Gay Marriage – surprised?

So the big news in the UK this week is that the House of Commons has voted in favour of gay marriage becoming law. How should Christians feel about this?

Firstly, we shouldn’t be surprised. We now live in what has been called a “post-Christian” country, where the vast majority of political leaders and other people of influence do not know Jesus. It wasn’t always that way, and most of the laws and moral principles we have today were originally based on biblical foundations. This is demonstrated well if you look around old buildings of importance in London, such as the Royal Courts of Justice, which has on its roof a statue of Moses holding the ten commandments.

Politicians like to change laws. A lobbyist friend of mine tells me that one of the primary desires of politicians is to leave a legacy – something they can say they achieved while in power. They have to change things in order to achieve this, so their name can be stamped on the new thing. No politician is remembered for leaving things alone. Any change in law by a non-Christian politician to a set of laws that was based on biblical principles is very likely to be a change to a non-biblical principle. It’s therefore not surprising that we are seeing more and more such law changes.

But what is a Christian to do about this? For the gay marriage issue, many have felt compelled to write to their MP or otherwise campaign against the change of law.

We also shouldn’t be surprised when this doesn’t work. The arguments against the law change rely ultimately on the biblical position that homosexual relationships are a sin, and politicians know that this is what motivates Christians to campaign against the changes. However, the people in power have no regard for the moral standards of the Bible, so why would they listen to these arguments?

Christians in this country need to come to terms with the fact that, as things stand, more and more such law changes are going to take place. We should expect it to become more and more difficult to be a Christian in an increasingly non-Christian country.

The only way for things to get better is not to fight against the law changes but to fix the root of the problem – that our leaders and most of our society do not know Jesus.

I find it quite sad that a lot of Christians were writing to their MP campaigning against the law change, but they haven’t thought of writing to their MP to tell him or her the good news about Jesus. Imagine if all the work campaigning against the law changes had instead been put into spreading the good news that Jesus loves all sinners (both straight and gay people alike) and offers forgiveness to all who repent and trust in him. Then we might actually see some positive changes in this country.

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Steve Chalke comes out as a Bible grappler

No stranger to causing controversy in evangelical Christian circles (he of “cosmic child abuse” fame), Steve Chalke (sadly no relation of Charlie Chalk, a childhood hero of mine – see google images) has published this paper: http://www.oasisuk.org/article.aspx?menuId=31887

In it he advocates long-term homosexual relationships as being an ok thing for a Christian to be in. The main point I’d like to make in response involves the word “grapple”. Here are some quotes:

I have formed my view, however, not out of any disregard for the Bible’s authority, but by way of grappling with it and, through prayerful reflection, seeking to take it seriously

 

In my view, however, it is the task of all those worldwide who take the Bible’s text seriously and authoritatively to grapple constantly with what it means to recognise our neighbour and to love them as we love ourselves

There are some nice-sounding bits in the paper about his regard for Biblical authority, but the veil is lifted by his use of the word “grapple”. This word basically means to fight or struggle. This is precisely the wrong attitude to have when reading Scripture. He finds some bits of the Bible he doesn’t like, and then fights with them until he can reach a (still biblical, of course!) position that fits with how he thinks things should be.

If we are to understand Scripture properly, we must not grapple with it but must surrender to it and allow it to grapple us without resistance, whether it says what we want it to say or not. If we fight back we will inevitably impose our own ideas into it and stray dangerously from the truth.