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May 11, 2013

The evangelical view of same-sex marriage

By David W. Steensma Guest Commentary
The Daily Star

---- — The issue of same-sex marriage seems to appear on a daily basis in the media these days.

We’re told the mood of the nation is moving in favor of same-sex marriage (58 percent of Americans now approve, according to a recent Washington Post poll). Eleven states have approved same-sex marriage, and six have provisions for civil unions (32 states have banned it).

Some politicians have “evolved” in their support of it, and now the Supreme Court is going to rule in June on two cases that will further open the door to national legalization of gay marriage. It could be said that those who support the homosexual agenda are winning the argument, thus winning the day.

Their mission now is to move past mere tolerance, to that of praise and absolute acceptance of their lifestyle. This leaves those, especially evangelical Christians and Roman Catholics who oppose this lifestyle, pushed into foxholes of silence.

The reason is the fear that if one questions the legitimacy of same-sex marriage they are shouted down and labeled as mean spirited, judgmental, and intolerant bigots. So, is there any room for a civil public debate on this issue? Can an evangelical Christian or a Roman Catholic voice their honest, valid conviction publically and be respected, much less tolerated? Even recently commentator Bill O’Reilly opined that you cannot just “thump” the Bible and win the debate in the public domain.

Without abandoning the Biblical argument, I’ll provide some secular ones and then finish with an evangelical one.

• To the issue of “marriage equality.” If a state or the federal government were to grant homosexuals the right to marry, would that not exclude other groups with different “sexual orientations?” To redefine marriage to include homosexuals than why stop there? Who’s to say that “marriage equality” should be confined to just two people?

Recently, in the February issue of Scientific American there was an article entitled “New Sexual Revolution: Polyamory May Be Good for You.” Polyamory is defined as “consensually nonmonogamous relationships.” So anything short of an all-inclusive tent of sexual orientation where anyone can marry anyone could be construed as discriminatory, arbitrary, and far from “equality.”

• To the issue of homosexuals being “born that way” and thus should be entitled the same consideration of heterosexuals. Even if this were true, it doesn’t matter to those who deem homosexual acts as wrong. As mentioned before, others may have different “sexual orientations.” Shouldn’t they be included because, after all, they were “born that way?”

Where does society draw the line? Why even draw one? Just because someone is born with natural inclinations does not mean we have to act on those inclinations.

• To the issue of “consenting adults as long as they love each other.” Does this argument apply to family members who romantically love each other? If not, why not? The age of consent has been lowered in many countries. China, for instance, is age 14; Sweden, 15. So suppose a niece who is 15 falls in love with her 50-year-old uncle, why can they not marry?

• To the issue of “comparing the Gay Rights Movement to the Civil Rights Movement.” Do not minority groups find this comparison insulting? The civil rights struggle had to do with the color of one’s skin; the other has to do with lifestyle. Also, the difference was that pastors and priests were engaged in support of civil rights for minorities, but many pastors, including many African-American pastors, oppose same-sex marriage.

• To the issue of “Jesus never spoke against homosexuality.” This is a true statement, but here’s the truth — Jesus clearly defined the parameters of marriage. While on the subject on whether couples can divorce for any reason, he referred back to the book of Genesis and cited God’s creation ordinance that marriage is solely between a male and a female (Matthew 19).

Nowhere does Jesus nor the whole of Holy Scripture support or endorse same-sex marriage. Same-sex unions, much less marriage, are simply contrary to the Creators design for the good and welfare of humanity.

I hope I have provided some valid arguments, both secular and religious, to help others understand the position of many evangelicals. I’d be remiss as an evangelical pastor not to offer hope and deliverance for those who struggle with this particular sin, or any other, by referring them to this Scripture: “Be not deceived homosexuals…will not inherit the kingdom of God, and such were some of you. But you’ve been washed, you’ve been sanctified, you were justified in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).

David W. Steensma is pastor of Wells Bridge Church.