Our nation’s legal definition of marriage continues to be a fierce battle ground. Bible-believing Christians want to preserve God’s design for marriage: one man and one woman freely and fully committed to one another for life. Radical gay activists are working hard to undermine and redefine marriage in order to include same-sex couples. Much is at stake in the struggle over how to define marriage. Countless lives will be affected if our country distorts the boundaries for legal marriage, both in ways that can be predicted and in ways that cannot yet be imagined. Who could be harmed, and how?
As always, when society loosens the laws that establish healthy limits for marriage and family, children pay the highest price. Single-parent families have taught us the hard way that children generally do much better when they live with both mom and dad. Nevertheless, gay activists insist that two moms or two dads will be just as good. Why should we believe them? As children grow into adults they desperately need godly models for healthy and responsible sexual behavior, not gender confusion.
Some who oppose same-sex marriage often argue that tradition has established heterosexual marriage as the best foundation for society. But traditions are established by people and they can change. Marriage is more than a tradition. Marriage is instituted and designed by God. In addition, marriage and family are not simply building blocks for human society. The Bible presents much higher ideals for marriage.
In the Old Testament, God used husband and wife as a picture of his relationship with his chosen people Israel. In the New Testament God’s design for marriage is given as a picture of Christ’s bond with his church, his Bride. More than nurturing children, more than directing young people about their God-given sexuality, more than providing the building blocks of culture and society, marriage is about God’s love for his people. Essential spiritual Truth is transmitted through God’s design for marriage.
Some would argue that the fundamental spiritual Truth meant to be communicated through marriage is simply love and commitment. Therefore, loving and committed same-sex couples, we are told, fulfill the Bible’s commands. If that were true then loving and committed relationships of any kind would eventually be proposed. But this argument ignores the fact that homosexuality is condemned every time it is mentioned in Scripture. Should that matter?
The question of defining marriage ultimately brings us to an even more fundamental and critical issue. What is the Bible? Is it God’s perfect Word to humanity? Or is it a collection of words by imperfect people who were searching for divine insight and inspiration? Those of us who support God’s design for marriage point to the Bible as the premier authority for defining marriage. As a result, gay activists have attacked the church’s understanding of God’s Word. Scriptures that clearly condemn same-sex relationships are said to be irrelevant to our age. But should human desires judge God’s Word or should God’s Word judge human desires?
For those of us who have decided to stand on the perfect Word of God, we must be committed to the whole counsel of God. The Bible not only condemns same-sex marriage, Scripture also condemns all sexual immorality. Any sexual misconduct undermines the spiritual Truth that is to be reflected through godly marriage. Let us not merely fight against a radical gay agenda. Let us fight for the radical holiness that God has called us to. Let us do it not because it is traditional, or pragmatic, or comfortable, but because it honors our Lord. He who called us is holy, so let us be holy in all that we do.
In addition, the whole counsel of God reminds us that we do not simply speak the Truth. We speak the Truth in love. Men and women struggling with sexual sin deserve to hear the Truth but they need to hear from someone who genuinely cares. The many angry voices in the debate over defining marriage easily draw attention to themselves. God’s people must be different. Righteous indignation is a legitimate response, but loving confrontation and encouragement is a vital ingredient. We are the true people of hope and change.
May the people of God rise up and contend for the faith with the love of Christ,
Brother Richard Foster, Pastor
Grace Baptist Church, Camden, AR