Who defines marriage?

Barack Obama, Illinois senator and front runner in the race for the Democrat party’s presidential nomination, has opened up a can of worms with comments he made in favor of same-sex marriage — citing Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount as support for his position no less. Christians all across America have taken up the debate on both sides. Some claim Obama is correct in his interpretation of Scripture while others correctly claim the Bible clearly condemns homosexuality as sin and defines marriage as between one man and one woman, period.

canofworms.jpgI firmly stand with the Scriptural teaching concerning the sinfulness of homosexuality and the definition of marriage, but I think conservative, orthodox Christians are making a terrible mistake in arguing the theological points with Obama and his supporters. To argue the theology of this issue is to miss a much, much larger point and accept a premise we ought to reject.

Liberals have been pushing for federal government recognition of same-sex marriages and “civil unions” while conservatives have advocated a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman consistent with Scripture. Fighting the battle in this 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, Himself. 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.

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 not 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.

weddingrings.jpgI 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.

Bumper sticker of the Day:

privatize-marriage.jpg

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