The one about Gay Marriage

republic of ireland referendum resultThe recent referendum in the Republic of Ireland has resulted in 62% of people voting in favour of legalizing same-sex marriage. Some Christians are upset about same-sex marriage being made legal but I am not one of them and I want to take a few moments to explain why.

If you are already upset by what you have just read then can I ask you to calm down and to carefully read and think about what I am writing before your judge me.

We are living in a time of great change. For many years the church shaped the way that some nations were governed as laws and a way of living were heavily influenced by Biblical morality in those countries. All this is changing and certainly in the UK and even in the Republic of Ireland, the church doesn’t have the influence that it once did.

The Bible is the only absolute authority that Christians have and the part of the Bible that most closely mirrors the type of change that we are experiencing is the time of exile that we read about in the book of Daniel.

Daniel and his friends were among the group of people who are taken away from Israel to Babylon.

In Israel, the laws and way of living are shaped by scripture.

But things change

In Babylon, scripture had no influence over the law and way of living.

One of the things that set Daniel and his friends apart was that they were unwilling to compromise on their beliefs. They refused to eat food that had been defiled and they also refused to worship a statue or even to worship the king himself.

They were willing to die for their beliefs and they were determined to be true to the teachings of the Bible. Despite this though, it is worth noting that,

  • Although they were absolutely clear about their beliefs, they made no attempt to tell others that they must also accept their morality.
  • Although they would not worship the king, they didn’t start a campaign to tell others not to worship the king.
  • Although they wouldn’t eat the defiled food, they didn’t try to win others over to agree with them.

Their pattern of life in a land where their faith had little influence over the law was to be true to their God rather than judging others.

Their priority of life in a land where their faith had little influence over the law was to be true to their God and to hope and pray that other people would follow him.

In the time of Daniel, people who had no allegiance to the one true God were free to worship a statue without criticism from Daniel or his friends. Daniel and his friends made it their priority to live out their faith so that people could see who God is. In other words, rather than telling other people why they were wrong, they showed people what a real and living faith could look like. Daniel was found not to be worshiping the King because he prayed publicly each day and as he lived his faith openly people were drawn to God.

I wonder if we in the church have gone astray?

Are we better known as being against things than we are for living our faith openly so that people can see the love and power of God at work?

Are we more enthusiastic about issues of morality than we are about people knowing Jesus?

When Jesus was on the earth he was known as the friend of sinners. Whilst he was clear about morality, people’s acceptance of a Biblical moral code wasn’t necessary for him to accept and to know them.

For example, instead of telling Zacchaeus that he was a thief and a cheat, Jesus asked to go to his house for a meal. Jesus doesn’t hold a placard denouncing Zacchaeus’ type, he goes and connects with him and sees his life transformed as a result.

When people knew Jesus they were transformed.

Some Christians want to transform people to make them more suitable to know Jesus.

Christians who are against gay marriage feel like they are honouring Jesus by telling people who do not share our beliefs that they cannot live a certain way and I’m not sure this is what Daniel or Jesus did.

Jesus was very clear about the way that his followers should live and I think that if we want to follow him as Lord, then this should involve us being willing to obey the teachings of the Bible.

I can think of no example in the gospels of Jesus compelling people to live a certain way. Jesus spoke the truth and challenged people to obey, but he then left them free to choose rather than trying to force them to behave in the right way. The woman caught in adultery should have been condemned by Jesus but he told her to go and sin no more. Jesus refused to enforce the law that demanded that she should be punished for adultery. Jesus didn’t condemn her, but his challenge was clear. She should live in the way that her faith taught, but the choice was hers to live as she pleased.

I hope that I am willing to stand up for my beliefs like Daniel was, no matter what the cost. I want to be clear about what I believe and about what the Bible says but I also primarily want to lead people to Jesus rather than spending my time telling them how they should and shouldn’t live.

I am not in the least bit upset that people who don’t know Jesus want to engage in and support gay marriage.

I am upset that there are people in this world that don’t know Jesus.

I have tried to write this in a personal way. This is my belief about how we should approach this and similar issues that may be contrary to what we believe. I have tried to ask questions and make suggestions rather than trying to be black and white about how we respond. If you disagree with me, I hope that you can disagree in the same spirit by asking questions and pointing to scripture.

Don’t forget that when Christians disagree, that there should be lots of grace involved.

Advertisements

About honestaboutmyfaith

Hi, my name is Graeme and I’m married to a very patient wife. We have 4 children, 2 rabbits, a terrapin (and not a lot of peace and quiet!). I’m a Baptist Minister who is especially interested in making Church accessible to people who have no church background and also in how we disciple people in order to equip them to live out their faith in the 21st Century. I am also a member of the Eastern Baptist Association's Council with responsibility for Mission Strategy.
This entry was posted in Bible, Faith, Jesus and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to The one about Gay Marriage

  1. Reblogged this on lizjohnston8 and commented:
    I agree wholeheartedly with what you say and we have gay people that are part of our fellowship who I must say are a little uneasy but we treat them with love. I am curious to know what happens if they ask to be married at your church though? This is not a confrontational question just a dilemma I wondered about.

    Like

    • Hi Liz. Thanks for the encouragement.
      The central point i’m making in what I have written is about how we treat those who are outside of the Christian faith.
      The church I lead wouldn’t hold a same sex wedding. I guess, in your situation I would want to talk through with people who were Christians and who were actively living a homosexual life how they view the relevant scriptures.
      Some Christians such as Steve Chalke are making a theological case for reinterpreting these verses. I disagree with their conclusions but I am respectful of someone’s right to interpret the Bible and to try and live out their faith.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The Storyteller says:

      Hi, I read your article and it poses some interesting questions. I look at the illustration of the fig tree in the gospels to address this issue, Jesus showed the disciples the fruit and the results if we do not judge ourselves. We may not judge the sinner but we are told in scripture to always judge a trees fruit whether it is good or bad. If we fail to judge ourselves by Gods Word we will eventually be judged as was the fig tree because of the fruit produced. It seems society as a whole it trying to tell us to no longer judge the fruit of this lifestyle or even ourselves whereas the scripture always seems to challenge us to judge the fruit produced by our own lives and lives of others. Are you telling us you do not judge the fruit of the tree but avoid eating it? How do you avoid eating the fruit if you do not first make a judgement about it? Thanks!

      Like

      • Your right that fruit shows what is within and we need to be wise what we do and don’t do or get into. You may judge a tree to be bad on the basis of it’s fruit but it doesn’t mean your primary objective is to tell it it is a bad tree. A better aim might be to help it to see what being a good tree looks like? Jesus accepts Zacchaeus rather than pronouncing judgement on him. When Zacchaeus comes to faith, then he changes and he begins to produce good rather than bad fruit.

        Like

      • The Storyteller says:

        Thank you for your reply. I am weighing the various conversations with you and other readers knowing that there is a very popular teaching out there called “super grace.” Those who preach this popular gospel ride to the far right of the road in their teaching just to the left of the ditch but it is extremely popular and taught by some well known preachers. The cross as well as sin is rarely mentioned in their sermons.

        Like

      • Never heard of super grace. We are definitely in need of salvation from sin and death and Jesus achieved this on the cross and we receive it through repentance and accepting Jesus as our Lord and saviour.

        Like

      • The Storyteller says:

        Thank you so much for your feedback. I certainly would like to receive your notifications!

        Like

  2. Diana Rogers says:

    Thank you for shedding a different light on this subject. The Babylonians conquered by war. The ‘Political’ systems in the West are being conquered by secularism, which claims a ‘diverse morality’ which, cannot exist. It seems that, as Christians, we have to live in our own bubble with our brothers and sisters, It is so sad for the children of these ‘marriages’. The tide is turning against us, the florist in the US and Ashers in Ireland, being told quite openly, that if they cannot conform, they cannot do business. This is hastening the day when, in order to trade, we have to have ‘The mark of the Beast’. I just thank the Lord that He is control and ‘the war has already been won’ on the Cross. What would you do if invited to such a ‘wedding’?

    Like

    • Thanks Diana. We live in a complex world and I want to be more inspired by Daniel in the way I respond to it.
      I think there is a difference to being a blessing to someone as a human being and endorsing their lifestyle.
      Our family has a bouncy castle business and we deliver castles to anyone. A lot of the families we serve and bless as a business have parents that aren’t married but we choose to bless and serve them rather than judging them.
      Although I couldn’t conduct a gay marriage, I would have no problem attending one of people I knew. I may not agree with the morality of the people I know but I do want them to know that they are loved by God and by me and that we accept them.

      Like

  3. John and Christine says:

    What i struggle with is, i agree that we are all sinners, but i am not proud of my sin. It seems that Gay Pride is a type of oxymoron that slaps down any one who has not been desensitized by the media and existentialism

    Like

    • Thanks for this. I think we should have the right and freedom to say that we disagree with gay marriage but it doesn’t follow that we should then have to deny gay people the right to have a legally binding lifelong relationship.

      Like

  4. Sarah Whitehead says:

    I have read this article and can see what you are saying. But I do feel it is a little lopsided. What do I mean? It would seem to me that Christians are no longer allowed to express their views as freely as other groups. I do not agree with redefintion of marriage. The Bible clearly teaches for all people that marriage is between one man and one woman. It was established thousands of years ago. How come we think we can just change it to suit our present culture??? My big concern is that we are not looking at the consequences in the long term.

    Like

    • Thanks Sarah. The article was inspired by by a reflection on Daniel who didn’t try to impose his morality on the Babylonians, but he did live his faith honestly, openly and without fear. I have no problem with saying things are right or wrong, I just feel that we have become more passionate about morality than we have about Jesus.

      Like

  5. My response to the subject is. Who am I to judge! God knows exactly what is what l we can do as Christians is tell them Jesus lov s them and HE IS THE Way

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oliver Gross says:

    Hi Graeme. Thank you for this. I agree with you that morality divorced from conversion is not what we are about, but it doesn’t follow that we should be unconcerned about how people in our society live or refrain from telling them when they’re wrong (and this is NOT the same as ‘judging’ them!). The Psalmist said, “Rivers of water run down from my eyes, because men do not keep your law” (Psalm 119:136). Even Daniel on one occasion told to king to change his behaviour (Daniel 4:27), but in any case is this book the most relevant to our situation? What about the Acts, in which Paul encounters a pagan world and preaches the gospel to it? “His spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols” (17:16); “testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (20:21). On the other hand, if we are not going to tell people how they should live, at least let us be consistent and not only give homosexuals a break but also pimps, slave traders, murderers, greedy bankers and paedophiles. Or is it that we feel emboldened to criticise those whom society sees as fair game, but are afraid to speak a word against its sacred cows? But then it is not Scripture but the world that is our actual authority. We must all strive to imitate the “friend of sinners”, but let’s be careful lest we become as those of whom he could say, “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify of it that its deeds are evil” (John 7:7).

    Like

    • Thanks for your thought provoking comments.
      Firstly can I be clear that I am on a journey of thinking over this and other issue and my journey involves the question, how does God want us to respond to people in a morally complex world. We can only answer that question by searching the scriptures and I guess that I am being surprised at the way that in the scriptures that people consistently seem to present God rather than focusing on people’s specific sins when presenting the gospel. I certainly don’t claim to be right on this, but here are some more thoughts,
      1. It should break our heart when people turn from Gods ways
      2. We should not be afraid to say that sin is sin in any situation and no matter who we might offend. My thoughts aren’t about avoiding that, rather they are about whether this is the best way or what God would what us to say. There is a big difference between saying something is sin and campaigning against it in such a way that we attempt to deprive others of their freedom to live as they choose.
      3. Yes Daniel does say to stop sinning, but only after the King has been convicted through a dream. In that moment when God puts his finger on someone’s life, that is the moment to speak directly.
      4. The Acts 17 reference is a great example of what I am trying to say. Paul is troubled by the idolatry but his sermon is about the true God. He could easily have focused on what was wrong, but instead he ignores that in his sermon and presents the true and living God to people and some are saved.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s