The Gay Marriage Debate: The Great Modern-Day Evangelical Distraction to the Gospel

Gay Marriage Debate

This is probably one of the most difficult posts I will write.  I’ve been avoiding it for WEEKS!  Ok, maybe months.  I don’t really like confrontation.  For some reason, I’m perceived sometimes as a person that does, but I don’t.  This post is somewhat confrontational and can be offensive to Christians and non-Christians alike.  I don’t like it, but passive-aggressively griping to myself isn’t really helping the world any – and it’s not very Christ-like.

Truth-in-love.  Here goes.  Blech!

Yesterday, Facebook “turned red” as some of my friends and people in America proudly showed their support for gay marriage by displaying a red symbol with pink equal signs.  I was initially encouraged not to see too much negative banter on friend’s pages who chose to display the symbol.  However, today I was a little discouraged to see some more typical comments rise to the surface after people had time to make some passive-aggressive Christian response symbols of their own.

My discouragement comes from the need to wage public battles in front of an audience of unbelievers about one sin in particular.  It’s no wonder to me anymore that we are perceived as judgmental in the eyes of an unbelieving world.  Our expectation of sinners should be sin.  We should not be surprised.  Whether or not we are judging or think we are judging, we need to be careful what we do with our “tongue” (even the metaphorical one we write with) because perception is important.  Perception itself can get its own blog on another day.  We are not to judge unbelievers, we are to love and we can share that we are ALL sinners in need of GREAT saving for ALL OUR DEPRAVITY and what God has done for YOU.  This is the Gospel.  But, please, don’t take my word for it…

As I mentioned in my first blog, one of the writers of the New Testament that I most cherish is the Apostle Paul.  Furthermore, I believe my favorite book that Mr. Apostle Paul wrote is the book of Romans.  Oh, so much wonderful stuff!  So much Gospel!  Several months ago, I read Romans 1 and 2 in a new light.  You can’t read chapter 1 without reading chapter 2.  It’s not really complete.  I feel ok saying that knowing that Paul didn’t put those chapter numbers in there.

In the gay marriage debate, Christians often quote a passage in Chapter 1:26-27:

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

We often gloss over a bit what comes after and even what came before – as if Paul only had strong words for homosexuals and that being gay was the utmost offense.  So, I have created a bit of an inner monologue response to a person truly engaging in the entire passage of Scripture – most of these thoughts came from me, actually.  Keep in mind, Paul is writing this passage To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people:

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

That’s right, preach it, Paul!  God exists!  Stupid atheists!

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

How can people actually expect man-made idols to do anything?!  Duh!

24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Amen!  That’s right, Paul.  Get those fornicators and tree huggers!

26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27 In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

The Gays, too!  Woo!  He’s on a roll!  Get ‘em, Paul!  Get ‘em!

28 Furthermore,

Furthermore?  How does it go any further than being gay?

just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done.

Wasn’t that what he was just talking about?  I’m confused.

29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice.

OK…

 They are gossips,

SILENCE.

30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy.

MORE SILENCE.

 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

(Oh, Stick around…it gets better)

 YOU, THEREFORE (emphasis mine)

Uh-Oh.

have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere human being, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment? Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

Sorry, Lord!

But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”[a] To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger. There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; 10 but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. 11 For God does not show favoritism.

12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

So, let’s just talk practical now.  Any sort of highlighting one particular sin in any public arena can REALLY confuse a unbeliever about the Gospel we believe.  The Gospel isn’t just about saving the homosexual from his sin any more than it is about saving the heterosexual from his sin.  The Gospel redemption from ALL our sin.  I don’t know anyone who isn’t guilty of at least one of the sins Paul mentions in that laundry list of sins.  Many of us know that, but when we waste so much energy and time on the one sin, it gives us the impression that the #1 goal of Christianity is not sinning.  We need to be wise in whether or not we respond and how we respond.

As proud as we are of our country, it really isn’t our country as believers, is it?  Our heritage goes as far as Abraham and beyond, our Kingdom lies far beyond the borders.  It feels like we’re trying hard to protect America’s Christian heritage by “keeping” sinners from sinning, rather “taking” Christ – the true Gospel – to a fallen world – “harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd.”

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About Michelle Blanco

Michelle Blanco was originally born in Puerto Rico, grew up in Kissimmee, FL, and now lives in Orlando, FL with her wonderful husband, JT and the cutest kids in the world - Joshua and Mercedes. Michelle has served as a missionary both overseas and domestic, but also was a singer/actor at a local theme park and loves talking theology, music, and movies. Oh, and she loves to act silly.
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13 Responses to The Gay Marriage Debate: The Great Modern-Day Evangelical Distraction to the Gospel

  1. Lizbeth Viera says:

    WOW!

  2. jls12783 says:

    id say a GOOD WOW!!

  3. I like your exposition of Romans 1-2, very much, Michelle. Yet I’d like to say that, in my perception, the Christians I know are not trying to point out the sin of homosexuality above any other sin. I’m sure that some are, but most are afraid to say anything about it for fear of being accused of being bigots. We are citizens of a free country and believe that our government’s duty is to restrain evil and promote good as Paul says in Romans 13. So, when other citizens try to get the government to declare that homosexuality is NOT a sin, but as viable a union as a the male/female union ordained by God, it would NOT be responsible or loving for us to sit back and say nothing. We must speak out on this issue, for homosexuals along with all sinners, will one day stand before God and, without repentance and faith in Christ, will be condemned. It’s loving to warn people of this. And it’s responsible to use our voices and votes to do what we can to encourage our government to uphold it’s God-given responsibility to retrain evil and promote good.

  4. Thank you so much, David, for your kind response. I’m humbled that you would take the time to leave a comment on this blog that was so difficult for me to write. I am definitely with you that most Christians are not trying to point out homosexuality above any other sin and that fear determines our actions (or lack of them) more than anything else, unfortunately. I speak from experience there. So I’m kind of glad that the junk is coming to the surface so we can talk about it and deal with it. That’s the hidden blessing of social media, I suppose. We do need to remember that when we speak, we need to speak with the context of our history in mind. The reason we are seen as bigots is because our historical context teaches us that we have treated gays as past and modern day lepers. We continue to stay silent when they are bullied. We are just not completely innocent here and for that we DO need apology because we represent Christ and the Gospel. We are Witnesses of his Grace, Forgiveness, and Mercy just as much as His Truth. What bothers me sometimes is that it seems we are not so much defending The Gospel when we speak out about homosexuality as much as defending ourselves, our Christian culture in America. I think we fear our loss of power – and it is coming for sure. Getting defensive is always the first response when attacked. I just wish people would realize that part of this is our doing. Because many that associate themselves with our ranks have not been kind, charitable, and loving toward gays. They have not represented Christ well and that is our greatest apologetic. Without a testimony that lives God’s grace toward others we ought not dare speak of His truth. We have no right.

  5. Hey Michelle, I understand the point. Don’t disagree. I just feel you may be highlighting a certain sect of Christianity. I’m not sure that all of your assumptions are all correct either. The problem with perception is that it is perception from a depraved mind. The depraved mind is going to perceive what it wants to whether or not a Christian stands up for a particular issue. And I would err on speaking truth. People get offended because their conscious gets pricked. That’s the gospel. The gospel is offensive. I’ve said the same thing to two different homosexuals and the response is different. The thing we have to remember is that no matter what we do we don’t have the power to save anyone. Only the Spirit of God opens the blind eyes and unlocks the deaf ears. This is NOT a license to treat gays differently. On the contrary, we need to be loving them. But loving them means warning them about the wrath of God as well as treating them with respect. Most homosexuals will admit things like murder, lying, stealing etc. are all wrong. But the one thing they don’t believe is wrong is their homosexuality. I have a gay friend at work who believes he’s a Christian but lives an openly gay lifestyle. I’ll get personal here and say that I struggle with sexual sin like any other guy. The difference is I can’t live with it. I ask for forgiveness, I believe it’s a sin, and I pray for the Spirits conviction. Paul says we can’t be alive in the Spirit and living in sin at the same time. So if someone is living a lifestyle completely contradictory to Scripture, but claims to be a Christian, we have to assume they aren’t and they desperately need to hear truth. Also, I’m not sure I agree that just because we don’t always live a life to testify to God’s grace that we shouldn’t speak His truth. If that’s the case, none of us really have a right to speak. I think of it more as we need to share grace that has been given to us by letting these people know, in love, that God sees what they’re doing as sin. Firstly, however we ought to pray. Pray for the right words when we speak. Pray for a gentle spirit. And pray that God uses us. Totally agree we need to be continually checking ourselves and becoming more like Christ in how we approach homosexuals. I hope what I said made sense. I understand the motivation and it’s a good motivation. Just don’t want to go too far in one direction or the other :).

  6. Thank you, Josh for your response. I’m always grateful when people take time to both read and respond to my blog. I’ll respond to a few of your comments. I don’t see any Biblical precedent to exposing sin (especially one in particular) in a public forum. When Paul exposed sin, he did it personally or wrote letters to the church asking them to abstain from sins they were guilty of. When unbelievers were told to repent, say in the book of Acts which is where we we see most of the early church’s public life depicted, specifics were not mentioned.

    On this wonderfully Good Friday, I would encourage you to take an even deeper look at the life and death of Jesus. A man who was put on the cross for claiming to be God (because He IS), but also because he was outrageously giving and showing Grace. Grace always PRECEDED Truth, but neither was sacrificed. He seemed to do it so beautifully. When He healed, he feared not condoning anyone’s sin, neither did he fear condoning the ways of a tax collector when He asked Zacchaeus to go to his house and eat with him. I completely agree with you that nothing we say or do will influence who is saved and who isn’t, I’m reformed as well. But we can play a significant role in bringing in the called and chosen.

    One of my favorite Bible teachers is known for saying, “If I err, let me err on the side of Grace.” I remembered that right away when you stated the opposite. The reason Grace must come first, in a radical and shocking kind of way, is because Grace is one of the only and probably the most important distinguishing factor between us and other world religions like Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and many others works based religions. Without a significant emphasis on it, we can even be tempted to be just like them – because our leaning as a religious people will always be toward the law. It’s something we can grasp. Grace is much more difficult. Once you show Grace, Truth must come, but this time it may fall on open ears.

    “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.”

  7. humanistJohn420 says:

    This is not a theocracy. The god of the bible is not a good god by any definition of the word “good” he is nothing more than a sociopathic murderer (if he existed that is). Look at the following verses to see my point.Deuteronomy 13:13-19, 1Samuel 6:19-20, (Isaiah 14:21, (Isaiah 13:15-18, 1 Samuel 15:3 . There are more but this should be a good start

  8. Fred says:

    That’s the most bigoted thing I’ve seen in a while. This is hate speech. The fact that you think gay sex is icky should not be the basis for laws which govern everyone.

  9. Paul did expose sin in public forums all the time. He spoke in the synagogues and other public places. Though he did not single out a particular sin, in that context he was simply dealing with the spread of the gospel to every nation. This nation has the gospel. So if Paul were alive today he would most certainly write a letter to the church in the US, as he did with the others churches in his time. And it would probably read something like: “There are some teachers among you who give credence to homosexuality, abortion, etc., have nothing to do with such people.” In the other letters to the church Paul does mention specific sins. And we know based on church history that Paul’s letters were read aloud in all of the churches, so whatever he wrote was public knowledge in the early church. Also, I would include the revealing of sin as grace. Telling someone they are under the wrath of God is a means of grace. This is exactly what Paul does. He begins Romans with the revealing of the wrath of God against mankind. After he has established that every man is guilty of sin THEN he moves to God’s love through Jesus Christ, not before. Grace in the sense of Christ’s loving kindness did not ALWAYS preceed the conviction of sin. The rich young ruler is a perfect example. Also, we must remember that Jesus was the Son of God. His mere presence manifested God Himself. It can easily be argued that the Holiness of God in the mere presence of Christ was enough to convict these people and therefore Christ, knowing that, simply forgave them, healed them, etc. We must also remember that the healing were signs of who Christ was and where His authority came from. They were not necessarily dogmatic expressions of how to present the gospel. I prefer to do it as Paul lays it out in Romans. But I’m not gonna say that dogmatically. I believe we ought to be pray, especially with those we have personal relationships. Personally I have found it very hard to bring anyone closer to Christ by overlooking their sin and loving them in the sense that I don’t tell them what God thinks about it. I don’t, however, treat this people any differently when I’m with them. Maybe that’s partially what you’re getting at. THE distinguishing factor between other religions is Christ. Within Christ is grace yes but grace as I said includes the conviction of sin. We must live lovingly, not treating homosexuals any differently, and in the process they must know how God feels about the sin. If you never tell them the full spectrum of the gospel, conviction of sin and God’s saving grace, and just focus on God’s saving grace i don’t believe people can be saved. There must be conviction of sin in salvation, “REPENT and believe the gospel.” The place where I believe grace comes in is in our personal testimony. “This sin is wrong BUT there is awesome news. God has forgiven my sin through faith in Jesus Christ and he offers the same forgiveness to you.” Again, I believe talking first about God’s love to a sinner who already loves themself, we are all lovers of self without Christ, won’t do any good. Again, the opening of deaf ears only comes through the Holy Spirit. Our job is simply to preach the gospel. We can’t try to package it nicely because we inevitably end up doing harm by trying to change it up and put it in a neat little package. The Gospel is truth, and the truth will set them free. It’s harsh, which is why we speak in love, but it’s the only thing that can save them. Thank you for your time to write all of this as well. It’s not an easy thing to do. Being a consistent calvanist, I believe God will use both of us to bring people to Christ whether or not we follow the same road map. “Oh the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgements and how inscrutable his ways!” God bless and happy Good Friday! I’ll see ya tonight 🙂

  10. Btw I’m not saying forgiveness of sin ONLY comes in our personal testimony. Again none of this is dogmatic, just opinion.

  11. Giovanni Caccioppoli says:

    Hello Everyone,

    Michelle, I saw your post through a friend on FB and I have to say it was refreshing to hear. I think there is an important comment that needs to be said here and I hope I am not lost in translation to typing. 🙂 Grace and Truth are one and the same. There is no Truth without Grace. (john 1:17) They both are paramount in our faith, but I believe we all go wrong when we think that the only way to share truth is to share the awareness of sin. This is TOTALLY wrong thinking and is what makes us look schizophrenic to non-believers. They are smart enough without reading the bible to know that when we judge others for ANY sin, we are judging ourselves.

    Do you realize that Paul was not perfect??? And if he did public rebuke or point out sin then he may or may have not been wrong?? Let’s look at Jesus for how to handle sin… He always forgave first (the prostitute) and even in rebuking Peter, he didn’t speak to Peter, but to Satan. The only time He publicly made a note of sin and rebuked it was to the pharisees, who represent those that consider themselves law keepers and not believers in Christ.

    Why do believers think that if they point out people’s sin (in love, with kindness, humility or whatever color lipstick you can put on a pig) it will make people run to God? Love people, be present for them when they get it right and when they get it wrong and your life will reflect LOVE. People will change because of the Holy Spirit, not because they stop sinning, but either way it’s NOT OUR WORK anyway. NONE OF US HAVE STOPPED SINNING…hello. lol

    Don’t feel the need to point out something wrong with being gay….FYI, all sin creates it’s own awareness of how wrong or write it is in the consciousness, YES, even for non-believers. (Romans 2:14-16) Let God deal with sin, as He already has, by FORGIVING it. People do not need to be made aware of their SIN, they need to be made aware of JESUS. Let His Grace come through our LOVE and FORGIVENESS for others as we have been given it so freely. Oh, and we don’t have to tell them, “I forgive you”. Love, acceptance, no condemning and dropping your stone seems to have worked just fine in the past.

  12. Wayne says:

    I think Michelle makes some good points about over-emphasizing this sin. And yet, this issue is about permanently, irrevocably changing our civilization. It is the point of the spear in the sexual revolution and it is just the beginning. We are in a unique situation. In Bible times, the Gospel was moving into lands and cultures who never knew God. We are in the situation Europe was in a generation ago…abandoning Christianity. Same Sex Marriage is giving government the power to enforce a Post-Christian worldview in schools, the marketplace, and perhaps eventually in churches.

    Our liberty is in jeopardy. People will take it away if we don’t stand up for it. I would be more willing to compromise on Same Sex Marriage if there were absolute guarantees in Law protecting the rights and consciences of people who object to it on any grounds in education, business, government work, etc. But that won’t happen. The real point of Same Sex Marriage doesn’t even seem to be getting married. Few homosexuals are marrying where it is legal. The agenda driven motive is to marginalize people with traditional values permanently…have them regarded as members of the KKK.

    http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/11/6758/#note-6758-2

    Now, American decline may be inevitable. I don’t feel the need to “protect the church from the homosexuals” in the broad sense. Europe had it’s time, and now is in spiritual darkness. That may be our fate as well. It certainly seems so. But the Gospel is exploding in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The Gospel marches on in saving glory. God does not need us in the west. All civilizations fall, and the collapse of sexual norms always accompanies the fall.

    Still, those of us who love our country, and love western civilization, and love our children and grand-children, we don’t want to see that happen. We live in a democratic Republic for now, and have the right to make our voices known. Speaking truth to the culture seems right. We didn’t pick this Same-Sex marriage fight. Human civilization has been going along for 5,000 years without it. I think there are plenty of secular arguments against Same Sex Marriage, though people actually have to stop and think to grasp them. I think we owe it to our people to make the case anyway. We will be hated and rejected by the world no matter how delicately we step and how carefully we phrase things. I, for one, will speak up.

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