Do You Know What You Are Talking About?
Several weeks ago I was at the capitol in a public waiting area. A woman came and set next to me, her name was Caitlyn—a UT graduate and lobbyist. She was there to testify for medicinal use of marijuana. I was there for the house bill protecting pastors from overseeing marriages that contradict their sincerely held religious beliefs. She asked me, “As a pastor what marriages would you prefer not to oversee?” I knew what the big one was so I answered everything but that first. “Someone who is already married, someone who has been divorced for an unbiblical reason, someone in discipline from our church, someone…..”. Eventually I ran out of scenarios and got to where we both knew I was going, “and I wouldn’t want to be forced to oversee a same-sex marriage.” We talked politely for a moment. I was thankful for her honesty and polite questions. At one point our conversation shifted from politics to personal, “So, have you always believed that homosexuals should not be married? Have you ever really thought about it? Or have you always just believed that way?” They way the question was asked hinted that it was leading. She assumed I hadn’t really thought this through.
It was a great question!
How we came to know or believe something is almost as important as what we believe. How you came to know something brings credibility or doubt on what you say you know. For example, “I read it on the internet” usually does not exude much confidence in any discussion.
Why do you believe what you believe?
The day that the SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriage dropped one of the things I said to my wife, Colette, was, “this is revealing how little people actually know the Bible.” That goes for non-Christians, professing Christians who affirm same sex marriage, and professing Christians who do not affirm same-sex marriage. I don’t have a PhD. I’ve never been invited to an ivory tower. So I can’t act as though I’m on some higher plain of intelligence over anyone else.
But in general the Biblical illiteracy among those who profess to be Christians has been revealed by this issue. Its been a reality for some time. This issue has put a spotlight on it. What does the Bible say? “Love thy neighbor”. Well it says a lot more than that. What does the Bible say? “God created them man and woman.” Well the Bible says a lot more than that.
Some who affirm same-sex marriage do so by sophisticated arguments based on their interpretations of the Bible. A friend from college who professes Christ and affirms same-sex marriage recently said, “I came to my convictions because of Scripture.” Be sure, that does not make it right. Mormons support their beliefs by the the Bible. But we need to know that all of the LGBT community is not simply chanting, "Love is love". They believe their views are supported by God's word.
Could you answer 10 solid questions on the issue of gay marriage? 20? 40? Depends on the questions, I know. Generally, regarding the issue, can you point to biblical text and explain them in their context? Much of the rhetoric floating around, from both the affirming and dissenting, is puny, shallow, unthoughtful, self-contradicting, and sometimes downright dishonest.
Kevin DeYoung wrote an excellent article which essentially consists of 40 questions for those who call themselves Christians and affirm same-sex marriage. But it is equally as helpful for every Christian. It is helpful for those who are wondering what to think. He concludes his list by saying, “At the very least, [these questions are] something to chew on before swallowing everything the world and Facebook put on our plate.” Understand, this is how we ought to think about everything! This is a good practice for all Christians.
Paul’s charge to Timothy to rightly handle the word of truth goes for all Christians, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene….”. 2 Timothy 2:15–17 (ESV)
See Kevin DeYoung's "40 Questions for Christians Now Waiving Rainbow Flags." How do you fair?
For His Glory,