Thursday Aug 07 2008
Biblically or politically correct? You choose
By: Mark Hall, First Baptist Church
“Mawwage, twoo mawwage…. That bwessed awangement, that dweem within a dweem.” Older readers may not recognize this popular sermon on marriage given by the medieval pontiff in the movie “Princess Bride,” but younger movie-goers have gotten plenty of laughs from this very funny scene. The state of marriage these days, however, is no laughing matter. As most know, the California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 22 in 2000, defining marriage as between one man and one woman. But in May, that law was overturned as four activist judges of California’s highest court who, by the narrowest of margins, asserted the law was unconstitutional. Marriage and family advocates are now working to assure the definition of marriage (as defined in the Bible and recognized by relatively all cultures throughout history) is written into our state’s constitution. This needed constitutional definition will not alter existing California law that already affords same-sex couples virtually the same benefits as heterosexual marriages. So why is this such a watershed event? First, Christians are called to live out biblical integrity rather than to compromise under the pressure of political correctness. This means that as salt and light (Mt. 5:13-16) in a decaying and darkening society, we can help to preserve righteousness and to proclaim truth (Phil. 2:15-16) — in this case, the truth about God’s design for marriage. Second, this controversy focuses attention on the main issue, which is not the alleged unfairness of current law and benefits, but rather the wrongful redefinition of homosexual behavior as simply the result of sexual orientation determined at birth. On this point, let me add some important clarification. With few exceptions, Christians who recognize homosexual behavior as sinful, would be the first to admit that all people were born as sinners and all continue to sin, even when they come to faith in Christ (though with much less frequency and intentionality). Love the sinner and hate the sin is a biblical principle that was clearly modeled in Jesus’ earthly ministry: “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more,” he told the woman caught in adultery (Jn. 8:11). The theory of sexual orientation ignores the factors of God’s design, the stability of the home when that design is followed, and the power of God to transform the individual who has failed to follow that design. The good news is that God can reverse any kind of dysfunctional past. Paul’s testimony to such transformation is great evidence that though all have sinned, all can still be changed to pursue a “heavenly orientation” (1 Cor. 6:9-11). If you would like to learn more about Proposition 8, the “Marriage Amendment,” I would encourage you to go to www.protectmarriage.com. Encourage your pastor to inform his congregation as to the importance of this amendment by inviting a legal representative to address your church. (A lawyer in our congregation is prepared to do this at his request.) As much as we despise any kind of sin, knowing that Jesus gave his life to rescue us from its power and penalty, Proposition 8 is more about what Christians are for than what we are against. We should be committed to strengthening this God-ordained institution in whatever ways we can. Strong marriages are the keys to healthy families and ultimately to healthy societies. No, Proposition 8 will not single-handedly reverse the moral decline of our nation. But its approval is a much-needed response and the very least concerned citizens can do. If you can’t believe in biblical marriage, what else are you willing to compromise on next? Mark Hall is pastor at The First Baptist Church of Auburn.