In a recent article, New Testament scholar Ben Witherington offers seven reasons why a same-sex marriage cannot align with Christian values. Among the reasons he lists:

• Jesus was perfectly clear—marriage is when God brings a man and a woman together who are capable of sharing a one flesh union with the possibility of fulfilling the creation order mandate—be fruitful and multiply (see Mark 10; Matt. 19).

• Jesus was equally clear in Matthew 19 that the alternative for His disciples was celibacy in singleness, to which ‘being a eunuch for the kingdom’ refers.

• In order to meet the requirements for being a husband according to the household codes in Colossians 3 and 4 and Ephesians 5 and 6 one must: 1) be a male; and 2) have a partner who is a member of the opposite sex. Men cannot be wives, however much they may try and play such a role, and women cannot be husbands; a relationship that involves either two men or two women produces exactly zero husbands or wives.

• Same-sex sexual activity, whether between consenting adults or through some other sort of relationship, clearly is defined as a sin in the Old Testament and the New Testament, indeed a serious sin. If this is correct, then gay marriage is a non-starter.

Witherington concludes: “At the end of the day either we realize gender matters, and gender difference is essential to a real Christian marriage, or we totally change the definition of what counts as marriage, what counts as husband and wife, what counts as mother and father biblically speaking.

“It is in no way surprising that in the most individualistic and narcissistic culture on the planet, that Americans would like to be able to choose their gender, their own biology. However, you can’t do that; and because gender matters biblically speaking when it comes to Christian marriage, you also do not have biblical permission to redefine marriage, husband, wife, mother or father.” (

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