Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
October 10th, 2014 by Joel Watts

Can John Piper teach the #UMC something about gay marriage?

John Piper (theologian)

John Piper (theologian) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In one of the UMC fb groups, someone asked a question about how we can handle now-legal marriages that are forbidden by the Book of Discipline. Indeed, the UMC prevents clergy from officiating these (gay) marriages (although there is a proposed, sort of, plan to deal with that) and our BoD equally states that such things are against Christian teaching, although we affirm the sacred worth of these individuals.

But, gay marriage is growing. It is a reality. And, these couples may even want to attend a United Methodist church. So, how do we handle this?

As much as it galls me to say this, maybe John Piper (shudder) has something to teach those who are wondering what to do with these cultural and now legal marriages not recognized by the BoD.

You can read something of that here.

So I think you shouldn’t be married to two women today, or a woman to two men. And yet there are cultures that do it. And so you want to go evangelize those cultures. And you win them to Christ and now they have two wives.

I might say, “OK, those who have two wives, be faithful to both of them until the next generation, or until one of them dies. But never do this again.”

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

Comments

4 Responses to “Can John Piper teach the #UMC something about gay marriage?”
  1. I didn’t see the video but am familiar with Piper’s opinion (by my decision a few computer’s in my office block youtube and even the video software).
    What appalls me is the infancy in which some otherwise believed to be “adult Christians”, especially in the ministry, are in the issues of today and the past:
    The Bible, Paul specifically says: If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation! Well, for cultures where men is married to two or more wives or other aspects of culture that may, prima fascia, conflict with Christianity, if one comes to Christ, “let him remain the way he is…” God didn’t intend, in my humble opinion, to create a social problem to correct a moral one because perhaps God believes that a social problem is a moral one! Thus we should not expect that a man leaves one of the wives, who, in most cultures where this is accepted, woman has little value and the despised wife would be perhaps starving… Oh, before someone comes with arguments outside of the realm of his or her experience, and untested in the practical sense, this is not true in cultures where the grieving wife has to be burned when her husband dies… Christianity has to correct such a thing.
    So, If a gay couple comes to Christ after they became a couple… let them be a new creation in Christ after they married and let’s not cause other problems. Now, I have an objection to placing these couples in positions of leadership, but would not deny them the right to worship. My experience, and here I go again, I don’t need any scientific study, sorry…, is that, gay couples once they come to Christ they tend to take measures that will make their life style to be suitable to that of a Christian, but if should not be a requirement from the Church. I will leave it at that!
    Assemblies of God used not to, and perhaps still don’t, ordain people who are divorced. I know someone who wasn’t ordained even when his divorce was when he was a druggy staggering around skid road… Now he is a Christian, with a degree in theology but can’t be ordained because of his life when he was an “old creation”… That’s wrong as per the teaching of Paul. I hold the same view as to gay couples, as stated in the meaning of this lengthy response.
    The Church should grow up!

  2. Know More Than I Should says

    Careful reading of the Old Testament suggests that any sex act not likely to result in conception was either classified as unclean or sin. Most probably, this is how homosexuality came to be a biblical no-no.

    At the same time, the need to breed helps understand – under some circumstances – concubines, polygamy, and even rape were permitted.

    Reproduction was so important that the Talmud even specifies how often men of different occupations should have sex.

    Nor were the ancient Hebrews along in their concern. The Code of Hammurabi permitted a man to divorce his wife if she was unable to conceive.

    The funny thing these days is that the same folks quoting scripture condemning homosexuality never quite have the same zeal when it comes to stoning adulterers!

  3. I do not know for sure, but I believe what Piper suggests is basically what the UMC policy is in places in Africa where this is an issue (with the addition, of course, that someone with two wives cannot be ordained–I don’t know what happens if you’re one of the multiple wives, although I would guess that is a more infrequent problem).

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