I’m offering a reason each day for why I believe the PCUSA crossed a line with its decision to drop the ordination standard “fidelity in marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness.” Today’s reason is: marriage is next.
It has to be. Those who pled for the revision of our ordination standards claimed justice as their basis. They apply the same rationale to marriage – i.e., that it’s only just that same sex couples be able to marry too. And a civil union won’t satisfy, lest they be deemed second-class.
This reasoning has prevailed in a number of states now. Revisionists have persuaded some state legislatures that justice demands a redefinition of marriage. And the defenders of traditional marriage have cited natural law, studies about optimal conditions for child-rearing (i.e., families with a mom and a dad), and the witness of hundreds of cultures across thousands of years.
Legislators cannot simply draw upon the biblical witness as we can. For us the scripture’s teaching is decisive, both in its account of how God created marriage for a man and a woman (Genesis 2:18-25), and in its various bans of homosexual behavior. The scripture is very clear (see the blog for Aug. 18 for more on its clarity). Just because our culture is confused about God’s design for the family, the church need not be. Indeed, given the culture’s confusion, the church should make sure that its teachings are biblically based and crystal clear.
When states change their marriage laws, they don’t really change how life works. They can’t. That is the Creator’s prerogative. If the states decided to repeal the law of gravity because it weighs more heavily on some than on others, that wouldn’t change the results of stepping off a cliff. Nor can they change the long-term consequences of attempting to recast God’s design for the family.
May it be that the church would not presume to bless what God has not blessed. And may it be that we would not cause our own little ones to stumble with confusing teaching about something so important as marriage. It would be better to wear a millstone necktie while swimming – so said Jesus (Luke 17:1-2).