Evangelicals For Gay Marriage: A Rejoinder

After my post yesterday about gay marriage, I was able to gain some clarity about the issue from the push back I received. It seems like those who agreed with my position did so because they believed Christian ethics should not be the basis for governmental laws. And those who disagreed with my position did so because they believed that it should.

It really isn’t about sin but about the relationship between church and state. Those in group 2 will disagree with this statement but now I think I see why.

Group 1: Christian morality should not be enforced by the government

For those in favor of gay marriage because of the separation of church and state, the question of whether it is a sin or not is irrelevant. Not because we are spineless compromisers who aren’t willing to take a stand on sin, as some asserted, but because we simply believe that the gospel, and the ethic of the Christian community, cannot be legislated politically. To coerce people who are not a part of the Christian community to obey the rules of the Christian community is, we believe, both politically unjust and biblically inaccurate. For example, as one commenter suggested, just because some conservative Christians believe that getting a tattoo is unbiblical, doesn’t mean they fight for the closure of all tattoo galleries. They just don’t get a tattoo. I think this is a good analogy and wonder if there is a good argument for why gay marriage is different. If not, if you think gay marriage is wrong for Christians, then say so in your church . . . and most importantly, don’t get married to someone of the same sex.

For us, there is a world of difference between preaching about sin to your congregation, as they try to be a set apart people, light to the world, an outpost of God’s Kingdom on earth — and telling our government that they should make sure everyone acts like us.

Group 2: Christian morality should be enforced by the government

But for those who believe we should determine laws based on a biblical ethic, the question of whether homosexuality is a sin or not is extremely relevant. If it is a sin, we should outlaw it and not allow for gay marriage. If it isn’t a sin, we should make it legal and allow for gay marriage. The hinge for this group is the sinfulness of the act, unlike the group above.

But why would anyone think that non-Christians should obey a Christian ethic? One commenter gave a very good reason: because God’s laws are not arbitrary. If God says to live in a certain way, it’s because that is what is good for you as a human, not just because you are a Christian. I have two quibbles with this: first, we have to arbitrarily which of God’s rules are “good for me as a human.” If we are going to be consistent, then we have to admit that the best human society would be that society that obeyed ALL the laws of the OT — out with cotton/polyster blends and mixing our crops, in with bearded men and tassels on our garments. Second, it assumes that the Bible is a book designed to tell us how to live as humans. I personally believe that the Bible is designed to tell us the specific story of God’s people in the world and how Jesus allows us to be a part of that story.

So, despite all of the emotion and polarizing, and in spite of conflating a Christian conversation with a political one, it seems then, that the heart of this question is not about homosexuality at all, but whether Christians ought to support the idea that all Americans should obey Christian morality as a rule of law.

And as such, I stick with my belief that we should support those who do not receive the same benefits that I do from the government, regardless of whether I agree with their lifestyle based on a Christian ethic.

Is this a fair assessment or have I missed some major points? I am still processing all of this so feedback is appreciated.


28 responses to “Evangelicals For Gay Marriage: A Rejoinder

  1. One point you did not address. You are not merely suggesting we “live and let live” or as the military policy stated “don’t ask, don’t tell”. You are asking Christians to “champion the cause” for homosexuality.

    If I lived during the time abortion was illegal, and unwed (yes, I said unwed, not single) mothers were being “frowned upon” and marginalized, not to mention were unable to find someone willing and qualified to kill their baby for them, I would NOT be advocating and petitioning the government to pass laws to allow women to exercise their “right” over their “own body”. I would not be standing in solidarity with the “women’s right to choose” crowd and demand that the government allow access to safe and sanitary facilities in which they could commit filicide. I will not promote or support something morally reprehensible.

    If homosexuals are allowed to marry because the government says they can, there is nothing I can do about that. Just like I can’t stop a women from killing her baby, but I sure do not have to agree with it, and I absolutely will not participate in making it legal.

    • I have a disagreement with your statement for the primary reason that abortion is an argument about murder vs. not murder, you obviously believe it is murder and thus the action of having an abortion is wrong, not only according to christian ethic, but also to universal ethics. The issue of gay marriage is an argument that violates Christian ethic. I am just saying that each side of the comparison seems to be taking place on two different levels of inherent ethics.

      *note: not trying to upset you or say you are wrong, but maybe a different comparison might be more consistent.

      If one thing is to be said above all else, I think it is important for people to vote according to their convictions. But the question must arise, do you believe in a Christian nation, or being a proponent of a FREE nation. I would love to be a part of a Christian nation, but I find that for the sake of living in a world filled with all walks of life, a level of Christ-like tolerance is absolutely necessary.

      If I have upset you, or if this has had the tone of emotion, I apologize in advance, it is absolutely not my intent.

      • I guess I am saying simply: I would no sooner support legalizing homosexuality than legalizing abortion. In other words, I would not support legalizing sin. It happens, but I will not waive the banner or fight the fight in the name of “supporting” the disenfranchised. If that doesn’t make any sense, then just accept that I ain’t so smart.

        P.S. Why would I get upset?

    • Stopping abortion is different than stopping homosexual marriage. If it is your conviction abortion is murder, supporting legislation against abortion is trying to stop the murder of innocent people. If it is your conviction that homosexuality is sinful, you are opposing what, the practice of sinful behavior?

      Back to the original post, isn’t that a matter of consistency? If you consider other religions to be false and sinful worship, should you advocate for legislation restricting religious freedom?

      …the heart of this question is not about homosexuality at all, but whether Christians ought to support the idea that all Americans should obey Christian morality as a rule of law.

      • Why is murder wrong? Who or what ultimately decreed murder to be wrong? Why is anything wrong? Who gets to decide what is wrong or right? Did I say I was against abortion because it is murder and therefore wrong and should be illegal?

      • Did I say I was against abortion because it is murder and therefore wrong and should be illegal.”

        In a word, “yes.”

        If I lived during the time abortion was illegal…
        I would NOT be advocating and petitioning the government to pass laws to allow women to exercise their “right” over their “own body…
        I will not promote or support something morally reprehensible…
        Just like I can’t stop a women from killing her baby, but I sure do not have to agree with it, and I absolutely will not participate in making it legal….

  2. Just to keep it simple and to the point I will explain my position as it relates to Scripture and the government. Then I’ll ask my question.

    First, as it relates to Scripture, homosexuality is a sin. And just like any other sin, I strive to overcome whatever sin is in my life, with the help of the Holy Spirit. If I am struggling with being humble, I pray and ask for humility. I would even try some disciplines like deferring praise to those around me, rather than taking credit for it myself. Or if I’m struggling with lust, I will take necessary measures to overcome that sin. I do this because I believe it is what it means to be a Christian. It’s not just knowing you are going to heaven. Rather, it is a pursuit of holiness. The pursuit of Christ-likeness. Having said this, I would encourage other Christians to do the same–pursue holiness as they walk with God.

    Second, as it relates to the government, I do believe in equal rights for all. At this point, (I haven’t made a final decision in my mind yet. That’s why I like discussing it.) I would say that any two responsible adults should have the right to marry. The government shouldn’t hold that right from them.

    And this brings me to my point of conflict. Let’s say there is a same-sex married couple and they both are Christians. This couple attends the same church as me and we are in a small group together. I am also a Christian and have a close relationship with them. Eventually, through discipleship and the conviction and power of the Holy Spirit one of them finds victory over their homosexuality. The next step would be divorce, correct? I realize this only begs for many more questions, but what are your thoughts? I feel, if I remain in my belief regarding Scripture and my belief regarding government, that it seems to be contradicting when it plays itself out in the day-to-day. Something has to give, right?

    Thanks for your time. I look forward to hearing from you.

    • I dont think divorce would be an issue. Homesexual marriage isnt recognized by the church. So, you could potentially say, that according to the church they were never married. Not sure what I think of this logic, just throwing it out there as food for thought.

  3. The logic is based on the fact that it is a contradiction to support the right for homosexual couples to marry and at the same time believe homosexuality is a sin. One would have to compromise either their support for gay marriage or the truth that homosexuality is a sin. Whether or not the church chooses to recognize homosexual marriages is irrelevant.

    • I disagree though. As a libertarian and as a soldier, I believe with all of my heart and soul that people should be allowed the maximum individual liberties. If that is same sex marriage, or burning the flag, it doesnt matter. But, just because I think someone should have the freedom to make a choice doesnt mean that i think they SHOULD make that choice.

      • Steve,
        Is there any action you can think of that you would not support the rights of all people to participate in? If so, why?

      • I agree Steven. My last post on this topic for now (forthcoming in a few hours) addresses this very inconsistency.

      • Brock: that is an extremely broad and loaded question that is hard to address, espcially while using a qwerty keyboard on a dang phone! Haha.

        It is hard for me to accept ANY paternalistic legislation that governs the manners in which people live, so long as it doesnt effect the basic individual rights and freedoms of others. Ofcourse, there are social theory contracts that people have for a mutual understanding, but I dont think that is where you are intending the conversation to go.

        My largest source of inconsistency is legalization of hard drugs (I do not classify marijuana as a hard drug). As a man with a brother in rehab for a heroin addiction, this is a sensitive issue (please keep that in mind when responding). I have seen the destruction and impact it has on people other than the user. I justify the difference in reasoning I have behind alcohol versus hard drugs based off of the potential to be a responsible individual ie it is possible to be a responsible person who occassionally drinks while it is not feasible to be a responsible or even functioning heroin addict.

        When it comes down to it, my hope is in people to make responsible decisions (as misplaced as that is). My CONVICTION is to maintain the fabric and cornerstone of the nation, by allowing people to live their life as they see fit, to pursue their own happiness. If it happens to be in a homosexual relationship… So be it. The birth of our nation was not intended to be judgemental (although it has been time and time again).

        It is most important that I reiterate I DO NOT condone homosexuality as a life style choice, I do not burn flags or wish anyone else to, and I do not spend my free time as a street side pharmacist.

        I think this was entirely a tangent, but your question will have me thinking the rest of the day, thank you.

        As a Christian, I hate the sin. As an American, I choose to tolerate it.

  4. I honestly am a bit frustrated with this whole discussion, based off my personal biases and experiences. It would be ignorant to ignore the fact that homosexuality has, indeed, become an extremely hot and controversial topic in the past several years. The concept in both of these posts that I have the most trouble with is the idea of endorsing homosexual marriage. I agree that we do not have the right to judge the unbeliever — they are held to different standards than us. Indeed, I believe the Christian suffers greater consequences for sin because the Christian has the capacity for choosing right, by the grace of the Holy Spirit of God. When he goes against the conviction of the Spirit, he is even more acutely aware of the consequences of sin, and it’s a “and they realized they were naked” moment all over again. Forgive the tangent.

    All that being said, we, as Christians, are called to be the “light of the world” (Matt. 5:14) and to be separate from the world, being transformed by renewing our minds in order to discern God’s will 1-2 (Rom. 12: 1-2). Although you have avoided the “homosexuality is sin” issue, I believe that Biblical interpreation clearly demonstrates that homosexuality is not God’s will for man. Therefore, how can a Christian, who is advocating not only Christ’s love, but his holiness, endorse the opposite of God’s will? It seems extremely contradictory to me. If Christ came to free captives and break the bondage to sin, it is our duty and expectation to proclaim that, not to the saved, but to the unsaved as we partner with God to bring his beloved to Him. I would encourage you to read the book of Jude which, while not directly addressing the issue of homosexuality, does seem to bring up a similar situation. In particular, the exhortation to godly believers in the church is to, “Have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh” (vs. 22-23). We have believed the post-modern lie that offensiveness is evil. We have become too wary of hurting people’s feelings and people have never met the Jesus of the gospel who is both loving and incredibly, frighteningly holy. We are not “snatching” people out of fire and showing them mercy and fear when we are choosing to advocate for that which is worldy and godless. In fact, I think when we do that, we are sinning ourselves.

    If the church is endorsing that which the world is endorsing, there is a problem. God is above this world and desire to save us from it. Isn’t that the good news of the Gospel? Isn’t that what we are called to share to others? I understand and agree that we are to love, love, love all people…that is the heart of reconciliation and grace. But Jesus was able to love others without advocating for their sin, without blurring the lines. He was constantly rebelling against those who were considered the law-keepers and established his own politics. He was setting an example for us. We, then, must not take a passive role, but an active one by lovingly promoting not OUR agenda, but God’s.

    I always feel the need to self-examine myself. How am I viewing Jesus? How am I interpreting the Scripture? Often, I find that I have created my own religion out of who I want God to be. However, I have been often humbled by the narrow-mindedness of Scripture. There is some unnerving things in there. However, I am finding, by the grace of God, that while he becomes more and more feared by me, He is more and more loving all the time. I haven’t arrived. I am still being corrected by Him all the time. But I feel the need to voice a warning — only because I myself have needed to heed it — that Satan’s greatest tactic is corrupting that which is good and using to to either promote untruths or render a passionate believer ineffective. When we dress like the world, we are putting on Satan’s uniform. I just can’t see how that is glorifying to a God who is trying so desperately to save all of us from it.

    • Thanks for your views Kristin, they are valuable. But I think by you focusing again on the sin issue, you may have missed the main point of this post: which is, to endorse religious freedom is also muddling the waters of God’s holiness, because as an evangelical Christian I suppose you firmly believe that the worship of other God’s is not only a sin, but probably the main cause of “unholiness” in the narrative of the Old Testament.

      So, by advocating for everyone’s right to worship any god they choose in America, you are “endorsing what the world is endorsing.” So if it’s true that the church is wrong for advocating a governmental right that allows people to legally practice gay sex (which you have defined as a sin) why is it okay for the church to advocate for a governmental right that allows people to legally be idolatrous and worship other gods (which I am assuming you would define as a sin)?

      My point is that it seems like you are being inconsistent to say we should not advocate for homosexual marriage while at the same time saying we are free to advocate for religious freedom. Does that make sense? And do you agree or disagree with my assessment?

      • First of all, thanks for a respectful reply. Secondly, I am trying to wrap my head around all of this.

        Interesting. I agree that living in America, since it is a democracy, automatically “forces” us to be in support of that which is ungodly. Our tax money, for example, goes to places I wouldn’t prefer it to go, etc. Of course, I do agree with you that idolatry is also a sin, and it is very clear to me that each and every human being is guilty of this sin at some point or another in life.

        And I don’t presume that you can put more emphasis on one sin more than another. They are all equal. Therefore, each and every sin, from pride to alcoholism to social injustice to gluttony to homosexuality to adultery to idolatry is the same. I don’t deny any of that.

        I suppose I’m still confused as to why, though, you feel inclined to support gay marriage. It still doesn’t seem justified. If you are fighting for consistency, I appreciate that. However, is consistency really the most important goal? I don’t even believe it’s an attainable goal. The Bible itself appears “inconsistent” in places because it is emphasizing matters and motivations of the heart as opposed to direct, measurable actions (for example, the demands to sacrifice later addressed by God saying, “Bring your worthless offerings to me no longer” Isa. 1:12). Therefore, my concluding questions are, is consistency the mark of holiness? What really is the goal of supporting homosexual marriage? And what is the desired outcome?

        Forgive me for the messy and unrefined response. Just dialogue with me, here. I haven’t really studied all of your thoughts on this topic or anything. I’m not trying to prove a point, per se, I’m just curious.

      • Oh I agree that perhaps consistency is not the “goal” of the Christian faith. If so, we would all be in trouble. Of course, if you are an inerrantist, it probably comes in a close second, since your view of the Bible depends on it being consistent.

        My desired outcome for supporting gay marriage is singular: to represent Christ in my society by promoting justice for those who do not receive the same benefit from my government that I do, regardless of whether or not I agree with their worldview or their lifestyle. I want to show the world that the God I believe in is just and fights for justice for all, not just for those who believe like me. That the Jesus I believe is the Jesus who died for all, even his enemies.

        That is it. And the point of consistency is that if someone is going to tell me that I should not support gay marriage as a Christian because gay sex is a sin and promoting it would outweigh the benefits of standing up for justice but they support religious freedom and cannot tell me the difference between the two, then I can ignore their argument that I should not support gay marriage because it’s a sin. Their inconsistency allows me, logically, to dismiss their conclusion. Just like, if I said to someone, “Should I take this medicine to make me feel better?” And they replied “No!” and I said, “Why?” And they said, “Because I took medicine just like yours and it DID make me feel better.” They are contradicting themselves at which point I should probably not trust their answer.

        Does that make sense?

      • True, no need to judge, they are judged already, “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been JUDGED ALREADY, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. “But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.”

        So, lost people are judged already, and someday will be judged in eternity by God and cast into the lake of fire. Do “you” plural, love lost people enough to tell them how to avoid judgment and not be lost for all eternity? I do not expect an answer on this from Jared, he will start talking about equal rights again and say “this is not about whether or not homosexuality is a sin”, and avoid sin, hell, judgment, eternity, and the fact that he believes the Bible we have today has been translated by homosexual haters…if he would admit he did not believe homosexuality was sin, he knows a lot of people would stop listening to this entire argument. He wants to win Christians over to the “we need to let GLBT have healthcare and tax breaks! That’s all I care about!” When the truth is, this is step one. First get them married, then point out the Bible we have today is full of translation errors (most of which have to do with homosexuality), and when that is accomplished, warm Christians up to accepting them into the body of Christ as believers, the pulpit, teach classes, educate the dull masses of evangelicals that believe in something called sin and believe the Bible, as written.

        I know a lot of seminary graduates who have the same agenda. I would be happy to stick to the topic, but, in essence Jared is asking people to “follow him as he follows Christ”. I would like to know who this person is, asking me to “consider his counsel and support the____.” Who are you? More importantly, what do you believe? Why should I trust your opinion (or esoteric philosophies)? You are standing in the position of teacher and obviously leading many down a road. You are functioning as an intellectual architect, molding and shaping and designing. If you truly are an architect, are you telling me you started construction without a well defined set of prints? Do you not know what the final outcome is supposed to look like? Is this the beginning and end of your instruction regarding homosexuality? Or is this step one toward the end game of total acceptance into the Body? The thing that sticks in my craw about this whole affair (blog), answers, discussions…is the denial/avoidance of one’s true position and belief. Skillful avoidance may not be classic lying, but it is deceptive and tricky and awfully close.

  5. Ok. Justice I agree with. It’s slathered all over both testaments. However, from what I observe, justice is for the widow, orphan, physically-impared, and alien, based off of Levitical law, David’s care of Mephibosheth, the book of James, etc. The purpose of which is what? That God, too, takes care of the under-privileged by providing for their physical needs (food, shelter, etc). He is the provider of all life, and we ought to model his love by helping others and provide them with what they need for physical life. And I am with you and can’t deny that God exhorts justice for all people.

    However, I feel like there is a distinct difference between justice for those who have physical needs and those who are practicing sin (and, I know, believe me, you are not focusing on the homosexuality-as-sin argument, but I don’t know how you can separate them, honestly). So…in order to be consistent, we must promote justice for the incarcerated, for the KKK, abortionists, drug-dealers, etc., that they have their rights represented, not in a marital sense, but in a political sense. I am not trying to be cheeky, I am just making sure I understand you…

    I think the purpose of acting justly in life is practice Christ-likeness. It is meant to remind us that we are not God, that God is, and, like you have said, He is the ultimate judge. It is our joy and delight to act as He does and take on his attributes and struggle against our own sin nature to love our enemies, care for the needy, and do it all for God’s glory. It’s about reconciliation, about bringing people to a freeing knowledge of Christ, not endorsing the chains that keep them as his enemies.

    He is the same God who called his people to cut out, kill, and destroy those who serve other gods in the Old Testament. And while I believe whole-heartedly that the coming of Christ renewed these kinds of demands and adjusted them, there is still exhortations all over the New Testament to separate from those who do not practice godliness with “do not even associate with those who practice sin” kinds of demands. Is that injustice on God’s part?

    Also, in regards to your final question, (I wrote this on your other post) I don’t advocate religious freedom, so I wonder if that brings me back into being consistent, although it may be ridiculous by your opinion, which is fine. Your final statement about the medicine has me a bit confused, actually. Can you explain it another way?

    • Kristin, great discussion. Thanks for helping me think more deeply about my stance. There are two things we can discuss further.

      First, you say “there is a distinct difference between justice for those who have physical needs and those who are practicing sin.” But the opposite seems to be exactly the point Jesus was making about loving your enemies in Matthew 5: “43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

      The point seems to be that God does not discriminate between the just and unjust, the righteous and the righteous, when it comes to, as you say, “what they need for physical life.” Do you read this passage differently? I would be interested to know how else it can be read.

      Second, you say “do not even associate with those who practice sin,” which I assume, is a reference to 1 Corinthians 5. But Paul’s explicit point in that chapter is to say that he means people INSIDE the Church, not OUTSIDE:

      “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, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. 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 sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

      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. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”

      So the way I read these two passages seems to support the idea that we take seriously our duty to rid the sin we find inside the church as a way to be a “light to the world” but that we love our enemies by supporting equality (loving our enemies like God does, who sends his rain on the just and the unjust).

      What do you think?

      • Hi, Jared.

        To your first statement: Yes, I do see what you are saying. God provides for the needs of all people, regardless of their “status.” I think what I meant by that comment was more along the lines of justice is more physical than “rights” based. In other words, God sends the rain on the good and evil — we are all equal there, there is no differentiation, no favoritism when it comes to receiving physical needs. However, God judges those who are in sin. He also tests those who are righteous. He treats the two differently, and I think we are permitted to do the same. Just like, for example, if I have children. I will feed them both because it’s my duty as a parent. However, if one kid is disobedient, I will take away his/her privileges for the evening. I think the Christian’s duty of administering justice is similar — physical as opposed to rights-based. I haven’t really thought about that prior to this discussion, so that thought is underdeveloped.

        The second point: Yes, you are correct, in that passage he is speaking to believers. However, I still stick by my original thought. I’ll use I Cor. 4:4-5 as back-up: “You adulteresses, do you not now that friendship with the world is hostility towards God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you think that the Scripture speaks to no purpose: ‘He jealously desires the Spirit which he has made to dwell in us’?” I can’t see how siding with any worldliness, especially that which is of unbelievers, is going to be within God’s will.

        Let’s not deviate from the heart of the conversation.

        I’d like to share a few other passages I came across in my contemplation of your argument.

        “Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which rage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” I Peter 2:11-12. This seems to imply that the Gentiles/people of this world will hate Christians. This, too, was well-warned by Christ himself when he informs his disciples, “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.” I feel as though evidence of being aligned with Christ will be push-back, even hatred, from those who do not know Him. That is why Jesus and the apostles keep talking about persecution and troubles and hardships and need for endurance. Those things would not be necessary to exhort if there wasn’t a likelihood that godliness would piss people off. It seems to me that while Christ calls us to love the world, he is expecting a resistance to it; to me that is pretty self-explanitory. However, the purpose is, back to I Corinthians, that God will be glorified because of the Christian’s righteousness.

        And a warning in Colossians 2:8, 10: “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world rather than according to Christ…He is the head over all rule and authority.” I think for me, this is huge, especially considering myself to be a fairly educated person. It is so easy to get the wisdom of man and the wisdom of God confused. However, there must be a final authority — for me, that is the person of Christ as presented in the word of God, and I cannot trust in that person of Christ if I do not take the word of God as being inerrant, since it is through that vehicle that God chose to explain Himself.

        I’m curious to hear your thoughts on these.

      • That’s a great point about “physical” needs versus “rights”! I’ll have to think about that one some more, you may be right.

        I would disagree though with your statement that “However, God judges those who are in sin. He also tests those who are righteous. He treats the two differently, and I think we are permitted to do the same.” I think that’s exactly Paul’s point in 1 Cor 5: it is God’s place to judge anyone outside the church. That is NOT the church’s place to judge. But I guess we are back to what this “judging” entails. I don’t know enough NT theology to know exactly what this implies.

        Also, I am not sure we can just import into James 4 whatever we want “friendship with the world” to mean. In the context of the passage, James is clearly calling church members not to participate in sinful behavior, namely covetousness (verse 2) in this case. Perhaps there are places where it says something similar to your point, but I am not sure if James 4 is the place. I completely agree with James 4 that we should abstain from sinful behavior amongst our selves. But that doesn’t help me resolve the issue of whether someone can stand up for someone else to receive benefits from a government that they themselves already enjoy even though that benefit supports a lifestyle that a person believes to be sinful.

        As a philosophy, I know full well the warning of Colossians 2. I think 1 Corinthians 1 makes the point even stronger. I am glad to call you a beloved sister in that we agree on this one thing for sure: Christ is head over all rule and authority. For me, the final authority is Christ as he speaks through the Scriptures, church tradition, and the Spirit of God as he moves in the present Church.

        I know this will be ammunition for the “see, see, he is a corrupter of the church” guys but I think it is naive to believe that Scripture can be interpreted without also putting trust in the interpretive tradition you have inherited. Those who believe that they “plainly” read Scripture are simply blind to their own tradition and the history of the Church. It was “plain” to the early Church fathers that we should read the Old Testament allegorically and spiritually, rather than “literally” or “grammatically-historically.” And the Spirit of God didn’t seem bothered by that – he exploded the Church anyway. All that to say, I trust the Scriptures and as a Christian, that will never change. But I do not trust my interpretation of them, those (have) and will always change.

        Thanks for the dialogue, I have found it life-giving.

      • You keep asking people if they think we should love people by supporting equality, you keep differentiating between the world and the church… You keep focusing on homosexuality in the world and keep asking if we agree that we should support them, and if not, why? But you REFUSE to address the question of homosexuals in the church, sin or not? What are you afraid of? Are you afraid if you admit you don’t believe homosexuality is sin, no one will continue to listen to you? Are you ashamed of your conviction? If you are, maybe you are not convinced of your belief that homosexuality is not sin. Maybe you are not brave enough to come out and admit you do not believe the Bible is inerrant?

      • Or there is a third option: that was the whole point of these past few posts in the first place. I am curious about the argument itself. Sometimes it’s a blessing and sometimes it’s a curse, but my training in philosophy has taught me to think in terms of arguments, not emotional stances or bombastic statements to show people what ‘side’ I am on. I assure you, my feelings won’t be hurt if I am proven wrong here. I am often proven wrong – that’s the best way I know to grow in the truth. I have appreciated Kristin and others who have engaged in the argument and really made me think — rather than make assumptions about my beliefs or commitment to Christ, since neither of those really deal with the argument. I don’t have an emotional attachment to this argument, as it seems others in these comments do. At this point, I am dying for a logical discussion about whether or not someone can think homosexuality is a sin and yet stand up for marriage equality for gay people. If not, okay. If so, then we should.

        Besides, your attempt to “call me out” is illogical. According to your ideology, standing up for Christ is what the world will not listen to. According to that view of things, if I “admit that homosexuality is not a sin,” which you are assuming with very little evidence, more people will listen to me, not less. If I admit what you “accuse” me of, then I will have more supporters, according to your own logic, not less. The same with not being “brave enough” to admit I don’t believe the Bible is inerrant, something else you are assuming (which is funny because I have quoted Scripture throughout these posts). The masses of corrupt people “out there” will reject inerrancy, so why would I not have the courage to admit to it?

        Well, the reality is, this is my blog, and I want to talk about whether an inerrantist who believes gay sex is a sin can support gay marriage. If you want to make sure people know you believe it’s a sin, there are other places you can do that. And you will probably be much less frustrated there. That’s simply not what is being discussed here.

        Maybe another time I will post about the various “Is homosexuality a sin?” arguments. At that point, all of your “you are a spineless compromiser of the Gospel” and “you obviously don’t believe in the Bible because the Bible plainly says” comments will be welcome and responded to.

  6. Point received and point taken. (you did leak a little emotion on that answer 😉

    You stated: “According to that view of things, if I “admit that homosexuality is not a sin,” …more people will listen to me, not less. If I admit what you “accuse” me of, then I will have more supporters, according to your own logic, not less.” And: “The same with… admitting I don’t believe the Bible is inerrant,… The masses of corrupt people “out there” will reject inerrancy, so why would I not have the courage to admit to it?”

    Why did I say you would lose followers? Well, the people you are addressing in this blog are “Evangelical Christians/conservative Christians”. You are specifically stumping for the “vote” of evangelical Christians in support of gay marriage. So when I “call you out” and say people will not listen, I am not referring to the world (unbelievers). I am referring to your target audience regarding this discussion, “evangelical Christians”. If you would ever say you do not believe homosexuality is sin, or the Bible as we know it today contains errors, your solicitation of evangelicals would be severely hampered. You insinuate, in your response to my last reply, that you are only trying to have a “discussion” which may help you make up your mind as to what is the right position to take.. but your original blog takes a tone much more like an attempt to convince evangelicals of their “christian duty” to support gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender marriage.

    As to this: “Maybe another time I will post about the various “Is homosexuality a sin?” arguments. At that point, all of your “you are a spineless compromiser of the Gospel” and “you obviously don’t believe in the Bible because the Bible plainly says” comments will be welcome and responded to.”

    Well, I anxiously await that post; but the words I used were: “afraid, ashamed, and not brave”, spineless is overused. I would like to pose this question as a discussion, “Jesus is not God, convince me He is or isn’t, but do not use the Bible and proof texts…” Ready, go!

    • Sorry, I didn’t mean to imply that the “spineless compromiser” comment was yours. It was one of the first comments I received after I posted last week. And you are right about Evangelicals as well. But I am not sure why I wouldn’t have the courage to say something that would make Evangelicals upset. I think almost every single one of my posts would upset some segment of the evangelical population.

      Why do you keep mentioning the prooftext thing? I just didn’t want my posts to devolve into a discussion about the sinfulness of gay sex, which apparently didn’t work. I have no beef with using the Bible to make arguments.

      • Why? Because you said: “We will both have our arguments and our proof-texts…”. REALLY? You have proof texts that say homosexuality is not sin? Because if I use the Bible to prove it IS sin, and we both have our proof texts, then it stands to reason your proof texts would prove the opposite.

        You said: “Oh I agree that perhaps consistency is not the “goal” of the Christian faith. If so, we would all be in trouble. Of course, if you are an inerrantist, it probably comes in a close second, since your view of the Bible depends on it being consistent.”

        Ummmm, IF you are an inerrantist, your view depends on the Bible being consistent? So, you are saying we do not have to worry about consistency because that is not the goal of the Christian faith, so inerrantcy is not necessary or overly important either. Reminds me of Rob Bell, “Does it really matter is Mary wasn’t a virgin?”

        Finally, as a side observance; you said: “That the Jesus I believe is the Jesus who died for all, even his enemies.”

        That last statement causes me to apologize! I judged you as a Reformed Theology/ Calvinist! Obviously I am wrong on that, because you believe Jesus died for all!!! Yahoo!!! We agree! Coffee is on me. You will like me in person, I promise.


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