Should the Church Affirm Same Sex Marriage?
Pastor Tony R. Nester
Today's worship folder was prepared two weeks ago in advance of the vacation time being taken by our church secretary. Current events have led me to change the Scripture and sermon for today's worship service.
I'm referring to the decision by Polk County Judge Robert Hanson to declare unconstitutional the State of Iowa's ban on same sex marriage. If you read newspapers or watched television news you saw the photo of the two men who were married by a Unitarian minister in Ames just hours before a State Supreme Court Justice suspended Judge Hanson's ruling pending further deliberations from the State Court.
A few ministers were interviewed by the news media for their opinions on same sex marriage. Since Christians and churches disagree among themselves on this issue I believe you should know where your pastor stands on this issue.
Let me tell you what I believe, and then tell you why. It's for you to form your own opinion as a believer in Jesus Christ.
I believe our United Methodist Church is correct when it teaches that homosexual practice is incompatible with Christian teaching. I do not believe that our ministers should perform or our churches celebrate same sex marriages. I believe we should love our neighbor, including our gay and lesbian neighbors, with the love of Christ; but I don't believe that Christ-centered love means turning upside down the Bible's teaching on marriage and sexuality.
The media frames same sex marriage as a civil rights issue. Those who oppose it are caricatured as wanting to deny rights that others deserve to have.
One Iowa newspaper took the position that "The only way to look at the same-sex marriage ban is in the context of prejudice... Strike down the unjust law." It did not seem even possible for this newspaper that people in that State of Iowa could have good moral, or religious, or political reasons to oppose same sex marriage.
These editors, you see, present themselves as having the only way, the singe right way, and the only permissible way, to view opposition to same sex marriage. Any one who sees it differently than they do is automatically prejudiced against people. This is the judgmentalism that modern liberalism keeps producing.
For Christians sexuality and marriage are not "rights" that are to be extended to whoever wants to exercise them. For Christians sexuality and marriage are gifts from God. These gifts are to be joyfully received and always expressed in God-honoring ways.
Neither you nor I have an automatic "right" to sexual expression simply because we desire it or think we need it. Nor do you or I have a "right" to be married simply because we want the status or benefits of marriage. The Bible is not about "rights"; it's about embracing the will of God.
What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Very little. There are only a few passages that speak d ...
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