I have just posted a guest post over on The Calvinist International on the weakness of many popular Christian arguments against same-sex marriage:
In a recent post, Peter Leithart reflects upon the debate on same-sex marriage between Douglas Wilson and Andrew Sullivan. Observing the increasing inability of Christian arguments to gain purchase upon the public’s imagination, he wonders how arguments against same-sex marriage might become persuasive again. His conclusion is far from sanguine: without a recovery of Christian imagination we are fighting a losing battle. “[T]he only arguments we have are theological ones, and only people whose imaginations are formed by Scripture will find them cogent.”
I must confess to some astonishment at such a conclusion. From such a statement, one might be led to presume that we were defending something akin to the Chalcedonian Definition, rather than the virtually universal consensus that has existed across human history and culture that marriage is a public institution, declaring the interdependence of men and women, formed around the natural realities of sexual dimorphism, the procreative union between a man and woman, the bonds of blood, and providing a secure setting where children’s bonds with the parents that bore them are honoured and upheld and their nurturance assured. The fact that a Christian thinker as insightful and uncompromising as Dr Leithart has arrived at such a conclusion strikes me as an indication of just how much ground has been needlessly surrendered in this particular debate.
Read the whole thing here.
UPDATE: The discussion continues here.
Thought-provoking and well-argued. I love the summary in the final paragraph, especially “As long as we exist within the creation, we are besieged by God,” and “The Christian thinker should be a student of the consequences of particular actions in God’s creation and the ways in which the creation prosecutes the will of God against those who flout it.”
Thank you! We are too intimidated to think. We are being steamrolled on this issue and we are freaking out because we are so ill-prepared to and too cowardly to stand strong. And we believe we are thinking and standing but we are not. Being freaked out and angry is not the same being wise and courageous. We are the first. And we look bad.
I strong believe that we are neither wise nor courageous on this matter because we are so deeply distorted, ashamed and terrified of our own sexuality. There is a myth going on here…we think we are arguing against “them”, against “the world’s” distorted sexuality. In fact, we are contemptuously running from the deep shame of our own internally broken sexual house.
There are two responses to deep shame (the exposure of wrong that leads to the crisis of either death or grace): to run in terror, or to pretend not to have any. Christians are running in terror. Unbelievers are pretending to have none. Two such opponents make goofy, equally foolish and futile debaters.
My goodness, the church is full of sexual addiction. And we now live in a sexually addicted culture. “I want the sexual experience that I want, when I want it. I deserve it and I’ll get it”.
How will angry, self-contemptuous Christians every speak boldly and intelligently to a culture laughing it’s way into self-absorbed destruction? Not well.
The church has no clue how to address it’s constituency that is full of sexual addicts and sexual abuse victims (I am not exaggerating here, it’s well-documented). Until it looks within, to heal it’s own sexual brokenness, it will never speak to a dying world, This is not a matter if intelligence. It’s a matter of humility. With humility comes understanding, wisdom and boldness.
Thank you for the comment, Scott! Yes, the common framing of this debate, which presents matters as if it were the supporters of same-sex marriage that were destroying the institution neglects to point out that they are merely carrying to their logical conclusion beliefs that we have almost all already taken on board. They are institutionalizing our revolution. And the ideas being institutionalized are powerfully present in churches too.
Yes, and so why would our idea of “redemptive living” look attractive to unbelievers? So then, how do we do this? How do we start from within, so that we can both find deep redemption in our own lives and therefore, be equipped to engage with the heart of Christ, willing to be a stench to some and an aroma to others? It’s so much easier to be overwhelmed with the mess “out there” than the one “in here”. What things must fundamentally change in the way we come together with our own lives?
One starting point would be developing a deeper sense among Christians of our distinct sexual values, something that I have tried to do in such posts as this and this. A recovery of the importance of friendship is also key, as is a recognition of the way that our society frames sex and relationships structurally and otherwise. The changes required are far-reaching, going beyond personal spirituality to large scale structural reformation of society.
You can catch up with the continuing discussion here.
Pingback: Plans for Future 40 Days of Exoduses Posts | Alastair's Adversaria
Pingback: Ten Years of Blogging: 2012-2013 | Alastair's Adversaria