I received a broadcast email from a respected teacher, rebuking and exhorting Christians to get our house in order: to love our spouses well, to stop divorcing at rates that rival unbelievers, to quit trifling with premarital sex. He was right. We’re a mess. Let’s do better.
But buried in the middle paragraph was this other opinion:
“Some of us are upset when the state permits gay marriages, but how is that our concern as Christians? Should we be going after Sunday blue laws again?”
May we stop right here and nail this issue once and for all, lest we the people of God continue our drift toward death on a current of mushy thinking? I would respectfully offer four reasons why the state’s embrace of same-sex marriage is our concern and something to fight with all our means:
- Same-sex marriage will be deleterious to society. Its widespread sanction potentially deprives children of a mother and father. (But perhaps this argument will not be cogent for some who may reply that what matters is that Christians see to it that their families are intact and biblical. If this is your view, read on.)
- What about Christ’s law of love? What about God’s command to preach the gospel so as to “save some” (1 Corinthians 9:22)? What about the duty of “warning everyone” (Colossians 1:28)? Do we no longer believe in hell, as Jonathan Edwards and Richard Baxter did? If it were the only reason, love of neighbor (Mark 12:31) would be sufficient reason to speak out against the darkness. Do we secretly harbor the attitude, “I’ve got mine, and to hell with everyone else”?
- Once you allow for the state to sanction same-sex marriage, you have no argument to use against any other kind of perverse configuration of marriage. Polyamorism anyone?
- Do not imagine that if we capitulate to state-sanctioned same-sex marriage our own civil rights will not be taken away in the end. The signs are already clear in many little ways: After gay marriage is the law of the land, churches (like bakeries and florists) that refuse to perform and bless same-sex marriages will lose their tax-exempt status.
This slippage I have observed in the church—from earlier opposition to the state sanction of gay marriage to a more fashionable laissez faire attitude cloaked in the garb of love and compassion and self-flagellation—is very pleasing to the devil and is what C.S. Lewis forewarned of when he spoke in The Screwtape Letters of the gradual road to hell: “the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts”