Lacking Credibility with Bible-Believing Christians

The Equalities Minister, Lynne Featherstone, has addressed an article to those opposed to homosexual marriage:

Who owns marriage? It’s an interesting question and a pressing one in the debate around equal civil marriage. It is owned by neither the state nor the church, as the former Archbishop Lord Carey rightly said. So it is owned by the people.

God thought of marriage, designed and created it, and told us to rejoice in it.  Marriage belongs to Him.  Ms Featherstone has left God completely out of the discussion, and this article only goes downhill from there….

More Governmental hubris:

It is the Government’s fundamental job to reflect society and to shape the future….

God alone can shape the future.  The Government’s “fundamental job” is to protect people from wrongdoers, not try to play God.

Bible-believing Christians don’t expect Ms Featherstone to agree with us, but we won’t find her a credible voice on moral matters when she leaves God completely out of the discussion.  We actually believe God exists, so someone who writes (from the very first paragraph on) as if He doesn’t exist is simply blowing past our foundational belief.  It makes it somewhat difficult to take seriously her assertion that the Government is “listening.”

Nor is this credible:

We are not prioritising gay rights, or trampling over tradition; we are allowing a space for the two to exist side by side.

Peter and Hazelmary Bull don’t believe this statement.

Lillian Ladele doesn’t think space “side by side” with gay rights is allowed for her beliefs.

Neither does Adrian Smith.  He received a demotion and a 40% pay cut for making comments opposed to gay marriage on his Facebook page while outside of work.

How can Christians believe that gay rights are not being “prioritised”?  Where is the “space” for any religious beliefs contrary to the gay rights agenda?

Trevor Phillips clarified it for us:  the Government’s “space” for religion ends “at the door of the temple.”  For him, faith has no place once you leave “church.”

Mr Phillips’ statement starkly reveals his ignorance of basic Bible truth.  We are the temple (I Corinthians 6:19), so we live our faith wherever we go.  Our religion doesn’t permit that kind of hypocrisy — to obey God inside the church building, but do the opposite (if the Government wants us to) once we leave it.

This from Ms Featherstone is even less credible:

I want to urge people not to polarise this debate.

Polarisation?  I’ll give just a few links, but anyone with the time could find more:

Intolerant Campaign Against MP.

Racist Abuse over Opposition to Gay Marriage.

Drummed out of Citizen’s Advice Bureau — for saying gay marriage should be put to a referendum.  (If this is all about trying to “reflect society” and marriage is “owned by the people,” why do they fear a vote?)

Evil Christians

Death Threat

Comparisons to Sharia — NB:  Sharia permits killing those who change their religion.

Ms Featherstone wants to tell those opposed to homosexual marriage not to “polarise the debate”?  Anyone reading those links would think she’s talking to the wrong people….

The Bible says that homosexual behaviour is sin.  This is not a new or amazing belief.  It isn’t polarising to hold to what Christians have always believed and say that homosexual marriage is immoral, and shouldn’t have legal approval.  Even the ardently pro-homosexual Blair Government didn’t support homosexual marriage in 2004.

Not to be Trusted

Bible-believing Christians simply can’t trust Ms Featherstone and her allies. They haven’t listened at all to our concerns, despite what she says.  They have chosen the homosexual agenda, even if it means running roughshod over Christians.  They perhaps haven’t even listened well enough to know they are running roughshod over Christians — she might actually believe what she is saying.  Both this Government and the last have decided freedom of religion is a convenient political mantra, but that it should have no force in law.

When Christians can’t limit double rooms in their own Bed & Breakfast to married couples, when a man loses 40% of his pay for expressing support for the current law of the land, when Christian registrars are given no accommodation for freedom of conscience, we simply don’t believe the politicians — they have no credibility.  David Cameron may say this is a Christian country, but the Government’s actions give the impression that the only kind of Christianity wanted is hypocritical “Christianity” that abandons Christian morality “at the door of the temple.”

Christians have already been told that religious beliefs cannot be a factor in hiring decisions they make in businesses, or even in many cases in churches.  Churches can be forced to hire homosexuals, in many cases.

We know what will happen if homosexual “marriages” receive legal recognition — within a few years, refusal to perform the ceremony or permit it in our church halls will incur the wrath of the law, just as today B&B owners feel the force of the law if they don’t permit homosexuals in their home, and Christian registrars lose their jobs.  We may even be prosecuted for reading the Bible verses that condemn homosexual behaviour.

The Government says that won’t happen?  We were told when civil partnerships were brought in, “We do not see it as a drift towards gay marriage.”  Sadly, Christians simply can’t trust any assurances from Government.  There is no credibility.

Why Christians Care

It isn’t going to destroy our faith if the Government passes bad laws.  Bible-believing Christians aren’t going to become homosexuals, nor will our marriages fall apart, just because politicians do foolish things with the legal definition of marriage.  We might be persecuted, but we were told to expect persecution, it has never succeeded in exterminating Christianity, and it won’t in the years to come, either.  So why do we care?

It’s Part of Loving Our Neighbours

Isaiah 5:20

Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Psalm 9:17

The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

A nation that endorses homosexual sin by granting it official recognition as “marriage” is taking that which God called evil in the Bible and saying it is good.  It is a nation that is forgetting God — and that brings judgment.

Christians who love their neighbours, as commanded by Scripture, do not want to see God’s judgment fall on the nation.  It is right for Christians to use whatever influence they might have to seek good laws rather than bad.  To fail to use our influence for good laws is to fail to love our neighbours.

Because We are to Desire Peaceable Godliness

We are told to pray for those in authority so that we may “live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (I Timothy 2:2).  Persecution isn’t peaceable.  We need to live in godliness and honesty, and we are to pray that the authorities will allow us to do so peaceably.

The Civil Partnership Act granted to homosexual couples identical rights to civil marriage.  It’s purpose was to “grant equality and recognition to same sex couples.”  So why is homosexual marriage even wanted?  The only thing marriage has that civil partnerships don’t have is religious approval.  This isn’t about equal rights at all — civil partnerships grant equal rights.  It is merely another step towards trying to force religions to approve.  The next law, in a few more years, will target Christians and churches more directly.

A continued legal distinction between God-ordained marriage and homosexuality would continue to provide at least some protection against legal persecution.  It is right for Christians, where they have any influence, to use that influence to oppose bad laws, just as Esther did.  Perhaps we’ll be able to have peace a little longer as we seek to live godly and honest lives.

About Jon Gleason

Pastor of Free Baptist Church of Glenrothes
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