I am a Christian. I am opposed to redefining marriage to accommodate any marital arrangement other than one man and one woman. I freely admit that my faith informs my position on this issue, but I contend that aside from issues of morality that relate directly to sexual ethics, I am opposed to redefining marriage because it is bad for families, children, and our society. As the family unravels and children are no longer linked to one mom and one dad, our society will only slide deeper and deeper into decline. In fairness, redefining marriage to allow for same-sex marriage is not the primary cause of this unraveling and subsequent decline. The redefinition of marriage as anything other than a lifetime covenant (i.e. the advent of no-fault, easy divorce) dealt the most damaging blow to families, children, and our society. Same-sex marriage is simply the next step.
That having been said, I find it fascinating that the homosexual movement has actually a tactic long used by Christians to evangelize those with other worldviews. They are attempting to proselytize supporters of traditional marriage and convert them to the ranks of homosexual supporters so that they will not end up on "the wrong side of history." A few days ago, a friend emailed me a link to a website that is the result of the efforts of an initiative at Auburn Theological Seminary that provides talking points to homosexuals, lesbians, and “allies” who want to discuss the issue of homosexual marriage with friends and family who self-identify as “Christian” and oppose homosexual marriage and other so-called “gender equalities” on the basis of their faith. The website guides users through a series of questions about the target of their efforts and attempts to predict the objections that a person may have based on denominational affiliation, regional citizenship, and a couple of other factors. Christians have long worked to systematize the beliefs of other faiths in order to understand the objections to Christianity that others are likely to have based on similar factors. Interestingly, this initiative seems to be inspired by Bishop Gene Robinson of the New Hampshire Diocese of the Episcopal Church, with regard to whom I have blogged previously.
I took the quiz a couple of times in order to determine what talking points it would generate for a person who was targeting me. To a limited extent, the website identified my religious objections, but the points provided were a bit simplistic. The website encouraged a potential homosexual apologist to focus our conversation on the “core message of the Bible: love your neighbor.” It warns the homosexual apologist that I will likely believe that homosexuality is immoral based on my belief that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. The primary focus of the conversation, according to the points provided, should be on how others feel and should specifically avoid larger and more fundamental issues regarding religious liberty, the impact of societal condoning of sin, and other important issues. Focus on feelings and experience—without any consideration of truth or unintended consequences. In Christian apologetics, the Christian apologist is never taught to avoid hard questions because when you have the truth, objections to it are necessarily grounded in error so they are not to be a source of concern. Why, then, do homosexual apologists find it necessary to avoid the tough questions and steer conversations toward the “journey to acceptance”?
Quite frankly, if the tactics on this website are effective, we have much bigger problems than same-sex marriage. If these tactics work, this means that we have Christians who are biblically illiterate and fail to understand the core message of the Bible according to the Bible itself: “The LORD reigns!” (Psalm 93) The Bible is first and foremost concerned about our relationship with God and it is that relationship that defines our relationship with our neighbors. Because I love my neighbor, I have an obligation to tell him that his house is burning down whether he wants to hear it or not. Because I love my homosexual neighbor, I have an obligation to tell him that his lifestyle is sinful and will only lead to destruction. In both cases, I have an obligation to share uncomfortable truths, but it is much more loving to tell the truth than to redefine it for the sake of comfort and feelings.
The church does not need to be in the business of providing talking points on social issues, but it is its singular obligation to make disciples of Jesus Christ and the only way to do that is to preach the Word and encourage Christians to understand that there is no area of life that is or can be insulated from the impact of the Word. I applaud the efforts of those behind this website. They are making the attempt to encourage civil discourse. Civil discourse, however, is absolutely ineffective when it is devoid of truth and focused on emotion. Further, this website does not equate opposition to the redefinition of marriage with hate. It does equate it with misguided and antiquated religious views, but at least it encourages its users to assume only good motives from those who are the targets of their efforts.
Christians, don’t oppose evil (like the redefinition of marriage) or support good based on the advice of your pastor or favorite Christian author. Oppose evil and support good because you clearly understand the difference between the two based on the authority of God’s Word.