Why do Christians “pick and choose” from Leviticus?

Leviticus 18:22, 19
Matthew 15:11
Mark 10:6–9
Romans 1:20, 26–27
1 Corinthians 6:9–11
Colossians 1:15–20
1 Timothy 1:9–10, 4:4

Leviticus 18:22 is an often-cited verse that condemns homosexuality. Yet critics of the Bible eagerly point out there are numerous rules listed in Leviticus that Christians don’t follow today. The question then follows, “Why do you pick and choose? Why do you choose to apply Levitical laws on homosexuality but disregard Levitical laws against wearing clothes of blended fabrics and eating pork or shrimp?”

At its root, this question is the accusation that the Christian is being a hypocrite. Response?

Start by pointing out that the critic is borrowing biblical principles, which he rejects, to argue against the Bible. Only Christianity, with absolute truth and morality from an absolute God, can rightly say hypocrisy is wrong. Declaring all truth as relative, the secularist has no coherent reason to label hypocrisy as bad.

Next, everyone picks and chooses. But by what standard? Ironically, the secularist even picks and chooses from Leviticus. Leviticus also condemns slander, lying, stealing, and perverting justice (Leviticus 19). Why does the critic agree those things are wrong while rejecting other parts of Leviticus that denounce homosexuality? He’s arbitrarily picking what suits his palate with himself as the decisive authority.

The Christian picks and chooses in light of all of God’s Word. As mentioned earlier, the Bible is one book with one meta-narrative. Every biblical verse and principle are to be understood in the larger context of the entirety of the Bible. God’s self-revelation of His unchanging divine nature and attributes culminating in Christ is the overarching theme of Scripture (Romans 1:20; Colossians 1:15–20). Every biblical precept, teaching, and law reflect this unwavering foundation while pointing to Jesus.

As history and revelation unfold in time, God’s will, nature, and intended order for creation are eternally steadfast. Their expression in given laws and penalties, to different peoples at different times, has varied while still rooted in the same unchanging principles. In the old covenant, certain civil laws were given to Israel in the ancient near east for them to operate as a culture then and there and to separate them from the surrounding pagan cultures. Some of those laws cannot be rationally applied to our culture today, just as many of our laws would be nonsensical to them. Ancient Israel was also given unique ceremonial laws that guided their worship. Their definitive purpose was to point to Christ, in whom they found their ultimate fulfillment in the new covenant.

Homosexuality’s violation of God’s will and created order is condemned in both the old and new covenants. Jesus, like Genesis, defined marriage as a man and a woman (Mark 10:6–9). Paul, like Leviticus, denounces homosexuality (Romans 1:26–27;
1 Timothy 1:9–10) and rejoices with believers set free from that sin (1 Corinthians 6:9–11). In contrast, the old food restrictions aren’t applied in the new covenant. Jesus and Paul make this clear (Matthew 15:11; 1 Timothy 4:4).

The Christian justifiably, not hypocritically, picks and chooses based on Scripture’s total revelation, which consistently displays God’s nature and purpose.