WRF Member Clair Davis Asks, "Let Gay Be Gay? Or, Learn To Give Gospel Care?"
What is our Christian take on marriage? Right now we say a lot about hetero and homo, important though that is, but we’re pitifully slow at getting to the heart of what God tells us about marriage. This is it: believers in Jesus Christ should marry believers, and lean together on Jesus to do it right.
Do we want our government to regulate marriage to cover that? Of course not, we believers and our church make that decision whether or not we can support a marriage between a believer and an unbeliever. When we do have a church wedding the preacher isn’t really doing it just with the church’s authority but as a temporary state worker. (In Pennsylvania you work for the Orphans Court and send in the form within ten days or pay a $500 fine. In British Columbia it comes under medical insurance and the couple gives you their health insurance numbers). Sometimes the state says you have to wait a few days to get married after you get the license, I guess to make you think it over? That sounds like a good idea, can you find a Bible verse for that?
There’s some overlap but the church and the state aren’t the same. Nobody wants the state to pass and enforce laws banning believers from marrying unbelievers, at least not here in the United States where we invented separation of powers. No one wants us to recognize only one denomination and its rules, the reason why our ‘dissenting’ ancestors came here. So here’s my question. Some of us are upset when the state permits gay marriages, but how is that our concern as Christians? Should we be going after Sunday blue laws again? It’s not enough to say the Bible is against gay marriage, you have to come up with a ‘secular’ reason, don’t you? Maybe there is one but I haven’t heard it, not if you don’t want to force married people to have children.
We really don’t want to say that it’s OK if the state allows it. I know we want to say, while marriage is important, it’s still minor compared to the biggest decision, do I want Jesus to run my life, in who I marry too. Isn’t that right? We don’t want to confuse what the state permits with what God favors.
With that in mind, let’s think this over. What does American marriage look like now? High divorce rate, much casual sex before marriage. Is it true that our ‘Christian divorce rate’ is about the same? Hookup too? Maybe not quite the same but close. What does that say about our marriages and our families? About how we relate to our culture and differ from it? Isn’t it clear that we’re doing or not doing something very wrong, we’re not making much of a difference, not even inside our little tent. As usual, it seems to me that we’re not putting together that already/not yet, that indicative/imperative stuff very well. Jesus Christ is risen, he’s alive and well, he’s given us the Holy Spirit, we have all we need for life and godliness. This was my first take from Jay Adams: you have hope, you can change. There’s our beautiful indicative/already, clear as a bell. Are we sharing with each other that gospel hope, clearly and lovingly? Or are we surrendering to our culture, maybe being good at negating it but pitiful at putting feet on our faith to do it better? There has to be some reason that to many people our message comes over only as judgment, missing the gospel hope. That’s the imperative without the indicative. Are we helping or running away?
It’s good that the gay thing has gotten our attention. Yes, it’s wrong and God says so. But it’s also wrong when a believing couple ignores each other, when parents are against early marriage for wrong reasons, and especially when the gospel comes over as having nothing to do with who you marry and why. That’s where we need to work first of all, isn’t it?
How shall we be a gospel-caring people? The best I know is Harvest USA. How about looking through their site and learning with them? http://harvestusa.org/ [EDITOR'S NOTE: The Executive Director of Harvest, USA, John Freeman, is a member of the WRF and is the author of one of our minibooks: "The Gay Dilemma and Your Church: Reaching Out to Those Who Struggle." This and other WRF publications may be purchased here - http://wrfnet.org/bookstore#.UxCsQaSYYdU .]