There has been a lot of emotions running very high over this debate. In this post I want to put forward the arguments from both sides in as clear a way as I possibly can, hopefully allowing people to see what is what. Because my job is to write in an uncomplicated and as brief a way as possible (though that has proven difficult in this case)I haven’t included Scripture references or a list of resources; these can be easily found for both sides of the argument if needed.
A word here to the wise; if you want to comment on this post please be civil and offer well thought out arguments or agreements. Overly emotional, hateful or ignorant comments from either side will be deleted both on my blog and Face Book page.
For the sake of definition, we are talking here about same sex marriage, but that of course leads invariably to the discussion of same sex attraction. It is important to draw a line between same sex attraction and homosexual (male or female) activity including marriage. In this post, those for same sex marriage believe homosexual sex to be acceptable in a committed relationship before God; whilst those opposed accept same sex attraction as neutral, but reject any form of sex outside of heterosexual marriage as being acceptable. It is also assumed that both sides accept Scripture as God breathed and relevant when correctly interpreted.
As a final note on this already long introduction, neither side are suggesting that God’s love for sinners and saints is predicated by their sexuality. God’s love is given to all, and He will receive as His children all who to turn to Him with faith in The Lord Jesus Christ regardless of their sexual feelings.
For: Marriage is a relationship between two consenting adults
As long as both parties agree, it doesn’t matter what a persons sexual orientation is; they can be married.
Against: Marriage is defined by God
Marriage is one of the bedrocks of human society and was given by God at creation. The creation narrative has defined it as between a man and a women. Under current law it has to be consummated and can be broken by adultery, neither of which is true for same sex marriage under the governments proposed law – Therefore it is not marriage.
For: Homosexuality is under the law
The New Testament is emphatic about the fact that we are saved by grace and no longer subject to the law of Moses. Very few Christians pay attention to the laws concerning not eating shellfish or the wearing of mixed fabrics, why then do we give such attention to the laws concerning homosexuality? If we are no longer under the law, then it is obvious that God is quite happy for his children to show sexual love within the confines of a committed relationship, i.e. marriage.
Against: God’s prohibition of homosexuality goes beyond the law
Whilst it is true that followers of the Lord Jesus are not under the law, there are a number of things that though listed in the law of Moses are not done away with. Kidnap, fraud and assault are forbidden by Moses, along with murder, adultery and theft. Are we to say that these too are now acceptable under the New Covenant? There are several streams that run through the law of Moses, civil, ceremonial and moral. The moral laws are a reflection of what life in God’s Kingdom looks like and as such still stand.
For: Homosexuality in the OT was directly related to idol worship, which was God’s real focus.
God is the one true God and as such is opposed to idol worship. Homosexuality was a commonly recognised form of worship in the temple of Molech; because of this God forbade it in an attempt to keep Israel spiritually pure. Today however this is no longer relevant and is obsolete.
Against: Homosexuality was listed with other things including idolatry.
Homosexuality is actually one of many possible out workings of idolatry which God opposes, because it is idolatry that is ultimately the cause of all the death and decay in His good creation. However, God also made a law against sacrificing children to Molech, are we to assume that that is no longer relevant? To directly connect the laws forbidding homosexuality to Molech as in the ‘Queen James Bible’ is not an interpretation of the text but an alteration.
For: We have abandoned slavery even though the Bible allows it.
The Bible teaches slavery but no one would say that is an acceptable practice, in the same way the church needs to abandon its draconian laws against homosexual behaviour.
Against: The Bible has never condoned slavery.
To say the BIble is pro slavery is a complete misunderstanding of the narrative of Scripture; the Bible does not promote slavery in any way. Verses taken out of context were certainly used for many years to justify the evils of slavery, but the reformers took their inspiration by and large from Scripture.
For: We accept women as leaders even though the Bible rejects them.
The Bible clearly forbids the ministry of women, and yet very few churches would forbid a woman the right to speak out in a meeting even though the Bible commands them to be silent. In the same way we need to accept same sex marriage as relevant and valuable.
Against: The Bible does not reject women as leaders.
Whilst women have been oppressed all through history in the name of God it is not Scriptural; in fact the Bible has led the way in the emancipation of women. It has been narrow and misogynistic interpretations that have led to these injustices and not the will of God.
For: If two people really love what each other how can it be wrong?
We know that the Bible says that God is love and we are to love one another. Surely if a couple love each other it can’t be wrong for them to express that love through sex, regardless of their sexuality.
Against: Though difficult, Scripture tells us to live according to truth and not situational ethics.
Our society has diluted and narrowed what it means to love to the extent that many people believe that without sex they are not loved. Whilst same sex couples are the same as heterosexuals in as much as the vast majority are not abusers and would not wish hurt on another, this mind set leads to a violation of love. Love is defined by who God is and what He has said rather than our feelings and experience. If feeling love is how we define truth then the incestual father, the pedophile, the stalker and even the serial killer can justify their actions through their overwhelming feelings.
For: Paul’s tirade in Romans 1 is unrealistic and hateful; homosexuals and lesbians can be kind and generous, nothing like the hateful list Paul attacks them with.
Same sex couples can love God, be good to others and are often more sensitive and empathetic because they understand what it means to be looked down on and rejected. Paul is totally unjust in speaking of them so negatively.
Against: Paul’s writings at the beginning of Romans has nothing to do with a hatred for homosexuals.
Whilst there is no question that homosexuals and lesbians can be just as kind as anyone else the purpose of the passage in Romans 1 is not the decrying of same sex relationships, but to list what happens when mankind turns from faith in God to idolatry (including atheism); it is not a description of homosexual people but a generic observation of the state of mankind due to our rejection of the Creator God. Paul goes on to prove that both Jews and Gentiles are guilty, stuck in the effects of sin, subject to death and that faith in Jesus is the only way out.
For: Jesus never spoke against homosexuality.
In all of His teachings Jesus never once spoke against homosexuality, therefore any arguments against a loving same sex relationship is groundless.
Against: Jesus never spoke against a lot of things.
Jesus never mentioned drug abuse, incest, or self harm but that does’t mean He doesn’t have something to say about all of them. Jesus viewed the world through the lens of God’s covenant and God’s good creation, as such He would have rejected anything that was contrary to either. His rejection of religious leaders should not be confused with a rejection of God’s truth; it because Jesus understood the law, covenant and creation that He drew the line between God and man made religion which is idolatry, without compromising the nature of the Kingdom of Heaven.
For: The Bible is just agreeing with the culture at the time it was written.
The New Testament was written in a culture that was opposed to same sex relationships and as such this bias is reflected in its text. We now have a more tolerant society and are not subject to the cultural demands of homosexual relationships.
Against: Whilst the Bible does make allowances for culture, this is not the case here.
The Jewish Torah had very strict laws concerning homosexual practice, but the Roman and Greek cultures were both very permissive and homosexuality was acceptable, and in some cases an accepted lifestyle. Paul’s writings were actually counter culture then, just as now. Whilst Scripture will make allowances for certain cultural differences such as choice of food, dress sense etc. it is unafraid to contradict culture in favour of the Kingdom of God; this is the case when it comes to same sex marriage.
For: It is unjust to deny people with same sex attraction the right to marriage.
Just because someone is orientated differently, often without conscious choice, what right does anyone have to deny them a stable and loving marriage?
Against: This question is really about sex.
The main difference between marriage and every other relationship is sex. Sex is good and enjoyed by the majority of those who practice it, but it is not a right. There are countless heterosexuals and those with homosexual desires who live celibate single lives out of love for God (Jesus is a good example). What is more, there are married people who cannot have sex for physical or psychological reasons, but they stay faithful out of love for their partners and God. However, deep, committed and loving relationship are available for all who are in Christ – First with the Lord Himself and then with one another.
There you have it
Hopefully I have covered the majority of the for and against arguments over same sex marriage. Once we see where another person is coming from we can see more clearly why believe certain things; one of my goals here is to help each side understand the other more fully.
So where do I stand on this? I have prayed long about this one, and though I have no problem with people disagreeing with me, I am concerned that this debate has the potential to split the body even more than it already is. Having said that I do have an opinion; I believe same sex marriage within the church to be a mistake. In fact the governments proposed law is so ill thought out, if passed it will hurt everyone concerned, including those it is supposed to help. Having said that, when it comes to same sex marriage I am not homophobic (I do not have an irrational fear of people with same sex attraction), but I am homo-sceptic. I do not believe that people have to change their orientation to follow God, whether they be a heterosexual married man with a roving eye or man who is attracted to other men – The key is what we do, not what we feel.
Go well my friends 🙂