Why Legalizing Gay Marriage May Be Good for the Church
How the church can thrive by focusing on the battles that really matter.

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.

Three Clarifications

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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May 22, 2012

Displaying 1–10 of 80 comments

Advent Easter

August 15, 2012  10:49pm

Leviticus 19:18 "‘Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. "Passion" I think of this word with fondness. I think of the Passion of Christ, as represented over and over through the years during holy week. I know this is a horror story, but it is what happened, and I try to live remembering this. I think of this and know that being 'passionate' alone is not enough, but that it matters what one is passionate about...I know many people and organizations are passion filled and express their beliefs strongly and with eloquence. Yet many a soft word shines brighter with less fanfare or glory and inspires even greater. The words "I love you" – speak deep truth and commitment and passion. Yet Christ's words "Love one another" seem to falter and shine less strongly – poor marketing? No, rather, the passion there is not self-oriented. It is other oriented. I want to be passionate about what Christ is passionate about. "Jesus Wept"! Passion! What was it that caused this but a heartfelt love for people – People who were being led astray, abused by the system, and left for dead outside the elitist's rules and laws. It would seem that the Episcopal Church in America is trying to engage in a passionate arguing for similar goals: "Inclusion of those outside the rules and laws of the established norms of society and religion"?! However passion is not what Jesus was advocating for. He was asking why the people were being led astray, why the elitist's rules were wrong, and their hearts more wrong still. The same is sadly true today. It's not about equality and inclusion, but rather that Sin, is being called acceptable again, just like in the case of the religious elite of his day. I am passionate about loving. I am humble enough to know I fail miserably at it. And yet I still know I am a sinner, saved by grace, and called to follow Christ and pick up my passion, um I mean cross daily, and submit to his authority. I am passionate about many things of this world still. I am a football ‘fan', a baseball ‘fan'; I listen to music every day, many types and volumes, and wish everyone would too. However, I am still sometimes a down my nose looker at those who I am called to love, and when I catch a glimpse of some lumber sticking out of my face, often at another's urging, I promptly swing it at them, um I mean gracefully repent. But my passion is being stirred lately because of the ‘worst of all sinners' – Paul? No LIBRALS! I misspell it on purpose, so those who may think I am talking about them will not take offense and hate on me any more than necessary, for my own good and the good of my fellow man. These Liberal stations on TV, the politics, the hate, the vitreous vomitus mass of passion spewed about as if it were the only truth you should think or hear for that matter. It nauseates me and makes me passionate about soup (don't want to offend), or nature photography ( everyone loves that), or even an occasional rant on FaceBook (so common these days) – these can be overlooked as long as we don't offend or criticize or say some one is (gasp) wrong… I am sorry if that was offensive to someone (the writer has been sacked). If you have followed me to this conclusion, I applaud you. I know Jesus loves sinners, because he loves me. My particular sins are no less or more ‘sinful' than anyone else's – they are still sin though. Passion for Christ and his kingdom has killed many an unbeliever or the hearts of many – to our shame. But, if I can say one thing to help another, in his or her search for the real God, whom I attempt to serve, that I will be passionate about all day long! I believe the way to truth is and can only be found in true humility and selfless love – putting some besides me first, and hoping I am graceful enough to recognize their needs. This lets me see love the way I hope I am supposed to, the way I hope Jesus asks me to love. By telling the truth "sin is sin", and

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Brendt Wayne Waters

August 14, 2012  10:23pm

1) Very well put. 2) If you think you offended 95% of the readership with your early clarifications, you are clearly a massive optimist. ;-)

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Evan Dunn

July 18, 2012  5:53pm

Chad, I don't normally post comments (ever) on articles or blogs, but I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your perspective articulated here. I grew up with a best friend who I found out was gay. He struggled so much with the alienation and acceptance of his church and family. I in no way condone homosexual acts, but I believe the Bible condemns hatred and judgment (which he received from myself and others) as strongly or more strongly than wayward, rebellious sins. I absolutely agree about the truth of the Gospel not needing a country's laws to validate it. Jesus rendered unto Caesar what is Caesar's. He hung out with those that society ostracizes, which (in much of America) includes the LGBTIQ community. And he definitely sided with those the religious people wanted to get all legalistic on and stone to death. Thanks for sticking your neck out there for this one. Jesus is incredible in his brilliant warfare tactics. So much better than ours. And such a better battle to fight. Thanks, Evan

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Kiwi

July 16, 2012  1:06pm

It is unfortunate to view same–sex marriage solely on how many more seats in a church may be filled. One of the real issues is the effect of homosexuals on young people. They have no offspring of their own–so in order to promote their sexual deviancy, they confuse and seduce youngsters into this life of hating themselves while participating in harmful acts. The individuals who participate in homosexual acts have more sexually transmitted diseases and more incidence of suicide–due to the harmful nature of the acts upon their bodies and souls. Is the Lutheran Church so desperate for people to fill the pews that it is considering condoning unhealthy activities that are clearly sinful according to our God?

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Bill

July 10, 2012  11:55am

You're some solid ground with this. Like it or not you're onto a bigger theological principle: Luther's two Kingdom theology. It's beautifully biblical and if it were embraced by the church in the west, the gospel would explode again. Western Christianity has done an incredible job of spreading God's law and marginalizing God's gospel.

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Smith tettey

June 28, 2012  6:38am

This whole subject of humans behaving worse than animals is theologically not connected. I do agree with the fact that we all have our own theologies on various issues. But there is one truth-God's mind. If animals are wiser, and have not advanced to our state of brainlessness, such that we have to believe that we are born with a mindset, which is contrary to human nature, I beg to disagree. Gay people have got their logic twisted, and as such, they cannot claim to have a credible interpretation of God's word. We must accept the fact that everyone is right to believe and practice what he like. This assumption has a first cause; That THERE IS NO GOD, and that we are omnipotent and are free to do whatever pleases us. Christianity follows the teachings of Christ, and any view not supported by Christian theology, is not Christian. Let Gayism have its own Ecclesia (Church) and worship its own God, but not be making any claim to our God whom they do not want to be subject to.

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Fred

June 19, 2012  7:52pm

Am I missing something here, or is there no mention of the theology of God's sovereignty as being part of the crux of Christian belief? God created this world and gave this world laws to live by for our own good, based on His omniscience. Yet this author would have us think that bringing those laws into the societal context of government is wrong! By what comparison to God's wisdom of rule or the conviction of our professed faith can you come to that conclusion? Christians are simply trying to obey God's directives in preventing sinful practices and are obligated to use the laws of this world to promote His Word. Regardless of beliefs, God rules this world and just because someone does not recognize or accept that, does not dispel the truth of it. Sin is meant to be called to accountability by Christians, not tolerated under any circumstances of society or culture and God establishes the earthly means and methods for Christians to serve His will in that process.

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Joyce L. Young

June 16, 2012  9:08pm

Very gutsy article Chad! I work with some lesbian women on the Board of Directors of a local sexual assault centre that I volunteer with. They are wonderful, passionate committed women whom I feel blessed to know! One of them was rejected from her family of Pentecostal ministers, when she came out. I present a very differnt view of Christianity to her. I am in support of civil gay union as partners should have full protection of the law but am against the church marrying homosexuals. We are called to love everybody as Christ loves and died for all. How dare we think that we can take God's role and judge others? I believe that there are bigger issues that gay marriage conveniently distracts from, such as the ones you mentioned. It is NOT our job to force our particular interpretation of theology down another's throats. It is our job to be God's voice of justice and love in the world and that includes praying for and being compassionate towards our homosexual friends. As Christ so aptly said "Let you who are without sin throw the first stone." domine vobiscum

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stan

June 13, 2012  1:12pm

I enjoyed reading your post, and several that followed. I just think it relfects a naievity to a much larger agenda that is using homosexuality, among other issues, in societally devastating ways.

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Scott

June 12, 2012  3:36pm

dup...........I am a Christian and believe that every word in the Bible is the inspired word of the Holy Spirit yes sometime I need to go to the Greek or Biblical Hebrew, but there is no wiggle room to fit my agenda, the only person I am to correct is a brother or sister, the rest is up to God, I am a vessel for His use to be an exsample to be ready in season and out to ansewer questions about the Gospel, I was told and believe that only 10 to 15 percent of people living in the USA are true Christians and I believe you ether are or you are not. I know and have read about Pastors who are not Christians but Wolves in sheeps clothing and I know GOD IS ON THE THRONE, He is in charge of EVERYTHING. So if my Government wants to legalize Gay marriage I will vote against it and so will all other Christian that should end the problem since only 5 percent of the POP. are gay. I just do not get it if there are sooooo many Christians living in this Country how did all these UNCHRISTIAN laws get passed. 21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn't worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. 24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other's bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.

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