Wanted: Clear Thinking (and Clean Living!)
The current debate over so-called â€œgay marriageâ€ which is being waged in our society cries out for level-heading thinking and cogent argumentation. Unfortunately, we live in an age in which the terms of debate are usually framed by the loudest voices and in which reasoned argument is often replaced by shrill diatribe and personal attack. Sadly, even people calling themselves â€œChristianâ€ can resort to these quite unchristian means in order to try to win their arguments. So let us think clearly that we might debate fairly!
Let us state the obvious first: there is no way in which the uniting of two people of the same sex into some sort of arrangement we would label â€œmarriageâ€ can be squared with Biblical teaching. Neither is there any way in which homosexual practice can be made to come in line with the clear teaching of the Bible. Certainly, there are many who have tried; these, however, employ a dubious hermeneutic as they approach Scripture. No one who believes that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God can get around the clear teaching of the Bible on this point. It is only as we make the Bible to be something far less than this that we can derive such erring interpretations as have been contrived on this subject!
As we enter the 21st century, we have become so â€œenlightenedâ€ as to now have moved beyond the morality of homosexual practice to the point where we are considering sanctioning homosexual â€œmarriageâ€. Unbelievably, some representatives of mainline Protestant denominations led the â€œpro gay marriageâ€ charge in California (thankfully repulsed by public referendum). But Godâ€™s truth never changes, and Christians should be armed to reasonably defend that truth. How can we intelligently argue the Christian position?
First, we must recognize that the debate may well be won by those who are allowed to set its terms. Quick question: how do we respond when someone says, â€œI believe that gays should be allowed to marryâ€? We should agree with this point! Chances are that you may read that and think Iâ€™ve gone off the deep end, but bear with me: every person in America already has the right to marry! But the truth is that this is not what the homosexual activists want; rather, what they desire is the right to radically redefine marriage in a way in which it has never been defined in history in order to suit their own preferences. Yes, any person can marry, but marriage is and always has been defined as the union of two people of the opposite sex from one another.
We quickly see, then, that any attempt to turn this into a civil rights issue is bogus on its face! We all have equal rights to marry the person whom we choose, but by definition marriage precludes same-sex unions. Here is the fair question to ask: if we can alter the very definition of marriage in this radical way, what is to logically stop us from further redefinition? What would be wrong, then, with the marriage of two men and one woman? Polygamy, anyone? Why not four women and three men? How about six men, eleven women, a cocker spaniel, and a geranium?
Okay, so that last line was a bit facetious, but the point is clear: the issue is the radical redefinition of marriage. Perhaps youâ€™ve heard the argument that asks what harm it is to traditional marriage to allow for â€œgay marriageâ€. The answer is fairly simple: when we move away from the time-honored definition of marriage, we cheapen all marriages. Marriage will become simply a free-form arrangement devoid of meaning, again because if we start to redefine marriage, there will be no logical stopping point. If we want to talk about â€œrightsâ€ in this argument, let us talk about the rights of married individuals to have marriage remain a meaningful institution.
Another argument you will hear is that â€œmarriage is about two people who love each otherâ€ and thus â€œwhat can be so wrong with â€˜gay marriageâ€™?â€ Please stop this argument in its tracks as well by refusing again to allow the terms of the debate to be set by a dubious opening statement. Remind the person that marriage has not ever been, is not, nor will ever be defined so simplistically as being about â€œtwo people who love each other.â€ This is a bogus assertion, for there are scores of people whom I love to whom I cannot be married! I love my mom and dad, my sister, my children, my fellow Christians, and a whole host of other people. Marriage, however, is a much more complex proposition than to be reduced in this way! I am only married to one person whom I love, and she is certainly of the opposite sex from myself! Marriage is, at least ostensibly, about committing oneself to one other person of the opposite sex for the sharing of a lifetime together. The fact that many have treated marriage lightly does not change its nature.
It would be good, at this point, to be reminded as well that the Bibleâ€™s admonition to us is to speak the truthâ€”but always to speak it in love! It is certainly not an unloving thing to do to oppose â€œgay marriageâ€, nor to point out that there are many things (not only homosexual practice!) which the Bible calls â€œsinâ€, but there are just as certainly some Christians who have done so in an unloving way! It also would be important to be reminded that there are many Christians whose own marriages fall far short of the Bible definition of marriage, and many marriages which end in divorce. God makes plain in His Word His hatred of divorce in terms that are more direct than those which are used to condemn homosexuality!
It will be to the shame and long-term detriment of our society if we allow the radical redefinition of marriage as is being proposed by the powerful pro-homosexual lobby. As Christians, we must mix resolute Christian conviction with genuine Christian compassion as we approach this debate. And we must combine sound reasoning with consistent living if we are to be effective. Facts, history, compassion, and logic are on the side of traditional marriage; let us defend this God-ordained institution against all who would seek to destroy it!