CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

How Not To Think About Homosexual Marriage

Oct 20, 2015

We fully expect homosexual activists and those opposed to biblical truth to push their agendas in public. What we don’t – or shouldn’t – expect is when Christian leaders more or less do it for them. We find this happening far too often, where the arguments of the activists are repeated by those who should know better.

Consider one Australian pastor who seems to have a track record of doing this. I dealt with his rather unhelpful thinking on this topic some years ago: www.billmuehlenberg.com/2011/11/23/real-acceptance/

Regrettably he seems to still be at it. It was hoped that he might have gotten somewhat more biblically precise on this issue, instead of running with so much of the world’s thinking, and rehashing the homosexual objections for them. Sadly this does not appear to be the case however.

SSM 22He starts off in typical secular left fashion: those who seek to stand for biblical truth on this issue are simply engaging in “vitriolic rants”. Funny how those most opposed to Christians judging other Christians end up doing that very thing so often. And he claims we are dug in a trench, and he is going to come along and declare a “ceasefire”.

He says “Christians should stop firing first!” Um, no, we did not start this battle. We did not fire the first shots. Militant homosexual activists have declared war on marriage and family and it is the height of irresponsibility to just pretend this is not happening, and claim that Christians are somehow to blame.

Every single person who claims to be a disciple of Christ has a solemn obligation to defend biblical truth and to stand against various attacks on key biblical beliefs and values. Not to do so is a sign of a lack of love for Christ and for his truth. As Martin Luther is purported to have said,

If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ. Where the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved, and to be steady on all the battle front besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that point.

I was alarmed to find him rehashing one of the sillier and unbiblical lines in this whole debate: “we are not called to be moral policeman”. Oh come on! I get this all the time from atheists and secular humanists – but from a Christian pastor? Why do I suspect guys like this would have gone troppo on someone like Wilberforce?

“Wilby old boy, don’t you know we are not called to be moral policemen? Don’t you know you are alienating all those poor slave traders? We can’t impose our values on them. We are just called to love them and accept them as they are. Stop turning people off to the gospel.”

And of course Wilberforce did have fellow believers telling him this very thing. And now we have folks doing it again on the issue of homosexuality. No wonder our side keeps losing with frightfully bad advice like this. When Christian leaders rehash the arguments of atheists and homosexuals, then you know we have some real problems in our churches.

Just as bad, he keeps going on about the “ideal” of heterosexual marriage, and that we live in a fallen world, so basically we can just forget about the ideal. One might as well argue that the ideal is not to murder people, or to steal or to rape, but since we are in a fallen world, we need to make room for this, perhaps even offer excuses for it.

Since when do the unchanging absolutes of God become mere advice? Once again, I expect atheists to think and talk this way, but not a believer, and certainly not a pastor. Sadly there is way too much confusion, sloppy thinking, illogic, and just plain biblically false information contained in his 12 points. But let me offer some brief replies:

1. What a confused mess this point is. Um, God has created both actually: he created the institution of marriage and he created the institution of the state. Both are his creations. Sure, in a fallen world they are not functioning as they should be. But both are still his, and both have a vital role to play.

Marriage is both a church issue and a state issue. And if this guy actually did a bit of research instead of just repeating the homosexual canards, he would know that the state has always viewed marriage as a vital social institution. Societies recognise and benefit heterosexual marriage because of all the benefits it gives to society.

2. So what? What does that have to do with anything? Of course many pagans do not buy our views on sexual morality. Nor do they buy our views on the gospel of Jesus Christ. Does that mean we simply abandon them because not everyone agrees with them? What sort of silly talk is this for a believer to make?

3. I suppose he will next claim we idolise the Bible, or truth, or God. We uphold marriage for the simple reason that God does, and he expects us to do the same. To defend biblical marriage has nothing to do with idolatry. To ignore the Bible and buy the lies of the activists is however idolatrous.

Whatever God highly values and promotes, we should highly value and promote. It is that simple. If this guy thinks God is wrong to have such a high view of marriage, then he needs to have a chat with God about that.

4. His discussion on single parents is also amazingly bad. He just does not seem to get it. Of course if a spouse dies or deserts, then a single parent is left with a real handful of care and responsibility. Of course they need all the help and support they can get. But we are talking here about something altogether different: the deliberate creation of children without both of their biological parents.

If through no choice of their own a person finds himself becoming a single parent, we help them as best we can. But it is apples and oranges when it comes to homosexuality. Here there is the deliberate move to deprive children of a mum or a dad.

5. “Predictions of the downfall of heterosexual marriages if same-sex marriage is introduced are nothing short of ridiculous.” Um, being utterly clueless about what is happening in countries which have legalised homosexual marriage is what is ridiculous.

He is so unaware – either wilfully or otherwise – about what is actually happening, that he is more than happy to push patently false statements, and attack those who do speak about what is going on here. Once again, I document all this in my books – the books he evidently refuses to even consider.

6. And as if reading directly from the homosexual activist script, he says “Please let’s stop using the ‘slippery slope’ argument” and he even attacks James Dobson on this! Incredible! I guess living in la la land is preferable to living in the real world. There most certainly is a slippery slope of course, as even many homosexual activists admit to.

I fully document all this in my books, but this pastor prefers to ignore the evidence and simply shoot the messenger. That is a real worry. Polyamorists, paedophiles, those into bestiality and incest have all come out of the closet, using the very same arguments that the homosexuals have. That he wants to deny all this is simply shocking.

7. One of the most abused and misused words in this whole debate is “love”. Sadly this pastor does the very same hatchet job on this that the homosexual activists do. Of course we are to treat one and all with respect. That goes without saying. But biblical love never means condoning sin, coddling sinners, and allowing them to head to a lost eternity.

Biblical love is always about willing the highest good of the other person. This always means warning a lost sinner (whether a homosexual or not) of his fate if he does not repent and casts his faith on the one who died for our sins. Just what is loving about leaving someone trapped in their sin and headed for a lost eternity?

And no, one is not born a homosexual. As I document in my books, many honest homosexuals admit that real choice is involved. And he again brings genuine intersex cases (which are extremely rare) into the homosexual discussion. Again, the two have nothing in common. I dealt with this furphy in my previous article and in my books, but he sadly seems quite happy to keep deliberately repeating this falsehood.

8. “Real Christianity is accepting.” No, not at all. We must never accept sin and evil. Indeed, we must “hate that which is evil” as Paul commands us in Romans 12:9. And real Christianity is discerning and divisive – it separates between those who come to Christ in faith and repentance and those who don’t. No one reading the gospels can fail to see that Jesus constantly divided the crowds, constantly angered people, and even deliberately pushed many away.

Jesus made it very hard to be his disciple. He drove many away, including the rich young ruler. Sorry, but I will side with Jesus here, and not with trendy, secular and unbiblical notions of tolerance and acceptance which have nothing to do with biblical truth.

9. Once again, straight out of the homosexuals’ strategy manuals. Have straights done a bad job of marriage? Of course. The thing to do is to repent of this and seek to get it better. Using this as an excuse to allow more sin and evil is ludicrous in the extreme. Where do we find anywhere in the Bible the idea that since we have fallen in one area, we can just go ahead and fail in all other areas?

10. “The Bible teaches a hierarchy of ethics – that is, a higher law will cancel out a lower one.” What? Where does it say that? Chapter and verse please. Simply making things up as you go along, hoping undiscerning and biblically illiterate believers will fall for it helps no one.

11. A Christian pastor actually said this? There is no such thing as homosexual “marriage”. Not only is it an oxymoron, but it is based on something Scripture calls an abomination. How can any Christian leader even think like this? Once again, instead of standing strong on the Word of God, he seems to have thrown in the towel and put up the white flag of surrender.

12. He actually says we are wrong to speak about the “gay lifestyle” and “The gay agenda”. The only one who can make such a silly statement is someone who clearly knows nothing about either. Yes of course there is a homosexual lifestyle, and of course there is a homosexual agenda. Keeping one’s head in the sand helps absolutely no one.

He concludes his piece with some proper concerns about homosexual marriage (more or less – he is rather clueless about relying on state exemptions for example). But sorry, by now the damage has been done. Any genuine concerns he might have had at the end are all undermined by the silliness of the 12 points he just penned. Had he omitted the first 90 percent of his article, I would not mind that much about what remains.

When a precise and clear trumpet sound is needed (1 Corinthians 14:8), all we seem to get instead from some folks is confusion, capitulation, muddled morality and threadbare theology. Sorry, but with such questionable commentary as this, no wonder the church is losing so badly in this area. Please keep such folks in prayer in the hope that better, more biblical presentations of this topic will be forthcoming.

baysidechurch.com.au/thoughts-on-same-sex-marriage/

[2011 words]

7 Responses to How Not To Think About Homosexual Marriage

  • Where are the Elders ??

  • Plus the government “owns” marriage??? That’s news to me. In what society has that ever been true? Plus adhering to and recognizing the basic truth that homosexual relationships are actually different to marriage is not even remotely only a Christian concept.

    Ignoring the evidence that devaluing marriage has had overseas is just simply ignorant yet we had the ANZ bank recently pushing the demonstrably false idea that homosexual “marriage” will boost the economy. With only around 1.6% of the population being homosexual and “marriage” rate being usually well below 20% among homosexuals (resulting in a maximum increase of a third of a percent in “marriage” celebrations) this has been well and truly and completely overshadowed by the resulting decrease in marriage rates among heterosexual as marriage just (redundantly) becomes a confirmation of “love” in people’s eyes instead of involving the respect for kinship and people’s and family rights etc. It would take almost nothing in the reduction of heterosexual marriage rates to overshadow this yet what we have seen in reality is reductions in heterosexual rate far in excess of this.

    The slippery slope is not only a matter of demonstrable fact overseas but also demonstrates the basic truth that as soon as you move the line away from biology, you are introducing a basic injustice and inequality. When marriage simply becomes arbitrary you must inevitably be discriminating against someone. Do we want our laws based on truth or not?

    I actually agree that there is a heirarchy of ethics in the Bible with blasphemy against the Holy Spirit at the top and some of the things introduced by Moses such as not wearing wool and cotton together, way down the bottom but unfortunately for this gentleman, fornication is actually very high on God’s list of sins being listed by both Jesus and Paul along side such things such as blasphemy, lying, adultery and murder. Fornication was one of the very basic things a new gentile church was supposed to “keep themselves from” (Acts 15:29 and Acts 21:25.)

    It seems very clear that this man’s teaching and thinking is firmly founded in man’s thinking and not God’s teaching or even in scientific evidence. It is very sad that he is any sort of position of authority in any church.

  • Gays and their ‘useful idiot’ supporters often say that we, the ‘straights’ have no grounds for defending ‘traditional’ marriage because we made such a mess of it, over the last fifty years. It is claimed that gays, like cavalry coming over the hill, will strengthen and revitalise it. They tell us to move over and allow them to show us how to do it.
    Indeed the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, no less, has said. “You see gay relationships that are just stunning in the quality of the relationship”.

    But it is precisely the homosexuals, dating back to the first gay German activists during the first half of the 20th century with people like Carl Maria Kertbeny, Magnus Hirschfield, Karl- Heinrich Ulrichs and the homosexual caberet clubs in Weimer Berlin Germany, the Frankfurt School, and then Alfred Kinsey who was a bisexual, paedophile monster and who (along with his pamphleteer, Hugh Hefner) separated sex from marriage and allowed it fly on the plastic wings of Hefner’s Playboy wherever it wanted to fly It is they who have led the charge in destroying marriage and the family.

    Then in 1967, the bisexual, serial adulterer, Roy Jenkins, the UK Home Secretary, with the support of quisling bishops, introduced a raft of laws that would take away the barriers protecting marriage, family and human life. He decriminalised homosexuality, adultery, abortion, and pornography. The result was the collapse of marriage and family life, plus the extermination of millions of unborn babies. So when they say we, the “hets”, have made a bad job of marriage, we have to ask well who was it who took the wheels, breaks, steering- wheel, spark plug and engine out of what was once a beautiful and magnificent vehicle for transmitting life and the Gospel of Jesus Christ from one generation to another?

    The final phase was in 1997 when the homosexual Sir Ian McKellent went to Tony Blair, Prime Minister with a shopping list of all that he wanted. And Blair ticked the lot.

    The truth that many overlook is that since gay marriage was legalised in the UK in 2014, at the last count, only 1400 same sex ‘ marriages’ had been created. This is out of a possible a population of perhaps a million gays in Britain. Clearly they have been given a priceless trophy which they are determined to trample underfoot.

    Listen to Will Young, the real face of homosexuality.
    news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/question_time/9704039.stm

    Listen to Hugh Grant who confesses that he has no interest in marriage and yet wants it for those whome he knows don’t want it either.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdsoJKRYEYg

    And then of course we have our clergy or rather the prophets of Baal:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6aI-fnllNg
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=miKzXpoJ2KY
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IjhExkEh4Hw
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMBezv-K4ns

    After this we have our politicians.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTsXoNkiY3g
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QNiLyWfA7w

    Finally we have our gay icons:
    Stephen Fry
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kILwL0iwG6U

    Dear old Peter Tatchell
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzauIb2Ggxk&list=PL9VgtAbD3rcpynBrxkCnfwrnR94z12FCN

    Sir Ian McKellen
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kn3Kc8kbOuc&list=PL9VgtAbD3rcq_lEIOfts-YUM0JHJDUM3i

    Lesbian students
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGqmtU6ltPo

    The end cannot be far off.

    David Skinner UK

  • Wow, Bill, you truly are “a precise and clear trumpet sound”!

    A brilliant piece of writing. I’m impressed.

    Dominic.

  • David, I appreciate your detailed exposition of the roots of this evil. It does concern me when christians who want to be so kind and gentle say “Look we only want to defend marriage, if you choose to live a homosexual lifestyle, there are many “legal” ways of doing it and they point out how discrimination has already been removed.” While I agree that we should let everyone choose to whom they want to leave their effects in their will, I think we need to make those things which were decrimninalised criminal offences again, for as we know the greens have an agenda. First they make things legal because everyone is doing it and we shouldn’t make people feel guilty for their own personal choices which of course they have every right to make and then they say “whatever is legal is moral”. Bent logic with dangerous consequences, but it seriously isn’t enough to draw the line at ssm, but to draw the line further back at behaviour which must be recognised as criminal because it is morally wrong.
    Many blessings
    Ursula bennett

  • Bill, some reflections on the impact of sexual sin on the soul from a biblical perspective.

    The words ‘sin’ and ‘soul’ are bible/faith words and need to be understood in that context. ‘And we speak of these things in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual things to those who are spiritual’ (1Cor 2:13). The hidden wisdom of the bible is Jesus Christ and it is on him that we rely as our Lord and Saviour. ‘You have only one teacher, the Christ’ (Mt 23:10).

    Sin has a darkening effect on the soul which, if it continues, will have dire spiritual consequences. Indeed the harm done to the soul of victims of sexual abuse has been described as ‘murder of the soul’ not to mention the harm done to the soul of the perpetrator. The Psalmist speaks of the debilitating effect of sin when he cries out: ‘Heal my soul for against you, O God, have I sinned’ (Ps 41:4). In this paper we look briefly at sexual sin and the negative impact it has on the health of the soul. The Word of God on sexual sin is to be found in both the Old and New Testaments.

    The soul is immortal and thus reflects something of the divine. It is given to us for God’s glory; it belongs to God and will return to God. St Augustine’s statement underlines this ‘You made us for yourself O Lord, and our hearts (souls) are restless until they rest in you.’ St Paul tells us that the Word of God cuts like a two-edged sword at the place where the soul is divided from the spirit (Heb 4: 12-13). St John of the Cross teaches that faith is an assent of the soul to what enters through hearing.

    When we begin to talk about the soul we are entering the world of the Spiritual. There is this spurious notion that the theory of evolution is a fact and that man evolved from Apes. Plants and animals may have evolved from something before them but not man. Man was created by God in the image of God. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that your ancestors were Apes – they were not. Your ancestors were just like you. The Adam and Eve story in the Book of Genesis clearly differentiates human beings from animals. Animals could not provide a helpmate for man (Gen 2:21ff). Neither Jesus nor Mary nor you nor anyone else evolved from Apes. You have an immortal soul.

    Jesus placed great emphases on the soul: ‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body. Rather be afraid of the One (God) who can destroy both soul and body in hell’ (Mt 10: 28). It is clear that Jesus is of the view that sin impacts adversely on the soul and potentially to its ultimate destruction. Again Jesus says: ‘What good will it be for a man if he gains the whole world, yet forfeits his soul?’ (Mt 16: 26). We have the duty to guard and protect our soul.

    St Paul’s condemnation of sexual sin has been attributed to his being a disaffected, and unenlightened, misogynist, notwithstanding that he counselled men to take a bullet for their wives. ‘Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church.’ (Eph 5:25). A soul darkened by sin closes itself off to the spiritual healing of divine love; thus the need for a miracle of divine grace. St Paul had personal experience of this and spoke several times of his encounter on the road to Damascus (Acts 9: 1-19).

    St Paul, and indeed Jesus, clearly endorsed biblical notions of sexual morality. The Jews originally had five hundred plus laws consisting of food laws, sacrificial laws and moral laws. Jesus retained the moral laws and of these he said: ‘I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the law until everything is accomplished’ (Mt 5:18). It is because sexual sin clearly and directly adversely impacts the soul that the bible warns so strongly against it. We put our soul at risk if we choose to ignore the biblical precepts on sexual morality.

    Jesus specifically mentions the fate of those who cause little ones to sin and there seems no reason why this should not be applied to the sexual abuse of children (Lk 17:1-3). What, then of other forms of sexual sin? What would a person be guilty of who views pornographic material? That person sets in motion a journey towards spiritual darkness and, if it continues, will end in spiritual death. But that aside, God can and does raise people from the grave (his Son Jesus Christ) and we always pray for our ‘lost’ loved ones; we never know. What we do know is that God is in possession of the facts and that God will do what is right because God is righteous.

    The bible mentions a range of sexual sins but whether these sins are personal or in company, they lead to a darkening of the soul and seriously constrain spiritual freedom. But God never gives up on us. St Paul reminds us of God’s words to him: ‘My grace is sufficient for you’ (2 Cor 12:9)., and we have the guarantee from St John: ‘God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life.’ (Jn 3:16).

    Sex with a person other than one’s spouse, in marriage, results in spiritual darkness, and the ultimate deadening of the soul. Somehow the situation, sooner or later, needs to be rectified. These are not simple matters. After King David had committed adultery with Bathsheba, his knowledge of the mind of God on sexual sin revisited him. David repented because the God he loved was greatly offended: ‘Against You alone have I sinned, what is evil in your sight I have done’ (Psalm 50).

    Immediately after Jesus spoke against divorce (Mt 19:1ff) he spoke about children. The child is the product of its parents; its mother and its father. The two become one flesh in their children. If the parents split, the soul of the child splits. Both male and female parents contribute to the unity and nurture of the soul of the child; even when separated they must remain united for their children.

    Jesus addressed the pain and sacrifice of self denial for the sake of the Kingdom. Speaking metaphorically, he continues ‘If your eye (here replace ‘eye’ with whatever the sexual sin is) causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell’ (Mk 9:47). If we attend to Jesus’ teaching we are empowered to choose what is right and reject the great lie. Jesus is our teacher, our wisdom and our hope; he will judge the state of our soul before God. We judge no one but would the above comments have any relevance for our catholic bishops in their same-sex marriage debate?

  • Bill,

    I received the following email today:

    Publicly funded religious schools shouldn’t be exempt from anti-discrimination law

    Stop Christian Schools discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation!

    Beth Cole, Australia

    A 7 year old girl attending Foundation Christian College in Mandurah spoke about her family at school. Her father is gay and in a same-sex relationship. Her father was told by the principal, Andrew Newhouse, that had they known about his sexual orientation when she was enrolled, they would never have accepted her as a student. The principal also warned that the child could not speak about her father’s relationship with a man as this was seen as promoting homosexuality and that if other parents complained about his daughter she would be asked to leave. Her father removed her from the school rather than having to live with the threat of expulsion if she accidentally spoke about her family.

    It’s a sad story for the little girl involved, but what’s most shocking is that educational institutions established for religious purposes can freely discriminate against someone on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender history.

    Freedom of religious expression is important, but where a school is funded or partly funded by tax payer dollars, schools should be held accountable if they choose to discriminate against someone on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender history.

    We call on the board of directors at Foundation Christian College to stop the homophobia and embrace a more loving and inclusive definition of family. Children with same-sex parents shouldn’t be discriminated against.
    We also call on the WA State Government Education Minister Hon Peter Collier, to introduce a bill amending the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 to prevent schools that receive public funding from discriminating against same-sex families.

    Sign Beth’s petition

    More than thirty years ago, Peter Frogley, of Light Educational Ministries, Canberra, warned that Christian Schools, to remain Christian, must refuse to accept government funding. “He who pays the piper, calls the tune.” The prophet was ignored, and Christian Schools embraced government funding with abandon.

    Beth has a solid argument: if Christian Schools exist because of government funding, then they ought to be accountable to the strings that come attached to the funding. Compromise at the root will result in compromise in the fruit. I have seen several, so-called, Christian Schools on the list of schools that have embraced the Safe Schools initiative of the Federal Government.

    Jesus clearly commanded, “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.” There is no Biblical mandate for civil government to be involved in education, at all. Christian parents should bear the cost of educating their own children, and not expect that cost to be met by the common public purse. Of course this will require a cutting back on spending in other areas of the family’s budget. Tithing churches, rather than spending so much on buildings and contemporary worship practices (smoke and lights, etc.), could assist struggling families in this area.

    Should Beth’s petition get up, and the weight of support forces Christian Schools to embrace the homosexual agenda, then the roots of the demise of Christian Schools in Australia will partly be contributed to the acceptance of government grants for their setting up and maintenance. This is my humble opinion.

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