I have spent more time reflecting on your response, and the article itself, and would like to add a few more points of issue to my reply.
I was hoping to have some feedback, but please don’t feel obliged if for any reason you can’t. I realise that my break from orthodoxy might seem threatening, but I believe effective evangelising begins with understanding other perspectives. I hope that you don’t find it discouraging, as that is certainly not my intent. Although, writing this has demonstrated to me how words alone are insufficient in conveying love and carry the risk of achieving the opposite. This also should serve to illustrate how a plebiscite, no matter how well intentioned, is potentially disastrous, regardless of the outcome.
Anyway, please read on with my respect. Having had such limited interaction with you, please know this is my reflection from years of growth, and the opportunity to speak about it with you is largely incidental.
I will, however, start with your reasoning for marriage being a universal truth. Ought we really consider universal anything that comes before the Fall of Genesis 3? This seems like an unnecessary presumption, and one on which we have based a great deal. And I believe the logic is flawed, as in Genesis 1, God gives all plant life to man for food. Therefore vegetarianism is universal and carnivorism is a product of the fall. Should Christians begin advocating for veganism because it is a universal truth? Probably not.
Now, how might the general public respond if we were to, say, support a national plebiscite on denying carnivores the right to eat meat based on a [Biblically falsifiable] presumption of vegan universality? Presumably most people would vote against it, and rightly so. So would we not, in this hypothetical situation, be best served by honestly considering the kickback from the secular meat-eating world? Will we choose open-mindedness or hard-heartedness?
Should we stand with God? Yes. Irrespective of how people perceive us? Well, no. How people respond to our attempts at being an ambassador for God is of great importance! It is the best indicator of our effectiveness as evangelists, and an ever-present check to keep us on track, as claiming a Biblical worldview does not prevent us from stumbling. Countless episodes of the Bible tell of new wisdom illuminating errors in religious tradition to the glory of God.
Does our moral stance on an issue conflict with ethical standards? If the charge is put forth, we should thoroughly re-examine our doctrine. To stand with God typically means to hold to our own brand of orthodoxy. I do trust that most of us are somewhat aware of these nuances, but we need to publicly acknowledge and convey this awareness. We can have complete confidence in our faith, but in concealing our vulnerabilities we resort to language which would convey and actually bolster an ignorant or fallacious belief.
So did Jesus think the Bible is perfect? Well, the New Testament had not been penned at the time Jesus was alive, so we are making a great presumption there. He certainly revered the Scriptures, as seen in Matthew 5:18, but what are we to make of his critical reading of Deuteronomy 24:1? Jesus said that this law (regarding divorce) did not, as the Scripture presumed, come from God, but from Moses. Jesus continually pushes us to see scripture in a new light and to break away from traditions that do not reflect the full love of God. His ministry gives insight into scripture and drastically alters — improves – our understanding and application of it.
I will vote Yes to allow SSM at the marriage plebiscite because I seek to embody the spirit of Christ. I believe in the ongoing revelation of God, and that we are moving towards the kingdom of God, not toward its destruction. I will show boldness in choosing not to abstain from the vote and will do so in an act of defiant love, which I believe is consistent with the ministry of Christ.
I might be wrong, but if I am to be rebuked and corrected, my beliefs must first be entertained and my doubts satisfied. Obviously this cannot be achieved in a brief moment. Maturity takes time and devotion, so we can hardly expect a phrase like “stand with Jesus” to have any impact. This is why I am actively opening doors to discussion, in hope to find people who will share their wisdom with me. Without other people’s input, it seems I’m liable to air all of my beliefs at once, which I realise may be counter-productive.
Like I said previously, our calling is to preach the Gospel. The good news. Few will respond positively to the bad news of sin. It’s the same tactic used by advertisers to exploit people: make the target aware of a problem that they didn’t know they had, and then sell them a product to satisfy their new-found need. By preaching sin, we are not embodying Christ. If we approach the gospel in this way, we are in the business of converting people, not serving them. It’s colonialism all over again! This kind of crusade leaves devastation in its wake! This does not please God, I am sure. It only serves to garner us more power. THIS is why we have prosperity and established political systems in the West. Not because we have found favour with God above others, but because our tribe has grown and evolved. Does not Japan have prosperity, stability and peace? Where was Jesus while that developed? And doesn’t the Muslim world have a strong history of literacy, education and culture? Be careful about claiming divine influence to validate your own identity.
When we dwell in the kingdom of God, under the kingship of Jesus, we will know true peace and prosperity. Our privilege in the world today has little to do with Jesus but came about through a powerful coalition of forces through recent centuries. Collectively, we Christians achieved greatness through great evil.
I say all this not because I am ungrateful for the blessings we have received, but because I am humbled by them. The downfall of many people of power in Biblical stories, if we are to learn from them, was that they were full of pride at being the recipients of great blessing. Pride comes before a fall. And I don’t want to see Christians build their hope on anything less firm than the love of God.
This Moore College article was one of the most sensible pieces I’ve read regarding SSM, I give credit where it is due. My issue with it was its presumption that SSM will be the catalyst for increased restrictions on our ability to preach the Gospel.
Where is our faith? Will God not open more doors for us when others are closed? Opportunity is what we should be praying for, rather than scaremongering with unfounded claims in hope of preserving our privilege.
If we lose our association with SRE in schools,
if our leases are terminated under accusation of hate speech,
if our ability to witness to people openly is challenged,
it is because we have not been preaching the Gospel of Christ.
Try as we might, we cannot blame a ‘gay agenda’ for losing this battle. Remember the Pharisees, who preached the love of God but failed to live by it? Well it would seem that we are failing in the former as well as the latter, so we all ought to consider the issue prayerfully.
Let me quote from the author’s final paragraphs:
“It is possible, after all, that I have over-estimated the threat to gospel preaching that the legalisation of ‘same-sex marriage’ will entail. Perhaps freedom of religion protections in the legislation will be adequate. Perhaps there will be a public backlash against the overly-zealous pursuit of Christian organizations, resulting in a backdown. Or perhaps a spot of persecution and public restriction will in fact result in more boldness and gospel preaching than at present.
All these matters, readers must judge for themselves, weighing them against the other ‘goods’ that are at stake in the proposed policies of each party, and then giving glory to God by voting not for ourselves but in love for the good of many, that they may be saved.”
Biblical or not, if our preaching against SSM is louder than our fight against the denigration of our fellow man — you know, the love that is the fulfilment of the law — it is my responsibility as a follower of Christ to challenge such hard-heartedness.