Evangelicals, Marriage Equality, and Moral Absolutes

on September 24, 2014

Editor’s note: A version of this article was published by TheBlaze.

Telling the public that you’re an evangelical who believes the Bible is God’s infallible word, while advocating for same-sex marriage, doesn’t act as a trump card to avoid accountability. The Gospel doesn’t bend to accommodate our whims or the feelings of others.

With that in mind, I admit as a millennial evangelical that it is hard to be counter-cultural for Jesus Christ. It isn’t easy to oppose same-sex marriage in public policy, arguably the most hostile debate of our time. We stick out. We’re called names. We’re discriminated against. So when a new organization like Evangelicals for Marriage Equality (EME) appears, for many millennials, it is just the type of cafeteria-style Christianity we’ve been waiting for.

Founded by two millennial men, EME’s statement of belief declares, “As Evangelicals for Marriage Equality, we believe you can be a devout, Bible-believing evangelical and support the right of same-sex couples to be recognized by the government as married.”

This is a nice-sounding premise, but it lacks real depth and logical reasoning. Most importantly it also lacks scripture.

As evangelicals it is our responsibility to not only speak boldly and lovingly about same-sex marriage, but truthfully and intelligently. It is disappointing then that in its mission statement, EME dodges all mention of scripture about sexuality and marriage in order to accommodate civil same-sex marriage.

Scriptures on sexuality aren’t hard to find. In Genesis 2:18-25, God created the institution of marriage between one man and one woman. In the New Testament, Jesus affirmed God’s marriage model in Matthew 19:3-6 and Paul outlined sexual immorality in Romans 1:26-27.

Instead of scripture, popular liberal buzzwords like “equal,” “support” and “compassion” are used to call compassionate Christians to action by appealing to our sensitivities. This is an unsurprising strategy, since EME falls in line with the evangelical left as they cloak their political agenda in Christianity.

EME strategically declares that their work to advance same-sex marriage does not mean they are disrespecting Biblical orthodoxy and marriage. My friends, words are empty when actions are missing.

In fairness, EME would suggest that they don’t want to push their Christian values on non-believers. This is a dangerous approach. Sincerely I caution the folks over at EME to recall what the Apostle Paul said about those who “suppress the truth.”

According to Romans 1:21-22, “For though they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God or show gratitude. Instead, their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools.”

Thankfully, EME isn’t fooling faithful, seasoned Christians. But millennial evangelicals, sadly, are especially susceptible to this twisted theological worldview.

“I represent a growing number of millennial evangelicals that believes it’s possible to be a faithful Christian with a high regard for the authority of the Bible and a faithful supporter of civil marriage equality,” wrote Brandon Robertson, spokesman for the EME in his Time op-ed.

But what millennial evangelicals like Robertson need to know is that love and support of our neighbors doesn’t mean accepting the things we know Jesus taught are morally wrong.

EME has declared that we cannot defend truth in the public square and still show our same-sex attracted neighbors love and compassion. Nothing is further from— you guessed it— the truth. At one time I too wrestled with applying Ephesians 4:15, which instructs Christians to “speak the truth in love,” to my life. I thought, okay, if I speak about God’s moral values, then I’m considered hateful, too political or against so-called “equality.” On the other hand if I only show love, then I’m failing to be an authentic follower of Christ.

Finally, as I delved deeper into scripture it became clear that defending God’s truths in love looks like this: start where I am and courageously share God’s moral truths with my neighbors even if it hurts their feelings, because I love them too much not to.

This in-church debate isn’t about partisan politics. It’s about deception. Accommodating sin in the name of Christ does not show compassion to our neighbors. It hides truth and only deceives them more. In the famous words of Francis Schaffer, “accommodation leads to accommodation, which leads to accommodation.”

  1. Comment by David on September 24, 2014 at 9:51 am

    We are meeting a lot of post-Christian evangelicals now – and that’s an oxymoron.

  2. Comment by The_Physetor on September 25, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Blame the seminaries, they are the cuckoos’ nests of all loopy ideas. Fuller is getting loopier all the time.

  3. Comment by Namyriah on September 24, 2014 at 11:53 am

    I have witnessed a new dance called the Bible Twist, in which all the verses relating to homosexuality are “explained,” and my usual response is to ask: Do you think Christians have been getting these passages wrong for 2000 years, and it took a group of homosexual “scholars” in the 21st century to finally grasp what Paul “really” meant? The usual response is a dodge, such as, Well, Christians used to condone slavery, or, Christians committed genocide against the Indians.

    I think it all started with feminism in the churches, then the acceptance of (and celebration of) abortion, plus easy divorce, cohabitation. We got here incrementally, and we all bear some responsibility for permitting “sin creep” to take place.

  4. Comment by NavyBlues05 on September 28, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    So, your solution is to retard the roles of women, become involved with personal medical decisions, restrict divorces, and criminalize cohabitation…right? How would these regressions be enforced? Public shaming and shunning, fines, loss of employment? It’s statements like this that drove me out of organized religion. The male dominating forces abused entirely too many innocent people and flaunted their authority where it was not warranted or welcome.

  5. Comment by Namyriah on December 10, 2014 at 11:32 am

    Yes, those poor women in church – they OUTNUMBER men, in case you didn’t notice. How do you explain why, if the church is oppressing women, that more women attend than men? If the church exists to oppress women, isn’t it a bit odd that it attracts mostly women? Do they go their to get oppressed?

    I gave up expecting common sense from liberals long ago.

  6. Comment by NavyBlues05 on February 14, 2015 at 11:27 am

    “I think it all started with feminism in the churches, then the acceptance of (and celebration of) abortion, plus easy divorce, cohabitation. We got here incrementally, and we all bear some responsibility for permitting “sin creep” to take place.”

    Is it that women are more prevalent in churches because men can’t or won’t face the discipline is directed to inflict… according to a 2000+ year old book of fables?
    Shouldn’t men be dragged into churches to explain why as being the bible ordered head of house hold they aren’t sitting on the front pews learning how to make their wives submit?
    Men aren’t in the churches in greater numbers because they know they can avoid a bible directed public shaming for their peccadilloes and arrogance based abuses within the family.
    Abortion is a private matter, cohabitation – assign morality enforcers to each single person on the church membership roles, easy divorces – it has saved the lives of many women and children since its inception.

  7. Comment by JH on October 18, 2014 at 3:22 am

    “and my usual response is to ask: Do you think Christians have been
    getting these passages wrong for 2000 years, and it took a group of
    homosexual “scholars” in the 21st century to finally grasp what Paul
    “really” meant?”


  8. Comment by Namyriah on December 10, 2014 at 11:33 am

    And you possess authority because?….

  9. Comment by JH on February 14, 2015 at 12:33 am

    As this ismply a war of opinions and not facts, I have as mych authority as any other, including you.

  10. Comment by James on December 7, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    It is not necessary to explain those passages as being about something other than homosexuality (although some of them are actually about rape, for example). It is only necessary to recognize that those passages are trumped by the Gospel of Christ, which says that all people are God’s children and worthy of being treated fairly and decently. It is true that some of the writers of the various documents that were included when the Bible was compiled were anti-gay. God, however, is not anti-gay. Opposition to equal rights for God’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender children is incompatible with the Gospel of Christ. That means that opposition to marriage equality is also incompatible with the Gospel of Christ.

  11. Comment by Namyriah on December 10, 2014 at 11:33 am

    Who do you think understands the mind of God better –
    or the apostle Paul?

    I’m banking on Paul. The Bible – both testaments – condemns homosexuality. That’s that. If you don’t like that, choose a different religion.

  12. Comment by James on December 10, 2014 at 7:01 pm

    Paul was a human being, a fallible human being. He spoke what he believed to be true, but we now know that some of what he said is simply not tenable. God does not hate God’s gay and lesbian children. Please open your mind and heart to God’s leading on this issue.

  13. Comment by Ben Welliver on December 12, 2014 at 7:43 pm

    Paul was a human being.

    So are you.

    So the Christian sides with the human who was an apostle, not the homosexual activist with an ax to grind.

  14. Comment by James on December 13, 2014 at 2:26 pm

    During the past 2000 years, humankind has learned a few things. We now understand biology, psychology, and human sexuality better than Paul did. The foundational principle for ethical behavior is the Golden Rule. Opposition to marriage equality violates the Golden Rule, and is thus incompatible with the Gospel of Christ.

  15. Comment by MarcoPolo on September 24, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    If the best scenario for Evangelical (millennials) and other Christians, is to hold fast to their religious dogma, then they will eventually be just another minority.
    They need not conform, or even slightly compromise on their beliefs, but just hold firm to their beliefs. And then, I imagine, that distinction, will make them appear as another strict, orthodox religious group that simply appears static against the ever changing development of the human condition.

    I personally hope that Christians, like the author (Chelsen Vicari), remain true to their denominational tenets. If only to represent their end of the social spectrum. Only God knows who he’s going to exclude from his flock, and that should only matter to those who know and accept Him.

    Keep up the good fight! It’s not about winning, as much as it’s about surviving to the end. After that, it’s anybody’s guess!

  16. Comment by Karmasue on September 26, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    Before long we may just end up with enclaves of Orthodox Christian communities – much like the remnants of the Amish, and the Fundamentalist Mormons – being portrayed on TV reality shows!

  17. Comment by James on December 7, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    Fighting against equal justice is not a good fight. Opposition to marriage equality is incompatible with the Gospel of Christ.

  18. Comment by MarcoPolo on December 7, 2014 at 9:58 pm

    James, I’m not sure I fully understood your point.
    “Fighting against equal justice…” What do you mean by equal justice?

    I’m just trying to NOT misunderstand. Just asking.

  19. Comment by James on December 7, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    Perhaps I did not understand what you were trying to say. Those of the religious right who try to prevent marriage equality are not following the basic ethical principle that was taught by Jesus, the Golden Rule. Eventually, churches will see how tragically mistaken they have been for many centuries about this issue. At that point, Christians will joyfully celebrate the marriages of their gay and lesbian friends and relatives.

  20. Comment by Namyriah on December 10, 2014 at 11:36 am

    No, Christians will not “joyfully celebrate” two promiscuous men engaged in a faux “marriage.”

    You can’t make babies together, so you will never be equal to normal people. That’s that.

  21. Comment by James on December 10, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Please open your mind and heart to God’s leading on this issue. Your current hostility toward God’s gay and lesbian children stands between you and God.

  22. Comment by Ben Welliver on December 12, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    “Open your mind” and accept something that humanity has condemned for several millennium?

    Sorry, we’re not patsies for Political Correctness.

  23. Comment by James on December 13, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    Marriage equality is not about “political correctness.” It is about basic justice and decency. The fact that hostility toward gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people has happened for centuries or millennia does not make such hostility right or Christian.

  24. Comment by Namyriah on December 10, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Apparently the apostles did not see it that way.

    i side with them, not with homosexuals, who are obviously biased.

    Happily, all the pro-gay churches are LOSING members, and will continue to do so until they are extinct. Hallelujah. Embracing sodomites is the prelude to a FOR SALE sign on the church.

  25. Comment by Kangaroo52 on September 25, 2014 at 12:39 pm

    Jesus did tell us to “count the cost.” Many churchgoers are discovering it costs more than they thought. Salvation is free, but to gain your life, you have to surrender your life.

  26. Comment by JH on October 4, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    It ok to believe that sex outside marriage is wrong, abortion is wrong and homosexuality is a sin. If you have a problem with abortion, relax, no one I forcing you to have one. If you don’t like contraception, you don’t need to use them. You don’t like same sex marriage? Rejoice! You don’t have to marry someone else of the same sex. The problem starts when you insist that your particular mythology must infringe on the freedom and liberties of other people that doesn’t happen to share your particular interpretation of your particular holy book. Shill a bit. Relax! In the same manner that you can abstain from all of the mentioned activities other should be free to make other choices. It is not your place to limit the individuals freedom of your fellow man as long as the effects of that is benign to non existent.

  27. Comment by James Gloster on October 17, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    We have every right to contend in The Public Square, in order to have our values reflected in and codified in laws. You have an equal right to contend for your views. Every law is a reflection of some values, and is imposed upon someone. But you refuse to cotend openly and honestly; you prefer being disingenuous.,

  28. Comment by JH on October 18, 2014 at 3:21 am

    I prefer to let people live their lives as they choose as long as they don’t cause harm to other peoples lives. That’s a basic position that I have. Allowing same sex marriage is simply expanding on the freedom, after all, marriage is just a social contract between two free agents mutually consenting on a prepackaged rule set defined by the civil society surrounding them. It’s handy way to fix things like insurances, who is responsible for what and so on. Whether or not some esoteric religion needs some ceremony or similar is totally besides the point and irrelevant.

    That goes for the other options as well. That you want to control and limit the options for your fellow man without even a shred of rational reasoning says a lot about you.

    It is completely ok for you to live your life according to your set of rules, but it’s not ok to limit other peoples right when you cant show that your hurt in the process.

  29. Comment by James on December 13, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    When some of your values are unjust toward fellow human beings, then those values should not be made into law.

  30. Comment by JH on February 14, 2015 at 8:58 am

    Agreed. Why are you fighting wind mills?

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