It is not really news that there has been much discussion over the topic of gay marriage and homosexuality among people today on social media. The topic of discussion is nothing new, but the ability to discuss it in front of a broader audience this way is still a relatively young form of communication. And like much of technology, this has its strengths and weaknesses; there are great benefits to it, as well as potentially dark downsides. One downside is unfortunately demonstrated when idiotic statements abound, and cause some valid opinions, points of view, and beliefs to come off as nothing more than back-wooded bigotry or ignorant intolerance because we allow a few morons to paint the entire landscape of the discussion.
I’m not even sure the foolish “Westboro Baptist” type point of view could account for an entire 1% of the viewpoints held on this topic, but they certainly get a lot of air-play and media coverage, do they not? It almost makes it feel at times like there really is a large population of Bible-thumping bigots who just want to suppress human freedom and equality by any means available. Whenever there is a discussion panel on CNN, MSNBC, or Fox (whichever poison you prefer), they almost always seem to pick some of the most foolish people to engage in conversation. It’s like they hunt for those who hold extreme polar opinions and then feed off the ridiculous comments that are often spouted out; much of which stems more from emotion than careful consideration.
“If there is equality it is in His love, not in us.” – C.S. Lewis
One thing we all need to do, is stop pretending that the sanctity of marriage has been wonderfully displayed by the church over the past few decades and now all of a sudden it’s under serious attack with the Supreme Court declaring that DOMA and Prop 8 are unconstitutional. It’s nonsense and makes us sound like we’re in ignorant denial of the state of our culture inside and outside the church. As Christians, we should repent of our pathetic marriage cultures within the church. For too long, we’ve refused to discipline a divorce culture that has ravaged our culture as a whole. For too long, we’ve quieted our voices on the biblical witness of the distinctive missions of fathers and mothers in favor of generic messages on “parenting.”
For too long, we have acted as though the leaders of a church were basically just ‘Justices of the Peace,’ marrying people who have no accountability to the church, and in many cases were forbidden by Scripture to marry. Just because we don’t have two brides or two grooms in front of us, that doesn’t mean we’ve been holding to biblical marriage.
So many of us have this vague idea that some fifty years ago Christians comprised the mainstream in America and were fully accepted as a cultural majority. And because of that, everything in America was great, grand, and wonderful. However, history shows us that while there were many solid men and women caring for others, too many preaching “Get right and get in church,” during that time did not stand up for those who were weak and marginalized. The “good old days” so often longed for were also times of racial oppression, gender discrimination, and theological confusion. So, pining for those “moral” days of yore is like chasing a mirage. The past simply wasn’t that great for many when “Christians” had more influence.
After all, we can’t hate a people and reach a people at the same time. We are to cling to the cross, stand on the rock, and remain steadfast in the hope found only in Christ. For we alone have that hope. And it is that hope which we are commanded to share with the world, whether Christianity is the cultural norm or not.
The Christian faith believes in the authority of Scripture; so if the Scriptures are not fitting with the time, culture, societal norm, or your desires; it means there is something wrong with the times and your heart, not the Scriptures. (Unfortunately, many try to solve this problem by proof-texting and manipulating the text to appear to approve or support their twisted view.) Marriage in particular, which has always been “unequal” in a sense, the yoking together two very different kinds of bodies (different minds, different histories, different strengths, different struggles, etc.), must now be “equal,” measured only by the sincerity of one’s love and commitment. To insist on the importance of bodies in our culture is to challenge the ‘sovereign self,’ to suggest that our ethical options are limited by something we did not choose. The philosophical rejection of the Bible is often used to justify moral resistance. People don’t want to be told what to do. However, as Christians, we should agree that truth is not to be simply used as a big stick, it is a mirror. Truth is not a club, or a weapon to be wielded to beat others down, rather it is a mirror to show people their lives through a better light. Everyone wants judgement when it’s not their own foolishness being revealed. Praise Christ for grace in foolish moments and mercy for consistent failures.
The cross isn’t a recovery program, the place to simply rid yourself of undesirable behaviors and improve on what good is already there. It is a place to die. It is not a question of giving up certain sins, but of giving up one’s illusion to rights! Living a holy life comes from having an authentic, passionate relationship with God, not out of strict rules and regulations. We cannot legislate morality or see hearts changed through the law. We must strive to be aware of how we communicate the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because love without truth is sentimentality; it supports and affirms us, but it keeps us in denial about our flaws. However, truth without love is harshness; it gives us information, but in such a way that we cannot really hear it.
Apart from the power of the gospel to transform human hearts, renew minds, and redirect human lives to live for God’s glory, man would never comprehend or realize the purpose for which he was created: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Because in Jesus Christ, God put on flesh, and became man. In Jesus, the world saw a man who was ferociously humble. A man who was love incarnate. A man who suffered and was tempted, yet did not sin. A man who was steadfastly obedient until death, even death on a cross. A man who while being the very essence, being of the very nature and substance God, did not consider Himself equal to the Father, but submitted to the will of God and gave up His life for people undeserving of His love. In Christ’s death, He paid our debt at infinite cost to Himself. God paid our debt with His own flesh. Jesus paid our ransom to uphold the justice and righteousness of our Father; so that He could justifiably look upon us and lovingly call us son and daughter. This good news is the substance and meaning of the gospel in which we celebrate: that God became man, to save us from ourselves, and give us life. He came just like He promised, and His love will not be silent.
All humans are created in the image of God, and should be loved and respected as His image bearers. All Christians are as new creations in Jesus Christ (2nd Corinthians 5:17-21; 1st John 5:1-3), and we should remind each other that our true identity is not based on sexuality or self-expression, but on our union with Christ. The church universal, and of course the local church should strive to be a community that welcomes all those who hate their sin and struggle against it, even when that struggle involves failures and setbacks.
God’s grace came into your hands free of charge to you. We are to redistribute it the same way. The church needs to remember that we don’t need more family values in the Gospel, we need more Gospel values in our families. Jesus says in the gospel that everyone is wrong, everyone is loved, and everyone is called to recognize this and change.
Real transformative heart change won’t happen through simply ‘trying harder’ and following the rules better, but only through encountering the radical grace of God. We cannot legislate morality or expect the government to force everyone to act strictly in accordance with the Christian worldview. Religion stresses holiness over grace. Irreligion stresses freedom over holiness. Christianity is freedom through grace that leads to holiness. The greatest threat to the church isn’t atheism, materialism, abortion, or gay marriage, but the moralism that celebrates a righteousness which doesn’t come from Christ. We are all far worse than we ever dared to imagine, yet in Christ, we are far more loved than we ever dreamed we could be.
Some recommended articles:
“How to Survive a Cultural Crisis” by: Mark Dever
“How Should Same-Sex Marriage Change the Church’s Witness?” by: Russell Moore
“The Church and Homosexuality: Ten Commitments” by Kevin DeYoung
“Old Testament Law and the Charge of Inconsistency” by Tim Keller
“Debunking Marriage Myths | The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” by: Steve Watters
“Sex Without Bodies” by: Andy Crouch
“Prop 8, DOMA, and the Christian Response” by: Ed Stetzer
“Marriage in God’s Story” by: John Smidt
“Jesus and Homosexuality” by: Geoff Ashley
“The New Purpose of Marriage” by: Collin Hansen
“Homosexuality is Not Me” by: Matt Moore
“Judaism’s Sexual Revolution: Why Judaism Rejected Homosexuality” by: Dennis Prager
“Why Gay Marriage is Good (and Bad) for the Church” by: Trevin Wax
“Why is Homosexuality Wrong?” by: John Piper
“How Might Christians Respond To The Question of Homosexual Marriage?” by: Doug Hankins
“DOMA and the Rock” by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield
“What the Bible Really Still Says About Homosexuality” by: Kevin DeYoung
“What Does God Expect From Gay People?” by: Matt Moore
“Orienting on Homosexual Orientation” by Nick Roen
“Honesty, Truth and Homosexuality” by Geoff Ashley
“God and the Gay Christian” by Samuel Allberry
“Why No Denomination Will Survive the Homosexuality Crisis” by: Kevin DeYoung
“The Gay Community and That One Time Jesus Called Me the ‘N-word'” by Sammy Adebiyi
“What You Should Know About ‘LGBTQ'” by: Joe Carter
“From Radical Lesbian to Redeemed Christian” by: Tony Reinke
“Discerning the Will of God Concerning Homosexuality and Marriage” by: John Piper
“How Can Homosexuality Be Wrong if It Doesn’t Harm Anyone?” by: Matt Smethurst
“9 Things You Should Know About the Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Cases” by: Joe Carter
“A Level Playing Field” by: Paul David Tripp
“Can a Gay Person Be a Christian? It Depends On What You Mean.” by: Matt Moore
“On Winning the Marriage Debate” by: Eric Teetsel
“Christian Responsibility and Mosaic Law” by: Geoff Ashley
“Fornicating on the Battlefield” by: Tony Anderson
“An Open Letter From a Gay Sister in Christ” by: Hunter Baker
“Being Gay at Jerry Falwell’s University” by: Brandon Ambrosino
“Rick Warren on Gay Marriage: ‘Tolerance Does Not Mean Approval'” by: Stoyan Zaimov
“I’m Gay and I Oppose Same-sex Marriage” by: Doug Mainwaring
“Sinister New Case Shows Marriage McCarthyism Is Up and Running” by: Mike Judge
“Love and the Inhumanity of Same-Sex Marriage” by: Jonathan Leeman
“Love Warns, Love Rebukes” by: Paul David Tripp
“Grace-Driven Effort and Sanctification” by Sam Schabel
Some recommended sermons:
“Homosexuality” by Matt Chandler
“The Other Dark Exchange: Homosexuality (Part 1)” by: John Piper
“The Other Dark Exchange: Homosexuality (Part 2)” by: John Piper