Same-Sex Marriage Simulcast Wrap-up
We had an informative and convicting time of worship and discussion last night at Grace Bible Church regarding same-sex marriage and the gospel. The conference we watched via simulcast was housed by The Austin Stone Community Church and led by the ERLC. I just wanted to share a few takeaways from the event that I hope remain imprinted on my heart and mind in the coming months and years.
First, Russell Moore exhorted us to be people characterized by both grace and truth. This amounts to entering into authentic and loving relationships with others (i.e. gay people) through which we graciously speak the truth of God regarding sexuality. “We … tend to think of kindness and we tend to think of gentleness as being weakness or being passivity or being politeness, a politeness that does not address or does not engage controversy,” said Moore. It seems to me that Christians are in danger of two different extremes, neither of which is biblical or Christ-like. One extreme is telling everyone what the Bible teaches without offering a context of love, kindness, and generosity. The other extreme is entering into these loving relationships with others without communicating a biblically informed Christian sexual ethic. Christ exemplified this balanced approach perfectly. On the one hand, he received accusations by the religious conservatives of being a friend of tax collectors and sinners. On the other hand, he was ready to say to the woman caught in adultery after her accusers left her, “go, and from now on, sin no more” (John 8:11).
Russell’s opening message was called “Marriage on the Line- Preparing Your Church for a Same-Sex Marriage Culture”. Watch it in full below
Second, there are those who have been authentically injured on account of the abuse distributed by Christians and churches. Matt Chandler brought up this point in his video presentation. As Christians, we simply cannot act like this hasn’t or doesn’t occur. This doesn’t mean that we apologize for a Christ-honoring sexual ethic; however, it does mean that we own our failures and abuses of others by confessing our sin to them and showing them the kindness of Christ. You can see the extended version of his video below.
Third, Rosaria Butterfield informed us that the gay community is a “real community” through which many people experience familial love and vulnerability. This means that if we are preaching a gospel that calls others out of their respective communities into God’s community, we must be prepared to offer them a real community that is held together by the self-giving love of Christ. Again, this reminded me of the importance of couching our truth-speaking in the context of love and relationship. Rosaria was a lesbian English professor who was working on a critique of the religious right when she was invited into the home of a Reformed Presbyterian minister. Rosaria talked at length about the love, honesty, thoughtfulness, and kindness she experienced in that household. As Christians, it is our privilege to put our home, time, energy, and resources where our mouth is. If we are calling others out of their community, we must be ready to personally offer them another community. This means that preaching the gospel without simultaneously offering myself to others is a form of hypocrisy. Tragically, I am guilty of such hypocrisy. May God give us the love to enter into the lives of others with the life-giving message of the gospel of Christ.
Mike Goeke gave a great message on “Practical Steps for Church Based Same Sex Attraction Ministry”
Jackie Hill Perry gave a LIVELY message on “How Does the Gospel Equip Christians Who Struggle with Same Sex Attraction”
The event ended with a great roundtable discussion between the panel “The Gospel, Homosexuality and the Church: Preparing for the Future”
If you were at the event, what takeaways do you have?
Another great video from the conference is from Andrew Walker seen here:
Here are some additional resources for you to view as you dive into same-sex marriage and what it means to you as a Christian.
How the Supreme Court Found a Constitutional Right to Same-Sex Marriage | Joseph Williams
The Roots of Marriage’s Redefinition: How We Got Where We Are Today | Andrew T. Walker
The Supreme Court and Religious Liberty: Reason for Concern | Andrew T. Walker
Pastors and the SCOTUS Decision on Same-Sex Marriage | David E. Prince
“Will I be fully accepted at your church as a gay man?” | David E. Prince
Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God | Christopher Yuan
Talking to Your Children About Sex, Marriage and Same-Sex Marriage | Jani Ortlund, Stephanie Goeke, Krissie Inserra, Trillia Newbell, Jena Starke
Same-Sex Marriage and Christian Higher Education | R. Albert Mohler, Jr.