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Jesus Was Not a Radical

  /   Sunday August 03, 2003  

Here’s another response to a Busted Halo post on the gay marriage thread:

Somehow, there has been an idea that Jesus decided that external conformity with the law was no longer necessary. He did not do this. He made external conformity insufficient. This is precisely why I can’t in good conscience put a gun to someone’s head and tell them to repent. There would be no interior conversion.

Jesus did “not come to destroy, but to fufill” the Law of Moses (Matthew 5:17-20). He goes on to say that our righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees, meaning that we go beyond external conformity. He goes on to explain what he means. He says that the fact that you don’t commit murder doesn’t make you right if you harbor anger against your brother (Matthew 5:22). Should we take his words to mean that it is okay to murder as long as you aren’t angry? He goes on to say that if you so much as look at a woman with lust, you have already committed adultery (Matthew 5:27-28). Does this mean that it is okay to commit adultery as long as you don’t lust?

It is true that Jesus did not directly mention homosexuality (though St. Paul, whose conversion was a direct encounter with Jesus, did in Romans 1:26-28). However, he also didn’t mention theft. He didn’t need to because coveting the wife or goods of a neighbor was already in the Ten Commandments. Should we presume that theft is now morally acceptable?

Jesus took sin rather seriously. In Matthew 5:30-31, Jesus explains just how serious sin is by saying (not to be taken literally) that even cutting off your right hand or eye is preferable to sin and to Hell. Even as he was condemning the scribes and Pharisess, he still tell people to follow their words, just not their example (Matthew 23:1-3). The Pharisees condemned Jesus for healing on the Sabbath knowing full well that they would pull their ox out of a ditch on the Sabbath. Therefore, Jesus did not break the law.

Jesus did change the dietary restrictions, but do be aware that this is disciplinary law and not moral law. For example, eating meat on a Friday of Lent is not an intrinsically immoral act, but the Church prescribes abstinance from meat as a discipline. She could change it tomorrow. This is not true of moral law. Human sexuality receives its nature from God. We are not made for homosexuality because it is impossible for one man to unite with another sexually. Such act can never be acts of love but are only acts of using for pleasure. The consequences of this act are evident (in both heterosexual and homosexual populations) by the spread of STDs.

The Pharisees had problems with racism and with the condemnation of the sins of others while ignoring their own. The Samaritans were considered half-breeds. To help a Samaritan was not to condone their sin. The Pharisees also tried to cut off anyone they presumed was a sinner. Jesus died on the cross for sinners, and there would be no need to do that if sin wasn’t real. Jesus forgave sins, but he didn’t excuse them. He told people to “go and sin no more.”

We must be careful of dissenting from Church teaching on the grounds that we are “thinking for ourselves.” That is prideful disobedience. Ultimately, we are to think the thoughts of God. In turning from sin, we experience a much greater freedom than we would from indulging in our passions and enslaving ourselves to sin.

Category: Posts imported from Danger! Falling Brainwaves, Uncategorized



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