by Marya Skotte
The same-sex marriage debate is one that young Americans cannot escape. We are constantly forced to encounter same-sex issues everywhere we turn —on television, newspapers, and social media. But what’s especially haunting for young Evangelical Christians is that we are being forced to decide how to live out our faith in the wake of increasing acceptance within the church.
Research has shown that while the rest of the U.S. has become more accepting of same-sex marriage, Evangelicals have stood firm in their convictions and this is true for older as well as for younger Evangelicals. Trending now, however, is a proclivity for some prominent professed Evangelical voices to embrace homosexuality.
Presumably, this is out of fear that opposition to same-sex marriage will scare off young Evangelicals from already dwindling congregations. But, from my own personal experience as an Azusa Pacific Christian University student, I can testify that this notion is not necessarily true. Although a number of people may be turned off by a church that opposes same-sex marriage, there are a number of factors that would make the same church very attractive to Evangelical youth.
Although young Evangelicals analyze same-sex marriage based on constitutional, experiential, and relational ideas, it is ultimately Scripture that young evangelicals use as guide “to-live-by.” Marriage and how the church should deal with sexual orientation should be grounded in the Word of God. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Genesis begins with the creation and relationship between one man and one woman, and this same relationship is outlined clearly throughout the rest of scripture, making it an issue that is core and not contingent. A church that adheres to this scriptural core is very attractive to young Evangelicals who take their faith as well as scripture seriously.
All that being said, it is the Biblical duty of the Evangelical Church to love, care for, and cry with our brothers and sisters, regardless of their sexual orientation. While we deeply love our homosexual neighbors, friends, and family, we also stand firm in our Biblical convictions. Young Evangelicals are aware that our homosexual brothers and sisters share some of the same struggles, successes, and sins that we face. We share in humanity, and so we are committed to demonstrating love.
As a young Evangelical student I can tell you honestly that a church opposing same-sex marriage on Biblical grounds yet comforts, accepts, and seeks to empathize with those who struggle with homosexual inclinations is a congregation I would join.
Marya Skotte is currently a student at Azusa Pacific University.