One of the six pillars that under gird our work here at Focus on the family is the permanence of marriage. We view marriage as a sacred covenant designed by God, one that serves as the basic building block of human civilization. As such, we believe marriage is God’s idea and it’s intended to be a thriving, lifelong relationship between one man and one woman.
Which is why it’s worth pointing out Newsweek’s cover story, entitled, “The Religious Case for Gay Marriage” (12/15/08). At issue is what the Bible has to say about marriage. It’s written by folks who don’t really understand the biblical view of human sexuality, and I’m not surprised by their conclusions. The story is penned by senior editor Lisa Miller. I’ve actually spoken with Lisa regarding my memoir, Finding Home. Somehow she managed to turn the interview into a discussion on homosexuality. Given my book did not deal with the subject, it doesn’t surprise me to find she is pushing an agenda.
Here, Lisa Miller asserts that the Bible actually supports same-sex marriage, which is more than a stretch–it’s an outright fabrication. Like a skilled gymnast, Miller turns scripture on its head and fashions it into something it’s not and ignores biblical passages which don’t support her pro-same-sex marriage bent.
Rather than go into detail where Miller misses the mark, allow me to point you to two excellent articles which address the points she raises. (Click here and here.) That said, while I am unaware of any boycott of Newsweek over this biased treatment of traditional marriage, I’d actually like to propose the opposite of a boycott–I’m calling for a buycott
Before you dismiss me as having lost my bearings, hear me out. Why not buy a copy of Newsweek bring it home to the dinner table and use it as a teachable moment with your older children? Doing so is an excellent way to shape their thinking while giving them a Christian worldview. After all, if we, as Christian parents, don’t teach our kids how to think “Christianly” about current events and trends in popular culture, who will give them that perspective?
Why not highlight several of Miller’s claims and then open your Bible to see what God has to say for Himself. Here are two of the many errors you could clarify:
* “While the Bible and Jesus say many important things about love and family, neither explicitly defines marriage as between one man and one woman.”
* “Nowhere in the Bible do its authors refer to sex between women.”
Regarding Miller’s first assertion, revisit God’s divine design of marriage found in Genesis 2:24. There’s no way to read this apart from the idea that marriage is between one man and one woman: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
If God were open to the idea of same-sex marriage, He could have said a man would leave his parents and “hold fast to his wife–or to his fellow man.” But God didn’t say that, did He?
Likewise, in Matthew 19:4-6, when questioned about divorce, Jesus reiterated God’s design for marriage found in Genesis: “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
Regarding Miller’s second statement that the Bible is silent on sexual relations between women, read Romans 1:26-27 where Paul writes: “For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men.”
Set aside same-sex marriage for a moment and take a look at what the Bible has to say about homosexuality. According to 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, it’s a sin. It breaks the heart of God. So does adultery, murder, lying, gluttony, divorce, and any number of moral choices outside of God’s perfect design for mankind.
Regarding the sin of divorce, I like what Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, once observed: “We get our marriage certificates from the church but our divorces from Caesar.” That’s profound. If believers are going to maintain the high moral ground in the debate over matrimony, we would do well to be more committed to each other in our marriages. Doing so is a tribute to God’s original design.
Is it any wonder that advocates of various “modern” forms of marriage–be it same-sex, “open marriage”, “group marriage” or polygamy–question traditional marriage when we’ve been so negligent? At the same time, opponents of traditional marriage are mistaken to suggest that God has changed His view about same-sex marriage. They forget that God leveled the city of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 because of the rampant practice of same-sex behavior.
What could be more clear?
A final thought.
In an interview with the Politico, Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, wasn’t surprised by Newsweek’s reporting. Land said, “Newsweek has been so far in the tank on the homosexual issue, for so long, they need scuba gear and breathing apparatus. I don’t think it’s going to change the minds of anyone who takes biblical teachings seriously.”
While I agree with Rev. Land that serious students of the Bible will know Newsweek is factually wrong, my concern is for the biblically illiterate, the casual reader, and those young people who might not be grounded in what the Bible actually teaches. I don’t think we need to be frustrated when people, who do not understand the Bible, fail to admit that God exists, or who choose to make scripture conform to their viewpoint. Their issue is ultimately with the Author of the Bible, not those of us who pledge to live our lives in support of it’s teachings.
That’s why I’m big on using current events such as this to instruct our children in the truth. Let’s equip them to live in the world but not be of the world.