What Christians know with certainty
We know with certainty that homosexual sex is condemned in Scripture.
Leviticus 18:22: “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” Leviticus 20:13: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination …” According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible defines the Hebrew word “abomination” as “some-thing disgusting (morally), that is (as a noun) an abhorrence.”*
Romans 1:26-27: “For this reason God gave them up to dishonourable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” The Greek word translated “dishonourable” could accurately be translated “infamous, disgraceful, shameful, vile.”
I Corinthians 6:9-10: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God.” The Greek word arsenokoitai that is translated “homosexuals” is a compound of “male” (arsen) and “intercourse” (koites, literally “bed”, from which the English word “coitus” is derived). These are the same two words that are used in the Greek version of Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13 quoted above. This suggests that Paul may have been tracing back to Leviticus and thereby reinforcing that homosexuality remains forbidden and under the judgment of God in the New Testament.
I Timothy 1:9-10: “ … law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching.”
Jude 7: “… Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.”
Some commentators have tried to convince their readers that these texts do not really mean what they appear to be saying, but in fact they certainly do. The plain reading of these texts is the correct reading. Homosexual sex, as defined by our Creator is abominable, dishonourable, unrighteous, ungodly, unholy, immoral, unnatural and contrary to sound doctrine. The question for Christians is whether we will agree with God’s perspective on homosexuality, or whether we will reject it and follow after the world’s latest outlook on the subject.
We know with certainty that true marriage is heterosexual.
After creating the first man Adam, God observed that he was lonely—without a companion. We read, “Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him’” (Genesis 2:18). The Hebrew word translated “fit for him” means an “opposite; specifically a counterpart, or mate” (Strong’s). And so the Lord crafted the first woman and presented her to the man, who upon seeing her exclaimed, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man” (vs 23). This touching historical moment is followed immediately by the first of several statements in Holy Scripture defining the nature of marriage, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh” (vs 24). This verse is highly informative: The relationship is heterosexual—a man and a woman—and it involves leaving (one’s parents), cleaving (to each other), and knowing (they shall become one flesh). The intimate union of two complimentary persons who help each other to find happiness and fulfilment was obviously God’s plan from the very beginning. He made Adam, not as an asexual being with no need for another, but as a man, and then finished his creative work with Eve, a woman. What he started with Adam, he completed with Eve. Together, the two melded perfectly into one and Eve conceived and bore children in what became the earliest form of government, the family.
Thousands of years later Jesus echoes almost identical words to those recorded in the first chapters of the first book of Scripture enforcing the view that the nature of marriage between the Testaments remains exactly the same, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Matthew 19:5).
Some 30 years later, a generation after the establishment of the New Testament Church, the Apostle Paul repeats the words of Christ, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31).
From these verses we gather that one of the primary purposes of marriage is to alleviate loneliness—”it is not good for the man to be alone.” Furthermore, we see that the man’s longing for a companion was resolved by God’s creation of a woman, an opposite, a counterpart, a mate in the most intimate sense. Thus, we see that it is God himself who made humans male and female, it is God himself who instituted and defined marriage, indeed it is God who performed the first marriage ceremony, and in doing these things He defined marriage as an exclusively heterosexual relationship. Thousands of years later his Son reinforced the nature of marriage as heterosexual, as did the Apostle Paul.
We know with certainty that homosexual “marriage” is really not true marriage at all.
The word “marriage” can never be legitimately applied to the relationship of a man with a man, or a woman with a woman. Instead of being sanctioned and celebrated in Scripture, as true marriage is, all homosexual relationships are prohibited and condemned. Therefore, it is not possible for an illegitimate relationship to form the basis of a legitimate marriage. Dressing homosexual relationships up and pronouncing them as “marriage” is a misuse of the word and an act of rebellion against God. No matter what they are called, homosexual relationships will remain illegitimate, and instead of enjoying God’s blessing, will provoke his holy anger.
We know with certainty that the Federal Government does not have the authority to redefine marriage.
Marriage, the most ancient of all institutions was ordained by God himself before governments existed. As we have seen, God defined marriage as heterosexual. The Federal Government recognised the heterosexual nature of marriage in the 2004 Amendment incorporated into the Marriage Act 1961. Prior to 2004, the Marriage Act did not define marriage, because it was historically and unquestionably understood as the union of a man and a woman.
The 2004 Amendment aligns perfectly with the biblical view of marriage. It reads, “Marriage means the union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life.” It continues, “Certain unions are not marriages. A union solemnised in a foreign country between: (a) a man and another man; or (b) a woman and another woman; must not be recognised as a marriage in Australia.” At this point the Federal Government, under the leadership of Prime Minister John Howard, not only understood, but emphatically affirmed the true nature of marriage. The government was operating admirably within its bounds.
And yet outrageously, only 13 years later on 7th December 2017, the Federal Government abandoned the Marriage Act 1961 and the 2004 Amendment, and voted overwhelmingly for Liberal Senator Dean Smith’s Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Bill 2017, thus legalising what it had previously prohibited. In a 180 degree turnabout, the government sanctioned the union of a man to another man, and a woman to another woman. In this instance, the government acted shamefully beyond its bounds.
How should Christians respond? The Apostle Paul offers some helpful advice. He says, “Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good” (Titus 3:1).
While we should be eager to be good citizens and to do what is right, we are not under obligation to obey laws that violate our most deeply held convictions and stand in opposition to the clear teaching of Scripture. When Peter and John were warned by the authorities not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus, they responded, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20).
The problem that Christians are now confronted with in Australia is similar. The government’s newly enacted marriage Act will surely result in Christian individuals, families, schools, universities, hospitals and other institutions falling foul of anti-discrimination laws, for that which was formerly considered immoral, unlawful and socially destructive is now considered moral, lawful, and socially constructive, and there-fore now enjoys the protections of the law.
For Christians particularly, freedom of conscience, speech, and association are precious. The freedom not to be forced to act contrary to our deepest held convictions, (whether, for example, performing marriage ceremonies, baking cakes, or shooting wedding photography) is at grave risk.
Even before the new marriage Act became law, it was clear that supporters of same-sex marriage were eager for Christians to be taught a lesson, to be compelled to act against their consciences, or to face the consequences. This was evident in the treatment of amendments put forward by Attorney-General George Brandis, who ultimately voted for and rejoiced in the passage of Smith’s unamended Bill. Brandis introduced amendments to ensure that people could speak freely about their traditional view of marriage without fear of legal action, but his amendments were defeated! It seems clear that those behind the Bill are determined to silence anyone who dares to defend traditional marriage.
Dean Smith’s Marriage Amendment (Definition and Religious Freedoms) Act 2017 contains the words “Religious Freedoms” (plural) in its title, and yet it provides scant protection for ordinary Christians. While ministers of religion have the right (at least for the moment) to refuse to marry a same-sex couple (providing that same-sex marriage is contrary to their religious beliefs, or the beliefs of their church), and while Churches can refuse access to their facilities for a same-sex marriage (if the wedding does not conform to their religious views of marriage), new celebrants including Christian celebrants cannot refuse to marry same-sex couples. So much for religious freedom and freedom of conscience!
Now that same-sex marriage is legal in Australia, homosexuals and homosexual sympathisers will not rest until not only the right of refusal has been stripped from ministers, churches and other Christian institutions, but also the right to simply express an opinion for fear of prosecution.
The question for Christians is the same question that has been asked of every true believer down through history. Will we remain faithful to the clear teaching of Scripture, or will we compromise and become indistinguishable from the world?
If you wish to read some of the articles that Life Ministries has dedicated to this subject, please go to our website located at www.lifeministries.org.au