Saturday, February 28, 2009

Adventists vs. Same-Sex Marriage

I assume, as with the creation/evolution debate, that the vast majority of Adventists stand firmly on the side of God's word when it comes to the same-sex marriage debate. Basically, it all boils down to, "Should a Christian support, in any way, that which God condemns?"

Since it is very clear that the Scripture declares the practice of homosexuality to be sin, I voted in favor of Prop. 8 and the California constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman. The fact that there is even a need to define marriage as being between a man and a woman is quite telling of our society's moral condition.

I divulge this information so that there is no question as to which side I am standing. I am writing from a fundamental Christian perspective, so my belief in the Bible as the word of God necessarily makes me biased.

It can be argued, with some success, that since the Bible condemns the practice of homosexuality we should not vote for same-sex marriage, but at the same time we should not vote against it, either. It has been said by some that we should not force our religious views on the lives of others. Interesting argument.

My objection is this:

I have heard it said, and in no way possess any legal training with which to evaluate such a claim, that just as we've heard of such legal victories as homosexuals claiming discrimination based on sexual orientation by wedding photographers who refused to shoot photos at a gay wedding, there would be similar legal ramifications against the church if same-sex marriages were legal and homosexuality was considered a "right" and as such placed on the same discrimination list as race, religion, sex, etc.

The scenario goes something like this: A gay couple wants to be married by an Adventist pastor, the pastor cannot oblige this request because his conscience won't allow it and because God condemns it, the gay couple sues the pastor/church for discrimination based on sexual orientation. Or, a homosexual applies to teach at an Adventist academy and is not hired and sues the school claiming discrimination based on sexual orientation. Or, an Adventist pastor marries someone of the same sex and is fired, at which time he sues the church claiming discrimination based on sexual orientation. Or, an Adventist preacher is sued for daring to stand in a pulpit and declare that the Bible calls the practice of homosexuality a sin. Or, an Adventist academy is sued for failing to include same-sex marriages in teachings about normal family units, or normal lifestyles.

I'm not sure if I laid those scenarios out correctly, but you get the point. If we place sexual orientation on the same level as race, religion, sex, etc., then we must, by law, accommodate those who practice homosexuality in every position within the church, and with every service provided by the church, or risk legal repercussions.

Even though, as Christians, our religious liberty affords us the ability to refrain from participating in or accommodating any activity we believe to be morally wrong, our laws are leaning more and more towards punishing those who do not condone, and accept, homosexuality as being morally right.

I've heard it said by some, speaking of the "homosexual agenda": first tolerance was demanded, then it wasn't enough to be tolerated, so acceptance was demanded, then it wasn't enough to be accepted, so they wanted their homosexual "rights" to be protected.

So it is with any sin. Years ago, before I was born, certain sins were done secretly, kept in the closet, because society as a whole condemned such reprehensible behavior. Slowly these sins began being practiced more openly, in spite of much condemnation. After a while, as the older generations began slipping into eternity and the younger generations emerged with these sins being a normal part of society, the sins once locked away behind closed doors and universally considered wrong, were now viewed as acceptable alternative lifestyles.

Consider this:

Top Disciplinary Problems in Schools:

1940: 1. Talking out of turn 2. Chewing gum 3. Making noise 4. Running in the halls 5. Cutting in line.

1990: 1. Drug abuse 2. Alcohol abuse 3. Pregnancy 4. Suicide 5. Rape.

Whether this list is actual or fictitious doesn't concern me, because what it demonstrates is absolutely true regardless.

We don't see the exceedingly sinful and rebellious state of our society because it's all we've ever known. The devil ever so slowly adds trace amounts of poison to our lives, not just individually, but generationally, until, without even realizing it, we have become a generation full of evil. It's the "boiling frog syndrome" in which the environment becomes lethal so slowly that those dying within it aren't even aware of the mortal danger by which they're surrounded.

Speaking of the days of Noah, just before the flood, the Bible says, "The LORD saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time." - Genesis 6:5

Christ said of the generation living just prior to His second coming, "Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man." - Luke 17:26

And again, "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come." - Matthew 24:12-14

Lastly, a description that seems to be written specifically of our generation, "But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!" - 2 Timothy 3:1-5

Again I say: to see a portion of God's own remnant church aligning themselves with the world on a wide "spectrum" of issues, and finding themselves opposed not only to the Scriptures, but to their Author, is something that sends chills down my spine.

But the knowledge that gives me peace is the following thought, as Clifford Goldstein replied when asked if he sees himself or others leaving the Adventist church for a more doctrinally homogeneous community if the worldly philosophies being espoused by some in the church continue:

"Well, if it were not for Ellen White and what she says about the future, I would think that would be a possibility. But my understanding is that is not what’s going to happen. My understanding, if I understand correctly, is that those who aren’t really grounded will be leaving. After all, if being an Adventist could cost you your life, you have to be a true believer, right?"


  1. Todd,

    I totally agree with you on your article about homosexuality. I always wondered if our so-called leading theologians like John R Jones and Fritz Guy were misleading us. We need more people like you who will not hesitate to call sin by its real name. Thanks a million !!

    GJ, Loma Linda

  2. GJ,

    You're welcome a million! Thank you for choosing to hold on to God's plain word in the face of the opposition you must be surrounded by at Loma Linda. Keep the faith, our church is depending on such as you.