The Great Divide, as geologists call it, is a rocky ridge that runs from the mountains in Alaska all the way through South America. The water on the west side of the Divide runs into the Pacific Ocean; the water on the east side finds its way toward the Atlantic. Water that at one time was flowing in the same river is now separated, and never again the twain shall meet.
The decision of the Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states has confronted us with our own great divide: on the one side are those who hold to a biblical definition of marriage, and on the other are those who are “same-sex affirming,” insistent on providing a loving and welcoming stance toward these now-honored unions.
As one conservative law professor said, after the backlash regarding the March 2015 RFRA ruling in Indiana,
Cultural pressure is going to radically reduce orthodox Christian numbers in the years to come. The meaning of what it means to be a faithful Christian is going to come under intense fire, not only from outside the churches, but from within. There will be serious stigma attached to standing up for orthodox teaching on homosexuality.
~quoted in “After Obergefell, Revisiting Prof. Kingsfield”
His words are already coming true today, just a few short months later.
The purpose of this article is to identify three arguments many evangelicals are using to justify same-sex marriage, and then to show why, in my opinion, these arguments are fatally flawed. First of all, though, let us pause to lament the fact that some of our own brothers and sisters no longer stand with us, but have defected to join the celebration of the Supreme Court ruling.
Evangelical author and pastor Kevin DeYoung rightly says that it is grievous for evangelicals to rethink their convictions on same-sex marriage under the banner of love. He points out that yes, we are grieved because our liberties will be taken away and we will be ostracized and marginalized; however, he then continues:
But of all the things that grieve us, perhaps what’s been most difficult is seeing some of our friends, some of our family members, and some of the folks we’ve sat next to in church giving their hearty ‘Amen’ to a practice we still think is a sin and a decision we think is bad for our country. It’s one thing for the whole nation to throw a party we can’t in good conscience attend. It’s quite another to look around for friendly faces to remind us we’re not alone and then find that they are out there jamming on the dance floor.
~from “40 Questions for Christians now Waving Rainbow Flags”
So let’s respectfully listen to what the celebrating evangelicals have to say. Below is a Facebook post by Rachel Held Evans, a popular author and contributor to CNN. Please read it carefully; I suspect she speaks for many Christians and non-Christians when she writes:
Here is what I genuinely don’t understand about the argument against civil rights for same-sex couples: The argument holds that because some citizens believe that their religion forbids same-sex marriage, it should be illegal for everyone. Okay. Some citizens believe that their religion forbids remarriage for divorcees (Matthew 19). Should we make that illegal? Some citizens (and MANY citizens up until the 1970s -correction: 1990s) believe their religion forbids interracial marriage. Did the Supreme Court overreach when it declared in 1967 that state laws banning interracial marriage were unconstitutional? Still others believe their religion teaches the sole purpose of marriage is procreation. Should it be illegal for infertile people to get married or couples over 60? Nothing about yesterday’s decision forces people with religious convictions against same-sex marriage to perform those marriages. That freedom is preserved, just as it remains totally legal for a church today to refuse to marry an interracial couple. Yesterday’s ruling simply allows for those who do not share that same religious conviction to enjoy the same civil liberties that the rest of us enjoy. Furthermore, is it not a more serious violation of religious liberty to tell a same-sex couple whose religion allows for, and in fact celebrates, marriage that they cannot practice that religious conviction because some of their fellow citizens do not agree with their particular expression of it? Civil rights aren’t up to a vote. They aren’t up to public opinion. Civil rights are part of what it means to be an American citizen. Theological arguments around marriage set aside for another day, I simply cannot find a single compelling argument in support of denying civil rights to LGBT people that does not rely on an unhealthy marriage (sorry!) between church and state.
How should we respond?
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Moody Church Media Ministry
Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer