Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Future of Evangelical Response to Gay Marriage

Ed Stetzer's blog post from May 10, 2012 talks of the "future of evangelical response" to the gay marriage issue.

Of five principles evangelicals should consider, his last is this one:
At the end of the day, all evangelicals will still have to deal with an issue on which the evangelical view is perceived as narrow and bigoted.  Evangelicals will continue to be pressured to accept a worldview rooted in cultural acceptance rather than biblical revelation. While President Obama's thoughts on certain issues have evolved, biblical truth has not.

Many evangelicals are regular viewers of the conservative Fox News Channel.  Yet consistently there gay marriage is also seen as no problem, and something positive.  Even stalwart culture warrior Bill O'Reily commented 12/13/12 that if gay marriages passes the Supreme Court and becomes the law of the land it won't have any significant effect on the culture, and he has said numerous times that he does not oppose it at all, despite his Catholic background.

Clearly, evangelicals will have to decide whether "biblical revelation" or cultural worldview will guide them.  And for the record, this issue is nothing at all like the real racial civil rights issue.  It was, in fact, Christians who lobbied for the end of slavery in America.  And the Bible contains not one verse that forbids interracial marriage.   The only teaching there was for ancient Jews to not marry the Canaanites, or other surrounding nations, who were fellow Semites, ethnically very similar but religiously a universe apart--and thus the prohibition).  But there is no racial ban on marriage.  Yet there are eight direct passages, both in Old and New Testaments,  that clearly condemn all homosexual practice and call it an "abomination."

Stetzer, head of research at LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, also gives these points for evangelicals to consider:

The issue is not going away and you cannot ignore it or seek to downplay your views.

The culture sees this as a "justice" issue-- Christians discriminating on the basis of immutable characteristics.

Though it is easy to make the case in the church that homosexual practice (and marriage) is incompatible with scripture, it will be an exceedingly difficult case to make in today's culture.

Building bridges and showing grace and love is needed, lacking, and essential when dealing with people with different views and values.

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