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SCOTUS gay marriage rulings: what should we think?

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Published: 29 June 2013 (GMT+10)

On 26 June, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) delivered two rulings regarding laws regulating same-sex unions:

  • The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which stated that couples in same-sex unions could not receive federal marriage benefits, even if they were legally married in their state, was overturned. This means that homosexual couples who are recognized as married in their state will also receive federal marriage benefits such as tax benefits.
  • The court refused to reconsider Proposition 8, the California state law banning same-sex marriages. The state refused to appeal its loss at a lower level court, and the SCOTUS ruled that the private parties who attempted to bring it to the Supreme Court did not have the constitutional authority or standing to do so. This decision was carefully written so as not to invalidate the laws of other states banning same-sex marriage.
Nothing in the rulings affects Christian freedoms regarding our ability to follow Scripture or clearly teach the biblical view of marriage.

It is easy to become discouraged when the culture heads increasingly away from a biblical understanding of morality, and the redefining of marriage in America is one of the more visible indications that society no longer accepts a Christian consensus.

However, we can be thankful for several things:

  • In striking down DOMA, the Supreme Court affirmed the states’ rights to decide the issue. This could make it more difficult to impose gay marriage on a federal level, because the justices more inclined to affirm same-sex marriage have now argued strongly that it is an area for the states to decide. More conservative states have already passed bans on gay marriage, so these appear to be safe, for now.
  • The dissenting justices in the DOMA case gave excellent summaries of the history of affirming heterosexual marriage as a society. They also reveal the ideological motivations that could be behind the majority ruling.
  • Nothing in the rulings affects Christian freedoms regarding our ability to follow Scripture or clearly teach the biblical view of marriage. However, there is a danger that could follow from the fallacious reasoning behind the decision, as Justice Antonin Scalia’s dissent pointed out:
    But to defend traditional marriage is not to condemn, demean, or humiliate those who would prefer other arrangements, any more than to defend the Constitution of the United States is to condemn, demean, or humiliate other constitutions. To hurl such accusations so casually demeans this institution. In the majority’s judgment, any resistance to its holding is beyond the pale of reasoned disagreement. To question its high-handed invalidation of a presumptively valid statute is to act (the majority is sure) with the purpose to “disparage”, “injure”, “degrade”, “demean”, and “humiliate” our fellow human beings, our fellow citizens, who are homosexual. All that, simply for supporting an Act that did no more than codify an aspect of marriage that had been unquestioned in our society for most of its existence—indeed, had been unquestioned in virtually all societies for virtually all of human history. It is one thing for a society to elect change; it is another for a court of law to impose change by adjudging those who oppose it hostes humani generis, enemies of the human race.”
    The term hostis humani generis used by Scalia (in the plural) has historically been used for criminals like pirates and more recently terrorists who were operating outside national boundaries. So they were declared to be enemies of the whole human race, not just of a country, so not deserving of any protection by law and subject to summary execution if caught. It’s conceivable that pro–gay-marriage politicians and judges could exploit the SCOTUS ruling to argue that any opponents are bigots trying to hurt homosexuals, so deserve legal punishments like fines or imprisonment. This has happened in other countries where gay ‘marriage’ has been legalized.

How should we respond?

We should remember that God works through His people. We should be active in lovingly sharing the truth of the Gospel, starting in creation, with all unbelievers, including homosexuals. Would homosexuals be able to paint as convincing a portrait of hateful Christians as they do if Christians were more intentional about building relationships with gay men and women, and simply treating them as they would anyone else?

The Gospel overcomes every sin—not through laws and court cases, but through changing the heart of one person at a time.

As counterintuitive as it may sound, gay marriage is not the issue—sin is. The difference is that homosexual sin in particular is celebrated in the mainstream culture today, so people who have an inclination toward that sin are encouraged, and even protected regarding their right to practice it. The question isn’t whether sexual desires can be restricted in the law—we already do that with regard to pedophilia, incest, and polygamy (the latter two are better examples because they regulate relationships even between consenting adults who love each other). Rather, homosexuality is no longer seen as something abnormal or unhealthy, but something equal to a heterosexual relationship.

We can also pray for our political leaders as Scripture commands us to—that God will both enable them to legislate for the good of the country (and no law that contradicts Scripture can ever be good for the country), and also prevent them from immoral rulings.

We are not the first Christians to live in a sexually immoral culture—the first Christians were. The Greco-Roman world of Paul’s day was full of sexual immorality; one can get an idea simply by reading 1 Corinthians the sorts of issues the Church had to deal with. Homosexuality, prostitution, unfaithfulness in marriage, and all sorts of other problems were common. But Paul simply proclaimed the Gospel that overcomes every sin—not through laws and court cases, but through changing the heart of one person at a time. That Gospel hasn’t changed; it is as powerful today as it was in Paul’s day. So we should be tremendously encouraged as we share it in our culture.

Don’t disengage from the battle

We have always believed that the way to change a culture is to change hearts and minds towards Christ—this is the nature of the Gospel. It could be argued that one of the reasons courts and political leaders actually support gay marriage is because (wrongly or rightly) they perceive that this is a discriminated group, and so they act to defend them.

God has demonstrated His love to all sinners, including you and me. The transforming power of Christ’s love changes lives. We need to be mindful to ensure our arguments do not attack the individuals and that we too are loving in pointing out the issues.

Exciting new resource to help equip believers!

At the time of the publication of this article, my colleague Gary Bates and I are in the final stages of completing a booklet on this subject. It has a firm, but loving approach that we believe will be helpful to Christians in debating this hot button issue—particularly for those Christians who have family members who have declared themselves to be homosexual.

You can be informed when this booklet will be available by subscribing to our Infobytes email newsletter and Creation Daily.

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Readers’ comments
Israel S., Philippines, 29 June 2013

When I saw it on the news, the first thing that came to mind was "When does the CMI article covering this come out?". All I could gather from the brief reel was that it was a SCOTUS decision, which meant it was big. But I wanted to understand the situation better. Thanks very much for the timely publishing of this article, Lita.

And yes, it's so true. The ancient world was rife with sexual immorality that was only suppressed because of the spread of the Gospel. Even a quick look through Greek mythology would show how depraved the activities were in those days. The increasing dissolution of respect for the Bible's authority in this modern age is unleashing what was in the past, restrained.

And we can trace this disrespect to the popularity of the materialist idea of evolution. If there is no God to give the rules, then the rules are just some text in an old tome, and can easily be ignored for what feels good. Considering some folks are even using the evolutionary hypothesis to justify homosexual relationships, the connection grows even stronger.

I give my salutations to CMI, which continues to fight the good fight and stand in the true light of scripture, and keeping us updated on the issues of today, and how we should deal with them!

Garry S., Australia, 29 June 2013

Morality involves more than sexual activity. The practices of big business in the US leaves, a lot to be desired, as does that country's treatment of its widows and orphans. In Australia our banks charge usurious interest rates, other businesses abuse their market power to intimidate its suppliers. The supermarket giants have intimidated their suppliers against giving evidence to an enquiry into their practices. The expression "tilted scales and bag of false weights" springs to mind. Many businesses impose late payment fees which are in no way related to the extra costs incurred; they are more in the nature of a penalty clause. Our fuel companies are notorious for increasing their charges on certain days. We have had the disgraceful exhibition of insurance companies refusing to honour their obligations after natural disasters, only to have their bullying tactics overturned in Court after appeal by caring legal practitioners, usually on a "no win, no fee" basis. Tax cheating is endemic in this and most other western countries.

Proverbs 21:6, "cheating to get rich is a foolish dream and no less than suicide" springs to mind.

In all these cases of immorality, Christian churches are notable for their silence.

Most Christian churches bend over backwards to welcome the rich man and be associated with the wealthy in society.

Unless Christians are prepared to protest all immoral acts within our society, it is pointless protesting any.

Lita Cosner responds

While I agree that there are lots of immoral practices in society, I disagree that it is worthless to protest any simply because one person or organization cannot shine a spotlight on all of them. Perhaps Christian financial ministries, for example, are in a better place to point out injustices in the financial sector, etc., because they would be more informed about those particular issues.

Colin N., Australia, 29 June 2013

Yes Christians ought to show love to gays - but no more than for every other sinner. The problem is that gays demand the right to be seen not as sinners but perfectly normal in their sexual preferences. Welcome them into the Church yes, but be prepared for a battle as they insist upon distorting and misrepresenting the scriptures to accommodate their lifestyle and require that we go along with them. The thief or adulterer would not demand the same kind of treatment or acceptance of their behavior as do the homosexuals

Lita Cosner responds

This is why homosexuals should be welcomed into the church as guests, but refused membership as long as they persist in a sinful lifestyle.

Michael C., New Zealand, 29 June 2013

Thanks for yet another concise, gracious and biblically based article!

New Zealand also recently legalised same-sex marriage and believers here are faced with similar issues - what the ramifications will be and how to respond.

This is an excellent guide on how to do so, in ways that seek to reach out the lost with grace but without compromising the Truth. Keep up the great work!

Alan S., United Kingdom, 29 June 2013

In my young teens, I'm now 78, we used to call homosexuals "queers". When I was converted, at 14, I began to learn that homosexuality wasn't so much queer as sinful, and we were taught to love the sinner but not his/her sin. Homosexuality was still illegal in the UK until 1967. Shortly after this I became aware of the change in use of the word "gay" as it gradually replaced queer and "homo" as the slang term most used. When homosexuality was legalised, co-habiting appeared to become more common but it was still some years before a civil partnership became the norm. Even as a Christian observer, seeing we live in a secular society that Jesus said we are in but not part of, one can see some degree of sense in this, as, if people have lived faithfully in a caring same-sex relationship for many years, they wish to have legal rights of inheritance, etc. However when they start to claim what they refer to as "equal rights" and wish to be "married" it defies all logic apart from being unbiblical. To see this illogicality one has only to consider that marriage was intituted by God for the procreation of children, because that is the one thing that law cannot confer on such a relationship what ever they choose to call it. The tragedy is that it debases a God-given institution to a mere label and doesn't produce a balanced family unit even if children are added by whatever means may be found. The legalisation of "gay marriage" cannot make it logical, productive or Godly, and confers no more rights than a civil partnership, let us not go there.

David D P., South Africa, 29 June 2013

This is a situation where wisdom and guidance from God is needed. As I understand the Scriptures, homosexuality is unacceptable. No if's, or but's, or maybe's. This remains so, no matter how man may wish to ignore it. Therefore, the SCOTUS ruling has absolutely no authority or effect over the position stated in Scripture. How then should Christians respond? My conclusion is that Christians follow the guidelines so clearly and ably set out in Lita Cosner's comments.

Mark J., Australia, 29 June 2013

Great article. One of the reasons that wrong stereotypes abound re so called Christian intolerance and bigotry is, not that we are, but we have not reached out enough with Christs love. As Lita has pointed out, we do not have to apologise for the truth of the gospel but our message is that sin is the issue and the cross of Christ is God's solution. We offer it as love without attacking the individual. God Bless.

Gary J., United States, 30 June 2013

Thank you for this very timely and well-written article. As a result of these rulings and some of the other things coming out of Washington that are likely to impact our First Amendment rights, I was getting depressed thinking about what we Christians (in particular my children and grandchildren) have to look forward to here in the USA. Your several reminders really put these rulings into perspective. They made me go back to Rom 8:28 for St. Paul's encouragement for the Roman Christians and us, "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."

bruce W., Australia, 30 June 2013

Love your logic! Scripture needs to remain the guide for life and practice or we end up accepting any flavor of the day; and aren't we humans terrific at deluding ourselves that our own ideas are wiser than God's?

Colin N., Australia, 2 July 2013

I agree with your assertion that gays shouldn't be admitted into Church membership because of their insistence upon continuance in their sinful practices. I see though that in the near future this refusal to accept them into membership will, unless God protects the Church, bring the Church into legal difficulties that will force pastors and believers to go underground. This is the aim of many that loudly proclaim gay-rights. Governments/law courts and other legal/quasi-legal bodies are falling into alignment with them.

Andy M., New Zealand, 4 July 2013

Two comments here upset me, the first "with all unbelievers, including homosexuals", assumes that homosexuals are unbelievers - they are not, there are many homosexuals that believe, who are you to judge?

The second "This is why homosexuals should be welcomed into the church as guests, but refused membership as long as they persist in a sinful lifestyle". Does one have to be a member then to be considered a "proper" Christian? I thought it was about accepting Jesus as my savior not becoming part of a club.

This article and stance of CMI has disgusted me and shows the intolerance of the organisation. I'm not longer going to be a supporter.

Lita Cosner responds

Andy, first, Christians are called to be identified primarily regarding their allegiance to Jesus. Anyone who embraces the homosexual lifestyle is embracing a sinful lifestyle that is incompatible with belief. (Note: I am not talking about people who have homosexual attractions, but struggle against them and live as celibate Christians.) I am not judging, I am simply accepting the Bible's judgment on the matter.

It would be wrong for a Christian church to confer membership on someone who was openly living a sinful lifestyle. I would say the same thing about an unmarried heterosexual couple living together, or someone who had addictions to alcohol and drugs. The church should be welcoming, but should not give the sin an air of respectability.

Katalin P., Australia, 4 July 2013

I loved Lita article,full of love towards the sinners.

Sadly, those who are in the world and those who do not know Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour,are falling into deeper darkness.Darkness is everywhere but Jesus will shine through the believers,and the sinners come back to Him.

Keep up the good work!

Wayne T., Australia, 4 July 2013

The aspect that I find most perplexing about this issue is the apparent belief that parenting is gender neutral. Two women can raise a boy child without a father, and two men can raise a girl child without a mother, and somehow that is no different to having both a father and a mother. The societal effects remain to be seen, but I suspect that they will not be good. The other aspect is that having struck down DOMA, on what moral or legal basis can the US Supreme Court deny other forms of marriage such as polygamy? I wonder whether the courts and politicians understand where this is heading?

George D., Australia, 5 July 2013

I do NOT agree with making "gay" marriage legal. Australia made it so this couldn't happen when we had the last Liberal party in power but now, our leaders want to appease ALL sections of the community so, I am guessing it won't be long before it becomes legal in Australia, a SHAME.

I believe that each person should be allowed their ideas and, if you SIN it is your problem but, why should the rest of society have to suffer for ONE/MANY person's sin?

I have friends who identify themselves as "gay" and I am still not able to understand why they would want to be known as a sex act? Poor them.

James H., New Zealand, 5 July 2013

I agree in general with the article and most of the comments, but wish to question one point raised. I can go along with the doctrines of "love the sinner, hate the sin" and "anybody can serve in the church, but only members can lead" but why restrict membership from people who identify themselves as having homosexual tendencies, whether they are practising or not? Would you restrict membership from a recovering filanderer, who occasionally falls back on bad habits?

You see, we Christians dropped the ball when we winked at any form of promiscuity. We've been tainted by our culture to accept that sexual purity until heterosexual marriage is unattainable.

This is a nuanced topic, not easily reduced to a sound bite. We Christians are guilty of judging the homosexual filanderer more harshly than the heterosexual filanderer. Both are sin. I think if we talk in terms of both being equally wrong and bad for society, then we are on firmer footing.

Lita Cosner responds

I was only advocating restricting membership from people currently and actively involved in a homosexual lifestyle. Someone who struggles against temptations regarding homosexual behavior is no different from someone struggling against any other sort of temptation.

Jeanne B., Australia, 5 July 2013

Why don't we call them what they are, 'homosexuals' and not euphemisticly 'gay', which they are not.

John L., United States, 5 July 2013

CMI-Thank you for a concise and Christian principle oriented article.

Leeda C., Canada, 5 July 2013

I encourage everyone to stop using terms which identify individuals as being their desires or behaviour. When we use terms like "homosexual or heterosexual, gay or lesbian to identify persons as their sexual preferences we affirm the lie, I am my desires or behaviour, which is the primary premise that opened the door to accepting same sex behaviour as normal. I recommend you read "I am Not Gay, I am David" by David Prosen. He explains the misidentification process well. People are not their behaviour or desires, one can with God's help choose not to act on their desires. If we affirm this truth, along with the truth individuals are either male or female all other anomalies are socially constructed not grounded in nature. I was told by a very articulate grade 12 student that gender and sexuality are socially constructed. My response was, I agree that gender confusion and same sex attraction are socially constructed, something happened in the individual's nurture experience to caused these beliefs and desires to develop. Today, the gender variables are multiplying. The headline of the Toronto Now magazine last week was The End of Gender. In Canada you may do as you please, and those who disagree are said to be hateful. I am praying the US will not follow Canada's lead. I am not proud to be a Canadian. I am grateful for my Faith in God and that he has led me to the truth, truth which is well founded in reason.

Chuck R., United States, 5 July 2013

My examples of dealing with sin are considerably harsher than 'normal'.

It is true all sinners are to be loved and salvation is free to all no matter where they currently stand, but after salvation it does not give us a license to sin (Rom. chapter 6).

Paul in 1 Cor. chapter 5 deals with a man in blatant sin (comparable to homosexuality) and his judgment is not ‘nice’ – “deliver one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh”.

In John 5:14 and 8:11 said Jesus “…. and Sin No More”. I could go on but the point being is many churches are now actively ignoring and some even endorsing the very sins we are to be against with the most common example being adultery (Mark 10:2-12).

Under the pretense of ‘love’ we have neglected the discipline needed to keep us pure and effective (1 Cor. 5:6), and like it or not, God does judge sin (Isa. 35:4) and he has always intend his people to instruct and judge themselves in His word (Exe. 24:44).

Satan has successfully bamboozled us with his twisting of Jesus’ words on ‘judge not’ (Matt. 7:1-5). Read The Context.

And by the way, this so-called ‘ruling’ by the supreme’s is nothing more than job security.

They know full well it will be back again. They just opened a can of worms.

Chuck R., United States, 5 July 2013

Lita,

As a personal note, I suspect that being involved in a the much maligned creationist camp you should be use to people rejecting your words, but do not allow the Andy M’s to cause you to back pedal on the judging discussion. We are to judge, 2 Tim. 2:15, Acts 17:11, and again as Paul demonstrated in 1 Cor. 5, confront those who insist on continuing in sin, 2 Tim 2:19. Consider this; in light of John 14:6, what more of a profound judgment call can one make than deciding someone needs salvation? We are deciding that without Christ, they are going to hell! As Pilate stated in John 18:38, the world is always going to try to confuse the truth. So we must at times be prepared to Luke 9:5 them.

His Word has the power to separate the sheep from the goats.

sabrina W., United States, 5 July 2013

this is a wonderful take on this matter to use the weapon of our warfare which is love.this is a great opportunity to let love abound.not to have arguments and quarrel with the lost sheep bound by sin but to let our love cover amultitude of sins!this is an opportunity to let grace and love abound

Ron H., South Africa, 5 July 2013

South Africa prides itself on its constitution which upholds equality in terms of the law in all respects for homosexuals and lesbians. We have now published a White Paper (a step in the legislative process) on 'Family'. Predictability, same sex 'parents' are protected in the draft legislation in that they will have the same rights as a traditional family. Already discussion is taking place to the effect that lesbian women can elect to have a baby by artificial means and be regarded as a family, and therefore qualify for State financial benefits. The logical next step is that such women would act reciprocally for homosexual men who desire to have children. There was a time when the US was the proud leader of innovation with the Scandinavian countries and Holland hard on their heels. Move over guys, our gender activists in South Africa can teach you a few lessons !! Our churches have been intimidated into silence, still bearing the guilt for not speaking out explicitly against apartheid. Now they are petrified to speak out against another sin, homosexuality. Romans chapter 1 verses 18-32 is a timely reminder of where we are headed.

Diane D., Canada, 5 July 2013

Why are you assuming that all gay people don't know jesus or are aware of God's love and salvation? many don't, true, and the gospel has to be spread to all, but it's highly erroneous to assume that one can't be Christian and LGBTIA.

Lita Cosner responds

Because someone who knows God's love and salvation will not continue to identify him or herself with a lifestyle that God has explicitly condemned several times in Scripture.

Murielle L., Luxembourg, 5 July 2013

Thank you for this article. I have been in touch with many Christians that were gay and have been set free and others that are convinced it is sin but are still struggling. It has become so clear that in most of the cases, there has been some sort of abuse, generally during childhood, at a time when sexuality develops... I so agree with the comment that we must not judge homosexual people differently than we judge fornicators and other sexual sinners... and remain humble, analyze ourselves... are OUR eyes pure? A homosexual didn't choose to be, which doesn't make it good. He was not born that way and CAN get free from it. But a fornicator can simply marry the person he lives with and the temptation is gone... Let us name a sin a sin, YES. Let us also see the person behind the sin, so that we can love him and lead him to Christ who heals and delivers. If any want contact with former gay people to se how to reach out to the gay community, I know I am allowed by the person to do thi, you can search for Lisa Moeller on facebook. She will be glad to share her testimony and what God has revealed to her. She says the same thing than this article: we won't change them by protests, laws but one at a time with Christ's love. be blessed!

Teddy M., New Zealand, 6 July 2013

The simple solution to moral issues facing western society cannot be adequately confronted by Christians until Christians accurately assess who they are according to biblical principles. The first question, which this article clearly addresses, is this: Am I a member of the body of Christ or simply a member of an organisation that calls itself Christian or has been legally defined by the state as a church? It is disingenuous to think all church members or people calling themselves Christian actually belong to the body of Christ. This question is for the individual for, indeed, the response to the gospel is on an individual basis. For the larger group, the question is this: Are we willing to give up our status as an organisation recognised by the state, with its attendant tax advantages, to really operate as the body of Christ? The "real" church cannot in its organic nature (living stones) be either underground or invisible. Those are terms invented by state churches. However, if the church is to be genuine it cannot be driven by or controlled by state edicts, especially those compelling the church to violate God's laws, e.g., a pastor cannot be forced to conduct gay marriage if he is not licensed by the state and the church is not a tax shelter. The desalinisation of the church occurs when the church is identified with governments. In Europe, it is over, done. As it is with their satellites in other parts of the world (Aus and NZ). In the US, the decline of the church parallels its embrace of its 501(c) tax status after WWII and has gradually been rendered tasteless (look at societal decline as a result) and is now being ground under. Tasteless salt is useless. Did I say simple? Yes. Easy? Jesus never promised easy.

Edi G., Australia, 6 July 2013

1 Corinthians does make clear the position that the Church needs to hold with respect to those in consistent practice of Sin, namely adultery, fornication, uncleanness etc.

There is no doubt that sexual sin was and still remains a 'Sin against the body'.

To the individual who believes this to be unfair has the argument with the author of Scripture, not CMI.

Edi G., Australia, 6 July 2013

Just in relation to Lita's comment that "People are not their behaviour", its worth considering how the Lord relates to the dammed; no he does not identify them by their names but BY their sin;

"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God." (1 Cor 6:9-10)

Interesting when you consider the popularity of the phrase "love the sinner but hate the sin". Prior to salvation our Lord never separates the sinner from their sin, on the contrary, he identifies the sinner by their sin!

Clearly that does not mean we are not to love as Christ loved, there is no greater demonstration of the love of God than our Lords death on the Cross, and indeed we are to demonstrate the Love of Christ in all diligence and faith. But we need to be very careful in making statements that perhaps provide the sinner with a false sense of security, i.e. Separating them personally from their sin prior to their redemption in Christ.

Wonderful article CMI.

Edi

ian B., United Kingdom, 6 July 2013

Well here we go again, what is it with sex that we feel the need to talk about every one elses behaviour, how wrong it is , how ungodly it is etc etc. In some countries the girls marry at puberty, perfectly legal and perfectly acceptable to God , try it here , the church would disown you, you would be declared ungodly and you would be in Jail, then excluded from society and tagged for life. Laws are only legal in the country that sets them. So, many christians response to this is to take portions of Gods "universal" law that highlight their particular beef and use these as missiles to throw at groups they disapprove of.

But talk about living in glass houses, throw back portions at them and they squeal those are not relevant and dont apply! God has definite views about slavery/divorce/disability in priests/ethnic cleansing which killed unborn babies as well/incest ( which was allowed until Moses day)/ Feral children could be put to death at the request of their parents. Shall I go on?If we are to use the bible lets use it properly, but it is not a pretty book and there is a lot in there that alarms me. But what alarms me more is this random selection of verses used to vilify other groups we diapprove of. You state that gays should be allowed as guests but not accepted as members of the church. What planet are you on, if they believe then they are already part of the church, outside of your control! What does membership give you that non membership doesnt. Especially if you can attend everything as a guest! Great you get to go to everything and you never need to put away the chairs, I think I will have to become a guest from now on. We have been set free from the law, yet at every turn I see the church trying to establish it again. Which explains why it is so weak today.

Lita Cosner responds

Ian, are you a believer? If so, then you should know that the Bible condemns homosexuality in a variety of context and never presents it in a positive light. As a Christian, I believe that God has established laws for His glory and our good, and that any lifestyle that goes against His laws is ultimately destructive. So it is the opposite of loving to be dishonest about that reality.

I hope the tone of my article conveyed that while I believe the Bible's condemnations of this lifestyle, I do love the people who are trapped in it, and desire to present the Gospel to them, so they can be freed, just as many have been from the first century up to the present day.

Bob S., Australia, 7 July 2013

I would encourage every christian to stop using the word gay when referring to homosexuality, and to use the term homosexual marriage rather than the less confronting term same sex marriage. By accepting the use of the word gay to mean homosexual, we are capitulating to the redefining of a word that originally had a very innocent meaning to include a meaning which God himself describes as an abomination - this is like mixing fresh water with salt water, it waters down the impact of the foul. This is what the militant homosexual lobby wants to do with the term marriage-redefine something holy to include something abominable, and by doing so, taint something that has long being regarded as an honorable and sacred relationship, whilst at the same time, give a relationship long regarded as abominable, a veneer of respectability. I fully agree we need to love the sinner and treat homosexuality just as we treat other sins, but lets not make the mistake of unwittingly sanitising or masking what homosexuality is by joining in with the popular usage of a innocent and light hearted sounding term to describe something that is in Gods eyes as abominable as adultery.

Mary C., Australia, 7 July 2013

In Micah 6:8 we are instructed to Do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with our God. In dealing with anyone who sins including gay people we are also instructed to speak the truth in love Eph 4:15. I agree that we need to point out sin but do it humbly showing mercy and grace. Correct with meekness Galatians 6:1-3. Then we will be loving the sinner and dealing with sin as God instructs us to.

Matt C., Australia, 7 July 2013

Legal recognition of marriage doesn't create marriage. Your birth certificate didn't decide your birthday, it just reflects it. A typo cant change your birthday. God decides what marriage is, the law can't change that, it can only generate paperwork.

Andy M., New Zealand, 7 July 2013

Lita, are you saying that no-one who openly lives a "sinful" lifestyle should be granted membership of a church? Presumably "sinful" means anything that the bible states is "sinful"? Is that the whole bible or just certain parts? I know many Christians who openly break many laws from the bible who are fully members of their various churches.

Lita Cosner responds

Andy, there is a difference between generally struggling against sin in one's life (a process Scripture indicates will continue in this life) and openly embracing a sinful lifestyle. Paul had no problem saying that Christians could not celebrate at pagan feasts (the table of demons, he called it) and remain Christian. In the same way, you can't be a Christian and identify with and practice a sinful lifestyle.

Filipp T., United States, 8 July 2013

AMEN LITA! PREACH THE TRUTH! THE TRUTH ALWAYS OFFENDS! BUT IT SETS FREE!

Diane D., Canada, 10 July 2013

There is an entire Gay Christian network around the world, IRL and on the web.

Lita Cosner responds

And unfortunately, these networks are promoting a lie, and underestimating the transforming power of Christ.

Daniel L., United States, 12 July 2013

Thank you, Lita. I love these articles, often printing out even the comments sections for your readers' wise and thought-provoking comments as well. We believers need all the patience and wisdom we can glean for combating this world's lies while keeping our love from growing cold.

Isn't it sad and ironic? In the past, God's people fought for the right to divorce (See Mt 19, Deut 24:1); now homosexuals are fighting God's people for the right to marry.

Believing both to be evidence of hard-heartedness toward God and His design/intention for us, I ask: How can churches allow hard-hearted divorced believers who have married again (who are therefore, according to Jesus, committing adultery), but disallow hard-hearted gay "married" believers from membership?

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