Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Kevin DeYoung’s article opposing gay marriage has broad appeal

Marriage and family

Marriage and family

In my own secular case against gay marriage from last year, I argued for 3 points:

  • same-sex marriage is bad for liberty, especially religious liberty
  • same-sex marriage is bad for children
  • same-sex marriage is bad for public health

My hope when I wrote that was that pastors and other Christian leaders would learn to argue for what the Bible says by using evidence from outside the Bible, so that they would be able to appeal to more people instead of only appealing to the minority of people who accept the Bible. I think that Christians who argue for their views by citing the Bible only will only be convincing to people who already accept the Bible. But there is not a majority of people who do accept the Bible as an authority, so I think that pastors have to make another plan. They need to argue using the Bible to those who accept the Bible, and without the Bible to those who don’t accept it.

Now with that said, take a look at this article by pastor Kevin DeYoung that Dina sent me. It’s from earlier this week. The article makes the same exact three points as I made in my article last year. Let’s take a look at how Kevin does that.

My first point was liberty, especially religious liberty. He writes:

[I]n the long run, the triumph of gay marriage (should it triumph as a cultural and legal reality) will mean the restriction of freedoms for millions of Americans.

This will happen in obvious ways at first–by ostracizing those who disagree, by bullying with political correctness, and by trampling on religious liberty. Surely, Christians must realize that no matter how many caveats we issue, not matter how much we nuance our stance, no matter how much we encourage or show compassion for homosexuals, it will not be enough to ward off the charges of hatred and homophobia.

[G]ay marriage will challenge our freedoms in others way too. It’s not just Evangelicals, traditional Catholics, and Mormons who will be threatened. Once the government gains new powers, it rarely relinquishes them. There will be a soft tyranny that grows as the power of the state increases, a growth that is intrinsic to the  notion of gay marriage itself.

My second point was bad for children. He writes:

[T]he state has an interest in promoting the familial arrangement which has a mother and a father raising the children that came from their union. The state has been in the marriage business for the common good and for the well-being of the society it is supposed to protect. Kids do better with a mom and a dad. Communities do better when husbands and wives stay together. Hundreds of studies confirm both of these statements (though we all can think of individual exceptions I’m sure). Gay marriage assumes that marriage is re-definable and the moving parts replaceable.

My third point was bad for public health. He writes:

The unspoken secret, however, is that homosexual behavior is not harmless. Homosexuals are at a far greater risk for diseases like syphilis, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, gonorrhea, HPV, and gay bowel syndrome. The high rate of these diseases is due both to widespread promiscuity in the gay community and the nature of anal and oral intercourse itself. Homosexual relationships are usually portrayed as a slight variation on the traditional “norm” of husband-wife monogamy. But monogamy is much less common among homosexual relationships, and even for those who value monogamy the definition of fidelity is much looser.

He also talks about the definition of marriage, and more.

I’ve criticized pastors before for dealing with social issues by only citing the Bible, like John Piper does. That approach won’t work on enough people to change society, because not enough people consider the Bible to be an authority in their decision-making. We have to use evidence from outside the Bible – like Wayne Grudem does in his “Politics According to the Bible”.

I think that pastor Kevin’s article is quality work, because it follows the pattern of taking an all-of-the-above approach to persuasion. He uses all means to persuade so that he might win some over to his side. I hope that many more pastors will do the same thing on this issue of marriage and other issues – even fiscal issues. Fiscal issues do have an impact on moral issues – think of how abortion subsidies and single mother welfare lower the penalties of recreational premarital sex. We can do this, we just have to do what works, instead of what makes us feel “holier-than-thou”.

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4 Responses

  1. wgbutler777 says:

    Excellent!

  2. Jared says:

    I’m surprised DeYoung took this approach. I’ve always had the impression he was a bible-only guy. It’s good to read that he takes our kind of approach.

    It’s also worth mentioning that we can’t rely on government policy to change the moral landscape (to use a Harris term) of the U.S., instead it takes private change, i.e., talking about this stuff in the break room at work, on the porch with family and friends, and online. Some might disagree with me mentioning online because how many people have been persuaded from online conversations right? Well, I mean to say that the spectators or readers of online debates are most influenced/persuaded by the conversation. I have no facts on this, I only subjective experience, but I think more people are persuaded by blog conversations and social media conversations than we think. No, I the person you’re having the conversation probably won’t change his mind, but we have no idea how many people are reading that conversation; and maybe even being persuaded of the alternative to their view in the conversation. I know this from experience multiple times. I’ll have had a big conversation on facebook with a friend thinking it wasn’t profitable. Then, out of nowhere, I usually get a private message from someone who read the conversation telling me he or she thought I made good points and now he or she is rethinking their position or that my point(s) persuaded him to my side. That happens. I think it happens more than we think.

    What do you think? I know this is somewhat off-topic from your original post, but it’s interesting and I think if we had some stats on this then more pastors would take the approach of writing more on their sites or talking with others more about these topics.

  3. T.F. says:

    I appreciate this information from a unique and thinking Christian who has finally shed light on the reality of church ignorance. Consider the Evangelical and mainstream religious establishment with their lust for mysticism and feel good “faith based” political philosophies in our pulpits. The fact is that most pastors are already not “Bible teachers” and don’t understand the Word of God at a level that they can skilfully equip their flocks with spiritual nutrition higher than a Popsicle. Instead of teaching the Word of God the religious establishment has something more important to talk about from their pulpits. These pastors guilt trip Christians about knowing the Bible but don’t offer teaching to help them mature and continue on in the Word of God. We are expected to find that for ourselves! The result? Bible illiterate churchgoers that are concerned about morality but have no idea why or how to skillfully address it in the culture. And like history teaches us, eventually the church finds itself facing a culture that sees us as useless and void of any value. Say good bye religious freedoms and the Constitution!

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