Why Christians Needs to Stop Asking 'What If' and Start Asking 'What Now' about Gay Marriage
Like a tsunami, so-called gay marriage has swept aside just about every obstacle in its path, creating a very different cultural landscape than even seemed possible a few decades ago—or even a few years ago! According to David Von Drehle in Time magazine, the swift embrace of same-sex marriage is nothing short of a “seismic shift” of American culture, one “as rapid and unpredictable as any turn in public opinion.”
And that, folks, might still be an understatement.
In 1996, just 27 percent of Americans supported so-called same-sex “marriage.” It was the same year that President Bill Clinton signed the bi-partisan Defense of Marriage Act, which defined, for the federal government, marriage as only between a man and woman.
In 2013 however, the Supreme Court struck down part of DOMA and public approval for same-sex marriage had jumped to 53 percent, including 73 percent of 18-29 year-olds. Today, 19 states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage, with federal and state courts are constantly striking down state laws banning same-sex marriage it seems every day.
This big change is a big deal. It was the eminent sociologist David Popenoe who said that no civilization ever survived after its family life deteriorated. But if you don’t believe him, listen to G.K. Chesterton, and I quote: “This triangle of truisms, of father, mother and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.”
What does this mean for America, and for the church? A lot of people are understandably pessimistic. Recently a pastor looked me in the eye and said, “John, it’s all over; we’ve lost.”
And I thought, “Well, wait a minute—is a loss on a political and cultural level the loss of the Kingdom of God? What’s this ‘it’ that’s over, and who are the ‘we’ who have lost?
Look, even if same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land tomorrow, and it just may, we Christians still have to wake up, go to church, run our businesses and ministries, schools and churches. This is not a time to throw up our hands and retreat. Given all of this cultural change, of course, the question has changed, from “What if?” to “What now?” So what we need is some kind of framework in which to move forward.
And that’s why Christian apologist Sean McDowell and I are releasing what we think is a very important new book, called “Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage.” It takes a very careful look at the new cultural landscape and helps all of us to move forward—not in fear, but in faith.
First, we wanted to help Christians understand the issue biblically, but not just using a proof-text from Leviticus or Romans.
Our model is Jesus, who when asked specifically about the Mosaic law on marriage, went back to the very beginning—to Genesis. Jesus thought that God’s created intent was even more important than the law itself. We’ve got to understand this design—especially with the recent spate of so-called “Christian” books attempting to justify same-sex marriage.
But Sean and I also look at the issue culturally. Same-sex marriage isn’t the start of the problem; it’s the fruit of a long-going sexual revolution.
The ground that has shifted is not just moral ground; it’s worldview ground. We’re not just seeing a moral slide toward more and more sexual immorality; we’ve undergone a complete shift in the way we understand the human person.
Our book will help you understand this shift; but just thinking alone isn’t enough. So in the second half of the book, we describe what we can do, practically and immediately when this issue comes our way. It’s kind of a “how now shall we live” on this issue, and we’ll talk about it more tomorrow on BreakPoint. So please tune in. And come to BreakPoint.org to order your copy of our new book, “Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage.”
(This commentary originally aired July 24, 2014)
BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.
John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.
Publication date: December 30, 2014