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Gay Marriage

Thinking biblically, thinking missionally

We asked Nigel Wright to write a paper for us on this topic. Neil Brighton at Poynton has also made available some study material he produced for his own church; and because real issues affect real people, we have also included the first of some relevant stories.

Let us know what you think! There is always space for you to comment – so let’s have a helpful conversation about this highly topical issue – and one which has enormous missional implications.

Mark Elder gave a very well-received option at our 2014 national conference entitled Christianity and Homosexuality (audio), (PowerPoint) he emphasises that these are personal views reached after engaging with this issue over a number of years.

Peter and Kim Brookes were also at the conference.They have formed Eklektos, a support network for Christian parents of gay or lesbian children. Find out more at www.eklektos.org.uk

At our first-ever Theology Summer School, Phil Robinson took a session on Christianity and homosexuality: navigating the minefield with grace and truth – which you can hear using this link

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8 thoughts on “Gay Marriage

  1. Why, as committed Christians, are we debating this? Is the Baptist Church wishing to become the New Emergent Church, with some desire to rewrite Scripture for our “post-Christian” era? Same-sex marriage is wrong and trying to justify it – and even bless it – is not right.

    • At the mundane level, the reason for airing thoughts on this topic is that it was the one that came top of the poll at our January Conference. My guess at the reason for that is that people are aware that this issue is a major stumbling-block for the gospel in our society, and people want to be sure they are thinking biblically and articulating the arguments thoughtfully, and as helpfully as possible for the sake of the gospel. The aim of our Theology Track is to help people do just that.

      • I would not for a moment dispute Andy Burns’ right to express his views. But he must realise that the folk who would advocate a more “liberal” approach to this subject include many who have thought, studied, prayed earnestly and probably agonised before reaching that point. Furthermore they have come to the genuine conviction, not that God has changed his mind, but that his Spirit has led them into a new and perhaps surprising understanding of his Holy Word.

  2. Two passages of scripture I believe will help our understanding.
    First Leviticus ch.18 [the whole chapter, not just verse 22!]. This chapter reminds us that the God who gave us the gift of sexual relationships has also set limits on how his gift is to be exercised. Further the chapter can be used to test views that are being put forward to justify same sex relationships. For example it is suggested that the bible only forbids ‘abusive’ same sex relationships. However, this argument could equally apply to ‘non-abusive’ sexual relations between close family members thereby overturning the prohibition on incest and….? This reminds us that while the effect on us as humans is very important it is still secondary to whether our behaviour is pleasing to God.
    The second passage is John 8 v.1-11. Correctly much of the current debate concerns inclusion of those in same sex relationships. Sadly bible believers have all too often made a scapegoat of those in same sex relationships, just as the religious leaders in Jesus’ day shamefully abused the woman taken in adultery. Jesus ‘included’ her, defended her against her religious accusers and refused to condemn her – but in telling her ‘to sin no more’ he still maintained the law concerning adultery. So here we have an excellent model that is faithful to both inclusion and the law.
    I hope this is helpful to the debate.

  3. We debate and discuss this issue because it is the real world in which we live. Many us already have gay people worshipping with us, who have been saved by the grace of God like everyone else. Just to say they are wrong closes down the opportunity to hold out the gospel to the whole of society. The evangelical church fails to grapple with these challenging issues time and again and then plays catch up. Andrew Marin ‘Love is an Orientation’ is a good book to read on this matter.

  4. If you are going to ‘translate’ the scripture literally in to ‘real life’ then so many people are not fulfilling their duty as they are not ‘breeding’. I’m a divorcee (twice) so must be viewed as the Whore of Babylon by so many ‘good’ christians.

    The example of the adulteress (what happened to her partner/s in crime incidentally?) is not the same. Anyone who actually knows, not just knows of, a homosexual man or woman will know they have not chosen their sexuality. The adulteress chose to have a relationship with a married man and/or while married herself. She had the choice not to and to stick to her marriage vows.

    By refusing to acknowledge homosexual relationships, you are denying people the choice to have a warm and loving relationship which can be just as deep and meaningful as that between a heterosexual couple.

    I honestly do not believe and can not believe that God will have created homosexuals and then torture them by saying they are wrong. I do not believe that in the big picture a man or woman who is in a relationship with someone of the same sex but works their backside off doing good deeds should be judged by do-gooders who sole purpose (enjoyment?) in life is to pick holes in the lifestyle of others.

    Give me a church of decent hearted homosexuals over a bunch of narrow minded, blinkered ‘christians’.

    • The argument that “By refusing to acknowledge homosexual relationships, you are denying people the choice to have a warm and loving relationship which can be just as deep and meaningful as that between a heterosexual couple.” is very spurious and saying that “I honestly do not believe and can not believe that God will have created homosexuals and then torture them by saying they are wrong” shows a distinct lack of knowledge of the effect of sin.
      Sadly (very badly) sin corrupted what God had made perfect. God did not create men and women to have feelings for the same sex, that was a result of sin entering into the world.
      If we are to believe that God made some people to be homosexual / lesbian then by extension we have to go on and say God made some people to be murderers, some to be God haters (atheists) some to be adulterers, some to be thieves, some to hate and not love, some to be paedophiles. God did NOT create men and women to be any of these, it was and is SIN that has marred / corrupted what God made.
      Yes God loved (and loves) the world so much that HE gave HIS son to die on the cross – “God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life.”
      because – “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”
      There is redemption for all in Christ but the path is through repentance and faith (in Jesus Christ) and can only be walked by a small number.

      • I have often thought along the same lines your have written and then gone onto to think a little more. Non of us are born perfect but who’d disagree with a midwife who announces you have a little girl/boy 10 fingers 10 toes a perfect baby. Later who knows what defects that baby will have, visible or unseen defects. What ever the defects are I believe God sees straight through them to the perfect bits that shine through to Him and us if we choose to see them. The capacity to love another person deeply, unselfishly, caring for their wellbeing to the end of their life is a God given blessing. Perhaps we need to find a way to value and recognise LOVE in all it’s forms.

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