Fight for Both Marriage and Religious Freedom

When gay marriage was unpopular a few short years ago, advocates appealed to tolerance and minority rights. But now that public opinion has shifted, supporters of gay marriage warn skeptics to get in line, or else. You can’t blame Christians for wondering if the game has been rigged.

In a recent article for The Gospel Coalition, Greg Forster described the predicament facing Christians still contending for gay marriage. Following up, he argued that we need new methods in the fight for marriage. Even after writing two articles, Forster had a lot more to say about what these new methods might include. Mark Mellinger and I interviewed Forster about easy divorce, religious freedom, and glimmers of hope in a culture ravaged by the effects of broken marriages. And at a time when soaring support for gay marriage puts pressure on the Supreme Court to strike down bans across the nation, we look at the influence of television on shaping morality, for better and worse. You can hardly produce a television show today unless it features a sympathetic gay character. But how might our neighbors’ attitudes change if we told stories of marriage in its gritty beauty, such as the relationship between Eric and Tami Taylor of fictional Dillon, Texas, in Friday Night Lights?

If we have learned anything from the last decade, we should know that electing the right politicians won’t solve what ails marriage. We should have learned that lesson when Ronald Reagan backed no-fault divorce as governor of California in 1970. We believe humans flourish when they obey biblical morality, but we’re not afraid of religious freedom. We’re not fighting to get the civil order to exclusively reflect Christianity. Love for our neighbors compels us to pursue more than a moral majority of 51 percent to enforce the definition of marriage. We want our neighbors to know Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit. Forster helps us see the need for more sophisticated, faithful, long-term thinking about cultural change in light of the gospel.

As the podcast continues, The Gospel Project managing editor Trevin Wax talks with Halim Suh, pastor of teaching and theology at The Austin Stone Community Church. Suh has written two small-group studies on Genesis and covered the first five books of the Bible for The Gospel Project. As Suh explains, when you miss the beginning of the story, you’re lost, no matter where you come in. He also discusses the two creation accounts of Genesis 1 and 2 and why we’re tempted to divide God and relate to him in ways we individually prefer.

Wrapping up, Mark and I preview the upcoming National Conference of The Gospel Coalition, starting April 6 in Orlando. We discuss auxiliary events hosted by Reformed Theological Seminary, the conference Premiere Sponsor. When you register to join us in Orlando next month, you can watch these dinner panels of RTS professors on “Having Confidence in the Scriptures” and “Seeing Christ in the Old Testament.”

You can stream the full podcast below, download the mp3, or subscribe to Going Deeper with TGC on iTunes or through your other mobile devices.

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Going Deeper with TGC, 3-22, with Greg Forster

  • Giles Beynon

    Good topic. I agree with a lot of what Greg said in particular that we deal or attack everywhere at once on this subject. What he did miss was that it is essential that evolution is seen for what it is a theory which has no emperical proof and seriously dangerous meta physical problems attached to it. Even though large numbers of people believe in God creation it still doesn’t equate to genuine belief. The out come of a society which has God less and less at its center is moral relevatism. No subjective standard to go to. The culture and beliefs of that society become circular. One feeds another and the media as it is part of the mechanics pushes things along. The mechanisms in society (i.e senate) are run by people. Each individual but created in the same image of God as each other. The reason i say this is that you know there similaraties but we are all a little bit different. The Gospel has one message which in a sense everyone has a choice, God’s way or ours. Changing people’s hearts is the key not block policy. That will come when people hearts are changed. Change the individual and they will with the spirits help change families, streets, towns, cities, nations and the world. I agree with all the people on the podcast that hetro sex outside of marriage is just a serious. It must be mentioned in and around the subject. I would go with one of interviewers and say sex in marriage can be just as good or may i say better than short term pleasure seeking. I gather this from simple conversations that I’ve has where sex with someone they love is so much better. In regards to media they have their own agenda which links into the heart issue. They believe in other things and will want to change society as they see best. That is battle all on it’s own. As churches preach on Sunday, Hollywood puts it own religon out there as well.

  • Frank Turk

    I have a hard time buying that we want people to know Jesus when we are afraid of the necessary consequences of knowing Jesus.

  • Raj

    I don’t see the episode in iTunes. Has it been uploaded?

    • Collin Hansen

      It’s there for me, Raj. But let us know if you still don’t see it.

      • Raj

        If I click on the “subscribe to Going Deeper with TGC on iTunes” link in this sentence:

        You can stream the full podcast below, download the mp3, or subscribe to Going Deeper with TGC on iTunes or through your other mobile devices.

        I go to a iTunes related page where this is the first thing I see:

        Fear No More – Chris Castaldo | Released Mar 22, 2013 | Gospel Renewal

        ~ Its the only thing listed for Mar 22, 2013. The above is not there.

        I must be doing something stupid. Nevertheless I d/l’d the mp3 from up above and have subscribed to the TGC in iTunes. Thanks!

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  • Donald

    I would like to hear comments regarding the idea that government should simply get out of marriage. In other words, let the church be the one to define marriage. This seems to be a rising trend among many of the people I come in contact with.

    • Giles Beynon

      Hi Donald,

      Good topic. Your question very much comes down to how you see government functioning within society. Also there is a legal side in regards how relationships are viewed by social, financial, medical and other institutions which impact our lives either daily or say in case of a death. Governments generally in the west are based upon democracy. They are suppose to carry out the will of the people. If the people (society in general) doesn’t hold christian beliefs then they will vote for representatives who will hold and act out their ideology. For a minority to control policy when the majority don’t agree would be contradiction in the very essence of what the nature of the political system is in the US. A point to ponder though, just because someone is conservative does not mean they are christian. So governments consist of people who either believe or not. The way to change society is through people form all walks of life coming to a genuine saving faith through Jesus Christ. As the system depends up majority to win, then policy will change naturally with beliefs of those voting and those put into power by them working towards a christian world view. Institutions will follow suite as the culture has christian teachings/ethics as its guide for life.

    • Greg Forster

      The problem with the libertarian solution is that marriage needs the support of the law to thrive. The realities of human life, especially as regards responsibilities for children, make it extremely difficult to extract the state from marriage. That said, libertarianism is preferable to institutionalizing gay marriage.

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