The recent Supreme Court decision, Obergefell v. Hodges, has for now closed (perhaps we should say foreclosed now) the debate on marriage that has been raging in the secular world, and has legally redefined marriage to include relationships other than heterosexual couples. In light of this landmark ruling, some are jubilant, others dismayed. The temptation for us is to say nothing, let our progressive friends have their day of rejoicing, and remain focused on our core ideals. However, we would be remiss to refrain from commenting on so important a moment.
Unfortunately, the media’s full court press on this issue has left Christians being pilloried as being “against” something that is now seen as wonderful. I will sidestep the temptation to speak of what we at this site may or may not be against, in order to affirm instead what we are for.
1. We are for love. Love between people is a reflection of God’s love for us. “God is Love” declared St. John the disciple. Love is a gift, and a very great one. Love is about something deeper than romance and genitals, as I have written elsewhere. Love at its best is “other elevating” rather than “self gratifying”. It sacrifices all for its beloved.
2. We are for gay, bisexual, lesbian, and transgendered persons, as well as those who have other kinds of sexual appetites. We love you as we would any other brother or sister. Love means, however, that we cannot offer you a poisoned gospel. Blessing and absolving anything that God has not condoned is an act not of true love, but of love’s opposite, and it does you no favors in eternity.
3. We are for sexuality, which is a gift from God. It is a garden of delights. However it is clear from sacred scripture, which we recognize as God’s revelation, that for our own good, and for that of our children who need stable families, God has put a wall around that garden. We recognize that we are not above our Creator, and therefore we respect that wall. We respect it even to our personal detriment. We respect it even in the face of a potential loss of fellowship with those who now find such a stance to be outrageous. Obeying God has never been without cost. We have always been asked to “surrender all” for the cause of Christ. Again, that is the result of our love for God–we honor our Beloved.
4. We are for marriage. We believe, with scripture, that marriage is sacred and holy, instituted by God. We believe that it is a pillar of civilization. We mess with it at our own peril. Marriage has been understood for millennia as the union of man and woman. Let me be clear on one point–it is heterosexuals, and not homosexuals, who have done the most damage to marriage. And the church, the institutionalized body of Christ, has also let the world down on this one. We have contributed to the confusion about the definition of marriage. We should repent of the bigger sins that we have allowed to slip by us in the 20th century, and put the “holy” back into “holy matrimony.”
- We have not created stable and loving marriages.
- We have been complicit as the culture cheapened and redefined “love” itself as something other than the sacrificial love that is advocated in the Bible.
- We should have refrained from blessing terrible relationships between abusive heterosexual couples when we were aware of them.
- We (mainly Protestants in this case) should not have caved on the issue of mixed faith marriages if we knew full well that means a loss of children to a foreign god.
- Better premarital counseling and guidance might have helped some couples avoid making mistakes, or else given them tools to improve communication, reduce stress, and remain committed during the rocky times in a marriage.
- We must be honest and admit that no-fault divorce and easy remarrying has done more to shred the institution of marriage than anything gay marriage could do.
We already have allowed society to redefine this institution from a lifelong stable union into an intellectual fig leaf for transient sexual gratification between consenting adults. It is a short step to either lose the fig leaf and just fornicate, or to extend it to other kinds of relationships. Both of these have happened, and often the church has been complicit.
5. We are for children. We believe, as is also demonstrated in numerous studies, that they thrive best and prosper most when raised in a stable two parent family with a mother and father who love them. I would go further and say that they should be in a loving Christian family.
6. We are for the U.S. government. As people who love God, we would hope that our nation would seek after Divine blessing rather than curse. Still, we know that we enjoy the fruits of liberty and have lived under a more benign government than most in history have known. Christians in Ancient Rome were under a hostile regime, yet sought to be best citizens they could be, except where conscience forbade it (such as in the worship of Caesar as a god). We also aim to be our nation’s best citizens. We will continue to pray for the U.S and its leaders. We can and should pray for revival. We should always ask that the holy Spirit of God would blow through our land, to refresh the churches and to bend the hearts of the people back toward their God.
7. We are for truth. We must not give up on speaking the truth for the sake of popularity or other personal gain. The civil definition of “marriage” has changed, but God’s definition of “holy matrimony” has not. The corollary of “what God has joined together let no man tear asunder” is “what God has not joined together, let no man try to do so.”
8. Most of all we are for God, the maker of all things, to whom we owe our very existence. God didn’t merely flick us into existence and go away, but has loved us and offered us a relationship. We have been invited to enter the divine dance. We are still to be witnesses to God’s love in a hostile world. We must “walk in love as Christ loved us”. We must stand fast to our calling to share the good news. That hasn’t changed.