The dispute over the acceptability of the covenant offering of heterosexual marriage as distinguished from a committed partnership is similar to the dispute between Cain and Abel. One offering was acceptable to God, the other was not. Even though Cain was undoubtedly sincere and his offering carefully prepared, his offering was rejected. This aroused resentment in Cain. When he learned that his contribution was not suitable to his Creator, “Cain was very angry, and his face fell” (Genesis 4:5-8).
You Make Me Mad
The same dynamic appears to be playing out today. When we declare that a same-sex partnership cannot be a marriage, an offering pleasing to God, there is a Cain-like reaction. Knowing the final outcome of Cain’s response does little to reassure me as we reject same-sex marriage. Nevertheless, we have to continue to regard marriage as an offering clearly planned by God Himself. Anything else, no matter how sincerely and lovingly presented, simply will not do.
I attended a pre-release showing of Woodlawn last night. I liked it, even though I wasn’t expecting to — I have been disappointed over and over by the mediocre attempts of evangelical filmmakers. But this felt different. What I call “the cheese factor” was missing. That’s the term I use to describe amateurish, poorly written and acted efforts at making the gospel relevant through cinema. Cheesy Christian films, perhaps unintentionally, rely on the patience and charity of church-goers whose love of the message makes them willing to accept mediocrity and suspend disbelief. The same films tend to be soundly mocked by viewers from outside the evangelical camp.
I think Woodlawn succeeds where many have failed because it is based on a true story. When evangelicals attempt to make up a story — cinematic fiction — the “cheese factor” seems unavoidable, but this film, like The Hiding Place (1975), is based on a true story. Woodlawn is drawn from the book by the same title which, according to the Amazon summary, is about “courage, strength, and football at the height of racial tension in Birmingham, Alabama…and tells the story of Coach Tandy Gerelds, his running back Tony Nathan, and a high school football game that healed a city.” Continue reading Movie: Woodlawn. I Was Impressed.→
Like it or not, we followers of “The Way” must weigh in on same sex issues, including same sex marriage.
Admittedly, I would just as soon ignore the whole business, but cultural progressives are not inclined to rest until everyone acquiesces to the agenda, or are at least is identified as miscreants. We cannot yield, of course, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be left to it.
In the wake of the Supreme Court decision to affirm same-sex marriage, what should be the response of those of us who follow “The Nazarene?” We must graciously demur. In short, we need to be salt and light, consequences notwithstanding.
First, we must live consistently in our conviction that marriage is to be honored as an unbreakable covenant between a man and a woman. Second, if we have opportunity, we are to explain our objections without judgment and antagonism. We become a social critic without being combative. This is what is meant by being salt in the world.
Here is where certain challenges always emerge. In our synthetic culture (society’s tendency to arrive at new conclusions by combining, affirming and negating old ones) to declare an opposing view is tantamount to saying that something should not be allowed; that there ought to be a law against it. That’s not what I’m saying. Continue reading My Role as Social Critic→
The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution, is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents.
And so it is that the Supreme Court of the United States, drawing from the corpus of the constitution, interprets the will of the nation and its founders. Moreover, the voice of the people is heard in the decision of the court. If that be so, the seeds of the recent decision affirming a right to marry regardless of gender have been germinating in the constitution from the beginning. Now, the will of the people has brought those seeds to full flower. The Supreme Court says so.
“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” has brought us to this. Some forward-thinkers predicted it would eventually come—Francis Schaeffer, for example. He said a culture that made decisions beyond the pale of moral absolutes, basing them, instead, on personal fulfillment and affluence, would be bound to move toward the preferences of the individual. Thus, as a free people, we are free to marry whom we please.
What should be the response of those of us who follow “The Nazarene?” We must graciously demur. Are we ready for the consequences? I doubt it.
More on the implications of recent developments in the days ahead.