The Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act serves as a boost to ongoing efforts to legalize same-sex marriage across the nation.

Christians believe marriage is defined by God and recognized by government. But many today believe marriage is defined by government and must be recognized by all.

For this reason, I’m not optimistic about the trends concerning marriage and family in the United States. Neither am I sure of what all this means for those who, in good conscience, stand against the tide.

But I am optimistic about the church of Jesus Christ. We’ve been through societal transformations before, and we’re sure to go through them again.

For example, the conversion of Constantine to Christianity in 313 A. D. was certainly good for the church. (We didn’t have to worry about being fed to the lions in the Coliseum anymore.) But many aspects of the church/state marriage turned out to be bad for the church. (True Christianity suffered under the weight of the state’s corrupting power.) Some see the positive aspects of that societal transformation as far outweighing the bad (Peter Leithart, for example), while others see the bad far outweighing the good (Stanley Hauerwas). The truth is, Constantine’s conversion was both good and bad for the church.

Now let’s turn to our society’s redefinition of marriage. If we truly believe Romans 8:28, that somehow, in some way, God is working all things for the good of those who love Him, then even when the culture swerves in an opposing direction, we ought to expect both benefits and challenges.

Here are some developments we can expect in the days ahead:

1. THE LOSS OF A CULTURE OF MARRIAGE

Riding on a bus last week, I struck up a conversation with the guy sitting next to me. He told me he worked for the government, was in his early twenties, and his wife was finishing her last year of college. Right away, I thought to myself: They must be Christians. Further conversation proved my hunch was right. How did I know? Easy. Few people get married when they’re in their early twenties and still in school. Couples either live together or postpone marriage until they’ve settled into a career. A 22-year-old with a ring on his finger might as well have been carrying a Bible.

Not long ago, a friend who lives in D.C. told me that whenever he sees a young father and mother pushing a stroller with a couple of kids, he immediately thinks, They must be Christians. Why? “There just aren’t a lot of intact families in our area. When you see one, you just assume they’re religious.”

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I recognize that traditional family values do not equal biblical Christianity. Plenty of folks from other religions see marriage as the cornerstone of civilization (including Mormons, orthodox Jews and Muslims).

But these two examples give us a window into the future of marriage and family in North America. The picture of a man and woman who wait until their wedding night to consummate their relationship and then remain committed for forty, fifty, even sixty years as they grow in their love for each other and raise their kids and enjoy their grandkids simply isn’t the norm anymore. It’s likely that churches will be one of the few places you’ll find people married more than 60 years.

The arrival of same-sex marriage is just the next train stop on a journey that began with the proliferation of birth control in the 1950’s and 1960’s. When pleasure and reproduction were divorced from a holistic understanding of sex, the idea that sexual expression and childrearing should be reserved for the committed relationship of a husband and wife began to disappear. Add the abortion culture of the 1970’s, the establishment of no-fault divorce, an increase in single moms and deadbeat dads, and the rise of reproductive technologies, and it’s no wonder that people today don’t think of marriage as a central institution for bringing new life into the world but instead as an emotional and sexual union of two partners.

The bad news: When you look at other countries that legalized same-sex marriage decades ago, you notice a dramatic reduction in the number of people getting married. In all likelihood, we will soon resemble our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world: we will stand out for being the very thing that our grandparents would have thought ordinary. One of God’s greatest gifts to us in common grace (the institution of marriage) will be disregarded, leading to a number of societal ills and further breakdown of the family.

The good news: In our churches, we have the opportunity to show the world a better way. To show the world what biblical manhood and womanhood looks like. To show the world the difference between a covenant and a contract. To show the world the difference between commitment based on feeling and a covenant based on faith.

The absence of a marriage culture will make biblical marriage stand out all the more. We’ll be ordinary oddballs. So let’s not waste the opportunity.

2. THREATS TO RELIGIOUS LIBERTY

One of the concerns of the religious community about legalizing same-sex marriage is the potential threat to religious liberty.

The bad news: As the norm of marriage shifts, individual Christians will find themselves in situations where they face penalties for refusing to violate their conscience. We’ve already seen this take place when Christian caterers, for example, feel conflicted about taking part in a same-sex wedding. Threats to religious liberty are not good news for the church, because they cause us to spend time and energy in preserving “space” for us to live according to our religious convictions without fear of reprisal.

The good news: These threats may bring about in the church a much-needed change of mindset. It’s time we recognized we are no longer the “moral majority” and embrace our identity as the “missional minority.”

My friends in Great Britain and Romania tell me it’s a noble task to serve Christ when you are clearly in the minority. Though the challenges often seem insurmountable, God’s people have the opportunity to learn how to love those who oppose us, to serve and suffer under governmental or cultural bigotry, and face hatred with respect and kindness. So let’s recognize our minority status and learn to serve those who we’re called to show God’s love.

3. THE COST OF CONVICTION

When it comes to churches and denominations, we will soon see who is truly tethered to the authority of God’s Word no matter what way the wind is blowing, and who is conforming to the pattern of this world. Churches that embrace the new definition of marriage will show themselves to be in step with contemporary society and radically out of step with the Christian Church for two thousand years.

The bad news: Being a convictional Christian (especially in matters related to sexuality, morality, and marriage) will likely mean the loss of cultural clout and respectability. We will pay a personal and social cost for our beliefs, and we need to be prepared.

The good news: Sociologist Rodney Stark has shown that one of the most powerful engines of early church growth was the fact that membership cost something. Why is this the case? For one, paying a social cost tends to screen out those who would fain religiosity in order to receive respect from society. Also, knowing you are the minority and may be ostracized for your views increases the level of commitment and participation of those who follow Christ.

Conclusion

The evangelical witness may be leaner in numbers in coming years, but the upside is that the witness may be even more potent. The gospel of God’s love in Christ is no less powerful in 21st century America than in 1st century Rome.

So, let’s love God, love our neighbors (even those with whom we respectfully disagree), and remember the good news that in God’s lawcourt, all who repent and believe in Christ have the verdict of “justified” pronounced over them. And there’s no court on earth that can overturn that.

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115 thoughts on “Why Gay Marriage is Good (and Bad) for the Church”

  1. Mike says:

    Thank you for this Trevin.

  2. Derrick says:

    Nicely put.

  3. Craig says:

    Thanks for this. Realistic, yet very hopeful, which is what I needed today.

  4. Well stated, Trevin! I love your line at the end: “The evangelical witness may be leaner in numbers in coming years, but the upside is that the witness may be even more potent.” And I’d take a leaner, more potent church over a bloated, overcrowded and out of shape church any day. Hauerwas is probably more correct than Leithart.

  5. Kyle says:

    “The evangelical witness may be leaner in numbers in coming years, but the upside is that the witness may be even more potent.”

    I would substitute “purer” for “leaner in numbers” because honestly any numbers who leave were not part of the evangelical witness to begin with. You almost make it sound like the Church is shrinking, far from it! The Church (those who follow Christ from the heart) is alive and growing, even as churches may shrink. God is on the move!

    1. Kyle,

      Slight modification. The church across the globe “is…growing,” especially the global south and far east. But, according to John Dickerson, the evangelical church in America is shrinking in numbers.

      http://www.amazon.com/Great-Evangelical-Recession-The-Church/dp/0801014832

      1. Kyle says:

        I know that church (little c) attendance is down, but does that mean that the Church (big C) is shrinking? It’s easy to measure attendance, but God only measures hearts. As my main point stated, many of those “numbers” are cultural “christians” without a saving faith. I do believe that God is reaching more and more people for His kingdom here in America and around the world. Not because I can measure it on a survey, but because that’s what God does, and because I see it in my community.

        You may be correct, but that (and many other studies) doesn’t prove it.

  6. ann says:

    It seems to me that church no longer governs social norms. Having a more inclusive social norm would not contradict christianity in my mind. Rather, it would evoke the overall spirit of the gospels where church is called to embrace diversity. The good/bad structure of this whole article encourages a rush to judgment if/when others are simply ‘different’ than I am. Can we do without the labels and just accept others where they are, not even desiring that they be where I am. I see a futility in the comparison. It also belies and arrogance that “I’m right and you’re wrong”.

    1. Dan says:

      Ann aren’t you doing the very thing you accuse others of doing? You’re judging those who don’t believe as you do and you show an arrogance yourself by the tone of your comment. I have to say that it has an ” I, Ann, am right and you who don’t believe as I do are wrong.

    2. Aizel says:

      I agree wholeheartedly!

    3. Justin says:

      The overall “spirit of the gospels” is not to embrace diversity, but rather to show man his absolute wickedness and the forgiveness offered in Christ if man will but repent and believe. Diversity is irrelevant; it’s a necessary result, not an end in and of itself.

    4. Steve says:

      Ann,

      I’ve never seen anything in the Bible calling for the acceptance of “diversity”….whatever that is. I can guarantee you we are not called to accept sin under any circumstance. If you believe otherwise, you are only fooling yourself.

      1. pau says:

        @Steve,

        Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

        I think it is reasonable to interpret this as something of a call for acceptance of diversity. It doesn’t condone sin. But it does accept diversity.

        As for not accepting “sin under any circumstance,” I don’t think that is the correct approach. In some respects, Jesus “accepted” the sins of the tax collectors that he ate with. He did it in that he didn’t allow those sins to prevent him from socializing with them and reaching out to them. Of course, he did not say they weren’t sinners.

        Now, I’m not agreeing with Ann’s assessment. I just think you went too far in your response.

  7. Chet Andrews says:

    I admire and respect your consistency of being able to remain full of hope when society and culture seem to deem otherwise. You always bring the conversation back to the rock solid Gospel of Jesus Christ which never changes and never disappoints.

    1. Kyle says:

      Our hope is not in a moral society, but in Christ! How can we not hope when we have such a great Savior! We rejoice in trials, because he has already conquered! God will work great good through this, even has He does in all things. He’s pretty great that way.

  8. Trevor says:

    “The arrival of same-sex marriage is just the next train stop on a journey that began with the proliferation of birth control in the 1950′s and 1960′s. When pleasure and reproduction were divorced from a holistic understanding of sex, the idea that sexual expression and childrearing should be reserved for the committed relationship of a husband and wife began to disappear.”

    Am I reading a Calvinist or a Catholic blog? Are you seriously bringing into doubt birth control?

    1. brian says:

      I really don’t think that was the intent.

      When birth control became popular (for lack of a better word), it led to increased “sexual expression” between non-married people. It was a societal change that saw the Christian view become the minority.

      Someone correct me if I read that wrong.

    2. Paul L. says:

      FYI, Calvin and Luther opposed birth control.

  9. Aizel says:

    “Right away, I thought to myself: They must be Christians… Few people get married when they’re in their early twenties and still in school. Couples either live together or postpone marriage until they’ve settled into a career. A 22-year-old with a ring on his finger might as well have been carrying a Bible.”

    What an assumption. I know of plenty of young, married couples who are NOT Christian. They marry young in order to establish a family while one of the parents goes off to the military. Other people marry young because the girl got pregnant at a young age. “Oh, they’re young with a baby. They must be Christian.” No. They could have just had premarital sex and tried to do right for the baby.

    “Not long ago, a friend who lives in D.C. told me that whenever he sees a young father and mother pushing a stroller with a couple of kids, he immediately thinks, They must be Christians. Why? “There just aren’t a lot of intact families in our area. When you see one, you just assume they’re religious.””

    I love how he ASSUMES these things. It’s as though he doesn’t ever think about the fact that:

    1. There can be good non-Christians.
    2. There can be bad Christians.
    3. There can also be good Christians or bad non-Christians.

    Good and bad are not tied exclusively to religion or Christianity. Some of my best friends are non-Christians but they are the most caring, generous, respectful people I know.

    And in sentiments shared by someone near and dear to me:
    “Where in the Bible does it say to oppress people we see as different than us? Doesn’t The Good Samaritan parable preach the exact opposite message? There is no scientific evidence of homosexuality making the world a worse place (although there are several studies that indicate lesbians raise more well-adjusted, more open, and happier children on average)… Where does the bigotry come from? People who “just don’t like it”? Go join the ranks of confederate flag folks who “just don’t like” interracial marriage, or the chauvinists who “just don’t like” women being people rather than objects.”

    And while some parables like The Good Samaritan teach us positive behaviors, there are conflicting messages the Bible lists as well:

    Women are inferior to men
    “I permit no woman to teach or have authority over men; she is to keep silent.” Timothy 2:11

    Stone non-virgins to death
    “But if this thing be true, and the tokens of virginity be not found for the damsel: Then they shall bring out the damsel to the door of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her with stones that she die: because she hath wrought folly in Israel, to play the whore in her father’s house: so shalt thou put evil away from among you.” (Deuteronomy 22: 20-21)

    Cut off your hand if you sin
    “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched.” (Mark 9:43)

    Anyone with a deformity is damned
    “For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous, Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded, Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken. No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.” (Leviticus 21:18-21)

    With these conflicting ideals, I actually think it’s good that the Bible does NOT govern our nation, as much as Christians dislike this idea. Separation of church and state. Not everyone is a Christian. The laws of the United States are established by its PEOPLE, not just its CHRISTIAN people.

    And if you think I just came here to hate, you are sorely mistaken. I myself am Christian. But I don’t believe that my very dear friends who do so much good for their communities will go to hell for being homosexual. I believe when God says He loves us, He means ALL of us. He didn’t say, “I love all of you, except for homosexuals, women, and the ones born with deformities. I can’t stand them.”

    I know that God is good and God is LOVE. I really can’t imagine a God so discriminatory and hateful, can you?

    1. Aizel, Very well put. Thanks for sharing this…exactly what I was thinking, put into an eloquent reply.

    2. merriam says:

      Aizel, I have to admit when I started reading your comment, I assumed that you were not a Christian. But when I got to the end I noticed that you stated you were a Christian and you asked an interesting question- a question that many people ask: Can God be hateful/vengeful/jealous and if so, how do we reconcile ourselves to this image?

      I have often thought about this as, I imagine, most people have in this day and age. Admittedly, I can’t say I’ve hit upon an epiphanic or perhaps even adequate answer. But here’s my take on this, if for nothing else then argument’s sake alone.

      My understanding of being a Christian is a simple one- believe, faithfully and unerringly, that Christ is Lord. He died for my sins to reconcile me to God. The manifestation of this faith would be obedience. God does not demand perfection from us; we’ll never hit the mark. But he does demand an effort to obey. A strong commitment to follow his Word, while prayerfully asking for his guidance.

      You state that God is love. To that I ask: what exactly is love? In any relationship. Among others, Webster’s defines it as a “strong affection arising from kinship or personal ties” or a “warm attachment”. Perhaps, it’s just me but if these definitions are all that love is, it seems grossly inadequate. If God is love and all I am to do is show strong affection or a warm attachment in return for the same, I would fail right out off the bat because I am not an emotional creature, warm, fuzzy feelings don’t come easily. If they do, they do not last very long.

      I don’t have this down, yet. But this is why, I would define a loving relationship with God as one being borne out of obedience to him. A love that is manifested as obedience to a God who doesn’t just have a warm attachement to us but a burning desire for us to return the same devotion and commitment that he gives us.

      I don’t intend this to be a judgmental tirade on your beliefs. I humbly submit this as a respectful disagreement and hope this sheds light on an alternative viewpoint.

      1. Aizel says:

        Merriam,

        I don’t believe that Webster’s definition is comprehensive enough to explain love. Love is an experience that moves beyond words. When you consider God’s love for us, for example, there are no words to describe how much He loves us, right? We can say things like “He loves us so much that He gave up His only Son to save us.” That’s the closest way to explain it, but that’s just ONE way to explain it. If that definition were enough, everyone in the world would understand.

        No one can fully explain love, so when I say “God is love” or that we should love God, I don’t mean that all we are to do is “show strong affection or a warm attachment” to demonstrate love. What speaks to my heart when I pray to God for guidance is that I should “love my neighbor as myself.” I don’t think anyone is a lesser person than I am, and I don’t consider any of my homosexual friends’ romantic relationships lesser than mine. I also don’t believe that God sees us in categories: white or black, man or woman, gay or straight. He sees us as PEOPLE and He loves each and every one of us. It’s not a mistake that each person is different than the others. God doesn’t make mistakes. We were intentionally created to be the way we are, and if someone was made to be attracted to the same sex, it happened because God’s intended it to be that way.

        I know this is a more liberal point of view than most Christians hold, and that’s fine. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But I personally will follow what God says to my heart, and that’s to love others the way that God loves me, regardless of their race, gender, or sexual orientation.

        1. Isaac C. says:

          “But I personally will follow what God says to my heart” sounds oddly similar to “they do whatever is right in their own eyes” Jud 17:6. The Word of God is clear on gender roles and the difference between them from Gen. and through out the new testament. You cannot argue the point of God doesn’t “see” gender differences, because he made them bro… Unfortunately you have this ideology that is telling you man these scholars got it wrong and God is revealing to me what truth really is in my own heart… why is he only revealing it to you and not to everyone that is a believer?

          “We were intentionally created to be the way we are, and if someone was made to be attracted to the same sex, it happened because God’s intended it to be that way.”
          This line sounds great and warm and fuzzy… until you apply it to pedophiles, or murders. unfortunately you cant pick and choose. God made us in his image and that is good but because of the fall we are broken and depraved. we are sinful and each sin against God. Whether that is laying with a man as with a woman or lusting after the pornography on the internet, or using God’s name in vain, or any number of things that are contrary to the character of God.

          I do have a question for you… as you stated you are a “liberal” christian… what do you think about the gender God took for himself and Jesus Christ? do you think that He and Jesus being male is sexist and should be changed? or is it okay? JW about your thoughts on that topic.

          Also if you are a believer as i am, i have full right to point out the flaws in your doctrine and judge you
          2 Timothy 4:2, Romans 16:17-18 , 1 Corinthians 5:12-13

          1. Jane says:

            Isaac, what I have to say Right on I was wanting to same thing you wrote. All of it. Know Gods’ word in New covenant you will know God.

          2. Aizel says:

            “The Word of God is clear on gender roles and the difference between them from Gen. and through out the new testament. You cannot argue the point of God doesn’t “see” gender differences, because he made them bro… Unfortunately you have this ideology that is telling you man these scholars got it wrong and God is revealing to me what truth really is in my own heart… why is he only revealing it to you and not to everyone that is a believer?”

            (I’m actually a woman, not a “bro.” :P)

            Let me clarify though. When I say “see,” I don’t mean God doesn’t literally see them. Of course He created genders, and He’s not blind. I just mean that He loves every person just the same. I mean “see” in the same way people mean when they say “Justice is blind,” with a sense of objectivity. I mean that He doesn’t love man more than woman or woman more than man. I also mean that I believe He doesn’t love heterosexuals more than homosexuals. He loves us all the same.

            I’m also NOT claiming that God only speaks to me only and not other believers. I’m NOT saying that everyone else is wrong and I am right. I do agree that we should follow God’s law and not just do what we feel like doing. But where I disagree is in regards to HOW we should follow His law. Many people here focus on the Bible passages that seem to claim homosexuality is a sin, and choose to condemn homosexuality… but what about the passages that talk about loving and accepting your neighbor? For me, loving and accepting my neighbor, including my homosexual neighbor, has done me more good than ostracizing people based on their sexual preference.

            To me, suppressing gay people is the same as being sexist or racist. At one point in time, it was okay to have slaves. Even in the Bible, it was okay to have slaves. Obviously, it’s not okay at this day and age. I’m sure many people opposed giving prior slaves rights because they were seen as the lesser. But we see now that we were wrong. That change needed to be made, despite many people feeling uncomfortable or hesitant about it at first. The Bible never teaches us that we need to “free our slaves,” only to treat them like “brothers.” We made the change to free slaves without the Bible. So I don’t view reading the Bible as an instruction manual for life. I don’t believe the Bible is the be-all end-all. I believe that God’s guidance can also come from prayer, and that God guided us to free slaves.

            “[“We were intentionally created to be the way we are, and if someone was made to be attracted to the same sex, it happened because God’s intended it to be that way.”]
            This line sounds great and warm and fuzzy… until you apply it to pedophiles, or murders. unfortunately you cant pick and choose.”

            Pedophile: a person who is sexually attracted to children. He might have natural urges or attractions towards children, but he can choose what to do with his body. His actions are a choice, and if he chooses to rape a young child, he will cause damage to that child’s psychological well-being. In the same way, someone might have hatred and want to hurt someone, but they can CHOOSE to get counseling or vent their aggression in other ways rather than resort to murder.

            Homosexuality is naturally-occurring. It is NOT a choice for gay people who they are sexually attracted to. Just like pedophiles, gay people can choose to get counseling and live their lives as though they were heterosexual, but there are no studies that show that counseling actually works in this case. I have close friends who have lived almost their whole lives thus far just pretending and trying to fit in with straight people. They were miserable, psychologically distraught, and emotionally damaged until they decided to just be openly gay and date other gay people. I know gay couples with healthy relationships who have been dating each other exclusively for 4+ years. I feel that it would also be unfair of a secretly gay person to PRETEND to love their heterosexual partner with their whole, entire being when it clearly isn’t the case. There are plenty of happy, gay, COMMITTED couples out there. I don’t think that this is wrong, because they aren’t hurting anyone, psychologically or physically like pedophiles and murderers do.

            “I do have a question for you… as you stated you are a “liberal” christian… what do you think about the gender God took for himself and Jesus Christ? do you think that He and Jesus being male is sexist and should be changed? or is it okay? JW about your thoughts on that topic.”

            I actually think that our portrayal of God is probably different than what we will see when we actually meet God face-to-face after we leave this earth. I still do imagine Him as a “He” because after learning about Him, that’s how I came to imagine Him.

            I do admit that this one was an interesting read though:
            http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/forensics/1282186

            That article could be wrong, and we could also be totally wrong. God made us in His image, but we aren’t God and we aren’t perfect like He is. So maybe we imagine Him in the the closest, most accessible way we can as humans. But maybe He looks different from what we thought.

            I don’t think it’s sexist that we see God as a He, rather than a she. God being male doesn’t make females less worthy.

    3. Kip says:

      Aizel,

      The bible teaches that God is love, but it also teaches that God is a judge. I agree with you that we should not oppress people who are different from us. I think Christians should repent of that if they have been oppressive towards the outcast peoples of the world. We should love them and accept them as fellow sinners, but we should also tell them of Jesus and his saving power. God is indeed a God of love, but when you love someone you also will hate that which threatens to destroy them.

      According to the Bible no one is good. We are all sinners in need of God’s grace:
      “And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.'” Luke 18:19

      If we do not turn from sin and believe in Christ & his justification for us through the cross, God in his perfect justice must punish us:
      “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” John 3:36

      1 Corinthians 6:9-10 talks about homosexuality being sinful (among other things):
      “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

      Paul wrote that God’s wrath is being stored up for those who do not repent.
      “But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.” Romans 2:5

      God desires all sinners to repent and to turn to Christ. He loves his creation, but he also hates the sin that has infected it.

      You say that you are a Christian, but you also say that the Bible is contradictory. I encourage you to read those verses you posted in their full context and to learn about the old & new covenants. Use commentaries or listen to preachers to better understand the meaning of the verses and the context in which they were written.

  10. brgulker says:

    I am struggling to see how anyone’s religious freedom is in jeopardy.

    No one is forcing (or even asking) Christians to stop practicing Christian marriage. No one is forcing Christian churches to marry (or even welcome) gay couples. No one is forcing Christians to abandon their persuasions regarding sexuality (although many loudly and forcefully disagree).

    That people are now legally allowed to do something that you find immoral actually supports the idea of religious freedom, does it not? Christians may not force their religious beliefs on others who do not share them (or at least that seems like the inevitable result in a few years).

    To say that religious freedom is in jeopardy sounds a lot like a boy crying wolf.

    What am I missing?

    1. Hermonta Godwin says:

      What same-sex “marriage’ has done to Massachusetts

      http://www.massresistance.org/docs/marriage/effects_of_ssm_2012/index.html

      Same-Sex Marriage Ten Years On: Lessons from Canada

      http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/11/6758/

      1. Aizel says:

        What gay marriage “has done”?

        You mean form HAPPIER families?
        http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/06/05/gay-couples-children-happier_n_3388498.html

        It seems that everyone in this thread views gay marriage as something so horrible, yet look at the positive relationships that have sprung out of it.

        I’ve seen horrible things happen with some Christians. How many times have we seen in the news young boys being sexually abused by priests?
        http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/06/28/paedophile-priest-exposes-satanic-vatican-rent-boy-sex-ring_n_3517013.html?utm_hp_ref=uk

        It’s not gay marriage that’s wrong and it’s not Christianity that’s wrong. It’s the actions of PEOPLE not handling situations professionally and appropriately that I find wrong. Like I said, there are good and bad Christians and there are good and bad non-Christians.

        1. Francesco says:

          Aizel,
          You are entitled to your opinion, but at least respect the intelligence of the readers of your comments. Don’t claim you are a Christian while posting comments that obviously show doubt towards the Bible and the very words of Christ, and skewed enthusiasm for homosexual marriage, open acceptance of dubious studies that paint homosexual marriage in a good light (hint: expect more of those in the future), and endorse sexual practices that are openly anti-biblical.

          You have obviously bought into the homosexual culture bandwagon. I recommend a more balanced approach, possibly through the reading of the book Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth by Jeffrey Satinover, which shows the “honesty” of some of these scientific studies about homosexuality.

          You are free to believe whatever you want, but don’t call yourself a Christian.

          1. Aizel says:

            Wow, a “bandwagon?” “Respect the intelligence of the readers?” You are clearly misled.

            If you’ve read my other comments, I mentioned that I believe that God’s guidance can come through prayer as well. Obviously, I do doubt parts of the Bible, because there are parts of the Bible that condemn women or deformed people (“those with blemishes”) and I DON’T believe that anyone born with special needs/deformities deserves to go to hell.

            I am not doubting “the very words of Christ,” I am doubting the skewed, twisted, and misinterpreted words that mankind has written over the years.

            And btw, I’m not jumping onto any bandwagon. I have always believed in equal rights, even since I was a child. I have always believed in equal rights for men AND women, black AND white, heterosexual AND homosexual. Even young, innocent babies who haven’t been twisted to or exposed to politics don’t discriminate between these categories. We are all equal in God’s eyes.

            “You are free to believe whatever you want, but don’t call yourself a Christian.”
            How hateful of you to try to disband me from being an open, loving, and accepting follower of God.

      2. brgulker says:

        I see a lot of alarmism. I don’t see any threats to religious liberty.

  11. SunnyDays says:

    I am so sorry to see, in the first section, covenantial marriage is equated to early marriage — I would say they are not necessarily the same thing! One could be entering a marriage at an early age for the sake of faith, one would also entering a marriage early, for it is the social convention (when it was, like when the so-called “traditional family values” prevails, or, more broadly, in some ancient societies, where marriage is more about the union of families than the union of a loving pair.). One would marry late because for some reason s/he didn’t end up being with his/her first lover, but it could also because that s/he is very serious about the great responsibility s/he needs to carry, and choose to not taking it until s/he is ready/prepared…. Early marriage might have something to do with life style and thus is highly correlated with certain religious norm, but it is neither sufficient nor necessary a condition for a marriage to be stable, or covenantial, or biblical, or anything… I am so sorry to see the author employs such a unrelated example to support his/her opinion!

  12. Amelia says:

    Merriam,
    I find it interesting that you believe that God made certain people to be attracted to the same sex. I am assuming this is your starting point and foundation for this argument for the case of same sex relationships, since you seem to understand this relationship as being understandable in God’s eyes. But, quite honestly, even if you don’t hold fast and true to Levitical laws (as most Christians can tell you they have very loose feelings about mold and strong feelings about the need for women’s rights), it stands to reason that the scriptures that have been canonized as the new testament review these practices as detestable to the Lord (Paul reviews this is Romans 1:18-32), and have always been viewed in this light, in Jewish circles and still through most orthodox denominations until present day. And there have been serious consequences for such behavior, not just on a personal platform, but on a social platform. It appears that God’s chosen people have long believed that God thinks differently that you opine. And you are posed with a very interesting question, if this is so: does God create people with biological functions that he has detested since the days of Moses? He certainly could, but that would not be a very loving God at all then, would it? To create people as homosexuals and then leave them struggling under his commands is just plain mean, but the laws (and commentary on the attitudes towards and repercussions of) remain written inside millions of texts for the world to see- and I wonder why He should do a thing like that. Was it the fault of Moses, who wrote the Levitical law, that homosexuality has suffered under the social thumb of the Israelites, transferring then to practice Christianity? By no means am I saying that loving your gay friends is a bad idea, since disagreement on morality and capability to love exist in two different arenas (I’m sure your gay friends think you’re wrong about plenty of things and still love you anyways). But this is a slippery slope, and will probably require a set of expensive skis. I am not attempting to ruffle any feathers, only to inspire further consideration of these details that may not have been previously considered.

  13. Excellent article, especially the last two paragraphs.

    The ancient Greeks and Romans were even more accepting of homosexuality than our own society is today. But even they weren’t as completely wicked as the populations of Sodom and Gomorrah. Read in Romans (Chapter 1, beginning at verse 18) about how God views such societies and how he allowed the ancients to wallow in their sins after they CHOSE to forget the truth he had set in their hearts. American liberals pat themselves on the back for being “enlightened” and open-minded, but the trails they’re so proudly “blazing” are just the same crooked paths established thousands of years ago by other societies that rebelled against God. As Ecclesiastes tells us, there is NOTHING new under the sun. So let’s not be dismayed, but continue to encourage each other to hold on to our faith in God and try to wait patiently for him to set all of this right.

  14. Jack Bauer says:

    Trevin, there is rarely a time I don’t enjoy your insights. This was the highlight of my day yesterday. Would you write an article on what you see is the way to prepare to pay a personal and social cost for our beliefs? Thank you so much for your consideration and God bless.

    1. Truth Unites... and Divides says:

      “Would you write an article on what you see is the way to prepare to pay a personal and social cost for our beliefs?”

      Ditto this request.

  15. Concerned Christian says:

    I am a Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and died on the cross for our sins. He is my Savior.

    That said, THIS article sincerely disturbed me. Did you know that there are REAL, committed Christians who love everyone and accept everyone regardless of who they love? This isn’t an affront to Christianity. This is an opportunity for Christians everywhere to show that we love one another as Jesus loves us.

    Instead of closing yourself off to a changing society, you might try embracing it. You may be surprised what you learn. God does, indeed, have a plan. Are you willing to accept it? Are you willing to consider that your interpretations might be wrong?

    1. Alison says:

      Absolutely! I’m a born again Christian, studied in Seminary, and I am continuing to learn just how the Bible NEVER talks about same sex, loving marriages. The only thing the Bible talks about is idol prostitution, gang rape, promiscuity in temple orgies, and old Jewish cleanliness laws that no one follows anyway? Shrimp, anyone? :-)

      1. Francesco says:

        Have you considered that the Bible does not talk about homosexual marriage because that was not an issue in those days? Homosexuality in pagan Greece and Rome took the form of prostitution and homosexual relationships between older men and catamites. No homosexual marriages. No one insane enough to raise the issue.

    2. Aizel says:

      “Did you know that there are REAL, committed Christians who love everyone and accept everyone regardless of who they love? This isn’t an affront to Christianity. This is an opportunity for Christians everywhere to show that we love one another as Jesus loves us.”

      Well said! You’ve explained what I’ve been wanting to say this entire time, but much more eloquently. :P

    3. Justin says:

      Did you know there are REAL, committed bachelors that are married?

      1. Aizel says:

        What does that even mean? Do you even know the definition of “bachelor”? Obviously, the definition of Christian doesn’t state anywhere “someone who hates gay people.”

    4. Francesco says:

      No, you don’t know what love means. You say “love,” but you mean “accept as equally right,” which is not love. Love is the desire for the welfare of the object of your love: physical, emotional, spiritual welfare. If that being is breaking the moral rules set by the Creator, and you AFFIRM that lifestyle, you are NOT loving that being. On the contrary.

      Christians today are being brainwashed by the emergent church movement, and by heresies like “The Shack.”

      That’s feel-touchy-goody. But it’s not Christianity.

  16. Eric says:

    I myself am gay and do plan to get married in the future, so I can imagine you know where I stand on the whole issue. Although, I do have to say, it is always good to take a look at the hardhsips of others and what they need to overcome in their own goals in life. Even though I ma not agree with most if not all of Christianity, I still recognize that not everyone will agree with my way as well. Living in a country that doesn’t support what you stand for is hard. I am sure most have felt this way at some point in time. I thank you for letting me know of what Christians are going to have to go through and this article was written very well.

  17. Alison says:

    Not ALL Christians think that being gay is a sin. I don’t think that, in a literal, cultural, contextual, AND linguistic sense, the Bible NEVER talks about same sex marriage. They Bible literally is talking about Old Jewish purity laws, gang rape, male prostitution, temple orgies, and temple prostitution. So, PLEASE don’t lump all Christians into one group. I am a born again Christian who takes the Bible VERY literally, meaning I DIVE INTO THE TIME and CULTURE and CONTEXT and LANGUAGE of the authors and try to understand the intent and message. And I believe that the Bible writers NEVER talked about Gay marriage and therefore the BIble is not a great source to use to deny Americans the right to marry whom they love. Thank you and God bless!

    1. Aizel says:

      YES! Thank you!

    2. Justin says:

      And not all atheists disbelieve in God.

      And not all Muslims think Muhammad was a prophet.

      And not all bachelors are unmarried.

      1. Aizel says:

        Um. NOPE. Where are you even getting this???

        Christian (noun): a person who believes in Jesus Christ

        See? No mention of gay marriage whatsoever.

        VERSUS

        Atheist (noun): a person who denies or disbelieves the existence of a supreme being or beings.

        Muslim (noun): an adherent of IslamIslam (noun: the religious faith of Muslims, based on the words and religious system founded by the prophet Muhammad and taught by the Koran, the basic principle of which is absolute submission to a unique and personal god, Allah.)

        Bachelor (noun): an unmarried man

    3. Francesco says:

      The Bible NEVER talks about gay marriage because it didn’t have to. No one in those days would have dreamed of promoting such nonsense, not even the very sexually open Greeks and Romans, with their catamite-friendly culture.

      1. brgulker says:

        You are not as familiar with what you are talking about as you think you are.

        No one in those days would have dreamed of promoting such nonsense, not even the very sexually open Greeks and Romans, with their catamite-friendly culture

        What they were doing was much, much worse. Think whoring out adolescents.

  18. Ed says:

    Alison, your comment is simply untrue. The Greek word for “homosexuals” (arsenokoitai-ἀρσενοκοῖται) simply means “sex between males”. It means any and all sex between males, whether “married”, unmarried, whatever. All of it is destined for hell, Paul says in 1Cor.6:9-11. He says in 1Timothy 1:8-11 that it is not only “against sound doctrine”, but it is paralleled there with murder, kidnapping and perjury. And it is “against law”, not only law in general, but specifically Jewish law. And that law, Lev. 18:22, says simply that “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination”. That applies to lying with any male at any time, period. Your fanciful interpretations will not stand against Scripture, and certainly not against the judgment Jesus said was coming to those who live in the “days of the Son of Man” committing the same sins “as it was in the days of Lot” (Read Luke 17:26-30 carefully). He warns that the same judgment is coming to current-day homosexuals as came to those in Sodom. And it will!

    1. brgulker says:

      I’ll step up in Alison’s defense here. Your reading of the Greek text isn’t the only one, Ed. 1 Corinthians as a whole is polemical, over and against pagan gods, temples, priests and priestesses, as Alison pointed out. The passages about women being required to wear head coverings is in direct opposition to female priestesses/prostitutes who famously wore their hair long and unkempt. To read contemporary understandings of long hair – or of homosexual sex, or any number of things – is eisegesis not exegesis.

      There are absolutely good reasons to question your translation and reading here. Obviously, I can’t cite scholarly work easily, so instead I’ll link to a blog that contains some good scholarship.

      Regarding Romans 1: http://jewishchristiangay.wordpress.com/2011/08/29/romans-1-what-was-paul-ranting-about/

      Regarding Leviticus 18: http://jewishchristiangay.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/leviticus-18-what-was-the-abomination/

      And regarding Gensis 19: http://jewishchristiangay.wordpress.com/2012/01/01/genesis-19-what-the-bible-really-says-were-the-sins-of-sodom/

      Unfortunately, there isn’t an article about 1 Corinthians on this blog, but the posts above illustrate the nuance and complexity required when reading the NT text in its cultural and historical context.

      And FWIW, the man who wrote these posts is a gay Jewish Christian.

    2. Alison says:

      Ed, I’m sorry, but your Greek is faulty. It means “male bedder”, which contextually and historically means “someone who sleeps with a male prostitute” as well as the male prostitute himself. The “sellers of men” means, pimp. Sorry, I went to Seminary. I know the Greek very well. lol!

  19. brgulker says:

    Also, as Jesus said about gay people,

    “____________________________________”

    1. Aizel says:

      If there were a “Like” button for your comment, I would click it.

    2. Marie says:

      Jesus is God. God inspired the Bible. Every word about homosexuality in the Bible is from Jesus.

      1. brgulker says:

        Interesting. That point of view creates a bit of a paradox when reading 1 Corinthians 7:

        To the married I give this command—not I but the Lord—that the wife should not separate from her husband (but if she does separate, let her remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and that the husband should not divorce his wife.

        To the rest I sayI and not the Lord—that if any believer has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. And if any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is made holy through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy through her husband. Otherwise, your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy. But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so; in such a case the brother or sister is not bound. It is to peace that God has called you. Wife, for all you know, you might save your husband. Husband, for all you know, you might save your wife.

        If the second bolded part of 1 Corinthians 7 is from Jesus, then why did Paul say that it wasn’t?

    3. Francesco says:

      That’s because His mission was to preach to the children of Israel, of whom guess how many practiced homosexuality? Right. Thought so.

      Paul’s mission, on the contrary, was to preach to the gentiles, among whom homosexuality was common (prostitution, catamites). That’s why he addressed it more.

  20. Ed says:

    BRGulker and Alison, you’re doing exactly what Jesus said not to do: “And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (Jn.3:19-21). That is, you’re deliberately denying the plain truths of Scripture in order to find an explanation that backs your deviant lifestyle. To do that, you find “scholarly” works (also done by homosexuals) to try and take the biblical finger of blame away and justify your sin. It won’t work. As for what Jesus said, read Luke 17:27-30 more closely. He said that both the sin and the judgment that follows it would be part of the scenario in “the days of the Son of Man” (see Dan.7:13), i.e., the days when Messiah would receive the Kingdom from the Father (see Dan.7, Rev.5). He said, “Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed” (Lk.17:28-30). In other words, they tried to have “business as usual” despite the sin, but the judgment came anyway. And it will! Paul says you have no inheritance in the kingdom of God (1Cor.6:9-11). I would normally be polite and not address this. But you’re trying to take the church down with you. That, I will not stand still for.

    1. brgulker says:

      I’m guessing you didn’t read any of those links. They are littered with references to biblical commentaries. That’s the closest I can get to citing a biblical commentary at the moment, as I don’t own the commentaries in question but only have access via a library.

      If you had taken the time to read them, well, I guess we could have a conversation about their content. But you didn’t bother to do so, so there’s not much to say.

      That is, you’re deliberately denying the plain truths of Scripture in order to find an explanation that backs your deviant lifestyle.

      No, I am not denying Scripture. I am suggesting that you’re reading it incorrectly, and that what you consider a “plain truth” isn’t.

      As to my deviant lifestyle, I’m a married heterosexual man who abstained from sex until marriage and has only ever been with one woman, my wife.

      So yeah, I’m just getting crazy deviant up in here!

      Paul says you have no inheritance in the kingdom of God (1Cor.6:9-11). I would normally be polite and not address this. But you’re trying to take the church down with you. That, I will not stand still for.

      First of all, thanks for condemning me to hell. I appreciate it!

      Secondly, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. On the one hand, your comment is funny, because you didn’t take the time to read what I posted, and then you completely missed my point. On the other hand, it’s kind of sad, because you’re so closed-minded that you won’t even engage another Christian in a conversation about what Scripture says.

      Since you won’t read the posts, I’ll quote something interesting from it, which was written by a bible scholar and quoted by the blogger:

      “Sex reversal was a specific distinctive of the Dionysiac cult and by the second century A.D. was considered to be indispensable to the religion. Men wore veils and long hair as signs of their dedication to the god, while women used the unveiling and shorn hair to indicate their devotion. Men masqueraded as women, and in a rare vase painting from Corinth a woman is dressed in satyr pants equipped with the male organ. Thus she dances before Dionysus, a deity who had been raised as a girl and was himself called male-female and ’sham-man.’”

      Those facts should inform how we read the New Testament. We are doing ourselves, others, and the church a grave disservice if we ignore them.

    2. Alison says:

      The Christians in Ephesus and Corinth are fighting among themselves. (Sound familiar?) In Corinth they’re even suing one another in secular courts. Paul shouts across the distance, “You are breaking God’s heart by the way you are treating one another.”

      Like any good writer, Paul anticipates their first question: “Well, how are we supposed to treat one another?” Paul answers, “You know very well how to treat one another from the Jewish law written on tablets of stone.”

      The Jewish law was created by God to help regulate human behavior. To remind the churches in Corinth and Ephesus how God wants us to treat one another, Paul recites examples from the Jewish law first. Don’t kill one another. Don’t sleep with a person who is married to someone else. Don’t lie or cheat or steal. The list goes on to include admonitions against fornication, idolatry, whoremongering, perjury, drunkenness, revelry, and extortion. He also includes “malokois” and “arsenokoitai.”

      Here’s where the confusion begins. What’s a malokois? What’s an arsenokoitai? Actually, those two Greek words have confused scholars to this very day. We’ll say more about them later, when we ask what the texts say about sex. But first let’s see what the texts say about God.

      After quoting from the Jewish law, Paul reminds the Christians in Corinth that they are under a new law: the law of Jesus, a law of love that requires us to do more than just avoid murder, adultery, lying, cheating, and stealing. Paul tells them what God wants is not strict adherence to a list of laws, but a pure heart, a good conscience, and a faith that isn’t phony.

      That’s the lesson we all need to learn from these texts. God doesn’t want us squabbling over who is “in” and who is “out.” God wants us to love one another. It’s God’s task to judge us. It is NOT our task to judge one another.

      So what do these two texts say about homosexuality? Are gays and lesbians on that list of sinners in the Jewish law that Paul quotes to make an entirely different point?

      Greek scholars say that in first century the Greek word malaokois probably meant “effeminate call boys.” The New Revised Standard Version says “male prostitutes.”

      As for arsenokoitai, Greek scholars don’t know exactly what it means — and the fact that we don’t know is a big part of this tragic debate. Some scholars believe Paul was coining a name to refer to the customers of “the effeminate call boys.” We might call them “dirty old men.” Others translate the word as “sodomites,” but never explain what that means.

      In 1958, for the first time in history, a person translating that mysterious Greek word into English decided it meant homosexuals, even though there is, in fact, no such word in Greek or Hebrew. But that translator made the decision for all of us that placed the word homosexual in the English-language Bible for the very first time.

      In the past, people used Paul’s writings to support slavery, segregation, and apartheid. People still use Paul’s writings to oppress women and limit their role in the home, in church, and in society.

      Now we have to ask ourselves, “Is it happening again?” Is a word in Greek that has no clear definition being used to reflect society’s prejudice and condemn God’s gay children?

      We all need to look more closely at that mysterious Greek word arsenokoitai in its original context. I find most convincing the argument from history that Paul is condemning the married men who hired hairless young boys (malakois) for sexual pleasure just as they hired smooth-skinned young girls for that purpose.

      Responsible homosexuals would join Paul in condemning anyone who uses children for sex, just as we would join anyone else in condemning the threatened gang rape in Sodom or the behavior of the sex-crazed priests and priestesses in Rome. So, once again, I am convinced that this passage says a lot about God, but nothing about homosexuality as we understand it today.

  21. Searching says:

    “It’s likely that churches will be one of the few places you’ll find people married more than 60 years”

    Really? Christians have nearly the same divorce rate as non-believers. My parents spent 30+ years in a fundamentalist church and their miserable marriage ended after 28 years because of an affair, whereas my Catholic grandparents were married happily and faithfully for almost 70 years until they passed away.
    Church and religion do not necessarily make for a successful marriage. It’s about selflessness and being willing to be follow Christ’s example and show love.

    “When you look at other countries that legalized same-sex marriage decades ago, you notice a dramatic reduction in the number of people getting married”
    This doesn’t even make sense; marriage becomes legal to homo and heterosexual couples alike and there are fewer marriages altogether?
    I have a seriously hard time believing that because same sex marriages are legal, straight couples are going to stop getting married. That’s like saying that straight individuals will suddenly switch to homosexuality just because it’s legal.
    Traditional families are not going to start to disappear just because it’s legal to give a marriage license to a same-sex couple. My ability to live out a Christian life as a straight female in a “traditional” stay at home role is not threatened by someone else’s decision to chose an alternative lifestyle.

  22. Alison says:

    What does Romans 1:26-27 say about God?

    For our discussion, this is the most controversial biblical passage of them all. In Romans 1:26-27 the apostle Paul describes non-Jewish women who exchange “natural use for unnatural” and non-Jewish men who “leave the natural use of women, working shame with each other.”

    This verse appears to be clear: Paul sees women having sex with women and men having sex with men, and he condemns that practice. But let’s go back 2,000 years and try to understand why.

    Paul is writing this letter to Rome after his missionary tour of the Mediterranean. On his journey Paul had seen great temples built to honor Aphrodite, Diana, and other fertility gods and goddesses of sex and passion instead of the one true God the apostle honors. Apparently, these priests and priestesses engaged in some odd sexual behaviors — including castrating themselves, carrying on drunken sexual orgies, and even having sex with young temple prostitutes (male and female) — all to honor the gods of sex and pleasure.

    The Bible is clear that sexuality is a gift from God. Our Creator celebrates our passion. But the Bible is also clear that when passion gets control of our lives, we’re in deep trouble.

    When we live for pleasure, when we forget that we are God’s children and that God has great dreams for our lives, we may end up serving the false gods of sex and passion, just as they did in Paul’s time. In our obsession with pleasure, we may even walk away from the God who created us — and in the process we may cause God to abandon all the great dreams God has for our lives.

    Did these priests and priestesses get into these behaviors because they were lesbian or gay? I don’t think so. Did God abandon them because they were practicing homosexuals? No. Read the text again.

    In our Soulforce video, There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy, the Rev. Dr. Louis B. Smedes, a distinguished Christian author and ethicist, describes exactly how the Bible says these promiscuous priests and priestesses got into this mess. Once again it has nothing to do with homosexuality:

    SMEDES: “The people Paul had in mind refused to acknowledge and worship God, and for this reason were abandoned by God. And being abandoned by God, they sank into sexual depravity.”

    SMEDES: “The homosexuals I know have not rejected God at all; they love God and they thank God for his grace and his gifts. How, then, could they have been abandoned to homosexuality as a punishment for refusing to acknowledge God?”

    SMEDES: “Nor have the homosexuals that I know given up heterosexual passions for homosexual lusts. They have been homosexual from the moment of their earliest sexual stirrings. They did not change from one orientation to another; they just discovered that they were homosexual. It would be unnatural for most homosexuals to have heterosexual sex.”

    SMEDES: “And the homosexual people I know do not lust after each other any more than heterosexual people do… their love for one another is likely to be just as spiritual and personal as any heterosexual love can be.”

    Thank you, Dr. Smedes. (To get a copy of the video featuring Dr. Smedes, There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy, visit http://www.soulforce.org.)

    Getting to know a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person of faith will help you realize that it is unreasonable (and unjust) to compare our love for each other to the rituals of the priests and priestesses who pranced around the statues of Aphrodite and Diana. Once again, I feel certain this passage says a lot about God, but nothing about homosexuality as we understand it.

    You’ll also note that Romans 2 begins with “Therefore, [referring to Romans 1], you have no excuse, whoever you are, when you judge others; for in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself…” Even after he describes the disturbing practices he has seen, Paul warns us that judging others is God’s business, not ours.

    1. Francesco says:

      Unbelievable. This is what they do to students in “Christian” seminaries nowadays?

      It’s not just that you are doing evil. You are doing evil and calling it good. And you are twisting the Bible to justify it. That’s an abomination in the sight of the Creator.

      I reread Romans 1:26-27, and guess what? It still says what’s obvious at first sight: that men and women rejected God and engaged in same-sex relations.

      There’s nothing spiritual in same-sex practices. Nothing. And you are not loving homosexuals when you affirm those practices. Yes, homosexuality is a complex issue, and possibly a cross to bear for those who have homosexual tendencies, but it’s in no way a practice affirmed by God. Ever.

      Dr. Smedes might be a scholar, but so what? Lots of scholars are wrong all the time. Appeal to authority does not work as a rhetorical ploy when it goes against the very cornerstone of a faith (the Bible). And no, it’s not a matter of interpretation of the Greek here or the Hebrew there. The Bible is plain about it. In the beginning God created man and woman, and sex is a (pleasurable) means to express intimacy, form a family, and propagate the species. It’s plain. It’s simple. It’s obvious.

      Only a being that hates humans (Satan) could devise a twist to sexual practice and convince the world through “so-called” Christians, scholars, and seminary graduates that an abominable practice like homosexuality is on par with heterosexuality and that a ridiculous notion like homosexual marriage has any standing whatsoever in a morally healthy society.

      See, I sin. I’m far from perfect. By I don’t justify my sins. I don’t call them good. I don’t justify them by going to the Greek or the Hebrew and twisting the verses till the Bible does not make any more sense and till you make it say what it wants it to say. And yes, we do know what Sodomite means. Jesus knew it. We all know what God did to Sodom and why.

      And Smedes is wrong. The homosexuals he knows HAVE rejected God the moment they have affirmed their homosexual practice (not the attraction) as GOOD and NORMAL and UNAVOIDABLE.

  23. God made one man and one woman, and then he commanded them to be fruitful and multiply–an order that they and their descendants could never obey except through heterosexual marriage. In the New Testament, we see Jesus confirming that marriage involves one man and one woman. He never even hints that any other arrangement might be acceptable to God. And there’s no record of anyone seeking clarification (from Jesus or the apostles) on whether two men, or two women, or SEVERAL people, or a man and his favorite donkey, etc., could make a marriage. Obviously, the people of that time and place understood that God had ordained and defined marriage, and that it was not for society to redefine it.

    Seems pretty clear-cut to me.

    1. Aizel says:

      Also, people of that time and place weren’t supposed to divorce, non-virgins were supposed to be stoned to death, slavery was okay, and you were supposed to marry your brother’s wife if he died. Obviously, we are not living in that time and place anymore.

      1. Francesco says:

        Aizel, you need to stop twisting the Bible and calling yourself a Christian.
        People were not supposed to divorce AS WE ARE NOT NOW. Marriage is a covenant. God has not broken his covenant with us in spite of our sins. He gave us divorce (for abandonment and divorce) because we are evil, but we are supposed to love/endure forever (like Hosea). That is the epitome of love.

        Non-virgins stoned to death was OT law. You are not under that law. The NT church was not under that law. Straw man.

        Slavery? What kind of slavery? The OT form of VOLUNTARY bond servitude for a limited time-period was a way to repay for sins/crimes since they had no prisons (today’s form of bond servitude).

        Downright slavery (as result of war and conquest) was ALWAYS wrong. Never praised in the Bible. It was recognized as existing (duh), but never praised. And God/Jesus knew that he could not wipe it off single-handedly because, first, he came as a carpenter and not as an emperor, and second, because He knows that TRUE change in humans occurs organically. Eventually the Christian faith in enough people prevailed and made all see the abomination of slavery (as, let’s hope, that of abortion and homosexual marriage).

        Finally, what’s wrong with a man marrying his brother’s wife? Does it offend your Romantic sensibilities? Don’t you see how your perception of love and marriage is ethnocentric, influenced by 230-year old ideas from the Romantic movement and by modern conveniences of the welfare state? These ideas were nonsense in the brutal environment of the past, where there was no life insurance for the poor wife (and kids) of the deceased man. For his brother to marry her, it was actually an act of love.

        But to understand that, one would have to know what love is. The true meaning, I mean, not the Oscar Wilde idea of it.

        1. Aizel says:

          “TRUE change in humans occurs organically. Eventually the Christian faith in enough people prevailed and made all see the abomination of slavery (as, let’s hope, that of abortion and homosexual marriage).”

          Okay, so I’m hoping the Christian faith in enough people will prevail and make all see the abomination of condemning people they think are “lesser” than they are, including homosexuals. I’m hoping the Christian faith will prevail and make all see that God loves ALL of us and that we should LOVE OUR NEIGHBOR AS OURSELF, not just love people that we think are “worthy” but then be hypocrites and condemn gay people.

          “But to understand that, one would have to know what love is. The true meaning, I mean, not the Oscar Wilde idea of it.”

          I see what I consider true love between my gay friends who have been together for more than 6 years, who support each other and care about each other unconditionally, in sickness and in health, who are devoted to one another, who share their goals and dreams with one another and help each other achieve them, who outreach to their communities and teach wayward high school students about the importance of a college education and provide resources to obtain it, who actively fight for social justice. They are not promiscuous in the least. They just have a natural occurring attraction to the same sex.

          It’s a shame that there are people like you who say that these friends of mine are going to hell just because they were born with a natural attraction to the same gender.

          1. Francesco says:

            I love homosexual people. I do business with them and am always very kind with them. As I am to adulterers and other sinners. Because I’m a sinner myself. I’m well aware of my sins and strive to avoid a “holier than thou” attitude. And I never consider anyone as lesser than me.

            Homosexuality is a complex issue. It’s not fully a choice. It’s not fully a genetic issue (despite what the media say). It’s a complex mix of genetic, hormonal, intra-uterine, environmental, family, (sometimes abuse), and choice. Never my intention to belittle them. Many of of them are extremely sensitive and talented.

            I don’t doubt that your homosexual friends care for each other.

            That being said, being loving does not mean affirming a behavior that goes against the moral framework of the Creator. If God exists and is the God of the Bible, He clearly created man and woman and specifically established marriage for members of the opposite sex. If He wanted to affirm homosexual marriage (as you say in one of your comments), you would find that in the Bible, or in the writings and practice of the early church.

            You must be honest with yourself. It’s just not there. It’s not even in pagan, homosexual-friendly cultures of the past, which do have homosexual practices, but not even a hint of homosexual marriage. Let alone in Christian communities. Ever. Not. There.

            Do homosexuals have rights? Yes, as human beings, the same as everybody else. The right to be treated with respect and without discrimination or scorn.

            But, like adultery, homosexuality is not within the moral framework of the Creator. But that’s how they feel, you say. That’s who they are. Yes, and that’s the cross they have to bear, the same way that any of us has a cross of one kind or the other.

            Let’s not forget that homosexual behavior has historically been associated with diseases, some even fatal like rectal cancer and AIDS (initially called GRID), and to this day homosexuals are still the sexual group most severely affected by HIV/AIDS
            http://aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/hiv-aids-101/statistics/

            since most of them (mostly homosexual males) are much, much more promiscuous than lesbians or heterosexual couples. So, affirming a behavior that is potentially fatal is not love.

            Consider that it’s only because of the technological and medical progress of the last 50 years that we can even have this (absurd) debate about homosexual marriage. Before, it was obvious that this sexual practice is not even biologically viable in the long-term with all the venereal diseases, incidence of rectal cancer, and then GRID/AIDS.

            But aside from the medical aspect, the behavior is simply morally wrong. I can understand atheists accept it because they have no absolute moral law to look to, but you, as a Christian, should know better than that.

            You cannot let your affection for your homosexual friends distort your Christian judgment. You must love them, of course, the same way that Jesus loved prostitutes and tax collectors. He loved them in truth, not in complacent affirmation of a behavior contrary to God’s moral framework.

  24. Aaron says:

    Doesn’t the Bible kind of settle the argument in the first few chapters? God makes Adam and then his bride Eve, right? The two become one flesh, etc., etc. He didn’t make Adam and his ‘girlfriend’ Eve. He didn’t make Adam and his pal Dave. He didn’t make Adam and his faithful dog Buster. He didn’t make Adam and his harem. He didn’t make Adam and his boy-toy Fabian.

    I don’t know Greek or Hebrew and I haven’t been to seminary, but I generally have confidence in the translators that have worked to provide me with several English bibles and I think I still have a few neurons firing in my brain. The simple reading of the text from start to finish clearly does not paint a positive picture for any sexual arrangement outside of the coming together of a man and woman in lifelong commitment (aka marriage). Even when God allowed some other arrangements in the OT, it usually turned out to be quite a headache for the parties involved.

    Somehow several posters above have got this notion that affirming and defending a historical and biblical view of marriage as a man/woman union is mutually exclusive with loving those with other circumstances. I cannot affirm homosexual marriage and sexual relationships because God does not allow me to do so. Yet God commands me still to love them…love them so much that I must preach Christ to them and attempt to convince them of a need for repentance and the Grace that abounds. TO tell them that they can be in Christ and still cling to sin is an absolute lie, the kind of thing you would tell someone you hate, not someone you love.

  25. Majed Alabdali says:

    in Islam, the same-sex marriage is banned by the God. and as Isalm is the latest relegions, we believe that the same-sex marriage is also banned in all older relegions such as Christianity,Judaism and etc. the punishment for that is ” killing”..

  26. Alison says:

    You just keep rejecting people like the Pharisees and I’ll keep loving and accepting them like Christ did. YOU are the reason why people are falling away from church. Thankfully, there are people like ME who will heal the wounds you have created by rejecting them. Ta!

  27. Austin D says:

    Very interesting stuff.The content in regards to how we should approach the gay movement is great. As for conduct, I read a solid article that gives a refreshing spin on our attitudes towards those we disagree with. Definitely worth a read…

    http://threeguysoneblog.com/2013/09/to-my-gay-friends-family-members-and-that-guy-who-lives-across-the-street/

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Trevin Wax


​Trevin Wax is managing editor of The Gospel Project at LifeWay Christian Resources, husband to Corina, father to Timothy, Julia, and David. You can follow him on Twitter. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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