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A Biblical Response
to the SCOTUS Ruling of June 26, 2015
on What is Called "Gay Marriage"
An in-process paper, Aug. 1, 2015 Draft

Last updated 8/1/15

 

This is a draft document and it needs further work. Please make your suggestions; ask critical questions; point out inconsistencies or areas of weak logic, misspealings, and communicate with me. (Contact) I’ll meet with you or a group to discuss this but I won’t debate about whether homosexual relationships are acceptable.  Please share this with others if you are so inclined. Ken

 
Printable versions: WORD - PDF
 
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? 16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.” 17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” 18 And, “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 1 Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. II Cor. 6:14 – 7:1
The moral landscape of America changed forever with the Supreme Court of the United States, June 26, 2015 (scotus626) ruling forcing States to allow same-sex “marriage.” Or did it merely expose the spirit of rebellion against God which has been slowly taking hold of our nation, including many who profess to be followers of Jesus?

This paper is an attempt to provoke discussion on how we got to this place, and how the Body of Christ, the Church(1), can represent Him even in this day. While this is an emotional issue and is drawing emotional responses, it is also spiritual and requires a sound, reasoned, Biblical response. Are current events a wake-up call for Christian Americans?

To Begin With - -
Yes, I believe that our nation and our world are growing darker and that scotus626 took America another step into that darkness. That decision however, was merely the next step in the path of lawlessness that America has been on since at least the late 1960’s and the advent of the feminist movement(2) Many in the Christian community have been naïve about that but we can now see where it has taken us. Note Luke 8:17.

Scotus626 raised “gay-marriage” and other lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) agenda to a new level of awareness and many Christians, congregations and denominations are identifying themselves accordingly. This reshapes our freedom to fellowship(3) with some whom we have considered our brothers and sisters in the family of God.

Drawing the Line
Many denominations and local congregations and/or their leaders are proudly LGBT-affirming. Some however, will be reluctant to be altogether truthful and we’ll have to ask the right questions and refuse evasive answers if we want the truth. Conversely, some local pastors/elders of affirming denominations and members of affirming congregations don’t go along with it and we must be careful about making assumptions.

I believe that things are now at the place where we need to break fellowship with LGBT-affirming congregations because of their influence on our people, and because it will unavoidably communicate to them and to others, our approval of their position. This relates to partnering with them in joint VBS, evangelistic crusades, community outreaches, picnics and similar efforts in which we are representing the Kingdom of God and invite others to join us.
Certainly there are authentic followers of Jesus in those congregations, and we are part of the Body of Christ with them and desire to fellowship with them. But it is one thing to identify with individuals in that way and another to identify with a congregation and its leaders who have given themselves over to the spirit of the day in rebellion against God.

Who Influences Whom?
As I have observed the Christian community since the late 1960’s I have seen that the liberal parties:

 
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will influence the Biblical parties, not vice-versa. It is naïve to think it will be different in any specific case no matter how well-intended we are. It’s the I Cor 5:6 and 15:33 thing. When we flirt with LGBT agenda we flirt with becoming one spirit with its rebellion against God. (I am not speaking of personal, life-giving relationships. Read on.)
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are very "nice" people who communicate motives such as love and acceptance, which seem so spiritual and are hard to oppose. In fact, it ends up appearing unchristian to challenge them and is thus intimidating, which serves them perfectly. They are capable of representing the spirit of II Peter 2:1-3.
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typically have unspoken/hidden agenda behind the issue of the moment, which is only a doorway through which they gain access for further influence.
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are selective in information they give, carefully avoiding that which would alert others to the truth about the direction the present action is taking them.

Who is my brother?
Some “Who is my brother?” situations regarding individuals and congregations will be obvious and others will take much prayer, discernment and wisdom.

Let’s first look at some scriptures that define “the Church, the Body of Christ.” Read John 17:6-26, Rom. 12:5, I Cor. 10:17, I Cor. 12:27 and note the dynamic connection with Christ and with each other in a sacred relationship. How can we possibly read Rom. 1:18-32 and consider those whom it describes, as “family” in the Body of Christ? Don’t we need to “suppress the truth” (v18) in order to do that?
How can one who is “a member of Christ Himself” and “a temple of the Holy Spirit” (I Cor. 6:15-20) engage in same-sex practices?
Read I Peter 2:4-12. Can those who reject Jesus the Living Stone and the cornerstone, be considered living stones themselves who are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood? And read the rest of the text and ask yourself where LGBT-affirming people fit in. And consider how Eph. 5:3-20 applies to this topic.
In light of this I don’t think we want to use terms like “evangelical” or “faith based” to describe LGBT-affirming congregations, or consider them partners with us in the Kingdom of God. We need to be careful that we don’t redefine words to suit ourselves, as the courts have done with “marriage.”
Same with “church,” which we might like to assume identifies the Body of Christ but which today includes any group of religious people including Universalist Unitarian, UCC, Satanist and others. Are they “Church”?
Jesus had a lot to say about these things. Consider the several topics in Mt. 7:13-14, 15-20, 21-23 and 24-27. And why did He so often connect loving Him, with obeying Him, as in John 14:15-24? God has defined good and evil and has given us a choice between life and death, as in Deut. 30:11-20. How does that apply to this discussion?
 
“Gay marriage” openly contradicts/repudiates God’s definition of one of the most sacred institutions of His creation. The vile ranting against Him that follows a “Letter to the Editor” on this, confirms that LGBT agenda is spirit in nature and is empowered by Satan himself. Alcoholism, smoking and other harmful practices are unwise but this goes much deeper.

It is unfortunate that Christians separate over secondary issues, i.e. those that distinguish the many evangelical denominations from each other. We agree on the few beliefs that ultimately matter and separate over those that don’t, but LGBT agenda is a foundational issue and calls for a courageous response, even if costly.

Looking Inward
We must approach the sins and failures of others with humility. None of us are qualified to condemn another or declare them unworthy of God’s love, or ours, regardless of where they’re at on any subject or in any practice. All are within the reach of His love and redeeming power. And even the smallest measure of humble introspection will confirm how unworthy we ourselves are, and thus dependent upon His ongoing grace.

There is also potential for self-righteousness when we judge the sins of others, especially in areas where we don’t struggle, which easily leads to overlooking our own ungodly attitudes and habits. Depending on several factors this can become a Mt. 7:1-5 “speck versus plank in the eye” thing more quickly than we think. Remember also that, as it says there, we will be judged by God in the same way we judge others, which includes our attitudes toward the “person” and the heart of gays.
Then there is the truth of I Cor. 5, which we like to use in speaking of the sexual immorality of others. It clearly states that those who practice it are not our brothers and sisters. But it also speaks of greed, idolatry and slander, and shouldn’t our reluctance to address those sins humble us in our judgment of others?
Finally, it is humbling to acknowledge that America could only slide to this place of brokenness because those who consider themselves Christians have not been the preserving salt, and the light, of Mt. 5:13-16. Don’t miss 13b. Are we exempt?

Wouldn’t the “mercy triumphs over judgment” of James 2:12-13 be a good place to start in our response to those in the LGBT community?

However…
Having said all that, the truth remains that, as Paul writes in Romans 1:26-27, homosexuality is contrary to “nature.” In no case is it “normal” by God’s design.

But think about this. If it isn’t a God-given desire or inclination, then it had to come from another. For some it was the sins of others against them even as a child, often molestation; single-parent homes where there was no healthy model for male-female relationships; or the influence of their educational systems, the norms of their culture, the message of media and so forth.
This is complicated by the fact that LGBT practices and culture in America are becoming a “new norm” for many who have no way to know otherwise. How is a child raised by same-sex “parents” supposed to know how broken that is compared to the Biblical norm?
Might it be accurate then, to say that if homosexual “bent” is not from God, that homosexuals are not responsible for originally having same-sex interests, but they are responsible for living them out? Temptation isn’t sin but acting upon it is.
And isn’t it true that not all homosexuals have been “given over to depravity” as in Rom. 1:24-27? Don’t we need to be careful about how freely we apply that? Isn’t it probable that some practicing homosexuals hate themselves for it? And that they have begged God to set them free but He hasn’t yet? (Like our struggles with our weight or “secret sins.”) Isn’t it true that most who profess to represent God have done little to help them, and that many have felt our disdain, thus driving them further away from Him and from hope?      
We are to love homosexuals as Christ loves them and to welcome into our community those who are celibate or who are attempting to be so. When they fail we respond to them as instructed in Gal. 6:1-5. However, we won’t welcome into Christian fellowship practicing gays or those who empower them. It is rarely wise for most of us to debate LGBT issues and we won’t accept the advancement of their agenda among us.
The Apostle Paul’s instruction in I Cor. 5:9-13 indicates that the line is drawn at the point of accepting another into Christian fellowship as a brother or sister in the Lord. However, many of us have family members, friends, neighbors, work associates and so on who are “gay,” and while that might be repulsive to us, God calls us to extend His love to them. This can include personal friendship, coffee together, responding to needs in their lives, honest non-judgmental dialogue and more, all of which can confirm His love and ours without communicating our acceptance of their sinful practice. We must look beyond that, and respond to the inner man or woman who is made in the Image of God. The revelation of His love to them through a Christian is powerful and can draw them toward Him and His righteousness.(4

Conclusion
Christians need to know where they’re at on this and must form a well-reasoned and Biblical response. Parents must deliberately pass on to their children a Christian perspective on sexuality in terms of what is godly, what is not, and how we respond to LGBT persons around us. We have a lot of work to do there, especially as ungodly attitudes and practices are now being taught in public schools and openly practiced around our children.

If our response to scotus626 is only expressed in defining our relationship with those who practice and embrace LGBT agenda, and is not accompanied by our drawing closer to the Light in this growing darkness, then it is merely a human judgment thing and does not represent the Kingdom of God.

If, as I have said, the responsibility for America’s decline rests significantly at our feet, there is no place for our haughty judgment of others regardless of the depth of their sin. The problem is not “gays” or “liberals”; it is we Christians who have loved the world and the things of the world more than we have loved God, in direct disobedience of I John 2:15-17, Mt. 6:19-24, Luke 9:23-26 and more.

If this evidence of how far our nation has fallen doesn’t bring Christian Americans to repentance, what will? Could the “calloused hearts” of Mt. 13:15 and Acts 28:27 and the “dull ears” of Heb. 5:11 apply to us?
We need the transformed minds of Rom. 12:1-2 which will give us a new world view based on the Kingdom of God and His purposes, rather than the self-seeking, earth-based mindset that so profoundly shapes us at this point. Do we even know what that means?

Would this include restoring "Biblical order” in our homes and a commitment to family life that portrays God’s plan? Might it mean that congregational leaders would become more interested in seeing others connect with Jesus from their hearts, and less interested in building their own “ministry” and in convincing people of their pet, separatist doctrines? And that we commit to relationships with those around us who so desperately need Jesus, regardless of the issues in their lives?

We are the epitome of hypocrisy if we don’t take I Peter 4:17 seriously, and while we’re at it we’d better consider vv 12-19 if we intend to stand for righteousness.

My concern is more for Christian Americans than for our nation itself. I am convinced that our repentance is the only hope for America but I have little optimism that it will happen until it is facilitated by the refining fire. Mt. 5:10-12, John 15:18-25, I Peter 2:19-23, 3:13-17 and 4:12-19 need to become familiar to all of us, including children!
LGBT issues are part of a larger “liberal” agenda and are typically accompanied by a socialist approach to government and by anti-Israel sentiments. As the world grows darker their influence is increasing even at the highest levels in our government. The harassment and persecution of authentic followers of Jesus is soon to follow. Are we ready for that?
These troubles in America will be for our good. When it costs us something to confess Christ, the line between those who call themselves “Christian” and those who actually follow Him will become obvious. I’m well into what it means to be a “senior” but I expect to see that day. See “The Harbinger’s Series”(5) for more on my sense of things to come.
My free on-line book “The Cosmic Battle and the American-Christian”(6) speaks of how the Christian community has come to such a place of need and offers steps we can take to remain faithful to God and to each other in hard times.
Mennonites and other historic “peace churches” are vulnerable because of our desire to be peaceful. And to love and forgive. Those are virtues, but we also have a heritage of discipleship, i.e. being followers of Jesus, and we also need to draw from that in this time. Those who came before us knew what it was to pay the price for truth and faithfulness and now it’s our time. The days ahead could be the most costly but “the best ever” for us.   
What price are we willing to pay to be faithful to the One whom we call “Lord” and to those who are “brother” and “sister” with us in His family?
 

Footnotes
1       I use “Church” to identify the actual, living, “Body of Christ” on the earth, and “congregation” to identify local groups of people of various religions.
2     See “The Emergence and Rise of Mennonite Feminism” - www.john2031.com/ttc/9.html       
3     “Fellowship,” from the Greek “koinonia,” implies the partnering, or joining together of two or more. See “Koinonia Is”  -  www.john2031.com/tis/2.html   
4     For a powerful testimony of God’s redeeming power through faithful Christians, read “The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, an English professor’s journey into Christian faith” – Crown & Covenant Publications
5   “The Harbinger’s Series” - www.john2031.com/harbingers/main.html
6   “The Cosmic Battle and the American-Christian” - www.john2031.com/books/tcb/main.html

 

Scriptures are niv except as noted.

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