Amendment One

The Last Word

So, with the debacle that has been the Amendment 1 debate here in North Carolina and the subsequent backlash added onto the President’s endorsement of same-sex marriage, there has been much for all of us to process. Please know, this post isn’t a drive to rehash old things or to dwell on what has already transpired and to continue a debate that hasn’t always been pretty. If you are tired of this discussion, please know you are free to move on, I would totally understand…but there are a lot of things on my mind and some things that I think really need to be said. This could potentially turn into a bit of a rant, and I don’t have any particular order in mind as to how I want to address these things so I’m just going to jump in, and hope things make sense when I’m done.

One of the most troubling things about this whole situation, in my mind, is the lack of Biblical literacy I have seen amongst Christians.There have been two extremes. One group says, “well I’m against gay marriage because God is against it…”Okay, we got you…I agree with you,but why? “Well, he just is…” That isn’t a good answer. “God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah because of homosexuality…”Again, no. Pulling the Sodom and Gomorrah card is rarely a good idea when confronting homosexuality.(And not entirely accurate) Neither is telling people their lifestyle is an abomination or that they are disgusting. That just isn’t the proper tact.

But then, you have what I find to be an equally troubling group…These are the Christians that see absolutely nothing wrong with homosexuality and gay marriage. I’ve said this before and I will say it again. You can disagree with what the Bible says…You can think the Bible is wrong. But you can’t say the Bible is silent on this issue. God clearly in Genesis 2 creates and defines marriage. Jesus himself clearly speaks of marriage and who should partake and how important it is in Matthew 19. The Apostle Paul clearly addresses marriage, who it is for, what it’s purpose is in Ephesians 5. Marriage is an institution created by God, designed by God for one man and one woman in order to be a living picture of the Gospel and it’s work in the lives of His people. As in all other things created by God, it is ultimately for Him and for His glory. If we make marriage anything but what he designed it to be, it is a sin. This isn’t true just for homosexuals…it is true across the board. But regardless of that, as Christians, we cannot say we don’t have an issue with gay marriage…if we don’t see the problem with it, we are either ignorant of the Bible, or we just don’t think enough of it to agree with what it clearly says. And either of these is not a good option.

Some people would say I took a bit of a soft stance on the Amendment and gay marriage in general…But this isn’t the case. I clearly believe marriage is to be the union of one man and one woman..I clearly believe homosexuality is a sin. But, I also don’t know that it is the place of the government to define marriage for everyone, nor do I think legislation is the best route to bring about morality in our society. Like I’ve said previously…Legislation won’t change hearts. Only God and his Gospel can do that.

And that takes me to my next point. Christians, this is for you.

Our president has endorsed gay marriage. I don’t see why any of you are surprised. He has supported it, without officially saying it for some time now. Not only that, why are we so surprised that our society as a whole is moving away from Biblical principles. We can’t expect people who don’t believe the Bible, and don’t read the Bible to abide by Biblical principles. If we do we are foolish.

The President claims to be a Christian, yet he has shown time and time again that he has no clue what the Bible says, nor the context in which it should be interpreted…We’ve seen him time and time again rip verses out of context and misuse them…often to paint the Scriptures in a negative light. The President filters what he reads through his worldviews and philosophies and takes away what he wants to from the Bible. This is backwards. Our worldviews and philosophies should be filtered through the truth of the Scriptures. Obviously the President does not have a firm grip of what Biblical Christianity is supposed to be or what it should look like. This being true, why are we surprised when he doesn’t govern according to Biblical principles?

This is true with the government and really our nation as a whole. Christians are going to have to get used to the fact that we live in a secular society with a secular government. Sure, I think our nation was founded with Judeo Christian values in mind…but we aren’t there now. America as a Christian nation is now a myth. When society as a whole doesn’t share our values and our morals…it shouldn’t be a surprise. When government fails to govern accordingly, it shouldn’t be a surprise.

Does this mean we lay down and let it happen without saying a word? I don’t think so. I think we should be vocal. I think we should be honest about what the Bible says, I think we should tell people what the Bible says. I think we should pray for our nation and our leaders. I think we should vote according to biblical principles…But this isn’t where we put our hope. If we are putting our hope in the ballot boxes, or elected leaders…we are going to be disappointed. We can’t expect non-Christians to act like Christians, and we can’t expect non-Christians to vote like Christians. Like it or not, Christians are becoming a minority in our nation. Again, this shouldn’t surprise us. We are told in the Scriptures to expect this.

When we are called names…we shouldn’t be surprised. If they called Jesus names, then who are we to think we are above that? Heck, he was crucified. Who are we to think we are above suffering for his sake? It’s our call as Christians.

And you know what…while we are suffering, while we are being called names…We are still supposed to be loving those doing the name calling. Like Jesus, we should say, “Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do…” Because they really don’t. They don’t know the Scriptures. They don’t care about the Scriptures. They don’t have the eyes to see, nor do they have the ears to hear. Until they do…this won’t change. Again, this requires an act of God…not us being as loud as they are…or even us making sure we get legislation passed.

Ultimately, for Christians…recent events should help us to see that this world, as it is, is not our ultimate home. We are still waiting for Jesus to make all things right. We aren’t living in a theocracy, we are living in a democracy. Majority rules. Getting our fellow citizens to see things our way, for the most part won’t happen. Getting the government to govern Biblically…as a general rule isn’t going to happen.

We talk about it, pray about it, vote as we should…but ultimately, as my wife says…we’ve got to ‘get over ourselves’. This isn’t about us getting our way, or forcing morality on others. This is about the Gospel…and what gives the Gospel it’s power is it’s ability to conquer in weakness.

Take heart Christians, don’t get so worked up. You’ve read the end of the book(I hope). God wins.

And to all my non-Christian friends who think I’m full of it…I love you.

Amendment One

So, first off a confession. This really isn’t so much a post about Amendment One-I just knew if I titled it that, I’d get a lot of hits.

This post is though, related to the nature of the discussion surrounding what the Amendment is primarily about…Gay marriage.

First off, calling Christians who have biblical and theological convictions regarding gay marriage ‘hateful and bigoted’ is not beneficial. If Christians speak up on the issue, and voice their support for the said amendment, or speak of their convictions about homosexual marriage…It is called hate speech. Why? Isn’t name calling and false accusations much more hateful than simply stating your convictions and why you believe marriage ought to be between one man and one woman? Look, I believe the Bible defines marriage as one man and one woman. That doesn’t mean I hate gay people. It doesn’t mean I don’t believe gay people in a consenting, monogamous, committed relationship should have no rights.

It simply means what I say it means. I believe God, in the Bible, defines marriage as one man, one woman.

Second, and this is really related to the first. The tone of this discussion must change. Name calling, labeling, demonizing the other side, and lowering arguments to the lowest common denominator is unfair. This is a complicated issue on both sides. To say it isn’t is ridiculous. Whatever our opinions or convictions…whatever good points we have to make…and there are good points on both sides…must be made with respect and love. I think both sides ultimately want what they think is best for America and it’s citizens. Many of us have differing opinions. That doesn’t give us the right to talk down or insult each other. This won’t help either side…it will only serve to further polarize our country on this issue. Which is good for no one.

Third, and this is for you Christians. Only God can change hearts and only God and his Gospel will ultimately save. It is not up to us to save America or the World. Certainly we should preach the Bible in it’s fullness. I believe we should openly talk about the sin of homosexuality…but that isn’t all we should talk about. The Bible speaks of many sins…and many sins that are sexual in nature.  Elevating homosexuality to the sin of all sins or the unforgivable sin is not biblical nor is it helpful in light of the current discussion. We are to love our neighbors…all of our neighbors…even our gay neighbors.  Oftentimes it seems to me like we are trying to win the culture war by being just as loud or louder than the other side. This isn’t going to win us anything. All it does is plays up to the stereotypes we already have as hate mongers. Constantly telling people what you are against, rather than what you are for…Constantly talking about other peoples sin as opposed to loving people gets us nowhere.

Again, this is not a call to sugar coat sin. But it is a call to remember where our priorities are to be. All things are to be done with love and respect. We don’t have to agree with everyone, but we do have to love everyone…even in their sinfulness. God did that for us, and it is our call as Christians to do the same for others. Ultimately, as I’ve said it is not our job to save anyone. That job belongs solely to God, and He is quite good at it.

Whether this amendment passes or not…people are still going to be gay. If we pass the amendment, yet people continue in their sin, do we count this a win? Instead of using all of our energies on protesting, and trying to change and influence legislation…perhaps we should devote more time to preaching and living the Gospel. Because ultimately the Gospel is the only thing that is going to change anyone.