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With two landmark gay marriage cases before the Supreme Court we are already seeing a flurry of articles, posts, tweets, and status updates about the triumph it will be when America finally embraces equality for all and allows homosexuals to love each other. These tweets and posts and articles perfectly capture the reason why the arguments for gay marriage have become so persuasive so fast. Given the assumptions and patterns of thinking our culture has embraced in the last fifty years, the case for gay marriage is relatively easy to make and the case against it makes increasingly little sense.

I don’t think the arguments for gay marriage are biblically faithfully, logically persuasive, or good for human flourishing in the long run, but they are almost impossible to overcome with most Americans, especially in younger generations. By and large, people don’t support gay marriage because they’ve done a lot of reading and soul searching, just like people didn’t oppose it on high flying intellectual grounds either. For a long time, homosexuality seemed weird or gross. Now it seems normal. More than that, it fits in perfectly with the dominant themes and narratives shared in our culture. Gay marriage is the logical conclusion to a long argument, which means convincing people it’s a bad idea requires overturning some of our most cherished values and most powerful ideologies.

Think of all the ways gay marriage fits in with our cultural mood and assumptions.

1. It’s about progress. Linking the pro-gay agenda with civil rights and women’s rights was very intentional, and it was a masterstroke. To be against gay marriage, therefore, is to be against enlightenment and progress. It puts you on the “wrong side of history.” Of course, most people forget that lots of discarded ideas were once hailed as the inevitable march of progress. Just look at Communism or eugenics or phrenology or the Volt. But people aren’t interested in the complexities of history. We only know we don’t want to be like the nincompoops who thought the sun revolved around the earth and that slavery was okay.

2. It’s about love. When gay marriage is presented as nothing but the open embrace of human love, it’s hard to mount a defense. Who could possibly be against love? But hidden in this simple reasoning is the cultural assumption that sexual intercourse is necessarily the highest, and perhaps the only truly fulfilling, expression of love. It’s assumed that love is always self-affirming and never self-denying. It’s assumed that our loves never require redirection. Most damagingly, our culture (largely because of heterosexual sins) has come to understand marriage as nothing but the state sanctioning of romantic love. The propagation and rearing of children do not come into play. The role in incentivizing socially beneficial behavior is not in the public eye. People think of marriage as nothing more than the commitment (of whatever duration) which romantic couples make to each other.

3. It’s about rights. It’s not by accident the movement is called the gay rights movement. And I don’t deny that many gays and lesbians feel their fundamental human rights are at stake in the controversy over marriage. But the lofty talk of rights blurs an important distinction. Do consenting adults have the right to enter a contract of their choosing? It depends. Businesses don’t have a right to contract for collusion. Adults don’t have a right to enter into a contract that harms the public good. And even if you think these examples are beside the point, the fact remains that no law prohibits homosexuals (or any two adults) from making promises to each other, from holding a ceremony, from entering into a covenant with each other. The question is whether the government should bestow upon that contract the name of marriage with all the rights and privileges thereto.

4. It’s about equality. Recently, I saw a prominent Christian blogger tweet that she was for gay marriage because part of loving our neighbor is desiring they get equal justice under the law. Few words in the American lexicon elicit such broad support as “equality.” No one wants to be for unequal treatment under the law. But the issue before the Supreme Court is not equality, but whether two laws–one voted in by the people of California and the other approved by our democratically elected officials–should be struck down. Equal treatment under the law means the law is applied the same to everyone. Gay marriage proponents desire to change the law so that marriage becomes something entirely different. Surveys often pose the question “Should it be legal or illegal for gay and lesbian couples to marry?” That makes it sound like we are criminalizing people for commitments they make. The real issue, however, is whether the state has a vested interest in sanctioning, promoting, and privileging certain relational arrangements. Is it unjust for the state not to recognize as marriage your group of four friends, close cousins, or an office suite just because they want their commitments to be called marriage?

5. It’s about tolerance. Increasingly, those who oppose gay marriage are not just considered wrong or mistaken or even benighted. They are anti-gay haters. As one minister put it, gay marriage will eventually triumph because love is stronger than hate. Another headline rang out that “discrimination is on trial” as the Supreme Court hears arguments on Proposition 8 and DOMA. The stark contrast is clear: either you support gay marriage or you are a bigot and a hater. It’s no wonder young people are tacking hard to left on this issue. They don’t want to be insensitive, close-minded, or intolerant. The notion that thoughtful, sincere, well-meaning, compassionate people might oppose gay marriage is a fleeting thought.

So what can be done? The momentum, the media, the slogans, the meta-stories all seem to be on the other side. Now what?

For starters, churches and pastors and Christian parents can prepare their families both intellectually and psychologically for the opposition that is sure to come. Conservative Christians have more kids; make sure they know what the Bible says and know how to think.

We should also remember that the church’s mission in life is not to defeat gay marriage. While too many Christians have already retreated, there may be others who reckon that everything hangs in the balance on this one issue. Let’s keep preaching, persevering, pursuing joy, and praying for conversions. Christians should care about the issue, and then carry on.

And if we are interested in being persuasive outside of our own churches, we’ll have to do several things better.

1) We need to go back several steps in each argument. We’ll never get a hearing on this issue, or a dozen others issues, unless we trace out the assumptions behind the assumptions behind the arguments behind the conclusions.

2) We need more courage. The days of social acceptability for evangelicals, let alone privilege, are fading fast in many parts of the country. If we aren’t prepared to be counter-cultural we aren’t ready to be Christians. And we need courage not only to say what the Bible says, but to dare say what almost no one will say–that gay sex is unnatural and harmful to the body, that abandoning gender distinctions will be catastrophic for our society and for children, and that monogamy and exclusivity is often understood differently in the gay community.

3) We need more creativity. Statements and petitions and manifestos have their place, but what we really need is more than words and documents. We need artists and journalists and movie makers and story tellers and spoken word artists and comedians and actors and rappers and musicians who are galvanized by the truth to sing and speak and share in such a way that makes sin look strange and righteousness look normal.

4) We need a both-and approach. In the months ahead I imagine we’ll see Christians wrestle with whether the best way forward is to form new arguments that appeal to people where they’re at, or whether we simply need to keep preaching the truth and trust God to give some people the ears to hear. I’m convinced we need to do both. Let’s keep preaching, teaching, and laboring for faithful churches. Let’s be fruitful and multiply. Let’s train our kids in the way they should go. Let’s keep sharing the good news and praying for revival. And let’s also find ways to make the truth plausible in a lost world. Not only the truth about marriage, but the truth about life and sex and creation and beauty and family and freedom and a hundred other things humans tend to forget on this side of Adam. The cultural assumptions in our day are not on our side, but if the last 50 years has shown us anything, it’s that those assumptions can change more quickly than we think.


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141 thoughts on “Why the Arguments for Gay Marriage Are Persuasive”

  1. Andrew says:

    I agree with the article. Thanks for it. I do think though that we should not forget about our foundation in a time like this. Are we ourselves pursuing God more intensely than we ever have before? Are we seeking Him in studying the Bible, in praying intently and never ceasing in it, are we being transformed by the Holy Spirit from this daily walk with God? This foundation develops our faith and if we enter into this with a mindset of, “God, show me YOUR truth, not what I want to believe,” and, “LORD, change me to follow your ways in humble yet zealous submission,” then true change and action will follow.

  2. Kenny says:

    Firstly: “…We need artists and journalists and movie makers and story tellers and spoken word artists and comedians and actors and rappers and musicians…” I’m sorry, but the contemporary Christian versions of these creative types are inferior to their secular counterparts. Evangelicals are completely outclassed in this respect, especially when trying to appeal to the young.
    Moving on, I wager that this author has no gay friends, and does not know a gay couple. If he did, he would find out that they are just normal people like him, and that gays are just as capable of loving, lasting relationships as straights are.
    Lastly, I think that science has shown that sexual orientation is not simple, and that it arises from various genetic, epigenetic and inborn factors. Choice is rarely the deciding factor, just like choice is rarely the reason you are left- or right-handed.

  3. Earl says:

    Kenny,as a former nihilist, and as a Christian artist, I must remind you that art is subjective. Going from Cannibal Corpse to Jeremy Camp has taught me that most modern music is pathetic drivel. Listen to all the top secular stuff that sells best, and tell me there’s much talent there. And then compare it to Mozart. I mean, come on- smells like teen spirit? I thought that was the bomb at the time. Duh.

    I know lots of gays and have gay family. Their lives are a mess. Suicide, substance abuse, child abandonment, family schism despite efforts to be tolerant and hush hush. By what definition of “normal” are people who… you know. Gays are not normal, they are deeply mentally disturbed, and can be healed, or can become celibate. I’ve seen it.

  4. Steve of Oz says:

    Be encouraged Kevin. It is most certainly draining, yet vital work. The proponents of Gay marriage are counting on “legislation by fatigue”. If they keep hitting the courts and pushing their agenda in the ways you mentioned above then it does seem like an inevitability. We must stand firm against this. But as you rightly are aware, it must be a secondary issue to the superiority of Christ and him crucified.

    I tire from the typical comments we always receive from the pro gay lobby. “Biggoted”, “Narrow minded”, “you don’t know any homosexuals”, “you are hateful”, “you must support slavery with your attitude”, “redneck” ect. ect.
    Those comments only mean the intolerance of tolerance and are usually wildly inaccurate.

    A colleague of mine is a homosexual. We are great friends despite our polarized views on religion, politics, economics, environment and social welfare. We enjoy exploring and challenging each others opinions and spending time together around a cup of coffee. There is no doubt that as a person, I care for him. Then there is is homosexuality. He didn’t “choose” it. If somehow he was to truely come to Christ, the requirement for him to abstain from his desires would be unbelievably difficult save for devine intervention. These men and women (faithful believers despite living with forbidden desires) are the sort of christians I deeply admire. Irrespective. My friend lives a promiscuous life. When I hear tales from his work trips, I am deeply shocked at how transient and frequent his sexual exploits are. He has ongoing issues with substance abuse. He is seeing a psychiatrist for answers to his “problems”. The list goes on and on. When I look at him I see a fragmented man that seems dependent on his next sexual conquest to survive. He knows of my faith in Jesus yet quickly discounts it as a fairy tale.
    It really is a bitter-sweet relationship for me. He does challenge me to be more compassionate to all people. The conversations we have are usually rich and colourful, even when deeply emotionally charged (as per opposing views on gay marriage). My life has been enriched, yet also saddened.
    What is my key point?
    Gay marriage proponents have an underlying assumption that is incredibly flawed. They believe that if society at large accepts them (as in their idea of “equality” – gay marriage) then their lives will be “validated”. There is a sense whereby the glossy brochure of gay and lesbians and their happy lives will be a reality. This will never be true, even if gay marriage was legal for hundreds of years. These people are living in blatent contravention to God’s law. Just like a heterosexual person who is promiscuous will quickly find his or her soul hardened. Ironically, despite homosexuals highjacking God’s great symbol of Noah’s day, there will be no rainbow for these people. It is all a facade. At the end of the day, we are all dependant on God’s provision for the very breath in our lungs, the pulse of our hearts. He has set a great law into play. You will reap what you sow. If you sow to lives of sin, the crop will always leave bitter taste in your mouth. It’s only a matter of when.

  5. Justin says:

    I think advocacy of marriage privatization is the avenue Christians have really missed out on. It would have protected the church’s definition of marriage and allowed gay couples to have the legal rights to be unified under contract. There have been some strong-yet-overlooked Christian arguments for marriage privatization.

  6. Bill says:

    Can someone show me where in the #Bible it says we as Christians should impose God’s law on mankind? Do we not drive non-believers away?

    In my humble opinion, allowing God to convict hearts THROUGH us is much different than imposing God’s will on others through man’s law. We lose our focus and more importantly we turn people away by relying on our own strength and not His. I wish we could realize this. I completely understand the desire of Christ Followers to want to protect the institution of marriage from the perversions of man, but I truly feel that’s not our battle. I believe God can and will handle that.

  7. David says:

    Yes, Bill … we often first give the world “rules to hate before giving them a Ruler to love”. Further, when truth is relative everything is relevant but the truth, so I’m for the approach that simply is faithful to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins and, as Kevin said, trust that God wil give ears to hear to those who are His.

    Our intentions are good in the debates, but it seems like we somehow abandon our doctrine of total depravity by, ironically, assuming we can convince them to concede to sound logic because we adhere to the logic, forgetting the reason why and how we came to SEE in the first place. IN one sense, our position about the issue is known in our calling all men to repentance. As far as the truth being the salt in a preservative sense, it has lost its flavor in the moral ethos of the Country, and so what good is it?

  8. Cathy B. says:

    wow. excellent, helpful AND hopeful. Thank you.

  9. @Angela – You said:
    “does gay marriage do so (disturb civil peace)? I’m not sure we can say yes.”

    I say it does. In fact, I would argue that there is astounding extra-biblical evidence for the demise of entire empires once they began treating homosexuality as a norm and not a perversion and that there is plenty of evidence in USA as well.

    This is ignoring the obvious fact that the bible calls it a perversion and an abomination to God. Why would you want to encourage that in your society?

    How does allowing incestual marriages disturb civil peace, Angela? Shall we allow those?

    The problem is you must define civil peace, how it is disturbed, and why that is the only basis for creating/enacting laws. I don’t think you did that, nor do I think you can.

  10. Um, Preston’s comment shows a stunning lack of knowledge about the scriptures. Paul says that those who take communion without genuine repentance eat and drink TO THEIR OWN DAMNATION. So actually, it’s a DISASTROUS idea to take communion with “your gay and lesbian friends” if by “your gay and lesbian friends” you mean couples who are going on their merry sinful way.

  11. @Bill – You said “Can someone show me where in the #Bible it says we as Christians should impose God’s law on mankind?”

    So I would ask you, are you in favor of NO LAWS? If you answer is yes, then we have a different problem to discuss.

    I’ll stipulate that you believe that at least “some laws” are good for the sake of the comment.

    In that case, the question is: From where should our laws be derived? You seem to state that they should not be derived from Christianity’s laws/morals.

    Well – then where do you think they should come from? Sinful men’s best thoughts?

    Shall we remove laws against stealing and cheating in business and murder so that we can come up with some non-Christian replacements? Of course not. I am sure you wouldn’t agree to that. I’m simply pointing out your rational inconsistency in the hopes you will see it.

    You said: “In my humble opinion…”

    With all due respect sir, there is nothing humble about throwing God’s law away in exchange for your own best thoughts or the collective thoughts of men. That is, by its very nature, prideful and arrogant.

    I cannot think of any better place from where to derive laws than from the God who knows men the best and knows what is Good. You are allowed to think otherwise, but it is neither humble, nor Christian to do so.

    Not to mention, Christians are not asking to impose God’s law in this case. We are simply saying the government should not make a new law – redefining marriage as something it is not.

    Nothing is more hateful than allowing people to stay in their sin and rebellion against God without warning. To properly govern a people takes much wisdom, and without God’s Word and God’s thoughts, we are hopeless.

  12. Craig Benno says:

    Personally I see little to no warrant or example in the new testament for the church to be making laws for the land. Rather they taught their congregations how to live within a society that was governed by less then favourable God glorifying laws.

    This morning I lead a Easter Service and spoke about the love of God from John 3:16. A gay lady said afterwards (a volunteer at a charity for intellectually disabled) Now I believe that God loves me and made a commitment to Christ.

  13. Bill says:

    Michael,

    You confuse my desire to draw the hearts of unbelievers to Christ through other methods besides a man-made rulebook for wanting to “throw away” God’s law.

    I am all for exhortation and coming alongside fellow Christians to help them see the error of their ways for the purpose of ultimate edification, but if you think that is what you accomplished by basically calling me a fake Christian, I will pray for you. You seem to have some anger in your heart.

    My simple premise is this – as Christians and Christ Followers, we are going about fulfilling our commission the wrong way. We are fighting battles over laws that cause controversy to the DETRIMENT, not the expansion of our cause.

    I do not support homosexuality, or homosexual behavior. I am appalled at the idea of “marriage” of two people of the same sex. It is a perversion in every sense of the word, and I have NO problem declaring both as such. But that is not my ultimate problem here. My ultimate problem is that we would rather focus all of our energy on defending the sanctity of marriage by concerning ourselves with man’s law. We come out of the woodwork in full force whenever there is some kind of “issue of the day” where we think Christianity is being attacked. Instead of focusing all of our energy on being fishers of men, we’re focused on issues that in the end, GOD HIMSELF will judge us all on. Man is not our ultimate judge – GOD is.

    God did not ordain us (or any man for that matter) to be His judge here on earth. Make no mistake – homosexuality is a sin. But we ARE ALL sinners. The question is, are we born again? No law that man can make will ensure this happens. That’s something between the individual and God Himself. Sure, we are here to exhort each other and edify each other – because we can’t do it alone. I just do not understand why we feel the need to seek the help of man’s law to defend God. God can defend Himself. We are to seek out unbelievers so that we can convert them to believers. By turning people away I think we do the opposite.

    Sorry this is such a rambling response, but I am at work and trying to do 10 things at once. This is a very valid debate, and I cannot stress enough that I understand the desire to defend God’s design of marriage and sexuality. I really really do. I just wonder at what cost do we focus our energy on the wrong methods for achieving our commission. Is this really the right way?

  14. Judy Ford says:

    So true and so helpful. Just got a post yesterday from a Christian friend. She is pro-gay marriage because she has a homosexual brother. One of her best friends locally is a man who has been heavily involved in theater as well as the gay scene. She said we all needed to live by the Golden Rule. My response was that she was correct, but I did not believe I was required to support their beliefs. I also offered to talk with her privately. She was open to this. Several times now I have had Christians tell me that we hurt other Christians when we speak out against the behaviors of their gay/lesbian loved ones. It is, FOR SURE, not going to be easy to love and yet stand up for Holy Scripture. On this issue, and many others, we face criticism and possible persecution not only from “the world view” but from our fellow Christians. Thank you.

  15. Nathan says:

    I’ve been thinking about this issue quite a bit recently, and I agree with Kevin’s take to a large extent. So my (genuine) question is how Christians are finding opportunities to engage in this manner in their community? I have had several opinions published in the local paper on different controversies related to homosexual unions and am doing my best to teach and encourage my congregation to be faithful to God’s Word while loving their neighbors, gay and straight, wisely. Yet I’m feeling frustrated that there are thousands of young people walking around who have never seriously been taught or challenged on this issue and I have not found a good avenue for reaching them. Does anyone have any ideas?

  16. Bill –

    Your accusations against me are unwarranted and the main reason I almost didn’t comment. At no point did I express any anger or rage, I simply interpreted the words used the best way possible and responded. Unfortunately, you cannot hear my “tone of voice” or see my “facial expressions” when I type so you cannot actually perceive “anger in my heart” based on the words I used. This is a common tactic in internet arguing whereby the argument I made is made to look less rational by calling me angry. I hope it was simply a mistake.

    Now I see you have changed the subject. Instead of defending your statement that Christians should not be making laws or affecting laws, you diverted it to the gospel commission, of which I am a part. I not only share the gospel with people, but I also desire to see lawmakers make good laws.

    I don’t see a contradiction. Now, if I had said that I threw away all my tracts and my amplification system IN EXCHANGE for simple lobbying outside my courthouse, your comment would have warrant. But I didn’t. The focus was on whether or not lands ought to have laws and, if so, from where those laws should derive.

    I simply believe that we should have laws and that laws based on biblical truths, even biblical laws are the best starting point.

    Again, this doesn’t negate the gospel proclamation at all. Just like having laws about stealing, cheating, adultery, prostitution, child molestation, slavery, sex-trafficking and polygamy do not interfere with my ability to share the gospel with lost people, laws concerning the true definition of marriage will not either.

    In fact, I think the more laws of the land we have which contradict scripture, the less effect our gospel presentation will have on the seared consciences of men. Once society labels a man “ok the way he is,” I’ve found it much harder to get them to see themselves through the biblical lens.

    So Bill – I don’t “confuse [your] desire to draw the hearts of unbelievers to Christ through other methods besides a man-made rulebook for wanting to “throw away” God’s law.”

    It is you who seems to confuse the fact that because I support good laws in the USA and will advocate for them with my desire to share the gospel. I only drew out the distinction because you brought it up. You were the one who essentially said we could have one or the other. I’m ok with having both.

    I apologize that my working of my comment made it sound like I called you a “fake Christian.” My intention was to point out that the viewpoint you were portraying did not align with a biblical Christian worldview and I did not take care with that statement. Please forgive me for that carelessness. Like you, I don’t have time to have blog comment discussions, but I do it anyway, so I have to type fast. :)

    On a personal note, the excitement and victory so many supporters of gay marriage are feeling right now is disconcerting to me from a gospel standpoint. The soon-to-be legality of gay marriage, I believe, makes me look even more foolish to those whom I will witness. Thanks be to God that the cross is already foolishness to them who are perishing so this shouldn’t make the task any more daunting or any less critical and fulfilling.

  17. @Nathan –

    I have written and posted two teachings called “How to Witness to a Homosexual” on Sermon Audio. I would be happy to also chat with you about any more specific questions/concerns you have. If you click my name you can go to my website and Contact Me.

    http://www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?sourceonly=true&currSection=sermonssource&keyword=pulpitandstreets&subsetcat=series&subsetitem=How+to+Witness

  18. James says:

    I guess the main thing i’m stuck on is that most of the anti-gay marriage propaganda is under the assumption that being gay is a choice or a preference…like “i know i should like women but i prefer men, because i want to sin”. I know as a straight male, there is no way that i could choose to be gay. I think likewise could be said for gay males/females. So are we to believe that gays are gay by choice? and if not, how are we to approach this subject that their sin is not a sin of choice but the way that a perfect God created them?

  19. James, your question is answered in my link I posted above your comment. LSS – all sin is a choice. Whether you are born with a propensity to be homosexual or a drunkard or rape kids.

    And God created everything good, we fell in Adam and are born with a sin nature. That’s no excuse.

  20. Nunyo Bidnez says:

    While it appears the post attempts to stir, it merely scratches the surface disturbing rudimentary emotion(evidenced by some comments)as opposed to driving careful consideration (as other comments evidence)

    1. It’s about progress.
    The argument comparing homosexuality to eugenics if read as written is disturbing at best but makes more sense as it reveals the authors understanding when taken in the context of his conclusion, “Conservative Christians have more kids; make sure they know what the Bible says and know how to think.” The author clearly thinks eugenics is wrong, unless you believe the way he does. This “us four no more” fundamental mentality is a far larger threat to Xptianity than gay marriage.

    2. It’s about love.
    Here again the author revels his belief in eugenics (as strictly interpreted from the original Greek roots ‘good’ and ‘generation’) and an all too common misinterpretation of Biblical text. Context is important towards proper interpretation. Levitical law, as well as many principles of the Hebrew nation were enacted for the health and welfare of the people. Some of those principles are still applicable today however, having many technological advancements most are not.
    An aside: I wonder why, when discussing love men almost always think directly of sexual intercourse.

    While I do have comments about points 3-5 this is enough for now but before I am accused, again, of being cowardly let me note the following. Like many of you I have a life away from the keyboard that requires attention.

    Blessed Maundy Thursday!

  21. Daryl says:

    A well written drawn out argument that might as well say, “Gay marriage should be illegal because the bible says so / It makes me feel uncomfortable”. I have good and bad news for you all: You may believe in whatever you’d like, but the fact that the Bible says so does not make it US law. I’ll preface this post with a disclaimer: I’m not gay; I’m just a guy who has gotten sick of seeing people try to push their views and virtues into the lives of others and use the Bible to defend it. I have yet to see a compelling argument that gay marriage will be the complete end of civilization that doesn’t try to bring emotional, biblical, or otherwise illogical arguments into the fold.

    Honestly guys; this is why many educated Americans can’t take any of you seriously. You work in Biblical evidence to every argument and put your fingers in your ears when someone says, “That… doesn’t make sense.” Let’s take a piece of New Testament out of context: “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” 1 Tim. 2:11-14. I will use this as my sole piece of evidence that women should be man’s subject, wipe out their first amendment rights, and put them in the kitchen where they belong. Wait, you tell me I’m reading it wrong? No YOU’RE reading it wrong, the Bible says I’m right and you’re wrong. Make it law.

    You wonder why the numbers of Christians in America are dwindling and that Atheism is on the rise? Because many educated Americans do not want to side with what most of the world sees as a extreme fundamentalist point of view. You know that CANADA has same-sex marriage, right? Do you consider Canadians, our quirky French-speaking neighbors, to be the harbingers of doom and destruction? Is their country falling apart at it’s seams? I can’t seem to recall the flood of refugees crossing the border into the US to escape the persecution of the gay agenda and hellfire bubbling from the Earth. Oh right; that never happened.

    This small rant will probably elicit all kinds of ire from this blog’s readership so I’ll leave you all with this: If you spent less time worrying about other people’s bedrooms and more about problems that REALLY matter in this country (our failing economy, the pitiful state of education, crumbling state infrastructures, dependence on oil, war on drugs, etc etc) perhaps we’d actually be able to work together to fix some things. Until then, I guess you can focus on gay marriage, or the fact that they don’t use Bibles in classrooms, or the omission of Obama saying, “Under God” from a speech, or whatever ridiculousness that comes next.

  22. Chris says:

    Daryl,

    I am just trying to understand something. Why is it okay for you to push your views and virtues into the lives of others and use the Bible to defend it and not for anyone else to? You are attempting to push your views and virtues into the lives of others in your post, and you even use the Bible in your second paragraph to help you do it.

    Chris

  23. Johnny says:

    Kevin mentioned sexual intercourse. I’m curious as thoughts on somethings here: I believe that sexual intercourse, technical speaking, can only happen between a man and woman. In other words, purely in a technical, anatomical sense, “gay sex” is not intercourse. It cannot be for obvious reasons. I know today’s textbooks define intercourse as any kind of sexual activity, hetero or homo sexual,but I think that definition is wrong biblically and by nature. The take away in this is arguing for what one of the key distinctives of marriage is: the becoming of one flesh, which sexual intercourse makes possible physically. Once we redefine what sexual intercourse is, then the idea of becoming one flesh can be redefined as well. Anyway, just a thought. I think there’s something to it, but that’s me.

  24. Bill says:

    Actually Michael, it is you who both changed the subject and lobbed accusations. I did no such thing.

    You called me arrogant and prideful. You also essentially said I am neither humble or a Christian. Those are your words.

    My argument is not nor has it ever been where laws should be derived. You missed my point.

    My argument is that no matter what happens through man’s law (which is controlled by the majority in secular power in our society) God’s law will prevail. We need not concern ourselves with “fighting” over laws that will have zero impact in the end game. But I fear that we fight this good fight at the detriment to our true calling. Why do I feel this way? Just look at the very posts in this thread. This polarizing topic does not draw people closer to God – it turns them away.

    And for what? So that we can prevent these people from exercising their free will the God Himself gave them?

    Listen, you go right ahead and fight for what you believe is right. That’s admirable and you should do that. I am just saying, let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture here, and see that maybe we’re doing more damage than good.

  25. Caleb says:

    I was raised in the GLBT community. My parents got divorced and both joined the gay lifestyle. My mom got a partner and was with her 22 years until she died. I was raised by 3 gay parents. I grew up being taken to gay pride parades, spent evenings as a 7 year old in gay bars while my mom partied, went to clubs… My mom was on the board of directors for GLAAD and ACLU. I had a messed up childhood.

    I joined a Bible study in high school so I could learn to disprove the Bible. I ended up following Jesus instead. Now I preach full time in a church and proclaim the Gospel.

    My parents are still gay. So is my aunt.

    I can tell you that we need to be accepting of friendships, but not approving of lifestyles. We need to preach the truth in love. We need to help the GLBT community see that their identity is not in their lifestyle but in the Gospel.

    We also need to stand up for God’s covenant of marriage. This is not only about a covenant, but protecting families. As one who was raised in this community I can speak to the fact that it is NOT healthy for children.

    I pray that we can find the balance of speaking up, but doing it in love.

  26. Larry Geiger says:

    ” I know as a straight male, there is no way that i could choose to be gay.” James, you are most certainly wrong. “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall”. Be very careful what you speak as certainty.

    More appropriately, you might want to say something like, “I’m straight, praise God for his deliverance from that particular sin.”

  27. Thank you for this well thought out article.

  28. An Honest says:

    Telling:

    “know what the Bible says and know how to think”

    “speak and share in such a way that makes….righteousness look normal”

    People don’t want to “know how to think” and they don’t appreciate “righteousness” when it is an affront to their ability to live happily.

  29. @Bill –

    I suggest that you re-read your original post and my original response to you, including the re-response with the apology for any misunderstanding.

    I would hope you’d be as gracious with a fellow Christian commenting on a blog as you expect us to be with rampant homosexuality overtaking our country.

  30. Virginia Yip says:

    Right on point! The ultimate values Americans hold are not biblically based. They are ultimately secular humanistic, or are derivatives of the Christian values–“borrowed capitals” so to speak. But if you take God and the Christian foundations out of the picture, AS IN THE AMERICAN CASE TODAY, the reasoning of the SSM not only makes sense but is the necessary conclusion.

    So, American Christians are facing a BIG PROBLEM now. Can you still hold on to those cherrished AMERICAN values–rights, equality, tolerance, love… and at the same time hold fast to your Christian convictions? Who are you first? An American or a Christian? This is a perfect case to show American Christians that most of the American values are at their roots incompatible with the Christian ones.

  31. Bill says:

    I missed your apology (though it was not necessary) and I do graciously accept it.

    I was never arguing on what basis our laws should be enacted. That was never the meaning behind my comment. I simply see things differently than you do, and that’s OK.

    This argument really isn’t going anywhere, other than in circles. At the end of the day, I just feel like we as Christians will be better served fighting the spiritual battle in the community and not concern ourselves with man’s law. That’s not a rationalization for allowing everything I disagree with. It’s simply what I consider a practical approach to a problem we face.

    We already know the outcome here. God wins. The devil loses. We don’t need to fight fights that do nothing to advance the Kingdom of God. I find that this fight falls in that category.

  32. J says:

    This isn’t really about Gay Marriage or anything the article said directly, but just the fact that this was posted on thegospelcoaliton.org, the tone of the piece and the numerous comments below it.

    As a gay christian, I’ve oscillated from trying to live a celibate life to trying to forget the Bible and pursue earthly joy. I am not a virgin but I am not currently sexually active. I have read literature by Exodus International, been to weekly meetings with pastors, prayed and sought after celibacy numerous times.

    I still don’t have any answers, but I spend a lot of my time begging God to help me understand why he allows myself and other people to experience something that is so challenging to live with. I don’t want to be damned, living a life that has no purpose other than to display God’s justice, nor do I want to continue living a life that is filled with such a palpable loneliness that fills every moment of my day. To be homosexual and to be convicted that it is sinful is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I can honestly say I wish I had the courage to take my life, or that I had never been born.

    I’m not asking for you to rewrite your Bibles or “accept sin”. I am just asking that next time you want to say homosexuals are “deeply disturbed” or “mentally ill” you maybe don’t. I don’t know why God allowed this to exist, but is it so much to ask to be treated with a little dignity and talked to with a little tact? I am a person. Not just a perversion. Sometimes I just want to go to church and maybe not hear about how the big bad gay community wants marriage and how terrible and evil that is. Or be able to respect and look up to Kevin Deyoung without thinking in the back of my mind “he thinks I’m dirty.” I don’t think Jesus would be here telling me how militant my wicked gay culture is. I think he’d show me a love that some how helped all this make sense.

  33. T says:

    J: Well said. I am also in the same position as you are: I am a gay Christian (please, nobody read that as an identify statement: I could have just as easily said I am a white Christian), and am convicted that God is calling me to a life of chastity – though I too have previously been sexually active. I am actually a member of the church Kevin pastors (University Reformed Church), and I know that Kevin DeYoung does not think of you or I as “dirty”! I have found nothing but Gospel-centered grace & truth here. I am extremely grateful to be part of a church, and to have a pastor, that stands with me – they don’t use the Bible to bash my face in, but they also affirm a solid (yet compassionate) view of scripture. The LAST thing I need is to be part of a church that is wishy-washy on this topic!

    I too feel your pain: so many who discuss these issues do so without regard to the actual real people these issues affect – even their brothers & sisters sitting next to them on Sunday morning. To some extent, we must show them grace: many simply do not know what they are saying & how it’s affecting those around them – though this isn’t an excuse.

  34. T says:

    @J

    Also, feel free to email me – I’d love to converse more with you!

    IAmWashedAndWaiting (at) gmail.com

  35. Wonderful comments J. and T. God’s perfect peace to you both on this day when we proclaim the ongoing work of God in our lives. I love that Peter (in John 13 and then again in Acts 9) continued to show that God wasn’t done with him yet. If we could only be as open and honest about all our “stuff” as J. and T. are we’d really have a gift for the world… I am praying through all of this with much agony of heart and much hope in what our Lord does for folks who sometimes come off as pharisees like me.

  36. J, I’m glad that you are pursuing celibacy but found some of your comments puzzling.

    First, you said, “…nor do I want to continue living a life that is filled with such a palpable loneliness that fills every moment of my day…” Do you realize how many heterosexual single people have to live this way too? True, you are unique in that morally you don’t even have the hope of one day meeting Miss Right (unless God miraculously takes away your desires), but still, plenty of heterosexuals never find the right one either. You are not unique in this, and homosexuals as a whole are not unique in this.

    “I can honestly say I wish I had the courage to take my life, or that I had never been born.” I hope you understand that suicide is never a morally feasible option and are not simply abstaining out of lack of courage. It’s still a form of murder—self-murder. To despair and wish you’d never been born is to doubt that God could possibly turn your life into something beautiful that serves him. I’m not saying that depression is sinful in itself. Depression is a natural evil. But choosing despair over hope is a choice.

    Third, you say that you would like us to stop saying homosexuals are “mentally ill.” But the term “mental illness” does not connote hatred or contempt. One can feel great compassion for someone who is mentally ill. I can look at a child with Down’s Syndrome and say honestly that he is mentally retarded. But I don’t view him with contempt just for that. I love him because he’s a child made in God’s image. Saying that homosexuality is a mental disorder is a purely diagnostic term. It’s like a doctor giving you bad news. The doctor wants to help you to the best of his ability, but ignoring the problem will not help, you least of all. The fact is that homosexual inclinations are an unnatural warping of God’s design for sexuality. It’s a tragic thing, but it’s part of the fallen world we live in. Don’t be offended when people say it’s unnatural. That’s simply a fact. The question is whether people recognize that you are legitimately trying to do the right thing with your desires. Also, many gays and lesbians really are deeply disturbed, as a direct consequence of their lifestyle. That’s also a fact.

    Fourth, your comments about the gay community reveal a lack of knowledge about the power and purpose of the gay agenda in America. You clearly are either unaware or unconcerned about what, in your words, “my gay community” is trying to do to this country. Forcing businessmen, ministers, students, and other people in the public square to sanction and enable homosexual behavior against their conscience is not, I hope, something you would be on board with. I also hope you would not be on board with your fellow LGBT’s desire to destroy children’s innocence before they are ready to understand what homosexuality even is, through curriculum, books, film, and other media designed for children.

    Finally, you say that we must think you’re “dirty.” This is false. If you truly have accepted Christ and want to follow him, you are washed in the blood of the Lamb. But you still bear signs of the fall within you. This takes on different forms in different people. For you, it happens to take the form of an unnatural sexual desire. This has certain unavoidable, painful consequences for you. Pastors like Kevin want to help you in that struggle. Merely recognizing your problem is not the same thing as turning you away because of it.

  37. As an addendum, I think Jesus certainly would have a few words about the unrepentant, active, aggressive homosexual community. It was Jesus who said that those who lead little ones astray would be better off having a millstone tied to their necks and being thrown into the sea. That’s Jesus talking, not me.

  38. Flyaway says:

    @Nathan My husband and I had some very nice gay neighbors. It was handy when we needed a giant TV set moved. Two homosexual couples came over and moved it for us. But I think the best and most important thing we can do for homosexuals is to pray for them. If more people were broken over this sin and kept storming the gates of Heaven for their salvation, if they are not believers, and for those who are believers to keep praying that the Holy Spirit will fill them and help them to live pure lives, God will move. Meanwhile, let us have mercy, love, and forgiveness toward all. Let us pray and not argue.

  39. Romelle says:

    Plan #3 will not work without a work of the Spirit. Nothing we can create will make truth sound wise to the foolish. We can’t expect people living in darkness to live as if they have the light. We have to stop requiring good fruit from those who are not attached to the Vine. Of course they will be entrenched in their sin like any other unbeliever. And what to do about those who believe they are Christians but still approve of homosexuality? These are the questions we need answers to at this time.

  40. John K says:

    @Johnny (I don’t see reply buttons here for some reason) I see what you’re trying to do, but if you say that what happens between gays and lesbians is not technically sexual intercourse, then that can also be used to say that gay or lesbian sex is not really sex, therefore its not really sinful. And that can be extended to say that heterosexual sex that doesn’t involve “intercourse” is not actual sex, and therefore not sinful. So that line of reasoning won’t work.

  41. Dan says:

    Another possible reason the arguments are persuasive is that heterosexual marriage is perhaps at an all time low. Multiple marriages over the course or one’s life, frequent adultery, battered women, tyrannical husbands, “no-fault” divorces, etc. When one compares homosexual marriage to modern-day marriage one might see a lot of similarities and not a lot of difference. Some homosexual marriages might even appear superior to modern-day heterosexual marriage.
    Let’s trust Christ for grace to help our marriages point to Christ and the church more than ever before.

  42. Gordon Berry says:

    Maybe the question we should be asking is, if the Church was living the life of Christ, instead of just talking about it, we would not be facing this situation! Christians, sadly live in and with their favorite sin, and without true change, the world looks on and mocks JESUS!! That being said, our response to the Gay issue is important to be sure. I am afraid, the we cannot see the real issues standing before us! We seem consumed by the fact that our problem is Christian against Homosexual issue. A greater problem looms on the horizon. Right now there are several groups who are waiting prepared in the wings, to walk right behind them in union with them, when this agenda is voted in. The Transvestite, Child Molester, Rapist, and so on, shall climb the same demand their same RIGHTS of wickedness, and it will not stop with them! We are seeing prophecy fulfill itself. When they say evil is good and good is evil, WOE be to them! God’s Grace is trampled over until Judgement rains down upon each and every one who raises their hand against God’s Righteousness and His Holiness! God’s Word declares that even when He brings His Judgement, they will curse Him and continue in their sin. How insane, or shall I say, just plain Demonic. Each one of us, need to confess and repent of our own favorite wicked sin! We need to live in His Light, Truth and Love, and to put to death our flesh, just as Jesus commanded us to! Light always dispels darkness!

  43. B says:

    J says “To be homosexual and to be convicted that it is sinful is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. I can honestly say I wish I had the courage to take my life, or that I had never been born” and provokes no comments.
    If “gay sex is unnatural and harmful to the body, that abandoning gender distinctions will be catastrophic for our society and for children” why did God create so many gay people?

  44. yankeegospelgirl says:

    “And what to do about those who believe they are Christians but still approve of homosexuality”

    Call upon them to repent and don’t allow them to take on an official position in your church/church membership.

    There, was that so hard?

  45. Phil says:

    As an addendum, I think Jesus certainly would have a few words about the unrepentant, active, aggressive homosexual community. It was Jesus who said that those who lead little ones astray would be better off having a millstone tied to their necks and being thrown into the sea. That’s Jesus talking, not me.

    Yes, let’s kill them, in the name of Jesus.

  46. Bruce Hildebrand says:

    “unless we trace out the assumptions behind the assumptions behind the arguments behind the conclusions.”

    This is the article I want to see and read.

  47. Mike Hunt says:

    This article makes me so incredibly sad. It’s another self-rightous, pride indulging, and excuse for hating a group of people. Here’s the problem…in the U.S. we have abortion, divorces, single moms, fathers in prison, marital affairs, child abuse, child abandonment, families destroyed by: drugs, porn, and domestic violence, poor families, wealthy people who cheat on poor people, and thievery.

    What is the Christian community going to stand up to in all the terrible things that happen in a day to day society like the US? Gay marriage (which doesn’t effect your personal life at all). That’s the discrimination here folks! There is a buffet of problems (look at the above post) that need people to protest, stand up, fix, solve, proselytize, and share the love and word of God to make this world a better place. But who deserves an entire special article (the gay community) when over millions of heterosexuals are sinning their lives away (over 20,000 million hetero americans look at porn a day according to recent statistics)- lets go after the gay community! That makes sense! Let’s not stand up against anything, but the gays!! Also…We have also spent our entire lives reading and deciphering the book of leviticus! So we are all experts at interpreting 4 versus in the bible into an entire tornado of hateful prosecution against one of the smallest communities in the United States! I’m so proud to be a Christian and so should you! Let’s continue to be so smart we write and believe articles like this- with people who don’t speak ancient Latin or Greek to interpret the real message of the bible. God bless, Jesus loves your stupidity, and you’re all going to hell- but we still love you!

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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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