This is one of those FAQs asked to Christians who, as the bible teaches, believe that the definition of marriage only allows for a union between one man and one woman. Christians will have to continually articulate why they believe this, especially in the current climate.
The question asked assumes a lack of coherency in Scripture when it comes to how God’s people should live. What’s really being asked is this
“If both homosexuality and wearing clothes with mixed fabric types in the bible are condemned in the OT, why is one still wrong and not the other.”
Now, aside from pointing out that homosexuality is explicitly condemned in the NT (Rom 1:18-32; 1 Cor 6:9 being just a couple of examples), it is also helpful to start understanding how the Old Testament and the New Testament is to be read as a whole. I would encourage everyone to purchase a book on Biblical Theology (any resource by G.K. Beale, D.A. Carson, and/or Vern Poythress would be an excellent place to begin). Robert A.J. Gagnon also provides excellent resources particularly on the topic of how both the Old and New Testaments address homosexuality.
Recently, someone asked me to “explain why one part of the old law does still apply, while another part doesn’t.”
Here is my answer :
Questions such as “Do you wear clothes with mixed fabric types” are loaded with the assumption that homosexuality and the mixing of fabrics are both equally condemned in the New covenant.
But the question doesn’t try to understand the categories of the mosaic law, or the goal of the Law.
“So, explain why one part of the old law does still apply, while another part doesn’t.”
It isn’t that the Law doesn’t apply, it is that it applies differently, because it is administered differently. Galatians 3:15-23 explains that the mosaic administration (Old Covenant) was intended to be the guardian and tutor of the children of God. The sacrifices, the ceremonies, the dietary laws, all of these things guarded God’s people. But they all were shadows of Christ (who was the substance/reality). These ceremonies also set Israel apart, made them look and appear differently than surrounding nations. This won’t make sense unless you follow the whole story, from Adam to Moses. (Romans 5:14) Nor will it make sense if you refuse to continually disallow the NT to speak for itself.
But the reality, the substance, has been revealed
” Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.”
Christ fulfilled the law in His life, and work, so He mediates on behalf of those who have faith in Him. So there is no need for the ordinances, because they were there to point and lead. Not only that, Christ tore down the ethnical barriers, so that there is no difference between Jew and Gentile (Col 2:14)
But the moral law still applies, because it reflects God’s character. The 10 commandments say what God’s character is like by telling us what ought not be done. But the moral was in place long before the 10 commandments. Otherwise death would not have reigned over humanity from Adam to Moses, on account of sin.
“And while we are at it, let’s see the part where Jesus said “and homosexuals shall not be united in marriage.”
Jesus’ implies His understanding of marriage in Matthew 19:4-5“Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?”
Jesus upheld the fullness of the law. Moral, Ceremonial, and Civil. He agreed with Leviticus 19:18 as His repetition of it indicates “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.”
He would have said amen to Leviticus 18:21-23 which states
(1) Don’t sacrifice your children to false gods, I AM the LORD
(2) Don’t lie with a male as a man lies with a female, this is an abomination (repeated again in Leviticus 20:3)
(3) Do not have intercourse with animals (this is a perversion)
[As an aside, do you think it’s wrong to sacrifice children to entities that don’t exist? Do you think it’s wrong to have intercourse with an animal? If so, why? If not, why shouldn’t it be allowed?]
Jesus emphasized His ministry as a continuation of Moses’ (John 5:46-47; Matthew 5:17). However the Old administration of the Law, with Moses as mediator, only existed to give way under the New Covenant (Luke 22:20; Matt 26:28)
“Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope” (Heb 3:5-6)
I believe that the full teaching of Scripture is coherent in and of itself, and that its message in part and in whole is infallible (being the Word of God)
I do not buy the idea that just because Scripture has a story in which things are administered in x way at t1, but now in t2 administered in a way that has some discontinuities from x, that therefore Christian belief is incoherent.
I also believe that any attempt in understanding the bible in a way that denies its coherency will
(1) demonstrate a misunderstanding on the part of that person, and
(2) it will also lead to an inaccuracy of representation concerning my view
If you don’t believe (1), we can talk about it. I can understand that. But (2) is important, because if you cite a theory that we both agree is incoherent, and then fail to show how that it belongs in my own view, then you will simply beg the question (you will assume that the bible is incoherent in showing that the bible is incoherent)