The Current State of Affairs
As I indicated in the first post of this series, traditional Biblical morality has declined in Australia to the point that many of the truths we have taken for granted are being removed from under us. We are told that what is in the womb is not a baby, but simply a blob of tissue—a “potential human.” Progressives are seeking to redefine the term marriage, and with it the definition of a family is shifting again.
How did we end up in this situation? We need to define the problem before we can craft a solution.
As I am sure you are all aware (unless you happen to live under a rock) Barak Obama came out in support of same sex marriage. What is of most interest to our discussion is not his statement, but how he arrived at his conclusion.
And that is that, in the end the values that I care most deeply about and [Michelle Obama] cares most deeply about is how we treat other people and, you know, I, you know, we are both practicing Christians and obviously this position may be considered to put us at odds with the views of others but, you know, when we think about our faith, the thing at root that we think about is, not only Christ sacrificing himself on our behalf, but it’s also the Golden Rule, you know, treat others the way you would want to be treated.
Obama indicates that it is his Christian faith which led him to the conclusion that same sex couples should be allowed to marry. This claim would seem to contradict the teachings in the Bible1. How then could one Christian arrive at the conclusion that same sex marriage is defendable from a Biblical position, and another conclude that it is not?
I believe that this is the root of the issue. Dr Michael Horton sums it up brilliantly in his article Same-Sex Marriage Makes a Lot of Sense. Please take a few minutes to go and read it. We will wait here while you do.2
The fact that “moralistic-therapeutic-deism” is the working theology of Americans—whether evangelicals, Catholics, mainline Protestants, or agnostics—demonstrates the pervasiveness of secularization even in our churches. The old actors may still be invoked: God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit. Bits of the old narrative may still be mentioned: creation, providence, redemption, salvation, heaven. However, the shift is evident enough. These old words are mapped onto an essentially human-centered rather than God-centered map. The map is the autonomous self’s striving to create a sense of meaning, purpose, and significance. Each individual writes his or her own script or life movie. “God” may still have a meaningful role as a supporting actor in our self-realization and peace of mind, but we’re the playwright, director, and star.
So when we come to debates about same-sex marriage in civic debates, even professions of deeply held Christian commitments can be invoked without the biblical narrative, doctrines and commands, doxology, and discipleship actually providing the authoritative source and structural integrity to our arguments.
Let us unpick the two quoted paragraphs from Dr Horton’s article. His argument is that the church is, by and large, no different from the world around it. Rather than being the salt and light3 that is is called to be, the church has been “[taken] captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”4 Church has become all about me, and on this basis not only does same-sex marriage make sense to the followers, but the authority of the church to speak out against it has been diminished.
So how then as a Church should we go about righting the wrong? Is it time to storm Parliament and to push for more legislative protection for Biblical morals? What should our course of action be as the Church now?
See Leviticus 18:22, 20:13, Matthew 19:5, Romans 1:23-27, 1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Timothy 1:10 amongst other passages. ↩
We also spent an hour talking about the causes and implications that Dr Horton raised in his article on the Worldview Edition show last week. If you are interested, the audio is available for download. ↩
See Matthew 5:13-16 ↩
Colossians 2:8 ↩