Three posts on biblical marriage

Martha Myre, a UMC elder in North Texas, has written three posts with her interpretation of that oft-discussed creature: biblical marriage.

I respect the carefulness and humility with which she engages in this task. The end of the third post strikes me as the spirit in which all these conversations should take place:

This is a very brief overview of how I understand marriage on the basis of the Bible. I know this will not “convince” many people to change their stance.  But I deeply dislike simplistic views of scripture from both camps and I am trying to be faithful to a reasoned and faithful view of scripture.


In all honesty, I would rather hold a different view of gay and lesbian relationships.  It would be simpler and people would not hate and ridicule me.  I could go along and get along. I could affirm the love that I know is very real in GL relationships without having a problem with certain aspects of those relationships, and therefore would not be in conflict with some wonderful people. I could present myself as modern and relevant and it would be a lot easier to reach out to the “nones.”  However, because I read the Bible as I do, and because I understand it to be authoritative for my life (see Excursus in Part1), it would be hypocritical of me to present myself as totally accepting of open marriage (and ordination) and I don’t think that would appeal to the “nones” either.   I maintain that I can love people with whom I disagree and I will keep trying to do that.  I hope that those who know me will try to love me back.


13 thoughts on “Three posts on biblical marriage

  1. Myre does a pretty good job and she certainly put a lot of work into it.
    She does say the piece is brief and that is true.
    Little is said about the spirtual nature of the christian marriage and the sacredness of the union that is only bestowed by God.
    I think it would be a good idea if we stopped apologizing for the positions held concerning the exclusive nature of marriage.

  2. What’s hypocritical is to bracket 1st century Jewish patriarchy for the question of female ordination and not for the question of homosexuality. The Biblical prohibition of homosexuality stands or falls on the question of whether patriarchy is God’s permanently normative plan for human gender. If we want to be consistent as Methodists and this is the view that we take, then we need to repeal female ordination.

    1. How do you talk to people in your parish when you disagree with them? Is it the same way you engage online?

      1. When I’m online, I’m wearing my prophet hat more than my pastor hat. I see my model more as Paul writing his letters to the Galatians and Corinthians. In my parish, it’s people to whom I am responsible as a shepherd and a servant. Thus, I’m much more gentle.

        But part of being a shepherd is to throw rocks at the lions that threaten your sheep. Several people in my tiny contemporary service stopped coming to church as a result of the decision last summer. I just recently had someone from another church ask me if a lesbian couple she cared about would be welcome in our church. An usher in her church had scolded them for holding hands in worship so they decided not to go back. So I get a little fired up about people congratulating themselves for their “humble” supposed lack of “hypocrisy” in talking about things that are a complete abstraction to them but not to people with whom I am in a close pastoral relationship.

    2. I have thought the same thing, Morgan. I suppose I’m a hypocrite because I am an ordained woman who believes that homosexual behavior is a sin. My ordination set the denomination sliding down a slippery slope.

        1. If anyone want to blame women for the slide in the UMC I would be happy to oblige the conversation and remind them the introduction and acceptance of homosexuality did not come from the female.
          Bishop Finis Crytchfield, Bishop Wheatley, Pastors Ogletree, Creech, & Hilton come to mind. All with a personal interest in the acceptance of homosexuality and same sex marriage.. All with a conflict of interest and family dynamics that should have required them to recuse themselves.

          The slippery slope.

    3. I would like to hear more about your idea of “1st century Jewish patriarchy” being the pillar on which prohibitions of female ordination and homosexuality stand. Have you written about it? If so, I would like to hear the argument in a fuller context than this one. In this context it sounds a little clipped and I want to give it a full reading before having a bigger discussion.

  3. “patriarchy”
    Now that is an interesting word.
    The word is throw around by some without much thought.
    It has become a word associated with master and slave.
    It is also a category of persons that are highly regarded in the Christian as well as other faiths.

    “Abraham our Father.” Avraham Avinu. Abraham the patriarch.
    Patriarchs, also know of as the covenant keepers.

    “homosexuality stands or falls on the question of whether patriarchy is God’s permanently normative plan for human gender.”

    The above rates as one of the most ridiculous statement of all time.

    1. d,

      I appreciate your active participation here, but I want to ask you to please be careful with comments like your last one above.

      You may disagree with Morgan’s statement, but let’s keep that disagreement within the bounds of Christian humility, meekness, kindness, and gentleness. Let’s talk to each other, please.

  4. “In that day,” declares the Lord,
        “you will call me ‘my husband’;
        you will no longer call me ‘my master.
    Hosea 2:16

    There is no word in ancient Hebrew equivalent to the word Wife.
    Wife is understood to be “his woman.”
    There is no equivalent for the word huband in ancient Hebrew.
    The understanding would be “lord man”.

    So when you read “cling to his wife“. It is understood Adam (man) would cling to his woman. Man would cling to woman.
    When you read in scripture “my husband will love me.” It is understood to say “my lord man” will love me.
    So it is clear the literal reading leaves no room for misunderstanding.Marriage is closed, exclusive to male and female alone in the Christian Faith.

    Now take into account the verse in Hosea.
    You will call me husband or “my lord man”.

    “For your Creator will be your husband; the LORD of Heaven’s Armies is his name! He is your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of all the earth“. Isaiah 54:5

    For your Creator will be your LORD man……
    Note that is with all capitols.

    Is God a member of the covenant keepers or a dreaded Patriarch?
    I think the issue that throws these persons into a firey rage is authority.

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