Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
About two weeks ago I was asked to be part of a debate sponsored on October 25 by Bethel University regarding the Marriage Amendment to be voted upon November 6. Below is a list of the other panelists followed by my opening remarks.
Vote No: Pastor Doug Donley, University Baptist Church and Rabbi Melissa B. Simon, Shir Tikvah
Vote Yes: Pastor Sam Crabtree from Bethlehem Baptist
(Pastor McAfee, New Salem Missionary Baptist Church withdrew due to a family emergency)
In various conversations I’ve had with self-identified gays, when they’ve given me permission to ask about their personal journey, there has always been a component of significant pain. Though I am invited to speak on the affirmative side of tonight’s question, I am not unaware of that pain nor disinterested in those who are hurting. My opening remarks don’t allow time to speak to that pain, and if I don’t get to it in the rebuttal or Q&A, please visit with me about it afterward.
We are favored to live in a nation with a constitution that protects the freedom to say publicly the things I am about to say.
Namely, I support and advocate one-man-one-woman marriage. But I support it not because …
- It is the natural order (which it manifestly and obviously is).
- Not because it has been the civil and societal order of nations down through history around the world (which it has).
- Not because it is politically favored by the majority (which so far it is; recent efforts to legalize other forms of union have been a transparent attempt to go around the people, and through the courts, because there has been inadequate political support to legalize same-sex unions). The majority view is irrelevant to my convictions.
- Not because I am trying to protect certain rights for married people (which should be protected).
- Not for the protection of children who enjoy confirmed advantages as children of one-man-one-woman marriages (advantages that are piling up and increasingly confirmed as the longitudinal research goes forward). When a child is orphaned by the loss of one or both parents, we call it a tragedy. In so-called gay adoption, when adults systematically prevent a child from having a mom or a dad, that is a greater tragedy.
- Not because the corruption of marriage drives so many other problems ranging from the juvenile crime to depression and emotional distress to abuse to suicide—all which cost our society billions of dollars in jails, welfare payments, medical costs, court costs, remedial education, and more. When I donate blood, I am asked to complete a questionnaire first, and on that questionnaire I am asked if I have ever had hepatitis, or traveled in parts of the world where certain diseases are widespread. I am asked if I have ever—even one time since 1977—had sexual contact with another male. When a behavior can jeopardize the community’s blood supply, reservations about legalizing that behavior are warranted.
- Not because marriage is a good that produces so many other good things—higher levels of health, lower levels of alcohol and drug abuse, more earnings, more savings, lowering crime, and more.
- Not because James Wilson, one of only six individuals to sign both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, said, “To the institution of marriage the true origin of society must be traced.”
- I came to my views not because someone rammed their thinking down my throat (something that some people fear may happen to them). I came to my understanding of marriage another way.
There are two kinds of thought: natural thought and revealed thought. Natural thought begins with human assumptions and extend from those assumptions. Revealed thought begins with a revelation inserted into the field of human understanding from outside the human race, and works outward from there.
I support and advocate one-man-one-woman marriage because we have a revelation.
- Male and female—alike in many ways and unlike in many complementary ways (Genesis 1:27).
- That for this cause a young man shall leave his father and mother, cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh (Genesis 2:24).
- that the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is head of the church (Ephesians 5:23).
Aside from other civil rights that can be provided for homosexuals—including contractual rights to share property, convey inheritances, and more—even if homosexual unions were to be legalized, they are not biblical marriages.
The point of marriage is to picture Jesus’ relationship with the Church, a relationship that includes something very important called headship. Headship is determined by gender. Jesus’ headship over the Church is not reversible. The roles are not interchangeable or equivalent. They are complementary. The Church is never the head. Jesus is never not the head. (The role of headship is to give up its life for the bride, wash her with the water of the Word, nourish her, and cherish her.)
So if you have a homosexual union do you have two heads? No heads?
If you have two heads, the implication is that Jesus shares headship with the Church, which cannot be. If you have no heads, you imply that Jesus is not head at all. In either case, Jesus’ authority and responsibility as head is defaced by the picture presented in a homosexual union.
Homosexual unions are not biblical marriages. Two men to not make a wife. A husband is a person with a wife.
This revelation leads me to conclude that the primary purpose of marriage is not for children, or for the happiness of the wedded couple, or for strengthening the fabric of society, or establishing tax benefits for certain parties. Marriage is designed to be a living parable of Christ’s covenant-keeping relationship with his bride, the Church. Other purposes mentioned are fine, but secondary. Being married is not mainly about being in love.
Marriage is not mainly about us.
We cannot know what marriage is without learning it from its designer who has not left us without a revelation.
No parliament, conference, or counsel gave us the revelation we have. And no congress or administration can change what marriage is. Calling something else marriage doesn’t make it marriage.
It is neither wise nor loving to construct a society according to the wishes of some of its citizens when in the end those preferences will destroy their final happiness, no matter how happy they claim to be in the meantime. The gasping emphysema patient on his death bed deeply wishes that someone would have more faithfully, in severe mercy, rescued him early on from the practice of smoking that delivered such pleasure in the beginning and massive regret in the end. No matter how uncomfortable it may make him feel at the time, to question the shortsightedness of his smoking behavior is not hate speech, but love speech.
So, I’m talking about love. Love for people who do not think it to be love. This event is about love of God, love of people, and love of society. It is love that warns a nation—and especially her leaders—to avoid paths that will lead to regret. Frankly, it would have been easier for me to avoid the controversy that this event will predictably stir up. I had other fruitful things I could have done with my time tonight. But I asked what love would do for my neighbors, my nation, my grandchildren, and yes, my counterparts in this controversy. Love will not keep silent. Love says, “Don’t go down this road. The bridge is out!”
- It is love that points to the pre-eminent one
- Who says, “If you love me, keep my commands,”
- And one of his commands is the Old Testament command to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength.
And it is not love toward that God to disregard what he says he loves and what he says he abominates.
(Note: For further reading on this topic, consider the article "So-Called Homosexual Marriage: Gay-Activist Assertions With Responses.")