Overall, this past week has been a good week. Meditating on Holy Week has been good for me. Writing about it has probably been better. I was able to write for Single Roots yesterday. My home group leaders decided that we’d go through 1 Peter beginning next week, which is good because I need to get out of Pauline Theology for a while. I was praying about what to write today, or whether I should write anything, and I kept coming back to Ephesians as I’ve been studying that for ages (mainly due to procrastination). In reading Ephesians 4:17-5:21, my heart kept coming back to the redefining marriage issue.
I’ve already written about that for Good Friday, so I’ll try not to be redundant.
The first verse that really hit home with me and prompted me to consider this issue again was Ephesians 4:26-27.
Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil.
The first thing I don’t understand about all of this is why Christians are getting so angry about this. I mean, I can understand wanting to defend a traditional, Biblical view of marriage as between a man and a woman, and I do defend that. But, why are we getting so angry? It’s like we’re approaching this from a purely political standpoint and not taking Scripture into account as to how we defend Biblical principles.
I realize that it’s easy for all of us to think, “But I’m not sinning when I’m angry. This is righteous anger.” Well, ok, maybe it is. But, does the world understand that? Do the lost understand that? Does the gay community know what “righteous anger” is other than that it is anger? It’s not a coincidence that Paul adds “and give no opportunity to the devil” connected to anger. When we display our anger publicly, it gives Satan an opportunity to discredit the Church. For the most part, all that the lost know of God is that “God is love” and that Jesus generally wasn’t an angry guy, the temple cleansing not withstanding. Yes, there is time for lighting a fire and displaying that anger toward sin, but that should always be in the context of a relationship of some kind: friend to friend, mentor to disciple, pastor to congregation. It shouldn’t be a boundless display where anyone can see that and misinterpret intentions, motives, and even content.
I’m seeing Christians get angry with other Christians about this. I do believe truth is worth fighting for, but, ironically, maybe a blog post isn’t the best way to do it (Not that I’m angry as I write this. More confused than anything). Maybe articles in Christian magazines aren’t the best idea. I know that these are partly being written and published in response to public media in favor of redefining marriage, and some of them are beneficial. A lot of them just attack people though, assuming they don’t have sufficient knowledge of Scripture or correct interpretation. I’ve tried to stay silent on this, but when I see all of this, I can’t help but wonder if the Church, if Christ, would be seen better if we took our internal disagreements offline and worked them out over bread and wine, remembering that Christ is the reason we get together, not just to debate Theology.
I’m completely for marriage being defined as between a man and a woman, because that’s the model we see in Scripture. I completely believe that this push for homosexuality is nothing less than a Satanic attack on the image of Christ and the Church that is marriage. That said, is it really going to affect Christ’s Church if Christianity loses out in politics? Nope. And, realize, I’m preaching to myself here, too. God is sovereign. He does all that He pleases (Ps. 115:3). He turns the hearts of men like channels of water (Prov. 21:1). Will this create polarizing issues for Christians in America? Yep. I think that’s what so many people are trying to avoid: taking a stand that will make them unpopular and not very trendy. When cultural Christians stop going to church and go with mainstream culture in politics, that makes an uncomfortable environment for those committed to Christ.
Now, I want to be clear. I’m not saying that all Christians who are in favor of redefining marriage politically are “cultural Christians.” My point with that is that we are seeing the cultural acceptance of Christianity fade away, and that is what makes issues like this a polarizing issue for Christianity when it comes to culture and politics.
That’s why we get angry. We don’t want to see the darkness in front of us. We don’t want to realize that we’re in enemy territory.
afraid of anything that threatens that.
Well, this went a little longer than I thought, and part of it may have been a bit of a rant, but I had to put thoughts on paper so I could stop thinking about them. Later this week we’ll look at how Ephesians would direct us in addressing these issues, whether publicly or privately.