Like most Christians, I eat shellfish. How can I simply ignore the Biblical prohibition? Here are two arguments from the Reformation- thanks to Neil Hart. For these thinkers, all of Scripture is the word of God.
The Westminster Confession of my beloved (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland divides the Law of Moses into Moral, Ceremonial and Judicial. The Moral law, for everyone and all time, is restricted to the ten commandments; the ceremonial law, on cleanness and sacrifice, is for the Jews alone, and the Judicial law is for the country as long as it exists as a temporal state. Their restriction of the moral law to the ten commandments surprised me, though going through the whole Torah and deciding which bits still apply would be a tough job. And- it includes “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy”, which some Jews think means they cannot turn on a light switch, and we ignore, resting instead on the Eighth day of the week, the day of resurrection, when time meets Eternity.
Martin Luther says that Moses is not my Lawgiver, but my teacher. He counselled not creating a hierarchy of value of Scripture- the Words of Jesus at the top, the New Testament worth more than the Old- but the Law does not bind us. Paul said “Everything is permissible”- what an amazing, radical statement! Everything!- “but not everything is beneficial”, and if it upsets the pickier moral sense of others it may be better to avoid it. The New International Version, which I normally quote, makes “Everything is permissible” in 1 Cor 10:23 a quote: “Everything is permissible”, you say. Paul was writing a letter, answering another, and other things in his writings might be read to contradict that- but other translations do not do this.
Part of the Law which does not apply to us, is the greatest commandment: ‘“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: “Love your neighbour as yourself.”All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.’ – Matthew 22 37-40. Most Christians would consider themselves bound by this.
So we are not bound by Leviticus 20. Thank goodness: where would one get the stones? The gravel on front drives is too small to have the necessary effect, and stones the size of an orange might kill too early, and spoil the fun. There is no reliable supplier of sufficient stones the size of a plum, say. In a nomadic or subsistence agricultural society, stoning is actually the most humane punishment. If a person is imprisoned, and fed, that is a holiday for him, an incentive to crime. If he is imprisoned and not fed, that might be the burden on his family which is too much for them to bear, and they starve too. If he shows that he cannot be trusted, and damages the community, the community cannot tolerate him- and if the whole community stone him, then the whole community is responsible for his death, rather than any individuals.
But now, stoning is not a humane punishment. We are not in a subsistence society, and have moved on. And if you want your long term relationship recognised, love your gay neighbour as yourself and recognise hers/his. Simple.