An email recently came across my desk from the Australian Christian Lobby urging me to contact Bill Shorten to express my disapproval of the proposed changes to the Marriage Act which will allow people of the same sex to marry.I will say clearly upfront, my belief is that marriage is an institution created by God, between a man and woman (first modelled by Adam and Eve) for life. But I have a number of problems:
1. I live in a democratic country and it now seems that a large majority of my fellow citizens no longer believe that my faith held definition is correct. So how far should or can I go in enforcing my understanding? This is in contrast to promoting my understanding under the banner of free speech which I believe, as a Christian, I’m responsible to do with my life and words at all times.
2. My second question bites more deeply. If we who are evangelical/Bible believing Christians have such a high view of Biblical marriage, why have we allowed it to be devalued through our own behaviours within our own Christian community? Divorce rates in the church, even though a little lower than mainstream society, are still high. Cohabitation by church goers is also on the increase. My struggle is that we are calling others to standards that we ourselves are, increasingly, failing to hold.
3. Are there other solutions to this issue which meet the requirements of both the churches and society as whole? In many European countries marriage is a social contract which is entered into at the town hall. This contract gives you access to government benefits and a legally recognised status. Those who are Christian then go to a church to seek the church’s blessing. If we took an approach such as this it would separate church and state and leave the church free to bless those who believe in a Christian marriage, and it would also free it from being a “sub contractor” for marriages.
Has the time come for the Christian community to take seriously the need to make the Bible’s views attractive, not through legislation, but through the winsomeness of her own lifestyle? Like the early church, our faith driven lifestyle, should encourage our neighbours to want what God has bestowed on us.