Due East

Today is an important day in North Carolina. Today the people of the Tar Heel State will decide if their constitution should be amended to restrict marriage to a union between one man and one woman. Same-sex marriage is already illegal in North Carolina. The proposed measure, however, would add the ban to the state constitution. Framers explain that such an amendment will prevent the courts from easily overturning the law.

This being an election year, the amendment has gained national attention. Both sides have funded extensive campaigns and prominent individuals have had their say. And with all the caterwauling going on, most Christians are responding tentatively. Oh, certainly, there are those abrasive characters within our ranks that are blessed with more volume than discernment, but they are few. Most believers are simply reluctant to speak out.

The reason for this timidity is not a lack of knowledge. While most evangelicals cannot quote chapter and verse, they know that scripture prohibits homosexuality (Lev. 18:22, 1 Co. 6:9-10, Ro. 1:26-27). Their reticence is due, in my opinion, to a clever sleight-of-hand. Christians have been told by their opponents that their objections are inconsistent with their convictions. If we are truly disciples of Christ, we are told to model his loving, accepting ways. This line of reasoning insists that taking a stand for our Christian principles is somehow unchristian. And not wanting to reflect poorly on Christ, we comply.

But we cannot let secular voices define Christ. His loving, accepting ways are not in doubt, but his holiness ought not to be doubted either. Projecting Jesus as an indulgent figure whose message is little more than ‘be nice’ is a horrible mischaracterization. He is an imposing figure with a message that runs counter to the ways of the world. It is bemusing to me that someone, who emphasized repentance, is often portrayed as a spokesperson of moral tolerance. Contrary to this characterization, Jesus had some hard things to say about human behavior: “Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to sin! Such things must come, but woe to the man through whom they come! (Matt. 18:7 NIV). We must be faithful to repeat his words in our times.

If we kindly step aside or choose to stay above the fray, there will be no fray. Unimpeded, the worldly agenda will accelerate and godliness will be constrained. Being the salt and light includes more than acts of charity, it is reflecting all of Christ to all of society. I have no desire to turn every conflict into a crusade, but I desire the courage to fill my love with truth.

11 thoughts on “Due East

  1. My question is…is amending the state constitution really the way to go? I have no answers really, but this entire topic intrigues me because I find myself wondering how do you walk that fine line of love and truth, particularly in the realm of homosexuality. Do you hold those who don’t even claim to be Christians to the standard of a Christian? Or is that for God to do and our job is to show them the love of Christ? Homosexuals, particularly homosexual youth, are one of the most cast out groups today. How do we show the love of Christ to the point that they would want to receive it and simultaneously maintain integrity of our faith without ostracizing them further or having our words come across as hatred? Feeling like I’m rambling at this point but just some quick thoughts I had. I would love to hear yours.

    • Great question Amber. I was not commenting so much on the polical solution as I was the Christian response. But in response to your question: We cannot expect the world to embrace Christian standards if they refuse to accept Christ, that’s unreasonable. But when their ambitions threaten to reshape society, and consequently do harm to others, should we not intervene? Saying no need not be hateful, it simply seeks to speak truth. And it’s the truth that brings life.

      • Agreed. I think I would just like to see what that looks like. So much of what you actually “see” are “those abrasive characters within our ranks that are blessed with more volume than discernment.” And not that anyone else’s response, other than Christ’s, should define my own. But sometimes I think if I could see someone really living out Christ’s response….love in truth…I could say “Aha! That’s what it looks like.” I don’t want to be politically correct. I do want to draw people to Christ with a life lived the way He wants me to live it. I guess that’s not always popular :)

      • Right you are. There is so much emotion invested in this topic that anything said can be criticized as having been said badly. So there is no consensus on who does this right. Looking to Christ, I see his confrontational style differ based on the people and circumstances. His message was always consistent but his delivery was targeted.

  2. Well said,Eugene. Speaking the truth in love has been redefined as “intolerant” or “politically incorrect.” Silence is unloving and has doomed an entire generation and culture to distorted values and convoluted christian worldviews. God’s truth is unchanging and cheap grace should never be substitued for love based on His eternal word, mercy, and forgiveness.

  3. But have we really loved the gay community as the church. Unfortunately we talk about love now but the church is very guilty of ostracizing them in the past and being very intolerant of their sin when so many others are tolerated and even excused. Agree what the Bible says but again how does the church move forward in love.

    • I will grant you that the Church (universal) is guilty of many excesses in the past. But my current concern is that we are succumbing to the temptation to be altogether absent from the future. I’m not sure we should have a particular posture towards any one community. We have a single posture of love to all. It’s the love that says, “by faith and repentance, you like me, can recieve a new beginning.”

  4. Many Christians equate acceptance, even tolerance with love. If we see someone in danger, the true love of God does not standby and tolerate or accept the danger, but warns, even takes action to save that dear one from danger. Few will warn the homosexutals of the inherent danger and point to God as the solution to the danger. We have listened to the world that there is no danger, that this is just an alternative life style. God can suplant this sin (and associated dangers) with peace and joy.

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