Can The Church Simply Change Teaching on Sexuality and Marriage?

Posted on October 20, 2014 in Marriage, Sexuality, Theology by

church doctrineSome say Christians, and the church, are out of touch and “behind the times” regarding sexuality and marriage. They want us to “get with the program” and accept homosexual behavior and marriage redefinition.

While some have acquiesced to the demands of those seeking to redefine marriage by voicing their acceptance for homosexual behavior and marriage redefinition, that is no longer good enough. The demand now is that Christians and churches support, affirm, and cheerfully endorse such behavior. The idea of tolerance, once a pillar of the LGBT movement, has been demolished, replaced by verbal affirmation and celebration.

These demands are being made by people who believe it’s no big deal for the church to simply change centuries of doctrinal convictions. Furthermore, they would have us reject the plain text teaching of the Bible in favor of their culturally imposed position. Is such change even possible?

The answer is a resounding no! Not because Christians are hateful, or because we are bigots, discriminatory, or any of the other names used to describe us; but because we desire to be faithful to the teaching of Scripture above all else. For this reason we have no other position than the one clearly given by God in the Bible: marriage is the union of one man and one woman for one lifetime.

There’s no doubt that disputes over doctrine exist. Why else would we have so many denominations? We can find adequate cause from Scripture to dispute over end times (pre-tri, mid-trib, post-trib), and some dispute over whether or not to drink alcohol, and whether we should use real wine in our communion services. Those conversations have been ongoing for hundreds of years and may never end. But there has never been any significant disagreement on the biblical definition of marriage and the fact that homosexual behavior is clearly sinful.

As a recent article at the Family Research Council stated, it’s time for “evangelical advocates of same-sex ‘marriage’ to stop”:

“To professing Evangelical advocates of same-sex “marriage:” Stop dissembling. Reject revealed truth concerning human sexual behavior if you will. Christ does not compel faithful discipleship at the point of a gun. Just don’t pretend the Bible doesn’t say what it says or that your personal experiences and/or longings must supersede the commands of the Creator and Redeemer of the universe.”

That is what this seems to be about. Some would have Christians deny that the Bible says what it says and replace that clear teaching with something else entirely. What is it they want to replace?

First they want us to replace our biblical definition of sexuality. To remove the God-given definition that highlights the sexual differences between men and women and the complimentarian nature of the male-female sexual relationship. This is to be replaced with a culturally mandated definition of sexuality that blurs all lines between male and female and makes sex something consciously chosen – and altered at will – rather than something biological.

The problem here is that sexuality is biological. You are either born male or female and no amount of physical alteration can change that fact. Some want to pretend that it’s easy enough to change their gender (and thereby their sexuality) but such is simply not the case. The human body cannot be manipulated at the will of the conscious. An article at Life Site News makes this plain:

“Likewise in the wider culture, among those who do not accept Scripture, there has been an increasingly insistent refusal to acknowledge what the design of the human body plainly discloses: that the man is for the woman, and the woman is for the man. The man is not for the man, nor the woman for the woman. This is plainly set forth in the design of our bodies. The outright refusal to see what is plainly visible and literally built into our bodies is not only a sign of intellectual stubbornness and darkness (cf Rom 1:18, 21), but it also leads to significant issues with health, even to deadly diseases.”

But they also want to replace the definition of marriage; as if someone other than God ordained it. Even though society has adhered to the God-given definition of marriage for centuries in recognition of God’s command, they now want to pretend that marriage is a pliable construct of society that we can change at will. I get it, not everyone believes the Bible. But, that doesn’t change the fact that, for Christians, the Bible is our ultimate authority in all matter in this life. We have no ability to change what it says and attempts to force or coerce us to do so will be met with fierce resistance.

So while some claiming to be Christians are ready to accept teaching other than what the Bible clearly proclaims, the vast majority of Christians throughout history and today recognize that doing so is in itself a serious error. That Life Site News article reiterated this declaration of Christian’s resolve to adhere to Scripture:

“What some call intolerance or “hatred” is, for us who believe, rather, a principled stance wherein we see ourselves as unable to overrule the clear and unambiguous teaching of Holy Scripture. And this teaching exists at every stage of revelation, from the opening pages right through to the final books of Sacred Writ. The Church has no power to override what God has said; we cannot cross out sentences or tear pages from the Scripture. Neither can we simply reverse Sacred Tradition or pretend that the human body, as God has designed it, does not manifest what it clearly does.”

For further reading on this issue here is some articles from notable voices on the subject (h/t to The Family Research Council for sharing these.)

Dr. Robert Gagnon, “Jesus, Scripture, and the Myth of New-Knowledge Arguments About Homosexuality

Jesse Johnson, “The Case Against Same-Sex Marriage

Andrew Walker, “An Evangelical Defense of Traditional Marriage

Rev. Peter Sprigg, “Top Ten Harms of Same-Sex Marriage

Rob Schwarzwalder, “Leviticus, Jesus, and Homosexuality: Some Thoughts on Honest Interpretation

Rev. Dr. David E. Prince, “Christianity and the New Liberalism: Homosexuality and the Evangelical Church

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