September 25, 2012

Questions, Comments, and Answers on Same-Sex Marriage

I want to use this post to address three points, all brought up in comments to the last one.

First, I want to address the comment made by an Anonymous individual whose main thrust in argument was that prohibiting homosexual marriage
a)prevents no one from sinning, and
b)is a violation of religious freedom.
On point "a", of course I agree with that. I can never do anything to stop another person from rebelling against God, because ultimately that is a heart issue, and I cannot see their heart, let alone change it. That being said, laws exist not because their existence precludes the possibility of evil, but because sinful human beings need both encouragement towards right behavior, and punishment for wrong behavior. Simply put, laws exist for the good of society (see Romans 13-or the entire Pentateuch). If a person believes, as I do, that the basic human relationship that society is built upon is the relationship of husband and wife in marriage, then encouraging and fighting for a definition of marriage that keeps that relationship held in honor, along with keeping it properly understood, will not harm society, but rather be helpful to it in the extreme. This is not a violation on religious freedom. Name for me one religion that as one of it's basic beliefs holds that homosexuals have the right to marry people of the same gender. Good luck finding one. In the closest possible parallel, one could look to Mormonism, which in it's early days held that polygamy was a good and noble thing. Was that embraced and tolerated by everyone else? No. Because while they had every right to believe that in America, we did not allow the incorrect belief of a minority to change the definition of one of the building blocks of civilization.

Second, Sydney brought up the fact that many professionals now hold the belief that sexual orientation is genetic. The argument being, "people are born with these desires, you have no right to criticize or oppose them." I would like to first say that while many Christians reject this notion out of hand, I do not. There is no doubt in my mind that a man could be born with more sexual attraction toward other men than towards women. This in no way contradicts anything in the Bible, it seems to line up with conversations I have had with homosexual friends of mine, and beyond not contradicting Scripture, it in fact upholds what the Bible has to say. Romans 1:26 says that when people reject God, He gives them up to their dishonorable passions. Passions, desires, etc, are not (necessarily) something we choose to have. We often times are simply inclined, either by birth or by upbringing, to prefer one thing over another. But simply because this is true does not make it good. This whole world is shattered by sin, most of all the human heart. We are by nature wicked, not good (Ephesians 2, Romans 3). Which means it is not just possible, but 100% certain that you are born with desires which do not please God. These desires, and our slavery to them, has us under the just wrath of God. For some people that desire is a romantic or sexual attraction to someone of the same gender. For many of us, it is that same desire toward someone of the opposite gender who is not our spouse, which God calls equally wicked. Notice that a prohibition of adultery makes it into the ten commandments, a prohibition of homosexuality does not. So in essence my response to the idea that people are "born gay" would be, okay. I was born a lying, adultering, thieving, God-hating idolater. Was God cool with that? No, He sent His Son to bear the wrath due to that sin (John 3:16, Romans 3:23-26). I have the choice to accept God's grace towards me in Jesus, or be turned over to my sin and suffer for it both here on earth and eternally in hell. This is the same for all people. Homosexuality is not special in that sense. The same passage there in Romans 1 which condemns homosexual relations also condemns things like disobedience to parents and gossiping. We're all born sinners, the question is whether we trust in Jesus' payments for our sin and His power in our lives to free us from the bondage we were in, or do we embrace our sin and bring down God's eternal wrath on our heads?

Finally, Donna asked how one balances the fight against same sex marriage with a brokenness for the people on the other side. And this is actually probably the easiest question here to answer, although the hardest to put into practice. We need to keep in mind that everything Christians do and say must ultimately be connected to the Gospel. Hence my focus in the last post about shifting away from a traditional or cultural view of marriage to a Biblical view of and vision for marriage. If I am fighting hard for one man plus one woman for life because it is my tradition, then the people attacking that tradition are my enemies. If they are my enemies then I probably will not have a loving attitude towards them, nor will I desire to see good come to them. The focus is on me, my rights, and my way of life. But if I am approaching marriage, and all of life, as a Gospel issue, then my focus shifts radically. As I said in point one here, fighting for marriage in one sense is fighting for the good of society. If I was right in the last post when I said that at the foundation, God created the family unit and marriage relationship as the building blocks of human society, then to fight for these things is to fight for the good of all people-even if they do not agree that it is better. A healthy society is good for all its members. Furthermore, we want to as Christians individually and corporately as the church, encourage and help to build good marriages (I highly commend John Piper's "This Momentary Marriage," Andreas Kostenberger's "God, Marriage, and Family," and Justin Buzzard's "Date Your Wife" as excellent resources). A healthy marriage is a healthy picture of Christ and His church, and that is what with world needs to see.
I do acknowledge the difficulties of this in a legislative, political sense. And this is where I would beg believers not to peg their hopes on reforming society. We want to do what we are able to encourage Biblical, Christ-exalting values. But we must realize that these will typically not be embraced by those who do not embrace Jesus. And so while political action, social action, and most other kinds of action are good-what is most important is the Gospel, and telling people the Good News of what Jesus has done. Which I suppose is a long way of saying this-our beliefs should not be held in balance with our action, our beliefs should drive our action. And the solid rock where our hope and motivation lies is not marriage, it is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We must keep the ultimate in view, or our view of things such as marriage become incredibly skewed and our motivations are polluted by our agenda, instead of being soaked in the blood of Jesus cross. I want everyone, homosexual, heterosexual, married, unmarried, adulterers, fornicators, faithful spouses-everyone-I want everyone to know that apart from Christ they are hopeless sinners under God's wrath, but that Jesus comes and satisfies the wrath of God for us. He offers us life and freedom from a whole world full of sin. 

2 comments:

  1. Thanks Will! You have really great insights... that really helped with my understanding!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Will, on point 1: I think you have hit on the argument that could tip the Supreme Court to oppose same sex marriage. Indeed, they outlawed pologamy for the reasons you state - a threat the very thread of society. And if pologamy is, same sex marriage is fo'sure! However, it's not a major challenge to find a church with the theology of same sex marriage: http://mccchurch.org/resources/mcc-theologies/
    Yep - they are organized!
    Point 2: Excellent! A friend of mine argued this same line a few months ago and I never had see that before, but yes, if we're sinful from the womb (Ps 58:11) there's no reason why one person's bent can't be toward same sex relations. Would be great for all Christians to learn this answer in order to disarm that argument.

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I love Jesus, my wife, and my kids. Writing and teaching are two things I have a passion for. Gardening and fishing are cool, too. I blog @ willdole.com, you can reach me @ contact@willdole.com