December 17, 2008
In its Dec. 15 cover story, the magazine tried to rewrite the Bible. Don't believe the lies.
If awards were given for shock journalism, Newsweek would win the prize for its provocative Dec. 15 cover story. The headline, hanging above a simple black Bible with a rainbow-striped ribbon sticking out of it, reads: “The Religious Case for Gay Marriage.” With one big kaboom, writer Lisa Miller dropped a literary bomb on 2,000 years of Christian scholarship by suggesting that Jesus would have been OK with Matthew marrying Mark and Luke marrying John.
We are accustomed to mainstream journalists shoving evolution down our throats as if no scientist in the world doubts that theory. But Miller’s diatribe against traditional Christian morality takes cultural brainwashing to a new level. She is a good ventriloquist (she makes the Bible say a lot of things it doesn’t say) but the real dummies are the people swayed by her biased reporting.
In case you haven’t read her treatise (click http://www.newsweek.com/id/172653), Miller bends the truth back and forth until she makes a pretzel out of certain Bible passages—while suggesting that David and Jonathan may have been messing around. There are so many lies per column inch in this story that an editor should have killed it—or at least demanded some objectivity. I guess the folks at Newsweek decided it’s their job to rewrite biblical morality. Here’s how Miller missed it by a mile:
Lie #1: The Bible doesn’t define marriage as one-man/one-woman. Miller insists that heterosexual monogamy can’t be found anywhere in the Bible. She must not have opened to the first page. The first three chapters of Genesis provide the ultimate biblical foundations for marriage and family. God created a man and a woman as perfect and equal partners—and blessed their union, making it the most holy of relationships. It doesn’t get any more fundamental than Adam and Eve.
Lie #2: Old Testament polygamy negates the relevance of biblical monogamy. The fact that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had multiple wives—or that David committed adultery with Bathsheba and then added her to his collection—doesn’t unravel one-man/one-woman marriage. The Bible never says God sanctioned polygamy; it was man’s carnal nature that caused him to dominate women (see Gen. 3:16) and treat them as property. Biblical patriarchs were not perfect—and their multiple wives were evidence of their sin, not proof that God rewrote the rules so they could have a harem. It was not until Jesus Christ broke the power of sin that men found the grace to build faithful, monogamous marriages.
Lie #3: Lesbianism is not called a sin in the Bible. While Miller reluctantly admits that the Old Testament condemns sex between men “in a handful of passages,” she claims that sex between women isn’t addressed. Wrong again! The apostle Paul clearly denounces lesbianism in Romans 1:26, where he calls homosexuality between women “unnatural” (or “against nature”) as well as a “degrading passion” (NASB). Miller gets an F in New Testament 101 for skipping over that obvious verse.
Lie #4: Old Testament laws against homosexuality don’t apply now. The book of Leviticus calls homosexuality “a detestable act” (20:13) and an “abomination” (18:22)—a strong term that means “a vile, shameful, or detestable action, condition or habit.” Yet Miller insists that since Jewish ceremonial laws don’t apply today, then sexual standards in the Torah can be discarded. In fact, she calls the passages in Leviticus “throwaway lines.” Big mistake. God’s moral law is tied directly to His unchangeable character, while ceremonial law was linked to the old covenant—which He set aside when He enacted a new covenant in Christ. The coming of Jesus did not make stealing, murder or adultery lesser sins. Neither did His coming legitimize homosexual practice.
Lie #5: New Testament condemnation of homosexual behavior is misunderstood. Citing a common argument used by some gay-affirming churches, Miller suggests that the apostle Paul’s condemnation of gay sex in Romans 1 only applies to really despicable Roman emperors and other sexual predators who practiced male rape or multiple forms of perversion. In other words, if two men just want to make love—with no violence involved—then their erotic expression is perfectly OK.
Where does Miller get permission to make this bizarre argument? Certainly not from the biblical text, which says it as plain as day: “In the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire toward one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error” (Rom. 1:26). This passage affirms that any form of sexual contact between men—violent or not—violates God’s law.
Lie #6: The Bible never excludes people from God’s blessings. Miller quotes liberal theologian Walter Brueggemann, who insists that the Bible “is bent toward inclusiveness.” This is where she really makes big blunders in her reasoning. She asks: Would a God of love send anyone to hell? Since Jesus came to liberate sinners, and since the church is called to evangelize people from all racial and economic groups, surely He will shower His love on people of all sexual persuasions, right?
This is where Universalists, inclusionists and gay-affirming churches miss the message of the gospel. They love to talk about God’s forgiveness, but they deny the necessity of repentance. They refuse to see that God made the road to salvation narrow. And they ignore the reality that eternal punishment awaits all who refuse to come to the Son of God on His terms.
Paul the apostle was quite exclusive when he talked about sexuality. “Do not be deceived,” he wrote in 1 Corinthians 6:9, “neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” No one can explain away that passage. The God of the Bible draws clear lines. His mercy is great to those who come to Him in humility, with a willingness to change; but for those who arrogantly insist on living in their sin, only judgment awaits.
Many naive people—including biblically illiterate Christians—will be deceived by Newsweek’s gay-marriage arguments. Let’s sort through the lies and choose God’s truth over the depravity of modern American culture.
J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma.
3 years ago