Archive for March, 2013

Christians and Same-Sex Marriage: What’s At Stake?

Many Christians are confused and maybe a bit concerned with some Christians’ focus on the issue of same-sex marriage. If the issue of same-sex marriage simply boiled down to a matter of Christians being concerned with the sin of homosexual practice, then these individuals would have a valid concern and critique of their fellow believers.

The issues at hand, however, are less a matter of focusing on the sin of a group of people and more issues of obfuscating what have been clear object lessons in Christ’s relationship to the Church, increasing acceptance of homosexual practice by Christians which confuses God’s grace through Christ’s sacrifice with a license to act as we choose, and redefining an institution foundational to the forming of civilization.

Most Christians and Americans in general don’t care to wade into controversial topics and use their blogs and Facebook and Twitter accounts to share observations from their lives. If you’re like most Americans, you grow tired of political discourse in this country–each side attacking the other, pouting when their political priorities are stifled. I myself follow politics somewhat closely, not as closely as some, but am aware of most trending topics in politics; and even with my level of interest, I’m growing tired of it.

I don’t think I can give this topic the length of discussion that it deserves, but I’ll try to address the issues I mentioned above.

1. Christ’s relationship to the Church. Paul discusses this in Ephesians 5:22-33. (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=ephesians%205:22-33&version=NASB) The Church is the Bride of Christ, and He is referenced at various points in the New Testament as the Bridegroom. This object lesson is completely lost in a same-sex marriage scenario. The beauty of the simplicity of this lesson is that it’s quite easy to explain basic spiritual truths to your child. A husband protects, loves, and provides for his wife, just as Christ does the Church. The children in your natural marriage understand and experience this deep spiritual truth on a daily basis. The Bible doesn’t use the words partner and other partner or any such language. Same-sex marriage demeans and confuses this very basic but very important object lesson.

2. Increasing acceptance of homosexual practice by Christians which confuses God’s grace through Christ’s sacrifice with a license to act as we choose. I could supply ample evidence of this point, and maybe you’ve gotten a sense of this in your own life’s journey. The main thrust of this particular issue is that practicing Christians, not the nominal ‘Christmas’ and ‘Easter’ type, are showing an increasing tendency to not just love the sinner, but also accept the sin. If I may, has anyone heard of any one in your life proudly calling themselves a “Pornography-viewing Christian”, a “Pathological-lying Christian”, or a “Gossip-spreading Christian” and showing no lack of remorse for those states of sinful existence and an intent *not* to correct that issue in their lives? It’s not uncommon for one to find people claiming to be “Gay Christians” and not in the sense that they struggle with same-sex attraction and repent for each act of lust or the physical act of such. Having same-sex marriage become a part of the cultural norm would reinforce the idea in the minds of society and by implication the Christian community that homosexual practice is only a different way of life and not one that God condemns in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

Increasingly, Christians are afraid to confront sin because Jesus taught us to love and not judge. If you would permit me to ask, is it love to watch a blind person walk into the street and stand, and not warn that person of an oncoming vehicle or not intervene and watch as they are critically or fatally injured? In the name of tolerance and not ‘judging others’ Christians have become comfortable with sin. Sin is a corrosive, destructive element of our earthly existence and unrepentant sinners will not come into the eternal presence of a Holy God.

3. Redefining an institution foundational to the forming of civilization. During testimony this week at the Supreme Court, Justice Scalia questioned a lawyer representing the parties suing for the overturn of Proposition 8 in California.  Scalia argued that when the institution of marriage developed historically, it was not done with the explicit intent of excluding gay and lesbian couples. Marriage developed historically as the union of a man and a woman and that union would in most cases result in children being born. Children raised with a father and mother are far better able to cope with their day to day existence and as a consequence tend to lead healthier more well adjusted lives. This is a fact that has been proven time and again throughout history and studied and proven by social scientists. Divorce and resulting single-parenthood has had a troubling effect on the health and well-being of all children and same-sex relationships would only further confuse and corrupt this natural order. I read a very lengthy article that went into the research surrounding this point. I hope you find it useful:

http://www.redstate.com/2013/03/28/same-sex-marriage-is-not-the-same-as-opposite-sex-marriage/

There is probably a great deal more that could be written than I already have, but a final point that I’d like to leave you with is this: the current public debate won’t end with a state permitting a marriage contract between it and two members of the same sex. As even the casual observer would notice, there is a great deal of passion about this issue on both sides. Some Christians may be in this contentious debate simply because they see homosexuality as a sin. I can’t speak for them. Although I believe what the Bible teaches about homosexual practice, I’m not a party to this contentious debate because I believe homosexual practice to be a sin.

I stay involved in this debate because there is a larger societal issue at stake: religious freedom. Just last summer, the City of Chicago was intending to ban Chick-Fil-A from being able to open a restaurant within their city because of the owner’s stance on same-sex marriage. Think about that for a moment. A government entity was going to prevent a business from operating in their city simply over the issue of same-sex marriage. Does that concern you at all? There are other instances where same-sex couples have sued businesses and church-affiliated organizations because they wouldn’t provide a service or a venue in connection with their “marriage”. If that kind of story can happen before same-sex marriage is legalized around the country, what will happen after?

Another example is that of Louie Giglio. He was to give the benediction at Obama’s second inaugural in honor of all of his efforts to combat human trafficking, including child prostitution, in Atlanta and worldwide. His invitation to give the benediction was rescinded after the liberal organization ThinkProgress found audio of him condemning homosexual practice and same-sex marriage but encourage loving acceptance of gays and lesbians. Mind you, the sermon audio was not recent; it dated from the mid-1990’s—nearly twenty years ago.

Lastly, as evidenced by Canada and other countries, there will likely come a time when churches and Christians will be forced to make the decision between calling sin what God calls sin and going to prison or staying silent. It may not happen in your lifetime, but what about the lifetime of your child or grandchild?

Jesus promised that we as Christians would face persecution. Americans have been fortunate enough to forego this persecution for over 200 years. It’s likely made us soft and weakened our resolve to see the world as God sees it: fallen, sin-filled, and in desperate need of salvation that comes only through the loving, accepting but uncompromising, and gracious outstretched arms of a Savior crucified and risen.

P.S. I came across an excellent post by Erick Erickson at Redstate.com after assembling my thoughts for this post: http://www.redstate.com/2013/03/29/you-will-be-made-to-care/

Links to additional material cited above:

http://www.businessinsider.com/scalia-gay-marriage-prop-8-case-supreme-court-2013-3

http://www.redstate.com/dloesch/2013/03/26/the-argument-for-marriage-equality-is-not-a-conservative-one/

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2013/01/10/giglio-bows-out-of-inauguration-over-sermon-on-gays/

http://www.christianpost.com/news/pastor-acquitted-of-hate-crime-charge-in-canada-42190/

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