On March 28th, MJ Daniels wrote an article entitled Contra Erick: No Compromise, No Regrets in which he attempts to make the case for why Christians should support same sex marriage. I have given his essay a good bit of thought, and I have come to the conclusion that his position is simply wrong. Same sex marriage and Christianity are mutually exclusive, and it is impossible to hold both positions and be intellectually consistent. Note that I am not saying MJ cannot hold both positions...clearly he does. I am also not saying that MJ cannot believe as he does and still be a saved person. I believe he can. But I am saying that if one is to be intellectually consistent, it is impossible to hold both positions that MJ claims to hold.
To start with, let me say that as a Christian I believe my views must be in accord with the teachings of scripture. And if there is a political question to be considered, I must view it through the lenses of the Christian worldview which I hold. And it is on the basis of my worldview that I must reject same sex marriage (as I believe all Christians must).
Let me start by asking the simple question...what is marriage? Is it a legal contract? Certainly it has that element. But is this the basis of marriage? Let me offer a quick analogy. As a Christian, I believe murder is wrong. And there are laws in this country making it illegal. But is murder wrong because we've established laws rendering it illegal? And in absence of those laws, would murder suddenly be acceptable? The answer clearly is 'no'. The same can be said for marriage.
In this country, we have established laws surrounding marriage contracts. But in absence of those laws, would marriage cease to exist? In other words, does the very definition of marriage exist only because we have established laws regulating its definition and boundaries? Let me suggest that, according to the Christian worldview, the answer to this is the same as the question of murder above (and, no, I am not equating same sex marriage with murder, except in the sense that marriage and murder have meanings that transcend this nation's laws).
As a Christian, I believe that the very definition of marriage comes from God, not man. And it is not up to man to redefine what God has already clearly defined. In case anyone is confused on this point, consider the conversation Jesus had with the Jewish leadership in Matthew 19:1-6 (HCSB translation):
When Jesus had finished this instruction, He departed from Galilee and went to the region of Judea across the Jordan. Large crowds followed Him, and He healed them there. Some Pharisees approached Him to test Him. They asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife on any grounds?”
“Haven’t you read,” He replied, “that He who created them in the beginning made them male and female,” and He also said:
“For this reason a man will leave
his father and mother
and be joined to his wife,
and the two will become one flesh?
So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, man must not separate.”
What do we read from this passage? We read that God had a design in mind, and that the design involved one man and one woman. It further is the foundation of what know today as marriage. It is, in Jesus words, the act by which a man and woman become "one flesh".
So what have we seen so far? We've seen the following:
- Marriage is a divine institution created by God
- It has a specific definition, the union of a man and a woman
- It is not to be taken lightly (what God has joined together, man must not separate)
As a Christian, it is simply impossible to hold any other view. To do so is to reject the teachings of Christ. If a Christian wants to advocate for same sex marriage as MJ does, he must go against Christ's teachings in this matter. Yes, it's possible to be a Christian and to support same sex marriage. But it is impossible to do so and be intellectually consistent as a Christian.
Now, some people may reply that Jesus did not say marriage couldn't be valid for a same sex couple. Ignoring for a minute that scripture does speak out against homosexual behavior, let's consider that objection. Assume we're in a math class and the teacher asks what 2+2 equals. Someone raises their hand and says '4'. Would it be reasonable to say that 2+2 may equal 5 because no one said it didn't? This sort of a response is obviously nonsense. To claim that 2+2=4 is to say that 2+2 is not equal to 5 (or any other number except 4). To assert that marriage is between a man and a woman is to assert that it is not anything else. Thus, same sex marriage is ruled out by definition.
And let's be clear. On the issue of same sex marriage, what is happening in the Supreme Court right now is not about whether someone will have freedom to get married. It's about whether our government has the authority to alter the definition of marriage. They don't. As a Christian, I believe the definition (and, indeed, the entire institution) of marriage comes from God.
And so even if SCOTUS decides to "legalize" gay marriage, gay couples still will never be able to get married. Sure they can get a contract that uses the word 'marriage'. But according to the one who invented marriage, what they are doing is not marriage. It would simply be the same thing as someone declaring that a triangle is square. Sure, you can say it, but it's a meaningless statement because there is a reality about the triangle that supersedes anything I might say about it. If I say something that is not true about the triangle, it is me who has made the error. The truth about the triangle remains intact.
The same is true about marriage. It remains what it is no matter how any secular institution might try to redefine it.
Another point MJ made was that "Scripture holds no account of His <Jesus> ever confronting them <sinners> about it <their sin>". Here he is again quite wrong. Jesus did confront sinners about their sin, as shown in the following examples: :
- Matthew 5-7, in which Jesus pointed out sin after sin of the Jewish people and demanded perfection of each of them
- Matthew 21, in which Jesus condemned the moneychangers in the temple
- Matthew 23, in which Jesus condemned the religious leaders for their hypocrisy
- John 4, in which Jesus pointed out the sinful lifestyle the woman at the well was leading
Of course Jesus showed compassion and love for these people. And we should, too. But the very definition of love includes not ignoring the sin of those to whom we are reaching out. All of scripture is very clear on this point (see the letters of the Apostle Paul and others if you need clarification on this).
The Christian is called to love everyone. But he is not called upon to endorse sin. Nor is he called upon to support an attempt at redefining a sacred institution given to us by God Himself. MJ would have us do both of these things.
I could go onto into other areas in my response, but I think enough has been said. Marriage is a sacred institution defined by God and no one has any right trying to change that definition. As Christians, we cannot support such a change and remain intellectually consistent.
Undoubtedly some will disagree with this position. And from a purely political perspective, they may have a point. But I am not speaking as anything other than a Christian. My loyalty is to the God who created and sustains me. And it is as a Christian that all of my decisions are made. Because of this, I must reject same sex marriage.
As a Christian I can do nothing else.