I am still bewildered at times by the extent to which some people who are OK with the church’s teaching about Christian marriage have come under attack from some people who want the church to change its teaching on Christian marriage. Same-sex marriage is now legal but there are many who can see no good reason for the church to follow secular law and to change church doctrine in this respect.
I have shared in many discussions about this and I have read many articles and blogs on the subject. I am not a theologian, but I have followed the arguments of a number of theologians on this subject, and I am thankful for them. I have a number of gay friends who do not hold it against me that I am OK with the church’s teaching on marriage – in fact, some of them are also OK with the church’s teaching on marriage. No one on Twitter has attacked me personally for my position on this, yet I have seen some ugly comments on Twitter against some other people, simply because they remain firm in their beliefs about marriage and are not putting the church under pressure to change its doctrine in this respect.
Whatever we believe, I don’t think that it is ever OK for us to bully and marginalize people simply because they hold different beliefs, and homophobic bullying grieves me. All bullying grieves me. When I see attempts on the part of some LGBT people and their supporters to pressure the church into changing its doctrine to accommodate their beliefs, this kind of pressure also comes over to me as a form of bullying. I am thankful for those LGBT people who are not putting the church under pressure to change its doctrine in this respect.
As I wrote at the start of this post, I see no good reason for the church to change its doctrine on marriage and those who have departed from this doctrine cannot reasonably, in my opinion, expect the church as a whole to follow them and depart from its own doctrine. I know that church leaders are holding conversations on this subject at this time and, as far as I know, these conversations are being conducted graciously and respectfully. I pray for our Lord’s continued blessings on these conversations.
I will just add one personal detail. My own marriage ended in divorce before I became a Christian more than twenty years ago and this has had no adverse effect on my attitude to the church’s teaching on Christian marriage.
‘The voice of the majority is no proof of justice.’ [Friedrich Schiller]
‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.
And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that, as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation.’