Since its founding in 1968, MCC has been challenging people to take a fresh look at what the Bible says about LGBTQ+ people. You may have been told that the Bible condemns gay people. I once believed that too. When I began digging deeper, I learned I was wrong – really wrong!
Let me offer three quick examples that may surprise you. Then, if you’re intrigued, I’ll offer resources for further study.
When Jesus Met A Gay Man. In Matthew 8:6, a Roman centurion asked Jesus to heal someone who was very dear to him. Matthew’s Gospel was written in ancient Greek. The Greek word the centurion used to refer to the sick man is pais. That’s the exact same word commonly used in ancient Greek literature and poetry to refer to a beloved same sex partner. And guess what? Without batting an eye, Jesus healed the sick man in this story and, in the process, preserved the relationship between him and the Roman centurion. Jesus commends the centurion for his great faith and affirms that he will enter heaven alongside other great heroes of faith like Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Baby You Were Born That Way. In Matthew 19:11-12, Jesus used a phrase that sounds foreign to our ears – “born eunuchs.” Jesus says that some men are “born eunuchs” and that “born eunuchs” aren’t meant to marry women. This way of being, Jesus says, was “given” to these men by God. In other words, it’s a gifted way to be. Who were these “born eunuchs?” The Jewish Talmud is a compilation of ancient Jewish tradition that offers insight into the culture at the time of Jesus. In the Jewish Talmud, “born eunuchs” are described in a stereotypical way that indicates the term was used to refer to what we today would call “gay men.” The Talmud condemns “born eunuchs.” Jesus does the opposite. He honors them.
To Have And To Hold, ‘Till Death Do Us Part. Throughout the ages, one passage of scripture has been used more than any other to explain what it means to make a marriage covenant with someone. Here’s the passage:
Do not press me to leave you
or to turn back from following you!
Where you go, I will go;
where you lodge I will lodge;
Your people shall be my people,
and your God my God.
Where you die, I will die –
there will I be buried.
May the Lord [curse] me and more as well,
if even death parts me from you!
Here’s the surprise. Those words were spoken by one woman (Ruth) to another woman (Naomi). The quality of the relationship between these two women has become the biblical model for what an ideal marriage should look like. In fact, the very same Hebrew word used in the Genesis creation story to describe how husbands and wives should “cling” to one another (Genesis 2:24) is used to describe Ruth’s relationship with Naomi. “Ruth clung to her.” Ruth 1:14. The Bible celebrates this amazing relationship between two women. Why shouldn’t we?
These are just a few abbreviated examples. There’s much more to say about each, and many other passages to explore. I invite you to dig deeper. Several resources are listed below, including a book I’ve coauthored on this subject and websites with sermons on the subject. Don’t let common distortions of what the Bible says taint your view. Check it out for yourself! I think you’ll be really surprised!
Books available from Amazon and other booksellers:
The Children Are Free: Re-examining the Biblical Evidence on Same-sex Relationships, by Jeff Miner and Tyler Connoley.
Jesus, The Bible, and Homosexuality: Explode the Myths, Heal the Church, by Jack Rogers.
God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-sex Relationships, by Matthew Vines.
Websites with Sermons on this Subject by Rev. Miner:
ABOUT THIS MCC AUTHOR: Rev. Jeff Miner has served as Senior Pastor of LifeJourney MCC since 1997. Before becoming a pastor, he was a legislative lawyer in Washington, DC. He is a graduate of Harvard Law School and Bob Jones University. He lives with his husband of 30 years, Rev. David Zier.