Characterizing the Significance of Same-Sex Marriage

 

What significance should a Christian attach to same-sex marriage?  What is the correct balance which gives proper value to the matter? In the United States, the Supreme Court has now ruled that same-sex marriage is legal. Some pastors have said, “It is now the law of the land. We need to move on.” Is it time for the church to accept it as now normal?

The following is adapted from material which appeared in the Christian Reformed Agenda to Synod 2000 (pages 374-375):

Some view a person’s stand on the issue of same-sex marriage as a reflection of fundamental and confessional principles of Scripture. Others suggest that the issue may be viewed as adiaphora, like eating meat versus eating only vegetables (see Rom. 14). Is same-sex marriage a
CONFESSIONAL matter in the sense that the main articles of the Apostles' Creed are confessional? Does it merit classification along with essential doctrines of salvation or the nature of God? Does it undermine the teachings about Jesus, his birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and present reign? Does it detract from the Bible's teaching about the Holy Spirit and the way of salvation?  In a case of serious doctrinal error we know what needs to be done. If this same-sex marriage issue was an essential confessional issue, our salvation would depend on what we believed concerning this matter.


Is same-sex marriage 
a MORAL ISSUE, like committing adultery, killing, stealing, or any other violation of God's covenant code?  If it was a moral issue, for someone to engage in same-sex marriage, more specifically, same-sex erotic acts, it would be immoral and would constitute a sin.

Could same-sex marriage be a
WISDOM
issue? The Bible's wisdom literature is intended to help God's people to model their conduct, individually and communally, after the principles that reflect God's will for living beneficial and productive lives . . . . the church was given wisdom principles to guide her in the regulation of worship and in the appointment of office bearers (I Tim. 2:3; I Cor. 11:2-16). Wisdom principles help people pull together insights and truths from a number of spheres:  the nature of the created order, observable societal principles and circumstances, and, in particular, the nature of humankind as illuminated by God's special revelation. Wisdom teachings provide boundaries and goals for human life in the presence of God. Could the issue of same-sex marriage be approached from a similar perspective? How can the church act wisely today? 

Or does the issue belong to the
ADIAPHORA
, the matters of indifference? Some pastors have labeled same-sex marriage adiaphora. Is that correct?

Attempting to characterize an issue properly is of genuine help in discerning the nature and the extent of our differences on the issue. It also helps us to know how to respond appropriately when we reach differing conclusions.

 

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