…then read THIS. In the linked Newsweek main article, the reporter argues that the conservative evangelicals who oppose gay marriage do so, not because of the conviction of scripture, but because of tradition. The author goes on to make some incredible statements about scripture, homosexuality and gay marriage that is sure to leave the reader who has any sense of biblical doctrine, in both frustration and confirmation of the state of affairs in our culture.
The frustrating part for me is that so many readers will look at what they consider to be a credible information source (which Newsweek is NOT) and accept the comments of Lisa Miller as true as opposed to examining her claims first hand by reading the scriptures and finding decent biblical interpretation to help.
They’ll accept her initial argument that the Bible is not a good place for understanding marriage, neither historically or prescriptively towards a healthy relationship between husband and wife. She even says at the onset:
Would any contemporary heterosexual married couple—who likely woke up on their wedding day harboring some optimistic and newfangled ideas about gender equality and romantic love—turn to the Bible as a how-to script?
Of course not, yet the religious opponents of gay marriage would have it be so.
She states some biblical information as if all things in the Bible were God-pleasing (like polygamy, extra-marital affairs, etc.) and when it’s convenient she takes things that she likes (like Moses and others marrying outside of Jewish nationality) to promote an eventual diversity that she believes the scriptures would support, leading to civil unions and marriages for gay couples. This is so old. She just cuts and pastes as she sees fit and, frankly, much of the world loves it.
She looks only partially at Paul’s theology of marriage, staying focused on the “it’s better to marry than burn” philosophy (which still ain’t bad…when the marriage is still within biblical confines), and radically ignores Colossians 3 and Ephesians 5, two of the more pronounced pauline passages on the subject that are intensely gospel centered and beautiful. Not to even mention that one entire book (of 66 total) is completely dedicated to the monogamous and sexual beauty of marriage in Song of Solomon.
Another major oversight is the lack of any connection to biblical atonement or redemption. Miller would have all of the laws NOT pointing to our need for Christ, but just culturally-defined mores not useful for today. Of course, every law in the OT was to aid in the administration of God’s covenant (His promises). The fact that people break laws proves the need for a righteousness that is alien, and only Christ satisfied that by living, dying, rising and interceding perfectly.
I could go on, but let me point out one more thing toward the end of the article. She makes a very telling statement, “More basic than theology, though, is human need.” Really? Didn’t theology exist before man was man? Okay, perhaps not the study, but all of who the Trinity is, was and will be was intact before mankind. This really goes to the issue, though. Man “needs” to be his own god so that he is not accountable to any “higher” being or standard. So, all Miller and others like her are to compare themselves are other humans, and those who are more exclusivistic in their thinking essentially just haven’t intellectually or socially evolved as much as they have.
But this also leads to that feeling of confirmation I stated at the beginning. First, it is confirmed that things will not progressively get better, they will progressively decline, either in actuality or publicity. All the while, the gospel is going out at a clip like no other time, so the church should not be dismayed or surprised by these two tracts of life. Sin increases and so is the gospel.
The other confirming point is that the church has not represented herself well on this issue. Too often the evangelical church has just not known how to interact with the gay community / lifestyle…sin. The evangelical church just doesn’t know how to liken biblically unfounded divorce with homosexuality. The truth is, those who have divorced and remarried on grounds other than the biblical concessions of adultery or dismissal by an unbelieving spouse (and both cases are concessions for the innocent party) then there is the presence of adultery. Now, there is forgiveness, and this is not my main point right now. However, the fact that we have allowed divorce and then endorse it (even in many American pulpits today) has laid the foundation for the world to scoff at the idea that the church has anything credible to say on the subject.
In the more liberal church, we have traded off roles for men and women so much that the world is confused on how there is any distinction at all between man and woman, leaving only allegorical thoughts to creation order. There is a difference between man and woman and it is glorious, God-ordained and does not promote inequality, just complementarity. There is a completion (even in our physiology) here, and it is by God’s beautiful design. But we have squandered so many opportunities to earn credibility on this issue because we still have high-profile pastors and laymen living ungodly lifestyles, having affairs, discounting their wives or just being “girls” (non-manlike) in their own right.
Am I tired of this? Yes. As much as I’m tired of the secular world shoving their agenda down my throat? Actually, more. The church must be distinct and we must make every effort to protect the sanctity of marriage first of all in our homes, then in our churches. After that, perhaps then the secular society will see enough difference to wonder what makes us so happy in Christ.
To Further Confuse the World…
The most recent resignation of a an executive with the National Association of Evangelicals does not help in our clarity as evangelicals. Read the story HERE. In case your unaware, the NAE is the same organization that Ted Haggard was president of when his relationship with a male prostitute came to bear last year. While you may say that as a Southern Baptist this has nothing to do with you, you need to understand that the greater part of culture does not distinguish our ranks, as much as we are often lumped together, especially at times like these.