If You’re Headed To General Conference: Appeals to Biblical Authority Are Meaningless

1. The Bible endorses marriage between one man and his sister.
2. The Bible endorses marriage between one man and his dead brother’s wife.
3. The Bible endorses marriage between one man and one woman and her servants.
4. The Bible endorses marriage between one man and his rape victim.
5. The Bible endorses marriage between one man and many women.
6. The Bible endorses marriage between one man and 700 women and 300 concubines.
7. The Bible endorses marriage between one man and one woman and her slaves.
8. The Bible endorses marriage between one soldier and his virgin prisoners.

All of the above are considered moral in the Bible. Does this mean United Methodists should condone these actions and cater them with pizza and cake in the fellowship hall? No, of course not.  However, same-sex marriage; that would be immoral and undermine the historic foundations of Christianity, Wesleyan theology, and western civilization.  I call bulls#$@$.

I can’t stand in a pulpit and support most of what the Bible deems as appropriate for marriage.  (I’ll tell you now, I will not officiate a ceremony for a man and his sister.  Nor will I marry a man and his rape victim.)  I won’t rationalize these texts, explain them away, or tell my congregation anything other than this: how the Bible talks about heterosexual marriage, as described above, is immoral, wrong, and disgusting.  The moment we cite the Bible as an authority on marriage it loses all influence on the institution of marriage.

How the United Methodist Church denies loving couples the right to marry is also immoral and wrong.  This denial has nothing to do with the Bible.  We’re using the Bible to dress up our dislike of other human beings.  That’s disgusting.

Richard Lowell Bryant

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