In the days since the Supreme Court decision on “gay marriage” there has been much written on it from a Christian perspective. I have read my fair share. Some has been very insightful and helpful. Others have caused me to be concerned.
Here’s my take on the dialog and approaches I’ve seen Christians taking, not only since the ruling but also over the last year or so.
Here are 6 Bad Approaches to the Gay Marriage Ruling for Christians and 1 Good One:
01. Bad: a Head in the Sand Approach
Too many Christ-followers were surprised by this decision, even though most political observers expected and predicted it.
Christians, we need to be aware of the issues of the day AND be involved as appropriate. I am not suggesting we fixate on politics and policies, as I explain below. But we need to be knowledgeable and involved as God leads.
Jesus said, “Render to Caesar that which is Caesar’s” (Mark 12:17). Not only should that mean paying our taxes, it also means participating in our participatory government and the democratic process.
If you are not voting, you are not participating as God and your government expects.
Vote and vote knowledgeably. Participate in other ways as God leads.
02. Bad: a Hating, Raging and Condemning Approach
Although not as prevalent as the media and others would have us believe, there are indeed some Christians who indulge in raging tirades about this issue and others. Unfortunately, they are caustic and condemning to the point of being offensive to any reasonable person on either side of the issue.
The Bible says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1).
And, “Be gracious in your speech. The goal is to bring out the best in others in a conversation, not put them down, not cut them out” (Colossians 4:6 MSG).
I understand these people’s concerns: they are fearful of homosexual indoctrination in our public schools, of recruitment to the homosexual lifestyle of their children, of being forced to accept what the Bible clearly calls sin and being persecuted and even prosecuted if they don’t endorse and perform “gay marriages.”
But being mean-spirited, calling names and being unkind is offensive to God as well as it is to others.
I have tried to tell the truth without name-calling and unkindness. Hopefully the Lord is pleased.
03. Bad: an “Itching Ears” Approach
This is the approach the Apostle Paul described in, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (2 Timothy 4:3 ESV).
I read a blog by a leading pastor who suggested that if we want to reach people we must never “judge” them.
A favored verse for many these days is, “judge not lest you be judged” (Matthew 7:1).
But the idea there is to not be judgmental and hypocritical, not that we can never determine what is biblical and unbiblical, godly and ungodly. Right after Jesus said that He also taught, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits” (Matthew 15:15-16a ESV).
He also said in that same chapter, “Do not give dogs what is holy, and do not throw your pearls before pigs, lest they trample them underfoot and turn to attack you” (Matthew 15:6 ESV).
I believe strongly in Paul’s admonition, “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22 ESV). We should do whatever it takes to help people find Jesus.
What Paul was talking about was “being all things” to people on neutral issues, not sinful issues. He was talking about reaching out without violating God’s Word and its teaching. When there was an issue of sin, he condemned it vigorously as he did homosexuality in Romans 1.
Some of these same Christians are refusing to call sin what it is, but are quick to condemn fellow believers if they do so. Wow, whose side are they on?
If Scripture teaches clearly on a subject, we must stand firm. We don’t need to ride it like a hobbyhorse, but address pertinent issues and speak the truth.
04. Bad: a Fixated on the News and Agitated Approach
Perhaps you know some of these folks—maybe you are one of them. They watch Fox News, MSNBC, CNN or listen to talk radio all day every day and are obsessed with the issues.
These people seem to be in a constant state of agitation. I would be too! News broadcasting is designed to draw our attention to things that are troubling, controversial or unusual so that news broadcasters can keep their ratings up.
“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth” (Colossians 3:2 ESV)
My fellow believers, let’s keep the Main Thing the Main Thing. News and views come and go. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the main thing.
05. Bad: an Abandon the Bible Approach
Some believers are so opposed to saying that the homosexual lifestyle is sin that they are willing to abandon biblical teaching on the issue. Or they do fancy theological footwork to avoid biblical teaching.
I answered these in my blog, “What the Bible Says About Homosexuality: Uncut, Uncensored and Unedited.”
06. Bad: a Don’t Rock the Boat Approach
This approach is different from the “Head in the Sand Approach” in that these people know what the issues are, but prefer to look the other way for fear of offending someone.
It is also different from the “Itching Ears Approach” as that approach is based on a passage that is talking about “teachers” and leaders.
This approach is the one employed by all those who claim to be Christians, but who refuse to ever speak out for the truth of God’s Word.
They might even celebrate with their homosexual friends or family members and “lovingly” stand in solidarity, wearing the rainbow colors and declaring “love wins.”
The problem with this “Don’t Rock the Boat Approach” is that God’s truth is never declared and the opportunity to win a soul for Christ is lost.
Those in this camp want to believe in a “Gentle Jesus Meek and Mild” and ignore the authoritative Jesus who threw over the tables of the moneychangers.
If you want to be like Jesus, be like this: “And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their scribes” (Matthew 7:28, ESV).
This is the same approach of those who refused to speak out against slavery when the Dred Scott Supreme Court decision declared owning black slaves legal.
This is the same approach of those who refused to stand with Dietrich Bonheoffer and the Dissenting Church when they opposed Hitler and his hateful holocaust.
Believers must stand for truth.
“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11 ESV).
07. Good: a Speak the Truth in Love Approach
The best approach is almost always balance. In this issue the balance is in “speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15).
Rather than shying away from the truth or burying it in our message of love, or out and out denying Scripture, we should speak the truth as lovingly as possible.
If we speak truth, some will always label us “haters” and accuse us of picking on the gay issue.
But is a police officer a “hater” when he tells me I ran a stop sign and gives me a ticket? In my humiliation and frustration he is a hater. But in truth, he is just doing his job.
Is a parent a hater when giving rules to protect a child? No, that parent is just doing his or her job.
Let’s do our job of speaking the truth in love.
I tried to share how Christians can do this in my article, Seven Guidelines for Discussing Gay Marriage.
Some might accuse me of fixating on this issue. However, I am writing about it because it is a topic of great interest that people want answers for. It just happens to be at the top of the news and the top of people’s minds.
Furthermore, it is a behavior that is being condoned which the Bible says is wrong. In this way it is a direct assault on biblical truth and quite different from other issues that are virtually universally condemned, such as most of the other sins listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (ESV)
People want answers, and that’s why I do what I do. I hope it is helpful for you.
I have written about other sins, as well. See my articles such as:
Now it is time to speak biblical truth in love on this issue.
I hope you will do so as well.