BreakPoint: Eugene Peterson and Same-Sex ‘Marriage’

It’s a Gospel Issue

Last week, the well-known evangelical author Eugene Peterson appeared to embrace so-called same-sex “marriage,” and then, he backtracked. There’s a lot to talk about.

Last week Eugene Peterson, the author of “The Message” as well as several other pastoral books, said in an interview with Jonathan Merritt of Religion News Service that he didn’t consider homosexuality wrong and would, if asked, officiate a same-sex “marriage.” “I know a lot of people who are gay and lesbian,” Peterson said, “and they seem to have as good a spiritual life as I do.”

The reaction was swift and immediate. After all, Peterson is no minor figure. His work has influenced the faith of millions, and predictably, liberal circles hailed him as the most prominent evangelical figure yet to “evolve” on same-sex relationships.

But then on Thursday, Peterson released a statement retracting his earlier comments, saying, “To clarify, I affirm the biblical view of marriage: one man to one woman. I affirm a biblical view of everything.”

I’m glad for this retraction, though his statements are still puzzling. Even more, they’re revealing.

First, they reveal the crisis of authority among evangelicals. So much of this conversation, and many others within the evangelical church, is driven by celebrities instead of doctrine. That’s not helpful at all.

Second, they reveal the need for clarity on another oft-repeated point: that there’s a massive shift among Christians on this issue. As my “BreakPoint This Week” co-host Ed Stetzer wrote last year in “Christianity Today,” rumors of the evangelical church caving to gay theology are greatly exaggerated. While some high-profile figures have “evolved,” most denominations and groups have staked out clear positions on the orthodox, biblical view of sexuality and marriage.

Third, Peterson’s original statement appealed, not to biblical teaching or theological argument, but to people and experiences. He echoed others like David Gushee, Senator Rob Portman, and Reverend Stan Mitchell, all of whom say relationships with gay friends or family changed their views.

Now, it would be one thing if people pointed to a new understanding of the Greek or Hebrew language, or the discovery of a some hidden, robust theological tradition. But it’s never that sort of thick argument cited by those who evolve—no, it’s always based on subjective experience.

As Tim Keller wrote, if you change your mind about homosexuality because you meet a friendly and intelligent gay person, your views probably weren’t based on a biblical theology of marriage to begin with. Feelings are no substitute for an informed Christian worldview.

As Samuel James pointed out at First Things, every single one of our Christian convictions—whether on sexuality, being kind to our enemies, abortion, God, hate, lust, or the meaning of life—will eventually collide with real life after the fall. “There is no safe corner of the Christian story that is completely intuitive or unfailingly neighborly,” he writes. Every claim of the Gospel can and will place us in conflict with unbelievers, especially in this cultural moment. The attempt to avoid all offense only leaves us in doctrinal no-man’s land.

And finally, this isn’t, as some have claimed, a side issue or something Christians can just “agree to disagree” on. From God creating us male and female and ordering marriage toward procreation, to Jesus’ reaffirmation of natural marriage in Matthew 19, to Paul’s clear language in his epistles, to the marriage supper of the Lamb, not to mention the way the Old Testament dealt with sexuality and sexual sin, the Bible consistently and unambiguously teaches one view of human sexuality. Marriage is so thoroughly woven into the story of redemption, any attempt to alter it distorts the Gospel.

Please join me in praying that Peterson would continue to reaffirm the biblical teaching for the right reasons, and let’s continue to pray for and call for renewed determination in the Church to stand on the solid rock of God’s word.

Eugene Peterson and Same-Sex ‘Marriage’: It’s a Gospel Issue

Pray for all Christian leaders to continue to stand on the authority of God’s word and keep a commitment to the tenets of the faith “given once for all.”For more discussion on this issue, check out the links below.

Resources

The Bible and Same-Sex Relationships: A Review Article
  • Tim Keller | thegospelcoalition.org | June 5, 2015
Evangelicals Across the Spectrum Are Clarifying Marriage as a Core Belief
  • Ed Stetzer | Christianity Today | November 1, 2016
Eugene Peterson’s Theological Sigh
  • Samuel D. James | First Things | July 13, 2017
Actually, Eugene Peterson Does Not Support Same-Sex Marriage
  • Kate Shellnutt | Christianity Today | July 13, 2017

July 18, 2017

Comment Policy: Commenters are welcome to argue all points of view, but they are asked to do it civilly and respectfully. Comments that call names, insult other people or groups, use profanity or obscenity, repeat the same points over and over, or make personal remarks about other commenters will be deleted. After multiple infractions, commenters may be banned.

  • thinkingabovemypaygrade

    Our feelings are wonderful…but they are…the most unreliable part of ourselves.

    The New Testament…written during the late Roman Empire where homosexual practice was common and known…also recognizes the sad reality that medical studies show…Even in a country like Sweden where acceptance of about any sexual choice is considered ok…the longterm self destruction rate is still high.

    Maybe the opposite of becoming one flesh (biological female to male) …which enriches both in marriage…is a shredding and shrinking of the persons who were part of gay sex.

    Medical psychological damage reflecting…the tragic misunderstanding of what sex and a true couple…is.

    • Sam Benito

      Even if homosexual behavior resulted in no observable, detrimental consequence to those engaging in (or being subjected to) it, it is, notwithstanding, flagrant disobedience to the Savior, and therefore ought to be resolutely opposed by every Christian. But that it does result in observable, detrimental consequences, is all the more reason.

      • Drummie

        One question that I have to pose that no one supporting gay “marriage” or gay in general can answer; What society embracing gay lifestyles, culture, or norms has survived? If there is, please name it. This alone should tell the most secular among men that something is not working with “gay”. It isn’t rocket science, it is just like socialism, it has failed everywhere every time, so why should anyone think it will work now? God doesn’t let evil overcome His Church or commands.

        • Phoenix1977

          It’s quite easy to answer: none. And do you know why? Because of Christianity. Let me explain.
          When Constantine the Great had himself baptized he caused a rift in the Roman Empire, causing the empire to devide in an Eastern and a Western part. The Western part was soon overrun by tribes that previously were a part of the Roman Empire. The Eastern part survived for almost 1000 years longer, until it was defeated by the Ottoman Empire. And also in the Ottoman Empire homosexuality was permitted and quite frequent. The Ottoman Empire survived until the First World War and fell apart shortly after, just as so many things did. And, let’s face it, every empire will fall once it encounters one that is stronger. However, only those places in the world where Christianity or Islam were dominant, outlawed homosexuality. Since Christianity is losing it’s influence in the civilized world at record speed so are all the laws limiting LGBT rights. As you are not witnessing in the US. In Europe we already crossed that line about 20 years ago.

          • Steve

            Actually, Christianity is gaining influence in much of the world. Christianity is embraced because of its message as opposed to Islam which is spread by submission. Just look to history about the spread of Islam.
            As an LGBT person would you rather live in a country that is under Sharia law or one that is a constitutional republic founded on Judeo-Christian tradition?
            I know that not every Christian acts like Christ and some Christians have treated you poorly. On the whole, which one would you rather live it?
            For instance, would you rather live in Hungary, that has very strong Catholic roots or in Saudi Arabia a strict Muslim country?

          • Phoenix1977

            “Actually, Christianity is gaining influence in much of the world. ”
            I said “civilized world”. The fact Christianity is gaining influence on the African continent means absolutely nothing in the world. In all the parts of the world that matter (Europe, North America, (parts of) Asia) Christianity is losing influence and losing it fast.

            “As an LGBT person would you rather live in a country that is under Sharia law or one that is a constitutional republic founded on Judeo-Christian tradition?”
            Makes very little difference, I think. LGBTs are not better treated in a conservative Christian country like Poland or Hungary than they are in Abu Dhabi or Kuwait. And in Russia they are even treated worse since the Russian government simply allows open hunting season on LGBTs without the police interfering.
            So far I have encountered less hostile Muslims than Christians. My Christian neighbors tried to have me evicted from my apartment while my Muslim neighbors invited me for Iftar. When my car needed repairs after a Christian keyd in verses from Leviticus in the paint my Muslim neighbor gave me his car to use.

          • Gina Dalfonzo

            I’m sorry, did you actually just say that Africa isn’t civilized and doesn’t matter??

          • Phoenix1977

            Africa is one big Third World country. As such, it’s not considered civilized, no. That doesn’t mean it has no thriving civilization and history but when it comes to acutally having an impact in the world Africa doesn’t matter, no. An aspect even John Stonestreet illustrates in his latest article about African famine.

          • Gina Dalfonzo

            How on earth do you get “Africa doesn’t have an impact on the world” from what John said?

          • Phoenix1977

            If Africa is considered important to the rest of the world, why hasn’t the rest of the world effectively ended famine, poverty and child deaths in Africa yet? We have the technology and the means. When the massacre started in Rwanda years ago the international community, including the US, shrugged and went on with their lives. Because there was nothing to gain from interfering in Rwanda. While the US invades Iraq and Kuwait for far less. The difference between Rwanda and Kuwait, however, is that Kuwait had oil and Rwanda has been stripped of all it natural resources decades ago. And a similar argument can be made for Ethiopia, Kenia, Ivory Coast and pretty much all other countries below the Sahara desert.

          • Gina Dalfonzo

            Are there people in your life who matter to you, Phoenix? If they matter, why haven’t you tried to solve all their problems and end everything that’s wrong in their lives?

            You see the problem with that line of thinking?

          • Phoenix1977

            And who says I haven’t tried that or am still trying to do that? Although I fail to see what that has to do with the African continent.

            Ever since the first Bandaid and USA for Africa in 1984 the situation in Africa has not improved a single bit. They can hold a different telethon each year and all they have to do is change the name of the country that needs saving that year. Nothing really changes in Africa while the signs are clear Africa is not going to make it on it’s own. I mean, the continent is not even capable to support it’s population, let alone to allow it to thrive.
            So, like I said, no matter how many Christians there are in Africa, it will not have an impact on the history of the world. Not a positive one, anyway.

          • Gina Dalfonzo

            You’re sounding pretty provincial there (not to say racist). Because a continent has problems, it has no influence or impact? So much for every continent and country that’s ever existed, then.

            I propose an alternative theory. I suggest that every continent, every country, every people group, every family, every person who exists has meaning and influence and impact.

          • Phoenix1977

            Since when is it racist to state the facts? Take a look in any history book and search for any impact made by any country south of the Sahara. Good luck finding it.

          • Steve

            You seem to think that you have a monopoly on the truth, something that you have said does not exist.
            It is interesting to see how passionately you defend gay marriage and the rights of LGBT individuals and yet casually dismiss an entire continent of people.
            These are people who have as much of a right to life as you do. You are implying that their worth is dependent upon what they can contribute. Once again you are suggesting a very slippery slope ethically.
            A careful reading of history and present conditions in Africa shows that there are tremendous geopolitical disadvantages that the continent has suffered.
            Going all the way back to the slave trade when Muslim slave traders sold a large proportion of the able bodied individuals into slavery, devastating the continent for centuries. Colonialism and the war lords that followed did not help the situation.
            Despite all of this we have seen great heroism and fortitude of people who have been devastated by AIDS, apartheid in South Africa, genocide in Rwanda, famine currently going on, Ebola, terrorism etc. These stories are not widely known because much of the world sees these people similarly to your attitude.
            You may be surprised to learn of a U.S. president who actually did a significant amount to combat AIDS in Africa–George W Bush.
            You may try letting go of a little hatred of Christians and start looking at people as just people rather than putting everyone into a monolithic group. It may be easier to have a simple ideology but the world and its people are much more complicated than that.

          • Phoenix1977

            “You seem to think that you have a monopoly on the truth”
            No, I’ll leave that assumption to religious people.

            “These are people who have as much of a right to life as you do.”
            Never said they didn’t. I said we cannot help them accomplish that because they won’t help themselves.

            “You are implying that their worth is dependent upon what they can contribute. Once again you are suggesting a very slippery slope ethically.”
            I’m not the one implying that. History is. Take a look at the history of the world and see which countries have been most important to it. And than look what they all had in common: they contributed. Either economically, or scientifically or culturally. And except for Egypt that does not describe any country in Africa.

            “A careful reading of history and present conditions in Africa shows that there are tremendous geopolitical disadvantages that the continent has suffered.”
            Absolutely. And those problems will keep hunting them because Africa has nothing left the West wants to have, except wildlife. There are no natural resources left in Africa that make it worth their while for companies to invest in the continent. The few gold- and diamond mines that still contain either gold or diamonds don’t yield enough to justify investments. The oilfield in Africa are already property of British Petrol, Shell or other oil companies and the money paid by the oil companies either disappeared in the pockets of local warlords or was still taken away by colonial oppressors. And the colonial oppressors either kept the local population ignorant on how to run a country or selected the dumbest, most corruptible and controllable locals as their representatives, making sure even today the former rulers are still important advisors.

            “These stories are not widely known because much of the world sees these people similarly to your attitude.”
            Exactly. So, as I said, whatever happens in Africa has no impact on the world. Because Africa is ignored in any way that matters in the big picture.

            “It may be easier to have a simple ideology but the world and its people are much more complicated than that.”
            Sorry to burst your bubble but it’s not. There is one thing that matters to the world: how much money can we make out of something or someone. That’s why businesses support the LGBT community instead of Christians: because we spent more money. That’s also what drives a business to invest in a country, which is why Africa is simply not a business interest for most (if not all) companies. And without investments from Big Business there is no way to improve the social problems in Africa because charity is not enough. You have to offer people a way out of their misery and we don’t do that.
            Look at India, for example. For almost 300 years occupied by the Portuguese, the French and, in the end, the British. And the British did everything in their power to destroy India and it’s people. For a while they seemed to have been successful. But India still had a strong cultural identity and resources the British neglected to steal from them. And now India is thriving again, simply because they have what businesses are looking for: manpower, resources and, due to the increased investments and local businesses, a sales market. All of those things are lacking in Africa, which is why Africa doesn’t have the same opportunities as India and will never thrive like India.

          • Steve

            Sorry to burst your bubble, but many businesses are supporting LGBTQ community out of fear due to the political correctness environment which is destroying North America. It is certainly not because you spend more money. Many people, apparently yourself included, are under the impression that LGBTQ represent a higher percentage of the population than in actuality. There was some poll I read in which on average people thought the LGBTQ % in the U.S. was upwards of 40% of the population! Actually it is somewhere around 3-4% or so. (I’m sure you will correct that). Christians as a much higher percentage of the population. Unfortunately, we are witnessing the tyranny of the minority. The radical activists on the fringe of the LGBTQ community are essentially terrorizing (emotionally) anyone who even questions their cause. Hence the seeking out of Christians to haul into court and exact revenge on. A large percentage of the LGBTQ community disagrees with such tactics but they themselves are afraid to speak out.
            So rather than co-existing with people and showing them how you are good, the activists “representing” the LGBTQ community has chosen to approach this with a scorched earth approach.
            What is it that is so unbelievably important about your sexuality? Most of the rest of the world don’t want to know or hear about what you do, or what any heterosexual couple does. It’s supposed to be private!
            Whether or not someone agrees or disagrees with a gay lifestyle is none of their business–you are the ones making it everyone’s business.
            You seem to want to push everything into everyone’s faces. I don’t care if you are with Jim or Joe or John or all of them, just don’t force me to become involved.
            Are you that insecure that you need the approval of heterosexuals and Christians.
            If you hate Christians so much why waste so much energy trying to get Christians to agree with you?
            Does everything have to be a huge conflict? Do you have to ruin small business people to make a point?
            Remember, the individual florists and bakers etc are just individual people. Many of them were known and liked by the people who are trying to ruin them with lawsuits? It is the individual that suffers, not the group.
            Why spend so much time on a Christian website arguing? Are you searching for validation?
            Anthony Kennedy’s vote on the Supreme Court made gay marriage legal in the U.S.
            You know just as well as I that one person’s vote does not change the hearts or minds. I think that is what you are afraid of.
            Where does this end for you? Is forcing everyone to participate in gay marriage enough? Do you need to force all churches to perform gay weddings?
            Do people need to take an oath of loyalty to gay marriage? What is the end game?
            Sorry but eventually you do run up against nature. No matter how many lawsuits are filed, decisions are made by courts or Christians are put out of business no person can change the fact that two men can’t conceive a child nor can two women. Take that up with Mother Nature.

          • Phoenix1977

            “many businesses are supporting LGBTQ community out of fear due to the political correctness environment”
            And that doesn’t involve their income? Don’t forget, it’s not only LGBTs your dealing with but also all LGBT supporters. And those combined definitely outnumber orthodox Christians.

            “Many people, apparently yourself included, are under the impression that LGBTQ represent a higher percentage of the population than in actuality. There was some poll I read in which on average people thought the LGBTQ % in the U.S. was upwards of 40% of the population! Actually it is somewhere around 3-4% or so. (I’m sure you will correct that).”
            Yes, I will correct that.
            The undying 3-4% comes from a poll done by the CDC in the mid 1980s when it was still considered a problem to be openly gay. Therefor the number of people identifying as LGBT was considerably lower than the actual number. Even the CDC admits that flaw in the study and acknowledges the actual percentage is likely to be higher. At the same time the CDC stated there is no budget to redo the study. However, the WHO estimates the actual percentage of LGBT globally to be between 10% and 15% based on statistical analysis on medical records. Still a minority but a far larger minority than you think we are.

            “So rather than co-existing with people and showing them how you are good, the activists “representing” the LGBTQ community has chosen to approach this with a scorched earth approach.”
            And who do you think taught us that approach? Which group of people kicked the LGBT community a little further to the curb when they were already down?

            “Are you that insecure that you need the approval of heterosexuals and Christians.”
            Quite the opposite, actually. I’m so secure in my identity that I want to be able to walk hand in hand with my boyfriend without being insulted, just like straight couples do. And when it’s a beautiful day outside I want to be able to show my love for my boyfriend by giving him a kiss without having to worry about the consequences, just like straight couples do. And on a day like today, when we buried my boyfriend’s aunt and he’s hurting for that I want to be able to show my support openly without people getting angry or annoyed by it, just like straight couples can.

            “Do you have to ruin small business people to make a point?”
            Did they have to ruin a wedding to make theirs?

            “Remember, the individual florists and bakers etc are just individual people. Many of them were known and liked by the people who are trying to ruin them with lawsuits? It is the individual that suffers, not the group.”
            So were many of the LGBTs who suffered from the actions (or inactions) by Christians. Where was your compassion then?

            “You know just as well as I that one person’s vote does not change the hearts or minds.”
            Apparently it does. According to the latest Gallup polls in May this year 64% of the Americans now supports same-sex marriage as the law of the land (http://www.gallup.com/poll/210566/support-gay-marriage-edges-new-high.aspx), and Gallup is always quite conservative in it’s reports. More liberal polls even got as high as 93% of the people supporting same-sex marriage 2 years after Obergefell vs. Hodges.

            “No matter how many lawsuits are filed, decisions are made by courts or Christians are put out of business no person can change the fact that two men can’t conceive a child nor can two women.”
            Luckily, legal marriage is not about children. Legal marriage is about tax benefits, social security, inheritance law, spousal privilege in a court of law, visitation rights and power of attorney when a partner is admitted in a hospital and you can go on for a while. Children and marriage have absolutely nothing to do with one another.

            You give a lot of the same arguments the LGBT community presented to conservatives for decades before the Stonewall Riots. And did you ever listen? Did you ever consider some leniency towards LGBTs when we asked, begged for you to simply let us be? No, oppression and persecution only increased time and again. Whenever a new LGBT rights group presented itself they were hunted down and destroyed (socially) to keep the masses in check.
            So why would we be tolerant towards you when you refused to be towards us? Why would we treat you any different than you treated us? We are already far more lenient towards Christians than Christians ever were to us. We don’t lock you away in mental institutions indefinitely, or give you electroshock therapy, or castrate you, or beat you to an inch of your life. We only take you to court.
            You don’t get to complain how badly you are being treated by LGBTs because it’s still much better than the way you ever treated us!

          • Scott

            “I said “civilized world”. The fact Christianity is gaining influence on the African continent means absolutely nothing in the world.”

            This is not a fact.

            Also didn’t aspirin come from native medicinal practices in sub Saharan Africa?.. Nelson Mandela was pretty influential?..

          • Phoenix1977

            “Also didn’t aspirin come from native medicinal practices in sub Saharan Africa?”
            And who brought it to the West and perfected it? The colonial oppressors who left Africa when there was nothing left to raid.

            “Nelson Mandela was pretty influential?”
            He was, until he became President of South-Africa. As a convict of Apartheid he was a symbol for better times, but as President he discovered South-Africa was as rotten and corrupt under black rule as it was under white. In a few years he was just as hated as his white predecessors were among the general population.

          • Steve

            So now you can predict the future of the world?
            Perhaps you could help me if I go to buy a lottery ticket!

          • Phoenix1977

            Trust me, if I was that good I would be a millionaire 🙂

            But yes, by studying the past one can predict the future. And the future for Africa is grim and will always be grim.
            There are too many people on that continent to be supported and there are no natural resources left in Africa to stimulate the (local) economy. Businesses have no interest in investing in Africa and social injustice is rampant over the entire continent. And everything the West has done over the past 40 years has not improved the situation a single bit.

            So, if I were a betting man, I would bet against Africa every single time. The deck is severely stacked against the continent and it’s people so I’m quite certain I would win that bet.

          • Steve

            You are deluding yourself in believing that LGBT people are safer in Muslim majority countries. You may not get a cake from a baker in America but you sure won’t be thrown off a building. Your anecdotal experiences do not translate into what the world sees.

          • Phoenix1977

            No, in the US the therapist your parents send you to can give you electroshock therapy for negative conditioning. And afterwards you can throw yourself of that building. You’re right. Much better!

          • Steve

            It is interesting Phoenix that you seem to read into everything that Christianity was/is bad. Can you not see any good that Christianity has done? For instance, Christianity is responsible for sustaining Western Civilization. You yourself have benefitted from this with your freedom of speech (derived from the Christian ideal that the individual is made in the image of God).

          • Phoenix1977

            “Can you not see any good that Christianity has done?”
            No. As I told Scott several times, no ammount of good will ever erase all the bad things.

            “Christianity is responsible for sustaining Western Civilization.”
            Really? So the church has not tried to slow down the development of humankind by forcing science to adjust it’s theories and findings to the Christian believes? And there is no ban on, for example, stem cell research and therapy because conservative Christians have actively lobbyed for that?

            “You yourself have benefitted from this with your freedom of speech ”
            You do realize there is no complete freedom of speech anywhere in the world, right? The US comes closest to it but even in the US you cannot openly discriminate and claim free speech. In Europe free speech is even limited by law since pretty much all Constitution in Europe made all personal freedoms submissive to the law.

          • Steve

            Yes and the more that activist groups want to suppress the freedom of others the more speech will be limited. That takes us down a dark path.

          • Phoenix1977

            A path the LGBT community knows intimately, thanks to Christian oppression.

          • Scott

            I have clearly illustrated that your argument against Christians and Christianity is nothing more than your own bias. You and I can go on and on, for every point you make I would counter it. You see… for us to make progress, you need to reciprocate our willingness to meet you in the middle… or lash out against us in war if that is what you want so badly.

            Your are not willing to work with those of us who are willing to work with you. You will not accept our friendship if offered and you refuse anything we say based only on your personal beliefs.

            “As I told Scott several times, no ammount of good will ever erase all the bad things.”

            When you say this what you really mean is “no amount of reasoning from a Christian voice will ever be allowed consideration inside your brain.” You have it made clear that your mind is not open to Christian voices just as I have made it clear that your opinions are not more valid than ours.

          • Phoenix1977

            “You see… for us to make progress, you need to reciprocate our willingness to meet you in the middle… or lash out against us in war if that is what you want so badly.”
            What idiot would ever go willingly to war? No, thanks.
            But you are correct in one thing: I am definitely not someone you can convince of the goodness of Christianity. I already doubted that goodness before my coming out and was confirmed royally after it. There is no doubt in my mind Christianity is as evil as Christians perceive homosexuality to be. And nothing I hear, see, read or experience has proven me wrong so far. That, however, does not mean I perceive all Christians as evil. I have met some people here on this website (You, for example, Scott, and also some of the others I have heated discussions with) who are quite sympathetic and who might have been my friends under different circumstances. But trying to convince me of the good and virtues of Christianity is a waste of your time.

            “You have it made clear that your mind is not open to Christian voices just as I have made it clear that your opinions are not more valid than ours.”
            Not more valid but definitely more. 64% of the Americans now supports same-sex marriage and a small majority of the American voters believes religious liberty should take a backseat when it damages LGBT rights.

          • Scott

            “But trying to convince me of the good and virtues of Christianity is a waste of your time.”

            You have made that clear. : – )

            Interestingly I am one who believes in a plural society… so I would be part of that 64%. But that doesn’t mean I support same-sex marriage, I just believe it should be equally legal.

  • B. Nathaniel Sullivan

    John, I love your statement, “Marriage is so thoroughly woven into the story of redemption, any attempt to alter it distorts the Gospel.” In fact, I’ve been writing about this very thing a series of posts on my website. The series is titled “Upholding God-Ordained Marriage Is One of the Greatest Ways to Advance the Gospel.” See http://www.wordfoundations.com/series-uphold-god-ordained-marriage-advance-gospel/ .

    We also can make a parallel point, one you’ve made very effectively in this excellent BreakPoint commentary: Affirming homosexuality and same sex marriage is an effective, and consequently disastrous, way to distort and misrepresent the gospel. Thank you for calling on the church and its leaders to reaffirm biblical truth. As God declared through the prophet Jeremiah in Jeremiah 6:16 (NIV), “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.”

  • ah.1960

    How many of us know non-Christians (neighbors, co-workers, or acquaintances) who are incredibly nice people? They might pay their taxes, love their families, are honest in their dealings with others, and give to charity, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are spiritually lost and bound for hell.

    And while I might wrongly express this truth in an unloving manner, the truth itself (based on the clear teaching of God’s word) is still the same.

    The fact that Eugene Petersen or others are beginning to look at this differently shows that the culture is influencing the church rather than the other way around!

  • ah.1960

    Another way to look at issues like this is to consider what my position would be if the only information source I had were the Bible. Based on the Bible alone, what is my belief about creation, marriage, gender, homosexuality…?

    Now return to the current day. If my position on any of these topics is different in light of when or where I live or other inputs, that tells my I am putting something else on a par with Scripture. At that point, I need to take a hard look at what I believe and why.

  • Steve

    Christianity says that sex outside of heterosexual marriage is wrong also. So why is it that only the homosexuals are up in arms?

    • Phoenix1977

      Because LGBTs are the subject of the debate. After all, it’s about same-sex marriage.

      • Steve

        You have never answered the questions I have posed:
        1. should 3 or more people be able to marry?
        2. should someone be able to marry a minor?
        3. should someone be able to marry an animal or an inanimate object?
        If the answer is no to any of these then you are oppressing others who believe it should be ok, by your logic.
        So either there is a definition of marriage or there is not. Which is it?
        If there is no definition then marriage itself means nothing. Is that what you want?
        And if there is a definition of marriage, what is it?

        • Phoenix1977

          1. Yes, if they are consenting adults they can marry an entire village for all I care. They don’t hurt me, you or anyone else by doing so.
          2. No, minors cannot consent and therefor cannot get married.
          3. Animals or objects cannot consent and therefor … you catch my drift.
          It all comes down to consent, nothing more.

          Perhaps you can give me some time to answer. I do live in a different time zone, you know? I do sleep.

          • Gina Dalfonzo

            Your point about minors is an interesting one, Phoenix. As you’re probably aware, there are those pushing for the idea that minors CAN consent. On what basis would you oppose that idea?

          • Phoenix1977

            For one because it’s the law. And second because minors are unable to oppose adults. Of course there are exceptions but adults and minors can never have a relationship based on equality. And if that is not possible you cannot consider allowing minors to consent in these cases.

          • Steve

            You keep saying “it’s the law.” You do realize that in our country the laws are supposed to be made by the people and not by the courts. What the Supreme Court did was to take that away from the people and to legislate from the bench.
            It was the law during segregation. Was it wrong for people to oppose that?
            Slavery used to be legal. Would you have opposed abolition at that time as you stood in the town square and said, “it’s the law”?

          • Phoenix1977

            For one, in every country that has a court system laws are “made” in the courts. It’s called jurisprudence and is actually used more than the actual laws. Besides, the Supreme Court did not make a law; it struck down a series of laws that were in violation with the 14th Amendment of your constitution. The same amendment that supported the end of racial segregation and the ban on interracial marriages.
            In the end, both racial seggregation and slavery were ruled unconstitutional, meaning it was, in fact, never the law after all. The laws were nullified as if they never existed in the first place.

          • Scott

            “meaning it was, in fact, never the law after all. The laws were nullified as if they never existed in the first place.”

            Okay, your scaring me now… you contradict even yourself. : – )

            It was legal, then it was not legal… exactly as Steve said.

          • Phoenix1977

            No, if a law is repealed a certain things can be illegal first and legal after or vice versa. If a law is ruled unconstitutional that means that law was illegal on it’s own and therefor the situation was, in hindsight, never legal to begin with despite it having been on the books.

          • Scott

            What you say about a law being repealed is certainly true. A law that is repealed ceases to exist the moment it is repealed, but it was a law prior to its repeal… you can’t erase its historical existence.

          • Phoenix1977

            “you can’t erase its historical existence.”
            True, but you can certainly put a very significant price tag on it.

          • Scott

            True… in the form of “restitution.” : – )

          • Phoenix1977

            Indeed. But to do that the law needs to be classified illegal. Otherwise there is no ground for restitution.

          • Scott

            So here is a definition of the word repeal:

            “The Annulment or abrogation of a previously existing statute by the enactment of a later law that revokes the former law.

            The revocation of the law can either be done through an express repeal, whereby a statute specifically indicates that the former law shall be revoked and abrogated, or through an implied repeal, which arises when the later statute contains provisions that are so contrary or irreconcilable with those of the prior law that only one can remain in force.

            The repeal of a law differs from the amendment thereof, because the amendment of a law involves making a change in a law that already exists, leaving a portion of the original still standing. When a law is repealed, however, it is completely abrogated.”

            My interpretation of this is that the former law is revoked and replaced by the new law. In either case, the historical impact of said law cannot be undone. Using Steve’s example of slavery, from July 4th 1776 until December of 1865, slavery was the law of our land. In this example, the law existed prior to the creation of the constitution (Sept 17, 1787). Not only was it legal, but we should never forget it so that the same mistake is not made again.

          • Phoenix1977

            I must confess I don’t know that much about how slavery was ended in the US. I do know a thing or two about LGBT rights (as you may have found out 🙂 ), like why “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was politically repealed instead of contested in front of the Supreme Court.
            1. Because it was quite obvious how the Supreme Court would rule should any of the DADT cases ever end up in Washington.
            2. Because it was politically possible.
            3. Most importantly, because if the Supreme Court would have ruled against DADT, meaning the law was unconstitutional since it’s conception, that would mean the law was illegal, making all dishonorable discharges from 1993 till 2010 illegal as well. Which would mean one hell of a number of lawsuits against the United States government for wrongful termination (13.389 perceived gay men and women were dishonorably discharged from the armed services under DADT). This problem would not arise if DADT was politically repealed because that would mean the law was at least legal between 1993 and 2010.

            Several gay rights organisations have debated long and hard whether a repeal would be satisfactory and, ultimately, decided it would be. Because, no matter how good those cases looked on paper, if one of the Justices ruled differently that expected the gay and lesbian service men and women would have nothing. And now, at least, they knew they would be allowed to serve openly starting from September 20, 2011.

            So either being repealed through the political process or being declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court makes quite a difference legally.

          • Scott

            So you had a specific case in mind where restitution was the goal. According to its definition, a repeal only revokes the previous law in favor of a new law… but once a law is repealed lawyers can seek restitution where by past actions (once legal) can be prosecuted as illegal. The word you were looking for was “restitution.”

            Now I understand what you were trying to say. : – ) Thanks for the example.

          • Steve

            You said, “they don’t hurt me, you or anyone else by doing so.” That is, by many adults marrying each other. I would argue that they do hurt the raising of children.
            Five men and three women hypothetically marrying each other. They are all married. One of the men inseminates one of the women and a child is born. Who are the parents? Whose responsibility is it to raise the child if they are all married? What if some leave, who do the children go with? What if the group disagrees on what is best for the child? Who gets to choose?
            You can argue all you want but this is obviously an issue that would very likely harm a child. I know, there are bad heterosexual couples who probably shouldn’t be parents, but this is adding myriad potential problems to a child’s life.
            It is not all about rights–marriage is more about responsibility.
            According to you marriage is whatever you want it to be. In that case, it is nothing.

          • Phoenix1977

            “I would argue that they do hurt the raising of children.”
            That has never been proven, even among Mormons where polygamy was normal until not so long ago. It could also end up complerely opposite, with less people leaving and less children being brought up in daycare constantly.

          • Geraldine Chambers

            Of course you’re right, the children always get hurt but that’s the price we pay for saying no to the Creator’ way.

          • gladys1071

            Though i agree with you on principal, i wonder though about multiple wives, the isrealites had multiple wives in the Old testatament and so did King David, it does not seem God minded that? he rebuked King David for taking someone else’s wife and murder, but NOT for having multiple wives, so I wonder if God really prohibits it?

          • Geraldine Chambers

            Well sure God “allowed” these choices but these men always chose only one wife to love so He proved His point to us without arguing. Bathsheba and David participated together and they lost their first born because of it life for life.

          • Scott

            Here is what Jesus says about marriage:

            “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” – Matthew 19:4 – 6

            Two shall become one… instead of “many” shall become one. Remember that If the Israelites had gotten it right in the OT, then what would we need Jesus for?

          • Geraldine Chambers

            That’s why God in the Bible kept it simple and since then we’ve failed even in that, hence the big free for all.

        • Geraldine Chambers

          No, but we are free will agents we can do what we want, however, when the bill comes due who pays? The definition of marriage was made with Adam and Eve.
          http://www.msn.com/en-ca/video/peopleandplaces/meet-the-three-men-who-married-each-other/vi-AAosTy1?ocid=spartanntp

    • Geraldine Chambers

      Heterosexuals were up in arms, look at the 60s to 80s and they won so now the homosexuals are taking their turn.

  • DRLJR

    The “same sex marriage” argument is nothing but trying to make an abnormal behavior normal – the behavior of sodomy. No one is born engaging in the behavior. In fact, for a person to claim they born with the behavior is the same as claiming a woman was born a slut or promiscuous. Some people may end up with homosexual attraction instead of the natural heterosexual attraction. This can caused by a number of things – drugs, chemicals, and abuse. And then one must include something people tend to hate to admit to accepting can happen – behavioral imprinting or Pavlov’s dog scenario. Engage in something or watch it long enough and one can have the behavior response imprinted. What real science has found over the years is that certain plastics and other chemicals act like estrogen and can mess up the endocrine system. And this can create an abnormal sexual attraction. But it does not mean a person is engaging in sodomy. All of this comes down to behavior and what behavior a person makes a choice to engage in. The “same-sex marriage” arguments is about making an abnormal and deviant behavior the equivalent of the natural behavior of natural sexual behavior that is related to reproduction.

    And I have yet seen any one actually produce an example of sodomy in nature. People have tried to claim dominance behaviors and reproduction driven behaviors as example of sodomy but when one look at the actual behavior it is nothing of the sort.

    • Phoenix1977

      “In fact, for a person to claim they born with the behavior is the same as claiming a woman was born a slut or promiscuous.”
      Interesting example, especially when you consider we ARE born promiscuous. Only (Christians forced) morals are prohibiting people from acting their nature.

      “This can caused by a number of things – drugs, chemicals, and abuse.”
      And being born that way.

      “All of this comes down to behavior and what behavior a person makes a choice to engage in.”
      Yes, just like you once “chose” to be straight.

      “And I have yet seen any one actually produce an example of sodomy in nature.”
      Yeah, and why believe renowned biologists who actually observed homosexuality in all mammals and birds, right?

  • Geraldine Chambers