The Challenge of Same-Sex Unions

by Al Mohler

In the world but not of the world? From the very beginning, the church has faced the challenge of responding to external events, trends, ideologies, and controversies. By definition, the church does not get to choose these challenges, but they have been thrust upon Christians by the world. The question always comes down to this: What now?

That question seems especially urgent in light of the emergence of same-sex unions and marriage in the United States and the world over. How must the church answer this challenge?

To answer that question, we need to think about the speed of the moral revolution that has pushed this question to the forefront of our culture. In less than a generation, homosexuality has gone from being almost universally condemned to being almost fully normalized in the larger society.

We are facing a true moral inversion — a system of moral understandings turned upside down. Where homosexuality was even recently condemned by the society, now it is considered a sin to believe that homosexuality is wrong in any way. A new sexual morality has replaced the old, and those who hold to the old morality are considered morally deficient. The new moral authorities have one central demand for the church: get with the new program.

This puts the true church, committed to the authority of God’s Word, in a very difficult cultural position. Put simply, we cannot join the larger culture in normalizing homosexuality and restructuring society to match this new morality. Recognizing same-sex unions and legalizing same-sex marriage is central to this project.

Liberal churches and denominations are joining the project, some more quickly and eagerly than others. The cultural pressure is formidable, and only churches that are truly committed to Scripture will withstand the pressure to accommodate themselves and their message to the new morality.

What, then, is the true church to do? First, we must stand without compromise on the authority of the Bible and the principles of sexual conduct and morality that God has revealed so clearly in His Word. The Bible’s sexual morality is grounded in the creation of humanity in God’s image; we are created as male and female and given the gift of sex within the marriage covenant — and only within the marriage covenant between one man and one woman for as long they both shall live.

The easiest way to summarize the Bible’s teaching on sexuality is to begin with God’s blessing of sex only within the marriage covenant between a man and a woman. Then, just remember that sex outside of that covenant relationship, whatever its form or expression, is explicitly forbidden. Christians know that these prohibitions are for our good and that rejecting them is tantamount to a moral rebellion against God Himself. We also know that the Bible forbids all same-sex sexual acts and behaviors. Thus, we know that homosexuality is a sin, that blessing it in any way is also sin, and that normalizing sin cannot lead to human happiness.

Second, we must realize what is at stake. Marriage is first and foremost a public institution. It has always been so. Throughout history, societies have granted special recognition and privileges to marriage because it is the central organizing institution of human culture. Marriage regulates relationships, sexuality, human reproduction, lineage, kinship, and family structure. But marriage has also performed another crucial function — it has regulated morality.

This is why the challenge of samesex unions is so urgent and important. Redefining marriage is never simply about marriage. It leads to the redefinition of reproduction and parenthood, produces a legal revolution with vast consequences, replaces an old social order with something completely new, and forces the adoption of a new morality. This last point is especially important. Marriage teaches morality by its very centrality to the culture. With a new concept of marriage comes a new morality, enforced by incredible social pressure and, eventually, legal threats.

Third, we must act quickly to teach Christians the truth about marriage and God’s plan for sexuality in all its fullness and beauty. We must develop pastoral approaches that are faithful to Scripture and arm this generation of believers to withstand the cultural pressure and respond in ways that are truly Christian.

Last, and most important, this challenge must drive us to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christians must be the first to understand this challenge in light of the gospel. After all, we know spiritual rebellion when we see it, for we ourselves were rebels before God’s grace conquered us. We know what moral confusion means because without the light of God’s Word, we are just as confused.

There is no rescue from the self-deception of sin except for the salvation that is ours in Jesus Christ. While doing everything else required of us in this challenge, the faithful church must center its energies on the one thing that we know we must do above all else — preach, teach, and live the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Albert Mohler

Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. is president and professor of Christian theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. You can follow him on Twitter @AlbertMohler.

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8 thoughts on “The Challenge of Same-Sex Unions

  1. The homosexual agenda is forcefully advancing forward and demanding acceptance on the basis of ‘tolerance’…and getting it. Minds have been clouded over and muddied by this diversion labeled as ‘tolerance’ used by the enemy to further advance this immoral sinful behavior. It is hateful and judgmental to speak out biblically against this sin; not a choice, not an alternative way of living, but S-I-N. Others join in this push for tolerance because their sins are just as grievous; especially the ‘rich and famous’, who are just as immoral as the homosexual. When the church fails to stand on the word of God and speak out against sin, you know we are headed for serious consequences.

    I have debated homosexuals who insist they are Christian and their sin isn’t sin. They insist God never spoke out against homosexuality; this is truly baffling. There is a famine of truth in the land, and the visible church is as much to blame as the practicing homosexual.

    I know you’ve seen this Mike, but there may be others who haven’t. This is John MacArthur’s much needed message concerning this, and what ultimately follows…judgement – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5x3WI9OWAL4

    Lyn

  2. But the sloppy agape love god of the spirit of the age wants everyone to be happy however they determine that feeling! How narrow gate, er – minded, ya’ll are! :-)

    ” But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ 7 ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, 8 and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. 9 What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.””

  3. I’m so shocked and vexed at the lengths and desperate attempts people will go through to try and justify homosexuality as okay in God’s eyes. God must okay it if it is a “loving, caring homosexual relationship.” —There’s no such thing in God’s order of all he Created-He created them male and female. God performed the first wedding to establish the rule of authority for all of us to follow.

    people are so deluded. To actually believe that if they were able to remove the stigma of homosexuality from society that they will remove sin and escape the wrath of God?? The truth is they are searing their conscience and suppressing the truth to the last nail in the coffin. They will never erase the disgrace and shame we associate with those sins because God calls it SIN and HOLY is the LORD GOD ALMIGHTY! God is giving people over to a reprobate mind-Romans chapter 1.

    Jeremiah 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.

    Homosexuality has caused more death, despair, violence, pain, and heartbreak than anything on this planet other than abortion. Jesus could not condone a lifestyle that is so diametrically opposed to His Will for His Creation.

    many who are in same-sex relationships think that God approves of them that they “love” each other. That’s a false assumption when God’s word unambiguously says otherwise. God’s word and God’s LAW defines TRUE LOVE.+++====1 John 5:3: “For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.”

    We are going to face some arduous times as Christians if the Lord tarries. Hold on tightly to Jesus

  4. It runs deeper as now the sin of pride is added to sin of homosexuality as they are socially engineered to feel proud of the sin of homosexuality which is sin upon sin. The attack upon marriage is a terrible thing to behold and i feel so sorry for the young people being socailly engineered and mind controlled by the servants of Satan into accepting more and more sexual depravity as normal behaviour be it homosexual or not and even something to be proud of. The hypocricy of their so-called “tolerance” sticks out like a sore thumb and i wonder how long before it will be a hate crime to openly call homsexuality a sin, as opposing views are not to be tolerated. How long before stand firm Churches will be sued for refusing to “marry” homosexual couples ? Satan is the prince of the world and this is why this is a worldwide agenda no matter who we voted for. All we can do is stand firm and tell the truth no matter the cost to ourselves and to stay in God’s word not man’s i guess.

  5. That’s right Andrew. We are going back to the pagan climate the Church was prior to the Christianization of culture. All of this religiosity is man-based anyway so… We are all called to stand firm regardless what these “churches” do.

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