Sunday, April 10


Either Thursday or Friday, I forget which, I heard a wingnut radio talk show host ask the question of "liberal" Christians, "Why would you oppose the Pope's positions?" re sexual and gender matters. Here's my answer:

(1) Celibacy for the priesthood. There is nothing in the Bible, either Old or New Testament, which instructs the clergy to remain celibate. Hebrew priests were eligible to marry. "And the high priest … shall take a wife in her virginity" (Lev. 21:10,13). Priests had children by their wives, see Ex. 29:4-9; 1 Sam. 1:3. In the New Testament era deacons and presbyters (bishops, pastors) were married. "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife…" (1 Tim. 3:2).

The Apostle Peter (whom some erroneously suppose to have been the first pope) was married. But in the Bible we read: "When Jesus was come into Peter's house, He saw his wife's mother laid and sick of a fever. And He touched her hand, and the fever left her" ( Matt. 8:14,15). See also Mk. 1:30,31; Lk. 4:38,39.

Paul implied that some of the other apostles were married, and stated that they certainly were free to do so. "Have we not power to lead about a sister, wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas [Peter]?" (1 Cor. 9:5)

(2) Women in the ministry. There are no Biblical instructions against allowing women in the ministry. From the judge Deborah in the Old Testament to Phoebe, Anna, Priscilla and Junia in the New, the Bible is replete with instances of God-approved-and-ordained female ministers. See Acts 2:17-21, "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." And, Galatians 3:28 - "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."

(3) The forbidding of birth control. The Protestant (and I believe Biblical view) is that sex is for both procreation and pleasure (Proverbs 5:18-19; Song of Songs; 1 Corinthians 7:3-5,33-34). Therefore, it is entirely legitimate to have sex for the mere act of enjoyment, even when procreation is not possible.

(4) Demonization of homosexuality. Sexual orientation is not mentioned in the Bible. For further information, see this exposition on the six Bible passages used to condemn homosexuals.

(5) Proscription against divorce. While God clearly intended for marriage to be a lifetime commitment, he distinctly made provisions for divorce and remarriage. See What Does the Bible Say About Divorce and Remarriage?

So this is why I disagree with the Catholic Church's, and the late John Paul II's, positions on these issues: they are un-Biblical. They are the result of tradition and man-made law, not the Word of God.

UPDATE: See Sidney Blumenthal's piece on Bush's exploitation of Catholic voters.


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