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Affirmations and Denials for a Christian Response to Gay Marriage

The following was sent in to my local newspaper for consideration in the editorial page (it was, however, rejected by the editor):

In no way do I pretend to represent the entirety of the Christian community. Some will be happy with what I say here, others not. But I do want to put these affirmations and denials into the public square with the hopes to further the discussion with my neighbors. So, with that said, I present the following 5 affirmations and denials concerning gay marriage from a Christian perspective.

First, we affirm that marriage is designed by God to be between one man and one woman, until death do they part.

We deny the legitimacy of divorce for any other reason than desertion or adultery. Therefore, no-fault divorce has only served to cheapen the institution of marriage.

Second, we affirm that heterosexuals (Christian ones in particular!) have a shameful record of honoring the institution of marriage, and are primarily responsible for the decay of the institution today.

We deny that the homosexual agenda to advance the cause of gay “marriage” is the only, or even primary, threat to the institution. Hetereosexuals were doing a pretty good job of bringing marriage into ruins long before the rise of the modern gay agenda.

Third, we affirm the legitimacy of gay couples wanting access to basic social “rights.” To that end, we affirm visitation rights for same-sex co-habitants, equal pay for equal work, and social acceptance of the person without prejudice.

We deny that anyone has a right to treat another human being with violence or a lack of dignity.

Fourth, we affirm the right of homosexuals to live safely and peaceable in society.

We therefore deny tolerance for violence or bullying in the public schools.

Fifth, we affirm the true and historical meaning of the word “marriage.” We affirm that God is the maker of things, including the institution of marriage, and is the sovereign Lord who rules over all things, including the public square. Therefore, God is the giver of meaning to all of life. He has given in his Word, the Bible, the final revelation of the meaning of all things. And he has defined marriage as a bond between one man and one woman.

We therefore deny that anyone as the right to come along and re-define the institution according to their preferences. We deny that changing the meaning the word will improve the acceptance of gays in society. They should be afforded the basic “rights” of everyone else, including physical protection under the law, without altering the meaning of words.

So much more can be said, but that should get us started. I believe that there are other ways of gaining rights, protection, and acceptance in society than through redefining terms. Furthermore, while I am not willing to accept homosexual behavior as normative or morally acceptable, I am very concerned that homosexual persons receive the same respect and protection as everyone else. I passionately reject bullying in schools. But not just the bullying of homosexuals, but also bullying of skinny kids with glasses and pimples too! This is a human question, not a question of sexual orientation. All people are created in the image of God, and though fallen should be afforded the respect due to an image-bearer of God. But Christians cannot back away from the truth of God’s Word, even and especially in the public square, to hold up heterosexual marriage (with all its failings!) as God’s will and to call all deviations from that sin while warmly offering to all the hope of the Gospel.

Sam Logan

7 years ago

I think this is an excellent post and I personally endorse it.

Mark G

7 years ago

Hi Jim,

I agree with your positions as far as they go but I think where it gets difficult is when one starts dealing with the regulation of marriage, benefits of marriage, and so on by the state. You mention these in your points 3 & 4. I’m beginning to wonder if the state should grant any special treatment based on marriage. For example, should there be different tax rates based on marriage? There are many financial regulations based on marriage so this has significant implicatons. What about property rights? What about family law? What about adoption? All this gets huge and I don’t feel like I have all the answers. I do feel though that the LBGT community has some valid gripes regarding state regulation, and financial and civil rights. However, Christians who want to be faithful to Scripture also have some valid concerns. Should churches be running schools and hospitals, and if so, should these be outside state regulations on these issues; for example, in hiring practices? Is the state going to eventually intrude into the church’s hiring practices to ensure civil rights?

Philip Larson

7 years ago

Should biblical morality play any role in how the Christian thinks about civil morality, such as how we regard the practice of homosexuality? Or does the Bible not address the public square? Or what?

Andrew Duggan

7 years ago

Dear Jim,

You wrote “Third, we affirm the legitimacy of gay couples wanting access to basic social “rights.” To that end, we affirm visitation rights for same-sex co-habitants, equal pay for equal work, and social acceptance of the person without prejudice.”

Which leads to ask you, doesn’t that imply that that homosexual couples are legitimate? Even from history what society ever gave legitimacy to homosexual couples via law except perhaps Sodom and the cities of the plain?

How does the fact that the USA abandoned its obligation to forbid fornication (sexual relations outside of marriage as currently and traditionally defined 1 man and 1 woman) legitimize that fornication — or persons who stake their personal identity by their practice of that fornication, or the relationships they form to engage in that fornication?

How does affirming the legitimacy of homosexual couples rights and the legitimacy of homosexual couples at all as a necessary implication do anything other than enable and encourage them in their sin?

Would you affirm the legitimacy of the rights of thieves access to other people property?

As we learn in Romans 1:27 fornication especially homosexual fornication is not a victimless crime.

Malcolm Montgomery

7 years ago

“Would you affirm the legitimacy of the rights of thieves access to other people property?”

Why not? If we want to get Biblical face value, literal, and ethical about the matter:

“And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.”
– Matthew 5:40

Matthew 5:39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also.
Matthew 5:41 If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.
Luke 6:29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.

Even without said verses that suggests that its not about having our own personal rites, but love our enemies, I would like to point how you have conflated writer for thieves and writes for thieves to go on your property.

– To provide rights to a thief, is not necessarily to give him the right to go on your personal property

– If our personal property could be represented by the ‘institution of marriage’, then the fact that this declaration of beliefs still wishes to protect the institution of marriage and have its definition changed should suggest that the rites they wish to advocate for are not ones that give a thief permission to go on someone’s property

– Biblically speaking, the early Church has been about making sure morality within the Church has been correct, not the nations around them. They did not abolish slavery, rather they within the Church made slaves and masters equal before the communion table. However there are time we are called to the public affair of things, such as when we helped abolished slavery. We just have to remember that ‘being involved in politics’ is not necessarily Biblical at all in regards to the New Testament and we HAVE to engage in our cultural context and always be sure we are applying the love of Christ.

Rich

7 years ago

Yea and Amen.

Jim Cassidy

7 years ago

Andrew, thanks for your thoughts. I am not a theonomist, so I do not believe that it is the role of the government to uphold every aspect of the revealed law of God. I think, perhaps, that may go somewhat towards answering your concerns. In other words, I do not believe that the state must render homosexual activity illegal. Romans 13 appears, to me at least, to narrowly define the terms of the government’s regulatory power. In other words, unlike in theonomy, I am for a small government which generally stays out of people’s business.

Jeff Downs

7 years ago

Jim, the question was “Should biblical morality play any role in how the Christian thinks about civil morality, such as how we regard the practice of homosexuality?” (emphasis mine).

Certainly you are not saying that the scriptures do not have a place in our thinking on moral issues (in or outside the church). I’m sure this is part of the 2K discussion, which frankly, I have not kept up with, and therefore, do not know much about.

Andrew Duggan

7 years ago

Dear Jim,

Thanks for the reply, I’m a little troubled by the use of the pejorative “Theonomist” which came across as rhetorical device, which has the subtle affect of suggesting that I am. (Which I’m not, FWIW) Do you think that any intersection between God’s law and the civil law of the land is Theonomy? What would have been your reaction if I had began my question, with “As I am not an antinomian…”? I would not have been surprised if you had taken exception if not offense to it. As a follow up to your statement that you do not believe that “it is not the role of the government to uphold every aspect of the revealed law of God”, are there any that it should uphold? Up until the later half of the 20th century most people would have responded that homosexual behavior is unnatural, and therefore contrary to natural law, and therefore there is no legitimacy to the idea of homosexual couples.

Since nearly every form of fornication used to be unlawful in most of the USA why do you think that was? Were all the past generations of Americans crypto-Theonomists?

If the government is without authority to forbid fornication why is prostitution still unlawful in most places? Or is it your position by implication that the illegality of prostitution is an illegitimate theonomic impulse of government which it should shed itself of like it has regarding homosexual fornication?

Thanks,

Andrew

Jim Cassidy

7 years ago

Hi Andrew,

I apologize if my response came off as accusatory, I did not intend to accuse you of theonomy. I was simply indicating my position, or the assumptions from which I am seeking to answer your question.

The government’s role is not to discourage sin, which is what you were indicating in your question. I can see granting certain “rights” (a troublesome word if there ever was one) to people who co-habitate regardless of what they are doing behind closed doors (don’t ask, don’t tell). The point of my post was to address the redefinition issue, and to separate it from the rights issue. I am willing to grant all sorts of “rights” and protections to gay people which do not necessitate redefining marriage. That shouldn’t be a problem, unless you believe that the government should uphold biblical morality. If you believe that, and it seems you do, how does that differ from theonomy?

Jeff Downs

7 years ago

“The government’s role is not to discourage sin”

Jim, isn’t discouragement of sin included in Romans 13?

Andrew Duggan

7 years ago

Hi Jim,

Well for starters, I specially pointed out the historic understanding of homosexual behavior as being unnatural, i.e., contrary to natural law, and also illegal in the state. So nothing theonomic there.

There is then the second use of the law, which is also for all men, (not just Christians) that is hardly theonomic. Heretofore only WSC 2K guys would associate any mention of the 2nd use of the law with theonomy.

You didn’t answer my question regarding prostitution. I think it would help clarify your position if you would answer that question. Should prostitution be illegal? If so, on what basis? Why should fornication for hire be illegal but all (well most) other forms of fornication be legally sanctioned by the state?

You also didn’t answer my previous question about thieves’ access to other people’s property. Prohibition of stealing is biblical morality. You seem to be saying that the government should not uphold any morality that is mentioned in scripture. Are you against any sort of moral code for the government to uphold?

If you could answer the questions regarding stealing and prostitution it would help me understand a lot better what you are really trying to say.

Thanks,

Andrew

Jim Cassidy

7 years ago

Andrew,

Certainly, I affirm – without equivocation – the second use of the law. But it is not the role of the government to enforce the second use of the law in all its aspects. The role of the government, as I see it, is much more narrow. Protect people from one another, maintain order, and otherwise stay out of the business of citizens.

There are many things which go on behind closed doors which is sin, against which the law in its second use bears witness. But the government should stay out of the business of its citizens with regard to what is going on behind closed doors, provided it does not harm another person (obviously, all sin is harmful, but I think you know what I mean here).

This is why I tend toward being libertarian politically (thank you J. Gresham Machen!), but at the same time keep a suspicious eye on some formations of 2K theory. Whether one is neo-Calvinist, establishmentarian, theonomic it really doesn’t matter from my perspective when it comes to the issue of the size, role, and power of the civil government. I believe in a small government with extremely limited power and reach. Unfortunately, those with a position in line with neo-Calvinism, establishmentarianism, or theonomy tend toward a larger, more bloated government.

Mark G

7 years ago

Hope you don’t mind my butting in, but with respect to the question about legislating against theft, one legitimate role of government is to establish by regulation definitions of property, ownership, and its transfer and to set regulations for financial exchage. This is not a moral function of government but necessary for an ordered society and protection of citizens. For example, compare a well ordered and highly efficient system such as commodity markets in the U.S. to a 3rd world country where you have a barter system. Someone can buy and sell thousances of cattle in the U.S. without ever seeing one. By contrast, in a barter system one has to have the commodity in hand. So in short, gov’t outlaws theft for protection of citizens and for will ordered economy reasons, not necessarily for moral reasons. You can see this in the case of marriage. Government defines the rules for well ordered division of property & finances, not for biblical reasons, as it should. Government should not fine, imprison or otherwise harass citizens for inappropriate baptism, sexual practice, or whatever. Arguments for regulation and against civil rights need to be based on ordering of society, protection of citizens, etc., not biblical law. Government should not imprison or fine people for “being wrong” in terms of biblical morality.

Andrew Duggan

7 years ago

Hi Jim,

Again, thanks for the reply, and I can appreciate and mostly agree regarding a libertarian view of government, but as the role of the government is to execute wrath on the evil (Rom 13:4), even in a libertarian point-of-view, there needs to be some foundation for the laws of the land. Do you see any moral aspect of that definition of evil, or is it overwhelmingly utilitarian? Do you support abortion? After all the state says that a unborn baby is not a person so according to that point of view no one is harmed in an abortion. Is there ANY aspect of the 2nd use of the law for the government legitimate role to enforce? If so what? The actual quid pro quo of prostitution happens mostly behind closed doors, so you do think that the state should be without power to outlaw prostitution?

Thanks,

Andrew

Wayne Channer

7 years ago

Wish that such sentiments were published in Canada before they made gay marriage legal. Well balanced and presented in a Christ honouring way firmly rooted in biblical principle.

Stephen MacKenzie

4 years ago

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them (Lev 20:13 )

Christians are missing the mark by painting gays with a broad stroke.

While former “abusers of themselves with mankind” were extended the hand of fellowship in the church at Corinth, Christians are too squeamish to acknowledge and deal with the reprobate sodomite that vexed Lot, Noah, and that abused the concubine in Judges 19 to death. Implacable, unmerciful.

And this benign type mentioned in 1 Cor 6:9 most likely is in a very small minority. Look at the stats from a neutral source like the CDC. Gays are 85 times for likely to contract AIDS than the rest of the population. Their life expectancy is 15-20 years less than the rest of the population. 28% have had over 1000 partners already, 41% have had at least 500. Monogamy is statistically non-existent.

God gave them up to vile affections. Read Calvin’s commentary on Rom 1:24. You are not going to have those vile affections and burning lusts unless the wrath of God is upon you.

Yet Christians think they can placate the gay culture by “loving” them after getting brutalized like the concubine in Judges with implacable and unmerciful lawsuits for those who refuse to bake a gay wedding cake.

No, Calvin is right. The reprobate has the mind of an animal and is never satisfied. If it were not for restraining common grace, the reprobate would molest our children, rape our wives, and feast on our flesh as they skin us alive while roasting over a BBQ spit.

We must treat them like vicious dogs; show no fear. Don’t give ground, not an inch.

We have a president that voted for partial birth abortion and thinks if an abortion is botched, that is is a good idea to kill that born baby. What kind of animal can even fathom that kind of thinking? The one with the reprobate mind, that is who. God gave them up.

No, Christians, gay marriage and being marginalized in this new morality is God’s judgment against us. The blame is not in the voting booth, it is in the pulpit and pew. We have been brainwashed by the culture, lulled to sleep by comfort, and are terrified by man while viewing God as some Santa Claus.

We have become blind watchmen, silent dumb, dogs, refusing to speak out against any of the sacred cows of political correctness because we are cowards.

The solution is not in the voting booth, it is with your feet. Start going door to door preaching the gospel of Christ in mass droves. God might repent of His judgment against us.

Dee

4 years ago

The word of God is forever true! Thank you for your post!

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