Why the Church can’t celebrate gay marriages

I think homosexuality and in particular the issue of gay marriage is fast becoming the defining mark of cultural discussion today. Unfortunately most Christians are so inept at articulating their position without sounding arrogant, judgmental and insensitive. We desperately need our leaders to better explain the Church’s position and above all learn how to “speak the truth in love.” As an example, the following is a sensitive yet straightforward answer Greg Boyd (my favorite theologian) gave to a questioner who asked why the Church can’t accept and celebrate gay marriages on the simple basis that two people love each other. Boyd wrote:

“Thanks for the feedback Bryan. I hear your concern and fully appreciate your compassion toward gay couples. I personally grieve over the way the Church has often singled out homosexuality as though it was worse than other sins, when the truth is there are dozens of sins that are mentioned far more frequently and emphatically than this one that Christians are typically guilty of! If we want to go on a political crusade, I say we start by crusading against GREED!

Anyway, to respond to your point: the reason I feel we have no choice but to say that homosexual relationships miss the bull’s eye of God’s ideal (which is the biblical definition of “sin”) is that we believe the Bible is God’s Word. From beginning to end, the Bible holds up heterosexual marriage as God’s ideal. Also,there are three passages in the NT that most scholars agree teach that homoerotic behavior is not appropriate for Jesus followers (Rom. 1:26-28; I Cor 6:9-10; 1 Tim 1:10).

Bryan, I don’t dispute that a person’s sexual orientation is something they are born with (as well as being influenced by other social factors). But the Bible also teaches that ALL of us are born in a fallen world and in a fallen condition. Whether we’re heterosexual or homosexual, ALL of us are born with a “natural” inclination to “miss the mark.” The fact that something comes “natural” for us DOESN’T mean its God’s ideal. This is the cross we bear.

Having said this, I’ll end by simply reiterating [the] point that, its one thing to say that a behavior falls short of God’s ideal, and quite a different thing to say that Christians should try to impose a law preventing that behavior.

I sometimes wonder if one of the reasons prostitutes and other sinners were always wanting to hang out with Jesus is because HE DIDN’T SPEND ALL HIS TIME TRYING TO PASS LAWS AGAINST THEM.

Peace- Greg Boyd

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About StriderMTB

Hi, I'm Matt. "Strider" from Lord of the Rings is my favorite literary character of all time and for various reasons I write under the pseudonym "StriderMTB. As my blog suggests I seek to live out both the excitement and tension of a Christian walk with Christ in the 3rd world context of Asia. I am unmarried yet blessed to oversee an orphanage of amazing children in South-East Asia. I hate lima beans and love to pour milk over my ice-cream. I try to stay active in both reading and writing and this blog is a smattering of my many thoughts. I see the Kingdom of God as Jesus preached it and lived to be the only hope for a broken world and an even more broken and apathetic church.
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6 Responses to Why the Church can’t celebrate gay marriages

  1. Susan Kerk says:

    Greg, while you are far more palatable than most Christians, I don’t believe that my love for my partner of 11 years is a “sin.” I don’t think you would like it if I called your relationship a “sin.” It is still highly insulting, and keeps gay people away from Christ. There is ample evidence, i am sure the government is in no hurry to reveal, that homosexuality is a condition people are born with. That being the case, why would God create his own sin, right off the bat. I am a lover of Jesus, and I suffer when I read such nonsense.

  2. StriderMTB says:

    Hi Susan, I hope your day is well. Thanks for reading and commenting. You bring up good points that I believe are not often addressed thoroughly. I was working on a piece earlier and you motivated me to finish it 🙂 I have addressed what I believe to be the heart of your concern in my most recent post titled: “Born this Way: Why the Current Gay Debate is Irrelevant.” Of course feel free to comment.

    P.S. By the way, as highlighted in the piece the majority of what you read earlier was written by Greg Boyd, a well-known pastor and theologian who often butts heads with overly-conservative, nationalistic evangelicals…which is why I like him. His website is http://www.reknew.org. My name is Matt 🙂

  3. Peter says:

    Hi Matt,
    I’ve enjoyed reading several of your posts. A friend inadvertently turned me on to Boyd and to his chagrin I became an Open Theist because I couldn’t see how Arminianism offered anything more than the perception of free will. (I’ve since abandoned OT because I believe Molinism gives a more comprehensive explanation for what we read in Scripture.) All this to say that I’ve read and appreciate a lot of Boyd’s stuff, but I find that I often disagree with his Anabaptist pacifism. As you probably know Boyd believes that followers of Jesus should have nothing to do with the political systems of the world, even questioning whether or not we should vote. So, I wasn’t surprised to read the last sentence in his response to Bryan, but I do question his thinking here:
    Did sinners love Jesus because he didn’t spend all of his time trying to pass laws against them?

    Before answering this question, and addressing Boyd’s final statement, I should point out that he is using a bit of absurdity to make his point–I’ve never met anyone in the church (and I doubt Greg has either) who spends “all” of their time trying to pass laws against sinners. But when I think about Boyd’s implication, I have to smile. Jesus grew up in a country that lived under the Mosaic Law which was given to them by God through Moses. Since Jesus is one of three persons that make up the Godhead, he created the laws of Israel which punished sinners! Not only did Jesus create the laws but he taught his followers to obey all of the laws and warned teachers not to relax a single command.

    Although I’m pretty sure i know how he would answer, I’d still like to ask Greg, Is it ok for followers of Christ to spend “some” time trying to get laws passed that outlaw sinful behavior? After all, God is pleased when leaders pass laws that punish those who do what is wrong. (Paul said government were ordained by God to punish those who do wrong and praise those who do right.)

    I’m very glad that laws have been passed against murder, rape, bribery, slander, etc., and I suspect Greg is also. So although I see his point that creating laws against homoerotic behavior will offend homosexuals who want to engage in this behavior and will likely cause then to not want to hang out with us, couldn’t the same be said of laws against murderers, rapists, etc.?

    To sum up this rather lengthy comment, I think sinners wanted to hang out with Jesus not because he was apolitical, but because they knew that although he disagreed with their behavior he really loved them.

  4. StriderMTB says:

    Hi Peter, I currently swing back and forth between Molinism, O.P. and classical Arminianism (though I think both Molinism and O.P. can fit under the tent of Arminianism because they agree on the core, theological features of grace, freedom of will and soteriology.) I think you bring up some great points that should be considered. Boyd helped me shed my earlier infatuation with “America–the great Christian nation” and for that I will forever be in his debt. He has challenged me to see the Kingdom of God in a fresh way that transcends national identities and allegiances. In saying that I don’t know if I can follow him all the way into his stances on pacifism. I’m really looking forward to his upcoming book “The Crucifixion of the Warrior God” which I think will delve deeply into Christ’s relationship to the O.T. and our relationship to the mosaic covenant, etc. In regards to whether or not Christians can seek to legislate what they believe to be best for the secular society they reside in–I have no issue with that. But it is a totally separate issue to ask whether or not it is the duty of the Church to take what is sacred in the Church and “force” it upon the secular society in the hopes that the secular state will reflect what is sacred in the Church. In the first scenario we are acting as concerned citizens. In the second scenario we are assuming we are under a “Christian obligation” to stop gay “marriage” in the secular populace. I have tried to wrestle with this issue in greater depth in my post: “Gay Marriage, Gay Contempt: Both De-sacralize the Sacred.”

    Thanks for the good points and for stopping by.

  5. Peter says:

    Matt, I don’t remember what Google search caused me to stumble across your blog, but I’m glad I did; I’m really enjoying going through your posts. You’re much more blunt than I am when it comes to Calvinism, but you’re absolutely right that compatibilism is still determinism. (And I’m also bothered by the way Piper, MacArthur, Keller, and others in the reformed camp have redefined various words and phrases to mask what they really believe.)

    Keep up the good work!

    I’m curious, why StriderMTB? Is this from LOTR?

  6. StriderMTB says:

    Thanks for the encouragement Peter. When it comes to critiquing Calvinism I think my bluntness tends to intertwine with profound frustration…and that is usually counter-productive. I’m a work in progress in that sense…

    You would be correct about LOTR. Strider is my great hero and MTB is my initials. Hmmm…when I put it that way it sounds a tad self-consumed! 🙂

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