March 20, 2013 13 Comments
Whether or not homosexual marriage should be legalized in the United States is one issue that just will not go away. It continues to be an epic fight with battle lines (apparently) clearly drawn…
And in the other corner, standing tall for “traditional values,” “the sanctity of marriage,” and a “biblical worldview,” the CHAMPIONS OF TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE!
The first side is working tirelessly for the legalization of homosexual marriage everywhere. The other side is fighting hard to make sure that the only legally recognized marriage in the United States remains the marriage between one man and one woman.
And, if you happen to find yourself in a discussion on the topic, you should be prepared for a couple of things:
- If there are people in the discussion who have opposing views on the matter, the discussion will likely digress into an argument.
- You may be asked which side of the issue you are on — and the choices offered to you will likely be one of the two outlined above.
But, I would like to offer a third alternative. You see, I am standing firmly in a neutral corner. Don’t misunderstand me, now. I stand firmly with the Scriptural teaching concerning the sinfulness of homosexuality and the definition of marriage. But, if you look closely at this bout, you will see the sinfulness of homosexuality and the biblical definition of marriage are really not the issues. What is at issue is how the state will ultimately rule on the matter — as if their decree will decide anything.
I think Christians who are engaged in this fight are making a terrible mistake. Not for standing up for what the Bible clearly says about homosexuality or marriage, but for arguing theological points with politicians. To argue theology with them is to miss a much larger point. It’s also an implied acceptance of a premise we ought to reject outright.
Fighting this battle in its current context assumes that the state has the authority to define what is and is not marriage — and it does not.
Marriage was instituted by God. He created it. He defines it. The state has no more authority to define marriage than it does to define salvation. The matters are just not open to debate. God has spoken. It is settled.
Don’t fall prey to the erroneous notion that something is morally or ethically right merely because it has been passed into law. All sorts of morally repugnant things are laws:
- Abortion is legal is many parts of the world.
- In China married couples are legally prohibited from having more than one child.
Likewise, many legitimate activities have been criminalized:
- In many parts of the United States, if you own a milk cow it is illegal for you to consume the raw milk it produces.
- You can even be fined for cutting someone’s hair without a license.
So whether or not something is legal is a very poor indicator of its inherent rightness. Never forget, God is Lord of the Law, too. And, with that in mind, I really could not care less whether or not any state recognizes my marriage to my wife. It’s not open to their scrutiny. What matters is whether or not God recognizes our marriage. Do our brothers and sisters in Christ see our marriage as consistent with Scripture? Did our church authorize our union? These are the things that matter. I’ve always wondered why marriage licenses even exist. Marriage does not belong to the state so why does the state need to issue permission in the form of a license to anyone? It’s ridiculous.
Most Christians would agree that the issue of salvation is a more important theological issue than same-sex marriages. We don’t have state licenses for salvation. The state does not recognize anyone’s conversion. Why not? Because, it’s none of their business.
I have friends who adhere to different religious beliefs than I do. I can share my faith with them and they with me. But we don’t try to force our beliefs on one another through the power of state coercion. If we did we’d cease to be friends. Our freedom to choose for ourselves how we will conduct our lives is paramount in a free society.
I don’t mind if two men get “married” in a ceremony by someone professing to represent God as a priest or pastor. I think they should be free to do that and the state should butt out. Is that form of “marriage” an abomination before God? Yes. Will I recognize their “marriage” as legitimate? No. No more than I will recognize someone’s professed salvation through Buddha. But, according to 1 Corinthians 5:12, it is none of my business to judge those outside the church for their sinful behavior. God handles that. I am accountable to my brothers and sisters in Christ and am to hold them accountable in turn.
But we all should agree on one point: In matters of theology — whether it concerns salvation or marriage or whatever — politicians should never be allowed to operate under the illusion that they are the ones who define such matters.
They are not.