Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
In this and a few forthcoming posts I will be addressing the moral issue of the day: homosexuality and same-sex marriage. I do so not because this is the only moral issue of the day, but because it is one of the critical moral issues of the day. Certainly other moral issues of the day must also be addressed. But this issue, despite the cultural push towards its acceptance, does not get a pass. It must be addressed. And yes, other moral issues must also be addressed.
Kevin DeYoung helpfully explains “Why the Arguments for Gay Marriage Are Persuasive.” DeYoung does not believe “the arguments for gay marriage are biblically faithfully, logically persuasive, or good for human flourishing in the long run, but they are almost impossible to overcome with most Americans, especially in younger generations.” He then lists the “ways gay marriage fits in with our cultural mood and assumptions.” He lists five:
- It’s about progress.
- It’s about love.
- It’s about rights.
- It’s about equality.
- It’s about tolerance.
Who has not felt this? DeYoung then challenges parents and churches in the following ways:
For starters, churches and pastors and Christian parents can prepare their families both intellectually and psychologically for the opposition that is sure to come. Conservative Christians have more kids; make sure they know what the Bible says and know how to think.
We should also remember that the church’s mission in life is not to defeat gay marriage. While too many Christians have already retreated, there may be others who reckon that everything hangs in the balance on this one issue. Let’s keep preaching, persevering, pursuing joy, and praying for conversions. Christians should care about the issue, and then carry on.
It is a matter of knowing, living and teaching the truth of the Word of God. More pointedly, it is knowing what God says generally about morality and ethics and how the gospel is foundational to it all, and then, specifically what God’s Words also says specifically about this moral issue. Regardless of how the culture now views this moral issue, God’s Word is our touchstone!
If we are to make any inroads in our discussion and interaction with those who have imbibed (or determined?) the cultural mores, DeYoung encourages several moves, which I just list, while including the complete thought in his final “both-and” approach:
- We need to go back several steps in each argument.
- We need more courage.
- We need more creativity.
- We need a both-and approach. I’m convinced we need to do both. Let’s keep preaching, teaching, and laboring for faithful churches. Let’s be fruitful and multiply. Let’s train our kids in the way they should go. Let’s keep sharing the good news and praying for revival. And let’s also find ways to make the truth plausible in a lost world. Not only the truth about marriage, but the truth about life and sex and creation and beauty and family and freedom and a hundred other things humans tend to forget on this side of Adam. The cultural assumptions in our day are not on our side, but if the last 50 years has shown us anything, it’s that those assumptions can change more quickly than we think.
Your turn to ponder, interact and reply.