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Best Argument?

I don’t mean to get all political.  That’s not the purpose of this post.

But when it comes to homosexuality, and gay marriage in particular, culture has us pushed up against the wall.

When the church disagrees with something that’s becoming socially acceptable, what is the best way to respond.

Here, Rick Santorum, tries to respond with reason.  That clearly doesn’t work with this crowd of college students.

And I’m sure that if he responded with a Biblical response as to why most Christians are opposed to gay marriage, it would have been much worse for him.

I mean… how could a religious person be so intolerant and unloving?

Watch, and you’ll see what I mean…

What is the best response to the question posed to Santorum?  Is there any answer that will make sense to the questioner?

Is the issue of gay marriage going to keep us from the opportunity to share Jesus in the future?

I think that’s the question.

Because… if the leading thing we’re discussing is gay marriage, we’ll never get to the gospel.

And yet if we don’t tell them what our view on gay marriage is, we feel like we’re backing down.

What’s the solution?

What’s YOUR solution?  What’s your CHURCH’s solution?

(You’ll need to have one… and soon).

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Video found here.

 

 



46 Responses to “ “Best Argument?”

  1. Peter says:

    I can’t speak for any church, but if the government of a secular nation decides that people who are gay can get married, how does that threaten the Gospel, and why should it be our “lead story”? Marriage according to the government is a “secular institution” anyway.

  2. “Because… if the leading thing we’re discussing is gay marriage, we’ll never get to the gospel.” It sounds like your position is that we should stop harping on sin, because people take offense and view us as “intolerant and unloving” and won’t be receptive to the gospel. If what you’re presenting as the gospel does not unequivocally spotlight the sinful, fallen condition of the individual and lead to genuine repentance, it is not the gospel.

  3. Basil says:

    The reaction of the students was correct, because Santorum was employing a classic “red herring” argument. It is a logical fallacy. There is no significant minority of polygamists running decrying discrimination and demanding their rights to polygamous marriage. He just threw that out there to avoid answering the young lady’s question. We can have a discussion about polygamy if you want — there are a fairly extensive literature in the social sciences (anthropology, sociology) about societies in the Middle East and Africa, where polygamy is still practiced, and how damaging it is to the status of women. You can make a very compelling case about banning polygamy for just that reason, but that is totally irrelevant to any discussion of extending marriage rights to same-sex couples.

    Santorum’s hostility towards gays is well documented, and probably more extreme than that of Michelle Bachmann (which is pretty extreme). He built his political career, in part, by vilifying gays — he is most famous for his “man-on-dog sex” comparison of homosexual relationships with bestiality, but he has also compared gays to the 9-11 terrorists and to pedophiles. His rhetoric bears a striking resemblance to the rhetoric of the Nazis, when they started demonizing gays, prior to sending off to the concentration camps to be killed or castrated. For more historical background on that, here is some good information from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum:

    http://www.ushmm.org/museum/exhibit/online/hsx/

    It is your choice as to whether you want to associate yourself with that sort of naked vitroile and bigotry directed against a minority group.

    As for your question on marriage equality — there are 2 issues – how marriage is viewed in a religious context, and how marriage is treated in civil law. As to the former, I actually don’t much care. We have freedom of religion, and while many/most churches may not accept same-sex marriage, a growing number do, and their rights and wishes should be equally respected.

    As to the later, we live in a country of laws, and those laws are supposed to guarantee our equal treatment (14th Amendment). Religious freedom does NOT include enshrining legal discrimination against gay people. The Constitution is intended to protect my rights as an individual from people like Rick Santorum (or a lot the readers of this blog).

    So in answer to your question, none of those young people will want to listen to anything you may have to say about the Gospel until you can distance yourself from people like Santorum, who build their political careers by promoting hatred of, and legal discrimination against, gays and lesbians. It should not be a difficult call to make for any person of faith. You should be able to stand against legal discrimination, and the self-righteous promotion of hatred, even if your religious beliefs do not accept homosexuality, or the idea of same sex marriage. Your religious beliefs may prevent a church from marrying a same sex couple, but it should not infringe upon the ability of that same-sex couple to get a civil marriage license from their local courthouse.

    As for Jesus, he did not speak directly to homosexuality or same-sex marriage. He did however, have something to say about loving your neighbor as yourself. That includes your gay neighbors.

    • I’m not concerned with politics, so engaging whether Rick Santorum is a hate-monger is beside my point, except to say that what the left has done against Santorum personifies hatred and vitriol. These attacks against him are typical projection by the progressive left. As for the assertion that Jesus had nothing to say about homosexuality or same-sex marriage, read Matthew 19, specifically verses 6-8. Also read Romans 1, for although penned by Paul, they were Jesus’ words delivered to us through Paul by the Holy Sprit. Jesus is the Word, and his revelation does not stop at the “red letters”, his words are manifest from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21.

      • Basil says:

        …which I guess polygamy is ok, since it is in the Bible (most notably King Solomon)???

        Santorum is a hate-monger, who uses vaguely religious rhetoric to castigate gays and lesbians, among many others. That’s ok, if we wants to be a preacher, because unlike sexual orientation, religion is a choice and you can always go to another church/denomination, if you don’t like what you hear.

        However, it is inappropriate, and inexcusable for an elected official who is supposed to defend the Constitution, and protect the equal protection of all citizens before the law. Pennsylvanians grew tired of his culture war bomb-throwing and voted him out of office by an 18 point margin in 2006. It is unfortunate that he is getting another platform to spout off his bile now, and hopefully he will just be another flash in the pan. But ignoring his track record, and the very real malice that he bears towards the gay community (which he continues to flaunt on constant basis) is just rank dishonesty, whatever your religious beliefs.

        • Sodomy is also ‘in the Bible’, and a sincere student of scripture understands that God’s view of both sodomy and polygamy is equally condemning. Raising that issue of polygamy is an attempt to distract from my point that Jesus presented a very clear construct for marriage, which is appropriate because He created it.

  4. Mark says:

    The “biblicle response” is to point out that Jesus walked the Earth for 33 years teaching us how to live and never bothered to mention homosexuality. If it didn’t matter to Jesus then how can today’s so-called christians claim its so important of a topic?

    Also take notice in your “biblicle response” that the ten commandments don’t talk at all about homosexuality but it has lots to say about adultry and coveting. So, to anyone with a brain who can read the bible, clearly the “biblicle response” is to mind your own business and stop coveting the lifestyle of others. If you are not gay then its not your problem so shut the hell up and mind your own business.

    If you just can’t find it within yourself to be a good christian and mind your own business then choose instead to throw a fit about all the adultry going on in society and in the churches. At least that’s a commandment you are complaining about and not some personal fetish (worrying about those gay people living down the street) you just made up on your own (clearly not based on a full reading of the Bible) and called it a “biblicle response” just to cover yourself and to make yourself sound more important than you really are.

  5. Tracy says:

    The comments already submitted here are consistent with what I often see – where someone speaks out about gay marriage, then the progressive left often attack that person rather than seek to have a debate on the issue.

    I agree with Midnight Watch in that, it’s difficult to present the gospel without discussing the issue of sin.. If the bible specifies homosexuality as sin (which I believe it does), then this issue may inevitably be discussed.

    For me, the key difference between gay marriage and other sins, such as adultery (to use Mark’s example) is that there is pressure to legislate approval of homosexual relationships through gay marriage. If someone proposes laws that approves murder, then a similar stances will and ought to be made against such laws (eg euthanasia).  NB I’m from Australia so not sure what the legal status of euthanasia is in the US but here, it’s starting to become a hotter topic.

    Having said all of that- none of that addresses the original question of whether we should lead the discussion, or stay quiet. My view is, it depends on who and where. 

    If a condemning “hell and damnation for all gays” is preached from the pulpit, then sure you’ve probably done a lot of damage in trying to then present the gospel of love. I don’t think it’s a good idea because it doesn’t present the whole story. If the church does a series on sex or relationships, then I believe the topic should maturely be addressed.

    If a church is asked for a position statement on homosexuality, then I believe an accurate but balanced response is necessary.  

    My understanding is that people in gay relationships feel that their sexual orientation is just the way they are and therefore because they do not see their lifestyle as sin, then they feel personally vilified by Christians.  There is a whole other debate around this argument however because such an argument opens a pandoras box for other sexual preferences. 

    Ultimately many who are introduced to Christ may face the prospect that their current lifestyle (whether it be homosexual, adulterous, promiscuous, drunken, lying, cheating etc etc) is sinful. 

    My final thought is – people don’t come to Christ because of what Christians are against, but rather because of what Christ has done. Chuck Swindoll says, “our job is not to clean the fishtank, just fish”.  When I had the opportunity to form a friendship with someone who was gay, we had a great friendship and, if she ever asked my opinion then I would give a balanced but honest response.  However my first objective wasn’t to fix the sin, it’s to introduce the saviour.

    • Mark Hunter says:

      “If the bible specifies homosexuality as sin (which I believe it does), then this issue may inevitably be discussed.”

      I think your statement in parenthesis is key.

      You believe it does. Why? Because some English-speaking guy translated a word that Paul (allegedly) used over 1000 years ago as “homosexual”. In reality, we don’t know what the word Paul used actually means in English.

      So, you believe the Bible talks about “homosexuality” as sin because someone told you it does.

      However, what does the life of Jesus – who IS the Word of God – tell you about the subject?

      Research the Roman Centurion and his “pais”.

      • “Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.”. Fairly unambiguous. Mark, your view of scripture is evident but perhaps you could elaborate on what it means to “follow Jesus” if we follow your admonition to abandon scripture. I encourage everyone who reads this to commit to a disciplined approach to daily scripture reading and see how God grows you in your walk with Him.

        • Mark Hunter says:

          Did I say abandon scripture? I’ll leave that straw man aside.

          I seem to recall Jesus saying to be HIS disciple and that he’d leave the Holy Spirit to convict us of sin, to lead us into truth and to glorify him.

          What *I* see from American evangelicalism is a worship of a book that the earliest disciples didn’t have and a walking after men who interpret that book.

          • It’s no straw-man, that’s precisely what you’re encouraging. Respond to 2 Timothy 3:16-17, as Hal posited below. Or respond to the fact that the scripture I quoted from Romans 1 exposes the absurdity of your assertion that Paul ‘allegedly’ used a word that has been mistranslated. Or better yet, please don’t bother. Jesus consistently responded to His critics and to Satan with “It is written…” and would proceed to quote scripture. Words He wrote centuries and millennia prior, by inspiriration of the Holy Spirit. The bible is not worshiped, rather the Author of it is. Your rejection of scripture is tantamount to a rejection of Christ.

          • Mark says:

            Mr Hunter wrote:
            “What I see from American evangelicalism is a worship of a book that the earliest disciples didn’t have and a walking after men who interpret that book”

            You have hit the nail on the head! These people worship books and they worship other people instead of Jesus. Why do they do this? Simple. They don’t like what Jesus had to say so they squirm and they manipulate and they play games and they quote everyone in the Bible except for Jesus’ acutal words. These people are not christians. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing. If you want to be a true christian then follow what Jesus actually said.

        • Mark Hunter says:

          And I should add, Jesus is the Word of God.

          How dare Christians assign that nomenclature to a book.

  6. Hal says:

    This conversation is scary from the perspective of what Christians believe. Not knowing how many are pastors in this conversation, but if half the respondents are pastors and they do not preach sin is sin in God’s eyes, then the church focused on the Bible is on the way out. We have witnessed some prominent pastor interviewed on tv and their answers are very suspect to Christians and confusing to the un saved. My answer may be in the church sermon topic and delivery over the past year. What did they teach..

    • Mark Hunter says:

      “church focused on the Bible is on the way out”

      Sorry, but the church is supposed to be on Jesus, who is the Word of God.

      Epic fail for American evangelicalism…

      • Hal says:

        Thank you for straightening me out. All these years, including yesterday, scripture was used and I thought it was a story about the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, with how mankind had followed and not followed God’s plan. Now I know the Bible is about the 3 whatchamacollits. I have the feeling I won’t need to bring my Bible to visit your church.

        • Mark Hunter says:

          You’ll feel a sense of kinship, then, if you leave you Bible alone for a few minutes. Kinship with the millions of followers of Jesus who didn’t have a Bible, either.

          Why do you feel that the church is to be focused on the Bible, rather than on Jesus? It’s a puzzler!

  7. Hal says:

    All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

    2 Timothy 3:16-17

    Mankind did get a users manual which offers nothing if not opened.

    • Mark Hunter says:

      User’s manual? Hilarious. And such circular logic, too.

      • Mark, your contempt for the Word of God is palpable. Jesus is revealed through scripture, and we are granted understanding by the work of the Holy Spirit. A couple of verses back in 2 Timothy: “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

        • Mark Hunter says:

          My contempt is for the worship of the book. Is there something wrong with that?

          You call a book the Word of God when that very book says Jesus is the Word of God. Stunning.

    • Mark says:

      All scripture is indeed God breathed but the words of someone like Paul do not supercede the words of Jesus himself. Paul’s words in the Bible are wonderful supporting material to Jesus’ message but you cannot elevate Paul to God status in your reading of the bible. If you do, then you have regressed back to the polytheism of the ancient Greeks.

  8. Mark Hunter says:

    Jesus is revealed by the Holy Spirit, who testifies about him.

    The Bible – and I should ask, *which* Bible; Eastern Orthodox, Catholic…? – wasn’t available to the vast majority of the earth’s population before the arrival of the printing press.

    Am I to take my revelation of Jesus via the Holy Spirit, and lay it aside for the teaches of man from a book, a “paper Pope”?

    Maybe if we simply lived like Jesus, being his disciples, Christianity would be known less for it’s hate and pious elitism than it currently is.

  9. Allow me to reiterate my point above. Jesus consistently responded to His critics and to Satan with “It is written…” and would proceed to quote scripture. Words He wrote centuries and millennia prior, by inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The bible is not worshiped, rather the Author of it is. Your rejection of scripture is tantamount to a rejection of Christ.

    • Mark Hunter says:

      Why are you putting words in my mouth? I’m not rejecting scripture, I’m just not putting it on the same level as:
      1. Jesus, who IS the Word of God (why are you struggling to grasp that? John 5:39 may offer you a clue)
      2. the Holy Spirit, who brings the revelation of Jesus Christ

      I refuse to worship a book by calling it the Word of God. You clearly can’t handle that concept.

      I’m curious, which Bible do you favour? The Eastern Orthodox canon? The Catholic canon? Or the canon of the Reformers?

      Further to that, which *interpretation* of scripture do you adhere to? Your own? The one offered from your church’s pulpit? John Calvin’s? Martin Luther’s?

      “Your rejection of scripture is tantamount to a rejection of Christ.”

      Your calling the Bible the “Word of God” is tantamount to creating an idol. In the Bible, are there any references to accepting a biblical canon in order to accept Jesus?

      • I hold to sola scriptura. Clearly you do not.

      • As for John 5:39, Jesus was speaking to people who were righteous in their own eyes, and believed their own righteousness was sufficient to save them. They were hypocrites in that they espoused scripture but missed that Jesus was revealed throughout the Old Testament, so that when He came they did not recognize Him, nor their absolute need of Him. A word study of ‘logos’ would be helpful in addressing any confusion regarding Jesus as the Word of God and scripture as a whole.

        • Mark Hunter says:

          “They were hypocrites in that they espoused scripture but missed that Jesus was revealed throughout the Old Testament, so that when He came they did not recognize Him, nor their absolute need of Him.”

          Look into that mirror….

          You say that Jesus isn’t sufficient. You believe in sola scriptura, which implies the BIBLE is necessary for salvation, something you said to me above:

          “Your rejection of scripture is tantamount to a rejection of Christ.”

          Also sola scriptura is entirely empty as a philosophy as people who hold to this man-made idea rely massively on extra-scriptural sources and ideas, y’know stuff like Calvinism and the Athanasian Creed. Things that some guys made up…

          You believe a person needs to accept that the 66 books of the *Protestant bible* are the Word of God…(Capital ‘W’. Sort of like Son of God…)

          But here’s your inherent problem;

          That book wasn’t available for the first 1500-1600 years after Jesus was on earth.

          And with that, I entirely reject your presupposition and choose instead to trust – and follow – Jesus alone. I’ll let Jesus inform me on what matters in life and what it means to be his disciple.

          I’ll leave you with your Calvinism and bibliolatry.

          • Sola Scriptura means that scripture is sufficient in regards to any other extra-biblical revelation, and a refutation of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church (of the two, it is the latter that “some guy made up). No advocate of Sola Scriptura would ever suggest that salvation comes any other way but by faith in Christ, by the grace of God and to His glory. The reformation was liberation (not salvation) for many who were kept from the gospel by the oppression of the Roman Catholic Church (the reason for the “book” not being available, by the way), and without it we’d all still be worshiping the Pope today.

            You’ve accused me of being a hypocrite and an idolator. I hear no love in your words, nor genuine concern for me if I am indeed in such a dire spiritual condition. However, I do have such concern for you, so please allow me to posit these questions again: if it is not by scripture that you test the spirit by which you claim to receive revelation, then by what means? And if Jesus informs you on what matters in life and what it means to be his disciple, by what means?

  10. Mark Hunter says:

    Why are you struggling with this?

    Jesus is the Word of God. Why is that so hard to grasp?

    I learn about him from reading the Bible. But I don’t put anything above the words of Jesus. I don’t believe “Jesus wrote the old testament”. He contradicted it at times. I don’t bolt onto Jesus’s words any concept of having to accept a book as the Word of God, or that it’s without error etc etc. Why complicate the message of Jesus and the hope he offered?

    At the end of the day, though, I detest Calvinism. It makes me feel ill. I’m not genuinely concerned for you; I don’t know you. You don’t even use a real name.

    It doesn’t surprise me that this subtle form of emotional/spiritual blackmail is your default stance now that you’ve got no answer for me regarding WHICH bible you live by…*

    And you shouldn’t worry about this as by your own theology God isn’t putting it on my heart to be concerned for you. You need to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

    *isn’t it fascinating that the very you church your spiritual leaders was protesting against still sets your agenda when you approach the bible?

  11. Catholics hold to the infallibility of the Church, Catholic specifically. The Catholic Church has created many idols, among them Mary, its ordained ‘Saints’, and the Church itself. My name is Sean by the way. But I think I’m beginning to understand where you’re coming from. Would you consider yourself in agreement with Tony Campolo’s ‘Red Letter Christians’ and/or N.T. Wright’s New Perspectives on Paul?

    Again, Jesus invariably answered his critics, and Satan himself, with scripture, and Satan invariably responds by distorting scripture or convincing people to reject it in part or whole. When you do so, you reject God’s revelation of Himself to us and create a god of your own making. In your case, you’ve name him Jesus.

    • Mark Hunter says:

      Stunning reply.

      Your god is called bible. Good luck with that. Jesus is God’s revelation of himself to us, did you miss those parts, in red letters, where Jesus said that? What I find curious is that he didn’t say it about the bible you carry on a Sunday.

      I don’t have anything else to say to you. I feel a bit unwell.

      • No Sir, my God is God: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. Jesus is my Lord and Savior, God, King and Master. We’ll have to agree to disagree, or not, but I digress. I’ll refer back to Hal’s offering of 2 Timothy 3:16-17,

        “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

        The red letters represent “all scripture”, whether Jesus said them in his incarnation or otherwise.

  12. Fred says:

    His question was,”What about 3 men?” Well, what about a man and 2 women? If you allow a man to marry one what’s wrong with two or three? I don’t agree with gay marriage, but that was a pretty weak argument.

    • Mathew Tilley says:

      it’s not about the number as much as the reason. The questioner came from a position of “if it makes me happy …” and his response was “what if ____ makes you happy” and just pulled polygomy off the shelf. He could have easily put in marrying a child, a man/woman, mutliple people, other species, etc. And you could even take this outside of the realm of marriage and ask the question … if the rule of law is “what make me happy” then why not allow ____ … is it just because you’re a bigot?

      The key question is what is being debated pretty heavily in this post: on what authority do you allow/prohibit anything?

      And that’s not just a strong argument … it’s the fundamental question.

  13. Debi Debanto says:

    Seems to me as if you all are perpetuating some of what you are criticizing. Arguing this position over that position and scrambling for more and better evidence to support your beliefs. Why not just follow Jesus the best you can yourself. Let others interpret that however they like and leave the judgement to God. And no, I will not be responding to any replies.

  14. Mark Hunter says:

    Mark said:

    “They don’t like what Jesus had to say so they squirm and they manipulate and they play games and they quote everyone in the Bible except for Jesus’ acutal words. These people are not christians. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing. If you want to be a true christian then follow what Jesus actually said.”

    A friend of mine recently commented on Facebook about Mars Hills’ discipline process that the more she reads what Jesus actually said, the less inclined she is to have anything to do with the institutional church.

    Now, why would that happen?

  15. ANYONE listening to the words of Jesus would know his respect, obedience to and the importance of ‘the scriptures’. His promise of the Holy Spiirt ‘who would lead you into all truth’ and Peters affirmation of Pauls writings as ‘scriptures’ give us a clear indication that the bible as we have it is from God and the instruction at 2 tim 3v16 can be applied directly to the Ot and by sensible extension to what we know as the NT.
    Regharding Jesus and homosexuality… he didnt talk about a lot of things (in the sexual area bestiality of paedophilia) but what he did do is the make the assumption and in doing so made it clear that ‘man and woman’ is the object of lifelong partnership, it would be utterly preposterous to think of Jesus affirming same sex union.
    And yes of course we should love all people liars, adulterers, fornicators, homosexuals etc etc etc that is a ‘given’ sadly the approiach of some Christians is always to play the ‘hell’ card…. its not the way the first chjristians acted and spoke.

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