Jesus did teach on marriage.
Here’s a common misconception that needs to be clarified. People often say that Jesus never said anything about homosexuality. Look, if people are going to dismiss or ignore the abundantly clear and numerous occasions throughout the Bible before the Law, in the Law, and after the Law in the New Covenant where homosexuality is included in immorality and against God’s design (sin), then they probably don’t care what Jesus said either (or they haven’t come across them). So feel free to list at least the New Testament prohibitions, but I feel Jesus’ authority is a debate ender if someone actually cares about Scripture or Jesus as eternal authority. Hopefully most people in our congregations can say they still do!The Pharisees came to Him with a narrow and specific question about ‘no fault’ divorce. In His answer, He quoted the Genesis 2 narrative about God’s unique design, without ‘equal’, for marriage. His audience had absolutely no doubt that Jesus confirmed that God designed marriage to be between one man and one woman till death do them part. This not only excluded their ‘no fault’ divorce scenario, but also excluded polygamy, incest, adultery, fornication, prostitution and of course homosexuality. In fact it implicitly excluded anything other than one man and one woman for life. Jesus also referred to Sodom & Gomorrah multiple times, an unambiguous reference to the immorality of homosexuality to His audience. So Jesus did teach on homosexuality, even if not mentioning it explicitly. It’s apparent absence is not a valid argument from silence.The word homosexual was only first used in 1868, by the way, and didn’t appear in Bibles until 1946, in accordance with useful translation practices. This doesn’t diminish the relevance of Jesus’ teaching and confirmation of the uniqueness and eternal relevance of God’s design for marriage. If anything, it confirms His audience wouldn’t have even known what that word was – not that He even attempted to list everything necessarily excluded by God’s unique design.
By the way…Contrary to some opinions making the rounds, advocating for the traditional definition of marriage does not compromise our ability to evangelise. The Good News of the Kingdom of God, which Jesus preached, is as indispensibly about Truth and justice as it is about grace and mercy. Attempting to reduce the offensiveness of the Gospel is to reduce the Gospel, and that is not at our discretion.Hence Jesus warned us to not be surprised if the world hates us because it hated Him first. We are called to be salt, which sometimes stings, but also brings healing and adds a distinct flavour. We are called to be light, which those in darkness may initially squint at or shield their eyes from, but it brings illumination and reveals. We are called to be a city set on a hill, unapologetic and immovable, yet offering a place for everyone.
What this debate isn’t about.The advocates of redefining marriage and family like to frame the debate in a way that emotionally manipulates people who like to think of themselves as compassionate and just to ignore all the many consequences of redefining marriage. They call it ‘Marriage Equality’ so if you disagree with their demands, they’ve positioned you as being opposed to ‘equality’. The fact is there is no inequality, and so boasted Tanya Pliberseck in 2008 when 85 laws were changed to remove all inequality in law between heterosexual and homosexual de facto relationships. [source] They claim, “Love is love,” as if the debate is about love and the validation of that love and even their own dignity by government. Government has never been in the business of validating feelings, and cannot grant or deny human dignity.
What this debate is about.
It’s no news to Christians that God designed marriage as the foundation of family. We understand that attacks on marriage via adultery and ‘no fault’ divorce are also spiritual attacks on the soul of society. Fatherlessness in particular has varying devastating effects on society. Single mums are amazing parents working in tragic conditions, so the following facts aren’t a comment on their generally remarkable ability, but rather the fact that all the love and care in the world cannot replace the broken biological bond every child needs to have with their own father.
- At least 70% (and up to 87%) of convicted criminals did not grow up with both parents. [source]
- 85% of youths in prison (20 times the average) are from fatherless homes.
- 63% of youth suicides (5 times the average) are from fatherless homes.
- 71% of high school drop outs (9 times the average) are from fatherless homes.
- 75% of adolescents in rehab’ (10 times the average) are from fatherless homes. [source]
Redefining marriage is about competing rights.Marriage doesn’t only involve adults. It normally – and legislation deals with norms, not exceptions – involves children. In fact, that is a human right, once married, granted in 1948 by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. [source] It defines marriage as a compound right to marry and to found a family. Australian ethicist Margaret Somerville explains this much better than me. [source]
That should be enough, but there’s more.This is effectively a referendum on Safe Schools. In brief summary, this sneaky curriculum is child abuse, plain and simple. It grooms children all the way through school to be sexually promiscuous, confused, and to accept gender theory as fact. Gender theory posits that gender is fluid, not fixed, and something you feel: totally unrelated to biology. It suggests that the doctor or midwife exclaiming, “It’s a girl!” is some kind of oppression creating victims of everyone. When Senator Dean Smith’s legislation to change the definition of marriage was drafted, it chose clever wording intended to support the normalisation of the fake science of gender theory.
“The term ‘same-sex marriage’ should be read to include a marriage of two people regardless of their sex or gender, where the union is not that of a man and a woman.” [source]After this passes here, like already the case elsewhere, disagreeing from your pulpit that there are 112 genders will eventually be deemed hate speech. “Misgendering” someone will now potentially earn you jail time in California and all of Canada. God designed our sexuality and gender as sacred. We soon won’t have the freedom to discuss this doctrine and it’s beautiful implications for humanity if the definition of marriage is changed in law. It’s not fear-mongering – it’s precedent in Western democratic nations. As you can see, it’s not just religious liberty, but personal freedoms of speech and political expression which are also dealt serious blows in the wake of redefining marriage.
A Pastoral LetterSome ways of providing good teaching are to preach on marriage or the fatherless this Sunday morning, or to hold a mid week meeting where those interested and less likely to be offended by Truth and traditional Christian teaching will be more likely to come than those who would rather not be challenged or have their heresy corrected. Let’s be honest, that’s what’s really going on. But the goal is to bring people with you, not just shove Truth down their throat. In fact, a mid week meeting lends itself to modelling intellectual honesty, the posture that challenges are not insults or anything to be afraid of. You can demonstrate grace and patience in a civil forum allowing more of a dialogue than a Sunday sermon may. Of course, you can also do this on a Sunday morning, but that service generally attracts people who may simply find a church willing to prioritise feelings over facts. As stated above, I’m at your service to be of whatever service you feel I may, and will always be sensitive to your congregation’s culture and submitted to your authority as its shepherd. Here’s a draft letter you can make your own without regard to copyright to send to your congregation. It’s a little long, but I want you to feel free to delete or add whatever you want.
I urge you to faithfully represent Christ during the ongoing debate and vote about redefining marriage. Although the Bible’s position on marriage is clear and the Church’s doctrine has been consistent since Paul wrote His epistles, many people disagree for often sincere and heart felt reasons. Please take the time to read 1 Peter, especially chapter 3 for reminders on how we answer the questions we’re asked in these days.
Please also pray for our nation, remembering that God remains sovereign in every age and season, and that we ultimately know that His second coming is the world’s greatest hope. Pray that marriage and family would be protected from all attacks, and that voters and leaders would make decisions with wisdom from heaven and justice for the most vulnerable amongst us.
But where the options to speak and act for justice and Truth exist, prayer alone is not all that is required of us. We must also speak and act. Isaiah 1:17 is one of many, many Scriptures exhorting God’s people to, “Seek justice, rebuke the oppressor, defend the fatherless, and plead for the widow.”
Our leaders and liberal democracy have also invited our involvement. Although the postal vote is optional, space has been made for our voices to be heard, and how can we as salt and light turn down the opportunity to be heard in both the debate and the vote?
Jesus taught that marriage was as God designed in the beginning, uniquely and exclusively between one man and one woman for life. This excluded all other sexual behaviours outside of this design. This is God’s best for everyone, and love compels our concern and compassion for people experiencing less than God’s best for them. We unconditionally accept and love everyone equally as they are, understanding that all have fallen short of God’s glory.
We rejoice that in 2008 all inequality in law was removed with 85 changes to existing legislation. All heterosexual and homosexual couples have enjoyed complete equality since then. Julia Gillard and her partner proved that de facto couples are not second class citizens. The very ‘progressive’ and secular European Court of Human Rights ruled that homosexual marriage is not a human right. The 1948 Universal Charter of Human Rights, Article 16 state that marriage is a compound right always including the right to found a family, and that means marriage is always equally about children as it is adults.
The current debate in media largely dismisses concerns for the fatherless or motherless households redefining marriage will inevitably create, but that is not something Christians can do. There are no less than 23 Scriptures demonstrating we should share God’s concern for the fatherless. Sociologists and countless reliable studies tell us that, on average, children raised with their married biological mother and father do better than those raised in households with broken biological bonds. It’s consistent to predict that children raised with deliberately broken biological bonds would also, on average, have poorer emotional and educational outcomes.
This is perhaps the most important reason to vote NO to the question on whether or not to redefine marriage. We cannot knowingly create future children to be raised in homes without their mother or their father. Please don’t misunderstand me. This is not to insult or criticise the love or care of single parents, step parents, adoptive parents, or homosexual parents. It is only to state the fact that wherever possible, it is in the child’s best interest to be raised by their natural mother and father. Tragedies sadly happen too often, such as death, divorce, and desertion. Let’s not be the Church that voted for such homes by deliberate design, and do our best to be a support to those who had no choice.
This is not just a question about marriage. We have seen in America, England and Canada that Western democracies rapidly lose freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and freedom of political expression after the redefinition of marriage. We’ve already seen pastors in Australia punished by the process of complaints to Anti Discrimination Tribunals for simply publishing gentle, traditional teaching on what the Bible says about marriage. We must not imagine for a second it won’t get much worse after marriage is redefined if we fail to oppose this bad law now.
We must vote. We must vote NO. We must no longer be the silent majority, but fulfill our mandate to be salt, light, and a city set on a hill, immovable as representatives of Christ – even if the world hates us for it, remembering it hated Him first.