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Yesterday, to no one’s surprise, President Obama revealed in an interview that after some “evolution” he has “concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married.” This after the Vice-President came out last Sunday strongly in favor of gay marriage. Not coincidentally, the New York Times ran an article on Tuesday (an election day with a marriage amendment on one ballot) about how popular and not controversial gay television characters have become. In other words, everyone else has grown up so why don’t you? It can seem like the whole world is having a gay old time, with conservative Christians the only ones refusing to party.

The temptation, then, is for Christians go silent and give up the marriage fight: “It’s no use staying in this battle,” we think to ourselves. “We don’t have to change our personal position. We’ll keep speaking the truth and upholding the Bible in our churches, but getting worked up over gay marriage in the public square is counter productive. It’s a waste of time. It makes us look bad. It ruins our witness. And we’ve already lost. Time to throw in the towel.” I understand that temptation. It is an easier way. But I do not think it is the right way, the God glorifying way, or the way of love.

Here are five reasons Christians should continue to publicly and winsomely oppose bestowing the term and institution of marriage upon same-sex couples:

1. Every time the issue of gay marriage has been put to a vote by the people, the people have voted to uphold traditional marriage. Even in California. In fact, the amendment passed in North Carolina on Tuesday by a wider margin (61-39) than a similar measure passed six years ago in Virginia (57-42). The amendment passed in North Carolina, a swing state Obama carried in 2008, by 22 percentage points. We should not think that gay marriage in all the land is a foregone conclusion. To date 30 states have constitutionally defined marriage as between a man and a woman.

2. The promotion and legal recognition of homosexual unions is not in the interest of the common good. That may sound benighted, if not bigoted. But we must say it in love: codifying the indistinguishability of gender will not make for the “peace of the city.” It rubs against the grain of the universe, and when you rub against the grain of divine design you’re bound to get splinters. Or worse. The society which says sex is up to your own definition and the family unit is utterly fungible is not a society that serves its children, its women, or its own long term well being.

3. Marriage is not simply the term we use to describe those relationships most precious to us. The word means something and has meant something throughout history. Marriage is more than a union of hearts and minds. It involves a union of bodies–and not bodies in any old way we please, as if giving your cousin a wet willy in the ear makes you married. Marriage, to quote one set of scholars, is a” comprehensive union of two sexually complementary persons who seal (consummate or complete) their relationship by the generative act—by the kind of activity that is by its nature fulfilled by the conception of a child. So marriage itself is oriented to and fulfilled by the bearing, rearing, and education of children.” This conjugal view of marriage states in complex language what would have been a truism until a couple generations ago. Marriage is what children (can) come from. Where that element is not present (at the level of sheer design and function, even if not always in fulfillment), marriage is not a reality. We should not concede that “gay marriage” is really marriage. What’s more, as Christians we understand that the great mystery of marriage can never be captured between a relationship of Christ and Christ or church and church.

4. Allowing for the legalization of gay marriage further normalizes what was until very recently, and still should be, considered deviant behavior. While it’s true that politics is downstream from culture, it’s also true that law is one of the tributaries contributing to culture. In our age of hyper-tolerance we try to avoid stigmas, but stigmas can be an expression of common grace. Who knows how many stupid sinful things I’ve been kept from doing because I knew my peers and my community would deem it shameful. Our cultural elites may never consider homosexuality shameful, but amendments that define marriage as one man and one woman serve a noble end by defining what is as what ought to be. We do not help each other in the fight for holiness when we allow for righteousness to look increasingly strange and sin to look increasingly normal.

5. We are naive if we think a laissez faire compromise would be enjoyed by all if only the conservative Christians would stop being so dogmatic. The next step after giving up the marriage fight is not a happy millennium of everyone everywhere doing marriage in his own way. The step after surrender is conquest. I’m not suggesting heterosexuals would no longer be able to get married. What I am suggesting is that the cultural pressure will not stop with allowing for some “marriages” to be homosexual. It will keep mounting until all accept and finally celebrate that homosexuality is one of Diversity’s great gifts. The goal is not for different expressions of marriage, but for the elimination of definitions altogether. Capitulating on gay marriage may feel like giving up an inch in bad law to gain a mile in good will. But the reality will be far different. For as in all of the devil’s bargains, the good will doesn’t last nearly so long as the law.


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232 thoughts on “Five Reasons Christians Should Continue to Oppose Gay Marriage”

  1. Anon says:

    @Heather I hope you get married some day and one of your kids is gay.

    Then you’ll realize just how hateful your words are.

  2. Mamazee says:

    Anon. – there is no hate. I have seven children and i will love them forever. Would i be disappointed if one were gay? Yes! But same sex attraction can be dealt with Biblically, and there are a lot of cool people who are talking about it (Steve Gershom’s blog comes to mind). Homosexuality is not the unforgivable sin, and i would be just as sad if they chose promiscuity, or divorce, or a life of thievery. But being *tempted* in any of those areas is not sin…

  3. @Anon: I’m sure if God chose for that to happen, He’d have some kind of reason.

    But now you are kind of saying hateful things about homosexuals aren’t you? I mean, using them as a threat? Is that why you don’t have the courage to post your name?

  4. April says:

    @Heather, this actually isn’t my first internet debate. But thanks for illustrating my point. That comment had absolutely no merit whatsoever.

    My point is this – I have had more respectful conversations on topics of disagreements with non-Christians than what I’ve seen demonstrated here. And it shouldn’t be that way. I am a Christian. I know that the Bible talks about unity, being of the same mind, and even talks about places of disagreement in Romans saying we should each be convinced in our own mind. My point isn’t that people commenting here are “mean,” it is that it sends a really crappy message to the world. Plenty of people “out there” think anyone who is against homosexuality is a bigoted jerk. Nasty comments and division only prove that point. It does absolutely nothing to advance the kingdom.

    I’m perfectly capable of taking the heat. I posted here knowing my voice would be unpopular. And I’m not surprised in the least that you aren’t taking my words to heart. But, like you, I feel compelled to speak when I see un-Christian behavior.

  5. April says:

    @Heather, I called you on it because you are a Christian. Drew is not. I’m not holding him to my own standards.

  6. @April: Well, since I was only saying what was true and was not behaving in an un-Christian way, you can now relax. I point to the post by Mamazee as she says I’ve done a good job defending the Christian viewpoint.

    It’s funny because I’ve had more respectful conversations with Christians on here than not…sooo..apparently we’ve had vastly different interactions.

  7. DRT says:


    The bible does not support the strong type of innerrency that you are likely supporting. There are quite a few things in the bible that are incongruent, contradictory, and not literally true. If you are starting out with such a concept then it is no wonder you come across so demeaning to other good people. Please take a close look and see if your theology is the problem, because I think it is.

    To Heather and many of the others here. When someone comes forward with good questions and is honest in their quest, be like Jesus, invite them in, party with them, become friends with them. Understand what they are about. Please stop beating them over the head with your bible, it gives Christians a very bad name.

    I am hesitant to call myself a Christian because of these types of behaviors. It is ridiculous that the followers of Jesus have become the most judgmental unaccepting and mean people I know of.

  8. DRT says:

    Something I would love for all of you to do. Put Paul, Peter, James, Revelation, put them out of your mind and read the actual gospels. If you are having a thought that goes something like “see he is setting up justification by faith” then go back and start over because you missed the point of the gospels. That is what Paul says, not Jesus. And Paul is not Jesus. Yes, really, Paul is not Jesus.

    And as you go back and read the Gospels, think like they taught you to think in grade school. Think, what is the major idea of this section. What does it actually say, not what Paul says. Get to know Jesus.

    If your church is doing something other than the gospels for the next month, don’t go. Stay away. Just read the gospels for a month. Start at the beginning and read all the way. Don’t pick and choose.

    You may be surprised at what you find. You may find Jesus.

  9. @DRT: Actually, that’s not true. The bible is inerrant.

    Yeees, if someone came with a good question, I might consider that. As Drew came at me with “YOU BIGOTED BIGOT WITH YOUR BIGOTRY!!!!” there really was nothing there to respectfully interact with. I’m imagining since you think the Bible is flawed you must have skipped the part where Jesus doesn’t just “party with people.” He tells them where they are wrong and changes their hearts AND their actions. I can’t really DO this, but I can tell them what He has to say about it.

    “It is ridiculous that the followers of Jesus have become the most judgmental unaccepting and mean people I know of.” This myth really really needs to die.
    A. Judmentalism – THIS is saying you know someone’s eternal state. I don’t. Telling someone they are wrong doesn’t make you judgmental. It means you are helping them. I mean, if I’m judgmental in saying homosexuals are wrong, aren’t you therefore judgmental in saying I’m wrong?

    B. Unaccepting – In that I won’t talk to homosexuals? I just did, so that’s out.

    C. Mean – Really? Who cares. I’d say Drew was pretty “mean” in his comments as was Anon, but I didn’t mind that much. We don’t really know each other and if we did in real life I’m sure his comments wouldn’t have been that fiery.

  10. DRT says:

    Heather, you have not done a good job defending the Christian viewpoint. By far, the majority of Christians welcome homosexuals into their ranks. By far, the majority of Christians believe that you may actually be saved even if you never read the bible.

    Please put your ego in check and start to understand what Christians actually teach.

    You are a member of a minority sect that has a radical and unsustainable perspective of the bible that will change, it is only a matter of time.

    Now, I do feel that you fairly represent the people who I know that are in the reformed tradition. You were condescending, arrogant, judgmental, inconsiderate, and had an inflated ego about your place in Christianity. Sounds like par for the course for the reformed.

  11. @DRT: Interesting you assume we aren’t reading the gospels. How much holier you must be than the rest of us. Hmmm…almost sounds like you are…*gulp* JUDGING people.

    No one thinks Paul is Jesus. I know you are under the impression that you are the number one Christian on here, but I assure you…the other Christians on here are sincere. Don’t assume things about their hearts. However, God speaks through Paul’s letters too. If it’s in the bible…it’s the word of God.

    Please, PLEASE a little less pride next time. Thanks.

  12. DRT says:

    re: innerrency, Heather, how do you deal with all the things in the bible that are clearly wrong? Different accounts of the same events? Clearly wrong perspectives on the way that nature and the world works? Even the bible itself never says that it is inerrent. It is “useful”.

    How do you justify in your mind this radical form of innerrency?

  13. DRT says:

    Heather, I am not assuming you don’t read the gospels. I can virtually guarantee that you read them. My challenge was to only read the gospels and do it in a certain way.

  14. @DRT: Oh yes, you can be saved if you don’t read the bible. There have been death bed conversions. Jesus can come to you and change your life in an instant. But I highly question people who say they are changed yet don’t want to hear God’s word.

    As for the majority of Christians welcoming homosexuals into their ranks, what do you mean by that? They welcome people into the church that acknowledge that they struggle with same sex attraction and are trying to submit that struggle against a sin to God? Absolutely! And I think that’s great! Just as I have to submit my struggle against sin to God. They welcome them in by saying they are Christians while they live a sinful lifestyle without a desire to change? Ehhh, if that’s true, they are ushering people into hell with a smile. I find that unconscionable.

    “Please put your ego in check and start to understand what Christians actually teach.” See, I can say the same thing back to you and it makes us even.

    I’m reformed, and may I remind you that liberal theology is a late-comer. We’ve been here a long time, and we’ll still be here a long time.

    My place in Christianity? Uhm, that I was dead in my sins and was completely repulsive to God, but He took pity on me and lifted me up. That it was nothing I did, but completely Jesus Christ. That place in Christianity? How…is that an inflated ego. I was nothing, and by God’s power am only something as long as I bow to Jesus.

  15. Kevin DeYoung says:

    Unfortunately, some of the comments are getting a bit out of hand. As a result, the comments section to this blog post will be closed.

  16. DRT says:

    Heather, I am not liberal, I am orthodox.

    I don’t want to trade spars anymore, I would rather ask that you take my challenge and actually get to know Jesus through the bible and the Gospels. Take a Paul break.

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Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church in Matthews, North Carolina. He is chairman of the board of The Gospel Coalition, assistant professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte), and a PhD candidate at the University of Leicester. Kevin and his wife, Trisha, have seven children. You can follow him on Twitter.

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