Australian Commentary (56)

                                      Stopping the Rot

The same sex marriage debate in Australia has come about, after a long period of confusion and uncertainty in the church. There is nothing new about this. Times of uncertainty and confusion have plagued God’s people, since Old Testament times.

When Israel was led by a godless leader in Ahab, he gathered the prophets together at Elijah’s command at Mount Carmel, and Elijah spoke to them, saying,

“How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people did not answer him a word (I Kings 18:21).

What is needed now, is a clear voice from the churches in relation to homosexual behaviour.

Will we get it? I don’t know. But all Christians have a responsibility in this, firstly in their family and church, and secondly in their community.

What is also clear, is that pastors and other Christian leaders are going to have to make some choices between being faithful to God and His Word, or popular. If they choose popularity, they will bring on their heads a fateful promise from Jesus Christ:

You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men (Mat.5:14).

I’ve heard that 50 Christian leaders have come out in favour of SSM, and I can believe it. At some point in the future, each one of them will regret their position, which is completely at odds with the Bible.

How do I know this? Well, God said this:

For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh (Gen.2:24).

The sexual relationship of husband and wife is the only sexual relationship legitimised in scripture. Anyone who tells you anything else is either a liar or a deceived person. It is a matter of God’s plan and design for us.

Jesus reminded the Pharisees of this. He said,

Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’ (Mat.19:5).

I know that some people have come up with the argument that if two people really love one another, they should be permitted to marry, regardless of whether they are male and female or not. But this foolish notion hasn’t a shred of support from scripture. The scripture says that

If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltiness is upon them (Lev.20:13).

Christians must realise that it is impossible to be morally consistent, and to sit on the fence on this issue. In 2004, Harvard law professor Mary Ann Glendon warned that

Religious freedom… is at stake. As much as one may wish to live and let live, the experience in some other countries reveals that once these arrangements become law, there will be no live-and-let-live policy for those who differ. Gay-marriage proponents use the language of openness, tolerance and diversity, yet one foreseeable effect of their success will be to usher in an era of intolerance and discrimination the likes of which we have rarely seen before. Every person and every religion that disagrees will be labelled as bigoted and openly discriminated against. The axe will fall most heavily on religious persons and groups that don’t go along. Religious institutions will be hit with lawsuits if they refuse to compromise their principles.[1]

When Christians vacillate on plain moral issues, they command the respect of no one. Yes, we’ll have our enemies when we are plain spoken, but that’s how we expect it to be. In fact, this should be our standard practice.

John the Baptist’s plain spoken approach with Herod cost him his head, but our Lord had no complaints about John, His forerunner. And this was David’s approach. He said that

I will set no worthless thing before my eyes; I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not fasten its grip on me. A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will know no evil (Ps.101:3-4).

God requires that His people be firm, faithful and loving; all of those things. To choose anything else in relation to the SSM issue, is to invite disaster. God’s people also want and need to be ably led, and I haven’t seen a lot of that evident yet from churches themselves.

Conclusion:

Unquestionably, the Same Sex Marriage debate is going to split the church, which is a good thing. It’s about time there was a split, between those who believe the scriptures, and those who don’t.

And let us remember this: the Bible says of God, that

…Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne. Fire goes before Him and burns up His adversaries round about (Ps.97:2-3).

Where do you stand, and will you be public about stopping the rot? Courage says that Christians must act and speak.

 

 

[1] Mary Ann Glendon, “For Better or for Worse,” the Wall Street Journal, 25th February, 2004.

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