Mikael Hattingh

What would Jesus do…about same-sex marriage?

gay marriage decision High Court Australia
AFP PHOTO / Mark GRAHAM

As a Christian living in a secular society, when it comes to faith I believe my only concern should be sharing the love of Jesus.

To be preoccupied with any other issue regarding morality or differing life perspectives is both beside the point and contradictory to that very message of love I’m trying to share. 

This is precisely where I feel the majority of Christians get confused. When it comes to relevant societal concerns, the groundless fixation with what is right or wrong can be offensive and destructive, and in light of what the scriptures call Christians to do, it is ultimately inexcusable.

Perhaps this subjective moral nit picking is most destructive when it comes to same-sex marriage.

So how should I respond, as a Christian, now that we’ve witnessed Australia’s first same-sex marriages in Canberra, despite it being struck down by an Abbott Government action in the High Court?

Regardless of how doggedly the Australian Christian Lobby takes up the fight on marriage equality, I stand against them in favour of those being oppressed.

I don’t believe the majority of Christians intend to be ‘hurtful’. I do understand what the Christian concerns are. But I don’t think they matter. Because when a group stands in the way of what is meant only to be a private, loving union between two people, it is most definitely hurtful, and already this doesn’t reflect the nature of Jesus.

If anything, this is bullying.

John 10:10 does not say that Jesus came to ‘steal, kill and destroy’.

If you believe in Jesus, you believe that God has given humanity free will. Free will, while not a ticket to do whatever you please, points directly to the greater gift that God has given us in Jesus – forgiveness and acceptance.

Whether or not that sounds like jibber-jabber to you, it doesn’t matter. I’m not here to preach. The point I want to raise is that Christians need to reflect this model of free will in the way they handle subjects that don’t comply with their chosen faith.

So when it comes to the debate over whether or not gay people should marry, the bottom line is I think the debate shouldn’t be happening at all.

Gay people should be allowed to marry. Period.

Think of the words that Christians have, in part, earned for themselves throughout this debate. ‘Hateful’ comes to mind. Bigoted. Intolerant. Closed-minded. Nuisances. When looking at biblical definitions of love, naturally none of these descriptors feature.

‘Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.’  (1 Corinthians 13: 4-5)

If this abject debate regarding gay marriage has proven anything it’s that Christians are demanding their own way: expecting those outside the faith to agree and comply with an incomprehensible concept. It has caused nothing but tension and bitterness,  and played a critical role in misrepresenting Jesus, stirring not love but hatred, which is then also hurtful not only to those being oppressed but to the very cause of Jesus.

Could it be that Christians such as myself need to face the idea that we have focused on the wrong thing? That we have essentially lost focus?

Absolutely.

If a Christian’s true desire is for another human being to find their own relationship with Jesus, whether they be gay or straight or somewhere in between, then we need to first present Jesus accurately.

Jesus’ concern was never with what you did, who you were, or who you were sleeping with. Its right there in the scriptures that Jesus didn’t come to condemn us. In fact Jesus’ entire mission was to tear down ‘the law’ and stand in its place so that all people could be connected with God.

So let’s quickly talk about ‘the law’.

Within the Christian faith, the understanding is that the relationship with Jesus takes the place of the impossible task of completely obeying ‘the law’, ie., being perfect. But since Jesus came into the world, kowtowing to the law is no longer the goal – rather it is simply to love Him and love people.

‘Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbour; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.’ (Romans 13: 8-10)

If Jesus himself covers the law of God, why do Christians insist on maintaining the law of man?

The walls Christians have helped build to prevent same-sex people from the human right to marry needs to be torn down. That same wall stands between Jesus’ message and the rest of the world. The conversation regarding any conflict of faith or morality needs to be reopened on a personal level between friends and families who respect one another (if and only when it is welcome), and we must recognise that ‘same-sex marriage’ is not up for debate on a national or global scale between ideologies, religions, abstractions or politicians.

What the Christian presence within politics has done is bastardized the face of Jesus. It has locked the doors of the church. By raising these walls Christians have tightly bundled together in panic-stricken fear and excluded everybody from the message of love and acceptance.

I think this is wrong.

‘Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness. Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling.’ (1 John 2: 9 – 11)

We are given free will, therefore we are entrusted with free will, but with it, it’s my belief that this debate will continue to cause nothing but harm.

Whether my beliefs make me ‘progressive’ in someone’s eyes or simply a diligent follower of Jesus’ example of love, I don’t really care.

I know which one of the two I want to be and I hope to see more people in the Christian community re-evaluate their stance on same-sex marriage.

Also see Jordan King Lacroix’s earlier piece, Where the Bloody Hell is Australia on Same-Sex Marriage?

Mikael Hattingh

Mikael Hattingh is a writer, illustrator and filmmaker living in Melbourne. He finds his work repeatedly concerned with issues of the home, childhood, mental health and the crisis of masculinity, and he explores these themes with honesty and black humour. While on his way to the lush and promising world that is the Australian film industry, another favourite thing for him to do is not go to parties.

Related posts

39 Comments

  1. mikael said:

    Hey Martin,

    I’m sorry I only just found your comment now. However, I would prefer not to give you a full response, in part, because you havent addressed me directly, rather talked about and around me, so who knows if my response matters! Which, might I say, is a scary trait for a pastor to have. Not to mention there is a distinct tone, particularly in the final sentences that tell me you’re happy to be antagonistic and deliberately not open.

    I will say to you, as I have already, that my faith is bible-based and through all my years of reading the word, being challenged by it, being nurtured by it and learning to love it, I can only conclude that the law against gay marriage is constructed by man. And as a follower of Jesus I look to his teachings and not the muddy ideologies of men to conclude that this law we have made is missing the point.

  2. Martin K said:

    As a church pastor how do I keep my comment brief .. not every strategy the ACL adopts toward same-sex unions has 100% Christian support, AND I’ll try and write about an underlying issue regarding the differing views on marriage. An underlying issue is how we perceive truth or make truth claims. Some believe truth is ‘ultimately objectively revealed’, while others judge truth as ‘subjectively constructed’ / what is true for you is true for you … The article of above appears to fall heavily on the subjective side. Why do I suggest this? … Mikael is taking bible verses out of their context to argue a point of view. Some call this de-constructing the text, in other words we decide how the bible is to be used, quoted, represented and ignored – Four examples, 1. The idea of ‘free will’ in the bible usually means “when it comes to life: God’s will is subject to my will because I have final say NOT GOD.” – I like to call this a subjective power-play … … 2. The context of John 10:10: as opposed to the thief who steals the sheep Jesus is the good shepherd of the sheep, here Jesus is making claims to be the Messiah, Son of God – these verses and chapters in John’s Gospel are exclusive truth claims that there is only one way to God through Jesus Christ ALONE. 2. The context of 1 Corinthian 13ff is an unruly church that is selfishly using their spiritual gifts for ungodly purposes including sleeping with their mothers (1 Cor 5), the apostle Paul is arguing whatever spiritual gifts you Corinthians have in LOVE use these gifts to build and edify the church in the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. 3. Romans 13ff, the bible never separates love of neighbour from love of God and his objective and binding commandments – the context is evident when one reads the bible with the mindset that God just might be bigger than us …HOWEVER, Mikael uses these bible references and others out of context, STILL Mikael has many supporters including agnostics for Mikael is maintaining the golden politically-correct rule, which is truth or claims to truth are subjectively constructed any thing else is out-dated. OK, the bible based Christian shows up and declares moral truth claims such as the bounds of marriage and sex are objectively revealed by God in the Bible. Soon after, the sophisticated people of the world shout “” You stupid narrow-minded, bigoted, backward imbeciles – you Christians are so out-dated … Christians don’t you know that we decide what is valid in the bible and what is not like what marriage is and is not. In fact, the bible is so subject to us that we don’t even need to bother reading the bible for ourselves we just have to quote the skeptics. ” ” … Actually, if Mikael and others really want to get the bible based Christians on side with same-sex marriage then the secret is this: You have to convince narrow-minded people LIKE ME that God and the Bible is subject to my opinion, his goodness or badness, his words, his truth claims are existentially and theistically tied up with me and my friends and any body who thinks like us – big task ahead 🙂

  3. Peter Rufus said:

    Dear James,

    Apologies for the late response. Shall put it down to the busyness of the season.

    Before I can offer any response to your points, I need to make the following point about the Bible.

    Regardless of whether you are a Christian, an atheist, or a person of another faith, there are only two ways to view The Bible – it is entirely true, or it is entirely false. It cannot be partly true and partly false because the claims it makes are absolute in nature.

    Reason I make the point is if you want to have a conversation about Biblical passages, then I need to know your view on The Bible as a whole. If you believe it is the Word of God from cover to cover then let’s not look at passages of scripture in isolation of each other; let us look at scripture in the context of other scripture.

    However, if on the other hand, you don’t accept the Bible as the Word of God, then there’s no point in me trying to explain any portion of scripture because you don’t accept it as truth to begin with. So I’m not saying you have to accept the Bible as true. I’m just saying that there’s no point in me explaining the rationale behind certain passages if, at the end of the day, it’s all falsehood to you.

    If you don’t believe the Bible, fine. But then don’t bring the Bible into the discussion. If you do believe the Bible, then believe all of it; not just the parts that suit your preferences. So I’m asking you to be consistent in how you treat scripture. So I won’t respond to your Bible-related questions until I can get some clarity from you as to whether you believe the Bible or not.

    ———————————————————————

    Now, to your questions.

    You asked ––– “do you have one reason why gay people shouldn’t be married, that isnt biblical?”

    Firstly, this is a loaded question. Because it presumes that religious arguments for doing (or not doing) anything should not be taken seriously primarily because they are religious.

    If this is the logic behind your thinking (and please correct me if I’m wrong), then I will have to say that your logic is unsound. Just because an argument is religious does not make it invalid. An argument is invalid or unsound because of faulty premises, faulty conclusions or faulty logical constructs. But to dismiss an argument purely because it is religious is to practice intolerance because you have not provided any logical argument from your end to begin with. You have merely dismissed me for being religiously motivated. And in doing so you are not practicing the tolerance you yourself are preaching.

    But let me give you some secular reasons against same sex marriage.

    A. There is nothing that stops homosexuals from making lifelong commitments to each other. Gays already are allowed to make the same commitment. In fact, it’s done all the time. They already have the liberty to do what they want with their own lives. A marriage license, however, goes a step further than providing liberty. It doesn’t give liberty, it gives society’s approval of that union, which homosexuals don’t presently have. Homosexual marriage is not about what homosexuals are being forced by others not to do, but what society is being forced to do by homosexuals: approve. In other words, you don’t allow me the right to disapprove about what I see fit. But you want the right to approve what you see fit. How does that work?

    B. Implicit in the act of altering the definition of marriage to include homosexuals is the acknowledgment that marriage isn’t anything in particular, but can be defined and redefined as society likes. If marriage isn’t any particular thing, then family isn’t any particular thing either (this not only follows; it’s an integral part of their argument). If we then concede that family isn’t anything in particular, but is simply a convention, a social construct we invented and can alter at will, then this has direct ramifications for the future of the family as we know it.

    C. If marriage isn’t anything in particular, but is merely defined by society in a way that the definition can change to meet changing conditions, then you cannot argue that “marriage” between humans and (say) trees or dolls could never take place because trees or dolls can’t consent (or can’t, as some people put it, enter into contracts). “Who are you to say” that a marriage is based on consent? “Who are you to impose” your own dogmatic definition of marriage upon others who don’t happen to conform to your narrow views of morality? In other words, to quote the oft-cited argument in favour of same sex marriage ––– “What harm is there in letting people do what they want with their own lives as long as they don’t hurt anyone?”

    In other words, are you willing to extend the definitions and boundaries of marriage indefinitely or are you imposing limits on what the term can mean? If you are imposing limits, then why are your limits more favourable/ logical/ acceptable/ valid than mine?

    By the way, it looks like polygamy is on its way to being legalised in the US: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/15/us/a-utah-law-prohibiting-polygamy-is-weakened.html?_r=0

    Are you happy for this to come to Australia?

    D. Listen to the words of Russian-American journalist Masha Gessen had this to say about same-sex marriage at the 2012 Sydney Writers Festival:

    “It’s a no-brainer that we should have the right to marry, but I also think equally that it’s a no-brainer that the institution of marriage should not exist. That causes my brain some trouble. And part of why it causes me trouble is because fighting for gay marriage generally involves lying about what we are going to do with marriage when we get there—because we lie that the institution of marriage is not going to change, and that is a lie. The institution of marriage is going to change, and it should change. And again, I don’t think it should exist. And I don’t like taking part in creating fictions about my life. That’s sort of not what I had in mind when I came out thirty years ago. I have three kids who have five parents, more or less, and I don’t see why they shouldn’t have five parents legally….

    [After my divorce,] I met my new partner, and she had just had a baby, and that baby’s biological father is my brother, and my daughter’s biological father is a man who lives in Russia, and my adopted son also considers him his father. So the five parents break down into two groups of three…. And really, I would like to live in a legal system that is capable of reflecting that reality. And I don’t think that’s compatible with the institution of marriage.”

    This just illustrates the fact that the institution of marriage is inextricably connected with children and reflects an unchangeable reality: One man + one woman = children. The reproductive system is divided in half—the man has one half, the woman has the other—and when they come together, the result is a whole, functioning system that creates children. Therefore, the state protects the union between a man and a woman. By doing this, the children are legally protected.

    Gessen wants to fight for marriage to legally include different types of relationships because she wants the government to declare there is no difference between a heterosexual union and a homosexual one. But there is a difference. A very important difference based on the unchangeable realities of biology. A difference that’s relevant because it’s at the very heart of the institution of marriage. A difference that justifies the government treating the different unions differently.

    So Gessen is conflicted. She wants the unions to be treated the same, but she recognizes that, by nature, they create fundamentally different situations. And since the institution of marriage can’t accommodate a union that has only one woman and one woman (because another person—a man—is needed somewhere in the picture in order for a family to be created), she understands that an entirely new legal system must be created in order for the government to be able to address her situation.

    Hence, the fight for same sex marriage is not really for equal rights but for changing the way we think about families because of the inherent legal difficulties. And same sex marriage proponents don’t have that right.

    E. Strictly speaking, even the right to marry is shared equally with homosexuals. Any homosexual has the same right to an officially sanctioned marriage to an eligible member of the opposite sex of his choosing as I do.”But I’m not interested in the opposite sex,” he responds. “I want to marry who I want.” Yet no citizen has the right to marry whomever he wants. I cannot marry my daughter nor my neighbour’s wife. If I loved two women, I couldn’t marry them both. The fact is, homosexuals do have the same freedoms as others.

    Australian Federal Court Justice Jayne Jagot said as much when she ruled that our federal law blocking same-sex marriage is not discriminatory ––– “A gay man is as free as a straight man to marry a woman.A lesbian is as free as any other woman to marry a man. That’s equality. What same-sex marriage activists want is very different — a new freedom to marry someone of the same sex. What they want isn’t marriage at all, since marriage is the union of a man with a woman, excluding all others. And if we are to change what marriage means, we have a duty to consider not just the good such a huge change to such a critical social bond could bring, but the evil, too.”

    Check here for the ruling: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/FCA/2013/109.html

  4. Isobel said:

    Sorry for the delayed response, Christmas time always gets busy!

    Still, I have given this much thought!
    This verse comes to mind:
    Romans 13:1.
    Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

    God is almighty! He has created the world and everything in it. Everything that is, He has allowed – including the government. The government should control our lifestyle, and thats the way God intended it to be. God also clearly intended marriage to be for a man and a women and that’s the way it should be. Period.

    I think the bible makes it very clear that the best way Christians can show the love of Jesus is by the way we live our lives following Him, part of following Him is respecting God’s word. Jesus says this in Matthew 5:14:
    You are the light of the world. A city on the hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on a stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

    Jesus is telling us thay we, in ourselves, the way we live out lives, the decisions we make, the laws we obey, the ideas we support and everything that makes us, us to be the light of God. It doesn’t end there, He is also instructing us not to hide this but to put it out in the open for all to see and use as a light, for people in darkness away from God, to see Him. Through our Christian lives! It is truly a beautiful and poetic explanation from Jesus himself!
    1 Corinthians 6:9 says:
    Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Dot not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral nor idolators nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
    Homosexuality is clearly a sin, so my question to you Mikael is how is hiding this specific beam of light straight from the word of God in any way being the light and showing God’s love to people?
    1 Corinthians goes on to talk about forgiveness from Jesus – forgiveness through the love of Jesus is the light that homosexuals need to see from Christians, and to receive it we all need to turn away from our sinful lives, we are all sinful and we all have a battle with our sinful nature, we are all in it together! Turning off the light about our sin does the opposite of what God wants.
    Saying gay marriage is ok is not in any way showing the love of Jesus!

  5. Mikael Hattingh said:

    Hey Bob!

    Cheers for being direct while not attacking.

    Much of what I want to say would just be a repeat of what I’ve said in other responses – I would recommend having a read if you’re not satisfied with what I’m going to say here!

    Firstly, there is such a thing as marriage outside Christianity and it has been practiced in many other religions for a long long time. Allowing non-Christian people to marry does not redefine or undermine the biblical vision of marriage because the people concerned are not Christians and are thereby not bound by biblical law. It is a secular marriage between secular people and you needn’t ‘support’ it as such, you just need to not stand in the way. Christians need to realise that its none of our business whether a gay person marries or not. My argument would be, in part, to recognise this and realise that we are fighting the wrong fight: we should be aiming to share the love of Jesus, not put restrictions on people’s lives.

    Secondly, by standing against same-sex marriage, I believe we are not defending a biblical law but a human law. The bible says nothing about same sex marriage, rather its only our government that does – a man-made, divisive government which we have constructed to legislate morality. If God sees ‘practicing homosexuality’ in or out of wed-lock as sinful, why have we put it on ourselves and our government to create a law preventing gay people from marrying? Who are we to tack on another law? Make no mistake, we aren’t trying to ‘uphold Christian values’ or ‘prevent sin’, we are simply being controlling. Its misguided-thinking, born of a desire to, as I said, uphold ‘Christian values’ while failing to notice the hole in those very values: mainly to not judge others. God really doesn’t care for our government or our laws no matter how well-intentioned we construct them. I think He cares a heck of a lot more about whether or not we’re helping the sick and the poor than monitoring the lifestyle of gay people.

    Now thirdly… God is primarily concerned with our hearts, our repentance, and where each of us are at individually, not whether or not we are rigidly observing the law. We can obey the law completely and still have ZERO relationship with Jesus and that would be foolish. So if this is so, do you think God sees a married homosexual man or woman as any less sinful as a non-married homosexual man or woman… or any less sinful than you or I? If the answer is ‘yes’ in your mind then you would be mistaken. Because that would reveal a prejudice in your heart toward another human being, which God abhors as that is unloving and therefor sinful. But I don’t assume you feel that way. So if you believe, as I do, that we are all sinners and that all sin is equally ‘wrong’ in God’s eyes, then you can only conclude that creating a law to prevent one particular people group from marrying is pointless. God never asked for it, we just invented it. And if it serves any purpose, it would only be to protect the feelings of Christians. It helps us feel that are doing the ‘godly’ thing, keeps our conscious clear that we aren’t ‘supporting sin’.

    You say, we should be supportive of homosexual people and love them as God calls us to – I agree! But how? So many of us say that and yet what are we doing about it? How exactly are we doing it? Why is it that the only time we hear ‘Christian’ and ‘homosexual’ in the same sentence it has to do with a debate? That very word implies tension. I firmly believe the Christian majority has NO IDEA how to love gay people. They’re confused. We want to do right but we are terrible at it. We are the cause of that tension. And we can’t see past our own construct of godliness and the gay community are kind of paying for it.

    So to summarise: Its not the government’s job to control lifestyles. Its not the Christians’ job to focus on other people’s sin. By adamantly defending this ridiculous law, we aren’t being Christ-like at all, we’re just pretending to be. You don’t have to change your views but surely you can allow your fellow man to have the same rights you do? And then once you are truly equal, then that tension can be eased and the message of Jesus can be received. I think Jesus was a relational teacher and He did not bring people to His side through rules or rebuke.

  6. Bob said:

    1 Corinthians 6-9 sums it up nicely “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice HOMOSEXUALITY”

    A well written and interesting article Mikael however I think that sadly you have been deceived.

    This verse also does provide the link between homosexuality and pedophilia, both are sins in Gods eyes. It also shows the relevance of Gods law in a new testement, post Jesus’s resurection context and supports Paul’s contention that Homosexuality is a sin in Gods eyes.

    I think the key thing to realise is that whilst Jesus died on the cross for all our sins, his forgiveness will be meaningless if we do not repeant. Out of a love and respectrespect/thankfullness for Jesus and what he has done for us we endeavour to try our hardest to obey his laws. By trying to normalise homosexuality you are undermining Gods law and christian values.

    Further more Gods wrath towards the cities of Soddom and Gamorrah, cities steeped in SIN of homosexuality shows Gods stance on the issue.

    My contention is that yes we should be supportive of homosexuals as people and love them as God calls us to. However it is wrong to support/encourage them in their sinfull lifestyle. We should as Jesus did call them (or in his case prostitutes) to turn from there sin.

  7. James Walsh said:

    #1 – In the 10 commandments there is no mention of homosexuality, so can you be gay and still abide by Jesus’ commandments= yes as you’ve pointed out yourself with that great explanation of why Jesus was referring specifically to the 10 commandments.

    #3 – The bible isnt asking us to die for Christ in that verse. The verse refers to loving other POEPLE in the same the bible says God loves us. Which is to the extent of giving ones own life. Now its easier to die for another person because theres no real long term consequences, changing for someone else on the other hand is probably the hardest thing in the world. You used the verse;
    “Luke 16:18 ––– “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery. (Please ask yourself: if marriage after divorce is adultery, can polygamy ever be allowed?)
    So by this verse anyone who is married after getting a divorce is living in adultery, which is mentioned in the 10 commandments, unlike homosexuality, so do you believe that hetrosexuals should be able to get remarried after they’ve divorces or are you advocating for that to be illegal as well?

    #4 – I’m not too concerned with the afterlife. I think heaven and hell exist, but I don’t pretend to know who goes where. Do babies, children, people unlucky enough to be born into a non-christian country or everyone in history up until the death of Jesus deserve to go to Hell? I think what is more important is what we do during our lifetime. Are we bringing a little heaven or hell to this earth for other peopler while we are on it?

    Peter can you please answer one question for me, since i answered one question for you – do you have one reason why gay people shouldn’t be married, that isnt biblical?

  8. Peter Rufus said:

    Dear Editor,

    Thanks for listening. I hope you realise the subjective-ness of your views. And that’s fine. You have made an inference alright. But it is an incorrect inference.

    Because I have not drawn a parallel between homosexuals and pedophiles at all. (Neither did the MP who was vilified.)

    Just because you see a parallel does not imply that one exists.

    I submit this with utmost respect.

    Once again, thanks for keeping the communication channels open.

  9. Peter Rufus said:

    Dear Guest, Apologies for not responding earlier. I didn’t see your comment. I am sorry to hear of your decision to leave the church. All I can say in response is that God is not who we think He is. He is who He says He is. If we want to know God, we need to know Him on His terms, not on ours. To expect God to kowtow to our terms is to fail to understand the seriousness of who He is. I am always at pains to clarify that this is not my version of Christianity. This is the Biblical version of Christianity. I’m not making this up. In fact, I invite you to read the Bible and challenge me where I’ve gone off the charts. But if you’re not willing to engage on common Biblical ground, then all you’re giving me is your opinion. And whilst you have every right to do that, I’m surprised at your unwillingness to acknowledge my opinion. This is by no means a hit on your character. I just want you and others to think long and hard about what you think the Biblical position on the matter is. If you love God, why don’t you listen to His Word? Happy to chat further on another channel if you want.

  10. Peter Rufus said:

    Dear Mikael,

    I am mature enough to understand that disagreement does not imply disrespect. I admire your poise and restraint and appreciate the grace with which you have attended our discussion.

    I respect your right to stand up for same sex marriage. However, what I don’t respect is to impose your view on Christ. Especially when there is a massive body of work attributed to Christ which negates what you have said.

    I’m not calling on you to agree with me. Rather, because you claim to be a Christian, I’m calling on you to agree with The Bible. And not just with the parts you have cherry picked to suit your views but the totality of its doctrinal teaching on the subject at hand.

    I’m glad that you brought up the teaching of the apostle Paul in Titus and would advise you to peruse his teachings to Timothy that are in a similar vein:

    “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions. But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that 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, … and immoral men and homosexuals … and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching…”

    1 Timothy 1:5-10″

    Sound teaching is what every Christian is exhorted to submit to, and proclaim. And that isn’t what you have provided.

    From our conversation so far, I understand that human affirmation is more important to you than the affirmation of the Word of God. That love for you means allowing people to wallow in their sins instead of alerting them to the dangerous consequences that await them because of their willful disobedience to God’s commands. Apologies if that sounds harsh, but that’s what it appears to be.

    Allow me leave you with the following thought.

    The Holy Spirit is God. God is love. Therefore, the one who has the Holy Spirit will also love with the love of God.

    So the person indwelt by the true Spirit will show both these characteristics of the Spirit. Your reluctance to call out sin should be a warning sign to you that you aren’t demonstrating what being Spirit-driven is all about.

    Your desire to emphasize one characteristic of God over the other betrays either an ignorance of the fullness of God’s character or a disturbing passion to embrace only that aspect which you find attractive. In other words, the god you refer to is not the God of the Bible because this god does not reflect the fullness of the Biblical God.

    Embrace a cherrypicked Bible and you’ll wrap your arms around a cherrypicked god. And salvation is not found in such a god but in the true God alone.

    Thanks for your patience.

  11. thebigsmoke said:

    Thanks for taking the time to explain. I would still call what you did in your post inference. Whether it was intentional or not, by drawing a parallel between homosexuals and paedophiles in an argument, some people may infer you are comparing the two as being equal. You may remember a certain MP lost his position over it. I do appreciate though you clearing this up as unintentional.

  12. Peter Rufus said:

    Dear Mr/Ms Editor,

    Thanks for getting in touch with your concerns regarding my borderline hate speech.

    Please find below the exact content that I had posted which contains the material that you have cited as objectionable.

    “Would you tell a pedophile to continue in their ways? Would you tell an adulterer to keep up their affair? Would you tell the con-artist to continue their trickery? Would you remain silent about such behaviour and let the pedophile, adulterer and con-artist live however they please? Not if you love them you won’t.”

    As you can see, I have not tried to draw any parallels whatsoever between homosexuals and pedophiles.

    I have merely asked the author of the article whether he would remain silent about a pedophile’s actions or if he would confront them about it.

    How is this trying to draw a parallel between homosexuals and pedophiles? Homosexuals haven’t been referred to at all in this part of my argument.

    I hope you will see that I bore no ill-will to people who wish to live alternative lifestyles.

    Cheers

  13. thebigsmoke said:

    Hi Peter

    While we love provoking discussion, some of your comments (eg trying to draw a parallel between gay people and paedophiles) borders on hate speech and if it continues we would have to stop posting your comments. While you are entitled to your opinion, I would advise you to read our terms https://www.thebigsmoke.com.au/conditions-of-use/ to ensure you remain within the guidelines. Thanks. Editor.

  14. Mikael Hattingh said:

    Peter, forgive me but I don’t want to go around in circles. Nor do I want to acknowledge the pedophilia / homosexuality link as there isn’t one and that’s offensive. I can also see that you are trying to corner me into saying a particular grouping of words as if my saying ‘homosexuality is a sin’ will validate you or your argument. It doesn’t because you still haven’t fully comprehended mine.

    So in the interest of Titus 3: 9-10 I’ll have to stop this repetition here. However, I want to leave you with this: Jesus never singled out homosexuals and said, ‘You know what? Even though I see all sin as equal, make a law in your ever-fickle, human-built government against this particular set off people so that any plans they have to marry will be abolished. And then uphold this human law above my own command to love me, love one another and to not judge.’ It just didn’t happen. If you can’t see that, then I can only hope that over time you prayerfully wrestle this out but its not for the public arena that we argue. After all, my aim is to be gentle and respectful not only to you and other Christians but most importantly to the very people at the centre of this needless debate.

    I hope you understand! And again, I don’t mean to be disrespectful

  15. Peter Rufus said:

    Mikael, there is only one standpoint from which to look at this – it is from God’s standpoint.

    And the only way to see from God’s standpoint, is via His Word.

    And that’s what you haven’t answered ––– Does the Bible teach that homosexuality is sin in God’s eyes?

    That’s the key question. Because if we love God, then we will take great care to know what displeases Him. Moreover, we will try our level best to live in a manner than does not displease Him.

    Yes we will fail. Yes we are weak. But does that mean we should stop trying to please God knowing that we will fail? No way! The Bible is filled with exhortations for living holy lives.

    Yes, God loves sinners. Yes, He’s the Shepherd who goes out looking for the one lost sheep. Yes, He welcomes the prodigal back home with open arms. Yes, His love has no limit. But does that mean He will not punish sin? Again, no way! The Bible is filled with warnings for those who disobey.

    I cannot love God and my sin simultaneously. I cannot pursue both at the same time. I can only have one Lord and master. Who will it be – Christ or Sin? Who are we being led by – the Spirit or the flesh?

    Are you saying that a person who rejoices in their homosexuality is Spirit-filled? Where is the Biblical evidence for this?

    God hates sin. And He will punish it with the full force of His wrath. Because sin is an affront to His glory. Do you believe that? I do. Because that’s what the Bible teaches. It teaches that He is BOTH a God of LOVE and a God of WRATH. Do you believe that?

    Punishment of sin does not put limits on God’s love. Rather, it shows that His love is holy love and a justice-driven love.

    Would you tell a pedophile to continue in their ways? Would you tell an adulterer to keep up their affair? Would you tell the con-artist to continue their trickery? Would you remain silent about such behaviour and let the pedophile, adulterer and con-artist live however they please?

    Not if you love them you won’t.

    If you love them the way God loves them, you will confront their ungodly behaviour. Just like God confronts our own ungodliness. Because God wants us to be with Him and the only way that’s going to happen is if we live holy (i.e. separate) lives.

    Struggling with sin is a Biblical reality. Affirming sinful behaviour isn’t.

    So, coming back to the question you never answered – is homosexuality a sin in God’s eyes?

  16. Mikael Hattingh said:

    Hellooo… I’m sorry to hear about this. I think we’re going to see a shift in the Christian mentality as we come to realize just how much we’ve messed up. I’ve been a part of the problem in the past due to adopting a way of thinking just because I was told to. But that isn’t just and isn’t godly. I’ve also been burned by the church in my own way. I’m just very sorry and I get it.

  17. Mikael Hattingh said:

    Peter, I think you need to look at this from a different standpoint. And I challenge you to do think through these questions because I know that you love the Lord and only want to do right.

    Would you say you were a Christian? Would you say you knew Jesus in a personal way? Would you say you were a human being, susceptible to human emotions? Would you say you were a sinner? Would you say you struggle with it every day, perhaps even struggle with a particular set of sins? If so, would you say that those sins define you in Christ’s eyes?

    Or would you say that its your relationship with Him that defines you in His eyes?

    In other words, are you not a son of God? Despite your sin.

    I believe you are, I believe I am, and I believe WHOSOEVER loves Jesus can be a son or daughter of God. Because just as our sin is endless, God’s mercies are new every morning and His love is limitless. It extends further than you can imagine, and I say this not as an attack but as a challenge: Jesus’ love extends further than what you are managing to perceive. God’s love extends as far as homosexuality, gay marriage and well beyond. If He did not, then there would be a limit to His love.

    Its been brought to my attention not too long ago, one of the last conversations Jesus had with an apostle in the Gospels. Check out John 20: 21 – 23. While Peter was looking at Jesus’ relationship with another follower Jesus told Him to stop. He said not to worry about his relationship with another follower, but just to think about His own. He said ‘What is it to you? You just follow me.’

    Your business is not to worry about another human beings relationship with Jesus. Just your own. And trust that Jesus desires an intimate, loving, PATIENT relationship with every human being, just as He does with you.

  18. Mikael Hattingh said:

    Thank you, Matt! I’m really encouraged to know that there are Christians out there that are viewing the situation like this and putting their voices out. And more importantly, I really hope we can continue to encourage the gay and non-Christian community that there’s hope for change and a breaking of this senseless bondage. Thanks again! And can I say, your podcast on marriage equality put it better than I have.

  19. Matthew DiGeronimo said:

    Mikael . . . you are right on the money. We are “eye to eye” on this issue, my role as a Christian is to develop my relationship with Jesus and provide a path for others to do the same. I understand nothing in the scriptures that burdens me with the task of judging others. We are all broken, we are all sinful . . . if gay marriage is a sin (which I see no evidence in the Scriptures to believe that it is), that is between God and them . . . When Christians play the role of “judge” they are, imo, falling right out of central casting of the Jewish pharisees that Jesus tore down. Well written, Mikael. God Bless.

  20. Guest said:

    Hi Peter Rufus. People like you are the reason I left the church. I refuse to believe in a God that is in any way indicative of the christianity you are trying to represent. I would rather burn in Hell than be involved with people like you. God Bless you.

  21. Peter Rufus said:

    Mikael, you haven’t been disrespectful or dismissive. Thank you for your sensitivity. I hope my words have not caused you offence.

    I have just one point to make in this. And I’m sorry I didn’t make it earlier.

    I believe the Bible teaches homosexuality is a sin in God’s eyes. Do you?

    If the Bible does teach that homosexuality is a sin, then no homosexual can enter into a saving, loving relationship with God unless they repent.

    What’s more, they will never repent if people, like yourself, tell them that God loves them unconditionally and that they can just waltz into heaven as homosexuals.

    If God loves people unconditionally, why did Jesus command people to repent?

    If you love Christ and live for His glory and wait for His coming, how can you lull people into a false sense of security by sidestepping their sin altogether?

  22. Peter Rufus said:

    James,

    Thanks for taking time to discuss these matters. I humbly offer the following responses to your comments.

    #1.

    “There are about 613 commandments in the Old testament that Jesus would have been talking about, if we think Jesus was talking about the past tense and referring to the OT commandments.”

    Yes, Jesus was referring to the OT commandments. There was no NT for Him to refer to back then. But could he have been referring to any of the 613 commands in the OT? No. Why not?

    Because of what he says in the rest of Matthew 5.

    • “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder” (vs 21) ––– refers to the 10 commandments.

    • “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ (vs 27) ––– refers to the 10 commandments.

    • “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform to the Lord what you have sworn.’ (vs 33) ––– refers to the 10 commandments.

    So there are direct references to the 10 Commandments. In other words, Jesus says that He isn’t merely affirming the Law, He is calling people to adhere to it in the manner it was originally intended – from the heart; not as a mere external formality.

    Pls also note that this is Jesus’ first public sermon. He speaks about His kingdom and who are its rightful citizens (vs 2-12) and this caused quite a stir because it was new to the people. They must have been wondering if Jesus had come to establish a new theology. But Jesus knew what they were thinking and puts an end to any doubt they might have had ––– “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” (vs 17)

    In other words, simply put, Jesus is saying ––– I know you’re wondering if I’m teaching something new; I’m not. I’m just unpacking the Law the way it was meant to be practiced. Make no mistake – the Law still stands.

    If you have any disagreement with this, would be great if you could provide insight into what the Sermon on the Mount is about.

    (As an aside, please also note that there are 3 aspects to OT Law – Civil, Ceremonial, Moral. The civil aspect does not apply now, because we do not live in a theocracy like ancient Israel was. The ceremonial aspect doesn’t apply God gave that to Israel as a means for them to show they were separate from the other nations. But that doesn’t apply to Christians since we show we’re separate by obeying Christ. The moral aspect does apply, however, because Jesus Himself affirms it in the Sermon on the Mount. Plus His clarion call was REPENT! – i.e. a call to inward submission from the heart rather than outward ceremonial actions.)

    #2.

    “The biblical definition is for men to have multiple wives, but I don’t think your advocating for that are you Peter?”

    • Deut 17:17 ––– “And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.” (This command was given for a king of Israel; but given that the king was a model for the nation, the command was applicable to all.)

    • Matt 19:8 ––– “He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” (Jesus says here that monogamy was God’s plan “from the beginning”.)

    • Gen 2:24 ––– “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (Please note: ONE FLESH; not MANY FLESHES i.e. monogamy is God’s plan.)

    • 1 Cor 7:2 ––– “But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” (Please note: each person is to have his/ her OWN SPOUSE; no sharing i.e. polygamy is not to be practiced.)

    • Prov 5:18-19 ––– “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love.” (Please note: a man is to love the wife OF HIS YOUTH i.e. his first, and his last; he is not to look elsewhere.)

    • Luke 16:18 ––– “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery. (Please ask yourself: if marriage after divorce is adultery, can polygamy ever be allowed?)

    • 1 Tim 3:2, 12 ––– “an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife … Let deacons each be the husband of one wife …” (Pls ask yourself: if the leaders in church are meant to be monogamous, can polygamy be allowed for the others?)

    I see no truth whatsoever to your claim that “The biblical definition is for men to have multiple wives…”

    Either you are unaware of these verses; in which case, I would ask you to reconsider your statement. Or you aware of them but choose to ignore them; in which case, I request you to be less disingenuous.

    #3.

    “If you call yourself a Christian do you love others enough to die for them and then by that standard do you love others enough to let your beliefs on gay marriage die for the sake of two people to be happily married together no matter their sexual orientation?”

    I will happily die for Christ and all He taught. But Christ never affirmed homosexuality. The Bible (which is the word of Christ because He is God) doesn’t affirm homosexuality. So if you’re saying that I should be willing to die for something that displeases Christ, then I cannot accept that.

    If you’re saying that Christ taught that homosexuality is consistent with holy and righteous living i.e. He was pleased with a homosexual lifestyle, then please show me and I will happily reconsider my stance.

    Please understand that I have these beliefs because I am convinced that the Bible teaches that they are Christ’s beliefs. If you can show me otherwise, I am happy to listen.

    #4.

    Can you please answer one question for me – do you believe that Jesus taught that those who disobeyed Him would face hell?

  23. Mikael Hattingh said:

    Hello again. Everything you’ve said, I agree with. (Excluding, of course, your view that I have an imagined vision of Jesus. Even then, I don’t disrespect your concerns there.) But I don’t see how what you’ve said stands in contradiction to anything I’m trying to put forward – because ultimately I don’t think you’re hearing my point. Part of what I’m trying to get across in the article, is not that the law is null but that these laws are not the focus when communicating with the secular world. The law of God is for those who love and follow Jesus, and those who do not, need not be bound by them.

    By binding people to the law, we are in danger of behaving like Pharisees because our emphasis is on ‘the law’ and not on actually reaching people with the message of love.

    So yes, when Jesus said ‘go and sin no more’ it was AFTER he stood up for her and her rights. He didn’t tell her not to sin, see that she was indeed still sinful, then cast the first stone himself. Jesus does not sweep in, lay down the law and expect one’s submission to it to be what saves someone. That was a huge part of why He even showed up. And such obedience is only made possible (or even desirable) to His followers once that redemptive relationship is established. (Let’s not forget the Holy Spirit.)

    What Christians are doing by adamantly protesting gay marriage is holding non-Christian people accountable to a Christian concept; something that does not apply to them, much like every other law we aren’t holding people accountable to. I’m not saying the law doesn’t apply to all mankind or even that it doesn’t exist – I’m saying that its not supposed to be our focus when communicating with non-believers and so we shouldn’t be holding it over people’s heads like we are in regards to marriage.

    Please note that this article was written both for Christian and non-Christian readers published on a non-religious news site. So for that reason it is not a sermon nor a weighty text in either division. And the intention behind this approach was to serve mainly as an open acknowledgement to the gay and non-Christian community that they deserve their human rights but also as a message to Christians that we need to ‘un-complicate’ the message of Jesus both for ourselves and for those we wish to communicate it to. The article is not a dense theological discussion by any means. There are many verses we could dive into but then I would be alienating readership, just as bible-bashing people is pushing people away from Jesus in droves.

    I believe Jesus spoke simply and compassionately. And despite the unfortunate title of ‘The Sermon on The Mount’ I don’t think he was a sermonic speaker. He was relational and gentle.

    I’m not trying to deny other components of following Christ, I’m not pretending there are other scriptures that discuss the deeper meaning of loving Jesus but I’m trying to make it plain and simple that the bottom line is that Christ first values that we know him and bring others to Him – NOT that we simply tick all the boxes and hold people accountable to the law. Obedience is a life-long journey and we’re expecting those who do not yet know Jesus to stomach an a huge concept by force. Ain’t ever going to happen!

    Thank you for your response and your challenge and I hope I haven’t been disrespectful or dismissive.

  24. James Walsh said:

    There are about 613 commandments in the Old testament that Jesus would have been talking about, if we think Jesus was talking about the past tense and referring to the OT commandments. One of the last things Jesus does according to the bible is telling his disciples in John 13:34 is to love people. And to love them as the bible describes Jesus as loving us- enough to die.
    The biblical definition is for men to have multiple wives, but I don’t think your advocating for that are you Peter?

    Times and culture changes, but the philosophy of Jesus still rings true. If you call yourself a Christian do you love others enough to die for them and then by that standard do you love others enough to let your beliefs on gay marriage die for the sake of two people to be happily married together no matter their sexual orientation?

  25. Peter Rufus said:

    Thanks for the response, Mikael.

    Please understand the context of my argument.

    When you claim that marriage ––– ” is meant only to be a private, loving union between two people” ––– my contention is that this is not a Christian idea of marriage.

    In other words, your faith is a syncretistic blend of the religious and secular – and that’s not Biblical Christianity; it’s something else.

    So I’m challenging your claim to follow Christ because your words testify to the contrary.

    Allow me to elaborate by quoting some of your statements. (I have captialised some words for emphasis.)

    #1.

    “Jesus’ concern was never with what you did, who you were, or who you were sleeping with.”

    You seem to have forgotten Jesus’ words to the woman caught in adultery ––– “Neither do I condemn thee. Go and SIN NO MORE”. (John 8:11)

    Or should I remind you of Matthew 3:17 ––– “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

    How can you say that ––– “Jesus’ concern was never with what you did …” ––– when scripture clearly testifies to the contrary?

    #2.

    “Within the Christian faith, the understanding is that the relationship with Jesus takes the place of the impossible task of completely obeying ‘the law’, ie., being perfect. But since Jesus came into the world, kowtowing to the law is no longer the goal – rather it is simply to love Him and love people.”

    Remember the Sermon on the Mount? Jesus wasn’t discouraging people from following the Law. Rather, He was calling them to a higher level of obedience to it.

    “Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:19

    “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment;” Matthew 5:21,22

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27,28

    So it’s very clear that Jesus wasn’t preventing people from obeying the law. Rather, He unpacked the true extent of the law and held people accountable to it.

    And what about these passages from John:

    John 14:15 ––– “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”

    John 15:5,6 ––– “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.”

    Please note the CONDITIONALITY of Jesus’s statements ––– “IF you love me …” ; “IF anyone DOES NOT abide in me…”

    Put simply, abiding in Christ is CONDITIONAL; it DOES have DO’S and DONT’S.

    To love Christ is to OBEY Him. To have a relationship with Christ is to be OBEDIENT to Him. And one of the things we are commanded to do is REPENT i.e. do a complete 180º turn from what you were doing and walk the other way.

    Love for Christ is not bereft of obedience to His commands; rather it is demonstrated by obedience to His commands. And His commands are not in isolation to the Law but aligned to it. Because Jesus’ fulfilment of the law does not in any way abolish our own obedience to it.

    #3.
    Please compare Jesus’ words above to your own ––– “kowtowing to the law is no longer the goal – rather it is simply to love Him and love people.”

    In light of Biblical evidence, I have to conclude that you are presenting readers with a Jesus of your own imagination and not the Jesus of the Bible.

    Hence it is the Jesus of your imagination who would condone same sex marriage and not the Jesus of The Bible.

    And since this Jesus is not Biblical, he is a false Jesus.

    So here is my contention.

    Your article distorts Biblical Christianity and the Biblical Jesus.

    I would urge you to examine this article in the light of your own words ––– “we need to first present Jesus accurately”.

  26. Mikael Hattingh said:

    Again, really clear argument – and honestly, thank you for bringing it forward so respectfully.

    I have to disagree though. In the end, the voice and message of (quite incompetent) politicians remains louder than the voice of Christians ‘on the ground’. Its clear, at least to me, that the majority of Christians do want to show love to the people in the gay community but I don’t think we know how just yet. This is something that needs to be prioritized quickly because while we fumble about discussing ‘loving people’ trying to figure out between ourselves the perfect way of ‘showing the love of Jesus’, the gay community continues to suffer as the government dictates how they should live. And this is only piling up that wall between Jesus’ voice and them. So sitting back and watching the circus of politics play out while we do nothing for the people is wrong. We need to put a loud and clear message out there now and tear that wall down entirely. That message is that gay people have the same rights as us and the same opportunity to know Jesus. Its nobody’s right to dictate a lifestyle, not ours and not the government’s, and as for the cause of Jesus, its just completely unnecessary.

    If its a secular nation, the secular people deserve to experience the same freedoms as everybody else. And that shouldn’t freak us out. And as far as the people are concerned, its still garishly none of our business in the first place.

    Thanks again, really!

  27. Isobel said:

    I think we’re almost getting to the same point here. Overall im trying to point out why some Christians, including myself are against gay marriage. Your absolutely right, Christians can’t force anybody to do anything but nore do they have to accept and support gay marriage! As long as they are doing it in a loving, respectful way.
    By expressing that we know it’s sinful and not the way God intending humans to live, is not expressing inequality. Because God’s laws are perfect and don’t leave any room for that rubbish. Obviously, someone that doesn’t know Jesus or understand the bible would say that’s not so, and that’s where Christians need to encourage homosexuals, in a loving way to see the light of Jesus. This is not going to be achieved by Christians folding and supporting their sinful choices. It will only make homosexuals think that their life choices fit into God’s design of marriage.

  28. Mikael Hattingh said:

    Solid point, Isobel, and I hear you.

    I think there’s an important distinction to be made here and I know its not one thats going to come about easily for a lot of people.

    By supporting gay marriage what are we really encouraging? Homosexuality? No, not at all. By supporting gay marriage we are encouraging those in power to bring about equality. And that’s it.

    It doesn’t need to be our business what people do with their freedom, its just our business as human beings to make sure everybody HAS those freedoms.

    So by supporting gay marriage, we would be supporting the notion that all people are created equal and should therefor be treated equally. Without equality and without our support Christians will continue to alienate, marginalize and condemn one valid people group. And the point I want to emphasize once more is that this will only anger and upset people which will further block those oppressed from receiving the truth that God adores them.

    Furthermore, by supporting gay marriage you aren’t forcing anyone down an aisle, you aren’t telling anyone to have sex with anybody, you aren’t encouraging someone to be attracted to someone of the same gender. You are only standing by your gay brothers and sisters and saying: ‘You’re a human being, you deserve to be treated like one.’ I believe in much the same way that you respectfully hang out with someone of another religion this can be done with no compromise to your beliefs.

  29. Isobel said:

    I understand your point, and agree, Christians do accept a lot of sin, and sin a lot ourselves! No one is perfect. And again you made me think, let’s start with defining what were talking about:
    Acceptance – believe or come to recognise, (a proposition), as valid or correct. Some synonyms are – believe, trust, give credit to, have faith in.
    Encourage – give support or hope to. To stimulate the development of (an activity, state or belief ). Some synonyms are – uplift, inspire, motivate, support, back, advocate, recommend, promote.
    Obviously different things but I think we can both appreciate the very fine line between them, and see how they can easily go hand in hand. After reading the definitions I don’t think a Christian who respects the bible can say they accept homosexuality, I know thats bold but so are the facts! At the same time Christians need to tolerate homosexuals respectfully, lovingly and leave the judging to God. If Australia was to legalize gay marriage, they would first have to accept it acknowledging that the government thinks their lifestyle is correct. Then the government would be supporting gay marriage which is encouraging it.

  30. Mikael Hattingh said:

    Thanks Peter. I appreciate your response a great deal.

    Let me assure you that I don’t intend to twist the Bible to suit my beliefs. I try very hard not to do that and have found throughout my life that submitting to the Word has always proven to be right and beneficial. I believe whole-heartedly that my faith is authentic.

    I am not challenging or denying the biblical concept of marriage. I don’t reject its spiritual significance at all, rather I completely adore it. But that’s me – a Christian with a Christian perspective granted to me only through my personal relationship with Jesus. I don’t expect people outside my faith to see it that way – how can they, and why should they? I think we need to realise that this isn’t a Christian nation and the nation as a whole does not need to adhere to the belief system of any one religion – so to reiterate, we should not force people to prescribe to the biblical vision of marriage.

    When I say that the Christian concerns don’t matter I’m not suggesting our faith is meaningless and therefor we should shuck all our beliefs. Quite the contrary. Hold onto them! Express them! But do so with humility and grace, never using them as a weapon against another. But what I see when I look at an entire people group standing in the way of another like this, is an army.

    The Christians’ preoccupation with monitoring the actions of a secular nation – and so narrowly in this one particular area – is to have our backs turned to a much greater call: to show everyone the UNCONDITIONAL love of Jesus.

    Thank you also for listening!

  31. Peter Rufus said:

    Mikael, I believe your idea of the Christian concept of marriage isn’t Biblical. And I say this because of your statement which says –––

    “I do understand what the Christian concerns are. But I don’t think they matter. Because when a group stands in the way of what is meant only to be a private, loving union between two people, it is most definitely hurtful, and already this doesn’t reflect the nature of Jesus.”

    Allow me to point you in the direction of Ephesians 6:22-30 –––

    “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.”

    Put simply, the Christian concept of marriage is meant to mirror the sacred relationship that Christ has with His church. So the Biblical idea of marriage is not just a private union (as you claim it is). Rather, it is a private union with very public implications. Therefore the concerns that Christians have about marriage DO MATTER. Why?

    Because IF the Bible is true, and IF marriage is what the Bible says it is, then you are throwing Biblical truth under the bus to suit your personal preferences.

    That’s not what authentic Christians do.

    Please understand my position. I respect your right to your ideas. But to impose those ideas on The Bible is dishonest.

    Also, please understand that I’m challenging your notion of the Christian idea of marriage. If you would like to respond, then please respond to this challenge specifically.

    Thanks for listening.

  32. Mikael Hattingh said:

    Thanks Dylan. I can’t express how much I appreciate a Christian putting their voice to this matter. The conversation just needs to happen.

    I don’t believe allowing gay people to get married and to live their lives peacefully means you are playing a part in encouraging sin. That’s something we’re going to have to really wrestle with. I think if we’re really concerned about not encouraging sin then we are going to need to be consistent and hold the secular world accountable for every sin already in play. In which case we have a looooooot of work to do and a lot to answer for! Gay marriage is just a blip.

    But that’s precisely what we’re not supposed to do. I think if we were to start pointing out every sin under the sun then that would make us exactly like the Pharisees who were so stuck on the law they didn’t show love to anybody. They didn’t even recognise the son of God when He spoke because they were so blinded by their need for rules and regulation and we need to remember it was the Pharisees who Jesus was most angry with. So for this reason I would compare the Australian Christian Lobby and their determination to stop gay people from marrying to the behaviour of the Pharisees, and judging by how much hurt has been caused through these actions, its going to be the Christians who Jesus will be upset with. I’d like to re-emphasize that its not up to our government to control the lives of citizens, it comes down to Christians showing love and keeping a respectful conversation going between themselves and the people they do life with. So lets remove the system that looms over everyone’s head, follow Jesus and just trust Him.

  33. Mikael Hattingh said:

    Hey JD. Thanks for your response! There’s a lot of people out there in the Christian community who believe that homosexuality is not a sin, and there are gay churches out there and I think that’s great. Ultimately my stance is that God intended sex to be between a man and a woman – but MUCH, MUCH more importantly than that He intended for everyone to know Him and be in relationship with Him. That’s the only important thing, in the end. So if those communities and those churches provide the right atmosphere for certain people to know God, then I’m all for it and I’d be happy to go along with anybody, any time.

    As for the article – I know – it tries to walk a fine line and doesn’t explicitly say that ‘homosexuality is a sin’. But I do that intentionally – not to dodge it – but firstly to split the distinction between ‘sex’ and ‘marriage’ for Christian readers so that they can perhaps see it for what it is and take the focus off sex. Secondly, for everyone else who might read it who doesn’t hold my beliefs, I don’t want to come at them with yet another stone. If I believe its sinful and others don’t, then that’s okay – we need to be able to exist together being tolerant and gracious despite differences with a constantly open dialog between us. I don’t think ‘being in perfect agreement’ should be what qualifies ‘perfect harmony’. So I want to stress that I’m not trying to put an emphasis on ‘sin’. Because much like those within the media and politics who put their voices out there and reach mass audiences and eliminate the chance of a personal dialog between those directly concerned, this article runs the same risk. So if I’m putting my voice out there publicly, I want to be putting a message of love and acceptance out there. Which is what I completely believe Jesus did. All this being said, I’m sure my position can still offend people and I just have to be prepared for that and handle it appropriately. Hope I haven’t pissed you off too much! Thanks again

  34. Mikael Hattingh said:

    I totally hear you and thank you for your clear response – I think you raise a really crucial point. I think what Christians are understandably confused about is whether or not ‘accepting’ sin is therefor encouraging it. Every day you and I ‘accept’ what is sinful all around us from the little things like someone gossiping about another to the fact that our country allows for other religions (other idols before God) to be practiced. You and I can peacefully accept these things without encouraging them. And naturally we don’t feel a compulsion to arch up and protest them at all times because we do understand that we’re not meant to do that (we’re not meant to judge, we’re meant to show love and be peacemakers). So for the most part, I believe Christians know how to share the love of Jesus and show love and acceptance but for some reason there is one particular ‘splinter in our brother’s eye’ that we can’t get our eyes off: gay marriage.

  35. Mikael Hattingh said:

    Thank you for your thoughts! I understand the idea that Christians are under pressure to get ‘softer’ while other religions do tend to be more steadfast in their beliefs no matter the backlash. However I think there is no use in the Christian pretending a union between two people is ‘not’ a marriage if it looks and behaves precisely like one just without a semantic definition. If a Christian believes gay marriage is wrong and yet ultimately feels comfortable (or less ‘uncomfortable’) with two gay people being in an ‘undefined’ relationship (a beast by another name – a ford falcon, perhaps) then I think that reveals a hole in their convictions. Especially if you consider what you have with your wife to be under some kind of threat of a new definition. Your marriage is a covenant between you, your wife and God nothing changes that.

  36. jd said:

    Great piece! However I think it still implies that homosexuality is deemed as wrong and sinful in the bible, which I think is not the case. It would be a perfect article to show Christians that are really stuck on believing that homosexuality is wrong within the Christian faith. It doesn’t argue that homosexuality is ok, and at the same time offers an alternative way of thinking within the safety of scripture that promotes love and acceptance to the homosexual community.

  37. Dylan said:

    Hmmm… A lot of contradictions here but I see your point here Mikael. However, unfortunately I’m unsure this ideology will resonate with the greater christian church and christians as supporting the matrimony of same-sex couple may be construed as consenting to the by products of such a relationship (which some may consider ‘sinful’). Sadly I dare to say the closest rational stance we as Christians might take is one of love to all such demographics, but conversely disagree the Sin which runs manifestly to the core of such relationships.

  38. Richie said:

    Interesting point, but did God not make man then give him a companion? Is marriage not a man leaving his parents and a woman leaving hers to start a family? Look at other cultures and countries and they have religion as part of their laws. Why do we have to be the ones that are the push overs? We are always accepting however it’s like me wanting a holden falcon…… Marriage is the union of a man and woman before God and family, so then why should we change the definition and change what something means just to accommodate it? Call it something else and be done with it. Hence it’s a Ford Falcon, they should stop trying to make what I have with my wife define differently.

  39. Isobel said:

    Good article Mikael! I am a Christian and am not in favour of gay marriage and this definitely made me think:
    One of the commandments is do not commit adultery, homosexuality is a form of adultery, therefore a sin. Jesus despises homosexuality, but that being said he does love homosexual individuals. He does not judge them or bully them, but he shows them Gods gracious love and forgiveness. Jesus loves us by directing us to God and forgiving us. Taking the punishment for our sins and allowing us to have an eternal relationship with God, if we follow Jesus.
    As you said Christians are instructed by the bible to love equally, like Jesus loves. Jesus’ love is one that can only direct us to God, always encouraging us to live a life pleasing to God, and never encouraging us to indulge in a sinful life.
    I know it sounds harsh and can be offensive but if Christians were to accept gay marriage it would be encouraging sin and that is in no way what Jesus would do. He would love homosexuals by forgiving them and encouraging them to follow him.

Comments are closed.

Top