(12th December 2012)
Following the decision of the Scottish Government in July to legalise same-sex marriage the Westminster Government has decided to do the same, with a Bill to be brought forward in January. As with the consultation held by the Scottish Government the UK Government’s consultation seems to have been managed so as to disregard the opinion of those who expressed their opposition to same-sex marriage through petitions. This is unjust and creates the impression that government is not really interested in what people think, having made up its mind already. Such an attitude can only create public resentment and disenchantment with the political process, which is unhealthy in a democracy.
This latest decision is a further demonstration of how government in our land has wilfully departed from its proper role as the servant of God. The problem goes much deeper than the current administrations in Edinburgh and London for it is evident that the leaders of all the political parties represented in the Scottish Parliament are in favour of same-sex marriage and likewise the leader of the main Opposition party at Westminster.
These developments indicate a national departure from righteousness. If our country continues on its present course we will further provoke the Lord and multiply the judgments which the Almighty is already visiting upon us. It is therefore time for those who would be faithful to the Lord to give a clear lead and to speak up before even greater calamities come.
The reasoning used by the Prime Minister when speaking about the Government’s plans to permit same-sex marriage reveals our national malaise. He said: “I’m in favour of gay marriage because I’m a massive supporter of marriage and I don’t want gay people to be excluded from a great institution.”
As a Christian church we too give our strong support to marriage and recognise it as “a great institution.” But whose institution? Does marriage belong to man, to define as he will, or does God own marriage, as something which He has been pleased to establish for His own glory and the good of mankind? The answer is clearly the latter for in the opening chapters of the Bible we read how God made the first man, the first woman and the first marriage.
A year ago, in a speech to mark the 400th anniversary of the Authorised Version of the Bible, the Prime Minister said: “the Bible has helped to give Britain a set of values and morals which make Britain what it is today.” We agree with this statement but we also suggest that only a wilful rejection of the Bible and the timeless moral code it contains can account for the situation we now have where governments north and south of the border seem to be in a competition with each other to see which can be the first to legalise same-sex ‘marriage’.
In the end it is the Bible – not a popular or parliamentary vote – that decides what is right and what is wrong in moral matters. According to the Bible same-sex ‘marriage’ is a perversion of the divine order and therefore wrong. The following points need to be made:
Scripture teaches that marriage was instituted by God between one man and one woman. After creating the first man God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18). He then made the woman for the man, bringing them together and making them one flesh. This is God’s pattern for marriage.
Scripture teaches that marriage reflects the union between Christ and His church. Christ is the heavenly Bridegroom and the church is His bride (Ephesians 5:31,32; Revelation 19:7,8). It is impossible for a same-sex marriage, in which there is either no bride or no bridegroom, to reflect that union.
Scripture teaches that same-sex unions are inherently sinful. This is taught in both Testaments: “Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination” (Leviticus 18:22); “For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” (Romans 1:26-27)
Underlying the seeming inability or unwillingness of government to resist calls for same-sex marriage is the idea that homosexuality is an acceptable lifestyle. From this flows the belief that homosexuals must not be discriminated against in any way and therefore on the grounds of ‘equality’ they should be entitled to ‘marry’. But do those who approve homosexuality realise what they are approving? The homosexual lifestyle is plainly unnatural and harmful to the body and the soul. The place which gave its name to this way of life stands as a permanent and solemn warning against it: “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” (Jude 7)
The false tolerance which is shown towards homosexuality is not confined to government but is sadly found within the church. This fact is highlighted by the situation in the Church of Scotland which for some years has been wrestling with the question of whether to ordain persons in same-sex relationships. To us it is astounding that a Christian church should need to spend any time on this matter when the teaching of Scripture is so clear. “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9,10) While the gospel of God’s grace in Jesus Christ offers forgiveness and salvation to all, including the homosexual, it requires repentance toward God.
In 2011 the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland voted to allow the ordination of people who were in same-sex relationships before 2009 and this has caused great difficulty for ministers and congregations who cannot in conscience agree with the decision. In June of this year the congregation of St. George’s Tron in Glasgow decided to leave the Church of Scotland over this issue and they have recently been deprived of their place of worship by the Church in what appears to have been a most unchristian manner. We commend them for their biblical stand and sympathise with them in their plight, offering them and others who find themselves in a similar situation our prayerful support.
While there may be questions over the property rights of a congregation which leaves a denomination there can be no question over the future of a denomination which endorses homosexuality. It is departing from the Word of God and unless there is a radical change of course it will soon lose its right to be acknowledged as a Christian church.
The legislation proposed for Scotland will permit churches to opt in to conducting same-sex marriages. The legislation proposed for England & Wales will do the same, with the exception that the Church of England and the Church in Wales will be banned from offering same-sex marriages. Yet no form of ceremony or degree of commitment can create a marriage if the union which results is one which God forbids in His Word. Same-sex marriage is a sham and a delusion and an affront to a holy God: it is shameful that any government would seek to introduce it.
We call upon church and state to return to the Scriptures as the supreme authority in all matters of belief and behaviour. We urge MSPs and MPs, for the sake of our society, to oppose the introduction of same-sex marriage and commend those who have already indicated their opposition. We encourage Christians throughout our land to remain firm in their adherence to the Bible’s teaching and to continue in prayer, that the Lord would yet be merciful to us.