By “younger Christian,” I don’t necessarily mean those who only recently came to faith; rather, I intend this for those under 40. I do hope, however, that others can benefit from this little note.
I also must state that I am writing to those who are trying to take the Bible seriously, as God’s infallible Word, Special Revelation. Those who are not Christians, or those who claim to be but understand the Bible as deeply flawed will not care to read further.
There are many motives and reasons given for accepting same-sex marriage as normal, good, and holy. Some do so because they see loving relationships formed between men, or between women, and see as much love between them as between heterosexual couples, so who should deny them the right to marry? Some younger people have a deep-seated fear of being labelled a bigot, and with good reason. There are very few today advocating a curb on same-sex marriage, and to do so definitely places oneself on the outside of most modern culture. Older Christians (again, chronological age), nearing the end of life, make foolish stances seemingly out of fear of being found on the wrong side of history.
It is fair to say that there is a vast difference between same-sex couples in committed relationships and the X-rated variety of in-your-face sexfests that are on display at events such as the Toronto Gay Pride parade. I am pretty sure that quite a few same-sex couples are appalled at the depravity on display there.
What pulls at the heartstrings, however, is that for some Christians, the same-sex marriage is an attractive alternative to those tormented by same-sex attraction. Taking the Bible seriously, there has been great effort expended to show that the prohibitions against homosexuality (in the Law and in Paul), and the judgments against it (Sodom and Gomorrah), are against not the kind of behaviour advocated today, but against perversions of it. At this point, those who don’t care what the Bible says will simply choose to ignore it, rather than to seek alternate explanations.
But if you are a reader who does happen to think the Bible is important, and are still convinced that same-sex marriage has God’s stamp of approval, please read on.
Christians who argue for the acceptance, by the church and society, of same-sex marriage, must affirm that God smiles on these relationships, that His judgment is not against such relationships, that it is not a sin to marry a person of the same sex.
With the language of Scripture so set against same-sex marriage (and I’ll deal with specific passages in a later post), the argument cannot be for a “gray” area, somewhere between right and wrong. To argue for same-sex marriage is to affirm its basic goodness, in the same affirmative manner as all marriages.
And this is the problem. If same-sex marriage is normal and good, and if it should be expected that God blesses these unions as He does marriage, why is there not one example of such a union in Scripture? If we are to equate same-sex marriage with marriage as defined up to now, why are there no parallel examples or laws regulating it? Why did Jesus (who, it is falsely claimed, never mentioned homosexuality), not teach on the sanctity of same-sex marriage? Paul mentions and teaches on heterosexual marriage, but never on same-sex marriage.
I think this problem is insurmountable for those who think same-sex marriage must be blessed by God, and therefore by His church.
I do know one argument that will surface right about now, which is,
“Same-sex marriage was rejected by the ancient Israelites and the early church because they had not yet advanced to the place we are now. The Bible is a record of how they understood the world, and how God worked in the world, and they could not have accepted same-sex marriage because of their limited worldview.”
These words may or not reflect your exact thoughts, but I imagine they’re pretty close. The problem with this line of reasoning is that the unique value of Scripture is lost once it is accepted that the worldview, laws, regulations, principles, examples and teachings are merely human inventions. Remember, I am writing this to you who do believe that the Bible is the Word of God, not the musings of men.
Every Christian, if they are serious about Scripture at all, has to make choices; this has been true in all generations, and ours is no exception. We find in Scripture examples of every kind of human relationship, good and evil, and we learn God’s principles about how we must understand each of them. The absence of a relationship (same-sex marriage) can only be explained (to the satisfaction of a Bible believing Christian), by its exclusion from the plan of God for men and women. Marriage can never be same-sex, because it was heterosexual from the beginning.
If the current interpreters (who argue in favour of same-sex marriage) are wrong about it being a sin, then their error is serious. Sin separates us from God, and to accept, bless, and normalise sin is the worst stance a Christian can take. Obeying God’s Word will never make you a happy camper in the world you live in; it will, however, keep you from further offending His holiness.
©Scott Jacobsen, 2012