marriageequality

There are many diverse views on same-sex marriage – and homosexuality itself – within the Christian community.

And we believe that the full diversity of the Christian voice is not well-represented by the 24-hour-news shows or online pundits,  so we want to make a bit of space here for that diversity to be well-received and heard. 

One of the wonderful things about our community here at A Deeper Story is the way we disagree beautifully. Opinions vary widely for our writers and for our readers on everything from politics to parenting, theology to sexuality.

We’ve tried to create a safe place here; a place to see your own self reflected and also to learn more about the people who you’ve perhaps misunderstood in the past. Sometimes we succeed, sometimes we fail, but always, we are changed for the better by listening to one another.

Recently, the United States has made two major legal rulings related to marriage equality. First, the Supreme Court of the United States has declared the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, which clears the way for same-sex couples to receive the same federal benefits as straight couples (currently, only in the states where same-sex marriages are lawful). And the Supreme Court has cleared the way for same-sex marriages to be legalized in California by declining to decide the case related to Prop 8, a bitterly contested proposition that divided the state and even the country. Both of these cases are seen as landmarks for the ideological shift they represent in the country and many believe that these rulings will clear the way for more states to legalize same-sex marriage soon.

This news comes on the heels of the surprising news that Exodus International, the leading ex-gay reparation ministry of evangelicalism, has apologized to the gay community and will be closing their doors. (It remains to be seen what their new mandate will be.)

So today, the editors have asked our writers to respond to these particular rulings at the Supreme Court – not on behalf of Deeper Story as a whole, but for their own self. And we’d like to invite you to do the same in your comment. This issue will continue to be part of our conversations as a Church and we want to be a place for us all to gather and learn, share and move forward – together.

First, from our writers:

What is your response to the Supreme Court rulings regarding Prop 8 and DOMA?

 

Preston Yancey – My theological position has never and will never be determined at the discretion of the legislative body of a country’s government. Regardless of what I believe to be true of marriage in the sacramental context of Christian faith, I have been tasked by my Saviour to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and be the grace and mercy of God in the world. Denying partners hospital visitation or using immigration laws as backchannels to dissolve unions does not ring true of a people called to feed, clothe, and be. Theological disagreement must not translate into a denial of rights in a free society. My gay friends and their spouses are always welcome at my table; I expect at least that much from my secular government.

Erika Morrison – I felt the way people must have on the day the astronauts landed on the moon….and those famous words echoed in my heart: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”. Because my belief can be simplified like this: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things there is NO law.” (Galatians 5:22-23, emphasis added) It is my opinion that there is NO law – perceived or otherwise – that holds up against two people to love each other.

Mihee Kim-Kort – This is one topic that is so controversial in my family that my parents and I can’t talk about it anymore without becoming really angry. I grew up in a traditional and conservative Christian home but “came out” in support of these peers in seminary who were on a similar journey as me. They were seeking to be wholly and genuinely faithful through everything God created in them. “There is no Jew or Greek…” We are called to be reconciled to all and the government – at the very least – is required to treat all with equal respect and rights. I’m deeply encouraged that our government is finally recognizing the need for parity in these basic human rights. We are on our way!

Adam Walker Cleaveland – I’m glad to see that we are making progress…as slow as it feels most of the time…and am glad that many of my LGBTQ friends will now have greater freedoms and more rights. It’s ridiculous that we should have to be pleased about this…everyone getting the same and rights being equal…but I am glad that we are finally moving in this direction. My hope is that my own denomination, the Presbyterian Church (USA), will be able to catch up to this and sometime soon change our definition of marriage as well.

Grace Biskie – I am theologically opposed to same sex marriage as a sacramental covenant being upheld by the Church, yet I am deeply, DEEPLY disappointed in how the Church has treated the LGBT community in the midst of bitter political battles.  It’s foolish to believe that everyone belongs to the Church or should be forced to live within the boundaries of the Church.  Therefore, I believe the LGBT community should have rights to marry, to see one another in the hospital, to adopt and enjoy each and every privilege that I have as a married heterosexual women.  The secular state’s denial of this legal contract between two consenting adults is a ridiculous injustice.  I pray that today’s decision will bring justice, relief, grace and hope to those living under the burden of injustice.  Let justice roll down… Also, everything that Preston said. =)

Micah J. Murray - To those for whom this is a day of celebration – I celebrate with you. You aren’t statistics or or an agenda or “them”. You are moms and dads and brothers and sisters and husbands and wives. And I am so, so happy for you. To those who feel like this is a point scored for the other team, I’d invite you to stop playing the game. Love doesn’t mean compromising your personal beliefs, but it does mean that people matter more than those beliefs. Love is a big circle with room inside it for all of us. Let’s make today a day for words of love. (for more, see: Why I Can’t Say “Love the Sinner / Hate the Sin” Anymore)

Tamára Lunardo - I began shaking-crying because “You are exactly as human and worthwhile as your straight friends” is what SCOTUS is saying to LGBTQ people today– and it is what Jesus has always said. And so I am overjoyed that this truth of intrinsic worth and equality is being proclaimed across our country because we are all– gay, straight, and everywhere on the spectrum– brokenhearted people, and I know firsthand that the Truth is the only thing that can heal our hearts and allow us to accept the perfect love of God. So when we say “love wins” today, I happy, shaky cry. Because the love I see winning biggest of all is the first love, the deepest love, the best love– the love that says, “You are exactly as human and worthwhile as I’ve created you to be.”

Joy Bennett - The Supreme Court’s ruling today to overturn DOMA is the right decision, and one that I welcome. It refers the definition of marriage and recognition of same-sex marriage back to states. It surprises me to hear conservatives, who ardently support states’ rights, bemoaning this ruling as “sin winning.” It is my personal position that any couple wishing to vow fidelity and faithfulness to one another ought to be encouraged in that endeavor. And any couple willing to make that kind of commitment and form a family ought to receive the civil and legal rights that naturally follow the formation of a family. I see the legal recognition of a marriage as a completely separate issue from the theological discussion of homosexuality. The Supreme Court did not change anything about so-called traditional marriage. The Supreme Court did not require churches or religious bodies to recognize same-sex marriage. It made a civil ruling. The theological question of whether homosexuality is a sin is completely separate from its legality, and it would behoove today’s American Christians to remember that fact.

Nish Weiseth - “When I first heard the news this morning, I’ll admit that I cried a few tears of joy. I have family and friends who are directly impacted by the SCOTUS rulings – their lawful marriages and commitments to their spouses can no longer be viewed as “less than,” and their marriage is viewed as equal to mine in the eyes of federal law. Their federal rights are protected under the Constitution, and I believe that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is for ALL citizens, regardless of sexual orientation. Joy quickly turned to dread when I realized that this would still be a strong point of contention in the midst of the Church. So, it’s my prayer that as believers, we would come together, united under the banner of Jesus Christ and remember that this isn’t just an issue in and of itself… that this ruling deeply affects real people with real lives and real relationships. I pray that we can come together and love each other well.”

Emily Maynard - When I was growing up, I heard over and over again the dangers of the “slippery slope.” Every political decision or theological question, risked the erosion of the moral fibre of America, my family’s values, and my connection to God. I agonized over even the smallest decisions, because I believed that any hint of compromise was the way of death. It terrified me for years. But in the past few years, I’ve learned that I’d rather be on the “slippery slope” with the Holy Spirit than building any more social barriers. I’ve learned a lot about Love. I’ve learned to listen better to my LGBTQ friends, and hear what this means to them. Some see these public decisions as a moral landslide and I know it terrifies them, so I pray for peace. But some of us are grabbing handfuls of dirt and flinging them into the air like confetti, because every leap towards equality and love is worth celebrating.

Andrea Levendusky - Whether or not you agree or disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision, the question that remains is this: What IS the Gospel that you believe? Are you still the greatest sinner that you know? Today, arguments and accusations — of bigotry, of hatred, of injustice, of desecration — they’ll be thrown across both lines. Both sides will feel wounded. Both sides need Jesus, desperately. Today I raise one flag — not of American Pride, or Gay Pride, or Conservative Evangelicalism pride. Today I claim Jesus — the Gospel. The work of repentance and redemption for all. The invisible work of the Spirit in hearts I do not know. The power of love in the cross that as Jesus said “draws all people to Himself”.  I know someone whose actions I detest. They do things unimaginable and things that disgust me. At times, I wish this person didn’t exist. And I wonder if God’s love is big enough for their sin. They carry on as if what they do doesn’t matter; as if their sin is somehow not sin. I can barely stand the thought of the things they do. When I think of who is destroying the image of Godliness, I think of them. When I think of the person who mocks truth, I think of them. When I think of who deserves the suffering of hell the most severely, I think of this person. That person is me. 

Kelley Nikondeha - I’m all the way in Burundi and I heard the news. I felt deep relief, I let out a long sigh that grew into a smile. I’m so glad my LGBT friends can share in rights, freedom and protection under the law.

Elora Nicole - I use to believe all things needed to be categorized as “wrong” or “right” but now, I see a whole lot of grey and a lot more Jesus. I try to think of HIm in situations like this. How would He respond? What would He do? I’d like to think nothing would change, really. I imagine Him having a raucous meal tonight, joining others in their celebration, meeting them where they are and loving them in that way of His. This, to me, is grace. There is nothing to fear here. My marriage won’t change because my friends finally get a legitimate shot of living like I do. Even more beautiful? Neither will my faith.

Jason Boyett - Personally, I’m thrilled for my friends whose families are now being recognized as legitimate, and who see this as an acknowledgement of the very basic dignity and equality we all deserve. So I support the SCOTUS decisions today. As for my friends who don’t like this decision, I remind them that we’re a country that came together because we wanted freedom from a government that got all messily intertwined with religion. We need to remember that, especially when the state makes a decision that seems at odds with your religious beliefs.

Kristen Howerton - I am thrilled that my LGBT friends here in California have the same rights to marry as every other inhabitant of the state. I believe that churches should continue to have the right to offer covenant marriages as they see fit, according to their own interpretation of scripture. But I also believe that the state should afford legal rights to all citizens. I think that affirming marriage for all couples actually strengthens the family values in our society. I value family. I value marriage. I want it to be available to everyone who values it, too.

 

As a community, we’ve written about same-sex marriage before. You can read our posts here:

Jesus Loves the Gays, This I Know by Joy Bennett

I’m an evangelical Christian. And I think same-sex marriage should be legal. by Sarah Bessey

What Really Frustrates Me About the Gay Marriage Debate Is…. by Zack Hunt

When Rainbows Make You Uncomfortable by Sarah Markley

We are the Queer. We are the Whore. by Tamara Lunardo

Tara Needs Telling by Tamara Lunardo

Have a little faith. by Mandy Stewart

On defining a family by Allison Olfelt

This land is your land by Heather King

Just hear me by Ashleigh Baker

On love by Ashleigh Baker

Extreme Love by Sara Sophia

I Beg to Differ by Erika Morrison

The biblical definition of marriage and it’s relevance to marriage equality by Kristen Howerton

 Your turn, friends:  What is your response to the Supreme Court rulings regarding Prop 8 and DOMA?

(And please remember: we disagree well here with kindness. Personal attacks or hate-filled comments will be deleted.)

81 comments

  1. I speak descriptively, not prescriptively, recognizing the diversity of experience and preference. The covenant of marriage is central to my life. Getting married at age twenty-two grounded me in an enormously formative way. For me, being a wife and having a husband have taught me about true fidelity, maturity, intimacy, and love. This primary relationship is what has given me the capacity to reach out and love others well – as a friend, as a pastor, as a mother, even as a better sister and daughter.

    I hope and pray that the benefits of marriage – emotional, spiritual, physical, financial, and civic – will be afforded to all couples, regardless of gender. DOMA has been struck down, and for this I rejoice, but there is still work to be done on a state level to ensure marriage equality for all.

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  2. Lori

    Thank you! So thankful to have found this place and to be stretched and challenged in my beliefs.

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  3. I’m delighted to see this. I really am.

    And I know this will sound nitpicky, but as a copyeditor in social issues work, the terminology is significant.

    Contributing authors, would you please consider revising your statements to add Qs at the end of your LGBTs? Inclusion in a group is so deeply personal and sensitive, and the use of outdated terms (albeit frustratingly alphabet-soupy) accidentally marginalizes those you’re trying to express welcome to.

    As an ally of good people who identify as queer, I ask you to edit this for their sake. Words mean things, after all.

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    • Done.

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    • I’m seeing that Queer Theology does use LGBTQ, but The Human Rights Campaign and Believe Out Loud both continue to use LGBT. The Q also seems to signify either Questioning or Queer. I certainly don’t want to marginalize anyone, but I see that LGBT is still currently in use (although I have seen it expanded to include a number of other identifiers in addition to Q).

      Can someone point us to a resource explaining the inclusion of Q as being best/most up-to-date?

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      • Ah, yes. Queer is the usually accepted use of it, though Questioning is equally relevant.

        The HRC is great, but problematic because most of their efforts are focused on white gay men interested in getting married. I’m not familiar with Believe Out Loud, but perhaps it’s the same situation there. I know a lot of LGBTQ people who don’t want to be associated with the HRC because of these exclusion issues.

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  4. Melinda

    Hebrews 13:4 – “Marriage should be honored by all…” and I am still trying to find the footnote that references who “ALL” is…

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  5. John

    I read “we disagree beautifully” and yet read not one dissenting opinion on this. I read that you’re trying to create “a place to see your own self reflected” and yet that simply isn’t true, or at least not true based on the evidence here. You’ve created a paradise for largely like-minded writers and readers, which is entirely your prerogative. Enjoy your little corner of the internet, but please, stop trying to convince the reader that you’re creating a space for diversity when you really only mean on certain subjects.

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    • Hey John,
      We actually do disagree on a lot. Just one example listed here, Grace opposes same-sex marriage theologically as a covenant upheld by the church. I do not. We’ve disagreed over hell and the afterlife, the sovereignty of God, economic policy and healthcare, and more. Feel free to peruse the archives and read the dialogue in many of the comment sections where writers here have disagreed. There has been some great conversation!

      I can see how it was implied that we have differing opinions on this issue, but that wasn’t implicitly stated. Sarah plainly suggested that we disagree on a lot. Writers, readers and the community around Deeper Story as a whole. We don’t see eye to eye on everything. As it happens, we all seem to agree on the SCOTUS ruling… or at least those that offered their opinions here. I honestly wasn’t expecting that at all.

      But based on your comment, I can only come to the assumption that you’re new here and this is your first foray into our community.

      First of all, welcome.

      Secondly, I’d like to actually hear what you think about the SCOTUS rulings on DOMA and Prop 8, rather than just your opinion the lack of diversity in our opinions. Because even if it is counter to what was listed here, it is valuable and I’d like to hear it.

      Best to you,

      Nish Weiseth
      Editor in Chief

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      • John

        I’ll have to give you the benefit of the doubt as to your surprise at this result. Contrary to your assumption, this is not the first time I’ve visited the site. I’m by no means a regular reader, but I’ve visited several times over the last year and came away each time with the opinion that A Deeper Story has a decidedly liberal bent. Perhaps chance hasn’t been in my favor, and I’ve missed the kind of disagreements you speak of, but I haven’t seen those either. Regardless, I fully expected this kind of result, and I’m not the Editor in Chief.

        As for my opinion, I am concerned about the legal precedent this sets. The Supreme Court is not composed of idiots. They know full well that they set precedent with every ruling. And they have, simply put, upended centuries of tradition. Not necessarily a bad thing, but where does it end? What makes gay marriage or traditional marriage any better than polygamous marriage for example? #LoveIsLove still, right? After all, if it’s between consenting adults, what does it matter what they choose to do, right? All kinds of arguments in favor of gay marriage can quite easily be applied to any other kind of sexual relationship, so why not legitimize those as well? If a father loves his adult daughter in that special way, and she loves him back, what’s the big deal?

        Additionally, even before this ruling we had homosexual couples beginning to bring lawsuits against small businesses that refused to participate in homosexual weddings as a matter of principle. Now the floodgates are open. President Obama has said that he won’t force churches to marry homosexual couples if they don’t wish to, but he was also against gay marriage two years ago. And there’s no reason to believe that his successor will restrain himself in a similar fashion, should popular opinion shift in that direction.

        SCOTUS could have forced Congress to rewrite parts of DOMA to explicitly protect religious freedoms, to bar other types of sexual relationships from legalization, much like they required Congress to rewrite the formula in the Voting Rights Act. But they punted it to the states instead. I prefer States having this power over the Federal government, but there’s not a court out there that will choose to abide by State law when it conflicts with Federal law. And the Federal government has demonstrated multiple times that it will throw out State law in favor of Federal law.

        SCOTUS bailing on Prop 8 is concerning to me because it was initially passed by majority vote. Only after legal challenge was it brought before a judge that may or may not have a vested interest in the outcome, who then tossed it out. Is it not concerning to anyone else that a judge who’s motive was questioned is given free reign to override the majority will of the people? Prop 8 could have been about labeling juice boxes, and these circumstances would still be highly irregular. And yet SCOTUS declined the case. How is that right?

        But I suppose all this is simply my projecting my own morals on a secular society which can’t be expected to abide by any, so what does my opinion matter? And based on the complete lack of dissenting opinions here, it’s certainly in the minority.

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        • Fair enough.

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        • Sue

          “SCOTUS bailing on Prop 8 is concerning to me because it was initially passed by majority vote. Only after legal challenge was it brought before a judge that may or may not have a vested interest in the outcome, who then tossed it out. Is it not concerning to anyone else that a judge who’s motive was questioned is given free reign to override the majority will of the people?”

          Prop 8 was “passed by a majority of the people” but it was a discriminatory ballot measure. If we put a measure on the ballot such as people of different races would not be allowed to marry, even if it “passed by a majority of the people” it would still be discrimination.

          And you are correct when you say, “this is simply my projecting my own morals on a secular society…”

          That’s a bingo.

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        • A really reasoned response. Well done John. You can’t have one ‘freedom’ (in this instance, to marry whoever, whatever your chose) trump another freedom (to believe the bible) . It will be interesting as this plays out. Will my pastor be a bigot, homophobe because he won’t marry gays? Will he be bullied by the loving, diverse crowd?

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    • John, I think you point out something really interesting here. I believe that the views on this issue are diverse in this community, but the love is the same.

      I’d love to hear more views on the DOMA & Prop 8 rulings, and I hope that you’ll find many who will listen to any response, as long as it meets the community comment standards.

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    • John, I’m a conservative Christian who believes pursuing a homosexual relationship is ultimately sinful, but I choose how I explain that and how I divide my understanding of how that relates to the Church and to the State. I’m curious as to how you think we all agree on this issue. Many of us here have very different beliefs about this within the Church, even if we reflect similar feelings about the legality of the State.

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      • John

        It’s clear that everyone here, save myself, is pretty happy with the rulings on DOMA and Prop 8. Seems like agreement to me.

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        • Claire

          Well said, John. I had the same exact impression.

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          • Amy

            Me too. I thought diverse opinions would look … more diverse. John, you’re not alone.

        • Jenn H.

          John- you hit the nail on the head. There is a obvious missing viewpoint on A Deeper {left leaning} Story.

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          • John,

            Thank you. Your bravery to point this out far surpasses my own. I have never been a enough of a left-leaner to be active on this site.

            Individually, I love these editors and their voices.
            Together, however, there is a culture that arrises that slaps a person in the face each time you visit here.

            Unsubscribed. This is not about DOMA.

            This is about the need for diversity. When you find yourself in an environment that you’re incapable of having a different disposition, then it’s time to get out.

    • Hey John,

      I’m the guy who wrote, “Love doesn’t mean compromising your personal beliefs, but it does mean that people matter more than those beliefs.”

      As others have mentioned, our personal beliefs about the Bible’s teaching on marriage and how the government should be involved in that do vary. Perhaps what you see here is not homogenized opinion, but rather a shared commitment to place relationships above issues.

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      • John

        I have to disagree with you Micah. Your definition of love does mean compromising beliefs, because people are of paramount importance. It doesn’t matter if I believe that sin is sin, if it hurts someone’s feelings, well then I guess I just have to amend my beliefs because people are more important. Truth doesn’t matter when people come before it.

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        • Christine

          But people ARE more important than their sin (i think that’s what you mean by “truth” – your decision that they are truly sinning?). That’s the entire point of forgiveness and Christ’s grace. I am so so so glad that Christ sees me as more than my covetousness and selfishness and all my many sins. If all my friends and family spent all their time telling me about all my sin (which is true – as a human I have lots), I would have a much harder time seeing God’s grace. We represent him to each other.

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          • John

            What I mean is that I do not believe love means putting people before beliefs. It can’t. Because if I believe X is a sin, but the people around me do not or are offended by that view, if I’m putting people first, I have to change my position. I am forced to compromise. I have effectively said that their judgement is more valuable to me than God’s. My love, beliefs, and faith mean nothing if they are controlled and manipulated by the people around me. There can be no truth in such relativism.

            I agree that people are more important than their sin, otherwise Christ would have had no reason to sacrifice Himself to atone for that sin. My belief that Christ can and has forgiven that sin is more important than either the sin or the sinner.

          • Christine

            Hi again Jon (not sure why I don’t see a reply button on your comment, so I’ll just put it here.

            Could you tell me how your ideas are applied in your own relationships?

            I guess I’m not sure about the connection you draw between loving people (“putting people first”) and being manipulated into changing your beliefs. How does being friends or family with someone who disagrees with you force you either judge them or change your beliefs? That would imply that you are either in relationships with people who either don’t sin (according to your view of sin) or who all agree (or you are doing alot of talking about “Truth” ie judging). I don’t mean to provoke argument, I just don’t really get it. Could you clarify? Thanks!

    • Joy

      This is exactly what I thought.

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  6. I’ll bite.

    I’m uncomfortable with the ruling but not outraged. I suppose those in one camp expect me to be but I’m not. The other camp may want me to react gleefully but I didn’t. Somehow it seems as if there is a false sense of accomplishment for one side and defeat for the opposite.

    While I don’t have an issue with the government sanctioning whatever relationships it wishes, I don’t want that imposed on the church. I as a pastor want to be able to speak to couples honestly about my beliefs and convictions on marriage. Why not allow civil unions? Even then certain churches who don’t take issue can sanction it in their own religious ceremony. If this goes across the board, the government will be telling the church what it has to allow.

    For those of you who don’t think this will be an issue, it already is. There are already lawsuits pending in Washington because wedding vendors chose not to provide services for same sex couples. It would be like a Catholic couples suing me because I won’t perform a Catholic ceremony. (Really though who truly wants to do business with someone or have a service performed by a person that adamantly opposed to your union?)

    With that said, Preston’s comments are identical to mine, he just said it better.

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    • Tiannah

      That’s my only concern, also. Institutions must have their religious rights protected also. I think SOME of these lawsuits may not be done out of feeling hurt, but simply for malice. I agree, I would take my money to some one who does not take issue with me. Otherwise, I am happy with the decision.

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    • Those are totally valid concerns. And for what it’s worth, I think you articulated it just fine.

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    • My understanding is that businesses are not allowed to discriminate against their customers on the basis of their sexual orientation, their race, etc. So a wedding vendor may not refuse to sell cake to a lesbian couple the same way he may not refuse to sell cake to an interracial couple, or to an African American couple, or to a Buddhist couple.

      Government officials where same-sex marriage is legal are also not allowed to discriminate against same-sex couples, the same way they are not allowed to discriminate against couples on the basis of their race or religion. So a clerk of the courts in a state where same-sex marriage is legal cannot refuse to marry them, in the same way Keith Bardwell received heavy criticism for refusing to marry an interracial couple. (He resigned before a formal investigation was brought, I believe.) Similarly, a clerk of the courts would not be allowed to refuse to marry an atheist couple.

      Members of the clergy, however, can refuse to marry whomever they want. So a pastor could refuse to marry a same-sex couple in the same way she could refuse to marry an agnostic couple, or a couple who had previously been married to other people, or a couple who had not gone through premarital counseling. I believe all of these occur fairly commonly.

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  7. I’m a gay guy who attempts to follow God, live Kingdom of God ideals, and connect with the Holy Spirit. My reaction to these rulings are a bit complicated. First of all, I am logically aware that this is a positive step and for that I am grateful. Secondly, I am sad that once again, we have a divided court (reflecting our divided country). My deepest and most visceral reaction, however, has not been to the rulings themselves but to the responses to these rulings from many in the Christian community. It’s a reaction of anger, despair, and terror–pure fear. (And, therefore, no love.) Today has made me realize that I cannot call myself a “Christian” anymore. I can follow Christ; I can be a part of the “catholic & apostolic church”, but I refuse–REFUSE–to share a label with people such as Mike Huckabee, Michelle Bachmann, and countless others (known and unknown) who continually despise their neighbor for the sake of a stubbornly narrow interpretation of the Bible. They seem determined to narrowly define the term “Christian” anyway–excluding as many people as possible–so they are welcome to it.

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    • Hey, Kevin-

      I understand and respect your decision, but I just have to say, as someone who feels the same discomfort at sharing the name, it makes me sad to see you “go.” Would you consider keeping the name “Christian” and working alongside me and so many other sisters and brothers who want to see it restored? A sibling in Christ is a sibling in Christ no matter what, but it really does mean something special when we share the family name.

      Peace to you, no matter your name-
      Tamára

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    • Tiannah

      I’m with Tamara, I feel the same way, I’ve felt so embarrassed to say I am Christian. People often question why I still identify as a Christian when I am for marriage equality and against purity culture amongst other issues, but the fact of the matter is this; if people like you, me and Tamara leave, NOTHING will change. That’s why I love forums like these. I know I’m not alone, and the hateful extremists do NOT represent me and the majority. I have learned to speak up for Christ and the Church. No more being silent.

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      • Blessed

        Ok, Tiannah, I completely agree with you about “no more being silent”–and yet, it sure feels like anyone who disagrees with gay marriage is demonized and has the “right” of their voice stripped from the public arena. Maybe this is backlash to the fact that anti-gay marriage/anti-gay was the rhetoric of the power class for so long–the pendulum always swings wildly, never rationally. But I sincerely hope that everyone who is pro-gay marriage (and pro all the other acronyms that are represented in that) will remember how it felt to be the minority, and not shut down the remaining dissenting voices.

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  8. Love the diversity and presence of grace in this article. Emily, I grew up with similar thoughts and fears I picked up from my family. It was not until the past two years that I have been able to feel peace that no matter who is elected, what laws are passed etc. that my life and family and beliefs would not come crashing down. Things are not always black and white, and goodness gracious, opposition to conservative stances are not “faith issues.” I am truly grateful and challenged by you writers and lovers of Jesus. There is such hospitality present here to sit and think, challenge, encourage, disagree, agree, and seek His truth together.

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    • Yes yes, yes Kaitlin! Thank you. These things are not black and white, which is why we need the Holy Spirit and ears willing to hear, lips willing to speak up, and hands willing to pass the bread and wine to all.

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  9. Colby

    Thanks for posting this–it’s good to see the differing perspectives (even if they do ultimately all agree in principle on this particular issue).

    I’m personally conflicted. I do believe that “civil marriage” is really something that exists outside of the church and we cannot ultimately force others to live or not live the way we see fit, especially in a secular nation. We may believe many things to be sinful, but it would be ridiculous to prevent people from doing them in our nation. So, this is a good thing from a secular, rights-based perspective.

    However, I am conflicted from a theological perspective. I believe homosexual actions are sinful–some of the authors share this view (at least when viewed simplistically). If I believe this, how can I celebrate what will ultimately result in more sinful behavior? How could I say to my gay friends, “Yay for you, you can get married,” but then turn around and say “but… doing so would be sinful”? Or how can we celebrate that homosexuals can get married, but then if they visit our church, receive salvation, and want to begin making God-honoring changes to their lives, we say, “Actually, that marriage you now have that we were celebrating, that is sinful–you need to end that relationship.”

    Along the same lines, at what point does celebrating something from a secular perspective become condoning it from a theological perspective?

    It seems that no one is talking about this conflict and I suspect it is because we have never had to have this discussion because ga marriage has been historically illegal. But if we are going to celebrate two people’s right to enter into what we believe is a sinful (but secular) covenant, we better be prepared to also respond from a theological perspective.

    Another question that arises from this for me is a general one but related: how are we as believers to think about celebrating sinful behavior in general in a secular country? Yes, we may believe people should be able to do what they want, but do we really want them to do it? To use an example related to marriage, if divorce were in fact illegal and suddenly made legal, should we really celebrate that? Should we really have joy that this sinful action is now more readily available? Again, it’s something we should all be thinking and talking about.

    Lastly, I actually do think the “slippery slope” argument has some merit in this case. At this point gay marriage being legalized at the federal level is inevitable and right on the horizon. Once this is done though, I suspect we will begin seeing the cases of “discrimination” begin arising in churches. For those authors that stated they oppose gay marriage from a theological perspective, let’s say down the road you are pastoring a church and are approached by a gay couple in your church to officiate their wedding. To you, this may not be something you could do in good conscious or perhaps you believe you would be sinning by participating in such a way. Could this couple then take you to court for discrimination based on sexual orientation? If you are an employee of the church or perhaps you are paid to officiate weddings, isn’t this a realistic scenario? I think we are not too far off from this. At what point do we become so “inclusive” as far as laws are concerned that are are no longer able to carry out our roles (pastor in this case) in accordance with our own Biblical beliefs? Just another concern that I think needs to be thought about and considered.

    Thank you to all the authors for all that you do. I would love to hear some feedback on my questions from others and the authors.

    Reply
    • Colby,
      Just wanted to address your question about pastors being sued. The lawsuits that are pending all relate to public facilities and businesses, like a florist, baker, or a bed and breakfast. These fall under the jurisdiction of civil rights law and can and are being sued for discrimination if they will not provide goods and services to a gay couple. Issues also arise when government officials, like a justice of the peace or clerk of court will not issue wedding licenses on principle, even in areas where gay marriage has been made legal, because they are government employees. Clergy and church facilities that are reserved for religious purposes have been explicitly excluded from being required to provide equal access in the states that currently legalize gay marriage. This means that a pastor cannot be compelled to provide a ceremony or allow it to take place in their church if it is against the beliefs of that church. I guess each state will determine how they specify these guidelines in the law going forward.

      Reply
      • Colby

        Anna,

        To your points, they are accurate, of course, but similar things could have been said about gay marriage just a few years ago. It would have been accurate to say “the law prevents people from entering into homosexual marriages,” but here we are now.

        We also live in a country in which frivolous lawsuits are the norm. Here, someone can order hot coffee that they (and everyone else) knew was hot, burn themselves, and then successfully sue the provider of the hot coffee because the cup didn’t say it was hot–common sense does not prevail.

        All it will take is the right situation and/or the right judge to take us down that road. Most things started out in a state of legality and everyone said “it will always be this way,” but then a new precedent was set. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but I am cynical in this respect. I think it is only only a matter of time before that “protection” for religious institutes is challenged.

        Reply
        • I’m curious what our friends in Canada, or other countries who have legalized gay marriage, could offer on this. I haven’t heard any uproar recently that religious viewpoints are no longer allowed, but I may just be missing it.

          The point is very clear that people should be treated fairly in society, whereas one is always entitled to their own thoughts and opinions, able to speak them freely, and take responsibility for them.

          Reply
          • Christina

            I’m Canadian and we’ve had legalized same-sex marriage since I was in high school. I have not heard of a single pastor who was sued for refusing to marry a gay couple (and believe me, it would make the news). Most pastors I know have a policy of referring couples they don’t feel comfortable marrying (whether same-sex couples, mixed-faith couples, previously divorced, etc…) to other pastors who have established their willingness to perform any marriage ceremony.

            As far as freedom of expression and religion on the subject of homosexuality go, we have had a handful of pastors face litigation (mostly in our human rights tribunals rather than real courts) for hate speech, but it’s not the norm, and the only ones who get in trouble are the ones who say really slimy, demonstrably false things about gay people. I.e. it’s legal to preach that gay sex is sinful if you feel so inclined, but it’s not legal to claim that all gay men are pedophiles, because that’s demonstrably false and therefore constitutes slander. As far as I know, businesses aren’t allowed to refuse services to gay couples seeking marriage, but religious institutions are allowed to make exceptions based on bona fide religious requirements.

          • Christina

            Basically, I heard all the hysteria that’s going around now 8 years ago, but none of the threats have materialized.

        • Blessed

          Could not agree with you more, Colby, and appreciate all the points you have raised that so far others have not.

          Already, churches have to be very careful not to speak out politically, or they can lose their non-profit status. One could argue that this is not really a violation of the rights of free speech, since no church *has* to have the non-profit blessing of the government. . . but practically speaking it is still a form of political muzzle on churches. Specifically, speaking out in support of Prop 8 or against gay marriage technically violates the rules: “it may be better to not lobby at all nor encourage anyone to support, propose, or oppose any legislation. If you engage in too much lobbying, the organization could be stripped of its exempt status, and face a fine.” (From the first site that came up in a quick search–About.com on the topic “How Not To Lose your Tax-Exempt Status”)

          So, this is just one small example of how the government is already putting a hedge around the pulpit. I am cynical too, Colby, and can easily envision the next step will be labeling any interpretation of homosexuality in the Bible as against God’s design as “hate speech.”

          One could easily say that such anticipations are based upon fear and irrational expectations of an unlikely worst case scenario. But we have the whole of history to look back upon and learn from–and we can often look forward to potential future outcomes with some certainty. Why is it “fear mongering” or “conspiracy theorist” or–GASP–”right wing” to attempt to logically project where things will lead, and question if it is wise for us as a nation–and/or for us as a church–to go there?

          Reply
      • Just wait.

        Reply
    • I have sensed this conflict too. Thank you for taking the time to flesh it out and ask some hard questions. It’s one of the main reasons I feel fairly neutral about the decision. I’m not ready to celebrate, but I’m certainly not terrified/angry about it either. The question you raise about a married homosexual couple coming to the church and wanting to make God-honoring decision is especially troubling to me. I think monogamous, faithful, and loving relationships are always better than the alternative. Is it really better to drive this couple apart, have them divorce (another not-so-God-honoring choice), and tear up a family? At this point, the easiest position for me to take is to say that homosexuality is not a sin, but I don’t feel comfortable doing that, at least not at this point in my journey. All this to say, I see a lot more gray and a lot more question marks than I do periods. I have a lot more to learn and appreciate everyone sharing their thoughts (and questions) in such a respectful way.

      Reply
    • Holly

      “However, I am conflicted from a theological perspective. I believe homosexual actions are sinful–some of the authors share this view (at least when viewed simplistically). If I believe this, how can I celebrate what will ultimately result in more sinful behavior? How could I say to my gay friends, “Yay for you, you can get married,” but then turn around and say “but… doing so would be sinful”? Or how can we celebrate that homosexuals can get married, but then if they visit our church, receive salvation, and want to begin making God-honoring changes to their lives, we say, “Actually, that marriage you now have that we were celebrating, that is sinful–you need to end that relationship.”

      Along the same lines, at what point does celebrating something from a secular perspective become condoning it from a theological perspective?”

      I SO agree with what you have written.

      Also, I too see a real lack of diversity in the what the writers have written. I was eager to hear many viewpoints and got the same one, 15 different ways. Nobody has any reservations? With our lack of history and experience with legalized homosexual marriage, even globally, you think there might be something brought up.

      And I wonder too for the writers who say politically homosexual marriage is OK, morally homosexual actions are not- have you ever spoken the truth in love about that to someone that is engaging in homosexual acts?

      Reply
  10. Carolyn

    I guess I’m confused by people’s assumption that churches will have to marry gay couples – they currently can choose to only hire Christians who believe exactly like they do and choose to feed only those who are willing to go through their programs and requirements. The only caveat would be if they accepted federal/state grants or loans. Why would marriage ceremonies be any different?

    Non-religious organizations such as flower shops will face/have faced law-suits because of their founders’ religious beliefs because they are not religious institutions and therefore not protected under freedom of religion. When that lawsuit is over something non-life threatening like flowers for a wedding, I am troubled, even though I am whole-heartedly in support of LGBTQ rights. If it’s not threatening someone’s access to housing, food and other necessities and there are other options, why does one person’s belief get to dictate how someone else does business?

    Reply
    • Blessed

      I completely agree, Carolyn. How it is ok for businesses to be sued for having principles, albeit ones that go against the current political culture?

      Reply
  11. Cindy Battles

    Here is my opinion which, in large, seems in agreement with what has been posted here http://battlesadventures.blogspot.com/2013/03/whose-side-are-you-on.html?m=1

    Reply
  12. Upon opening this URL, I had a few reservations in reading this. For all of my traditional Christian upbringing, gays have been the lepers of this modern day society, so to speak. At least in my mind and my mind had been greatly affected by my father’s ranting. However, for the first time EVER I am okay with this motion. Quite literally just ten minutes ago my heart was bemoaning this very issue. Then the foundations of this nation and more importantly Jesus’ approach to loving our broken mess of a people hit me smack dab on the forehead and said, “WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE LEGISLATIVE MOVEMENTS AND MOREOVER WHO ARE YOU TO TELL ANOTHER BROKENHEARTED PERSON WITH ISSUES THAT YOU ARE ANY LESS OF A HOT HEADED MESS?!” Oh yeah that’s right, NO ONE. You’re a cotton headed ninny muggins with a chasm so far between you and perfection that you needed a humble, peace-loving savior named Jesus to pluck you from the miry muck.

    To my fellow humans who identify themselves with the LGBTQ community: I am sorry and I mean it.

    Now I can’t say I want you divulging all your musings to me regarding your choices but you are more loved, more valued, and more prized than I can fathom for myself and that is humbling.

    Now keep on following Jesus hard, my comrades. This time is crucial more than ever to really love and that’s win love indeed wins. This kingdom building isn’t all about finding a spouse and having legal rights… (I’m talking to you too, HETEROS!)

    Godspeed.

    Reply
  13. In response to the question: how can we celebrate marriage if it promotes sinful behavior? The answer I believe all comes back to ‘grace’ and Christ’s finished work. We are all ‘sinners’ before we come to Christ, but once we accept Christ we are cleansed of our sin, once for all,and imputed with the gift of righteousness. It doesn’t matter what our sexual orientation is: ‘all have sinned and fallen short’.

    Therefore, if a gay couple, or any couple, are not in Christ, they are ‘living in sin’. Getting married does not change the ‘sin’ status of a person, anymore than getting married means becoming Christian.

    My point is this, once in Christ, all our sin has been paid for on the cross by Christ – we are righteous not by what we do, how we live, or our ‘obedience’ but because of Christ’s obedience. He crucified sin on the cross for all who believe, regardless of our sexuality.

    I’m not sure how sexuality became such a central concept to Christianity. The simple fact is, if we are in Christ, we are right with God, regardless of what you do or don’t do, gay, straight, transgender or any blend of sexual orientation – as a gift.

    I ask myself, what would Jesus say to a gay couple who wanted to get married? Would he say no, or would he say ‘come to me and drink the water I offer, and you will have life.’ The most important decision for every person alive is accepting Christ. All of our actions and dialogue as His ambassadors must lead towards this goal. Are our responses and behavior as Christians drawing people towards Jesus or pushing them away.

    Our Savior would do anything to save a soul, even die on a cross. Are we willing to die too, to our selves, and allow Him to live through us?

    Reply
    • Colby

      But we aren’t talking about “sin status.” Absolutely, said gay couple may be redeemed in Christ, but when we are redeemed does this mean we are then free to remain in our sin or willfully carry on sinful actions?

      What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin so that grace may increase? May it never be! How shall we who died to sin still live in it? (Romans 6:1-2)

      Of course out goal should be to bring people to Christ and help usher them into the kingdom, but what about sanctification? Shouldn’t we be discipling these believers and helping them live lives that are pleasing to God? Part of this means calling sin what it is–sin. One could easily make a case that we are not to judge or call out sin outside of the church, but this is not the case when we are dealing with believers. Even Jesus in John 8:11 tells the woman to “sin no more.”

      The point is that sin matters. All believers, straight or gay, should be seeking (and with the Holy Spirit) to bring their thoughts and actions into accordance with God’s will–this means putting aside our sin.

      So, if this is true, the question remains. If we believe homosexual actions are sinful, how can we celebrate the embrace of these actions on a secular/legal level and lament them on a theological level? I’m not saying I have the answer, but believers need to discuss it and think critically.

      Reply
  14. It fascinates me that not one person on here decried the decisions of SCOTUS. I agree that the Church must be more accepting and welcoming of the LGBT community. But that does not change the fact that the Bible clearly declares homosexuality as a sin. Yes, we are all sinners and we should not cast stones. Yet, we should also not welcome or laud a society that promotes sinful activity. I agree that laws need to change so that legitimate homosexual partners should have certain rights such as the right to inherit or the right to see their loved one in a hospital. Nevertheless, we should lovingly keep our finger in the dyke and say that marriage should be between one man and one woman. I fear that every writer on this site has made the mistake of loving without speaking truth, i.e. our job is to speak the truth tempered with love. Love without truth, however, is not love; it is some sort of rotten sentimentality.

    Reply
    • Tim:

      The Bible clearly declares that interracial marriage among the Israelites is forbidden. (Deut. 7:3-4 commands Israel not to intermarry, which many Christians, for years, interpreted to apply to interracial marriage.) Should the government forbid it because “it promotes sinful activity”? Most believers say no.

      Jesus clearly says that remarriage after divorce is adultery (Matt. 19:9). That also is sin. Should the government forbid it because “it promotes sinful activity”? Most believers say no.

      The Bible decries homosexuality, usually connected to pagan temple practices, but says nothing about committed homosexual relationships, as in a marriage. Why then should gay marriage be opposed on biblical grounds for promoting “sinful activity” but not the first two marriage issues above?

      Reply
      • Jaclynn

        Good thoughts here Tim.
        I might point out though that with homosexuality and the interracial marriage, the Bible did/does forbid it. However, there is a divorce clause. Remarriage after divorce is not always adultery.

        Reply
        • Jessica

          Technicality: Divorce us not always a sin under biblical law, but remarriage is. So a woman can divorce her cheating husband, but can’t marry another guy who comes along, because that is adultery.

          Splitting hairs. We are SO GOOD at that, you guys.

          Reply
    • Joy

      Amen! Thank you for being truthful. Sadly the truth is being sooo watered down now. Yes God truly loves us all, but He is a holy God who recoils at sin – yes, even my own. I guess the days really are getting darker.

      Reply
    • Amy

      But not all Americans are Christian, or conservative Christian, or religious at all. Why should your religious beliefs prevent my gay friends from having the same rights and protections My husband and I enjoy?

      Reply
  15. Emily

    I am a bit confused as it appears that all viewpoints expressed above are the same viewpoint in different words. I would love to hear some well written opposing views as well.

    Reply
  16. I’ll be honest. I’m still processing this decision. I think it’s quite clear that Biblically homosexuality is wrong and should be considered sinful.

    The problem is that we live in a lost and broken world. People don’t believe in absolute truth – it least it doesn’t seem like it – in this day and age. While our nation once proclaimed to be “under God”, it’s become clear that our government is not based on absolute truth but on what feels just feels right.

    Do homosexuals deserve rights? Absolutely. Does God love gay people? Absolutely. Does God like sin? Absolutely not.

    The Bible reminds us that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I know for certain that God loves us – messed up, broken, and sinful. But he can’t stand sin. He is holy. Sin is the opposite of holiness. If it were not for Christ and His sacrifice of atonement on the cross, we would never have a chance to stand whether we’re gay or straight. No one can be good enough to stand before God.

    And so I wrestle on….

    Reply
  17. I will admit, I don’t have a definitive theological stance on this issue. I am still working that out. I don’t know if a gay couple in a committed relationship is sinful. I don’t know if that’s what the “clobber verses” are referring to, or if they are, in fact, steeped in culture and referencing temple practices. I wish I knew for sure.

    But even despite my ambivalence and indecision, I still celebrate the ruling. I celebrate it because regardless of my theology, our gay brothers and sisters have the right to civil equality and access to the same benefits as straight couples. I celebrate it because I can’t believe that any laws that make a group of people feel marginalized and less than human can be right. So yes, I’m standing in solidarity with the gay community today.

    Reply
  18. I loved reading everyone’s posts.

    http://lovelyventure.com/the-same-sex-marriage-debate-a-few-thoughts/

    Reply
  19. Steve Edwards (@thegracespace)

    As for the homosexuality / sin issue, itt still comes back to Grace.

    “Those who are born of God are not able to sin.” (11 John 3:9 + 5:18).

    “We died with Christ and everyone who has died has been freed from sin.” (Romans 6:7)

    For every believer, whether you are gay, straight, bi, Transgender or a balloon animal for that matter, if you have accepted Christ you have been set free from sin. You have been made holy (Hebrews 10:10) perfect (Hebrews 10:14) and righteous (Romans 5:17) by His sacrifice, as a free gift.

    Anyone not in Christ is ‘dead in their sin’ as Paul says.

    Anyone in Christ has been set free from sin.

    Our righteous status does not depend on what we do or don’t do. God knew that we could never, ever attain His standard of righteouness ourselves, so He gave it to us as a free gift. The alternative was to lose us all forever. He choose to die to save us all. All we have to do is believe.

    Again, we are all sinners, saved by grace. We all break the Mosiac law every day, and if we break one, we break them all, remember.

    yet, if we have accepted Christ, we are pure, righteous and holy.

    He has done it. We could not do it ourselves. He did it for us.

    Much sin is hidden in churches, (porn addiction for example) However, gay couples live coureageously and unashamedly open (as they should).

    Let whoever is without sin cast the first stone. Otherwise, everyone must be welcomed to the table, and God will change His children into His image, from glory to glory.

    Reply
    • Steve Edwards (@thegracespace)

      sorry, that should read 1 John 3:9 + 5:18, NOT 11 John.

      Reply
      • Heather Den Houter

        Colby, I agree with everything you have shared. For example that sin exists and each of us grapples with what sin is. I liked the scriptures you shared and feel they go along with what y
        ou said about sin. I would type more but I’m typing this on my phone.

        Reply
    • Colby

      Steve,

      We certainly agree on the nature of salvation, which is what you are describing, but the point I have made in my posts is that upon receiving salvation, we are not then given full license to carry on in our sin. I think you may be misunderstanding a couple of the passages you reference. 1 John 3:9 really refers more to the idea of “[knowing] them by their fruit” and 5:8 is actually referring to Christ. The passages don’t convey that we are incapable of sinning once we have been saved but rather that this sin no longer separates us from God and ultimately that we are no longer defined or ruled by this sin.

      You state, “Much sin is hidden in churches, (porn addiction for example) However, gay couples live courageously and unashamedly open (as they should).” Here you seem to suggest that to live openly in sin is better than to sin in hiding—I would disagree with this.

      You also say, “Let whoever is without sin cast the first stone. Otherwise, everyone must be welcomed to the table, and God will change His children into His image, from glory to glory.” All are indeed ‘welcome at the table’ but are we to embrace sin? If we believe others are living in sin, should we really say “carry on in your sin because Christ has redeemed you, so it doesn’t matter”?

      Since we agree on salvation, namely that homosexuals (and all other sinners) can be and are redeemed in Christ, can you please clarify: are you suggesting that it is acceptable to continue to willfully sin once we are saved? However, if we simply disagree that homosexual actions are in fact sinful, then perhaps I am just spinning my wheels.

      Reply
      • Steve Edwards (@thegracespace)

        GRACE is more magnificent than the church has been teaching it, and now God is making known just how amazing it is – and it’s better than we ever imagined. For everyone in Christ, we are completely free from sin. God will never, ever count our sin against us ever again. Christ paid the penalty for it all. WE are absolutely free. Our ‘sin’ will never condemn us. It will, however, have consequences in our earthly lives, but it has no spiritual consequences for the believer.

        One preacher has said ‘if we are not accused of giving licence, we are not preaching true grace.’ Yes, people, Christians, can choose to abuse God’s grace, and God will freely give more and freely pardon everytime because Christ’s sacrifice was enough to pay for all sin – He was the sinless, spotless, perfect Lamb who takes away the sins of the world.

        1 John 3:9 + 5:18 is exactly what it says. “Those who are born of God are not able to sin.” Why, because the One who is born of God keeps us safe, and His seed remains in us.

        We are covered in His blood. Spurgeon describes it as ‘bathing in Christ’s blood.’ We are never dirty. Christ’s blood is like acid that destroys matter without a trace; the moment we do wrong, our sin is dissolved in Christ’s blood.

        When God judged the Egyptians, the Angel of Death passed over the houses with the blood on the doorpost. So also, we are covered in the blood of Jesus, and will never be judged for our sin. That is the good news! And isn’t it good? Better than good. Too good to be true!

        Thankfully, our righteousness and justification does not depend on what we do, but on what Christ did. Good job, or we’d all be in the eternal furnace!

        We are all sinners, and we all continue to sin (in our eyes) but to God, we are spotless, perfect, righteous and holy. Nothing we do can change our righteous status before God, because Christ gave it to us as a free gift by His sacrifice. To say we can continue to sin is to say that Christ’s blood wasn’t good enough to cleanse us from all sin. But it was, and is, and does, continually. Singaporean preacher Joseph Prince describes it as ‘a perpetual fountain of cleansing and forgiveness.’

        If there is any part of our lives that needs to change, God will do it. It is not up to us. We are absolutely cmpletely powerless to do anything. Remember Paul’s words:

        “And we all, reflecting the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are changed into His image from glory to glory. This comes from the Lord, who is The Spirit.”

        And finally, yes, it is better to be open about our sexual lives than hiding away in secret.

        Reply
        • Dennis Ellingburg

          I think you’ve misinterpreted 1 John 3:9. Here’s the context of the verse:

          “Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. 5 You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. 6 No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. 7 Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. 8 Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. 9 No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s2 seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. 10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. ”

          So the context actually supports Colby’s assertion (as does 1 John 5:18). The original Greek helps clear up this passage. The verb form of the original Greek for sin is the present active indicative form and that has the idea of current action with continuing results, thus it should be read as the ESV translates “continues to sin.” The force is that no one who is in Christ continues to live and move in sin, i.e. as my pastor used to say, “I can’t sin and like it”. (This can also be seen in the context – Content without Context is the Prelude to Error.)

          I agree with you that we are justified by GRACE, glorious grace, unending grace, unexplainable grace! And that grace covers the multitude of my sins both those I have committed and will commit, but as a believer I am bound by that same grace to be sanctified (I am being saved) by Christ, becoming more like Christ.

          Yes, if a homosexual couple came to Christ he would lead them to the gospel of grace, but then he would say, “go and sin no more.” Jesus’ grace did not allow the woman at the well to go home to her lover, but freed her from the bondage to sin that made her seek love in his arms in the first place. That same grace did not allow Ananias and Sapphira to continue in sin, but condemned them (and it indeed was grace that condemned them to death so that their error would not corrupt the early church). Grace does not excuse sin, but frees us to overcome it, to be more than conquerors!

          I agree with you that openness is better than secret. I agree we should welcome LGTBQ’s into our churches and into our homes. But grace is not a license to sin but a call to repent and become Christlike (sanctification).

          Let me give you an example. When I was saved by the grace of Christ, I was hopelessly addicted to pornography. I was sexually abused by a cousin at the age of 7, I was exposed to hardcore pornography by that same cousin at 8 and spent most of my teenage years battling guilt because I was a cultural Christian who knew it to be wrong but not saved by the blood of the lamb and therefore powerless to overcome it.

          When I was saved at the age of 16 years old I immediately overcame my problem with foul language, many of my temper issues, and whole array of sins, but pornography persisted, it was my thorn in my flesh. For the next 5 years I struggled off and on with addiction. Now, if I read your statements correctly I should have just kept on looking at porn and objectifying women because “I cannot sin!” (I hope this is not what you meant, brother!)

          But thanks be to God that he didn’t leave me that way and by the grace of God I am free from that bondage. I think that applies to all sin whether homosexuality, lying, greed, gossip, jealousy, sensuality (sorry Miley Cyrus),apathy, hatred for brothers and sisters in Christ, etc. All are sins and all are sinful and all must be put under the blood of the lamb.

          Reply
  20. I appreciate that there’s a real conversation happening here without people being hateful in their disagreements. Thank you to all of you.

    As for the topic and my response….I wrote yesterday about how hard it is for me to say anything. I can feel grounded in my beliefs and fear that I can’t articulate them well…like I can’t do love and grace justice and I surely can’t say that I understand the Bible better than the next grounded person. I do think that so often the conservative crowd has come across as angry and loud and so even if A Deeper Story is slanted in a way that makes some uncomfortable, and even if that were intentional (don’t think it is) than so be it. Sometimes a softer way is just exactly what gets the thoughtful conversations going (like in this thread).

    http://extraordinary-ordinary.net/2013/06/27/4354/

    Reply
  21. Blessed

    I find myself in a fascinating place of “betweens”:

    –Honored to have gay and lesbian friends and also very conservative Christian friends.

    –Very aware that in Christ I have the full freedom to love them all, equally, without reservation.

    –Christian, but fully aware that I do not (yet?) understand what God thinks about his gay children marrying, but do know that He loves them.

    –Pro-civil unions, but saddened by the political usurpation of the covenantal term “marriage” (I think all legally-recognized unions should be civil, and the sacrament of Christian marriage should have nothing to do with the government–too late to turn back that clock, however!)

    –Very glad that there are churches that welcome and embrace homosexuality, since I don’t (yet?) know what God thinks about it and gay marriage. But also proud of my church and pastors for not capitulating to cultural pressure to say it is Ok when they believe God’s Holy Word says otherwise. We are in one of the most liberal areas in the US, but our pastors and church body manage to walk that fine line of welcoming and truly loving people, but also not being ashamed to speak what they believe is God’s Truth. God is not politically correct, that I know for sure.

    –Believing that our government did (albeit unintentionally) guarantee same-sex marriage in its original documents, when it built our nation upon the right to “pursue happiness.” But also believing that the church must not have the same definition of liberty—our definitions and understandings of such terms must come from Scripture, and from the closest, most accurate reading of it, regardless of whether or not it says what we want it to say.

    –Wanting only the best for my GLBTQ (and whomever else I am omitting) friends, and those who are going to be entering into same-sex marriages. I am so happy for them for finding love, and do believe that ANY human love is the result of the lingering image of God within us—we can only love at all because of Him, so any love is worth celebrating—but yet if I do believe that same-sex love is not what God intended, and may be outside of His will for His beloved children, then how am I loving my GLBTQ friends by pretending all is well?

    –Actually being quite comfortable with the conundrum above, since I believe we can love people fully, and speak the truth as best we know it, and still live in unity. But very few other people seem to be comfortable with it—needing others to think as they do.

    –Really uncomfortable with ANYBODY, on either side of the issue, who claims complete authority about their interpretation of God’s word. Why don’t we hear more qualifiers when people write/speak? Whatever happened to phrases like “according to a traditional interpretation of Scripture. . . ” or “As best as I can understand this passage. . . “? Everyone writes as if they are the final word. (Kudos to Preston Yancey for his carefully-written stance.)

    –Concerned that there is such a thing as a slippery slope—and while I completely agree with the commentator who said she would much rather be on the slipper slope with the Holy Spirit than on seemingly firm ground, it sure seems to me that there is historical precedent for and fine logical thinking behind some people bemoaning some of the potential places they foresee this historic moment taking us.

    And speaking of which, I used to teach rhetoric at a large university, and taught my students to address “likely objections to their argument” in their persuasive writing. When I see Christians theorizing about the implications of cultural trends, and projecting the future path of our nation, I see a lot of negative backlash from those who disagree, but rarely a logical address of their insights and concerns. In other words, it is really easy to shout things like “hate speech!” and “homophobe” and “fear-monger!” but much less easy to form a clearly-articulated and well-reasoned address of the actual concerns raised. And NEITHER side is very good at anticipating and addressing “likely objections.” While I agree that the original authors of this post did not end up representing a very broad spectrum of opinions on this topic, I have appreciated that the comments section has been overall lucid, respectful, intelligent, and has better addressed dissenting views.

    Just a few thoughts to add to the discussion. No human issues are only black and white, and I wish more people were willing to live in the “gray” spaces between. Not saying my “between” stance is the only correct one to have–and thus negating the very idea of it!–but saying I very much appreciate people who are willing to be vulnerable, and seek to understand others, and not claim to have all the answers, not even claiming to have all the questions, but doing their best to love no matter what.

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    • I Agree With Blessed

      This is EXACTLY how I feel and see things. Thank you, Blessed for articulating what has been in my heart and mind so very well!!!

      Reply
    • Also between (and aware I don't know everything)

      Wish there were a “Like” button – well said, Blessed!

      Reply
  22. I don’t know what the future is for who marries whom and where and why, but I know in the end it’s the Lawyers win. It’s always the lawyers that win.

    (so-They are the happiest on the ruling b/c it means more vacation homes or maybachs or whatever is that they want.)

    I’m at the zenith of cynicism today and I hope you’ll forgive me.

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  23. I really enjoyed reading these comments – it’s lovely to see people expressing disagreement in a healthy, productive, non-threatening, and intellectual way that spars growth and thought instead of hate and vitriol. Too often the “classic Christian conservative” is loud, obnoxious, uneducated, and contrary to what the Lord teaches. It’s nice to see some really solid viewpoints being expressed here on all sides. Well done, commenters. I see more diversity of opinion in the comments than I see in the original piece. And thanks to DS for allowing the freedom and encouraging thoughtful responses on all sides.

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  24. Joy

    I am from South Africa, and have been observing what is happening as South Africa often takes its cue from America when it comes to policies, especially with regards to homosexuality. As a Christian, we are ‘in this world but not of this world.’ It comes as no surprise that such a policy has been implemented. However reading the opinions above, it saddens me that as Christians we have become so welcoming of sin. I understand that a lot of Christians have been very harsh and unloving towards the LGBTQ community, and that ultimately we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but that doesn’t mean we should encourage sin. Yes, you will lose friends if you speak the truth, but remember…’friendship with the world is enmity with God.’ God calls us to follow Him. To some, that will be the fragrance of life, and to others it will be the fragrance of death. We are to fix our eyes on Christ, speak the truth in love and let the Holy Spirit convict.

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  25. I could get behind this post if this sentence showed itself in the actual opinions shared: “One of the wonderful things about our community here at A Deeper Story is the way we disagree beautifully. Opinions vary widely for our writers and for our readers on everything from politics to parenting, theology to sexuality.”

    Instead I felt like I was reading the very same “24-hour-news shows or online pundits” you said you wanted to offer “space here for that diversity to be well-received and heard” I don’t know why, for sure, but those of your contributors who may have disagreed with the SCOTUS rulings did not make their voice very well heard here. I don’t know the reason for that, but I’m really disappointed with the way you’ve framed this post. It does not do what you said it was intended to do. Why?

    Reply

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