Evangelicals for Gay Marriage

Yesterday, the 9th US Circuit of Appeals declared it unconstitutional for states to ban same-sex marriage. There is no doubt this will make its way to the Supreme Court.

And while hundreds of thousands of evangelical Christians will use it as an opportunity to “stand up for their faith,” I will use it as an opportunity to stand up for people without rights. We will both have our arguments and our proof-texts. We will both believe this is a watershed moment for Christianity in America. “If we allow for gay marriage God will punish America” or “If we allow for gay marriage our civilization will collapse,” they might say. But I will reply, “If we do not stand up for the equal rights of all human beings perhaps we are not fully understanding the Good News of Christ” and “If we lose the culture on this matter, we are unnecessarily turning off an entire generation to the grace we find in Jesus.” We will probably not ever agree. And that’s okay. They are still my family. But here are a few reasons why I support homosexuals in their desire to marry.

First, this matter has nothing to do with whether or not homosexuality is a sin. So please do not reply to this post with the usual proof-texts from the Bible about why homosexuality is wrong. If this were about homosexuals in church leadership or even church membership, we would have to address whether or not homosexuality is a sin (which is another issue entirely on its own). But Paul seems to make it very clear that Christians have absolutely no place to judge the behavior of non-Christians

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral . . . . In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sisterbut is sexually immoral . . . 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. . . .” -1 Corinthians 5:9-13a

But instead, evangelicals seem to be very good at making sure people who are not Christians know that they are “breaking the rules” of Christianity. And as such, we have gained the reputation for being judgmental, a moniker well-deserved for the most part. It is God’s place to judge the world, it is our place to love it. And just like the story we find in Adam & Eve, when we put ourselves in God’s place, we make a mess of things.

Secondly, then, what is the best way to love the world? And remember, love is not an emotion, but, as DC Talk profoundly says, “love is a verb.” One way I know is to show people the love of Jesus by supporting them in their fight for equality, to stand with them. It doesn’t matter if I agree with their lifestyle or not (it’s not my place to judge, remember). My main goal as an evangelical Christian is to reflect the resurrected Christ and his Kingdom. And I believe Jesus is on the side of those without power and his kingdom is one of equality, where no one is a second-class citizen, whether that be conservative Christian, drug addict, homosexual, atheist, or politician. We all bear God’s image in this story.

Thirdly, I don’t want to be on the wrong side of history again. I am not sure Christians realize that they were, for the most part, on the wrong side of the slave issue. The Bible was used weekly during the Civil War to support slavery as morally acceptable. Not only that, but by taking care of the “less than human blacks,” the white slave owners were being quite compassionate, taking care of a race that couldn’t survive in the civilized world on their own. It was so “obvious” that the Bible supported slavery. . .

And, lest we forget, it was a Christian culture that kept women from being able to vote until only 100 years ago. I am ashamed that a “Christian” culture didn’t support or even acknowledge the equality of women until . . . well, in some Christian circles, they still don’t.

So, the way I see the text of the prophets, the life of Jesus, and the trajectory of the New Testament, I would much rather be held accountable to God for fighting for the equality and dignity of all humans (sorry God, I assumed I should fight for the rights of those who didn’t have them) than to be held accountable to God for excluding rights from people for the sake of religious rules (sorry God, I thought I was supposed to tell the world how sinful they are and that my government should privilege Christian culture at the expense of other people).

I might be wrong. If studies show that children of gay parents are somehow disadvantaged or if our society does in fact begin to fall apart because gay people can marry, then perhaps I will change my mind. But for now that’s a risk I am willing to take for the sake of people knowing that there are Christians who stand with them in their struggle to be seen as equals in the eyes of their government.

If the Church wants to keep marriage between a man and a woman because of their religious convictions, so be it. Remember, this isn’t about the “sinfulness of homosexuality.” I understand that stance within the Church. But I will not support using the government’s power to coerce powerless non-Christians into behaving like Christians. That, to me, seems thoroughly un-Christian. It is the Spirit of God who transforms the heart, not the laws of the powerful.

I know this is controversial ground . . . . While I have no interest in picking a fight, I absolutely welcome critiques to my arguments as well as other options and opinions on the issue.

78 responses to “Evangelicals for Gay Marriage

  1. nicely said, but who is to say you can not be gay and Christian. I think this is where many false judements are made. Some Christians assume that because a person is gay that they must be “minions of satan” sent to corrupt the church. There are many passages in the Bible that are now antiquated because of the progress we have made in human rights. Why not this one?

    • As a general rule of thumb, I like to compare teachings across all scriptures. In many cases, including treatment of women and the issue of slavery, I see movement from the Old Testament to the New Testament. The NT teaches more freedom/equality for both women and slaves than the OT, so I can allow myself to continue in that change. With regards to homosexual practices, God’s teachings are consistent through and through. Both Old and New Testaments teach that it is wrong.

      Having said that, I do appreciate how the original author pointed out that we are not called to judge non-Christians, but we are called to keep other Christians accountable to the teachings of God. For this reason, I do not judge non-Christian homosexuals, but I cannot reconcile someone claiming to be a Christian and a content (ie: not struggling against it, but actively pursuing it) homosexual.

      Just because it is not our place to judge non-Christians does not mean, however, that we are to support every movement that society throws at us. I do not believe homosexuality is healthy because God’s word teaches that it is not. Therefore I will not support the homosexual marriage cause because I do not believe it is healthy.

      Interesting topic. I love reading different perspectives on all sorts of controversial subjects.

      • I was directed to this thread by a friend of mine who was up in arms about the article. But rather than writing a full 2 pages in response as he did, I found your post, which is exactly my opinion on the matter.

        This was a pretty big issue here in my hometown of Springfield, MO just a month ago. There was a large-scale “political skirmish” between the Christian right in the town vs the LGBT(Q). But in the midst of these differences, I think it’s very important for homosexuals and their sympathizers to know that there are plenty of us evangelical Christians who, although diametrically opposed to their stance, still care for and love them as human beings. And I think that’s where the love of Christ comes in to play, rather than condoning any lifestyle, regardless of what the Bible says on the subject.

  2. I once stood on what I thought to be the “righteous” side of this argument. My entire posture has shifted, and that shift changed everything. It is freeing. It is rooted in Jesus’ love. I no longer hold the judgment seat. My heart is free to love and listen and meet people where they are at in their stories. Somehow, I feel a lot closer and more connected to who Jesus is and what he exemplified while he was here.

    You are right Jared, it is not our job to judge.. we can’t handle it, and it is too great a burden to bear. It puts walls between us and our neighbors. Imagine how revolutionary it would be for the church to embrace this shift of posture.

  3. “But I will not support using the government’s power to coerce powerless non-Christians into behaving like Christians. That, to me, seems thoroughly un-Christian. It is the Spirit of God who transforms the heart, not the laws of the powerful.”

    This reminds me of John Adams’ quote:
    “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”

    Governments have risen and fallen. During some of the time, some of them have worked fabulously. I believe that government works the best when the people are that government, so to speak. When people know, in their heart, what is right and wrong and live by that. When people are able to govern their individual self. Personal responsibility to do what is right for the greater good. Not living in fear of, “if I do wrong my government will punish me”. Understanding and living according to “the big picture”.

  4. I like the spirit of your post, Jared. The only issue I take with it is that you have asserted that homosexuals who are entering the marriage covenant (and, by extension, homosexuals in general) are non-christian. I could see how a homosexual christian reading this might take offense to that.

    • Thanks for your sensitive spirit Aaron. My intention was not to offend but to show that even if we say that homosexuals can’t be Christian (and as I said, this is a completely separate issue in my mind) that should not keep us from standing with them in their desire to have equal rights.

  5. I am not sure Christians realize that they were, for the most part, on the wrong side of the slave issue. “The Bible was used weekly during the Civil War to support slavery as morally acceptable”

    You actually should read a bit more history.

    The Bible was used weekly both before and during the Civil War to oppose slavery as well, by a very vocal group. The Abolitionists were religious folks not unlike the anti-abortion activists in the modern world. Lincoln was not wholeheartedly anti-slavery, and his Emancipation Proclamation, which had no legal force, was nothing but a military tactic and did very little to help the slaves; it was the Abolitionists who actually brought an end to slavery in America. It was likewise Christians who brought an end to slavery in England and throughout Europe.

    To repeat the lie that the Church was largely supportive of slavery is to ignorantly play into the control tactics of angry atheists.

    Oh, and along that line…

    I don’t want to be on the wrong side of history again.

    In other words, you’re intimidated by the jeers and catcalls of an unbelieving world.

    If you can’t grow a spine, rent one. The Church does not need any more jellyfish.

    • You might be right Phil, perhaps I have read my history wrong. I do know about the Abolitionist movement but I also know that the South largely thought they had God and the Bible on their side.

      And it’s not so much that I’m intimidated as much as I desire to be wise and thoughtful in the ways I engage with my culture.

    • Phil, the abolitionists deserve our admiration. But they didn’t end slavery: it was the hundreds of thousands of African-Americans who freed themselves by fleeing their masters during the Civil War that would have made chattel slavery impossible even if the South had won.

      The Church’s record isn’t as bad as some critics make it out to be, but it is very far from spotless. As you say, American Protestantism was divided over slavery, which is where the Southern Baptist Convention came from.

  6. If studies show that children of gay parents are somehow disadvantaged or if our society does in fact begin to fall apart because gay people can marry, then perhaps I will change my mind.

    Then change it. Both can be demonstrated from already-existing data.

    Anybody familiar with the psycho-social profile of self-identified homosexuals knows that the incidence of depressive disorders, self-destructive behaviors, suicides, and drug and alcohol abuse mirrors that of those of sufferers of other compulsive disorders like alcoholism, or like victims of childhood sexual abuse. Also, it has been well-established that gay “marriages” tend to look more like open marriages than like typical heterosexual marriages, with both partners out on Friday nights trolling for action and coming back to the nest after a little fling. The average tenure of a gay “marriage” is around 18 months.

    Any social servant that releases a child into the custody of a couple that is more likely than average to exhibit such behaviors should be jailed for criminal negligence.

    What I’m reciting here is not hate speech; it’s science. If you need the citations, I can supply them, or you can do your own damned homework (which you clearly have not done, to your own shame) and visit Focus on the Family or Narth,org to get the actual data.

    As for the actual data, take a look at the birth rate statistics in the nations and states where gay “marriage” has been legalized. In every one of them, the birth rate has fallen below replacement. Is that caused by the gay marriage law? Likely not; rather, it’s more likely caused by the set of social attitudes that we might call “modern hedonism,” a set that includes the approval of gay marriage under the mistaken notion that marriage is about personal gratification, and not about procreation and the continuation of the human race.

    I agree with you that religious-based arguments against gay marriage don’t work, but anthropological arguments against it DO work. Gay “marriage” is a disastrous aberration from normal human practice, and goes hand in hand with other, deleterious practices that all spell the extinction of the species.

    • “As for society falling apart,” should replace “As for the actual data” in the next to last paragraph. Sorry, mind hiccup.

    • I’m sorry your heart is so full of anger and fear. Here are some common misconceptions about gay marriage:

      1) Being gay is not natural.Human beings always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, liposuction and air conditioning.

      2) Equal marriage rights will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will encourage people to be tall.

      3) Legalizing same sex marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

      4) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn’t changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can’t marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

      5) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if same sex marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britney Spears’ 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

      6) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn’t be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren’t full yet, and the world needs more children.

      7) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only ever raise straight children.

      8) Same sex marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That’s why we have only one religion.

      9) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That’s why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

      10) Same sex marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven’t adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans…

      • If the best you can do when I cite actual, scientific research is to accuse me of “anger” and “fear,” please hold your breath. I’m neither interested in your phony psychoanalysis, nor in your recitation of sound bites engineered for somebody else.

        Since that list was obviously boilerplate, I’ll wait ’till you post something that avoids mentioning arguments that I did NOT make, and cites only those that I DID make.

        I await you reply.

    • “Anybody familiar with the psycho-social profile of self-identified homosexuals knows that the incidence of depressive disorders, self-destructive behaviors, suicides, and drug and alcohol abuse mirrors that of those of sufferers of other compulsive disorders like alcoholism, or like victims of childhood sexual abuse.”

      Did it ever occur to you that perhaps homosexual people suffer from depression and suicidal tendencies because they are constantly bullied, harassed, disowned by family and friends if they dare “come out”, fired from their jobs, stripped of the right to marry the person whom they love, told they are going to hell, told that their relationships are second-rate and doomed to fail, told they aren’t “qualified” to raise children, told that they *abuse* children, and generally treated by society as though they have something horribly wrong with them…like past abuse, or alcoholism?

      Your example is like this: Someone proclaims, “Driving blue cars causes suicide”. People then start going out every morning to stalk, harass, and intimidate people who drive blue cars. When one of those blue car drivers finally snaps and kills himself, the original prophet gleefully proclaims, “See? I was right; blue cars DO cause suicide!”

      “Gay “marriage” is a disastrous aberration from normal human practice, and goes hand in hand with other, deleterious practices that all spell the extinction of the species.”

      Do you honestly think that people are going to stop having children because gay people can get married? Not all *straight* married couples want or have children. Are *those* marriages a “disastrous aberration from normal human practice”, too? Some people stay single and have no wish to marry or have children. Will such people “spell the extinction of the species”? Should we require them to join the ranks of “normal human practice”, and procreate for the common good?

      Perhaps you should do some research on how much of that “data” from NARTH and Focus on the Family was obtained through deliberately faulty methods, bias, and outright fraud. Most of it is the work of a fellow named Cameron from sometime in the 70s, who has since outright *admitted* to lying in those studies. Such “science” has been thoroughly debunked by actual, unbiased studies.

  7. Jared, This was an excellent post that I think was written with good reason and good motive and I want to commend your compassion for others. I agree with you as far as your call to eliminate the iniquities in the level of financial and social benefit accorded different types of unions.

    However I disagree that redefining marriage is a proper route. I really do not understand why you want to look to the government to form and dissolve marriages to begin with. That power is not granted by no words of Christ or by teaching of the Apostles or the Church Fathers.

    The injustice that you rightly want to cure is is those social and financial benefits a Christian majority has granted that it asks the states to deny to persons outside the cult – the cure is to extend those benefits to all or to eliminate those benefits.

    Since the protestants recognize only civil marriages they mayu have ceded all authority for the governance of marriage to the government which shall form its laws as it sees fit.

    Which brings me to the problem of your solution. Persons married in any of the ancient and Apostolic Churches – Greeks, Russian, Latins, Roman Catholic, and the others are not married in civil marriages. These Churches do not recognize civil divorce but they give a sort of benefit-of-the-doubt recognition of civil marriages.

    Marriage in those Churches is an act made by God with the Husband and Spouse as the sole ministers. Even the priest in such a marriage does not pronounce the couple “married” as he has no power to make it so.

    I feel that it is not properly yours to call for a redefinition of marriage itself because we do not claim to be able to regulate marriage at all – we cannot define who is married or even codify any particular actions that produce a married couple!

    To claim that some certain oath does what God alone in producing “two out of one” reduces the faith to a sort of magic.

    I feel that a true humility requires we admit we cannot define marriage or any process that produces a married state.

    I think you and I agree that same humility requires we demand the state offer to all partners those benefits that foment a caring, peaceful, and just society.

    Peace,

    Garry

    • Garry – this is a well-articulated response, thanks! I appreciate that you get to the heart of it, that we “eliminate the iniquities in the level of financial and social benefit accorded different types of unions.” And in that way, I am not sure I am really all that interested in what we call it so long as everyone is afforded equal benefits. The problem I see in our current state is that “separate but equal” hasn’t worked out so well in the past so to create new category, say, “civil union,” opens up problems of its own.

      I guess I am a little confused about why Christians “own” marriage though. If, as you say, marriage is solely in the hands of the church and not the government, what do we do with non-Christians who want to get married? Who, as you say, “forms and dissolves” marriage in the case of those who are unaffiliated with the Church? Maybe you can talk a little more about how that works.

      • And where is the argument as to why we go to our government for marriage licenses instead of the church ?

  8. I will not support using the government’s power to coerce powerless non-Christians into behaving like Christians.

    This is not about making non-Christians behave like Christians. Christians are not attempting to force gays to behave in any manner; since Lawrence v. Texas, gays are free to engage in their acts in private without interference everywhere in the US.

    In fact, it’s the opposite: it’s gays who are attempting to force Christians to behave as though they’re not Christians — which is why, in all the other countries where gay “marriage” has been recognized, Christians are now being arrested simply for holding the Christian position on the subject.

    What is being violated in the discussion of “gay ‘marriage’” is a human institution, not a Christian one. Every civilization on the face of the planet has had official marriage recognition and ritual. In many of those civilizations, men routinely engaged in homosexual relations without penalty or social disgrace; it’s mostly the Christian West that frowns on homosexuality. However, in none of those other cultures was marriage defined as anything but a union of a male with one or more females.

    Marriage enables the passing on of property, culture, status, name, and title. It is also normative; it identifies the specific type of sexual relation that the society encourages for the purpose of perpetuating the species and passing on the culture. Marriage is about the continuity of the species. Same-gendered relations have existed forever, but have never, ever, under any circumstance been considered “marriage.”

    Marriage is how the human species reproduces. Human beings are what they are, and they do what they do. We cannot change the species by fiat; we can no more make what gays do with each other “marriage” than we can legislate the ability to sprout wings and fly.

    Worse, though, laws that attempt to force change in humans almost always end up making criminals of ordinary people. Gay “marriage” is thus the road on which suppression of religious liberty is riding into town. Christians who cooperate with it, even for fine-sounding reasons like “engaging the culture,” are simply tying the knot for the noose on which they will inevitably be hung.

    • Living in a country that has legalised gay marriage, I can assure you nobody is ‘arrested simply for holding the Christian position on the subject’ (what subject? homosexuality or gay marriage?). That’s not to mention that many Christians are tolerant of gay marriage – as Jared’s post shows, so how is there even a unified ‘Christian position’?

      The rest of your post is an appeal to tradition – there has been no gay marriage before, so we shouldn’t allow it. Well, we might say the same about universal suffrage, the abolition of slavery, the establishment of secular states…

  9. Jared,

    Great post, I’ve wondered about the issue myself – which is not the merits of homosexuality or gay marriage, but rather – what role a Christian has in shaping civil law in a democracy. American church history seems to show that around the turn of 20th century the church shifted away from focus on sin in the church (in a ten year period in the late 1800′s, the baptists in the state of Georgia excommunicated over 40,000 members), and towards the sin in the culture.

    Stuart

    • That’s a great way of putting it Stuart. Maybe you can help me – what are other places in Scripture that might address these issues?

  10. I have talked to some others about this, and it seems that a major underlying passion for a lot of Christians is in regards to the word “marriage.”

    I don’t believe that the State had any reason to believe it would be such a controversial word when they originally cited it as the right to union. But just as the connotation of the word “voter” has changed its meaning from “white, land-owning males,” we see that society has made a voice to change the connotation of the word “marriage” to include same-sex partnerships.

    The issue is that the entity that has coined this term and sanctified it for centuries (the church) is not ready to change their DENOTATION of the word.

    I would be interested to see how different the issue would be if the state only issued “civil union” certificates, and if the matter of the traditional title “marriage” was left to the church.

    Therefore a couple could be legally recognized, no matter the sexual orientation, by the state, and the church could retain its traditional denotation and conviction about the word marriage.

    Lastly, I must add that I have never understood Christians who say that God would never naturally create a homosexual individual. I believe that is naive. We believe in so many great wonders of God, and see so much destruction that is of his creation, and yet we cannot believe that it is even slightly feasible that God may have purposefully allowed the natural creation of a homosexual who is so because they are genetically made to be?

    In the same way that Job is challenged by God, I believe it is impossible for us to fully comprehend his creations. If we can not comprehend, then who are we to make conclusions?

    • I have never understood Christians who say that God would never naturally create a homosexual individual.

      Would God naturally create a hermaphrodite?

      Would God naturally create an alcoholic?

      • hermaphroditesplural of her·maph·ro·dite (Noun)
        Noun:

        A person or animal having both male and female sex organs or other sexual characteristics, either abnormally or NATURALLY.

        Phil, that was what I was trying to address in Job. I think it is over zealous to say “God would never (blank).” ie. God would never flood the earth and destroy mankind on purpose, why would God ever kill his own son for us, by the merit of the same love he destroyed us with.

        That was the purpose in my reference to Job. There have been a TON of things that God has done, that we wont ever understand until we reach heaven. So why do Christians feel comfortable in saying “God would NEVER…”

        I would much rather not place a cap on, or pretend to know exactly what God will and won’t do.

      • (A) I was asking sincerely, hoping that the questions would help you in your reasoning process. It’s a shame that you assessed my questions as some sort of threat. No threat was intended.

        (B) I agree that it’s chancy to say what God would or would not do. However, there are several things that we can say with certainty, like “God would never be cruel for cruelty’s sake” and similar things. The object of our faith is to get to know Him, after all. There are things that we know certainly; you just have to be careful about what they are, and you know them better as you mature.

        (C) I am far from convinced that God can be blamed for genetic anomalies like hermaphroditism, regardless of whether some professional writer used the word “natural” in the definition or not. Genetic anomalies could plausibly be the result of the fall.

        (D) Regardless of the cause — whether by God’s intervention or some genetic mishap — the natural occurrence of a situation does not recommend that situation for celebration. If we could cure genetic Tay-Sachs disease in utero, we would, and nobody would object. On the other hand, there’s no reason to cure left-handedness. The question is, which is homosexuality more like?

        (E) Between hermaphrodites and alcoholics, the better analog to homosexuality, by far, is alcoholism. You may not know this, but there are no longer any serious professionals in the field of psychiatry who consider homosexuality to be genetically determined. The gene theory is basically dead, and the APA, which announced the possibility of a “gay gene” in the 1980s with fanfares and fireworks, quietly published documents 30 years later admitting “We do not know what causes homosexuality.” As I said above, the psycho-social profile of the behaviors associated with homosexuality are virtually identical to those of individuals who suffered childhood sexual trauma. Most likely, what we call “homosexuality” is actually a diverse family of compulsive sexual disorders. That’s not my prejudice, that my reading of several, peer-reviewed professional studies of the behaviors. It’s a valid hypothesis, and generally gets rejected because of people’s prior ideological commitments, not because of any valid scientific reasoning.

      • Thank you for the information about the peer reviewed articles. And I didnt mean to sound offended or taken back, not at all. I am quite interested in the topic. However, all I am saying is that it seems like a level of empathy is missing from your arguments. As you stated, according to your peer reviewed articles, the cause is unknown. But does it really matter what the cause is, or should we accept them regardless?

      • Oh, and let me add …

        (F) God makes no alcoholics. Man makes those. Please note carefully that I am NOT saying that homosexuals choose their condition; if the analogy to alcoholism is sound, allow me to confirm that nobody chooses to be an alcoholic, it’s something that’s done to them before they have a choice.

      • a level of empathy is missing from your arguments.

        Where do you get off saying something like this?

        I assure you that as a sufferer in recovery from a compulsive sexual disorder not unlike the ones I’m describing, I have more empathy about this under my damned FINGERNAILS than you’ll ever have in your life, you smug little pup.

        Now go back to your comfortable little hole and don’t bother adults until you fucking grow up, kay, sport?

        Asshole.

      • Ok, that was out of line of me, and I’m sorry.

        But you don’t know me, and “lack of compassion” is generally an excuse for dismissing an argument with which you simply disagree. Not to mention pretty deeply insulting, arrogant, smug, offensive, and hurtful. So maybe you should rethink your own position before you say anything else.

      • Lack of compassion and empathy are two different things. I am not saying you are not compassionate.

        I am sorry for offending you if I have, but it is obvious to me that continuing our discussion will not be beneficial for either of us, nor any of the other readers.

        I appreciate the apology.

      • I’ll add one more thing for your benefit:

        I’m guessing from your language and the level of your analysis that you’re in your 20s, perhaps your early 30s. I’m in my late 50s. I’m used to hearing from people your age — the age of my children, as it happens — that age is just a number. That’s an error. Age is just a number if the older person has refused to benefit from their experience. That takes work, and genuine stupidity. By the grace of God, I’m not one of those.

        You’ve never been nearly 60, but I was your age once. I know what it’s like to be 30, and I know how much I knew when I was 30. I am not bragging, merely stating a fact, when I tell you that anybody my age who really cares about truth has forgotten more than you are capable of understanding at your age.

        So I recommend that if you ever disagree with someone my age again and think it might be because you’re more “empathetic” than the other person, if you can’t remember to think “Perhaps he has some experience or knowledge here that I just haven’t come across yet,” then just show a little respect because of the age difference. That’s the safe bet, and the one that will please God the most. Chances are the disagreement isn’t because of a “lack of empathy.” Chances are it has more to do with a difference in perspective that you’re not even physiologically capable of assessing.

      • philwynk,
        I don’t think there is anything I, or anyone else for that matter, could say that would keep you from arguing. I will say this, regardless of your age or how much you have learned from your life experiences, you come off sounding very angry, smug, and arrogant whether you intend to or not. The way you have responded to several people on this post is extremely disrespectful and yet you demand respect. While it is one thing to state your opinions, it is another to belittle others for theirs just because they differ from yours… or because they might be younger than you. I speak for myself and mostly likely others when I say please refrain from your angry, backlash comments.

  11. Jared,

    I don’t have a solution to propose other than the Church seek to be just, loving, and caring as it tends the garden.

    Some of the very first actions of the Church was to face the complaints of those that the Church was discriminating against and to establish institutions of Justice to address the wrongs.

    You can see that in the details of the controversy in Jerusalem over the feeding of the non-Jewish Widows which led to the establishment of the order of Deacons and thereby ratified the role of the Church in upholding non-discriminating social justice.Before the Apostles spoke it is recorded that this was a large controversy among the people with great outcry for justice from the minority group. A Church Council was made in Jerusalem to effect Justice.

    You can see it again as the Apostles had to face the damage to persons caused by attempts to define the characteristics necessary to regard a person as Christian by rigid standards. A Church Council was made in Antioch to effect Justice.

    These were arguments to get puffy over but the arguments were not the solutions. The solutions came from the Acts of the Church guided by the Apostles through the Church Councils to work with the Holy Spirit..

    Christian history is not so impressive if you view in terms of various victories won through strife by means of persuasive arguments or even war. It is however quite impressive if you look at it in terms of the Apostolic prerogative working in her Councils.

    My only suggestion is to pray and study and speak as clearly as you can on behalf of the wronged. As if you did not already know this!

    Jared – I hope you continue to have courage and compassion and that you more and more be gifted with Wisdom.

    Peace

    Garry

  12. this is one topic i am so tired of,yet the more it is debated,the more understanding and less judgemental people become.

  13. What you are saying is that it is our duty as Christians to support gay marriage because it promotes equality. My question to you is this, how will you handle it when a gay couple who has been married, accepts Jesus as their Savior and seeks membership at your church? From your post, it sounds to me like you don’t believe that people who are gay can be pastors or eligible for church membership, which I agree with by the way.

    How does the church respond to gay marriages? I’m not sure. Do we tell gay couples that accept Jesus that in order to be in obedience to God that they need to get divorced, which is also disobedience? I feel like you are telling gay couples you will fight for their right to get married, but if they accept Jesus and want to join the church they can’t you don’t support them anymore. How are those people going to respond when you tell them once they accept Jesus that you no longer support their lifestyle?

    Just on a side note, I don’t mean this comment to sound harsh or attacking you in any way, and I’m sure that it might sound like that. I’m just asking the questions of how are we to deal with gay marriages in the church, and if we take a stand for gay marriage, can we tell those gay people they aren’t welcome for church membership.

  14. Good post, Jared. Very well thought and written. I especially like the interpretation of Paul in 1 Cor. 5. I have been benefited by reading it, as well as many of the comments (thanks all around).

    To be brief, I’m ready to risk on this issue. It seems to me that the God of the Bible took an incredible risk by loving a world that was open to all sorts of flaws (I mean, God loves the WORLD, right? even those “outside” the church). Jesus modeled this God in human form. As a follower of Jesus, and a member of the Jesus community… yeah, I’m gonna risk on the side of love.

  15. Hi, Jared – I appreciate your stand on this thorny issue. My reasons for support of same-sex marriage is pretty simple: it can encourage fidelity. Widespread infidelity and promiscuity are factors that eat away at any society; any steps taken to counter that have to be seen as welcome.

  16. Jared Byas states: “First, this matter has nothing to do with whether or not homosexuality is a sin. So please do not reply to this post with the usual proof-texts from the Bible about why homosexuality is wrong. If this were about homosexuals in church leadership or even church membership, we would have to address whether or not homosexuality is a sin (which is another issue entirely on its own).”

    If we were talking about any other Biblical sin (lying, cheating, stealing, adultery, fornication, etc., etc.) I do not believe anyone would be writing an article encouraging christians to fully support, and champion the cause of those committing this acts. It would be ludicrous and hypocritical. The fact that Jared Byas and others are asking us to champion the cause of the homosexual HAS to be because he and others like him, DO NOT believe it is sin. He is not admitting that, but if that is not the case and he is a minister, then he is asking us to support behavior that sends people to hell. I do not believe he would ask us to do that, therefore it seems obvious to me he does not consider homosexuality wrong or sinful.

    As to judging as referenced in 1 Cor. 5, it tells us not to associate with immoral people in the church, but Paul says he is not talking about the world (obviously) because you cannot live a day without rubbing shoulders with immoral people in life. So don’t judge (worry about isolating yourself from the world), but he says, worry about those in the church, if they are immoral and will not change, they have to go or they will infect the entire body, and if they ask you to lunch, don’t go. Are you willing to follow that part too Jared? Or is the “don’t judge” part the only part of the chapter that applies “to our society”?

    Paul says don’t judge the world, he doesn’t say, “Become a champion of their cause! Fight for their right to commit acts of sin that you know are destructive. Write letters and blogs to help them be more comfortable in their sin, because they are misunderstood…if that is logic, and we should support the “disenfranchised sinner”, then are we going to support all Americans’ rights to commit their flavor of sin? Or are you going to admit you do not consider it sin?

    • David, thanks for your thoughts. From the big picture, I think we simply have a different vision for how the Christian church functions in the world. But, I’ll try to address a few of your points as well:

      Contrary to what you say, I fully support the right of all sinners to have equal rights in the eyes of the government that I enjoy. What we are talking about is the very murky waters of the relationship between the church and the state and how a Christian should function when s/he has a “foot in both worlds” so to speak. I am not fighting for their right “to commit acts of sin,” they already have that right (sadly, this has only been the case for the past few decades). I am fighting for their right to receive the same benefits from the government in their committed long-term relationship as I receive in mine.

      I also think we disagree on what it means for me to be a minister. My job description doesn’t include letting people know how much their behavior displeases God. I am not sure that is the job description of any Christian (if you find passages in the Bible that say differently, I would be very grateful for them). Ironically, it seems like Paul says in Romans that their consciences already do that so I don’t need to.

      What spiritual good comes of letting people know they are sinful? Depending on your Christian tradition, people are not even able to understand their sinfulness without the Spirit of God (in which case, my telling them about it is ineffective) or they are not able to change their behavior without a change of heart, which also cannot happen without the power of the Spirit of God (which does not occur when I tell them about their sinfulness).

      So I am not sure what I am accomplishing by trying to regulate the morality of people who don’t consider themselves Christians.

      I am not sure what you are getting at in your exposition of 1 Corinthians 5 so maybe you can say it another way? But, from what I gather I would admit no, I do not do well at not associating with sinners in the church. That is absolutely true. I have a hard time not going to lunch with people because I know they have sin in their lives. Mostly because I know I have my own sins too. To be honest, I don’t know what to do with Paul’s words there. I am not sure I have ever seen it practiced consistently. Do you know of a church that practices that well?

      Thanks for continuing the discussion David.

  17. I
    It is so sad to see so many young people who profess christianity and use it as a stage to present very worldly (conformed) opinions on how believers should think and act.Your messages come across as so peaceful ,loving and engaging,yet are so contrary to what the bible is all about and in turn are some of the most unloving messages I`ve seen recently.
    Christ came into the world for one purpose and that was to commit the most selfless act ever recorded and that was to take on the sin of the world so that man could be reconciled to God.He stood on mountain tops ,and on shore lines warning those who believed in Him, and those who didnt ,of the impending doom for folks who continued in their sinful ways and chose to stay seperated from Himself.He was the voice of the our father in heaven ,giving others a chance at repentance. Now ,today we are that voice and your messages totally goes against that.
    Do you really think we are suppose to bury our heads in the sand and not warn people of what potentially is coming?And, no we dont have to beat others over the head like thumpers do ,but by building relationships and expressing our love for them to get them to understand what the bible says.Imagine if Christ only gave a warm a fuzzy message as you do?If He avoided telling the world what it took (believing in Him and repentance) to make it home one day.
    Your message is not new and fresh ,but as old as the devil himself .The devil is not the red horned beast that we portay him as,but he is crafty ,calculated patient and subtle and is toe to toe in line with the message that you are presenting to the world and the church.he too is loving people right into hell,but then again you probably dont believe in a literal hell or the devil. God have mercy on you,young man!

    • Thanks Eric, I do pray that God has mercy on me because I am just as much a sinner as my gay friends, perhaps more so sometimes. I think we just disagree on the answer to the problem. I see the answer as Jesus, not better behavior. I believe that the power of the Spirit of God is the only thing that transforms our heart, not my condemnation of non-Christians behavior. I want to introduce them to Jesus as quickly as possible since as an evangelical I believe that you can have a personal relationship with him and that the power of that relationship is what changes our minds and hearts about our behavior. It seems that making sure people who do not know Jesus at least know that he doesn’t like what they’re doing is pulling the cart before the horse. What do you think?

      • Jared,
        There is much about your article I find disturbing. For one thing the title itself: Evangelicals “FOR” Gay Marriage. Even if I were to subscribe to your specific application of I Cor. 5 as to not judging those outside the faith, at best that would mean I should stay “neutral” in the culture war over marriage equality.

        There is clearly no reason to believe that passage would be a basis for Christ-followers to advocate or champion the advancement of a movement rooted in sin expressly forbidden in Scripture. Where in Scripture are we called to work against government laws that refuse to officially recognize/bestow rights on those engaging in a specific category of sin? Are you prepared to also be an “Evangelical for Polygamous Marriage”, too? Because that’s sure to follow.

        Having the proper balance between truth and love is a constant challenge. On the one hand we have the Fred Phelps type (although I seriously question if he can be in the faith) who spew out all kinds of “truth” concerning the sin of homosexuality, while totally neglecting even an ounce of love. While on the other hand, we have churches ordaining practicing homosexuals and “blessing” same sex unions in the name of love or as our President says, practicing the “Golden Rule”.

        I don’t believe you are at either of those extremes, but it appears to me you lean much more towards the “love” side, Jared. I think David may be right in his suspicion that you don’t believe homosexual sex between a commited couple is sin. You refuse to answer that question, because you consider it irrelevant to the issue. Perhaps this is also why you didn’t “tackle” the questions raised about gay married couples then getting saved and wanting to join your church.

        However, it really does make a difference. If you don’t consider it sin, in spite of the Scriptural prohibitions, it becomes a “no-brainer” for you to advance the cause by writing these kind of articles. But for evangelicals like David and I, why should we care about your application of I Cor. 5, if you do not accept other passages that teach this practice is “against nature” from God’s perspective?

        On the other hand, if you do embrace this biblical truth, David and I would be open to more seriously consider your position. So yes, what you believe concerning the teaching of Scripture regarding homosexual sex does matter.

        I also see the lack of balance between truth and love in your comments regarding helping those outside the faith come to know Jesus without any reference to their sin, because the Holy Spirit can deal with them on that afterwards (excuse my rough paraphrase). Yet, my study of the Bible informs me repentance is “the first word” of the gospel as follows:

        1. Following his return from the wilderness temptation Jesus launched his public ministry with these words: “REPENT, the Kingdom of God is at hand!”
        2. John the Baptist echoed the same in confronting sinners at the Jordan River.
        3. Peter in response to those who cried out on the Day of Pentecost, “What shall we do?”: “REPENT and be baptized for the remission of sins…”

        Jared, over the last 30 years of my pastoral ministry I have had the joy and privilege of praying with an average of one person a month (over 300 souls) to receive Christ as Lord. This is the passion of my life and the gift set the Holy Spirit equipped me with to serve him. I wouldn’t think of leaving out the teaching of repentance from sin.

        To tell people only of the love of Jesus and avoid any mention of sin is not “speaking the truth in love” (Paul’s word to the Ephesians). Do I love those outside the faith? I trust I do and have have also ministered to homosexuals and Lesbians, always speaking the truth in love.

        In conclusion, with all the causes of injustice that deserve our time and attention in building the Kingdom of God such as human slavery, persecuted brethren in Muslim nations, the abortion holocaust, etc., why are we even having this discussion?

        At best you should only be calling for evangelicals to remain neutral (although I personally don’t agree), as this does not compare to the far more worthy causes (such as those just mentioned) we should make our priority. Even if I agreed with your position, does becoming actively engaged in the fight to make a sinful union legally regarded as a marriage a good use of the precious limited time and resources we have?

  18. I have long agreed with you that this issue, among many of its friends, has been approached from the wrong angle by Christians. There’s the classic debate over whether Christians should get tattoos, but most rational people who argue against evangelicals applying body art don’t aim to make tattoo shops illegal, but only advice that Christians don’t patronize them. I see the issue of gay marriage the same way. It’s not about the totally separate issue of its morality, it’s an issue of freedom. I just didn’t have the biblical reference to back it up. So thank you!

  19. Thank you for your response Jared. It was carefully worded. In fact, it was so carefully worded that I was unable to ascertain if you consider homosexuality sin or not. I am not asking if a homosexual is a generic “sinner”, I am asking if homosexuality, the act of same sex SEX, is sin as defined in the scriptures, in your opinion or beliefs. I would appreciate a plain yes or no, if you are willing to divulge your conclusion on the matter.

    I would assume you believe murder is sin, and wrong, and you would be willing to go “on the record” and clearly state, “yes, murder is sin and wrong.” (or rape, or pedophilia, or theft). In that same, simplistic manner, could you please lean close to the monitor and type “yes, homosexuality is sin” or “no, homosexuality is not sin”. I would appreciate it….no, stop thinking! Just lean in and type! No, not those words, no not a question, no not a parable! Just “yes, homosexuality is sin” or “no, homosexuality is not sin”…you can do it!!! I have believe in you!

    • I apologize, I didn’t mean to be so vague, but I am very intentional about how I write for a reason. And unfortunately, I won’t divulge my position because I think if I did, people would miss my main point, which is that my position on supporting gay marriage is irrelevant to my views on Christian sexual ethics. The very fact that you are so interested in my point of view means that you disagree with my main point. So we will agree to disagree. I know that many might see my “silence” on my position as an admission of “guilt” (for those who disagree with me) but for me it’s to keep our eye on the ball – that I believe Christians who both believe it’s a sin and who do not can come together in support of this issue.

      But we can argue hypothetically: is it possible to believe that gay sex is a sin and still support the gay community in their fight for equal rights? And my point was yes, both negatively and positively. Negatively, because I am not held responsible for judging non-Christian behavior (my point from 1 Cor 5). Positively, because the trajectory I see in the New Testament and the prophets is to stand for people who we believe are being treated unjustly.

      • Can someone tell me how gays or lesbians are not being treated equal? Other than not being allowed to legally marry each other, that is.

  20. I will let you off the hook. We can stop talking about homosexuals in the world, as you explained Paul said not to judge outsiders in 1 Cor 5. So we will keep it to church issues.

    1 Cor 5 tells us: Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person… Do you not judge those who are within the church? Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.

    So, if you are a hypothetical pastor, and a hypothetical homosexual is in your church, and he is claiming to be a brother. Paul says not to associate with “immoral people”, in fact he says judge them and remove them so the immorality doesn’t spread! You believe the Bible, you obviously like 1 Cor 5 and what it says about not judging worldly homosexuals…so I’m sure you don’t pick and choose parts of scripture. That being said, hypothetically of course, are you going to “judge” homosexuality inside the church as immoral and remove that person? Well, even if you didn’t remove them, would you consider homosexuality in the church as immoral? Oh, and let me be clear, I mean any same sex SEX, period. I am not differentiating “monogamous, caring, committed loving” homosexuality from “evil temple prostitution type of same sex SEX with lots of different people” kind of homosexuality. I am talking about same sex SEX…period…IN CHURCH, not in the world…immoral or not?

  21. wow….no wonder why there are so many denominations. There seems to be so many people who have figured this all out and don’t need to talk nicely about it. So the answer has been to divide and don’t associate very much because you go to a different church, don’t believe all that I believe. After all, we will just argue and get angry at each other anyway.

    Oh Jared, you are such a horrible person trying to wrestle through the tough questions that are not comfortable to people.

    Personally, I need to test and talk through things in order to believe it as truth. No longer do I just believe because “the Bible says so”. In other words, just because my understanding of the modern interpretation leads me to believe. How arrogant I used to be. I refuse to make the Bible my idol. Run the race until the end. Never stop questioning in order to find answers. God is alive and not just confined to ancient Scriptures.

    So many responses in this thread have such a sinful tone that it comes across as very hypocritical to me. It is why so many of the world cannot get past the “christian” in order to see The One who should be living through us. Jesus did not come into the world to tell us what we are doing wrong (condemn us). He didn’t tell us to stop sinning in order to follow Him. It is so sad to see people who claim to represent Him attacking others for their beliefs. Jesus didn’t attack people for their beliefs. He Loved(s) them. I believe that people in this day in age ignore the power of God’s Spirit and feel that the human spirit of condemnation is loving. Very sad. Are we so arrogant to think that we are the ones responsible for “getting people to heaven” by telling them the rules the way we understand them and claim them as “God’s Truth”? I was, in my younger years.

    • Thanks for your thoughts Mike!

      “Oh Jared, you are such a horrible person trying to wrestle through the tough questions that are not comfortable to people.” Apparently so.

  22. Pingback: Evangelicals for Gay Marriage: Please Be Consistent | Jared Byas

  23. Keelie Reason,

    1. Married persons can transfer the fruits of their labor to their domestic mate without taxation.
    2. The domestic mate of a married person is usually accorded favorable terms for dependent treatment in workplace benefits such as insurance. Married.
    3. Married persons can visit their critically ill mates in the hospital and discus the care of the mate with physicians and nurses.
    4. et cetera multus.

    The estate tax benefit of a married person is zero rate of taxation compared to a rate as high as 49 percent for persons with domestic partners that are not married.

    The excuse the Christian-cuture warrior makes is that homosexuality is “wrong” which is one queer argument to make regarding the tax benefits because a married couple receives the benefit whether or not they have a right ordered and productive sexuality.

    It is odd that a Christian would chose to use iniquity itself to discriminate against others. Iniquity is the unequal treatment of others – the giving more favorable treatment of self and cult than is accorded to the other.

    The benefits given to married couples in this country are iniquitous by any standard.

    Keelie, the iniquities that are spoken of here are not directed at only the homosexual. The are many domestic households that are formed not on the basis of sexuality but on the basis of mutual agreement to partner for a better life which is also one of the two most important functions of marriage.

    Many of those domestic partnerships exist within the body of Christ and I would be extremely interested in any argument that would seek to deny the same.

    It is plain that marriage is an institution that has justice at its root. The marriage relationship is one to assure the partners that there covenant is not for harm but for good.

    Marriage illuminates the world to Justice who is Christ himself.

    I cannot fathom why a Christian would object to the imitation of marriage by any person. Would not the experience of the marital form add witness to that of creation regarding Love who is also Christ.

    My last point is that late in life the relationship of any couple is not ordered according to sexuality. It tends to be ordered according to mutual understanding that life will end and a mutual interest in meeting that end well. It is absolutely insensitive of Christians to condemn an older couple that has a great love because of the way their sexuality was ordered.

    Do you think that the government should have the power to annul a hetero-sexual marriage based on a accusation of sexual misadventure in some long- past event? Try then to give equal accord to others – please!

    Oh how many pollute the waters of blessing, mingling with such bitter waters!

    Keelie Reason – I suggest that you find a member of society that is wrongled – inquire of them and allow yourself to understand rather than demand that you be understood. Likely after hearing you will become a voice for their cause.

    Jared – I apologize if this amounts to a highjacking of your post – please remove it if it is.

    Peace and All Good Be yours

    Garry M, OFS

    • Are you kidding me? You just saved me a ton of time. Thanks for the comment, very helpful, and kept me from finger exhaustion.

      By the way, I never replied to your comment about marriage and the Bride of Christ. Very insightful, I will read the resources you sent my way when I get a chance.

    • You know, I really don’t know you, but none of my comments are meant to sound harsh. I am afraid it is the curse of the computer really. I am struggling to understand where others are coming from, and I certainly am not one to dismiss others opinions or feelings. I don’t know that I understand your arguments, because I am not sure that we are on the same page of this topic. I am really just starting out in my understanding of the scripture, how others view this, and how people on both sides of the issue feel about gay or lesbian marriages. It sounds like to me you have spent a lot more time and gathered a lot more information on this issue than I have. It is no one’s fault that I haven’t spent time or put thought into this issue, but I am now, and it is going to be a long time coming before I can settle in on how I feel about this issue altogether. In fact, once I settle in, I’ll probably be unsettled again later on, thanks to my friend Jared Byas.

      I am a pretty direct person, and I know that my comments have probably sounded completely ignorant, unjust, and cold. For that, please forgive me. Also, forgive me of sounding like I don’t care about people or their rights. I need to know what rights people are being deprived of, before I can form an opinion. Honestly, in this day and age, I’m not sure the government needs to have anything to do with marriage. I don’t think married people should be given tax breaks even though I personally benefit from them. Really, I think the government discriminates against single people and insurance companies for that matter. Since many choose to never marry anyone, I think they should be entitled to the same tax benefits as any other American running their household. I think they should get to pay the same insurance on their cars before they turn 25. I also think that just because you get older, your health insurance shouldn’t go up. I see lots of discrimination in the world, I don’t want to be accused of it myself, but I’m sure someone will think I do.

      • Greetings Keelie!

        There was nothing harsh about your words so please don’t take my words as any sort of rebuke. In return I I say to you that I hope that I have not wounded you in my reply.

        You have aptly drawn attention to one of the extreme difficulties of addressing cultural values. It is entirely too easy for one to be so satisfied within one’s cult and a satisfied person can be quite indifferent to others without forming a conscious malice. As a result it is possible for persons to advance an unholy proposition quite innocently and then be wounded by the responses to the proposition.

        Being satisfied with church and cult is understandable. A person is drawn to the cult in pursuit of satisfaction. Becoming satisfied is a predictable result….and in turn it follows to be reasonably threatened by that which is outside the cult.

        Gladly Christ did not leave his Church to its own wiles. He always forms his Church on the foundation he prepared, the foundation which is the Apostles. To them and to Christ’s members he freely gives his Holy Spirit who continually prompts the members to Unity and to those who avail themselves he gives ever fresh gifts of Faith, Hope, and Charity leading them to be Just in their dealings and in their voices.

        So where the Christian Cult will often reveal its purely motive that does not end the story – and ever the Bride is blameless enthroned.

        Your own words give witness that you have a will toward right and are open to justice towards others. In you likely works a mystery where your own understanding, self-care, and fears regarding an unknown future will not be your cause. Your answer here has made me excited for you!

        Again I say Peace be yours,

        Garry M, OFS

  24. “I don’t want to be on the wrong side of history again.” – Jared Byas, prophetic gospel preaching in the digital space of blogging and conversing.

    Thank you for taking up this human cause, you have the intellect, passion for Gospel, image of Jesus Christ and Pastoral experience that has been part of my own transformation and new life(reconciliation/restoration to God, self and others).

    It seems only fitting that you would be “called” to enter into this space of “civil discourse” around a human justice concern, which is God’s clear concern in the act of Jesus Christ through out the Gospels, and create room on the margins of society where so few “Evangelical” Christians dare to step because of the names they will be called. You inspire me!

  25. Somebody please explain to me how defending the biblical and historical meaning of a word can affect another persons rights? Do those of you who would like to see marriage redefined to include two women or two men really think that will settle the issue? What about the rights of folks that would like to marry multiples, or animals? Why do they insist on hi jacking a word that has a definitive meaning, why can’t Gay people that want to be committed to each other simply have thier own unique definitive word to describe thier relationship? And why is it that those of us that defend an institution that has been unchanged since God himself ordained it are said to be the intolerant ones? Judgemental? who in this conversation is really being judgemental? Historically consistent yes, judgenmental, absolutely not!!

  26. I take issue with the whole idea of “don’t judge.” Judgment is part of being human; can we ever say anything is wrong? Of course we can! Humans have to say certain things are right, and certain things are wrong. Our government acts as an institution to regulate morality. It is our government who says we can’t murder, steal, etc., when people think it is OK to do so. Are we judging the thief? Yes, and rightly so. So the this whole idea of “don’t judge,” is just sentimental nonsense used as a power play for people to say they are more righteous because they “don’t judge.”
    I get what you are saying about imposing “Christian” principles on those outside the church, but I have to fall back on the idea that our government ought to legislate morality as it has always attempted to do in the past. (It has been wrong.) So we are left with discussing if homosexual marriage is moral or not. I won’t go there as that is already beating a dead horse with this group. These types of arguments are just chalked up to another reason why I converted to Catholicism.

  27. This is a great blog post and while I am a Christian and actually do agree with most of what he says…I guess I’m confused when he quotes “11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sisterbut is sexually immoral . . . 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?”
    It just seems as if he is saying don’t judge people who are gay and are not Christians, but judge those who are gay and are Christians because they should know better or it’s only wrong for them or something? I thought he already said this isn’t an argument about it being “sinful.” I do understand he is making a great point about how Christian beliefs should not be involved in a secular legal decisions such as this and to that point I entirely agree, but I feel like this citation kind of goes against the equality argument. Without knowing the specific verse(s), I know the Bible makes explicit mention that we are to love our brothers and sisters first and foremost and our love for one another will show we are children of God. It basically makes the point that if we can’t love one another, how are we to love others and how are people to even believe we believe in our own faith? So if we can’t love and accept our fellow brothers and sisters who are gay for the sake of equality, how is anyone else to believe we believe in their rights and equality? Wonderful blog post though, thank you =]

  28. I see the need to clear up a mischaracterization or two regarding those of us who stand firm against redefining the word marriage.
    1. I have some friends that are Gay, let me be very clear, I love them, respect them, and support thier right to visit thier significant other in the hospital, be each others first beneficiary, and whatever other civil rights heterosexual couples enjoy.
    2. I don’t know what makes some people prefer un-natural sex over natural sex. Many people these day’s refer to themselves as bi-sexual, did God make them that way, or are they mixed up? What about adults who are only aroused sexualy by young children? They probably would argue that they were born that way.
    My preceding questions are not judgemental in nature, They are the same questions that most people have. Are you folks whom support Gay marriage asking everyone else to simply ignore what God has said about the issue? What about trans-sexuals? Where they simply born with the wrong plumbing, or are they sexually confused?
    3. Please re-read my questions posted three above here. No one has given me an honest answer, or any answer at all for that matter.
    4. Coming to a completely different conclusion on a topic or in this case moral issue does not equate to judgementalism, that is a very unfair statement.

    • It seems to me that the point of this article isn’t about whether homosexuality is a sin according to the Bible or even whether it’s natural or not, but rather about a secular government making a decision based on one set of religious principles. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems to me that marriage is defined between a man and a woman because of the Bible. No one is asking you to ignore what the Bible says on gay marriage, but they are asking you to place yourself in the shoes of someone who is gay, and especially anyone who is not a Christian. God forbid our government made a decision based on the principles or governing rules of another religion. We seem to think it’s okay when a law is based on Christian traditions and philosophies, yet I have a feeling that wouldn’t fly if this were any other religion. So while I understand separation of church and state is a doctrine rather than an actual law, I think we as Christians are just used to being on the winning end of that. So as I said, think if a legal decision were made on the basis of some religion that was very different, Christians would go (for lack of a better word) absolutely crazy. True our country was built by Founding Fathers with Christian beliefs, but it’s not like we haven’t used to Bible before to justify major things we later deemed immoral such as slavery of not allowing women to vote.

  29. Andrew, the ‘Biblical and historic’ meaning of marriage is this: God, by a mystical union makes two who so covenant into one.

    From Church teaching we understand married persons to have entered into an distinct order. That order like all orders is a sign that God is willing to set aside for himself as he chooses from what he has created. The order of married persons is unique among the orders in that its membership is temporal and ceases with the death of either of the spouses.

    The core of marriage is not sex – it is Love. That is Love as in “Christ is Love”.

    Andrew I am truly sorry that peeps are upsetting you with their talk. I feel that I have a legitimate stake in asking whether civil marriages automatically enroll persons the order of married persons – I am asking if this what is meant by “what God has put together”

    “What God has put together” is what you would call the grace conferred in marriage.

    I ask because there are many civil marriages that never exhibit evidence of the Grace. The doctrines of most of the post reformation christian communities is that Grace is not conferred in marriage but it is the oath and promise that makes a couple married.

    That brings us to the question of whether the Church should fight – or “stand firm” in your words – against the rights of others to form the same civil marriages.

    My own opinion is this: The Church can only teach what she received from the Lord and from his Apostles. The Church can only speak of marriage as she knows it to be – a wondrous gift to man that allows entry into the mystery of Christ and his Holy Cross. The Church teaches this mystery with wondrous awe and hopes in her mission that the world will stand in awe at the mystery of God and be moved toward conversion.

    My opinion continues this way: The Church however has no mission to political or civil dominance and no mission to force the pagan to imitate her life. The Church does have a legitimate stake in guiding civil discourse so that the citizens should live in justice and peace.

    Peace and All Good be yours,

    Garry M, OFS

  30. Andrew –

    One thing that I might mention is that even you do not want to have a marriage code with a rigid “biblical and historic” meaning.

    You really don’t.

    Deuteronomy 21:11-14 clearly establishes your biblical right to forcefully take wives from those captured in battle….that is if the bible was meant to use as a sort of owners manual.

    Andrew, the Bible does not give you rights and it does not ‘teach’. Christ gave us teachers to teach. I find it sort of comical when people use ‘bible believing” to trump against the teaching of teachers I find comical those who insist that the teachers only teach what the ‘bible believing Christian’ already knows from his bible reading.

    I reread these posts and I see a reoccurring element. Some are not considering what Jared actually wrote and what he actually communicated. There seems to be a rise to battle because of some threat detection mechanism.

    I do hope to see a day when evangelicals are more open to discourse, especially when social injustices are discussed. Doing so would effectively reconstitute the passion of the early Church.

    Peace and All Good be yours,

    Garry M, OFS

    • Garry said, “the Bible does not give you rights and it does not ‘teach’. Christ gave us teachers to teach. I find it sort of comical when people use ‘bible believing” to trump against the teaching of teachers I find comical those who insist that the teachers only teach what the ‘bible believing Christian’ already knows from his bible reading.”
      This is a remakably distubing statement!
      Do we search for a “teacher” whom is teaching “our own flavor” of scripture?
      If so, this is a perscription for theological anarchy!!

  31. Are you suggesting that the Bible is amendable based on the changing culture of our Time?
    If so, who is the authority charged with the task of updating the scripture. and who on earth has the authority to settle the disputes such as the one we are currently engaged in?
    And does this theory not call into question the existance of absolute truth?
    This sounds like the current argument in our Nation over what the constitution really means. If we can’t agree to stand firm on original intent, soon everyone is free to do what is right in his own eyes and eventually there are no core values and morallity is a subjective term. The best analogy that I can come up with is, It is the same as building a skyscraper with no firm foundation, and using no precise instaments agsinst which to determine what is plumb and level. The taller the building gets the more unstable it becomes. And eventually it will crumble.

    • To suggest that we do not read our Bibles through the lens of 21st century American experiences is to be blind to that lens. There is no one who reads the Bible “as it is.” To do that you need to be without context, that is to say, God. When people suggest that their reading of the Bible is “taking the Bible for what it is” while others “interpret it according to culture,” they typically mean it as a way to privilege their reading as more “pure” but all they are really doing is revealing that they do not yet recognize that they too interpret it according to their particular culture. The way forward is not to brush that fact under the rug and pretend it’s not there, it’s to see our particular lens and how it might be reformed in light of the text (the hermeneutical circle).

      Christians have read their Bibles in different ways throughout the centuries because cultures and methods for reading have changed throughout the centuries. To say that the Church Fathers of the first centuries of the Church came to the same conclusions about “how to read the Bible” as 21st century Evangelicals is simply historically inaccurate. And to say that the church is going down the toilet because all Christians don’t read the Bible through the same hermeneutical lens is historically naive fear-mongering. The Church was exploding at the same time they were reading much of the Old Testament “spiritually” (oftentimes allegorically) and saying “liberal” things like:

      “For who that has understanding will suppose that the first and second and third day existed without a sun and moon and stars and that the first day was, as it were, also without a sky? . . . I do not suppose that anyone doubts that these things figuratively indicate certain mysteries, the history having taken place in appearance and not literally” (Origen, The Fundamental Doctrines 4:1:16 [A.D. 225]).

      “The first seven days in the divine arrangement contain seven thousand years” (Cyprian, Treatises 11:11 [A.D. 250]).

      “It not infrequently happens that something about the earth . . . may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have . . . taken care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation” (St. Augustine, The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 1:19–20 [A.D. 408]).

      “[A]t least we know that it [the Genesis creation day] is different from the ordinary day with which we are familiar” (St. Augustine, The Literal Interpretation of Genesis 5:2 [A.D. 408]).

      In spite of these “liberal compromisers” who refuse to read the Bible for “what it says” and instead allow culture to corrupt the plain reading, the Church kept right on ticking, and has done so for the past 2000 years. The Church’s success does not depend on a “correct reading of the Bible” but on Jesus Christ, who is its head and husband, and the gates of hell (and even improper Bible interpretation) will not prevail against it.

      • I’m not sure I understand what your suggesting here, Are you saying that you accept the musings of some of the early philosiphers on an even level with cannonized scripture? Are you suggesting that God did not create the world and all of life in seven literal day’s?
        Jared, are you familiar with the term post modernism?

      • I apologize, but I can see this isn’t going to be a very fruitful discussion simply because we are coming from different paradigms and I am assuming a lot of things that I don’t have time to walk through. I have a few upcoming deadlines that I have to get to instead. Sincere apologies. But before I unplug, I’ll try to clarify my point.

        I am simply saying that Christians approach Scripture differently depending on the culture they live in. Early Christians interpreted their Bible very differently than we do today. It’s inevitable. I am making no claims about how the earth was created, I am saying that many of the most respected teachers in the early church did not believe it was created in seven literal days. So if “real Christians” all read the Bible in the same way, then you have to exclude Augustine and Cyprian from being a “real Christian.” And that may not mean much to people who do not know church history or people who are not interested in finding themselves as part of the Church historically, but it means much to me.

        And finally, I have a sneaking suspicion that I am much more familiar with the term post modernism than you. I do not mean that condescendingly, it’s just that my education is in philosophy and I teach philosophy at a university. My only warning to you, if this is where you are headed, is that you don’t use terms that you do not fully understand as a label to throw at people to show how wrong they are. Correct me if I am wrong. I am making the assumption that you have never read any books any of the supposed “post-modern” philosopher. Is that true? Have you read any Derrida, Foucault, Lacan, Zizek, Deleuze, Levinas or Heidegger? If not, then I am making another assumption. That you are familiar with the term because leaders in your tradition have told you about it and that it is “anti-Christian” because it rejects absolute truth. And they may be true. But I would urge you not to make claims about traditions, philosophies, or people until you have actually read what they wrote and have had a chance to engage with it yourself.

        Thanks for your perspective on these blogs and I do pray you continue to engage. I always like being challenged, it makes me think more deeply about my own beliefs. Thanks again!

      • Jared, The thing that is most frustrating about this discussion is that when I or several others ask simple questions that only require a simple answer what you counter with is a lot of philosophical jargon and quote the opinions of philosophers. I just want to know if you believe the Bible is the only source we need to know and understand:
        1.who we are?
        2.who God is?
        3.what does God desire and require?
        4.whats next?

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