The Church of Scotland formally removed itself from the Christian faith last Monday when its authorities voted to permit same-sex unions. They join numerous mainline U.S. denominations in their denouncement of biblical teaching including the Presbyterian Church USA, the Episcopal Church, the United Church of Christ, and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, each of which bless gay marriage in the name of Jesus, against his express commands.
Why are these massive denominations ignoring the annals of church antiquity, a history in which the concept of same-sex marriage has never been conceived, let alone affirmed? The answer, as usual, is that empathy for the feels of adults has overridden tradition, scripture, and natural law. Case in point, one Scottish minister prattled about the vote: “I’ve seen the heartbreak of those in same-sex relationships in our congregations who are unable to marry in their home church, devout Christians though they are.”
Empathy and compassion are required when relating to those who experience same-sex attraction. Our struggling brothers and sisters absolutely deserve our love and friendship. But woe to church leaders who believe themselves to be more tolerant and loving than the God who took three nails for them. Jesus gave no wiggle room when he described a very gendered definition of marriage in Matthew 19:4-5; “a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife,” conspicuously stating that God “made them male and female.”
These denominations are forced to twist and torture the plain teachings of Christ and the church fathers. Paul and other early church leaders were unambiguous about the need for Christians to “flee porneo,” a Greek term that refers to all sex, no matter with whom that sex is enjoyed, outside of male-female marriage. You’ll find unquestionably clear condemnations of homosexual behavior in the Bible’s Romans 1, 1 Cor 5:9-11, Eph 5:5, 1 Tim 1:9-10, Heb. 13:4, Rev 21:8, Rev 22:14-15, 1 Cor 6:9-10.
But these tolerant, accepting ministers aren’t letting pesky tradition nor consistent scripture stop them from basking in the rainbow limelight. Nor will they let natural law—the moral ought derived from nature—stand in their way. They seem to be following the woke Roman Road by “suppressing the truth” about “what has been made.” Most importantly, what has only ever “been made” has been so via male-female unions: children.
Children are the ultimate victims of the theological battle the progressive church is waging against itself. A church that pretends same-sex unions are equal to biblical marriage condemns children to a motherless or fatherless existence. These Christian leaders are trading the rights, longings, needs, and well-being of children for self-aggrandizement. In doing so, they do great harm to “the least of these.”
The following is a scenario some rainbow-flag-flying pastors will undoubtedly face in the coming years. What would Pastor Inclusive say to this 15-year old boy if he were a member of their church: “I have two lesbian parents…I like my grandparents, there (sic) more like my parents to me but it’s not the same as everyone else. I’m so jealous of my friends… I just wish I could know my dad and make the depression I have every day go away.”
Biblically, this boy is commanded to honor his mother and father, except, Pastor Inclusive chose to officiate the wedding of his two moms, making it impossible for him to obey God’s command. Pastor Inclusive interprets scripture in a way that dismisses this father-hungry teen’s deepest longings and fundamental right to be known and loved by his father.
What say you, Pastor Inclusive? Do you believe this boy is required to sacrifice his need for a father so you can validate the feelings of adults in your congregation?
If Pastor Inclusive were facing biblical and natural law reality, the painful father/mother hunger suffered by kids of same-sex parents would demolish his “inclusive and affirming” fantasies that gay marriage is equal to biblical marriage. Pastor Inclusive might have to finally admit that the opinions of his progressive friends matter more to him than God’s infallible word and the fundamental rights of this suffering boy.
Christians must resist the “fine sounding arguments” (Colossians 2:4) urging the church to “become relevant to their communities” via reinterpreting long-settled doctrine on sex and marriage. When in doubt, here’s a cheat sheet for God’s people; in God’s economy, the weak never sacrifice for the strong. Not once, ever. Rather, it is the strong who must sacrifice on behalf of the weak and needy.
You might recall one such costly sacrifice made for you by a man named Jesus. Out of love, He used his strength to endure unimaginable suffering and make the ultimate sacrifice for you and us because we are weak, and we needed it. Then He told us to do likewise.
Progressive churches and denominations who compromise on God’s marriage laws and sexuality either don’t care, or have forgotten how costly scriptural commands are, whether it’s giving to God’s people who are in need, blessing those who curse us, or caring for orphans and widows in distress. Yet when God commands us to do or not do something, it’s often an affront to our immediate comfort and human desires. We naturally balk at the high price of spirit-led living, but in the long run God’s directives always result in relational, physical, emotional, and spiritual wholeness, especially for the most vulnerable.
Nowhere is this high short-term price, long-term gain truer than living under God’s design for sex only within marriage. Mastering sexual desire is costly and challenging. But when our sexual urges become god, we force children to sacrifice on our behalf.
Abstaining from premarital sex is difficult, but too often it results in children born to unmarried parents and therefore unstable households. Married couples find they must either work through difficulties such as communication impasses, financial stressors, and unrealistic expectations of the marital relationship, or subject their children to split-homes expectations, split-home instability, and split-home lives.
Adults who order a family around their same-sex attraction so they can “have it all” force their child to sacrifice a dual-sex upbringing. They “have it all” by choosing a motherless or fatherless life for their children. For their all, children get half.
What these loving, tolerant, and progressive denominations have done by validating same-sex unions is put the onus on children to sacrifice for adults. They insist the least of these give up their right to be known and loved by the two people responsible for their existence, the complementary mothering and fathering that maximizes child development, and an in-home picture of God’s devotion to his own bride, the church.
In the parent-child relationship, someone’s going to have to make the sacrifice. Should it be the adults or the children? When you abide by God’s design, the answer is always the adults, whether they be straight or gay, single or married.
No adult gets a pass. All adults must defer to the well-being of children in their sexual choices. Observing God’s commandments is costly, but submitting our sexual decisions to the authority of Christ results in relational, physical, emotional, and spiritual wholeness for children.
Many legitimate disagreements exist between Christians, but sex and marriage is not one of them. Redefining marriage, in both the Christian and cultural context, redefines parenthood by way of making mothers and fathers optional in the life of a child. And that’s wrong.
As Christians, we are unequivocally commanded to protect the fatherless, not create them. The Church of Scotland’s decision will do exactly that.