Thursday, May 17, 2012

Is Gay Marriage A Problem for the Church?

Geoff Surratt has recently written on gay marriage in his blog ( my-thoughts-on-gay-marriage/). Actually, I mostly like it. It is refreshing, positive, and focuses on a real issue--and that is making marriages healthy and God-centered. He takes a biblical stand AGAINST gay relationships and announces what he is for and against in that area, but is unwilling to major "on the minors" as he sees it.

The exception I would make is that I think gay marriage is a "litmus test" as to the Christian or not-so-Christian state of America. And it comes up looking pretty bad. To publicly endorse gay marriage, especially from the Oval Office, is to "bless" gays and their agendas. It is more than just recognizing them as legitimate. It is sanctioning them and making them "normal" for the country as a whole. Of course, the President maintains that religious institutions do not have to recognize gay marriage or relationships. The problem here is that whether or not a church or ministry recognizes it or not, such a marriage is legitimate and must be seen and acted upon as such by everyone. To not "accept" gay marriage in the church is meaningless at best and temporary at worst. Sooner or later the church will have to come to the issue of recognizing gay marriage and gay life as "normal" in America and treat it as such. I believe down the road will come legal action against churches who hold out against gay marriage and gays in general. After all, the union is legitimate and sanctioned by state law and government force.

What distinguishes gay rights from civil rights is its decidedly anti-biblical stance and basis. While slave owners and Southern sympathizers "used" Scripture to try to justify slavery and its vices, most biblical writers and scholars and churches saw the evil in such a stance. They rightly discarded slavery and its advocacy in a biblical framework. This was not socializing the Bible, nor accommodating the Scriptures. It was about honoring the image of God in a person of different race than white. It was about treating them with God-honoring respect and acceptance. Their color was not a "choice" they had, as the gay and lesbian person has. To maintain that "gayness" is hereditary or a "necessary" human trait has not and cannot be validated. It is a choice, and an anti-biblical one at that (cf. Romans 1). Sodom and Gomorrah will be re-visited, and God's judgment will be similar. To claim that is harsh and unloving is to claim God does not know what He, as a loving and just God, is doing.

It is when "forced" to recognize gay marriage as "normal" and legitimate that the church will have to take a stand and accept whatever backlash it will suffer, which could range from individual persecution to fines to jail time for its leaders and constituents. I agree that we cannot legislate morality, but we certainly should not legislate or legitimize sinful choices and behaviors. We will have to make a choice, as did Joshua in Joshua 24:15 -- "But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . . but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord."