Editorial: Same-Sex Marriage
We have all likely heard about the bakery that was asked to provide the cake for a same-sex marriage and refused. No matter what happens in a case such as this, it begs a few questions.
First, where is the church? It is quite possible that the problem began long ago. Most Christians would never think to promote the homosexual lifestyle; we know that the Bible very clearly takes a stand against homosexuality. We do not have to be homophobic to call a sin a sin, but let’s not single out homosexuality as the unpardonable sin. Any heterosexual relationship outside of marriage is a sin. Come to think of it, theft, greed, lying, and gossip are also sins, but somehow they do not make it into our mental category of most grievous offenses. Philippians 2:14 says “Do all things without grumbling or disputing,” so if you complain, you are sinning. How often do we hear that in the average American church? We are all sinners in need of salvation. The Bible very clearly states that if you have offended on one point of the law, you have offended it all. The question we must ask ourselves deals with the nature of sin. Is there any greater weight to the sin of homosexuality? First, let’s agree that we believe the homosexual can in fact be saved; a work of faith can begin in any life God chooses. “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us,” according to Romans 5:8. In terms of salvation, it makes no difference if God saved you out of homosexuality, drunkenness, gossip, or idleness. We all put our pants on the same way – one leg at a time. (I have yet to see anyone who can jump up and slide into their pants cartoon style.) So what we are talking about is not salvation. Let us be perfectly clear on that note. Homosexuality is sin, but lots of things are sins. We are not homophobic; we are sinophobic. As believers, we have a proclivity against sin that came with our salvation.
Why then do we look at same sex marriage in such polarizing ways? It is a sexual sin that cannot be used of God for reproduction. We – all of us – are created in the image of God. God’s design for marriage from the beginning has been to reproduce and that happens only in a heterosexual relationship. When we pro-create, we reproduce the image of God. Homosexuality cuts off that image-bearing reproduction. We are not saying that homosexuals are not pleasant people, nor are we issuing judgement on their care, concern, and nurturing of each other. What we are saying is that same sex marriage just does not accomplish what marriage is designed by God to do. That is sin – a serious sin. Actually, it is rebellion. Same-sex relationships are humankind’s attempt to circumvent the process that God has given to us. There is no greater calling than to reproduce the godly seed. Raising children biologically is not just a matter of providing sperm and being a baby daddy, despite what tv would have us believe. Raising children is a God-ordained commitment between a husband and a wife and is simply not possible within the same-sex environment. This is upsetting to us. It is another manifestation of a secularized anti-God culture. Some might say that there can be monogamous, loving, godly, same-sex couples, but nothing could be farther from the truth. To view this as homophobic or even hate-speech is to miss the point of this correction.
The sin is not to be laid at the same sex community’s feet alone, though. It must be shared by the Church. We have by and far abrogated our divine mandate to speak into people’s lives. When was the last time you heard a sermon on sexual immorality in general? What about specifically on homosexuality? There are many verses in the Bible that address this topic. And yet we seldom hear teaching along these lines. We should have been gently steering people away from these sinful practices all along. What is the world to think if the Church will not take a stand? Now, I know the church has rarely endorsed this sin, but have we taken a clear stand in its opposition? Or have we sat back in silence, ignoring it and hoping it would just go away or pretending we didn’t see it? We are at this juncture because the Church has not spoken out on sexual issues. We have allowed the rest of culture to speak, but we have been silent. When did God separate faith and public policy? When did God say that the Church should stay out of politics? If we represent the kingdom of God in this world, then we have a guided interest at stake. Our heart’s desire is for the Church to present a biblical, winsome, and cogent argument against homosexuality and, in fact, all sin. It was in the 1970s that the first tv show with an openly homosexual character premiered. It was laughed at, it was scandalous, and now – almost 40 years later – it has become commonplace. Most people find it difficult to think of a show that does not feature homosexuality. We saw it portrayed and grew accustomed to its reality. Now homosexuality is so firmly entrenched in our culture that many wonder if we will ever be able to take the biblical stand. We are here largely because the Church has not functioned as the Church. Instead, we have allowed the media to marginalize our voice. Is it any wonder that the world cannot tolerate a Christian baker’s preferences? No shirt – no shoes – no service is permissible, even desired. Add no same sex to the mix, though, and wembecome narrow-minded and bigoted Christians. Is it our own fault? We live in a sin-stained world. When we refuse to address the sin, we let the sin address our churches.
We are not recommending that the Church carry picket signs and boycott homosexuals. We want to show them the love of Christ. We are not asking for permission for prejudice, but we are stating plainly that holy matrimony does not extend to these situations. When the Church has refused to issue a verdict on sin, of course the battle is then taken to Christian business owners. The question is not can a faith-based business refuse a same sex marriage? The better question is why we have waited til now to do something about it? We are in danger of too little too late.
Is it too late? What can we do about this now? First, realize that the issues may be complicated and difficult to untwine. This was never an issue to be dealt with in the marketplace or courts. Rather, it must be worked out in the church. Let us address sexual topics. We know some within the Church will be offended by sexual discussions, but we must have these meaningful dialogues. Now is not the time for retreat; it is the time to issue a biblical rationale. In fact, same-sex relationships are not the only sexual sins we need to discuss. Pornography, human trafficking,adultery, any sex outside of marriage – these all need to be dealt with. Will it embarrass us? It can and it should, but that ought not to stand in the way of the right message. Lastly, this issue has been brought to the Supreme Court of the United States of America. It does not belong there, but it is what it is. Arguments for same-sex unions have been made. We now await a decision next month from this court. NOW is the time to prayerfully intercede for these justices. Our fate ultimately does not rest in their hands. Our future is in the hands of God and His sovereignty. Do we know what God is about to do? We do not, but we can weigh in through prayer. Nothing – including this – is beyond the reach of the God who holds the universe together. This situation represents an opportunity for the Church to shine to the glory of God. We can display the Bible’s teaching on the subject, we can interact out of love, and we can pray – knowing that nothing ever surprises our great God. Let us continue to look for every opportunity to which God would lead us. Soli Deo Gloria!
What do you think? We’d like to know.