Christianity on Marriage, Divorce, and Homosexuality
Drs. Al Mohler and Russell Moore wrote in March on the topic of whether Christians are “hypocrites” for publicly opposing “same-sex marriage” while re-married divorcees make up large portions of their congregations. In short, Dr. Moore made the point that even if how they got there wasn’t right, the relationship between remarried men and women was still a marriage, in the Biblical definition.
The Southern Baptist Convention recently voted to break fellowship with a Southern California church that chose a “Third Way,” claiming they took no position as a church on “same-sex marriage.” The SBC disagreed and severed the relationship. Mohler and Moore again wrote on the topic of homosexuality and Biblical marriage in the Christian community.
Divorce and remarriage is not, beyond that, applicable to the same-sex marriage debate. First of all, there are arguably some circumstances where divorce and remarriage are biblically permitted.
Moore then focused on the greater issue: That of repentance from sin:
The second issue, though, is what repentance looks like in these cases. Take the worst-case scenario of an unbiblically divorced and remarried couple. Suppose this couple repents of their sin and ask to be received, or welcomed back, into the church. What does repentance look like for them? They have, in this scenario, committed an adulterous act (Matt. 5:32-33). Do they repent of this adultery by doing the same sinful action again, abandoning and divorcing one another? No. In most cases, the church recognizes that they should acknowledge their past sin and resolve to be faithful from now on to one another. Why is this the case? It’s because their marriages may have been sinfully entered into, but they are, in fact, marriages.
Using the same (not hypocritical) application of Christian theology to homosexuality [emphasis added]:
Same-sex relationships do not reflect that cosmic mystery, and thus by their very nature signify something other than the gospel. The question of what repentance looks like in this case is to flee immorality (1 Cor. 6:18), which means to cease such sexual activity in obedience to Christ (1 Cor. 6:11). A state, or church decree of these relationships as marital do not make them so.
Dr. Moore notes it is consistent Christian doctrine to question a Christian who proudly proclaims her faith, and yet simultaneously continues in unrepentant sin.
Dr. Mohler called this the “dividing line.” As a church, Christians either affirm homosexuality or call it out as sinful. There is no “third way.”
To some, these mere statements of the basic tenets of the Christian faith are hateful and bigoted. Disagree though they may, the fact remains: These are expressions of religious belief — expressions protected by law, regulation, and the US Constitution. While critics would like to shut down the voices of Drs. Mohler and Moore — as well as Christians who share their faiths — religious liberty is ultimately a core American virtue, even if you disagree with or are offended by the content of another’s expression. Regrettably, it sometimes takes a little time for some people to understand this, and mistakes are made in the process. In the end, they learn, the critics stew, and religious liberty prevails.