Yesterday I ran across an article in The Christian Post where the infamous "hell-can't-be-real-because-love-wins" Rob Bell assured the even more infamous "I left Christianity because "I couldn't believe in a God that's jealous of me" Oprah Winfrey that the American Church is moments away from embracing gay marriage. The article has gone mega viral, provoking protest and upset among thousands of Christians. And understandably so. I mean, if Christ's Church is about to bow down to the culture and honor monogamous same-sex relationships as worthy of marital title, that's surely reason for outcry and shock.
But I just want to assure you guys of something, because I surprisingly haven't seen anyone else say it yet: Christ's Church is not on the verge of embracing gay marriage, and it never will be.
Now, there may be a multitude of religious institutions that call themselves churches that are on the verge of embracing gay marriage. Actually, there already are a multitude of institutions that call themselves churches and embrace gay marriage. I know plenty of people - some within my own family - that attend these religious institutions. Their leaders are passionate about vocally expressing the need for same-sex marriage to be not only tolerated, but also celebrated in Christian circles. They gently coerce others toward error with sweet, deceiving words:
"We are people of love, aren't we? How could we possibly disapprove of or forbid a 'God-given' romantic expression of love between two men or two women? Who are we to determine what shape or form love can or can't come in?"
Well, I would say they're surely correct in their position that we, men, have no authority to define love. But God does. And He has; clearly, explicitly, and non-negotiable – in Scripture. Marriage is a gospel-picture-painting, covenantal gift given by God to be enjoyed between one man and one woman. Romantic 'love' outside of this one-man-one-woman dynamic is not true love, but a sinful perversion of love. Romantic 'love' outside of this one-man-one-woman dynamic has never been nor will ever be supported or embraced by Christ's Church as something good or God honoring.
From a big picture, macro-level perspective, religious institutions that call themselves churches and embrace gay marriage prove themselves to not truly be a Church of Christ's. I know that's an exclusive claim. I know that's a narrow statement. I understand that it will anger many. But the fact of the matter is that the Bible is incredibly clear about what the fruit of a true Church looks like, and an institution that embraces same-sex marriage is not a true Church of Jesus'– no matter how many crosses or Bibles or rosaries or baptism pools they have in the sanctuary.
And from a micro-level perspective, individual, self-identified Christians that condone same-sex relationships and embrace gay marriage are in extreme danger of possessing inauthentic faith. Someone claiming allegiance to Christ while denying His word and persistently calling evil good cannot and should not be assured of their salvation. I mean, I'm not going to pronounce a blanket judgment; I think it is possible for someone to be saved, yet poorly discipled and ignorant of Scriptural teaching. It's possible. But – big 'BUT' – it's not probable. The norm for the Christian life is submission to the clear, comprehendible teaching of Scripture. An individual that professes Jesus and has access to the Bible but embraces gay marriage, I cannot, with a good conscience, confidently call a Christian.
Divisive issues such as this were not unanticipated by Christ or his apostles. In 1 Corinthians Chapter 11, Paul states, "…. I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized." The issue of same-sex marriage is going to be a catalyst that will cause the true followers of Christ – His true Church – to shine forth as lights among the darkness of faithless, unbelieving, doctrine-denying false professors of faith.
The things that Rob Bell and Oprah Winfrey and the likes of them are saying regarding same-sex marriage do not, to any degree, represent the true Body of Christ. But let's pray for them so that might change. Let's pray that God would so radically transform them that their influence could be used for God-exalting truth and not man-exalting evils.