Roman clad in a toga

Cenk Uygur published an article in the Huffington Post, Dec. 19, 2008, titled “Not Another Word on Gay Marriage Until They Execute An Adulterer.”

This article is part of the backlash being hurled at Saddleback’s Rick Warren and President elect Barrack Obama.

Barrack Obama and Rick Warren Disagree Over Gay Marriage

Known as “Pastor Warren,” President elect Barrack Obama chose him to give the invocation at the inauguration in January. They differ on the gay marriage issue and other issues, but agree on others such as poverty and civil rights.

Now perhaps you are wondering how an issue like this winds up on a blog about eschatology? Well, after looking at the issue, it is precisely related to eschatology.  But, we’ll reserve those comments for later.

Before we go further, understand that I have agreements and disagreements with both Barrack Obama and Rick Warren, so this is not about a defense or condemnation of either of them.

Disagree Without Becoming Disagreeable

I both voted for Barrack Obama, and purchased Rick Warren’s best selling book, knowing I had those disagreements. Wouldn’t anyone be foolish to think they could only support someone who totally agrees with them on every issue? That’s insane. Those who think they do operate under a delusion.

The Pharisees and Saducees normally fought against each other, but when it came down to Christ and Christians, they marshalled and united their forces against a common enemy. In other words, they found something they could agree upon.

I’m sure they have disagreements with me as well. However, I respect those rights to disagree in an environment of civility.

I don’t consider myself a member of the “religious right” because the religious right is often wrong on some issues. Nor am I a moderate, progressive, or on the religious left, as those terms are used. I am an individual who makes my own choices (right or wrong) based upon reason and logic to the best of my ability and who allows the chips fall where they may.

Huffington Post’s Ugyur Attacks the Bible

Let’s hear the issues first which are: Mr. Ugyur, claims the “religious right picks which parts of the Bible they want to apply. He wants to make arguments against Christians by advocating Old Testament laws irresponsibly used to condone slavery against blacks. From this he reasons that Bible believers use the same Bible to “hate” homosexuals.

Next, he really gets into bad theology claiming the Bible yet teaches that eating shellfish is an abomination, and forbids mixing wools and cotton garments. He thinks for Christians to be consistent in opposing gay practices, they should propose legislation against mixing clothing.

Most of his argumentation follows the same pattern, but the most insidious is his conclusion that “taking gay people rights” should demand that adulterer’s be executed to even the score.

Using examples of polygamy, and a polemic sleight of hand which suggests that a close platonic relationship between David and Jonathan might have been homosexual, Ugyur argues that the Bible does not teach marriage is between one man and one woman.

Marriage Defined from the Creation by God, it’s Creator

When Christ sought to define marriage amidst the Jewish deviations, he went all the way back to the creation:

But from the beginning of the creation, God made them male and female.

For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife,

and the two shall become one flesh; so then they are no longer two but one flesh.

Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate. (Mark 10:6–9)

Dispensationalism Logic on Old Covenant Weakens Stance on Gay Marriage

Given the dispensational view that the Old Covenant remains a valid, operable and unfulfilled covenant, they have a weak logical defense against Mr. Uygur’s assault on the Bible’s definition of marriage as a monogamous union of a male and female.  This is where bad eschatology meets theology and morality and loses big time.

Understanding Jewish Laws in the Old Covenant

Before making an argument from the Bible, it might be wise to study it a little and learn the difference between the Old & New Covenants. Under the Old Covenant, which was ethnic and exclusive primarily to one nation (Israel), (Deut. 5:2, 3; Exod. 19:6–8). Exceptions occurred when one accepted their laws and became an Israelite through proselytism.

The religion and the state were not separate but combined which explains why people were put to death for sins; lying, raping, adultery, homosexuality, killing, touching the ark, speaking out against authority, stealing, profaning holy vessels, blasphemy, and even alleged sins such as preaching the gospel, etc.

Jews Could Not Legally Execute Crimnals in the Time of Christ

By the time of Christ, the Jews had lost the right to execute criminals/sinners, hence they had to have the authority of the Roman government to even execute Christ on the cross.

Perhaps, knowing those laws, Christ did not stone the woman caught in adultery but told her accusers to do so, (John 8:7). They knew the laws also and hence feared the Roman government, who could take not only their freedoms but even their nation from them, (John 11:48)

Jews Delivered Christ to the Roman Government for Execution

At  Christ’s trial, the Jews cited their law that Christ “ought to die,” (John 19:7) but could not administer capital punishment. Remember it was Pilate, the Roman governor who said to Christ while on trial, “I have the power (authority) to crucify You, and power (authority) to release you.”  (19:10). The Jews could only falsely accuse him.

Roman Government Approved of Israel’s Disapproval of Gay Marriage

The Romans practiced many vices spoken against by the Jews, then later by Christians. They were sensible enough not to violate the sensitivities and scruples of Jewish laws. They allowed the Jews to practice a religion different from their own. They even allowed the Jews’ disapproval of homosexuality and other sins which Rome practiced.

In addition, they ruled the entire empire where other nations also practiced different religions and worshipped many different gods, —gods which even violated the Jews’ laws. For example, in Athens they had many gods. They also had an altar with an inscription to the “Unknown God.”

Rome, Example of Separation of Church and State

For the most part, Rome kept their hands out of people’s private and public religious affairs except when it threatened the civil rights of its citizens.

Even Paul, a Christian had to appeal to Caesar for protection against the Jews who were trying to bring charges in their law against him to put him to death, which were indefensible, (Acts 21:26–40; 24:13).

Paul, realized his case was in deadlock with Felix, (governor of Caserea) who catered to Jewish prejudices against him. Felix was succeeded by Festus who wanted to send Paul to Jerusalem to be tried by his accusers. Paul a Roman citizen knew that was a “death sentence” and appealed to Caesar, an appeal which he won.

Festus then had to present Paul’s case to King Agrippa II, and made this statement:

“It is not the custom of the Romans to deliver any man to destruction before the accused meets the accusers face to face and has opportunity to answer for himself concerning the charge against him.” (Acts 25:19)

In other words, Paul would get a fair trial via his Roman citizenship. After Agrippa heard Paul’s defense, he would have freed him had the appeal not been to Caesar. By law the king had to defend Paul’s right to that hearing.

His case needs to be studied to see the difference between “church within the state” (Judaism) and  the “separation of church and state” (Roman law). All this proves the Jews under the Old Covenant in the time of Christ and following his death did not have the right to execute capital punishment.

That’s why contrary to Mr. Ugyur, no sensible Christian or thinking citizen would advocate killing sinners (heterosexual or homosexual) unless it results in a criminal offense, i.e. breaking civil law. That is “civil” rights.

Eschatology and the End of the Old Covenant

What does all this have to do with eschatology? Eschatology is about the transitional change from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. It is not about the end of the world or planet. It is the end of the Old Covenant world, which fact negates all the arguments of Mr. Ugyur, dietary, (Acts 10:13–15; Rom. 14:2, 3; 1 Tim. 4:3), stoning and otherwise.

This transition was incomplete until 70 AD, when God completely destroyed the Jewish nation as a “covenant people,” ending the “age of Moses, their law and civil state” (Acts 6:13, 14; Heb. 7:12, 18, 19; 8:6–13).

Contrary to dispensationalists and Zionists, Old Covenant practices, laws and sacrificial rituals can never be reinstituted! Eschatology is the establishment of the New Covenant which does not teach the stoning of sinners.

The New Covenant does approve of civil authority even when it is exercised in the hands of those who are irreligious. Romans 13:1–7, was written while Nero was the ruling emperor.

A person may be gay as much as they want, but when they infringe on the rights of others and seek to push that agenda on others violating their civil rights, it becomes  a criminal act.  The same is true of a heterosexual violator of civil rights.

Religion and Human Rights

The practice of religion is a “human rights issue” granted by God as well as a “civil right” granted by the government. To deny humans the right to worship God is a sin and crime against humanity.

And even when the government seeks to deny that right, as did Nebuchadnezzar toward Jews in Babylon, (Dan. 3:12; 6:5–7), or the Sanhedrin Council in the case of Christians i.e. Peter and John, (Acts 4:17–20; 5:29), they practiced “civil disobedience” enabling them to practice their God-given human rights.

So, yes, there is another word against “gay marriage.” It does not required capital punishment against sinners on either side of the issue, gay or straight. Mr. Uygur, has written very irresponsibly on this issue.

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