This week I want us to briefly address an important question that will undoubtedly have a huge impact on all of us in the immediate future: what is the Christian response to gay marriage?
If you haven’t already seen them, you will most likely see them in the future on the news holding up signs and chanting various slogans. These groups usually form into two different sides. One group will hold up signs saying “God is love” and “God loves me just the way I am” and the other group will have signs that say something to the effect of “Gays go to hell” or “God Hates Gays.” Where do we fit into all this mess? Are we to pick a side or is there better alternative? I propose that for Christians willing to live out the gospel and love others then the answer must be yes. Our other alternative is simple yet profound: preach the good news!
Al Mohler, theologian and president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky posits three contributing factors which have made same-sex marriage in today’s world a plausible and even desirable idea. For our purposes here we will not spend time analyzing these factors, but I invite you to read his article on his blog by clicking here. For us, we should understand that there has been a drift away from the moral absolute regarding marriage and instead we now see the seeds of post-modern moral autonomy blossoming. But again the question for us is: what should our response be?
Scripture tells us that the “no one is righteous, no, not one…no one does good not even one (Romans 3:10-12). This means that apart from God none of us is truly good. Though many may have good morals and decide to live in a moralistic way, our natures do not allow us to be truly righteous in the sight of God. So in the end, should we be surprised at our culture when rules and laws are made or changed to reflect man’s selfish desires? I say we should not be surprised. As Christians who are saved by grace, we should be the first to understand that those apart from God will ultimately not make choices which fall in line with God’s standard of righteousness. In the end, we should not expect government to regulate Christian principles anyway. If laws and regulations do fall in line with Christian standards then we should praise God, but if not then let us not be surprised. Instead, we are to pray and encourage those in government to make the right decisions but ultimately rest on the hope of God and his righteousness yet to be revealed at the second coming of his Son (see Revelation 21 for our hope of the eternal city).
Not Tuned In
In today’s world of social media and technology, ideas are much more easily assimilated by our culture. Take for instance the recent political upheavals in Egypt and Libya. Opposition groups in these countries used social media as a way of rallying support for the idea of freedom and independence. I’m not here to comment on the validity of those political situations, but they are a recent example which highlights the infiltration of social media and their ability to spread ideas at an accelerated rate. So too with religion and morality. We are constantly bombarded with differing ideologies regarding same-sex marriage among other important issues. Social media has a way of compounding an issue which may be complex and worthy of dedicated research and debate into an issue of limited options and point of views. What do I mean?
Well, say you had a friend who was pro-gay marriage, and that friend posted something on her Facebook announcing her point of view. Then a conversation started around that, with comments and further updates regarding the issue. And lets say you decide to check your Facebook and all you see are comment after comment regarding this issue. It seems most of your friends are actually pro-gay marriage as well that is all you happen to see regarding the issue. You’ve automatically been given just one-side to a multi-faceted issue. This may be over simplistic in explaining social media and its effects, but hopefully you see the point. We tend to concentrate on what is getting the most attention, even if the voices are few and the debate and research are poorly facilitated. We must decide to view what we see in media and online with much more scrutiny and choose to truly tune in to what God’s word may have to say on the issue. And what is the message that God’s word provides?
Again, we must understand that man’s fallen ability to legislate God’s righteousness is an impossible task. We must not be surprised when it doesn’t happen. Even so, we must not be dissuaded from the truth of God’s word. Man’s nature is fallen and the only hope is the willing sacrifice of the Son of God and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in order to make use right with God. Morality won’t cut it. In light of our fallen state and redemption in Christ, we as Christians must recognize that our obligation is to preach the truth of salvation in Christ alone! We are sinners saved by grace, and our message is to be the same. Paul says, “For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:22-24 ESV). Our response is not to bend to one’s claim of moral autonomy, but rather our message is to be of love and grace that points to the Savior. John says, “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19 ESV). Again our response is not to run and hide nor is it to picket signs of hate, but our job is to love. Love that transforms, not conforms. Love that will be honest and truthful, yet forgiving and full of grace. Love that will implore people to change and not make excuses. That’s the kind of love the Father shows to us through the Son and by the Spirit.
The issue of gay marriage is one we MUST have a definitive plan of action for. We must be ready to expect disagreement and possibly persecution. We must be ready to stand on the word of God as truth. We must also be willing to embrace gay couples and individuals with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must be relational and willing to sit across from the coffee table with those who need the grace of God just as much as we do. We must be willing to share a meal with those who, like all of us, need the atonement of Christ for their sins. We must be willing to look at all peoples as image-bearers of God yet seek to proclaim the truth that God’s standard of righteousness is universal, not morally autonomous. We must love as God first loved us. May God grant you perseverance in showing love to all peoples and proclaiming the truth of salvation in Christ alone. Take care and have a great week!