God didn't wait to win a popularity vote before acting to redeem and reconcile, writes Murray Campbell.
Rev Dr Peter Catt and Dr Stuart Edser have offered a strange and misleading picture of the Christian faith. Despite claiming an allegiance to Christianity, their thesis has more in common with a late night 'reality' television show than with the teaching and work of Jesus Christ.
First of all, Catt and Edser would have us believe that the majority of Australian Christians now support homosexuality and same-sex marriage. However, it doesn't take much to realise that they have been selective in their presentation of the evidence.
They were able to cite two polls, by Crosby-Textor and Galaxy. The former was commissioned by Australian Marriage Equality (AME), and both failed to make the crucial differentiation between nominal Christians and practising Christians, which is a normal sociological and theological distinction. It is odd that two 'Christian' ministers should so glibly assume as Christian any person who identifies with the name in a survey. Even Jesus saw through such superficial clap-trap, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven" (Matt 7:21).
The Bible doesn't define Christian as any persons who use the name, but those who believe in and live according to the truth revealed in Jesus Christ. At best, what this means for these polls is that one might be able to argue that the views of nominal Christians have changed over the last 10 years.
Second, Catt and Edser perpetuate the myth that loving LGBTI people requires us to affirm their lifestyle. Such a shallow ethic may fit neatly in the secularist mindset, but the Christian worldview goes far deeper and wider. Christians believe that it is possible to genuinely love a person whilst disagreeing with their values. In fact it is love that sometimes necessitates disagreement.
In the Bible we learn that the Jesus who insisted upon the Genesis paradigm for marriage also deeply loved the sexually broken. He could rebuke a societal leader who sought an easy divorce, and he could love and befriend a prostitute. Similarly, it is possible for Christians today to speak against same-sex marriage and yet build genuine friendships with LGBTI people. But we do so, appreciating that even at our best, we are nonetheless anaemic, faint sketches of the One who is 'full of grace and truth' (John 1:14).
This is not to diminish incidents when Christians have wronged gay people. Many stories of hatred have substance to them and we must repent of such horrendous treatment. Indeed, we can and must do better.
It is clear that Catt and Edser are trying to present to the Australian public a new and progressive face to Christianity, but the same could be said of the novel-looking horse that the Greeks left outside the gates of Troy. The only gift that Christians have to offer is the very same gift that we have received by the kindness of God, and it is a gift, though ancient, which remains powerful and beautiful today.
The Apostle Paul wrote of this gift to a group of citizens in a city whose relativistic contour towards ethics was similar to ours, and to them he said, "you see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:6-8).
The Bible speaks of a God who acted beyond helping his friends; he gave his life for people who are disinterested in him and who don't approve of him. However, God didn't wait to win a popularity vote before acting to redeem and reconcile, but he took the initiative and in doing so God refused the path of blind relativism and sucking up revisionism. He loves too much to agree with every desire and ambition we ignite.
Murray Campbell is lead Pastor at Mentone Baptist Church.
Every child comes from and needs BOTH a mother and a father. Same-sex "marriage" intentionally keeps either a mother or a father from the child. Government should protect the child through upholding traditional marriage.
There is “a time to be silent, and a time to speak”. (Ecclesiastes 3:7). Now is the time to speak, so please speak up and defend children, truth and freedom. Craig Manners
“What the world needs most is a voice that courageously speaks the truth, not when the world is right, but a voice that speaks the truth when the world is wrong.” Fulton Sheen