Gay Marriage – My Continuing Thoughts

I found two very good articles on this issue today, and combined with an interesting discussion on a friends Facebook wall I thought it was time to get some of my thoughts written down on what the Supreme Court is deciding now. The first article is by Barnabas Piper. You may recognize his last name, and yes, he is the son of John Piper. The title of the blog is ‘Tired of the Gay Marriage Debate?‘ The main point I most appreciated from this post is his thoughts on the government:

Why are we putting so much hope in the government?
Governments are, and have always been, broken systems run by broken sinners. We benefit greatly from good ones but ought not make the mistake of putting our hope in them. The hope we put in the government is evidenced by the energy we pour into influencing it, as if this is the means through which victory will be gained. But what I see is Christians doing what Jesus’ disciples did – hoping in the overthrow of the Romans rather than the establishment of Christ’s Kingdom. We cannot see government as the ultimate decision makers or ultimate law makers. We live in a monarchy, and our king is perfect. Put more faith in Him than in the Supreme Court or any other governmental body.

Too many people think that we live in a “Christian” country governed by “Christian” values. While this country may have been founded on principle that are found in Scripture, until Christ comes back to rule and reign we will never have a truly Christian nation.

Tied into that is that so many people seem to be surprised at the culture’s push against biblical values and beliefs. This has been happening since the fall! Jesus said in Matthew 24, “they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.” Not just disliked, we will be hated! It shouldn’t surprise anyone in the church that culture pushes back so forcefully to Scriptures commands.

The second article I really appreciated is from Kevin DeYoung on ‘Why the Arguments for Gay Marriage are Persuasive.‘ He goes through a list of why the arguments are persuasive and does a great job of interacting with them. One of the ones that stuck out to me is that it’s about love. In our culture today, people equate love with making love to someone else. Kevin says, “But hidden in this simple reasoning is the cultural assumption that sexual intercourse is necessarily the highest, and perhaps the only truly fulfilling, expression of love. It’s assumed that love is always self-affirming and never self-denying. It’s assumed that our loves never require redirection.” 1 John 4 says, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” Added to that is 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter. No where in either of this lists is love making equated with love, in fact it’s the opposite, throughout Scripture love is meant to be self-sacrificing.

So what should we do? As one of my friends put on facebook, “With the Supreme Court hearing the arguments for and against the constitutionality of CA Prop8, I would make the argument that the government needs to get out of the business of marriage. Allow the church to handle it and honor the unions that churches create. I understand that it’s a matter of national importance, but let’s be honest, the government hasn’t been doing so well with it (Divorce rates are at over 50% according to the CDC). So why not leave it alone?” (Thanks, AMill) I too think that the government should back off of this issue and leave it to the churches to determine. There are plenty of churches today that will marry same-sex couples and plenty that will not. Finally, I think Kevin DeYoung has some very helpful applications to this issue:

1) We need to go back several steps in each argument. We’ll never get a hearing on this issue, or a dozen others issues, unless we trace out the assumptions behind the assumptions behind the arguments behind the conclusions.

2) We need more courage. The days of social acceptability for evangelicals, let alone privilege, are fading fast in many parts of the country. If we aren’t prepared to be counter-cultural we aren’t ready to be Christians. And we need courage not to just say what the Bible says, but to dare say what almost no one will say–that gay sex is unnatural and harmful to the body, that abandoning gender distinctions will be catastrophic for our society and for children, and that monogamy and exclusivity is often understood differently in the gay community.

3) We need more creativity. Statements and petitions and manifestos have their place, but what we really need is more than words and documents. We need artists and journalists and movie makers and story tellers and spoken word artists and comedians and actors and rappers and musicians who are galvanized by the truth to sing and speak and share in such a way that makes sin look strange and righteousness look normal.

4) We need a both-and approach. In the months ahead I imagine we’ll see Christians wrestle with whether the best way forward is to form new arguments that appeal to people where they’re at, or whether we simply need to keep preaching the truth and trust God to give some people the ears to hear. I’m convinced we need to do both. Let’s keep preaching, teaching, and laboring for faithful churches. Let’s be fruitful and multiply. Let’s train our kids in the way they should go. Let’s keep sharing the good news and praying for revival. And let’s also find ways to make the truth plausible in a lost world. Not only the truth about marriage, but the truth about life and sex and creation and beauty and family and freedom and a hundred other things humans tend to forget on this side of Adam. The cultural assumptions in our day are not on our side, but if the last 50 years has shown us anything, it’s that those assumptions can change more quickly than we think.

I pray that we will not do one of two things:

  1. Distance ourself from the culture. We are to be culture changers, the church has too often withdrawn into our own safe bubble instead of interacting with what is going on in the culture at large.
  2. Become like the culture. Too many Christians want to be just like the world, neglecting Christ’s command to fight against sin and the culture of the world.

Maranatha: Lord come quickly.

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  1. Donalee

     /  March 28, 2013

    This post is very thought provoking Michael! It is always so hard to know how to react or voice our opinions…this reminded me that it is not my opinion, it is that of God. The reminder to
    wait on him to give people ears to hear while we just simply share His word is more powerful than any Supreme Court discussion! Thank you for your ministry Michael!

  2. Very interesting post. Thanks for putting the work into this; that definitely comes across.

  1. Exodus International (My Continuing Thoughts, Continued) | Pastor Mike's Musings

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