May 2014 – An editorial by religion writer Damon Linker asserts that the current push for gay marriage is really an inevitable outgrowth of … Christianity. He attempts to support this unlikely conclusion in several ways, invoking the Bible (as he understands it) and American history.
Linker insinuates that evangelicals – the prime supporters of “traditional” marriage in the U.S. at least – should not be surprised that homosexuals want to marry and are being successful in their demands to do so. After all, he reasons, Christianity (and America) are about equality.
But I find at least four things wrong with such a line of thought. These are:
1. Mischaracterization of the Bible’s concept of equality. Egalitarianism (which Linker attributes to Scripture) says that there are no inherent differences between men and women. By this definition, all social constructs related to the sexes (such as marriage and gender roles) should not be defended as unique in any way. In an egalitarian world, no social order should be preferred above another.
But this is not what the Bible teaches. The truly Christian position on men and women, gender roles, human sexuality and marriage is one of complementariansim. Men and women are complementary. Definitely equals in the sense of being made in God’s image, having equal worth, value, dignity and purpose. However, men and women are clearly unique in functions, in strengths, in abilities and in areas of interest.
2. Linker interprets advances of the gay agenda in a positive light, and supports this by referencing Alexis de Tocqueville. But to do this, he misrepresents Tocqueville’s writings that deal with American equality.
Tocqueville spoke of Christianity’s influence in America with a clarity that is hard to miss. Tocqueville does write about “the march of equality,” but this march is able to take place because of the Judeo-Christian backdrop before which America stands. A slight (and often fluctuating) equalization between the rich and poor is not the same as a deconstruction of that most fundamental human institution, the home.
America has changed the social order of millions in an economic sense, but it does not follow that a new order must (or should) come in a moral sense. Linker certainly stretches things in trying to sanction the modern gay agenda by invoking Democracy In America (Vols. I and II, 1835 and 1840, respectively).
3. Like many today Linker invokes what I call “a Bible without boundaries.” He defends radical egalitarianism by referencing Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. Christ’s words as found in Matthew 5-7 are a favorite text of defenders of homosexuality, relativism, religious pluralism, leftism and many other “isms.” Those who see Jesus as the ultimate egalitarian will often support their position by reminding people of the unlimited love and grace of God.
Yes, God is love (I John 4:8). And His grace has been offered to all men (Titus 3:5). God’s love prompted Him to come to earth, die, rise and make it possible for humans to be saved from their sins (John 3:16). And speaking of sin, Scripture teaches that our guilt before God is a gravely serious matter. The Bible even lists a whole bunch of sins that, if not repented of, will keep a person out of heaven (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
4. Linker’s article opens by calling widespread embrace of gay marriage “all but assured.” For about four decades now, the gay agenda has been marketed to the American people. Pro-gay messaging has been subtly introduced through entertainment, postured in scholarly terms for the classroom, and railroaded in through politics.
Fortuitous timing for the gay movement, it arose after much of the religious establishment of the West had spent a century being infected with liberal thought and Darwinian social theory. By the dawn of the 1970s, lobbyists for homosexuality were not strongly opposed by clergy whose job it was to stand for the Bible.
But let me encourage all who believe that God’s design for marriage and morality is still true and relevant. That which is morally right and factually true has a way of prevailing – even to the point of trumping propaganda campaigns that are well organized, well funded and nearly unrelenting. History has shown us this.
As long as God keeps making human beings and the Holy Spirit works among them in this world, that which is false cannot ultimately prevail.
Alex McFarland is heard weekdays on Exploring the Word on American Family Talk Radio. He is author of 13 books on the Christian worldview, and is founder of Truth For A New Generation, the nation’s largest annual apologetics event.
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