The internet has displayed a flood of reactions to the legalization of same sex marriage. There is rejoicing and great joy. Homosexuals find that they can finally live in open union with their loved one, receiving the same governmental additives as a heterosexual conjugation. The proverbial and literal flag of the homosexual movement waves highly and proudly today. From that esteemed angle, they may find it proper to look down upon all of those who have (and still) oppose them. The Christians have begun claiming that today, we enter into the “last days.” Such a perilous movement for humanity is surely going to usher in the end of times. Perhaps this is just a way of saying, “I am quite displeased with this turn of events.” I am not sure. However, I would like to help Christians to formulate their thoughts. For this reason, I ask and labor to answer the question, how should Christians react to the legalization of same sex marriage?
Every time this sort of debate is ignited, it is exceedingly hostile. We will see smoke emitting from the ears of people who are otherwise often quite kind-hearted. Charges of bigotry and inequality will arise. People have it ingrained in their minds that marriage equality is akin to slavery, women’s rights, and other issues pertaining to human rights. People think of it as a violation of human rights. They are imposing their beliefs upon others. They are controlling the lives of others. That is why it is so difficult to have a conversation. But Christians should know how to have a conversation. Christians have to react properly to this turn of events. How can we do that? How should Christians react to the legalization of same sex marriage?
We need to educate ourselves. When people apply both ignorance and arrogance, it is quite a deadly combination. It seems that many people, both Christian and non-Christian, liberal and conservative, are very emotionally charged about this issue. However, when that emotion merges with ignorance, it is very difficult to communicate. When both parties are speaking in emotional ignorance, then it becomes just impossible. I am afraid that this characterization is not far from the truth. Many Christians are just completely uneducated about the relevant issues that pertain to same sex marriage and marriage equality. They just have no idea.
They do not know how to speak to a liberal or understand their language or way of thinking. They do not know how to approach this issue purely from a social standpoint. While the Bible is the sole infallible rule of authority for the church, it is not the authority that the secular world accepts for themselves (otherwise they would not be the secular world). The reason that conservative scholars oppose same sex marriage may be ultimately driven by their belief in the bible, but if it is a belief that truly is for the betterment for society, then we should be able to articulate why society would be better in the absence of same sex marriage. Many Christian academics have undertaken such a project. How should Christians react to the legalization of same sex marriage? Well, the social justification for denying same sex marriage needs to be understood.
When we have a conversation with our liberal friends, we need to be able to properly enunciate what we believe and why we believe it. We may appeal to the Bible if we would like. But our respectful friend would say something like, “Okay, that works for you. But I do not believe in the Bible. While I am thrilled for you that your faith has given you purpose in life, it is just not what I am interested in at this particular point. With that in mind, I do not think that I should be forced to follow the rules of your faith.” In this way, if we are going to have a conversation with people, if we are really going to represent the biblical position, then we need to be intelligent and educated. If the conservative party had a proper representative, the debate would not be easily won. Seek out good books on the topic. Doctor Frank Turek’s Correct, Not Politically Correct: How Same Sex Marriage Hurts Everyone labors to outline the relevant issues.
Allow your love to be your seat at the table. Perhaps an argument could be made that this subsection should have been first. But I do not place them based on importance. The love that Christians demonstrate needs to be our seat at the table. People are willing to listen to us not because we scream louder than they do. They are willing to listen to us not only because we are educated and intelligent. They are willing to listen to us not because we can articulate our points effectively or refute everything that they are saying. People do not listen to that. The reason that they listen to us is that we are willing to show love to them, and hence, we have gained their respect and honor. People want to hear the moral opinion expressed by those who have a proven worthy moral opinion. If Charles Manson wanted to explain to me how one behaves as a decent person in society, most of us would not hold his opinion in high esteem. But if Mother Teresa were to outline that for us, then that is a person of worthy repute that we could listen to.
If a Christian wants to be able to communicate with other people, if we want to make ourselves known, then we need our love for them to be the foundation upon which we stand. I want to emphasize that I am not talking about fuzzy, warm feelings or butterflies in the stomach. I am not talking about a generic concept. I am talking about something very specific. Consider the Golden Rule. Jesus told us to love our neighbor as ourselves. This means that to the degree that we attend to our own needs, so also we should tend to the needs of our fellow man. If you can be self-sacrificial, if you can give something to your friends, then seek to do that. If you have a few hours that you would normally spend on yourself, give it to your neighbor. When they see that you are sacrificing yourself, that you truly care about them, then your moral opinion is elevated. How should Christians react to the legalization of same sex marriage? Allow your love to be your seat at the table.
There are so many people who align themselves with Christianity that just want to shout others down. They just want to make their voices heard, and pretend that they are doing a service to Christ and a service to their cause. But what they are contributing is not the love that I see revealed in Christ, as he said, “You have heard it said, ‘Love your neighbor, and hate your enemy. But I tell you, love your enemy, and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43-44).
Do not compromise biblical principles. The way this debate is framed makes it very challenging to the Christian faith. It is not so much that we are debating the truth value of a certain proposition. Rather, we are debating human value, so it seems. The LGBT movement often seems to portray the debate as akin to the debate over interracial marriage, or slavery, or something historic that has emerged with obvious moral overtones. The debate over same sex marriage has extreme moral overtones. If you enunciate a view that contradicts the common wisdom of the day regarding this issue, you are hastily labeled a bigot. You become the center of controversy. People are out to stomp on you. Christians do not want that. Nobody wants that.
As a consequence, many people will neglect to take a stance on this issue. Christians will remain on the fence, and make only vague remarks regarding their stance of same sex marriage. They will say that they are studying as much as they can to come to a proper conclusion on the issue. But what they are truly doing is acting in fear of what the general public will think of they align with conservative Christianity. If they repudiate same sex marriage, then they are labeled a bigot. If they embrace same sex marriage, they are labeled unfaithful. I think most of us can understand the impulse to remain “on the fence,” or try to find a position that seems to appease everybody, or at least one that does not make everybody angry.
While I understand the desire to make that effort, I am not just convinced that this is what Christians are called to do. Christians are called to stand by the principles of the word of God, because it is the sole infallible rule of faith for the church. It is authoritative in the revealed doctrines and practices, and it is God’s word. It seems that if this is God’s word, then we need only to embrace it without allowing the practices of the world to corrupt it. How should Christians react to the legalization of same sex marriage? We must not reinterpret the Bible to satisfy the demands of the culture. We have to read the culture through the lens of the biblical worldview.
We need to help other Christians to stop compromising. This is a practice that is done with the caveats outlined earlier. We have to do it in love and do it intelligently. We need to call our fellow Christians into obedience to the word of God. If we are losing ground on every front, even in the church, then the American church will be lost. It will slide utterly into secularism within just a few decades, and in the United States, the only thing that we will see is liberal theology. The only thing that we will see are people who have a vague notion of God, who believe that Jesus was a nice guy who suffered an unfortunate death, and that the Bible has a grain of truth amidst a beach of error.
The implications for the church in the United States could not be more dire. We need to love the Bible and obey it. We need to help our fellow Christians to obey it. Of course, I do believe that God will, and does, preserve his church. I am not saying that the universal Church will fall. I am saying that the church in the United States will collapse. There will be revitalization somewhere else, in the future, but the United States will lose what Christianity is has left. Where are the men and women who are willing to stand for biblical truth? Who are willing to help their friends to understand what the Bible says? We are going to lose this culture to secularism. How should Christians react to the legalizations of same sex marriage? It begins with an act of courage from the individual Christian. If you know a Christian who is on the fence, or who outrightly believes in it, try to lovingly and intelligently draw them to obey the truth. A good resource on the biblical data concerning same sex marriage is the book The Same Sex Controversy by Doctor James White.
Remember that you, too, are a sinner. People are often repelled from the Christian faith because of how judgmental and bigoted Christians are. They are not willing to give a hearing to a word that the Christian says. Rather than allowing their love to be their seat at the table, their hatred becomes a repellent for everybody around them. They are judgmental and mean. They will become angry when a homosexual joins their company, and it becomes apparent that they have a distaste for that individual, on the basis of their homosexuality. They define that person as a homosexual, and cannot see passed it. Of course, the lady or gentlemen might maintain homosexuality as part of their identity, but it is not meant to be slanderous as the bigoted Christian is using it.
So rather than being hateful, judgmental and bigoted, the Christian who has truly been born again will see another reality emerge. This is a worthy saying: Christ came to save sinners, of whom I am the worst (1 Timothy 1:15). We do not come to God because we are so much better than homosexuals. In and of ourselves, we are much worse than these people. We need to remember that while we were still enemies of God, while we were unrighteous, while we were unbelievers, God made us alive through Christ Jesus. He gave us new life, on the merits of the Son of God, who died in the place of his people. He took on the death that we deserve and then he rose from the dead. Just as he died and rose again, so also the old man dies and rises again a new creature. “Even when we were dead in our transgressions, God made us alive together with Christ.” Ephesians 2:5
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