Same-Sex Marriage - An Initial Response
15th November 2017
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The nation has decided in favour of same sex-marriage. It is now right for the parliament to implement the society’s wish. Christians who voted ‘no’, and I am one, have a lot to be thankful for even in this result.
- We live in a democracy where issues that divide our nation are settled by the peaceful process of majority rule and minority acceptance of the outcome.
- We do not live in a theocracy where the religious tradition of the nation imposes itself upon the will of the people. This protects us from other religious traditions, as it protects society from Christian imposition. The Kingdom of God must not be confused with the Nation or it’s Government. Christianity cannot be imposed by government but can only come by the spiritual persuasion of the populace.
- The vote is against government interference in our personal lives. The privacy of the citizens to make their own family arrangements, without government interference, has the distinct advantage of small government. Though, to keep pushing in this direction can lead to the final collapse of a society as a whole.
- Thanks to the postal vote, it is clear that the majority of Australians want marriage to be extended to same-sex couples. This is not imposed upon us by a gerrymandered parliament or a tyrannical ruler, but as best as could be managed, by a clear majority of voters.
- A large minority have had, and have taken, the opportunity to express concern about this extension of marriage to include same sex-couples.
- The people of Australia are concerned with what they perceive as the fairness, justice, tolerance and welfare of a vulnerable, tiny minority as small as the same-sex community.
- The widening gulf between Christian and nominal Christian, let alone non-Christian, enables Christians to perceive the character and challenge of holiness. It also clarifies the magnitude of the work that we need to do, to persuade society about God’s will for our life.
- The process has awakened some to the cultural wars that have been undermining our Australian way of life for the past half century. This may lead to a greater diversity of opinions being expressed in parliament, and the media, and a diminution of the censorious monopoly of the cultural elite.
So, with all this to be thankful for, am I pleased with the result? No, of course not. I voted against this decision and would do so again if asked to.
I’m saddened by it, not so much as a Christian but as an Australian. Marriage is a creation ordinance not a religious sacrament. I don’t think it is a good decision for Australian society or family life.
I don’t see anywhere that the government has thought through the negative consequences of this decision. The limiting of religion to ministers performing weddings confuses seriously the place of a wedding, and the nature of marriage. It also fails to understand the nature of religion – limiting it to ministers and church services. The multicultural implications of extending marriage have yet to be seriously considered.
This major battle, in the campaign to secularise our society and to de-Christianise our culture, is a significant loss but not the end of the campaign, let alone ‘the end of civilisation as we know it’. There will be many more skirmishes to come, even about same-sex marriage. But now, on sex, marriage and family life, the onus of proof has changed sides.
So, am I alarmed by today’s victory? No, not particularly. It’s been coming since the 1960’s sexual revolution, the undermining of marriage in the 1975 Family Law act and the last fifty years of feminism’s unisexuality. So, it is hardly a shock or surprise.
All these changes are consistent with the teaching and expectation of the Bible. Romans 1:18-32 is a recipe for our nation’s suppression of the truth about the creator. The outcome is exactly as predicted, notice especially v32.
Furthermore, unlike cultural Christians, Biblical Christianity thinks in terms of being an unpopular minority in an alien and hostile environment. What is much more alarming to me is the Christian conformity to Western materialism – undermining our holiness and destroying our witness to the eternal gospel. What we need to do is live His way and proclaim His message of salvation to one and all.
Finally, I’m not alarmed because the Bible assures us repeatedly of God’s sovereignty, especially over governments: the heart of the king is in the hand of the Lord (Proverbs 21); Cyrus the pagan king, who did not know God, was God’s messiah to rescue Israel (Isaiah 45); the pagan Roman emperor was to be obeyed by Christians according to both Paul and Peter, for all authority is God given (Romans 13, 1 Peter 2).
God is working his purpose out for Australia. It is not necessarily a happy process, or even one to our liking, but it is God’s and he knows best. After all, the cross was neither happy nor to our liking, but it certainly was for the best.