This blog is the combined effort of four senior pastors of different churches. Their desire is to point you toward living a God-centered, gospel-focused, Christian life.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Homosexual Marriage and the Christian

            “As the present now will later be past, the order is rapidly fadin'. . . . for the times they are a changin’.”  Perhaps no recent cultural trend confirms the prophetic truth of Bob Dylan’s 1963 ballad than the reversal of society’s views regarding homosexual marriage.  The most recent ABC News poll reveals that 58 percent of Americans think that homosexual marriage should be legal.  Less than 10 years ago, only 36 percent of Americans agreed with this idea.  The demographics of this study point to a continued growing embrace of homosexuality as a positive good in the years ahead.  Indeed, the times they are a changin’!  

Our nation’s embrace of homosexual marriage will have growing significant impact upon followers of Jesus and upon God’s church.  Once the definition of marriage is changed in our nation’s laws, the gloves will come off in the abuse of the minority who disagree.  The world will not be content to simply enjoy the newly established legal rights of homosexual marriage.  The world even now demands that everyone celebrate the ideals that it celebrates.  No tolerance will be given for dissenting views . . . not in our children’s schools, not in the workplace, not in government and not in our churches.

            Since faithful disciples of Jesus cannot celebrate anything that our Savior forbids, we can expect to be demonized, berated, threatened, and intimidated for agreeing with God’s Word that marriage is defined by God as a union of one man and one woman in covenant relationship with each other. The church must be ready to be the church in the face of persecution.   We are ordained by God to proclaim His worth amongst people who despise Him.  Jesus told us,  “Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. . . In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (John 15:20; John 16:33)

            In the past three months, I have had three church families ask me the question, “Should a Christian attend a wedding for a homosexual relative?”  This is no longer a question that is hypothetical and can be ignored.  This situation is likely to become more commonplace and produces grievous consequences for family relationships.  For instance, some children threaten to cut off all relationship with his/her parents if they do not attend their wedding to their homosexual partner.            

            This new dilemma creates a pressing emotional tension for God’s people.  We are called to love God first with all our being and to love others even as much as we love ourselves.  Out of love for the person should we attend a homosexual wedding that we do not agree with?  What counsel would you give to parents facing this problem?  
I believe that scripture gives us a clear answer to that question.  Please follow with me through six biblical truths that inform us how we can glorify God in the face of this dilemma

Truth #1:  We are right to humble ourselves before God recognizing our need for His mercy.
  If we are invited to a wedding of a homosexual friend or relative, we rightly resist any self-righteous response that sets us above those who are enslaved to sin.  This invitation helps us to think of God in grace delivering us from the kingdom of darkness and transferring us into the kingdom of His Son.  We are not different from those whose minds and hearts are enslaved to the sin of homosexuality.  Enslaved to sin we once were, and that is where we would presently be apart from Jesus’ saving power.  When we see others bound by sin, we are right to set aside fleshly anger that is rooted in our pride.   Instead, we ask God to help us to repent of our own sins and to possess eyes of compassion for those whose soul is darkened by sin and in need of a Savior.

Truth #2:  We are right to love those who pursue sin.
  God loves sinners and so must we.  We ourselves would not experience God’s love if He did not love us at the very time we pursued our rebellion against Him.  The ground of God’s love toward us is not our obedience toward Him.  The ground of His love for us is His perfect, unchanging nature.  In view of God’s sovereign love for us, we would be wrong to withhold love from another person on the basis of their actions.  Glorifying God in our lives means that we pursue loving those who pursue sin.  We avoid derision, name-calling, and disrespect of those captured in the strong prison of homosexuality.  We pursue goodness, mercy and kindness toward them in demonstration of the Gospel.

Truth #3:  We are right to love God first and foremost.
  We love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  Our first priority is to please Him, before we consider how we might please others.  Jesus calls us to give Him preeminence in all things.  God knows that our allegiance to Him may ruin our relationships with others in our physical families.  This is not because we withdraw our love from them, but because they may demand that we choose them over Christ.  Jesus predicted this when he said,  “Brother will deliver brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death, 22 and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”

Truth #4:  We are right to hate sin in all forms. 
God hates sin and so must we.  God hates sin because sin defies His authority, conceals His beauty and destroys the people whom He created in His image.  Sin robs precious life from all who cling to it.  Our love for those who sin leads us to hate the very thing that is destroying their soul.  Such a one may yearn for us to affirm the goodness of the sin that is destroying them.  But we cannot do that!  Love for them forbids it.

Truth #5:  We are right to proclaim the Gospel as God’s instrument for life transformation. 
The preaching of the cross is foolishness to those who do not believe, but for us who are being saved it is God’s power to rescue us from every form of sin that enslaves us.  While many scoff at the idea that a person who identifies as a homosexual can be changed, God has rescued many from this sin and continues to offer a life transformation to those who believe in His Son.  The Gospel offers living hope for the soul that is aching from the guilt, bondage and shame of sin. 

Truth #6:  We are right to avoid the sin of sacrilege.
  Sacrilege is the violation or misuse of anything that is consecrated to God.  In the scripture, we see God responding with holy zeal against sins that involved sacrilege.  When Aaron led Israel to worship God by using a golden calf, the Lord said to Moses, “Now therefore let me alone, that my wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them, in order that I may make a great nation of you.”  Moses interceded for the people, but 3000 people died for participating in this sacrilege. When Nadab and Abihu offered unauthorized fire in the worship of God, God struck them both dead. Well-intentioned Uzzah died when he touched the ark of the covenant because he violated the holiness of this sacred piece.   In the New Testament, Ananias and Sapphira and Simon Magnus are illustrations of the fearful response of God to the sin of sacrilege. 
A wedding is a worship service in which we call upon God to bless a couple as He unites them together as husband and wife.  A marriage between two of the same sex asks God to bless a union that is an open rejection of His creative purposes for them.  This kind of marriage misuses a sacred gift from God and distorts the image of God that marriage is designed to reflect.  For this reason, such a service is a sacrilege.  Thus it is wrong and harmful for us to attend.   I believe that we invite God’s displeasure upon our lives when we do not consider first the honor of His name, especially in relationship to ceremonies of worship.

Our world is growing darker with sin.  The King is not long in returning.  Let us remain faithful to Him even as it becomes more costly for us to do so.  


  1. I appreciate you writing this piece, because this has been a hard week in terms of this issue. Yesterday was a very sad day for me as I read post after post on Facebook- many of them from friends, neighbors, even extended family members- who had all sorts of posts up in favor of homosexual marriage. I responded to one of them, but felt badly about it all day- not because of the stand that I took, but because of the sadness and division this issue is already bringing to people's lives. I am sure that this extended family member is angered about what I wrote, even though I sincerely attempted to be very kind in how I responded. Taking a stand somehow changes a relationship forever, and sensing that division breaks my heart. And it will, indeed, only get worse as time goes by. This is a sad and sobering time for the church. We rightly should be concerned; we are "soft", and have too easily gone along with the world on so many issues. And now, when the issue at hand should be so very clear cut, many in the church are running and hiding, afraid to stand for what God says in His word. Thank you for an insightful and thoughtful post, Pastor Ritch.
    Susan Crank

  2. Thank you for writing this biblically inspired post Pastor Ritch. If you could, it would be an encouragement to me and other believers to see the scripture associated with quotes or references follow those statements within your post/s. I noticed that you cited the John 15 and 16 scripture but nothing throughout the rest of the writing. Thanks again for this insightful approach.

  3. What horrific advice to give a parent! To not attend a child's wedding due to differing interpretations of scripture, despite their explicit request, is little short of betrayal. It is a wholly different thing to agree with a child's decision than it is to show support and love when they need it most. This advice crosses that boundary. On these lines, would you encourage a parent not to visit their child, who has been convicted of murder, in prison?

  4. To anonymous:

    Dear anonymous,

    You refer to "differing interpretations of scripture." Please tell me the particular scriptures to which you are referring. The Bible is explicit with regard to two males or two females knowing each other. The only way to differently interpret such scriptures is to twist them so as to suit our own purpose, instead of God's purpose. To attend a same-sex "wedding" is to countenance that event. In this particular instance, showing love means tough love.

    Homosexuality is a sin. Murder is a sin. Your question about visiting a child in prison who has been convicted of murder is illogical and does not speak to the point. The question you need to ask is, "Would you be at the murder scene and approve of your child committing murder?" I trust you understand the difference now.

  5. I believe I would skip the murder and visit the prisoner; skip the wedding and visit the sinner - all the while calling both to repentance!

  6. Al Mohler has recently posted an article affirming what Ritch says here. See: