What Is the Gospel Response to the Prop. 8 Decision?
Matthew Lee Anderson, author of the forthcoming Earthen Vessels: Breathing New Life into a Broken Faith and blogger at Mere Orthodoxy:
Within the happy confident hope we have in Christ (Jesus is still Lord, and nothing can undo that), evangelicals need to expand their intellectual horizons. While this is a landmark decision, it comes amid a long shift in culture and philosophy. We need to look backward to discern what's at the root of that trend, look inward to see the ways that we have been co-opted by it, and look a long ways forward to determine how we can work to reverse it.
Practically, I think we have relied too heavily on the will of the majority as our foundation for our legal actions. While political orders must on some level be representative of the people to be legitimate, our founding fathers set up a representative democracy for a reason. Without rejecting efforts like Proposition 8, politically conservative evangelicals should shift their focus toward equipping the next generation of leaders with the philosophical and theological training they need to affect society and government from the "top-down." Majorities are unstable, and while traditional marriage has the upper hand now, it may not in 20 years.
Alan Chambers, president of Exodus International:
I believe that God is calling his church to a place far above the arguments surrounding what is sin and what isn't. We cannot avoid the glaring scriptural truth that there is, and will always be, a right way and a wrong way concerning just about everything we can imagine. And, yet, I believe that our attitudes towards people (internal and external) are just as important as our positions on the issues at hand. So, when I first saw the news that Prop. 8 had been overturned, my very first thought was, "Dear Lord, please let the Christians who speak in response to this share your heart and not their judgment."
We should respond with 100 percent grace and 100 percent truth. As Christians, we must constantly be sharing God's best for people. He created us for a lot more than we, as humans, tend to settle for—in every area of our lives. Because gay marriage is less than God's best for relationship, we need to equip ourselves to minister to those who will choose it and later realize it might not have been the best decision. I firmly believe that if we had spent as much money, time, and energy battling for people's hearts as we did fighting against their agendas, the gay rights battle would look very different today.
Timothy George, founding dean of Beeson Divinity School of Samford University:
Proposition 8 was passed in California with the strong support of the Christian community, including Catholics, evangelicals, and (especially) the African American churches. The decision of Judge Walker could lead to a Supreme Court ruling as charged as Roe v. Wade. Christians who thought they would be able to just sleep through this issue will not be allowed to. At stake in the debate is the very nature of marriage itself. Thinking biblically does not allow us to regard marriage as merely prudential or preferential (I like strawberry, you like pistachio), but as a covenantal union of one man and one woman established by God for a purpose that transcends itself. Marriage is not a "right" to be defended or exploited but rather a union of one man and one woman offering their lives to one another in service to the human community. A gospel response to this judicial decision and the public battles it will generate requires humility, repentance, love, and forbearance. In other words, grace and truth, lots of both.