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Posted | 23 comments

Is Same Sex-Marriage Inevitable?

Is Same Sex-Marriage Inevitable?

Well the hot topic around Australia at the moment is that of same-sex marriage which is due to be debated in the Federal Parliament at the behest of the Green party.  So is it an inevitability? And how well is the church handling the debate?

Here’s my take …

By the way – just a quick preamble. Whilst in this post I adopt the position of ‘dispassionate commentator’ on the debate between the church and the gay & lesbian community, you should know that I am strongly opposed to same-sex marriage. I have my reasons well thought out, but that’s not the subject of this article.

 

1. Is it an inevitability?

In a worldly sense, you’d have to draw the conclusion that if not this week or this year, same-sex marriage is going to become law in this country. At a spiritual level however, I’m not quite so sure.

It’s interesting how this one issue – more than any other – is the flash point between the church and so-called mainstream, secular thinking.

It seems that two titan ideologies – secularism and Christianity are slogging it out to the death in the public arena. The problem I have with that, is that the secularists don’t realise that they are, in fact, representing an ideology. They appear completely unaware of the historical place of their argument, thinking that what they’re arguing is a self-evident truth.

And the Christians on the other side of the fence, seem to have lost sight of the fact that they aren’t peddling an ideology at all (even though for the main they’re behaving as though they are). Christians – whether society likes it or not – are speaking God’s truth into this world and the objective of that is to save, rather than to win. There’s a big difference.

So – with both sides seeking to adopt the high ground of “truth” – what’s the outcome going to be? At this stage, you’d have to say, the odds are very much in favour of the gay and lesbian lobby, because they are the ones who have, over time, most effectively courted the contemporary secular mindset. That’s as I see it on the surface.

But of course this isn’t just something that’s happening just in the natural realm. The battles being fought in the spiritual realm are far more fierce than the ones on this earth!  

 

2. How well is the church communicating its message?

To put it bluntly, in my view the mainstream church is doing an appalling job at communicating God’s truth.  Here’s what causes me to come to that conclusion:

  • I’ve listened to and watched a good deal (but not all) the church presenting its argument in the court of public opinion that we know as ‘the media’. The communicators that we’ve trotted out have, by and large, been unimpressive. There are some notable exceptions – Jim Wallace of the Australian Christian Lobby is one – but the church leaders I’ve seen and heard have left me totally unconvinced – and I already agree with them!!
     
  • The church is not answering the questions that the “reasonable man on the Bondi tram” (if I can use that quaint old expression) is asking him or herself (more on this immediately below), and …
     
  • Given the moral bankruptcy of some of the large, traditional denominations in the eyes of our community (arising out of their own sexual abuse scandals and the apparent complicity of some church leaders in systemically covering them up) the secular mind is asking itself – Why should I listen to them anyway?! (In an age where public opinion is shaped by 8 second media grabs, it’s convenient and relatively straightforward for opponents of the Christian message to tar all of us with the same brush – by implication making all Christians complicit in the deplorable deeds of some).

 So – what are the questions of the average punter in the street, that I don’t think we – the Church – are answering effectively? Here are the main ones:

  • Why should a minority of Christians be able to foist their clearly outdated morals on the rest of the country through legislation?
  • In any case, what consenting adults do is really up to them. Why would you deny us/them these basic rights and freedoms that you’ve enjoyed for centuries?
  • How can you run the family values line (children need a mother and a father) when for centuries the church has overlooked terrible family practices?
  • Is a child really better off with an alcoholic father and an abused mother, than two loving gay or lesbian parents?
  • And anyway, how can you Christians be such narrow-minded bigots when you claim to follow this Jesus who preached love and tolerance?

Combine our failure to effectively and decisively address those questions, with the moral bankruptcy of brand Church in the eyes of many Australians, you can see why it’s going to be a struggle even to be taken seriously, let alone to win the debate.

 

3. What’s the most powerful thing Christians can do?

In any case, even if we were able to find one or two Christian leaders with a strong moral standing in our community, combined with such a high order of communication skills so as to be capable of swinging the debate, do we really think that that would silence the opposing side? Really?

Here’s what I struggle with. We Christians can be so intent on winning, that we think that we have to take out an ever bigger baseball bat with which to whack the other side over the head … and in so doing we forget the command of Scripture that …

Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (2 Tim 2:25)

In short, we can become so intent on winning the debate and securing the outcome that we know to be right, that our role in proclaiming the Gospel of Grace takes back seat. We behave as though it’s all up to us, and that God has no role whatsoever to play in this.

When all along, the most powerful thing we can possibly do is to pray. Should we engage in the debate? Sure. Absolutely.

But if our hands were tied, and our mouths taped closed – we would still capable of the single, most powerful thing that we can do.

Prayer!

 

4.  If it does happen, is it really the end of the world?

So – let’s race forward to the worst case. Let’s imagine for a moment that same-sex marriage, within a few years becomes law. Is it really the end of the world?

Did things just get harder? Yep.

Could we be banned, by law, from proclaiming the truth? Yep.

Could Christians then face persecution for standing up for what they believe? Yep.

Seems to me there’s nothing particularly new in any of that. The church in China is thriving under oppression. Would we wish it upon ourselves? Of course not, but if it happens, it seems to me that there’s a pretty reasonable chance that God would be capable of dealing with those eventualities too.  And as much as Christians may be wringing their hands over the possibility of  losing,  and of same-sex marriage becoming law, my hunch is, that God isn’t!

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. 

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. (Romans 1:21-27)

So … what game are we actually in? Winning … or saving?


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23 Comments

  1. It`s easy to call up one or two verses of the bible, yets its another discussing what God’s thoughts are…..
    The bible is merely a guidelance and faith is not defined by reading it. Jesus clearly states that Loving God above all and your neighbour as yourself, will grant you the Kingdom of Heaven, yet God is still the only one who know who will go to Heaven or Not..

    Hebrews 13:4 “Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.

    If homosexuality is such a sin, why wasnt it recorded in the 10 Commandments…

    Life is already diffucult enough for everyone and instead of making this nice sugar cover story for gay haters, which is as clear as day light, one could`ve spend your time talking to GOD….after all, He is the One that will open up Heaven and giving you the ever lasting life, not your opinion of what people should or shouldnt be doing….

  2. I value the God ordained sanctity of marriage as it stands. And that will never change despite what man’s laws do to change our country’s definition of it. Are we supposed to oppose the issue of same sex marriage, or to support the Time honored, Godly definition of it?
    A non Christian friend , when asked about it , said to me , “well, why not change it?” . This represents most heterosexual , non Christians, apathetic approach to most moral and spiritual issues. And so , as the minority of people who can stand up for the truth, we wimp out and remain silent.Same reason only 5% of Christians witness to their friends. Too scared to be ridiculed.
    This same friend was also not impressed that Christians were NOT speaking up against it.
    The world is crying out for strong leadership, and the Church leaders need a new John theBaptist to stand up and speak out – but who would put their “head on the line” these days?
    was it any easier for Wesley, Whitfield & Spurgeon in their days, or have we just forgotten the personal sacrifice these men made in their day and age, because their stance DID MAKE an impact for social, political and spiritual change?

    I say, now is the time to call the spade what it is.

    Berni. You are the man of our age who stirs us up.

    We will not go silently

  3. Hi Berni. You are adressing a topic that is absolutely hot. Here in DK we just had a law passed that makes it possible for two persons of the same sex to be legally married in the church. I think that this theme is a spirit of the time (I can’t find the Bible verse that mentions it) – like in the 70es when pornography, free sex and provoked abortion were promoted, as it seemed at the same time all over the world – and I think that is what we see about homosexuality these days.
    I think that we must stand on 2 feet: We must try through prayer and argumentation to influence the lawgiving of our country – and we must meet also the homosexuals with God’s love and grace, but also in love with his truth so that their lives may have the possibility to get into God’s perfect plan for their lives.

  4. oops! something went wrong there…cant seem to change…Sorry Berni and all others.

  5. Good to know Bernie of your personal stand and also as a dispassionate observer.
    I am however, concerned that Christians standby while others are voicing it out. Do they not hear, are they not concerned? Gay community is using the media, shouting out in the street that they do not want any authority telling them what marriage is. What are we Christians doing? standing by watching others make a fool of themselves? Sitting in a prayer huddle – having our own discussions. Do we need to let them overrun us without a murmur? I would rather be seen as a fool and go down stating what is right and seen to be a weak and helpless – and (God not be “seen” to help me) – which is what martyr spirits stand for.

    Daniel6: 9 So King Darius signed the law.

    10 But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.

    Daniel 3
    16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.”

    28 Then Nebuchadnezzar said, “Praise to the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego! He sent his angel to rescue his servants who trusted in him. They defied the king’s command and were willing to die rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.

    So it was not for self-preservation that they stood for but to die for a point of view. Are we for self-protection and to preserve our life, we will allow the rules to be changed? OR be counted among the few to die as a CHRISTIAN. Did these unique Jews from out of all the exiles need to stand up? everyone else was cowed by the law. But they were honored by their living GOD.
    There is one message I would be asking every other Christians even when we protest the changing of the marriage act, our love for the individual should not change. If my son or daughter were to come and tell me they were homosexual and wanted to get “married” , I would be shocked and outraged that SATAN had got hold of my loved ones. Its that hatred that we should be expressing to God (Prayer huddle) and expressing my love for my son/daughter -that should not change.
    God allows leaders and people in authority in this world to portray justice, morality, organised rules to help run the country. Just because all the workers want some rules changed does not mean that its good for the country but seems to be for popularity (and signed off by the Babylonian Kings). God has in the past used Govt authority to allow a sense of legal right and wrong. However, mankind uses devious interpretation and deviations from it to do what they want. Its worldly rules vs Godly rules that we seem to be fighting for. So, do we need to defend God ? NO. Do we need to be a voice of God? YES…..and not be quiet or hidden as we saw in Daniel and his three friends.
    As an ideology, I would stand against homosexuality but the topic in parliament is about Heterosexual Marriage seen to be a “christian” bastion (though the rest of the non-christian world also believes in it- its only the SEEMINGLY christian countries that are fighting it!!). Its about making watering down marriage foundation. Satan’s obvious evil plan to fight against God is in fighting us (His weakest chink) he tears and wears us down by eroding our foundation in the CREATION arguments. BIBLICAL arguments. CONSCIENCE arguments. Our children will now have no leg to stand on as everything is debated and ruled out and thrown as in ROMANS 1:19-32. This way its easier to get at our children as they will disbelieve anything “Christians” say and so why would they need to follow Christ. Satan’s first plan to attack Eve was, “did God say!” and cast doubt in her heart.

    “And as much as Christians may be wringing their hands over the possibility of losing, and of same-sex marriage becoming law, my hunch is, that God isn’t!”

    GOD IS GRIEVED, VERY GRIEVED, HE IS SAD AND DEEPLY ANGUISHED that mankind chooses to disbelieve Him and chooses to gratify themselves. That they are unaware of the immensity of traumatic destruction that it causes in the individual human lives and the numerous confused souls going to HELL out of no cause of their own other than the wrong teaching.

    As a Christian leader in the media, raising peoples awareness of where they stand with God is important, and that means YOU, me and everyone!

    Prayer as a one-line sentence ?….a grieving sin-conscious person will pray with tears in sack and ashes!

  6. To all who have commented to date – thank you (just too many to respond to individually). A few close and old friends amongst you too. Some really great thoughts. I learn so much from listening to you.

    I will be giving an interview on the Vision Radio network across Australia on this post Thursday morning – so plenty of great new material there for me amongst your observations and thoughts!

    🙂

    Blessings,
    Berni

    • I hate to be syndical but here we go again .Best thing we can do about Gay Marriage is Pray .That’s the problem with being a Christian ,we get in a holy huddle and the world walks all over Gods Word.Australia supposedly is 70% Christian yet the only reason we are loosing this battle (just like the abortion debate and the divorce debate ) is we don’t stick together on Gods word.Forget the holly huddle lets just do what the bible says and believe.

  7. Great Post…Berni…Was looking forward to this topic in hand…

    I would like to answer your question in parts…and maybe extend it a bit

    1. Of course it is inevitable…

    As a Christian, I KNOW that gay-marriage will be passed soon or later in this country and in this world…
    And that’s only the beginning…, things like polygamy, animal marriage,
    and Christian prosecution will eventually follow and many other sinful things will happen, and there is NO stopping it!
    It’s all in the “BOOK of Revelations”.
    If these things were not to happen, then there is no 2nd coming of Jesus is there??? There is no need for Jesus to Judge humanity anymore is there?

    We’ve seen this already in God’s sacrificing his Son for us.

    2.No Fear of GOD

    We as Christians…we’ve seen to be stuck on the message of “Love”…
    And Tolerance…
    And Yet, in the bible there is very little about the Love of God…
    And a lot lot lot about God’s Wrath!.

    John 3:36
    Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

    “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Rom. 1:18)

    We always have been regarded as a very blessed country. Our God loves, and HE also condemns.

    I don’t remember hearing 1 Christian Leader talking about “Fear for GOD” lately…How our creator feels about Gay-marriage, and How He will punish us…Our God is to be feared, even as Christians.

    But since we ONLY preach LOVE, and nothing else…, we have digged ourselves a pretty deep hole

    The correct message should be something like..

    FEAR–>REPENTANCE–>FAITH–>LOVE.

    We put LOVE first…, and there is no need to repent anymore.

    3.We’re too Complacent

    We keep looking up to the Church, and Christian Leaders for not doing their job or being too soft or too complacent.

    The reality is that, the Church and Leaders are a reflection of us,
    We as Christians don’t want conflict, just sit back and hope someone else does it for us…

    Why is it that you have activists outside the parliament day and night to chase politicians to pass such legislation, and not 1 single Christian there that does something similar?

    is it because we don’t want to be hated? blend in, in this world that has been handed over to Satan?

    Let’s see what Jesus says about it…


    John 15:18-20
    “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.” Remember the words I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.

    Not everybody is going to like to hear the Good news…

    It’s every Christian Job to preach the bible “FULLY”, and ultimately become Christian Martyrdoms. (Almost all of Jesus Disciples)

  8. Excellent and timely and thoughtful article once again Berni

  9. Thanks Bernie for putting the Christian approach so well. Sure as Christians we are “sent” to show the way to salvation. We have to realise that in the end it is NOT our will BUT God’s that decides the result. However, can I say that to some extent the views & comments expressed here seem to be “Preaching to the Converted”. We all need to make our position, as expressed on this site, known & clear to the “unconverted”, who may never be aware of them if they do not access the site!

  10. G’day Berni
    Great article my friend………Right in time to I believe…….Joshua 24:15 ” As for me and my house….We will serve the Lord”
    Last week we got all the ministers of our city together to convey one thought……”We should be all praying together”…………So on Wed this week we are all coming together at a neutral venue to pray for our nation, our governments, and for Souls………..Because it’s a great time for the body of Christ to unite and do what we are supposed to be doing………….Beginning on our knees…………
    love your work mate……..Blessings
    Greg

  11. Thanks Bernie for quoting God’s viewpoint as the Apostle Paul pulled no punches writing to Christian believers in Rome, a city where (to quote Wikipedia “Roman men were free to enjoy sex with other males without a perceived lack of masculinity or social status.”) And to the Church in Rome as Paul (GOD) writes in chapter one, “In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.” Look it up at
    It is interesting to read what some of the Christian greats of antiuity had to say:
    C.H. Spurgeon – The Prince of Preachers said inter alia
    “Shall the bestial vice of which Sodom was guilty never be checked? Why, if this should spread amongst the sons of men, it would bring in its infernal train ten thousand times more damage than the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The sin itself is infintely worse than the fire which burned it up.( Google ‘Spurgeon quotes on homosexuality’)
    Before we stop offending thin skinned people who live offensive lifestyles let’s consider what the forefathers of our movement believed and said:Google the views of Charles and John Wesley, George Whitfield, John Edwards (“Sinners in the hands of an angry God.) Good on you for showing similar courage, it was no easier for them!

  12. Berni is right. A sin is a sin by any other name: steal, lie, adultery, fornication, or un-natural-sexual-relationships. It does not make any difference for God or for Christian ethics, does it?

    I believe the trouble (or tribulation) will start when same-sex couples start taking churches/pastors to court for not wanting to marry them …

    • after all, mutual tolerance is not so mutual, isn’t it?

  13. Personally
    I think that it is really a non issue. In Australia particularly the “Church” marries no one; it is the laws of the land that define marriage. Ministers, Priests etc are some of the persons that the State has licensed to perform marriages, but if the celebrant does not complete the req1uirements of the Marriage Act, the the couple are not legally married irrespective of the ceremony performed.
    The primary purpose of a Church Wedding is to invoke God’s blessing upon the union, and as such I believe should only be performed where at least one of the participants is a “member in good standing” of the congregation. Any other situation, to my way of thinking, is blasphemous.
    Therefore the question of the churches’ involvement becomes a moot point.
    The western world over the last few decades has become increasingly secular, in no small part a result of the Church trying to regain the clout of pre-reformation days, claiming both spiritual and political authority. In so doing the church has lost the high moral ground and failed to represent Christ on earth and become the compliant tool of a section of politics.
    Will same sex marriage change society? Very, very little I think. Will it change the Church? Probably, for the worse. Will it prevent Christians from representing Christ? Not in the slightest.

    • The issue is difficult to think through, because most of us don’t really have a deep understanding of marriage. Heb 13:4 ‘let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.’ It’s not us who judge, but ref. to Peter Jensen in Saturday SMH, there are certain conditions by law under which people can’t marry, ie siblings, relatives, minors even with parent consent. It will change the sense of what marriage is, for all people. It’s not about gay rights, or as Mr. Jensen has argued,’marriage equality’
      but simply upholding the truth of marriage, instituted by God, not man.

  14. Yes, prayer, asking God to change hearts, prayer asking God to give us the right words and attitude when having the opportunity to input into a homosexual persons life, media comment, etc. Our office cleaners were a homosexual couple, I always talked with them when I had the opportunity, they knew where I came from and I am trusting that God in His mercy will reach into their lives. It is amazing that something which is so obviously unnatural physically is so easily glossed over by the media proponets and anyone else pro for that matter. It has to be fought in the Spirit world.

  15. Spot-On Berni!

    We Christians need to wake up and realise that the secular world can’t see the Love of God in us, if all we ever do is ‘parrot’ scriptures at them.

    We also need to remember that the only ‘Bible’ that most of the secular world will ever ‘read’ is our attitude to them.

    Berni, you summond it up perfectly when you said “In short, we can become so intent on winning the debate and securing the outcome that we know to be right, that our role in proclaiming the Gospel of Grace takes back seat. We behave as though it’s all up to us, and that God has no role whatsoever to play in this”.

    It’s time we stopped behaving as though it’s all up to us and insted asked God what He would have us do

  16. I believe that Christianity-works has one of the most important opportunity and moment to preach the TRUTH among Australians.

  17. Hi Berni, its great to read an article that makes one think, it is my belief that many Christians accept what is promoted by the media as true. Very few know exactly what is going on in our country. I find it grustrating that the Church is silent on so many issues yet often gets sucked into the political point scoring game. We often forget the directions Christ has given about showing love and compassion and as you say, saving the lost, there are also directions on love the sinner and the fact that we are in the world and not of it, which to me says that I have no right to imput my lifestyle on other folk, especially those who do not know Christ. As for me I am instruced daily to be an example of God’s love on and in the earth, to show mercy and grace, just like my Father in heaven shows me every minute of every day.

  18. I think your point that we are not called to ‘win’ arguments – but are called to proclaim the truth of the Gospel, is a timely reminder for the church and individual Christians today.

    • I believe a lot of people who call themselves Christians are too complacent, they do not speak up enough and make their voices heard that they do not agree with this matter and that is why Politians think the majority of people agree with same sed marriage. I agree with you Berni that we need to point out the truth in God’s Word with love to enable them to understand why it is wrong. Sadly, a lot of people in this day and age do not know what the Bible says or have not even read it.

  19. Thanks Berni for calling a spade a spade. I believe Christians should be praying and lovingly sharing God’s message to do their best to SAVE people not to WIN an argument. What was our commission again? To go out into the world and share the Good News. Why? In order that people will be saved! In order to WIN people to Christ – to turn them towards God, not away from God.
    I totally agree with you – we need to love and share the Good News of the Bible, not hit people over the head with it!

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