“Same-Sex Marriage and The Prophetic Role of the Church”
Written by Pastor Jim Law
I was putting my final thoughts together on this article when Pastor Charles L. Worley’s rant against gays and lesbians went viral on the Internet. Collective outrage and censure rightly followed his merciless rhetoric.
Worley’s words have aggravated a conversation that was already shrill between gay activists and those who oppose them. Pastor Worley’s comments have not been helpful in lifting the hate-filled stereotypes leveled against evangelicals by gay activism.
The gay agenda in America has been an incredible success story if gauged by advances in acceptability and influence. Gay activists Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen reveal the simplicity of their strategy when they wrote , “Almost any behavior begins to look normal if you are exposed to enough of it.”
Gay activism has been relentless in pressing the issues throughout culture, and gay ideologies now have permeated virtually every fabric of American life. What is remarkable is how over the last forty years 2 percent of the American population has been able to dictate its agenda on the rest of the nation and virtually marginalize opposition. Yes, it is quite a success story.
Erwin Lutzer was not exaggerating when he wrote, “We cannot list…all of the advances of the gay agenda, except to say that virtually everything they have wanted has come to pass.”
The issue of same-sex marriage is yet another plank in the homosexual agenda, and it is well on its way to national legitimacy.
In the face of these developments, the Church of Jesus Christ has been given a prophetic role in this world which means that we are to stand on biblical authority and proclaim the good news of a crucified and risen redeemer.
We are also to declare with compassion and conviction that homosexuality, along with adultery, fornication, and all sexual expression outside of monogamous marriage is sinful behavior from which we are to repent.
The advances of the gay agenda, and in particular the same-sex marriage initiative, should be a tremendous wake-up call for the Church. We have a great need to look into the mirror and come to terms with our own sin which has made our witness anything but powerful.
We must admit the gay community has a point when they charge us with hypocrisy as we put on battle regalia against homosexuality and virtually ignore adultery, fornication, pornography, and divorce in the ranks.
The Church’s paralysis by her own immoralities is a call for us to repent first. In 1965, Billy Graham wrote with prophetic insight in World Aflame, “If America does not repent, God will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah. When Sodom and Gomorrah became guilty of the same sins that we commit, God judged them with fire and brimstone….we cannot claim to be God’s pets.”
The church, broken over her sin and reliant on the grace of Christ, should respond to the gay agenda with the following biblical strategy:
God’s people are to be a redemptive people who have never forgotten how much God has forgiven us. (Luke 7:40-50) We, like the Corinthians before us, have been washed from our sins, and we are called to go and sin no more. (I Corinthians 6:9-11)
Our mission as the Church is not to fix anyone, let alone homosexuals. Our mission is centered in Gospel proclamation. Christ is the One who redeems our lives from destruction and crowns us with lovingkindness and tender mercy.
Should we not respond with compassion when we learn that 80% of all lesbians have been molested or otherwise mistreated by men? Should we not have some understanding that through the humiliation and shame brought about by sexual abuse and destructive behaviors that such hurt has fostered same-sex attractions? Should we not sympathize with those who battle with their sin nature in ways that are different than ours?
The media portrays the homosexual life as a care-free existence, but such is not the case. Many men and women are trapped in the lifestyle and battle hopelessness in whether there is any way out. Isn’t this an opportunity for the church to extend compassion and hope? May it never be said of us that we have to choose between compassion to homosexuals and opposing same-sex marriage
The church should also show conviction as a part of her prophetic calling. God’s people must enter into this issue and be informed, and the first order of business is a study of what the Bible actually says about homosexuality. This is not conviction based upon emotion or what seems right to us. We must be rooted and grounded biblically. True prophets speak God’s word.
Presently, there seems to be a majority of Americans who oppose same-sex marriage, but that should offer little comfort to the church because such support is tepid. We should have no reason to believe that such opposition is driven by biblical conviction, and if it is not anchored there, then public opinion will blow with the wind.
The gay agenda is one of the strongest movements in America, and it is not going away. A church without biblical conviction must awaken to her calling.
And finally, we must have courage to fulfill our prophetic role. We are on a cultural trajectory that is taking us to a place that we have not gone in the history of our nation. With the same-sex marriage debate, we are facing the loss of religious freedoms that we have enjoyed from the founding of our country.
We are headed to a place where the church may face lawsuits, fines, or loss of tax exemption status for declaring a biblical message about homosexuality. However, we must remember that a prophet’s life has always been in danger for speaking truth.
No one knows that better than Alan Chambers who was named “Daniel of the Year” by World magazine last December. This award is bestowed upon a Christian who stands for Christ against ungodly trends.
Chambers is a former homosexual who helps others struggling with same-sex attraction through the ministry of Exodus International. Through years of an active gay lifestyle, he was gripped by biblical conviction that his behavior was wrong and that Jesus Christ could change his life by helping him overcome the sinful patterns of homosexuality.
Chambers has now been married for 13 years, and he and his wife have two adopted children. He has demonstrated great courage in proclaiming that homosexuals can actually change. In his book Leaving Homosexuality, Chambers wrote, “the opposite of homosexuality isn’t heterosexuality. It’s holiness.”
May God raise up his church for such a time as this and may we assume our prophetic role with tears, conviction, and courage.
(Article to be published in Baptist Message, June 2012)