Friday, August 06, 2010

Thoughts stemming from "Proposition 8"

This is the bill defining marriages recognized by the state of California as "one man, one wife." It was recently deemed to violate the 14th Amendment by a California judge. It will be appealed and will probably eventually be heard before the Supreme Court.

As is so often the case, I appreciate Al Mohler's view on the topic. As he points out, this isn't just a cultural statement regarding the normalization of homosexuality. It reflects a root misunderstanding of both marriage and gender.

I found the judge's statements saying that procreation has never been a main goal of marriage to be appalling...and historically completely false!! My Catholic friends could easily point this out (it is still the MAIN goal of marriage, to many of them), as could anyone tracing the history of European monarchs who wed for the sole purpose of producing an heir. In discussing the issue with friends who rejoiced to see this bill knocked down, I kept reverting back to the Bible's view on marriage and gender. The judge's statements reveal that he was definitely thinking of gender roles when he issued this ruling. “Gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage under law is a union of equals,” he stated. To him, recognition of homosexual marriage is just a logical extention of the blurring of distinction between the sexes. I see how he gets there. Once manhood and womanhood are interchangeable in role --he says 'equal' though he leaves no space for them being 'different'-- it's just a logical step to say that any human can now marry any other, because we are all the same. Wow. What a step towards a unisex society.

Please check out The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood's website for wonderful resources with a Biblical view of the sexes-- respecting and valuing our God-given differences, while rejoicing in our equality before God as co-heirs and fellow Image-bearers.

I got into a pretty long Facebook discussion on this topic, in which my "opponents" brought up polygamy in the Bible, God being Love, and so that meaning we cannot condemn love in any form, as well as the place of religion in politics. Here are a few of my thoughts from that...

-- The main problem with anything besides man+woman is that the New Testament clearly teaches that marriage is a dim reflection of the union between Christ, the loving, sacrificial, leading Head, and the Church, helping, joyfully submitting to him and helping fulfill His plan for the world. That's why God brought Eve to Adam all those years ago, as a helper like and different from him. It was something Paul calls "a mystery;" something only explained at Christ's coming and Resurrection

-- on polygamy: I think it's telling that the first polygamist is Lamech, one of Cain (a bad guy)'s grandsons, and a violent murderer WORSE than Cain. Polygamy also differs from homosexuality because despite its abberations, there still is a man and a wife, twice. Two women, both married to a man--in this case, the same man. Never has anyone said (as far as I know) of a polygamous union that both women were "married" to each other! It's always heterosexual, even in cases where a woman might have had two husbands. (I'm pretty sure that three-way anything would be called some sort of perversion in any tradition.)

--on "God is Love": it's a big jump to say that because God embodies Love, we can do whatever we want. I sure love my daughter, but there a great many desires of hers I forbid her to do... she doesn't like it at all, but I do it because the things she wants (very deeply at times!) aren't good for her. Shouldn't we trust our Creator and Father (who IS love, as you pointed out), to tell us what is and isn't good for us? IN other words, we have to let God, as Love, define "lawful" love. He says there are some things, some ways, some practices we must not "love." We aren't free to do anything we want just because we feel "loving" while doing it, or say that we "feel love" in a certain way. Because God is the fountainhead of love, we have to let Him direct our love.

--on morality & the Gospel ("Good News"): everyone seems to have clear ideas about what is "right" and what is "wrong." I'd urge you all to consider where those standards come from, and to realize that the Bible claims to be the story of how God Himself condescended to our human level to tell us exactly which way is up and which is down. His Rules (morality) DO transcend culture, and as you read through Scripture with an eye to the One Story of Redemption that it tells, you'll see that. Much of what was hinted at and unclear in the Old Testament is made clear and explained redemptively in the New Testament, including God's model for marriage (before Christ came, it was a "mystery" remember? After He comes, He Himself in Mt 6 & 19 explains what it was always supposed to look like, and later Paul by the Holy Spirit explains even more explicitly what it was meant to be, in Eph. 5. From the beginning (and I mean since the creation of man in Gen. 1-3), God has had to speak into our world to explain rightness and wrongness-- that is, morality. Ultimately, He used a Final Word-- the God-man Jesus Christ incarnate. "In the past, God spoke to our forefathers ...in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son...the Son is the radiance of God's glory, and the exact representation of His being." (Heb. 1-3) Jesus the Christ perfectly fulfilled God's righteous requirements of the Law, yet died a condemned death, and was confirmed as having paid the price for the immorality of everyone who trusts in Him for salvation, by being raised from the dead. He did this "in order that the righteous requirements of the Law might be fully met in US." (Rom 8:2) Christians are serious about sin and being free from it because that's exactly what Jesus came to do: set His people free from the consequences of sin (God's own judgment) and bondage to it.


When it comes down to it, the crux of the matter is whether or not we will submit to God. As one of my FB "opponents" put it, "
the Christian's version of Yahweh forbids homosexual and polyamorous love for the same reason that the Jew's version of Yahweh forbids tattoos -- that is, for no good reason at all except the pointless exertion of control over people's bodies and minds.... I owe nothing to a fictional dead human or his mythical metaphorical father, with whom I have had no dealings. " How different from David's "against You, and You only, have I sinned, and done what is evil in Your sight" (Psalm 51:4), and Paul's "in Him we live and move and have our being." (Acts 17:28)

Thankful that His dealings with me are all mercy,
--Christina

Footnote:
The Bible very clearly teaches that a lifestyle given over to homosexuality (as a homosexual "marriage" would be), is sinful and a perversion of love (The attraction is not sinful, as far as I can tell, but giving oneself over to it without any self-control is.). Any sexual activity outside of man-and-wife-marriage is called "fornication" very clearly by Scripture, and is over and over said to be wrong. Homosexual lust is the same as heterosexual lust... both are wrong and offensive to God. Romans 1:18-32 clearly discusses homosexuality. Revelations 21:8 and 22:15 make it clear that those living in unrepentant sexual sin are not among the Redeemed of Heaven. My favorite passage dealing with homosexuality is 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, because it says that some of the Corinthian Christians once did live in such sin, and since coming to know Christ now are "washed" and even made HOLY!!

8 comments:

Segolene said...

Christina, this blog is yours and you can write whatever you want according to your religious beliefs, but I'm sorry to say I consider your article as blatant homophobia (and could be punished in France).
You consider that a marriage is a bond between a man and a woman. It's the way YOU want to live YOUR life. It's YOUR personal choice. Why do you want everybody to live like you ? And above all, why should YOUR own private religious opinions, and religion in general, interfere in the legal field ? Unlike centuries or decades ago, many heterosexual couples nowadays choose not to have children, some cannot have children. However, they get married. And non-married couples have children too. Isn't it a good proof that marriage is no longer a means to procreation ? The world, the modern societies have evolved. And so should the law regarding marriage, in order to acknowledge the same rights to all citizens. There shouldn't be no second-class citizens. Homosexuals are not inferior to you, Christina. Ok, according to your religious beliefs, they are sinful and they will never go the the Heaven you believe in. But, on this earth,in our societies, they deserve the same rights as you and me, and getting married is one of them.
Besides, allowing homosexuals to get married doesn't do you any harm, since you will continue to live your life the way you want. It won't deprive you from your right to get married or have children. Of course, it challenges centuries of traditions and mindsets. But, remember Galileo did the same at his time, when the Catholic Church condemned heliocentrism as "false and contrary to Scripture".

Jacqui O. said...

I feel moved to speak up here, not to cause discord, but to contribute meaningfully to the conversation. Segolene, please re-read Christina's post, especially the footnote. She very clearly acknowledges that we are all on equal footing; whether we commit homosexual sin or heterosexual sin or non-sexual sin, sin is sin, and the mercy God extends to believers is the same. How is that homophobic?

It is true that what Christina wrote is her personal opinion, derived from her own research and conviction. But please consider this: Why should the rest of the world have to conform to YOUR standards either? What is your authority? Logic? Secularism? Postmodernism? Rebellion for the sake of rebellion? Scripture is considered a credible authority by many (look up Bible Gallup poll), even if it has been misinterpreted in the past (a la Galileo).

We do not have the right to marry whomever we want, and for good reason. Can you imagine a society in which a man is allowed to marry his daughter? It may not affect you directly, but surely you would care if you knew that incest was being legalized.

Although homosexual marriage is not the same as incestual marriage, it is a similar violation of the very definition of marriage as being between a husband and wife. Non-marital unions have existed between heterosexuals and homosexuals alike since the beginning of recorded history, but no one dared to call those unions "marriages" because marriage was sacred. Nowadays marriage has lost that sanctity in the public eye, and it is no longer even a necessity for socially acceptable procreation. But marriage is about more than making babies; it is still a religious institution as much as it is a civil one.

We must draw lines to determine which marriages are legitimate and which are not, lest we legalize clear perversions such as the marriage of children or animals. Banning homosexual marriage is a historical line, affirmed through a number of cultures and religions for a variety of reasons (some admittedly discriminatory, others more noble, such as the God-mandated protection of gender). It is something to at least be respected, even if you ultimately disagree.

Jacqui O. said...

I feel moved to speak up here, not to cause discord, but to contribute meaningfully to the conversation. Segolene, please re-read Christina's post, especially the footnote. She very clearly acknowledges that we are all on equal footing; whether we commit homosexual sin or heterosexual sin or non-sexual sin, sin is sin, and the mercy God extends to believers is the same. How is that homophobic?

It is true that what Christina wrote is her personal opinion, derived from her own research and conviction. But please consider this: Why should the rest of the world have to conform to YOUR standards either? What is your authority? Logic? Secularism? Postmodernism? Rebellion for the sake of rebellion? Scripture is considered a credible authority by many (look up Bible Gallup poll), even if it has been misinterpreted in the past (a la Galileo).

We do not have the right to marry whomever we want, and for good reason. Can you imagine a society in which a man is allowed to marry his daughter? It may not affect you directly, but surely you would care if you knew that incest was being legalized.

Jacqui O. said...

Although homosexual marriage is not the same as incestual marriage, it is a similar violation of the very definition of marriage as being between a husband and wife. Non-marital unions have existed between heterosexuals and homosexuals alike since the beginning of recorded history, but no one dared to call those unions "marriages" because marriage was sacred. Nowadays marriage has lost that sanctity in the public eye, and it is no longer even a necessity for socially acceptable procreation. But marriage is about more than making babies; it is still a religious institution as much as it is a civil one.

We must draw lines to determine which marriages are legitimate and which are not, lest we legalize clear perversions such as the marriage of children or animals. Banning homosexual marriage is a historical line, affirmed through a number of cultures and religions for a variety of reasons (some admittedly discriminatory, others more noble, such as the God-mandated protection of gender). It is something to at least be respected, even if you ultimately disagree.

Darrell said...

Christina, Greg Bahnsen shows definitively that even the attraction is sinful in his book "Homosexuality: A Biblical View."

In a slightly different vein, I think we could at least make the case that the state has no business handing out marriage licenses in the first place. And with the judiciary defining marriage in a way hostile to the law of God, ministers and couples considering marriage should think about rejecting marriage licenses.

See the following: http://www.mercyseat.net/pamphlets/marriagelicense.html

Eowyn's Heir said...

Hmmm, Darrell... Not sure how you can ever say an attraction (something automatic, over which you have no initial control) is sinful. The harboring and nurturing of it certainly would be, but even a twisted impulse is at first only a temptation, which must be met and mastered, as Jesus met and mastered His temptations by the power of the Holy Spirit. I have Christian friends who struggle with temptation towards homosexuality, yet they fight the attraction that is natural to them, and walk in victory. Over time, Lord willing, those attractions will fade and be replaced by godly ones. It's certainly a fight!
Thanks for the comments! I appreciate your perspective very much!!

Darrell said...

Christina, let me try to put together my argument with a little more detail.

According to God’s Word, man is calloused and depraved. Without Christ, we are enemies of God in our minds. Man’s irresistible orientation is toward sin. “Out of the hear proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies (Matt. 15:9). The clear teaching of the Bible is that it is not only evil to do immoral acts, it is also evil to desire to do immoral acts.

Moreover, the explicit teaching of Romans 1 does not merely apply to overt homosexual acts. Rather the condemnation applies to those “consumed with passion” (v. 24). They are censured for “lusts of their hearts to impurity” (v. 24) and “dishonorable passions” (v. 26).

If God had wanted to make a moral distinction between an inner predisposition and an outward act, he would have done so. God is concerned with our outward acts, but also our motivations and methods. He wants us pure of heart.

By the way, I’m not casting stones. I (and who hasn’t) have certainly been guilty of impure thoughts that I did not act upon. I, too, stand before God condemned without the atonement provided by His Son.

But I think we concede more ground than we should when we make a sharp distinction between predisposition and action.

The first commenter accuses of you of blatant homophobia and indicates your "thought crime" could be punished in France, perhaps elsewhere in Europe.

It is interesting from a legal perspective that the Judge Walker appealed to the 14th Amendment to strike down Proposition 8. Specifically, he said that the "equal protection" clause was violated.

Here you have another example of law being made on a whim without any fixed principles at all. Whatever we are doing "nowadays" guides these black-robed dictators, who are slaves to the passions of the age because they have swallowed Darwinian assumption and applied them to law. In any case, even after the 14th Amendment was ratified every state in the nation had statutes punishing homosexual sodomy. Clearly the writers of the 14th Amendment would not countenance it being used for that purpose.

Darrell said...

I don't think you got my comment, but if you did, feel free to delete this one. Just wanted to put a bit of flesh on my earlier argument.

According to God’s Word, man is calloused and depraved. Without Christ, we are enemies of God in our minds. Man’s irresistible orientation is toward sin. “Out of the hear proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies (Matt. 15:9). The clear teaching of the Bible is that it is not only evil to do immoral acts, it is also evil to desire to do immoral acts.

Moreover, the explicit teaching of Romans 1 does not merely apply to overt homosexual acts. Rather the condemnation applies to those “consumed with passion” (v. 24). They are censured for “lusts of their hearts to impurity” (v. 24) and “dishonorable passions” (v. 26).

If God had wanted to make a moral distinction between an inner predisposition and an outward act, he would have done so. God is concerned with our outward acts, but also our motivations and methods. He wants us pure of heart.

By the way, I’m not casting stones. I (and who hasn’t) have certainly been guilty of impure thoughts that I did not act upon. I, too, stand before God condemned without the atonement provided by His Son.

But I think we concede more ground than we should when we make a sharp distinction between predisposition and action.