Perverting Marriage

“Church Endorses Same-Sex Marriage.” So screamed the head-line of the Cleveland Plain Dealer on July 5, 2005. The accompanying story went on to tell that the 884 members of the United Church of Christ General Synod, meeting in Atlanta, had spent the fourth of July adopting a resolution endorsing same sex marriage. The resolution is rather lengthy, consisting of thirteen “whereases” and seven “let it be resolveds.”

However, the official United Church of Christ web site, as constituted on July 18, 2005, gave an official précis of the resolution as follows:

“In Support of Equal Marriage Rights for All. (Two proposals merged; passed as amended). Affirms equal marriage rights for couples regardless of gender and affirms equal access for all persons to the basic rights, institutional protections and quality of life conferred by the recognition of marriage. Also, calls on congregations to prayerfully consider adopting wedding policies that do not discriminate against gay or lesbian couples. Asks all settings of the church to urge legislative support for marriage equality. Asks local congregations to prayerfully discuss and study marriage equality. Recognizes that the UCC is not of one mind on this issue and understands that discussions will be difficult.”

The Plain Dealer article commented that roughly 80% of the delegates voted for the resolution. However, the Rev. Brett Becker, a dissenter, observed that:

“‘If we had put it to a vote of the people in the pews, it would have failed overwhelmingly,’ he said. ‘This is truly Independence Day for the UCC – we have declared ourselves independent from the teachings of Jesus and the clear teachings of Scripture.’”

The Visitor usually concerns itself with the excesses of new evangelicalism and the problems of fundamentalism. However, the perversion of marriage is one of Satan’s most effective current attacks on our society. It is in the news, the courts, and our schools. The Lord’s people know what is right; but, we all need to be confirmed in that. Therefore we feel led to comment.

The Bible Says
Anyone who believes what the Bible teaches has no trouble affirming that marriage is the union of one man and one woman for a lifetime. God declared in Genesis 2:18 that, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” God proceeded to make that help meet for Adam from a part of his own flesh and bone so that Adam observed in Genesis 2:23: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Then God observed, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” God’s action is a clear picture of what God meant by the home. There is nothing homosexual or lesbian implied or included.

That picture is followed in the rest of Scripture. Wherever the Bible speaks of the home, marriage, divorce, or principles for the Christian life, the discussion is always about husband and wife, man and woman. There is no other definition of the home.

On the contrary, whenever Scripture speaks about what we know as homosexuality or lesbianism it speaks of them as fearful per-versions to be visited with the judgment of God. Romans 1 is a prime example. Lesbianism and homosexuality are described with the terms, “vile affections,” “that which is against nature,” “unseemly,” and a “reprobate mind.” There is no doubt, to anyone who believes Scripture, that God created the home to be one man and one woman together for a lifetime.

This is an interesting (almost funny) aside. The United Church of Christ folks have talked about this subject so much that they have coined an acronym to simplify what they mean. They talk about the rights of LGBT– meaning lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans-gender. One official paragraph, speaking in support of their resolution, used LGBT five times.

The UCC Says
How could a church group justify such action? This makes an interesting study in modernism. The resolution in question was submitted to delegates preceded by ninety-three numbered lines of text titled, “In Support of Equal Marriage Rights for All.” I obtained my copy from the United Church of Christ web site, 7/18/05. In the introductory paragraph we read:

“In the Gospel we find ground for a definition of marriage and family relationships based on affirmation of the full humanity of each partner, lived out in mutual care and respect for one another. Scripture itself, along with the global human experience, offers many different views of family and how family is to be defined.”

Think about that first sentence. I am willing to accept the full humanity of my sister, my great uncle, and my plumber. But, does that give any reason or grounds for marrying any of them? That next sentence about “Scripture itself,” is just plain false. I will admit that “global experience,” gives all kinds of views of family because men are sinful men. However, when you put lies in the context of a doctrinal discussion, people in the pew tend to believe them even though they are false.

What Is The Gospel?
Another paragraph, under the title of “Theological and Biblical Foundations,” gives us this wisdom:

“The message of the Gospel is the lens through which the whole of scripture is to be interpreted. Love and compassion, justice and peace are at the very core of the life and ministry of Jesus. It is a message that always bends toward inclusion[….] The liberating work of the Spirit as witnessed in the activities of Jesus’ ministry has been to address the situations and structures of exclusion, injustice and oppression that diminish God’s people and keep them from realizing the full gift of human personhood in the context of human communion.”

The paragraph speaks of the message of the Gospel and equates that with love, compassion, justice and peace. Any believer recognizes that as a bogus definition of the Gospel. The Apostle Paul defined the Gospel in I Corinthians 15 that: “Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.” In other words, the Bible defines the Gospel as a redemptive message. The United Church of Christ defines it as a social message. That is
the essence of the social Gospel. Can it be said that Jesus’ ministry always “bends toward inclusion?” When I read what he said about the scribes and Pharisees I sense “exclusion.” When he says in Luke 13:3, “I tell you, Nay; but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” That sounds more like exclusion than inclusion.

Love Your Neighbor
The next theological paragraph states: “The biblical call to justice and compassion (to love one’s neighbor as one’s self) provides the mandate for marriage equality.” The audacity of that false statement amazes me. Do you believe that when Jesus said that we were to love our neighbor as ourselves he was giving a mandate for marriage equality? But, really, that statement gives the whole basis for the United Church of Christ position on marriage. “Equality” is the word. These matters have been aired in the courts and will continue to be. The cry is always, “equality, equality, equality,” or “rights, rights, rights.” There is no
scriptural basis for same-sex marriage. There is no legal precedent in American jurisprudence for same-sex marriage. But, our society has come to accept “equality” and “rights,” as divine mandates.

Dismissing the Bible
Where does the Bible stand in decisions of the United Church of Christ? Listen to the words of another paragraph:

“Indeed, it is not possible to rely exclusively on scripture for understanding marriage today. For example, biblical texts that encourage celibacy, forbid divorce, or require women to be subservient to their husbands are not considered to be authoritative because they are primarily expressions of the cultural norms of the ancient Middle East. Indeed, scripture neither commends a single marriage model nor commands all to marry, but rather calls for love and justice in all relationships.”

Does the United Church of Christ believe that the Bible is the Word of God? No, it is merely a collection of the cultural norms of the Middle East. When Paul wrote commands to the churches on marriage, as in Ephesians 5, he was writing to contradict the cultural norms of the Middle East. If Genesis 2 does not commend a single marriage model what does it do? In all of these defenses you can see the arrogance of the natural man that things are true because society says so, not because God says so.

An Expanding Bible?
Two other paragraphs say something further about the attitude of the United Church of Christ to Scripture.

“Is God still speaking about marriage? The overwhelming testimonies of countless couples, regardless of gender, throughout the United Church of Christ, and beyond, say, ‘Yes, God is still speaking.’”

If I understand my United Church of Christ gobbledygook correctly that is saying that God is still speaking about marriage in our time through the experience of homosexual and lesbian relationships. Scripture is not complete. We are still learning something–not by revelation, but by the experience of sinful relationships. I don’t think I got it wrong because a “whereas” in the resolution reads:

“WHEREAS we proclaim ourselves to be listening to the voice of a Still Speaking God at [as] that at all times in human history there is always yet more light and truth to break forth from God’s holy word[…]”

Fundamental Christians believe that the Bible is God’s completed revelation. We are not looking for additions to it. We sometimes find in it things we have never seen before; but the idea that further truth is being given through human experience is foreign to sound doctrine. Scripture truth is certainly not being added by the experiences of LGBT’s.

Trampling the Book of Worship
John Thomas, General Minister and President (the highest office) of the United Church of Christ delivered a Pre-synod speech endorsing marriage equality. It was reproduced on the UCC web site. He quoted the United Church of Christ Book of Worship as follows:

“Book of Worship further says that ‘the scriptures teach us that the bond and covenant of marriage is a gift of God, a holy mystery in which man and woman become one flesh, an image of the union of Christ and the church.’”

That is a true statement in a desert of error. It shows that the denomination once saw better days. But, it also shows the casual way the Book of Worship is regarded. The statement came a few days before the truth of the doctrinal statement was to be wiped out by a resolution. I believe in a group expressing itself by resolutions; but, when men come to a time when the doctrinal statement can be wiped out by a resolution, the group has lost all concept of a doctrinal statement.

Some Lessons
What is to be learned from all of this? There are many lessons, but I will comment on four. First, it illustrates what happens when men abandon faith in the inspiration of the Word of God. If we stray from the absolute truth God has given us in His word there is no anchor. It is easy to adulterate Scripture with our own human preference. The end of that road is disaster.

Second, I fear that some fundamental Christians still think that any church is better than nothing. We say to unsaved friends, “You need to go to church.” That is a thoroughly inadequate statement in our age. We must say, “You need to go to a fundamental church where the Word of God is taught in every service.” I have written about the United Church of Christ because they put themselves on the front page. But, their thinking is typical of the modernistic Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist, or American Baptist Church of today. All have espoused the social gospel and the UCC shows us what the social gospel is.

Third, we have seen the basis on which the courts will handle questions of LGBT. They will not consider the teaching of the Bible. They will not think much about American jurisprudence. They will base decisions on equality, rights, humanity, and justice. Consequently, because Bible truth is excluded in these decisions, we will almost always be the losers. We must fight against these changes. They destroy the moral stability of our nation. But we are destined to be losers.

Get Out!
Fourth, these words may find their way to some people who are members in the United Church of Christ. If you find yourself in the United Church of Christ, get out! You are in the Devil’s crowd. You may think that my words, “get out,” are a bit harsh. If you have any doubt about that being the right answer, carefully read II Corinthians 6:14-18. There you will read the solution in God’s own words.

August 2005

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The OBF Visitor is the official publication of the Ohio Bible Fellowship. Feature articles from past issues of the Visitor are made available here for your use. You may read, distribute, and use this material as long as you do so in its entirety and without modification. All articles © The Ohio Bible Fellowship.

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