Thursday, March 03, 2016

Somewhere Under the Rainbow

It appears some people have been doing a lot more thinking about gay marriage than I have.

Which is not to say it’s an unimportant issue in the Christian community. The number of people potentially impacted by the change in law, directly or indirectly, is significant. But my concern to date has revolved around the very real potential for government enforcement of ‘tolerance legislation’, something that could easily impact the self-determination of local churches. To me, that’s a major problem. Any thoughts about division within churches over the issue or about the impact of legalization on Christians with sexual orientation issues who might want to marry have been very, VERY secondary.

That’s because I don’t know any.

Oh, I know lots of gays. I live in a major urban centre, so it would be hard not to. I’ve been working alongside people who self-identify as homosexual at every place I’ve been employed since I was a teenager. And I can Google, so I know there are plenty of people out there who claim to be both Christian and gay.

I’ve just never met anybody who identifies as Christian and gay. Not one. All the gays I know are at very least agnostic, if not outright atheistic.

I’ve definitely never met a pair of homosexuals who: (a) wanted to be married; and (b) wanted to meet with the same group of Christians I do.

Still, it’s evident this is a major concern for larger groups of Christians and certainly for megachurches. Carrie Dedrick worries about churches splitting and polarizing over the issue. Kevin DeYoung lists forty probing questions for Christians who support gay marriage, and John Upchurch at picks out his favourite ten.

Questions like these:
  1. How long have you believed that gay marriage is something to be celebrated?
  2. What Bible verses led you to change your mind?
  3. How would you make a positive case from Scripture that sexual activity between two persons of the same sex is a blessing to be celebrated?
  4. What verses would you use to show that a marriage between two persons of the same sex can adequately depict Christ and the church?
  5. Do you think Jesus would have been okay with homosexual behavior between consenting adults in a committed relationship?
  6. If so, why did he reassert the Genesis definition of marriage as being one man and one woman?
  7. As you think about the long history of the church and the near universal disapproval of same-sex sexual activity, what do you think you understand about the Bible that Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, and Luther failed to grasp?
  8. What arguments would you use to explain to Christians in Africa, Asia, and South America that their understanding of homosexuality is biblically incorrect and your new understanding of homosexuality is not culturally conditioned?
  9. Should your brothers and sisters in Christ who disagree with homosexual practice be allowed to exercise their religious beliefs without fear of punishment, retribution, or coercion?
  10. Will you speak up for your fellow Christians when their jobs, their accreditation, their reputation, and their freedoms are threatened because of this issue
Any list forty items long is going to be a bit uneven in quality, but I find DeYoung very much in earnest. He’s not going out of his way to be gratuitously offensive, nor does he seem to be trying to manipulate anyone. He’s certainly given the subject a great deal of thought. I especially like numbers 8 through 10.

What does occur to me is this: The questions presume a level of seriousness about the authority of scripture and obedience to Christ that I have not yet encountered in the homosexual community, so I have to assume DeYoung intends them primarily as food for thought for fence-sitters within the church who are wrongly persuaded that tolerance of evil is virtuous.

Seen in that light, perhaps DeYoung’s methodology makes sense. But are there really large numbers of serious Bible students who have been successfully co-opted by the relentless virtue signaling of the activist gay community and its enablers?

Again, I haven’t run into any, but perhaps I move in the wrong circles.

What do you think?

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