There are many passages in the Old Testament and several passages in the New Testament that very few Christians in the United States or in the larger Developed World interpret as binding for all time.
Here are only a few examples of social customs found in the Bible:
- God commands Late Bronze Age Israelite soliders to commit genocide (Deuteronomy 7v1-2, Joshua 10v40, Joshua 11v18-20).
- Paul instructs women/wives to wear veils in worship services as a sign of male authority or “headship” over them (1 Corinthians 11v-16).
- Paul instructs slaves to obey their slave masters or remain content in their slavery (1 Corinthians 7v21-24, Ephesians 6v5,)
- Both the Old Testament and New Testament state that those who are gay deserve death (Leviticus 20v13 , Romans 1v18-32)
If I showed you a map of the world (like the map above) and asked you to point to a country you associate with the social customs I listed, you would point to a country like Saudi Arabia, Iran or a similar nation.
The above social customs are still at home in some parts of the Middle East and Africa today. This should come as no surprise, as the above social customs were informed by Ancient Middle Eastern and Greco-Roman cultures in which the biblical books were written.
The map of the world at the top of this post shows the current status of gay rights on earth. The countries shaded in brown and red either execute those who are gay or impose sentences of life in prison for being gay! The nations in light blue, blue or dark blue (The U.S., U.K., Australia, Germany, France, Brazil and many others) grant basic human rights to those who are gay.
The above social customs are certainly not at home in the 21st century United States of America or in the Developed World. This fact should cause thoughtful Christians to seriously consider how we interpret the Bible and what passages we interpret as binding for all time.