Thursday, 5 December 2013

Same-Sex Marriage and the Church

Over the past months, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) has been silent and inactive over its virtual acceptance by default of same sex marriages.  Indeed, what has been even sadder is the fact that evangelical ministers within that denomination have been deafeningly silent about this situation.  It is also of concern that the only men who have taken up this issue with PCI were from outside that denomination; which raises very serious questions about where PCI ministers stand on this important matter.  It is of utter irrelevance for ministers to say that they still hold to the traditional biblical meaning of marriage while they are ministers in a connexional church that tolerates an opposite viewpoint.  They cannot 'wash their hands' off this situation Pilate-like, and while they remain silent on this denial of a Christian truth, they are complicit in this sin.

In the Stormont Assembly, Mr Ford, who is also Justice Minister in the Northern Ireland Executive, said, ""Alliance [the political party which he leads] believes that, in terms of equality, it is correct to extend the provisions of civil marriage to same sex couples. At present civil partnerships are not equal to marriage. For instance, those in a civil partnership currently have to declare their sexual orientation on official forms."

Mr Ford's policies are not driven by Scriptural principle but by liberal legislation passed in godless parliaments.  His concern is for "equality," regardless of what equality is being discussed or legislated for.  What the Bible teaches - and it is very clear on marriage and the closely related issue of sodomy - Mr Ford deems to be irrelevant so far as the government of the land is concerned.  Equality issues drive this man, not faithfulness to Christ and His Gospel.  At his ordination to the ruling eldership, Mr Ford would have agreed to be governed by the Word of God and not by acts of parliament.  Obviously he has forgotten his ordination vows, or as is usually the case with liberals, they take them with their proverbial fingers crossed behind their backs.

He continues, "This is obviously still a highly sensitive issue for many people across Northern Ireland. I respect the deeply held personal opinions of those who are opposed to same sex marriage."  Rather than merely respecting the views of those who differ with him on who should be married, Mr Ford, as a church elder, should be heading up all opposition to the institution of marriage and from every quarter.  He ought to have been in the vanguard of resistance to such an immoral thing.

His position on marriage as re-defined by people like him, accepted by PCI's deafening silence, will be supported by his church and he will be retained as a church elder in good and regular standing.  Further, he will be allowed to 'rule' within that church, and as an elder, provide leadership and spiritual guidance not just within the congregation but within the wider church.  Imagine a situation where two men or two women want to marry in the church. Mr Ford, as a ruling elder, will have to object to such a ceremony being conducted on church premises, and also to his minister conducting such a service. But Mr Ford, as Justice Minister in Northern Ireland, will have to insist that the law of the land be upheld, despite it being a godless and God-defying law.

At the time this was very much in the public domain, I wrote to the then Moderator of the General assembly of PCI, Dr Roy Patten, and put it to him, "In light of the recent vote in the Stormont Assembly in which members of your church and also a church official voted against the institution [of marriage] as understood biblically and in favour of same sex marriage, what is the current position of your church on marriage...?" I considered this to be a reasonable question and concern and one that most decent people would like to have an answer to.  He told me in an email that PCI's position on marriage has not changed.  He said, "church position has not changed."  That is a most welcome response, because theologically liberal denominations are quite capable of doing anything, including the most bizarre things.  What position is precisely is, he did not explain.

However, actions speaks louder than mere words, and whether or not this is the case will be seen in what action the church will take against the offending official. Mr Ford has now voluntarily stepped down from the duties of a ruling elder, but he is still an elder in good and regular standing within the church.

On the matter of any potential discipline that the church will or will not take, I asked Moderator Patten, "What steps do you  propose to take against those within your membership who have voted to undermine and even deny Christian marriage?"  He said, "if people wish there is process people can use." So unless someone feels strongly enough about official to marriage as understood biblically, the church will accept this deviant understanding of marriage and it correlative practice.

This was a response that one would expect from a theological liberal, not from someone who professes to be an evangelical, which is what Dr Patten was when I knew him some 24 years ago.  He made no comment one way or the other, thus raising the question as to what he actually believed about this critically important moral and societal issue. It is truly amazing the dumbing down effect a liberal denomination can have on even its best ministers!

Sadly I am no better informed about what that church actually believes about marriage than I was before I contacted the Moderator.  His evasiveness suggests that perhaps I do not know what that church now believes about marriage.

The silence of evangelicals is palpable.  The Christian members of that denomination have no one to stand up for the sanctity of Christian marriage as understood in the Bible.  They feel badly let down and undermined by their church because they have tried to teach their children that marriage is an honourable estate and most commendable.  Now the church's guilty silence has been a proverbial 'slap in the face' for good Christian members who have sought to teach their children the right way.

Mr Ford continued, "Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights gives solid protection on the grounds of religious freedom, so I do not believe that faith groups have any reason for concern that they could be forced to carry out same sex marriages, any more than they can be forced to marry those previously divorced."

So for him, the supreme guarantee of religious freedom is the European Convention on Human Rights, not Scripture, an inconsistent position for a church elder to hold.  What he therefore believes is of little value, since Scripture is not his final and sole court of appeal in all matters of faith and practice.  His 'belief' that ministers will not be forced to conduct same-sex marriages is very thin and does not accord with the facts.  Why are Christian B&B owners being taken to court for not allowing same-sex or even unmarried couples to rent a room for the night?  Why are Christians being prosecuted for wearing Christian symbols at work?  Why can advertising people be prosecuted for refusing to accept advertising from the LGBT community?  If Mr Ford believes that church ministers, and especially Gospel ministers, will be protected from prosecution for sexual discrimination or homophobia, then he is clearly not living in the real world. Indeed, Gospel ministers are not even protected from  persecution within and by the church herself.

1 comment:

IftikharA said...

Our reproductive anatomy is perfectly adapted for interaction with a member of the opposite sex. It is not adapted for interaction with the same sex. For instance, the anus can be severely damaged by anal sex. It wasn't meant for that kind of treatment.

As a true Muslim and believer im condemning this... our religion is flexible enough but no space for such rubbish... there is a detailed chapters in our religion book THE NOBLE QUR'AN in which you will find the story of " People of LOT" who were involve in the same sin "The Homosexuality", they all were destroyed b'coz of homosexuality.... Anatomy of anus is not fit for sexual act.... biology. Anus is endodermal in origin so its wound never heals. So, it becomes quite unnatural to get into anus. People find it disgusting to insert and move about the male executive organ into the anus, which serves to discharge the faeces.

Homosexuality is an insult to women. Men and women get sexual and emotional satisfaction from each other. Without them the human race is not going to survive. This is the main reason why Islam is against homosexuality. It is nothing to do with equality. Muslim community, Imams and Muslim schools must teach that homosexuality is a sin and against the teaching of Islam. Multiculturalism is not about integration but about cultural plurality. It is not about separation but about respect and the deepening awareness of Unity in Diversity. Each culture will maintain its own intrinsic value and at the same time would be expected to contribute to the benefit of the whole society. Multiculturalism can accommodate diversity of all kinds – cultural, philosophical and religious – so that we can create a world without conflict and strife. Britain can assume the role of accommodation and concern for all peoples, for our planet and indeed for our survival.

Why are we constantly hearing about an issue that effects less than 2% of the world's population?!!! What about issues that effect everyone such as wealth inequality and dangerous banking? Obviously there's nothing more important to society today than gay rights. Gay marriage is a subject being spoken about in America and France as well as here.( maybe in other countries as well) Now, This is not an important thing at the moment with everything else that is happening. I don't see what difference it makes if you call it marriage or a civil partnership. It doesn't mean that the relationship is going to last any longer or be a happier one.Why in this age should rights be bestowed because of birth? Where is the equality in this? Although, why "other grounds", why not just "sexuality"? It's not a swear word.Equal rights to marry a Catholic? Didn't think so.

Homosexuality doesn't just go against the Bible, Quran, and whatever the Jewish book is called, It goes against Mother Nature as well. Here are some quotes from the koran regarding Homosexuals Homosexual acts are condemned as unnatural. (Will ye commit abomination such as no creature ever did before you?) 7:80-81 Male homosexual activities are condemned as unnatural. 26:165-6 Male homosexuals commit abominations and act senselessly. 27:54-55 Male homosexuals acts are condemned as unnatural. 29:28-29

I can let most things go but the Gay lobby has gone too far with this nonsense... It is time to start fighting back, Our core values are being corrupted, How far before it's too far, You answer that for yourselves.
London School of Islamics Trust