There was something downright traditional about Rob Bell's remarks on marriage this March:
One of the things you're seeing right now, is you are seeing God pulling us all forward into a greater realization that we need more love. We need more fidelity. We need more monogamy. We need more people who are committed to each other. It's not good for us to be alone.
At first glance, it seemed that the former Mars Hill pastor is as gung-ho about marriage as we are. From couples' retreats to ministries focused on the family to some 25,000 titles under "Christian marriage" at Amazon.com, we Christians place a high premium on love, fidelity, monogamy, and commitment. And our numbers bear it out: Across the board, such Christians show higher rates of marriage and lower rates of divorce, even accounting for variations of age, education, race, and region. "Conservative Protestants, especially churchgoing conservative Protestants, [are] particularly attached to the married state," reports sociologist W. Bradford Wilcox.
Heck, this magazine made a "Case for Early Marriage" on our cover in 2009. Four years later, it remains one of the most popular articles on our website.
But Bell was actually coming out in support of same-sex marriage, echoing over half of all Americans in the most recent surveys. And he did so in a rhetorically brilliant way, drawing on the Genesis account (2:18) to show how crucial loving relationship is for human flourishing. When asked whether he was for same-sex marriage, he simply replied, "I am for marriage."
And how can we Christians not be as well? Much of churches' and individual Christians' tacit acceptance and explicit support of ...1