Our readers are no doubt aware of the pending Supreme Court case regarding same-sex “marriage.” Because of the timeliness and significance of the issue, we will be publishing a series of daily posts this week only, from Scott Allen, the president of Disciple Nations Alliance.
The current conflict involving Christians and homosexuals portends big upheaval.
Dan McLaughlin, a Catholic attorney and writer from New York, wrote a series of articles last week at The Federalist, “Can Gays and Christians Co-Exist in America.” The posts are important, powerful, and deeply biblical in their theological orientation.
Like Dan, I’ve come to see the seriousness of this issue, and have concluded that we in West are in the midst of a major cultural and moral upheaval, one of the most significant and consequential in our history. As followers of Christ, we must gird ourselves, our families and churches to respond this gathering storm with truth, and in love.
Here are some highlights from Dan’s first installment.
Without a vigorous defense, believing Christians in this country face a genuine existential threat: that our culture and legal systems will declare the adherence to core Christian doctrines—unchanged for millennia, directly derived from the words of Jesus and the letters of St. Paul … to be outside the bounds of civilized society in the way that the Ku Klux Klan is today.
Should faithful followers [Jesus Christ], be run out of public life? Should those of us who still believe in the words of Jesus of Nazareth be afraid or ashamed to say so in public? Make no mistake: these are the stakes, and trying to quietly keep our heads down and stay out of trouble will not long put off the day of reckoning.
A series of judicial decisions have held that nobody who takes the traditional side of this argument could possibly be rational, reasonable, or motivated by anything but bigotry, and the Supreme Court may be on the cusp within the next few weeks of doing the same.
The stakes are embedded in the language of debate itself, in which any response to arguments about the equivalence of same-sex relationships to traditional marriage is deemed “homophobia”—literally, a diagnosis that any person professing traditional Christian teachings … suffers from a phobia, a form of mental illness … These are not the terms of debate used against reasonable people who can disagree in good faith; they are the terms of delegitimization, designed to brand the opposing argument as unfit to be heard in civil society, and its proponents as people deserving of being driven from full participation in that society.
[We have witnessed a] shift in social and cultural sentiment, starting among our social elites—lawyers, academics, entertainers, social scientists—that filters down to young people eager to accept what these authority figures tell them.
… ultimately, whether peaceful coexistence is possible is not ours to decide. We can only wait and see whether the proponents of same-sex marriage—flush with political power, brimming with unquestioning and judgmental certainty, and in some cases seething with long-nursed grievances—are willing or able to find any stopping point that does not force believing Christians into a choice between renouncing the central truth claims of their faith or being driven from decent society as if they were Klansmen. It is more likely that this will happen if we lack the courage to explain and defend our own beliefs. If we act as if those beliefs are an embarrassment, we only abet their suppression.
… to derive a principle that endorses homosexual sex from the fact that some people have an inherent and possibly inborn desire for it is the classic appeal-to-nature fallacy that assumes that whatever is natural must be moral … The foundations of Judeo-Christian morality from the Garden of Eden forward are built on the idea that our natural desires lead us to sin, for which salvation from outside nature is required … In fact, more broadly, the entire project of human morals and ethics assumes that what separates us from animals is our ability to say ‘no’ to our instinctive desires.
… the issue of treating sexual orientation as an identity, and denying any distinction between identity and behavior, is a recurring theme in the divide between the LGBT and Christian worldviews. But as a matter of Christian theology, while biology certainly informs our understanding of the world, it does not eliminate the idea of moral limits on human behavior. To be a Christian is to recognize that human beings are called to be more than the sum of our biological impulses. To demand that those impulses be given the central place in our identity is to deem Christianity a dead letter, and set in place the human body itself as our idol.
Christians and homosexuals work from different worldviews
Note the underlying Darwinian worldview that animates the legitimacy of homosexual behavior, with its emphasis on instinct and desire, not choice and will. The former are traits of the animal kingdom. If Darwinism is true, humans are in no way different from the rest of the animal kingdom. The Christian worldview sees humans as special creations, image bearers of God. While we share much in common with the animal kingdom as we, too, are created by God, part of what separates us as image-bearers of God is the fact that we have volition, the ability to choose. We live in a moral universe. God exists, and He is altogether holy and righteous. Human flourishing requires that we choose to live in accordance with what is true, good and right. Because our fallen nature makes this impossible, God sent His Son to live the life of perfect righteousness that we could not, and to pay the penalty demanded by our sinful disobedience. Our standing now is that of being forgiven and justified though faith in Christ. If that were not enough, He gave us the gift of His Holy Spirit, to empower us to live holy lives.
The source of our present conflict runs very deep. It is a conflict of worldviews and first principles on matters of ultimate reality and human nature.
– Scott Allen
Megan McGilvray BurmesterJune 15, 2015 - 9:00 am
I read the article twice and I must admit, I struggle with the comparison between the Church and the Ku Klux Klan. Was that intended or am I missing something? I think the comparison is a dangerous one, it sounds as if there is a sympathy towards the KKK? I would love to hear the thought behind the comparison.
adminJune 15, 2015 - 11:03 am
Thanks for reading and responding. I’m so glad you took time to articulate your question.
No, the writer does not intend any sympathy for the KKK. The writer is warning that the day could come that Christians are regarded by the society in the same way the KKK is regarded by the society. He’s calling for a powerful defense of the biblical view of marriage. He’s warning that the current trajectory is leading quickly to a society in which people who defend the conjugal view of marriage will be considered hateful, appalling, unworthy of respect … just as KKK members are seen by the society.
Does that make sense?
Megan McGilvray BurmesterJune 15, 2015 - 12:28 pm
Thank you, Gary, for clarifying. I understand now and I agree that we need a powerful defense for Biblical marriage. I was concerned that the comparison was intended to say that the KKK was somehow right in their beliefs as Christians are right in our beliefs for Biblical marriage and the outcome would be the same. (Being shunned in society).
Thank you for clarifying. Blessings,
Randy SpergerJune 15, 2015 - 4:54 pm
We are committing a grave strategical and fundamental philosophical error in this spiritual battle by letting the enemy/opponent define the terms… “gay” which until recently always meant joyous, lively; merry; merry; happy; light hearted, joyful and not homosexual! Each time we use their term “gay” we let them redefine the language and terms of the argument. And worse yet “marriage”: this is not marriage as any rational and morally sound person knows. It is a sort of ungodly union o joining but never never marriage. Even if the Supreme Court says it is. It changes nothing as far as what terminology Christians should use. The church should not use their terms. In this the “children of the world” are wiser and more subtle than us. They define the terms and we just follow along blindly. HE WHO DEFINES THE TERMS CONTROLS THE DEBATE AND WILL IN THE END ALWAYS WIN THE ARGUMENT. We have the terms and the definitions provided by God almighty and should define and should begin to re-define them and change the definitions according to God´s rules and sound strategy. “For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named.” Ephesians 3:14-15. To name in a Biblical sense is to define! Sound Christian theology and philosophy should use the same strategy as they have used on us. It is 2 Cor. 10:3-5 “we take every thought… and what results “words that express thoughts” captive or Col 2:8 will operate on us “taking us captive as a spoil of war”.
adminJune 16, 2015 - 9:39 am
Randy, thanks for the thoughtful comment. I completely agree with your point on the importance of language. We are quoting Dan McLaughlin in this post and using his language. In our writing, we prefer homosexual to gay, and same sex commitment, to same sex marriage for the reasons you’ve given. Having said this, it is sobering to realize that this particular contest over language in our culture has been lost some time ago. Gay has already been redefined, as has marriage within the broader culture. Pick up any recently published dictionary for evidence.
I wrote a blog on this several years ago: https://disciplenations.wordpress.com/2008/12/12/the-power-of-words-redefining-marriage-part-1-of-2/ and https://disciplenations.wordpress.com/2008/12/15/the-power-of-words-redefining-marriage-part-2-of-2/. I don’t say this to be hopeless, but rather to be realistic. Language is vitally important. We have a choice in how we use it, and we must use it in ways that honor God by staying true to Biblical meaning. We also need to defend Biblical ideas and language within the larger culture, but on this front, we have been losing ground for a long time. Not where we want to be, but where we are nonetheless. We move forward from here.