The Week That Was
Last Friday I posted on the practical question of whether to attend a same-sex wedding. This post was planned and written before news broke about the EA decision, so it was purely providence that it appeared when it did. On Tuesday I posted about some broad fronts that have been swirling the past few years, but which were brought into sharper focus by the events of the week. Andrew then posted on Wednesday in direct response to some of the accusations being made against the EA, and yesterday I put up a more subtle, ‘let him who has ears, hear’ post which was primarily about the way we use language, but born out of the raging debate on same-sex marriage.
To be honest, this has been quite a stressful week. Posting on this subject is much more contentious than what we normally concern ourselves with, and garners a predictable response. Some of our critics seem to consider us sex-obsessed but personally I’d be more than happy never to post, or give a talk on the subject again. The reality is though, this is the hot topic of the day, and rather than us wanting to define ourselves by it we are finding ourselves having to respond to what western society is choosing to define itself by. We are not willing to join the massed ranks of the silent.
Carl Trueman summed things up succinctly last week (Trueman has a knack for summing things up). Though this was for an American audience, it applies in the UK too:
Christianity, at least in its traditional, orthodox forms, is about to see itself politically and socially marginalized in America in a way unprecedented in history. Central to this is the way in which same sex marriage has come to function both culturally and legally. Recent judicial rulings and the appropriation of the idioms of the Civil Rights movement have effectively shut down intelligent discussion on the issue in the public square. This will change everything for Christians. It is one thing to be regarded as intellectually foolish for believing in the resurrection of the dead; it is quite another to be regarded as morally dangerous for believing that marriage is to be between one man and one woman. Societies generally tolerate idiots, allowing them to go about their daily business unhindered. Peddlers of hate typically have a harder time. Conservative American Christians must realize not simply that they are no longer kingmakers in election years; they might soon not even be regarded as legitimate members of society in many quarters. And the speed at which this is happening is such that there is little or no time for the church to prepare her people for this.
We recognize that our influence through this blog is small, but in so far as we have any influence, we want to use it to help prepare the church for the changes western society is undergoing. Marriage is not an indifferent matter. If nothing else, Ephesians 5 teaches us that. So to keep silent on this subject is not the appropriate thing to do. We are not sex-obsessed, but current changes in legislation and attitudes towards same-sex marriage are of a piece with and connected to other recent social trends: ‘quickie’ divorce, liberalization of abortion laws, the rise of co-habitation, and so on. To again underscore Trueman’s point, “Central to this is the way in which same sex marriage has come to function both culturally and legally.” SSM is not peripheral; it is the cornerstone of the project. These changes are profound and are having a profound effect on our society. We’re not going to keep quiet about that.