Things to click (10)

As I write this, a rainbow band adorns the top of my WordPress interface. It’s all about supporting Same-Sex marriage. That’s the topic of the hour here in Australia – especially since the national postal survey is being distributed right now. It’s all about giving everyone a say in whether marriage should be redefined.

At our church, we are determined to make sure that our message focuses on Jesus Christ. Our message is about the real redemption and inner transformation that comes when people give over control of their life to the King who died and was raised to life.

HE changes people. Not moral laws. Not legislation. Jesus. And whatever happens in Australia with marriage our message is, and will always be about presenting Jesus to everyone in word and deed. It’s not easy to do. But it is something that we’re compelled by love to do.

There is obviously much in the media about this whole SSM thing. Here are some of the more interesting posts I’ve seen in the past week or so. Feel free to click them. Or not.

(1) This link is a word from Christian minister and blogger, Stephen McAlpine, entitled “Progressive Christian: Where art thou?”

(2) Here’s an interesting and provoking post entitled “Biology is not a social construct.”

(3) For long and well-thought-out views about how the church should be approaching the whole topic of gay marriage, go to Pastor Nathan Campbell’s blog. Have a look around. You won’t be disappointed.

(4) Here are some thoughts on affirming heterosexual marriage, from the Sydney Anglicans.

(5) Why opposing same sex marriage isn’t like racism.

(6) A piece about a gay couple who oppose same-sex marriage.

(7) On an unrelated issue, here’s something by New Testament scholar Michael Bird on the necessity of gambling reforms in Australia.

 

Happy clicking!

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Some Christian Thoughts on SSM

Same-sex marriage is all people seem to talk about in Australia at the moment. I guess it’s good to thrash this issue out. More and more people are asking for a change to how we define marriage. It seems that the majority of secular, post-Christian Australia is in favour of it. And some fairly conservative Christians I know are in favour of it too. So yeah, I guess it’s a great thing to be thinking through.

A quick google search will uncover a host of different perspectives on this issue. If you want to find out what people are saying (on all sides), then just ask Dr Google.

However, if you want a really good analysis of the issue, check this blog post by Aussie Christian apologist Akos Balogh. He raises some good points from a biblically-grounded, clear-thinking Christian perspective. Of course, not everyone will agree with what he says.  But whatever you think about this topic, it’s worth a read.

Tim Keller on Homosexuality

Recently, a prominent Australian Christian made national headlines for their opposition to gay marriage. While being well within her rights to express an opinion, her public statements stirred up much anger and hurt, especially (and obviously) among the LGBTQI community.  The whole saga reinforced the widespread public view that Christians are judgemental rule-keepers who feel the need to stick their moral noses into other people’s business. Yes, the Bible does clearly say that acts of gay sex are ‘sinful’ – that is, outside God’s good parameters for human flourishing – but why should people who are not Christians be expected to live the Christian life? Why do Christians seem to single this issue out, and not issues like greed, racism, and divorce? And why do so many Christians forget to tell people about the joy of trusting and following Jesus?

The fact is that the church in Australia has a lot to learn about engaging our culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ – including my own church. Including me.

How should we speak about homosexuality? How should we answer the very good questions that people have about marriage, morality, and sex? How can we point people to Jesus?

Below is an interesting video clip of American pastor Tim Keller, who was asked about his views on homosexuality. While his responses are off-the-cuff and not as concise as they might otherwise be, what he says stands in stark contrast to recent attempts to promulgate the Christian worldview.

Same-Sex Marriage?

Those who seek to follow Jesus Christ are called to submit to him in every area of life. In our attitudes, finances, relationships, priorities, and values, Jesus Christ calls us to ‘repent’ and believe that he alone is King. He alone is worthy of our devotion. He alone can show us the path to true life.

But we humans love going our own way. We don’t want anyone telling us what to do. That approach has left us estranged from God. Spiritually disconnected. We’ve pushed God away, seeking to be our own gods – our own final authorities. But Jesus came to change that. Jesus is the one who gave his life to reconcile us to our Maker. Our response should be to thankfully surrender to him. His ways are true and loving. His commands are given for our good. His heart is set on us truly flourishing.

It is this God who created the institution of marriage.

That’s why biblical Christians sense a great deal of unease when the issue of redefining marriage is raised. Marriage is an institution as old as humanity itself. It’s always been defined as a special union of one man and one woman. For those who can, or wish to, it’s the perfect place to bring children into the world. For as long as history has been recorded, heterosexual marriages have played a crucial role in every stable society.

Joining a man and woman together for a life-long journey is also sacred – it reflects the complementary differences that exist throughout our cosmos: light and darkness, hot and cold, wet and dry, mountains and valleys, day and night, life and death. Then there’s male and female. Woven into our very universe are myriads of complementary unions of essential difference.

But to redefine marriage moves us away from this obvious, time-honoured union.

Now is a time for Christians to be careful. It is a time for deep reflection and prayer. It is a time to speak carefully, clearly, and respectfully. It is also a time for faithfulness.

Below are some links that can help you think further about the institution of marriage, from a Christian perspective:

“A Better Story – a biblical vision for sex and marriage” by Prof. Glynn Harrison

“The Logic of Classical Marriage” by John Dickson

“Why it Makes Sense to Oppose Same-Sex Marriage” by Andrew Errington

“Same-Sex Marriage Undermines the Purpose of the Institution” by Anthony Fischer

“I Oppose Same-Sex Marriage (and no I’m not a bigot)” by Michael Jensen

The point of all these links is not hate or bigotry. It’s not about shaming anyone, as though gay people are the scum of the earth. They’re not. It’s about a genuine, peaceful objection to the changing of a fundamental human institution. There are good historical, sociological, and theological reasons to have some reservations about same-sex marriage.

It might be the case that no matter what we say, laws are passed to redefine marriage. This is a democracy after all. If that’s what people want, that’s what they’ll eventually get.

But that’s OK. Whatever happens, the church’s mission still remains the same: to call people back to their Maker by submitting to the one who gave his life for us.

Let’s remember the key issue facing humans is not who they marry.
It’s what they worship.
It’s who they ultimately serve.

For one final link, here’s something else to chew on:

“Do we Love Gay People?” by Akos Balogh