Gay marriage: right or wrong?
CMI’s new booklet helps give Christians answers
Published: 10 October 2013 (GMT+10)
Gay marriage is one of the biggest social issues debated today. As presidents, prime ministers, and many prominent Christian leaders endorse same-sex unions, it is gaining popularity. Many churches and Christians are struggling to reconcile the clear teaching of Scripture with a desire to be in step with the culture. Just a few decades ago, homosexual activity was a criminal offense in many countries, but today, people who oppose gay marriage and make a stand on the Bible’s teaching are often characterized as ‘bigoted’ and ‘homophobic’. Recently, the US Supreme Court’s rulings on gay marriage were a further discouragement to many Christians.
But often, Christians do not know how to engage the culture with this issue, or how to help people in the church who are struggling in this area. Homosexuality is sometimes treated like a unique problem, but really, it is just another variation of humanity’s universal sin problem, and so, like every other sin problem, the solution is the Gospel.
To help Christians with answers in this area, CMI’s Gary Bates and Lita Cosner have written a new booklet: Gay Marriage, Right or Wrong? And who decides? In an unintimidating booklet format, they answer questions including:
- What is marriage?
- Did Jesus say anything about homosexuality?
- Isn’t it unloving to oppose gay marriage?
- Is homosexual orientation ‘fixed’?
- Is 10% of the population homosexual?
- What about counseling to change sexual orientation?
CMI-Australia’s Managing Director, Dr Carl Wieland, says about this new publication:
It is becoming ever more difficult, even for Christians, to think clearly about this emotion-charged issue. Yet in the modern world, it is more important than ever to do just this.
The authors in my view have set the content, tone and balance ‘just right’. This is one of the very few publications that deals head-on with the iconic statements and sound bites that have come to dominate the issue.
Both scientifically and biblically sound, it displays genuine compassion while at the same time not shirking the truth. In short, a really great little booklet that clears up much confusion on a vital topic.
This booklet openly and frankly discusses the facts (while avoiding vulgarity or graphic descriptions of homosexual behavior) and helps clear away much of the confusion and misinformation that characterizes the debate.
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Was thinking about this subject on my way to work yesterday (somehow also opened email and receive CMI newsletter with similar topic). Same sex marriage proponents was potrayed as the victims most of the time. However, after some long thinking, are not the victims actually those who hold to the conservative definition of marriage (male and female for life)? Their right of "proper" marriage are actually invaded. Naturally (not religiously), same sex marriage is "abnormal" (north side of the magnet does not go with the north side, this is also true in animal kingdom, and of course also true if we look at our bodies). When someone behaves (and thinks) like animal, we can say safely that he / she has mental disorder. How about for this case? we will be accused of discrimination, unloving, proponent of hate, and so on. The argument that we should support same sex marriage because it is love and love is good is not sufficient. For love there is brotherhood and sisterhood. Pushing same sex marriage is more like supporting for lust. There are some cases where someone has tendency to steal. Should we legalise theft? How about with someone who is born to be a killer? may be we should also legalise murder. Someone with never ending lust for sex? hey, rape may be legal too. (Don't forget we are all sinner, we have tendency to sin anyway, but should we support the sin?)
Dear Lita and Gary,
While I understand your wanting to avoid the details of homosexual behaviour, it is also the general tactic of homosexuals to keep such details hidden.
Our motive for shunning homosexual behaviour must always be that it is sin. However, that motive does little to demonstrate to the casual supporter of such behaviour just how disgusting homosexual practices are. Further, they have no basis for understanding how dangerous and costly they are to society both economically and socially.
Keith, there may be a limited audience of people actively engaged in the debate who may need to know the details of 'as bad as it gets' in homosexuality. But most Christians do not need to know, and should probably not seek out, that information. And that includes most of CMI's audience. We wanted this to be a resource that, for instance, parents could share with their teenaged children who have questions, without worrying about their children being exposed to details about the actual practices. And 'disgusting' has nothing to do with why it's sinful or wrong; even if it wasn't disgusting, it would still be sinful. And something could be disgusting without being sinful, in theory.
Ephesians 5:12 says, "It is shameful even to speak of the things they do in secret." While not specifically a statement about homosexual acts, I believe it certainly applies. And we as authors did not want to be responsible for introducing people to the knowledge of such evil practices.
It is just like the Bible says about people being "lovers of themselves". That's what we are seeing in society today. People don't want to do what is right. They want to glorify themselves, what they want and to hell with God. When we rebel against God, we always work against ourselves. That's how nature works. It is better for people if they work to stay away from sin and that's what homosexuality it, a sin. This makes the demons scream when said, but it is the truth, no matter what anyone thinks, even me.
It was for this purpose that He made them male and female. Need we say anymore.
I have not read this book yet, but as a Born Again Christian, I would just like to share my understanding of the Bible and God's Love in this issue. To me the Word of God is clear that homosexuality is wrong. I think we must follow God's example, love the sinner but not the sin. We do not have to like or agree with the homosexual lifestyle or gay marriage or vote in favour of it, ... we are not on this earth to judge others. When the time comes, God is quite capable of judging without our help. We are on this earth to let the light of Jesus shine through us, showing love and compassion for those who are lost and pray for them. We do not have to treat these people with disdain, disrespect or shun them. Let the compassion of Jesus rise in us, pray and let the Holy Spirit work.
Diane, like so many issues in this world we need to strike a balance in our approach. But I think my colleagues would agree with me when I say that as Christians, I believe it is actually our job to judge sin--particularly areas where the Bible's teaching is clear on the matter. Many churches have measures to judge and deal with sin within congregations, for example. The writings of the Apostles are pretty clear on judging misbehavior and dealing with it. And in the book of Revelations, believers are given a role along with Christ to judge. I think that when Christ is saying 'not to judge others' you'll note he focuses on the heart attitude of the person judging. We ought not to have a judgmental attitude with great beams or logs in our eyes. I.e. we need to have a check on ourselves. The booklet seeks to understand that homosexuality is a genuine issue that people struggle with and often they feel that they cannot do anything about their 'orientation' etc. But to let people continue to sin and fall outside of Christ would not be kind, hence why we are given the ability to judge, but in love, of course. I think it would be a valuable read for you given your sentiments as it displays a lot of compassion for those trapped in the lifestyle.
It is a sad situation that a separate publication on this topic 'Gay marriage: right or wrong?' has to be printed in order to 'inform' people what is clearly stated in God's word: the Bible. Obviously, people need to go back to spending time reading God's word.
There are many mentions in the Bible about homosexuality - just consider what happened nto Sodom and Gomorrah but then again, the Bible is no longer considered as God's word by which to live. Truly, we are living in the last days!
Lita: I hear you saying that the tone of the booklet is engaging and constructive. That’s great. There’s certainly too much vitriol in the conversation as it is.
But I must repeat that there are far, far worse issues for modern society than gay marriage. I’m married and have been so for a third of a century. I’ve drunk the Kool Aid. Where’s the beef? This isn’t a zero-sum game. A gay marriage doesn’t affect me in any different way than yours would, for example.
I’ve written much more on this subject myself, as it turns out. I don’t know what your policy is about links, but I’ve included one to a too-brief summary of my view on the subject.
I haven’t read your booklet. Perhaps you have new ideas that I haven’t encountered, but I doubt it. I’m pretty well informed on the issue.
As for the faithfulness to the Bible, that won’t get you very far in government, constrained as it is by a secular constitution and the First Amendment.
[link deleted per feedback rules]
'Undefining' marriage by allowing for same-sex marriage would be an issue even if no gay people ever got married, because our view of marriage, and whose definition we go by, is incredibly important as a society. I'm not concerned with 'getting very far in government'; we wrote this booklet to and for Christians and those interested in the biblical view on the issue.
I read your blog, though our feedback rules don't allow us to publish the link. Frankly, that blog demonstrates that at least in this area, the Bible is not your authority and you have a low view of Scripture. As such, we'll probably talk past each other. But what I find surprising is that you aren't even able to put yourself in an evangelical's shoes and see why it would be a huge issue to us, and well-worth publishing a booklet about.
If I may, I really urge that the phrase "gay marriage" not be used to describe "same sex marriage".
There has not been any problem heretofore with a "gay" person marrying. New laws were not needed for a "gay" person to marry.
Heterosexual and homosexual persons heretofore had the same rights to marry. If you were a man and you wanted to marry, you found a woman who would have you and you got married. If you were a woman and wanted to marry, you found a man who would have you and you got married.
If you wanted to have close friends of the same sex, in addition to having a spouse of the opposite sex, you did. No problem.
Now, in some US states and other countries where "same sex marrige" unfortunately is legal, a man can marry a man and a woman can marry a woman. Although it is true that these laws were advocated by and for homosexuals, one does not have to be "gay" to take advantage of them. In such places, if you are a man and want to marry, you can marry a man or a woman, and if you are a woman you can marry a woman or a man.
So I submit that what we have now is marriage and "same sex marriage", not marriage and "gay marriage". Therefore, I urge that we all use the term "same sex marriage", rather than "gay marriage" to describe same sex marriage.
I understand your point, but in order to communicate effectively with the culture, we have to use the language that is common in the culture. And 'gay marriage' now communicates someone marrying an individual of the same sex.
While I appreciate the loving motive behind "avoiding graphic language," this remains part of the problem in the church - not wanting to address issues specifically enough to more fully accomplish the goal. Not having read this booklet yet, but having followed the progress of the movement over the past 20 years especially, I'm especially thrilled how God has raised up groups like pfox on the net (They broke off from Exodus Int'l when the latter announced that the Bible is erroneous in places) and "NOT born gay" on Facebook, who lists many testimonies of God's deliverance from sexual perversion, including her own. Sordid details are not needed, but graphic language is at times beneficial so the reader is clear on what the issue is and is not. As a young Christian decades ago, I grew tired of well-meaning teachers who referred to things obliquely; yes, folks were less likely to take offense, but others of us wanted enough clarity to actually understand the subject.
A difficult issue in writing this booklet was to make it informative and frankly discussing the issues without being graphic. Our goal was to make this a helpful resource to as many as possible, part of which was keeping people with sensitive imaginations or consciences in mind. I think if you read the booklet you'll be pleasantly surprised by the tone and content.
You concern about this issue and your desire to speak the truth would be much more compelling were it not for sale. If you really believed this was important as you say it is, you would share the Gospel and God's Word without trying to get money for it, i.e. "making merchandise" of the Gospel.
All the staff and writers at CMI work at sacrificial rates to bring quality information which we price to make it as widely available as possible. Let me put this in perspective: you can get this booklet for the same price as a latte, or a gallon of gas. Publishing resources like this does not bring in lots of money because our goal is to make them available to as many people as possible; we remain dependent on the gifts of faithful supporters to continue the ministry. Furthermore, the great majority of our writing is available freely on creation.com--that is, free to the readers; the staff time spent creating content and maintaining the site certainly isn't free.
All that being said, your comment about 'making merchandise' of the Gospel is unfortunate. If you think that this booklet should be available freely, you are always welcome to buy it and give it away to the people you think should have it freely, if your comment was made in concern for a particular person who cannot afford even the minimal cost of the booklet. We even have bulk discounts which make it even easier to do so.
The only advantage for a homosexual couple to be legally married that is not already provided them under legal and civil laws is for them to somehow think their lifestyle is normal. This seems to be the same driving force behind barring any christian symbols or displays from the public by militant atheists; if everyone else is prevented from showing their faith then the atheists feel justified in their view of evolution. In other words as evangelist Ray Comfort calls the illogical concept "nothing created everything".
CMI is a great organization. Agree with previous posting that it's a sad situation that such a pamphlet as this is needed. Wish the description described exactly what is in the pamphlet. Don't need just another view from 10,000 feet.
Homosexuality is a complex issue. There are multiple causative factors in "becoming gay." The fact is, there is no "gay gene" yet some aspects of our make-up and environment are more likely to encourage development of it.
Personally, I am sick to death of the mantra "who are you to judge" that's the keystone of the gay promoters. Hope this pamphlet gives some specific, hard hitting tools to help these misguided people "see the light."
Seriously? This is near the top of your list of things that keep you up at night?
If you don't want a gay marriage, then don't get gay married. Pretty easy, right?
Of course, then you wouldn't sell as many books or get as many Christians in a lather about this nonproblem, but that's all for the good, no?
That's a pretty dismissive statement ignoring all the societal implications of redefining one of the foundational institutions of civilization. We wrote this booklet so that Christians would be informed about this issue and can engage friends and family effectively. If you actually read it, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the tone and contents, which combine absolute faithfulness to the Bible's teaching with a tone the emphasizes mercy to struggling people.
The problem in most countries is that the legal term "marriage" has been wrapped up in so many other rights (i.e. tax status, medical decision making) and these rights are what the gay couples want, besides the unspoken desire to be thought of as "normal" by having the state recognize the union by issuing a license. Because of this governmental blurring of marriage rights with the status of married, the term "marriage" has taken on a different significance. It would have been better for Christians to suggest that a different legal term (but the same rights) be granted for same sex couples or even heterosexual people living together. However, just because the state recognizes gay marriage does not mean that the church has to solemnize the marriages any more than the church should approve an adulterous relationships.
The very need for this to be written is disturbing, especially concerning the Church. We "speak the truth in love.." however the "truth" can and often is very painful. The fact that it is a CMI publication assures its accuracy concerning the biblical case. I for one do not consider the subject a sensitive issue no more than any other sin especially those of a sexual nature. We stand on Gods Word regardless of it being "relevant" the very act of approving such behaviour is sin. Romans 1. Our prayer certainly is for Gods mercy and Grace to all who are caught in sins lies to Salvation in Jesus. The only right position for the homosexual and those who endorse it is repentance.