Several years ago, Christianity Today ran an article suggesting I was waving the white flag of surrender on biblical marriage in the culture.
I wasn’t waving a white flag at all. I was simply saying that, if you look at the statistics, a growing number of people under 40 – both Christian and non-Christian – now support same-sex marriage. That entire demographic has emerged as a motivated voter block. I felt then that this cultural viewpoint would win the day in the fight to redefine marriage, and daily news headlines over the past year have only validated my concerns.
I admit, it’s happened far more quickly than I thought it would, which is why I believe the time has come for the Christian community to rethink its tactics moving forward. In light of cultural acceptance of same-sex marriage, how should believers go about expressing the truth of God’s design for marriage?
I was able to be present in the Supreme Court last year when the Obergefell case was being argued, the landmark decision that ruled same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states. I believe the late Justice Scalia and Justice Alito zeroed in on the core issue when they argued that states can’t allow same-sex marriage without discriminating against religious freedom, a constitutionally protected freedom for well over 200 years.
Those two worldviews will collide.
There is no question the culture war over this issue has been a brutal one. The rhetoric has been heated, and pockets within the Christian community could have represented the biblical viewpoint better. Nevertheless, we’re now left to address the meaning of marriage, so foundational to a thriving society, from a minority position.
Despite the 5-4 decision, I don’t see the Obergefell case as the final word on same-sex marriage. Cultural views are always in a state of flux and susceptible to shifting opinions. They’re never static. For now, much of the culture has dispensed with the biblical definition of marriage and family.
The question is, how are we going to begin the process of drawing our nation back to Scripture’s blueprint for marriage.
As a starting point, I think we have to find ways as the Church to demonstrate that God’s design is the best design by living it out in our own marriages. The times require followers of Christ to live our lives well and that, of course, begins in the home with marriages being done well, according to God’s guidelines.
Not done perfectly, done well.
Marriage is all about becoming increasingly more selfless. Unfortunately, we often have it backward. We think, “It’s all about me. Marriage is about my gratification.” It’s natural to be selfish, not selfless. I’ve found that I have to work hard every day to remind myself to put Jean’s needs before my own.
I’m a problem solver. Bring a problem to me, and I’ll help find a solution. It’s a skill that serves me well in my role as president of Focus on the Family. But emotional intimacy in marriage isn’t a problem to be solved. It’s a matter of the heart.
It’s hard to argue with a marriage that is healthy, whole, and that endures for decades. That’s a reflection of God’s truth that can’t be hidden … or redefined.
Culture cannot rewrite what God has laid in stone. We may tinker with it and smile at ourselves for being so enlightened. But, in the long run, redefinitions will never prevail over God’s truth. Ten years from now … 50 years from now … 100 years from now – who knows? – but I believe society will eventually say, “Our attempts to redefine God’s design for marriage have been devastating. We’ve got to undo this. We’ve got to get back to truth.”
That’s the message I’ve tried to communicate in my new book that’s just been released titled, Marriage Done Right. No one can undo God’s truth, but Christians need to become like the men of Issachar who understood the times they were living in and equipped themselves to stand firm in the truth of God. This generation needs to be able to explain why God’s design for marriage is the right design.
And we must live it out.
I encourage you to join John Fuller and me for our broadcasts over the next couple of days where we’ll dig into the contents of my book and discuss where I believe the Christian community needs to go from here to draw our culture back to God.