A wedding is a society’s shared witness to an institution.
It’s the basic building block of a society and of this generation extending to the next.
It is, therefore, accepted as right and proper—a cause for joy and celebration.
It is the ceremonial observance initiating a relationship set forth and defined by God.
When we attend a wedding and when we contribute to the ceremony we are endorsing it as good.
Therefore, when we accept gay marriage we are declaring all that. We are saying it is right in the sight of God that we participate in and celebrate it.

Most of our gay friends, of course, heartily embrace this “rightness.”  Most consider their attractions as their own immutable identity. They cannot be other than what they are. Nor do they think it appropriate that others should somehow require them to be who they are not. Surely, God, it is reasoned, would not be so cruel has to hardwire them in a way that He himself condemns? So, we must have gotten it wrong, right? With all due respect to those who think so, revisionist biblical theology is an extreme contortion and an obvious exercise is eisegesis. There can be no question that the Levitical Law spells it out, alongside other sexual prohibitions, most of which (at least for now) society still doesn’t question. The New Testament picks it up and spells it out quite specifically (e.g. Rom. 1:26-27, 32).

We mustn’t forget, too, that Jesus grew up an obedient, observant Jew who loved and knew the Law the way King David had, yet even deeper. Jesus expressly tells us that He did not come in opposition to the Law, nor to set it aside. He came, in fact, to fulfill it and write it on our hearts, and cause us to keep it. He told his listeners to take heed to the teaching of the Scribes and Pharisees God had placed over them (though not perhaps to how some actually lived). He had no need to reiterate the Law. It was a given.  To say that Jesus approved of something because he never mentioned it would be an argument for pedophilia and rape, which He also never mentioned. What he did mention was this:

Mark 10:6-9 “But at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ 7 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, 8 and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. 9 Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

Consistent with the Law, then, here is what the Apostle to the Gentiles whom Jesus personally selected relates from God.

Rom. 1:26-27,32 “…Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.”

[here’s the scary part]

32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

We see Jesus in company with many sinners. We know he ate and drank with them. We know he had mercy for them when many others would judge. We know that Jesus told the stuffy religious sort that many of this lawless lot was in fact passing into the Kingdom of God ahead of them. The means of their passage was the universal means that still holds today. Impressed by his tender, pursuing kindness, they came to him in repentant tears and generous, grateful hearts, while the aloof leaders considered themselves too good to repent.  I, and many like me, have had great relationships with our gay friends (and our alcoholic friends, etc.) all our lives (being recovering sinners ourselves) and will continue to do so. Neither Jesus, nor I, would find it necessary to exclude or judge or lecture any particular sinner’s ways (Although there are important biblical exceptions to this, and reasons to do so).

 

PART II

What becomes problematic here, is that there is really no direct parallel to gay marriage in The New Testament to witness. We don’t see in Jesus’ ministry any particular group of sinners declaring categorically that their sin is not sin, per se. Furthermore—it is claimed—not only is it not sin, it is worthy of institutionalizing and celebrating. The closest we could come to this, as I see it, is the Pharisees’ unholy codification of the commandments of men. Jesus reserved his harshest words and tone for such as them. We certainly don’t see Jesus institutionalizing and endorsing a sin as the veritable “building block” of family and therefore society at large.

What we do see is Jesus referring to our evil natures in a matter-of-fact way*. We see Him emphatically warning the masses of the dangerous results of sin*. It was Jesus who told us that if even our hand should cause us to sin, we should cut it off rather then enter into hell with it still intact*. Jesus dealt ruthlessly with sin because he loves us. The measure of his complete resolve against it is demonstrated on the cruel bloody cross*. His last words before his ascension were to bear his message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins to the whole world*. Repentance IS the mechanism for believing and receiving Jesus*. We choose Jesus over sin*. He forgives us and begins then, to overcome it in us until at last we are forever separated from it and spared its horrible consequences.*

*References from the Gospels can be supplied upon request.

 

One might say that homosexuals are only choosing to be their honest, authentic selves. I could also choose to declare that my authentic self is, and pretty much always has been, prone to lusts and greed and gossip and falsehood, (among other things). But if I take pride in any of these things; if I declare my intent to continue in and celebrate these things,…what have I done? I have a form of godliness but deny His power to redeem and transform me. Many have experienced God’s miraculous, overcoming deliverance. Many others have attested to a sincere effort to “change” and have come to believe that at least, for them, it’s impossible.

So, there we are. Are we in mutually exclusive categories? Intractable? Irreconcilable? Must one take, in this regard, only one of two diametrically opposed positions? Either (1) homosexual intimacy (copulation) is repugnant sin, and those who insist on practicing it will fall under the judgment of God; or (2) homosexual intimacy is as loving, natural and legitimate as any other union.

Venn LoveHow can we bridge the gap between mutually exclusive firmly held convictions? Well, it should be obvious that it’ll never happen without an additional firmly held conviction. It’ll be difficult and so will not even be attempted by most. Successful relationships are hard and require diligent work. Being patient, and compassionate, and understanding, and gentle doesn’t come naturally for most of us. But, at last, the only reality that overlaps both distant circles is love. Not sentimentality. Not unanimity. But just determined, gritty, rugged love that says, essentially, “In this matter we do not see eye to eye and it looks like we’re not ever going to. But regardless, my friend, I’m gonna love you. Even if you don’t love me back, I’m still gonna love you.”

If there is ever to be even the slightest potential that an occupant of the one circle should migrate to the other, s/he could only pass over by way of love. And that kind of love, my friends, can only come from God.

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