Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Same-Sex Marriage Dialogue

The following is a conversation on facebook about homosexuality and same-sex marriage. First will appear the initial comment, followed by my response. I will be adjusting the names and personal references in brackets.

Hi [Metzger]! It's your [friend] from West Hollywood. I'd love the opportunity to have you experience our life for a day...being gay, that is. It's the way I was born and it's a valid lifestyle, that while you do not have to agree with, you should not discriminate and preach against. I think that often times it's too easy to judge. I don't agree that you are a "hater", in fact I remember how sweet you and [your siblings] all are! I would suggest that you take a second and maybe closer look at what you are protesting so much, you might just be surprised that we are all the same and there isn't that much to be afraid of. It's just love and it deserves equality, like every other type of love. Congrats on creating your amazing family - they are truly beautiful. Love and light! xo [NAME]


Thank you for your thoughtful comment. It is great to hear from you, I only wish that we had connected over something more pleasant - in fact, we should schedule that sometime because it has been far too long =).

I appreciate the fact that your thoughts were direct and well-meaning. I will do my best to respond in turn to you. But before I get to the meat of what I have to say, I would like to add a few things that are obvious to all, but are helpful to hear again. Firstly, you are [my good friend] and no matter your sexual preference I will love you and care about you because [we are friends]. Second, my caring for you will not change if you continue in the homosexual lifestyle. Third, if we end up disagreeing, I hope that we can remain loving towards one another.

And now ...

I also wish you had the opportunity to experience my life for a day … being a Christian. Consideration of the other side’s perspective is vital in having a better understanding of one’s own beliefs about something. While I do not doubt the sincerity of your experience(s) as a gay man, I also have firm beliefs about homosexuality and human sexuality that are different than yours (not that that’s a surprise =)). Please let me just say that I very much appreciate that you recognize that my differing viewpoints as a Christian do not automatically make me hateful towards the homosexual community. Thank you for that. Of course, I am going to afford you the exact same privilege in my assumption that you are not hateful for disagreeing with me.

To add further breadth to my perspective on how I have arrived at my conclusions, I need to begin by saying that my Christian faith is the single most important part of my life. Christianity is not, like some would prefer, one compartment of my life that I only express at church on Sunday. Rather, it is the central tenet of my experience in this life. I live and breathe my Christian faith every day, and I will go so far as to say it impacts how I behave at work, in public, at home, at church, even intruding upon my very thoughts, beliefs, and my worldview. So to say that Christianity is important to me would be an understatement. I love the triune God of the Bible more than I love my wife, my daughter, my career, or my possessions.

You can begin to see how I, as a Christian, will approach the issue of homosexuality and human sexuality in general. You said: “I think that often times it's too easy to judge.” I couldn’t agree more! People are too rash in their decision-making, especially when it comes to moral judgments. Rather than depend on my feelings, or my inclinations, I look to the unbiased source: the Bible. The Bible is the absolute authority for the believer in Jesus Christ, and is required to adjust his viewpoints based upon what God says in the inspired Scriptures.

Specifically, with regards to sexuality and marriage, the Bible does address this issue very clearly. In fact, the Lord Jesus was asked by the Jewish religious leaders whether “it [is] lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” Jesus’ response is something we should note: “4 And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5 and said, ‘ For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let no man separate.” (Matthew 19:3-6, NASB).

Jesus’ approach was to take the Pharisees head on in their absurd question. What I enjoy most about the Lord’s response was that he took the discussion back to the source: the creation itself, dealing with the ordaining of the roles of men and women. Jesus asked whether they had read from the book of Genesis that “He who created them from the beginning made them male and female.” From that, Jesus led right into an interpretation of the institution of marriage: between one man and one woman.

This is why Christians believe marriage is between one man and one woman. This is also why Christians believe homosexuality is a sin - not only because the Bible directly states it as such - but because the Bible positively explains that human sexuality is to be exclusively expressed heterosexually in the covenant of marriage.

You stated that you believe you were born gay. From a Biblical perspective, this is not so. While I would never presume to doubt the sincerity of feelings or inclinations you have - same-sex attraction, etc - what I would say from a Christian standpoint, is that feelings and inclinations do not justify behavior. For example, one thing that I have struggled with my entire life is envy. I have had desires to have more stuff, or the traits and abilities of others. This has been something I have felt and experienced from a very early age. Here is the question though: would I be justified to practice being envious of others … or going a step further … would I be justified in defining my entire life by my envy? Obviously, I would not be justified in doing that. But why? Because God’s Law requires that human beings not be envious (in fact, He says so in the same passage in discussing homosexuality in Romans chapter 1). Bringing it all back, in the same way homosexuality is not justified simply because one feels same-sex attraction.

Now, what I have to say next is important. I am a sinner. You are a sinner. Every human being that has ever lived or ever will live is a sinner. What that means is that everyone is born into this world guilty of breaking the requirements of God’s Law, and continues every day of his/her life rebelling against that Law in some way. Practically, this is how Christians are able to not be self-righteous, because … how can we? Christians are awful people just like non-Christians are awful people. I am not better than non-Christians, and I am not better than homosexuals. We are all on a even keel when it comes to how we would inherently stand before God in-and-of ourselves.

This leads me to mention why I am passionate about this subject, and other subjects involving sinful behavior, human sexuality, religion, worldviews etc etc … Because the good news about Jesus Christ is one that says that sinners should turn away from their sinful desires and behaviors unto faith/trust in the living God of the universe. It is my greatest desire to see you turn from a homosexual lifestyle and love the same God that I worship. I mean that, with all sincerity. This does not mean that if you remain gay, and a non-Christian, that I will suddenly harbor ill will towards you, or cease loving you. Quite the contrary! As we have seen, I view myself equally inherently guilty before God, no better than the homosexual community … all of this is used to keep my own pride in check (and believe me, God knows I need the help with fighting against pride). But whenever I have written about homosexuality, you have always been in the back of my mind. Why? Because you are [close to me]. But more than that, I can relate to you because I am also a sinner - only that I have been delivered from the consequences of my sin by the grace of God that I do not deserve. I hope the same for you.

One final note I will add for the sake of clarity: in response to a second comment you made in this thread, you stated: “The bible states that we should stone a woman who cheats on her husband? And that shell fish is an abomination as well.” First of all, I need to ask: have you read the entirety of the Old and New Testaments? The reason I ask is because this is a common misconception made typically by atheists and others trying to prove inconsistency in the Bible between the moral standards of God. There is a clear distinction in the Bible between moral aspects of God’s Law (that has existed since the beginning of Creation) and the ceremonial aspects of the Law (that existed only as a part of the Jewish nation-state in the Old Testament that were meant to differentiate the Jews from the surrounding peoples). The ceremonial aspects of the Law were actually done away with with the arrival of the New Covenant started by Jesus Christ. There is an entire book in the New Testament that deals with this subject: the book of Hebrews. For further reading, I would recommend a book written by one of my elders at church: The Same-Sex Controversy by Dr. James R. White (co-authored by Jeff Neil).

What we are talking about are among the most important topics, and should be taken seriously by both sides. We may not end up agreeing, but I will say that regardless of whether we agree or not, I will never support legislation that tries to take away one’s liberties for being a homosexual (if, at some point, we want to discuss whether continuing to define marriage as between one man and one woman would then take away liberties of homosexuals, I will be happy to do so).

You stated later in your added comment: “You realize that one day very soon from now these views of "faith" are going to be completely viewed as hatred - and that is when the religious right will have to explain to their children and grandchildren that they were one of the people who hid behind God to promote hatred and violence by calling homosexuality a sin.”

Actually, I believe many in our culture have already begun viewing the views I just expressed as hateful. What do I have to say in response? It is irrational to say that my well thought-out argument stems from hatred of any sort. I have demonstrated very clearly that I believe the behavior of homosexuality is sinful, but that I distinctly do not hate or harbor any negative feelings towards the homosexual community, whatsoever. Again, how can I if I take my religious faith seriously? If I really believe that the Christian message is true: that all people are sinners before a holy and just God, then how could I possibly view myself as better in value or in dignity than any other human being? Answer: I couldn’t.

What I will explain to my children and grandchildren (and maybe … great-grandchildren =)) is what the Bible says, regardless of whether it is popular. I don’t expect my beliefs to be popular … they never have been in my lifetime. But I don’t believe what I believe because I hope to join the majority opinion. I believe what I believe about homosexuality, and the Christian faith because I believe my God is reigning over the universe, and I love Him more than anything else.

Thank you for considering what I have to say, thus far. I do want to extend an invitation to either continue dialogue on this subject, or other related subjects, via facebook, email, telephone or in person.


  1. Nice post--good stuff. I have gotten a lot from James White's recent Matthew Vines response, too! :)

    Did you mean "tenet" instead of "tenant"?

  2. Thanks Joe =). And thanks for the spell-check (no matter how many times one proof-reads there is always *somethin* amiss, rofl.

    DrOakley (James) has been one of the greatest influences on my Christian walk over the past 10 years; I hope AOMin has equally blessed you =)

  3. Another great post. Keep 'em coming!