Well, it seems our fearless leader, President Obama, has thrust our nation into a more frenzied conversation on gay marriage. So much heat, so little light!
It should be obvious to my fellow church leaders who are out there, that there is a full court press on regarding gay marriage. The forces in favor of gay marriage will not back down, they have many inroads, are changing many minds and will continue their efforts until they win the day....and I'm not talking about politics, Hollywood, nor popular culture. I'm talking about the church.
What would have been unthinkable just 30 years ago, is now the norm in many denominations and churches. Gay marriage is being viewed as biblically allowable. Now is the time for pastors to strengthen their flocks on the subject. We must teach them several things:
1. Gay marriage doesn't exist. Like unicorns don't exist, even if you were to pass a law allowing people to have them as pets, so gay marriage doesn't exist, even if there is a law allowing for it. God determines marriage. God joins invisibly, the man and the woman. Teach your people that there is no such thing as gay marriage. The world may be convinced that gay marriage exists, but it does not. Jesus said, “What God has joined together...” God doesn’t join two men, nor two women. The human ceremonies, civil and religious, are a charade.
2. Strengthen your young people, high schoolers, college age. These young believers are surrounded by a generation that is largely mis-educated and not good at thinking big ideas through. What do I mean? I mean, your young people, when they try to take a stand, will be confronted with arguments like this: "Why should you Christians be allowed to dictate what the rest of us do regarding marriage?" and "If two people love each other, why shouldn't they be allowed to get married?" Anyone with the ability to factor in the minimal amount of history and the minimal amount of philosophy of government will know that those aren't the right questions (i.e. the issue of legal gay marriage should produce queries like, "what is the purpose of government? what is marriage? should government regulate any marriage? why have they in the past?" etc...). You need to remind your young people of their standing as Christians and equip them intellectually to ask the right questions.
3. Teach your people not to hate back. No matter what the rhetoric, my guess is that most Christians seek to reach out in love to the gay community and to evangelize; they don't hate nor fear gays. Most of the hate is coming from the other side. An honest evaluation (thought not socially believed) shows that most of the anger, heat, hate, and bullying is being done by the pro-gay side. To not agree with them is to risk being labeled a hater, phobic, a caveman, a bigot, etc. The gay movement is an angry movement, and all who oppose them are increasingly hated. As Christians, "blessed are we when they say all kinds of evil against us" (paraphrase). We must not hate back, even a little.
4. Teach your people that God has not lost His way, even though the sinners of the world are actling like...well, a world full of sinners. His plan goes forward and the current situation will create many good opportunities for the gospel. Teach them not to panic. All is well. We were created for such a time as this.
5. Repent of any cowardice of the past. If you have avoided teaching on male leadership in the home and church because it was easier not to risk controversy, then you must repent. The evangelical church gave up the biblical ground first when we became cowards about male leadership. The Bible speaks more directly to male leadership than it does to gay marriage; when we sell out our exegesis to those pastors eliminate the obvious meaning of texts regarding the sexes (like, 1 Tim 2, 1 Cor 11, etc) then how can we stand on much briefer texts that speak of the gay lifestyle?