A Conservative Christian Response to the Supreme Court Rulings on Gay Marriage

Well, the US Supreme Court (a.k.a. the SCOTUS) has ruled on the Defense of Marriage Act and on California Proposition 8, and both rulings went in favor of those who support gay marriage.  Among Christians there is no monolithic response.  Some more liberal-leaning Christians are falling in step with the prevailing view in the culture, saying it’s time we “modernize” and allow gays to marry.  Supporters of this view both inside and outside the church treat it as a civil rights issue, claiming it’s discriminatory to prevent homosexuals from having the same rights and privileges as heterosexuals when it comes to marriage.

We need to recognize, though, that there are real problems with this view, especially for Christians who believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God and have committed themselves to following what the Scriptures teach.  We who are Bible-believing Christians trust that in the Bible God has faithfully revealed His will, His desires, and His purposes for the human race.

The first problem with same-sex “marriage,” though, is one that should be recognized by more than just those of us who put our faith in the Bible: Those who advocate gay marriage are asking the rest of us to abandon what has been the traditional view of marriage not just in America, not just in Western society, but in every culture throughout the entire history of the world.  In one fell swoop these folks want to overturn the collective wisdom and practice on marriage that has existed since the beginning of human history.  Until the last couple decades every culture, and even every religion, throughout the world has taken it for granted that marriage is a contract between a man and a woman. While it’s true that in ancient times polygamy was practiced, even in those cases, the marriage was still between a man and one or more women.  The marriage of two people of the same sex to one another has never been accepted anywhere in the world until very recent times.  Surely there is a reason, a collective wisdom behind this (about which I will say more below).

What has been implicit throughout human history–that marriage is a contract between a man and a woman–is made explicit in the Bible.  The Old Testament prohibits a man from having sexual relations with another man (see Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13).  Likewise, in  the New Testament the apostle Paul tells us that homosexuality is a form of human degradation resulting from man’s rebellion against God, and from idolatry (see Romans 1: 18-32, especially verses 26-27), and that those who practice homosexual behavior will not inherit the kingdom of God (see 1 Corinthians 6:9).

There are those who try to remove the biblical authority of these passages by questioning the translation of certain words, or by pointing out that Jesus himself was silent on the subject of homosexuality, and by accusing Paul of some sort of legalism.   However, their arguments appear to be motivated by a desire to nullify the plain teachings of the Bible because they don’t like what it says.  But the Scriptures are clear on this matter, there is no ambiguity in the plain meaning of the texts, and the Old and New Testaments speak in unison in declaring homosexual behavior to be an aberration that is outside God’s will for humanity, and therefore prohibited by Him.

To many in our softened post-modern culture, in which absolutes are questioned, this seems unbearably judgmental and cruel, and so we might do well to consider why the Bible has such strong things to say against homosexual behavior.  The reason is fairly simple, and straightforward.  In the book of Genesis, chapter 1, we see that God made human beings to be of two genders, male and female.  In chapter 2 we are told that God instituted marriage between a man and a woman.  Simple biology confirms this.  To be graphic for a moment: A man’s penis was created to fit into a woman’s vagina.  A man was not created with an corresponding receptacle in his body to receive a penis into his body (and from a medical standpoint we know that the way in which gay men try to make this happen creates all kinds of health problems, because it is not natural, and isn’t the way things were made to be).  Likewise, there is no part of a woman that fits adequately into her vagina in the same unique way that a man’s penis does.  So simple biology shows that homosexuality goes against nature, and is not the way we were created to be.

Until recent decades, this was a no-brainer.  Even until the 1980s or so, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual used by psychologists viewed homosexuality as a psychological problem and an unnatural state.  However, over the last few decades the cultural revisionists in Hollywood and in our universities have been hard at work putting out as much propaganda as they can to erase that understanding.  And apparently they’ve been pretty successful, considering that now a majority of the American people supposedly believe gay marriage should be allowed.  If you ask me, it’s a result of propaganda and peer pressure, but that’s a topic for another post.

So simple biology tells us that homosexuality goes against nature and against the way God created the human race to operate, which is why He prohibits it in His Word.  But the gay community and those who support the gay lifestyle have done everything they can to try to nullify the argument from nature.  They now claim that biology cannot be taken into consideration in these matters.  This is an example of where the teaching of secular evolution comes into play.  They claim that biology doesn’t figure into it because we just evolved this way.  And in secular evolution there is no morality; the way we are isn’t right or wrong, it just is.  And so they claim that the reason there are gays and lesbians is merely because of evolution.  Therefore, they claim,  our anatomy doesn’t play into the moral discussion.

Now at this point someone may say: But homosexuals claim they’ve been that way as long as they can remember, so they must be born that way.  That’s a debatable point, because it still could be due to environmental factors which take effect in the very early months or years of life.  But even if they are born that way, does that automatically make it right or sanctioned by God?  It’s claimed that alcoholics are born that way, too, but no one is trying to say alcoholism is a healthy or desirable way of life.  Children with birth abnormalities are born that way as well (though some liberals would prefer to just have them aborted), but we don’t celebrate those either.  The mere fact that someone is born a certain way is not an argument that being born that way is good or desirable.

Now, it may sound at this point like I’m just hating on gays.  That’s not the intention.  Let me say upfront that the approach of Westboro Baptist “church” is a horrible distortion of biblical teaching on homosexuality.  God does not hate “fags.”  God loves all people, including homosexuals, and desires all to come to the knowledge of salvation and deliverance through Jesus Christ.  And while homosexuality is a sin, it’s no worse of a sin than adultery, fornication, or any other form of sex outside of a marriage between a man and a woman.  Heck, it’s no worse of a sin than my own lust or gluttony.

And I am not claiming to be perfect or spotless in the area of sexual morality myself.  I’ve made my share of mistakes.  So any righteousness I have comes not through my own good behavior, which the Bible says is nothing but “filthy rags,” but only through my faith in Jesus Christ.  Thank God, He forgives my sin when I come to Him in confession and repentance.  When we trust in Him, He takes our sin and gives us His righteousness.  And he will do this for anyone who comes to him, about any sin, including that of homosexuality.

But I simply wanted to explain why the Bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong–because it goes against the way God created men and women.  God intended a man to have sex only with a woman, and then only in the context of the committed lifelong relationship we call marriage–between a man and a woman.

Our culture is in the process of rejecting this view, though.  Many Christians are up in arms, upset that we seem to be losing the “culture war.”  Well, guess what?  This isn’t the first time in history Christians have been in the minority, nor the first time the prevailing culture’s morals have gone against the Bible.  The early church faced a much worse situation in the pagan Roman Empire.  Homosexuality (and sexual immorality in general) was rampant in that culture (though they didn’t have anything like gay marriage), and in the pagan mindset homosexuality was even celebrated as a legitimate form of “affection” and recreation.

This was the case for the first three centuries of the church’s existence.  How did things change in favor of Christianity?  It wasn’t through laws and politics, for Christians had no political power or visible presence.  It happened one heart at a time, as the Christian faith spread like wildfire, first through the lower classes, and eventually even breaking into the upper classes.  If any change is going to happen in our day, it’s going to happen the same way as well–one heart at a time, through love, prayer and conversions–conversions to a new heart and a new way of thinking, God’s way of thinking.

Gay “marriage” is already the law in, what, a dozen states now?  And think how fast that has happened.  In a matter of just a few years.  And with California’s Prop 8 being struck down without a referendum or anything, one has to wonder how much longer the laws protecting traditional marriage in the states which have them are going to be upheld.  We can no longer expect the government to uphold our beliefs or our moral standards.

So then we will have a choice.  Will we capitulate to the popular majority opinion, or will we stand up for what the Bible teaches, even if we have to do so as a dissenting minority?  Are we willing to be counter-cultural and go against the flow?

Pastors will be under more and more pressure to perform same-sex marriages.  As a former pastor myself, I am keenly aware of the situation they’ll face.  If pastors want to be faithful to the God of the Bible, then they will need to take a stand on conscience.  As Bible-following Christians they will have to say: “The state may say it’s OK, but as a Christian, I cannot in good conscience marry two people of the same sex.”  As Christians we will have to say “The state may sanction gay marriage, but based on what the Bible teaches, I do not agree with it and cannot support it.”  And if you find your pastor or church or denomination giving in on this issue, then it may be time to change churches, hard as that may be for some.  We are going to have to make a distinction between what the government allows, and what we as Christians are willing to go along with, just as we have done on the issue of abortion.  Instead of expecting the government to uphold our view, we’re going to have to accept that it no longer does, and live by our consciences, even if they puts us at odds with the prevailing majority.

Well, these are my thoughts on the matter.  I’m sure I haven’t expressed them as well as I could.  And it’s a very controversial issue, so I won’t be surprised if I take some flack for the things I’ve said.  But Jesus took a lot of flack for me, so it’s the least I can do for Him and His church…..  Blessings to all, even those who do not agree with me on this very thorny topic…..

19 thoughts on “A Conservative Christian Response to the Supreme Court Rulings on Gay Marriage

    1. musicman707 Post author

      Both rulings favor those who want same-sex marriage, though, and people on that side of it clearly see it as a victory. I believe it moves us one step (or actually 2 steps) closer to the legalization of gay marriage. The fact that there was even any desire to overturn DOMA shows the shift in people’s thinking. It was a popular law when it was enacted. The questioning of the constitutionality of both these issues seems to have been an excuse to overturn them.

      Reply
  1. Steve

    Morgan, we are in this situation not because our theology was off but because our pastoral care was. I know of churches where people struggling with sexual issues were shown the door when they were honest during a pastoral visit. It’s this wanting to make believe that if the churches just get rid of the person struggling that they will be faithful is shortsighted at best and sinful at worst. These same pastors wouldn’t kick out a person struggling heterosexually, or with alcohol, or in any other way. It’s just that this is seen as so detestable that many pastors don’t even want to talk with some who thinks its wrong and want help in standing against it.

    The Church is at this crossroad today because of its faithless responses in the past. When people needed compassion we gave punishment, when listening was needed we turned a deaf ear. In this nation the salt has been in the shaker for generations. Maybe this a blessing in disguise. Maybe this will force us to engage in new ways. I’ll have to think more on that. Thanks Morgan.

    Reply
    1. musicman707 Post author

      Really good point, Steve, and sadly right on. I think there is some homophobia among Bible-believing Christians as well (using this term in its true meaning to speak of the fear of homosexuals and homosexuality, and not in the wreckless way it is often used to slander any who question support for the gay lifestyle)–I think some people fear that if they spend too much time with gays somehow it will “rub off” on them, or make them guilty by association. But this is not a loving Christian response. Just as Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners, I believe he would have spent time with homosexuals as well, and perhaps he did, though no record was made of it–but it’s hard to believe that in all his travels he never encountered such persons.

      Reply
  2. Jennice

    Morgan, I really appreciate your thoughtful and loving response to this decision by the SCOTUS. I am with you 100% on what you’ve expressed. Too much of the time, contemporary Christians have allowed the culture to interpret scripture, rather than the other way around, and the decision yesterday, and the mainstream response to it is the result.

    Steve is also right-on, but it’s not just about sexual sins, but other things that make many Christians uncomfortable, like psychological issues, because they have never had to deal with it personally, so it’s just easier to write someone off, than get in the trenches with them, and help them deal with their issues. (I have VERY personal experience with this one, as my ex dealt with some extreme psychological issues, that almost destroyed his life, and the several in body of Christ helped the destruction process along, instead of bringing healing.) I am reminded of Proverbs 14:4
    New Living Translation (NLT)
    4 Without oxen a stable stays clean,
    but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.
    A former pastor preached a wonderful sermon on this verse, relating it to the church. If we want a perfect church, we won’t have any people! People (oxen) mean there will be refuse(sin) and that means messes, (sometimes really stinky ones!) but in the end, a well-fed disciple (ox) will be productive for the kingdom.

    It’s really ironic that this court decision follows right on the heels of the demise of Exodus International, with the apology of its leader, Alan Chambers, to the LGBT community for the wounds they caused in some that sought help from them, that desired healing. While I don’t know the intricacies of the heart of Alan Chambers, I do believe he is right, in that there’s sometimes been more harm than good, in trying to help those dealing with LGBT issues; that being said, I am afraid that his apology will be understood by the LGBT community as a capitulation to their point of view, that they are “born” that way, and there’s no healing needed, and even if the feelings are unwanted, God certainly can’t help. The end result may well be that those seeking freedom lose hope altogether of ever being free, and worse still, that their hearts will be hardened against the gospel, having the lie that God is OK with them, regardless of how they live, cemented in their hearts as truth! That breaks my heart, for I KNOW that God can, and does heal! That healing may not come in the way that we would like, but we don’t change our theology to match our experience here, and cease ministering prayer and healing to those wanting freedom from homosexuality, anymore than we should stop praying for physical healing for people, because sometimes they don’t get well! We are to be a people that pour out grace on those caught in the clutches of sin, all the while, uncompromisingly standing on the word of God. The more rejection that people feel, regardless of the nature of the struggles they deal with, the more we push them right into the arms of those that will draw them further into darkness and sin! The darker the surroundings, the brighter the light shines, to show the way! NOW is our opportunity to show LOVE in the face of disdain for a biblical view of marriage. Do we have the courage?

    Reply
    1. musicman707 Post author

      You make a lot of good points, there, Jennice. In particular, it is odd now that you mention it that the founder of Exodus Int’l closed its doors and apologized just prior to this ruling. It seems like the pro-gay viewpoint is gathering momentum. I have been reminded by recent events that there’s more to this than just a cultural or political movement. At bottom it ultimately has a spiritual source – this is all part of a larger agenda with the enemy of our souls is trying to push on our culture and on the world as a whole. And you are right that we don’t change our theology to match our perceived experiences, but we continue to draw our theology from the Word of God.

      Reply
  3. Jen

    I wonder why people say that homosexuality is no worse than other sins. Doesn’t it matter that it is an abomination and that God turns the unrepentant over to a reprobate mind? Although any and every sin breaks the whole of the law, I think there are some sins that God finds to be more serious than others.

    Reply
  4. musicman707 Post author

    Interesting point, Jen. You make a strong case. Thanks for weighing in. Incidentally, the word translated “abomination” in the Leviticus passages pertaining to homosexuality is used elsewhere only to refer to idolatry, which was the most grievous sin God’s people committed against him. I guess this shows how seriously God views homosexuality, as equal in severity with idolatry.

    Reply
  5. Hank

    Morgan,
    You have done a great job analyzing where this has gone. No matter the sin, the Christian must love the sinner while hating the sin. The Bible speaks plainly and clearly regarding the matters of family and the wrongness of the gay lifestyle. The unspeakable tragedy is that we are becoming a people (our society) that have no moorings. Darwin in his writings indicated that if his evolutionary theories were applied to the social areas of our lives that nothing but power would be left. That is to say that he who has the most power wins. Is it not interesting in these matters that our President said that he has “evolved” in this area? Christian ethics should be determined by what the Bible teaches. You have done a great job expressing theological and practical truth.

    Reply
    1. musicman707 Post author

      Thank you very much for the kind and encouraging words, Uncle H. That means a great deal coming from you. What you said about evolution being applied to the social realm is so true – this is essentially where Friedrich Nietzsche was going in his philosophy, which has had great influence in our day. Good point about the president’s word choice as well – I hadn’t thought about it in that connection.

      Reply
  6. Ed Moore

    Great article Morgan. It is unfortunate that you will now be labeled a “homophobic hate monger” by many for simply holding a position that says something (in this case homosexuality) is wrong. It’s so ironic that we all so crave to be totally and completely loved and yet today’s cultural creed of tolerance empties love of its true power leaving us all the more famished. Tolerance is like the game of saying, “I won’t tell if you won’t tell” and turning a blind eye to the true state of our being. This leaves the “tolerated” having to ever bolster their conspiracy to remain okay. However, only Love can see us for who we really are, call us what we really are and love us just the same. Only true love transforms us.

    Ed Moore

    Reply
  7. verheek

    Love your post on this topic. It hits a number of arguements being made for same-sex relationships to be called marriage and equal to marriage. God had you on a journey to himself and he can do this for people struggling in their various sins including homosexuality. We’ll probably find that all our struggles are somehow genetic. Somehow I hit on your blog through Flipbook. Good find!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s