Yesterday, June 26th, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, and proponents of homosexual marriage claimed a great victory in their fight for equal recognition under the law.
Many Christians are decrying this ruling as a sign that marriage is under attack, that America has turned its back on Biblical values and principles, “the gays” are taking over, and that to espouse Biblical belief is well on its way to being considered a hate crime. I would like to write a little about this conglomeration of topics, and I hope you follow along with me.
First of all, to be alarmed that Biblical marriage is under attack is A) unbiblical B) vacant of an understanding of history, and C) hypocritical.
A) Read 1 Peter 5:8-9. Has Jesus come back to establish his eternal kingdom? No? Then I guess the devil still roams around like a lion. He hates Jesus, Christians, everything good, and will try to destroy them. He hates marriage, why are you surprised it is being attacked? Be ALWAYS on guard, in every arena of life.
B) I encourage you to do some research into the marriage practices of the Roman Empire. Especially the part where Augustus (the emperor when Jesus was born) felt compelled to legislate morality into marriage by imposing strict punishments for adultery (it wasn’t even considered adultery to have intercourse with a slave or prostitute, Caesar was only trying to get men to stop sleeping with other men’s wives), and try to coerce Romans into “traditional marriage”, since the marriage rates were declining and those marriages that did happen failed to produce many offspring because of no intercourse and the common practice of infanticide (including abortions). Of course, the laws didn’t work, and a few decades later Paul has to explain what marriage and fidelity even are to the Corintians. Legislating morality doesn’t work for anyone, including Moses, so why was your hope ever in the United States Congress?
C) Here is the big one. I have heard my fair share of pastors and Christian leaders claiming that homosexual marriage is going to weaken “traditional marriage”. I want to ask each of them this set of questions about how well they have championed Biblical marriage:
- When you have an unmarried church member with an active sex life, what steps do you take, and how consistently?
- What do you do to help those of your congregation overcome pornography addictions?
- When doing premarital counselling, if the couple is sleeping together or one isn’t a Christian, what is your response?
- If a married couple in your church says they want to get divorced, what is your pastoral response, and what church discipline is taken if they do get divorced?
- What percentage of sermons in the past twenty years have honestly affirmed the Biblical vision of marriage as the most difficult relationship of a married couple’s life, a vehicle for mutual sanctification, submission and service, and not the best option for everyone? A sermon doesn’t count towards this total if, in it, you berated the world, another vision of marriage, single people, or those who are divorced.
- What support systems do you have for married couples to privately and honestly ask questions, work out difficulties and problems, and openly share their struggles and feelings?
- How do you disciple your married and single congregants towards Biblical marriage?
- How do you prevent your female congregants from domestic and sexual abuse, and how do you help them find healing and wholeness in Christ for past abuse?
There are no right answers to any of these questions, but if a Christian leader cannot even answer any of these eight questions (and I will likely think up more later) without lying or falling short, I must conclude that, Biblically, they cannot cast the first stone against homosexual marriage. Actions speak louder than words, and far too many churches have said they support Biblical marriage without backing it up with actions.
Brothers and Sisters, Christianity has failed the United States of America when it comes to marriage. We failed, not when we didn’t campaign more against the gay agenda, but when we allowed our marriages and sex lives to be identical to the world’s. We have failed every day for the last sixty years or more. If we were Biblical, our divorce rates would be near zero, our sex lives would be more vibrant, and the politicians, homosexuals, and everyone else would be knocking down our doors to try and discover how our marriages are so much more fulfilling and happy than everything else they have tried.
Secondly, the United States of America is not, nor has it ever been, a Christian nation. There is only one Christian nation, and it hasn’t happened yet. Yes, we were once more influenced by Biblical values, many of our historic patriots were exceedingly godly men, and we have slipped from that. However, Biblical values are not legislated (see 1B), they are embodied and learned through imitation. If we see fewer Biblical values, the fault is with us.
Thirdly, “the gays” is a pretty discriminatory thing to say, can we please stop it? As Christians, we are to shun stereotypes and group labels within the body, and to love everyone, regardless of behavior or belief, with the love of Christ. That includes gays, inside and outside the church. Your church might be against homosexuality, but as a Christian you never have the right to hate, demean, or do anything other than lovingly serve someone. Hold fast to your beliefs, but love.
And for the love of Pete, every homosexual isn’t in a secret club bent on undermining everything you hold dear. Is there a conspiracy against Christianity? Yes. See 1A. Is it led by the “gay lobby”? No, it’s led by satan, and he employs people of all sexual persuasions.
Fourth and finally, is Biblical belief unpopular and ridiculed? Yes. Is it heading the way of becoming a hate crime? Yes. Don’t panic, we as a church have been here before (and are still there, look at Egypt where millions of Christians risk being martyred in three days). We aren’t called to be popular, in power, or safe. We are called to follow Christ and impact the world for him through our lives, relationships, and deaths. For too many years has “Christianity” been something to do on Sunday mornings, and forgotten the rest of the week. For too long have we worried about growing in numbers rather than growing closer to the Lord through godly accountability and discipline. For too long have we cared more about behavior modification rather than full life surrender leading to transformation through Jesus and the Spirit. We Christians are responsible for the mess so many are decrying. Let’s stop complaining, get on our knees, and repent!
Lord, forgive us for our arrogance, assuming that America is a special nation, or that we have a right to it. Forgive our idolatry, chasing after materialism, sexual “liberation”, selfish individualism, high opinion from others, and apathy towards you and your Word. Empower us through your Holy Spirit to live and love in radically Biblical ways in our marriages, and thank you for the opportunity to shine your light brightly in a dark world! Save us, save our neighbors and countrymen, for we like you desire all to be gathered unto you. We surrender ourselves to you to do with as you please, that your glory may be known in the entire universe, starting in our homes. Grant us the grace to live as Christ. Amen.