

    They might have a resource part with paid.

  25. Maranatha says:

    To the person that basically stated moms and dads were not necessary: Wow! Have you no idea the problems that are caused when only one parent is around? Having two of the same-sex will be just as damaging.
    God’s original plan has always been one man and one woman in a covenantal relationship (marriage) and to bring forth godly offspring (as they are able). A child does best with godly parents, a mom and a dad!
    “And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.” ~Malachi 2:15

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Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He is chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition, assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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