Mohler on Newsweek article: The ‘biblical case for gay marriage’ falls flat

Communications Staff — December 17, 2008

Newsweek’s recent cover story which seeks to make a “biblical case for gay marriage” runs directly counter to 2,000 years of Christian history that interprets Scripture as rejecting same-sex relations, R. Albert Mohler Jr. said Monday on National Public Radio’s program “Talk of the Nation.”

Mohler, who serves as president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, appeared on the show with Lisa Miller, senior faith reporter for Newsweek, who wrote the article in which she argues that the Bible is mostly silent about same-sex marriage and, therefore, does not condemn it.

“Let’s face it, what the sum and substance of this cover story really attempts to do is to say that Christians have basically been wrong for the better part of 20 centuries in understanding the Scripture and that the vast majority of believers in this country are wrong in believing that same-sex marriage is prohibited by scriptural injunction,” Mohler said. “And that’s no understatement.

“You’re talking about an extremely thin slice of a far-left denominational core that is even contemplating same-sex marriage. What is really interesting here is that Newsweek decided to write on the religious case or to try to propose a religious case for same-sex marriage. And I think it’s fairly safe to say that among the vast majority of believers, it’s falling flat and to no surprise.”

In the article, Miller makes what she calls “three-pronged religious argument” supporting gay marriage. First, she asserts that marriage today “looks so unlike the examples of marriage in the Bible which includes polygamy and adultery among Old Testament figures.” Further, she argues that many progressive Bible scholars view as questionable the texts in Scripture that condemn homosexuality. Finally, she insists that the Old and New Testaments provide differing pictures of marriage.

These three reasons, Miller argued, offer suggestive evidence that Scripture does not condemn “same-sex marriage.” Miller admitted that Newsweek published the article in response to the passage of Proposition 8 in California. Through the passage of Prop 8 in the Nov. 4 presidential election, voters in the Golden State
overturned the legalization of gay marriage.

To reach her conclusion that the Bible does not condemn gay marriage, Miller’s article asserts that the Bible is a “living book,” the interpretation of which must change as culture evolves in its comprehension of truth. But this hermeneutical method represents a vast departure from the way historic Christianity has understood Scripture, Mohler said.

“She (Miller) said you either believe…that [the Bible is] more or less a human book marked by history, and we correct it by our contemporary understanding,” Mohler said. “Or you believe as I believe, and as evangelical Christians and the most conservative believers in the Judeo-Christian traditions have always believed, that we have to understand and interpret the Scripture with the goal of obeying it.

“We genuinely believe that [the Bible] is not a prison into which we are forced by God; it is indeed His gift whereby He shows us how He would have us live, not only for His glory, but for our good.”

Miller further argues for the acceptance of homosexual marriage on the ground that social mores have changed profoundly since biblical times. But both the Bible and the light of nature view heterosexual marriage as normative, Mohler said.

“Even where Scripture has never reached, even where the Judeo-Christian Scriptures have never had a direct influence, by natural law and by natural reasoning, the institution of marriage as a heterosexual institution privileged for procreation and the raising of children has been central to civilization,” he said. “And I believe it is simply no accident.

“Lisa Miller is right, sociologically speaking, that mores change. And I think one of the great brakes on mores absolutely falling into irrationality has been the institution of marriage. I think once you compromise that, not only on biblical grounds, but just looking at the way the world works, just looking at the evidence of the natural world around us, then you’re really inviting chaos into civilization itself. It’s going to be hard to prevent anything once you make marriage a malleable, plastic, liquid institution.”

Mohler and Miller also appeared together on the nationally syndicated Laura Ingraham Show last week. On that program, Miller said her article was attempting to provide, from the Bible, an affirmative “religious answer” for homosexuals to the question, “Who can get married?” But making a positive case for gay marriage from the Bible is impossible, Mohler said.

“There is no biblical case for gay marriage,” Mohler said.

“The Bible knows what marriage is. And when she (Miller) says the issue is who can get married, you have to turn around and say, ‘You can’t possibly talk about that until you talk about what marriage is.’ And when you look at the Bible, you can’t make a case for marriage being anything other than heterosexual other than by turning [the Bible] on its head, which is what Newsweek tried to do in this cover story. I don’t think it’s working.”

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