Friday, April 21, 2006

The Assault on Traditional Marriage

American Christians now face the most serious attack on their faith and values that has ever been launched. Amazingly, the church has basically been asleep while this assault has intensified. The assault on traditional marriage has been steadily escalating for a period of more than fifty years. It’s way past time for the church to wake up and engage the battle! Christians must awaken out of their drowsy stupor and recognize what has happened. They must understand what’s at stake and why the battle against same-sex marriage is so vital. Finally, they must fight this battle with every weapon at their disposal, which includes weapons both spiritual and political. This article will limit its focus on the Christian’s spiritual weapons.

What’s happened and how did get to this point? Traditional marriage has been under attack in America since the late 1940's. The attack began in earnest with Alfred Kinsey’s Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. This book made the outlandish claim that 10 percent of men are homosexual. Worse than that, it helped begin the long and steady march toward same-sex marriage.[1]

The attack on marriage continued with the sexual revolution of the 60's fueled in part by Kinsey’s writings and research. As Erwin W. Lutzer describes, “Sexual self-expression, which traditionally had been regarded as a privilege, became perceived as a right; something to be expressed publicly, frequently, and outside of monogamous, lifelong marriage.” [2] Before the sexual revolution the majority of people recognized that promiscuity was wrong. Although promiscuity existed, it was the exception not the norm. Regrettably, the sexual revolution changed that.

Another grave attack against traditional marriage was the implementation of no-fault divorce laws. Dr. James Dobson comments on no-fault divorce help us to understand how these laws have served to undermine traditional marriage. “. . . for the first time in our nation’s history, the understanding of marriage as a personal and spiritual contract was no longer backed by law. And once heterosexuals dismissed the essential as long as we both shall live component of marriage, it was only a matter of time before someone tried to do away with the fundamental husband and wife part.” [3] Of course, this is precisely what we face today.

The most recent and devastating assaults on traditional marriage have been launched by our nation’s courts. On June 26, 2003, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in Lawrence v. Texas that the Constitution of the United States guarantees the right to sodomy. Amazingly, the highest court in the land declared morality outdated and perversion legal. Unfortunately, this volley was only the beginning of the assault. In November of 2003, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court used the ground gained from Lawrence v. Texas to recognize the legitimacy of same-sex marriage. On May 17, 2004, the state of Massachusetts began handing out gay marriage licenses. These couples are now legally married. As Dr. Dobson says, they have fanned out across the nation demanding legal recognition of their new status.[4]

Thankfully, the results from the November 2004 elections give us some hope that traditional marriage can be defended. Ten states overwhelmingly passed constitutional amendments to protect traditional marriage. It remains to be seen if the courts will continue their assault on marriage and overturn the will of people. Unfortunately, this is precisely what happened in Louisiana last year when an activist judge over turned a constitutional amendment to protect traditional marriage. The amendment had passed by a whopping 78 percent of the vote.

Clearly, traditional marriage is in trouble. Even so, why is it so important that Christians defend it? Dr. Dobson’s book Marriage Under Fire provides several good answers to this question. We will examine several of his most convincing answers.

First, Dobson says that legalization of same-sex marriage will eventually destroy traditional marriage and the family.[5] This has already proven to be true in Western European nations that have instituted gay marriage. Supporting this conclusion, Gene Edward Veith of World Magazine wrote;

Sweden was the first country in Europe to legalize homosexual unions in 1989,and Denmark and Norway followed soon thereafter. Today, a majority of children in those countries are born out of wedlock. Although some older couples are getting married after having more than one child, younger couples are dispensing with marriage altogether. Southern Seminary president Al Mohler reports that in Sweden, the few young couples who do get married often do not like to admit it,since what they have done is so far out of the norm that they feel embarrassed.[6]
This is exactly what will happen in America if same-sex marriage is legalized. Traditional marriage and family will become abnormal. In fact, that’s nearly the case in America today since only one in four families is considered to be traditional. By traditional I mean having both a father and a mother.

Next, Dobson points out that our children will suffer the most if same-sex marriage is legalized. This fact has been testified to by many social scientists. Studies have proven that children do best when raised by a committed and loving father and mother. Children need both parents because God designed the family this way.[7] What will happen if we defy God’s design? A quote from Dr. Dobson answers this question.

If the present trends continue the majority of children will have several moms and dads, perhaps six or grandparents and dozens of half siblings. It will be a world where little boys and girls are shuffled from pillar to post in an ever-changing pattern of living arrangements; where huge numbers of them will be raised in foster homes or living on the street . . . Imagine an environment where nothing is stable and where people think primarily of themselves and their own self preservation. And have you considered what will happen when homosexuals with children divorce? Instead of two moms and dads, they will have to contend with four moms or four dads.[8]

When a child’s family unravels it usually leads lead to that child being placed in another home either through adoption or foster care. If same sex-marriage becomes legal, our present adoption laws will become obsolete. Defenseless children will be placed in homes with people who will glorify and exemplify a lifestyle contrary to Scripture and God’s design. In addition, Christian foster-care parents will likely be required to undergo sensitivity training to rid them of heterosexual bias. Moral training against homosexuality will be forbidden. This is already the case in the state of California.[9]

What will happen to our children at school? Every school in the country will be required to embrace homosexuality and teach that this deviant behavior is on equal footing with marriage. I recognize this is already the case in some schools, but if same-sex marriage is legalized it will be mandatory everywhere.[10] Christians who send their children to public school will have no choice in the matter. Their children will be indoctrinated. This fits the desires and the plans of the homosexual activists. In fact, Alan Sears & Craig Osten, in their book The Homosexual Agenda witness to this point;

Homosexual activists know the best time to reach children is during the earliest, most impressionable ages. Christian researcher George Barna has documented that the chance for an individual to make a personal decision to believe in Christ greatly diminishes after age fourteen. Just as children are more receptive to the gospel and religious instruction at an early age, they are also more susceptible to homosexual indoctrination.[11]

In their private meetings, homosexual activists make it clear their goal is to get Christian children to reject their parent’s beliefs. At the 1999 Atlanta Gay, Lesbian, Straight, Educational Network conference, these comments were made; “The fear of the religious right is that schools of today are the government schools of tomorrow. And you know what, they’re right. If we do our jobs right, we are going to raise a generation of kids who don’t believe the claims of the religious right.”[12]

One of the direst consequences of same-sex marriage for Christians will be the loss of religious freedom. One only has to look north to Canada to verify this statement. In fact, Canada recently passed a law known as C-250. Before C-250, London, Ontario, officials recently fined a Christian mayor $10,000 for refusing to proclaim “Gay Pride Day.” A Christian businessman in Toronto was fined $5,000 for refusing to print materials for a gay-rights group. After C-250 things will only get worse.[13] A quote from a World Magazine article, “Remaining Silent,” explains the devastating ramifications of C-250:
Before C-250 it was already illegal to publish, distribute, mail, import, or speak any communication that could be perceived as promoting or inciting "hate"against "identifiable groups," such as members of a certain race or gender. The new law recognizes gays and lesbians as an identifiable groupCand makes any person who criticizes homosexuals publicly subject to two years in jail.[14]
The World Magazine article went on to explain that in light of C-250's passage, church-law analysts were already advising religious leaders how best to protect themselves. Essentially, they advised church leaders to avoid public criticism of homosexuals and to limit their opinions to private conversations.[15] Now pastors in Canada are wondering whether they can preach from several passages in Scripture that clearly prohibit homosexuality. As it is, a Focus on the Family radio program on homosexuality was declared homophobic by the Canadian Radio and Television Commission. Focus on the Family has not been allowed to address the subject since.[16]

Canada is not the only nation to hinder religious freedom due to homosexuality. Last year, Swedish authorities jailed a pastor for preaching that homosexuality is immoral and a violation of biblical teaching. The pastor was arrested, tried, and sentenced to 30 days in prison for violating Sweden's law forbidding hate speech against homosexuals. Imagine, a preacher was arrested and imprisoned for preaching a sermon in his own church! It should be noted gay activists are promoting similar hate-speech laws for the United States.[17] Will anything be left to hinder them if same-sex marriage is legalized?

Now that we understand the frightening ramifications of same-sex marriage, how should Christians respond? As I said at the beginning of this article, we must respond with every weapon available to us. Our most powerful weapons are spiritual. We must not shrink back from using them in this conflict! Our spiritual weapons are best defined by what the Apostle Paul taught in 2 Cor. 10:3‑5 NIV: “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. [4] The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. [5] We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” In the context of 2 Cor. Paul identifies the weapons of the world as things like learning, personal influence, impressive credentials and rhetorical polish. He discounted and discarded these things. Paul did not wage war as the world does or use their weapons. The weapons Paul used were weapons with divine power, namely prayer and the proclamation of God’s Word. These weapons are weak by the world’s standards, yet they are able to demolish the arguments and every lie of the gospel’s foes.[18] By and large, the proponents of same-sex marriage are foes of the gospel.

Prayer is the Christian’s mightiest weapon and often the least used. If the church expects to win the battle waged against traditional marriage it must unleash the mighty weapon of prayer. First, the church must pray for the homosexuals and their allies. Our Lord commanded us in Matthew 5:44‑45 NIV “. . . Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, [45] that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Secondly, we must pray for those in authority as Paul instructed in 1 Tim. 2:1‑2 NIV when he wrote, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone‑‑ [2] for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” Third we must pray for our Christian leaders as Paul requested the Ephesians to pray for him. In Ephes. 6:19, Paul requested, “ Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel . . .” Today’s Christian leaders must fearlessly stand for the truth of the gospel and the Word of God, which includes defending traditional marriage. Finally, Christians must pray for themselves and their families that God will grant them the spiritual boldness and commitment to wage this battle.

Our second spiritual weapon in defeating same sex-marriage is the bold proclamation of God’s Word. Sadly, many Christians have been silent rather than boldly proclaiming God’s Word concerning homosexuality. Others have totally surrendered the truth and embraced homosexual behavior. We can neither afford to be silent nor surrender the truth. The Apostle Paul said in Romans 1:16 NIV, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.” Only the Word of God can change people’s hearts and lives. If we surrender this weapon or leave it unused, the church has no hope of defending traditional marriage! More important, it will render itself impotent in delivering homosexuals and their allies from the horrible bondage of sin and eternal punishment in hell.

The proclamation of God’s Word in reference to same-sex marriage needs to be focused on three important truths. First, we must proclaim God’s design for marriage. Secondly, we must declare God’s condemnation of homosexuality. Finally, we must make known God’s abundant forgiveness, healing and deliverance for those who will repent of their homosexuality and turn to Him in faith.

God’s design for marriage is found in the book of Genesis. According to Genesis 1:27 gender is a gift from God. God made human beings both male and female and He made them to be sexually compatible. Our sexuality is a gift from God. In Genesis 2:24-25, God founded the institution of marriage. These verses teach that marriage between a man and a woman is God’s design. Therefore, any relationship that seeks to alter this design is rebellious and sinful. Furthermore, God designed sex to be enjoyed only in a marriage relationship. Therefore any sexual relationship outside the bonds of marriage is sinful, including homosexuality.

God’s condemnation of homosexual behavior is scattered throughout the Scriptures. The first recorded instance of homosexuality in the Bible is in Genesis 19. This passage describes God’s judgment on Sodom and Gomorrah. It should be stated up-front that the people of Sodom were guilty of other sins besides homosexuality. This doesn’t alter the fact their homosexual behavior was debauched, immoral and worthy of God’s judgment. Ezekiel 16:43, a passage that further describes Sodom’s sin, corroborates this conclusion. The New Testament passages of 2Pet. 3:6-7 and Jude 7 also agree.

In addition to Genesis 19, Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 clearly condemn and forbid homosexual behavior. In fact, one passage declares homosexuality a capital offense. Judges 19-20 is another passage that speaks to homosexuality in the OT. It has some interesting similarities with Genesis 19.

The New Testament also has much to say about homosexuality. Romans 1:18-32, I Corinthians 6:9-11, and I Timothy 1:9-11 all address the issue. In Romans, Paul condemns moral chaos, pagan worship and radical autonomy. He specifically addresses male and female homosexuality and makes it quite clear this behavior is deserving of God’s wrath.

The above Scriptures, though unpopular with many, must be proclaimed and defended. Needless to say, there are those liberals and revisionists who will attempt to subvert and twist the truth of these Scriptures. Dealing with the revisionists is beyond the scope of this paper. An excellent resource for refuting the revisionist’s arguments biblically is Thomas E. Schmidt’s book Straight and Narrow: Compassion and Clarity in the Homosexuality Debate.

When Christians boldly proclaim God’s truth about same-sex marriage they must expect and prepare for tremendous opposition and persecution. This shouldn’t surprise us. In the New Testament, our Lord promised us that we would face such opposition whenever we proclaim the truth. Also, the book of Acts records how the apostles boldly proclaimed the truth in the face of great opposition. In addition, Philip. 2:15-16, from a book whose theme is partnership in the terrifying campaign to advance the gospel in face of great opposition, the apostle Paul exhorted the Philippians to hold forth the Word of Truth in a crooked and perverse society. In Philip. 1:29 Paul wrote, “For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for him . . .” Yes, if we proclaim the truth we will suffer, but to do anything less is disobedience and cowardice!

Christians must not only proclaim the truth concerning same-sex marriage boldly, but we must also do it in love. Too often those who boldly proclaim the truth do it without any vestige of love. For example, the infamous Fred Phelps, who claims to be a Christian but his message, in his own words, is “God hates Fags.” Thomas Schmidt’s comments about such people are enlightening and need to be heard by all. Schmidt says;
I will be blunt. Christians who cannot yet deal with the issues calmly and compassionately should keep their mouths shut, and they should certainly stay away from the front lines of ministry and the public policy debateCnot to mention television talk shows. Such people are hard to reach, because they suspect those who call them to account are “soft on sin.” They must be convinced the way of Jesus is the “Wounded Healer” not the “Holy Terror.”[19]
Paul’s instruction in 2 Tim. 2:24‑26 NIV support Schmidt’s comments. “And the Lord's servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. [25] Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, [26] and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.” Bold proclamation must be coupled with love to be effective.

Finally, Christians must live the truth they boldly proclaim. This means we must exemplify God’s truth in our families. Every Christian husband must love his wife as Christ loved the church. Every Christian parent must raise their children in the nurture and instruction of the Lord. Furthermore, we must acknowledge our own sinfulness and repent. Too many Christians have approved sin by their actions they have objected to with their words. For instance, a multitude of Christians have embraced entertainment that supports the very behavior they preach against. We must live our message as well as proclaim it!

When the truth for God’s word about same-sex marriage is proclaimed boldly in love and without hypocrisy lives will be changed! Paul made this point in I Cor. 6:9-11 when he wrote that some of the Corinthians were formerly in bondage to sexual sins, including homosexuality. Verse 11 of that passage states, “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” How did this all occur? Paul preached truth of God’s Word and they repented of their sin and trusted Christ. Because Paul was faithful to preach the truth, they experienced God’s forgiveness, healing and deliverance.

In short, American Christians are now engaged in a life or death struggle for traditional marriage. This is a battle we cannot afford to lose because as the family goes the church goes. If same-sex proponents have their way the family and the church in America will be destroyed. Religious freedom will be a distant memory. The good news is that the church has incredibly powerful spiritual weapons at their disposal. These weapons are prayer and the proclamation of God’s word. The question is do we have the commitment and courage to use them?

[1]Dr. Alan Branch, “Christian Ethics Class Notes” (Kansas City: No Publisher 2004), 97.
[2]Erwin W. Lutzer, The Truth About Same-Sex Marriage. (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2004), 17.
[3]Dr. James Dobson, Marriage Under Fire. (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 2004), 38.
[4]Ibid., 39-42.
[5]Ibid., 47.
[6]Gene Edward Veith, “The Nordic Track” World Magazine (March 6, 2004), available online at accessed November 23, 2004.
[7]Dr. James Dobson, Marriage Under Fire. (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 2004), 53-54.
[8]Ibid., 55.
[9]Ibid., 56-57.
[10]Ibid., 56.
[11]Alan Sears & Craig Osten, The Homosexual Agenda. (Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 2003), 47.
[12]Ibid., 47. These comments originated from: Torres, “Conference :New Moment.”
[13]Lynn Vincent, “Remaining Silent” World Magazine (May 8, 2004), available online at accessed November 23, 2004.
[16]Dr. James Dobson, Marriage Under Fire. (Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 2004), 60.
[17]Gene Edward Veith, “Losing Liberty” World Magazine (May 8, 2004), available online at accessed November 23, 2004.
[18]John F Walvord, Roy B. Zuck, and Dallas Theological Seminary. The Bible Knowledge Commentary : An Exposition of the Scriptures. (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983-c1985).
[19]Thomas E. Schmidt, Straight & Narrow: Compassion and Clarity in the Homosexuality Debate. (Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press, 1995), 172-173.

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