Gay Marriage – this is NOT our gospel!

This is the weekly Minister’s Letter that I sent last week. It articulates some of my thinking on the Gay Marriage issue in a way that’s meant to be constructive.

Dear Friends,

The conundrum that faces every Christian at present is how we address the issue of ‘gay marriage’ and that of same sex attraction without appearing to be singling out gay people for special (unwelcome) treatment. We want to stand for the truth and say what the Bible says on this issue. We want our Government not to make it confusing for gay people (Christian or not) by endorsing a sinful lifestyle. But we want to be compassionate to those for whom same sex attraction is their normal. And more than anything we want them to realise that knowing and following Christ is more valuable than sexual expression.

And yet we find it difficult, don’t we, to show sinners that their sinful lifestyle expresses their sinful rejection of Christ and at the same time show sinners that their sins can be forgiven through that same Christ. I think it’s a difficult thing to say (as we would to every sinner) that their lifestyle choices are expressive of their rejection of Jesus Christ as Lord and yet want to encourage them to turn to him for forgiveness. They just feel picked on. And it’s made significantly worse with the mistaken presupposition that sexuality is like race and gender and therefore asking a gay person to repent of their sexuality is as preposterous and outrageous as asking a black man to repent of his skin colour.

But my worry for us is a different one. My worry for us, living as we do, among a predominantly middle class metropolitan culture which overwhelmingly affirms homosexual activity, is that many of us will compromise and say nothing. And our silence on this issue, perhaps well intentioned, is taken by our friends, family and colleagues as unspoken approval for the Government sanction of a gay lifestyle. We may, of course, have had a number of painful conversations with friends on this issue such that the matter is now taboo. I can understand why we might want to make this a conversational ‘no-go’ area. There may be little ground to cover or progress to be made in revisiting a discussion where nothing was left unsaid. But I’m not really talking to those of us for whom that’s the case. I’m talking to those of us who simply wouldn’t venture to express our view on the issue. We may assume that it’s unnecessary; that your friends know the score. And you may be right. But it’s worth asking ourselves what they would say our position is. Do they know, for example, that you think that a gay lifestyle is incompatible with faith in Jesus Christ? Do they know that you think it’s something to be repented of (along with a whole host of other things)? Let’s not be found wanting on this one. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6, that persistent unrepentant habitual homosexual activity is something that keeps people out of the Kingdom of God. It’s that serious.

But let me reiterate what I hope to be self-evident. This is not our gospel. It’s a truism to say that what we talk about, that’s our gospel. And there’s clearly danger that people might form the impression that the good news that we want to share with the world is that concession to gay culture is bad. It is. But that’s not our gospel. We ought therefore to be known so much more for our gentle compassionate declaration of the gospel of the forgiveness of sins and transformation through the Spirit through repentance and faith in Jesus Christ than we do for our position on ‘gay marriage’.

So don’t duck the issue. But don’t bang on about it. Bang on about the cross of Christ for that has the power to create repentance in the heart on even the most vociferous proponent of ‘gay marriage’.

With best wishes in Christ,

Richard

5 thoughts on “Gay Marriage – this is NOT our gospel!

  1. Lauri Moyle February 21, 2013 / 9:30 pm

    Richard your previous three posts have been a pleasure to read even if my expectation was that I would not find them pleasurable. However this letter/post leaves me with a requirement to respond in a blog post which you can find here: http://realgrasshopper.wordpress.com/2013/02/21/are-you-willing-to-die-for-the-gospel/

    In short I dont think that it is right to ask every member of your congregation to speak against gay marriage. But there is also a positive side to my blog post, to which I hope you will respond either here or at my blog. Best, L.

  2. Malcolm February 27, 2013 / 8:10 pm

    Hello Richard,
    I’m not here to question your views, which I’m sure are not in fact motivated by hatred but by your sincerely held beliefs. I am also familiar with the biblical interpretation of this matter. However, it is not a mistaken presupposition that homosexuality is an uncontrollable biological factor, and there is a great deal of consensus in the scientific community about this. I also respectfully object to your constant referral to it as a lifestyle choice. My brother was recently courageous enough to come out as gay after a long period of internal torment and fear about how his family and friends would react, and I am positive that he would not have chosen to be of a sexual orientation that society still regards with suspicion if the alternative is to be accepted. How do you respond to this?

  3. MichaelA March 11, 2013 / 12:50 pm

    A courageous article Richard. God bless you for it.

  4. Jennifer June 20, 2015 / 8:49 pm

    Isn’t the only unforgivable sin to reject the gospel?
    I love my same sex attracted friends deeply, but God loves them more. And I’m lucky if I get 45 minutes without committing some sort of sin. As Paul says, the good I want to do I don’t and the sin I don’t want to do I do (clumsy paraphrase).
    Jesus had 3 years to teach and he focused on money, showing & receiving God’s love and sin. Surely His church should focus on the same and not get snared with same sex marriage. I honestly feel too much time has been spent on it. Particularly when you consider the percentage of the population that it affects.
    Same sex marriage is not God’s plan. Neither is sexless man/woman marriage, neglected children, poverty or hunger. Yet I hear more about the former than any of these much bigger issues. It’s distracting the focus of the Church, and that’s of far greater harm than offending those who choose to bait the Church. The Gospel IS offensive. It’s meant to be. Let’s get on with sharing it shamelessly.

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