Not long ago in our nation’s history, homosexuality was taboo. People commonly looked at homosexual behavior with disgust. Laws were enacted to outlaw various actions attributed to same-sex attraction. But now culture has very rapidly performed a 180-degree shift. A majority of Americans – particularly younger Americans – now approve of homosexual practice.
What happened? Those who support the acceptance of LGBT behavior adopted arguments that became particularly compelling to young people.
This should not come as a surprise to us. The Bible teaches us that homosexuality is a subject by which it is easy to be fooled. “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither […] adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, […] will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10).
Here are some arguments that have proven to be very effective at duping people today:
Gay “marriage” has been packaged like a civil rights issue. I think Millennials grew up reading in their history books about the 1965 civil rights marches in Alabama and thought, “I would have liked to have been a part of that.” Today, homosexuality has become the moral equivalent of being black. This is very interesting, as the social conversation about homosexuality is no longer about what you do, but about who you are. If I were a black man, I would be deeply offended by equating 2015 with 1965. Christians understand that in reality, the issue is not about identity, but about choice. You cannot choose to be black, but you can choose to practice homosexuality (cf. 1 Cor. 6:11). Your temptation does not define you, but your decision to act on your temptation does. Jesus was tempted, yet was without sin (Heb. 4:15).
Gay “marriage” has redefined love. The words of John Mayer’s song, “You love, who you love, who you love,” resonate with people today. Most now think, “There’s enough hate in the world, and here are two men who love each other; what’s wrong with that?”
Our secular world has cheapened “love” to mean “sexual attraction,” and the marriage bed has become the pinnacle of romance. Society’s idea of marriage, which has devolved to merely signify a time-period of commitment, is only a shabby duck-tape attempt to replicate true biblical marriage.
Knowing the new definition of “love,” are you ready for the ramifications of this argument? If society supports a relationship simply because of “love,” what else must society eventually support? Surely a man can “love” his dog. Surely pedophilia can be committed within a “loving” relationship. Surely it is wrong to continue prosecuting teachers for “loving” some of their pupils. Surely a woman can marry several men with whom she is in love.
For Christians, it isn’t about consensual sexual intercourse, but about truly loving God and His Word. It isn’t real love if I allow someone to enter into a relationship with me that God calls “sin.” Eternity, after all, awaits us. A truly loving relationship is founded on the bedrock goal of helping one another get to heaven. It more closely resembles hatred if I am willing to place myself between someone else and heaven.
Gay “marriage” is now seen as progress. Homosexuals have long been able to support one another and enter into covenants with one another. The Supreme Court on June 26, 2015 gave very few freedoms that were not already enjoyed by practicing homosexuals. But it isn’t about rights (they already had those rights); it is about gaining society’s approval.
When Lot had the audacity to deny the men of Sodom their demand to gang-rape his male guests, they replied, “Now he has become the judge!” (Gen. 19:9). Does this sound familiar to the argument used today? “Stop judging us.” “Who are you to say we are wrong?” It isn’t about rights; it is about finding affirmation after God has called certain behavior wrong. People don’t want to be seen as being on the “wrong side of history,” so they go along with this so-called “progress.”
Gay “marriage” has redefined tolerance. If you refuse to endorse homosexual behavior, society will quickly label you as “intolerant.” That is because “tolerance” no longer means peaceful coexistence with contrary views and belief systems. Today, “tolerance” means full support. Either you embrace homosexuality or you are a rotten, bigoted person full of hate. (That escalated quickly, didn’t it?) In the eyes of society, it is impossible to be both compassionate to homosexuals while disapproving of their actions.
With this word game, no wonder young people are supporting gay “marriage” in droves. After all, who wants to be seen as a bigot? They don’t want their peers to think they are “closed-minded” – or worse – “intolerant” (gasp, the thought!).
Now that the courts, the media, and public opinion favor gay “marriage,” what can we do?
- Prepare for these arguments. Sometimes we fail to keep ourselves up-to-speed with culture. We are often more aware of the problems of the past and easily have answers to those problems. But times have changed, and Satan has found new ways to package sin that will appeal to a new generation of thinking. Cultural Christianity has already bowed to the pressure to approve of gay marriage. Now, more than ever before, it is important to think like God thinks and live on every drop of God’s Word. “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom. 12:2).
- Prepare our children for these arguments. This goes without saying. But so many of my peers have left the Lord’s Church because their parents did not prepare them how to handle these arguments. I know many children of preachers who have left the church because their fathers failed to equip them with ways to respond to postmodern and emergent arguments in favor of homosexuality (and a host of other issues). From the very beginning, our children need to know what is natural and what is unnatural and unpleasing to God.
- Start with the basics when talking to people who support gay “marriage.” When talking to my friends and neighbors who practice or approve of homosexuality, I rarely talk about the sinfulness of homosexuality. Why?They don’t know what sin is. Before you can establish that practicing homosexuality is wrong, there is a host of other issues one must first understand. First, one must believe in the God of the Bible. Second, one must believe in the Bible and the extent of its authority over our lives. One must understand the concept of sola scriptura, that the Bible is not a fluid document, and that God’s Word never takes a back seat to culture. Third, one must grasp the concept of sin, know Who Jesus is, and understand the nature of salvation.If someone does not understand these things, they will never understand the truth about homosexuality (and they will look at you like a close-minded, intolerant bigot).
- Think about our words. Because culture now supports gay “marriage,” it is important to choose our words carefully. There are more people who want to demonize your biblical convictions than there are people who tolerate (the old meaning of the word) them. Before you write or say anything, just assume your words could easily appear on the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper. In other words, don’t say stupid things. If you consider how your words could be interpreted from all sides, the truth will become even brighter.
- Model biblical sexuality. The darker our world becomes, the brighter Christianity should shine. Sin brings guilt, confusion, sadness, and doubt. Christians should model what a happy marriage looks like! A truly happy and fulfilling life can only be found in living God’s Way – following His law rather than our own reasoning (Prov. 14:12; Ecc. 12:13; Eph. 2:10).
- Rejoice when we feel the pressure. One of the greatest honors is suffering for Christ’s sake. Secular America is particularly hostile toward New Testament Christians. When we face name-calling, loss of opportunity, fines, or lawsuits – we should rejoice! Knowing how unworthy I am of God’s grace – it is an honor to be shamed because of the Name I wear. Glory in these verses:
“For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake.” (Phil. 1:29)
“Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.” (Acts 5:41)
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:10)