WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT
Charles e Whisnant, Pastor/ Teacher
In science and epistemology (the theory of knowledge), a paradigm /ˈpærədaɪm/ is a distinct set of concepts or thought patterns, including theories, research methods, postulates, and standards for what constitutes legitimate contributions to a field.
Paradigm comes from Greek παράδειγμα (paradeigma), “pattern, example, sample” from the verb παραδείκνυμι (paradeiknumi), “exhibit, represent, expose” and that from παρά (para), “beside, beyond” and δείκνυμι (deiknumi), “to show, to point out”.
In rhetoric, paradeigma is known as a type of proof. The purpose of paradeigma is to provide an audience with an illustration of similar occurrences. This illustration is not meant to take the audience to a conclusion, however it is used to help guide them there. A personal accountant is a good comparison of paradeigma to explain how it is meant to guide the audience. It is not the job of a personal accountant to tell their client exactly what (and what not) to spend their money on, but to aid in guiding their client as to how money should be spent based on their financial goals. Anaximenes defined paradeigma as, “actions that have occurred previously and are similar to, or the opposite of, those which we are now discussing.”
The Bible requires discernment.
I guess you would call this a paradigm sift (sift out God’s truth)
But What Does the Bible Say?
Nowthat the Supreme Court has issued its sweeping ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, we can expect an avalanche of commentary, analysis, and punditry. I’m not a law professor, a politician, a talk show host, or a public intellectual (whatever that is). I’m a pastor. I study and teach the Bible for a living. Which means, among all the things I may not be an expert on, I may be able to say something meaningful from the Scriptures. So as we pour over legal opinions and internet commentary, let us not forget what the Bible says.
The Bible says the Lord alone is God and we should have no other gods before him (Ex. 20:2-3). Not the state, not the Supreme Court, not our families, not our friends, not our favorite authors, not our cultural cache. No gods but God.
The Bible says we should love our neighbors as ourselves (Matt. 22:39). And who is your neighbor deserving of such love? Wrong question, just worry about being the neighbor you’d want for yourself (Luke 10:25-37).
The Bible says love is not the same as unconditional affirmation (James 5:19-20). Love is patient and kind. It does not envy or boast. It does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Cor. 13:4-7).
The Bible says that disciples of Jesus will be hated as Jesus was hated (John 15:18-25; 2 Tim. 3:12). If the world loves us, it is not a sign of our brilliance, but that we belong to the world.
The Bible says that when reviled we should not revile in return (1 Peter 2:21-25). We should love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matt. 5:44).
The Bible says Jesus came into the world to save sinners, especially the worst of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). That means people like me, like you, and like the Apostle Paul who at one time opposed everyone and everything he later came to love and defend.
The Bible says marriage is between a man and a woman (Gen. 1:27-28; 2:18-25; Mal. 2:15; Matt. 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9) and that homosexual practice is sin (Lev. 18:22; 20:13; Rom. 1:18-32; 1 Cor. 6:9; 1 Tim. 1:10; Jude 7), but a sin from which we can be washed clean (1 Cor. 6:9-11).
So-Called Same-Sex MarriageLamenting the New Calamity
Jesus died so that heterosexual and homosexual sinners might be saved. Jesus created sexuality, and has a clear will for how it is to be experienced in holiness and joy.
His will is that a man might leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and that the two become one flesh (Mark 10:6–9). In this union, sexuality finds its God-appointed meaning, whether in personal-physical unification, symbolic representation, sensual jubilation, or fruitful procreation.
For those who have forsaken God’s path of sexual fulfillment, and walked into homosexual intercourse or heterosexual extramarital fornication or adultery, Jesus offers astonishing mercy.
Such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Corinthians 6:11)
But today this salvation from sinful sexual acts was not embraced. Instead there was massive institutionalization of sin.
In a 5-to-4 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States of America has ruled that states cannot ban same-sex marriage.
The Bible is not silent about such decisions. Alongside its clearest explanation of the sin of homosexual intercourse (Romans 1:24–27) stands the indictment of the approval and institutionalization of it. Though people know intuitively that homosexual acts (along with gossip, slander, insolence, haughtiness, boasting, faithlessness, heartlessness, ruthlessness) are sin, “they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them” (Romans 1:29–32). “I tell you even with tears, that many glory in their shame” (Philippians 3:18–19).
Christians, more clearly than others, can see the tidal wave of pain that is on the way. Sin carries in it its own misery: “Men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error” (Romans 1:27).
And on top of sin’s self-destructive power comes, eventually, the final wrath of God: “sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming” (Colossians 3:5–6).
Christians know what is coming, not only because we see it in the Bible, but because we have tasted the sorrowful fruit of our own sins. We do not escape the truth that we reap what we sow. Our marriages, our children, our churches, our institutions — they are all troubled because of our sins.
The difference is: We weep over our sins. We don’t celebrate them. We don’t institutionalize them. We turn to Jesus for forgiveness and help. We cry to Jesus, “who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
And in our best moments, we weep for the world, and for our own nation. In the days of Ezekiel, God put a mark of hope “on the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in Jerusalem” (Ezekiel 9:4).