"I know my Jesus, I love Him, and I think if he needed me to believe that homosexuality was a sin, He would have mentioned it. He didn’t. When Jesus said that marriage was between a man and a woman, he was responding to a question about divorce, not sexuality.* And even the Gospels... well, even though they are gospel to me, I accept that they are also interpretations of what Jesus said and did and meant -we don’t have a single written word directly from Jesus. He could have left us something - he could have left another list of rights and wrongs when He came to Earth, but he chose not to." Glennon Doyle Melton - Aug 25, 2013
These words were penned by Ms. Glennon Doyle Melton who is an author and Christian blogger. Back in February of 2017 she announced that she was engaged to Abby Wambach a former Women's Soccer Champion. Glennon had been married to her husband (Craig Melton) for over 14 years before she divorced him due to his extramarital affairs. Glennon had also opened up about her history with addiction and an eating disorder; to be honest; this takes a lot of courage to share this kind of information to the world. As for her religious base, Glennon has been a strong voice for her church - United Church of Christ which is located in her home town of Naples, Florida. The church's mainline platform advocates for and approves of same-sex marriage.
I wanted to provide this background about Glennon so we can understand where she is coming from with the opening quote. I am not here to inject my own personal opinions about same-sex marriage; instead I'm going to use Jesus' own words to refute Glennon's opinion that "I know my Jesus, I love Him, and I think if he needed me to believe that homosexuality was a sin, He would have mentioned it."
I will need to first set the stage so we all understand where everyone stands in the idea of homosexuality. The Romans ruled over Israel starting in the 1st century and with it the Roman's brought in homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle. Whereas those of the Jewish sect believed in the words of Leviticus 18:22 "Do not have sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman; that is detestable." So for the Jewish faith, a homosexual relationship is an 'abomination' as the King James Version calls it. Whenever any person in the Bible talks about 'sexual immorality' they would be referring to pretty much all of Leviticus 18. All Biblical quotes that I use will be in the New International Version for modern day clarity and anything Jesus directly stated will be in red.
I want to open with the verse from Matthew 5:31-32. Glennon had every biblical right to divorce her husband:
"It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.'
But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery."
Since her husband made Glennon the victim of his sexual immorality then she had that right to leave him. I do, however, want to point out the nouns and pronouns in this verse...'his wife'. No same-sex nouns are used in this piece. In a passage just prior to this one, Matthew 5:28 talks about adultery: "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." Again, the pronouns 'with her in his heart.' are openly stated giving the idea that no man should lust after another woman.
As I mentioned earlier 'sexual immorality' is a big issue with the Jewish community during Jesus' time. Two excellent examples come from Matthew 15:17-20:
"Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person's mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts--murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them."
And Mark 7:20-23 which also talks about a defiled person:
"What comes out of a person is what defiles them. For it is from within, out of a person's heart, that evil thoughts come--sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and defile a person."
Jesus points that all evil thoughts come out of man's heart. One really important note about both of these passages...Jesus purposefully separates sexual immorality and adultery. Basically things like bestiality and homosexuality fit squarely in that sexual immorality definition used by Jesus from Leviticus 18.
We've now reached the pivotal set of verses that Glennon had addressed in her quote - Matthew 19 and Mark 10. Starting in the 3rd verse, here is what Matthew 19 states:
Some Pharisees came to him to test him. They asked, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any and every reason?"
"Haven't you read," he replied, "that at the beginning the Creator 'made them male and female,' and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh'? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."
"Why then," they asked, "did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?"
Jesus replied, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery."
The disciples said to him, "If this is the situation between a husband and wife, it is better not to marry."
Jesus replied, "Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For there are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others--and there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it."
Glennon was correct when she stated that "When Jesus said that marriage was between a man and a woman, he was responding to a question about divorce..." however, sexuality is addressed. Jesus brilliantly established a background to the question by reminding them of the foundation of man and woman, and that they are united together...only -- he even repeats this 'two will become one flesh'. Jesus does not mention any other combinations, if there were others Jesus would have stated it. Jesus clearly establishes what marriage was supposed to be in the eyes of God. Again, the term 'sexual immorality' is mentioned in this passage. Jesus even goes one step further and illustrates the eunuchs which are castrated men who would serve as guards or attendances for women of wealth so they don't have any sexual impulses; although Jesus does say there are some who choose to live as a eunuch. There is some controversy on whether Jesus was referring to the eunuchs as being homosexual. There doesn't seem to be any evidence of this being the case since there is no sexual desire in the eunuch and that's why Jesus uses them as the example because they have no "sexual immorality".
Mark 10:2-11 is similar to Matthew, but there are some differences in the answer. Here is what Mark 10 states:
Some Pharisees came and tested him by asking, "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?"
"What did Moses command you?" he replied.
They said, "Moses permitted a man to write a certificate of divorce and send her away."
"It was because your hearts were hard that Moses wrote you this law," Jesus replied. "But at the beginning of creation God 'made them male and female. 'For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.' So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate."
When they were in the house again, the disciples asked Jesus about this. He answered, "Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her. And if she divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery."
Mark is similar to that of Matthew's passage but, in this case Jesus is turning the question around to test the Pharisees then makes a strong point about why Moses had to write the law. Jesus then explained what God had originally designed in what was supposed to be a proper marriage. In this version, Jesus still is only recognizing the union of man and woman coming together.
There are other verses in the Bible where homosexual unions are seen as sinful and deplorable, but the comments that were made dealt only with Jesus' teaching directly. Yes, Jesus did address the issue quite clearly. We have to remember that the law of sexual conduct was already laid out back in Leviticus for the Jewish people; so Jesus didn't have to say a lot about whether or not a homosexual relationship was acceptable because it was already established.
So with that, am I a better person than Glennon Doyle Melton? No. Not even close. Glennon is a talented woman with a lot of weight on her shoulders. It's not my place to judge anyone! This is between Glennon and God...and God alone. I just felt convicted to write these observations about her comments and the Bible. I really want to wish Glennon all the best in her life moving forward; I understand it has been a difficult one. May God Be With You.
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Song: "The Red Letters"
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