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A question of love

You’ve probably heard the saying that modern times call for modern solutions. On one level, that statement is true. You would not expect someone who only knows about typewriters to sort out a software glitch in a modern word processing programme. Likewise, you wouldn’t expect someone who only reads and speaks English to understand and communicate in another language.

The same is not true for revealed propositional truth, because what God Almighty has declared in his word can be understand by mankind. It is timeless. Indeed, the 39 books of the Old Testament predate the birth of Jesus by centuries. The four gospels have thousands of manuscript pieces and entire manuscripts that can be dated to the first four centuries of the Christian church, across several different languages and with no doctrinal controversies as a result.

To say that we do not have access to what God has communicated to mankind is profoundly and demonstrably wrong. The very foundations of Western culture (“He founded it upon the seas.” Psalm 24:2) were laid upon the teachings of the Bible. At their heart, those teachings deal with two aspects of our existence: (1) the way we live before and respond to God; and (2) the way we live before and respond to other humans.

Why is this important? It is important because we need to know what God says to us, to mankind, about what he expects and what other humans should expect from us.

A big issue of our time is the matter of whether the government should allow people of the same sex to be married. Proponents of the idea couch the debate in terms of love and ask the question, “Shouldn’t I be allowed to marry the one I love?” Then they go further and quote the biblical statement, “God is love.” The case is then closed. Silence is self-enforced because no one wants to be on record as opposing love.

Many just throw the towel in at that point or revert to an ad hominem response. Neither is acceptable if one is to be honest to the issue in question. You see, biblically speaking, the word love is almost always from the Greek word agape. Agape love is the idea that we should want the absolute best for someone else, God’s best, which addresses the matter of the way we live before and respond to other humans. Agape love requires operating without emotion but rather from truth.

How then should Christians respond to this question of love, and how should they relate their convictions to their elected representatives in a free society? Should the state encourage that which God declares sin?

The logical and biblical thing to do would be to ask the question, “What does God say about such relationships?” The right answer, the loving answer, is that which reflects the clear teaching of scripture. So what is that answer?

In Jesus’ last statement to the church in all the Bible, he says in Revelation 22:15, speaking of those who will not be found in heaven, these words: “Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.”

Is it, therefore, loving to encourage people to engage in unrepentant behaviours that would exclude them from the Kingdom of God? If we’re responding lovingly, we wouldn’t encourage heterosexual immorality (the most prevalent kind). So why would we want to encourage homosexual immorality, if we’re serious about loving our neighbours?

Originally appeared in the Caymanian Times.

  • Chris Pierce is an Anglican minister in Northern Ireland.

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