Sunday, June 28, 2015

What Christians Really Believe about Gay Marriage

It isn't a pleasant thing to watch your nation express such explosive hostility and dynamic division over an issue.  The Supreme Court  decision about gay marriage has sparked a series of angry and vitriolic outbursts from those on both sides of the debate.  If you have a Facebook feed or Twitter timeline you have seen (and maybe participated) in the expressions of approval or disappointment which have sadly gone far beyond a cordial debate or friendly disagreement.


But maybe more saddening than the displays of hatred toward those with whom we disagree (ironically over an issue which is apparently all about love) is the strange aversion we have to facing the foundational point of difference between the two sides.  It doesn't appear that many people want to get to the heart of the matter.  It almost seems that we have lost our very capacity for real communication.  In the place of ideas and principles and discussion we have substituted memes and images and slogans and sound bites and meaningless chatter.  Sometimes it appears that the only contest is about who can shout the loudest.  We don't seem to care what the other side really believes.
For those who really care to understand the basic issue at stake for the Christian about gay marriage, I will share it with you here.  In doing so I know that I may invite expressions of hatred from those who disagree.  But at least I will be hated for what I really believe, rather than for the caricature of my belief as often presented by the media or Christian "figureheads" which are not actually Christian at all.  



The Biblical Christian has a fundamentally different worldview than everyone else.  As such, we necessarily approach virtually every issue in a different way (or at least we should).  The Biblical and Christian worldview does not  first ask "what works" (known as pragmatism) or what "feels right" (known as hedonism) or what do "most people think" (a form of relativism).  The Biblical and Christian worldview simply asks "what does God think, what does God say?"  For the Christian, that is the fundamental issue.  And if the way God thinks about an issue is different than the way I think...then I need to change (not Him). 
Therefore a Biblical and Christian worldview about marriage simply asks "What does God say about marriage in the Bible?" 


If we compare what the Bible says about marriage to what our culture and government says about marriage, it is clear that there has been a fundamental disagreement about marriage for a long time in our country (long before the gay marriage issue ever arose).  For example, our government imposes (or provides) certain tax implications upon married people.  The Bible has nothing to say about that.  Our government protects health benefits to married partners.  The Bible has nothing to say about that.  Our government allows the dissolution of marriage these days for virtually any reason.  The Bible does not.  Our government allows consenting adults to live together as an alternative to marriage.  The Bible does not. 
I point all that out simply to say that long before we ever deal with the gay marriage issue we must recognize that the Bible's view of marriage is something fundamentally different than our culture's view and our government's view.  Frankly I think it is reasonable and fair to say we aren't even talking about the same institution any more. 
Now, if you do not care what the Bible has to say about marriage, then we have found our fundamental point of disagreement.  Good.  But then we are not actually debating gay marriage, we are debating the truth and authority of God's word.  Also, if you want to believe that the Bible is silent or neutral on the issue of homosexuality, there are plenty of websites you can browse to support this belief.  I learned long ago it is a waste of time to try and persuade someone to believe what they don't want to believe.  I could quote you the verses (Lev. 18:22, Lev. 20:13, Rom. 1:26-27, 1 Cor. 6:9-10).  But what is the point?  If you don't want to believe it you won't.
Therefore the fundamental difference between myself and those who support gay marriage is really not about gay marriage at all.  It is not about love.  It is not about genetics or science.  It is not about politics or the Supreme Court or about equality.  We differ in our worldview.  My worldview is this: I believe I live in a world that God made.  As such, He  has a right to make the rules.  But there's more...


It is only when we can discuss this issue at the fundamental level that we can begin to see any cause for hope.  You see, according to the Christian and Biblical worldview, we have ALL messed up this marriage thing  that God gave us.  Yes - both homosexual and heterosexual marriage in our nation is a mess.  Me!  I've messed it up.  Yes, homosexual marriage and practice violates God's standard.  But much of what goes on in heterosexual marriage does as well!  Rampant pornography, sexual selfishness, lack of compassion and love, the absence of mutual submission and sacrifice, role reversals, easy divorce, fighting and cruelty and silence and separation...the list goes on and on.
You see, the only hope we have for marriage is Jesus Christ.  We first of all need His forgiveness for how we have wrecked this institution of marriage.  We have made a mockery of it.  I, as a husband, fall FAR short of God's standard and need His forgiveness every day!  But the Christian hope and the beauty of a Biblical worldview is that Christ offers forgiveness to those who have made a mess of marriage...and everything else.  All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. 
We've made a mess of marriage and of this world.  "But God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life."  That is the hope we come to when we are ready to face the fundamental issues involved in the gay marriage debate.  Ultimately marriage is a picture of Christ's love and death for His church.  "Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it (Eph. 5:25)."
If you hate what I believe now, that is okay.  At least we can talk about where we differ on a more  fundamental level than the name-calling and slogan-slamming commonly going on around us.  If you believe that homosexual couples have a right to marriage then we disagree on the level of our worldview.  Let's talk about that, rather than gay marriage which is just one of a thousand areas we will find to disagree about if our worldview is different.