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First Steps on a Pilgrimage: A Reflection on the Thinking of Lee and Vines

The pilgrim’s journey has been central to Christian tradition from the beginning. It’s a helpful image for the still unresolved discernment among Christians about the place of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in God’s heart and in the church. We inherited the spiritual practice from the Jews: remember Jesus’ repeated treks to Jerusalem for holy days? Many still walk the medieval pilgrimage trails across Europe. John Bunyan’s account of the spiritual journey called “Pilgrim’s Progress” was, for centuries, an essential guide to faith formation for Protestant Christians.

This ancient spiritual practice sprang to mind when I read with great appreciation Justin Lee’s 2012 book, “Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate,” and Matthew Vines’ hot-off-the-presses, “God and the Gay Christian.” Both approach the prayerful inquiries of evangelical Christians into how they understand God’s will for LGBT people as a faith journey—a pilgrimage of their souls.

Justin Lee is leader of the thriving Gay Christian Network, an online community for evangelical LGBT Christians and an educational resource for everyone. “Torn” is, first and foremost, a spiritual memoir in which Justin shares his journey as a gay evangelical Christian: his experience of faithful, spiritual wrestling with the tradition of his beloved evangelical heritage and with God.

Justin’s honesty is inspiring as he outlines his sincere exploration of his church’s approach to being gay. We arrive with him, after helpful theological discussion and Biblical study, at the one step he invites us to take: recognize that being gay—the word he uses to capture the rich diversity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer, asexual and words yet to take hold—is not a choice.

When Justin calls evangelical Christians to accept that being gay is not a choice, he invites them to set out upon a rich pilgrimage toward an answer to the questions about LGBT people that have roiled the church for three generations.

With “God and the Gay Christian,” Matthew Vines brings an earnest, intelligent new voice to this long Christian family discussion. When he came out as gay to himself, Vines took a leave of absence from college to embark on a quest to integrate his deep evangelical faith and his sexuality. He never returned to school. After he shared his findings in a video on YouTube, it went viral. He continued to speak, founded The Reformation Project and now works to further conversation on these matters.

Matthew shares his story in the book, but his pilgrimage road leads primarily into the Bible. His logic is this: if the Church was able to clarify its understanding of Scripture based on Galileo’s new information about the heavens, then we can surely clarify our reading of the Bible based on new information about same-sex relationships. Like Justin, Matthew has one step he asks evangelicals to take: accept that the church can clarify understandings based on new information or situations.

Matthew has a gift for explaining clearly the historical and cultural considerations embedded in the seven passages seen as authoritative for the evangelical understanding of God’s will for LGBT people. He is skilled at showing how the Biblical world was vastly different from our world and why that is important.

So both of these devout disciples of Christ invite evangelicals to take the first step on a spiritual pilgrimage road. Matthew begins with the work of clarifying our understanding of Scripture and Justin lays out how being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is not a choice. The faith in God of both is evident in their confidence that God inspires this journey from the first step to wherever prayerful inquiry leads the faithful pilgrim.

Though the journeys initiated by Lee and Vines may wind different ways, the heart of the matter for both is gracious conversation. Respectful, attentive, kind dialogue with Scripture, God and other Christians are the way stations on the road to a conclusion about how God loves LGBT people (for we do agree God loves us all). Lee and Vines are wonderful, faithful, reliable guides to step out on your path.

Will you take their hands, so to speak, and join them on the pilgrim road?

Photo: El Camino de Santiago via Dale Calder


42 Responses
  • Donna on May 20, 2014

    Hi Janet,

    Nice post. I checked out Justin’s work on GCN a couple years ago. Personally, I think evangelical, fundamentalist (born-again), and Pentecostal GLBT Christians have the hardest time reconciling their sexual orientation with their spirituality, for a number of reasons, really, but mostly because religious practice is such an emotional and intimate experience. The teaching is: as long as a gay person doesn’t practice (if God doesn’t heal this burden), then he or she isn’t sinning “in the flesh,” but even then the person’s salvation isn’t guaranteed, as it would be with anyone else It’s a tragically stringent double-standard and another reason why I cling to the four Gospels and to what they say Jesus said and did (over Paul, etc., in the New Testament, and Moses, etc., in the Old). The wisdom and guidance Jesus gives is enough for anyone in any situation.

    Thank you for writing on this…

    Donna

  • Janet Edwards on May 21, 2014

    Dear Donna,

    Thanks for your perspective on coming from the same wing of the church as Justin and Matthew.

    I know it is a very hard road to emerge its basic messages about God’s judgment. Focusing on Jesus and the love He expresses in His life and teaching makes great sense to me. Then I suppose the six passages judging gay and lesbian people are considered in light of the way Jesus treats the law. It that the way you see it?

    Peace, Janet

  • Donna on May 22, 2014

    Hi Janet,

    Yes. The thing is, Janet, what I weigh in my mind is this: If I profess that Jesus was the Son of God, God incarnate, how can I disregard His teachings, logic, arguments, and words, for that of Paul or Moses? They are certainly esteemed and inspired, great leaders, but they are not better than or equal to Christ – for there is no one born equal to Christ – therefore, I put the weight of importance and priority on what Jesus taught. How else are we to regard the Son of God if not seeking His wisdom and logic first in all things?

    Donna

  • Bill on May 26, 2014

    Janet and Donna. I think question would be on the topic. Do you all believe that Jesus is God?

  • Donna on May 27, 2014

    Hi Bill,

    I believe in the Nicene Creed and the Apostle’s Creed.

    Donna

  • Janet Edwards on May 27, 2014

    Dear Bill,

    I believe Jesus is the Son of God, the incarnation of God’s love who continues to live and lead us.

    The tension between us is not that confession. It is the meaning we give to it.

    That brings us back to our perennial loop. Until we agree that both our perspectives are valid responses to God’s revelation we will be in the same stalemate so that further discussion bears no fruit. Jesus wants us to bear fruit.

    That’s why I am not interested in pursuing the question. Peace, Janet

  • Bill on May 27, 2014

    Thanks Donna and Janet.
    Jesus does want us to bear fruit he also wants us to help each other if one of us falls away from the truth. Donna said something that I cant get my head around. So I’ll address this to her. If a person only believes what Jesus said in the 4 Gospels, how do you make sense of Jesus telling us that if we cant or wont believe Moses, then we will never understand or believe him. So doesnt this give instant credibility to Moses?

    “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” (John 5:46-47)

  • Donna on May 27, 2014

    Hi Bill,

    It’s not the point of Moses being credible, it’s the logic of how Jesus interprets the law. Look at all of the times he is challenged by the scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees: http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Pharisees,-Attitudes-To-Jesus-Christ . What is His logic, Bill, that you can see?

    Donna

  • Bill on May 28, 2014

    Hi Donna. Thanks for responding. But…..I dont get the connection you apparently see. Using one of the examples on the link you gave. Would you mind explaining what your talking about? Sorry……….

  • Janet Edwards on May 28, 2014

    Dear Bill,

    Yes, we are to help one another. “If one of us falls away from the truth” is the problematic phrase here for me, Bill.

    I do not share with you the presumption that I am right and your are wrong. I do have my perceptions and my conclusions. They are different from yours. I think I am right but I am not so sure of this that I need to help you to see what I see.

    I do want to hear what you see and conclude; I want to share with you what I see and conclude. I want to learn from you and for you to learn from me because I assume that what we see through a glass dimly now will become clearer to both of us when we share.

    Through our sharing God will reveal more fully what God sees and concludes. This is how I see God revealing to our limited, human eyes what is beyond us all.

    I trust you see the distinction between sharing and judging. And I hope you have felt my yearning for sharing: listening to you and expressing myself. That is what bears good fruit and helps us both. Because we both need help.

    Peace, Janet

  • Donna on May 29, 2014

    Hi Bill,

    I can point you to the illustrations, Bill, but you will need to study them and pray for illustration from God. There you have many, many examples of when Jesus challenged the laws as the Scribes and Pharisees taught them, and He challenged them with a different logic, the same logic He uses in parables, in healing, raising Lazarus, and so on.

    This is all in answer to your question, Bill: “If a person only believes what Jesus said in the 4 Gospels, how do you make sense of Jesus telling us that if we cant or wont believe Moses, then we will never understand or believe him. So doesnt this give instant credibility to Moses?”

    As I said, it’s not that Moses or anyone else in the Bible isn’t credible, but, to me, the words, actions, and logic of the Son of God certainly have the utmost credibility. Jesus was sent to show us the way of God as the ultimate expression of God’s essence albeit in human form, and as the ultimate expression of God’s love.

    What do you make of John 8:3-11:

    The scribes and the Pharisees *brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they *said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. “Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”

    Donna

  • Bill on May 29, 2014

    Donna, thanks for that explanation. Here is how I read it. Jesus said he would not condem her for her adultry ( sin). I get that. But he also told her to “go and sin no more”. So while he forgave her of her sin, he still called it sin. Thats what I see. Do you at least see my point?

  • Donna on May 30, 2014

    Bill, there’s more going on that… In response to your original question, it speaks of the Law of Moses and what is to be done to this woman. Does Jesus follow the law or not? What is His logic?

  • Bill on May 30, 2014

    Yes he did follow the law. Jewish law at the time required to or more accusors to come forward. Since none came forward he followed the law to the letter. Yes?

  • Donna on May 31, 2014

    Bill,

    I can only suggest then that you study it further.

    Donna

  • Bill on May 31, 2014

    Should of been “two” not “to”…sorry. I dont see what you see Donna. Tell me what I’m missing please. I’m asking……………

  • Donna on May 31, 2014

    Hi Bill,

    This is some of what I see, not necessarily in any order of preference:

    Jesus does not obey the law. There are more than enough witnesses to convict her. But that is not the true intent of the mob: the intent is to test Jesus, whether He will follow the law of Moses or not.

    He could have gone into an analysis of the Law as He does elsewhere, but he chooses rather to fulfill God’s Law and it’s true intent: to draw people closer to Him.

    He operates from love and always on the basis of the Ten Commandments. So, yes, she has sinned, but also we are to love our neighbor.

    To save her (life and soul) he doesn’t challenge her accusers, only makes a demonstration of the equanimity of God, which He also preaches: judge not lest ye be judged, which is operative in his statement “Whoever is without sin cast the first stone.” It also clearly demonstrates that God is the only one who is able to judge (and redeem) a sin according to God’s Law, implying the flaws in the Law of Moses.

    Jesus demonstrates that He is above the hysteria of the mob with their pettiness of catching her in a sin and using her to test Him, and He turns the tables around on them, using the moment to exemplify His wisdom as the Son of God, God’s grace, and God’s desire: that all should be forgiven. Indeed, all of those who believe on Him are forgiven, even if we fail every single day, several times a day. He could have plainly stated: none of you are qualified to judge this woman because you’re all sinners. Rather, He forces them to judge their own hearts instead by asking who among them is without sin.

    Illustrating the importance of our own state of affairs with God before we bother with judging anyone else’s.

    The mind of Christ is always on Godly matters according to His covenant and to Christ’s mission of forgiveness and salvation (providing for us a means to reconcile with God).

    Hopefully this helps you to see the logic of Christ.

    Donna

  • Bill on May 31, 2014

    Thanks Donna. I’ll have to give this some thought. I always thought Jesus was sinless…..I’ll get back to you. And thanks.

  • Donna on May 31, 2014

    Hi Bill,

    Oh Bill…Jesus never sinned according to God’s Law. He was constantly being judged by the Law of Moses – healing on the Sabbath, ritual cleansing, the disciples eating grain, and so on. He was crucified according to the Law of Moses for blasphemy and saying he was the Son of God.

    Donna

  • Bill on May 31, 2014

    Donna, you just said “Jesus does not obey the law” . Or did I misread that? Breaking the law is sin, right? Jesus/God never sinned in my Bible…..

  • Bill on May 31, 2014

    stupid computer…LOL. I wasnt done yet. But I have to go play music at the church. I’ll finish my thought later. Thanks again Donna.

  • Donna on June 1, 2014

    Bill,

    According to the tradition of the time and the intent of those wishing to rid Jerusalem of Jesus, as well as other “rebel” sects, Jesus was considered to have committed blasphemy.

    When Jesus is brought before the Sanhedrin Caiaphas asks Him if He is the Son of God. According to the Mosaic Law, that is blasphemy. See Matthew 26:63-66.

    You do this all the time, Bill. Make these remarks to take away from the original question you ask, when it has been answered for you and you cannot sustain a reasonable response.

    I don’t propose that Jesus was a sinner. I propose that Jesus questioned and challenged the Mosaic Law without ever breaking God’s Law. To the Scribes and Pharisees, healing people on the Sabbath was a sin, as was plucking grain, as was eating without washing, as was Jesus saying outright that he was the Son of God and the Messiah, and so on. They lived under a litany of laws that Jesus said actually prevented people from encountering God. What then was Jesus arrested, beaten and crucified for if He was not being judged by Mosaic Law?

    By all accounts, the same situation exists today in churches that cling to parts of the Mosaic Law in order to preserve their prejudices against others.

    What did you learn in Church today?

    Donna

  • Bill on June 1, 2014

    Donna, My “remarks” are my attempt to try to understand how you come up with the answers that you do. Its simply that and nothing more. Your answers may seem straight forward to you. But I have to struggle to see it from the liberal mind. And I dont mean that in a hateful way. I think Janet is right though….the left and the right will never see eye to eye. So sad when God wanted unity……. Donna I truely do wish you the best. God bless.

  • Donna on June 1, 2014

    Bill,

    If you knew me, you would know that I’m not a liberal, neither spiritually nor politically. What I am is very well aware of how humanity corrupts the good it receives from God. If I have not provided you with an accurate portrayal of Jesus according to Scripture, God will hold me accountable, but if I have and you reject it, then you have chosen not to grasp the true concept of the Gospel.

    Jesus said “When you see me, you have seen the Father.” And to me His logic rules over every human, even God inspired human, law.

    I pray Bill that your struggle is imbued with God’s love from on high and that His light shines on you always.

    Donna

  • Janet Edwards on June 2, 2014

    Dear Bill and Donna,

    Thanks to you both for, on the whole, modeling a gracious conversation between Christians who come to a different conclusions about the place of LGBT people in the heart of God and in the church.

    I have one comment to add at this point in your dialogue.

    I agree with what I see Donna concluding here, Bill: One does not need “a liberal mind” to line out a response to your question about whether Jesus can sin or not. What Donna says, as I see it, is this:, Jesus does not sin against God’s law. He does violate the Pharisees’ understanding of God’s law and gives his life for that. As God, Jesus understands the law of Moses differently from the Pharisees. Donna faithfully tries to follow Jesus.

    And I expect you do, too.

    I do not think, as you suggest, Bill, that “seeing eye to eye” is required for us to live in the unity Jesus desires for us. The gentile and Jewish believers in the early church did not see eye to eye and they found a way to be in unity. Members of the community that looked to John for leadership saw things very differently from this who looked to Paul. They lived in unity.

    Jesus wants us to, as well. That’s what we are doing by trying to understand one another. Thank you for making an effort at that. I hope you continue to. Donna and I and others who read and respond prayerfully to what you say here are also making an effort to understand you. I trust you see that.

    Peace be with you both, Janet

  • Bill on June 12, 2014

    Hi Donna. I do not mean to place a label on you that you may or may not like. If you visit any of the reputable theological websites, it doesnt take much to realize that your view on homosexuality and the Bible lines up with the Liberal view. Which I suppose is why you agree with Janet so much. You said ” If I have not provided you with an accurate portrayal of Jesus according to Scripture, God will hold me accountable, but if I have and you reject it, then you have chosen not to grasp the true concept of the Gospel.”
    And this is why I stay hear as well. Conservatives ( Bible believing) view the Bible as the Truth revealed. Liberals on the other hand tend to view it as the Truth yet to be revealed. Thats why they say things like” nothing in the Bible condems homosexuality”, and yet if the Bible is true, that debate is ended. If a person reads the Bible as God intended it to be read, according to scripture, then there is no doubt. Remember the Bible is a collection of books and letters written to the average person, and written so the average person could understand them. So, when you stand before God and he asks if you read his book. How will you respond. Lord, I read it but I didnt think you meant it when you said not to do this……
    Now I’m off to attend to my own sins……..

  • Bill on June 12, 2014

    Hi Janet. I am trying to understand you and those like you ( liberals), I have a long way to go tho. And yes, I do know that your trying to understand me as well. Thanks for that.

  • Donna on June 12, 2014

    Hi Bill,

    Glad you’re still here. I find it curious that you consider me a liberal just because of my stance on homosexuality with regard to Christianity, when in almost every other aspect of Christianity I am really quite conservative. The way I read the Bible is the way I was taught in a fundamentalist, born-again Christian church when I was young. I read it and allow God’s Holy Spirit to illuminate it to me and because Jesus was and is the beginning and the ending of all things, God incarnate, I view everything through Him: all that came before Him and all that has come after, in the Bible and on Earth. All we have of him is the gospels. His words, actions, teachings, and logic.

    What would we say today of a man or woman who would say: I will destroy this government and rebuild it in three days? Or, you hypocrites! Your laws preach freedom and equality and yet you have homeless people in the streets, unfed children, and all manner of hateful prejudice. We would call him or her an ultra-radical of any political persuasion. Destroy the government? A traitor, because most certainly our laws are the fairest and our society the most just, based on Judeo-Christian values. Are you getting the analogy, Bill?

    In the time of Christ, the “church” was both religion and politic, with, as today liberal and conservative factions and interpretations of the law. Jesus challenges those laws and interpretations. He challenged tradition. Fully within the mind and spirit of God, His aim was to get people back to God, back to God’s law. Rather than worrying about the cleanliness of hands, or the kind of dinnerware, or what was kosher or not, Jesus was concerned more about those with whom he shared His meals – and few were celebrated in the church. His compassion for feeding the hungry, or healing a wounded person or animal was greater than his concern for how the laws regarding working on the sabbath was interpreted. Why? Because such interpretations did more to keep people away from God than to draw them closer to Him.

    John 12.32: And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

    This was Jesus’ purpose, and it continues to today. That “draw” includes everyone, regardless of how they are judged by church leadership and conservative factions of membership, regardless of the interpretations of Scripture that call some things clean and unclean, holy or unholy. Jesus is the judge of all who are drawn to His table and fold.

    As for me, Bill, I am confident that if I died tonight or tomorrow or otherwise quite suddenly, I would meet Jesus knowing that I held to His promise and did everything I could possibly do to achieve what He called me to do. I would go knowing that I love Him and that any imperfection or sin on my part is left to His mercy…knowing that there is no one really worthy of the price Christ paid for our salvation but that it was paid for everyone.

    I’m not part of the PC(USA) Bill, and I don’t know if you are. But I hope for it and all churches to be able to say “Let’s agree in Christ on the things He spoke of and let Him be the judge on the things we can’t resolve ourselves.”

    And maybe more of those wounded, prevented, or otherwise not in Christ will be drawn to Him.

    Donna

  • Bill on June 18, 2014

    Hi Donna. I’m still trying to figure out how you concluded that Jesus broke the law by not condeming the woman at the well. Do you use online Bible study resources? I cant find anywhere online that draws the same conclusion as you. It must be your own personal conclusion then?

  • Donna on June 18, 2014

    Hi Bill,

    It was the woman caught in adultery ready to be stoned…John 8:3-11. Then read entry [Donna on May 31, 2014]. I don’t use online resources.

    Donna

  • Bill on June 20, 2014

    Thanks Donna

  • Bill on June 20, 2014

    Hi Janet. I think its important to understand that Jesus never broke a law. Otherwise he would be a sinner. The mob was trying to trick Jesus into breaking the law. He couldnt lie nor disobey the law so he chose his words carefully. There were many people there but since no one stepped forward ( the law required two witnesses), that allowed Jesus to follow the letter of the law and at the same time let the woman live. As a teacher of the Book, what do you teach?
    Thanks

  • Bill on June 20, 2014

    I dont know why I typed ” the woman at the well”….sorry.

  • Donna on June 20, 2014

    Hi Bill,

    Jesus did choose His words carefully. He shamed the witnesses/mob into realizing that their desire to trap Jesus was as sinful as the woman’s adultery, which is why none came forward when He said “The one without sin cast the first stone.” The witnesses existed to condemn the woman, and she was, as Jesus confirms, guilty of the sin. So the question still stands: did Jesus obey the law or did he not? Just because Jesus shamed the mob into silence, doesn’t mean He obeyed the law. By the Law of Moses, she should have been stoned. I’ll concede then, Bill, that Jesus circumvented the Law of Moses for two reasons: so that His ministry of salvation and justice would continue and to save a woman whose situation was obviously being disregarded and used by the clerics to try to discredit/entrap Jesus.

    Regardless, I’m glad you are seeking the matter further and will hopefully see the logic of Christ.

    Donna

  • Bill on June 22, 2014

    Hi Donna
    Thanks for the conversation. I agree with some of your comments and disagree with others. I dont believe anyone can understand the “logic of Christ”. Isaiah 55:7-8.
    Under the Law of Moses 2 witnesses had to come forward. And speak against her. None did. So under the law she cannot be stoned. Also had Jesus stoned her, he would have broken Roman law. So anyway you look at it , Jesus didnt break either law. ( sinless). She also repented her sin and so she was forgiven.( Acts). So anyone who doesnt repent cant receive the Holy Spirit and be saved. Your thoughts………..

  • Donna on June 23, 2014

    Hi Bill,

    Glad you reached whatever point you needed to reach Bill.

    Your statement that no one can understand the logic of Christ is dismaying, however.

    As Christians we believe in a sinless Jesus. But Jesus was not judged by His followers; rather the Pharisees, yes? And the Pharisees believed in following all of the intricate, detailed, traditional laws (and the Mishna) that were reasoned by priests and not by God.

    And so it is that according to our faith, Christianity, Jesus is sinless, but not so according to the law of His time as viewed by the Pharisees. There is a provision of the Mishna that states only one male witness is necessary to judge someone who has sinned; one that states that seducers of a town or crowd of people (away from the Jewish faith) is to be punished by death; one that states even the utterance of “God” is a sin punishable by death; and one that states that even carrying something heavier than two pieces of paper on the Sabbath is a sin.

    I’m not saying it’s right that Jesus was considered a sinner by the Pharisees, nor am I saying that we should consider Him a sinner. That would defeat His purpose. I’m saying His actions and logic were deliberate because Jesus stood in between the Pharisees who upheld the heavy burden of religious laws/customs/traditions and the common people who could not possibly follow every letter of that “hedge” around the Law.

    The logic of Christ, Bill, is very simple: Jesus keeps it simple, uncomplicated, true to the nature and spirit of God’s covenant. Jesus frees people from the legalistic nature His religion has become – but not God’s covenant.

    Read the Mishna sometime with your strong Christian mind, Bill, and you will see Jesus’ words, parables and teachings in a whole new light. A good bit of what He teaches has roots in the arguments therein.

    On the humorous side, other than that, maybe what I’ve got stuck in my mind is the idea of witness protection, you know, if there’s no witness to take the stand, then fahgeddabahdit, we’re off da hook! But that’s not breaking a law, is it? Maybe just kind of going around it? ;D

    Donna

  • Bill on June 23, 2014

    Hi Donna. I dont look outside the Bible too much, but thanks for suggesting it. Scripture requires 2 so I’ll stick with that. Thanks again, have a great day.

  • Donna on June 23, 2014

    Bill,

    Do you mean you subscribe to the Mosaic Law and you won’t read the Mishna?

    Donna

  • Bill on June 23, 2014

    Hi Donna. I rarely read anything outside of the Bible. Its not only unnecassary its counter productive, IMO. If I do its almost always Billy Graham. The Bible is the only book we as Christians need. IMO.

  • Donna on June 23, 2014

    Bill,

    Ah, I see. You must be a different Bill. The Bill who posts on here usually posts internet articles.

    In any case, the Mishna is the record of Jewish oral tradition and sheds light on the religious (legalistic) nature of the faith as it was in Jesus’ day, around 10 CE. It will help you see how it is that Jesus broke the law.

    Donna

  • Bill on July 21, 2014

    Hi Donna. Do you have a link to the part of the Mishna that your reading from? Everything I find requires 2 witnesses to come forward: In the patriarchal days the Adultery of the wife required no proof, for whenever the head of the family suspected her, he could kill her. Thus Judah ordered his daughter-in-law, Tamar, to be burned because of her supposed Adultery (Gen. xxxviii. 24). Her crime consisted in unlawful intercourse with a man other than the brother of her deceased husband. For at first it was the custom, and afterward it became the law, for the widow of a man who had died without leaving issue, to marry his brother, so that the child of this union might be of the blood of the deceased and bear his name (Deut. xxv. 5, 6; see Levirate). In such cases the widow was really considered the betrothed of her brother-in-law, and her intercourse with another than himself was punishable as Adultery. When the punishment of the adulteress and her paramour was taken out of the hands of the husband and assumed by the civil law, this, like every other crime, had to be proved by two or more witnesses, before a conviction and sentence could follow (Deut. xix. 15; Maimonides, “Hilkot Ishut,” xxiv. 18).

    Under the theory of the Talmudists, which still further mitigated the severity of the law, the woman could not be convicted of Adultery until it was proved that she had been previously cautioned, in the presence of two witnesses, not to have any communication with the suspected man, and that, in spite of such caution, she had met him secretly under circumstances that would make the commission of the crime possible (Mishnah Soṭah, i. 1, 2; Gem. 2b). This caution was given to her because of the general tendency of the rabbinical law toward mercy, based in this case on a technical interpretation of the Biblical text (Num. v. 13). Practically, it worked an acquittal in nearly every case. If, however, the husband was not satisfied with the result, the right of divorce was left open to him, although, when divorced under such circumstances, the wife did not lose her property rights under the ḳetubah. If rumors of the wife’s Adultery were circulated during the absence of the husband, the court had the right to summon and caution her with the same effect as though it had been done by her husband (Maimonides, “Hilkot Soṭah,” i. 11).

  • Bill on August 11, 2014

    Hi Donna
    I dont know if you subscribe to Answers in Genesis on FB or not. But its a Conservative site that posted this today if your interested.
    https://answersingenesis.org/contradictions-in-the-bible/against-the-law/?utm_source=aigsocial08102014againstlaw&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=facebooktwittergooglelinkedin


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