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Are Evangelicals Changing Their Minds on Gay Marriage?

  If you were to read the Time.com story, “How Evangelicals Are Changing Their Minds on Gay Marriage”, a teaser piece to get you to read the full article (subscription required),  and take it as truthful, then yes, Evangelicals are changing their minds. However, a quick look at the information presented reveals a few quick rebuttals on…

Jan 19, 2015

Douglas Leslie

 

If you were to read the Time.com story, “How Evangelicals Are Changing Their Minds on Gay Marriage”, a teaser piece to get you to read the full article (subscription required),  and take it as truthful, then yes, Evangelicals are changing their minds. However, a quick look at the information presented reveals a few quick rebuttals on the author’s presumptions.

  1. A single large church with no authoritative stance on their own doctrine cannot be considered a “quintessential evangelical mega-church”.  Such a determination by the author represents at best, an ideological stretch.  The author should know that the “rock-style worship” or “thousands of strong-attendance” does not make an evangelical church. I know nothing of the church quoted in the article and so will not comment here. However the quote of the Sr. Pastor is worth noting. “I refuse to go to a church where my friends who are gay are excluded from Communion or a marriage covenant or the beauty of Christian community…..It is a move of integrity for me—the message of Jesus was a message of wide inclusivity.” Inclusive in the sense that all are welcome, yes. Exclusive however in the reality that “narrow is the road that leads to life.” (Luke 13:24). En-treatment to all to experience the fullness of life in Jesus should be proclaimed regularly. Acceptance of every lifestyle the Biblical text views as sin as Jesus’ “message of wide inclusivity” misses the mark – and hardly can be counted as ‘quintessential’ evangelicalism.
  2. Conversations about LGBT issues by well-known Evangelcial leaders do not equal a pathway to endorsement. A statement like, “Conversation about gay marriage is no longer seen as an automatic compromise on Biblical authority” only tells me the author has no basis for the presumptive conclusion that conversations were ever seen as an automatic compromise. Partnerships with gay activist groups against the horror of human trafficking, or discussions with gay congregants to better ‘understand their stories’ can hardly be seen as a changing of the mind. Perhaps it is an outward acknowledgement that people are simply not a sum-total of their outward behavior.  And understanding that reality is a good thing.
  3. Wheaton’s hiring of a “gay, celibate, Christian” is not a “half-step toward inclusion”.  It is unfortunate that the author is so quickly to rush out the story of the hiring of Julie Rodgers, without telling more.  She considers herself gay and  ‘someone who identifies as homosexual but does not act on her same-sex desires because she also believes such behavior is sinful.’  Furthermore she uses the term gay to mean ‘she is attracted to women but does not consider this attraction to be central to her identity.’  And she wrote emphatically that  she owes her “ultimate allegiance … only to Christ.”  Full context is really important.

The ongoing discussions around LGBTQ and the church is very healthy.  However, the discussion about the reality of societal acceptance does not mean the the difficult biblical text that with which we grapple are any less relevant or true.  As Christians, we believe the Bible is God’s revealed word and therefore is absolutely true. Therefore we must adapt our life – both intellectually and physically – in accordance with that truth.  Our allegiance is first to Jesus and his revealed word, not the billowing and always changing cultural norm.

This is not an easy pill to swallow.  Truth changes us always for the better.  Our willingness to confront our own behavior or addiction or self-centeredness or whatever else has a hold on us, often stands in the way. The reality is, however, Christianity makes demands on us.  Demands that are difficult. Demands that may cost us friends, careers, and income. But they are demands that grant us life and life more abundantly. And that makes those demands not just tolerable, but embracing.

 

 

 

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Douglas Leslie

Douglas Leslie serves as the Founder and President of the Association of Christian Nonprofits, a nationwide membership organization focused on coming alongside local churches and faith-based ministries. In 2001 Doug left the corporate world, moving his family to Phoenix to serve as the Director of Operations for an international missions organization and later as the Executive Director of a grant-making public charity focused on skill training among the world’s poorest peoples. As a former pastor, Doug has a deep love for the local church, believing the church is God’s primary strategy for reaching their local communities and the world’s remaining unreached peoples. Doug lives with his wife and four children in the greater Phoenix area.

2 thoughts on “Are Evangelicals Changing Their Minds on Gay Marriage?”

  1. Being gay is *not* a “behavior or addiction or self-centeredness.” Until you have a gay child, or have a gay relative or friend who decides to share their story with you, please don’t claim that you know “Truth.” Your interpretation of certain verses are merely your opinion. And gays who are consistently marginalized, shunned from church activities, thrown out of church or home, bullied, discriminated against, told they are going to Hell, physically abused, and who are on the verge of suicide, all while desperately praying to God to change them (which He doesn’t), are hardly living the “abundant life.” Get real.

    Please keep in mind that Christians used similar arguments as are used now against LGBT to try and prevent women from voting, and African-Americans from having civil rights….God doesn’t change, but cultures, and interpretations of the Bible, certainly do. And if the Bible is “absolutely true,” how come Christians aren’t commanded to “pluck out their eye” when it causes them to sin. Or women aren’t still commanded to cover their heads in church…or any countless number of examples that Christians now read as metaphors or as a reflection of the culture of those times.

    You might try reading some resources on the matter…if you are open-minded enough to do so. Matthew Vines’ “God and the Gay Christian” would be an excellent place to start. He spent two years dissecting the very few verses Christians use to defend their approach and attitudes toward LGBT. “Torn” by Justin Lee is another excellent book. Reading these and other resources out their would help increase your credibility (as would cleaning up your typos.)

    1. Thank you Debbie for pointing out a couple of my typos. I appreciate your help. On the main issues of your post please understand this post was a response to the Time Magazine article referenced only. However, my conclusions after re-reading the post still remain. As difficult as it is, as Christians we still must adapt our lives to the Biblical text and not cultural adaptations of the text, just as Ms. Rodgers had done before being hired my Wheaton.

      I appreciate your comments. they are helpful to spur on conversation. Thank you for reading.

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