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Conventional Thinking: What about ‘gay marriage’?

“A nation that is arguing about whether to privatize lighthouses will not socialize medicine.” So argued the late William F. Buckley, Jr.

Buckley’s point was simply this: if a democracy is arguing about good ideas, it is more likely to avoid bad ones. Today, America is arguing whether to recognize so-called same-sex “marriage.” The very fact this is the central debate is a disadvantage to conservative Christians. Proponents of same-sex “marriage” typically use broad terms and ideals, such as “equality” to advance their position.

People often forget we already have marriage equality. Everyone can marry anyone, as long as the person is of the opposite sex, is not a relative and is not a minor. What is being demanded is a special right, a newly invented one at that.

The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing two landmark cases that could change marriage policy in America. While Southern Baptists are hopeful the Supreme Court will do the right thing and uphold the biblical, historical understanding of marriage, we recognize that no government leaders—even the highest court in the land—can redefine what God Himself has established.

Why are Christians unwilling to change on the issue? Here are three reasons:

The Scriptures

No one throughout time spoke with more authority than Jesus Christ, and no one has spoken so clearly on marriage. Performing His first miracle at a wedding, Jesus often addressed marriage.

Quoting Genesis, Jesus said, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife” (Mark 10:7). Notice Christ did not say “man… cleave to his husband.” He also did not say “wives” (plural). In other places, the New Testament speaks clearly to God’s unchanging meaning of marriage (for example, Eph. 5).

Jesus walked among Rome where polygamy was widely accepted, to a culture that had made friends with divorce and cohabitation, and a civilization that was influenced by Ancient Greece which knew homosexuality well. In other words, Jesus and the Apostles spoke in a day not unlike our own.

So it is not that Southern Baptists are not willing to redefine marriage, it is that we cannot. Our consciences are captive to the revealed Word of God.

Nature

It does not take a biology expert to know the sexual union of a man and a woman leads to offspring and procreation, while homosexual acts do not. The primary purpose of marriage is the proliferation of the human race. Somewhere along the line, Christians forfeited that ideal, and today we are reaping a bitter harvest for it.

Building a home, let alone a society, on the notions of romantic love or attraction is like building a house on shifting sands. Much like the basic purposes of eating is nutrition, with good taste as an added pleasure given by God, the main purpose of sex is procreation, with pleasure and bonding as added benefits given by God.

The government has no public or practical interest in homosexual unions any more than they do in friendships. In other words, marriage, from the government’s viewpoint, is all about children.

Legal

One of the cases on which the Supreme Court will rule is Proposition 8, a California law passed by voters that defined, for California, marriage is between one man and one woman. Traditionally, marriage laws have been left up to the states. However, the nine justices could attempt to make Oklahoma (which has a marriage protection law of its own, passed in 2004) have our policy dictated by, say, Vermont or New York.

Even so, we Christians recognize that marriage is not something defined, it is something we observe. No state or sub-division of government has a right to redefine what God Himself has set in place.

The Supreme Court rulings reportedly will not be handed down until the summer. In the meanwhile, America will continue to argue this issue. As Christians, let’s make sure our side does so with gentleness, compassion and respect. After all, we do not just want to win the argument. We want to win the people.

Brian Hobbs

Author: Brian Hobbs

Brian is editor of The Baptist Messenger.

View more articles by Brian Hobbs.

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  • Gary Capshaw

    Jesus took no public position on the immoral laws of Rome. He did not lead a protest or write a letter to the editor. He did not march to change the laws. Why do we?

    He did preach the Good News and call sinners to repentance. He did not separate Himself from sinners, nor point His accusing finger at them. He did love everyone with whom He came in contact and offered them grace and salvation through repentance and faith. That’s all He did. Why don’t we do just that?

    • Angela Trent

      Rome was not a democracy where people had the freedom to speak out against immoral government. America is a democracy, and Christians have the right to speak Biblical truth in a letter to the editor or in any public forum.
      As this article points out, we have to do so with gentleness, compassion, and respect. You said that Jesus called sinners to repentance. He did so because He loved them and came to die for their sins, saving them from eternity in Hell…IF they accept His gift and turn from their sinful lifestyles. How are people today supposed to know that God forbids homosexuality if we don’t keep spreading that message? Just because the message isn’t popular doesn’t make it less important.

  • Estelle Teeter

    Hi, Brian.

    Wow! There are strong opinions on this matter! That group with the foregoing opinions are very quick to make their arguments.

    […]

    Blessings on you and your family. (I really do pray for you all every day!
    Estelle

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