Christians, Why Are You Afraid of Gay Marriage?

Christians, Why Are You Afraid of Gay Marriage? June 27, 2013

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A group of prominent evangelicals recently declared that if marriage equality becomes law, they will disobey it. These God-fearing meticulous Bible-followers feel so strongly about gay marriage that they are willing to flout this law they don’t agree with. I really, truly understand their commitment about something that goes against their deeply held principles. I have just one question:

What are they so afraid of? I believe they are afraid that the principles they believe this nation stands on will fall, leaving them exposed in a seemingly eroding culture. They want the security of a set of rules to obey, and make others obey, to secure God’s blessing. They are afraid that if they were wrong about this, what else could they be wrong about? I hate to break this to Christians, but marriage has been redefined several times. Marriage no longer allows for polygamy, though polygamy was allowed throughout the Old Testament and never actually repudiated. (God condemned Solomon’s foreign wives — because they would take him to foreign gods — but He never condemned Solomon’s multiple wives.) Marriage no longer means the purchase of a bride as property, as was the practice throughout the Old Testament. (Even though Jesus treated women with high regard, He never ended bride purchase.) Countries in the world where those practices still exist we consider uncivilized, don’t we? (Our understanding of family is shattered if we think about who Adam and Eve’s children were to be fruitful and multiply with, when they were the only people on earth.)

So what are they really afraid of? They’re afraid of a world out of control. They’re afraid that if they don’t hold the line on “sin” in the world, which Jesus never instructs us to do, then they too are at risk. In truth, they fear a God who is judgmental and unpredictable, rather than understanding the God who is surprising in the fullness of His grace. As Christians, we often subconsciously believe that if we obey the rules, God will protect us and not let anything terrible happen to us. That sense of control comforts us, but it is an illusion.

What if instead of looking at the rules, we looked at the compassion of Christ? What if we looked at the surprising things Jesus did — welcoming tax collectors, prostitutes and Samaritans, and giving Caesar what is due Caesar? If we could just trust Him to care for us and reveal His abundant love, we could rest the way He said we could rest. We could have peace beyond understanding. We could be marked by the love by which He said people would recognize us as His followers.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Susan Duckett

    Wow. You know, it never really occurred to me, but being agitated over someone else’s actions and raising angry voices is a really stressful way to live. I hear so many Christians talk about being on the “battlefield”. Uh? Jesus called us to love Him by loving others. Awfully hard to do that and rest in His peace when we’re so busy trying to find the splinters in someone else’s eye.

  • Very stressful. It’s like the oldest brother worried about the younger siblings’ behavior because the parents are going to be so mad when they get back. No wonder they are livid at the sibs if their tail is on the line.

  • Yes, that’s it exactly. And those big issues – judgment, legalism, harshness, lack of love – seem more like a log to me than the speck of an orientation you did not choose and cannot change.

  • At the bottom of the post, there is a small button that says Facebook. Click that and it will allow you to share 🙂

    Thank you for passing it on!

  • I’m glad you commented, though you didn’t identify yourself. Yes, the Bible calls a lot of things an abomination that we wouldn’t attempt to legislate: eating pork or shellfish; being in the same house with a woman on her period; wearing mixed fabrics. So we need to get that word in perspective. It was for a time when God was keeping the nation of Israel on a certain path. Yes, Christians need to show love, period. That’s really the end of that sentence. Jesus did not say, “Love God, love others, and don’t condone anti-Biblical practices.” The law and the prophets all fit into that. He will take care of His sheep through the very competent Holy Spirit. Isn’t that a relief? I think I’ve been very clear that I am not at all on the fence! I am grazing in the pasture with my eyes on Jesus and loving the other sheep. Best to you.

  • Sherry

    I couldn’t have said it better!

  • Rebekah’s Daughter

    As a trans woman who is also a Christian, I cannot tell you how awesome and refreshing it is to find this blog! Thank you so much for threshing the chaff from the wheat and keeping what is real – the love of Christ. There are so many Christians who condemn me and shun me for who I am, usually without having any idea about what that is – and without seeming to care. It hurts. Blogs like this are salve on an open wound. I am so glad I found you.

  • Thank you for much for you kind words! I really appreciate them. Yes, given who Jesus accepts (anybody who comes!), I don’t see where we have an inch to stand on to say no, I won’t accept you. To take that stand is to reduce what Jesus has done for us from the boundless ocean to a teacup. And you’re right, people do not understand or face this struggle, and then pull out some rules to read to you. Jesus doesn’t do that. Best to you!

  • First, thank you for writing. Thank God for your great relationship. I’m so glad you are continuing to love your son wholeheartedly. That is never the wrong thing. I encourage you to press into God for this. Let Him lead you specifically; He will! Find resources to help you. (Look at my Resource page.) You might read Torn, by Justin Lee — it will illuminate your thinking. Pray for God to reconcile your understanding, and in the meantime, keep loving. I have come to peace that the vast majority of people do not choose this orientation, that prayer for or attempts at “reorientation” do not work for 99.9% of people who seek it (as Exodus President Alan Chambers said recently). I believe we are called to love, love and more love. That is never the wrong choice. I’m so sorry for your pain, and for your son’s pain. It is brutal out there. I do believe that accepting themselves has brought more peace to more people than fighting against what feels like God’s designation. I agree that people who do not have a personal connection to this issue would do well to speak with much humility, and seek to understand more than to make pronouncements about it. Any real change that comes in us comes by God’s hand anyway, whatever it is. “Praying the gay away” does not work. I’m very grateful you wrote, and please let me know how it goes. Blessings, Susan

  • Rebekah’s Daughter

    Paula, I hope you will forgive me for the presumption to write an answer to you here. Your story touches a chord with me, for though my issue is somewhat different from your son’s (I’m transgender, not gay), it does have similarities. It – and I – am frequently condemned as an abomination to God. I prayed – for years! – to be freed from my feelings and to become a man. I also tried psychotherapy, behavior modification, and everything else I could think of to make me feel like I was a man. But it only got worse, until I was on the verge of suicide. And then I finally accepted that this is who I am – a woman, regardless of my genitals – and began to learn of the great peace that comes from truly walking with God.

    There are many people who say that the Bible is the infallible word of God, and I agree that it is certainly our sufficient guide to eternal life. But those of us who read it are not infallible. For many years I assumed, based on a few verses like Deut. 22:5, that my desire to wear women’s clothing and live as a woman was a deadly sin. But was it? I ignored other passages, like Matt. 19:11-12, and Isa. 56:3-5. Do these indicate that being trans is a natural situation, and is not to be condemned? They can certainly be read in that way, but of course, then I’m just taking the other side of the argument. Maybe my reading of that is right, maybe not. But I know in my heart that I have not rejected God, but embraced Him; I know that I love Him and do my best to live in His example, even as I am constantly beset by genuine sin – like anger, judgment, drinking too much, etc. I don’t have a choice about being a woman, just as your son doesn’t have a choice about being gay. But isn’t sin, by it’s very nature, a choice? How then can being gay or being trans be a sin?

    In addition, I found this detailed discussion of homosexuality in the Bible, which I hope it is okay to share.

    God bless you and give you peace.

  • Thank you, Cheryel. This is similar to what I’ve found and makes much more sense than being born a way you can’t control and then being held condemned for it. Thanks for shedding light on this topic.

  • Someone “liked” this on facebook so I clicked on the link. Luckily I only wasted one minute and 20 seconds skimming it. Great opinion piece. I have thoughts on the matter, so there’s not much point in responding to someone who brings so little to what could be a good dialogue. And I suppose my disagreement with any of these “facts” would only point to a deep seated unconscious fear that I have. Interesting how you judge the motivations of anyone who disagrees with you at the outset of this. Golly jeepers, I’ve spent more than 1 minute writing this, now you can rightly judge me as wasting my time.

  • I’m sorry you only had only 2 minutes and 20 seconds to spare on this deep and divisive issue — I would have loved hearing your actual thoughts. It’s taken me 3+ years to get a grasp on the issue personally, and I’m still learning. This post is not about all Christians who support traditional marriage but about those who incite others in a public forum, saying they will disobey the law if they don’t agree with it. Jesus was clear: love God, love others — everything else fits under that. We do get afraid as a crazy world seems to careen off the tracks. When the Ironman athletes ran past my home last week, I was not the only one to think about bombs. The scarier things get, the more people fight their unrest by making uncertain things certain. God says, “Don’t do that; instead, rest in Me.” Thanks for writing.

  • Mike, if you really want to understand this instead of dismissing it, then check out the resources page. That will help you understand the issue better. If you want to understand God’s heart for people, then read the gospels and how Jesus interacted with them, especially the most marginalized. His compassion and kindness to them is overwhelming.

  • If you’d really love to hear how God doesn’t mean homosexuality in the gay-bashing verses, then watch the Matthew Vines’ video in the resources. If you’re unwilling to watch that, then I’m doubting that you’d really love to hear. Thanks.

  • Just came across this particular comment and don’t know if you visit here any longer, Anon, but I wanted to point out that your statement “being a God-fearing, meticulously Bible-following person” is what got the Pharisees into trouble with Jesus (well, they didn’t have the Bible, per se, but they followed the Torah to the letter and then some, which only served to make them “white-washed tombs” in the eyes of Jesus, since they were doing the farthest thing from loving God and others). Anyway, what I’m reading in your statement is fear rather than love, and that’s what was underpinning the Pharisees’ motives, as well. Nobody has been able to be a “meticulously Bible-following person,” and that’s never what Jesus expected of us. That’s making an idol of Scripture. We’re to be JESUS- following people. 🙂

  • truth

    Genesis 2:22-24

    Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman, ‘ for she was taken out of man.” For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.

    nope it does not state the amount of wives, nor if you buy them. However it states a man will unite with a wife. A few chapters later you can read the story of Sodom and Gomorrah.

  • … whose sin was selfishness who would not help the poor and needy. Right there in Ezekiel 16:49-50 it says: “Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen.” Also, what did Adam and Eve have to do in order to be fruitful and multiply? Commit incest. (Who could they marry but each other?) I will not allow irresponsible, out-of-context bible-quoting here, because it perpetuates short-sighted misunderstanding and hurt to others. Remember, truth, that the Pharisees (the religious leaders of Jesus’ day) brought their airtight arguments to Jesus, based on the law they had all figured out, certain they would now trap Him. And He blew them apart with God’s TRUTH. I know that what you wrote looks as airtight to you as the Pharisees’ arguments did to them, but there is much more to it than that. We have had a LOT of conversation on this site, in the posts, and comments, and resources, that goes way beyond what you said. If you would like to read some of those to get a better understanding, I encourage you to do so. Thank you for being here.

  • truth

    Christ indeed brought the word of God to us in the form of his life and teachings. However throughout his path he did not agree with the people sinning, we would forgive them and tell them to sin no more. I believe that the way of Christ is open to all of us sinners, myself for starters came from a life of drugs and stealing. When he found me I experienced His forgiveness, and I changed my life not to be saved, but because I was saved. It was a great feeling knowing that no matter the amount of my sins I had it was forgiven, and that when I would stumble again He will forgive me. Saying that a life without sin is possible is impossible for a child of Adam. That is why we live out our lives in a relationship with God, learning every step of the way. However it does not mean we can justify our actions as good, simply because he will forgive us anyway… Once He opens our souls to Him we must pick up the cross and follow.

    “As the Father loved Me, I also have loved you; abide in My love. 10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

    None of us are worthy of judging others for how they live there lives, and I do not judge someone’s actions in fornication, as I was guilty of it to before being married, and time to time within my own heart. That is a battle I fight with Him next to me.. I know it is wrong, and after committing it I go to Him in prayer and ask to be forgiven. life is a constant cycle of repentance and humbly following Christ’s path as sheep follow there Shepard. When we stray away, He is always there when we call out to Him to bring us back, to His way, not ours.

  • Absolutely. I totally agree. We have power over sin only through Christ, not through our own ability. That is what Jesus got all over the religious leaders about, because they were touting their own ability. He was telling them they’re nowhere near it. Yet the one who beast his chest and said he was unworthy went home justified! It’s upside-down. God forbid that He leave me in my own muck, wherever I happen to be at the moment, even though I’m completely forgiven. But to “go and sin no more” is a complete misrepresentation. He was saying, “You don’t have to live like this.” Why? Because He offers life! Completely diff. I COMPLETELY trust Him to address my sin issues. Other churchgoers… not so much. Because they see the outward appearance, He sees the heart. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  • I disagree. And one look at the death and destruction that is coming as a result of the rejection that has happened from this point of view indicates something is not right with it. Jesus’ leading brings life; the law brings death.