In this post, we present reasons churches should NOT oppose gay marriage. For our post presenting a case for churches to oppose same-sex marriage legislation, click here.
NOTE: Before you skip ahead to the comment section and start disagreeing with me based on the title of this post, please read the post in its entirety. Then you can post disagreements!
I live in the state of Washington, which recently passed a law legalizing gay marriage. Meanwhile, my native state of North Carolina voted to ban same-sex marriages. It's a topic many states are dealing with in a variety of ways.
As states debate the issue and election year rhetoric heats up, many church leaders I know have denounced the legalization of same-sex marriages while backing measures such as North Carolina's that ban the practice. I have other Christian friends who support the legalization of same-sex marriage based on their belief that homosexual practice should be permitted in society and the church. I think this fiercely debated issue can serve to help us clarify our understanding of how Christians should engage society and government.
Personally (and please note that this is my personal position and not that of any ministry or organization I work with), I doubt the legalization of same-sex marriage is a threat to the church. In fact, I think it could very well be a blessing, but not for the reasons you might guess.
Let's start with some first things first:
1. I believe homosexual practice is unbiblical. I see absolutely no scriptural support for homosexual practice, while seeing quiet, clear prohibition against homosexual practices. And so, based on my reading of Scripture, I happen to believe that same-sex marriage is not something that pleases God. In other words, it's wrong, it is a sin, and it should find no support in the church.
2. I do not support same-sex marriage.
3. I do not oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage. The key word here is "legalization."
Now that I have offended 95% of readers (on both well-trod sides of the issue), let's move on. So why do I think legalizing same-sex marriage could be a good thing? Three reasons.
Morality vs. Justice
First, I see no biblical warrant for imposing our Christian standards for same-sex behavior on non-Christians. For the most part, our jurisdiction is within the church (where I see strong biblical mandate for not affirming homosexual practices, including cohabitation and marriage). When we see Muslim countries forcing non-Muslims (including Christians) to live according to strict Sharia law, we cringe. But we Christians are all-too-willing to force non-Christians to live according to our standards. In fact, there is history of us doing so, dating back to (but not before) Constantine.
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