With North Carolina’s recent approval of an amendment to its constitution forbidding same-sex marriages, there are now 31 states with some kind of ban on homosexual marriage. Yet the tide of opinion in the country actually seems to be running the other way.
A recent Washington Post article cites the work of public-opinion specialist Greg Lewis, who has been studying attitudes toward homosexual rights for two decades. Looking at the results of many different public opinion polls over a number of years, Lewis concludes that “support for same-sex marriage has increased by 16 points since 2004,” and at the end of 2011 stood at about 46 percent – up from 30 percent in 2004. And with President Barack Obama’s newly declared support for homosexual marriage, gay rights advocates see this as a pivotal moment in history for their cause.
So, given that our highly secularized society is moving more and more toward acceptance of same-gender marriages, should Christians continue to resist that tide, or just move on to more winnable fights?
The day after President Obama’s announcement of his new position on the subject, Kevin DeYoung published a web article entitled “Five Reasons Christians Should Continue to Oppose Gay Marriage.” His list included the following:
- Every time gay marriage has been put to a vote, the people have voted to uphold traditional marriage.
- The promotion and legal recognition of homosexual unions is not in the interest of the common good.
- The term marriage has meant something throughout history. We should not concede that “gay marriage” is really marriage.
- Legalizing gay marriage further normalizes what was until very recently, and still should be, considered deviant behavior.
- Once we surrender the (same-sex) marriage fight, the cultural pressure will not stop until it achieves the elimination of definitions (of marriage) altogether.
All these are valid reasons to continue the fight. But there is an additional reason not on DeYoung’s list that I think merits a great deal of attention. There are a lot of people out there who are deeply spiritually deceived about this issue. I’m not talking about secular proponents of “marriage equality.” I’m talking about people who are in church on Sunday and profess themselves to be both Christian and homosexual. I’ve been interacting with some of these folks online, and I’m convinced that for their sake, and perhaps more importantly, for the sakes of those who might be influenced to join them, the battle must still be fought.
The self-professed homosexual believers I’ve been interacting with are very deeply entrenched in their belief system. Many are quite bitter about the way they are received (or not received) by other believers. They are very quick to accuse Christians who advocate for continuing the legal ban on same-sex marriage of violating their rights and demonstrating hatred toward them. They usually insist that God’s love sanctions their same-gender relationships, and that Scripture passages that speak of God’s hatred for homosexuality are just misinterpreted. Their great justification for their lifestyle is, “I was born homosexual.”
To be frank, I have so far seen little evidence that people who are committed to their homosexual identity are open to biblical truth on the subject. Their armor of denial is too thick. And in order to protect that armor from being breached, they typically refuse any serious examination of the actual texts in Scripture that address God’s stand on homosexuality. They have an array of quips, evasions and superficial talking points at the ready to avoid being dragged into any discussion of what Scripture actually says.
But in light of Isaiah 55:11 (“My word … shall not return to Me void”) and James 5:20 (“he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death”) it is well worth continuing to make the biblical case that homosexuality is not acceptable to God. Plus, I’m finding that these discussions are strengthening my own ability to share what Scripture teaches, so that I am better prepared to influence people who are not yet so deep into the homosexual lifestyle.
Issues and Answers
Here are some of the issues homosexuals who profess Christ typically raise, along with the way I have addressed them.
Scripture doesn’t say God opposes homosexuality. That’s just your interpretation. You have your interpretation, I have mine.
Let’s look at what the apostle Paul had to say:
Rom 1:26-28 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;
Although I have challenged a number of self-professed Christian homosexuals to do so, I have yet to have anyone even attempt to give a pro-gay interpretation of this passage. It’s very difficult to see how a rational and intellectually honest person can objectively read it and still think that “being gay is of God.”
To condemn a loving homosexual relationship is hypocritical and hateful.
It would be hypocrisy only if all forms of love were equally valid. But that is not the case. Some relationships, however loving they may be, are simply not allowable. For example, most people would rightfully condemn my actions if I decided to pursue a “love” relationship with your wife (while she is married to you) or your 8-year old daughter. Those relationships are out of bounds no matter how much love I might have. Labeling as “loving” a relationship that is impermissible on other grounds does not redeem that relationship into moral acceptability.
It is not hateful to tell a homosexual the truth about what God thinks of his lifestyle. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Is it hatred to tell a diabetic that his habit of eating 10 or 20 Twinkies every day is physically damaging to him? No! And neither is telling a homosexual, on the basis of the clear teaching of Scripture, that his lifestyle is spiritually damaging to him. It is, in fact, the most loving thing you can do for him.
But Romans 8:1 says there is no condemnation in Christ.
True. But should homosexuals rest easy because of that? I strongly urge them not to! The practice of homosexuality is identified in Scripture as being extremely grievous to God (Lev 18:22; Rom 1:26-28).
In 2 Cor 13:5 the apostle Paul urges all believers, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?-unless indeed you are disqualified.”
How might a spiritual self-examination show a person who professes Christ that they are in fact “disqualified”?
1 John 2:4 says, “He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”
Clearly, 1 John 2:4 is saying that a person who persists in a lifestyle that is in direct violation of the commands of Christ has no right to claim to be “in Him.” Since Scripture is clear that God severely disapproves of homosexuality, people who profess Christ but continue to practice a homosexual lifestyle should be very concerned about their spiritual state. Unless they repent and allow Christ to truly be Lord in their lives, they are indeed in great danger of condemnation.
But I was born homosexual!
I am not aware of any passage of Scripture that directly addresses the question of whether individuals may be born with a preference for same-sex relationships. But what is clearly addressed is that it is not permissible for any person to be sexually active outside of marriage or with a same-gender partner. Your issue is no different from that of an unmarried heterosexual. Outside of a one man, one woman marriage, you must remain celibate. That’s the biblical standard, and if you obey it, the question of “born gay” doesn’t even arise.
It is a violation of homosexuals’ rights to not allow them to marry. We need Marriage Equality!
None of us has an unlimited right to marry anyone we may love. If I love my sister, or even, in many states, my first cousin, I am not legally allowed to marry her. So, the idea that any legal restriction on my choice of whom to marry is inherently a violation of my rights is fallacious. The ban on same-sex marriage does not take away any existing rights from anybody. Homosexuals already have exactly the same rights to marry as anyone else. What they now are asking for is a redefinition of the institution of marriage to give them marital rights that no one ever had before.
Legal bans on homosexual marriage now are just as discriminatory as bans on interracial marriage were in the past.
Interracial marriage and homosexual “marriage” are not comparable issues. Bans on interracial marriage by definition illegally deny rights based solely on race. That is forbidden by the 13th and 14th Amendments. Laws that prohibit same-gender marriage make no legal distinctions between persons – homosexuals have exactly the same rights to marry as anyone else. Such laws simply forbid the redefinition of marriage to something fundamentally different from what it has been. That is not discrimination.
Should Christians continue to fight same-sex marriage? Yes! Let’s keep planting seeds of truth.