In July I took a comprehensive look at same-sex marriage and the New Testament. In that article I took a couple cursory issues out of the way, examined what Jesus and the entirety of the New Testament had to say on marriage, then examined scripture regarding homosexuality specifically. If you have not yet read that article I would encourage you to do so as many of the positions derived here will be based on that analysis.

As with that article, this is aimed at Christians in an effort to examine what we believe, and why we believe it. To reiterate a main conclusion, it is abundantly clear that the New Testament labels homosexuality, and by extension same-sex marriage, as a sin. The questions at hand now are: What does that mean for Christians interacting in a society that increasingly approves of and applauds same-sex unions? What should our position be when confronted with the increasing legality of same-sex marriages? Should we apply our beliefs on this issue to the public at large? I hope to answer some of those questions as we examine how a biblical worldview in regards to this issue can be, or should be, played out in our lives.

The Way I See It

There are three categories in the spectrum of approaches to same-sex marriage that I think all Christians can fall in, to some degree or another. They are:

  • Full support: This can range anywhere from someone who petitions and rallies for “equal rights” for homosexuals to marry who they wish, to someone who simply ‘likes’ or re-posts supportive items on social media.
  • No-comment: These would be people who simply stay away from the issue and refuse to comment on it for one reason or another.
  • Fully against: This could range from someone who actively petitions or rallies against the redefinition of marriage, to someone who just speaks against it when the opportunity presents itself.

Let me first say that I believe only those Christians who fall within the second and third categories have any leg to stand on when it comes to applying a worldview consistent with biblical teachings. To support a “right” of a man to wed a man, or a woman to wed a woman, necessitates your full approval of a sinful lifestyle. Not only is that a biblically incoherent position for a Christian to hold, it is also self-contradictory with how you (likely) view every other sin in the Bible. Do you support and applaud a covetous heart? Do you support and applaud adultery? Do you support and applaud deceit? Homosexuality is treated the same as all those sins, so why do you treat it differently? You are like the one giving “hearty approval”, in Romans 1:32, to those who practice the sins listed therein. You are fulfilling scripture, but you’re on the wrong side of its approval.

But It Isn’t My Place to Judge

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Credit: marjoriecole.wordpress.com

Some Christians may fall in the second category, they’d just rather stay out of the issue completely. Often they’ll say it isn’t their place to judge and they would rather just focus on Jesus. That’s fine. That’s your prerogative. I can’t force you to engage the world as they push for and demand acceptance of sinful lifestyles. But if you think you can avoid the line of fire on this issue by simply “focusing on Jesus”, you’re sorely mistaken. To focus on Jesus you must first explain to the world why it needs Jesus. That conversation must involve sin. You’ll need to tell people they’re lost in their sins without Jesus. Afterall, the Gospel is referred to as “good news” because we have an advocate with the Father in Jesus (1 John 2:1f), to take our place and wash away our sins.

In 1 Corinthians 6:9, Paul discusses homosexual behavior in the context of those who will not inherit the Kingdom of God. Paul ties this issue to the Gospel! It is one of the many sins that men and women entangle themselves in which keep them separate from God. Furthermore, if you’re using God’s Word to convict people of their sin and call them to follow Jesus, then YOU aren’t judging anyone. God’s word is convicting their hearts. If we take scripture seriously, and even if we want nothing more than to focus on Jesus, we cannot stay on the sidelines when the culture calls evil good and good evil.

But We Can’t Legislate Morality

This little phrase enjoys a jump in popularity every time some lifestyle the world is pushing for happens to fall at odds with traditional morals, specifically Judeo-Christian morals. It often stops Christians in their tracks and is akin to being called a bigot or judgmental. It’s rhetorically powerful, but it has zero foundation in truth. Morals are about defining what is right and wrong. Tell me, do you know of any laws that declare one behavior right and another wrong? Isn’t that just about the main purpose of laws? The fact is it’s impossible to create laws that have no moral aspect to them.

Consider the one who tells you we can’t legislate morality. They’re saying it’s wrong to do that. That’s a moral judgment. The one who says same-sex couples should be allowed to wed is also making a moral judgment. Everyone tries to legislate morals because laws are a reflection of right and wrong. The question isn’t whether we can legislate morals, the question is whose morals will become law. As Christians, we adhere to an objective standard: God’s. We need to decide whether the morals dictated by God are something good to apply to society as a whole. I personally believe we can still enjoy the personal liberties and religious freedoms our country was designed to accommodate, while still adhering to godly stances on moral issues when it comes to the laws of the land.

Other Implied Stances

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Credit: Interactioninstitute.org

What’s often overlooked are the unintended consequences of the  legal recognition of same-sex unions as a marriage. We shouldn’t fool ourselves in thinking that our approval of same-sex marriage can exist in a vacuum. As a Christian, if you’re going to support that lifestyle, you’re making some additional concessions that you may not actually agree with.

  • You’re admitting that the Bible is an outdated, archaic guide for our lives since it expressly forbids such relationships. This strikes me as a strange position for a Christian to find themselves in. What else in the Bible is outdated? What else is outright false?
  • Presumably, you would also support a gay couples ability to adopt a child. So you’re also conceding that the roles of a mother and a father don’t matter. They’re interchangeable. Do you truly believe that two women can raise a boy and fulfill all his emotional, physical and psychological needs? Or that two men can do the same for a girl?
  • You’re supporting a legal recognition of sin. That recognition also comes with legal protection against “discrimination” of that sin, which already has[1] cut into the religious freedoms[2] of your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ[3] to personally disavow same-sex unions consistent with their biblical beliefs. In short, you’re driving a wedge between yourself and your fellow Christian, and you’re using the law to do it. Today it’s refusing certain services to same-sex marriage ceremonies, how long until reading from scripture cited in my previous article is deemed “hate speech”? Is that the side of freedom you want to fall on?
  • Finally, despite multiple attempts by popular culture to normalize the homosexual lifestyle and agenda, you’ve put yourself in a position of drastically altering public policy and redefining the very foundations of a civil society to cater to 1.6% of the population, according to the CDC’s latest statistics[4]. Do you really think that’s a good idea?

So What Should I Do?

Great question. You may be surprised to know that we have an example in the New Testament of someone who took a stand for marriage. We come to a section in Mark chapter 6, when King Herod was recalling an encounter with John the Baptist. I’ll let the text tell the story…

“For Herod himself had sent and had John arrested and bound in prison on account of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip, because he had married her. For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” Herodias had a grudge against him and wanted to put him to death and could not do so; for Herod was afraid of John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and he kept him safe. And when he heard him, he was very perplexed; but he used to enjoy listening to him.” –Mark 6:17-20

What should you do? Do what John the Baptist did. In his day, the law of the land approved Herod’s marriage to his brothers’ wife. God did not. John wasn’t silent. He called him out on it. Marriage is a blessed union given to mankind by God (Gen. 2:24, Mt. 19:4f). The state can declare something a marriage, but that doesn’t make it right in God’s eyes. Now, if you know the rest of the story you know that John was eventually killed for making this stance. That doesn’t sound too pleasant. I’m not of the opinion that we will ever reach that level of persecution in this country, but if John was willing to risk imprisonment and death to stand up for God’s truth in this matter, is it too much to ask Christians to endure some name-calling and potential for fines or “sensitivity training”?

The Line in the Sand

The Christian position on homosexuality and same-sex marriage is nowhere near the top of current theological discourse. This isn’t a fight we’ve picked. This is something that has come upon us and demanded a response. It is at our doorsteps. This is the line in the sand that the culture is drawing, and it is demanding we step over that line. Many Christians are doing just that because they fear man more than God. They would rather be friends with the world.

“… do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: “He jealously desires the Spirit which He has made to dwell in us”?” –James 4:4f

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Credit: Disjointedthinking.jeffhughes.ca

We need not be ashamed of the Gospel. It is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). It contains the righteousness of God which includes objective statements addressing the sinful nature of specific things men do. If we are insistent upon supporting a sinful lifestyle in the name of equality, we are falsely teaching our fellow man that such a lifestyle is right and good. We are placing our own values and judgments above those of God, and we are aiding and abetting a life of rebellion against God (Rom. 1:18-32) rather than trying to shine the light of truth into the world. We should take courage and speak out against sin while we show the world the love of God and the salvation available through His Son, Jesus.

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[1] Heritage.org, “New Mexico Photography Business Seeks Supreme Court Review“, Thomas Messner, Jan. 3, 2014

[2] ABC News, “Judge Orders Colorado Baker to Cater for Same-Sex Weddings“, Liz Fields, Dec. 7, 2013

[3] Religion News Service, “Farm Owners Fined for saying No to Lesbian Wedding“, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Aug. 19, 2014

[4] Dept. Health & Human Services, Sexual Orientation and Health Among U.S. Adults, July 15, 2014

1 COMMENT

  1. Great posts here, Gene! Both your part 1 and 2! You make an excellent point under the subheading “It Isn’t My Place to Judge”; that is, a lot of nonbelievers (and, I suppose, some believers) think that our pointing out what Scripture says is us judging others. But that’s silly. The list of sins in the Bible describe me along with everyone else. Simply pointing out what Scripture says means I’m appealing to another’s authority, not my own.

    It would be the same thing if I reminded my wife not to speed when she gets in the car. It’s not like I’m the one who’s going to be pulling her over and giving her a speeding ticket. I’m just reminding her of the consequences of her actions. Likewise, when Christians appeal to Scripture in this regard they are pointing out what the spiritual consequences of someone’s actions will be. And they do so out of care and concern (probably because they’ve been there before!), not judgment or to feel better about themselves.

    If any self-confessing Christian uses Scripture as a means to make themselves superior to others, they have another thing coming to them on the last day.

    Anyway, thanks for the posts, Gene! Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks Nate. Great points about judging. I have much more in mind regarding that, specifically the oft-cited Mathew 7:1 verse. We need to always appeal to the authority of God’s word.