On July 1st, Kevin DeYoung posted 40 Questions For Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags.
I noticed a few bloggers responding, and thought I would do the same.
These are my own answers, off the cuff, so to speak, so my answers won’t be as academic as usual. Nonetheless, they are the product of my studies and ministry over the last several years.
Here we go!
1. How long have you believed that gay marriage is something to be celebrated?
The last several years or so. Andrew Marin’s “Love Is An Orientation” was pivotal for me.
2. What Bible verses led you to change your mind?
No one verse did it for me. I think the burden of proof for me is that if I truly believe God loves the world and wants to see it reconciled, then my calling is to proclaim that message to all. I am not called to distinguish or separate, but “to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Therefore, love and unity trump judgment and division. God’s job is to determine who needs to repent…not me.
3. How would you make a positive case from Scripture that sexual activity between two persons of the same sex is a blessing to be celebrated?
What we are really talking about here is much more than just “sexual activity.” As such, that is not something I feel compelled to make a case for. Two people loving one another and desiring to celebrate and benefit from their relationship, well the same case for any marriage is applicable.
4. What verses would you use to show that a marriage between two persons of the same sex can adequately depict Christ and the church?
Christ and the church is not the end all and be all symbol of marriage, so I do not feel the need to do so.
5. Do you think Jesus would have been okay with homosexual behavior between consenting adults in a committed relationship?
6. If so, why did he reassert the Genesis definition of marriage as being one man and one woman?
Because he was quoting Genesis? lol…
7. When Jesus spoke against porneia what sins do you think he was forbidding?
Sins of sexual malice or evil committed upon oneself or another.
8. If some homosexual behavior is acceptable, how do you understand the sinful “exchange” Paul highlights in Romans 1?
He was primarily referencing the domination of the Roman Empire. Neil Elliott’s “The Arrogance of the Nations” is a good read on this.
9. Do you believe that passages like 1 Corinthians 6:9 and Revelation 21:8 teach that sexual immorality can keep you out of heaven?
10. What sexual sins do you think they were referring to?
Sins of malice, hatred, premeditated evil and/or domination of one person over another. Clearly such things are not “kingdom” activities to be sure. One could even say they are “anti-Christ” but we’ll save that for another post!
11. As you think about the long history of the church and the near universal disapproval of same-sex sexual activity, what do you think you understand about the Bible that Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, and Luther failed to grasp?
That the Bible is not a rule book to be kept. That the Bible is not to be translated from a judicial point of view. that the Bible is primarily a narrative of God and man/woman relating to one another.
12. What arguments would you use to explain to Christians in Africa, Asia, and South America that their understanding of homosexuality is biblically incorrect and your new understanding of homosexuality is not culturally conditioned?
I would start with redefining the terms from a biblical perspective. To think that our Protestant/Evangelical/Wester views are correct would be cultural and historical snobbery. Thousands of years of removal from the culture of the Bible necessitates humility and the realization that our last 1500 years of interpretation doesn’t necessarily equate with sound theology and practice.
13. Do you think Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were motivated by personal animus and bigotry when they, for almost all of their lives, defined marriage as a covenant relationship between one man and one woman?
Not sure…ask them.
14. Do you think children do best with a mother and a father?
15. If not, what research would you point to in support of that conclusion?
I have no personal research and that would be, to use a presidential quote, “above my paygrade.”
16. If yes, does the church or the state have any role to play in promoting or privileging the arrangement that puts children with a mom and a dad?
Churches can and should function as they fell compelled to do so.
17. Does the end and purpose of marriage point to something more than an adult’s emotional and sexual fulfillment?
Again, marriage is much more than sex.
18. How would you define marriage?
I don’t know…how about two becoming one?
19. Do you think close family members should be allowed to get married?
Why??? Am I missing something here?
20. Should marriage be limited to only two people?
Interesting you should ask. Doesn’t the bible actually allow for polygamy? Ah, but to reference what I wrote in Q. 11 above, don’t worry, that wouldn’t necessarily be a sound interpretation.
21. On what basis, if any, would you prevent consenting adults of any relation and of any number from getting married?
I have never been asked to do so. Further, California only allows two people to be married.
22. Should there be an age requirement in this country for obtaining a marriage license?
Yes. I tend to like 18, but this is up to the government. If there were no law on this, I suppose we would judge on a case by case basis. Personally, I think the legal age for marriage should be like 35!
23. Does equality entail that anyone wanting to be married should be able to have any meaningful relationship defined as marriage?
Sure, why not?
24. If not, why not?
25. Should your brothers and sisters in Christ who disagree with homosexual practice be allowed to exercise their religious beliefs without fear of punishment, retribution, or coercion?
26. Will you speak up for your fellow Christians when their jobs, their accreditation, their reputation, and their freedoms are threatened because of this issue?
Yes, but only if they aren’t blithering idiots about it.
27. Will you speak out against shaming and bullying of all kinds, whether against gays and lesbians or against Evangelicals and Catholics?
28. Since the evangelical church has often failed to take unbiblical divorces and other sexual sins seriously, what steps will you take to ensure that gay marriages are healthy and accord with Scriptural principles?
I feel no compulsion whatsoever to have anything to do with Evangelicalism or its practices. Further, my job as a minister is not to ensure anything, but most of all any kind of control or coercion over anyone’s marriage. That is sacred between them and God if they are Christians.
29. Should gay couples in open relationships be subject to church discipline?
Maybe, maybe not. Each case would be as different as each person involved.
30. Is it a sin for LGBT persons to engage in sexual activity outside of marriage?
Depends if they want to take on the “sin” label or not. I don’t see any reason to judge those who are not among Christian circles.
31. What will open and affirming churches do to speak prophetically against divorce, fornication, pornography, and adultery wherever they are found?
Great question…I’m sure they each will figure it out on their own.
32. If “love wins,” how would you define love?
In two ways. As a civil rights expression, it means love is to be regarded as equal among all people. As a Christian issue, reflecting on the civil rights issue, it means loving one another won over judging and dividing one another.
33. What verses would you use to establish that definition?
How about all of the “love one another” passages in the NT?
34. How should obedience to God’s commands shape our understanding of love?
Love God and love your neighbor as yourself…
35. Do you believe it is possible to love someone and disagree with important decisions they make?
36. If supporting gay marriage is a change for you, has anything else changed in your understanding of faith?
My faith is always changing and in flux…it is a journey, a walk, an active discipleship.
37. As an evangelical, how has your support for gay marriage helped you become more passionate about traditional evangelical distinctives like a focus on being born again, the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ on the cross, the total trustworthiness of the Bible, and the urgent need to evangelize the lost?
I do not consider myself an Evangelical. As such, the distinctives listed above are not something I would say I am passionate about.
38. What open and affirming churches would you point to where people are being converted to orthodox Christianity, sinners are being warned of judgment and called to repentance, and missionaries are being sent out to plant churches among unreached peoples?
This is a trick question, right? If you mean to imply that open and affirming churches do not do these things, then perhaps they do or do not. As a progressive, I would say that “sinners are being warned of judgment and called to repentance, and missionaries are being sent out to plant churches among unreached peoples” are not the end all and be all of our faith. There is so much more…
39. Do you hope to be more committed to the church, more committed to Christ, and more committed to the Scriptures in the years ahead?
Absolutely! Just keep in mind, that isn’t something going on in most Evangelical churches these days, so…
40. When Paul at the end of Romans 1 rebukes “those who practice such things” and those who “give approval to those who practice them,” what sins do you think he has in mind?
Sins of domination, manipulation, control as referenced by the rule of Empire. These things are contrary to the rule of love as expressed by Christians as we live in the Kingdom of God.