What are we to make of the newfound perspective of President Obama, former President Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary, and conservative Sen. Rob Portman regarding homosexuality and so-called “gay marriage”? Each has made public their new positions in support of “gay marriage,” rejecting the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which states that marriage is between a man and a woman. The president quoted the Golden Rule as the foundation for his support. Sen. Portman said that after examination of his faith, I suppose meaning Christian teachings, he had determined that he must support gay marriage because he wants his homosexual son to find joy in life.
All of this is in advance of the Supreme Court taking up DOMA to determine its constitutionality. The rationale of politicians making such dramatic statements of change in position comes in light of the Supreme Court preparing to make another landmark decision that has the potential to reset the American culture for generations. It is as significant as the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. These politicians are doing what politicians do—they are trying to sway the Supreme Court and win more votes.
In addition, new polls show that the tide has turned in the American public arena. Now slightly more Americans favor “gay marriage” than those who hold to a traditional and historic view that marriage is between a man and a woman.
This issue has divided many Christian denominations. These denominations are mainline, liberal denominations that do not hold the Scriptures high and choose to make decisions based on cultural norms rather than biblical standards. One church in North Carolina has determined to stop performing any weddings until the laws of the land catch up with liberal theology and allow “gay marriage.”
What should the biblical Christians’ response be? First, be thankful that Obama, the Clintons, and Portmans of this world are not theologians. Their biblical applications are loose and unfounded. To be short and blunt, their views of the Scripture are absolutely false and reflect nothing of the straightforward teaching regarding human sexuality, marriage, Christian love or sin. To quote Scripture and apply it in false ways has been the favorite pastime of non-Christians and immature Christians through the ages. Conservatives have perverted truth as well and made man-centered interpretations that support their unbiblical practices. Slavery would be one glaring example.
Second, recognize that our moral standards are to be based on careful interpretation of the Holy Scriptures and not on cultural standards, polls or even the vote of the people. We have one standard that shapes our worldview and moral actions—the Word of God. Our task is to seek to understand clearly its teachings and then obey them.
Third, our biblical faith may well bring us in conflict with the mores of our day. This has been true from the beginning. The early followers of Christ found themselves misunderstood, ostracized and persecuted because of their faith. Many in our world face similar treatment. We in America have, in the past, faced little of this. The Christian worldview for the most part held sway in this country throughout our history, but the times, they are a changin’! The Christian consensus is losing influence in America. Liberal politics and religion have made dramatic moves forward. Tolerance, except for conservative Christian views, now rules. Even among conservative denominations, the tide is shifting. People tend to follow their feelings, rather than the clear teaching of Scripture.
What shall we do? Wring our hands? Throw in the towel? Enter communes for conservative Christians only so we do not have to deal with the world? NO, and a thousand times NO!
We must commit ourselves to walk in the Light as He is in the Light. Our walk must be measured by a fervent love for Christ and unswerving commitment to His truth. We must be willing to stand unflinchingly on the clear teaching of the Word of God whether popular or unpopular, whether received or rejected.
We must speak the truth in love and accept with grace the consequences. We must find ways to serve and love those who find our positions repulsive. We can never forget that the Truth is not used as a hammer to crush, but as a chisel to transform a hard marble soul into the image of His Son, Jesus.
Gay marriage may become the law of the land and acceptable in politically correct circles. I cannot predict the decision of the Supreme Court. Other moral fractures in our nation may pave the way for an even more bankrupt moral culture in America. If so, the followers of Christ should not bow to unbiblical moral standards, but rather stand on the truth.
At the same time, our actions toward the world must be measured by an uncompromising and unconditional love for all. Hate has no place among us. All people are worthy of God’s love. His love does not ignore our sin, but it does accept the sinner.