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From the earliest code of the Torah, to the later epistles of Paul-the sentiment never changes. God's disdain appears as early as the first book in the Bible when the men of Sodom wanted to see Lot's male (actually, angelic) visitors.
"Bring them out to us that we might know them carnally." (Gen. 19:5 NKJV) In the days of Moses, God had not changed. "If a man has sexual relations with another man as a man does with a woman, these two men have done a hateful sin." (Leviticus 20:13 NCV)
To the Romans, God spoke with identical firmness: "Women stopped having natural sex and started having sex with other women. In the same way, men stopped having natural sex and began wanting each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and in their bodies they received the punishment for those wrongs." (Romans 1:26, 27 NCV)
To the church in Corinth: "Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers-none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God." (I Cor. 6:9,10 NLT)
From start to finish, Scripture categorically condemns same sex intimacy. Why? Some answers are found in our concluding point:
III. What Does God Say About Gay Marriage?
I find no answer but this: He categorically opposes it. It violates his plan for man-woman permanence. It frustrates and denies complementariness in nurturing. The church must stand with her Maker on this issue. Too much is at stake. Why oppose gay marriage? Here are three answers:
1. The legalization of gay marriages will erode the traditional family.
For proof, go to Scandinavia. Stanley Kurtz, who has a Harvard Ph. D. in Social Anthropology, addressed a Senate sub-committee on this subject. He writes: "Marriage is slowly dying in Scandinavia. A majority of children in Sweden and Norway are born out of wedlock. Sixty percent of firstborn children in Denmark have unmarried parents. Not coincidentally, these countries have had something close to full gay marriage for a decade or more....[In Scandinavia] married parenthood has become a minority phenomenon..."
Can you imagine the complicated consequences of same-sex parenting? Distinctives between the genders will blur. Young people will have confusing and conflicting models from which to choose. Studies show that daughters with no father are more likely to experience teenage pregnancy than other girls. Motherless children miss the emotional security only a mom can give.
Any opportunity for children to learn the skills of a husband loving his wife and vice versa will be gone. The benefits of marriage as God intended will be missed by many. Over ten thousand studies have proven that children do best when raised by a loving mother and father.
Same-sex marriage undermines God's plan for the family. Weakened families impact society. In their book, The Case for Marriage, Linda Whaite and Mary Gallagher write: "As marriage weakens, the costs are born not only by individual children or families but by all of us taxpayers, citizens, and neighbors.
We all incur the costs of higher crime, welfare, education and health-care expenditures, and reduced security for our own marriage investments. Simply as a matter of public health alone...a new campaign to reduce marriage failure is as important as the campaign to reduce smoking."
2. Legalized gay marriage will lead to legalized polygamy and other deviations.
Utah polygamist Tom Green, is using the same legal leverage gays have used to achieve the legal sanction of his marriage to five women. The Utah ACLU seems ready to help him, stating: the nuclear family "may not necessarily be the best model."
Will gay marriage open the door to polygamy? What is to keep it from doing so? If we reject the Bible's definition of marriage-society becomes a weather vane whipped about by the whims and opinions of a black-robed panel of unelected judges.
If they recognize gay marriage, what will keep them from the next step? Who's to say that one man can't marry five women? Or two men and two women? How about a commune marriage? Or a marriage between a daddy and a daughter or a woman and a giraffe? Don't underestimate the evil bent of the human heart. In 1972, the National Coalition of Gay Organizations demanded the "repeal of all legislative provisions that restrict sex or number of persons entering into a marriage unit; and the extension of all legal benefits to all persons who cohabit regardless of sex or numbers." Rejecting God's law leads not to a belief in nothing-but a belief in everything.
3. The highest reason, however, for opposing gay marriage is simply this: God does.
And God does because He loves us. Jesus had your best interest at heart when he said: "... 'a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.' Since they are no longer two but one, let no one separate them, for God has joined them together." (Matthew 19:5,6 NLT)
Marriage restores us to our Adamic state. Just as when God saw Adam and Eve, he saw one person, when God sees a married couple today, he sees one person. Marriage is the flagship institution predating all other organizations in the history of man. This is a high stakes issue from God's perspective.
Where does that leave the church? Contrary to the tragic decision made by our Episcopalian brethren-we must react as Christ reacts-with simultaneous compassion and conviction.
Compassion. Yes, homosexual activity angers God. But who among us has not angered God? It wasn't homosexuality that caused Jesus to cleanse the Temple. It was self-righteousness and greed: two sins that dog all of us. Let there be no gay bashing among God's people. No arrogant parading of signs.
There is no justification for gay jokes. Do we mock the alcoholic or shun the gossiper? Let's show the same grace to the brother or sister who struggles with sexual sin. Is the church not a collection of saved sinners? In fact, numbered among the members of the early church were some former homosexuals.
Don't fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, who are idol worshipers, adulterers, male prostitutes, homosexuals, thieves, greedy people, drunkards, abusers, and swindlers-none of these will have a share in the Kingdom of God. There was a time when some of you were just like that, but now your sins have been washed away, and you have been set apart for God. You have been made right with God because of what the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit of our God have done for you. (1 Cor. 6:9-11 NLT italics mine) Ex-gays worshiped in the early church. Ex-gays worship in this church.
For those of you who struggle with this issue-be assured-you are welcome here. Should you desire help-we have people who stand ready to offer it. One call to our pastoral care office and you'll be put in touch with either a trained counselor or a former homosexual. The Guttmacher Report unveils that 1.1 percent of American men struggle with homosexual behavior. Another study showed that 2 percent of American men have exited the gay lifestyle. There are, in other words, far more ex-gays than active ones. Isn't this hopeful. Change is possible!
Let the church be a house of compassion. But let her also be a house of conviction. The Holy Scripture was the first code to call man and women to rein in their sexual desires and express them under the covenant of male-female marriage. Homosexual union then is not a step forward, but a step backward. A step back into the society from which God delivered us.
I urge you to elevate marriage. Honor God's plan for the home by nurturing your own. Also, pray urgent prayers for our national leaders. Especially pray and thank God for those who are taking the lead and taking the heat on the Federal Marriage Act. I urge you to contact your senators and representatives. Think this one through carefully. We cannot budge. Too much is at stake.