When I saw the jubilation of the same-sex couples who were “married,” I knew that we as a church had to respond. But, quite frankly, I did not know what to say and do. Two thoughts came immediately to mind: First, I knew that we as a church must have some response both to our political leaders and to the gay community. But on the other hand, I thought it might be too late and reasoned, “Whatever will be, will be.”
I quickly learned that many believers simply did not know where they stood on this issue. Some thought that we might as well let homosexuals marry, because what they wanted to do was up to them and it would not bother us; they could live in their world and we could just live in ours. Others thought that since the divorce rate among heterosexuals was so high, we simply did not have the right to sit in judgment upon the gay community.
As I began to study the implications of what same-sex marriages would mean for the wider society, I realized that we were on the verge of the destruction of marriage as we know it. This redefinition of marriage would impact the kind of future we leave for our children and grandchildren. Enormous implications are at stake for us as a nation.
There are also great implications for the church. For, as we shall see in a future chapter of this book, same-sex marriages will jeopardize freedom of religion. A lesbian attorney in Canada correctly said that the real battle is between gay rights and religious freedom; freedom of religion, she said, will have to give way to the homosexual agenda. What is true for Canada applies to the United States.
Most of all, I thought of the young people in our churches who are growing up sexually confused as they are daily exposed to the pro-homosexual pressure of our culture. I wondered what messages same-sex marriages would communicate to them—what would same-sex marriage tell them about marriage, parenting and role models? At that point I knew we had to speak to this issue.
Finally, I had to ask: What does God think? Of course we know that the Bible condemns homosexuality, but I was wondering what God was saying to us as a church through the possibility of this frightening reordering of society. In other words, I was asking God not just for wisdom on how to respond to the culture, but what all of this should mean for His people. How have we as a church contributed to a cultural vacuum that would allow this redefinition of the family to happen with so little resistance?
Let no one say that we have to choose between loving homosexuals and opposing same-sex marriages. Biblically, love is defined not as license to legitimatize sinful behavior of any kind, but love helps us see that there is a better way. Obviously, we must be as concerned about our own sins as we are about the sins of the homosexual community. We must be concerned enough to speak out about any action, heterosexual or homosexual, that violates God’s intended plan for marriage and the family.
© 2004 by Erwin W. Lutzer, The Truth about Same-Sex Marriage, Moody Publishers.
About the Contributors
Dr. Erwin W. Lutzer is Pastor Emeritus of The Moody Church where he served as the Senior Pastor for 36 years. He earned a B.Th. from Winnipeg Bible College, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary, a M.A. in Philosophy from Loyola University, and an honorary LL.D. from the Simon Greenleaf School of Law.
A clear expositor of the Bible, he is the featured speaker on three radio programs that are heard on more than 1,000 outlets in the United States and around the world and is also an award-winning author of numerous books. His speaking engagements include Bible conferences and seminars, both domestically and internationally, including: Russia, the Republic of Belarus, Germany, Scotland, Guatemala, and Japan.
Dr. Lutzer and his wife Rebecca live in the Chicago area. They have three grown children and eight grandchildren.