He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach. (Titus 1:9-11, ESV)

So Who’s Really Missing The Point Here?

Last time in Ken Silva Responds To Rick Brentlinger Of Gay Christian 101 here at Apprising Ministries I began my rebuttal of Did Jesus define marriage as only between a man and a woman?, which grew out of an amiable ongoing email dialogue I’d been having Rick Brentlinger, author of the book Gay Christian 101 who runs the pro-homosexual website Gay Christian 101. [1]

He made the choice to take this to the public accusing me of being condescending and making “factually inaccurate statements” concerning Genesis 1:27 and 2:24, where thereby I allegedly put words in Jesus mouth. Serious charges to levy against one of Jesus’ pastor-teachers so I felt it necessary to respond to Brentlinger’s post and to set the record straight. And based upon his comment back to an earlier comment by “lisa miller,” where she rightly pointed out that, for whatever reason, Brentlinger is attempting to make those two verses mean what they do not mean, it becomes clear that he still isn’t able to follow all of this logically:

Adventures in missing the point
by: Rick Brentlinger

Hi Lisa-

Unfortunately you’re not alone among anti-gay Christians in missing the point. The Pharisees did NOT ask Jesus if marriage is only between a man and a woman. That is not now and never was the topic under discussion.

Yet anti-gay Christians insist on reading into the text what Jesus did not say, that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. What folly to read into Jesus’ citations of Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 that Jesus intended His Jewish hearers to understand that homosexual marriage is always wrong.

Talk about straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. I think you’ll have difficulty slipping that one past God at the judgment seat of Christ. (Online source, bold his)

A couple of things; first, the term “anti-gay” is incendiary and unhelpful in these kinds of discusions. And it’s hardly “straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel” to read those two texts at face value and then logically concluding that a male (man) and a female (woman) are being discussed as constituting a marriage. That the Jewish hearers of Jesus, whose Spirit wrote the texts of Genesis 1:27 and 2:24, believed marriage was heterosexual is self evident from history itself; not to mention the prohibitions against homosexuality in the Mosaic Law. For Brentlinger to suggest otherwise is revionist history.

I left off in Part One after discussing Brentlinger’s rather peculiar take on what he calls the “principle of partnership” where he says there’s “the strong probability that God intended the 5% of humans who are same sex attracted to be same sex partnered.” And that “[l]iving in committed relationship with a compatible partner provides a legitimate outlet for the expression of sexual love”. [1] But as I said before, nowhere in Scripture do we find any mandate that sexual relationship—be it homosexual or heterosexual—outside marriage “provides a legitimate outlet for the expression of sexual love”; it’s all  sexual immorality.

We pick up Brentlinger in Did Jesus define marriage as only between a man and a woman? midway through his point 2 where he says of the two Genesis verses mentioned above:

I believe scripture is clear that neither Jesus nor the Jewish men He addressed understood Him to be prohibiting polygamy. That being true, there is no way Jesus intended His words to convey the meaning you give them – that the only marriage acceptable to God is one man with one woman for life. Here’s how we know that. (Online source)

Again, my first reaction is: What is he even talking about? Even if Jesus is not prohibiting polygamy; how then does that somehow equate to marriage no longer being between a male and a female? Answer: It doesn’t. I’ve already told you that Brentlinger has a bad habit of introducing red herrings that take us down rabbit holes; and sure enough, by bringing up the subject of polygamy Brentlinger is now confusing categories, which even so, still won’t help his case. I’ve previously pointed out that while I certainly don’t condone polygamy, the fact reamains that the Bible nowhere explicitly condemns it; though it’s clear monogamy is the ideal. The same cannot be said for the sin of homosexuality.

Brentlinger goes on in his point 2 through five sub-points, lettered a-e, each talking about polygamy; the sum of which would be:

The point is not to argue for modern polygamy but to demonstrate that God is not an absolute Complementarian. God never encourages us to believe that the only marriage acceptable to Him is a one man with one woman marriage like Adam and Eve.
(Online source)

The phrase “God is not an absolute Complementarian” (as defined by Brentlinger) is a red herring we’ll ignore to focus on what’s actually at issue: “God never encourages us to believe that the only marriage acceptable to Him is a one man with one woman marriage like Adam and Eve.” Once again, following are the texts in question from the English Standard Version:

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)

I argue that God most certainly is encouraging us to believe that the only marriage truly acceptable to Him is the one man with one woman marriage model ala Adam and Eve; because 1) it’s the logical result of what God created marriage to be initially—Adam (one man) and Eve (one woman)—and 2) this is the same standard Jesus, Who is also God, chose to appeal to in Holy Scripture. That God allowed polygamy is irrelevant here; we may be thankful the Lord has permitted any of our sin, and even the polygamous marriage we find in the Scriptures still follows the heterosexual pattern of a man marrying another woman, albeit in addition to a previous woman, or women.

So as you can see the subject of polygamy doesn’t add any weight whatsoever to Brentlinger’s wishful thinking that he can create a category of marriage involving LGBTQ people living in committed relationships with compatible partners which would then provide a legitimate outlet for the expression of their sexual relations. And herein you find the loophole evangelicals like Andrew Marin [2], hailed as a bridge between evangelicals and the LGBTQ community; their hope is that when gay marriage becomes sanctioned by the United States, the evangelical community will then have to embrace the kind of same sex couples such as Brentlinger is suggesting.

Consider this a heads up; in other words, the mainstream Protestant evangelical view considering the deviant and sinful lifestyle of having sexual relations with another of the same sex, i.e homosexuality, as sin will immediately come under strong attack once gay marriage becomes legal. And as a pastor-teacher I’m using this exchange with Brentlinger, since he made the choice to make this a public issue, as a teaching vehicle to give you an illustration as to what will be their main argument: Since a gay couple is now legally married then their sexual union is blessed of God and should also be embraced by the church.

Polygamy Is Never Explictly Condemned In Scripture As Sin But Homosexuality Is

Leaving polygamy now Brentlinger’s point three concerns my statement:

3. “That’s always been the orthodox Jewish position…”

Your conclusion may sound good as a point in a sermon but your statement is factually inaccurate. Jews throughout the Old Testament and into the first century AD accepted and permitted polygamy. The orthodox Jewish position since 1450 BC when Moses wrote the Pentateuch has been that Genesis 1:27 and 2:24 do not teach absolute Complementarity – one man with one woman for life – as the only marriage paradigm God will bless… 
(Online source)

Well, we tried to leave polygamy. The problem is Brentlinger just can’t seem to see that this has nothing to do with the orthodox Jewish position, not to mention other cultures, that marriage is between male and female. This is what’s at issue; and not whether a man should be married to one, or multiple, women. Brentlinger moves to his point 4:

4. “…as well as that of the historic orthodox Christian Church.”

On this point too, your conclusion is historically inaccurate. There is no scriptural evidence that any early Christian who heard Jesus speak in person or who read Matthew 19 understood Jesus to be outlawing polygamy when He spoke of “two becoming one.” (Online source)

Again Brentlinger quotes me and widely misses the point of what I’ve been saying all along; Jesus isn’t speaking about polygamy, He’s restating His ideal—as our Creator God—that marriage should be between a male and a female. It’s an incontrovertible fact of recorded history that this has been the position of both orthodox Judaism and the historic, orthodox Christian church. As I said before, even polygamous marriages conformed to the standard of a male to a female. And as far as monogamy being the standard God has set, it’s pretty hard to miss when one reads the Scripture: The two become one flesh.

We move to Brentlinger’s point 5:

5. “Even John Shelby Spong admitted homosexuality cannot be defended from Scripture.”

That is such as weak argument as to almost require no answer. Spong is a heretic of the first order because he rejects the deity of Christ, the necessity of the new birth, justification by faith alone in Christ alone. And Spong also rejects the inspiration and authority of scripture. Therefore his testimony about what scripture does or does not teach carries no weight. (Online source)

This was a nice try by Brentlinger to ignore the point I make by using obfuscation; I never said anything otherwise about the heretical John Shelby Spong. However, in this case I’ve called upon Spong as an expert witness in this area of defending homosexuality. Anyone familiar with Spong’s work knows he’s long been a champion of the very lifestyle Brentlinger himself is arguing for; in fact, I’m referring to what Spong told Dr. John Ankerberg and the late Dr. Walter Martin in Spong/Martin Debate on Sexual Ethics circa 1985:

Spong: But let me say that I do not disagree that homosexuality is condemned in ScriptureI think that is obvious. It’s in Leviticus; it’s in the Sodom and Gomorrah story; it’s in the Pauline  corpus at least, and probably some other places… [3]

No doubt Spong is even a hostile witness in this case; agree with him or not, the fact is Spong has long been at the cutting edge of the advance of this deviant and sinful lifestyle now dividing the mainline denominations. And, whether we agree with him or not—for that reason alone—it matters a great deal what someone says while advocating homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle; especially when, unlike Rick Brentlinger, he’s a credentialed scholar. [4] It speaks volumes against Brentlinger’s twisting of God’s Word when even someone as liberal as John Shelby Spong, who’s in agreement re. homosexuality, tells him Scripture won’t support it.

And finally we arrive at Brentlinger’s point 6:

6. “You are welcome to your views, but as gently as I can say it, they really don’t stand in the light of Scripture.”

That is such a condescending statement. You cannot produce any verse of scripture which in context addresses same sex marriage yet you’ve concluded based on scripture taken out of context, that same sex marriage is never permissible. (Online source)

Frankly, after all I’d shown him in the prior emails; what I’ve now shown you in Scripture, and prefacing what I said “as gently as I can say it,” it seems silly that I would be accused of “such a condescending statement.” I’ve clearly shown that Brentlinger’s views really do not stand in the light of Scripture; it’s not condscending, it’s fact for those who have eyes that see. Brentlinger further opines:

What you’ve done is re-purpose a passage in which Jesus rebukes Jewish men for their divorce practices as if Jesus was really making a negative statement about same sex marriage. (Online source)

No. I’ve shown that Jesus, even while discussing divorce clearly restates God’s, which would be His Own, decree marriage that is between a male (man) and a female (woman); as demonstrated in time, space, and history, by a literal male—the man Adam and his literal female wife—the woman Eve. Our Creator didn’t need to address the issue of same sex marriage because it was never His design in the first place. Therefore, as Jesus was addressing the issue of divorce, He also ends up reinforcing the point that the marriage covenant God has decreed happens to be between a male and a female; thereby excluding same sex marriage.

I say again, as lovingly, gently, and as patiently as I can; those who hold the view of same sex relationships as Rick Brentlinger are welcome to them. However, as John Spong is intellectually honest enough to admit, this view can’t be argued from the text of the Bible itself; marriage, as designed by Jesus our Creator God, is between a male and a female. And as such, all same sex sexual relations, whether legal in the laws of the empire or not, will always be outside of the marriage covenant; in other words, it will always be the sin of sexual immorality. And this is not to be “anti-gay,” it is to be anti-sin, period.

As I close this out I remind you that the Gospel is that Jesus Christ died even for the sin of homosexuality; there is repentance and forgiveness of sins in Christ’s name, and the Bible tells us that this offer is open to everyone who will come. Will you come; however in the end, that is between you and God. I take this opportunity to remind you again that there’s a very dark and threatening same-sex storm, right now, approaching hurricane force, and which is currently only slightly off the coast of your own local church. It gained strength recently, and moved a little closer with Christian singer Jennifer Knapp.

Here was the first more mainstream Christian evangelical to come out as a lesbian; and not contritely, but rather defiantly. The same sex storm gained all little more strength but 11 days ago, and moved a little closer to your mainstream evangelical church when Country Music singer, and alleged “devout Christian,” Chely Wright also came out as a lesbian. While the reaction to Knapp’s announcement was almost entirely in support for her, Wright’s coming out party was largely ignored; both bad signs. Here’s why; over this past year I’ve been covering the growing notoriety of gay-affirming “pastor” Jay Bakker of Revolution:NYC.

Now I told you in Jay Bakker Reflects The Sad Condition Of The Visible Church, make no mistake, Bakker’s star is on the rise within the sinfully ecumenical Emerging Church—which is a cult of neo-liberalism now entrenched firmly within mainstream of the visible church. You need to know that Bakker is tip-of-the-spear in the EC push for acceptance within evangelicalism that the deviant and sinful lifestyle of having sexual relations with another of the same sex, i.e homosexuality, is a viable one for the regenerated Christian. This is a key EC point of attack as it continues its all-out assault upon proper biblical Christianity.

You also need to know that Bakker’s whole shtick is spreading the myth that the practice of homosexuality isn’t always sinful. For years now the Emergent Church has already been embedding itself within your Young Adult and Youth Groups; and pushing the gay agenda within mainstream evangelicalism is a very important issue for the uber-inclusive universalism of the EC. Sadly, it’s going to be a huge surprise, and soon, when this agenda detonates within the walls of the mainstream squishy evanjellyfish community itself; and they discover the hard way, that most professing Christians don’t actually hold to Sola Scriptura at all.

And so what are you then left with; doing what is right in your own eyes ala Judges 17:6.


1. Rick Brentlinger, Gay Christian 101 [, 2007], 9.
2. I talk further about Marin in Andrew Marin Methodology.
3. Cited in John Shelby Spong Admits Homosexuality Is Condemned In Scripture.
4., accessed 5/14/10.

See also: