Home > Uncategorized > The Marriage Amendment pt. 2

The Marriage Amendment pt. 2

The volume on the marriage conversation has, as expected, risen dramatically in the past few days in my state. In issues like these I believe it is imperative for the Christian to think well and then with grace & humility, live out the application of those beliefs in all sectors of life. My focus during my grad school days was in ethics, and one thing we always focused on was how your over-arching worldview (or meta-ethic) should inform your beliefs about different issues and circumstances which then should determine what you do in a situation.

So the basic ethical framework would look like this: Worldview –> beliefs –> action.

(please forgive my oversimplification of the meta-ethics)

Now in some cases, one can plug in a set of facts and get an answer. Abortion would be one of those situations. So let me start with how a christian engages it:

  1. The Christian Worldview: says God is sovereign over all. He is the creator, and sustainer, of the world. He has given us his son as an act of redemptive love, restoring us to himself. He’s given us his word to live by (The bible), his Holy Spirit to guide us in that effort, and fellow christians to be the mouthpiece of that Spirit to one another.
  2. Issue & Belief:
    1. Issue: Is it morally acceptable to kill an unborn child, since assuming this child is morally innocent, this would constitute murder or more technically, infanticide?
    2. Beliefs:
      1. The scriptures say he made man in his image, male & female (Gen 1.26- 27). As an image bearer, all men & woman are owed respect & love from fellow man. This love and respect fleshes out as the “inalienable rights” our founding fathers wrote about.
      2. The scriptures go on to condemn the unjust killing, or murder, of another human (Exodus 20:13).
  3. Application: Christians would be against abortion because abortion, by killing pre-born children, violates the worldview informed belief of a Christian. Therefore, much like william Wilberforce (helped end slave trade in England) & dietrich bonhoeffer (defied Nazi regime in WWII Germany) our beliefs, informed by our worldview, would lead us to take stands against the harm of the innocent & defenseless.
Now in an issue like we have in North Carolina this week, unfortunately the formula is not so simple. Here is what I mean:

1. The Christian Worldview: the same as above. Worldview never changes based on circumstances….well, it shouldn’t. That’s the whole point. So we come to this issue with the same worldview we come to abortion, or slavery, or anything else.

2. Issue & Beliefs:

  1. Issue: Should the government define marriage as between one man & one woman?
    1. *Not the issue: Is homosexuality morally acceptable in a christian worldview? That answer would be no, based on a simpler walk through this ethical model. Scripture has one word for anything that dishonors God: sin. There is no special category for homosexuality. It is deemed sin (1 Cor 6.9; 1 Tim 1.10) just like all other sin. I must add there is only one hope for all sinners: Jesus. I battle pride, anxiety, and lust. Some battle same sex attraction. For us all, Jesus is our only rescue. Please pause to hear me there. I have gay friends, and I have alcoholic friends. And they have me: manipulative prideful friend. Hope for all 3: Jesus. period.
  2. Beliefs:
    1. The Scriptures clearly indicate marriage as to be between one man and one woman. All evidence to the contrary is contrived from poor, dishonest bible work. This relationship is given great weight in scripture. It is literally the means of procreation. It is the means of passing down God’s words to the next generation (Deut 6). It is God’s earthly metaphor for our relationship to God himself (Eph 5). Clearly God puts great emphasis on this institution.
    2. Secondly, man has been placed under the authority of the government & should honor that authority (Rom 13). The role of the government is to protect the good & punish the bad (paraphrasing Romans 13) in accordance with God’s created & stated order.
  3. Where our Problem arises: UNLIKE ABORTION, we cannot jump straight to APPLICATION because we run into a grey area that must be navigated first.  Nowhere does the bible talk explicitly about democracy. So in most matters concerning the reach & power of government, we are forced to use biblical principles instead of direct biblical teaching.
    • In gray areas, you must give more grace & credence to opinions that differ from your own than you have to in more black & white areas. (The reality is, most ethical dilemmas fall into some shade of gray. which is why my wife gets frustrated by my endless conjecturing about seemingly small dilemmas in our life!) Think of it as a spectrum. The further into an issue you get from definitive biblical teaching on it, the more cautious & humble (well, you should always be humble) you need to be in applying the beliefs you come to hold.
    • So while I would not hesitate on applying my beliefs on abortion or even what God says marriage is, I will be more cautious in applying my convictions on the reach of government in defining marriage. I will still act, for idleness in such moments is even more irresponsible, but I will act with caution & humility.
  • Application: Because I as a christian should be a loving active participant in the public square, I am obligated to come to a decision and have the courage to vote accordingly. At the same time, Because I as a christian am not able to show God’s unquestionable position on the governing process, I must remain humble and open as to what God may teach the government’s role to be. Therefore, as you heard J.D. say in this post, out church will not break fellowship over this issue.

My Recommendation & One Concern:

  • Recommendation: Pray long & hard, seek the scriptures as they do inform the governing process, then vote your conscience. If you seek the counsel of others, listen closely. Scare tactics are being put to work in this discussion which would lead you to believe things in an emotional frenzy you never would in a rational state. Personally I tend to lean in my view of government that the populous, not the judicial system, should be allowed to decide a state’s position on this matter. As I said, I hold that humbly.
  • Concern: It appears the objectors to this movement are becoming increasingly antagonistic towards evangelical christians. As much as possible, we must fight to be known for what we are FOR, not what we are against. So I encourage you, if you are a christian, to approach this issue with much love and humility regardless of what side you come down on. The sacrificial love of Christ, not political opinions, is what Christians are to be known for. So be a good citizen of both kingdoms as you vote and interact on this issue this week.
Advertisements
Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Jan Ragains
    May 7, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Spence, this is excellent!

    • May 7, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      Thanks Jan & Mark. Encouraged to hear this was helpful for you!

  2. Mark
    May 7, 2012 at 9:22 pm

    I’ve been trying to say this exact same thing for years but never said it as well as you.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: