I had planned to leave this topic alone for awhile, but I made the mistake of picking up today’s Des Moines Register and saw this article about the debate that is going on in Iowa churches on whether or not to allow same-sex weddings when it becomes the law of the land in Iowa next week.
What is there to debate? The Bible is very clear on this subject. There’s nothing to debate. One Des Moines area pastor was quoted as saying:
"Some of us are in a difficult situation. I’ve been supportive of same-sex unions and marriage and am unable to perform any … without consequences to our call," said the Rev. Susan Guy (of Walnut Hills United Methodist Church in Urbandale).
For her it’s an issue of her faith – that if church members follow in the footsteps of Jesus, who was eating with tax collectors and sinners, then one shouldn’t make distinctions.
"Some of us choose to remain where we are but we hope to help change happen within our church," Guy said.
Pastor Guy is responding to the desire of parents of homosexual children in her church to see their children married at Walnut Hills. I first want to be clear that I’m only referring to her in this post since she made this public statement. I have had the opportunity to meet Pastor Guy, and have worked with her locally promoting the ONE campaign with area youth workers. I appreciate the difficult position that she is in. We, as pastors, do not have the luxury of interpreting scripture in light of what is culturally acceptable however.
I believe that her analogy with Jesus eating with tax collectors and sinners is flawed however. Did He spend time with those people, absolutely. So should we. Did He condone and excuse sin? No he did not. Numerous times he said to those with whom he is speaking – “go and sin no more.” Jesus Himself defines marriage in Matthew 5 and Matthew 19 as between a man and a woman. He also spoke out against sexual immorality (Greek – pornea) which covers all sex outside marriage between a man and a woman.
I agree with Monsignor Frank Bognanno, the pastor at Christ the King Catholic Parish on Des Moines’ south side.
Monsignor Frank Bognanno said he has heard no debate at his Christ the King parish. Twenty centuries of Catholic teaching won’t change, he said.
"I’m just telling them what the natural law is. It is prima facie – self evident," he said.
Marriage between one man and one woman is best for society and raising of children and not simply a religious argument, he continued.
"Even atheistic cultures hold to one man, one woman. The next logical thing is you are going to have polygamy. I would predict someone is going to file a lawsuit and say I have fallen in love with three women and we all want to get married. Since there is no law, why discriminate against me?" (emphasis mine)
So those who are having this debate are also part of a larger debate – where is our source of truth? Does the Bible impact our view of culture, or does our culture impact our view of the Bible? Has the Bible’s position on marriage changed? No. Has our cultural acceptance? Yes. Churches in Iowa will have a choice to make, either influence culture or let the culture influence and define them.
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